EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


Links 1/3/2010: New Linux Benchmarks ARM Development Studio for Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • GNU/Linux: Current State of Voice Dictation and Recognition

    With the discouraging part behind us I want to look at what is being done and recent developments as of February 2010. Just recently the simon project announced an upcoming 1½ year benefit project on its web log. The announcement includes the following:

    With the help of verbal control provided by simon using terms of everyday language, useful scenarios and areas of application shall be created to enable an easy use of new communication technologies such as the internet, telephone and multimedia applications for elderly people. Moreover, additional security can be provided, for example, a reminder for the user to take a medication.

    While this announcement does not specifically state work on solving the dictation problem there is at least proof that the assistive software simon is moving forward with its user voice interface. We can only hope that the research done will turn simon into a useful, dictation capable, voice interface for GNU/Linux. Unfortunately, simon uses the HTK-Toolkit which is not GPL and has its own rather restrictive license that includes this clause:

    2.2 The Licensed Software either in whole or in part can not be distributed or sub-licensed to any third party in any form.

    This restrictive license means the HTK-toolkit cannot be distributed with a GNU/Linux distribution. Which also means it is unlikely that simon will be included in many distributions as it relies on this toolkit for the heavy lifting of back-end speech processing.

  • Desktop

    • The Perennial Year of the Linux Desktop

      The gains must come gradually, one user at a time. For me, the year of the Linux desktop is long gone, but I still feel like a relative noob at times. For others it was more recent. Perhaps for you 2010 is the year of the Linux desktop. I’ll make the call now, 2011 is sure to be another year for gradual gains in Linux desktop marketshare.

    • Linux: Can it get any easier?

      Recently I did some articles on Samba and various ways to share folders in Linux. Now, normally Samba can be pretty tricky to set up right. Oh sure, there are tools to help you out with this (and some of those tools actually work quite well), but the end user doesn’t want to have to monkey with Samba. In fact, the end user doesn’t want (or even need) to know what Samba is. End users just wants to be able to tell their computers to share out a folder to other users. Period.

      Of course, most of you are thinking – yeah right…on Linux? Even with Windows you typically have to join either a workgroup or a domain to make file sharing easy. So how in the world could Linux make this easier than it is on Windows? Believe it or not, it now is.

    • Junior High students in Monza build their own Ubuntu computers

      Last November, the Confalonieri Public Junior High School in Monza, Northern Italy set up a really interesting and original optional course for its students. When I heard about it on an Italian mailing list I contacted the two teachers who run the course, Fabio Frittoli and Francesco De Gennaro (quoted below as F&F for brevity) to know something more.

  • Server

    • Is it time for a Windows or Linux server in your home?

      Increasingly today’s modern homes are gaining computing infrastructure to rival many small businesses. Just as a company should consider a server for file and print serving, backups, a web site and centralised e-mail, so too families might like to consider the same. However, what’s right? Windows or Linux?

  • Applications

    • Collection of extensions for Chrome browser | Week9-10
    • Linux 2.6.24 Through Linux 2.6.33 Benchmarks

      At Phoronix we have been benchmarking the Linux kernel on a daily basis using Phoromatic Tracker, a sub-component of Phoromatic and the Phoronix Test Suite. We launched our first system in the Linux kernel testing farm just prior to the Linux 2.6.33 kernel development cycle and found a number of notable regressions during the past three months. Now with the Linux 2.6.34 kernel development cycle getting into swing, we have added an additional two systems to our daily kernel benchmarking farm. One of the systems is an Atom Z520 system but what makes it more interesting is that the system is using a Btrfs file-system and then the second new system added to the kernel tracker is a 64-bit setup. However, to provide a historical look at the Linux kernel performance, we have ran some fresh benchmarks going back to the Linux 2.6.24 kernel and ending with the recently released Linux 2.6.33 kernel.

    • Launchy – A Time-Saving Desktop Shortcut Launch Application for Windows and Linux

      If you spend too much time hunting for shortcuts to open applications, or want to stop wasting time hunting through your programs menu to find the software you’re looking for — Launchy may be the desktop application search tool you’ve been looking for. Here’s why I cannot live without this productivity-enhancing computer software.

    • 13 Linux Twitter Applications Reviewed

      Below sits a list of 13 twitter clients that are either native Linux apps or run extremely well on Linux. At the end of the post is a comparison chart to allow you to easily see which application has which feature so you can make an informed decision.

    • ImageMagick Fun

      The “fun” in the title should be read in your most sarcastic tone of voice… Anyways, one of my professors mailed us a PDF of a scanned document to read (and print out) for the next class. Being that is was scanned in (by what appeared to be the professor literally holding it above a scanner) there was a lot of excess black in the picture.

      I don’t know about you, but printing 2 large blocks of solid black, for 22 pages, doesn’t sound like a wise investment of toner. But ah! Why don’t I just crop off the excess part of each page so that just the scanned-in text is visible, and print that out? This has to be easy, right?

    • Lucidor – Simple eBook Reader

      Lucidor is a computer program for reading and handling e-books. Lucidor supports e-books in the EPUB file format, and catalogs in the OPDS format.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • FlightGear 2.0

        Version 2.0.0 of FlightGear, an open source flight simulator, has been released. Major new developments and features in this release includes the following:

        * Dramatic new 3D clouds
        * Dramatic lighting conditions

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Distro Hoppin`: Igelle 1.0.0

      Hey, people! Welcome to a brand new installment of the Distro Hoppin` series! I bet you’ve been waiting for this a long time! Actually I KNOW you’ve been waiting for this a long time. Not because you were anxiously craving for my writing or anything, but because it’s been a friggin` long time since the last hop. Be ashamed of yourself, Danny. Promising to write a post more often than once in a blue moon and going ahead to extend that period to once in an ice age… Tsk, tsk, tsk. OK, insert puppy eyes here and let’s move on. I DON’T NEED YOUR FORGIVENESS!

    • Desktop comparison – Zenwalk Linux, Salix OS and GoblinX

      I love them all, each in their own way, but the purpose was to compare and find a winner if you want an easy life at home and just something that works without much hassle, and I’m not going to cop out now. Xfce is a fast and potent environment that I believe can meet most people’s needs, but it does not achieve its full potential in most distributions due to the underlying base. However in a well-done distro you won’t need any other environment for your daily computing and benefit from a considerable speed gain.

    • New Releases

      • ArchBang 2.00 RC1

        There’s an installer now, but you can always follow this mini-guide to install Arch-Linux w/ OpenBox fast if you want to do it manually big_smile

    • Fedora

      • Calling all Geeks – Fedora 13 needs your help!

        All slogan suggestions need to submitted by 2nd of March, 2010.

        Here’s how your slogan needs to be:

        * Must be between 1-3 words
        * Slogan needs to be an active sentence, like a command e.g. F8: Go higher F11: Reign
        * Slogan must be positive and reflect the idea that Fedora lets users achieve something great
        * Should reflect one or more of the themes from the artwork created by the Artwork team for this release (see the wiki page)

      • Why Fedora needs an Updates Policy

        A huge thread-o-doom on Fedora and updates and what should be done and why the policy is horrible has sprouted on the fedora-devel list (yes, it’s now called devel@lists.fp.o, but I don’t care.) But wait… there is no draft policy yet so how can it be horrible? Oh, yes some of the brainstorming around it

      • Fedora 13 Alpha release delayed

        Fedora Project developers said they will push back the first alpha release for Fedora 13 by one week.

    • Debian Family

      • Dedo Does Debian – Review

        Debian is one of the more important Linux distributions. Without Debian, we would probably not have Ubuntu or APT and Linux desktop would still be a dream. And it just happens that I never gave it a proper review, until now.

        Time to do that. Naturally, I will not be reviewing Debian as any old distro. It has its special place alongside RedHat (CentOS). In other words, it’s not a toy, it’s a serious, somber tool for power users who cherish uttermost stability as the main feature in their operating system, with usability taking the humble second place. Plus, there’s the free software idea, which might also complicate things a little. Don’t expect Debian to run after you like a favorite canine. It’s the other way around.


        Debian is a very decent choice. It’s a little conservative, but it works well and compensates the would-be bad stuff with a sense of old, acquired quality. If not for the network issues on my laptop, it would really have been great.

        Enabling non-free repositories really opens up the palette of choices, adding color and spice to the Debian experience and turning a spartan Server-oriented distribution into a fairly adequate desktop system. The kernel oops is somewhat surprising, but it was a one-time error that did not come back since.

        I like Debian. It’s not for everyone, especially not new users, who will benefit more from the mainstream releases like Ubuntu or Mandriva. For power users, Debian makes quite a bit of sense. It’s robust, fast, fairly stable, you don’t get any surprises in between releases, and you can focus on productivity. If you want the little perks, there are there, too, including instant messaging, VoIP, web camera, multimedia support, and other stuff you would normally get from any desktop-oriented system. In a way, it’s the best of both worlds.

        That would be all for today. Dedo did Debian. Now, it’s your turn to start using Debian or send me emails, either praising me or berating my findings.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu One Music has No Watermarks

          This is just a short blog post to note that Matt Griffin has updated the FAQ for the Ubuntu One Music Store that I previously blogged about.

          Most notable is probably this update:-

          There will be no embedded ‘watermarks’ of any kind on the MP3s in the Ubuntu One Music Store.

        • 4 New Themes For Lucid including Homosapien and Sorbet!

          4 new themes have been chosen for Lucid’s community-themes package. These themes – along with updates version of 4 old favourites – can be installed in Lucid using: -

          * sudo apt-get install community-themes

          Many of the those chosen we have blogged extensively about – Homosapien became a firm fixture in our theme posts over the last few months so it’s great to see it chosen for inclusion.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 182

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #182 for the week February 21st – February 27th, 2010. In this issue we cover: Lucid Alpha 3 Released, Rocking The Opportunistic Desktop, Can you hear the Music, New Ubuntu Members: Americas Board Meeting, Ubuntu Libya LoCo at the Technology & Science Fair, Help localization testing with the ISO tracker, Translating software descriptions with Nightmonkey, Attention Encrypted Home Users, Server Bug Zapping – Call for Participation, Ubuntu Women has a new IRC Channel, Full Circle Magazine #34, and much, much more!

        • Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid) Alpha 3 Screenshots Gallery

          The Ubuntu developers are moving quickly to bring you the absolute latest and greatest software the Open Source community has to offer. The Lucid Lynx Alpha 3 is the third alpha release of Ubuntu 10.04, bringing with it the earliest new features for the next version of Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ARM announces a development studio

      UK CHIP DESIGNER ARM has announced the Keil Development Studio 5 (DS-5) Application Edition for ARM Linux-based systems.

      ARM claims the DS-5 Application Edition was developed as a tool suite designed to simplify developing Linux and Android native applications for ARM processor-based systems. It was built to reduce the learning curve and shorten the coding and testing cycle.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • HP puts out a multi-touch tablet

        HP also announced four models in its middle of the road Probook series, which it says comes in “sophisticated” colours. Colour choice aside, the most interesting feature of these is that they can be pre-installed with SuSE Enterprise Linux.

        All the models HP launched today feature Daystarter, a preboot screen that allows you to view things like your calendar and battery life while booting into Windows. However with SSDs and the option of Linux it isn’t the time taken to get past the splash screen that HP should look to reduce but rather the time taken to load all the pre-installed junk once you’ve made it into Windows.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Time To Rebut The IIPA’s FUD Against Open Source

    A recent blog posting at The Guardian about the US “Special 301″ rules has generated deep concern around the global open source community. It points (via a blog posting by Edinburgh University law lecturer Andres Guadamuz) to this year’s recommendations from the controversially-named International Intellectual Property Alliance, which describes itself as “a private sector coalition… of trade associations representing U.S. copyright-based industries” – namely

    “the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)”.

  • Firefox 4 – Updates, Roadmaps And Changes So Far

    Developers and users alike are pretty interested these days in knowing what the Mozilla developers are up to with the new Firefox 4 browser. A product roadmap was released by the foundation giving information on when to expect the next big thing: Firefox 4.
    The report details that Firefox 4.0 is due to arrive in either October or November of 2010 and will bring with it a range of new features, such as a new slick user interface and multi-touch gesture support. But take note that this report is currently classed as a ‘draft’ and could be open to any number of changes.

  • Dual of denial – on the success and failure of dual licensing

    A good example of this is OpenNMS Group. The acquisition of copyright to the 1.0 code base in 2009 out the company in the position of being able to changing its licensing strategy beyong a pure open source approach. While the company is unlikely to go open core (Tarus Balog prefers to call it “fauxpen source”, OpenNMS has delivered Powered by OpenNMS – a commercial license program:

    “While the OpenNMS Group encourages the adoption of open source software, some organizations, due to trade secrets, patents or other proprietary reasons, may not be able to use 100% open source software in their environment. The ‘Powered by OpenNMS’ program allows them to purchase the right to use OpenNMS under a more traditional license.”

    That in itself does not guarantee the continued use of dual licensing. But it does demonstrate. along with the comments of Richard Stallman, that dual licensing remains a valid strategy for generating revenue from open source software that is compatible with the principles of free and open source software.

  • OpenStreetMap updates its maps of Chile

    OSM also mapped large volumes of data during the recent Haitian earthquake. Before the disaster, the OSM maps had been sketchy even in the capital Port-au-Prince. In Chile, thanks to an active local OSM community, the OSM maps are already pretty comprehensive, but, in the rural areas, with the exception of major roads, much remains to be mapped.

  • Google Go captures developers’ imaginations

    Less than four months after its unveiling at an early, experimental stage, Google Go looks promising to developers who say it offers significant improvements over other programming languages.


  • My top 10 geek epitaphs
  • Security

    • Weaponizing Mozart

      In recent years Britain has become the Willy Wonka of social control, churning out increasingly creepy, bizarre, and fantastic methods for policing the populace. But our weaponization of classical music—where Mozart, Beethoven, and other greats have been turned into tools of state repression—marks a new low.

      We’re already the kings of CCTV. An estimated 20 per cent of the world’s CCTV cameras are in the UK, a remarkable achievement for an island that occupies only 0.2 per cent of the world’s inhabitable landmass.

    • Detectives trawl DNA database 60 times a year – hunting for criminals’ relatives

      New concerns have been raised about the use of innocent people’s DNA in police investigations.

      Figures obtained by The Mail on Sunday show that detectives are ordering weekly searches of the DNA database for people with no immediate connection to any crime.

      The searches are used when crime scene DNA samples produce no direct match on the system.

    • Pub landlord is first person in Britain to be jailed over smoking ban

      A former pub landlord yesterday became the first person to be jailed in connection with the smoking ban.

      Nick Hogan, 43, was sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to pay a fine imposed for flouting the legislation.

  • Finance

    • SANDERS: The EU factor in the euro crisis

      Of course the euro did seem the obvious next step in “the European project” — the attempt to end the Continent’s wars, culminating in World War II, which almost destroyed European civilization. The towering figures of Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle saw German-French political unity as the only way to avoid future conflicts. Their inspired helpmates — Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet, Herbert Wehner and a host of lesser-known technocrats — tried to build a parallel economic infrastructure. And under Washington’s sheltering arm, the Soviet threat was held in check and eventually defeated by the world’s most successful military alliance, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

    • PayPal India hits reboot with bank withdrawals

      PayPal confirmed late last week that the Reserve Bank of India had given it the go ahead to restart bank withdrawals in the country for settlements for exports of goods and services.

    • Too Big To Fail As A National Policy In America

      A good example of this policy confusion is the recent controversy about whether the Federal Reserve—when it bailed out American International Group (AIG)—should have insisted on discounts from Goldman Sachs and other AIG credit default swap counterparties.

    • Washington Abandons Greece: Beware of Geeks Bearing Grifts

      The European Union (EU) is shocked — shocked I tell you! — that Greece used financial engineering to qualify for admission. Exactly how did they think that weaker countries managed to meet the requirements? Now the EU is concerned that geeks used their knowledge of Greece’s hidden debt (and bailout negotiations) to manipulate financial markets for their own profit.

    • Kevin Connor: Goldman’s Role in Greek Crisis Is Proving Too Ugly to Ignore

      Goldman Sachs appears to be testing the limits of its special talent for avoiding all accountability following revelations of its role in exacerbating the Greek debt crisis.

    • Goldman Sachs: Betting the Patient Will Die

      Well, it turns out that our old friends at Goldman Sachs had a big hand in the big mess — and, while helping Greece disguise its debt problems, back when it would have been easier to deal with, Goldman also bet that eventually the patient would die — and took out insurance policies to cover itself.

    • Time for Goldman to Come Clean

      Currency traders generally welcome the volatility generated by rotating fears. It would be foolish to assume the worst news will continue to come out of Athens. There are enough problems around the world that the euro’s time as the ugliest princess is likely to be brief.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • [The Silver Lining Development Team Shutting Down]

      In 2005, Phoenix Online Studios received a Cease & Desist letter from Vivendi Universal, the owners of the King’s Quest IP, in regards to our work on The Silver Lining. We complied with the request, and over the months that followed, we were able to work out a non-commercial fan license with Vivendi that allowed us to continue our work on the game.

    • UK to kill off Internet cafes

      HE GLORIOUS BRITISH GOVERNMENT, upon which the sun finally set almost 100 years ago, has decided that having open WiFi networks is bad for the general population and it wants them all shut off.

    • Government to disconnect entire families for alleged illegal downloading

      The Digital Economy Bill, currently being debated in the House of Lords, would give the Government the power to disconnect people from the internet if copyright files are downloaded without permission. The Government, heavily lobbied by the music industry, seems convinced that’s the way to stop illicit file sharing and downloading of music. What’s certain is that entire families could be be disconnected if only one member (or lodger or guest) is accused of illegal downloading.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Emin Akhundov, Web Administrator in Azerbaijan 01 (2004)

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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 1st, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Windows Mobile is Dying as More Major Developers Officially Abandon

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, UNIX at 3:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows with Free Software

Summary: Linux and UNIX emerge as victors because they grow most rapidly while Microsoft’s Windows continues to sink and prominent developers like Skype and Adobe move on

POOR WINDOWS Mobile. Its market share is said to have fallen by about 30% in just one single year, so it could almost be seen as a dying breed. According to this, Windows fell behind Apple’s OS in terms of market share (it depends on how it’s measured, e.g. total number of phones ever sold, total number of active phones, sales per year, etc.) and another report confirms that UNIX and Linux are gaining the most (this agrees with other surveys):

Android and Apple’s iPhone OS were the fastest-growing smartphone platforms in 2009, with sales of the iPhone OS overtaking those of Windows Mobile, research company Gartner said Tuesday. Symbian and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry still lead the market, it said.

Take these numbers with a large grain of salt for reasons that we mentioned earlier.

One author has published this: “Dear Microsoft: Please Give Up on Mobile”

Dear Steve Ballmer, I believe it’s time to give up development of a mobile operating system. With all due respect to the multi-billion dollar empire you’re entrusted with running, the simple truth is that Microsoft is quite bad at developing user interfaces that are friendly and intuitive. Windows 7 is an improvement, but you’re far from being out of the woods. What’s more, it appears that your guidance, Mr. Ballmer, might be making the problem worse, especially if the things you said recently about your instructions to Windows Phone developers were true.

The publication known as Business Insider shows “CHARTS OF THE WEEK: The Collapse Of Microsoft’s Mobile Business”

The stagnation at best and unstoppable rapid demise at worst has led Skype to dropping support for Windows Mobile.

Ok, ok. Don’t freak out–it looks like this is just a step towards supporting the new Microsoft mobile operating system and not a move showing Skype is quiting MS-based phones altogether. Skype has pulled their app for Window Mobile, meaning new users will not be able to download it. Users with the software already installed will still be able to use it. According to GigaOm, it appears the reasons are that the software never quite achieved the best possible consistent user experience and Skype has grown tired of supporting it when they could be focusing on making a killer app for the Windows Phone 7 operating system.

But there is “No Word of Return,” according to IDG. The Microsoft boosters clearly describe this as a “blow” and Microsoft Watcher Joe Wilcox says that it’s not just Skype but also Adobe (amongst others because Windows Mobile is being abandoned by developers, which is hugely problematic without inertia [1, 2]).

More software developers should follow the lead of Adobe and Skype, which have abandoned Windows Mobile — what Microsoft now calls Windows Phone Classic.

Windows Phone Classic is a joke, it’s a relic. For those who wonder what it really becomes, it’s just crippleware to poor people, which Microsoft will call “Windows Phone 6 Starter” [1, 2, 3]. It’s an attempt to make something out of bad code. Microsoft says that it targets “emerging markets”, which is a very insulting term for poor people to whom Microsoft will throw an antiquated version of Windows Mobile (as though they don’t deserve something modern, which costs nothing to replicate anyway). Microsoft used exactly the same tricks with Vista 7, which is why sub-notebooks with Windows are so repellent. One can’t even change the wallpaper. “Are you kidding me Microsoft,” says one of their fans, “Why confuse with Windows Phone Starter Edition?”

Doesn’t Microsoft think there is enough confusion with Starter Edition in Windows? Why bring this to the smartphone world where you need to get out a simple and memorable brand and experience to the consumer? What about the Classic Edition we heard about, is that for real too?

The Consumerist wonders if Microsoft has completely lost it and will therefore try buying BlackBerry instead (RIM)*. The Consumerist is not alone here [1, 2, 3, 4]. The BlackBerry is almost purely proprietary (like Microsoft wants it to be) and while it recently adopted Webkit, IE6 is being phased out, which is problematic to Windows Mobile.

HTC is one of Microsoft’s biggest Windows Mobile partners and HTC is turning to Linux. Ouch. Microsoft must hate this.

The Google Nexus One is no longer the king of the Android hill anymore. The HTC Desire, unveiled Tuesday, is the latest must-have Android phone. The handset is basically a Nexus One on steroids and is sure to put a pit in the stomach of any new Android owner who thought their phone was the coolest.

The recent Internet Explorer attacks on Google in China [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] shed some doubt here.

Looking at Apple’s side for a moment, there is a big blunder there in China. To name it in an almost-chronological order:

Apple: Underage Workers May Have Built Your iPhone

That iPhone you adore may have been built by a child.

Apple admits using child labour

At least eleven 15-year-old children were discovered to be working last year in three factories which supply Apple.

The company did not name the offending factories, or say where they were based, but the majority of its goods are assembled in China.

Apple cites suppliers for violations

The supplier code of conduct and the site audits are intended to protect workers’ rights and to improve factory conditions.

Apple did not identify any suppliers by name or the countries in which the infractions took place.

To be fair, almost all phones are made in these factories, not just Apple’s. But how’s this for sweet irony:

Irony at it’s finest: Microsoft giving away Macbook Pro’s as rewards. Icicles to jut from the ground in 3..2..

Microsoft wants to give you a MacBook Pro

Microsoft promotes Office by giving away… MacBooks

Microsoft Office Promotion: Free ‘Apple Macbook Pro’ giveaways

At the same time, Apple publicly slams Microsoft for imitating Apple poorly, as it did a lot back in the 80s and is still doing to this date.

Apple chief financial officer Tim Cook took shots at Microsoft’s retail stores today in his presentation at Goldman-Sachs’ Technology & Internet Conference. The executive indirectly accused Microsoft of being afraid to actually launch a real retail effort and said Apple’s original plan in 2001 was a commitment to selling products to customers, not just a vehicle for an experience.

Apple retail is “not a pilot, not a test,” Cook said, referring to Microsoft’s decision to limit its initial plans to just one store each in Arizona and California.

Here are some new statistics which, if true, are rather striking.

According to AdMob, nearly three-quarters of Android users are male. That’s not to say you have to be a dude in order to qualify as an Android fanboy, of course — but the fellas sure do hold a sizable majority in Google’s court.

iPhone users, in comparison, are pretty close to evenly divided when it comes to gender. A full forty-three percent of Apple fanatics are female, AdMob finds. Palm’s webOS is a similarly balanced story, with 42 percent of its user base waving the woman card.

All sorts of things can be inferred from it, but we leave it for readers to decide.
* There were similar rumours about the troubled Palm, but although WebOS is proprietary, there is Linux in there, which Microsoft is allergic to.

Microsoft Bailout for Microsoft Money and Trillions in Damages

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 1:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ben Bernanke official portrait
Will the Fed write off another measly trillion or so?

Summary: Microsoft leaves customers and their financial data stranded while Windows botnets cause an untold but extremely large damage (estimated at over a trillion dollars)

Microsoft’s many dead products include Money [1, 2]. Those who relied on Microsoft for their accounting are pretty much screwed or seriously inconvenienced at the moment. André Rebentisch writes about “Microsoft Money data bailout

Microsoft Money, a Quicken competitor, is discontinued. But what happens to users and their “locked in” data?

* A request to disclose the .mny format documentation of Microsoft Money was denied.
* Some Microsoft developers suggested to open source the obsolete product which would imply disclosure of the interface information.

Let this teach us about the failures of proprietary software and the dangers associated with using it. A more considerable danger is the fact that plenty of financial data is stored on a platform with ~50% change of already being hijacked. The following report from several days ago (IDG) reminds us that many servers run GNU/Linux and UNIX, so desktops — not servers — are quite typically being targeted.

Attackers going after end users rather than servers


Rather than targeting Web and email servers, attackers these days are prone to going after enterprises from the inside out, compromising end user systems and then using them to access confidential data, according to a Web traffic analysis report by security-as-a-service provider Zscaler.

What would be the impact on banking? The answer ought to be obvious. A couple more reports from IDG (covered before based on other sources) say that the scale of cyberattacks is immense and most companies are already affected:

Three quarters of Asia Pacific enterprises — and two thirds of businesses in Singapore – have experienced cyberattacks in the past 12 months, according to new global research.

The 2010 Symantec State of Enterprise Security Study, released last week, found that 38 per cent of Asia Pacific enterprises, and 67 per cent in Singapore, rank cyberrisk as their top concern, more than natural disasters, terrorism, and traditional crime combined.

This contributes perhaps to trillions of dollars in damages. A lot of people are still shocked by these numbers because they have not been paying enough attention.

Ubuntu 10.04 Increases Mono Dependency

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 1:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono the Trojan
Source: “Mono, the Trojan” (reused with permission)

Summary: Ubuntu adds Mupen64 and gbrainy, which is another Mono application (for games) that’s installed by default

SOME months ago we suggested and laid out practical paths [1, 2] by which Ubuntu 10.04 can get rid of an unhealthy dependency on Microsoft and its little ecosystem at Novell; People like Jeremy Allison and sites like Groklaw agree on this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

One of our readers (among more who are trying the latest alpha of Ubuntu 10.04 at the moment) says that Ubuntu increased rather than decreased its dependency on Mono. This discussion began here, but some of it was discussed past midnight last night, so we have no logs up yet. That’s why we append a potion of the logs below. We do not think that Mupen64 has any Mono dependency (awaiting clarification from the source of the allegation), but perhaps it was tied to it in the repositories in error. There is time to fix this prior to release next month, but gbrainy is the real issue here because it’s definitely Mono based. It helps discourage Ubuntu GNU/Linux users from removing Mono. For details about gbrainy, see the second part of the logs below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Internet Explorer 6 is Dead But Its Damage to the Internet Persists

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 12:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Acid 3 for Internet Explorer 8.0
Acid3 results for Internet Explorer 8.0

Summary: Microsoft is pulling support for Internet Explorer 6, but to suggest that it will improve things is to ignore the short-term impact which is scary

A FEW days ago we wrote about Microsoft phasing out support for older versions of Windows (which many businesses still use). This is confirmed by some more publications and it is problematic because some businesses (those using Windows 2000 for example) will be stuck with unpatched software unless they purchase an update to Windows; it’s not only costly but it also creates compatibility issues that many businesses are not prepared to cope with. They have no access to source code, so they cannot quite resolve these issues, either (or hire someone to do this).

Similar issues are now being raised because Microsoft withdraws support for IE6. On the one hand, web developers are happy [1, 2] as they assume that people will actually depart from IE6. Well, perhaps they have not heard about what happened in Korea [1, 2]. It’s an issue that Mozilla mentioned the other day and the Korea Times has just raised as well:

Korea Sticking to Aging Browser


In an ironic twist, South Korea, the self-touted high-tech nation of the planet, appears to be clinging to decaying Internet technologies.

Internet giant Google is now telling its users to drop Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), the antiquated Microsoft Web browser that debuted in 2001, planning to kill IE6 support on its key products such as YouTube (www.youtube.com) and Gmail e-mail services.

There is an ActiveX infection that prevents the nation from offering choice. This leads to many problems such as the recent attacks against Google users [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Microsoft Nick writes: “Chinese hacker of Internet Explorer, Google ID’d by US investigators, report says”

The important points to make here are that: (1) Internet Explorer 6 will still exist, so sites need to be compatible with it and (2) Internet Explorer 6 users will be even less secure from now on, which helps nobody.

Coincidentally, YouTube will drop support for IE6 in less than two weeks from now [1, 2] and Microsoft Nick calls for a funeral (to take place today).

Internet Explorer 6 died on March 1, 2010, in Mountain View, Calif., after a family rival removed it from life support. The simultaneously beloved and detested Web browser was nearly 8.5 years old.

“Beloved”??? By whom?

Anyway, according to another report, Google keeps gaining at Internet Explorer’s expense. We can't recommend Chrome, but the report shows that it steadily grows popular. And interestingly enough, the authors at IDG don’t cite NetApps, for a change (yes, even at IDG, which is typically promoting those Microsoft-funded and biased people, amongst other corruptible firms like comScore).

Patent Trolls Got Guns!

Posted in Law, Patents at 12:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Patent trolls (or their feeders) have got guns, based on this latest shocking story

A FEW months ago there were many headlines about US bankers carrying guns. We included many links about it (in Daily Links).

For those who do not remember Patent Troll Tracker (real name Richard Frenkel [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]), he was dragged into court by patent trolls and/or those who represented them as they looted the nation, Frenkel’s employers included.

Watch who gets arrested. It’s Gregory Girard.

The inventor who holds the patent that was at the heart of two libel lawsuits against “Patent Troll Tracker” blogger Rick Frenkel and Cisco Systems was arrested last week, after police found an illegal stockpile of firearms, ammunition, and grenades in his home in Manchester, Mass., about 30 miles from Boston.

Gregory Girard, named inventor on U.S. Patent No. 7,283,519, believed he was readying himself for “Armageddon,” according to police. In addition to having around 20 firearms, Girard was stockpiling food and medicine, camouflage, and body armor, and had built an indoor shooting range in the attic of his condominium, according to accounts of the arrest in the Gloucester Daily Times and the Boston Globe. Girard had a license for the guns, but his explosives, double-edged knives, and habit of shooting indoors are all illegal.


Greg Girard did come up at the libel trial — but not as an Armageddon-fearing weapons hoarder. Instead, ESN’s lawyers praised Girard as a brilliant individual inventor — the cornerstone of American innovation. George McAndrews, a founding partner of McAndrews, Held & Malloy and one of the lawyers representing ESN in the suit against Cisco, praised Girard in a letter to Cisco general counsel Mark Chandler: “Mr. Girard is exactly what the founding fathers had in mind when they penned the Patent Clause in the basic Article I of the U.S. Constitution.” Frenkel’s use of the term “Patent Troll” to describe ESN was “outrageous,” wrote McAndrews. “Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, both individual inventors like Mr. Girard, were also not manufacturers in the traditional sense,” the letter said. “To call Mr. Girard and his company ‘Patent Trolls’ and to accuse him and his legal counsel of criminal activity is irresponsible, unfair and defamatory.”

This is also covered in:

Well, it’s not the type of story one finds every day.

Intel Unhappy With Failed Migration to Vista 7, Radical Microsoft Spin Begins

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 11:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[W]e’re not going to have products that are much more successful than Vista has been.”

Steve Ballmer

Summary: More bad news for Vista 7, so Microsoft is starting to embrace miserable measures to flood the news with positive ‘fluff’

THE reality behind Vista 7 at Intel is so far similar to the reality of Windows Vista at Intel. There was never such a reality because the migration was called off.

Check out this news report:

Intel faces challenges in migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7, including application incompatibility and system readiness, the company said.

Intel worked with Microsoft to develop Windows 7 into a stable operating system, but there is still a lot of heavy lifting involved before migrating PCs to the new OS inside Intel’s environment, wrote Intel staff engineer Roy Ubry in a blog entry. Challenges include issues related to backward application compatibility, web browser support, 64-bit computing and privacy controls.

For those who do not remember, Intel said that it would move to Vista, never to truly fulfill this promise, so it was just an advertisement/endorsement for Microsoft (in the form of lip service). At one stage, Intel said it would wait for Service Pack 1 of Vista and there was also an Internet storm when memos from Intel came out saying that Vista became a forbidden item inside the company.

But never mind reality. Never mind the fact that Vista 7 is failing to gain adoption in businesses. Microsoft and its army of boosters are already rewriting the history of Vista and promoting Vista 7 using lies. Check out this anonymous nonsense at ZDNet. Fellow writers of the author from ZDNet UK could not help weighing in and complaining. Jamie Watson wrote:

Microsoft is reigning over the world of computer and none can defy this fact

Rubbish. Complete, total, pure rubbish.

Or, it would be better to say, Windows 7 is an improved version of Windows Vista.

Then why are customers who purchased Vista required to pay again to get Win 7? The customer has to pay for Microsoft’s mistakes?

Windows Vista too earned loads of acclamation from users

On what planet?

At this point I had read enough of this. Drinking the Kool-Aid and being a Microsoft Fan-Boi is one thing, but this is evidence of a severe overdose.


Another occasional writer for ZDNet UK (community) replies to Jamie:

You hit it on the head, Jamie. Win 7 is not all it was cracked up to be. I have heard many complaints about it slowing down after a few months use, it has had security problems, driver problems,and it really is only vista with lipstick. But, since the purchaser has no choice but to buy a new computer with win 7 installed, then the numbers have no way to go but up.What if there was a choice? Would windows installed base start to slide?
The day is coming when you will have a better choice than win7, or win8.

These were the only two comments posted in reply to the lies. Speaking of the UK, the “UK government will upgrade to Microsoft Vista, snub Windows 7,” says this news site. The government apparently agrees with our reader who is a former Microsoft MVP. He says that Vista 7 is so buggy that he prefers a Service Pack of Vista. Microsoft’s UK booster Jack Schofield said that his “initial impression [of Vista 7] is how much it looks like Vista. Which I think is…uh…the thing I’m not supposed to say.”

“PCs running Windows 7 trial set to turn cranky,” heralds The India Times.

ON MARCH 1, Microsoft Windows 7 Release Candidate users will lose control over their computers. Their PCs will start shutting down every two hours, even if they haven’t saved their work. And, On June 1, the screens will go black. World’s largest software maker Microsoft’s business strategy for pushing hard to sell its new Windows 7 by exerting control over users’ PCs has opened a pandora’s box.

That happens today. Unpaid testers of Vista 7 will pay up or boot their computer every 2 hours, starting today. Jolly good fun this proprietary software thing, eh?

So anyway, what’s left to hype up Vista 7 with? How about ‘certifying’ generic hardware for Vista 7, just for promotion as we explained last year (brand recognition on hardware too)? Microsoft is doing this right now [1, 2, 3] with the company that sold Linux down the river, LG.

Let’s face it. Windows is all about marketing. Last week we showed that Archos was unable to do with Windows what it had done with Linux for several years. This is now being confirmed yet again by a publication which says that “Archos 9 tablet doesn’t make Windows look good”

Windows just doesn’t seem at home when squeezed into this 1.8-pound slab, with a touch-sensitive screen that is 8.9 inches on the diagonal. It’s sluggish, and the controls aren’t adapted to the size of the screen or the fact that there’s no real keyboard or mouse.

Windows is heavy and clumsy. It’s improperly engineered and it is not modular, either. A lot of people understand this and they move to other platforms (both users and developer do that). Microsoft — being Microsoft — is still talking about
Vista 8 vapourware. Here are just a couple of examples from the past week alone. One comes from a Windows boosting Web site:

With Windows 7 barely out the door, Microsoft has started making us aware that they are already busily working at Windows 8.

“Microsoft has started making us aware” is not the same as Microsoft actually showing something like a demo. Have they no shame? Or have they no product more capable than Vista? We suspect the latter is true.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts