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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 7th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 07/2/2010: Linux Mint 8 KDE, Linus on Nexus One

Posted in News Roundup at 10:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • New approach sought with open source desktops

    Horizons Regional Council “would be remiss not to investigate alternatives” to Microsoft on the desktop, as it has a responsibility to the ratepayers that fund it to spend their money wisely, says William Gordon, IT team leader at the council.

    Horizons, covering a large area of the mid-North Island, has agreed to participate in the Public Sector Remix project, devised by the NZ Open Source Society.

    “We’ll be trialling the Ubuntu-based desktop devised for the Remix project, initially on six to eight PCs,” Gordon says.

    The council expects to start the trial within the next two months. There is no firm plan for project duration, but it will probably last between four and six weeks, he says. Horizons wants to have a month-end included in the test, to test the open source systems’ ability to handle regular peaks in workload.

    The main driver for Horizons to consider open source was the failure of the government’s G2009 negotiations for bulk purchase of Microsoft software last year.

    “That caused us to realise that we should be investigating alternatives for the next three-year cycle.”

  • Don’t be shy

    In this article I shall attempt to relive my experience finding, beginning to use; and finally full conversion into a GNU/Linux desktop user. I will enumerate both the frustrations and the pleasures experienced during this first year of use. In an attempt at full disclosure my opinions and bias will be sprinkled throughout; after all this is written entirely from personal perspective. In the end the purpose of writing this is to provide the experience of one local (eastbay) user to any and all people who have started to use, or contemplated using Linux (shortened from Gnu/Linux for brevity) for any reason.

  • Linux Professional Institute and Training Materials

    Recently there has been a discussion on the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) mailing list about why LPI does not publish its own training materials to help students prepare for their tests. I started to answer in the mailing list, but instead I decided to answer here.

    LPI, of course, is a non-profit organization that creates certification exams for Linux systems administrators. It is distribution neutral, and tries to be comprehensive in its tests.

  • Audiocasts

  • Kernel Space

    • What to Expect at LinuxCon 2010 this August in Boston!

      The call for participation and registration opened for LinuxCon today signaling the beginning of planning for the 2nd Annual LinuxCon.

    • Worlds Smallest Tux Image !!
    • Linux NIC teaming recommendations

      Most people should use ALB (mode=6) for NIC teaming their Linux server because it is the simplest method to achieve fault-tolerance and load balancing. If you require higher bandwidth, and you have an internally redundant switch, and you can configure your switchports to use LACP, then you should use LACP (mode=4) for NIC teaming.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.7.5 Is Just About Done

        Peter Hutterer has put out a new release candidate for X Server 1.7.5, which also marks this point release as being just about complete.

      • Cleaning Up The Linux Graphics Driver Stack

        Yesterday Luc Verhaegen gave a talk at FOSDEM on reverse engineering a motherboard BIOS, but today we finally have X@FOSDEM for the last time. Luc has just begun his talk on unifying and simplifying the free software desktop’s graphics driver stack. Here are his slides and we will be back with more updates and videos on Phoronix as the presentation progresses.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • Generic web-service queries on your desktop using Plasma

      What is the usual you do in cases like that? Of course, you write a Plasmoid that checks the web-service periodically and informs you when your passport is ready. This plasmoid – PersonalKwery – can be seen in screenshot 1.

    • Skrooge 0.6.0 released

      The Skrooge team is proud to announce the release of version 0.6.0, bringing new features and a lot of bugfixes.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS 2010 is Shaping Up

      Last time it was a great decision by Tex and the Gang to stick with KDE 3.5.10 on their 2009.2 release. They played safe for the welfare of the community and the users, while many desktop-wannabes plunged into KDE4 line. Now that KDE 4 has become a lot more stable and feature-complete, it’s time for a release.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Linux on the Toshiba Libretto 100ct – Part 1 Installing the Operating System

        I got this little Toshiba Libretto for myself for Christmas as a tinkering project, as I’ve mentioned previously. I like to tinker with computers, and I wanted a machine that I could use to experiment with a full installation of Linux. I also wanted to restrict myself to a command line interface only to internalize the use on the console.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 179

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #179 for the week January 31st – February 6th, 2010. In this issue we cover: Open source industry veteran Matt Asay joins Canonical as COO, Lucid Translations now open, Ubuntu Developer Week Re-Cap, Ubuntu 8.04.4 LTS Maintenance release, Lucid Ubuntu Global Jam Announced, Project Awesome Opportunity, New Ubuntu Review Team: Reviewing bug with patches, Jane Silber Interview, Dustin Kirkland Interview: Encryption in Ubuntu, Nicaraguan LoCo Team’s Third Anniversary, Report on Launchpad down-time of 4th Feb 2010, January Team Meeting Reports, and much, much more!

        • Portable Ubuntu

          Last week, I made note of one of the more intriguing software packages I have come across in a long time: Portable Ubuntu. I said at the time that, as a means of bringing the convenience of Unix utilities to my Windows workstation…

        • Project Awesome Opportunity

          In the continued interests of making Ubuntu a rocking platform for opportunistic developers, today we formulated the plan for Project Awesome Opportunity. The goal is simple: build an opportunistic development workflow into Ubuntu. You will install one package from Universe and your Ubuntu will be hot-rodded for opportunistic application development, making development more fun and more accessible for a glorious itch scratching smackdown.

        • Ubuntu Development: Quickly, Lernid, and Ground Control

          The Lucid (10.04) development cycle has some really interesting … er … developments with regard to … uh … the development landscape. Wow. That was an awful sentence.

        • Indicator and me menu, lucid looking awesome
        • KSM Now Enabled in Ubuntu Lucid
      • Mint

        • Bet you guys thought I forgot about this blog, huh?

          I then decided I’d test the “upgrade” feature when Ubuntu 9.10 came out, and let it upgrade itself via APT. That was interesting, but a few things didn’t work quite right. I’ve never been one to upgrade an OS because of this. I’m a clean install kind of guy. So when things didn’t work quite right, I wiped it and installed my next project. Linux Mint 8.
          Mmmm, Mint

          Now, back in September-ish, I rebuilt my main desktop machine at home. I had initial plans to install Slackware 13, but since Slackware now doesn’t fit my needs, I decided to go with something else entirely, so I ended up installing Linux Mint 7 on it.

          My desktop is still running happily on Mint 7, and while that process came with its own issues (the default kernel didn’t like my DVD-ROM drive, plus I discovered massive problems trying to set up Mint 7 on a machine that uses both IDE and SATA drives together), once I got everything set up, it’s been really great.

        • Linux Mint 8 KDE released!

          The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 8 “Helena” KDE Community Edition.

        • Linux Mint 8 KDE Community Edition

          The final release of Linux Mint 8 (Helena) KDE Community Edition is available for download. I wrote about the Release Candidate of this a couple of weeks ago, so I won’t add too much more now. I’m still more of a Gnome desktop user than KDE, but as KDE 4 gets better and better, and combined with the excellent integration with Linux Mint, this one is a real alternative for me.


          It may be that this is the same one used by Kubuntu, I haven’t installed that in quite a long time so I don’t know what it looks like any more. But this is nice, clean, easy to use and easy to understand.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Hardware based randomness for Linux
    • Phones

      • Palm Shares Rise As Analyst Raises Takeover Possibility

        Palm Inc. (PALM) shares advanced Tuesday after an analyst raised his price target on the stock, citing strong potential for the company’s wireless devices as well as a takeover possibility.

      • Android

        • Happy camper

          But I have to admit, the Nexus One is a winner. I wasn’t enthusiastic about buying a phone on the internet sight unseen, but the day it was reported that it finally had the pinch-to-zoom thing enabled, I decided to take the plunge. I’ve wanted to have a GPS unit for my car anyway, and I thought that google navigation might finally make a phone useful.

        • Kernel 2.6.32 for your Nexus One

          The Nexus One ships with a 2.6.29 kernel but if you like living on the bleeding edge you can install your own kernel (e.g. the experimental 2.6.32 kernel). Below you’ll find an update image I built which includes a 2.6.32 kernel, su, scp and ssh.

        • Garmin-Asus to Show Its First GPS Smartphone of 2010

          The venture has launched two handsets, the Nuvifone G60 with a Linux OS on board and the Nuvifone M20 with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional. The M10 will be its third smartphone, and the company is widely expected to announce its first smartphone with Google’s Android mobile OS on board at the Mobile World Congress, which opens in Barcelona on Feb. 15.

    • Tablets

      • Where are the Linux tablets?

        In my opinion, the ideal OS for a tablet PC would be a Linux-based OS running the Elive distribution. This distribution would be lightweight enough, yet have plenty of 3D eye candy for a modern desktop. The Elive desktop would be ideal for a touchscreen-based hardware. Yes, this is me showing favoritism, but if you really put some thought to it, the E17 desktop is perfect for the touchscreen. If you’ve not experienced Elive, download a Live CD of it and try it out. Once you have it running, imagine it being used on a tablet PC. The only hitch would be how to initiate some of the compiz features without having the keyboard handy. Of course, after seeing what the Elive team has done so far, any hitches to tablet migration would be minor.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Symbian Operating System, Now Open Source and Free

    Similar as it may sound to Android’s promise, there are major differences, says Williams. “About a third of the Android code base is open and nothing more,” says Williams. “And what is open is a collection of middleware. Everything else is closed or proprietary.”

  • NASA + Wikipedia = OpenLuna

    “Space: the final frontier.” The folks at the OpenLuna project take that line to heart. OpenLuna is an open source, wiki-based attempt to design a leaner, meaner, public driven moon mission. As with any open source project, they encourage everyone to participate. When they run into questions, problems and challenges, they pose them to the crowd and invite people from every field to weigh in.

  • What is OpenLuna?
  • credativ Announces OpenLogic Partnership and Broadens Reach for Open Source Support

    credativ, a global open source service and support company, announced today a partnership with OpenLogic, Inc., a provider of enterprise open source software solutions. Together the companies are able to offer credativ’s in-depth third level support to OpenLogic’s customers throughout Europe and North America.

  • Marten Mickos joins Index as European Entrepreneur-in-Residence

    Index Ventures, a leading venture capital firm today announced that Marten Mickos has joined the firm as a European Entrepreneur-in-Residence.

  • CEO Interview: Brian Gentile on How to Build a successful Open Source business

    Olliance will be running a series of CEO Interviews throughout the year. I sat down with Brian Gentile, CEO of Jaspersoft ( www.jaspersoft.com ), to get his thoughts on Open Source software and current market trends. This is the first in a two part series with Brian where he shares his thoughts.

  • E-mail Hardware Appliance Available Ready-to-Run for Small and Medium Size Enterprises

    Open-Xchange will offer its e-mail and groupware in cooperation with hardware manufacturer Pyramid as pre-configured and ready-to-run appliances for up to either 50 users or 300.

  • Open source means freedom from ‘anti-features’

    Proprietary vendors are using “anti-features”, features that no user would ever want, to protect intellectual property, Benjamin “Mako” Hill, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the linux.conf.au open source conference last month.

    But IP protection is only one of several reasons vendors introduce such features into their products.

    An anti-feature serves the interests of the vendor, he says, not the user. A typical example is the set of limitations placed on the Home Basic version of Microsoft’s Vista operating system; these restricted memory and disk-storage support and limited the user to at most three concurrent applications using the graphical user interface, Hill says.


  • Sun/OpenOffice.org

    • IBM releases updated Symphony 3 office suite

      IBM has released Lotus Symphony 3, the latest version of its office productivity suite which is based on new code that supports Microsoft Office applications.

    • IBM Launches Lotus Symphony 3 with More Microsoft Support

      IBM has upgraded its free Lotus Symphony productivity suite, adding several features that make its word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications work with Microsoft documents. Launched in 2007 to chip away at Microsoft Office, Symphony failed to budge Office’s share of 500 million seats. Instead, Symphony has acquired a more potent rival in free, Web-based platforms such as Google Docs. IBM is working to build the Web-based version of Symphony under the Project Concord banner. Concord will initially allow Web-based editing for documents and proceed to Web-based spreadsheets and presentations.

    • Sun-Oracle Merger Looks Bright for OpenOffice, MySQL

      The announcement, which was actually a planned webcast, reassured those worried over the fate of two open-source Sun products for small business: the database software, MySQL and the productivity suite, OpenOffice.org. The acquisition might make MySQL and OpenOffice.org even more competitive against costly Microsoft counterparts (SQL Server and Microsoft Office).

    • Database Thought Leaders Divided on Oracle MySQL

      With all of its newly acquired Sun intellectual property and R&D in hand, Oracle is now moving headlong into the server, storage, processor, networking and, yes, even the switch business. But the most hotly debated factor in the acquisition has been the MySQL database.

    • Oracle loses some MySQL mojo

      On Friday, Jacobs announced his resignation from Oracle to key members of the MySQL team via e-mail. Jacobs, a 28-year Oracle veteran and one of its first 20 hires, has been Oracle’s liaison with the MySQL community for the past several years, ever since Oracle acquired the popular MySQL storage engine, InnoDB.

    • Continuent Finds Success Within SaaS Data Management And MySQL Market
    • [MySQL slide]
    • [Maria-developers] Ideas for improving MariaDB/MySQL replication
    • McNealy’s bittersweet memo bids good-bye to Sun

      The memo, sent Tuesday under the subject line “Thanks for a great 28 years,” has more genuine emotion than you’ll see in a year’s worth of official communications from most corporate leaders. And even as he departs the Sun stage, he couldn’t resist sprinkling in a number of characteristic barbs–even taking his beloved auto industry to task.

    • New beginnings for Sun, MySQL — and me

      The only bet Oracle had to make was that it could run the business profitably. Given Sun’s bloated infrastructure and broad range of unprofitable products, I don’t think it’s that hard a task. Both Oracle and IBM have become adept at running legacy businesses for profit rather than growth.


      Personally, I’ve enjoyed my time with MySQL and Sun. It was a heckuva ride. I’ve never had as much fun as we did growing MySQL from a few million in revenue to more than $100 million, with a community that measures in tens of millions of users around the world. The one side effect of working for a high-growth startup is that it can be quite addictive.

    • Calpont Launches InfiniDB™ Enterprise Analytic Database: First MySQL-Based Engine to Offer Scalable MPP Capabilities for Analytics and Data Warehousing
    • [JBoss:] We’re still the home of open source

      I have to admit that I was one of those people who sat through the entire 5 hours of the Oracle/Sun presentations the other day (it seemed longer!) In a way it’s sad to see Sun finally set over the horizon, but in another way it has been inevitable for a while and the whole process of the acquisition really couldn’t have been drawn out much longer. So there we are: gone is Sun and in its place is Snorcle (or is that Oracun?) But where does this leave the industry as a whole? Well Sun had quite a portfolio of hardware and software, so unlike the BEA or PeopleSoft acquisitions this has potential wider ramifications. But if you listened to the presentations then it’s almost as if Sun hasn’t really gone away but Oracle is just injecting a lot more cash (and people) into the business.

    • [Red Hat:] Oracle’s Java Opportunity

      With the EU’s approval of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun, Oracle is acquiring a major hardware and software player, and perhaps most significantly, they are now taking stewardship of the Java platform. As Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison said shortly after the acquisition announcement in April of last year, Java is “the single most important software asset we have ever acquired.”

    • Oracle: Java Will Be ‘Business as Usual’

      When Oracle lays its cards on the table to present its road map for the combined Oracle and Sun Microsystems organization, one thing developers can expect is consistency as far as Java is concerned, according to an Oracle executive.

    • New virtual world could revolutionize education

      To understand Texas Tech’s bold new classroom, one must first shake away the wholesale confines of reality and its pesky restrictions like space and time.

    • Laid off Wonderland developers to continue project

      Project Wonderland developers say they will continue working on the virtual world platform, despite being laid off after Oracle’s takeover of Sun Microsystems.

    • Oracle shutting off Sun project-hosting site

      In the wake of its merger with Sun Microsystems, Oracle is discontinuing access to Project Kenai, which was developed by Sun as an open source project-hosting site.

  • Databases

  • CMS

  • Funding

  • Business Intelligence (BI)

  • Government

    • Cities Powered by Open Source

      San Francisco recently established a new policy requiring open source software to be considered equally with commercial software within the city’s procurement process.

    • U.S. Prevents Cuba from accessing Open Source projects.

      Cuban Enterprise software DESOFT has reported that the U.S. impeded home users access to Source Forge, the largest repository of open source projects online.

      Sources from the Cuban company that is dedicated to finding solutions within and outside the island, said the U.S. restriction strengthens Washington’s hostility against Havana.

  • Programming

    • Development of Rails 3 on schedule

      The developers of the Ruby on Rails framework have, as promised, made the first beta of Rails 3 available within their scheduled time frame. Rails founder David Heinemeier Hansson announced that more than 250 developers contributed to the release, submitting a total of 4,000 commits since the current 2.3 development line.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Late Last Year, Google Overtook Apple In WebKit Code Commits

      Today, the blog Chromium Notes, which is written by a developer who works on the open source project (that Google Chrome is built on top of), posted a very interesting graph: one that shows the number of code commits to WebKit. Notably, it appears that Google has overtaken Apple as the organization that contributes the most commits to the open source project.


  • This is the title of a typical incendiary blog post

    This sentence contains a provocative statement that attracts the readers’ attention, but really only has very little to do with the topic of the blog post. This sentence claims to follow logically from the first sentence, though the connection is actually rather tenuous. This sentence claims that very few people are willing to admit the obvious inference of the last two sentences, with an implication that the reader is not one of those very few people. This sentence expresses the unwillingness of the writer to be silenced despite going against the popular wisdom. This sentence is a sort of drum roll, preparing the reader for the shocking truth to be contained in the next sentence.

    This sentence contains the thesis of the blog post, a trite and obvious statement cast as a dazzling and controversial insight.

  • Google to Push Google Voice, Google Wave to Businesses

    Google Enterprise President Dave Girouard said search engine will release a version of Google Voice for businesses, roll out Google Wave to all users who want it, and may deliver as much as 200 new features to Google Apps this year. Google Voice offered as part of Google Apps could be a powerful combination for businesses in the market for a UCC (unified communications and collaboration) suite, particularly at a time when companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for UCC from Microsoft or IBM. Google will also release Google Wave, the company’s real-time collaboration platform, for all consumers and businesses in 2010.

  • Google Updates Apps for Smartphone Use
  • Apple and Oracle on way to do what IBM and Microsoft could not: Dominate entire markets

    I was a bit distracted from the Apple iPad news due to the marathon Oracle conference Wednesday on its shiny new Sun Microsystems acquisition.

    But the more I thought about it, the more these two companies are extremely well positioned to actually fulfill what other powerful companies tried to do and failed. Apple and Oracle may be unstoppable in their burgeoning power to dominate the collection of profits across vast and essential markets for decades.

  • Technology, Leadership and Innovation in the Service Economy

    Service or organizational systems are quite different. While they also include extensive infrastructures and lots of technologies, people constitute the major part of their components, if not the most distinctive.

  • Science

  • Security

    • BAE admits guilt over corrupt arms deals

      The Serious Fraud Office said in its announcement yesterday that some of the £30m penalty BAE was to hand over in the UK would be “an ex gratia payment for the benefit of the people of Tanzania”.

    • “Use of mercenaries masks scope of US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq”

      There has been a massive increase in the funding of US war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and private military contractors are flourishing in its wake, even though their reputations are at an all-time low.

    • Woman Found Guilty of Stalking Judge

      Jurors found Nuevelle guilty of unlawful entry, stalking and second degree burglary. Prosecutors alleged that Nuevelle broke into the home of her former girlfriend, Magistrate Judge Janet Albert of the D.C. Superior Court, in an attempt to harass her after their breakup, and inundated her with e-mails, text messages and phone calls. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said Nuevelle could face a maximum of 16 years in prison.

    • Cisco backdoor still open

      The “backdoors” that Cisco and other networking companies implement in their routers and switches for lawful intercept are front and center again at this week’s Black Hat security conference. A few years ago, they were cause celebre in some VoIP wiretapping arguments and court rulings.

    • Cisco’s Backdoor For Hackers

      Cross revealed a collection of security weaknesses in Cisco’s architecture that he says add up to a lawful intercept system that could be easily hijacked by a skilled cybercriminal. When hackers try to gain access to a Cisco router, the system doesn’t block them after failed password-guessing attempts and it doesn’t alert an administrator. Many Cisco routers are still vulnerable, he said, to a bug that was publicized in June 2008, since some administrators haven’t implemented the patch that Cisco later released. And once data has been collected using the lawful intercept, it can be sent to any destination, not merely to an authorized user.

    • Spying on Americans: A Multibillion Bonanza for the Telecoms

      In late January, the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General released a report that provided startling new details on illegal operations by the FBI’s Communications Analysis Unit (CAU) and America’s grifting telecoms.

      For years, AT&T, Verizon, MCI and others fed the Bureau phone records of journalists and citizens under the guise of America’s endless, and highly profitable, “War on Terror.”

    • Matt on travel: airport security
    • World’s Largest Data Collector Teams Up With Word’s Largest Data Collector

      EPIC has filed a Freedom of Information Act Request, asking for records pertaining to the partnership. That would certainly help, because otherwise we have no idea what’s actually going on.

      Under an agreement that is still being finalized, the National Security Agency would help Google analyze a major corporate espionage attack that the firm said originated in China and targeted its computer networks, according to cybersecurity experts familiar with the matter. The objective is to better defend Google — and its users — from future attack.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • The Corporate Takeover of U.S. Democracy

      Jan. 21, 2010, will go down as a dark day in the history of U.S. democracy, and its decline.

      On that day the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the government may not ban corporations from political spending on elections—a decision that profoundly affects government policy, both domestic and international.

      The decision heralds even further corporate takeover of the U.S. political system.

    • Supreme Court Ruling Spurs Corporation Run for Congress – First Test of “Corporate Personhood” In Politics
    • Lessig: Congress is broken and Obama has failed

      The most complete and eloquent account of Lessig’s views is The Nation piece. Here he picks up on the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which would make any limit on campaign contributions unconstitutional. “… the clear signal of the Roberts Court is that any reform designed to muck about with whatever wealth wants is constitutionally suspect.” He despairs of getting the Congress, (that he calls the Fundraising Congress) to do anything. He proposes instead a Convention to amend the Constitution as the only possible avenue.

    • AP: Obama admits health care bill may die

      After insisting for a year that failure was not an option, President Barack Obama is now acknowledging his health care overhaul may die in Congress.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Computer security: fraud fears as scientists crack ‘anonymous’ datasets

      Computer scientists in the US have discovered ways to “re-identify” the names of people included in supposedly anonymous datasets.

      In one example, a movie rental company released an anonymous list of film-ratings taken from its 500,000 subscribers. Using a statistical “de-anonymisation” technique, the academics were able to identify individuals and their film preferences.

    • Free at last
    • Appeals court: MySpace parody is protected speech

      A federal appeals court today agreed that a high school student’s parody profile of his principal was protected free speech.

      Justin Layshock, who in December 2005 created a MySpace profile of then Hickory High School principal Eric Trosch, filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the school district, claiming the administration had no say over the online parody.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • Internet companies voice alarm over Italian law

      Internet companies and civil liberty groups have voiced alarm over a proposed Italian law which would make online service providers responsible for their audiovisual content and copyright infringements by users.

    • Amazon Removes Macmillan Books

      Amazon.com has pulled books from Macmillan, one of the largest publishers in the United States, in a dispute over the pricing on e-books on the site.

    • Court Finds Constitutional Significance in Defendant’s Failure to Password-Protect Home Wireless Network

      Taking a few moments to secure a residential wireless network with a password is a good idea, a fact recently noted by the Federal Trade Commission. An open network is an invitation for piggy-backers and data thieves.

      Who knew that password-protecting a wireless router also had constitutional significance? According to a recent court decision from Oregon, the failure to password-protect a wireless network can diminish the extent to which the Fourth Amendment protects computers and information on that network from government searches.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Studios crushed: ISP can’t be forced to play copyright cop

      In a definitive defeat for film studios—and in a first case of its kind worldwide—Australia’s Federal Court has ruled that ISPs have no obligation to act on copyright infringement notices or to disconnect subscribers after receiving multiple letters. If copyright holders want justice for illegal file-sharing, they need to start by targeting the right people: those who committed the infringement.

      The ruling handed down today by Judge J. Cowdroy aims to be nothing less than magisterial: in 200 pages, it examines the issue from every possible angle because of the “obvious importance of these proceedings to the law of copyright both in this country and possibly overseas.”

    • Men At Work’s Colin Hay hits out over plagiarism ruling

      Men at Work’s Colin Hay has issued an angry statement calling the Down Under plagiarism case “opportunistic greed”.

      Earlier this week, a federal court in Sydney ruled that Men at Work had plagiarised Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree in its 1983 hit, Down Under.

    • The ACTA Guide, Part One: The Talks To-Date

      The 7th round of Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations begins tomorrow in Guadalajara, Mexico. The negotiation round will be the longest to-date, with three and a half days planned to address civil enforcement, border measures, the Internet provisions, and (one hour for) transparency. Over the next five days, I plan to post a five-part ACTA Guide that will include sourcing for much of the discussion on ACTA, links to all the leaked documents, information on the transparency issue, and a look at who has been speaking out.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

William Fischer, Harvard law professor and Free Culture Business Theorist 02 (2004)

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

Patents Roundup: Extortion, Protection Rackets, Patent Trolling, and Small Victory for Mozilla

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Construction plan

Summary: Johnson and Johnson’s multi-billion-dollar patent fine, patents’ harms to real science and life, patent trolls thrive, and Mozilla’s opposition to patent-encumbered codecs gradually pays off

THIS roundup comprises mostly snippets, due to time constraints.

Boston Scientific to Pay J&J $1.73B to Settle Stent Patent Disputes

Boston Scientific Corp. said Monday it would pay Johnson & Johnson a hefty $1.73 billion to end more disputes in long-running legal battles over patents for heart stents.

How Patents Harm Biotech Innovation

Patent defenders often claim that patents are necessary because top venture capitalists would never invest without patents. And yet, we keep pointing to examples of some of the best venture capitalists in the business who are quite skeptical of patents.

It is worth remembering that the Gates Foundation invests in the patents of these companies, apparently for big money like $1,730,000,000 to be won.

Do Patents Slow Down Innovation?

I’m still obsessed with my mission to “abolish software patents” especially after receiving yet another email from a new startup that claims to be a “Patent Insurance Company.” A number of these have popped up recently in the past few years, including several that are funded by VCs. Their pitch is that you pay them an annual fee, license any patents you have to them, and they will “protect you” against any patent litigation. Whenever I hear this pitch, all I can think about is Al Capone walking the streets of Chicago going door to door offering “protection” to all of the local businessmen if they will pay his vig every week.

See what we wrote about RPX [1, 2, 3] and Intellectual Ventures. They are two rackets of this kind.

Non-Practicing Patent Holders Winning Bigger And Bigger Awards — And Why They Like East Texas

It’s no secret that many non-practicing entities (i.e., patent holders who do not actually build anything, but just try to license their patent or sue others for infringement) tend to prefer jury trials. It’s well-known that juries, who have been fed years of misleading (and sometimes blatantly false) stories of the mythic “sole inventor,” are extremely sympathetic to stories of big bad companies “stealing” ideas from lone inventors.

China (Hearts) Royalty-Free Standards?

The royalty-free option is exactly what free software needs, and what patent holders have been fighting against so hard in the West (nominal fee is still problematic, though).

Oh, What a Lovely Standards War

You know something big must be afoot when people start to get worked up over video compression standards. Basically, the issue is whether the current de facto standard, H.264, will continue to dominate this field, and if not, what might take over.


The key point here is that Mozilla’s stubbornness on this issue has *already* made a difference – a financial difference in this case. It demonstrates that Mozilla was right to be stubborn, and shows why it is right to stand up for the Open Web wherever it may be threatened. Moreover, this provides yet another demonstration of the fact that you don’t have to believe in free software’s principles to benefit from its victories: you get them to share in them anyway.

Other stories about this are/were mostly included in the daily links at Boycott Novell

The Microsoft Apologists and Boosters Really, Really Like Novell!

Posted in Africa, Apple, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 7:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Movell and Nicrosoft

Summary: A complete list of news articles about Moonlight 3.0 preview shows that its biggest fans are Microsoft fans

WE ARE never surprised to rediscover that those who defend a multiple offender and law-breaking beast are also promoting Microsoft Trojans like Mono and Moonlight. They offer wooden horses as gifts.

Today we look at Moonlight 3.0 preview. We have taken stock of anyone who covered it, based on Google News. All that we found was coverage from Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke, his colleague Mary Jo Foley (“Look! I’m writing about Linux too… [but only when it's good for Microsoft]“), and longtime Microsoft booster Marius Oiaga. They are continuing a trend we that noted and highlighted many times before, namely that Moonlight is being promoted heavily by fans and defenders of Microsoft’s illegal monopoly. Joining those 3 we have part-time Microsoft booster Darryl Taft. The only exception we could find came from The Inquirer, but that writer too had come from IDG, which has a financial relationship with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and covered this Moonlight 3.0 preview as well. It’s hardly even news, which is why GNU/Linux sites hardly mentioned it at all.

We are quite concerned about Ubuntu's attitude towards Mono. Yesterday we learned about a fascinating rumour that Mark Shuttleworth resigned from Canonical’s top spot so that Google can take over Canonical. The rumour comes from Africa.

“Yesterday we learned about a fascinating rumour that Mark Shuttleworth resigned from Canonical’s top spot so that Google can take over Canonical.”One reader urged us to comment about Canonical’s addition of an Apple enthusiast to its staff (he is also a former Novell employee). We wrote about it yesterday while still trying to figure out whether it’s an identity crisis for Canonical. There is a lot of discussion about this in our IRC channel.

Pamela Jones from Groklaw wrote: “On a personal note, while I like Matt personally, he wrote to me not long ago that he couldn’t see why people were so negative about Microsoft, so this is the end for Ubuntu being truly FOSS, as far as I’m concerned, and the beginning of it becoming fused mystery meat, if I may put it that way. They can be whatever they want, of course, but I think it would be foolish to expect anything now but a loss of the F in FOSS at Canonical now.”

Canonical has already hired a man from Microsoft to lead its desktop efforts and a couple of weeks ago he announced Canonical’s decision [1, 2] to send search requests to Microsoft’s Bong [sic] (Canonical left users out of this decision). Then there’s the issue of Mono, which is interesting because the same guy from Microsoft suggested removing the GIMP (a decision that most users oppose, based on a poll, so the will of the majority was eventually ignored).

GNOME Journal is promoting a Novell-sponsored and Novell-run project that uses Mono and only Novell customers can use. GNOME has a conflict of interests because it is headed by a Novell employee.

Novell is still busy selling “protection coupons” against Microsoft’s software patents, but Novell is not doing as well as it claims.

The SD Times reports that Microsoft has sold nearly all of its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) support coupons. Microsoft purchased the $240 million worth of coupons from Novell as part of patent indemnification deal. According to Microsoft, a total of 475 customers have used an undisclosed number of the coupons. Based on those figures, each of these customers has bought, on average, just over half a million dollars worth of coupons.

We wrote about this before.

“I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments”…”

Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008

iPad is Like Zune

Posted in Apple, Europe, Microsoft at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amnesty bin
From fimoculous

Summary: iPad — like Zune — might not reach the European Union (EU), possibly due to lukewarm reception and lack of appeal, not trademarks

MICROSOFT’S Zune was such a massive failure that it never made it into most European nations (almost none). Microsoft tries to “contain” the losses and keep the experiments running in just a few countries. Well, after the disappointing launch of the Apple iPad [1, 2, 3, 4] is turns out that Apple too may be getting cold feet and might not be release the iPad in the EU. They blame trademarks.

EXPENSIVE GADGET MAKER Apple is probably already regretting its daft name for its giant Ipod Touch, but it is looking like it will have a devil of a time using the Ipad name in the EU.

Let’s remember that Apple is a company that relies on a niche. Apple only sells products in few countries that are wealthy, but in the majority of the world, Apple is not even an option which is why GNU/Linux market share is higher overall. Here is Ballmer’s slide from last year:

Ballmer's slide on Macs and GNU/Linux
Steve Ballmer’s presentation slide
from 2009 shows GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple on the desktop

In addition to the above news, the FSF has just announced that over 5,000 people signed the “Defective by Design” iPad petition.

The first 5,000 names have been printed on a four-foot tall “tablet” and shipped to Cupertino. Defective by Design will send a new tablet for every 5,000 signatures.

The full press release is reproduced below.

Defective by Design delivers iPad anti-DRM petition with 5,000 signatures to Jobs — more coming

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA — Thursday, February 4, 2010 — The Free
Software Foundation’s (FSF) Defective by Design campaign against
Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) delivered its “iPad is iBad for
Freedom” petition to Apple CEO Steve Jobs today, demanding that he
drop DRM on all Apple devices.

The petition was launched at http://defectivebydesign.org/ipad to coincide with the iPad debut event in San Francisco.
Within 24 hours, over 5,000 people had signed the petition.

The petition is still accepting signatures, but the first 5,000 names
have been printed on a four-foot tall “tablet” and shipped to
Cupertino. Defective by Design will send a new tablet for every 5,000
signatures, so supporters can still add their voices at

Photos of the tablet being delivered are at http://www.defectivebydesign.org/apple-ipad-drm-petition-mailed.

In a cover letter to Jobs, Defective by Design said, “5,000 people in
24 hours took time out of their day to call you out on this, and
demand change. There is still time for you to do the right thing in
the next 60 days, before the iPad actually goes on sale. You can drop
the DRM from the device and the App Store, and actually embrace the
ideals you claim to stand for — creativity, freedom, and
individuality.” The full text of the letter is online at

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting
computer users’ right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer
programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom)
software — particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants –
and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread
awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of
software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important
source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF’s work can
be made at http://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

Media Contacts

John Sullivan
Operations Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942

Holmes Wilson
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942

Microsoft Shows Yet Again That It is Allergic to GNU/Linux

Posted in Antitrust, Dell, Fraud, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Search, Servers at 6:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Summary: Microsoft’s hatred of GNU/Linux, as demonstrated in this weekend’s news

LAST YEAR we presented a Comes vs Microsoft exhibit that shows Microsoft scheming to derail Dell's option of GNU/Linux. This is not just a theory, it a proven fact that Microsoft is trying to remove GNU/Linux choice from the market. Now we are finding this news report from New Zealand — a report which says that Microsoft has something to do with lack of GNU/Linux options in Dell New Zealand:

Christie drew attention to the issue in a session on “Changing the NZ Desktop Stack to FLOSS [Free Linux Open Source Software]” at the linux.conf.au open source conference in Wellington last month.

The NZOSS launched a project last year known as Remix, to encourage migration from Windows to Linux on government desktops. Part of the challenge in dislodging Microsoft from its dominance on government agency desktops is simple aversion to change and the power and familiarity of Microsoft. But the effort to encourage open source is not helped by the lack of a support resource for agencies, Christie says.


As an example of Microsoft’s unique influence with PC makers here, you still cannot buy a Dell PC with Linux installed in New Zealand, Christie says. You can in almost every other country where Dell operates. There are arrangements for Microsoft to assist the hardware makers with marketing and these create a tight bond between them, Christie says.

Dell did not immediately reply to a call seeking confirmation that it still does not provide Linux systems here.

Suffice to say, GNU/Linux still accommodates subcultures like Mono (headed by Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza) which are refusing to acknowledge that Microsoft is doing something wrong. Nothing that they are shown ever changes their mind, not even the TomTom lawsuit.

Well, how about this from yesterday’s news?

Microsoft to Drop Linux, Unix Versions of Enterprise Search

Microsoft will no longer offer Linux or Unix versions of its enterprise search products after a wave of releases set to ship in the first half of this year, the company announced in an official blog post Thursday.

After Microsoft bought Fast Search & Transfer in 2008, it said it would continue offering and updating standalone versions of the company’s ESP platform for Linux and Unix, wrote Bjorn Olstad, CTO for Fast and a Microsoft distinguished engineer. “Over the last two years, we’ve done just that.”

Microsoft used to brag about GNU/Linux tolerance at FAST, but the pretense period is over. FAST was also involved in a major fraud scandal, which basically puts Microsoft under fraud allegations (yes, again [1, 2]).

Here is a comment on the article above, which says: “For someone else, perhaps a free software/open source project to take these customers away from Microsoft. Lets hope that someone steps up and Microsoft just loses out by ignoring the fastest growing server platform in the market.”

“Forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”

Steve Ballmer (September 2008)

Dave Rosenberg writes:

While it makes sense, from a development perspective, for Microsoft to drop Linux and Unix support for FAST, it doesn’t make much sense from a market perspective. Offering FAST only on Windows means that businesses that want to use it will potentially incur costs for Windows licenses, system administration, and systems redesign.

Linux servers, especially for file systems and non-Exchange e-mail, continue to grow. Throw in the notion of cloudlike systems that are effectively operating system-agnostic, and this move seems even less logical.

It’s just like with PhotoSynth. Microsoft buys something that runs on GNU/Linux and makes it a Windows-only product.

Here is what Microsoft’s de facto press people have to say [1, 2]. They don’t see anything wrong with this picture. It’s as though it’s some kind of a Windows religion.

“Microsoft allowed us to [remove Internet Explorer from Windows] but we don’t think we should have to ask permission every time we want to make some minor software modification. Windows is an operating system, not a religion.”

Gateway Computer Chairman Ted Waitt

Michael Arrington a Hypocrite: Bribed by Microsoft Yet Fires Bribed Bloggers

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael Arrington
Photo by Joi

“Ask the partner to give you heads up on customer situations – bribe them!”

Steve Winfield, Microsoft

Summary: Another fine example of an influential blogger who sells out to Microsoft yet does not apply to himself the same standards that he applies to colleagues

SOME TIME ago we wrote about how Apple had arguably bribed influential people. We provided more than a single example but what makes it “arguable” is that iPad is a hardware product; In order for hardware to be evaluated, sending hardware might be required. Microsoft bribes differently though. In order to persuade influential people to write positive reviews, Microsoft sends them expensive gifts that have nothing to do with Microsoft’s products.

TechCrunch’s founder, Michael Arrington, was bribed by Microsoft for secret advertising disguised in posts (before he was ousted and his little deal with Microsoft exposed). We are not going to repeat stories that we have already covered (over 2 years ago), but Arrington also spoke to Ballmer 4 months ago and his site's hypocrisy when it comes to Microsoft bribes was mentioned here a couple of months ago.

Sadly, too many people forgot what happened and now that TechCrunch sacks an intern over a bribe, there is nothing to be said about the hypocrisy of Arrington, who should probably also sack himself (or resign).

There are many links about this incident right here:

I first found out about the blowup at TechCrunch this morning when I read our own Kim LaCapria’s post about Michael Arrington sacking young Daniel Brusilovsky because of accusations of accepting tech toys in exchange for favorable posts. I have followed that up with reading every post on the matter that came through my feed reader. Just for the record they are:

An Apology To Our Readers
Techcrunch Accepts Money for Posts – Fires Under Age Blogger Daniel Brusilovsky
Rule #1: be honest
The Line Was Crossed
Was Deleting All Daniel Brusilovsky’s Posts an FTC Blogger Guideline Violation? [#bruhaha]
Tech Journalism Wunderkind in Bribery Scandal
Payola allegations prompt TechCrunch to fire teen intern
Unpaid Techcrunch Reporter Sacked For Bribe Attempt

So I would say I have a really good grounding on all the angst and finger-pointing that is going on around what Daniel is suppose to have done.

This subject is also being covered by JupiterMedia, for whom I used to write. Carla from JupiterMedia writes about “Vendor-Paid Product Reviews and Journalists vs. Bloggers”

Ever since the US economy turned sour, hordes of people have flocked to blogging as their path to riches. Because there is nothing so fine and empowering, including the Internet, that it cannot be subverted for crass commercial exploitation. And thus we have a growing phenomenon of vendors paying bloggers to review their products.

My first reaction is to recoil in horror. How is that not the most blatant shilling? Why would anyone want to trust such a “review”? But on the other hand, the news and publishing industries have been taking terrific beatings, so more power to anyone who can get paid to write product reviews. But on yet another hand, it seems an obvious conflict of interest. But on still another hand, it’s OK if the blogger discloses it, right?

And then what is the difference between a blogger getting paid by the vendor to write a review, and a journalist accepting review units? The usual practice is to receive hardware on loan for review, and to return it after 30 or 60 days. Most vendors don’t want to hassle with software returns since those are just boxes of CDs. Most reviewers give away product that vendors don’t want back. But there are reporters who are notorious swag hounds, and who exploit vendor relationships for all they can get.


In the end it seems that what matters the most are a journalist’s or blogger’s reputation, ability, and quality of work. Doesn’t it seem that even in this high-tech era everything comes down to knowing who you can trust?

Boycott Novell was never pressured to say anything positive, even when companies that are regularly criticised here mailed us with the intention of changing the tune (including mail from Novell).

Boycott Novell was never pressured to say anything negative, either. Merciless analysis is a path to truth. Boycott Novell never accepted gifts of any type.

“I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, and the only conclusion I can come to is that this is ethically indistinguishable from bribery. Even if no quid-pro-quo is formally required, the gift creates a social obligation of reciprocity. This is best explained in Cialdini’s book Influence (a summary is here). The blogger will feel some obligation to return the favor to Microsoft.”

Former Microsoft manager

It is worth mentioning that there are Linux hardware sites (we prefer not to mention names) whose reviews are mostly of products that they receive as gifts. It could be argued that a hardware company is ethically allowed to ship hardware for reviews. Where hardware and software are mixed (phones for example), it’s a tricky and thus borderline case. Microsoft need never send more than just software, but it gives out free vacations and $2,000 laptops which it does not actually manufacture (Microsoft also gives these to AstroTurfers). That’s what makes Microsoft one of the worst among the bunch, with PR agencies that bribe bloggers, notably Edelman and Waggener Edstrom. We have reported these agencies to the FTC.

“Government attorneys accuse Microsoft of using its monopoly position to bully, bribe and attempt to collude with others in the industry, while illegally expanding and protecting its Windows franchise.”

The antitrust case: a timeline

Microsoft Refuses to Comment About (Deny) the Sex Parties, Drug Use

Posted in Courtroom, Microsoft at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Long hair

Summary: No denial from Microsoft in the face of very strong allegations

THE orgies scandal Microsoft was accused of being involved in is still being discussed. The question is not whether or not it had something to do with Microsoft’s decision to let EIM go; the question is, does Microsoft engage in such activities, which would concur with some controversial remarks from the company, which compared business partners to “one-night stands”?

Here is more information which says that Microsoft does not deny EIM’s allegations.

EIM, an Israeli software distributor is suing Microsoft for terminating their partnership after they refused to participate in a drug and sex party.

Had the allegations been false, Microsoft would probably set the record straight. Instead, Microsoft refuses to comment.

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