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03.03.10

Links 3/3/2010: Orange for Linux, SystemRescueCd 1.4 Out

Posted in News Roundup at 10:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Four Siblings Prove Age Is Just A Number

    Nuruddin Hadii said that the e-School system is based on Linux platform since it is cheaper and secure compared to other operating systems.

    Nadzirun Hazim, the Solution Developer, said the solution he is using in this e-School system is based on Linux platform.

    Khairunnisaa Saaniah added that the idea of publishing “My PSR Puzzle” books sprang when they were struggling in completing the e-School system.

  • The Onverse Virtual World Adds Cross-Platform Patcher, Power-Up System

    The update also officially launches its Linux client alpha test.

  • Turns Out There’s A Linux Car Too

    In response to this morning’s Google Car post, tipster George sent through a pic of this Mercedes with Linux licence plates. Considering the Merc would cost a lot more than the Holden, does that mean that Linux is better than Google?

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 86
  • North Korea’s “secret cyber-weapon”: brand new Red Star OS

    Not only does North Korea have “its own Internet” – a national information network independent from the US-based Internet regulator – it also has an operating system, developed under by order of Kim Jong-il.

    Russian student Mikhail, who studies in the Kim Il-sung University and writes a blog from the Russian embassy in Pyongyang, has recently purchased the Red Star Operating System (OS) and tested it. Courtesy of Mikhail, RT gives you an opportunity to take glimpse at IT life of world’s most closed country.

  • Red Star OS: Linux distro from North Korea

    North Korea has had its own internet from a long time now. Their internet is free of any American influence and now, they have their own operating system to power that internet. The Red Star OS is a Linux based OS, developed by orders from Kim Jong-il.

  • Storagepipe Now Offers Rapid Recovery with Linux Support and Deduplication Capability

    In response to the recent success of their Rapid Recovery offering, Storagepipe Solutions (http://storagepipe.com) has issued several important new updates that allow support for Linux systems and data deduplication for minimized storage costs and improved recovery speeds.

  • Bioinformatics and Biologists

    The more ambitious new users can find plenty of challenges (and rewards) by creating Linux one-liners involving pipes or commands like awk or sed. These appear quite complex, but they are manageable when started with cookbook-style cheat sheets. Keeping a project’s set of commands in a file makes it very easy to document and tweak the pipeline, and to remember recently learned tricks. This expertise in basic Linux command-line use is all that separates many biologists from a ton of great, publicly available bioinformatics tools.

  • Selftestengine Introduces All about Linux+ certification

    Are you looking to make a great career in the field of Linux then here is a certification that would help you in that. In this article you would come to now about the Linux+ certification course and its requirements. Here is a chance to certify your knowledge.

  • Meet the laptop for PC phobics!

    “If the company succeeds it will be a huge boost for the cause of Linux computing.”

  • Alex laptop aimed at technophobes

    The Alex uses an operating system that was based on the Ubuntu Linux system and includes applications that have been designed by Broadband Computer designers.

  • Fast Boot

    • Linux OS – A Rose By Any Other Name

      Q: Are you working with a Linux distribution partner? Who is it?
      A: Yes Thundersoft. Lenovo recognized the value of running Linux as a base platform for the Skylight User Interface for everything from performance to extensive customization. This allowed us to pick the best and most appropriate elements to solve the SmartBook equation. An extensive team of partners along with internal development teams from Lenovo and Qualcomm worked together to pick, customize and create what we needed to provide a world-class solution.

      Yes my friend. It is still a Linux OS.

    • HP Touches the 2740p Tablet PC

      Day Starter is a Linux application that comes on within five seconds of hitting the Power button and provides a look at the day’s schedule, along with battery status. The system continues to boot in the background while Day Starter is displayed, allowing the user to see Outlook (only) schedule information without affecting system boot time. HP Day Starter is for information only, no interaction with the information displayed is possible.

  • Server

    • Parallel programming tool offered for Cell processor

      The Offload parallel programming tool suite from Codeplay Software Ltd. is now available for all programmers developing software to run under Linux on the Cell Broadband Engine processor.

    • IBM Launches New POWER7 System

      The POWER7, like other IBM power systems which run on the AIX, Linux and IBM i operating systems, is aimed to help clients manage their current applications and services at less cost, more energy savings, and with cost-efficient use of memory and better performance, IBM said.

    • Fixstars Launches Linux for CUDA

      Multicore software specialist Fixstars Corporation has released Yellow Dog Enterprise Linux (YDEL) for CUDA, the first commercial Linux distribution for GPU computing. The OS is aimed at HPC customers using NVIDIA GPU hardware to accelerate their vanilla Linux clusters, and is designed to lower the overall cost of system deployment, the idea being to bring these still-exotic systems into the mainstream.

    • Russia invests in supercomputers

      Russia launched its fastest supercomputer, Lomonosov, at the Moscow State University’s Research Computing Center in 2004. With the peak speed of 420TFLOPS, it is still ranked 12th in the Top500 list of the world’s fastest computers.

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel readies Sandy Bridge Linux support

      Intel is well known for its open source love, so it’s no surprise the firm has started to roll out its Sandy Bridge GPU support on Linux.

    • Download Nvidia 195.36.08 Linux Display Driver

      Nvidia is making quite a lot of Linux gamers happy with the latest update to its display drivers for *NIX platforms (Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris). Nvidia 195.36.08 adds support for a few of the latest graphics adapters from the chip maker, specifically Quadro FX 880M, GeForce GTS 350M and GeForce GTS 360M. On Linux, the latest Nvidia 195.36.08 driver also adds support for NVIDIA 3D Vision Stereo with Quadro GPUs. It also comes with a lot of updates and changes for the VDPAU API Nvidia developed to offload video processing and decoding to the graphics unit.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • SystemRescueCd 1.4 released

        The SystemRescueCd developers have announced the availability of version 1.4.0 of their recovery tool for administering or repairing an operating system and recovering data after a system crash. The SystemRescueCd is based on the Gentoo LiveCD and supports a wide variety of file systems including Ext2, Ext3 and Ext4, ReiserFS, XFS, JFS, VFAT, NTFS, ISO9660 and Btrfs.

      • Tiny Core Linux 2.9 Available for Download

        Tiny Core 2.9, the latest update to the frugal Linux distribution, has now been made available to all users in its final form. The distro comes with a number of upgraded packages and components under the hood, but also fixes several bugs and adds a few new features. Some of the changes to the very light Linux distribution also make Tiny Core 2.9 compatible with more hardware platforms.

    • Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ARM processors run native Linux and Android applications

      ARM will showcase this week at the Embedded World conference in Germany a software development tool for Linux and Android native applications running on ARM processor-based systems.

    • iGala Linux powered WiFi Photo Frame does more than displaying Photos

      Gala WiFi Linux Based Photo Frame available at ThinkGeek for $239.99.

    • Netgear Unveils NAS For SMBs

      The 3100 is a 1U, four-bay, rack-mount device that can come equipped with 4 TB or 8 TB of storage. The 4200 is a 2U, 12-bay, rack-mount product that’s available with either 12 TB or 24 TB of storage and two redundant drives. Both products are VMware-ready and are unified storage systems powered by the Linux-based ReadyNAS RAIDiator operating system.

    • Netgear expands ReadyNAS offerings for virtualised environments
    • AE Linux Is Available on Cinnamon Bay SBC Featuring Intel(R) Atom(TM) Processors

      Embedded World (Germany) — Arium (Tustin, CA) and ADI Engineering (Charlottesville, VA) today announced at the Embedded World Conference that Arium’s AE Linux has been ported onto ADI Engineering’s Intel Atom-based Cinnamon Bay Single Board Computer (SBC) platform. Arium’s AE Linux distribution is targeted for headless designs requiring a small file system and kernel footprint. The Cinnamon Bay platform is targeted at OEMs and embedded device developers who desire high-performance, highly-integrated computing platforms where they can directly boot AE Linux from a microSD card, making for a very compact and low-cost solution.

    • Enea Simplifies Multicore Development with Hypervisor

      The Enea Hypervisor is based on OSE micro kernel technology and runs Enea OSE applications at native processor speeds without compromising any real-time critical properties, and takes as guests Linux Operating System and optionally semiconductor specific executive environments for bare-metal speed packet processing.

    • How to Learn Embedded Linux (For Free Again)

      In the past few years, the use of Linux in embedded devices has skyrocketed. Televisions, phones, cars, ATMs: you name it, it probably has Linux running in it. At the recent Mobile World Congress, Linux dominated virtually every product announcement: Samsung’s Bada, many new Android phones, the Linux Foundation’s MeeGo project, Palm, and many more. Embedded Linux today has been nearly as disruptive as Linux was in the data center in the 90s and 2000s as it displaced proprietary Unix OSes.

    • Korenix JetOS95 Embedded Linux Platform Now Approved for IPv6 Ready Silver Mark

      Korenix is proud to announce that its JetOS95 Embedded Linux Based operating system has been approved for IPv6 Ready Silver Mark – a certification led by China Telecom Group. This indicates that Korenix JetBox 9500 / 9400 and 5400 series Embedded Networking and Computing Platforms, which are running on JetOS95 software, include the IPv6 mandatory core protocols and can interoperate with other IPv6 equipments.

    • MontaVista Selected as a Finalist in Two Categories in EDN’s 20th Annual Innovation Awards Competition

      MontaVista(R) Software, LLC, the leader in embedded Linux(R) commercialization, announced today they have been selected from hundreds of nominations as a finalist in two categories for this year’s EDN Innovation Awards. Instituted in 1990, the Innovation Awards honor the people, products, and technologies that have shaped the semiconductor industry over the past year. MontaVista is a finalist for Innovator of the Year and the Embedded/Software Tools categories. EDN’s worldwide audience of electronic engineers and engineering managers select the ultimate winners from among the finalists along with EDN’s editorial staff. Visit www.EDN.com/innovation20 to review each of the nominees and cast your vote.

    • 0 to Linux in 1 second

      Impressed by the 7 second boot time of Chrome OS? Then this will blow you away!

      The great thing about Linux is that due to its open source nature, it can be pushed to further limits than a closed source OS. It can be designed to work with extremely constrained resources, and its modular nature means that you can get away with removing a lot of features without affecting its working. It can be pushed to work in mere kilobytes of RAM, or on computers of a mere 20MHz, and now it has been shown to boot in under a second.

    • Phones

      • Telco software groups line up facing Google, Apple

        The two consortiums, wireless Linux group LiMo and application alliance WAC, offer operators alternatives to the software and services of Apple, Google or Nokia as they can brand and customize their software.

      • Organisations join forces to combat Apple

        The Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), a telco-led organisation announced at the recent Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona, is to co-operate more closely with mobile Linux group LiMo, according to a Reuters report released today.

      • Orange/Meego

      • Nokia

        • Nokia N900 review

          Perfect for Linux developers with deep pockets, but despite great performance and an intuitive OS, it’s not suitable for consumers who want a wide selection of apps and easy updates.

        • Nokia N900 coming to retailers in April

          Nokia has announced its Linux-based smartphone, the N900, will be available in Australia through retailers in April, but stopped short of announcing any agreements with carriers.

        • MVTec embedded software runs on Nokia mobile phone

          MVTec claims that tests have proven that image-processing applications based on HALCON can be successfully built for the Nokia N900. Applications are first developed with HALCON running on a PC. The exported code is then compiled for the Nokia N900 to allow the application to run on this mobile platform and access the full functionality of HALCON.

      • Android

        • Where Android beats the iPhone

          Can Google Android phones compete with the Apple iPhone? A few weeks ago, Google loaned me a Nexus One smartphone for experimentation, and I’ve spent the time since downloading applications and writing my own code. The good news is that the platform is not only competitive but is often a better choice than the iPhone for many programmers and the enterprises that employ them.

        • Carphone Warehouse flogs Motorola’s Milestone

          We reviewed Motorola’s and Europe’s first Android 2.0 smartphone back in January. At the time Motorola had an exclusive deal with the online retailer Expansys but the company has now signed a deal with Carphone Warehouse to flog its handset to the UK.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • CeBIT 2010: Linpus Linux Lite 1.3 for netbooks

        At this year’s CeBIT in Hannover, Linpus Technologies has announced version 1.3 of their Linpus Linux Lite distribution specifically aimed at Original Equipment and Original Design manufacturers of low-cost hardware, such as netbooks. Linpus Lite is based on the Fedora operating system and supports resolutions as low as 640 by 480 (VGA).

      • Intel’s New Convertible Classmate PC Doubles as E-Reader

        It is available with either Microsoft Windows or Linux operating system.

Free Software/Open Source

  • SCALE 8x: Color management for everyone

    On Sunday at SCALE 8x, Inkscape developer Jon Cruz presented a talk entitled “Why Color Management matters to Open Source and to You,” putting the need for color management into real-world terms for the average Linux user, outlining current development work on the subject at the application and toolkit levels, and giving example color-managed workflows for print and web production. Color management is sometimes unfairly characterized as a topic of interest only to print shops and video editors, but as Cruz explained at the top of his talk, anyone who shares digital content wants it to look correct, and everyone who uses more than one device knows how tricky that can be.

  • The alternatives to iTunes

    However, if you want to manage your iPod, look no further than Floola. Both Songbird and Floola run on Windows, Macs and the open-source Linux operating system. It will sync your music, your podcasts, your photos and your calendar, just as iTunes does. Although Floola has a basic interface, it does have some bells and whistles that you won’t find in iTunes. iTunes can sync with iCal, the built-in calendar app on the Mac, but Floola can sync with your Google calendar too. It can also copy web videos to your iPod just by adding the web address of the video, repair your iPod and download missing artwork.

  • Openness

    • FCC to Call for Government Data Overhaul

      The Federal Communications Commission outlined more details of the comprehensive broadband plan it plans to deliver to Congress later this month, laying out a series of recommendations for using Web-based technology to drive civic engagement with the government.

      The commission will call on all branches of government to continue the early efforts underway in the executive branch to bring more data online, and urge government officials to accelerate the use of social media tools to engage the public, Eugene Huang, the director of government operations at the FCC’s broadband task force said on Monday.

Leftovers

  • US might turn to WTO to pressure China

    SEARCH GIANT Google wants the US to take its Chinese battles through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), according to a Business Week report.

    This will no doubt further fuel the antagonistic relations between Google, the US and China.

  • Security

    • Slouching toward justice for Terry Childs

      The Terry Childs trial has dragged on for eight weeks now, and the defense hasn’t even started presenting its case. I’m nowhere near the courtroom — I’m on the other side of the country, in fact — but I’ve talked to several folks who were there. Each one volunteered that jurors seemed bored to tears; some in the jury box may even have been sleeping. Seems my comments last year about the potential problems of seating a jury for this trial [1] had some foundation after all.

    • Nose scanning techniques could sniff out criminals

      We already have iris and fingerprint scanning but noses could be an even better method of identification, says a study from the University of Bath, UK.

      The researchers scanned noses in 3D and characterised them by tip, ridge profile and the nasion, or area between the eyes.

      Since they are hard to conceal, the study says, noses would work well for identification in covert surveillance.

      The researchers say noses have been overlooked in the growing field of biometrics, studies into ways of identifying distinguishing traits in people.

    • Think the ID card’s gone away? Think again

      I have been a resident of the UK since 2005, having emigrated here from the USA – my home country. At first I was a graduate student, then -according to the Home Office – a highly-skilled migrant worker. Recently I married a UK citizen and I had to renew my visa for the fourth time in 4 years. This time, the situation is different. No longer do I have a ‘vignette’ sticker in my passport. Instead, I have been compelled to have a UK ID card which holds my biometrics and visa. I have to carry both my passport and my ID when I travel in and out of the country.

    • What not to do when you retire…

      An old man who has chosen to spend his retirement presiding over the most intrusive and expensive system allowing our government to control its population ever conceived in Britain.

    • Vulnerabilities in sudo closed
  • Environment

    • Organized Campaigns to Cyber-Bully Climate Scientists?

      Climate scientists increasingly report that they have become targets of cyber-bullying, saying threats and hatred pour into their email inboxes whenever they appear in the press or media. The emailers call the scientists cheaters, frauds, scumbags and worse. Australian academic Clive Hamilton speculated in a news column that purpose of this cyber-bullying is to upset and intimidate the targets, making them reluctant to participate further in the climate change debate. Most of the e-mails seem to be the work of frustrated individuals who simply want to rant, but some appears to be coming from coordinated campaigns. Scientists say people appear to be taking cues from influential anti-climate change advocates like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the Web site ClimateDepot.com.

  • Finance

    • Take Action on Bank Reform!

      The reckless behavior of big Wall Street banks, credit card companies, and mortgage lenders caused a financial crisis that cost us millions of lost homes and jobs, billions in tax-payer funded bailouts and trillions in lost college and retirement savings.

      This week, the Senate will take up financial reform legislation that will set the shape of economy for the next 50 years. This is a critical time to call or email your Senator and tell them American families can no longer afford a “boom and bail” economy and it’s past time that they cracked down on the abuses that caused the financial crisis.

    • Court Upholds Release of Corporate Jets List Sought by ProPublica

      A federal district judge ruled [1] Friday that a list of private planes whose flights are blocked from the public view should be released under the Freedom of Information Act.

      We at ProPublica have been seeking [2] the list since December 2008 after the CEOs of the Big 3 automakers flew to Washington, D.C., on corporate jets to ask Congress for financial help.

    • JP Morgan Ramps Up Greedwashing

      JP Morgan Chase is one of the largest banks in America, and played a critical role in the 2008 financial crisis. It received $25 billion in bailout funds in 2008, enabling the company to get back on its feet and pay eye-popping bonuses to top executives in 2009.

    • Goldman’s Golden Fleece

      Sound familiar? In 2002, the same firm created a similar index that allowed investors to bet on the likelihood of defaults in the subprime bond market. The “savvy” investors at Goldman made a fortune off the collapse of the market. It’s a sure bet that they will do so again if Greece goes down.

    • “Markets” and the National Interest

      Markets are wonderful mechanisms, but only up to a point. Greed is not self-correcting. The lessons of corruption never seem to be learned beyond a generation or two. After a cycle of manipulation and corruption, reforms and regulations are enacted. But then everyday Americans forget the lessons, vote for politicians preaching “free markets” and “deregulation” and the cycle repeats itself. Deregulation was the watchword during the Clinton and Bush years. And see what it gave us. Bernie Madoff. Who stole billions while the Securities and Exchange Commission turned a blind, deregulated eye?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Conventions tie state officials to drug makers, raise conflict concerns

      Three California officials who oversee billions of dollars in Medi-Cal prescription drug spending have failed to disclose free flights, hotel rooms and meals paid for by nonprofit groups funded by drug makers, records and interviews show.

    • The Latest Obama-Islam Conspiracy Theory

      The conservative blogosphere is busy charging that the United States Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) new logo looks suspicious … like a combination of the Muslim crescent moon and Barack Obama’s campaign logo. Some even say they detect a similarity to the logo of Iran’s Space Agency. Right wing blogger Frank Gaffney, a former senior official at the Pentagon during the Reagan administration, says something “nefarious is afoot” about the new logo.

    • Progress Energy abandons dirty coal front group ACCCE.

      Utility giant Progress Energy is the latest in a stream of companies to abandon the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), the scandal-ridden coal-industry front group that has dirtied the debate on climate legislation.

    • Progress Energy Dumps Pro-Coal Front Group

      Progress Energy is the latest in a growing number of energy companies abandoning the pro-coal industry front group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). ACCCE opposes President Obama’s clean energy reform agenda, and was the group that ran ads at Christmas time, 2008 featuring animated lumps of coal called the “Clean Coal Carolers” cheerfully singing Christmas Carols like “Frosty the Snowman” with the lyrics changed to deliver pro-coal propaganda (“Frosty the Coalman is a jolly happy soul. He’s abundant here in America, and he helps our economy roll. Frosty the Coalman’s getting cleaner every day. He’s affordable and adorable and helps workers keep their pay.”)

    • Rep. Conyers Compares Lack Of A Performance Right Tax To Slavery

      Of course, Conyers knows all about Payola. Back in 2002, he was the one who called for payola hearings on Capitol Hill. So how is it that he suddenly thinks that money not going the other way is somehow “no avenue for compensation”? He’s being blatantly intellectually dishonest here. Is it worth mentioning that in the last election the two largest contributors to his campaign were lawyers and the Music/Movie/TV industry?

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Utah A.G. may gain broader power to demand Internet, cell-phone records

      A proposal that would broaden the power of the Attorney General’s Office to demand Internet and cell phone companies turn over information about customers won broad approval Tuesday from a Utah House committee.

    • Lib Dems seek web blocking: ask them to stop

      Lib Dem peers are seeking to amend the Digital Economy Bill to allow site blocking for copyright infringement. This could lead to unwanted blocking of sites accused of copyright infringement, including sites like Youtube, and a massive chilling effect as any site with user generated content could easily fall foul of provisions like this.

    • Court rules anti-terror data storage illegal

      In a victory for privacy advocates, Germany’s highest court on Tuesday knocked down an anti-terrorism law that allows authorities to store all phone and internet records of private citizens.

    • When American and European Ideas of Privacy Collide

      “On the Internet, the First Amendment is a local ordinance,” said Fred H. Cate, a law professor at Indiana University. He was talking about last week’s ruling from an Italian court that Google executives had violated Italian privacy law by allowing users to post a video on one of its services.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Senator Asks NBC to Explain Internet Restrictions

      Senator Herb Kohl, Democrat of Wisconsin, called on NBC Universal on Friday to explain why it has limited access to some Internet video from the Vancouver Games to subscribers of the cable, satellite and telephone companies that have Olympic deals with NBC.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Free Is Not An Aberration; It’s Basic Economics

      First, this is hogwash. Most newspapers and magazines make the majority of their money from advertisements anyway, so putting their content out there for free is hardly taking away serious revenue. Newspaper subscription fees don’t even cover the printing and delivery costs. Magazine subscriptions are just as cheap. You know all those “deals” that give you magazine subscriptions for next to nothing? That’s because subscription revenue is meaningless. Ad revenue is what matters.

    • Once Again: People Want To Share The News

      Lots of folks have been sending in the “news” about news consumption from a new Pew study. A lot of the attention being paid to the study focuses on how more people are using the internet for news than newspapers, but that was an obvious trend. What I find a bit surprising is how few people seem to be talking about one of the other findings: that so many people are actively involved in “shared news.” That is, they either share news links or get news links from others on a regular basis.

    • Supreme Court Says Courts Still Have Jurisdiction Over Unregistered Copyrights

      In appealing the settlement, it was noted that many of the freelancers had not registered their copyrights. Now, as you hopefully know, you automatically get copyright on any new content as soon as it’s set in tangible form, but if you decide to register it, it gives you additional privileges and remedies against infringement.

    • Spanish Indie Labels To Sue The Gov’t For Not Stopping File Sharing

      This is pretty disappointing. Last year, I actually bought a bunch of CDs (yes, physical CDs) from an indie label in Spain that I only heard about after a friend sent me some MP3s suggesting I might like a couple of the bands on the label. After checking out their websites (and being able to listen to some of the songs) I ended up ordering a bunch of CDs from the label. Just last week, I bought two more albums (downloads, via CDBaby) from the same label. Yet, according to these labels (and I can’t tell if the label whose CDs I purchased is part of the lawsuit), they would have been better off suing my friend. Indie labels should be leading the way here: focusing on giving fans real reasons to buy, rather than suing the government for not putting up more protectionist barriers to pretend it can hold back what the technology allows.

    • Music without copyright

      Hmmm…think it would make a lot of difference to the world if they lost the $1.6 million from the albums? Without copyright they’d only make $22.8 million from touring…You might almost think it would be worth it to them to give the recorded music away for free to promote their concerts…

    • ACTA

      • Lambrinidis or how to stay credible when it’s outrageous

        Here the article again. The quote from Lambrinidis sounds rather harsh and shrill to me but it is all true. Yes, the misuse of FTA for policy laundry is a problem for our emerging European democracy. David pointed that out. I wrote an article a while ago to try out the Salon.com blog titled What laws and bananas have in common about the same issue.

      • The ACTA Conspiracy

        What is often not understood, the planned ACTA is negotiated among a coalition of the willing. It is not primarily targeted at the nations which sit at the negotiations table but it aims at third nations, in particular emerging nations and BRIC. TRIPS included IPR ‘minimum standards’ under the premise of their misuse as a barrier to trade. The current ACTA negotiations leave that premise totally out of sight, negotiators are not aware of the difference or argue that is was just enforcement, not substantive provisions. The actual usefulness of ACTA lies in its applications beyond its original members.

      • EU member states: Making ACTA fit the acquis

CT-PC89E Netbook with 1024×600 8.9in LCD, Samsung 667mhz ARM11, running Debian/Lenny

CT-PC89E Netbook with 1024×600 8.9in LCD, Samsung 667mhz ARM11, running Debian/Lenny

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 3rd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:00 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.

Apple Chastised Even by Its Own Advocates for Suing Linux Using Software Patents

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 5:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer

Steve Jobs
Original photo by Matthew Yohe, modified by Boycott Novell

Summary: Apple’s highly unnecessary lawsuit has the company suffer wrath and flak, including some from its own supporters

EARLIER today we wrote about Apple suing Linux phones using software patents. But Apple is using a bunch of very lousy patents (here is a detailed list of all the patents).

“My favorite is #7,657,849, filed less than a month ago, covering unlocking a device by performing a gesture,” said the president of the FFII, who linked to this short article from CIO Weblog, aptly titled “An embarrassment of patents”

Bad as the patent system may be, it might be the only recourse available for Apple to justify the invention of such a device. There’s no way, at least so far as I know, to patent the totality of a thing like that, and anyway such a patent must necessarily be excessively broad. But I find it hard to say that Apple should not be rewarded with some measure of exclusivity for creating this genre of smartphone. Twenty years, the standard term, seems to long in this day and age, but say five years, perhaps; certainly a killer product with a lock on the market can make its creation worthwhile in such a time span.

Matt Asay, usually a big fan of everything from Apple, does not defend Apple here. “I’m very consistent on this,” he told me, “I hate using the law as a biz club. Legal recourse is a sign of failure”

When a bunch of lawyers, whose occupation is interpretation of words and patent legalese (this one is funny and new!), take precedence at the expense of engineers, then clearly we have a defective patent system and commercial paradigm that relies on it.

The most upsetting thing perhaps is that Steve Jobs himself describes Apple as an innovative victim. The reactions to this (from several hours ago) can be seen below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ron Hovsepian Receives Another Large Lump of Cash as Novell Sale Looms

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Novell, Ron Hovsepian at 5:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer

Ron Hovsepian as Ballmer

Summary: Coverage of what seems like the inevitable sale of Novell (NOVL) to other hands

LAST YEAR we criticised Ron Hovsepian (Novell CEO) for the fact that he accepted about $6 million in bonuses while firing many SUSE developers whose combined annual wage would also be roughly $6 million. Novell is run by greedy managers mostly for their own benefit it would seem, not really for the interests of the company, its shareholders, its staff, and its vision (GNU/Linux).

A few days ago we found in YouTube this very new video from a nice chap who was laid off by Novell. He learned .NET towards the end of his days at Novell.

So Novell is laying off people. Tough time, eh? Well, not for the Hovsepian family. Ron is receiving an extra $5.7 million for 2009 [1, 2] as though he actually made something special happen. Novell's financial results disappointed investors last week. But anyway, here is where Ron stands:

Novell president and CEO Ron Hovsepian’s total compensation fell 17% in 2009, amid declining annual revenue and a wider net loss.

Hovsepian received compensation in fiscal 2009 valued at $5.7 million, compared to $6.9 million in 2008, according to documents filed late last week with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The poor guy. ‘Only’ $5.7 million. What it does not say is that his bonus from last year angered quite a lot of people. It was far too much for far too little in terms of achievements.

Did he perform well?

Well, not quite. In fact, his company is destined to accept a takeover [1, 2], based on most assessments that we found so far. We’ll go through them very quickly and as exhaustively as possible. We have looked at many articles and some general background. Here is what seems like a positive article:

Novell Soars on Takeover Offer

Add Novell (NASDAQ: NOVL) shareholders to the list of those who have figured out how to earn money from open source technologies.

But it has nothing to do with SUSE and the price is not high. Here are some other reports that came out first [1, 2, 3] (it’s a close call, so it’s hard to tell who broke the news) and some of the trailing ones that add:

Elliott is already one of Novell’s largest shareholders and owns 8.5% of the company’s stock.

The original headline from Reuters has the headline “Elliott Associates, L.P. To Acquire Novell, Inc.”

It didn’t quite turn out to be certain, so Reuters reported inaccurately. From the WSJ:

Hedge fund Elliott Associates LP, which holds an 8.5% stake in Novell Inc. (NOVL), offered to buy the rest of the software company for about $1.8 billion.

Hours later came a lot of coverage [1, 2] that characterised Elliott’s move as merely an offer (see the letter at the bottom of this post — a letter that Novell confirmed receiving).

From BusinessWeek we learn that:

Elliott Associates LP said it offered to acquire Novell Inc. for $5.75 a share in cash, 21 percent more than the stock’s closing price.

Microsoft's booster Eric Savitz wrote about it too and he obtained a copy of the letter to Novell.

As The VAR Guy points out, it’s not clear what this whole thing means to SUSE (he also refers to the recent results).

Just last week, Novell announced mixed financial results, but the company did mention that SUSE Linux business has reached the break-even point. The VAR Guy wonders: Was that break-even statement about SUSE Linux an open letter from Novell to other potential suitors? Hmmm… Either way, investors are betting Novell will soon get acquired: Novell shares surged about 26 percent after the buyout offer started making news.

[...]

Either way, two things are clear: Novell received an unsolicited takeover offer. And now that the takeover offer is public news, all eyes are on the future of SUSE Linux.

The Boston press heralds:

Waltham software maker Novell Inc. received an unsolicited takeover bid of about $2 billion from a major shareholder, hedge fund Elliott Associates. Novell said its board will review the offer.

The day after we learned about some more details [1, 2] and saw the effect on the stock. This one article is also of interest:

Elliott is ready to sign confidentiality agreements and begin its due diligence, and it says that the letter is not a legally binding obligation. As El Reg goes to press, Novell is working on a statement to respond to the offer from Elliott and would say no more on the matter.

Secrecy sometimes implies misconduct. Further details [1, 2, 3] add too little, so it remains difficult to know what’s going on deep inside the company and Matt Asay, a former Novell employee, only speculates. He mentions Elliott’s dodgy Congo affairs that we wrote about last night.

Would Elliott sell? Almost certainly. Elliott is an investment firm more known for its trades in Congo debt markets than technology securities and is likely already scouring the market for likely homes for Novell’s different divisions, with the Linux business the best of the bunch.

[...]

In sum, Novell’s legacy has weighed down its ability to push its Linux business into top gear, a problem that won’t afflict likely suitors for that business. These companies have largely relied on Red Hat to be a counterweight to Microsoft on the OS side. But with a healthy middleware and virtualization business, Red Hat starts to look like a credible threat to Oracle, VMware, and other erstwhile partners.

All of which positions Novell’s Linux business to play a critical role in the software industry. Let the bidding begin.

In Reuters Blogs, Elliott is described as “activist hedge fund” (yes, by Reuters), which is a familiar title because of raiders like Carl Icahn who fought Microsoft’s battles to take over Yahoo! (which they eventually did in a way, even cheaply).

Sean Michael Kerner believes that going private would be good for Novell.

In layman terms it basically means Novell is for sale and could be taken private by institutional stock holder/Hedge Fund Elliot Associates. In my personal opinion it’s likely a good deal for Novell and its shareholders.

What if Elliott decided to take over Novell in order to just sell it? That’s a possibility.

Anyway, Novell’s shareholders liked the offer [1, 2, 3, 4] and the market rallied.

The Utah press names other potential bids (as quoted before, as it involves Richard Williams).

Elliott’s bid could trigger more offers from companies such as Cisco Systems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp., said Richard Williams, an analyst at Cross Research. Novell reported its sixth straight quarterly sales decline last week, and Chief Financial Officer Dana Russell predicted “muted” revenue in the current quarter.

Just as a reminder, Novell is a declining business. It is pointed out in IDG’s coverage of this latest bid:

Novell has struggled financially, recently reporting its sixth consecutive quarterly sales decline. Revenue fell 10% during its most recent fiscal year wrapped up in October and its net losses widened. CEO Ron Hovsepian’s total compensation fell 17% to $5.7 million.

IDG also has audio coverage of this major news.

AP puts it like this:

In the latest deal, private equity firm Elliott Associates offered to buy the 91.5 percent of software maker Novell Inc. that it doesn’t already own.

Market movement news incorporating Novell (NOVL) ended up as follows:

That pretty much sums up what we’ve found so far. It’s an interesting time because the SCO lawsuit, the WordPerfect lawsuit, and many other things are at stake.


March 2, 2010
The Board of Directors
Novell, Inc.
404 Wyman Street, Suite 500
Waltham, MA 02451
Attention: Richard Crandall, Chairman
Attention: Ron Hovsepian, Chief Executive Officer

Dear Members of the Board of Directors:

I write to you on behalf of Elliott Associates, L.P. and Elliott International, L.P., which collectively own, or have an interest economically equivalent to, 8.5% of the common stock of Novell and are currently one of the Company’s largest stockholders. Elliott is a multi-strategy investment firm with over $16 billion in assets under management focused on employing detailed research to address complex investment situations.

Based on our detailed review of the Company’s publicly available information and our substantial knowledge of the software industry, we are pleased to submit this proposal to acquire all of the shares of common stock of Novell for a cash price of $5.75 per share. This price represents a premium of 49% over the Company’s current enterprise value and 77% over the Company’s 90-day volume-weighted average enterprise value.

As the Company’s cash balance of nearly $1.0 billion represents almost 60% of its current market capitalization, we believe that a premium to enterprise value represents the most meaningful measure of the value that our proposal offers stockholders, valuing the Company’s cash at 100 cents on the dollar despite the fact that a significant portion of that cash is overseas and may not be realized in a tax efficient manner.

Importantly, this price represents a premium of 115% over the Company’s enterprise value on January 4, 2010, the last trading day before we commenced actively acquiring Novell’s common stock. This price also represents a 37% premium to Novell’s closing stock price on January 4, 2010 and a 20% premium to Novell’s closing stock price yesterday. By any measure, we believe our proposal represents a compelling opportunity that your stockholders will find extremely attractive.

Novell is a long-established company that we have followed closely for a considerable period of time. Over the past several years, the Company has attempted to diversify away from its legacy division with a series of acquisitions and changes in strategic focus that have largely been unsuccessful. As a result, we believe the Company’s stock has meaningfully underperformed all relevant indices and peers. With over 33 years of experience in investing in public and private companies and an extensive track record of successfully structuring and executing acquisitions in the technology space, we believe that Elliott is uniquely situated to deliver maximum value to the Company’s stockholders on an expedited basis.

Our proposal is subject to a confirmatory due diligence review of the Company and negotiation of definitive documentation. We are available to sign an appropriate confidentiality agreement and commence our due diligence review immediately. Elliott is prepared to devote considerable resources to completing this transaction and we are confident that, with your cooperation, we will be in a position to execute a definitive transaction agreement on an expedited basis. While we intend to work with financing sources, obtaining financing is neither a condition of our proposal nor a condition to completing the transaction.

We are prepared to meet immediately with you and your advisors in order to answer any questions about our proposal and to work out the details for moving toward a definitive transaction agreement. We also look forward to discussing with management its role with us going forward.

Of course, nothing in this letter is intended to create a legally binding obligation and no such obligation will exist unless and until a definitive transaction agreement is executed. As a result of our substantial share ownership in Novell, SEC rules oblige us to make the existence and contents of this letter public. Please feel free to contact me at (212) 506-2999 to discuss or clarify any aspect of this proposal.

On behalf of Elliott, we are very much looking forward to working closely with the talented employees of Novell to bring the Company forward to its next phase of growth.

Very truly yours,

Jesse A. Cohn

Portfolio Manager

Novell Should Stop Sponsoring the BSA, Which Lobbies Against Free Software in Vietnam

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vietnam flag at How Lung Bay

Summary: Novell supports the BSA et al, thus harming some of its own interests as an arguably “open source” (or “mixed source”) company

A LOT of people may not know this, but Novell is a backer of the BSA and its clique, which has been attacking Free software recently, along with other front groups.

Here is a reminder or two from this week’s news that Novell is with the BSA.

Watch what happens in Vietnam after its statements that promote broad support of Free software in government (and also ODF [1, 2, 3]). See what was posted in an education forum (edu.net.vn) on behalf of the BSA:

I am writing with regard to Draft Circular No. /2010/TT-BGDDT of the Ministry of Education and Training, providing for the use of free and open source code in academic institutions, particularly by providing for “the list of and methods to exploit and use free and open source code software in management, teaching and learning, R&D activities in academic institutions” (Art. 1).

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) welcomes this opportunity to comment and supports the purposes for the issuance of the Draft Circular, which includes reduction and elimination of software piracy (Art. 4.3), enabling compatibility with similar products which are closed source code commercial software (Art. 4.5), ensuring security for IT infrastructure and information and database (Art. 4.6) and use of open standards (Art. 4.7). However, BSA expresses its concern that mandating the use of OSS will not accomplish the Draft Circular’s stated purposes and may, in the long term, stifle the growth of Vietnam’s software industry.

Look at some of the replies, for example: “BSA is a lobbying group paid by microsoft among others, whatever they say it’s tainted by the fact that they are not an advisory group they are promoting the solutions of the organization that pays them.”

Why is Novell still feeding the BSA? If the BSA not only enforces compliance with proprietary software licences but also attacks Free software through lobbying avenues, then Novell is no friend of Free software. But we already knew that, didn’t we?

Ubuntu GNU/Linux Users Reject F-Spot (Mono)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 3:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

F-Spot

Summary: F-Spot poll shows that Ubuntu users are not interested in it

GNU/LINUX users and developers largely reject Mono and these recent poll results, which were extracted from here, show that F-Spot is specifically rejected. The ‘approval rate’ (in terms of percentage) is something like a single-digit number. Most Ubuntu users also opposed removal of the GIMP (based on a poll), but Canonical decided to remove it anyway (with the excuse that F-Spot can compensate for its absence, an excuse from a former Microsoft employee).

Links 3/3/2010: CrossOver 9.0, Android 2.1

Posted in News Roundup at 1:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Nouveau, Pulseaudio and a critique of modern GNU/Linux distros

    A common critique I have of GNU/Linux distributions is the direction of core software packages that are seemingly replaced every few years for no other reason other than they are new. We only have to look at Pulseaudio and the mess that it has caused a what was once stable landscape of working soundcards to notice this trend. Back when Alsa ‘just worked’ for everyone, along came an over-engineered audio subsystem that acted as a network-capable sound server, a wrapper for Alsa, OSS and Esd and as a package that completely broke usable sound on a lot of people’s workstations.

  • Gentoo Optimizations Benchmarked – Part 2

    Gentoo is a source based distribution which lets the user decide how to optimize their system in many ways and includes building for a specific CPU architecture. Linux Magazine benchmarks four such options; i486, i686, pentium3, core2, and throws in Ubuntu for good measure.

  • Kernel Space

    • Finally, Reiser4 Benchmarks Against EXT4 & Btrfs

      There is no shortage of EXT4 benchmarks from comparing this evolutionary file-system’s performance on netbooks to how it battles the Btrfs file-system to its performance recession. We have even benchmarked it on USB flash drives and on high-end SSDs. We have also delivered numerous Btrfs benchmarks. In this article though we are finally delivering something that has long been requested and that is Reiser4 file-system benchmarks running directly against EXT4 and Btrfs. We have also thrown in the original ReiserFS file-system for comparison too.

    • The kernel column

      Last month saw the opening (and then closing) of the 2.6.33 merge window (the time during which Linus takes potentially ‘intrusive’ patches to the kernel, followed by a period of stabilisation) and with it a flood of patches intended for the 2.6.33 kernel release. There were the usual kinds of driver updates, but also a large amount of work on Big Kernel Lock (BKL) removal – more on that in a moment – and some controversy over graphics drivers. As usual, almost nothing is truly off limits in the kernel and even the venerable sysctl support had a sprucing up this time around. Meanwhile, outside of the merge process, there were a number of features proposed for the longer term – asynchronous page faults and power capping amongst them – and poetic verse in changelogs.

    • The Linux Foundation Launches Free Webinar Series With Big Names

      Starting this month, The Linux Foundation is offering free Linux Training webinars taught by well-known Linux developers and personalities.

    • Major Linux 2.6.34 Kernel GPU DRM Updates

      There’s already quite a bit of code that has been merged into the Linus 2.6 Git tree for the Linux 2.6.34 kernel tree, but the first pull request for the DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) code has went in this morning.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • KDE Software Compilation 4.4.1 Out Now

      KDE has released an update to the 4.4 series of our Software Compilation. Among other improvements, this update includes a fix for KMail hanging when sending emails that just missed the deadline for 4.4.0 and a number of fixes in many gearheads’ favorite terminal emulator, Konsole.

    • KDE Software Compilation 4.4.1 Release Announcement

      KDE Community Ships First Translation and Service Release of the 4.4 Free Desktop, Containing Numerous Bugfixes, Performance Improvements and Translation Updates

    • The difficult choice of removing features

      Where does that leave photography ? Well clearly, it is out. And honestly, between Gimp (especially with their work on 2.8) and Digikam, there is not really much room for an other linux photography application to prosper. Since Krita was always more oriented toward drawing and painting, and photographic features were available mostly because “we can”, and there is no high-end application for drawing and painting on linux, the logical conclusion, for us, was to focus on where we can be the best, and the most useful.

  • GNOME Desktop

    • Thoughts about the current Zeitgeist situation (GNOME 3 and beyond)

      I would love to see Zeitgeist growing to be something like Telepathy in terms of providing a standard for event logging (even if its in python), and I hope we get there soon. And I hope Nokia and Intel could also make use of what we have and not reinvent the wheel if they like what we do….

  • Distributions

    • Live Hacking CD a Huge Success; Initial Download Figures for Ethical Hacking Linux Distribution Released

      Dr. Ali Jahangiri, the widely acclaimed security expert and author of Live Hacking: The Ultimate Guide to Hacking Techniques & Countermeasures for Ethical Hackers & IT Security Experts, is pleased to announce the initial download figures for the Live Hacking CD, a new Linux distribution designed for ethical hacking. In the first two weeks since its release the Live Hacking CD has been downloaded over 2400 times.

    • New Releases

      • Linux from Scratch 6.6 has arrived

        The Linux from Scratch (LFS) project has released version 6.6 of its building instructions for Linux. The project’s manual contains about 300 pages of instructions on how to compile a custom Linux system from the Linux sources. The LFS project aims to help people understand how Linux works internally and to enable them to build compact, flexible and secure Linux distributions of their own.

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • CeBIT 2010: Knoppix 6.3 CeBIT Edition released

        At this year’s CeBIT Open Source Forum, Knoppix creator Klaus Knopper has announced the release of version 6.3 of his popular Live Linux distribution. Knoppix is a bootable CD, DVD or USB Flash drive distribution of Linux, incorporating automatic hardware detection. It can be used to demo Linux, as an educational CD, a rescue system, etc. Knoppix uses on-the-fly decompression, so it can have up to 2 GB of data and software installed on a distribution CD or up to 10 GB of data on a single layer DVD.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu for Beginners

          If I you decide to go with Ubuntu you need to pick which variation you want, There’s Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu. Ubuntu is probably the most common; it uses the GNOME graphical user interface. Kubuntu uses the KDE environment, Xubuntu uses Xfce (it’s great for older computers), and Edubuntu designed to be used in classrooms or other education environments. They all basically do the same thing, just look at some screenshots and pick the one you think you would enjoy using more.

          [...]

          Here is a video comparing the Windows Vista Aero desktop to the Ubuntu desktop with Compiz enabled. Loading up your system with a lot of Compiz effects can cause it to slow you down if you don’t have a powerful machine. However, some people like to make things pretty so if that’s you then take a look at this video: Windows Vista Aero vs Ubuntu Compiz
          Besides the stuff you see in that video you can also draw on your screen with fire, you add rain drops to the screen, and much more.

        • Good for the goose but not for the gander.

          So some people like windows. So what! I personally think that it is a badly designed pain in the rear end which only serves as a monetary black hole for a company who is trying its best to be a financial singularity. I like Linux. I think it is the best thing since sliced bread. What was that? So what if I use Gentoo. I don’t care that it is not Ubuntu or Redhat. Whatever floats your boat.

        • Ubuntu One Music Store is Coming to Rock Your World

          The news has been confirmed. Ubuntu One Music Store is how it is going to be called. And it will be there by default in Rythmbox Music Player in Ubuntu Lucid 10.04. And that is NOT welcome because most of us don’t use Rythmbox at all. But hold on, Ubuntu One Music Store is going to have a plug-in support as well. That is sweet!

        • An open letter to Dell regarding Ubuntu, or “go big or go home”

          Well let’s see here. You bury it on your site. You offer nothing but garbage for computers available with Ubuntu — as compared to ones available with Windows.

          I guess I can’t say I’m surprised if your Ubuntu sales are slow. In fact, I’d be surprised if you sell anything at all, the way you’re going about it.

        • Advene – Annotate Digital Video, Exchange on the net
        • Panel power in Ubuntu
        • Call for Artist: Lucid Lynx

          Would you like to see your Lucid Lynx illustration in the pages of Ubuntu User magazine? To have your art considered for Ubuntu User issue #5, submit two sample drawings of a “Lucid Lynx” by March 22, 2010, 5pm CST (GMT -6).

          In one illustration, the Lucid Lynx critter should illustrate the theme “Networking,” and in the other it should illustrate “Security.”

        • Linux Mint

          • Minting the Girlfriend

            Is Vista gone from her laptop? Not yet, but maybe someday (Move Media Player not installing on Linux or through Wine is the last hangup). She is booted in Mint more often than not and has found her way around the Ubuntu Software Center to install Frostwire (among other things). She also used the Linux answer machine to hunt down the driver for her Cannon MP190 printer when it was not auto-found by the printer installer on Mint.

            All in all I must say though, the best part about installing Mint on her laptop is that now when I use it to check my email I no longer have to use Vista :)

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • LiMo Foundation Seeks Alliance With WAC

        The LiMo Foundation wants to partner with the Wholesale Applications Community, as both mobile trade associations try to cut into Apple’s overwhelming dominance of the mobile applications world.

      • WebOS 1.4 adds video capture

        Sprint and Verizon Wireless have released Palm’s upgraded 1.4 version of the Linux-based WebOS for Palm Pre and Palm Pixi smartphones. Ofering much-anticipated video capture and editing functionality plus improved messaging features, WebOS 1.4 arrives shortly after Palm announced lowered investment guidance due to disappointing smartphone sales.

      • Nokia to launch Linux-powered N900 tomorrow

        The N900 will be Nokia’s first and last Maemo 5 smartphone, with the next version due to run the new MeeGo Linux mobile OS created as a joint venture between Nokia and Intel.

    • Android

      • Android 2.1 to be available everywhere?

        All Android phones sold in the U.S. will be eligible for an Android 2.1 update, although some older phones may need to be wiped first, says an industry report. Meanwhile another report says Google’s Nexus One is heading to Verizon on Mar. 23, and an AdMob study explores Android users.

    • Tablets

      • Sub $200 Android tablets arrives: is the iPad doomed?

        The $179 Archos 7 vs the $ 499 iPad

        The Archos 5 inch tablet has never really been a competitor to the iPad, as the screen size did put it more in the MID / media player category than the tablet category. The new 7 Inch Archos tablet running Android on the other hand is clearly aiming at the iPad crowd. Its major selling point: the price, with some models going for as low as $179 (for the 2GB version), less than half the price of the iPad. Spec-wize the Archos tablet is somewhat inferior to the iPad: it uses an older ARM 9 processor (but then the iPad A4 processor is not very fast either), has less storage (but allows for an SD card to be used), has a lower resolution screen and a more limited choice of application, but on the other hand it has a better media player (more formats are supported), do offer a browsing experience on par with the iPad and may support flash lite (flash 10.1 won’t be possible however). You probably will not get an integration as good as between the iPad and iTunes, but then you won’t have to deal with Apple censorship (you can install ANY working application just by downloading the apk file) and Linux is officially supported as your desktop OS.

        [...]

        When you add to that the recent shenanigans concerning “sexy apps” (not so much a problem in the US, but much more here in Europe where we are not used to that kind of censorship) I can see Android tablets winning the tablet war on the long term.

Free Software/Open Source

  • VLC is used in Formula One

    I read a blog post of Jean-Paul Saman, a VLC developer, about the use of VLC in the most popular motorsport of the World, Formula One. According to the blog, a big VLC fan, Dan Dectis, posted a message on the vlc mailing list mentioning this picture from the Formula One Photography. This is indeed one of the examples showing the power and extent of VLC media player.

  • CeBIT Open Source Forum 2010

    For the second time in a row, CeBIT will be devoting an entire section to the topic of open source. The event will be supported by international industry associations and representative bodies such as the Linux Foundation, Linux International, the Free Software Foundation Europe and the LIVE Linux Association. The Open Source Forum will serve as the lively hub of the exhibition, which in turn features a diverse range of open source companies and independent projects.

  • Anti-FOSS Lobby

    • An Open Letter to The United States Trade Representative

      Recently it was reported in the Guardian, an on-line newspaper, that the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) is requesting that the United States Trade Representative put Indonesia, Brazil and India on the “Special 301 Watchlist” specifically because those countries advocate the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in their economies.

      I have been in the software industry for over forty years, as a programmer, businessman, educator, author and entrepreneur. I have worked in some of the largest companies, both as a supplier of software and a customer of software.

      I have traveled to two of these three countries, and while I have not been to Indonesia, I helped formulate the FOSS policies of Malaysia, have worked with the government of Brazil, and presented many times in India. I know their cultures and their way of doing business.

    • Open-Source Software: Bad, Evil and Un-American

      That’s the view of the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a group of trade bodies that includes such notables as the Business Software Alliance, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The IIPA recently submitted its Orwellian-sounding “2010 Special 301 Report on Copyright Protection & Enforcement,” an annual review of intellectual property protection and market access practices in foreign countries, to the U.S. Trade Representative. Ten countries make the “priority watch list” of naughty boys this year (down from 13 last year), including Indonesia.

  • Samba

    • Samba 3.5 release includes experimental SMB2 support

      The Samba project has released version 3.5 of its open source SMB protocol implementation. Major changes include implementation of SMB2 (used in Windows Vista and Windows 7) and support for Windows’ 100 ns resolution timestamps, where supported by the kernel and system libraries. The 100ns resolution timestamps will therefore work with Linux kernels later than 2.6.22 using glibc 2.6 or later.

    • Watching the Sun Set

      I joined Sun in 1989, fresh from a System Administration job at Manchester University. I was so excited. Finally, I was going to get the chance to see the inside of “real” UNIX ! No more Minix hacking for me, I was finally going to get the chance to see and work on the source code for a real UNIX operating system. I wasn’t disappointed. It was incredibly sophisticated, with a virtual memory system, a working network file system (NFS) and a state of the art graphical user interface (SunView). It was one of the most advanced systems available at the time.

  • Government

    • Vermont Adopts Open Source Software Policy

      The policy says the Vermont Department of Information and Innovation and other departments should look at open source solutions as part of the procurement process, and are directed to calculate the total cost of ownership for an open source system, including “fixed costs (direct purchases and licensing) and operational costs for support, testing, upgrades, maintenance and training,” as part of the procurement process.

      Tucker told Government Technology that the idea for a policy began last summer, when as deputy CIO he originated a process for examining open source because there weren’t any existing guidelines. So when Tucker became CIO late last year, he convened a council that met several times and gave input on the new policy.

    • Are we about to lose?

      I don’t have the expertise to fully comprehend these NPRMs that were recently issued, but did spend the last few hours reading large chunks of all three. The area they cover is huge, and I fear open source and small EHRs are about to lose big, and big corporate EHRs are about to get total lock-in courtesy of our government.

Leftovers

  • Keep Your Cloud, I’m a Customer Not a Consumer

    The cloud hype is getting thicker and smellier every day. All the cloud excitement is coming from those who hope to profit from it, the vendors and breathless tech journalists who can’t think of anything worthwhile to write about. They’re working very hard to make it sound like a wonderful thing, a miracle of rare device that will transform life as we know it.

    In related news, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Sasquatch, Yeti, and Elvis are all throwing a fabulous party at Graceland and everyone is invited. If you don’t live in Memphis they’ll send a private jet to pick you up.

    The Cloud is Nonsense

    The problem with all this cloud nonsense is it’s exactly that–nonsense. Hosted services are nothing new. What would be new and radical and transformative are attractive products reasonably-priced, and good customer service. Those are the missing pieces, and I predict they will always be the missing pieces. Because it seems that among the big players in tech, research and development are devoted entirely to inventing new buzzwords. If it weren’t for the small independents we would have nowhere to turn.

  • Security

  • Finance

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • US Trade Rep serves drug companies, publishers and pushes anti-consumer agenda

      Today the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing on the 2010 Trade Agenda. The single witness is Ambassador Ron Kirk, the United States Trade Representative. (The agency Kirk runs is known by the same name — USTR for short.) This is a busy week. A few blocks away, at the International Trade Commission (ITC), USTR is holding a day long hearing on something called the Special 301 list — which is a program to pressure trading partners on intellectual property rights. On Monday, in Geneva, the USTR blocked a request by developing countries to hold a workshop at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on access to patented medicine. The USTR is also doing damage control to defend a controversial new trade agreement on the enforcement of intellectual property rights that is being negotiated in secret, and trying to block a new treaty at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for persons who are blind or have other disabilities.

    • ACTA

      • New ACTA leak shows major resistance to US-style DRM rules

        The leaks keep coming for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). A new leak from Europe has revealed the inner workings of the negotiating process through a 40+ page document showing each country’s positions on key provisions of the treaty.

        While most of the negotiating is quite technical, what stands out most sharply is the international resistance to the US-drafted proposals on DRM “anticircumvention” rules. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences among parties.

      • Updated: New Zealand seeks to restrain ACTA

        New Zealand appears to be at odds with the US in the secret international Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) talks.

        According to Canadian internet law specialist Michael Geist a new leak from the negotiations has revealed a “significant disagreement on a range of issues” among the countries involved.

        “For example, on the issue of anti-circumvention legislation and access controls, the US wants it included per the DMCA [Digital Millenium Copyright Act], but many other countries, including the EU, Japan, and New Zealand do not, noting that the WIPO [World Intellectual Property Organisation] internet treaties do not require it.”

Linux Survey Answers

Linux Survey Answers

Microsoft’s Government Insider Wants Mac Users and GNU/Linux Users to Pay Microsoft for Its Incompetence

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 10:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Assorted international currencies

Summary: While Microsoft software comes under another zero-day attack, Microsoft’s Charney, who came from the U.S. Department of Justice, wants to introduce Internet usage tax to pay for the inspection and quarantine of Windows zombies, according to IDG

Microsoft software is full of security holes and there is clearly negligence [1, 2, 3] because Microsoft does not patch known holes until the attacks begin. We wrote a lot of posts about this in January [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] since a known Internet Explorer hole that Microsoft had ignored for 5 months caused enormous damage to many businesses, Google included. This is the type of situation that Microsoft should be made liable for. It’s not about shoddy programming but about shoddy maintenance and damage that could easily be avoided. Yesterday we shared reports about Free software being more secure than proprietary software because it is patched more regularly, according to Veracode (more on that here).

There is a new hole in Internet Explorer and not surprisingly it is a zero-day hole, which means that it’s already being exploited. From the news we have:

Microsoft warned of a new hole on Monday that could be exploited by attackers to take control of older Windows systems running Internet Explorer and for which proof-of-concept exploit code has been released publicly.

Here is another report:

According to the firm the problem relates to Windows 2000 and Windows XP by default, and to a lesser extent, Windows 2003 Server. It added that its internal investigations revealed that Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Vista were not affected. Regardless of this, it appears that if there is a risk to systems it is users that cannot stop themselves from pressing a button.

How long can Microsoft get away with this? Windows users seriously need help here, but they cannot press F1.

Now, here comes the outrageous part amid scaremongering about cyberwars. According to IDG (also here), “Microsoft’s Charney suggests ‘Net tax to clean computers” [via]

How will we ever get a leg up on hackers who are infecting computers worldwide? Microsoft’s security chief laid out several suggestions Tuesday, including a possible Internet usage tax to pay for the inspection and quarantine of machines.

Today most hacked PCs run Microsoft’s Windows operating system, and the company has invested millions in trying to fight the problem.

Microsoft recently used the U.S. court system to shut down the Waledac botnet, introducing a new tactic in the battle against hackers. Speaking at the RSA security conference in San Francisco, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Trustworthy Computing Scott Charney said that the technology industry needs to think about more “social solutions.”

Remember last month's "Internet 'Driver's Licenses'" fiasco from Microsoft’s Mundie? This company has got some nerve. As Richard Rasker put it, regarding another report from RSA, “I’ve got to hand it to this guy, this is a Great Idea. Taking some 60% of the world’s PC’s offline will certainly clean up the Internet. Now there appears to be some doubt about the viability of this plan:

The logistics of such a plan remain woefully unformed. While many say ISPs should monitor subscribers for infections, there’s considerable disagreement about how with providers should carry out and pay for such a system.

“So providers should monitor users’ computers? What a stupid idea. It’s almost exclusively a Microsoft problem, so why not dump it on Microsoft’s plate? Let those computer wizards from Redmond adapt their Malware Tool to disconnect any suspect machine from the larger Internet, and force this tool onto their hapless users’ machines in the usual way (i.e. through a Critical Update). Now that should really make a dent in malware infestations.” In Germany, taxpayers already pay for Microsoft's negligence.

We have occasionally shown how Microsoft is profiteering from Conficker (there are several examples that we gave), but what also ought to be mentioned is Charney’s position in the United States government. As we once showed (when he was hired), an article revealed that “he had worked for the U.S. Department of Justice and served as assistant district attorney in the Bronx, at what he said was a unique time.” Microsoft’s Charney has some more government connections that he is apparently using. He might be what Microsoft calls “insider friend, ‘the fox’.”

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