Microsoft’s Latest Harms to the Web and Shallow Press Coverage That Neglects to Name Culprits

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 3:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Duck gossip

Summary: Coverage about security issues is abundant, but the cause of many of these issues is simply not named

MANY companies in the West had their security measures superseded and breached due to an Internet Explorer hole that Microsoft had knowingly ignored for 5 months [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Microsoft is now warning that Internet Explorer is under another attack:

In an advisory, the company warned that a new vulnerability was being targeted in attacks against Internet Explorer 6 and 7. IE 8 is not believed to be affected. According to Microsoft, the vulnerability is due to an invalid pointer reference being used within IE and can be exploited by tricking users into visiting a malicious or compromised Web page.

This is a Windows problem because Internet Explorer is a part of Windows, which therefore inherits all the weaknesses of one piece of software that ought to have been isolated. The consequences of Windows’ insecurity can also be seen in the following news:

1. Vodafone ships malware infested mobiles

Upon further investigation, the phone was found to be infected with not one but three nasties, including the Conficker worm, a Mariposa bot client and a Lineage password divulger. The firm found that the Mariposa bot client was calling home to receive further instructions.

With a “password divulger”, banks are at risk:

2. Online banking fraud losses rise 14%”

Number of ‘phishing’ attacks have risen to 51,000 from just 1,700 five years ago, according to the UK Cards Association


3. Twitter Fights Phishing, Malware with Link Scanning Service

Twitter has announced it will begin scanning links posted by users to thwart phishing attacks and the spread of malware on the site.

Notice how the articles typically neglect to say that such malware only affects Windows users. On we move to:

4. 10 Reasons Why Security Problems Persist at Microsoft

News Analysis: As much as Microsoft would like security problems to just go away, they won’t. The chances of Microsoft eliminating most of the software flaws that invite new attacks are slim to nil. But there are many things that Microsoft should do to improve the situation. We take a look at why security issues continue to haunt the software giant and what Microsoft can do about it.


2. Windows is an easy target

Windows is a nightmare when it comes to security. The operating system is filled with holes that, over the years, have been patched with varying degrees of success. Windows 7 is the most secure operating system Microsoft has released to date, but it’s probably rife with flaws that Microsoft hasn’t heard of yet. And no doubt hackers are ceaselessly searching for them. Unless Microsoft does something drastic with the next iteration of Windows, its operating system woes will likely continue.

We do not agree with the article as a whole, but it does raise some important points. The security weaknesses of Windows produce botnets rather easily:

5. Zeus botnets suffer mighty blow after ISP taken offline

At least a quarter of the command and control servers linked to Zeus-related botnets have suddenly gone quiet, continuing a recent trend of takedowns hitting some of the world’s most nefarious cyber operations.

This is a Windows botnet (but it doesn’t even say “Windows botnet”). What’s sickening is that Microsoft is only mentioned in this article where it’s given credit. It says: “Late last month, Microsoft was able to disrupt the Waledac botnet by obtaining a court-issued order against scores of domains associated with the spam-spewing menace.”

Giving Microsoft credit for the Waledac takedown [1, 2, 3, 4] is like giving DuPont credit for some minimal cleanup after the Bhopal disaster. Microsoft employees are given credit for fighting a problem that they themselves created. It’s truly amazing, especially given that those Windows botnets are costing huge amounts of money that is hard to estimate (dependent upon definitions and methods).

Here is the EFF discussing Microsoft’s takedown of an important Web site, not a Windows botnet.

We often criticize DMCA takedown abuse here at EFF, but last week’s Cryptome snafu highlights another facet of the problem: how a DMCA takedown for one item can result in the removal of lots of lawful material.

To recap, Cryptome posted Microsoft’s global criminal compliance manual. Microsoft sent a DMCA takedown notice to Cryptome’s domain name registrar and web hosting provider, Network Solutions, alleging that the post infringed copyright. Under the DMCA, a web hosting provider is protected from copyright infringement liability if, among other things, it “expeditiously” disables access to material properly identified in a DMCA takedown notice. Network Solutions asked Cryptome to remove the Microsoft compliance manual. Cryptome refused explaining that the document was posted in order to help the public better understand Microsoft’s practices, and followed up with a DMCA counternotice. Network Solutions promptly shut down the entire Cryptome website. Thus, a complaint about a single document caused significant collateral damage to the perfectly legal material on Cryptome.

We have already covered this in another post. Microsoft can stop people who leak evidence of its warrantless spying, whereas those who empty bank accounts through compromised Windows PCs are not a priority. There are hundreds of millions of them.

Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza Leaves CodePlex Foundation Board

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Windows at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No thanks for all the fish

War bomb

Summary: Creator of land mines for the Free desktop ends his time at Microsoft’s group and returns to more risky activity

Novell’s VP and Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza joined Microsoft's CodePlex Foundation board last year. Microsoft used him as “proof” that the CodePlex Foundation was not just some shell constructed to promote Microsoft’s agenda (Windows, .NET, etc.) even though that was precisely its purpose, as it turned out later. The CodePlex Foundation’s board was announced prematurely probably to distract from the fact that Microsoft got caught selling anti-Linux patents to patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. That was also the opinion of Groklaw, for example, because this distracting announcement came amid other major fiascos like Microsoft’s distribution of anti-GNU/Linux pamphlets and training material to large chains of computer stores across the United States [1, 2].

“They change the API rules in exchange for benefits and/or paychecks.”Miguel de Icaza happily associates himself with a company that happily attacks the freedom of software while pretending to have embraced it, despite trying to change it from the inside (Windows, Mono, etc.). Together, they are demoting GNU/Linux and promoting Windows like Citrix still does with Xen. They change the API rules in exchange for benefits and/or paychecks. All along Microsoft is just buying its way and gently bribing a lot of people to get its way. There is some news from Microsoft about its so-called ‘foundation’ that it funds [1, 2, 3, 4] and in the press release we find:

Departing from the interim CodePlex Board are Miguel de Icaza, Vice President, Novell

Since de Icaza joined as interim board member he has also earned an MVP from Microsoft, so it’s not a total loss. It has also been revealed in the form of a confession from Microsoft that the CodePlex Foundation aimed to increase the use of Mono.

Novell programs like Banshee (Mono based) are still being promoted in some places [1, 2], despite the fact that Microsoft's revealing MCP says that Banshee is suitable for safe use only by Novell customers. To Novell’s MonoDevelop lead, says this one person from Linux Today a bunch of reasonable things.

“Here is your MVP award,” wrote an Anonymous Coward at Linux Today. “There’s nothing wrong with that except it’s trying to spread something that’s not very welcomed in the Free software community. At least, Microsoft should award MVP title to the developers for their hard work. Just trying to joke (hence, posting as AC), not mean to attack the developers. We are all technical savvy people, just happened to pick different paths.”

Now that Novell may be sold [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], it’s expected that Microsoft might hire from Novell. Some “cool” programs written in Mono, however, will continue to cause harm.

Microsoft Pays for Linux Phones to Redirect Users to Microsoft

Posted in Boycott Novell, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search, Ubuntu at 2:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

…and carriers take the money

Business piggy bank

Summary: Microsoft spends a lot of money ensuring that it becomes the only gateway to misinformation to more people, even users of Linux

Microsoft is losing over $2 billion per year because of its failed efforts on the Web (this cannot carry on until the debt grows too big). If the reports are true, Microsoft pays Verizon half a billion dollars not to let customers use Google [1, 2] and instead deliver to many people Web results that Microsoft doctors to deceive people and promote its own agenda. If Microsoft controls information, the company believes it can also control the minds and affect coverage about itself. Microsoft has quite a PR army which it built over decades of rogue operations that required a lot of spinning, denial, and harassment of journalists.

The sad thing is that Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has already decided [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] that it’s okay to send users to Microsoft’s Web profiling (spying) algorithms and warped search results that are hostile towards Ubuntu, by design. This is not a violation of any law, but it is clearly a violation of ethical guidelines (not that Microsoft ever cared about ethics).

According to this new report, Microsoft must have paid Motorola a lot of money to redirect users of Android (Linux) to the same trap Ubuntu users will be sent to by default.

Motorola will start loading Microsoft’s search and map services onto its Android smartphones in China, bringing more non-Google services to the phones amid a row between Google and China.

Based on Verizon’s story, Microsoft must be sparing a lot of money here. It pays to have more users to spy on, deliver warped realities to, and exploit for a fake triumph symbolised by tiny gains in US market share (Microsoft is estimated to have ~3% market share in search worldwide). Verizon’s phones also use Linux, according to this new writeup.

A Review of Verizon’s One-on-One Droid Training


Jennifer showed me how to download a program (or app) from the Android Market that identifies what programs are currently running on your Droid.

Is having Microsoft ‘preinstalled’ on such phones any good? As we showed before, Verizon’s customers were very upset about the company’s deal with Microsoft, which prevented customers from even switching to another search engine, notably Google. Microsoft hates choice and it cannot stand fair competition. Only antitrust regulators with threats of billions of dollars in fines can change this (and even then, Microsoft fails to comply properly [1, 2, 3, 4]). Customers should not sit back idly.

“Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

“The only thing necessary for the triumph [of bad] is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Why Would Anyone Develop for Software Patent Bullies?

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, OIN, Patents, Ubuntu at 1:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple headphones

Summary: New reasons for developers and defenders of Apple to reconsider their position and stand up to Software Engineering, not patent racketeering

NOW that Apple promotes artificial scarcity and DRM-laden products (e.g. iPad [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], iPhone) by using software patent lawsuits against GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], this Web site is likely to cover Apple more than before. Last year we warned that developers who serve Apple are being stabbed in the back and mentioned twice already [1, 2] was the following new gem of knowledge that Apple had been trying to hide using threats of litigation:

1. EFF posts Apple’s Iphone SDK licence terms

How did the EFF get its hands on the licence agreement when developers have to sign in blood not to reveal any details? EFF spokesman Fred Von Lohmann wrote, “When we saw the NASA App for Iphone, we used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to ask NASA for a copy, so that the general public could see what rules controlled the technology they could use with their phones. NASA responded with the Rev. 3-17-09 version of the agreement.”

2. Apple owns your soul, warns human rights group

The outfit had its lawyers give the Agreement the once over and thinks that people would be crazy to sign it. The agreement is not supposed to be made public, which is a sure sign that something is wrong with it.

Fortunately NASA wrote an app for the iPhone and the the EFF was able to use the Freedom of Information Act to ask the space agency for a copy of the license agreement dated March 17, 2009.

Apple insists that the agreement “prohibits developers, including government agencies such as NASA, from making any ‘public statements’ about the terms of the Agreement.” So it prevents developers telling the world+dog how bad it is.

3. The First Rule Of Developing For The iPhone Is: You Do Not Talk About Developing For The iPhone

We’ve certainly covered many different practices by Apple that harm its developers, from arbitrarily choosing what gets approved to arbitrarily shutting down apps with little or no explanation. Now, the EFF has used a Freedom of Information Act request to NASA (who recently released an iPhone app) to get a look at the amazingly one-sided agreement that Apple forces developers to sign. The reason that the EFF was forced to file an FOIA request to see and post the document is that part of the agreement itself is that you won’t make any “public statements” about the agreement itself, a la fight club.

4. iPhone developer license lets Apple kill apps at any time

“Apple Ready to Rumble with Rival Smartphone Makers,” says this article, but Apple chose to compete with lawyers, not with products.

Canonical’s new COO, an Apple fan, turns to OIN rather than call for the ending of software patents; maybe he should be trying to get Apple to join OIN, however unlikely that is to ever happen (Google is already in OIN). Whether he likes it or not, his beloved Apple is already suing his company indirectly. It started legal action against the code which his company uses. CNN counts the number of patents in this game, but it’s utterly pointless, claims TechDirt.

A bunch of news sites have been playing up a minor item in a Deutsche Bank note to clients about how Apple has a lot more patents than Google or HTC. I have to say, this is one of the most meaningless bits of data out there, and it’s getting way too much attention for its import. First of all, it looks like the report counted overall patents — not even patents just in the spaces where these companies overlap. Second, the number of patents one holds is absolutely meaningless when it comes to actually being able to enforce the patents.

Companies should abolish software patents, which are simply being used by large companies (and patent trolls) to secure their position. In a fair system, this would never endure.

Links 12/3/2010: Mandriva Focus, Simon Phipps the OSI Director

Posted in News Roundup at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Cool Linux keyboard, X86 hardware ultimate geek sound machine

    The hardware is similar to a standard PC:

    2.8 GHz Pentium 4
    40 GB hard disk
    1 GB Ram (expandable 2GB)
    10.4″ LCD touch screen

  • Braxtel Introduces SIP Based Solution for Contact Centers

    They will also get to use a Linux based product featuring a total browser based interface and simple configuration.

  • LPI promotes Linux certification within Spanish public schools

    (Sacramento, CA, USA and Madrid, Spain: March 10, 2010) The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization, announced that its affiliate organization LPI-Spain had partnered with Proyecto Universidad Empresa (PUE) to promote LPI certification and training within Spain’s public schools. PUE is Spain’s leading agency in the development of IT training and certification and provides academic programs for such major IT organizations as Microsoft, Cisco and Sun.

  • Video/Audiocasts

  • Virtual

    • VirtualBox’s Seamless Mode: Combine Two Operating Systems Into One Desktop

      Installing two operating systems at the same time isn’t just possible; it can also be downright slick. Whether you’re a Mac user looking to occasionally use a given Windows application or someone looking for a risk-free way to try out different Linux versions, VirtualBox is the go-to freeware platform for virtualization. This program allows you to run any operating system in a contained, emulated environment.


      Seamless mode is a slick, underexplored feature of VirtualBox. It’s fit into my workflow on a regular basis, and can work wonders for anyone who needs to run two systems at once for any reason.

    • Virtual Linux

      There are a number of different ways of looking at what makes up virtual Linux for a server. There’s the budget friendly virtual private server (running Linux) that provides users with their own compartmentalized quasi-dedicated server for website use. And then there is a true virtual server in which you have a load balancer that distributes calls to the virtual server by splitting up the load to a number of “real” servers.

      The first example above is much like a virtualized installation of desktop Linux. The defining difference is that it’s designed to emulate a full-blown server, rather than simply catering to the needs of a single desktop user. This has been known to provide cost savings in various ways.

    • Swedes serve up flicks with KVM

      Take Swedish on-demand movie and TV show streaming service Voddler, which launched last July. The company put together a mix of Windows and Ubuntu servers running without any kind of virtualization on the machines, which currently serve up 698 movies, episodes from 168 TV shows and 188 documentaries, most of which are supported through advertising running in the Voddler client. From July 2009 through January 2010, Voddler grew to 400,000 users and has streamed more than one million videos to customers. This is clearly the kind of fast-growing workload where server virtualization is a must, just to help handle the system and application administration.

  • Server

    • VPS.NET to Offer CloudLinux OS

      Lightweight Virtual Environment limits the amount of resources available to a group of processes

      CloudLinux Inc., a software company dedicated to serving the needs of hosting service providers, has announced that VPS.NET, a leader in the cloud hosting arena, will begin to offer CloudLinux as one of its standard Linux Operating Systems (OS) on all of its VPS cloud offerings. VPS.NET is an elastic cloud hosting provider offering instant scalable Virtual Private Server (VPS) solutions.

    • Linux: Big With the Bulge Brackets

      All told, Linux has displaced the Solaris operating system of Sun Microsystems, which has now become a part of database giant Oracle, by a wide margin. By Tabb’s reckoning, 68 percent of bulge bracket firms now use Linux, compared to 23 percent for Solaris. Far back: Windows, at 7 percent.

      “Linux is free and it doesn’t crash,” McPartland said, in summation.

    • Ubuntu Server: The Linux OS Dark Horse

      So, what is it that sets Ubuntu apart from its competitors? First, Ubuntu’s parent Linux distribution is Debian. Debian, otherwise known as Debian GNU/Linux, has a faithful following due to its stability, its apt-get packaging system and its commitment to free software as defined by the Free Software Foundation.

      Second, Ubuntu has a dedicated (paid) development force behind it and a worldwide community of contributors who work together to update and maintain its code and security updates. This should give you comfort that bugs, security flaws and enhancements will come rapidly and regularly to protect your systems and the data they collect and store.

      Third, you have the assurance from Canonical that your systems have 24×7 support available in case of failures or errors that require their assistance. You can rely on their expertise and rapid response for those mission-critical workloads when you need it most.

    • Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud Deployed on Intel Hardware

      There has been a lot of talk about the ‘cloud’ lately and, though the term is largely misused and perhaps a little too hyped, there’s definitely something to this new way of thinking about online applications and the infrastructure to serve them, the so-called cloud computing. Canonical, the company behind the very popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, recognizes the potential of the emerging market and has partnered with Intel and Eucalyptus to promote its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) offering as part of Intel’s Cloud Builder program.

    • Storage Cluster: A Challenge to LJ Staff and Readers
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Announces Keynotes for Exclusive Collaboration Summit

      The Linux Foundation (LF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced newly confirmed keynotes and panelists for its Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. The Summit, now in its fourth year, takes place April 14-16, 2010 at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • Come Out as Part of KDE

      Part of the repositioning of the KDE brands was choosing an appropriate ‘KDE Software Label’ for developers working on applications outside the main KDE Software Compilation. Technology developed by KDE is used far and wide, as can be witnessed on kde-apps.org and other sites. Some of these applications are developed by people closely entrenched in the KDE community, others by developers who just happened to like KDE technology and don’t feel part of the KDE community in any big way. To allow authors to express their connection to the KDE community, the KDE community has chosen three appropriate labels.

  • Distributions

    • Mandriva

      • Health Check: Mandriva

        Mandriva began life in July 1998 as Linux Mandrake in France in Gael Duval’s bedroom after he ported a KDE 1.0 desktop onto Red Hat Linux 5.1, uploaded the result onto two FTP servers, went away on holiday, and came back to find that he had a popular and successful Linux distribution on his hands.

      • Mandriva displays its products at the 2010 Solutions Linux exhibition

        Mandriva, Europe’s leading Linux solutions publisher, will display its latest products at the 2010 Solutions Linux exhibition, from March 16 to 18 at the porte de Versailles Exhibition Centre – Hall 1 – Stand E 29.

        Team Mandriva will take the opportunity to show off its latest range of products designed for both professionals and individuals.

    • Ubuntu

      • Meet Ubuntu Linux’s new CEO (Q&A)

        Jane Silber has been chief executive of Canonical for 11 days.

        But she’s no outsider swooping in to take over Ubuntu Linux’s corporate sponsor. She joined Canonical in June 2004, two months after previous CEO Mark Shuttleworth founded the company with a few programmers he recruited from the Debian Linux project on which Ubuntu is based.

        Since then Canonical has grown to about 320 employees and has made Ubuntu a major presence in the world of Linux–version 10.04, one of the important “long-term support” versions that arrives every two years, is due in April. It’s an unusually sustained effort to make Linux a force on desktop and laptop computers, and among Canonical’s accomplishments is a mainstream foothold on Dell PCs.

      • Using testdrive to save time on testing.

        Aha, indeed by default we don’t ship that weird icon in the tray. Whew! The best part of this is tomorrow when we need to know about how something is working in the default install we just click on the wheel, let it sync, test, confirm, and then move on! And since it keeps a cache you never have to redownload the whole ISO. And there’s things in there for -server, netbooks, and other arches, so it’s handy to check things across different kinds of Ubuntu.

      • New Ubiquity slide-show for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

        Along with the new theme, Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx is getting a new ubiquity slide-show. What is Ubiquity slide-show? It is the slide-show you see when the Ubuntu installation is taking place.

      • Time For Ubuntu to Fork Evolution

        No one can deny the current face of Linux to the masses is Ubuntu. It’s massively more popular than any other distro which makes it the flagship for breaking existing market strangleholds.

        Take the Enterprise server OS market for instance, a traditionally strong area for Linux anyway, Canonical (the controlling company of Ubuntu) have rightly seen where they need to position themselves to gain the advantage with Server OS’s and have gone down the Cloud route with Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. Also – beefing up the support options and the packaging to at least align themselves with the normal market leaders Suse and Red Hat helps to gain further server adoption by to using the momentum of all the other Ubuntu areas and user allegiances.

      • Canonical’s design team responds to theme criticisms

        Canonical is burying Ubuntu’s traditional brown theme and is adopting a new visual style for version 10.04, which is scheduled for release in April. The new theme was revealed last week as part of Canonical’s broader effort to overhaul Ubuntu’s branding and visual identity.

        The new theme includes a richer color palette and a number of stylistic enhancements. The change that has generated the most controversy is the placement of the window management buttons in the left-hand side of the titlebar. In response to some of the concerns that have been raised by users, Canonical designer Ivanka Majic has written a blog entry that describes the reasons behind the change. Majic is also seeking additional feedback from the Ubuntu community.

      • 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.

      • Mint

        • Husse

          I don’t really know how to say this. Our friend and fellow team member Mats Geier passed away. Some of us have been working with him for 3 years now. Husse and I were in contact almost every day and I find it really hard to cope with his loss. I’m sure many people in the community will be deeply touched.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • FEATURE: The mobile OS battleground

        The battle to dominate the mobile operating system is intensifying. Driven by the growth in smartphone use and the mobile app boom, various high-profile players are fighting it out in an increasingly crowded market, with very different approaches.

      • A peek at Unreal Engine on Palm Web OS

        While at the Game Developers Conference, we just got a peek at Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3 running on a Palm Pre Plus. It’s the same technical demo that’s been shown off on the iPhone, both at CES back in January and on Wednesday at Epic’s talk about changes it had to make in order to get the engine running on Apple’s iPhone OS.

      • Google makes its local shopping move

        In a blog post, Google outlined how it works. You do a search, click on a blue dot to see if a product is near by and then you can check inventory. The search works on the iPhone, Palm WebOS and Android devices.

      • Android

        • Open source webdesktopmobile kit refreshes for iPhone, Android

          Appcelerator has taken the beta tag off its open source Titanium development kit, a means of building native desktop and mobile applications using traditional web-development tools such as JavaScript, Python, Ruby on Rails, html and CSS.

        • Why Google Android is winning

          Even so, as Funambol CEO Fabrizio Capobianco writes, “Open source in mobile is inevitable.” It’s inevitable precisely because the market is so fragmented. Open source offers a way for device manufacturers to collaborate on common infrastructure like Android and the WebKit browser (which even RIM is now recognizing).

      • Nokia

        • MeeGo steering group easing platform concerns?

          Valtteri Halla, the Nokia member of the MeeGo Technical Steering Group recently attempted to allay the concerns of the open source community by underscoring the importance of openness in the development of the MeeGo operating system.

        • MeeGo For Nokia N900, Coming This Month

          Nokia’s Nokia’s Valtteri Halla has recently announced that Nokia and Intel will launch the MeeGo code repository sometime in this month. The new and improved OS devised by Nokia and Intel, combines the best features of Maemo and Moblin. This makes the device suitable for running on low power mobile devices. The MeeGo OS will support both the ARM and x86 architecture.

        • Nokia 7230 up for grabs now

          Nokia spent this year’s Mobile World Congress focused solely on its new open source OS, Meego, eschewing new phones in favour of bigging up its world-beating software.

      • IBM

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Summer of Code 2010: Mentoring application deadline

    Google has announced that the deadline for mentoring organisations to apply for this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC) event is Friday, the 12th of March at 23:00 GMT. Each year Google seeks mentors from the FLOSS community to take part in it’s annual GSoC, an event that takes place over the period of three months.

  • It shouldn’t be underestimated just how valuable free software has become.

    The open source community is evolving: as entire sectors become dependent upon projects such as Android and other Linux derivatives, there is a distinct feeling that an invisible hand is on the steering wheel. It shouldn’t be underestimated how valuable free software has become to the embedded engineering market, or surprising that large multinational companies are now highly active in the development of open source projects.

    Take Android, for example. Not a week goes by without another Blue Chip company pledging allegiance to it. There are now several smartphones available which use the OS, free of charge and it is anticipated that Android will feature strongly in the burgeoning mobile internet device sector.

  • Embed a book anywhere with Monocle: the browser-based eBook

    Monocle is open-source and run under the MIT open license. You can embed a ‘book’ on any webpage with two lines of code – one to include the library, one to initialize the reader.

  • A Good Company Looks Like A Good Open Source Project

    This isn’t to suggest that open source projects, even the good ones, have all the answers — or that the FLOSS model should be taken to the extreme or too literally. But when you see a FLOSS project with enthusistic participation from individuals and other organizations (like Drizzle), you could find plenty of inspiration for improving any organization’s effectiveness.

  • Tanzanian ISP goes open source

    Enterprise open source provider Obsidian Systems has rolled out the Zimbra open source messaging and collaboration suite to Tanzanian Internet service provider and mobile operator, Dovetel, which operates under the Sasatel brand.

    The 20 000 end-user roll-out marks Obsidian’s biggest Zimbra installation outside SA, as the company ventures into African territory.

  • Weekly Poll: Is There A Place For Open-Source in the Data Center?

    The Open Source Data Center Initiative seems like it sees that potential. The group is challenging the powers of the engineering world by collaborating and pooling information that goes into designing and ultimately constructing data centers.

  • Network as a Service: Open Source Enables Efficient Cloud Hosting

    When visiting the Cisco IOS website today, we see the standard license and no clear mention of open source licensing. Cisco strikes the balance between open and controlled in it’s a approach to defining what an open network is and where networks will be encapsulated as services.

  • New open source router targets developers

    Duxbury Networking has released a new high performance open source router targeted at Linux/Unix and other open source platform application developers. The Netgear Wireless G router features a Broadcom 5354 System-on-a-chip running at 240MHz with 4Mb flash memory and 16Mb of RAM.


    In addition, open source firmware, including DD-WRT, OpenWRT and Tomato, is available for download at this site.

  • Revisiting Biases Against Open Source SOA Solutions

    He urges architects to define the architecture in a implementation agnostic/vendor-neutral way and evaluate the suitability of candidate solutions; be it open source or vendor solutions. He concludes his article with an endorsement of the viability of OSS for SOA implementations in the enterprise.

    Check your FUD at the door. Make sure you aren’t losing an advantage by prematurely eliminating OSS from your SOA infrastructure mix.

  • CeBIT 2010: German police to use open source Navit navigation

    At the just concluded 2010 edition of Cebit trade exhibition held in Hannover, Germany, the German district of Brandenburg was trialling the open source Navit car navigation system for its Police System

  • At Open Source and the Cloud, IT opportunities and challenges

    The big question is if source code matters in the age of the cloud, and what do developers and IT staff need to know as their world evolves at a breakneck pace.

    We’ll also discuss whether any of this matters and if we’ve reached the point where consuming applications is more important than their origins and future plans. Maybe open APIs have supplanted open source?

  • Not Everyone Should Blog

    If anyone needs more proof of Mr. Comeau’s lack of sanity, he calls HTML 5 “open source.” Since when is a language open source? Programs have source code, written in languages, and if a programmer allows his source to be freely available, then that is what’s called “open source.” But calling HTML 5 open source is like saying C++ is open source.

    No! Web pages are written in HTML, which may be HTML 5 compliant (that is, it utilizes tags that were added in the HTML 5 spec). The HTML source of a webpage is freely viewable, but that doesn’t make that HTML open source. And it certainly doesn’t make HTML 5, the specification, open source. Does he think that since HTML 5 is a standard, so it’s not kept a guarded secret, that it’s open source?

  • The Open-Source Buzz

    However, today I will focus on a lesser-known but growing buzzword: open-source software. Before I explain what exactly qualifies software as open-source, I’ll note that it has grown in popularitty in the government, non-profit and education sectors. For example, Drupal, a popular open-source content management used by CornellSun.com, was recently adopted both by the Cornell library’s website as well as WhiteHouse.gov.

  • Open source and the Morevna project

    Konstatin Dmitriev’s Morevna Project is to 2-D animation what the Blender Foundation’s Open movie projects have been for 3-D. The goal is to produce a production-quality, full-length animated feature, using only open source software, and license the source content and final product under free, re-use-friendly terms. Along the way, the work provides stress-testing, feedback, and development help to the open source software used, while raising awareness of the quality of the code.

  • Open source FeelHome provides simple, cross-platform remote access to your files

    The open source server app is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows (Windows users can choose between an installer or a portable version).

  • eZ

    • eZ Conference & Awards 2010 in Berlin

      eZ Conference 2010 has a wide but focused appeal. eZ’s commitment to free and Open Source software means that its ecosystem includes some of the brightest, well-informed professionals worldwide. Past speakers have included Open Source leaders Rasmus Lerdorf (“father” of PHP) and David Axmark (Co-Founder, MySQL), as well as business and technology experts from BBC, IBM, Lagardère, Mozilla, and Schibsted.

    • Interoute wins eZ Publish hosting deals from SNCF, NXC

      Interoute has won a contract to host French railway operator SNCF’s online magazine, Voyazine, which uses the eZ Publish open source content management platform from Norway’s eZ Systems.

  • Sony

    • INTERVIEW: Sony Ericsson’s head of partner engagement

      >Does supporting multiple OS’s make it difficult to attract developers, some of whom would prefer a single, closed system?

      Yes and no. On one hand you want to have a completely open environment, open standards and, where possible, open-source and a means of collaborating and sharing around a lot of things. On the other hand, giving the developers and the creators the freedom of choice and freedom of expression – the more you do that it really becomes difficult in terms of driving things in a very consistent manner.

    • EnterpriseDB Tapped For Online Gaming

      It’s the first use of EnterpriseDB Postgres Plus Advanced Server, built on the open source PostgreSQL system, for such a demanding online application. EnterpriseDB until now has been largely superceded by the open source MySQL as a Web application database system, given MySQL’s early foothold on social networking and blogging sites.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 3.6.2 Coming March 30th – Where is 3.6.1?

      No, that’s not a typo. Mozilla is currently scheduled to release its next open source Firefox browser version 3.6.2 on March 30th.

    • Firefox developer outlines plans to ‘humanise’ the internet

      Mozilla Foundation head Mitchell Baker told the Register recently that the open source group’s mission was “to build certain qualities into the human experience of the internet” and that while Firefox was “important for the immediate future” Mozilla has “barely started in user control.”

    • Mozilla Apologies Over Jetpack Mockup Design

      Mozilla today posted a public apology to design firm MetaLab over a design mockup for a new Jetpack feature.

    • Updating the MPL

      The Mozilla Foundation has announced its process for updating the Mozilla Public License. While Mozilla’s substantive goals for the new version of the MPL (which will probably be numbered 2.0) are quite different from the FSF’s objectives in drafting GPLv3, Mozilla is adopting some of the features of the GPLv3 process, including a series of public drafts accompanied by rationale documents, the use of a collaborative commenting system, and a general commitment to engaging the license-using community in contributing ideas and feedback.

  • Databases

    • Open Source NoSQL Databases Ramp Up

      For most of the Web era, Relational Database Management Systems (RDBMS) based on SQL have dominated the database landscape. But over the course of the last year, a new approach has begun to take hold known as NoSQL, offering an alternative to the traditional RDBMS.

    • Digg Moves From MySQL to NoSQL

      In MySQL’s place, Digg is going with an open source NoSQL non-relational database called Cassandra that was originally created by Facebook. As part of the migration effort from MySQL to Cassandra, Digg developers built a tool to help move data from one database to the other. The tool could soon be open source, helping other developers make the same move.

    • Survey of MySQL Storage Engines
  • Oracle

    • Symtrax BI Tool Now Works with Open Source Spreadsheet

      Symtrax last month unveiled StarQuery for Calc, a new module of its StarQuery suite of business intelligence (BI) tools designed to work with Open Office’s Calc, a free and open source alternative to Microsoft Excel’s spreadsheet program.

    • Project Wonderland finds new home

      Today Ken Miller, the CEO of Virtual Learning Labs, announced the formation of the Open Wonderland Foundation and the creation of the Open Wonderland virtual world platform. The Open Wonderland platform is a “fork” of the Project Wonderland toolkit originally developed by Sun Microsystems Laboratories. Miller, who will serve as the Foundation’s first President and Chairman of the Board, explains that the non-profit Open Wonderland Foundation will provide direction and governance for Open Wonderland (http://OpenWonderland.org), a free and open source platform for creating 3D virtual worlds for education, business, and government applications.

    • Simon Phipps elected as OSI director

      The Open Source Initiative (OSI) has elected Simon Phipps to the board of directors; Phipps recently left Oracle after serving as Sun’s Chief Open Source Officer. He will take up his new position on the OSI board from April 1st. In a blog posting confirming the appointment, Phipps says he is “honoured and delighted” to take up the position on the board of an organisation which “still plays a very important and relevant role in the world of software freedom”.

    • ✍ Change at OSI

      I gather that the Board of Directors of the Open Source Initiative met on Sunday to elect the board for their 2010-11 financial year. I am both honoured and delighted to discover that they have elected me as a Director, with effect from April 1st.

  • CMS

    • WordPress Guns for Web Content Management Duties

      Such use has caught at least some of the CMS community by surprise.

      “There’s a debate raging within Twitter about whether traditional blogging platform WordPress is also a CMS,” wrote Tony Byrne in a blog post. Byrne is the founder of the CMS analyst firm The Real Story Group, formerly called CMS Watch. “Our take: many organizations are using WordPress as a CMS. That makes it a CMS.”

  • Business

    • Open for business

      If you think the open source model is mainstream only within the application servers and operating systems space, think again. With organisations increasingly preferring remotely managed application suites over a traditional and physical IT infrastructure, open source Business Intelligence (BI) tools are being adopted thick and fast.

    • SugarCRM launches new partner programme

      Open+ builds on SugarCRM’s existing partner programmes to provide additional value by offering partners access to a market development programme, more access to SugarCRM’s Open Cloud platform, and has a referral programme which offers rewards for each qualified lead referred to SugarCRM

    • SugarCRM announces new Open+ Partner Programme
  • Java

    • Terracotta’s Ehcache back-ends Hibernate

      Terracotta got its start providing a means of clustering together Java virtual machines and added content caching using its own APIs to the stack to help boost performance. But last August it decided to acquire the company that controlled the open source Ehcache project, which has about a 70 per cent share of Java caching out there in the real world. In October, Terracotta mashed up Ehcache with its JVM clustering, now known as Terracotta for Web Sessions.

    • Ubiquitous Java Caching Solution Gets Upgrade

      Java clustering infrastructure provider Terracotta on Tuesday released Ehcache 2.0, the first major upgrade of the widely deployed open source Java caching solution since the company acquired it last August.

      Ehcache is a popular open source Java cache library; enterprise production deployments of Ehcache are estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands. It also ships as a component in Hibernate ORM, the Spring Framework, Alfresco CMS and the Liferay portal.

  • Funding

    • Is ad blocking the problem?

      And yet, years and scads of free riders later, open source is bigger than ever. Did the market miss the memo that declared that open-source software had to be monetized directly or would fade into oblivion?

      Of course not. Rather, open-source software developers started to charge for value around or beyond the core open-source software bits. Google gives away immense amounts of open-source software but charges for advertising around it. Facebook contributes actively to open source, too, but also charges for advertising and other services on its site. Red Hat charges for easy access to updates through its Red Hat Network.


    • Free Software- To sell or not to sell?!

      This post from the the FSF has helped to clear a misconception that myself, and I believe lots of other people have about Free Software. In case you also have some nagging questions about the sale of Free Software, I hope this post will help clarify things for you as it did for me.

      Many people believe that the spirit of the GNU Project is that you should not charge money for distributing copies of software, or that you should charge as little as possible — just enough to cover the cost. This is a misunderstanding.

      Actually, we encourage people who redistribute free software to charge as much as they wish or can. If this seems surprising to you, please read on.

      The word “free” has two legitimate general meanings; it can refer either to freedom or to price. When we speak of “free software”, we’re talking about freedom, not price. (Think of “free speech”, not “free beer”.) Specifically, it means that a user is free to run the program, change the program, and redistribute the program with or without changes.

  • Government

    • Greens criticise London gov’t open source

      London authorities have not done enough to make good on a central government commitment to use more open source, according to the Green Party.

    • Tories pat small biz heads in open source IT procurement pledge

      Echoing the current Labour government’s “commitment” to open source and open standards, the Tories sang from the same hymn book by declaring they would “create a level playing field for open source IT in government procurement”.


      The manifesto added that a Tory government would immediately halt planned IT procurement projects, to evaulate proposals and “ensure that small businesses and open source IT providers are not locked out of the bidding process”.

    • BSI to open source Scout framework

      In May, Swiss company Business Systems Integration AG (BSI) will release its Scout business application framework to the open source community. A first look at the Scout project’s source code will be available to attendees at this year’s EclipseCon conference, taking place from the 22nd to the 25th of March, 2010 in Santa Clara, California.

  • Openness

    • Pint-sized robot takes giant strides

      “We have already built around 20 of them,” Professor Caldwell said. “So there are 20 projects connected with iCub currently under way, each of them with around five people. People are starting to do useful things with the robots and everyone has a different interest in what they want the robot to do. Because it’s all open source, and we exchange our programs, the number of lines of code is rising extremely quickly. And the code is always made available for download.

    • The rise of open source: Thoughts on TEDxNYED

      The first article mentioning the phrase “open source journalism” was apparently published in Salon magazine in 1999, describing an experiment that had been run by Jane’s Intelligence Review, a U.K. military journal. The journal asked readers of Slashdot to provide feedback on an article about cyber-terrorism, and they responded so enthusiastically — “slicing and dicing” the story “into tiny little pieces,” Salon had it — that “the editor, Johan J Ingles-le Nobel, declared that he would write a new article incorporating the Slashdot comments, and would compensate Slashdot participants whose words made it into the final copy.”

  • Wiki

    • Whitman’s foes create Wikipedia-style gossip site

      Calling it “the first open-source opposition research file in history,” Democrats targeting Meg Whitman”s gubernatorial bid Monday launched a new Web site “” Wikimeg.com “” where users can freely post critical information about the billionaire ex-CEO of eBay.

      And the site”s owners, the labor-funded Level the Playing Field 2010, say there are only two rules: Keep it civil, and keep it factual, citing a source. They say they”ll be checking regularly to make sure everyone”s playing along.

    • Meg Whitman’s Insidious Spending Inspires Tool for True Democracy

      This morning the website “Level the Playing Field 2010″ launched www.WikiMeg.com, the first open source, political research site of its kind – open to all, by all and for all. At “Level The Playing Field 2010,{ the organizers are embarking on a bold new experiment in democracy.

      “We hope the WikiMeg space will serve as a digital laboratory for free speech. It’s based on the idea that by harnessing the collective brainpower of millions of Californians, we can help level the playing field against Meg Whitman’s $200 million television campaign. ” say the organizers.

    • The Wikimedia Foundation: doing strategic planning the open source way

      From the main page, you can read the entire strategy memo that was presented to the Wikimedia Foundation board just last month. The memo itself is stunningly smart. Google must have thought so too, because they made a $2 million donation to the Wikimedia Foundation, announced a few weeks ago.

  • Search

  • Programming

    • Open Source is Opening Data to Predictive Analytics

      The R Project: despite there being over 2 million users of this open-source language for statistical data analysis, you might not have heard of it … yet. You might have seen this feature in the New York Times last year, and you might have heard how REvolution Computing is enhancing and supporting R for commercial use. Because what was once a secret of drug-development statisticians at pharmaceutical companies, quants on Wall Street, and PhD-level statistical researchers around the globe (not to mention pioneers at Web 2.0 companies like Google and Facebook) is suddenly becoming mainstream. The reason? The perfect storm of a deluge of data, open-source technology, and the rise of predictive analytics.


  • LifeLock fined $12 million over lack of life-locking ability

    Identity theft prevention service LifeLock is not as pristine as its reputation claims after all. The company agreed to pay out $12 million to settle charges with the Federal Trade Commission and 35 states, which had said that LifeLock’s identity-theft-prevention claims were false and that the company actually made its own customer data available and unsecured from theft. As it turns out, there is no way to fully guarantee that identity theft won’t happen, no matter what someone puts on the side of a truck.

  • FCC fell victim to $2.5M video relay scam

    The former employees of two video relay service companies pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the FCC’s Video Relay Service program of more than $2.5 million, according to the Justice Department.

  • Security

    • Ionia kindergartner suspended for making gun with hand

      But when Mason Jammer, a kindergarten student at Jefferson Elementary in Ionia, curled his fist into the shape of a gun Wednesday and pointed it at another student, school officials said it was no laughing matter.

    • No-Fly List Includes the Dead

      You may be dying, figuratively, to get off the government’s no-fly list, but death won’t guarantee removal.

      The government’s no-fly list includes the names of dead suspects to help catch people who may try to assume the suspect’s identity, according to government officials who spoke with The Associated Press.

    • Former TSA analyst charged with computer tampering

      A U.S. Transport Security Administration analyst has been indicted with tampering with databases used by the TSA to identify possible terrorists who may be trying to fly in the U.S.

    • UK complained to US about terror suspect torture, says ex-MI5 boss

      The government protested to the US over the torture of terror suspects, the former head of MI5, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller revealed last night.

      She also said the Americans concealed from Britain the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 2001 attacks.

    • Rove ‘proud’ of US waterboarding terror suspects

      A senior adviser to former US President George W Bush has defended tough interrogation techniques, saying their use helped prevent terrorist attacks.

    • Obama, Congress Wink at Massive Surveillance Abuses

      Here’s how it was supposed to be. Under his administration, candidate Barack Obama explained in 2007, America would abandon the “false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide.” There would be “no more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime” because “that is not who we are, and it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.” Even after his disappointing vote for the execrable FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which expanded government surveillance power while retroactively immunizing telecoms for their role in George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping, civil libertarians held out hope that the erstwhile professor of constitutional law would begin to restore some of the checks on government surveillance power that had been demolished in the panicked aftermath of the September 11 attacks.

    • Where’s The Outrage Over The Gov’t Brushing Mass Privacy Violations Under The Rug?

      I have to admit that I’ve been a bit in shock over Congress’s decision to simply renew the Patriot Act, recently, without a single safeguard to protect against abuse. That’s because just before all this happened, we wrote about how a report from the government found (not for the first time) that the FBI regularly abused its authority to get phone records it had no right to. This went well beyond earlier reports of abusing National Security Letters. In this case, the FBI didn’t even bother with NSLs. Instead, sometimes it would just use a post-it note. On top of that, reports came out noting that just weeks before this report was released, the Obama administration issued a ruling with a blanket absolution for the FBI’s activities — basically saying that if the President said it was okay, it was fine.

  • Finance

    • Brussels targets derivatives to help euro

      The European commission announced moves today to shore up the euro and ward off market pressure on Greece by considering a ban on complex derivatives allegedly being used to undermine the single currency.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Internet restrictions curtail human rights, says US

      Many governments have used the internet to curtail freedom of expression at home, the US state department says in its latest annual human rights report.

      In many cases new forms of electronic communications are restricted to control domestic dissent, it says.

    • Enhancing Democracy by Banning Speech

      Imagine how life will be now that giant corporations may spend as much as they want on political campaigns, as the Supreme Court recently decreed. All they will have to do to get their way is ask members of Congress: Do you want our money helping you—or your opponent? Given the sums available to Big Business, most politicians will be desperate to please.

    • Hundreds rounded up in Tibet crackdown

      Hundreds of Tibetans are being rounded up and detained in Lhasa and armed paramilitary groups are patrolling the streets in advance of the anniversary of fatal riots in 2008, The Times has learnt.

      Authorities are anxious to avoid a repeat of the anti-Chinese attacks, in which about 20 people were killed when Tibetans rampaged through the city, setting fire to shops and offices.

    • Mobile that allows bosses to snoop on staff developed

      Researchers have produced a mobile phone that could be a boon for prying bosses wanting to keep tabs on the movements of their staff.

      Japanese phone giant KDDI Corporation has developed technology that tracks even the tiniest movement of the user and beams the information back to HQ.

    • Pushing for press access for bloggers

      Jay Liner’s business card for The Baltimore Organ lists him as “Founder & Chief Protagonist” of the Web site. The Pikesville lawyer is a self-described boomer from the anti-Vietnam generation, a progressive who writes about “what piques his curiosity,” from the slots debate to Baltimore County politics to Viagra commercials.


      Liner has no desire to become a trailblazer in the blogosphere, but he acknowledges the lawsuit reflects how the Internet has forever changed the way people consume news.

    • Lessig Gives A Well-Timed Speech To The Italian Parliament On Internet Freedom

      We have noted, recently, that Italian laws and politicians seem to have a somewhat troubling view of the internet, where they are quick to blame the internet for anything bad that happens, and then look to pass laws that would throw out plenty of good just to protect against the possibility of any bad happening. This, of course, culminated just recently in the ruling in an Italian court that three Google execs were guilty of criminal violations, over a Google-hosted video.

      Given all that, it’s quite interesting timing to see that Larry Lessig just gave a speech to the Italian Parliament about how Internet is Freedom. You can see it below (assuming YouTube doesn’t take it down) and it runs a little over half an hour…

    • Turkish Reporters Unite to Protest YouTube Ban

      The Turkish courts banned YouTube in May 2008, and now a new protest campaign launched by the editorial team of the Milliyet newspaper is drawing attention to how long the country has been prevented from using the website.

      The initiative, which was was launched on February 19, is not the first campaign of this type. But it’s notable because previous protests came from the blogosphere and, as a result, did not receive international coverage. The current ban is the fourth such action by the Turkish courts since 2007; hopefully, this campaign will draw attention to this policy of censorship.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • BPI drafted the Lib Dem / Conservative web blocking amendment

      Just in case you were wondering where the idea for a web blocking amendment came from, we attach to this blog post a copy of the BPI’s draft, along with their justification for it.

      Now, amendments often come from lobby and campaign groups, including us, not least because it’s the easiest way for them to show parliamentarians what they want. But the fact that twice, with the original copyright by diktat proposal, and then the web blocking proposal, the BPI essentially got to write what they wanted and get it proposed more or less wholesale as law, in such a tremendously sensitive area and in such a one-sided manner, shows something is very wrong with the way this debate is being conducted.

    • Leaked Documents Show UK Web Censorship Proposal Written By Record Labels

      Lobbying groups and activists write proposed legislation all the time — it’s part of how the process works. But with controversial legislation, you would at least think that politicians would be sensitive to some of the concerns of others before essentially doing a copy-and-paste on what the lobbyists give them.

    • DMCA

      • Another Reason To Worry About DMCA Takedowns: Collateral Damage

        The EFF also follows this up with a list of ways that upstream service providers should react to such DMCA notices, and suggests that customers seek out service providers who will follow that course of action. Of course, the better solution would be to fix the DMCA, but that doesn’t seem likely any time soon.

      • 10 ways you might be breaking the law with your computer: UPDATED

        1: Digital Millennium Copyright (DMCA) Act

        Most computer users have heard of this law, signed in 1998 by President Clinton, implementing two World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) treaties. The DMCA makes it a criminal offense to circumvent any kind of technological copy protection — even if you don’t violate anyone’s copyright in doing so. In other words, simply disabling the copy protection is a federal crime.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • No longer ducks of a feather

      The Donald and the Duck are going their separate ways.

      In an amicable split, the folks at The Walt Disney Co. have agreed that the University of Oregon’s feathered mascot, which appears at sporting events, is not Donald Duck and that the mascot is no longer subject to Disney’s trademark. That leaves the Duck Who Is Not Donald free to go on its cheerleading way, subject only to UO rules.

    • Because Only The Record Labels Are Supposed To Get Away With Not Paying Their Musicians…

      You would think that the record labels would be smart enough to avoid making an argument that could so easily be turned against them. How about before you go blame the radio stations for not paying the labels to promote your acts, you start out by paying money to some of your top selling acts who claim they’ve never seen a dime in royalties. Given the labels’ propensity to blatantly lie to artists about how much they’re owed, you’d think the last thing they’d want to do is call attention to who is “refusing to pay musicians for their work.”

    • Pig Invades Capital

      The music industry is taking their fight for performance fees to their adversaries’ doors Wednesday. The music industry has begun portraying broadcasters’ opposition to legislation that would require AM and FM radio stations to pay a fee to performers for playing their music on the air as “piggish.”

    • Pink Floyd sues EMI over iTunes payments

      It’s hard not to like Pink Floyd. The band’s music always felt so important, even if the songs were called things like “See Emily Play” and the albums resonated with names like “Ummagumma.”

    • Pink Floyd sue EMI over download royalties
    • When RealNetworks Settled on DVD Copying, We All Lost

      RealNetworks just screwed us all by settling lawsuits in which it might have lost–but which might also have given some new life to fair use for digital media.

    • Shirky at NFAIS: How Abundance Breaks Everything

      Clay Shirky was the opening keynote at the NFAIS Annual Conference this weekend. According to Shirky, the fact that our customers are connected matters, but the fact that they’re networked matters even more.

      As an illustration of his point he told us a story about HSBC, a UK bank that instituted a no-penalty account targeted at UK college students and recent graduates. After attracting customers to these accounts, the bank decided to institute a £140 fee for overdrafts. As we all would have imagined, in the age of Facebook and social networking, account holders didn’t take this lightly. In fact, they organized online and were in the process of organizing an in-person demonstration when HSBC gave in.

    • No More Social Media For American Idol Contestants

      At about 6PM ET on March 3rd, according to the Wall Street Journal, all Twitter, Facebook and MySpace followers of individual American Idol contestants were sent the same message:

      “Thanks so much for following me/joining my Fan Page! All my updates from now on will be on our Official American Idol 9 Contestant Page, please become a fan there to read all my updates throughout the season!”

    • Sorry, There’s No Silver Bullet Business Model For The Music Industry

      The evolution of recording formats shows that what has really driven the industry has been a hunger for increased accessibility and portability, not necessarily the introduction of new features. So, while Mulligan’s music application idea may drive some interest in recoded music, by empowering the audience to do more with it, it is very unlikely to drive the type of purchasing behavior that, in the past, came with each new recording format — and it certainly won’t “save recorded music.” The problem is that the user is no longer locked into the recording industry’s physical product for the distribution of music. There is no “one thing” they can sell that the audience will have no alternative but to buy. To be successful, the recording industry is going to have to experiment and figure out how make revenue from many different sources, which requires creativity that the labels have so far been unable or unwilling to muster. While the industry is out there looking for the “silver bullet” of a business model, the reality is that the answer is more like a whole clip full of silver bullets, coupled with some garlic, and finished off with a wooden stake or two.

    • And Here Come The Lawsuits From People Who Claim James Cameron Ripped Them Off With Avatar
    • Vancouver man files first ‘Avatar’ rip-off lawsuit

      James Cameron has been sued for copyright infringement for allegedly stealing source material to create the international blockbuster “Avatar.”

    • Brazil Moves Forward With Plan To Ignore US Patents And Copyrights After US Refuses To Abide By WTO Ruling

      Two years ago, we noted that Brazil had asked the WTO for permission to ignore certain US patents and copyrights as a retaliation against the US’s refusal to abide by a WTO ruling. This is, of course, typical of the US. When the WTO sides with the US on certain issues, you see the US and industry lobbyists go nuts about how those countries need to capitulate due to “international obligations.” But when the WTO rules against the US, the USTR has a long history of ignoring the ruling or even pretending (falsely) that it “won.”

    • ACTA

      • European Parliament gives the US a lesson on freedom

        EUROCRATS who have been negotiating a secret treaty with the US that would trample on human rights to keep the music and film cartels happy have been sent a rocket by the European Parliament.

        MEPs have voted in overwhelming numbers against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that was being negotiated by EU Commissioners. By 633 votes in favour, 13 against, and with 16 abstentions, the MEP’s also threatened to take them to the European Court for their trouble.

        The secret treaty would turn Europe into an entertainment industries’ dream region. ISPs would become police for the music and film industries and would have to switch off whoever they suspect of filesharing that infringes copyrights.

      • Obama Reiterates Support For Finishing ACTA

        President Obama Thursday reiterated his administration’s commitment to enacting the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, aimed at curbing global piracy, despite a vote by the European Parliament this week calling for greater transparency in the deal’s negotiations.

      • Obama: We Must Move Forward On ACTA

        What was telling, however, was how he described ACTA — which is that he used the bogus arguments for what people think ACTA is about, rather than what’s actually in the agreement. It’s a political trick:

        “There’s nothing wrong with other people using our technologies, we welcome it — we just want to make sure that it’s licensed, and that American businesses are getting paid appropriately,” Obama said. “That’s why [the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative] is using the full arsenal of tools available to crack down on practices that blatantly harm our businesses, and that includes negotiating proper protections and enforcing our existing agreements, and moving forward on new agreements, including the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.”

Clip of the Day – Deb Woods

Patents Roundup: Both Apple and Microsoft Use Software Patents Against GNU/Linux, Get Sued for Violation Along With Google and Facebook; Amazon-USPTO Comedy Resumes

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Patents at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rainbow troll

Summary: This week’s latest patent news which has impact on the Free software world

Apple and Microsoft Patent Extortion Against Free Software Goes Almost a Decade Back

PROPRIETARY SOFTWARE companies think alike. Apple’s attack on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] turns out to be many years old [1, 2]. At Microsoft too, Bill Gates had spoken about a “Jihad” (his word) against Linux at Intel almost a decade ago. They managed to keep it secret for many years. These CEOs are control freaks who let nothing in their way stop them. Schwartz, the former CEO of Sun, says that “for a technology company, going on offense with software patents seems like an act of desperation, relying on the courts instead of the marketplace….[S]uing a competitor typically makes them more relevant, not less. Developers I know aren’t getting less interested in Google’s Android platform, they’re getting more interested.”

Here is an interesting pick from the news:

The concern is that Microsoft’s Windows 7 mobile operating system has the iPhone’s market in its sights and that Microsoft has a deep background in software patents to back it up.

One worry for Google is that Apple’s legal battle with HTC may weaken the momentum of Android-powered phones.

Apple and Microsoft both share an affinity for software patents and they also cross-license. This means that Apple’s bullying of GNU/Linux with software patents is very beneficial to Microsoft, which pools the same patents as Apple’s. In the news we now have (references not listed before):

Former Sun CEO claims Jobs threatened lawsuit in 2003

Apple Tried to Bully Sun With Lawsuit Threats in 2003

Apple and Microsoft “threatened to sue Sun”

Ex-Sun CEO dishes dirt: Steve Jobs as Apple “patent troll”

Former Sun CEO Says Apple’s Jobs Threatened To Sue Co In 2003

Former Sun CEO Schwartz dishes on patent fights with Jobs, Gates

Daily Dose – Schwartz: Apple and Microsoft Tried to Sue Me Too!

Steve Jobs threatened to sue, says former Sun CEO Schwartz

Former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz describes Steve Jobs showdown

Sun fended off Apple, Microsoft IP lawsuit threats

Former Sun CEO: Steve Jobs threatened to sue us over patents too

Former Sun Microsystems CEO: HTC Isn’t the First Company to Face Legal Threats From Steve Jobs

Ex-Sun boss spills the beans on Apple patent threats

Schwartz on Steve Jobs’ “bullying tactics

Former Sun CEO Takes Tech Titans to Task Over Patent Trolling

Former Sun CEO: Tech Companies Suing Over Patents Is An Act Of Desperation

Schwartz tells the story of Steve Jobs calling him and threatening Sun with a patent infringement lawsuit, to which Schwartz quickly warned Jobs that going down that path would lead to a patent nuclear war, as he pointed out how recent Apple products likely infringed on Sun patents. He then tells another story about a visit from Bill Gates, with a similar threat over patents — and a similar response, pointing out that Microsoft clearly copied certain Sun technology. In both cases, the counterweight made the threats go away. This is the whole “nuclear stockpiling” scenario — and, as such, it creates a ton of waste. You have to keep building up those stockpiles just to make sure the other side is too scared to sue you.

Gates Asked for IP Royalties for OpenOffice from Sun Microsystems

Sometime between 2003 and 2006, Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer and Co-founder and chairman Bill Gates visited Sun Microsystems. It wasn’t a courtesy visit, according to Jonathan Ian Schwartz, Former CEO of Sun Microsystems. The Microsoft duo were on a mission to convince Scott McNealy, Sun’s then CEO, to enter into a patent licensing agreement with the Redmond company. Moreover, Gates wanted compensation for the patents that Sun Microsystems was allegedly violating with OpenOffice, a rival product of Microsoft’s own Office productivity suite. Sun resisted.

This ought to make GNU/Linux users who defend Microsoft or Apple think twice.

More Apple and Microsoft

The i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] is not quite over yet. Microsoft’s defense of software patents is costing it dearly; its cash cow is at stake and it’s still trying to exhaust the plaintiff, as usual [1, 2]. The legal system is built in such a way that it favours those who can endure (afford) more motions, which is why Microsoft manages to get away with many real offences and have charges dismissed. It’s a brute force game.

Two days ago we found out that Apple is getting sued for patent infringement again:

Apple, Research in Motion, and a gaggle of other deep-pocket firms have been slapped with a wide-ranging patent infringment suit by an obscure Texas firm.

The suit alleges that Apple and RIM – plus AT&T, Insight Enterprises, LG Electronics, Motorola, Pantech Wireless, Samsung and Sanyo – are in violation of one or more of seven mobile phone–related patents. The allegedly infringed-upon patents include ones for Bluetooth connectivity, syncing, background processing and other mobile matters.

Here is more about Apple, relating to something that we covered 2 days ago.

More than 100,000 app developers have reportedly signed the iPhone Development Program License Agreement allowing them write software for the iPhone, however few people outside the inner circle of developers have ever seen the documents thanks to a non-disclosure clause included in the agreement.When NASA released the NASA App for iPhone, The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) seized the opportunity to get a copy from the federal government under the Freedom of Information Act.

Google and Facebook Get What They Deserve

Google is not an opponent of software patents and neither is Facebook [1, 2]. This is why the following new lawsuit is probably good news:

Google, Facebook sued on mobile notworking

Google and Facebook have been sued in New York by a company claiming to own software patents that put social networks on mobile phones.

Google, Facebook Sued Over Social-Networking Patent

Wireless Ink Corp., which runs the Winksite service, claims that Facebook Mobile and Google Buzz are infringing a patent issued in October. In a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Manhattan, the company is seeking cash compensation and a court order to prevent further use of its invention.

Let them get sued. Maybe they will eventually learn that software patents are not worth the trouble. They makes this patent system a wasteful farce that does not promote science like it was originally supposed to.

Amazon a Mockery to the USPTO

Amazon’s patent deal with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4] showed us that Amazon is not an opponent of software patents, but we already knew that. One of the most infamous examples of Amazon’s shameful patent policy is the 1-click patent, which the USPTO is still unable to bin. Here is the latest development. From Slashdot’s summary/description:

Zordak writes “Amazon’s infamous ’1-click’ patent has been in reexamination at the USPTO for almost four years. Patently-O now reports that ‘the USPTO confirmed the patentability of original claims 6-10 and amended claims 1-5 and 11-26. The approved-of amendment adds the seeming trivial limitation that the one-click system operates as part of a ‘shopping cart model.’ Thus, to infringe the new version of the patent, an eCommerce retailer must use a shopping cart model (presumably non-1-click) alongside of the 1-click version. Because most retail eCommerce sites still use the shopping cart model, the added limitation appears to have no practical impact on the patent scope.’”

This is also covered in:

Amazon One-Click Patent Slides Through Reexamination

Amazon.com’s 1-Click patent confirmed following re-exam

US Patent Office Decides That One Click Really Is Patentable

One Click Patent Reexamination over – with claims amended and other Amazon applications rejected in light of my prior art

The failure here is the USPTO’s and the greed is Amazon’s.

IDG Carries on Publishing Anti-GNU/Linux Rhetoric from Microsoft Evangelist in More Domains

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Search at 2:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Advisory notice

Summary: Without any disclosure, Gartenberg’s smears continue to be disseminated by IDG, which cares about traffic rather than accuracy and conflicts of interests (Gartenberg is a former Microsoft employee)

Microsoft Evangelist Michael Gartenberg is doing his annual “anti-GNU/Linux” [1, 2]. Gartenberg, who has been working for Microsoft for years (sometimes on the payroll directly), is publishing lies about GNU/Linux at least once a year and IDG not only publishes this in one site; it even modifies the headline and posts it another site, only to receive somewhat angry responses from people who can call “FUD” when they see it. Here is one such response:

I am seriously annoyed by the constant disingenuous articles that state GNU/Linux is not ready for the average user’s desktop PC as the primary, or only, operating system. What a dump truck load of manure! The majority of the people making such spurious claims are usually ignorant end-users, clueless “reporters”, Microsoft fanatics or Apple worshippers. I am not sure which of these categories may contain Mr. Gartenberg. But I suspect it is one or more of the above. If not, then someone point out to me just exactly where Mr. Gartenberg stands in the operating systems wars. Yes, these are wars. If you do not believe that, fine. You can be wrong if you want to.

This FUD is nothing to be upset about. It’s just one of those routine things from the Microsoft ecosystem. “The MicroShills Are At It Again,” writes another person:

It’s almost impossible to read anything from the mainline computer press that does not have the hard and heavy thumbprint of Microsoft on it. We get it. You all depend on Microsoft for your continued existence, so all articles pointed at them will be heavily slanted in their favor, and, every once in a great while, when Microsoft really screws the pooch, the sarcastic remarks and criticism can fly, but only for so long. (If you don’t believe this, you aren’t paying attention. Also, gander at the amount of criticism Vista got, and then there were a load of articles saying how no one – not even them – really gave Vista a chance, and it wasn’t that bad. Then, magically, when Windows 7 started looking halfway good, and Microsoft itself admitted what a pig Vista was, again it was alright to criticize again.)

Now, it’s Bing. Bing is acceptable as a search engine – for anyone that has never used Google, or Yahoo, for that matter.

But the press is beating us with the “gains” of Bing in the market every time they show up. Enough already.

He then refers to US-only figures (that roughly quadruple Microsoft’s real presence in several areas of computing) which come from Microsoft’s business partner, ComScore [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. He also does not mention the fact that Microsoft is losing over $2 billion per year because market share gets bought, not earned (see Verizon for example [1, 2])

SourceForge Learns Not from Windows’ Failures and Even Hires from Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Windows at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s former employees, who encourage Free software developers to forget about GNU/Linux, become key staff in SourceForge/Geeknet

MICROSOFT hates paying tax (here is the latest from Reifman [1, 2], a former Microsoft employee who challenges the company to stop avoiding tax [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]), but it sure wants others to pay tax not just to compensate for its evasion but also to help redeem from its very own negligence [1, 2, 3]. We are talking about the conceited suggestion made by Microsoft’s Charney [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], who was hired from the government (US DOJ).

Free Software Magazine writes about a similar subject, not forgetting to mention a similar suggestion from Microsoft's Mundie last month.

Microsoft’s Internet Driving Licence: stupid, unworkable and unenforceable


Mundie also compared computer users on the net to car drivers: “If you want to drive a car you have to have a licence to say that you are capable of driving a car, the car has to pass a test to say it is fit to drive and you have to have insurance”. Actually, he is right. Most of them are technically illiterate but if the only people who were allowed to drive were also qualified car mechanics then most drivers would be off the road. What next? Not allowed to switch on your TV without being a qualified electronics engineer? The point has been made before: if people were properly trained in the use of computers they wouldn’t knowingly touch the Microsoft OS with the proverbial disinfected barge pole. They’d be using GNU/Linux. Instead, at the same economic forum at Davos, Andre Kudelski of the Kudelski Group actually called for the creation of an new internet where everyone would be forced to own two computers: one for secure internet and one for freedom.

Glyn Moody writes about the subject too, but the main purpose of his post is to point out that Microsoft deliberately avoids the mentioning of GNU/Linux when talking about Free software.

“Last week I wrote about its amusing suggestion that we should all be taxed to clean up the mess its software has caused,” Moody writes. “Now we have this witty post on Microsoft’s Port 25 site, which involves writing about open source software applications and the platforms they run on without mentioning “Linux” once.” He adds:

But it gets better. In the accompanying graph, which shows “Open Source Projects by Platform”, we are treated to a representation of how the open source world is becoming more “Windows compatible”. Of course, there’s an inconvenient truth that needs to be negotiated here: the fact that the vast majority of free software runs on GNU/Linux. But fear not, those jolly jesters have come up with a way of representing this fact *without mentioning the “L”-word at all*. They accomplish this amazing feat by talking about – wait for it – “POSIX-compatible” software because, you know, that’s just how *everyone* refers to GNU/Linux these days….

One of the comments (external) says: “I Don’t know about “afraid”, Microsoft doesn’t want to post ads and mention Linux, but keep all eyes on what it is doing with so-called “opensource” …funny stuff !. When the guy across the street is taking business from you, you don’t show fear as a rule !, you place bigger ads about you, and never never mention about the guy across the street much-less place him in your ad !!!. This can be taken as fear, but I have to believe its business, business Microsoft must now fight to keep it’s share of as Microsoft has never had to before !.”

Steve UpdikeMoody links to this post from Microsoft/Geeknet (there is already an intersection between those two), which says: “As we get ready for the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco later this month, Microsoft asked us to pull some statistics around how Windows plays in the broader Open Source ecosystem…” Regarding the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC), Matt Asay told me that Microsoft is OSBC's first sponsor ever and he even gave them a keynote talk two years ago. He let one of Microsoft’s key racketeers, Brad Smith, open up the event and speak about software patents. Tactless or what? It was also quite bad last year. Cronyism at its best.

For those who watch this carefully, the latest post shows how Microsoft ‘invaded’ SourceForge. Some months ago we warned about the acquisition of Ohloh. Ohloh are former Microsoft employees and the author of the post above is Scott Collison, who says that he “joined Geeknet following its acquisition of Ohloh Corporation in June 2009. Scott is responsible for driving product and partnerships at Geeknet. As co-founder and CEO of Ohloh, Scott helped make the company into the market leading directory and data provider for open source projects and developers. As Senior Director of Platform Strategy at Microsoft, Scott was responsible for marketing Web services, shipping the market-leading Web Services Enhancements in the .NET Framework, and running the Web Services early adopter program.”

Could it somehow explain why it became Geeknet rather than SourceForge (renaming/rebranding)? Well, it’s probably unrelated. But this is not the first member of of staff that SourceForge is adding from Microsoft and we covered this problem before [1, 2, 3, 4]. They are not careful who they hire, so entryism is allowed.

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