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Does Microsoft Tinker With the Search Bar in Firefox?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Windows at 8:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Firefox search
Wikipedia is my default search facility under Firefox

Summary: A reader alleges that Microsoft is playing dirty on Windows in order to suppress the use of Google (assuming AVG agreed to reroute traffic to Microsoft via Yahoo!)

ON TWO occasions earlier this year we echoed separate complaints from people who said that Microsoft uses Internet Explorer 8 (which it shoves down users' throats) to suppress the use of Google. The details were revealing and the claims sufficiently compelling.

A reader got in touch earlier today in order to say more things about a post we made earlier. To quote the relevant part:

lpbbear hi all, sorry to butt in, could i mention something about the bing issue to you roy? Mar 16 18:25
lpbbear OK, I will just throw it out there, noticed your item about Bing this morning, seeing some other related issues not seen mentioned anywhere yet. Mar 16 18:28
lpbbear I work as a PC tech, seeing an issue with AVG AntiVirus in Windows related to Bing Mar 16 18:28
lpbbear I haven’t had the luxury of time to tradck all of it down but it appears that sometime recently AVG has entered into some background agreement with microsoft. Mar 16 18:29
lpbbear during AVG install it asks to install a Yahoo toolbar, it seems to be over riding search settings in Firefox in Windows and locking Firefox search box to bing. Mar 16 18:30
neighborlee im  not happy with avg either..it said it removes trial and gives free versoin back.but it keeps nagging you about switching to non trial version regardless…not sure about bing but defintely yahoo, which M$ owns now  of course.. Mar 16 18:32
-BNtwitter/#boycottnovell-[eduvid] Wow, I have a static ip now :) now thinking for firewall Mar 16 18:34
*lpbbear_ (~quassel@ has joined #boycottnovell Mar 16 18:34
neighborlee http://dissentingjustice.blogspot.com/2009/12/obama-falsely-claims-that-senate.html < this is also interesting Mar 16 18:34
phIRCe-BNc Title: DISSENTING JUSTICE: Obama Falsely Claims that the Senate Healthcare Bill Matches His Campaign Promises .::. Size~: 190.69 KB Mar 16 18:34
*lpbbear has quit (Ping timeout: 260 seconds) Mar 16 18:36
*lpbbear (~quassel@ has joined #boycottnovell Mar 16 18:42
*lpbbear has quit (Client Quit) Mar 16 18:43
*lpbbear (~quassel@ has joined #boycottnovell Mar 16 18:43
*lpbbear_ has quit (Ping timeout: 245 seconds) Mar 16 18:46
lpbbear anyone see that earlier mention of AVG/Bing lockin thing I mentioned, I glitched out for a moment Mar 16 18:46
schestowitz jono: hey Mar 16 18:51
schestowitz lpbbear I meant Mar 16 18:51
schestowitz Catching up…… Mar 16 18:51
lpbbear hi Mar 16 18:51
schestowitz lpbbear: has anyone reported this avg thing” Mar 16 18:52
schestowitz ? Mar 16 18:52
schestowitz That’s why Windows is bad for Firefox Mar 16 18:52
schestowitz Or any developer Mar 16 18:52
schestowitz Microsoft bullies competition over there Mar 16 18:52
schestowitz lpbbear: I can’t reproduce here cause I don’t have Windows Mar 16 18:53
lpbbear no, I don’t believe I have seen mention of it anywhere yet Mar 16 18:53
schestowitz Maybe someone else can test..? Mar 16 18:53
lpbbear saw your article on Bing this morning and thought you would like the additional info Mar 16 18:53
lpbbear uwhat it appears to be doing is locking the little searchbox in the upper right corner area of Firefox to Bing Mar 16 18:54
lpbbear ucan’t manually change to Google or anything else until you go into addons and disable the AVG yahoo addon, may have names a bit wrong, from memory Mar 16 18:55
neighborlee lpbbear: yup I did Mar 16 18:55
lpbbear I am always on the “clock” at customers sites so I haven’t had the luxury of time to follow it up more. Mar 16 18:56
neighborlee lpbbear: I uninstalled unhappy with their constant nagging about switching from free to pay version Mar 16 18:56
neighborlee lpbbear: but I dont recall bing issues..yahoo toolbar yes < not good since M$ owns yahoo now> Mar 16 18:57
lpbbear its fairly recent, just started seeing this issue on customers systems that use Firefox Mar 16 18:57
lpbbear seems to me to be a clear antitrust issue even though its being used through a third party proxy by Microsoft. Mar 16 18:58
lpbbear I could understand if it just added a choice for Bing in the list but its locking the list to just Bing and not allowing the user the ability to switch to other choices. Mar 16 19:01

Can any of our readers (with a Windows partition) test this to confirm? This is why Free software on top of Windows is far from ideal; Microsoft has a long history of pulling such tricks because it controls the underlying platform and vainly disregards the rule of law. How about when Microsoft “sabotaged” Firefox last year [1, 2, 3] (more than once)?

Speaking of Web browsers, one reader alerts us that “Microsoft innovates plug-in-free video”. According to the article he cites (CNET warning), “Coming in the new version is support for new Web standards including plug-in-free video; better performance with graphics, text, and JavaSript…”

Does that mean that Microsoft might support embedded Ogg? Is Microsoft relenting on Silver Lie then [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]? It’s hard to believe.

“…[Windows 98] must be a killer on shipments so that Netscape never gets a chance…”

Former Microsoft Vice President James Allchin in an internal memo

“We are going to cut off their air supply. Everything they’re selling, we’re going to give away for free.”

Paul Maritz, former Microsoft Vice President (now VMware CEO), referring to Netscape

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 16th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Quebec Authorities Should be Sued Again for Microsoft Corruption; BECTA Should Too

Posted in America, Antitrust, Courtroom, Europe at 7:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coat of arms of Québec

Summary: Quebec’s government is up to no good again (bidless procurement suspected); the time is right to challenge BECTA legally, just like in Quebec

LAST WEEK we showed that Canada is quietly embracing GNU/Linux. Canada’s National Bureau of Economic Research says that patents harm the poor, so there would be nothing destructive about Free software when it comes to economics.

Citizens of Quebec have already sued their government for allegedly illegal deals with Microsoft [1, 2]. Going further back, Groklaw translated an article from French (it’s Quebec after all), saying that “the general translation is that you can find at the link the documents regarding a lawsuit a company called Savoir-Faire Linux, Inc. has filed in the Superior Court of Quebec against the government’s pension plan for choosing Microsoft software without putting the job out publicly for bid. It seems the law in Quebec is very strict that the government is supposed to publish an invitation to tender for any acquisition of more than $25,000, and this job was a good deal more than that.

“I gather Savoir-Faire Linux’s position is that only open standards, formats and protocols are suitable to match the demands of a public market policy upholding four fundamental principles: act in an transparent way, favor strong competition, favor local economic development, get the best overall cost.”

“…Savoir-Faire Linux, Inc. has filed in the Superior Court of Quebec against the government’s pension plan for choosing Microsoft software without putting the job out publicly for bid.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
The headline said: “Savoir-Fair Linux, Inc. sues Quebec government agency over Microsoft”

At the bottom we are appending some more valuable references about the situation in Quebec. It may matter not just because Microsoft is sued in Canada (class-action lawsuit) but also because Glyn Moody reveals more grounds for Canadian antitrust in Quebec:

Does Quebec Hate Free Software?


What’s particularly disturbing here is that it looks like the regional government doesn’t want anyone to question why it is going with proprietary software, and not giving free software a fair chance – that’s doubly wrong. (Via @akaSassinak.)

Does the regional government want to be sued again? This has already boiled over in Italy and it should also happen in the UK, where BECTA serves Microsoft almost exclusively. The Open Learning Centre has this new post on the subject:

Does Microsoft think “Rip-Off Britain” is an instruction?

In the current economic climate what do you think is the best way to keep existing customers happy and encourage them to spend more with you?

Introduce some special offers perhaps? Add extra value to your products and services? Be even more nice than you are normally?


Just think about that for a moment. That’s 100,000,000 individual downloads of a free product, the alternative legacy application from Microsoft will soon cost you £430. Oh yes, and those 100,000,000 downloads happened in a year and 16 days…

Brits should learn from Quebec and consider a lawsuit. It’s long overdue and the evidence available for presentation is overwhelming. The British Standards Institute (BSI) too was sued two years ago after it had engaged in what seemed like corruption with Microsoft [1, 2].
[1] The Long Road To Free Software in Quebec

The report was overwhelming: “ We have no control over our own information systems! And yet that is the one and only area in which we can achieve the necessary gains in productivity.” That day, I came to understand the many needs that are fulfilled by free software and how it is of crucial importance to our country’s economy.

[2] A Free Software Week quandary

Events this week, mostly at the Université du Québec à Montréal, will promote the benefits of free software and introduce beginners to the open vs. proprietary politics that divide the tech-savvy community.

But the hostility between the two camps is nothing like it was in the past, said Michael Gould, an analyst with Forrester Research. And on the one hand, this is good news for open sourcers.

“A lot of significantly sized companies have been using more open source software,” Gould said. “A lot of the concerns they had, like quality, security and support, have been mostly addressed.”

[3] Oracle shop ditches Unix for Linux on the mainframe

The IT department for the Canadian province of Quebec is consolidating hundreds of Oracle databases — spread across hundreds of midrange servers — onto a new mainframe running Linux on top of z/VM.

ACTA Booster Luc Pierre Devigne Redefines Open Standards (With Software Patents Included)

Posted in America, Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Patents, RAND, Standard at 6:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Luc Pierre Devigne

Summary: The European Commission turns its back on open standards that anyone can accept; ACTA and the Digital Economy Bill show a legal land grab by corporations

WE live in interesting times when constitutions are being blatantly violated and overridden. Lobbyists play a role on behalf of companies whose embrace of our laws that defend us is proving rather deadly. This post is not about the imbalanced patent system that mostly protects monopolies; this time it’s about open standards being polluted with software patents, even in Europe. A Red Hat employee presents some details (it is his personal interpretation, not Red Hat’s stance):

For years and years I am using and promoting the term Open Standards. And it has always been very clear what an Open Standard is and, more important, what it is not.

You can go through various defintions of Open Standards:

* Free Software Foundation Europe
* European Interoperability Framework (v1)
* Digistan
* Danish Parliament
* Bruce Perens

And no matter what differences you find in those definitions, they all agree on some crucial points, the most important being the freedom to use and implement the standard without having to ask for permission or having to pay license fees for the use of an Open Standard.


If you agree this far, pay special attention to this:

Currently, the Chinese companies using technologies detained by European companies are not allowed to enter into negotiations on the amount of royalties due to the latter, when they use their essential patents in the framework of open standards. The situation is highly detrimental to European companies and their complaint has been reflected in the European Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC) – IPR Working Group’s Position Paper 2005. The Commission therefore urged the Chinese government to take action in order to ensure that those royalties are duly paid by Chinese companies.

Hartmut Pilch from FFII pointed my attention to this and added some valuable comments here.

Bottom line is – DG Trade, represented by Mr. Luc Pierre Devigne, seems to use the term Open Standards in a way that is simply not compatible with the accepted definition of Open Standards. Royalty payments on Open Standards can simply not exist in my view.


Who have we here? It’s a buddy of ACTA lover Pedro Velasco-Martins. Luc Devigne and other ACTA boosters can be found in conjunction in an old report which we mentioned in this post. At least we manage to identify people who are fundamentally against the people whom they represent and instead promote the agenda of large corporations with intellectual monopolies.

As a reminder, Europe overwhelmingly rejects ACTA, whereas the US loves it [1] and here in the UK we have the complementary Digital Economy Bill trying to sneak its way into law [2, 3, 4, 5]. Our constitutions are being stomped on.
[1] Europe trashes ACTA as Obama praises it

Earlier this week, we noted that the major parties in the European Parliament had all agreed on a resolution trashing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the secret process that has been hashing it out. That resolution has passed Parliament by a huge margin—633 yes votes, 13 no votes, and 16 abstentions.

The Greens/EFA coalition praised the vote. Greens MEP Carl Schlyter of Sweden said that “ACTA risks becoming known as the Absence of Commission Transparency Agreement… The EU cannot continue to negotiate on ACTA if the people are not allowed to take part in the process. It is also a totally absurd and unacceptable situation if MEPs, behind closed doors, have to ask the Commission about the content of the agreements we are supposed to vote on.”

[2] Lib Dems to change their amendment to the digital economy bill

The Liberal Democrats are preparing to change their controversial amendment to the digital economy bill, which has its third and final reading in the House of Lords on Monday.

The change would give sites blocked under the bill the power to challenge it in the courts, and to demand legal costs and damages from any copyright owner that caused it to be wrongly blocked through court procedings.

But the Open Rights Group, which campaigns on digital rights and freedoms, said that the amendment would not solve deeper problems with the bill – which may be rushed into law with barely any debate in the Commons – and called for it to be abandoned.

[3] Wanted: a Groundswell of Massive Opposition

Last week I wrote about the great news on the ACTA front, but sadly that’s just one battle we need to win. Another is against the insanely retrogressive Digital Economy Bill – an ironic name if ever there were one, given that it seeks to impose the old rules of the *analogue* economy on the digital world. As such, it is likely to have a huge negative impact on companies using the Internet (that is, anyone in business not still using the abacus.)

That handily maps out is how we can stop the Bill: by creating that “groundswell of massive opposition”. What I think we need to do is to make it clear to our MPs is how the music recording industry just expects them to roll over and accept the Bill as is, rather than to carry out their parliamentary duties and to examine it and amend where appropriate. We need to get across the fact that this Bill is not incidental, but will determine the economic and social landscape for this country in the next few years; as such, it needs to be drafted carefully, not thrown together at the last minute.

[4] Lords pass controversial internet piracy bill

Legislation to tackle internet piracy, including bans for illegal file-sharers, has been passed by the Lords.

The Digital Economy Bill is now expected to be rushed through the Commons before the general election.

Peers had earlier rejected a bid by ministers to include wide-ranging powers over future online piracy law.

[5] BPI Says That UK Spies Are Against Digital Economy Bill

The debate over the Digital Economy Bill in the UK (the attempt to ratchet up copyright law to repay favors to an entertainment industry that is slow to adapt) has taken an odd twist. Cory Doctorow over at Boing Boing has the details of a leaked memo from the BPI (pdf) to a bunch of recording industry execs and lobbyists, that details the state of the bill and the ongoing strategy for getting it approved. There are a few items worth noting:

1. The BPI seems to think that the UK intelligence community is now the biggest threat to stopping the bill. Seriously. Apparently, UK spies are afraid that passing this bill will drive a very large number of people to switch to using encrypted internet tools, making it that much more difficult to spy on them.

“Call Out Windows”

Posted in BSD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Prelude to a new campaign which strives to change the coverage of Windows-specific security problems

ONE of our readers is in the process of starting a new campaign he wishes to name “Let’s call out Windows” or simply “Call out Windows.” The purpose of this information campaign is to urge journalists to call Windows malware and Windows viruses just what they are: Windows malware and Windows viruses. Reporters have become knowingly negligent of the fact that these problems affect Windows and not all computers run Windows. It’s time to restore journalistic integrity and accuracy.

The following new post, titled “GNU/Linux: Don’t Call Them PC Viruses”, arrives in a very timely fashion and states:

I call that hogwash. The reason Microsoft Windows is so often successfully attacked is because of its flawed security design. I run FreeBSD Unix and Mandriva GNU/Linux on my PC systems. I keep my systems patched with up to date bug fixes and security fixes. I will not install software that I do not know from whence it originates. I do not run any anti-virus software and yet I will never get a “PC Virus” on these systems. There is no such thing as a “PC Virus”, call them “Microsoft Windows Viruses” or “GNU/Linux Viruses” or “Apple OS X Viruses” depending on the operating system which they successfully attack. Don’t call them “PC Viruses”.

Last week we showed that Apache was only vulnerable on Windows (not IEEE POSIX®).

There is a lot of correspondence going on privately, trying to establish an effective campaign that changes how people cover Windows malware and Windows viruses without coming across as rude.

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Microsoft Happy About Apple’s Invocation of Software Patents Against GNU/Linux

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 5:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer on patents

Summary: Mobile Linux proceeds from one victory to another while Apple and Microsoft pointlessly attack with software patents

EARLIER TODAY we wrote about news reports which suggested that Microsoft played some role in Apple's lawsuit against GNU/Linux (via Google/Android). Just like in the TomTom case, Apple and its supporters insisted that people should not perceive this as a case against Linux (Microsoft used the same lie to save face while doing the damage).

There is support for Apple’s action coming from Microsoft (Apple’s patent buddy since a long time ago), based on the following new report where Microsoft’s Brad Smith is quoted as saying about the HTC-Apple lawsuit: “the fact that there’s litigation in this area is not necessarily a bad thing.”

Here it is with some more context:

With several Windows Mobile devices named in Apple’s patent suit against HTC, you’d be forgiven for expecting Microsoft to have a few words of quiet support for their hardware partners. However it seems Microsoft are quite looking forward to a general battle; speaking at an IP convention last week, Brad Smith, the company’s general counsel and senior vice president told amassed lawyers that ”the fact that there’s litigation in this area is not necessarily a bad thing.”

Microsoft seems rather eager when it comes to Apple introducing software patents as game changers in phones, as means of harming Linux as a free platform.

Let’s recall the Apple-Nokia lawsuit (it is a two-way battle now [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]) which involved two — not one — proponents of software patents, one of which uses Symbian and Linux (Maemo/MeeGo). Apple accuses Nokia of using “legal alchemy” to hide infringements. IDG covers this, but it wrongly uses words like “IP” (it actually means to say patents) and “theft” (infringement does not constitute taking away from the original) right in the headline.

Nokia last week asked a federal judge to toss out Apple’s antitrust claims, saying the iPhone maker indulged in “legal alchemy” when it tried to divert attention from its “free-riding” of Nokia’s intellectual property.

The filing last Thursday was the latest salvo in a battle that began in October 2009 when Finnish handset maker Nokia sued Apple, saying the iPhone infringed on 10 of its patents and that the U.S. company was trying “to get a free ride on the back of Nokia’s innovation.” Nokia demanded royalties on all iPhones sold since Apple introduced the smartphone in June 2007.

Earlier today we also reiterated the fact that developers for platforms like Mac OS X and iPhone are merely being exploited [1, 2]. This is discussed further by Dana Blankenhorn right now:

“If Apple wants to be a real leader, it should be fostering innovation and competition, rather than acting as a jealous and arbitrary feudal lord.”

Is that a quote from Richard Stallman? From Steve Ballmer? Some dirty hippie blogger like myself?

Nope, it’s Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Fred von Lohmann (right), responding to his own “get,” a copy of the iPhone Developer License Agreement, now posted on the EFF Web site.

Tim Bray, who used to be buying a lot of Apple gear, is now comparing Apple to “Evil” (that’s a strong word with somewhat religious connotation) as he joins the Android team [1, 2] (we mentioned this last night). Here is what he wrote:

The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what. It’s a sterile Disney-fied walled garden surrounded by sharp-toothed lawyers. The people who create the apps serve at the landlord’s pleasure and fear his anger.

Bray would be a good asset to Linux/Android/Google. He is the co-inventor of XML (which didn’t really need much ‘invention’). Bray is an opponent of software patents, so hopefully he’ll wake Google up.

The inventor of the cellphone has also just dumped the iPhone and moved to Android (Linux):

It turns out that Martin Cooper, the man who invented the cell phone, is the proud owner of a Motorola Droid! In a story which aired on C-SPAN, Martin discussed the politics of cellphones, as well as his current device.

According to some preliminary figures, Droid alone (that’s just one phone running Android) is beating iPhone’s record:

Did you know that it took the iPhone only 74 days to reach 1 million units sold? Oh you’ve heard that, huh? Well, did you know that the Motorola Droid moved more units in the same time frame? Yeah, you probably didn’t expect that. Frankly, neither did we. The latest report from Flurry shows the Droid pushing 1.05 million handsets in the first 74 days of release, eclipsing the number set by Apple.

No wonder Apple is so nervous. Microsoft is going nowhere too. Matt Asay, formerly a huge Apple fan, has just said the following things about Linux versus Apple (when asked whether “Linux [can] compete with Apple”):

Asay: I’m not sure this is the right question, as Linux already competes with and beats Apple in a huge array of devices. Linux spans everything from HPC to embedded devices and everything in between. Apple cannot compete with that. Could you build a supercomputer using Mac hardware? Sure, but you’d be mortgaging your house to do so and even then, the Mac would likely lose.

Of course, Apple doesn’t want to compete in such markets. It’s famously focused and opts to do a few things very well, like its iPhone and laptops.

Can Linux compete in these markets? Yes. Of course it can. Look at Android as perhaps the best example of effectively competing with Apple in mobile. Apparently Apple agrees with me, as its patent infringement suit against HTC is almost certainly a shot over Google’s bow, as The New York Times recently suggested. Apple is worried. And it should be.

The Source commends Asay for some of his remarks which he made since had joined Canonical.

As a side note, although I expressed strong reservations when Mr. Asay was named Canonical COO, I haven’t heard anything from him yet that I find objectionable.

To summarise, Apple’s action against GNU/Linux is supported by Microsoft while several notable people move away from Apple and directly to Linux. Among them: co-inventor of XML, inventor of the cellphone, and former Apple enthusiast and blogger Matt Asay.

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

(Usually attributed to) Mahatma Gandhi

Links 16/3/2010: Amarok 2.3.0, SimplyMEPIS 8.5 Preview

Posted in News Roundup at 3:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Fluendo Launches the Ultimate Media Center for Linux Operating Systems

    Fluendo has announced the release of its Media Center, a software application developed by the Spanish company. Fluendo Media Center’s versatility was evident from the off when it was used for reproducing a whole manner of multimedia in a variety of devices using completely different platforms. Whether on Windows or Linux; on netbooks, mobile internet devices (MIDs), notebooks or set-top boxes, Fluendo Media Center demonstrated not only its outstanding adaptability, but also its multiple features, attractive graphics and user-friendly interface. This first release will only be operational on Linux distributions but it is expected to get the application running on Windows in the near future.

  • Linux desktop innovations to look forward to

    These are testing times: if you want to experience the latest advances on the Linux desktop, you have to be prepared to test things and accept that stability is a secondary feature.

    The continued development of KDE 4 is the perfect example. Many of its users have felt like guinea pigs over the last couple of years, while its developers have filled in the missing blanks on the path to a fully operational desktop.

  • Security

    • Multi-user Security in Linux

      There are certainly ways to prevent users from running downloaded programs, but in the end, the multi-user security of a system will depend on security of every piece of software installed. Preventing the exploits from being successful, a la SELinux, adds the most viable method of protection. Coupled with a frequently updated system, additional restrictions such as rbash aren’t generally necessary.

    • Collection of security checks for Linux

      The aim of Buck Security is, to allow you to get a quick overview of the security status of your system. As a Linux system administrator – but also as a normal Linux user – you often wonder if your system is secure. In this situation it is useful to get an overview of the security status of the system immediately. Buck Security was designed exactly for this. It runs important tests and returns the results to you after a couple of minutes.

    • Got Security? You’re in Denial
  • Desktop

    • An adventure with an HP printer/scanner and Ubuntu

      Now smug with the ease with which that had worked I started installing the HP driver software on a popular proprietary operating system so I could use it to configure the printer’s WiFi feature (something I assumed I couldn’t do from within Ubuntu – an assumption that turns out to have been wrong). Ten minutes later it was still finishing off the install process, but eventually I did get the printer hooked up to our wireless network.

      Back to the Lucid machine, I told it to add a new printer, it immediately saw the HP announcing itself on the network and let me quickly add that and I could print over wifi. Pretty nifty stuff.


      So there we have it, out of the box I was up and running within 10 seconds of plugging the device in, and if I’d known to just install hp-toolbox I would have had everything running wirelessly a few minutes later.

    • Donate Your Old Hardware
    • Dell Still pricing Linux higher than Windows on same hardware

      We, my partner and I receive a regular advertising newsletter from Dell, because our company is on their mailing list, apparently although we have never purchased a single Dell, we are one of their best customers (the deal is offered to quote “our best customers”). The latest one was pushing a special rate on Dell Laptops and desktops with Windows 7, around $1750. So I rang the up and asked for a price with Linux.

  • Africa

    • Linux in the developing world – Can the community help spread it?

      If you live in a “well to do” country for instance, downloading 600MB of data might be a matter of minutes, but to those of us who only have 1GB of bandwidth for a whole month, it generally is out of the question. This first bottleneck alone puts Linux out of the use of most people in developing parts of the world.

    • XO Laptops Have Transformed Ntugi Mixed Day School

      On my own behalf and on behalf of Ntugi Mixed Day School let me thank Upper Canada College and Mark Battley in particular for helping the school to get XO laptops. The laptops have boosted the morale of both students and teachers in the school.

      Some parents have transferred their kids from the neighbouring schools to our school because we are the only secondary school connected to Internet. This has raised the school enrollment from 4 classes to 6 classes. Students are using them, especially in Science and Geography. In the 2009 Science Congress, two projects scooped the best 2 positions in the District and were ranked No. 9 and 10 out of 102 in the Provincials. Previously, no Ntugi student had participated in Science Congress.


      The Kenya National Examination Council has started registering students for the National exams online. Schools without Internet facilities are greatly challenged. As the Head of Ntugi Secondary School, I feel very humbled for this donation (laptops) as it has made my work very easy when registering students for the National exams. (K.C.S.E).

  • Server

    • Supercomputers run open source software

      ACCORDING TO Novell nine out of ten of the most powerful supercomputers in the world run open source software.

      The numbers come from the Top 500 supercomputers list, which shows that Linux powers nine of the top ten, and in total eighty five percent of the whole 500. In case you are wondering what this has to do with Novell, Novell’s SuSE Linux Enterprise Server runs on six of the top ten.

  • Kernel Space

    • More ATI Radeon KMS Power Management Fun

      Power management support within the Linux kernel for the ATI Radeon DRM driver has been in development for months and gone through several revisions, but with the forthcoming Linux 2.6.34 kernel there is initial ATI KMS power management support. For making the power management situation even better, over the weekend Alex Deucher of AMD has been working on another set of patches.

    • Linus Torvalds- The future of Linux

      In fifteen years, I expect somebody else to come along and say, hey, I can do everything that Linux can do but I can be lean and mean about it because my system won’t have twenty years of baggage holding it back. They’ll say Linux was designed for the 386 and the new CPUs are doing the really interesting things differently. Let’s drop this old Linux stuff. This is essentially what I did when creating Linux. And in the future, they’ll be able to look at our code, and use our interfaces, and provide binary compatibility, and if all that happens I’ll be happy.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Amarok 2.3.0 “Clear Light” Released

        The Amarok team just released Amarok 2.3.0. It comes with many bugfixes and improvements such as a new funky toolbar and a rewritten file browser featuring much better integration with the rest of Amarok. Read the release notes and enjoy rediscovering your music!

      • Second Krita Sprint Ends With Tea

        It’s Sunday now in Deventer and, except for Lukas Tvrdy, all Krita hackers have gone home — or, in the case of your author, stayed home. Time for tea and writing a recap of the whole sprint and hackfest!

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst to Open 2010 Open Source Business Conference with Keynote Address on Why Open Source is More Critical Than Ever

        Red Hat, Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!rht/quotes/nls/rht (RHT 30.76, 0.00, 0.00%) , the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that President and CEO, Jim Whitehurst, will deliver the opening keynote address at Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) 2010. OSBC brings together open source vendors, customers, partners and community members to share strategies and hear the most current thinking on open source from the top experts in the field.

      • Opinion: RHEL 5 turns 3, Suggestions for Red Hat

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (Tikanga) was released on March 14, 2007 and yesterday was RHEL 5′s 3rd birthday. Since then we have gotten 4 update releases.

        Given the fact that Red Hat’s original plan was to have a new RHEL release every 18 – 24 months, one has to wonder where RHEL 6 is and why it is so late. My best guess is that RHEL 6 (which so far has had a non-public alpha release within Red Hat as witnessed in some Bugzilla reports) will come out sometime this summer… possibly in time for the Red Hat Summit in Boston (June 22-25, 2010). For that to happen I would expect a public beta for RHEL 6 to be released in the not too distant future. We’ll see how that pans out.

    • Debian Family

      • First Glance at SimplyMEPIS 8.5

        All Linux users have their own vision of the ideal distribution. Some people crave stability, others want new and exciting features, some people are very security focused and others are concerned about licensing. Warren Woodford has his own vision and he’s made it accessible to the world via MEPIS. This week he was willing to take a few minutes to talk about his creation.

      • Ubuntu

        • And The Reason Why The Metacity Window Buttons Are On The Left In Ubuntu 10.04 Is…
        • Ubuntu forgets to add new system sounds for Lucid…
        • Dynamic Ubuntu Sun- Theme that changes depending on the time day
        • Shuttleworth says progress made on distribution cadence

          Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, says some progress has been made towards what he calls cadence, an alignment of versions and release schedules, between distributions, even though his earlier proposals of a formal alignment between Debian and Ubuntu were not taken up. He points to an informal synchronisation between Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and Debian Squeeze on the Kernel, GCC, Python, OpenOffice.org, Perl and Boost versions, as an example of progress.

        • Adventures with Ubuntu Karmic Koala

          My laptop is an HP Pavilion dv6 2020ax and the Ubuntu version I tried to install was Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala.

        • Running Alpha Lucid on the Dell T7500

          The T7500 is just stupid fast, and Lucid’s a nice interface for the hardware. I don’t have enough up and running yet to do any legitimate comparative benchmarking versus my usual hardware, but it’s impressive even on trivial applications. The disk usage analyzer, for example, scans the entire filesystem in less than ten seconds; with either of my old machines, runtime was a minute to two, depending on what else was running.

        • Ubuntu 10.04: Waiting for the Lucid Lynx

          I’m particularly interested in this particular release of Ubuntu since I’ve been using the previous Ubuntu LTS 8.04 Hardy Heron and am looking forward to upgrading. For those of you in the same boat, if you want to keep current on the moment-by-moment (almost, anyway) changes to Lucid, you can sign up to receive email notifications.

          Waiting for something can be difficult and, after all, in the world of technology, six-weeks is almost an eternity. If patience is your virtue though, April 29th is right around the corner.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-based tool simplifies Cell processor programming

      Codeplay’s Offload programming tool suite is available for the development of software for Cell Broadband Engine powered devices running under Linux.

      The Offload tool suite provides a Windows-based GCC SDK so that code can be offloaded to the SPUs on the Cell Broadband Engine.

      It uses the Eclipse CDT and the Offload Player Debugger for executing and debugging code on the target Cell Broadband Engine hardware.

    • Phones

      • Desktop Linux without the desk.

        Now all we need is a Maemo 5 port of Gnumeric for spreadsheets. Since there’s already a version for previous-gen tablets that shouldn’t be too hard, should it?

        As stated off the top of the post, this is but a taste of the wondrous FLOSS apps available for the N900. If there’s something specific that you’re looking for leave me a comment below and I’ll see if it’s available…

      • Android

        • 10 Android Apps You Need To Download NOW!

          Have you ever seen one of those lists on a tech site giving you this list of apps that they claim are the end-all-be-all of lists? The type of article that swears up and down that what they are telling you is for your own good, and that the author knows everything about all of the apps in the Market? Yes? Great! Here’s another one!

        • BlackBerry Users Pine for Android

          A recent Crowd Science study indicates that BlackBerry users have wandering eyes and are considering other platforms for their next handset. Roughly 1/3rd of BlackBerry owners would switch to an Android phone, specifically the Nexus One. According to Crowd Science CEO John Martin, this indicates a restlessness with the current brand and allure of other platforms. On the other hand, Android users are very loyal to their handsets. Roughly 90% of those surveyed planned to stay with green robot-powered phones.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Banish boring terminal windows with Bashish

    Swedish student Thomas Eriksson says a lot of advanced computer usage is still best done from the terminal. Given that, he’s developed Bashish to provide a more useful and beautiful terminal environment.

    Bashish is a theme engine for the console, providing themes with different colors, fonts, and cool-looking graphics. The name Bashish is a play on bash (the Bourne Again SHell), the hash symbol (# – the root indicator in bash and tcsh), and hashish. Think of it as an addictive terminal theme utility. But it’s not just eye candy – Bashish can also provide useful visual feedback. For instance, it can change colors, font, transparency, and background image on a per-application basis.

  • Open source enables innovation without lawyers or fees

    Committed to freely providing software code back to developers and customers, open source followers often passionately evangelise its benefits over the licensed software model.

    However, Mr Burkhardt — previously chief technology officer at the New York Stock Exchange, where he established an open-source IT shop — rejects the fervent approach, saying open source is a “pragmatic decision”.

    He says proprietary software innovation is driven by commercial return and legal protection, which is supported by costly, ongoing licensing fees.

  • the_source Episode 11 “Open Source Around The House” Released

    Join me on a tour of my house as I show how I use open source software in nearly every room. This episode also is the first to use my new intro. This episode is NOT sponsored by the Apple iPad.

  • Alfresco Continues Open Source Partner Momentum

    Alfresco Software, which specializes in open source enterprise content management, says it more than doubled its partner network in 2009. But here’s the really interesting part: Alfresco partners are earning $10 to $15 worth of services for every dollar of Alfresco Enterprise subscriptions sold. Here are the details.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla Launches Firefox Mobile Add-On Challenge

      Mozilla has launched a contest to spur on development of add-ons for its recently-released Firefox for Mobile browser. Between now and April 12, developers are encouraged to create extensions or other add-ons tailored for the mobile browser. The top ten submissions (as judged by Mozilla’s Add-ons and Mobile teams) will each be awarded a package containing a Mozilla t-shirt, phone case, and a brand-new Nokia N900 phone — which runs the Maemo mobile Linux operating system and was the very first device to support Firefox for Mobile.

      The goal of the contest is to extend Firefox in innovative ways that take special advantage of the fact that the browser is mobile: the small screen size, the touch-screen interface, and the out-and-about nature carrying the browser in your pocket. Complete rules for the contest are available on developer.mozilla.org and specify compatibility and UI style guidelines. The contest is for add-ons which in Mozilla parlance includes both extensions and media plugins, though most of the discussion centers on extensions. The judges indicate three areas which they are most interested in seeing add-ons break new ground: using native device APIs, photo / media / social sharing tools, and session- and file-saving tools.

  • Programming

    • Introducing the PyPy 1.2 release

      We are pleased to announce PyPy’s 1.2 release. This version 1.2 is a major milestone and it is the first release to ship a Just-in-Time compiler that is known to be faster than CPython (and unladen swallow) on some real-world applications (or the best benchmarks we could get for them). The main theme for the 1.2 release is speed.


  • Celebrity death match: HTML5 Vs Flash

    So, Steve Jobs’ grunting about CPU hoggage don’t quite hold water apparently. Then again, did anyone really expect his aversion to Adobe’s flash to come down to anything less than politics?

  • Comcast CEO defends NBC deal, unsure on Hulu

    Comcast CEO Brian Roberts headed back to Capitol Hill on Thursday to defend his company’s proposed merger with NBC Universal, offering what by now are familiar assurances that the combined company won’t use its market power to bully smaller cable competitors, raise prices for consumers or restrict access to Internet video.

  • Dot Com Turns 25: How Failure Turned to Success

    The very first dot com domain symbolics.com was registered 25 years ago today on March 15, 1985. From that event a quarter century ago, there are now over 192 million total domain name registrations, with some 96.7 million domain names that are registered as dot com or dot net.

  • Walmart fires employee with inoperable brain tumor for legally using marijuana outside of work

    Joseph Casias has sinus cancer and an inoperable brain tumor and takes medical marijuana, which is legal in Michigan. He was fired from the Michigan Walmart where he had been working for the last five years after he failed a drug screening test there.

  • Science

    • SETI at 50

      Are we alone in the universe? That’s the big question the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) seeks to answer, and so far the answer appears to be yes. In the half-century since Frank Drake first used a radio telescope to begin searching for alien radio signals, there has been no message from ET—indeed no artificial radio traffic of any description.

  • Security

    • Iran hacks US spy sites, arrests 30 activists

      Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps hacked into 29 websites affiliated with US espionage networks, Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency reported on Sunday.

    • Car dealer alleges Carrollton police roughed him up; incident reports differ

      Staten’s attorneys said their client was racially profiled by Carrollton police when they spotted him in a shopping center one afternoon after he changed the license plates, as required by law, on a blue 1997 Geo Prizm. Staten was waiting to deliver the car to a client who was getting a cashier’s check at a nearby bank.

    • DNSSEC Moving Ahead at .Org and ICANN

      Since at least the summer of 2008, when security researcher Dan Kaminksy disclosed a critical vulnerability in DNS, the global Internet domain routing ecosystem has been moving to implement DNSSEC, which provides is a digitally signed mechanism to authenticate the integrity of DNS information, secure the system and prevent attacks.

    • The Future of Botnets

      A lot of people in the security industry are paid to think like attackers: pen testers, security consultants, software security experts. But some of these people have never met an actual black hat, so much of their work is necessarily based on what they think attackers might do in a given situation.

      Considering the stakes in today’s security game, gleaning intelligence from professional attackers is an invaluable experience for researchers on the other side of the ball. Robert Hansen, a security researcher and CEO of SecTheory, has been doing just that in recent months, having a series of off-the-record conversations with spammers and malicious hackers in an effort to gain insight into their tactics, mindset and motivation.

    • Conversations With a Blackhat

      So let’s say I’m badguy1 who wants to break into one or more companies of interest. Sure, I could work for days or weeks and maybe get into one or both of them, but at the risk of tipping my hand to the companies and there’s always a chance I’ll fail entirely. Or I could work with badguy2 who has a botnet. I could simply give a list of IPs, domains or email addresses of known targets to the bot herder and say that instead of paying a few cents to rent some arbitrary machine for a day, I’ll pay thousands of dollars to get a bot within the company I’m actually interested in.

    • Crooks plant fake payment card terminals at multiple stores

      Crooks planted bogus payment card processing terminals at multiple locations operated by the Hancock Fabrics chain store that allowed for the theft of sensitive financial data from customers, the company warned.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • US Intelligence Planned To Destroy WikiLeaks

      This document is a classified (SECRET/NOFORN), 32-page US counterintelligence investigation into WikiLeaks (PDF). ‘The possibility that current employees or moles within DoD or elsewhere in the US government are providing sensitive or classified information to Wikileaks.org cannot be ruled out.’ It concocts a plan to fatally marginalize the organization. Since WikiLeaks uses ‘trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers or whistleblowers,’ the report recommends ‘The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web site.’ [As two years have passed since the date of the report, with no WikiLeaks' source exposed, it appears that this plan was ineffective.] As an odd justification for the plan, the report claims that ‘Several foreign countries including China, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe have denounced or blocked access to the Wikileaks.org website.’ The report provides further justification by enumerating embarrassing stories broken by WikiLeaks — US equipment expenditure in Iraq, probable US violations of the Chemical Warfare Convention Treaty in Iraq, the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah and human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay.

    • US spooks plotted to destroy Wikileaks

      In this two-year-old classified Army Counterintelligence Center report (hosted on wikileaks.org, where else?), American spooks set out to destroy Wikileaks by intimidating its sources. They cite as justification for this the fact that Wikileaks has outed American embarrassments and crimes including “US equipment expenditure in Iraq, probable US violations of the Chemical Warfare Convention Treaty in Iraq, the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah and human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay.”

    • China warns Google to obey rules even if it pulls out

      Google should obey Chinese government rules even if it decides to retreat from the country over hacking and censorship complaints, a Chinese government spokesman said on Tuesday.

    • Facebook users warned over stalk-my-profile scam

      A bogus application that lures Facebook users by falsely offering to show who has been viewing their profile has been exposed as a scam.

    • Facebook removing stalker applications

      Facebook says it is “aggressively disabling” applications that claim to allow users to see who is viewing their profile.

    • While Facebook & Twitter Sit on Sidelines, MySpace Jumps Into Bulk User Data Sales

      Those updates will now be available for bulk analysis.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Tell the copyright czar how US enforcement should work: 9 days left!

      You’ve got nine days left to file comments for Victoria Espinel, the Obama administration’s new copyright enforcement czar, and her department’s inquiry on how the US should best enforce copyrights. Given that the president himself has spoken out in favor of the secret and sinister Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (AKA ACTA — a punishing copyright treaty that seeks to expand the American DMCA and push it around the world), and that he plans to bring it down by executive order, without an act of Congress, this is especially urgent.

    • IFPI says labels DO invest in music

      It sounds like an obvious thing to say, right? Of course labels invest in music and the artists who make it: that’s the definition of a record label.

    • Film Review at Heart of Suit Against Variety

      In a step that is unusual even for litigation-heavy Hollywood, the maker of “Iron Cross,” a small independent film that has yet to find a distributor, charged in a complaint filed on Tuesday that the trade paper Variety had damaged the movie.

    • Pirate Bay legal action dropped in Norway

      Copyright holders have given up legal efforts to force Norwegian ISP Telenor to block filesharing site The Pirate Bay, one of the parties to the case said.

      The copyright holders, led by Norway’s performing rights society TONO and by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry Norway (IFPI Norge) Norway have lost two rounds in the Norwegian court system, and have now decided against appealing the case to Norway’s supreme court, the organisations said.

    • A Barcelona judge confirms the legality of P2P in Spain

Clip of the Day

Episode 11 – “Open Source Around The House”

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

Microsoft Bing in the Business of Deceit, Censorship, and Brainwash

Posted in Asia, Deception, Google, Microsoft, Search at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mussolini says Bing

Summary: Microsoft’s idea of “search” continues to incorporate business bias, unnecessary censorship, bribes, and advertisements that disparage Google

THE simple reality hurts Microsoft’s Bong [sic] because having about 3% in global market share is laughable, especially when one loses over $2 billion per year in this area. Microsoft is trying to compete with Google, but perhaps it just can’t understand that by fooling users with fake rankings it simply sends out the message that it’s not interested in search, it just wants to decide for users what (mis)information that should get.

Last week we wrote about Microsoft’s Middle East censorship ((this is now confirmed by more sources [1, 2]) and recalled that in China, for instance, Microsoft does even worse things which had the New York Times (NYT) call for a boycott (at least one writer of NYT called for a Bing boycott). Homophobia at Microsoft was also brought up because of this news (Microsoft still censors the subject in some places). So what is Microsoft to search really? It’s just a business looking to maximise profit. The integrity of the search and the honesty is placed very low because Microsoft believes that it can lie to customers as long as some accomplices like the Chinese government are happy. Not a smart strategy, Microsoft, not so smart. This only reinforces the perception that Microsoft is an innately “bad” company.

“This only reinforces the perception that Microsoft is an innately “bad” company.”“Microsoft Bing bribes Farmville enthusiasts on Facebook with farm,” says this report. It would not be the first time that Microsoft is accused of “bribing” to compete with Google [1, 2] and there is also the Verizon deal [1, 2] (Microsoft reportedly paid Verizon half a billion dollars to drop Google).

Microsoft now resorts to brainwash on British TV [1, 2, 3, 4] (Google never did this), it uses US-only numbers from a partner (comScore) to make claims that are difficult to trust because of many conflicts of interests [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], and in MSN we find new changes [1, 2] which Microsoft boosters like Microsoft Nick are advertising in the form of articles and galleries [1, 2]. This is not reporting, but then again, it’s Microsoft friends from Ziff Davis [1, 2, 3]. Here is another article about the “new” MSN:

–Remember when Microsoft was, well, Microsoft? The House That Gates Built is trying to stand tall against Google with a newly redesigned page for its portal, MSN.com. The new-and-improved site is a little cleaner and a little fresher, but not significantly different. The main purpose of the page seems to be to steer people to Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which is a good deal better than previous Microsoft search offerings but, it must be said, isn’t a Google beater.

Rupert Murdoch, a friend of Microsoft and an ally against Google [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13], seems to be collaborating a little more with Microsoft, the abusive monopolist. Microsoft’s CNET booster writes about it gleefully and more details can be found here:

Now under new management, MySpace is looking to reinvent itself and rise like a Phoenix from the ashes. The once dominant social networking site fell from nearly 70 percent of the social networking market, to only 30 percent in less than a year, and was plummeting on the verge of extinction.

One of the ways that MySpace is looking to build some relevance again is through the Microsoft Outlook social connector feature–giving it some new business credibility it has always lacked. MySpace beat its social networking rival Facebook to the punch to integrate its member information and updates into Microsoft Outlook. Facebook and Windows Live integration is still listed as “coming soon”.

For those who do not know, MySpace is owned by Murdoch and it shows.

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