Courier is Vapourware

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 7:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Lacking any progress for Windows or Microsoft in general, the company seems to be disclosing some more fake “leaks” of something that does not exist

THE PAST week has been a particularly weak one for Microsoft, at least based on the news. In the next few days we’ll produce proof of this.

First of all, versions of Windows are being retired and this is the only article that we found about “Vista” in the past week. That’s unusual. Secondly, we also found just four clusters of headlines about “Windows 7″ (Vista 7), which is very little. News for “Microsoft” has generally been low in volume over the past week, for no apparent reason. There is almost nothing of substance that we haven’t covered yet and we mentioned Courier last week for being Microsoft's catch-up and also vapourware. Someone wrote this article about it.

Microsoft is a well known brand, but why do they always seem to be adding products right after another, *cough* Apple *cough*, company has already released something new? As reported in PC World, the Microsoft Courier doesn’t really seem to be anything that is actually in the making, BUT Engadget reports on some key points that sure as heck seem like a real product.

Microsoft claims that details were “leaked”, but this lying company is the boy who cried “Wolf!” when it comes to leaks [1, 2]. Just like Apple, Microsoft routinely fakes “leaks” in order to create hype and the nature of the “leaked” images suggests that they are too professionals to be of that nature. It’s more like OLPC’s mockups.

Links 15/3/2010: CrossOver Linux, Tim Bray Joins Google

Posted in News Roundup at 3:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Beautify Your Desktop : An Open Letter

      You must be tired, I know. It’s quite hard to impress a novice. I remember a GNU/Linux novice once saying that he was quite uncomfortable with his newly installed distribution. You know, most of the open source enthusiasts would have observed that people who are likely to migrate back to proprietary realm are those who have used GNU/Linux for a period less than a couple of months. The reasons are quite obvious – the primary cause is that they are unable to find alternatives and the second being the fact that they might not have find the new environment to be ‘user friendly’. I know few guys who are looking for more oxygen in the environment (KDE) to breath.

    • HP Deskjet D2680 Review

      As of the time of this writing this printer can be found in most stores, keep in mind if you are a Linux user that Best Buy may void your warranty for using any of their products with Linux although the company has yet to provide any evidence that Linux will damage any hardware. As for me I certainly have not had that problem, and so far the printer has not quit working or blew sparks or anything.

    • North Korea’s ‘Red Star’ Linux, and Is FOSS an Enemy of the State?

      Exhibit A: North Korea, it appears, has developed its own Linux-based operating system, as recently revealed by a Russian student who studies there.

      Called “Red Star,” said OS is apparently widely available within North Korea, and only in the local language, according to an RT report.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • One Year Later: What Do You Think of Linux.com?

      This month marks the one-year anniversary of Linux.com in its newest form. A year ago, we built the site based on your rankings of features on IdeaForge. Today, we want to hear how you’re using Linux.com and what is most useful. And perhaps even more importantly – what isn’t useful. We also want to better understand who is using the site so we can provide resources that specifically meet your needs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME and Project:Possibility: collaboration in open source accessibility

        Project:Possibility organise team coding competitions for computer science students. The the goal of these SS12 events is to create accessibility software that will be of benefit to real users. These weekend ‘code-a-thons’ bring the students together with a mentor from industry and provide an exciting chance to learn something about accessibility, while creating open source software. Thus students get exposure to topics and skills that are still sadly absent from many computer science courses. Plus they get to have fun and win prizes.

      • GNOME Foundation Charter: I’ve read it. Have you?

        GNOME is part of the GNU project and supports the goals of the GNU project as defined by the Free Software Foundation. Free software licensing has always been a mainstay of GNOME, and we must ensure that this tradition continues. GNOME will include only Free software.

        From the GNOME Foundation Charter.

  • Distributions

    • The Greek Alphabet

      I sometimes wonder if there are people in this business who think that the third letter of the Greek alphabet is “RC”. This is only in part due to the regrettable decline in classic education, but more largely due to the expanding popularity and importance of pre-release software distributions. In the world of Linux distributions, this tends to run in approximately 6-month cycles, and we are now entering the most interesting and hectic part of that cycle. Here are some of the highlights…

    • [notice] ArchBang moves to a new /home

      So far a few members have volunteered to sail the ArchBang ship forward!

    • Lightweight

      • That’s not bloated, that’s clinically obese

        Quite clearly I’ve been working with machines with no more than 192Mb for too long. And running an entire system on under 20Mb on a daily basis has my perspective skewed. So if you’re a Gnome user and you’re bristling right now, feel free to remind me that my expectations are too far gone to make comparisons. Tell me I need to move out of 1996. Tell me it’s time to look for a real desktop, and not a hacked, whacked arrangement of console programs on a framebuffer screen. Tell me it’s time to face reality.

      • Switching to Slackware

        I’ve heard that Slackware has a lot less bloat than most other Linux distros, and my experience certainly bears that out. Compared to Xubuntu, my new Slackware install with XFCE is lightning-fast. As of right now I’m running slackpkg to update my system and while it may not be as flexible and powerful as apt, and not have a nice graphical front-end, it’s perfectly usable
        and I’m happy with it. I’m used to sudo from both Ubuntu and OS X so I’ve set that up, and all in all I’m very pleased with my new system.

    • Mandriva Family

      • Noteworthy Mandriva Cooker changes Mar 1 – 14

        * GNOME’s development release has reached version 2.29.92, bringing mostly bug fixes.
        * Also KDE got many bug fixes thanks to the new 4.4.1 version.
        * Devicekit-disks and devicekit-power have been replaced by udisks and upower. gnome-disk-utility now makes use of upower instead of Hal, and brings
        * The OpenShot movie editor reached version 1.1 final., bringing improved performance

      • PCLinuxOS 2010 Beta 1: A First Look

        NOT wishing to pass full judgement on a distro until it has reached its final release stage – it is not fair on the developers – I nevertheless thought it might be useful to offer some early, ‘First Look’ observations about PCLinuxOS 2010.


        PCLOS 2010 played my test audio CD in Kscd without any issues but the Dragon media player fell over twice when trying and failing to play my commercial DVD movie; I suspect this was probably linked to the absence of the libdvdcss, though I must admit to not yet having checked this out.

        So, the early signs for PCLOS 2010 are very good – menu issues aside – and I’m very much looking forward to the full release.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat and JBoss to host third annual EMEA Partner Summit in Spain

        Red Hat, Inc., one of the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, announced today that it will host its third annual Red Hat and JBoss EMEA Partner Summit in Valencia, Spain from May 2-5, 2010. This year’s EMEA Partner Summit will focus on open source middleware, cloud computing, and virtualization while highlighting the larger Red Hat partner ecosystem and its opportunity for growth in the EMEA region.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian: DebConf10 & 2010 Project Leader Elections

        The DebConf organisers have announced they are now accepting proposals for contributions to this year’s Debian conference. The organisers ask attendees to contribute to the annual Debian developers meeting by submitting presentations on a variety of topics. These can include presenting technical papers, hosting panel discussions, tutorials, debates or hosting meetings, such as Birds of a Feather Sessions (BoFs). Proposals for tracks, a thematic grouping around a particular subject, and for people to coordinate them, are also being accepted.

      • Ubuntu

        • Shuttleworth heir opens up on Ubuntu biz

          With the economy coming out of recession and the appetite for new devices growing and Canonical’s pushing into larger deals, the company will most likely resume the kind of growth it had between 2007 and 2008 in 2010. Of course, this is all speculation, as is the supposition that Silber moved up to CEO and Asay was brought in as COO to keep Canonical growing and presumably to push it to profitability so the company could go public. Canonical does not need to go public to get backers to fuel its growth, and it is hard to imagine Shuttleworth giving up the company to investors before it has reached a higher value than it would have even a year or two from now.

        • 6 Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Wallpapers

          Ubuntu root have found six beautiful alternatives to default wallpaper for Ubuntu 10.04. All the wallpapers can be found on deviantart…

        • Ubuntu Without a Human Face

          The big news out of the Ubuntu world this month is the radically refurbished look introduced to accompany Lucid when it’s released in April, replacing the orange-brown “Human” theme that Ubuntu users have known and loved–or not–since 2004. Here’ s a look at the new face of Ubuntu, with an attempt at abstract thoughts related to it.

          Ubuntu’s traditional theme never enjoyed universal acceptance. For some users, earth tones just didn’t look right on an LCD display. For others, there wasn’t enough contrast between colors.

        • 2 year cadence for major releases: some progress

          Even though the idea of formal alignment between the freezes of Debian and Ubuntu didn’t hold, there has been some good practical collaboration between the maintainers of key subsystems. There are real benefits to this, because maintainers have a much more fruitful basis for sharing patches when they are looking at the same underlying version.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 184

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #184 for the week March 7th – March 13th, 2010. In this issue we cover: Lucid Kernel now Frozen, Ubuntu 10.04 beta 1 freeze now in effect, Intel, Eucalyptus and Canonical join forces to help user build cloud infrastructures confidently, Call for Testing: Cluster Stack – Load Balancing, Google Summer of Code 2010: Ubuntu application, New Ubuntu Members: Asia Oceanic Board & Americas Board, Request for input for Lucid Beta 1 technical overview, International Womens Day “How I Discovered Ubuntu” Winners, Ubuntu Global Jam(LoCo Style), Getting started with launchpadlib: Launchpad’s Python library, Ubuntu Global Jam – what’s it all about, New stuff for the Ubiquity slideshow(Proposed), Alan Pope: Why (I think) Ubuntu is Better Than Windows, Ubuntu hits HTC’s Touch Pro2, is any Windows Mobile handset safe, and much, much more!

        • Testing The Different Ubuntu 10.04 Kernels

          For testing out the three Ubuntu kernels and three latest mainline kernels we used one of our test systems that had an AMD Opteron 2384 Quad-Core 2.7GHz “Shanghai” processor, a Tyan Thunder n3600B (S2927) motherboard, 4GB of ECC Registered memory, a 64GB OCZ Agility EX SSD, and an ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics card driving a Dell S2409W 24-inch LCD display. We performed a clean installation of Ubuntu 10.04 using a daily development snapshot from 2009-03-13 that was running with GNOME 2.29.92, X.Org Server 1.7.5, xf86-video-radeon 6.12.191, GCC 4.4.3, and the default EXT4 file-system. All testing was done with 64-bit kernels and using the Ubuntu amd64 installation.

        • The new Ubuntu look

          Ubuntu has really missed the boat on this one. They have the underlying technology to take their Linux distribution way ahead of the pack. Instead they tinker with a few colors and call it a day. Make a statement Ubuntu! If you want to really make an “Impression” don’t think, for a second, those new “themes” will do just that.

        • Humanity Icon Theme Updated To Match The New Ubuntu Branding

          The Humanity Icon Theme got a really nice update in Ubuntu Lucid today which brings integration with the new branding (purple that is) as well as a new Banshee monochrome icon for the panel.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Dedicated Vi device vies for buyers

      Some developing-world companies are looking at the NanoNote, but realistically it’s more of a Linux-hacker’s toy at the moment, albeit a pretty one that will run Quake.

    • Android

      • Web guru Tim Bray takes Google Android job

        Tim Bray–co-inventor of XML, notable tech blogger, and until recently a Sun Microsystems employee–has joined Google’s Android team in part to show the world what he thinks is wrong with Apple’s iPhone.

        The move puts a personal face on the cultural, technical, and business issues central to Silicon Valley companies. In a blog post titled “Now A No-Evil Zone,” Bray said Monday he’s in philosophical alignment with Google in general and in opposition to Apple’s iPhone specifically.


        Google in some areas is allied with Apple, but with Android increasingly is in competition. Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple’s board in 2009. And in March, Apple sued handset maker HTC for patent infringement, a move that has repercussions for Google since HTC builds its Nexus One and other Android phones.

    • Tablets

      • CrunchPad spin-off JooJoo spins up for launches

        The iPad isn’t the only touchscreen slate sitting on the launchpad. Remember the CrunchPad – an open-source tablet built by geeks, for geeks?

        The pet project of TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington was in the works long before Apple’s iPad moved out of the misty swirl of rumour-land, but lost its way after a messy split between Arrington and CrunchPad co-developers Fusion Garage.

        Now christened the JooJoo, the Linux-powered tablet has suffered its own series of setbacks from the promised kick-off last December, with the launch now set for March 25th – just one week before the iPad will make its debut amidst a predictable blaze of publicity.

      • IPad, SchmiPad: 10 E-Readers and Tablets You Can Get Right Now

        The iPad won’t be out for a few weeks, but that doesn’t have to stop you from getting on the e-book train today. In fact, there are a ton of e-book readers and proto-tablets that you can buy now, and some of them are pretty good. Come to think of it, who even needs an iPad?

      • Ubuntu “i-Pad clones” soon?

        Even if mainstream media only notice when few expensive, and i-prefixed devices are presented, are cheap player and phones that eventually ended in billions people pockets. So let’s call them “clones” after all it’s also thanks “ clones” if information technology reached the mass diffusion now it has.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Cracking open five of the best open source easter eggs

    A number of humorous yet undocumented features are hiding beneath the surface of some of the most popular open source software applications. Although easter eggs are generally easy to spot when you can look at an application’s source code, there are a few that aren’t widely known.

  • 30+ Awesome Free and Open Source Audio Applications List

    Open Source community has great Audio Applications. We had featured 20 Audio Editors. Here is a best of the Audio Applications list that has, Audio Editors, Audio Sequencers, Stream Rippers, CD Rippers and much more. This list is constantly updated and comments, additions are most welcome. Thanks for commenting and helping us to grow the list.

  • Gnash the pathway to better Flash on the web

    In the Free Software community there are so many differing opinions about everything. From why we should use this distro over another to whether we have to worry about the software running on our cable set top boxes. One thing I think that we all can agree on is that there is a problem with flash. If you use proprietary Adobe flash you have tons of issues. Everything from pages rendering strange and flickery playback to firefox crashing from adobe eating up so much system resources. If you use free flash you have a whole new set of issues from players not rendering quite right or just nor working, to skipping playback at times. Even with all these issues and problems I will present a case that if you choose to use flash in Gnu/Linux you should choose a free flash player namely Gnash.


    Some people thing that any software is Okay. That you should just use the right tool for the job. With software it is more then just the tool that works today. We must also evaluate the potential of that tool tomorrow. Adobe has no real potential for us tomorrow other then continuing to annoy us. I hope I made a case that Gnash is a tool that has real use for us today an great potential for tomorrow if we put some energy into it. So please help support and fund this project use gnash and if you can Donate. I know I will.

  • The best free Linux PC Product Feed syndication.

    This month Buntfu began advertising on the Ad Bard network. Further extending its reach and informing the community of its services. Buntfu believes that anyone with a computer for sale thats loaded with Linux or BSD is an open-source system vendor.

    We don’t just sell stuff. We are apart of something bigger. We help drive technology and freedom forward by helping to promote open-source software by selling your new, used or refurbished Linux or BSD computers for free. We don’t want your money. We want to promote and sell your open-source systems.

  • Special 301 Report versus Free Software: Strong-arm tactics are the only way proprietary software can compete

    The IIPA goes on to demand that Indonesia rescind this order on page 80:

    “IIPA requests that the government of Indonesia take the following actions, which would result in the most significant near term commercial benefits to the copyright industries: […] Rescind March 2009 MenPAN circular letter endorsing the use and adoption of open source software […]”

    The IIPA’s war against the free software revolution then takes us to the Philippines on page 148:

    “IIPA was concerned regarding reports of consideration of a Free Open Source Software bill which would require government offices to use open source software. Passage of that bill would deny technology choice regarding software usage and ultimately would stunt the growth of the IT industry in the Philippines.”

    Thailand’s commitment to open source is attacked on page 353:

    “Among other market access restrictions to be addressed, reverse proposed policy mandating use of open source software, and, e.g., requiring bundling of government funded computers and computers for schools with open source software; maintain neutral policies with respect to technology choice.”

    Vietnam is instructed to avoid open source on page 396: “Cease government-endorsed open source preference policy which is limiting technology choice in Vietnam.”

  • The Course-to-Co-op Lifecycle: OpenInnovation@RIT

    The course will be offered again in the fall, and every effort will be made to continue the cycle. Jacobs’ Lab for Technological Literacy will be disseminating details of the model and the curriculum off the FOSS@RIT website and at FOSS and CS education conferences in the next six months. The LTL will also be seeking internal and external support to formalize and institutionalize the emerging ecology at RIT.

  • A first look at Haiku (alpha)

    As the project’s documentation regularly points out, Haiku is still in the alpha stage. It may be a developer’s and hobbyist’s playground, but it’s definitely not in a position to move into the home desktop or business markets. The system is quick enough and shows promise, but it’s missing a lot of features available in other modern operating systems. In some ways, it feels like Haiku is stuck in the 1990s. Separate user accounts, package management, and a wider range of applications would go a long way to making Haiku more appealing and will hopefully be added later. With the alpha now out in the wild and the system equipped with development tools, I suspect new software and ports will spring up fairly quickly. In conclusion:

    * Project in alpha
    * Off to a really good start
    * Not for production

  • Mobile Messaging and Collaboration Specialist Zarafa Gets a Foothold in France

    Zarafa, the Dutch mobile messaging and collaboration specialist gets a foothold in France. Today, Zarafa announces that it has signed contracts with the French open source systems integrator Smile and with French distributor ETC. With these contracts and her presence at Solutions Linux, Europe’s largest commercial open source exhibition, Zarafa aims to strengthen its international market position.

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Hotaru CMS- A bright star in the making!

      It uses the LAMP server stack and has lots of features that are common in most of the big weight CMSs.The core Hotaru package provides the absolute basics for a PHP-based website: A home page, an admin page, and a plugin management system. It comes with a straightforward installation script that installs some database tables and registers you as the administrator. And that’s about it. You are then left to plug in the functionality you want your site to have.

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 4.7 Preorders Are Up

      The OpenBSD 4.7 pre-orders are up. That means the release is done, sent off to CD production, and snapshots will turn -current again.

  • Government

    • Open source matters to open government. Really.

      They’re right, of course, that open standards are crucial to ensuring meaningful transparency in government. It does not follow, however, that this precludes a role for open source. Open source software is an invaluable tool — one of many — to approach all three goals (transparency, collaboration, participation) of the Open Government Directive. It’s not about open source software specifically, although the software helps. It’s about the process that open source projects use to create good software. Because the open source development process requires real collaboration, tangible progress towards a goal, and the participation of a broad community of users and developers, it’s an excellent mechanism for getting citizens involved in the work of government.

  • Programming

    • Getting Started with GTK and GLade for GUI programming

      Considering you have read the previous article on GUI programming, this article will give an insight about GTK.

      When starting learning Glade, it is essential to learn the basic concepts of GTK+. Unfortunately there is a misconception that it’s enough to learn Glade for learning GUI designing rather than learning GTK+. Glade is definitely an easier way to implement GTK but it is impossible to create interface for your application with only Glade knowledge.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • How to correctly create ODF documents using zip

      One of the great advantages of the OpenDocument format is that it is simply a zip file. You can unzip it with any archiver and take a look at the contents, which is a set of XML documents and associated data. Many people are using this feature do create some nifty toolchains. Unzip, make some changes, zip it again and you have a new ODF document. Well… almost.

      The OpenDocument Format specification, section 17.4 has one little extra restriction when it comes to zip containers: The file called “mimetype” must be at the beginning of the zip file, it must be uncompressed and it must be stored without any additional file attributes. Unfortunately many developers seem to forget this. It is the number one cause of failed documents at Officeshots.org. If the mimetype file is not correctly zipped then it is not possible to programmatically detect the mimetype of the ODF file. And if the mimetype check fails, Officeshots (and possibly other applications) will refuse the document. This problem is compounded because virtually no ODF validator checks the zip container. They only check the contents.


  • Shock jock Hal Turner will choose new defense team for third trial

    With his two trials ending in hung juries, Internet radio shock jock and former FBI informant Hal Turner faces the prospect of yet another criminal trial in April on a charge of threatening to murder federal judges.

  • Obesity: The killer combination of salt, fat and sugar

    For years I wondered why I was fat. I lost weight, gained it back, and lost it again – over and over and over. I owned suits in every size. As a former commissioner of the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration), surely I should have the answer to my problems. Yet food held remarkable sway over my behaviour.

  • Science

    • Hubble 3D Opens In IMAX Theaters March 19

      IMAX and the space program go hand-in-hand. These giant screen movies have been recording rocket launches and space exploration since the 1970s in precise and stunning detail, to be shown at science centers and large cinema multiplexes around the world. Titles such as Hail Columbia, The Dream is Alive, and Destiny in Space, are IMAX benchmark films in documenting the beauty and grandeur of space for the public audience. It is literally the closest many of us will ever get to understanding just a sliver of what it might be like to be weightless in space.

    • Obama Nasa plans ‘catastrophic’ say Moon astronauts

      Former Nasa astronauts who went to the Moon have told the BBC of their dismay at President Barack Obama’s decision to push back further Moon missions.

      Jim Lovell, commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission, said Mr Obama’s decision would have “catastrophic consequences” for US space exploration.

    • Interview with the Japanese researcher who found 2.5 Trillion digits of Pi

      On August 17th of 2009, Associate Professor Daisuke Takahashi of the University of Tsukuba in Central Japan announced that his research team had uncovered more than an astounding 2.5 trillion decimals of the famous mathematical number Pi using the 47th most powerful supercomputer in the world at the time. That number more than doubled the previous Guinness Book world record from 2002 of about 1.2 trillion decimals, set by a different Japanese team.

  • Security

    • T-shirts: The latest bugbear of our overbearing state

      Freedomtshirt When Lloyd Berks – a 38 year-old football coach from Bexley – walked into Gatwick Airport wearing a Levi Strauss T-shirt bearing the phrase ‘Freedom or Death’, with a picture of a skeleton dressed in armour beneath, the only reaction he might reasonably have expected would be a compliment from a fellow dedicated follower of fashion.

    • Are you shy? Then you’re probably a terrorist
    • 4,300: How Labour has created a new crime every day since 1997

      Under laws introduced by Labour, if you have failed to nominate a keyholder who can switch off your alarm you are guilty of an offence. You could be liable for a fine of £1,000 and could have to appear in front of a magistrate if you fail to pay a fixed penalty on time.

      This is just one of 4,300 offences created by the Labour government since 1997 — an avalanche of legislation. It equates to an average of 28 offences every month since Labour came to power and it is getting worse. Under Gordon Brown, the Liberal Democrats say, the creation of offences has risen to 33 a month.

      By contrast, the Conservative governments between 1988 and 1996 produced 494 offences in total. Since 1997 Labour has introduced more than 50 criminal justice bills to parliament — to the dismay of many lawyers, who believe much of it is more for show than real effect.

  • Environment

    • Japan Says It Will Ignore A Ban On Bluefin Tuna

      Japan has announced that it will ignore a ban on international trade of the Atlantic bluefin tuna. This will likely be a hot topic when the meeting of the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) takes place in March.

    • Spring in Canada – Climate Change has it’s Advantages – or Maybe Not

      According to Environment Canada, the winter of 2009-2010 was the warmest since they started keeping records sixty-three years ago. It also had the least precipitation. Even with the heavy rains we’ve received today, it’s been a really dry winter. Not quite drought levels, but dry enough to possibly affect crop planting.

    • Humans driving extinction faster than species can evolve, say experts

      For the first time since the dinosaurs disappeared, humans are driving animals and plants to extinction faster than new species can evolve, one of the world’s experts on biodiversity has warned.

      Conservation experts have already signalled that the world is in the grip of the “sixth great extinction” of species, driven by the destruction of natural habitats, hunting, the spread of alien predators and disease, and climate change.

  • Finance

    • Pressure on Tories to name mystery MP who sabotaged anti-poverty bill

      Pressure is growing on David Cameron to identify the mystery Tory MP who deliberately scuppered a landmark anti-poverty bill that could have stopped “vulture” bankers profiteering from the developing world’s debt burdens.

      Debt campaigners have reacted in fury and disbelief to the killing of the bill and Labour MP Sally Keeble, one of the bill’s backers, has accused the Conservatives of “duplicity” by pretending to back the legislation and then sabotaging it at the last minute.

      Campaigners are now calling on the leader of the opposition to clarify his view of the bill and asking whether the MP concerned will be identified. The international development secretary, Douglas Alexander, has sent a letter to Cameron demanding an explanation.

    • Are the banks really TOO BIG to save?

      Simon Johnson writes that unless we shrink the big banks drastically, the banking system will become “Way Too Big To Save” link here.


      Johnson, who was International Monetary Fund’s Economic Counselor (chief economist) and Director of its Research Department and now teaches at the MIT Sloan School of Management, writes a blog and a constant flow of papers, and serves on the Congressional Budget Office’s Panel of Economic Advisers and as a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

    • Pictures speak louder than words
    • Goldman Sachs, Detroit, Junk Bonds & RoboCop

      For those who have not been paying attention to Detroit’s travails of late, there has not been much good news. The previous mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, resigned in disgrace following a series of scandals. Numerous other city officials have been convicted on a variety of corruption charges, including Detroit City Council member, Monica Conyers, who just received a jail sentence of 37 months for a bribery conviction. Conyers is the wife of U.S. Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

    • Is Goldman Sachs a bubble ready to burst?

      When I see companies in troubled industries reporting quarter after quarter of great results, while all of their peers are getting killed, I know a fraud is going on. I remember in the early 2000s, WorldCom kept reporting profits when all of the other long-distance carriers were getting killed.

    • Goldman Sachs derivative liability = 33,823% of assets

      The part that awed me, is that BofA and Citi now have more derivative exposure than they did in 2007! Huh! What is Timothy Geithner being paid for? I have to admit after TARP and the apparent hands on approach I like most assumed things were being fixed, but apparently not.

      This simply adds to the point that despite all the histrionics and efforts in Washington, nothing has been learned and the American Banking system is now at least at as much risk now as in 2007, pre crash.

    • Unions Map ‘Make Wall Street Pay’ Blitz on Goldman (Update2)

      Did they realize, Trumka asked, that Wall Street bankers gave their employees $16.2 billion in bonuses? “If you and your fellow workers had a chance to talk to some of those Wall Street people, what would they say?” Trumka asked.

      “How can you look in the face of a real working man,” Esteban Contreras said. The community activists listening at the union hall in Orlando, Florida, last week booed and hissed.

    • Activists Win Against Goldman Sachs’ Greek Style Local Government Ripoffs

      A few weeks ago, I wrote about how big banks refused to renegotiate deceptive, Greek-style interest rate swaps with local governments throughout the US. Such swaps cost local governments approximately $29 billion a year when local governments are laying off badly needed public employees and cut services.

    • Senators Target Wall Street, With Goldman Sachs In Mind

      A quintet of Democratic senators introduced legislation Wednesday to specifically prohibit investment maneuvers that have been likened to “selling a car with faulty brakes and then buying an insurance policy on the buyer of those cars”.

    • Financial reform imploding; Dems declare War on Goldman Sachs

      With the economy weak and healthcare unpopular, financial populist may be the only card Dems have to play.

    • Repo [Leh]men

      There was a whistleblower too, as described on page 21. “In May 2008, a Lehman Senior Vice President, Matthew Lee, wrote a letter to management alleging accounting improprieties in the course of investigating the allegations, Ernst & Young was advised by Lee on June 12, 2008 that Lehman used $50 billion of Repo 105 transactions to temporarily move assets off balance sheet at quarter end.” Its seems as if Ernst & Young did not report these aligations to the audit committee.

    • Goldman Sachs small business project draws notice

      Some critics have questioned the size and scope of the small business project, which they said was intended to deflect congressional criticism about huge profits and executive compensation.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Citizens United decision counterattacked

      In quotations, the article says, “After the Supreme Court declared that corporations have the same rights as individuals when it comes to funding political campaigns, the self-described progressive firm took what it considers the next logical step: declaring for office.” “It’s an opportunity to see this court opinion play out to its logical conclusion.”, “…the firm appears to be the first “corporate person” to run for office and is promising a spirited campaign that ‘puts people second, or even third.’” “I guess with a corporation, should someone go on vacation, like many of our current members of Congress, you’d have fill-ins to take their place.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Venezuela’s Chavez calls for internet controls

      Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, who is criticized by media freedom groups, called on Saturday for regulation of the Internet and singled out a website that he said falsely reported the murder of one of his ministers.

    • Netflix Settles Privacy Lawsuit, Cancels Prize Sequel

      On Friday, Netflix announced on its corporate blog that it has settled a lawsuit related to its Netflix Prize, a $1 million contest that challenged machine learning experts to use Netflix’s data to produce better recommendations than the movie giant could serve up themselves.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Pink Floyd Turns Tables, Screws the Record Company

      In the classic rock tale, the young, talented musicians are exploited by one of two entities: the unscrupulous manager or the greedy record company. This week Pink Floyd turned the tables on the record company, winning a case involving a 1999 contract that stated Pink Floyd’s albums had to be sold intact. In other words they could not be broken up and sold as individual songs.

    • ACTA

      • Knock-offs catch on

        China is not expected to sign ACTA—undermining it before it has even been unveiled. Perhaps China could make a just-as-good fake treaty instead.

      • Michael Geist to keynote PublicACTA – InternetNZ

        InternetNZ is excited to announce that renowned Canadian law professor Michael Geist, a world authority on technology law issues, will be the keynote speaker at the PublicACTA event, being held in Wellington on 10 April 2010.

      • U.S. on ACTA: Full Steam Ahead

        The U.S. response to the European developments came yesterday, as President Obama reiterated his support for finishing ACTA. In comments on IP enforcement, Obama discussed the need to “aggressively protect” IP, pointing specifically to ACTA. The reference to ACTA was clearly meant to send a strong signal that the U.S. intends to continue its push for a treaty. Indeed, the U.S. has not changed its position on anything with respect to ACTA – it is one of the lone holdouts on the issue of transparency and its negotiating position on the text itself has not moved much through almost two years of negotiations.

      • ✍ Actually I Do Care

        There was an article on Boing Boing over the weekend that includes a leaked copy of an e-mail sent by Richard Mollett, head of BPI (that’s the UK’s version of RIAA). He provides his key constituents with a round-up on news on the Digital Economy Bill, the legislative omnibus for all that’s bad in ACTA and the UK’s equivalent of the DMCA. Apparently, Mollet believes there is no groundswell of opposition for the Digital Economy Bill and that MPs will just wave it through for lack of popular concern.

Clip of the Day

Adding a New Background to an Image with the GIMP

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

Huffington Post, Technologizer, and Other Web Sites in Bill’s Pocket

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 5:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates Foundation logo

Summary: The Gates Foundation still gets around, throwing money at all the right places for PR purposes while it’s making profit from patents and global influence

EARLIER this year we showed what Microsoft was doing with the Huffington Post [1, 2, 3]. Bill Gates is flirting with the Huffingtons (personally) and the Huffington Post has just outsourced a section to an online fundraising organisation, which GatesKeepers suspects is affiliated with the Gates Foundation.

Matthew Bishop, Huffpo, Causecast, Trevor Neilson, and the rest of the Philanthrocapitalist Complex

Who ARE these people and why do they want to advertise to us to make us think the way they do? Is it possible that members of the cabal have financial interests involved?

Does the Gates Foundation fund any Nieman activities?

According to this, “Prior to his work with the GBC [Global Philanthropy Group], Trevor served as the Director of Public Affairs and Director of Special Projects for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest foundation.”

Matthew Bishop and Bill Gates also seem to know each other pretty well and Causecast advertises the vaccine projects of Bill Gates. From now on, this interests circle of Bill Gates will help fund the Huffingtons.

As for Nieman Lab, look closer at the new article. Just look at the content. It has “Gates Foundation” written all over it because there’s a lot about malaria, for example (Gates and GAVI).

In October, The Huffington Post launched a new section with an unusual goal: turning an audience of passive readers into activists for good causes. The section’s underlying business model is novel, too: All of its content is outsourced to an outside company, a for-profit firm that has nonprofits for clients.

In exchange for that content, HuffPo shares the advertising and sponsorship revenue the section generates with the outside company, Causecast. And Causecast gets a platform to promote its services and the nonprofits it chooses to highlight, some of which are its partner organizations.


But that doesn’t mean Causecast isn’t writing about or linking to affiliated organizations. Here’s an example: On Jan. 31, Harris wrote a 76-word post titled, “Malaria Is The Cause of 2010, Declares Matthew Bishop and Malaria No More.” The quick post notes that the nonprofit group Malaria No More expects the World Cup in South Africa to draw attention to the disease. Underneath the post, a box features a link to donate money to Malaria No More, using Causecast’s donation tool. Harris doesn’t mention in the post that Malaria No More is a member organization of his employer, or that Causecast ran Malaria No More’s mobile fundraising campaign. Causecast lists the campaign as a case study for its text2give services.

Watch the comments too. Ben Parker writes: “Really really discouraging. The non-profit industry is woefully short of intelligent and independent journalism coverage already. This is banalising things further.” Another person says: “This makes me so angry – and I am sure the MD’s at Causecast are all on 6 figure salaries plus bonsus. Where’s the charity in that?”

“Is there some huge PR effort going on to try to rehabilitate Microsoft’s and Bill Gates’ reputations?”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Truth be told, Gates has moved on to creating monopolies other than Microsoft. Only one of them is health related [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

There is some other ugly stuff surrounding Gates at the moment, including this pathetic excuse of an article from the Technologizer. “The history of Windows, the Pravda version,” calls it Groklaw. “Is there some huge PR effort going on to try to rehabilitate Microsoft’s and Bill Gates’ reputations? In any case, you may wish to peruse the Comes v. Microsoft exhibits, if Microsoft history interests you,” wrote Pamela Jones.

Could the Technologizer get the “Huffington treatment”? Technologizer is already accommodated by Microsoft fans (we have given examples before). Windows gets promoted with all sorts of lies that rewrite history falsely (here is an accurate timeline). Let us remember that Bill Gates is sponsoring people to write books the ways he likes them and the way that helps his agenda. The same goes for journalists whom Gates is funding. We gave actual examples that are factual and impossible to deny. “Bill writes a book review,” reveals GatesKeepers in a new post.

Bill’s new book review, had it been sent to the editor of a college newspaper, probably wouldn’t have been published or worth reading. It is not very good. But since he didn’t get an undergraduate degree we can’t fault him for not knowing this.

We need more serious thinking about responsibility and accountability and fewer book reviews on Gates Notes.

“10 Big Ways Bill Gates Wants to Change Education,” says this article about the man who wants to be de facto minister of education and tell children what to learn and what tools schools must use (Microsoft’s of course). We’ve covered the subject in:

  1. Bill Gates Puts in a Million to Ratify His Role as Education Minister
  2. How the Gates Foundation is Used to Ensure Children Become Microsoft Clients
  3. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  4. Microsoft Builds Coalitions of NGOs, Makes Political and Educational Changes
  5. Microsoft’s EDGI in India: Fighting GNU/Linux in Education
  6. Microsoft’s Gates Seeks More Monopolies
  7. Gates Foundation Funds Blogs to Promote Its Party Line
  8. Microsoft Bribes to Make Education Microsoft-based
  9. Lobbyists Dodge the Law; Bill Gates Lobbies the US Education System with Another $10 Million
  10. Gates Investments in Education Criticised; Monsanto (Gates-Backed) Corruption Revisited
  11. Latest Vista 7 Failures and Microsoft Dumping

Based on this announcement, Gates is still funding people to speak about the subject of education and promote his own agenda in this area.

Did Cathy speak to a Gates Foundation Panel or a Gates Foundation-funded panel. Were Foundation people in the audience and listening?

Even foreign relations are an area that Bill Gates is now invading. GatesKeepers has a copy of documents that show this.

Observations on the Chair of the Gates Foundation at the Committee on Foreign Relations

“I do know that when programs are coordinated, held accountable, and designed based on evidence, they will work better.” How do local authorities ‘coordinate’ massive funding from big donors like the Gates Foundation and PEPFAR? They are swept off their own feet and worship at the feet of the donors. Can you imagine the Vietnamese government ‘coordinating’ Gates and PEPFAR and GAVI funded programmes worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year? And is Bill advocating for his own funding to be accountable?

Despite the massive PR campaigns, Gates poses a danger to all countries across the world. Like people before him (notably Rockefeller), he uses his money to expand his realms of influence but he is very careful to control how people perceive his actions. Going against Gates’ massive PR teams is an uphill battle, but people should make a start somewhere.

“In the fall of 1982, Pam Edstrom [of Waggener Edstrom], a diminutive woman with piercing blue eyes, was recruited by Microsoft. [...] In modern-day business, flacks were responsible not only for avoiding bad press, but for spinning the good. [...] Hanson and Edstrom would spin a whole new image for Gates himself. They would tap the best and worst of Chairman Bill, changing his clothes, his voice, and his allegiances, driving him to become not just the boss, but, essentially, the company mascot—a sort of high-technology Colonel Sanders.”

Pam’s daughter

SXSW Used by Microsoft as Platform to Hypocritically Slam Google

Posted in FUD, Google, Microsoft at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Privacy offender criticises another in a public event, proving that FUD is still a strategic focus at Microsoft

Microsoft has a history of exploiting SXSW, but today’s subject is a talk Microsoft gave there about “privacy”. Recent examples that we gave of Microsoft’s privacy abuses can be found in [1, 2, 3, 4]. We even gave an example last night. According to someone who blogged from SXSW over the weekend, Microsoft is up to the usual behaviour [1, 2]. It’s part of a theme of FUD that Microsoft is using, hoping that nobody would spot the sheer hypocrisy.

At the keynote today at SXSW, Microsoft’s Danah Boyd placed a lot of emphasis on Google’s privacy “fails” with Buzz. The topic of the keynote was the relationship between privacy and publicity, and she certainly covered much more territory and social media in general, but it was interesting that Google Buzz was essentially the first thing talked about.

This is Microsoft. Of course it would speak about another company’s privacy violations and never about its own. What utter hypocrisy.

Groklaw: Microsoft “Wants to Do More Novell-style Patent Deals”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 3:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A table chamber

Summary: Reactions to Microsoft’s attempt to devour Free/open source software with Windows and software patents; Apache given as example of projects at risk

LAST week we wrote about the latest changes in Microsoft's CodePlex Foundation. What we didn’t mention is that someone from Apache agreed to participate in it, which led to Groklaw responding with: “Apache guys are losing a lot of credibility in the community. Definitely with me. Microsoft doesn’t care how open the code is, so long as it has patents it can use against it. And that’s the point of Codeplex, I think, to create a code base to compete with the GPLv3 that seeks to protects the code and its users from patent assault and royalty demands. Ask Microsoft why no GPLv3 code can be used in Codeplex. Maybe because it wants to do more Novell-style patent deals? You think? Apache guys, in the days of SenderID, you knew that it mattered to stay true to community principles and you stood up to Microsoft successfully. Do you really think a FOSS ecosystem that can include patent license payments fits the vision?”

“Apache guys are losing a lot of credibility in the community. Definitely with me.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
This is the cited article and here are some of our posts about Apache’s relationship with Microsoft [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18]; it’s all about Windows, which only makes Apache look bad.

This good new cartoon explains how Microsoft views “open source” (found in Groklaw).

“It’s part of a continuing behavior pattern by Microsoft that I think it’s fair to call “dirty fighting.” GoDaddy was using Apache (I assume on Linux) because it was a great technical solution. They didn’t switch to IIS on Windows Server 2003 for any technical reason. The switch was accompanied by a press release by GoDaddy, containing Microsoft promotional language. Now, I’ve changed many servers from one thing to another, but I’ve never made a press release about it. GoDaddy wouldn’t be doing that unless Microsoft had offered them something valuable in return. There has been talk in the domain business that Microsoft has been offering the large domain registries a wad of cash to switch their parked sites. There is no other reason to do this than to influence the Netcraft figures.”

Bruce Perens

Apple’s and Microsoft’s Patent Attacks and Why the Linux Foundation’s Response Disappoints

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 3:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Why so angry, Steve?!

Steve Ballmer

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

Summary: A great number of new articles about the effects of Apple, Microsoft, and Intellectual Ventures (funded by Apple, Microsoft, and Bill Gates) on Free software

Apple’s attack on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] has led Dana Blankenhorn to suggesting that Apple could be the next SCO.

Apple’s suit against HTC could end one of two ways.

Either Apple becomes the next SCO, which ran itself aground claiming rights to Linux, or it becomes the next Microsoft, which is prospering while claiming to own Linux.

The answer depends on how hard Apple presses its case.

According to this new article from the New York Times, Steve Jobs is being anti-competitive.

“We did not enter the search business. They entered the phone business,” Mr. Jobs told Apple employees during an all-hands meeting shortly after the public introduction of the iPad in January, according to two employees who were there and heard the presentation. “Make no mistake: Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.”

“Why Apple is paranoid about Android,” wonders an IDG blogger, who plays with words of a Radiohead track.

What was surprising was that the theme that Business Insider chose to talk about – RIM holding on to its dominance from the Apple iPhone – was not what caught my eye. What struck me was the Google Android share and the sharp recent increase, suggesting that it’s heading ever upwards. In fact, when I go back to the original figure from ComScore, the market share is 7.1 percent – a whopping increase from the 2.8 percent of the previous quarter – that’s a little over 150 percent increase in three months. And that market share was achieved very quickly, Android only released its first phone in September 2008, a doubly impressive performance.

As a reminder, Apple also sues Nokia, but Nokia is the company that sued first [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. This case could take years, according to:

1. U.S. Judge Suspends Apple-Nokia Case

The judge stayed litigation in the case pending the outcome of the International Trade Commission investigations that each company requested against the other. The investigation into Apple was announced by the ITC in late January, while the responding investigation into Nokia was launched late last month. After Nokia’s first lawsuit, launched in October of last year, Apple filed a counterclaim in the Delaware district court, also accusing Nokia of patent infringement. Nokia subsequently launched a second suit, aiming to block importation of Apple hardware into the U.S.

2. Nokia, Apple seek patent trial in 2 years

Top phone makers Nokia and Apple will seek a U.S. court hearing in a key patent battle in mid-2012, a court filing showed, raising the specter of a prolonged legal struggle.

Here is a note about prior art and LWN with a list of the patents and a discussion. IDG has this list of top smartphone lawsuits.

Over the past decades, the software patent has become a weapon of choice in tech circles.

One writer argues that “Apple’s patent offensive sends message to rivals”. It’s a bully’s technique, like “Shock and Awe” or “crazy dictator” (always be aware of the lawsuit-loving, trigger-happy one).

Apple’s patent infringement case against HTC is part of a larger effort to give rival smart phone manufacturers pause as they pursue iPhone-like features in their devices, according to a research note from Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Brainstorm Tech relates the note, which recounts the way Apple is working behind the scenes to stop what it calls the rip off of its intellectual property. It also suggests that Apple’s IP battle could deal a blow to Google’s Android operating system and manufacturers relying on it.

Apple and Microsoft are actually both in it, having previously bullied companies like Sun over the use and support of Free software [1, 2]. They keep the abusive behaviour secret for the most part.

This also brings us back to Amazon’s patent deal with Microsoft [1, 2, 3]. “Microsoft’s Amazon deal was all about Linux,” says this one article.

However, buried in the small print of the press release about the deal was a set of technologies covered by the agreement including the Kindle, which employs open source software, and Amazon’s use of Linux-based servers.

What this could mean is that Microsoft is popping around to some of the bigger Linux based technology outfits and saying: “Look you have some stuff we want to use, give us the rights to use it and we will not make you the first person we sue over Linux”.


What surprises us is that the Open Source community has not kicked up more of a stink about it.

Jim Zemlin, of the Linux Foundation, wrote of the deal that most technology companies have invested heavily in patents and that a cross-licensing agreement is a non-news event. The fact that two entities with expensive stockpiles of outdated weapons felt the need to negotiate détente is not surprising.

We have already complained about apathy from Zemlin and a few others [1, 2]. There is a poor approach from the Linux Foundation, which is not opposing software patents (its funding sources don’t). Instead, the foundation plays along with the dirty games of lobbying. “Software freedom has a posse – in Washington DC,” says Phipps from the OSI, who adds that:

You’ll recall I posted a long analysis of the sick position the IIPA took urging the US Trade Representative (USTR) to discriminate against countries around the world if they have a preference for software freedom. That analysis become an input for the excellent position statement, written collaboratively by the OSI Board and posted by OSI President Michael Tiemann, calling for action by national groups.

Here is OSFA’s announcement and some resultant press coverage. OSFA should have spent energy lobbying to abolish software patents once and for all, but then again, some of the companies it represents are fake friends of Free software who actually like software patents (companies like Google and IBM, for example).

One issue that we mentioned before is that Google had gotten sued by some obscure company [1, 2] and Microsoft did too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (there are $242,000,000 at stake, a similar amount to that of the i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]).

One would think that Google and Microsoft can abolishing software patents, but the benefits they receive from these monopolies are greater than the occasional damages. According to this new report from IP Watch, Microsoft is now joined by it patent troll Nathan Myhrvold, who helped the company hack the patent system.

Indian Civil Society Raises Concerns Over US Industry-Sponsored IP Summits


Public interest groups in India are raising questions over annual summits involving Indian judges and policymakers that are being funded by major western industry groups, in particular pharmaceutical companies. At this year’s summit, held recently, a section of India’s patent law which prevents the extension of monopoly power for incremental innovations came under attack, the groups have said.


Companies with a “vested interest in software patents” such as Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft, and Qualcomm also have been involved, although such patents are not currently allowed in the country, it added.

Why is Intellectual Ventures even involved in this? It has no products and it contributed nothing to society or industry. It’s just a leech that spends over a million dollars per year lobbying while bullying a variety of companies, which lose their income to this leech.

Change is needed and it involves abolishing software patents, not working one’s way around them. OSFA ought to work towards that goal and identify Apple, Microsoft, or even their shells that they fund as foes not worth working with.

“Intellectual property is the next software.”

Nathan Myhrvold, funded by Apple, Microsoft, and Bill Gates

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

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

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

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

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts