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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 8th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 10/3/2010: OpenShot 1.1, MeeGo for Sub-notebooks

Posted in News Roundup at 7:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Victoria expands Linux e-voting rollout

    Victoria’s Electoral Commission has flagged plans to expand its use of electronic voting kiosks based on Linux software in the next state election in November this year.

    The state first started using the machines in a limited trial during the last state election in 2006. It appears as if the machines were used for voting for the vision-impaired, as well as for military personnel. News of the rollout was broken by Computerworld.

  • Linux Outlaws 139 – The Facegroup Twisness Model
  • The best way to fight viruses? stop using Windows

    Viruses, worms, malware, scumware, adware – these are all Windows infections. One rarely hears of Mac users experiencing these problems. I have been running Debian GNU/Linux on my workstation for nearly 10 years, I’m nothing short of a vey heavy internet user, and I have never had any kind of infection.

  • Using VoIP on Linux

    According to statistics, nearly 5% of computer users worldwide use Linux as an operating system on their computers.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 87

    The following Linux-based operating systems were announced last week: Tiny Core Linux 2.9, PC/OS OpenWorkstation 10.1 GNOME, Elive 2.0 and SimplyMEPIS 8.5 RC2. In other news: CodeWeavers announced the revamped CrossOver 9.0 application for Linux users; KDE cooked and delivered the first maintenance release of KDE SC 4.4; Nvidia announced the greatly improved Nvidia 195.36.08 video driver (it is no longer available due to some fan speed issue); Canonical refreshed the look of Ubuntu. The weekly ends with the video clip of the week, the latest Linux distributions released/updated and the development releases.

  • Server

    • Clearswift Web Appliance

      The Web appliance runs a hardened Linux kernel, with a third-party solution for its web content filtering. It has beefed up its category database from 40 categories to 76, with a keen focus on malware and phishing threats.

    • Canara Bank issues RFP for card reconciliation software

      The platform should be based on the industry standard technology and support any Unix-based operating system, such as Unix, AIX and Linux. As the bank’s databases are standardised on Oracle, the solution should run on Oracle 9i and above.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Stable kernels analysed, Linux without firmware, new graphics drivers

      The development of Linux 2.6.34 has started and is causing heated discussions on the LKML. LWN.net has analysed Linux for security fixes and found almost twenty of them. Linux-Libre removes proprietary files from the kernel, and new graphics drivers for Radeon cards offer numerous improvements.

      A day after the release of Linux 2.6.33 in the last week of February, Linus Torvalds started merging the most important changes for Linux 2.6.34. By last Friday, he had integrated almost five thousand commits, which has added almost two hundred thousand lines of code to the kernel. Among the new additions to the kernel are the drivers for Apple’s Magic Mouse, a Python scripting engine for the tracing subsystem, and the vhost_net Virtio server designed to reduce overheads when exchanging data with guest systems via Virtio.

    • SCALE 8x: Ubuntu kernel development process

      Canonical’s kernel manager, Pete Graner, spoke at UbuCon—held just prior to SCALE 8x—on the “Ubuntu Kernel Development Process”. In the talk, he looked at how Ubuntu decides what goes into the kernel and how that kernel gets built and tested. It provided an interesting look inside the process that results in a new kernel getting released for each new Ubuntu version, which comes along every six months.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Power & Memory Usage Of GNOME, KDE, LXDE & Xfce

      Xfce, LXDE, and other desktop environments are often referenced as being lighter-eight Linux desktop environments than KDE and GNOME, but what are the measurable performance differences between them? Curious how much of a quantitative impact the GNOME, KDE, Xfce, and LXDE desktops have on netbook systems, we carried out a small set of tests to look at the differences in memory usage, battery power consumption, and thermal performance.

    • Manage your projects with KPlato

      KPlato is one of those tools that could easily get overlooked – but certainly shouldn’t. KPlato is project management tool that offers more features that many similar tools costing significantly more money (since KPlato is free – that’s fairly easy to figure out). KPlato was created with the intention of managing moderate to large projects using multiple resources, time constraints, and dependencies. KPlato features various GANTT charts, and tasks can be organized in different ways. Simply put, if you are looking for an outstanding project management tool, KPlato might be the perfect match.


      There are tons of features offered by KPlato – many of which will only be appreciated by those deeply familiar with project management tools. But even those without a deep understanding of such tools can take advantage of KPlato. It’s an outstanding tool that can give a business (or home) a solid project management tool without having to spend any of your fiscal resources to implement.

    • What should be the colours of Gnome-Terminal?

      Now, our big question, what should be the colour? seems to be solved. But I still think that people hardly care about what ergonomics says. Common! we are linuxers, we are always curious to find new and better things. Although, I think that gnome devs probably knew that someday, someone will raise a finger on this issue, and so they made the terminal theming highly customizable.

  • Distributions

    • Elive 2.0 ‘Topaz’: The Gem That Comes At A Price

      DIFFERENT is good. Different is refreshing, interesting, challenging.

      Elive 2.0 is different, but that does not necessarily mean that you are going to be happy with it. Why? Well, let me explain.

      Elive 2.0 is the newest stable version of a Linux distribution – based on Debian and using the Enlightenment 17 window manager/desktop shell – which bucks the general trend in the Free/Open Source Software world.

      You have to pay for it.


      So, Elive 2.0 ‘Topaz’ comes very highly recommended. Just don’t say you weren’t warned about the payment thing.

    • SCALE 8x recap

      So SCALE 8x went okay.

      I was interviewed by the SCALE Public Relations team; you can see the video here.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Cloud Business Unit

        This reminds me of earlier trends in which many of these same suppliers created open systems (read UNIX) business units, Linux business units, client/server computing business units, object oriented development units and the like.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 183

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #183 for the week February 28 – March 6th, 2010. In this issue we cover: Mark Shuttleworth: “Light” the new look of Ubuntu, Announcing the 10.10 Ubuntu Developer Summit, UI Freeze in place for Lucid, Developer Membership Board meeting, International Women’s Day Vote, Getting Patches Upstream, The Grand App Writing Challenge Submissions, Server Bug Zapping results, Ubuntu Classroom Team presents “ClassBot”, February 2010 Team Reports, and much, much more!

      • Redesigning Ubuntu – behind the scenes on 10.04

        The new font, which will be simply called “ubuntu” has been designed with cooperation between Canonical designers and a world class design agency. At the time I saw the proposed versions the full alphabet wasn’t yet complete, and I became aware of the huge attention to detail that these committed people were working towards. One thing that particularly caught my eye was the discussion on things such as how the edge of the letter ‘C’ should finish, “Should it be sharp and flush or slightly angled”. The wider masses would never be aware how much effort had been put into this.

      • Ubuntu Linux for Mainframes? Not Quite…

        Canonical wants Ubuntu Linux to run on a range of devices — from mobile Internet devices all the way up to high-end servers and cloud systems. But there are two markets where Canonical has no plans to push Ubuntu.

      • The Ubuntu One music store and free software for profit

        One of the features expected with the upcoming Ubuntu 10.04 release is the Ubuntu One Music Store (UOMS). The UOMS is a mechanism by which Ubuntu users can purchase songs in the MP3 format, with some of the revenue going to support Canonical. These songs are evidently compressed at a relatively high bit rate and lack any sort of DRM or watermarks. Support for the UOMS has been integrated into the Rhythmbox music player, with support for other players expected in the future. Discussion of this new feature has been relatively subdued thus far, but developers elsewhere are beginning to take notice and ask some questions about the extent to which the UOMS should be supported.

      • And The Oscar Goes To Ubuntu Lucid Lynx

        The upcoming version of Ubuntu, named Lucid Lynx, or 10.04, packs all the punches needed to knock out any Windows from your PC. Mark Shuttleworth personally took the challenge of polishing Ubuntu to an extent that even Mac users feel envy. He is heading in the right direction. Lucid Lynx is till date the most polished, sophisticated, resource efficient, and user-friendly operating system ever built.

      • 10.10 Ubuntu Developer Summit announced

        Canonical’s Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has announced that the next Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) will be take place from the 10th to the 14th of May, 2010 at the Dolce La Hulpe Hotel and Resort in Brussels, Belgium. According to Bacon, the 10.10 Ubuntu Developer Summit is “one of the most important events in the Ubuntu calendar and at it we discuss, debate and design the next version of Ubuntu”.

      • Ubuntu Lucid gets social

        Ubuntu Linux’s next release includes built-in social networking and iPhone support

        Lucid Lynx, the next version of Ubuntu Linux, is scheduled for release next month but as the alpha versions show there are a number of interesting changes to be included in this latest release.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Lantronix has launched a competition for design engineers based on its Xport Pro embedded Ethernet networking module.

      The contest is open to individuals with an interest in network technology, from students to design contractors. There is no limit to the number of entries and Lantronix will be awarding prizes of $6000 and $3000 to the top two entries – with a separate prize of $3000 for the best student Linux design.

    • Undo updates its Linux reversible debugger

      Just released by Undo Software is UndoDB 3.0, an updated version of the company’s reversible debugger for Linux.

    • Ag0 targets analog/RF with new circuit optimization tool

      It runs on the Linux operating system.

    • MeeGo

      • MeeGo Linux for netbooks coming this month

        MeeGo is the new Linux-based operating system borne out of the ashes merger of Moblin and Maemo. While the two groups merged just last month, the folks at SlashPhone are reporting that the first version of MeeGo will be available by the end of March.

      • Mobile OS wars: What does MeeGo mean for Symbian?

        The open sourced Symbian OS is the biggest mobile operating system on the planet – a position largely explained by its support of Nokia, the world’s number one handset seller.

      • MeeGo Repository to Be Opened in March

        Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia and leading chip maker Intel announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that they merged their Maemo and Mobling mobile operating systems into a new platform, called MeeGo, which comes with support for smartphones and other mobile devices. The first handsets powered by the new OS are still many months away, yet the two companies are already working on the transition from Moblin and Maemo, and say they expect for the MeeGo repository to be opened by the end of March.

      • Nokia N900 first to get Meego by the month end!

        As indicated earlier that Nokia and Intel entered in to an alliance to launch the Linux-based software Meego. And it is expected that at the end of this month Nokia N900 will be the first to vibrate with the Meego. Called MeeGo, the open software platform will accelerate industry innovation and time-to-market for a wealth of new Internet-based applications and services and exciting user experiences.

      • £25 Nokia N900 Tablet 600m 500t Ultd Web

        It’s a phone. It’s a computer. Chat with regular voice calls, internet calls, instant messages and SMS. Share your location, mood and status. Email on the go with rich HTML and full keyboard.

      • ‘Telecom Italia partners Intel on Meego support’

        Telecom Italia and Intel have partnered to deploy internet and online TV services based on the open source software platform Meego. The collaboration between the two groups aims to make simpler and advance the distribution and use of multimedia content, such as web TV, VoD and other online services over IP networks, enriching the offer for home entertainment and mobile devices. Meego is the new Linux-based platform formed by the merger of Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo projects.

    • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

      • DIY Pixel Qi Kits

        One of the reasons I’m personally committed to doing this goes back to my One Laptop per Child experience and girls in a poor rural part of Nigeria who helped us test the early beta-laptop builds. In their school they had slanted desks bolted to benches with 4-5 kids per desk/bench combo. When any kid fidgeted or bumped all the laptops would fall on the concrete floors. The laptops were designed to be rugged and didn’t break usually, but in this early build one of the cables to the touchpad/keyboard was 1mm too short and could become “unseated”. This meant the keyboard and the touchpad would no longer work unless something was done.

      • Jolicloud’s final ‘Robby’ release due in weeks; web apps switched to Chrome

        Jolicloud has announced that its final ‘Robby’ build will be released to the public by the end of the month. It has also announced that it will be automatically switching its web application platform to Google Chrome from Mozilla Prism that it has been using currently.

    • Tablets

      • Kogan promises an Android tablet for under $200

        The tablet also has an HDMI output. Kogan tells APC Magazine that the demo unit can run Android, Ubuntu Linux, or Windows — although I’m assuming he means Windows CE, since you can’t run the desktop version of Windows on an ARM-based processor.

      • Hands on with Kogan’s tablet prototype

        After playing with the tablet I hope he also crams in some extra RAM, as it felt sluggish running a UMPC-friendly version of Ubuntu (although I’m now told the that tablet may have only had 256MB of RAM in it). The tablet felt far more responsive booted into Android 1.6, which also seemed better suited to the 800×480 resolution display. Ruslan says the tablet will ship with Android 2.1, which combined with a capacitive touchscreen and an accelerometer should offer an impressive user experience.

      • The Return of Sony

        At its heart, Android is “just” Linux. Sony’s no stranger to Linux—the PlayStation 2 and 3 both have dabbled with Linux support. But Android is Linux-as-platform, a trusted and understood consumer branding. (Or, you know, that’s the goal.) It is, as far as operating systems go, as good or better than anything Sony has ever cooked up themselves. Rather than spending years on disparate software platforms for each device, Sony’s software engineers could spend their time building easy-to-use and beautiful user experiences on top of a unified platform. (Remind me again why the Sony Dash doesn’t use Android?)

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open party

    Last year proved to be a watershed year for OSS in SA and many other parts of the world. Tough economic conditions prompted many organisations to look at alternatives to proprietary software for the first time. Others that already had positive experiences with Linux and with open source Web server platforms are expanding their use of OSS.

    Even though a move is beginning into more positive economic territory in the early part of 2010, I’m expecting to see growth of OSS follow the trajectory it did in 2009. Many organisations have realised there are open source solutions that can do the same job as expensive proprietary solutions at a lower cost and with no compromise to reliability or performance.

    2. Open source virtualisation solutions begin to blossom

    Today, many enterprises are looking towards major commercial software vendors such as Microsoft for server virtualisation solutions. But in reality, many of these solutions have at least some open source technology under their bonnets.

  • Open Source and Security: Are there Limits?

    It’s an interesting question, which applies to many other areas that have hitherto depended on security by obscurity. Once you bring in free software, that won’t work, at least not in the way it has. So the issue then becomes: how can these two aspects be squared?

  • Brazilian BluePex integrates Zarafa’s Open Source Collaboration Platform

    Zarafa’s messaging software is offered to more than 1000 BluePex customers, 300 Bluepex partners

  • Swissport swaps Hyperion for open source BI

    Airline services business Swissport has switched from commercially licensed business intelligence software to open source.

  • After Getting Acquired by Google, ReMail Goes Open Source

    Just about a month after acquiring the popular iPhone email client reMail, Google and the reMail team have decided to open source the application’s code. While current reMail users were able to use the app, Google decided to pull the application from the App Store after the acquisition. Given that the reMail team was joining Google to work on projects unrelated to reMail, this looks like a smart move. The source code is already available on Google Code under the Apache 2.0 License.

  • reMail Going Open Source
  • HIMSS Feature: FHA exec elucidates goals with open-source software

    This was one reason that ONC developed CONNECT, open-source software that enables exchange of health information across providers regardless of size. CONNECT is one tool being used to build the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), and was demonstrated at HIMSS10’s Interoperability Showcase.

  • New Government Open Source Population Health Tool

    The Federal Health Architecture, an E-Government initiative managed by the Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, has set up an online resource, projectpophealth.org, which offers an open source tool to enable health care providers and electronic health record (EHR) vendors to create summary quality measures on a patient population.

  • India

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla’s Drumbeat Beats to an Open Web

      In Mozilla’s world, the Firefox Web browser is but a mere battle in a larger war, one that’s aimed at punching holes through closed, proprietary Web platforms of all kinds. What’s on the horizon? According to Mozilla executive director Mark Surman, the future of Mozilla’s involvement in the Web is perhaps best exemplified by its new Drumbeat initiative.

    • Mozilla releases second Firefox 4.0 preview

      The Mozilla developers have released a second Firefox 4.0 preview, labelled “3.7 alpha 2″, which includes out-of-process plug-in support on Windows and Linux for more reliable browsing.

    • Firefox relegates plugins to sandbox
  • Databases

    • Abusing MySQL (& thoughts on NoSQL)

      The NoSQL/relational database debate has been going on for quite some time. MariaDB, like MySQL is relational. And if you read these series of blog posts, you’ll realise that if you use MySQL correctly, you can achieve quite a lot.

  • CMS

  • Library

  • BSD

    • Taking a look at PC-BSD 8.0

      While on the topic of other operating systems, it’s hard for me, as a long-time Linux user, not to constantly compare PC-BSD to the penguin. Usually, these comparisons turn out favourably for PC-BSD. For example, PC-BSD runs faster on my systems than most of the full-sized Linux distributions and it generally used less memory. My notebook has an Intel video card and it’s a card that has tripped up some of the more popular distros, but PC-BSD handled it without any problems. Likewise, sound worked on both of my machines without any tweaking, a feat Linux isn’t always able to match. Some people might not like the PBI self-contained packaging approach, but the OS supports more traditional forms of package management, ensuring PBI files do not have to be used.

  • Government

    • San Francisco and Partnering Cities Launch 311 Open Source

      Federal CIO Vivek Kundra flew to San Francisco for the launch in support of the city’s accomplishments. Kundra said he planned to spend his time in the area collecting ideas from the private sector on ways federal agencies could operate more efficiently.

  • Openness

    • Open Sourcing Data Center Design

      Manos says the Open Source Data Center Initiative is the right vehicle for making data center best practices more widely available, and can accelerate adoption of new ideas more effectively than membership-based industry consortiums.

    • Group Seeks to Open Source Data-center Design

      A new industry group is trying to apply open-source principles to the design and construction of data centers, which it says could accelerate the use of new technologies and increase competition in the industry.

    • Psion to revolutionise rugged mobile computing

      Psion today announced ‘Open Source Mobility’ (OSM), a substantial evolution of its business model, with the objective of dramatically reducing customers total cost of ownership, creating the best possible fit with customer requirements, creating new business opportunities for developers, resellers and partners, and enhancing Psion’s ability to grow and develop its business.

  • Programming

    • Git Gains Advantage over Subversion

      A serious step in DVCS’ development took place after the quarrel between Linux developers and BitKeeper’s management, after BitKeeper accused one of the Linux developers of reverse engineering one of their commercially licensed features. Soon after, Linux programmers led by Linus Torvalds himself released Git as an improved open source solution to BitKeeper’s soft. Besides Git, Mercurial and Bazaar were also very successful alternatives to SVN, sharing many of Git’s features, but lagging in performance.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Developing with HTML5

      HTML4 has served us for more than 10 years now and there hasn’t been any major update in it, there is XHTML that has done a little more by making code more strict, if at all you are concerned with HTML compliance. Work on HTML5 was started in 2004 by a group called WHATWG founded by Apple, Mozilla and Opera. Most new browsers are now supporting new HTML5 tags. In this article, we will have a look at some HTML5 features which will make your web development easier and organized.


Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Nakata Maho, founder of the OpenOffice.org Language project 03 (2004)

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

Microsoft to Use FDA Official to Take Over Patient Records in the United States

Posted in America, Database, Europe, Microsoft at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FDA logo

Summary: Microsoft hires Donna-Bea Tillman from the FDA in order to increase its influence in the United States government and help Microsoft control healthcare systems

MICROSOFT’S connections with the US government continue to be tightened. According to The Seattle Times, Obama’s CIO Vivek Kundra may have just met Steve Ballmer, who also visits the White House on occasions [1, 2].

After his San Francisco tour, Kundra is coming to Seattle for a day Thursday beginning with breakfast at Microsoft with Chief Executive Steve Ballmer and other local executives.

Microsoft will show Kundra advanced research projects before he speaks at the University of Washington in the afternoon. He’ll also meet with executives at Amazon.com before making an appearance at the Washington Technology Industry Association’s awards dinner.

This possible encounter is not the subject of this post though; it merely serves as a precursor and a reminder of Microsoft’s relationship with the government. Politics and commerce are never separate, unless one insists on oversimplification.

The FDA is connected to Microsoft through the pharmaceutical cartel, as well as the Gates Foundation, which works for Monsanto [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and has former Monsanto staff (which in turn has a notorious exchange of staff with the FDA). With high-level Monsanto employees inside the Gates Foundation, the connections to the government become a tad more apparent, but we won’t delve into it any further because that’s not the point.

The main story is the following one. According to this report from the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is going to hire a Fed from the FDA.

The director of the Office of Device Evaluation, one of the highest-ranking positions at the Food and Drug Administration, is leaving this month to join the Washington office of Microsoft Corp., according to an email she sent Monday morning.

Donna-Bea Tillman, who has been with the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health since 1994, said in the email that she will become part of the software giant’s health solutions group as the director of regulations and policy. The FDA and Microsoft confirmed the move.

There is more information in the blog — details that didn’t make it into the main article.

You probably wouldn’t put Microsoft on the list of companies in the market to hire former FDA officials, but the software giant snagged a top medical-device regulator today.

Donna-Bea Tillman, head of the office of device approvals, says her jump to Microsoft isn’t as unusual as it may seem. She told colleagues in a memo she has long had “a love for all things computer.”

Here is another news article which cites the Wall Street Journal.

Donna Bea-Tillman will leave her post at Food and Drug Administration to join the Washington, D.C. lobbying office of Microsoft Corp., according to the Wall Street Journal

Donna Bea-Tillman, the director of the Food and Drug Administration’s office of device evaluation, will apparently resign her post to join the lobbying office of software giant Microsoft Corp., according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.


Tillman told her colleagues in the email that she took the position with Microsoft because of the potential for health information technology to, “reduce the skyrocketing cost of health care,” according to a copy of the email obtained by the paper

So quite clearly, the purpose here it to lobby for control over people’s medical records [1, 2]. There needn’t even be speculation about it being just more Microsoft lobbying, which works against the interests of people and instead benefits a private corporation. If people learned something from the healthcare fiasco and the insurance companies, this ought to be it. To usher this whole campaign for Microsoft as the steward of health/patient records, Microsoft seems to have started a whole tour and media blitz. In the past week alone we’ve found a lot of press releases about Microsoft in health. The number of press releases was very, very unusual. It includes:

Microsoft Case Study Spotlights OrthoCarolina and Mariner Partnership in Medical Practice Efficiency

Cleveland Clinic/Microsoft Pilot Promising; Home Health Services May Benefit Chronic Disease Management

Greenway Medical Technologies Advances Patient-Provider Benefits (about Microsoft)

Patients will be granted the ability to see medical records with Microsoft Technology

Cleveland Clinic, Microsoft project: Home health tracks chronic conditions better

Now, watch what else Microsoft is doing. “Microsoft Health Users Group Innovation Awards” are announced and from these “Innovation Awards” we get another press release:

NextGen Health Information Exchange and Doylestown Hospital Recognized as Winners of Microsoft HUG 2010 Innovation Awards

Microsoft is even sponsoring/arranging a “hospital luncheon” (recall the “Screw Google luncheon”, which we last mentioned here).

Mission Viejo Microsoft Store takes title sponsorship for hospital luncheon


The Microsoft Store at The Shops at Mission Viejo is slated to be the title sponsor of Mission Hospital’s 14th Annual Valiant Women Luncheon on Friday, March 12, at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

Then, Microsoft uses Philips to storm the medical system and consume private data (also covered here). This a colossal mistake given Microsoft’s proven disregard for people’s privacy and very poor reliability in general. To seize control of the medical system becomes more of a matter of life and death in this case. Microsoft has abysmal record here, with Windows zombies becoming the menace of many hospitals. See for example:

People should be killing Microsoft’s attempt to invade hospitals before they kill people. Sadly enough, some reporters play along with this media blitz [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], which is backed by new lobbyists and marketing people, with people’s lives at stake (to Microsoft it’s just the smell of money and crucial dependency/lock-in).

“It’s not about embrace but about exploiting rivals’ platforms to help Microsoft, which has almost no market share in phones.”On a related note, Microsoft is trying to control (with patents) bar codes and it’s advertising this through Linux/Android phones [1, 2]. Just like Hyper-V drivers for Linux, it’s self serving. It’s also the same with Microsoft applications for iPhone — ones that merely have users connect to Microsoft services. It’s not about embrace but about exploiting rivals’ platforms to help Microsoft, which has almost no market share in phones. The reporters totally missed that or chose to ignore it. Mary Jo Foley looks at this news and wonders if Microsoft will use this strategy to also advance Silver Lie, much like Microsoft uses the *Spark programmes to achieve this (with free advertising from IDG).

Last but not least, Microsoft wants to manage people’s national identities [1, 2]. In India, Microsoft had NASSCOM facilitate this but in Germany too Microsoft apparently found some guinea pigs.

Microsoft released its new identity management software at the RSA conference on Tuesday and is working on a prototype national ID card system in Germany that is designed to give consumers control over the amount of personal data they share with specific organizations.

ID cards are a terrible idea for many reasons (including surveillance but a lot more than that). We won’t go into it. In any case, Germany ponders implementing an unnecessary system and even putting it in the hands of a private company from abroad, and one that’s highly abusive and irresponsible. What an utter disaster.

Apache Shows Why GNU/Linux is Safer Than Microsoft Windows; Microsoft Makes Batteries Dangerous

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 12:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battery charger

Summary: Windows shows that it not only brings security problems to Apache but also to battery chargers

THE thing about Windows is, the underlying operating system is less secure than UNIX and Linux. Here is nice new proof of this, straight from the news. Our reader renamed it (the headline) “Windows bug prompts Apache update advice”

“The vulnerability means that you can take complete control of the web server remotely with system privileges — which is the highest privilege on Windows,” Edelstein told ZDNet.com.au. “An attacker could gain access to, modify and take away data.”

Edelstein advised users running Apache on Windows platforms to upgrade immediately as users have no way of knowing if their web servers have been compromised. The company’s security advisory can be accessed here.


“A proof of concept remote exploit has been written by Sense of Security, and it is feasible that others could write a similar exploit to completely compromise a Windows system,” said Brett Gervasoni.

As most Apache users run it on UNIX and Linux, the above is probably nothing to panic or worry about.

Charged With Malware

“Microsoft, the company that made battery chargers dangerous,” called it the reader who sent this next item from the news:

The United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) has warned that the software included in the Energizer DUO USB battery charger contains a backdoor that allows unauthorized remote system access.

In an advisory, the US-CERT warned that he installer for the Energizer DUO software places the file UsbCharger.dll in the application’s directory and Arucer.dll in the Windows system32 directory.

When the Energizer UsbCharger software executes, it utilizes the UsbCharger.dll component for providing USB communication capabilities. UsbCharger.dll executes Arucer.dll via the Windows rundll32.exe mechanism, and it also configures Arucer.dll to execute automatically when Windows starts by creating an entry in the HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run registry key.

“The danger of Open Source software is that you don’t know if it contains malware,” jokingly said our reader.

Apple the Bully Goes Hunting for Patent ‘Violators’ With the Sisvel Army

Posted in Apple, Europe, Law, Patents at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Jobs hires an army for the job of intimidating and extorting people who allegedly ‘copied’ some ideas from Apple, just as Apple “stole” ideas all along

THE HYPOCRITICAL BULLIES from Apple not only sue Linux these days [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]; they also use the private armies of Sisvel and the police. This is arguably an illegal army whose existence led to legal action over a year ago. We wrote about this in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

Here is a report about the Apple-backed raids at CeBIT.

Word on the street has it that Apple, Siemens and Sisvel were all kvetching over patent infringements made by an unnamed company exhibiting at last week’s show, and within an hour or so of the fuzz showing up, the whole thing was stripped and a hefty fine (€10,000) was levied. Unfortunately, the exact details of who was violating what remains clouded in mystery, but for whatever reason, we get the feeling that something extremely similar will be going down in Hannover next year. We blame KIRFers determination.

SemiAccurate has some more photos of this.

WHAT DO YOU get when you cross Apple, Siemens and Sisvel with the German police at CeBIT? Raids of course, with lots of police, lawyers, and people stripping booths clean of everything electronic.

Walking around Hall 17 at CeBIT a few hours ago, there were several German police walking hurriedly through the crowd, talking into walkie-talkies. Where police are agitated, stories are likely to be found. Sure enough, when the police got to their destination, there were about 15 more of their colleagues surrounding a 5 by 10 meter booth of a netbook and e-reader manufacturer who explicitly asked not to be identified.

Shame on Apple, the company which ‘stole’ from so many people, by its very own admission (Microsoft is the same by the way). Its CEO had the nerve to accuse others of imitating last week when the lawsuit was announced; maybe he needs a heart implant (metaphorically), not just liver transplant. Sadly, hypocrisy is in the brain, not the heart, so there is no trivial cure for this, not even in CeBIT booths.

Direct link

W3C Poisoned by Promoters of Software Patents Who Attack GNU/Linux

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Standard at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jeff Jaffe at the event announcing the Microsoft/Novell deal (2006)

Summary: Novell’s CTO, who encourages maximisation of software patents, becomes another threat to the Web as he takes leadership in the World Wide Web Consortium

“SMELLS fishy,” told me Jan Wildeboer regarding the fact that “MSFT enters W3C WGs, Jeff Jaffe becomes the CEO.” Yes, the W3C has been letting in some bad staff recently, including some of the latest arrivals. First there’s a person from the software patents supporter known as IBM which has a seat, along with one from Microsoft and Apple, who are anti-GNU/Linux bullies that attack the platform with software patents (yes, Apple too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). Some of these people are not compatible with the W3C. One of the reasons that the World Wide Web was so successful was the deliberate absence (by exclusion) of software patents, which made the platform free.

On top of all this, based on many news reports [1, 2, 3, 4], the chief executive will be Novell’s departing CTO, Jeff Jaffe, who also has roots in IBM (which doesn’t help much). He was chosen despite his love for software patents [1, 2, 3] and patent traps like Mono.

The World Wide Web Consortium, which oversees development of Hypertext Markup Language and several other standards relating to the Web, has a new leader who wants to help streamline some of the group’s standardization efforts and beef up its ties with outside programmers.

Jeff Jaffe, Novell’s chief technology officer until January and a former executive at IBM and Lucent Technologies’ Bell Labs, was named W3C’s new chief executive officer on Sunday. In the post, he’ll work with group director and Web founder Tim Berners-Lee.

Berners-Lee very much dislikes software patents, so why does he surround himself with these people? They are all in favour of software patents (or their employers are). Apple has already ‘planted’ some software patents in the Web and also strongly opposed Ogg. Added below is a relevant conversion from one hour ago.

Read the rest of this entry »

Invaded by Microsoft: Middle East, MOD Systems, NComputing, and Move

Posted in Asia, Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Traditional Arabian pot

Summary: How Microsoft and its executives take positions of power in other companies and countries, which in turn suffer as a result

Microsoft is feeling the pressure [1, 2, 3, 4] and it wants to world to become as dependent as possible on Microsoft’s existence. The company is having some kind of a rally in the Middle East [1, 2, 3], as we have shown and covered on many occasions (with examples) in recent months, including some in Jordan. The government continues to put its arms around Microsoft (also here):

AMMAN – The government will sign a JD14 million agreement with Microsoft Corporation to provide the country’s ministries and public agencies with software and training, a government official said on Wednesday.

This is a big mistake. To embrace Microsoft is to put one’s future in the hands of yet another company/entity; it’s an increased risk, not just an increase in cost. Microsoft has sold many people the illusion that it is not troubled and won’t vanish, but this is totally false and PR agencies help this myth spread itself. In reality, Microsoft kills many of its products and suffers layoffs.

Another problem that we spotted last week is that a former Microsoft executive entered MOD Systems. Here is a press release on the subject.

MOD Systems, Inc. announced today that notable technology industry executives Will Poole and Dan Gerrity have joined the company’s Board of Directors. Poole and Gerrity have spent decades developing early stage companies and building successful organizations in the software, retail and digital entertainment industries. Their support of MOD Systems comes as the company prepares to introduce a broad digital entertainment solution that brings movies, television shows, music and games to consumers through kiosks in retail and other out-of-home environments. Poole and Gerrity join MOD Systems’ existing board members Michael Towers and CEO Anthony Bay, along with board observers from NCR Corporation (NYSE:NCR) and Toshiba Corporation. NCR and Toshiba are MOD Systems’ largest investors.

This is a mistake because Will Poole is loyal to an abusive company; he may have already undermined GNU/Linux at NComputing [1, 2, 3, 4], which slipped into obscurity now that it competes without any distinguishing factor. In the following new article that covers NComputing, the author doesn’t name any platforms other than Windows

Previously, NComputing offered similar setups for schools using a generic PC running a personal version of Windows XP or Vista. But with Microsoft’s new server software, schools will have a fully licensed operating system for their host PCs that is designed for simple installation in education and library settings and is fully supported by Microsoft. In the past, some educators were uneasy about similar setups because of the licensing question and the lack of support from Microsoft for these arrangements.

What about GNU/Linux? And why are NComputing’s GNU/Linux offerings no longer mentioned (at least in the above text)? NComputing grew closer to Microsoft after it had let a Microsoft executive enter its board. And now what? Here is another former Microsoft executive entering Move.

In an effort to reverse its losses, Move last year hired Steve Berkowitz as its CEO. Berkowitz’s background includes stints as CEO of Internet search engine Ask.com and as an executive in Microsoft Corp.’s Internet division.

How can these companies employ people who worked for a convicted monopolist by choice, let alone make them CEOs (like Juniper and VMware)? No wonder they are so troubled. The headline of the report above is “Move’s 4Q loss deepen amid real estate woes”.

Message to Microsoft: Dumping of Zeros and Ones is Not a Donation

Posted in Deception, FSF, Microsoft at 9:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Let them eat binaries”

School boy

Summary: Microsoft is dumping on the Museum of Science in Boston (for increased lock-in) and then claims credit for it

This subject is one that we have already explained in:

The reason we bring this subject up yet again is that Microsoft ended up dumping software on a museum; it spins this as usual, calling it “donation”. In every sense, this is more like EDGI, i.e. dumping to block competition, disguised as “charity”.

Here it is from the news.

The Museum of Science, Boston, has been awarded a $1.9 million technology grant from Microsoft Corp., which has been named a “Premier Partner” for the museum. The company has contributed to the Museum of Science since 1997.

The Redmond, Wa.-based software giant’s corporate support included Microsoft Office products and server and development tools.

Boston’s Museum of Science did not need licences to rent Microsoft software. The Boston-based FSF could give the museum solid software to own and to modify forever (as it sees fit); By that definition, as above, the FSF could claim hundreds of billions of dollars in “charity”.

To clarify, Microsoft cannot donate unless it’s in the interests of shareholders, as in this case. Otherwise it can get sued (added below is a video on this subject, thanks to the “yes men”). Microsoft is not a charity and this is a business decision that turns the museum into a potentially-perpetual Microsoft client with higher exit barriers. The Museum of Science should have refused this ‘gift’. The only thing more insulting than this is ‘funny money’ (see explanations in [1, 2, 3, 4]), where Microsoft offers Microsoft software coupons to pay for the crimes it committed.

“Copying all or parts of a program is as natural to a programmer as breathing, and as productive. It ought to be as free.”

Richard Stallman

Update: we now have an Ogg version.

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