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02.17.10

Yes, Windows Causes Deaths Sometimes

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 11:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Say your prayers

Summary: More evidence and new stories told about how Microsoft Windows deficiencies lead to loss of life

LAST year we gave an example or two of cases where Windows means death, even literally. Our society depends heavily on technology, so defective technology can make a defective society and dysfunctional healthcare system.

Last week we wrote about a British hospital getting infected for using Windows and it was only one hospital among many whose operations got suspended due to Windows security problems. Examples include:

A new article from the Bangkok Post tells it like it is under the headline “When Windows can mean life or death”

In this case a doctor was using his home PC to remote-connect to his clinic at 4:15am to discuss a roadside accident scan with a surgeon. He selected “no” to the reboot message that popped up and Win 7 promptly rebooted, corrupting his medical software, and causing him to lose 15 critical minutes. The doctor now wants a non-Windows box to conduct future critical business.

This is, of course, a single example, but typically where there is one, there are many, and in this case the OS pretends to know more than the user and took control of the reboot even when told not to.

According to today’s reports about Windows Live, prolonged downtime may be related to a catastrophe, which is data being compromised on Microsoft’s own servers.

Microsoft’s online Windows Live estate was hit by a major server shutdown for about an hour yesterday, after some users of the service complained that they could see other people’s accounts.

This is also covered in:

Some recent Microsoft downtimes lasted for over month and this is part of a troubling pattern. To make matters ever more scary, Microsoft strives to control health records right now. How many people must needlessly die before informed experts forcibly put an end to Microsoft’s exercise of bribery against the healthcare community [1, 2]?

Microsoft is Still Attacking Free/Open Source Software With Security FUD

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Security, Ubuntu at 10:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nana the cat

Summary: Free software’s “many eyeballs” defence is being slammed by Microsoft employees who cite their own reports and continue to show incompetence and extreme negligence when it comes to security

IS MICROSOFT really changing? Is Microsoft finally accepting that “open source” (as it insists on calling it) is acceptable? Hell no.

Back in December we showed that Microsoft was smearing Free software even though it can run on Windows and now we find the monopolist using its own lies that its arrogant employees have manufactured in order to fuel this latest security spin and lies about Free software’s security. Microsoft titled this FUD “Microsoft’s Many Eyeballs and the Security Development Lifecycle”. Blankenhorn states in his response that “Closed source still state religion at Microsoft”

But closed source remains a sort of state religion at Microsoft, as I learned this week from Fred Trotter, an expert in open source medical software.

Fred wrote this week about some FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) Shawn Hernan of Microsoft is spreading within the security community — that open source is less secure despite its being visible.

Yes, that would be Microsoft, which is still doing extra PR work to pretend that it has an “open source” side and that CodePlex is not just a shell/front for Microsoft. To advertise the CodePlex Foundation as not tied to Microsoft, these liars previously recruited Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza (before he was officially their MVP). They also exploit their long-standing friendships with British Library staff in order to achieve this. The true intentions are so obvious to see that it takes gullible or misinformed individuals to fall for it.

Regarding those Microsoft claims of “better” security in proprietary software, here is a new article which attributes the rise in E-mail malware to Microsoft Windows botnets (zombie PCs). The article says: “Malicious spam volumes increased dramatically in the back half of 2009, reaching three billion messages per day, compared to 600 million messages per day in the first half of 2009. But this is still a tiny fraction of the estimated global spam volume, thought to be about 200 billion messages per day.

“A new report by net security firm M86 Security points the finger of blame for the torrent of malware, phishing and other scams (collectively defined as malicious spam) and junk mail more generally towards botnet networks of compromised machines. It reckons five botnets were responsible for 78 per cent of the malicious spam it fought in the second half of 2009.

“M86 reports that the major spam botnets such as Rustock, Pushdo (or Cutwail) and Mega-D continue to dominate spam output, supported by second-tier botnets such as Grum, and Lethic. Rustock alone pushed out 34 per cent of spam in 2H09. Pushdo zombie drones puked out one in five spam messages (20 per cent), with Mega-D zombies account for 9 per cent of the global junk mail nuisance.”

“[S]ince 2007, 5 major maintainers on Ubuntu are linked to Novell [...] Mostly the one maintaining .NET packages.”
      –Oiaohm
Needless to say, this is only affecting Windows and Microsoft’s utter negligence [1, 2, 3] contributes to it. The last thing we need is for GNU/Linux to inherit the same security problems through Mono and Moonlight. In today’s IRC conversations (the relevant part starts here), it came up that “since 2007, 5 major maintainers on Ubuntu are linked to Novell [...] Mostly the one maintaining .NET packages.” That’s a claim from Oiaohm, who added: “Matt Asay will allow .NET to infect more. Then end of next year MS can drop the patent wall on them.” Maybe this is a good opportunity to ask Asay some questions in Slashdot. Well, Slashdot treats him like a celebrity and some months ago he was mentioned in their front page because former Microsoft employees voted him one of the “most influential in FOSS” (no coders at all were seen as worthy for this list, not even Richard Stallman). But then again, as the new call for questions states, “Matt [Asay] is on the board of advisors for Slashdot’s parent company, Geeknet.” We previously complained about Slashdot’s new Microsoft slant [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], not to mention the hiring of former Microsoft employees who can change the agenda and groom particular people who are helpful to them (Matt Asay is the one who brought Microsoft to OSBC [1, 2, 3]). MinceR says that “Geeknet is completely corrupted”. Why is it that Slashdot picks questions for Jim Zemlin, for example (he is a marketing person from the Linux Foundation), whereas technical people from the heavily-disrespected GNU receive no opportunity to offer their side of the story? Slashdot reached out in the same way to some Microsoft employees.

DaemonFC, a former Microsoft MVP, says: “I still don’t get why many large companies with lots of lawyers don’t flinch at shipping Mono if it really is so bad… you’d think they’d clear something like that with their legal dept first…”

MinceR says that Microsoft “does everything they can to make the legal situation about mono-related patents as unclear as possible” and Oiaohm tells DaemonFC that Intel and other companies do know about the problem, which is why they stay out of Moonlight, for example [1, 2]. “Intel will not touch it,” Oiaohm insists, “due to legal issues.”

MinceR adds: “we see canonical pushing mono… if their legal department didn’t warn them about this, when exactly will they do so?”

At a later stage in the day, Oiaohm dropped this interesting new link (“2010 CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors”). “Good read for those who think languages like .net are majorally more secure,” he said. “That is the new list for bugs that common breached systems last year. Lot of them don’t link to what .net and java languages protect against. To be correct php and other equal languages have been breached.”

“The continuous and broad peer-review enabled by publicly available source code supports software reliability and security efforts through the identification and elimination of defects that might otherwise go unrecognized by a more limited core development team.”

CIO David Wennergren, Department of Defense (October 2009)

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 17th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

New Examples of Microsoft Bias at The Register

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 9:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Register - Gavin

Summary: Latest “anti-Google” from The Register; New survey indicates that 38.5% of PHP developers use desktop GNU/Linux and The Register finds a way to spin it in Microsoft’s favour

A COUPLE of days ago we argued and showed that The Register had been poisoned by staff that’s friendly towards the company that retards IT by breaking the law many times (Microsoft is paying The Register). We also argued that The Register was publishing a lot of Google-hostile articles. So yesterday we tracked the site’s headlines for just 24 hours and unsurprisingly, as usual, we found just anti-Google articles and none that are flattering. From just one day we gathered:

  1. “Schmidt denies Google wants ‘dumb pipe’ carriers”
  2. “Vodafone chief gripes at Google dominance in online ad market”
  3. “Google Buzz bug exposes user geo location”

The fourth article is not as negative, but it is still belittling Google. The headline is “Yahoo! looks beyond Google’s data cruncher”. That’s all that we found on this one day (24-hour span), which is pretty much representative of the norm.

“We picked just one day arbitrarily in order to show what had become a clear trend, but we have an even better new example of bias at The Register.”Now, to be fair, there is one issue where Google clearly deserves some shaming. It’s the Buzz incident, which was covered by CNET, the Microsoft sympathiser Maggie Shiels at The BBC, The Guardian of course (they are also Google hostile), Ars Technica, and Microsoft’s friends at IDG, who also published “Why Google Has Become Microsoft’s Evil Twin”. There are probably more articles about the Buzz incident, but The Register just seems one sided all in all. We picked just one day arbitrarily in order to show what had become a clear trend, but we have an even better new example of bias at The Register. It involves an old friend of Microsoft.

The great news that 38.5% of PHP developers prefer GNU/Linux on their desktop is being concealed in a way by Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke, who came up with the headline “PHPers prefer Windows desktop to Linux”. What utter foolishness. That’s not the story. It’s just Microsoft promotion, which is produced out of a total disaster for Microsoft.

The truth goes as follows (from the press release):

In terms of a production environment, 85% of PHP developers surveyed named Linux as their primary operating system while 11% named Windows and 2% named Mac OS X. When asked to name their primary operating system for development, 42% named Windows versus 38.5% who chose Linux and 19.1% who chose Mac OS X. For these same development environments, approximately 27% of respondents said they now use Zend Server and Zend Server Community Edition.

The real news is that the market share of GNU/Linux by far outpaced that which is typically being reported. The Microsoft booster has attempted to spin that and it looks bad for The Register as a whole. This is typical for Gavin Clarke, based on years of his bias.

The full press release is below (for readers’ convenience).


Zend Technologies Polls Fast-Growing Zend Framework PHP Developer Community

Zend Survey Reveals Major Focus on Developing Business-Critical Web Applications Using Zend Framework, Growing Use of Mac OS X for Development, and Increased Demand for Training and Certification.

CUPERTINO, CA (PRWEB) February 16, 2010 — Zend Technologies, Inc., today announced results from ‘State of PHP and Zend Framework Development’, a global online survey of the Zend Framework PHP developer community conducted in December 2009. Survey responses reflected a high level of satisfaction with Zend Framework across a diverse group ranging from independent consultants to organizations with 5,000+ employees.

“The Zend Framework Open-Source Project debuted only four years ago and already more than 70% of the developers are using it for business-critical applications,” said Zeev Suraski, Chief Technology Officer at Zend Technologies. Survey results showed that Zend Framework is used by 58% of respondents for enterprise-level business critical-applications, and by 16% for department-level business-critical applications.

In terms of a production environment, 85% of PHP developers surveyed named Linux as their primary operating system while 11% named Windows and 2% named Mac OS X. When asked to name their primary operating system for development, 42% named Windows versus 38.5% who chose Linux and 19.1% who chose Mac OS X. For these same development environments, approximately 27% of respondents said they now use Zend Server and Zend Server Community Edition.

“We are seeing rapid and broad-based adoption of the Zend Server technologies that we released last year,” said Suraski. “At the same time, we are focused on integration of the framework, development tools and run-time environment to provide the developer community with an end-to-end solution. We believe this will take the already highly productive nature of PHP to the next level.”

In other survey results, close to 70% of respondents said they use Zend Studio or Eclipse PHP Development Tools (PDT) for development, and 18% use Vim. Close to 50% of respondents reported using PHPUnit to perform unit testing.

Zend noted that 46% of respondents said they plan to obtain Zend Framework Certification, joining close to 5% who are already certified. Developer Certification is increasingly viewed as a job market advantage, a view that is reflected in growing demand for Zend training materials including webinars and online training. Zend has responded with a new Zend Framework training and certification bundle that enables novice and advanced PHP developers to become proficient in Zend Framework and achieve certification.

About Zend Technologies
Zend Technologies, Inc., the PHP Company, is the leading provider of products and services for developing, deploying, and managing business-critical PHP applications. PHP runs 35 percent of the world’s Web sites and has quickly become the most popular language for building dynamic Web applications. Deployed at more than 30,000 companies worldwide, the Zend family of products is a comprehensive platform for supporting the entire lifecycle of PHP applications. Zend is headquartered in Cupertino, California.

For more information, visit http://www.zend.com or call +1 408-253-8800.

Zend, Zend Technologies, Zend Framework, Zend.com, Zend Server, and Zend Studio, and associated logos and icons, are trademarks of Zend Technologies, Inc. and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Links 17/2/2010: Calculate Linux 10.2 Released, SimplyMEPIS 8.5 @ Beta 5

Posted in News Roundup at 5:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Linux Box to Market Ubuntu to U.S. Enterprise Users

    Launched in October 2004, Ubuntu is one of the most highly regarded Linux distributions in the world with more than 10 million users. With users in homes, schools, businesses and governments around the world, Ubuntu is a powerful and secure open source operating system for desktops, laptops, netbooks and servers. Ubuntu contains all the applications you need and will always be free of charge. With the values of open source software at its core, Ubuntu costs nothing to download or update.

  • The Linux Box to Market Ubuntu OS in the U.S.

    The Linux Box announces a partnership with Canonical whereby it will market the Ubuntu Linux operating system in the U.S.

    The Linux Box has announced a partnership with Canonical whereby it will market the Ubuntu Linux operating system in the United States.

  • Linux desktops: you say no

    Freeform Dynamics’s new survey “of 1,275 IT professionals from the UK, USA, and other geographies” has just been published. Two-thirds of respondents said that cutting costs was a prime mover behind their decisions to switch to Linux on the desktop but that user acceptance was a key consideration in the decision to do so.

  • Using Linux to back out a Windows XP patch

    As of this writing (Tuesday Feb 16th) there don’t seem to be any new suggestions from Microsoft to assist XP users whose systems were rendered un-bootable after installing the February 9th patches. For example, the last entry on The Microsoft Security Response Center blog is four days old.

    So let me offer a suggestion: boot to Linux and move some files around.

  • The Incredible Story of Scott Kveton: Linux, Firefox, Bacon & iPhones

    When Kveton was 31 years old he founded the Open Source Lab at Oregon State University in Corvallis. After working at various big tech companies for a few years, he had joined the University and cut its hardware budget by 75% the previous year – just by buying open source Linux servers. The school decided to put the budget surplus back into the paradigm that made the difference. Then Google, IBM and other big companies started giving the new Lab money to host open source projects they were working on. Soon Kveton had a staff of 25 students and contacts all over the Open Source world. That was 6 years ago and those contacts have been invaluable throughout the rest of his career.

    [...]

    After continued success hosting other open source projects (like Drupal) at the Lab, Kveton decided he wanted to try something entrepreneurial.

  • The Disposable PC.

    I am pretty sure that if Microsoft wanted to invest the time and money to create the most secure and stable operating system, they could. They don’t have idiots working for them. I think it is that “if you scratch my back, I will scratch yours mentality.” It also doesn’t help that whenever a call is placed to a support center or when a PC is brought into a repair shop, the solution usually given by the technician is to re-image Windows. If I have a virus, why can’t you just remove the virus and I will be on my way?

    I, as many of my readers, on the other hand know better and choose to rely on something a lot more stable and secure with (insert flavor of Linux or UNIX here). Why be bothered with constantly having to maintain or repair your OS. Sometimes you just need things to work. Maybe that is why you read stories about how repair shops such as Best Buy’s will refuse the repair of a computing device if you are not running a version of Windows. They probably don’t see any money it.

  • Linux Professional Institute at CeBIT 2010, Hanover, Germany

    (Kassel, Germany: February 11, 2010) The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization (http://www.lpi.org), announced that its affiliate, LPI Central Europe (http://www.lpice.eu) will host a full program of activities at CeBIT 2010 in Hanover, Germany. Open Source will be a top theme at this years edition of one of the world’s leading trade fairs for the ICT industry (http://www.cebit.de/opensource_e).

  • GraphOn Announces Free GO-Global Personal Edition Software

    Similarly, GO-Global for UNIX Personal Edition publishes UNIX or Linux applications onto the Internet or network for remote access from any PC, Mac, or Web browser.

  • JoikuSpot Goes Linux

    The new JoikuSpot Linux Edition contains enriched features such as Speed Measurement to allow users to accurately see their mobile internet connection speed. Users see exactly the mobile data speed they get with their mobile broadband subscription.

  • Comcast Tech Support vs Linux user

    It appears that Comcast has no idea how to handle someone with an IQ over 30. This individual just wants setup fancast to watch hbo programming on his computer. Clearly Comcastic doesn’t know how to handle such a complicated question and the madness begins.

    The below is a cut and paste of the IM discussion with Comcast this individual has.

  • Server

    • Linux Server Discounts From Lenovo, Red Hat and Tech Data

      Call it a rare triple play in the open source server market. Lenovo, Red Hat and Tech Data are partnering to give resellers discounts on select Lenovo ThinkServers with Red Hat Enterprise Linux or Red Hat Enterprise Linux Advanced. Here are the details — and the implications for open source solutions providers.

    • Samsonite to adopt Polaris’ Linux based retail store management solution

      Polaris claims that the Linux based system can potentially bring down the set-up and running cost of retail store software by 50 percent

    • Sybase Delivers Top Performance Results for Data Warehousing and Analytics on TPC-H(TM) Benchmark

      The new TPC-H benchmark result of 102,375 queries per hour (QphH) was recorded using Sybase IQ 15.1 with the HP ProLiant DL785 G6 server and running the Red Hat(R) Enterprise Linux 5.3 platform, achieving a price/performance of $3.63 per transaction(1). The benchmark represents the best result among Linux and x86 vendors in the non-clustered marketplace at this scale factor(2) and is further proof of Sybase IQ’s ability to deliver maximum performance by utilizing available assets while reducing the cost of ownership for mid-tier organizations.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.33 (Part 5) – Drivers

      Enhancements to the ALSA code for HD audio codecs, a V4L/DVB driver for the Mantis TV chip, drivers for MSI laptops and drivers for newer AMD CPUs are just some of the improvements to Linux hardware support. Android drivers have now been escorted from the staging area, while Ramzswap (formerly Compcache) framework for compressing RAM has been added.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Fifth Stable Update Ends Out X Server 1.7 Series

        X Server 1.7.5 doesn’t have much to offer beyond the 1.7.5 release candidates from weeks ago, but mostly smaller changes scattered throughout the X Server code-base.

      • Benchmarks Of Nouveau’s Gallium3D OpenGL Driver

        To benchmark the Gallium3D driver in Fedora 13 for Nouveau we fired up the Phoronix Test Suite and ran the OpenArena, World of Padman, Urban Terror, Unreal Tournament 2004, and Warsow test profiles. We tested each of these OpenGL games at five different resolutions: 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, 1680 x 1050, and 1920 x 1080.

      • AMD Reveals Upcoming Catalyst Driver Changes

        In other words, there really isn’t much to get excited about if you are a Linux user when reading today’s press release. There are, however, other significant changes — for better or worse — coming to the Catalyst Linux driver this month or next. When we are allowed to share, you can be sure that we will. Maybe X Server 1.7 support will finally come too.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Choosing Linux Desktop Environments

      Linux users have the unique privilege and challenge of picking the distribution that fits them best. Most start out their Linux-experience with a major distribution like Ubuntu, Fedora, or openSUSE, and for some, that’s as far as they go. Others, curious or eager to try the variety of Linus Torvald-”flavors” available, start trying to find out what differences exist between “smaller” distributions like Elive or Crunchbang and the bigger ones.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KDE Review: KDE 4.4 Comes in from the Cold

        Between radical changes and limited functionality, the KDE 4 series got off to a rough start. However, with each release, KDE 4 has improved steadily and silenced more critics. Now, with the KDE 4.4 release, the series has reached first maturity.

        Those who expect everything to behave exactly as it did in the KDE 3 series may still struggle with 4.4. But, for those willing to accept change, 4.4 has no shortage of new features to offer, ranging from the implementation of several long-term directions to enhanced usability on the desktop — including Plasma Netbook, a new interface designed specifically for netbook computers.

        [...]

        But, by far the greatest desktop innovation in KDE 4.4 is one that is also the simplest — the ability to group windows by tabs. This feature is implemented by a single item added to each window’s menu. Yet the implications for easing users’ workflow is immense.

      • Five useful KDE 4.4 widgets

        With the rise of KDE 4.4 comes a new crop of desktop widgets (or Plasmoids). Earlier renditions of KDE 4.x saw the Plasmoids less than useful. The latest workings, however, have become quite useful, productive even.

        In this article I will introduce you to five of those Plasmoids that can help your productivity in one way or another. I will also show you how the Plasmoids are now installed.

      • Installing KDE 4.4 in Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora And ArchLinux
      • KDE SC 4.4: A Worthy (though not perfect) Upgrade
      • Missing Features – Feeling Brian Proffitt’s Pain
  • Distributions

    • Which is the Best Linux Distribution for your Desktop?

      Some Linux distributions are light-weight (they’ll run just fine on your old laptop), some are targeted at people who just want to try out Linux without replacing their main OS while other desktop distros (say Ubuntu) include a more comprehensive collection of software applications and also support a wide variety of hardware devices.

      [...]

      Arch Linux is a recommended distro for power (experienced) users as it allows them to create a customized Linux installation built from the ground up. It does not have a graphical install interface.

      [...]

      Slackware is another distro that deserves mention in this context. As compared to Arch Linux, Slackware Linux provides more stable packages and is thus more conservative. However, Arch Linux provides a more usable package management system that takes care of dependencies.

    • New Releases

      • Calculate Linux Desktop 10.2 released
      • Calculate Linux 10.2 Has Support for Canon Printers

        The Russian developer Alexander Tratsevskiy proudly announced last week, on the Linux Questions forum, the availability of Calculate Linux 10.2, which includes all its derivatives: Calculate Linux Desktop, Calculate Linux Server, Calculate Linux Scratch and Calculate Linux XFCE.

      • Element v1.0 final release
      • PLoP Linux 4.0.3 released

        added: ddrescue 1.11, testdisk photorec 6.11, lzip 1.8, rsync 3.0.6, dbus 1.2.14, netcat 1.10, LVM 2.2.02.58
        update: kernel 2.6.32.8, usbutils 0.84, fsarchiver 0.6.7, ntfs-3g 2010.1.16AR.1, nmap 5.21, partimage 0.6.8, mutt 1.5.20, groff 1.20.1, findutils 4.4.2

      • MilaX 0.5 released

        Based on OpenSolaris snv128a.
        JWM as WM, system monitor – conky, keyboard layout switcher – SCIM.
        Now with fastest browser Midori – Twitter, Facebook and other sites is working well.
        Fast start: boot LiveCD (LiveUSB), configure network (Menu ->Setup->Net Setup),
        run zfsinstall (~pfexec zfsinstall), reboot and enjoy.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Morgan Stanley Maintains Red Hat at Equal-Weight, Sees Revenue Acceleration in 2011 (RHT)
      • Savvytek Lands the First Red-Hat Linux Virtualization Implementation Project at MEPS

        In partnership with Red Hat and Oracle; and in their endeavor to lead the market towards a more proficient, secure and better performing infrastructural solutions; Savvytek was chosen by Middle East Payment Services (MEPS) to implement their new core application – RS2 – based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Oracle technologies. This technology migration project comes to support MEPS direction in building a Highly Available, Cost-Effective–Ready Data center that hosts and supports their mission-critical, dynamic operation.

      • Fedora

        • Bring on the skins.

          Did you know that you can use Fedora trademarks to create skins, application themes, Firefox personas, and other such application sprucer-uppers, pursuant to our trademark guidelines? You can find this change, along with complete usage guidelines, through our trademark guidelines page on the Fedora wiki.

    • Debian Family

      • Celebrate Presidents Day with SimplyMEPIS 8.5 beta5

        MEPIS has announced SimplyMEPIS 8.4.97, the fifth beta of MEPIS 8.5, now available from MEPIS and public mirrors. The ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.4.97-b5_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.4.97-b5_64.iso respectively. Deltas, requested by the MEPIS community, are also available.

      • SimplyMEPIS 8.5 Beta 5 Is Ready for Testing
      • Securing the Debian zones

        The plan is to introduce DNSSEC in several steps so that we can react to issues that arise without breaking everything at once.

      • Ubuntu

        • Lucid Gets New Icons For Rhythmbox, UbuntuOne, MeMenu, More!
        • Ubuntu single sign on service launched

          We are pleased to announce the launch of the brand new Ubuntu single sign on service. The goal of this service is to provide a single, central login service for all Ubuntu-related sites, thus making it more convenient for Ubuntu users and community members to access information, communicate, and contribute. This service will replace the existing Launchpad login service that is currently in use for many Ubuntu-related sites, although existing Launchpad accounts will continue to work in the new service.

        • Autonomic Resources Approved to Offer Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux and Landscape Through GSA Advantage

          Autonomic Resources, an IT and service integration firm serving the U.S. federal government, announced today that the General Services Administration (GSA) has approved the company to offer Canonical’s Ubuntu and Landscape to government customers.

        • Lubuntu: Not Just for Lusers

          For a long time, the Ubuntu family has had three members–Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Xubuntu (sorry Edubuntu; we’re not counting you). But that may change, with a new project, Lubuntu, vying for official endorsement by Canonical. Here’s a look at Lubuntu, and thoughts on what its future may hold.

          The Lubuntu project, which was established a year ago as a community endeavor, aims to create a lightweight Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. Towards this end, it uses the LXDE desktop environment in combination with the Openbox window manager to keep the demand on system resources low.

        • Security Expert Releases New Linux Distribution for Ethical Hacking and Penetration Testing

          As a derivative of Ubuntu this ‘Live CD’ runs directly from the CD and doesn’t need installing on your hard-drive. Once booted you can use the included tools to perform penetration tests and ethically hack on your own network to ensure that it is secure from outside intruders. As well as the standard Linux networking tools the Live Hacking CD has tools for DNS enumeration and reconnaissance as well as utilities for foot-printing, password cracking and network sniffing. It also has programs for spoofing and a set of wireless networking utilities.

        • Mint

          • Bordering on blasphemy?

            I came across this interesting article today and it brings up some very good arguments regarding the usability of Mint over Ubuntu for new Linux users.

            [...]

            In my mind, Mint is not really a Linux derivative but more of a highly customized Ubuntu install. Most of the modifications in Mint I find I make in Ubuntu. Mint cannot survive without Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wipro Tech in pact with TI

      Wipro Technologies on Tuesday announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it has tied up with Texas Instruments (TI) to offer services on TI’s OMAP processors. The services, which include Linux baseport, Android operating system porting on hardware platforms, middleware, third-party component integration, application development, and operator customisation, aim to address the commercialisation requirements for OEMs designing on Android, ensuring fast time to market.

    • RoweBots Releases Ultra-Tiny Embedded-Linux RTOS for Renesas Technology’s SH-2A Microcontrollers

      RoweBots Research, Inc., a supplier of tiny embedded POSIX RTOS products, today announced the launch and release of Unison™ Version 5 and the open-source version of Unison Version 4. These two ultra-tiny embedded-Linux™ and POSIX compatible RTOSs open Renesas Technology Corp.’s SH-2A microcontroller (MCU) family to Linux and POSIX compatible development for the first time.

    • Porting Android 2.x to Sony Xperia — Psh. Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 — Now we’re talkin’

      One of the greatest things about a more open platform for smartphones I believe, is the ability to (if you choose) customize it until you’re hearts content. From personal experience, I swap ROM’s every couple of days on my DROID trying out the updates and newcomers to the custom DROID ROM scene alike. But porting various ROM’s developed for your phone, or at the very least, the phone’s operating system, are rather easy all things considered. Especially so when comparing a simple ROM port from one Android device to the next against porting a full blown desktop OS to a Sony Xperia X1. Oh yeah, it’s real.

    • ARM and Global Foundries push mobile chip development

      The joint SoC platform is based on the Cortex A9 processor and ARM’s physical IP, but taps GloFo’s experience with 28nm High-K Metal Gate process to create a proven reference design for manufacturers of smartphones, smartbooks, tablets and a host of other mobile devices.

    • Two-bay NAS device can expand to seven bays

      Synology America announced a two-bay member of its DiskStation network-attached storage (NAS) family that can expand via an optional seven-bay expansion enclosure from 4TB to up to 14TB. Aimed at small-to-medium businesses, the DiskStation DS710+ runs Linux on an Intel Atom D410, and supplies gigabit Ethernet and USB connectivity.

      [...]

      Like the DS210j, the DS1010+, and other Synology NAS devices, the DS710+ runs version 2.2 of Synology’s Linux-based, DNLA-compliant Disk Station Manager software, which is compatible with Linux, Windows, and Mac workstations. DSM 2.2 enables automated backup features, remote file sharing, iSCSI target support, and multimedia streaming, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Telstra to launch an Android phone
      • Android

        • Tiny handsets run Android

          Sony Ericsson announced two compact, scaled-down members of its Xperia X10 Android smartphone line. The Xperia X10 Mini and the QWERTY-keyboard equipped X10 Mini Pro both offer Qualcomm processors clocked to 600MHz with 2.5-inch QVGA touchscreens, five-megapixel cameras, HSPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, aGPS, and Android 1.6, says the company.

        • Acer updates Liquid, adds three more Android phones

          Acer announced three new Android smartphones, as well as an Android 2.1 version of its Liquid phone. Acer’s BeTouch e400 and BeTouch E110 fall into the mid- and low-end range, while the Acer “Liquid e” and Formula One styled Acer Ferrari smartphone both appear to target the upper ranges of Android phones.

        • Motorola’s latest Android handset offers multi-touch

          In its Cliq XT incarnation, the Quench appears to be intended as the next-generation version of Motorola’s first Android phone, the T-Mobile-sold Cliq. However, the company did not list which global carrier(s) would pick up the Quench version.

        • Freescale’s Cortex-A8 SoC jumps into Android phones

          Lumigon Corp. announced three Android 2.1 phones — the T1, S1, and E1 — touted as the first smartphones to use Freescale’s 1GHz i.MX51 system-on-chip. Meanwhile, the company also reported contributing to Ulysse Nardin’s Chairman, an Android handset that will start at over $13,000, and Freescale announced an Android evaluation kit for the i.MX51.

        • HTC working on app store tech and studying tablets

          High Tech Computer (HTC), the world’s biggest maker of Windows Mobile and Google Android OS smartphones, is working on technologies for applications used in handsets and application stores and plans to put this software to use but not until a later time.

        • HTC unveils update to Nexus One and HTC Legend

          The similarity is no big surprise considering HTC built Nexus One for Google.

        • Android Market should stimulate Open Source Apps

          For Google this is also good because with open source multiple people can start contributing to apps such that they can improve faster. Furthermore people can start new projects by simply reusing open source code of other Open Source Android applications. All in all it will spur innovation and improve quality of applications and in the end that’s good for Google because the platform will become more popular.

          Furthermore it fits in the Google policy that they stimulate Open Source.

        • Mobile World Congress: Content plans reveal likely mobile winners and losers

          2. Google’s Android platform gained critical mass 18 months from launch, heralding the rise of the open source OS. Juniper said. Android had been as much about as enabling search and services across different devices as capturing OS market share. This had prompted Nokia to open-source its Symbian environment and was being followed by Nokia and Intel, which combined efforts to launch the Linux-based MeeGo platform .

        • Google geared toward mobiles over desktops: CEO

          Google, which became an important player in the mobile industry with the launch of Linux-based open platform Android in 2008 and last month’s release of the first Google phone, the Nexus One, denied that it is competing against mobile carriers.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The Gdium Liberty 1000 clearly stands out from the pack

        Innovative architecture entrenched in the open-source world, elegant and sober design, yet stylish, security and mobility with the G-Key, a personal and bootable USB key, Gdium is an ultraportable computer that is one of the cornerstones of a wider environment dedicated to knowledge, communication and learning.

      • Are smartbooks and Linux meant for each other?

        Since the desktop line of Windows currently doesn’t run on ARM processors, we can exclude XP/Vista/7 from the list of likely contenders as smartbook operating systems. Windows 7 successors are currently not planned to be ported to ARM and even that wouldn’t be a complete solution since Windows applications will have to be ported as well (a very wide, close-sourced ecosystem).

        [...]

        Linux on the other hand has a very good technical background on ARM. It has no limitations for processing cores and operating memory and has targeted distributions for this architecture. Android is an outstanding example but several well-known distributions – like Ubuntu – have ARM ports in addition to their x86 base edition. Also, due to the fact that most of the Linux applications are open-source, they are at least possible to port, so we can expect the full usual complement of desktop Linux applications to show up on an ARM Linux distribution when the need becomes visible for them.

      • Top 5 Operating Systems for Netbooks

        My personal favorites are Windows 7 Home Premium and Jolicloud, thanks to the ease use. My HP Mini is currently running Windows 7 Home Premium and runs Jolicloud off of a thumbdrive when I want a different experience. I am also testing out a Sony Vaio W which comes standard with Windows 7 Starter and despite the limitations of Starter I am getting by alright so far; though I couldn’t use it every day thanks to the lack of multi-monitor support.

      • Jolicloud – A great Linux distro that blurs the line between desktop and web applications

        In the end Jolicloud manages to keep a good mixture of native and web applications, and abstracts the differences between them so you can just focus on doing your work. This is one OS to look for when it releases.

      • Tablets

        • OpenTablet 7 is Flash-friendly iPad alternative

          No one has a clue how much an OpenTablet will cost, or when it will go on sale. Considering that we’re having a hard enough time figuring out who’s going to buy a $500 JooJoo, the folks at OpenPeak better aim low if they want to make Apple sweat. Some impressive battery life estimates wouldn’t hurt their cause, either.

    • MeeGo/Maemo/Moblin

      • Aava Mobile unveils world’s first fully open mobile device

        There are many open platforms for software in the tech world from operating systems to development environments for various software. We rarely see open hardware or mobile devices though. Aava Mobile has unveiled what it calls the world’s first fully open mobile device at MWC.

        [...]

        The reference design is aimed at Moblin 2.1 and Android for the OS options with plans for support of MeeGo in the future. Features include an extended touch screen, full HD video capability, micro USB port, HD video conferencing, dual mics, 3D sound and UI, GSM capable, and it has GPS, WiFi, compass, and an accelerometer.

      • Aava Mobile unveils open mobile device platform
      • Is MeeGo Linux’ Answer to iPad?

        Intel, Nokia and the MeeGo community are thinking much bigger than tablets, phones or netbooks. While MeeGo greets competition with the iPad head on, it will also compete in a variety of device categories not yet fully defined thanks to its approach to open source development and cross-device portability provided by Qt. The “killer app” is not a single device locked down with crippling DRM. The “killer app” is your content and the ability to access the Internet from anywhere: a phone, a car, a kitchen or television regardless of the device or who makes it.

        It seems clear that Jobs miss-stepped by not thinking big enough because – despite his brilliance – Apple products are being confined to the limits of his team’s imaginations, while the future is about accessing content from anywhere.

      • Nokia patches N900 firmware

        It’s the third N900 firmware update to be posted since the gadget’s November 2009 release. It’s version 3.2010.02-8 and it weighs in at a mere 16.2MB.

      • The Year of the Tablet Computer

        Next: Enter the latest addition to the touchscreen devices set to da-beau in 2010: MeeGo. In a joint effort between the Intel and Nokia companies. MeeGo, a Linux based operating system, is going to be targeted at both ARM and x86 based devices (despite the former of the two not being made by Intel). While MeeGo is still in the very preliminary stages of development, other Linux-based touchscreen-orientated operating systems, such as Android and Maemo, have shown us that the Linux platform is more than capable of functioning on such devices in an elegant manner. With backing from such large companies MeeGo is going to be hard-pressed to not get at least some publicity.

      • HALCON Embedded Runs on the Nokia N900

        The standard machine vision software HALCON Embedded runs on the mobile phone Nokia N900 (Linux-based operating system Maemo). Test runs by the manufacturer of HALCON, MVTec Software GmbH (Munich, Germany), have shown an outstanding performance.

      • MSI Wind U160 gets the Moblin Linux treatment

        Sure, the folks at Moblin recently announced that they were merging with the Maemo project to develop a new OS called MeeGo. But that hasn’t stopped PC makers from installing the latest version of the Moblin netbook operating system on their latest models and showing them off at trade shows like Mobile World Congress and CES.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Choices

    Open source was Best Supporting Actor in the 2010 Intelligent Enterprise Editors’ Choice Awards. It plays an important part — in some cases, a star turn — for four of The Dozen top-category winners and for eleven of the thirty-six Ones to Watch. Noting that the awards reflect both current impact and our expectations — all forty-eight awardees, really, are “ones to watch” — clearly, in our estimation, open source has reached a new level of enterprise importance and promise.

    [...]

    There’s really nothing new in my points, just a reaffirmation and extension of common knowledge regarding the value open source. Intelligent Enterprise clearly sees open source as delivering ever increasing value for enterprise information management and applications. 2011 should be no exception.

  • Open source: dangerous to computing education?

    First, let’s talk about breadth of opportunity. Mark seems to assume that every student developer has the opportunity to engage in commercial development. This is demonstrably untrue. It may be true that an elite school like Georgia Tech provides these kinds of opportunities to most of their conputing students — but what about everywhere else? For that matter, what about the kids at Georgia Tech who, for whatever reason, don’t make the cut? Unless you can guarantee 100% co-op or internship placement for every computing student on Earth (and let’s be honest, we’ll never get even close to that number), there will always be aspirant student developers who have no chance at all to see a commercial codebase, or to engage in Legitimate Peripheral Participation.

  • I’ve got a feeling : is Open Source at an inflexion point ?

    Open source = competitive solutions

    More and more, open source software is used/bought, not because it is open source/free (speech/beer) but because it is a good software (intrinsic value). The fact that this software/solution is open source is not the determining factor that make customers buy it. On a head to head competition with closed source alternative, a bunch of open source players emerges (Firefox, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Tomcat, etc.) and are in a position to become market-leaders.

  • Cubeia unveils open-source game server

    Technology solutions provider for the igaming industry Cubeia, has announced the release of Firebase Community Edition, a scalable, enterprise server for multiplayer games.

  • HighTower Launches HOST – Industry’s First Open Source Portal
  • Healthcare

    • Project GNUmed Live started

      It all originated from the need to host GNUmed Live CDs, VMware images and so on. Nothing comes for free and there was no way we could host these images on the GNUmed servers.

    • Five sites for open source healthcare

      If you’re browsing the web looking for sites about open source healthcare, here are five I found interesting. There are a ton of sites out there, and I tried to stay away from those that talked strictly about software–instead focusing on those that tackled the issues in open source ways beyond technology.

  • Mobile

    • Smartphone Phenomenon Down to Open Source Coding

      Of course, though the fuel behind the fire, experts are also warning that there are obvious pitfalls to developers, in particular the possibility of decreasing standard as open source coding continues to become available across platforms.

    • Symbian S^3 released: The open source mobile OS with fliptastic finger tricks

      Symbian’s recent mobile operating system dubbed S^3, will go down in history as the companies first entirely open source release to engage more people in creating an application environment free of restrictions.

    • RIM switching to open source WebKit

      At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Research In Motion announced an overhaul of its Blackberry phone web browser. Like the iPhone and Android systems, the new browser is WebKit based and is expected to be available on Blackberry devices later this year. in interviews Mike Lazardis, co-CEO of RIM said “You’ll see how quickly it downloads, how quickly it renders and how smooth it scrolls and zooms in”.

    • Faster, better browser for BlackBerry

      The use of open source WebKit browser engine by RIM would give the Canadian company parity with such other players in the market as Apple and Google.

  • Web Browsers

  • Fog Computing

    • A Guide to Amazon Web Services for Corporate IT Managers

      Finally, they are becoming the industry standard and their interfaces are or will be incorporated into a variety of third party providers. One example is Linux distro vendor Ubuntu. They have an Enterprise Cloud offering that makes use of the same AWS programming interfaces, making it easier for developers to port their cloud applications to a private server running Ubuntu inside your corporate data center. Another is coming from Racemi, which plans on having tools that can import VMware virtual machines into and out of AWS later this year.

    • Legal experts split over cloud effect on open source

      At the Cloud Law Summit in London on Wednesday last week, Andrew Charlesworth, director of the University of Bristol centre for IT and law, said the reasons some businesses choose open-source software — lower cost and lack of vendor lock-in — could be eroded by cloud services.

    • Is open source still a recruitment tool?

      As part of its effort to find the best employees it can, Twitter has launched a directory to the open source projects it supports, with cute little icons representing the employees working on each one.

    • Twitter Loves Open Source And Launches A Directory To Prove It

      In recent months, there seems to be a mad rush of companies trying to one-up each other with how open-source they are. Twitter is the latest, as they have launched a directory of all the open source projects they’re currently working on and/or contributing to.The list is fairly impressive. It includes open source projects in Ruby, Scala, Java, C/C++, and other various tools.

  • Sun/Oracle

    • Linux MySQL distros meeting in Brussels

      When I saw Shlomi’s post on why not to use apt-get or yum for MySQL, I thought immediately that his conclusions are quite reasonable. What you get from the Linux distributions is not the same thing that you find in the official MySQL downloads page. Now, whether you value more the completeness of the server or the ease of administration through the distribution installation tools, it’s up to you and your business goals. We at the MySQL team have organized a meeting with the Linux distributions with the intent of finding out which differences and problems we may have with each other, and to solve them by improving communication. What follows is a summary of what happened in Brussels during the meeting.

    • What happens to Sun’s open-source software now?

      The deal is done. Oracle now owns Sun. Oracle’s main message to Sun’s customers seems to be “Don’t worry, be happy.” That’s not easy when Oracle is not explaining in any detail what it will be doing with open-source software offerings like MySQL, OpenOffice and OpenSolaris.

    • MilaX 0.5: OpenSolaris as Live-CD

      MilaX, a Live distribution of OpenSolaris, is available in version 0.5 with new software.

  • Business

    • Talend Announces Record 2009 and Continues Growth in the New Year

      Talend, the recognized market leader in open source data integration software, today announced that 2009 was a record year for the company. For the tenth consecutive quarter, Talend achieved record performance, reflecting the company’s ability to deliver cost-optimized, high-performance data management solutions to global companies of all sizes.

    • Amplifying creativity and business performance with open source

      The world of open source software—cited by Thomas Friedman as the most disruptive of the 10 forces making the world flat today—turns this notion of property on its head. The ownership society seems to be doing nothing to help—it’s sucking value out of our system by the trillions, and it acts as though its ownership is an entitlement rather than a responsibility for action.

    • Seeding the Community

      For an open source company, nurturing a community around the software is as important as picking the right licence. Although developer communities tend to be more self-starting with a reasonably open development process, user communities, which are a source of valuable feedback, need more encouragement. The H went to the first meeting of the UK BIRT User Group (BUG) to see how one company was helping to create a user community.

  • Funding

    • OpenERP raises 3 million euros

      The business suite application vendor OpenERP announces today that it raised 3 million euros. The investors are Sofinnova Partners, represented by Olivier Sichel, and the Iliad’s managers, Xavier Niel and Olivier Rosenfeld. The funds raised will allow OpenERP to achieve its ambition to be one of the leading application business suite vendors worldwide.

  • BSD/UNIX

    • Video: Andrew Tanenbaum on Bugs and Minix’ Reincarnation Server

      Linux Pro Magazine met the author of numerous standard works in informatics and the most famous Linux critic at the Fosdem in Brussels.

    • OpenSource Operating Systems

      For most of us, thinking of the University of California Berkley doesn’t bring about images of nerdy software engineers, but instead makes us think more of LSD, hippies, the children’s revolt, and Vietnam… Despite all of that, they are a prominent uni, and they did create Berkley Unix. While BSDs are usually source compatible with AIX, HPUX, and Linux there are also two API layers available, Linux and WINE. Currently, there are four main flavors: OpenBSD, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Darwin. OpenBSD is focused on security, FreeBSD is focused on being general purpose, and NetBSD is focused on running everywhere (really… everywhere like toasters, palmtop computers, servers, mainframes… you name it, NetBSD runs on it). The Berkley Software Distribution has long been considered one of the most stable, secure, and efficient platforms available.

    • An Embedded Web Server on the Head of a Pin

      The Unison Operating System offers an ultra tiny embedded POSIX environment for 32 bit microcontroller (MCU) based development that is also Linux compatible.

    • Open Source embedded operating system Contiki updated to 2.4

      The BSD licensed operating system is designed to be small, highly portable and work in networked, but memory constrained systems, such as sensor network nodes.

  • Releases

    • Gnumeric 1.10 released

      Following nearly two years of development, the Gnumeric developers have announced the release of version 1.10.0 of their GNOME Office spreadsheet application. The first stable release in the 1.10.x series includes several changes, updates and improvements.

  • Government

    • What if politicians innovated the open source way?

      I read an interesting post last week by Morton Hansen (author of Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big Results) entitled Obama’s Five Collaboration Mistakes. In the comments below the post, some folks interpreted his words as an attack on the Obama administration. Me? I’d probably interpret Hansen’s words more broadly. Perhaps something like:

      Politicians are pretty darned bad at collaborating a lot of the time.

    • The standard is open, almost

      india’s draft policy on the software platform for e-governance has made a concession for proprietary software businesses like Microsoft. Proponents of open-source software called it a major departure from the Union government’s earlier stand, saying allowing proprietary software in the standards will limit people who can e-access the government. At the heart of this controversy is a change in the ‘Recommended Policy on Open Standards for e-governance’.

  • Luminaries

    • Meet free software guru Richard Stallman at Pitt

      Copyrights used to expire after a few years; now some corporations want them to last forever to protect their revenue streams on copyrighted works. Stallman continues to influence this conversation with an eye toward protecting computer users’ freedom and making software more conducive to a genuine education.

      “The global corporations that profit from copyright are lobbying for draconian punishments for copyright violations and to increase their copyright powers while suppressing public access to technology,” says Stallman. “If we seriously hope to serve the only legitimate purpose of copyright– to promote progress for the benefit of the public — then we must make changes in the other direction.”

    • See ‘Revolution OS’ at the Darress Theatre in Boonton

      The New Jersey Linux User’s group will present a film titled “Revolution OS” at the Darress Theatre in Boonton on Wednesday, March 31. This is a documentary detailing the roots of the Free Software and Open Source movements that resulted in Linux, as well as many other free software projects.

  • Openness

    • Google gifts Wiki millions

      Google is giving the Wikimedia Foundation a $2m donation, meaning the online fact dump can continue to serve up instant research to hard-pressed college students and broadcast researchers.

  • Programming

    • Gitorious or GitHub?

      Gitorious

      Pros:
      - Has the latest commits right up front, providing a good overview of what’s been happening and what’s available.
      - The wiki-type front pages are a bit easier to navigate. The whole site feels less cluttered than GitHub.
      - Much easier to see up front who’s part of a project and who’s cloned it.

      Cons:
      - Gitorious takes longer when searching for stuff; it’s also a little slower just to click through trees and links, like the Neuvoo project.
      - Business model? What business model? How are they gonna stay open on down the road?
      - Doesn’t seem to offer private repos, should I need one in the future.

    • Subversion 1.7 Planned for Summer 2010 Release
    • Let there be light

      So, a few days back, I started with an idea of a periodic summary of what is going on around the Vala programming language, mainly for those subscribed to the mailing list who are not that much interested in bugzilla.

Leftovers

  • Online store selling AMD’s 12-core server chip before launch

    Server distributor Oakville Mehlville Computers is offering the 12-core Opteron processor code-named Magny-Cours on its eBay auction site.

  • Lists

  • Security

    • France: Report Says Army Exposed Troops to Radiation

      The French military deliberately exposed enlisted men to nuclear radiation in the Sahara Desert in 1961 in order to study resulting physical and psychological effects, according to a classified 1998 report published Tuesday by a French daily, Le Parisien.

    • Johann Hari: Obama’s secret prisons in Afghanistan endanger us all

      He was elected in part to drag us out of this trap. Instead, he’s dragging us further in

    • TSA Logo Contest Finalists

      Last month I announced a contest to redesign the TSA logo. Here are the finalists. Clicking on them will bring up a larger, and easier to read, version.

    • Minister deploys ‘dodgy’ DNA case study

      Crime and policing minister David Hanson put forward five case studies to a select committee, but due to an “administrative error” one was a copy of one of the other cases with the name altered.

    • Met Police sorry after disrupting Hackney funeral

      The Metropolitan Police and Hackney Council have apologised after 83 people were searched in a churchyard while a funeral was being held.

      They were taken to a marquee put up in St John’s Churchyard, in Hackney, after being arrested elsewhere as part of an operation targeting youth knife crime.

    • Guaranteeing freedoms and liberties for people you don’t like is essential if you want them yourself

      I learned in my time at the Bar that it is precisely when the odds are stacked against a defendant that he most needs the benefit of a fair justice system – that it is when the evidence is apparently strongest that the rule of law is most important. Megarry J said in John v Rees [1970] that the path of the law is strewn with examples of open and shut cases whcih, somehow, were not; of unnswerable charges which, in the event, were completely answered; of inexplicable conduct which was fully explained… Coughlin is not interested in those notions – of testing evidence by due process, of a fair trial acting as a buffer between the wrath of the people and the individual.

    • Women’s Institute members threatened with on-the-spot fines for handing out charity flyers

      A group of Women’s Institute members have been threatened with £80 fines for handing out flyers for a charity art exhibition.

      Grandmother Liz Day, 68, was confronted by a council litter warden who warned her and three other WI members it was illegal to hand out the charity adverts.

      The women were told they narrowly escaped an on-the-spot fixed penalty notice because the East Hertfordshire Council warden was in a ‘good mood’.

  • Environment

    • GOP lawmaker accused of plagiarizing Washington Times’ anti-climate change rant

      Rep. Matt Wingard, who has a degree in broadcast journalism, admitted on Monday that he lifted his speech from an editorial entitled “Osama and Obama on global warming,” which sought to link Osama bin Laden’s recent declaration on global warming to the US president’s policies.

    • U.S. Supports New Nuclear Reactors in Georgia

      President Obama, speaking to an enthusiastic audience of union officials in Lanham, Md., on Tuesday, underscored his embrace of nuclear power as a clean energy source, announcing that the Energy Department had approved financial help for the construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia.

    • Push to ban trade in endangered bluefin tuna

      It was one of the most expensive fish ever sold. A few weeks ago, a giant bluefin tuna achieved a price of 16.3m yen – about £111,000 – at auction in Tokyo. The rich, buttery taste of the tuna’s flesh made the 513lb fish irresistible for one group of restaurateurs. The bluefin’s fillets ended up on hundreds of sushi platters across Tokyo within hours of the sale.

  • Finance

    • EU toughens stance on Greek bailout

      Greece’s embattled government will come under added pressure tomorrow to enforce even tougher austerity measures to combat the country’s debt at a meeting of EU finance ministers expected to focus solely on the crisis.

    • Goldman Sachs’ Greek tragedy

      Has the severely PR-challenged Goldman now aided one global crisis too many?

    • Brown University’s Simmons says she’ll leave Goldman Sachs board

      Simmons, 64, who has been a director since 2000, will not stand for reelection at the company’s annual shareholder meeting later this spring, according to a statement from the New York-based investment firm.

    • Outrageous But Legal: EU Knew Goldman Sachs Helped Greece Use Derivatives to Conceal Deficits
    • Greece’s Goldman Sachs Swaps Spawn EU Dispute on Disclosure

      A dispute is unfolding about how long European Union officials have known that Greece used derivatives to conceal its growing budget deficit.

    • Goldman Sachs Takes the Rap Again, This Time for Greece

      Goldman wasn’t the only bank named, although it was clearly the villain of the piece. JPMorgan Chase had a supporting role for a round of stealth borrowing it was said to have arranged for Italy (there seems to be an inverse relationship among European nations between fiscal rectitude and olive oil production).

    • The Hoi Polloi vs. Goldman Sachs

      Greece is turning into a battle royal between the global financial elites and the average worker in the industrial West. This started out as a more limited struggle, pitting the finance ministers and central banks of the European Union against the Greek unions, but the fight has unexpectedly broadened with news of the surreptitious involvement of Goldman Sachs in helping Greece avoid borrowing constraints.

      The picture painted in the Western financial press makes the unions the villain in this play. The unions are described as greedy, lazy, too quick to strike, and insensitive to the burdens they were imposing on the Greek economy. To cope with union threats and extortion, various Greek governments had no choice but to borrow excessively, and well beyond the European Union target range that allowed domestic budget deficits to be no higher than 3% of GDP. As of last year, Greece’s budget deficit was 12.7% of GDP.

      [...]

      The answer to that is a corrupt, broken, secretive, and exploitative international financial system – one that grants enormous power and wealth to a handful of private sector firms. This is the reality the citizens of Greece – not just the unions – are now facing. It is a reality that justifiably will create disgust and anger among the people of Greece, who may well reject the shock therapy being offered by the EU finance officials, thereby calling their bluff. If so, it will be the second rebuff of the international financial elites, following the rejection of austerity measures by Iceland to repay its debt.

      EU officials are still talking and acting as if they have matters under control, and their pronouncements carry the weight of law. They may be about to find out otherwise, and if so, the global financial system and global markets are in for an economic version of shock and awe.

    • Elders of Wall St. Favor More Regulation

      While the younger generation, very visibly led by Lloyd C. Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, lobbies Congress against such regulation, their spiritual elders support the reform proposed by Paul A. Volcker and, surprisingly, even more restrictions. “I am a believer that the system has gone badly awry and needs massive reform,” said Mr. Bogle, the 80-year-old founder and for many years chief executive of the Vanguard Group, the huge mutual fund company.

    • Making a Living in MakerCulture

      If you weren’t making things 100 years ago, you’d be dead. Your home, your food, your clothes and even your toys were all made by you or someone you knew. Somewhere along the way, humans seem to have forgotten that we were makers, and instead became consumers.

      Now, when some people build, sew and bake they are making a conscious choice to return to our maker roots. This movement is MakerCulture. Today, makers challenge the mainstream and make instead of buy.

    • Congress’ Phony Price Tags

      With the federal government, massive cost overruns are the rule, not the exception. The $700 billion cost of the war in Iraq dwarfs the $50 billion to $60 billion that Mitch Daniels, then director of the Office of Management and Budget, predicted at the outset. In 1967 long-run forecasts estimated that Medicare would cost about $12 billion by 1990. In reality, it cost more than $98 billion that year. Today it costs $500 billion.

    • Gord Hill: Why protest Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics?

      Due to massive construction projects associated with the Olympics, from venues to infrastructure, there is both widespread environmental destruction, as well as huge public debts. As part of security operations, police, military, and intelligence agencies receive millions of dollars for new personnel, equipment, weapons, et cetera—strengthening the creeping police states we see around the world (and south of the border) and further eroding our alleged “freedoms” and civil liberties.

    • Vancouver’s poor protest against Olympic largesse

      PROTEST ORGANISER: You know, you probably heard these base rumours that they spent $6, $7 billion on the Olympics, the OWElympics, O.W.E lympics. We are the Poverty Olympics – our budget wasn’t quite that – they’re probably looking at $6 billion, we’re $6. Look what we’re doing; what we’re doing on six bucks that’s so great.

      LISA MILLAR: A loose coalition of anti-Olympic, anti-global, anti-poverty protesters are threatening to derail the Games.

      Today was the first taste of what they say will be weeks of noisy rallies, street marches and attempts to block spectators and competitors.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Obama wants a social notworking guru

      The lucky hire, who will have to run the White House’s Twitter, Facebook and Myspace accounts, should have, “Excellent writing and editing skills with strong attention to detail; your writing is strong, sharp, and personable,” which makes us wonder what blogs, tweets and Facebook pages he has been looking at as comparisons.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google and Yahoo! join Oz protests

      Google and Yahoo! have joined a pressure group which seeks to stop Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s doomed attempt to filter Aussie web traffic.

      [...]

      It is also concerned that Conroy’s mandatory filer will include content that is educational or social. Trials last year did wrongly blacklist websites promoting a Queensland dentist, a photographer and a travel agent.

      Finally, the group warned that sites like YouTube, which is bound to have some pages on the filter blacklist, would effectively overload the filter and create bottlenecks.

    • Google and Yahoo raise doubts over planned net filters
    • Facebook hit with class action over privacy changes

      A class action lawsuit has been filed against Facebook over changes that the social networking site made to its privacy settings last November and December.

    • Any use of this article without the NFL’s express written consent is prohibited

      With the Super Bowl just concluded and baseball’s spring training only weeks away, a question occurred to us: whatever happened to the push for copyright holders to tone down their copyright notices?

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net Neutrality: A simple guide

      Google’s recently announced plan to set up trial fiber optic networks in the US with ultra-high speed Internet connections puts the long running national debate over Net Neutrality back into high gear.

      A hot topic of discussion and debate in government and telecom circles since at least 2003, Net Neutrality, actually involves a broad array of topics, technologies and players

    • Net Throttling Hasn’t Stopped

      Canadian Internet service providers fall short on net neutrality rules, testing CRTC’s patience.

    • Ridiculous Arguments: Net Neutrality Would Mean No iPhones

      I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m very much against enforcing net neutrality through legislation (too many unintended consequences) but I’m stunned at the ridiculous and totally bogus reasons given by those fighting against those regulations in support of their claims. The latest on this front is Stephen Titch, a policy analyst at the Reason Foundation (a group whose work I usually think is quite good), coming out with a policy brief making the ludicrous argument that network neutrality would mean no more iPhones.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Redbox Caves To Warner Bros., Will Delay New Movie Releases From Kiosks

      The whole thing makes no sense at all. Warner Bros. mistakenly thinks that if people can’t rent a particular DVD in the first four weeks of release, they’re more likely to shell out money to actually buy the DVD. This is Warner Bros. pretending that it can influence customer behavior by denying them what they want.

    • Viacom CEO: We Need To Pay Less For Music In Videogames

      Lower licensing fees and more selective video game companies could be bad news for some music companies. Video games have provided a boost to licensing revenues and overall awareness for many artists. But sales are down sharply. An analyst with Wedbush Securities estimated, that two-thirds of December’s 12% year-over-year decline in video game sales came from the music category.

    • Public Knowledge Proposes New Copyright Reform Act

      The general topics for copyright change are to:

      1) strengthen fair use, including reforming outrageously high statutory damages, which deter innovation and creativity; 2) reform the DMCA to permit circumvention of digital locks for lawful purposes; 3) update the limitations and exceptions to copyright protection to better conform with how digital technologies work; 4) provide recourse for people and companies who are recklessly accused of copyright infringement and who are recklessly sent improper DMCA take-down notices; and 5) streamline arcane music licensing laws to encourage new and better business models for selling music.

    • New Anti-Piracy Task Force Set To Pressure File-Sharers

      In order to step up the pressure on illicit file-sharers and others that violate intellectual property laws, Swedish police and prosecutors are heading up a new specialist team of investigators to deal with infringements. Team members will be designated their own areas but will also be able to operate nationally.

    • Project Postcard: design chosen!
    • US citizens: Let the USTR know today that you oppose draconian copyright

      There’s only a few hours left to submit your comments to the US Trade Representative opposing export of draconian copyright restrictions to other countries.

    • My Comments To The USTR On Special 301 Report On Foreign Copyright Issues

      A lot of people have been incorrectly claiming that these comments are about ACTA, but they’re not. The Special 301 report basically just tries to determine which countries the US should put more pressure on to “get with the program,” diplomatically speaking, when it comes to copyright issues. In the past, it’s been used to bully countries like Canada and Israel — both of which have strong copyright that is very much in compliance with international obligations.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Christian Einfeldt’s DTP presentation in Berlin 2004 05 (2004)


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

Demo of Dual-head Dual-game GNU/Linux Machine

Posted in GNU/Linux, Videos at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Two modern computer games (WoW and CS) running under GNU/Linux even at the same time on multiple screens


Direct link

Nobody is Born a Microsoft Employee

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu, Windows at 7:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Baby

Summary: Response to a poor defense of Microsoft’s immoral and sometimes illegal behaviour

IT is extremely important to tell apart voluntary and involuntary. Some things are not genetic. It is a “choice versus condition” situation. One can quit company that he or she once joined. Case of point: Mr. Reifman.

Reifman used to work for Microsoft, but having left the convicted monopolist, he is currently blasting Microsoft’s management for its tax evasion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. He really puts a lot of effort into it and we applaud him for it. He is doing a real service to citizens of his state. “Former Microsoft manager engineers tax break,” says The Inquirer’s headline, which was probably made possible thanks to the investigation by Reifman.

IT SEEMS THAT old loyalties carry a lot of weight for a former Microsoft manager who entered politics.

Facing a $2.8 billion deficit and pending insolvency, Washington State’s House of Representatives has pending Bill 3176, which mysteriously proposes changes to the state B&O royalty tax that would give Microsoft an estimated $100 million tax cut annually and possible amnesty for more than a billion dollars in alleged past tax evasion.

[...]

While the shy and retiring Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer claims that the Vole honours its local communities by providing transparency in its business practices he doesn’t say much about the company’s Nevada tax dodge.

This is a development that we mentioned yesterday and here is an interesting new comment which says: “The subsidies cost Washington taxpayers approximately $10,000 per student per year. The bill’s high income beneficiaries earn an average $92,000 per year, double the state’s per capita income. (Source: USDOL ETA 2008)…

Microsoft is in some sense stealing money from the public (yes, money can be stolen, unlike ideas) and it becomes abundantly clear that Microsoft is still a sociopath unworthy of defense. As our reader Wayne Borean puts it, Microsoft is “Tax Evader Par Excelence”.

Microsoft plays a good game, trying to market their company as a responsible corporate citizen. Using the rules to avoid paying taxes by having an office in another state to collect one type of revenue may be legal (I’m not familiar with the local rules). It may not be legal. But avoiding taxes when your home state as a horrible budget deficit is not the act of a responsible corporate citizen.

Who would possibly defend such a company? Well, usually it’s those who work inside the company or those whom authorities called “useful idiots” in the Soviet era. Here is a video that covers it (direct link). In it, Yuri Bezmenov speaks about propaganda (mirroring today’s experiences too).

Now, sticking to the original point, Microsoft relies a great deal on spin and those who are falling prey to this spin or hoping to receive a reward for playing along with it. In a new post titled “Shuttleworth on Microsoft”, The Source explains why Mark Shuttleworth’s defense is a poor one (although given the context and circumstances, it is understandable that he had to say something).

It seems to me that Microsoft vigourously opposes this “core philosophical ideal” of Ubuntu. I fail to see how you can have a “common cause” with an entity that is diametrically opposed with your core philosophical principles.

This is why I am always disappointed when people attempt to frame opposition to Microsoft as “hate” – because that falsely implies the difference is irrational and emotional instead of the philosophical difference it is. I appreciate my freedom and want to increase my freedom. Microsoft appreciates controlling me and wants to increase its control. There’s not much room for “common cause” there, and its not because I hate Microsoft or Microsoft hates me – it’s a fundamental difference of philosophy and goals.

We prefer not to repeat erroneous information from other Web sites, but either way, here is part of what Shuttleworth said. It is being framed and addressed:

I’m also quite disappointed to see Mr. Shuttleworth break out this:

I think it is as wrong to demonise the people who work at a company as it is to demonise people of a particular colour, nationality or other demographic

Excepting the very top-level executives – people who are personally responsible for Microsoft’s actions – I question the premise that anyone is demonising people who simply work at Microsoft. Criticism of Microsoft as an entity is most certainly not demonising its workers.

I draw special attention to this point because it is a 2-for-1 fallacy: not only is the premise incorrect, but if it were true the converse would be true – yet the converse is never acknowledged.

Okay. Now it’s our turn. This is a very bad analogy because working for Microsoft is not something you are born with and can neither choose nor change. One can do something ethical for an ethical company and even criticise unethical elements. But then again, we know that those who speak out against corruption are usually subjected to personal abuse (at times directly from the criticised entity). Sometimes it makes life easier to just accept the criminals and say nothing negative about anyone. Maybe it’s good for business, but it’s not necessarily healthy for society.

“It’s like saying that the policeman is full of “hate” for the criminal he chases down the street…”The premise about tolerance as it’s posed above is very fallacious. It’s like saying that the policeman is full of “hate” for the criminal he chases down the street and the poor analogy from Shuttleworth can actually mislead some readers who are trying to relate to co-existence (which Microsoft never wanted). People can choose who to work for, whereas they do cannot or can very rarely choose something like the examples he mentioned (“colour, nationality or other demographic”). So, it’s a straw man argument relying on improper (unmappable) parables.

Nobody must work for a serial convicted villain and the most important point is that some people are actually choosing to become members of the Microsoft One Way/Club, which is widely known as unethical and even illegal. “But I want to make a lot of money” is a very poor defense that lacks any sense of morality. Shuttleworth hired at least one person from Microsoft, so maybe there is another dimension to this debate/conflict. Maybe it’s to do with hypocrisy. Novell has the same type of trouble because its employees brag about spreading Mono (the Microsoft API conundrum, being brought up in relation to the latest update from Pinta [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]).

“The last thing this company needs is another fucking [computer] language.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

To address some other claims from Shuttleworth, there is no hate here. The reaction doesn’t mean “hating” and “demonising” Microsoft, because rejecting and avoiding Microsoft isn’t a matter of hatred or daemonisation – it’s simply the most effective and rational action to take based on a factual and historical review of Microsoft’s actions.

Alan Lord complains about Sam Varghese misrepresenting his views:

Sam, your article paints me with a brush 22which I do not believe to be fair or accurate.

Adam Williamson (from Red Hat/Fedora and formerly from Mandriva) adds in the comments: “There is an error in your title – it contains an entirely superfluous question mark.

“ If you have anything to complain about them you’re a Microsoft hater and as such your points are not valid anymore, no matter how relevant or accurate they may be in themselves.”
      –Daniel
“(‘Sam Varghese Got It Wrong’ is up there with ‘Dog Bites Man’ in the realm of the non-story. There’s an unofficial club of those who have been magnificently inaccurately attacked by Sam, in fact. We’re thinking of getting t-shirts printed…)”

Daniel correctly says: “Standard Microsoft way of dealing with any and all criticism really. If you have anything to complain about them you’re a Microsoft hater and as such your points are not valid anymore, no matter how relevant or accurate they may be in themselves.”

This whole “Hater” label is one that we addressed before [1, 2, 3, 4]. There are variants of this label, but the ideas and intentions remain the same. Critics of Microsoft’s actions (that deserve criticism if not severe punishment) are invalidated in the usual way using labels and PR. Critics of the Gates Foundation are usually being labeled “just jealous”. Critics of foreign relations in some countries get assigned labels like “unpatriotic” or “anti-Soviet”.

I have personally met important people who privately admit disliking or hating Microsoft for its crimes, but they also say that they cannot talk about it in public as that would discredit them. This means that Microsoft’s daemonisation tactics (of its critics) have worked in the sense that they created a state of self-censorship or peer censorship (one person telling off a colleague for example).

Icahn Takes Next Step in Microsoft’s Proxy Battle, IE8 Demotes Google

Posted in Antitrust, Google, Microsoft, Search at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Carl Icahn

Summary: Carl Icahn drops his shares of Yahoo! after Carol Bartz has been installed and is “behaving”; the lies about Microsoft’s search share carry on unabated in the US media and Microsoft is still playing dirty against Google

Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo! has pretty much destroyed the company. Job done for Icahn, whose purpose was to overthrow the leadership and hand over control to someone like Microsoft. He is now dumping 80% of his stock holdings too and as one reporter correctly puts it:

Obviously, then, Icahn doesn’t intend to go on the attack against Carol Bartz and the current board, which might be good news for Yahoo. Optimists could interpret Icahn’s move as a sign of contentment. (Or perhaps he managed to reap some profits at one point.)

Given that he communicated with Microsoft while he was trying to throw Yang out, of course his interests align with those of Microsoft. He got sued recently for other reasons. Such corporate thugs ought to be dealt with like criminals who are a threat to their nation. Nathan Myhrvold is another example of such parasites.

As a side note, Microsoft’s partners at Nielsen are again perpetuating the search market lies. It’s lying by omission, just like in the case of comScore, which is another Microsoft partner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Microsoft does not want people to know the truth, namely that Bing still has about 3% market share (globally) despite the fact that Microsoft is spending/wasting billions of dollars per year on this unit.

It is worth mentioning this new article which shows that Microsoft is still playing dirty to remove Google as a choice:

That’s bad old news, but I found another, new fun and annoying reason why I can no longer recommend IE8: its search engine lock-in.

I recently installed a fresh copy of 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate. Along the way I was setting up IE8. IE8 comes with Bing, Microsoft’s own ‘search’ engine as its default. Now, I think Bing sucks dead basketball shoes through rusty tailpipes but, OK, it’s Microsoft’s Web browser, so, of course they’re going to use their own search engine.

When I went about trying to change it though, I found that IE8 was doing its darnedest to keep me from changing it to another useful engine. Instead of offering me a simple choice of search engines, as Firefox does, it moved me to an Add-on Gallery: Search Providers page. There, the first time I ran it, my choices included Wikipedia, the New York Times, and Hulu. Notice what’s missing? Google, Yahoo!, or even AltaVista.

One reader wrote to us this morning to recommend Don’t Click on the Blue E! Switching to Firefox. Scott Granneman. O’Reilly Media. (2005) 288 pages. “Here is a nice poster,” he added.

Last month it was Microsoft’s own negligence [1, 2, 3] that led Internet Explorer to having many businesses attacked, including Google [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Now we find this in the news:

After a promising start as a security consultant who did volunteer work for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Butler was arrested for writing malicious software that installed a back-door program on computers — including some on federal government networks — that were susceptible to a security hole.

It calls them “computers” instead of “Windows PCs”. Well, it’s a report from IDG, so that’s just expected.

“His [Gates's] view was the Internet was free. There’s no money to be made there. Why is that an interesting business?”

David F. Marquardt, a general partner of Technology Venture Investors

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