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03.18.10

Links 18/3/2010: Steam and Linux; Red Hat’s CEO Talks

Posted in IRC Logs, News Roundup at 9:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Podcast Season 2 Episode 4

    In this episode: Gnome’s Guadec and KDE’s Akademy are getting back together in 2011, and they’re looking for a venue, while Canonical unveils a major rebranding for Ubuntu 10.04. We reveal which presenter had the most SUSE Studio downloads and report back on our time spent with Ubuntu 4.10.

  • FUD

    • Thinking about “Asking the hard questions about open source software”

      I’m very aware of the FUD that was thrown at open source software and especially Linux in the last decade, though I think we’ve gotten the right facts by now. Therefore I’ve tried to be very careful in the tone of the presentation to be constructive while realistic about adopting open source software.

    • My OSBC 2010 keynote

      This morning I gave a keynote called “Asking the Hard Questions about Open Source Software” at the OSBC 2010 conference in San Francisco.

    • Designing a Secure Linux System

      Bruce Schneier’s blog post about the Mariposa Botnet has an interesting discussion in the comments about how to make a secure system [1]. Note that the threat is considered to be remote attackers, that means viruses and trojan horses – which includes infected files run from USB devices (IE you aren’t safe just because you aren’t on the Internet). The threat we are considering is not people who can replace hardware in the computer (people who have physical access to it which includes people who have access to where it is located or who are employed to repair it). This is the most common case, the risk involved in stealing a typical PC is far greater than the whatever benefit might be obtained from the data on it – a typical computer user is at risk of theft only for the resale value of a second-hand computer.

    • 2010 CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors

      The 2010 CWE/SANS Top 25 Most Dangerous Programming Errors is a list of the most widespread and critical programming errors that can lead to serious software vulnerabilities. They are often easy to find, and easy to exploit. They are dangerous because they will frequently allow attackers to completely take over the software, steal data, or prevent the software from working at all.

  • Desktop

    • Desktop GNU/Linux

      Desktop GNU/Linux is happening whether on clients thick or thin or on servers. Repeating the same old drivel that GNU/Linux has no share and never will is tiresome and wrong. It could be that certain niches will stick with M$. It is those who are becoming irrelevant. GNU/Linux is mainstream and growing more rapidly daily on both server and desktop. Last time I looked, that other OS was still losing share in the top server hosting companies.

  • Kernel Space

    • A Tale of 20 Interns, 1 Project and 1 Fiery ‘Mythical Man-Month’ Debate

      The story was told by Greg Price on the Ksplice blog just over a week ago. Said tale involves an impending product launch, a list of critical engineering projects, and not enough time.

    • How to quadruple your productivity with an army of student interns

      Startup companies are always hunting for ways to accomplish as much as possible with what they have available. Last December we realized that we had a growing queue of important engineering projects outside of our core technology that our team didn’t have the time to finish anytime soon. To make matters worse, we wanted the projects completed right away, in time for our planned product launch in early February.

  • Applications

    • winetricks 20100316 released
    • IO Profiling of Applications: MPI Apps
    • TerminalRun Firefox Addon Allows You To Run Shell Commands From Websites Via Right Click [Linux]

      TerminalRun and FoxRunner are two similar Firefox extensions for running a command from a website in a terminal. Because FoxRunner didn’t work for me (but it seems to be working for most people so you can try it if you want), I’ll review TerminalRun.

    • Shotwell 0.5 (Gnome Photo Manager) Has Been Released

      That makes Shotwell the only Gnome photo manager which supports exporting photos to all of the 3 services: PicasaWeb, Flickr and Facebook.

    • Applications and bundled libraries

      Package installation for Linux distributions has traditionally separated libraries and application binaries into different packages, so that only one version of a library would be installed and it would be shared by applications that use it. Other operating systems (e.g. Windows, MacOS X) often bundle a particular version of a library with each application, which can lead to many copies and versions of the same library co-existing on the system. While each model has its advocates, the Linux method is seen by many as superior because a security fix in a particular commonly-used library doesn’t require updating multiple different applications—not to mention the space savings. But, it would seem that both Mozilla and Google may be causing distributions to switch to library-bundling mode in order to support the Firefox and Chromium web browsers.

    • Claws Mail: Mail with Attitude

      Want to take full control of your email? Tired of the limitations of Webmail, or GUI clients that are designed for users who only get a handful of emails every day. It’s time to bring out the heavy guns and start using Claws.

    • Psi Is A Feature-Rich Jabber Instant Messaging Client For Windows, Linux And Mac OS X

      Jabber, also known as XMPP, is used by Google Talk, LiveJournal, Portugal Telecom and Facebook also recently allows you to chat using XMPP.

    • Snap Spiffy Linux Screenshots with Shutter

      Snapping a quick screenshot is a capability you get out of the box with most current Linux distributions. Hit the Print Screen function key, and you should see a dialog box pop up with a capture of your entire screen. For GNOME users this typically launches gnome-screenshot while Kde will bring up Ksnapshot. Both tools are similar in functionality and get the basic job accomplished.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • When Will Steam Come to Linux?

        I know that there are those who will argue that Linux isn’t worth supporting, but I disagree. It’s been a travesty and grave injustice for Linux to be almost totally locked out of the computer gaming market thanks to Microsoft pushing its proprietary junk and deliberately locking game vendors into Windows, and the laziness of game companies that can’t be bothered to support multiple platforms.

        The lack of games for Linux (and also Mac OS X) has worked to Microsoft’s advantage by making Windows the platform for computer gaming. That’s great if you’re a Microsoft shareholder or employee, but it’s very bad if you believe in choice when it comes to computer operating systems.

        Gaming companies need to abandon DirectX as quickly as possible and move to OpenGL instead.

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • MagicFolder in KDE4: Plasmoid Now, but what is the future?

      True story: last night I was thinking about how great a Magical ~/Downloads/ folder would be, so that downloaded PDFs, videos, documents, whatever would automatically get moved into my ~/Documents/ and my ~/Music/ and my other folders. I thought, hmm maybe I’ll make a wish on http://bugs.kde.org/ for something like that. Granted, not everyone wants it as their Downloads/ folder (and not everyone even has that; Iceweasel and Firefox set it up in 3.5 and beyond and I don’t know if Konqueror, ReKonq, or Aurora even use it). But it was an interesting idea.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO Says Innovation Trumps Cost Savings

        The economy may still be in the doldrums, but Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said pitching the cost savings of open source software doesn’t necessarily seal the deal with enterprise customers as it once may have.

      • The clouding of open source and virtualization

        In fact, the cloud has largely displaced open source as the “next big thing” in the enterprise computing landscape, but it’s important to recognize that open source provides much of the underlying software infrastructure for the majority of commercial public clouds.

        In a press meeting Wednesday, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst and vice president of corporate development Mike Evans discussed how open source is at the basis of cloud computing and how an open architecture and layered approach to infrastructure is the best path forward.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 13 Alpha Now Available, What are the features??
        • Berry Linux 1.01 Is Based on Fedora 12

          Berry Linux is a Live CD Linux distribution based on Fedora and aimed mostly at the Japanese market. The latest update, Berry Linux 1.01, is based on the latest stable release, Fedora 12, and comes with updated packages, especially the very latest stable versions. It uses a customized KDE 4 environment, the latest version plucked from Fedora 12, KDE 4.4.0. Both Mozilla Firefox and Mozilla Thunderbird are now at the newest versions and the Microsoft Windows networking suite Samba has also been updated.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu prerelease testing made easy with TestDrive

        Canonical’s Jorge Castro recently introduced me to a nifty tool called TestDrive that simplifies the setup process by automatically downloading the ISO and configuring a VM. TestDrive provides a simple command-line tool that allows you to select which ISO image you want to test. It will download the image and then configure and launch a VM. The real win is that it caches the ISO images and uses rsync to update the parts that have changed so that you don’t have to download the whole ISO again every time you want to test a new daily build.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 Reads File Sizes Differently
      • BitNami adds Ubuntu to the Stacks

        Want to run WordPress, Drupal, or whip up a DJango instance on Ubuntu without all the hassle of configuring an operating system and support stack? Now you can. BitNami has added the most recent release of Ubuntu to its virtual appliance stacks.

      • Variants

        • Greenie Linux: A distribution for ALL users

          PeterB was right. Greenie Linux is one outstanding distribution. All you have to do is get beyond the language barrier (by simply installing the distro) and you will find a flavor of Linux that has something for just about everyone. Give this distribution a try. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Smart phones get their smarts from open source

        My blogomaniac buddy Alan Shimel recently posted a piece arguing that Android, the open source darling of the mobile world, looks pretty small against the elephantine overall mobile market whichodence-droid comprises mostly un-smart phones. Despite that, he points out that recently open sourced Symbian “is a major force in the traditional handset OS market.” Substantiating the point, Tony Bradley writes for PC world, “Symbian has nearly as much market share as the rest of its competitors combined–including the iPhone, with more than 330 million Symbian smartphones in use.”

      • Google Denied Trademark for ‘Nexus One’

        Google’s attempt to trademark the term “Nexus One” for its Android smartphone has been rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as it was deemed too similar to a related term.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mozilla

  • Databases

  • OpenOffice.org

    • OpenOffice.org Project of the Month: the Irish community

      Recently at OpenOffice.org we have decided to give more highlight to our many native-language communities, who are in charge not just of localization, but also QA, users support, documentation translation and marketing. Each month, we will interview teams, blog about it, include it in the OpenOffice.org, newsletter, etc. This month, we start with the Irish native-language project, lead by Kevin Scannell. You can find more about the Irish language here.

    • Cool OpenOffice.org Easter Eggs

      Since it’s almost Easter Sunday, I will be sharing with you several cool virtual Easter eggs hidden inside some of our favorite software applications. Today, we will take a look at some Easter eggs inside OpenOffice.org so get ready to have fun or be amused.

  • Business

    • Should You Customize Open Source ERP?

      I could reinvent the wheel here, but there’s no point. The best post that I have seen on this comes from my friend, John Henley of Decision Analytics. Henley details some advantages to customizing an application. They include:

      * Core competencies
      * Your other front/back-office systems require it
      * You want additional fields and/or different field sizes
      * Regulatory requirements

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • Open Ballot: would you hire the FSF for the role of Linux PR department?

      The Free Software Foundation has always done a great job defending the various free software licences, promoting their use, and asking for Linux to be referred to as GNU/Linux.

    • Send us your questions for new W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe

      I had the opportunity earlier this week to sit down with Jeff and discuss with him his appointment and learn a little more about the work of W3C and his plans for the coming year. Jeff talked about the importance of W3C’s Royalty-Free Patent Policy and we discussed how the free software community could participate in and follow the work of W3C. He stated that he wanted to “make sure that free software advocates view W3C — which has spearheaded the removal of patent royalties from standards — as a great place to participate.”

    • Interview: Eben Moglen – Freedom vs. The Cloud Log

      Free software has won: practically all of the biggest and most exciting Web companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter run on it. But it is also in danger of losing, because those same services now represent a huge threat to our freedom as a result of the vast stores of information they hold about us, and the in-depth surveillance that implies.

      Better than almost anyone, Eben Moglen knows what’s at stake. He was General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation for 13 years, and helped draft several versions of the GNU GPL. As well as being Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, he is the Founding Director of the Software Freedom Law Center. And he has an ambitious plan to save us from those seductive but freedom-threatening Web service companies. He explained to Glyn Moody what the problem is, and how we can fix it.

    • Categories of Free and Non-Free Software

      Free software is software that comes with permission for anyone to use, copy, and distribute, either verbatim or with modifications, either gratis or for a fee. In particular, this means that source code must be available. “If it’s not source, it’s not software.”

  • Government

    • Government Agencies Have a Way to Go on Open Government

      It’s only appropriate then, that during Sunshine Week, the National Security Archive would check on how various agencies have responded to Freedom of Information Act requests in the last year. Sunshine Week, according to the organization’s Web site, is a national initiative established to focus on the importance of open government and the freedom of information.

    • PROMISES, PROMISES: Records not so open with Obama

      One year into its promise of greater government transparency, the Obama administration is more often citing exceptions to the nation’s open records law to withhold federal records even as the number of requests for information declines, according to a review by The Associated Press of agency audits about the Freedom of Information Act.

    • Wiring Up The Big Brother Machine… And Fighting It

      Indeed, as ABC’s Nightline revealed much later, both Negroponte and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden pressured the LA Times to kill the story. And when Klein told his story to CBS’s 60 Minutes, they too eventually killed the story without explanation.

      In the end, of course, Klein’s evidence became the backbone of EFF’s lawsuit against AT&T for their complicity in illegal government spying. Originally ignored by Senators and newspapers alike, his evidence was ultimately so damning that it could only be defeated by an unprecedented “telco immunity” law pushed by the Bush White House and passed by the US Congress amidst a massive public controversy. EFF then relied on Klein’s evidence for a case against the government, which has been met with fierce resistance by the Obama Administration.

    • BE: Minister: “Open source prevents monopolies, increases innovation”

      “Open source prevents monopolies, helps to share knowledge and increases social innovation”, says Vincent Van Quickenborne, Belgium’s minister for the Simplification of the Administration. He expects that public administrations will increasingly turn to this type of software, in part because it helps to cut costs.

      With his talk, minister Van Quickenborne opened a workshop on free software for public administrations, organised by the ministry of Economics in Brussels, on Friday 12 March.

  • Openness

    • Fun with free maps on the free desktop

      Playing with open map data can be a fun pastime. Creating and editing open data can be not only fun, but also a boost for free data to go along with free software. Whether you want to view open map data or edit it, there’s no shortage of applications that run on Linux and work well with OpenStreetMap (OSM) data. Here’s a look at some useful mapping applications for displaying and editing open map data on the Linux desktop.

  • Programming

    • Ruby 1.9.2 expected in August

      According to a new schedule, the next version of the dynamic Ruby 1.9.2 scripting language will probably be released in mid August. While previous plans were for a final release by last December, the developers wanted to ensure that the new version passed the RubySpec tests. Eventually this lead to the release being postponed. Ruby 1.9.2dev has now passed all the relevant tests.

    • Qt 4.7 debuts QML for declarative UI development

      The Qt developers have announced a technical preview for QT 4.7, the cross platform C++ framework for GUI applications. According to the developers, the pre-release is not suitable for production use, but will give a good idea of how they plan to enhance the framework. According to the developers, the final release of Qt 4.7 will be around the middle of the year.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Liberate your documents.

      There are several more ideas on the site and ways to support the organizers of the event itself. So, if you’re one of the millions of people who would actually like others to be able to open the documents you send them, visit the Document Freedom Day website for more info and start working on your DFD project. You’ve got two weeks! Feel free to share your DFD ideas below.

Leftovers

  • Crime

    • Two Muslim men charged over alleged plot to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks

      Two Muslim men were charged last night in the Irish Republic in connection with an alleged plot to murder Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, whose artwork outraged many Muslims after he depicted the Prophet Muhammad’s head on the body of a dog in 2007.

    • Death in Juarez

      To address the violence, decriminalization has to encompass not just possession for personal use (a policy that Mexico and several U.S. states have adopted in limited ways) but production and distribution as well. During alcohol prohibition—when the U.S. homicide rate rose by 43 percent, peaking the year of repeal—there were no criminal penalties for drinking. Yet by making it illegal to manufacture and sell alcohol, the government invited the likes of Al Capone to vie for control of a lucrative black market, with predictably violent results. Once alcohol was legalized, the business was no longer run by criminals, and liquor suppliers stopped shooting at each other.

    • Property Outlaws: important scholarly book on how breaking property law improves it

      Eduardo Penalver and Sonia Katyal’s Property Outlaws: How Squatters, Pirates, and Protesters Improve the Law of Ownership has been at the top of my discretionary reading pile for months, now ever since the publisher, Yale, sent me a review copy. Unfortunately, it’s been months since I’ve done any substantial discretionary reading and it’ll be months still before I get to do so. So yesterday, I just carved out 45 minutes to give it a good, thorough skim, and while I don’t have enough of the book in me to do an actual review, I can tell you that my suspicions were confirmed.

  • Security

    • Man thrown off train for writing Killers song titles on list

      A 25-year-old man was asked to leave a train after staff became concerned when he wrote song titles by bands including The Killers on a piece of paper.

    • Schoolchildren ‘routinely monitored’ by CCTV

      As many as 85 per cent of teachers have reported the use of CCTV in their schools and one-in-10 said cameras had even been placed in toilets.

      According to the study, some schools are also using other techniques such as fingerprinting, metal detectors, electronic identity cards, eye scanners and facial recognition systems.

      Research funded by Salford University said that schools were increasingly becoming a “hotbed for surveillance practices” in the UK as children were subjected to checks for often mundane reasons such as borrowing a book from a library or paying for lunch.

      But Dr Emmeline Taylor also suggested many schools were collecting CCTV images illegally by failing to inform pupils and visitors that they were being monitored under the Data Protection Act.

    • Residents to monitor CCTV in Sussex

      Sussex Police will be the first force in the country to have members of the public monitoring its CCTV.

      Twelve independent, fully trained and vetted volunteers will visit each police CCTV monitoring centre in Sussex once a month to look at the usage of more than 400 council-owned cameras.

      Currently, 400 cameras stream live to bases in Brighton and Haywards Heath and can be searched from police stations around the county.

    • Expertise and Influence in Military Policy

      To effectively oversee a massive, complex institution like the US military, you need a massive, hierarchical institution composed of people whose job it is to understand that institution. The military itself has an officer’s corps that performs this function. No other institution, inside or outside the government, has the capacity to understand military operations in anything close to their full detail.

      [...]

      Similarly, last year the New York Times documented that the “military analysts” you see on cable TV programs tend to have close (and almost always undisclosed) ties to the Pentagon. The tricky thing about this is that it may very well be true that these folks are the most knowledgeable about military strategy. What better way to become an expert than to work in the military for decades? But at the same time, if you want impartial analysis of current policy, you don’t want all of your experts to be people with close ties to the people running that policy.

    • Liz Cheney Steals a Page from McCarthyism

      Innocent until proven guilty is a founding principle of our criminal justice system. This principle has also been codified in the U.S. Constitution via the 6th Amendment, providing the right to adequate counsel to all individuals accused of a crime. Last week, Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol launched an attack on individuals who undertook the enormously difficult task of upholding justice when they represented Guantanamo detainees. In the advertisement by a new entity named “Keep America Safe,” Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol question the loyalty of Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers who had previously represented Guantanamo detainees in order to defend U.S. legal obligations under the Constitution and treaties we have ratified.

    • Restaurant boss put in prison for stopping yobs

      Sal Miah, 35, heard a noise in the cellar and when he investigated he saw two teenagers who fled but he pursued them to a park and dragged them back to the restaurant.

    • Knowledge Was Power in Vietnam

      In the last few posts in my Vietnam series, I argued that American foreign policy was crippled by the fact that senior officials were fed a steady stream of misinformation. Positive news about the war flowed easily up the chain of command and reached the Secretary of Defense and the President. Negative information, in contrast, was systematically filtered out by the official reporting channels. As a consequence, senior officials were working with a limited and distorted view of the “facts on the ground.”

    • Council bans ice cream vans from trading outside schools because they ‘encourage unhealthy eating’

      The jingle of the ice cream van tells schoolchildren summer is on the way.

      But the traditional treat has been banned by one council, which claims they encourage unhealthy eating.

    • As Body Scanners are introduced, more and more issues arise

      Body scan Our position on body scanners has been made clear on this site several times. They’re an intrusive and unnecessary over-reaction to a threat (the Christmas Bomber) which could and should have been picked up using the intelligence available at the time – competent use of existing resources, not throwing money at new ones to be run by the same people whose incompetence led to the problem in the first place.

    • Free yourself from the Database

      I thoroughly recoomend you all opt out of the NHS Summary Care Record Database.

    • Clarence Page: Expanding the DNA database is a bad idea

      As if President Barack Obama didn’t have enough on his platter, he’s calling for people accused of crimes to have their DNA samples collected and stored in a national database, whether they’re convicted or not. He’s a brave man to open that can of worms.

  • Finance

    • Financial Titans ‘Tweaked’ Business Models to Buoy Recession

      Analysts from the world over agree that today’s economic instability and resulting write-downs proved the most serious threat to the financial services organizations, and is by far the most prolonged crisis since the 1930s. The downturn continues to contaminate more sections of the markets, driving most companies to re-evaluate their strategic moves or risk bankruptcy. Equity values have become more volatile. Financial products and services are falling back in its demand amid the accelerating slowdown in the global economy leading to a dip in the business and consumer confidence.

    • Dodd’s Financial Overhaul Plan Said to Transform Fed Powers

      Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd will unveil financial-regulation legislation that may create a consumer division at the Federal Reserve with power to write rules that could be overturned by a systemic-risk council, according to a Senate aide with knowledge of the plan.

    • When the Patina Fades… The Rise and Fall of Goldman Sachs???

      I have warned my readers about following myths and legends versus reality and facts several times in the past, particularly as it applies to Goldman Sachs and what I have coined “Name Brand Investing”.

    • Goldman loses bid to exclude pay from proxy vote

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has lost its bid to exclude a proposal on executive pay from its upcoming annual proxy filing, according to a response from U.S. securities regulators.

    • Mario Draghi and Goldman Sachs, Again

      We agree that he joined Goldman only in January 2002 (this was in our original post). But the latest revelations regarding the Goldman-Greece relationship (on the Senate floor, no less) clearly indicate that Goldman was a lead manager of Greek debt issues in spring 2002, i.e., when Mr. Draghi was on board.

    • What happened to the global economy and what we can do about it

      In its previous response to us, the the Bank of Italy pointed out that Mario Draghi (its current governor) did not join the management of Goldman Sachs until 2002 – hence he was not there when the controversial Greek “debt swaps” were arranged.

    • Feldstein and Goldman Sachs: Making a case for the euro

      The Sunday Telegraph also reported the European Union (EU) nations were preparing a “bailout package” for Greece that could exceed $34.4 billion as early as Monday the 15th, with Germany and France the main cash backers.

    • Financial reform–Real or fanciful?

      Two articles in the New York Times today point up the need for financial sector reform and the problems doing it.

    • At Lehman, Watchdogs Saw It All

      Lehman Brothers executives weren’t the only ones in the building when they were moving billions of dollars in liabilities off their books at the end of each quarter with magic accounting. So were the Feds, The New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin writes in his latest DealBook column.

    • Update on UK Gov’s Institutional Profligacy
    • U.S. Chamber Plans $3M Ad Blitz Vs. Dodd Bill

      Congress Daily reported today that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said it would spend at least $3 million in a multi-state TV ad buy opposing Senate Banking Chairman Christopher Dodd’s (D-CN) bill to revamp the financial regulatory system. David Hirschmann, President of the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, said his organization would spend the money as the bill gets ready to be marked up and voted upon in the Senate Banking Committee next week.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google.cn No Longer Filtered?

      Though Google is denying anything about its processes have changed, MSNBC.com reported Tuesday that searches on subjects that had been blocked as objectionable are yielding results. For example, searches on “Tiananmen Square massacre,” “Xinijang independence,” and “Tibet Information Network” all returned results. They would not have returned results before.

    • Australia on internet watchlist with Iran, North Korea

      Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said he plans to introduce legislation by the end of next week that would require ISPs to block a blacklist of “refused classification” websites for all Australians.

    • Social media privacy: Insurance companies want access to your Facebook

      Any town U.S.A. You walk into a store and notice someone you recognize, from Facebook. But you really don’t know the individual; only online have you “met” that person. You have shared a note, or played a game on Facebook, Myspace, or other media website. You can choose to say hello or ignore them. That choice is up to you.

    • Eleventh Circuit Decision Largely Eliminates Fourth Amendment Protection in E-Mail

      Last Thursday, the Eleventh Circuit handed down a Fourth Amendment case, Rehberg v. Paulk, that takes a very narrow view of how the Fourth Amendment applies to e-mail. The Eleventh Circuit held that constitutional protection in stored copies of e-mail held by third parties disappears as soon as any copy of the communication is delivered. Under this new decision, if the government wants get your e-mails, the Fourth Amendment lets the government go to your ISP, wait the seconds it normally takes for the e-mail to be delivered, and then run off copies of your messages.

    • Wikileaks leaks classified intelligence report about itself

      Wikileaks, a website that aims to boost government transparency and accountability by publishing sensitive documents, has released a classified military counterintelligence analysis report that discusses the “threat posed to the US Army” by Wikileaks itself.

    • Apparently, Citizens United doesn’t believe in free speech for the anti-corporate side

      Citizens United, fresh from its Supreme Court victory giving corporations the right to bankroll election campaigns, has sent a trademark demand letter to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, complaining that a Facebook page entitled “Citizens United Against Citizens United” infringes its trademark. Apparently, Citizens United is worried that members of the public might come to the page and think that the organization “Citizens United” is attacking Citizens United, the landmark Supreme Court decision that it won.

    • Queens accountant sues Craiglist for allowing poster to insult him

      An angry Queens accountant has done the math: Craigslist plus an insult equals $1 million.

      Leo Kehoe, 43, is suing the online bulletin board for allowing someone to call him a nasty name.

    • Reporting On Someone Claiming An Opponent ‘Lies’ In A Heated Debate Is Not Libel

      Reporter Amy Wallace wrote an article late last year for Wired Magazine about the extremely heated and somewhat controversial debate over child vaccinations. In the course of the article, she quotes people from both sides. At one point, when one of the main doctors who supports vaccinations discusses the woman who has become the face (and voice) of the anti-vaccination crew, he responds to some of her claims by noting “she lies.” Apparently, those two words resulted in her filing a defamation lawsuit against the doctor and the reporter, Amy Wallace.

  • DRM

    • Support Of Bigpond Music Wma Downloads & Drm Licence Keys To Be Discontinued

      This means you will no longer be able to download replacement Digital Rights Management (DRM) ‘unlock’ licence keys for the WMA files you’ve bought from us is in the past – so you should back up your music and DRM licence keys now.

      Any MP3 files you’ve downloaded from BigPond Music will not be affected.

    • How to get DRM-free PC games: Just wait

      Gamers have long known that patience is rewarded with cheaper, less-buggy games. But does that adage hold true for the inclusion of digital rights management as well? Not always, but history does show us that time makes even the strictest of DRM less sucky.

    • DRM: Or temporary DRM

      I’ve always thought that in a copyright free world (and de facto that is our online world now – whatever they law may proclaim) DRM had a role to play. Not the role of permanently putting content under lock and key – that isn’t feasible. But it is possible to use DRM on a short-term basis for new releases to give some short-term monopoly power – and this might provide some useful incentive for creation, while being largely self-limiting. By unlocking the content after a brief period of initial sales the incentive to crack the DRM is greatly reduced, while from a revenue point of view, most of the money is from the initial sales anyway.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • How The Concept of Free Can Work For Small Publishers

      Much of the talk by the big 6 publishers has been stress over cannibalization of print sales, or the idea of replacement sales, by ebooks. For midlist publishers such as ourselves, I believe we fight against substitution. We capture the “browser” market. If our title is not available or visible, a customer will simply substitute for another one in the genre. Free gave us the visibility that we could not purchase.

    • UK’s Times Online Starts Blocking Aggregators Hours After Aggregators Win Copyright Tribunal Ruling Against Newspapers

      There’s been something of a battle going on in the UK over news aggregators. Obviously, we’ve all heard about the various threats by companies like News Corp. in the US to sue Google over its Google News product, but a lot of this has already been playing out on a smaller scale in the UK. Last year we wrote about newspapers in the UK threatening aggregators like NewsNow, leading some to start blocking NewsNow crawlers. This is silly in the extreme. These aggregators offer links to the news. The “issue” with NewsNow is that it sells this as a service to companies — and the newspapers claim they deserve a cut. Note that NewsNow provides just a link and a headline and the tiniest of blurbs. It’s much less than even Google News provides. The newspapers seem to think that no one can profit from advertising their own stories unless they get a direct cut.

    • Steve Albini Explains Why Royalties Don’t Make Sense

      Albini recently made at a conference about the music business, with a great quote about the focus of so many on royalties:

      “Royalties are a means to pay producers in the future — and in perpetuity — based on record sales,” said Albini, who is also a music journalist. “If a band does a show, blows a whole bunch of minds and a bunch of people become fans and go out and buy millions of records, the producer gets paid. I think that’s ethically unsustainable.

      “I don’t think you should pay a doctor extra because a patient doesn’t die. I think the doctor should be busting his ass for every patient. I don’t think I should get paid for someone else’s success.”

    • As Expected, Ridiculous, Wrong, Exaggerating And Misleading Report Claims That ‘Piracy’ Is Killing Jobs

      As was leaked earlier this week, a study paid for by the International Chamber of Commerce has come out with ridiculously misleading and misguided report about how “piracy” is killing jobs all through Europe. The tagline is that it’s “costing” 1.2 million jobs and about $330 million. And, of course, that sort of report is the kind that the press loves, and so we get a series of headlines:

      * Net piracy puts 1.2m EU jobs in peril, study shows
      * Internet piracy taking big toll on jobs
      * Illegal-file sharing could ‘cost billions’ by 2015
      * Piracy threatens Europe’s creative industries
      * EU must take ‘urgent’ action on piracy, report warns

      And on and on and on and on. Of course, it’s not even close to true. The real story is that for certain companies who refuse to adapt and refuse to embrace what consumers want and what technology allows, modern technology will cause them to fail. However, at the same time, it has already opened up new opportunities and created new jobs while making it easier and more efficient to create, promote, distribute and consume content. Somehow, however, none of that seems to show up in these studies.

    • Interview: Nina Paley (author of “Sita Sings the Blues” and the two “Minute Meme” animations)

      Her current project — recently funded — has been to produce “Minute Memes.” These are short animated films which promote free culture ways of thinking about copyright, specifically intended to counter propaganda from industry copyright maximalists like the MPAA and the RIAA.

    • Angus Introducing Private Copying Levy Bill, Flexible Fair Dealing Motion

      Second, the bill expands the levy to audio recording devices, defined in C-499 as “a device that contains a permanently embedded data storage medium, including solid state or hard disk, designed, manufactured and advertised for the purpose of copying sound recordings, excluding any prescribed kind of recording device.” This covers everything – iPods, iPhones, Blackberries, Androids, iPads, personal computers. While the CPCC (the private copying collective) may not target all of these devices, there is nothing in the bill that prevents them from doing so.

      Third, the bill deals solely with sound recordings, but there have already been calls to extend to video and other forms of content. Expanding the levy in this manner without addressing those issues leaves open the prospect of an even bigger levy in the future.

    • Gorillaz dropped into Time Warp, says Eddy Grant

      The reggae artist is outraged over alleged similarities between his 80s song and Gorillaz’ new single, Stylo

      [...]

      Curious listeners can compare the songs for themselves (see below) – paying particular attention to Stylo’s drowsy three-note synth riff, 40 seconds in. In comments to the NME, Grant suggested Gorillaz’ publishers already visited a musicologist to evaluate this similarity. “[Normally] I would have gotten a call from EMI to say, ‘Damon [Albarn] wants to use Time Warp. What arrangement can you guys come to? Would you claim 100%, would you claim 60%, or 70% of whatever it is?’ That phone call never came. Instead what happened is somebody went straight to a musicologist, implying that there was some kind of pre-knowledge of some kind of infringement.”

    • Google slams Viacom for secret YouTube uploads

      Google Inc accused Viacom Inc of secretly uploading its videos to YouTube even as the media conglomerate publicly denounced the online video site for copyright infringement, according to court documents made public on Thursday.

    • Broadcast Yourself

      For years, Viacom continuously and secretly uploaded its content to YouTube, even while publicly complaining about its presence there. It hired no fewer than 18 different marketing agencies to upload its content to the site. It deliberately “roughed up” the videos to make them look stolen or leaked. It opened YouTube accounts using phony email addresses. It even sent employees to Kinko’s to upload clips from computers that couldn’t be traced to Viacom. And in an effort to promote its own shows, as a matter of company policy Viacom routinely left up clips from shows that had been uploaded to YouTube by ordinary users. Executives as high up as the president of Comedy Central and the head of MTV Networks felt “very strongly” that clips from shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report should remain on YouTube.

    • Analysis Of Google And Viacom’s Arguments Over YouTube: A Lot Of He Said/She Said
    • ACS:Law Keeps Sending Out More Threat Letters — Condemned By Politicians, ISPs And General Common Sense

      Just as Davenport Lyons lawyers are being sent for disciplinary action over the firm’s practice of sending large numbers of “pay up or we sue” pre-settlement letters, ACS:Law, the shady firm that effectively spun out of Davenport Lyons to do the same thing is ramping up its efforts. This isn’t a huge surprise. Late last year, the firm said it was preparing to send out 30,000 letters, despite numerous studies showing that these letters regularly target innocent people, but scare many people into just paying to avoid a lawsuit.

    • O2 condemns lawyers targeting alleged file-sharers

      Mobile firm O2 has stepped into the row over thousands of controversial letters that are being sent to alleged illegal file-sharers in the UK.

      It condemned the attempts “by rights holders and their lawyers to bully or threaten our customers”.

    • ACTA/Digital Economy Bill

      • EU proposes ACTA require criminal sanctions for inciting, aiding and abetting infringements

        KEI has learned that the European Union has proposed language in the ACTA negotiations to require criminal penalties for “inciting, aiding and abetting” certain offenses, including “at least in cases of willful trademark counterfeiting and copyright or related rights piracy on a commercial scale.”

      • Secrecy Around Trade Agreement Causes Stir

        There’s a reason you don’t hear much about international trade agreements. They are kind of dull, and they’re usually not very controversial. But the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is different.

        “One feels that you’re almost in a bit of a twilight zone,” says Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa. “I mean, we’re talking about a copyright treaty. And it’s being treated as akin to nuclear secrets.”

        For several years, the United States and other developed countries have been quietly working on ACTA. Geist has been one of the loudest critics of the proposed pact. He says it’s a counterfeiting agreement in name only, and he thinks the treaty would actually change some of the fundamental rules governing the Internet. But what makes Geist really angry is the way it’s been negotiated.

        “Virtually none of it has been open to the public,” Geist says. “Even the early meetings were actually held in secret locations, so no one even knew where they were taking place.”

      • ACTA – The NZ Official Information Requests

        We’ve written about the unhealthy secrecy around the ACTA treaty negotiations. As New Zealanders we believe we have a right to know what our government is doing on our behalf.

        We wrote to the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ask them some questions about ACTA under the Official Information Act. We just got our answers back (scanned PDFs of the MED letter – 3MB, MFAT letter – 3MB, and cabinet paper – 6MB) and we have to admit that we weren’t very surprised to see more excuses not to release official information than we saw information.

      • Australia comes clean on ACTA role

        The Australian Government has no intention of changing its domestic laws to harmonise with an international treaty on copyright, according to a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Scottish Parliamentarian Patrick Harvey 01 (2004)


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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 18th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Former Microsoft Employees and Boosters Call Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza and Other Microsoft Apologists “Most Powerful Voices” in Open Source

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, OSI at 12:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Move over, Richard Stallman, Microsoft will take it from here…

Colourful man

Summary: Microsoft folks have decided on ‘our behalf’ who is important to Open Source and who is not

IS IT not just lovely when Microsoft people get to define who is a valid Open Source voice and who is not? This way they can marginalise key people like Stallman (the founder of the movement back when it was more widely known as "Free software") and promote apologists of Microsoft.

“This way they can marginalise key people like Stallman (the founder of the movement back when it was more widely known as “Free software”) and promote apologists of Microsoft.”We are talking about MindTouch, the former Microsoft employees who are also Mono boosters. They were sucking up to people like Matt Asay last year [1, 2]. He is the man who helped Microsoft enter OSI and OSBC [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] — a fact that many people either don’t know or don’t remember.

They also idolise one of Microsoft’s gate openers [1, 2, 3], Tim O’Reilly. He has financial interests with the company from Redmond, just like the following man whom they included in this year’s list:

Miguel de Icaza, founder, Mono and GNOME projects

It’s almost as though MindTouch wants to go around publishers and disseminate this list which says, “these are your friends! Follow them.”

Now ponder all those who are conspicuously missing. IDG says:

Torvalds was named the most influential blogger in open source, however, despite ranking behind O’Reilly in the overall metric, which includes various Twitter analysis tools and Google Trends.

This is just the latest example of Microsoft redefining the landscape of Free/open source software by wrapping itself up with Geeknet, CodePlex, etc. Matt Asay is on the board of advisors for Geeknet, which got filled with former Microsoft employees as well [1, 2]. Geeknet’s news site, Slashdot, also promoted (front page) MindTouch’s list that lauded Asay as an Open Source champion.

Watch the author of this latest press release which promotes a Microsoft lobby that Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza participated in until recently. It says “CodePlex Foundation”, but it’s really just Microsoft. They try to pretend it’s something separate that submits press releases independently.

Microsoft pretends to have embraced Free software (it called it “shared source” or “open source” and bends the meaning it conveys) while attacking Free software, illegally and legally at the same time (with legal means but with accompanying racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). We gave two examples just hours ago [1, 2].

“If anybody thinks open-source alternatives are free, I guess as they say, you can see me after class. [...] I will tell you that in any comparison that you would do of Windows with Linux, which is an open-source alternative, we will prove to you that when it comes to total cost of ownership our stuff is more economical, whether it’s the other patent-licensing costs that you might have to pay to use open-source software, which is kind of a big unknown right now [...]“

Steve Ballmer, National Retail Federation Annual Convention & EXPO

Magalhães + Microsoft = Corruption

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Windows at 11:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Portugal government

Summary: Microsoft accused of blocking GNU/Linux and more leaks about this scandal are high in demand

THREE WEEKS ago we were offered some leaks that expose more corruption (see links at the bottom) behind the Magalhães initiative. No sooner than yesterday we found the following post in USENET:

Subject: Magalhães: Microsoft made pressure to make it not possible to choose another operating system
From: Lusotec
Date: Wednesday 17 Mar 2010 22:57:50
Groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy

<quote translated from Portuguese>
According to Paulo Trezentos, in the inquire commission to the Foundation for the Mobile Communications

Magalhães: Microsoft made pressure to make it not possible to choose another operating system.

    A representative of the company Caixa Mágica (Linux) – software supplier 
for the Magalhães – Paulo Trezentos, said yesterday in the inquire commission to the Foundation for the Mobile Communications (FMC) that Microsoft made pressures so that the users of the device could not choose the operating system.

(…)

The Magalhães computer provides ‘dual boot’, meaning, it has installed two operating systems – Windows XP and Linux – and the users can choose in which they want to start the work.

However, a representative of the Caixa Mágica, company responsible for the installation of Linux on the Magalhães computers, said yesterday that Microsoft made pressures to make this choice not possible, so that Windows would start automatically.

“Microsoft used all kinds of pressures so that Windows would start automatically, but both the Ministry of Education and the JP Sá Couto succeed” in making it possible to select the operating system., said Paulo Trezentos, during the audition in the inquire commission to the FMC.

(…)
</quote>
http://www.publico.pt/Tecnologia/magalhaes-microsoft-…

For those that don’t know, Magalhães computers are laptops that where  supplied to almost all of the nearly half million Portuguese elementary  students, ages 6 to 10. The Magalhães laptops had both Windows XP and Caixa Mágica, a distribution based on Mandriva but adapted to the Portuguese market.

Also to make it clear, this particular news puts focus on Microsoft but the inquire commission main objective is to investigate the spending of public funds by the FMC. Microsoft’s actions are not central to the inquire.

As for the news, it is just Microsoft’s traditional and unethical way of doing business. Fortunately this time it was unsuccessful.

Regards.

Can any of our Portuguese readers obtain/gain access to those sensitive documents that we keep hearing about? As the links below show, Microsoft corruption in Portugal is rather commonplace, but publishing concrete proof would be invaluable.

Related posts:

Open Irony: Microsoft Creates/Sponsors OpenMainframe.org to Attack GNU/Linux

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, SCO, Servers at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is SCOing IBM again

Summary: War is peace and Microsoft is the new “open”; Details on the latest attack of Microsoft against GNU/Linux, using proxies

A FEW days ago we wrote about Microsoft ‘pulling a SCO’ in India. IBM is not dumb enough to keep quiet and it currently blasts Microsoft for its ‘proxy attack’ (Microsoft does the same thing against Google in Europe, by its own admission).

“IBM Says Rivals Behind Anti-IBM Report in India,” summarises IDG:

IBM has slammed a report critical of the adoption of its mainframes in India, saying the report was driven by IBM competitors and has no credibility.

The report was sponsored by OpenMainframe.org, an online forum for news and information related to creating an open market for IBM-compatible mainframe technologies.

OpenMainframe.org is “bought and paid for” by Microsoft and other IBM competitors, so it’s hardly surprising that it would make an anti-IBM argument, IBM said in a statement over the weekend.

It was only yesterday that we wrote about Microsoft funding 'studies' to serve its own purposes, which include lobbying. For those who do not know, Microsoft has funded other such research in previous attacks like T3′s (it even paid professors to serve as “pawns in the battle,” to use Microsoft’s expression). We gave links covering this in:

InformationWeek writes::

IBM has lashed out at Microsoft and other competitors for funding a research study whose findings strongly advocate that IBM not be allowed in India to bundle its own operating systems and other software with the high-end servers IBM sells in that rapidly growing market.

The flare-up is important because the call for unbundling could open the door for various companies to rush into the mainframe and high-end server businesses and be granted mandatory and wide-open access to new technologies that IBM alone has conceived, funded, developed, and deployed.

We decided to look more closely at the imaginary entity that Microsoft is using against IBM. One should mind this because Microsoft is attacking GNU/Linux through IBM in this case.

We just found it so repellent to think that Microsoft uses “Open” and .org versus Free software. Only when Microsoft pays the bills can that type posturing endure, coming from the company that threatened to "whack" Dell for 'daring' to offer GNU/Linux as a choice. How dare Microsoft complain about monopoly? It dares not. That’s why it uses small companies as proxies.

Microsoft now owns part of T3 and they also use Neon, whose case we covered in [1, 2].

So anyway, who is behind OpenMainframe.org? It’s hard to find out. Even BETTER-WHOIS returns the same results:

Domain ID:D148879742-LROR
Domain Name:OPENMAINFRAME.ORG
Created On:15-Aug-2007 18:50:15 UTC
Last Updated On:09-Dec-2009 04:29:00 UTC
Expiration Date:15-Aug-2011 18:50:15 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:GoDaddy.com, Inc. (R91-LROR)
Status:CLIENT DELETE PROHIBITED                  
Status:CLIENT RENEW PROHIBITED                   
Status:CLIENT TRANSFER PROHIBITED                
Status:CLIENT UPDATE PROHIBITED                  
Registrant ID:CR33732899                         
Registrant Name:Registration Private             
Registrant Organization:Domains by Proxy, Inc.   
Registrant Street1:DomainsByProxy.com            
Registrant Street2:15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Registrant Street3:                                     
Registrant City:Scottsdale                              
Registrant State/Province:Arizona                       
Registrant Postal Code:85260                            
Registrant Country:US                                   
Registrant Phone:+1.4806242599                          
Registrant Phone Ext.:                                  
Registrant FAX:+1.4806242598                            
Registrant FAX Ext.:                                                                                                                                                               
Registrant Email:OPENMAINFRAME.ORG@domainsbyproxy.com                                                                                                                              
Admin ID:CR33732901                                                                                                                                                                
Admin Name:Registration Private                                                                                                                                                    
Admin Organization:Domains by Proxy, Inc.
Admin Street1:DomainsByProxy.com
Admin Street2:15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Admin Street3:
Admin City:Scottsdale
Admin State/Province:Arizona
Admin Postal Code:85260
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+1.4806242599
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:+1.4806242598
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:OPENMAINFRAME.ORG@domainsbyproxy.com
Tech ID:CR33732900
Tech Name:Registration Private
Tech Organization:Domains by Proxy, Inc.
Tech Street1:DomainsByProxy.com
Tech Street2:15111 N. Hayden Rd., Ste 160, PMB 353
Tech Street3:
Tech City:Scottsdale
Tech State/Province:Arizona
Tech Postal Code:85260
Tech Country:US
Tech Phone:+1.4806242599
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:+1.4806242598
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:OPENMAINFRAME.ORG@domainsbyproxy.com
Name Server:NS05.DOMAINCONTROL.COM
Name Server:NS06.DOMAINCONTROL.COM

Microsoft front groups like ACT also use DomainsByProxy to disguise their sources.

Notice how new this Web site is. It just came into existence to serve as an anti-IBM front. Here is a screenshot from the site as it appears at the moment:

Microsoft, T3, and OpenMainframe.org

Who is Microsoft fooling here? It’s just another SCO.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO approached by Microsoft

Microsoft Brings MPEG-LA-LA Land to the Web and Threatens GNU/Linux With Software Patent Lawsuits

Posted in Apple, FUD, GNU/Linux, IBM, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

 Demi Lovato - La La Land

Summary: Microsoft is trying to sneak patents-encumbered MPEG formats into the Web using Internet Explorer 9 (IE 9); Microsoft threatens (again) to go after Linux legally

IN OUR previous posts about IE 9 [1, 2] we mentioned not only security problems but also Microsoft’s ‘support’ of the video tag, which we expected to have a negative side when implemented by Microsoft. It now turns out that Microsoft — just like its buddy Apple — is trying to piggyback Web video to push H.264 into the standard. The W3C’s new CEO (Novell's former CTO who brags about software patents and helped create the patent deal with Microsoft) is unlikely to have a problem with this as the three people in his working group are from proponents of software patents (Apple, Microsoft, and IBM).

Here is the news article outlining Microsoft’s patent-saturated vision of the Web:

The rough version of IE9 that Microsoft demonstrated includes HTML5 video encoded with a particular technology called H.264. Apple’s Safari also supports this encoding and decoding technology, or codec.

But Mozilla is adamantly opposed to open-source-unfriendly H.264, supporting the rival Ogg Theora codec instead, and Opera is in that camp with its new version 10.5. Google’s Chrome supports both, tying the score at Ogg Theora 3, H.264 3.

Mozilla is fighting for us, but will it be enough? Mozilla is strongly against software patents, just like most companies that are without a monopoly (patent trolls don’t qualify as companies). According to this new post from Miro (formerly known as Democracy Player), the fight for free codecs intensifies and Wikipedia puts its weight behind it.

This is a concept that I had thinking about and trying to nudge towards reality for a long time; I’m thrilled that we’re finally there. There’s a bunch of interesting aspects, but perhaps the heart of it is a chance to bring open video to mainstream users and strike a blow for freedom.

Wikipedia is the most popular site in the world that posts video exclusively in open formats (specifically, theora). The steadfast commitment that the Wikimedia Foundation has to open information, tools, and formats, is amazing. They truly put their values first.

We are respectfully concerned that the W3C suffered some form of entryism in the sense that everyone there is a proponent of software patents, except Tim Berners-Lee, which is just so ironic and sad. Why are proprietary software monopolists given so much control over the Web’s direction? How was it allowed to happen? Even Apple, the company that’s attacking Free software using software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and getting criticised for having software patents that harm the Web (this goes over a year back), was given a valuable seat, alongside its supportive friend, Microsoft. For those who have not read the past few days’ posts, Microsoft is openly supporting Apple’s action [1, 2, 3] against GNU/Linux. Only yesterday we quoted some of the latest FUD from Gutierrez (endorsement for Apple’s legal team), who led Glyn Moody to writing a sensationalist headline which he pushed into Slashdot. It says: “Is Microsoft About to Declare Patent War on Linux?”

Microsoft’s comments on happenings outside its immediate product portfolio are rare, and all the more valuable when they do appear. Here’s one from Horacio Gutierrez, “Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel”, entitled “Apple v. HTC: A Step Along the Path of Addressing IP Rights in Smartphones.”

By now, all the alarm bells should be going off: this is from Microsoft’s top intellectual monopoly bloke, writing about one of the most surprising and potentially disruptive lawsuits in the world of technology – and one that doesn’t even involve Microsoft directly. Why on earth is he doing it? Answer: because Microsoft has something very important to communicate.

[...]

Translated: smartphones are mostly about the kind of software that Microsoft produces; we have lots of patents in this area, and we are going to collect much more in this area – if necessary, through lawsuits (“continued activity”) of the kind Apple is bringing.

The question, of course, is against whom will Microsoft be bringing those lawsuits? And the answer, presumably, is everyone that makes smartphone software stacks, since these computer-like technologies will doubtless overlap with some of the doubtless broad and obvious patents that Microsoft will claim to have.

Some companies, used to these kind of games, will simply cross-license stuff if they have a big enough portfolio of similarly obvious patents. Others will just cough up some dosh to get Microsoft off their backs. But amidst all these conventional players, there is one very unconventional one: Linux, in its various mobile incarnations.

Taking legal action against *all* companies producing software stacks for smartphones would allow Microsoft to claim with some semblance of plausibility that it was not specifically targeting Linux this time (unlike its previous sabre-rattling statements about patent infringement that were specifically aimed at Linux). But the net effect would be that Linux would be the chief victim of such an approach, since any companies using it in their smartphones are likely to end up doing deals with Microsoft – and hence implicitly accepting its claims – whatever the open source community might think or want. It would be like Novell’s pact with Microsoft, writ large and much worse.

We don’t agree with Moody’s exaggeration here. Microsoft is just beating the bushes (it’s sometimes called “shakedown”) in order to find more sellouts like I-O Data and Amazon [1, 2, 3, 4]. In the next post we will show that Microsoft uses other companies to launch lawsuits against GNU/Linux. It’s very much apparent at this stage and it takes extreme discipline to sincerely deny this.

IMAX — Not Just Apple — Attacks Free Software With Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Commonality found between IMAX and iMacs

Museum of science and industry in paris

Summary: Another legal attack against Free software comes in the form of a threat (issued against Sandy3D) and Apple’s reason for suing Android seems like gradual iPhone defeat (Linux is winning)

AT THE BEGINNING of this month we showed that an Android/Linux application got shot down by software patents. It wasn’t the first (a GIMP plug-in comes to mind). Now we learn that Sandy3D, a Free software project, is under attack by IMAX. TechDirt covers this thusly:

Proffer alerts us to the bizarre story of how IMAX (last seen suing competitors and misleading people about what an IMAX film really is) is now threatening the folks behind the Sandy3D open source 3D flash engine. Apparently, IMAX has some sort of 3D drawing system called SANDDE. So, maybe, if you squint, you could see how IMAX might be complaining about a trademark issue. But the letter from IMAX is quite odd. It doesn’t mention trademark at all. Instead, it mentions a French patent.

[...]

In the end, it looks like some IMAX lawyers decided to just threaten these open source developers, hoping that by spewing some totally unrelated info about a patent, it might scare the developers into changing the name on a product, even though the patent has nothing at all to do with the issue, and the company has no registered trademark on the name in question.

Free software wins when the non-Free software world becomes ever more aggressive. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win,” said Mahatma Gandhi, so we should be vigilant, but not demoralised or afraid. We should watch patent law and attempt to rectify it because Microsoft and other companies are trying to change it for the worse. Earlier today, the president of the FFII posted publicly a “Confirmation that Microsoft is lobbying in Brussels for a central patent court in order to validate software patents without a new directive.”

At the moment, Microsoft also relies on Apple [1, 2, 3] for its attacks on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. We’ll discuss this more properly in the next post.

Joe Wilcox, formerly the editor of Microsoft Watch, says that “Apple’s HTC patent lawsuit is a bluff” (yes, that’s his headline). He rightly argues that Apple’s lawsuit is indicative of fear — a fear of Linux.

Apple has good reasons to fear Android. In the three months from December to February, Android’s US smartphone subscriber share shot up from 2.8 percent to 7.1 percent. Worldwide, in 2009, Android smartphone market share — based on sales — rose from 0.5 percent to 3.9 percent, according to Gartner (The first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1, shipped in late 2008). Last month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt asserted that 60,000 Android handsets are shipping by the day.

All this circles back to my claim that the patent lawsuit is a bluff. My reasoning:

1) Apple chose HTC, not Google. There is no immediate risk to any patent claims against HTC. Since the real claims are against Google, Apple may find the court — or even the ITC — reluctant to rule against an Android licensee in good faith. There is perceived risk, but none in the short term, which is long enough for a united Android front to do market damage against iPhone — particularly in emerging markets.

2) Apple filed against HTC and not other licensees. Apple had its chance to take on Android licensees, choosing instead to go after one.

“Google’s Open Web vs Apple’s vendor lock-in” is another noteworthy new post from ZDNet’s Google blog that says:

Who will win the battle? I think it will be a couple of years in the making. However, there is a reason that Eric Schmidt left Apple’s board of directors last year. There is a reason that Google is pushing into countless new markets and bringing products into widespread beta as quickly as possible. Google and Apple both know: he who controls the screen controls the Web (and all of the money that entails). I have to say that I’m rooting for Google’s open approach that welcomes a wide array of hardware and software. Vendor lock-in isn’t good for consumers, content providers, or developers. Apple’s HTC lawsuit was the first shot across the bow. What’s next? And when will Google take the gloves off?

Thanks to Chris Dawson for this, but Google is not an emancipation either. The difference is, Google hasn’t a history of using patents to intimidate or to sue; contrariwise, Apple has done this for decades. People have an innate inclination to personify companies based on their principles, but it’s not always a good thing. Here at Boycott Novell we care about Google only as far as Free software goes; we have our fair share of criticisms of the company, including its snubbing of the AGPL.

Just to clarify (as we often receive flak over this subject), we are not defending Google. Some of Google’s products incorporate Free software within them, so when Google gets sued, then it may also mean something for that software or for software freedom in the broadest sense. One thing we know for sure; the following new headline says it best: “Apple is Open Source’s sworn enemy”

Those who are still living in the fantasy of a FOSS-loving Apple should look no further than this list of 27 references about Apple's attitude (a few more here) — one that we accumulated over a year ago for the purpose.

The good news is that based on this week’s coverage:

Open Source Developers Pick Android Over iPhone

Open source developers ditch iPhone for Android

A new report has shown Google’s Android platform is enticing open source developers away from creating apps on the iPhone.

One of the biggest proponents of the AGPL, namely Funambol, is set to gain from this. As Matt Asay has just put it (he has personal involvements he may not disclose):

If the desktop is dying, mobile sync is king

[...]

It’s this desire for open clouds and open syncing to those clouds that is blessing Funambol’s open-source mobile sync business. It’s the same desire that will likely create a host of new competitors in this fertile mobile-sync market.

Apple, Microsoft, and other non-Free software vendors play hardball against Free software right now. They are willing to risk public backlash (enraging the collectives with lawsuits) to achieve the unachievable as Free software will never disappear and it has grown steadily over the years. The next post explores Microsoft’s latest campaign of FUD against Linux. It shows that Microsoft has run out of ideas.

Links 18/3/2010: Many IBM Headlines, Mandriva Enterprise Server 5.1

Posted in News Roundup at 6:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 88

    · Announced Distro: PCLinuxOS 2010 Beta 1 Has KDE SC 4.4.1 and Plymouth
    · Announced Distro: Frugalware 1.2 Comes with KDE 4
    · Announced Distro: SME Server 7.5 RC1 and 8.0 Beta 5 Are Ready for Testing
    · Announced Distro: Fedora 13 Alpha Released
    · Announced Distro: Available Now: VortexBox 1.2
    · Announced Distro: PC/OS 10.1 OpenWorkstation Final Released
    · Announced Distro: Mandriva Linux 2010.1 Alpha 3 Is Here

  • Will The Linux Desktop Soon Be Irrelevant?

    Some of us are still waiting for the year of the Linux desktop. Some think it’s already here. One thing is certain however, Linux does not have a majority desktop market share. By the time we get there, perhaps the entire idea of what a Desktop is will have been re-defined, thanks to “The Cloud”.

  • Cloudy Times
  • LPI partners with Portuguese government agency on Linux certification and training

    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization (http://www.lpi.org), announced that its affiliate organization LPI-Portugal (http://www.lpi.com.pt) has signed an agreement with UMIC (http://www.umic.pt/), the Knowledge Society Agency of Portugal’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Education to promote training and certification of professional skills in the use of Linux, open source technologies and free software in higher education institutions in Portugal.

  • LinuxCertified Announces its next Linux System and Network Administration BootCamp
  • Thoughts on Mainstream Linux Acceptance

    What I do see being good for Linux is the growing size of the Linux community. Eventually, a software vendor will decide to start releasing its software for the Linux platform as well as x86-64 Mac and Win32. A company such as Adobe or Microsoft would then be dictating which distribution became dominant, but you would see other vendors follow that lead, and Linux would come screaming into the mainstream rather quickly, and I would talk to my boss, and I would start recommending Linux machines. I have a feeling that others in my position would do the same. The money to be made would be in keeping these commercial applications running. As an update broke the app, I would be called upon to fix things so that the application would once again run. I can see that being very lucrative indeed. How often is that cry of distress heard by Ubuntu users?

  • Health

    • Panel PC has antimicrobial case

      Datalux announced an 19-inch panel PC intended for medical applications that runs Ubuntu Linux.

    • Share your experiences with FLOSS in health care

      Are you a practice, clinic or any other health care institution that is using medical open source software in daily routine? And wasn’t it quite hard for you to find the right software, to get it up and running and to finally customize it to your needs without having any experienced users or reference sites at hand?

      Even a high number of downloads or a strong ‘activity percentile’ of an open source software project doesn’t tell you anything about the suitability for your purposes and in general about the stability and efficiency that are required for successful clinical practice.

  • Desktop

    • Why we love the HP Mini?

      The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC also features a choice of 4GB SSD (Solid State Drive) flash module with Linux as well as standard hard disk drives for a superior computing experience.

    • Laptop rental hits record

      The library purchased 50 laptops with a Linux operating system. He said library officials are deciding whether the check out duration will be three days, seven days or a month.

      “Right now [laptops] go out for four hours and you can’t check them out over night, which is not because we don’t want to, but the campus Microsoft license restricts how it can be used,” Tyckoson said. “Linux is an open source competitor to Microsoft.”

  • Server

  • Graphics Stack

    • NVIDIA Pre-Releases Its 195.xx Linux Driver

      While NVIDIA has been working on the 195.xx Linux driver since before last November, they have yet to officially release a stable driver in this series as of yet. Betas have been available and they even had to recall their recent drivers over a fan speed issue that could damage the system, but now they are finally getting ready to push out a stable release.

  • Applications

  • GNOME Desktop

    • The GNOME Census project

      We will be launching a survey this week asking GNOME developers who they work for, and whether they have worked for other companies previously – because of the widespread use of gnome.org email addresses in GNOME, unfortunately it has not always been easy to identify companies behind the people. We also want qualitative information on projects you work on, whether you work on GNOME in your free time, and more. We are be breaking down GNOME development by core platform, external dependencies, GNOME desktop, GNOME hosted applications and other GNOME applications. Vanessa will be sending out a very short survey to everyone who has committed to GNOME, and we need your help to make the census as useful as possible to the GNOME project.

    • Deconstructing Nautilus and rebuilding it better

      Well, if you follow the active development of GNOME as much as I do, you may have heard of two recent technologies actively being developed. They are Zeitgeist and the GNOME Activity Journal. What are they? Well, Zeitgeist is a little, unobtrusive daemon that ticks quietly away in the background and records every file you access, every image you edit, essentially every event you perform on your computer and keeps a chronological Journal of this information for other applications to use. This is the core engine that runs quietly in the background. The frontend to this is the GNOME Activity Journal – an application that allows you to browse and search through Zeitgeist’s recordings of your activities and interact with that information. One of the developers of the GNOME Activity Journal posted a very handy video showing it in action. I use it myself and it is very handy. I also use Docky2 on my desktop that has Zeitgeist interaction. One of the options when you right-click on a launcher in Docky2 is the Journal entry, that allows you to browse through recent events and files accessed in that particular application. A stroke of genius. Again here’s a handy little video demonstrating Docky2 with Zeitgeist integration.

  • Distributions

    • The State of the Distributions

      There is usually no distribution that will perfectly fit everyones needs. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses which will vary from person to person. This article covers all the major advantages (and disadvantages) each of these distributions have to offer and will hopefully give you enough information to help guide you in choosing which Linux Distribution is right for your computer.

    • Ebox platform – A powerful linux server that act as gateway, infrastructure manager, unified threat manager, office server and more

      The latest release is eBox Platform 1.4-1, the new release fixed a lot of bug and comes with some small improvements since.

    • New Releases

      • Mandriva Enterprise Server 5.1 released

        Mandriva has announced the availability of the first point update to version 5 of its Enterprise Server commercial Linux distribution. Mandriva Enterprise Server 5.1 includes all of the distributions previous updates and a number of improvements.

      • GeeXboX 2.0 Alpha 2 released

        The GeeXboX developers have announced the availability of the second alpha of version 2.0 of their small embedded Linux distribution aimed at Home Theatre PCs (HTPC) and media centres. The latest development release addresses a number of bugs from last month’s first alpha and includes several changes.

      • Announcing Linux Mint 8 RC1 LXDE Edition

        After the announcements of KDE, KDE64 and Fluxbox editions of the current Linux Mint 8 (Helena) operating system, Clement Lefebvre and the Linux Mint community are once again proud to present today the first release candidate of the upcoming Linux Mint 8 LXDE Community Edition. Being powered by Linux kernel 2.6.31, the new edition includes X.Org 7.4, Openbox 3.4.7.2 and PCManFM 0.5.2. The Linux Mint 8 RC1 LXDE Edition has been created for people who want a fast, lightweight and good-looking operating system, for their antique hardware.

      • Berry Linux 1.01 Is Based on Fedora 12

        Berry Linux is a Live CD Linux distribution based on Fedora and aimed mostly at the Japanese market.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Symbian taps Red Hat for developer server

        THE SYMBIAN FOUNDATION has turned to the open source outfit Red Hat as the basis for a new private, cloud-based developer website and server.

      • Symbian Foundation Builds Cloud Platform on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

        Red Hat, Inc. /quotes/comstock/13*!rht/quotes/nls/rht (RHT 30.72, +0.05, +0.16%) , the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that the Symbian Foundation, a global non-profit organization formed to foster an open source community around its mobile device software, has adopted Red Hat Enterprise Linux to provide a scalable, high-performance base for its private, cloud-based developer website and server.

      • IBM announces test and development cloud

        The company has surprised some commentators with the decision to base the system on virtualisation software from enterprise open source vendor Red Hat, rather than the more commonly used Xen open source hypervisor.

      • Red Hat KVM underpins IBM test-and-dev cloud

        Red Hat’s implementation of KVM is the virtualization underpinning of the new software test and development service for the IBM Cloud. Red Hat hopes that vote of confidence will persuade enterprises to try KVM in their own IT shops.

      • Red Hat announces EMEA partner summit details

        Open source solutions outfit Red Hat will host its third annual EMEA partner summit in Valencia, Spain from May 2nd to 5th 2010. This year’s event will focus on open source middleware, cloud computing and virtualisation, while highlighting the strength of the Red Hat partner ecosystems and its potential for growth in the EMEA market.

        “The technology landscape is constantly evolving. With the introduction of cloud computing and virtualisation coupled with a full portfolio of open source middleware, we want to ensure that our partners are equipped with the latest training and information on these offerings to help them deliver better solutions and higher value to their customers,” said Petra Heinrich, senior director, partners and alliances EMEA region at Red Hat. “The Red Hat and JBoss EMEA partner summit will address these current market trends.”

      • Red Hat CEO: Open-source economics key to innovation

        At the inaugural Open Source Business Conference in 2004, the discussion centered on how to fund open source’s survival. Just six years later, the OSBC conversation has taken a 180-degree shift to focus on whether proprietary software’s shelf life is nearing its end as open-source software economics increasingly drive technology innovation.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project Pleased with Ten Times Faster Build Server

        The Debian project was given a new server from Thomas Krenn AG, Intel and Adaptec for its image building. With the Dual-Xeon computer the build process was reduced from 20 to two hours.

        New in Debian’s infrastructure is the SC846 server with a 4-unit height and two Intel Xeon E5540 processors. While the previous five-year-old system took 20 hours for a build, the new one took less than two hours, according to the project and its benefactor, Thomas Krenn AG, in a joint press release.

      • RC3 Brings SimplyMEPIS 8.5 Close to Final Release

        MEPIS has released SimplyMEPIS 8.5.00, RC3 of MEPIS 8.5, now available from MEPIS and public mirrors. The ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.5.00-rc3_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.5.00-rc3_64.iso respectively. Deltas are also available.

      • Ubuntu

        • Lucid Community Progress

          One thing that we have been really keen to facilitate in Ubuntu is an ethos of just do it. I really believe our community should feel engaged to be creative in their ideas and be able to get out there and do it, with plenty of support resources so others can help them achieve their goals. I am keen that we don’t have a bottleneck where creativity is limited. Of course, this happens from time to time, but we are always keen to resolve it where possible.

        • Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) daily build for March 15, 2010 runs with nomodeset on Intel 830m video!!!

          I thought Linux in general and Xorg in particular were throwing those of us with “older” Intel video chips under the virtual bus. I couldn’t even get Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.04) Alpha 3 to boot on my Intel 830m (aka i830m and in my case Intel 82830 CGC)-equipped laptops, where my old standby of dropping i915.modeset=0 or nomodeset on the boot line would clear things up.

        • Variants

          • Linux Mint 8 LXDE CE Review: LXDE Done Right

            Trent and I were both looking forward to the release of the Linux Mint LXDE Community Edition for various reasons. Luckily for us, Kendall (maintainer of the Linux Mint Fluxbox CE) pointed us to the .iso for RC1, which is what we’re using as the basis for this review. Since we both have feedback on this CE, we’re trying a Trent Says/Joe Says model. Enjoy!

            [...]

            The installer was the familiar Ubiquity installer used by Ubuntu and Linux Mint alike, which was not an issue on my hardware — though Ubiquity can be an issue if you’re running less than 256 Mb of RAM. While you may scoff at that, some people are looking to lighter weight releases like this one as an option for resurrecting old hardware, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking about giving this or any other distro which uses the Ubiquity installer a try.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • More Details Leak Out About Google’s Plans For The Set-Top Box

      The NYT says the service—with the apropos name ‘Google TV’—is being developed in conjunction with Sony (NYSE: SNE) and Intel; (NSDQ: INTC) the testing, meanwhile, is being done with the Dish Network.

    • Cool: smallest Linux desktop PC, smaller than an apple (fruit)

      Measuring at just 2 x 2 x 2.2 inches this is the smallest Desktop PC. And it’s running Linux, one more point for Linux coolness.

    • NAS reference platform builds on Pineview Atoms

      Intel announced a SOHO-oriented network-attached storage (NAS) reference platform based on its D410 and dual-core D510 “Pineview” Atom processors and 82801R I/O controller. NAS vendors LaCie, LG Electronics, Qnap, Synology, and Thecus will incorporate the Linux-compatible platform in upcoming NAS devices, starting with the Blu-ray burner-equipped LG N4B2, says Intel.

    • DIN-rail PC runs Linux on 150MHz SoC
    • IP set-top features secure USB key

      AccessKey IP is shipping a Linux-based IP set-top box (STB) and related secure USB key for viewing encrypted IPTC broadcasts. The AccessKey Home STB offers a security-enabled HD IPTV service that can be combined with digital terrestrial, satellite, or cable reception, while the USB key can bring the same secure IPTV service to PCs, the company says.

    • 6WIND boosts packet-processing on Intel’s new Xeon 7-10X

      The “6WINDGate SDS” profile is optimized for platforms in which the networking Fast Path runs on dedicated cores without the overhead of a Linux-based Slow Path.

      Carmes said 6WINDGate’s architecture removes the complexity of integrating high-performance packet processing with the Linux environment, because it fully synchronizes the Fast Path and Linux, while preserving Linux APIs.

    • MathWorks aims tools at embedded Linux

      The MathWorks has announced the latest release of its MATLAB and Simulink product families, writes Richard Wilson, which include new streaming capabilities for signal processing and video processing in MATLAB and nonlinear solvers for standard and large-scale optimisation.

    • Carrier-grade distro supports HP BladeSystem

      Wind River announced that its Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) operating system, development tools, and build system now supports HP BladeSystem carrier-grade and enterprise server blades. Wind River Linux 3.0 is the first registered CGL 4.0 distribution supported on HP ProLiant server blades for the HP BladeSystem, claims Intel subsidiary Wind River.

    • Networking appliance taps Freescale’s QorIQ processor

      The CAK-2000 supports Linux, and is available with an optional copy of Freescale’s Vortiqa, a Linux-based software development platform for optimizing firewall, IPSec-VPN, IPS, anti-virus, and anti-spam software for multi-core QorIQ and PowerQUICC SoCs. The network appliance is said to comply with FCC/CE, UL, and RoHS/WEEE.

    • Conceptronic Grab’n'go CH3MNAS early review: Compact home for your data

      If you’re a really hardcore techie, you’ll be able to use the ‘Fun Plug’ system to install apps on your NAS to add functionality. Be warned though, this isn’t a beginner feature and requires at least some technical understanding of Linux.

    • Configurable RISC controller offers Linux-ready MMU

      Standard controllers for dataplane applications, including one Linux-optimized model. Based on Tensilica’s configurable, 32-bit RISC “Xtensa” architecture, the five upward-compatible processor cores include a Diamond Standard 233L processor with a Linux-optimized MMU, and are claimed to be 15 percent faster and more power efficient than earlier models.

    • ATCA blade cranks it up with six-core Xeon

      GE Intelligent Platforms announced a Linux-ready AdvancedTCA single board computer with an option for Intel’s new Xeon 5600 processors. The dual-Xeon A10200 offers up to six cores clocked to 2GHz, plus 12MB of L3 cache per CPU, and offers dual 10 gigabit Ethernet interfaces and four gigabit Ethernet interfaces, says the company.

    • MIPS-based networking processor gains Linux support

      Timesys announced that its LinuxLink commercial software development framework for building custom embedded Linux based products now supports the latest networking processor from Wintegra. Now shipping in volume, the dual MIPS 34K core “WinPath 3″ IP packet processor is designed for 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile and fixed wireless base stations, says the company.

    • MontaVista

      • MontaVista’s Alexander Kaliadin on the instant shutdown of a Linux OS

        I had a great interview with the architects of MontaVista Software’s 1-second boot-time real-time Linux. After the interview went to press it occurred to me to ask Alexander Kaliadin a related question. If smart people like him can figure out how to boot a computer in less than a second, is it also possible to turn the computer off in a short time? His answer was that you could possibly just flip the power switch, if the hardware was designed to allow this. His response and elaboration are below.

        [...]

        I mentioned to Alex that I would like to publish the above comments in my blog and he was nice enough to elaborate on them in the following communication:

        In a typical desktop box, the proper Linux shutdown process will involve flushing disk caches, closing multiple files and un-mounting drives (local or networked). Depending on the use case, certain daemons or processes may wait for various operations to complete in order to proceed with the shutdown process.

      • MontaVista Software is Elected to the GENIVI Alliance Board of Directors

        MontaVista® Software, LLC, the leader in embedded Linux® commercialization announced it has been elected to the Board of Directors of the GENIVI Alliance, an automotive and consumer electronics industry association driving the development and adoption of an open In-vehicle Infotainment (IVI) reference platform. MontaVista was a Core member of GENIVI in it’s inaugural year, and now assumes a seat on the board as GENIVI enters it’s second year. Dan Cauchy, vice president of Marketing at MontaVista will sit on the GENIVI board.

    • NanoNote

    • Phones

      • IP phone runs Linux on ARM SoC

        STMicroelectronics announced a design win for its new ARM-based SPEAr 300 SoC, which it says drives the Linux-based Snom 870 VoIP phone. The Snom 870 offers a 4.3-inch color touchscreen, gigabit Ethernet and USB connectivity, plus an integrated XML browser, says Snom.

      • Nokia

        • Nokia Unsure on N900 Software Upgrade

          Following the release of MeeGo, a software platform resultant from the partnership between Intel and Nokia, and also the successor to the Linux-based Maemo operating system, Nokia seems to be undecided on whether its flagship smartphone N900 will receive the upgrade.

        • N900 gains VoIP service — and will soon offer MeeGo

          VoX Communications announced it will resell Nokia’s Maemo Linux-based N900 smartphone with a mobile VoIP plan offering unlimited data and voice service. Meanwhile, Nokia confirmed that the N900 will be the first smartphone to run the Moblin/Maemo mashup, MeeGo, when a preliminary version of the operating system debuts at the end of the month.

      • Android

        • Google spins new Nexus One model

          Google has released an unlocked version of its Android-based Nexus One phone that’s compatible with the 3G networks of AT&T and Roger Wireless. Meanwhile, a Flurry report claims that the Nexus One sold far fewer units in its first two months than the iPhone and the Motorola Droid did in theirs, says eWEEK.

        • How the Google-China conflict could hit open source

          Google insists its pull-out won’t impact Android, but can we really be certain? Can Google really be certain?

          Hassling HTC, quietly putting out the word to others not to support Android, could delay Google considerably. If China wanted it could tell its courts to encourage Apple to file suit there, saying it was only seeking to protect patent rights. It could tell Taiwan that Android is provocative.

        • Google expects Android to ‘flourish’ in China: CFO

          Google expects its Android mobile operating system to “flourish” in China, Google’s chief financial officer said Monday amid a two-month standoff with Beijing over Web censorship and cyberattacks.

        • What Is the Top Mobile Platform for Open Source Developers?

          Mobile platforms like Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android have become a key focus for open source developers. And the trend is only increasing, though new research has found that over the course of the last year, there has been a shift in which mobile platform has the most open source development activity.

        • Motorola Droid’s Android 2.1 update to be rolled out OTA starting Thursday

          And just like that, we now have the date for the official Motorola Droid’s Android 2.1 update. It was just approved today and will be rolled out in batches of 250,000 starting this Thursday, March 18, at high noon (EDT). So if you don’t get it in the first batch, hang on for a little bit. Or, even better, once we have the download link it should be no problem to apply the update manually, just as we did for Android 2.0.1.

    • Tablets

      • iPad jailbreak for OS 3.2 coming soon with GreenPois0n

        The iPad isn’t even out yet, and a jailbreak is already in the works for its OS version 3.2 by Joshua Hill, member of the Chronic Dev team. According to BlogsDNA, Joshua has tweeted some images of the GreenPois0n (running on Linux) and asked for donations from those who are interested in the iPad jailbreak.

Free Software/Open Source

  • OSGEO Approves Geomajas As Incubation Project

    The Open Source Geospatial Foundation, or OSGeo, is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support and promote the collaborative development of open geospatial technologies and data. OSGeo also serves as an outreach and advocacy organization for the open source geospatial community, and provides a common forum and shared infrastructure for improving cross-project collaboration.

  • WANdisco to Play Key Role in TortoiseSVN Open Source Project

    WANdisco, a leading provider of infrastructure software for replication, scalability, high availability and commercial sponsor of the Subversion open source project, today announced that Stefan Küng, the lead developer for TortoiseSVN has joined the company. Mr. Küng, who has been working on TortoiseSVN since its inception, will lead WANdisco’s efforts to support and enhance this popular Subversion client for Windows as part of its sponsorship and support of the Subversion open source project.

  • Open Source Collaboration: The Right Solution in a Tight Economy?

    So, like investing, one must weigh risk versus monetary reward. Though these- and other- open source software providers can offer many of the same services as the higher priced options, you will likely have to pay something and must make an educated estimate of the level of risk associated with use.

  • Should You Customize Open Source ERP?

    When I first found out about open source software, I felt the sky was the limit — with the source code, I could do anything now! But after working on open source ERP for the last seven years, I’ve come to realize that customizing software, even open source software, should not be taken lightly. I recently spoke with Phil Simon, long-time enterprise software veteran and author of The Next Wave of Technologies and Why New Systems Fail, and asked him for his thoughts on when you should customize open source software such as ERP and CRM.

  • Google

  • Servers

    • Rackspace Launches Media Services Solution

      This Enterprise-level solution will provide an open source, direct-to-consumer (D2C) web infrastructure for music recording labels and other media segments that need to accelerate content delivery online, scale rapidly to respond to fan demand, and create new revenue streams.

    • Weekly Poll: What Companies Will Be at the Top of the Cloud in the Next 5 Years

      This past week, we had 93 people respond to the question:
      ‘Is There A Place For Open-Source in the Data Center?” The respondents were pretty much in full support of the open approach. Of the 93 people who responded, 83 said, yes, there is a place for open-source. But we wonder what it will take to get such a movement to a pace of note. We do have faith in the open-source way but how will this effort transfer to the data center?

    • Seeding the Cloud with Open Source, Standing Cloud Makes It Easy

      By the end of April, Standing Cloud will be offering its “community edition” which will allow you to install and operate open source apps permanently for a very reasonable fee. Standing Cloud will be offering other cloud based, open source packages throughout the year.

  • Education

    • Cloud-Based, Open-Source Future For Teachers?

      A computing device for every teacher and student so they can access the Internet at school or at home? That, along with an embrace of cloud computing, Creative Commons, and open-source technologies is part of a new set of recommendations from the U.S. Department of Education.

    • Becta’s Home Access Scheme…not really a scam

      We have long complained that Becta’s very public conversion to the virtues of Open Source software is a little longer on words than it is on action.

      The suspicion is that they are playing ‘lip-service’ to FOSS while the edu-world continues to spend millions of pounds of money they no longer have (sacking staff as a result..oh the crocodile tears) on expensive proprietary products… exactly as before.

  • Events

    • Flourish Conference 2010 is This Weekend!

      Welcome to the Flourish 2010 Open Source Conference site! Our goal is to promote the use of open source and provide a gathering place for open source enthusiasts in the Chicagoland area. This will be our fourth Flourish Conference, and although times are tough, this year we’re working even harder to make this conference the best one yet!

    • Free tables available for embedded open source showcase

      The CE Linux Forum (CELF) is once again sponsoring a free technical demonstration room for embedded open source projects at this year’s Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) on Apr. 13 in San Francisco. Demonstrations should cover embedded technology that offers software available under GPL or LGPL compatible licenses, says CELF.

    • rSmart Champions Open Education Agenda at The Chair Academy’s 19th Annual International Conference

      rSmart, the provider of enterprise support for open source application software in education, today announced its participation in The Chair Academy’s 19th Annual International Conference for Post-Secondary Leaders being held this March 15-18, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    • HUBzero Workshop to Unveil Open Source Release of Core Software

      The workshop will include three hands-on breakout sessions, one aimed at new users interested in starting a hub with the open source release, as well as current users who want to learn more about the hub technology. The other two breakout sessions will focus on research software developers and on Web developers working with hubs.

    • Ingres to Share How Open Source Drives a $1.2 Billion Market

      Ingres Vice President Deb Woods to Discuss How Appliances are Changing the Face of Software and Technical Account Manager Tyler McGraw to Shed Light on New Partnership

  • Open-Xchange

    • Hosted Unified Communications Meets Open Source

      Now, Open-Xchange, the open source email specialist, is making a similar move. Open-Xchange expects more than 15 million users to run its software by the end of 2010. At the same time, Open-Xchange is partnering up with 4PSA to introduce a unified communications bundle.

    • Open-Xchange Adds Integration With VoIP

      Open-source collaboration software vendor Open-Xchange has integrated VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) and social networking sites in the latest version of its e-mail server and client.

    • Latest Open-Xchange Groupware Offers Integrated VoIP

      Open-Xchange, a provider of business-class open source collaboration software, today announced enhancements that give users telephone and fax integrated with e-mail, contacts, calendar and task information.

    • Open-Xchange, 4PSA Team on Open-Source UC

      Open-source e-mail and collaboration software vendor Open-Xchange has done a little collaborating itself to offer an enhanced unified communications product set that includes telephone and fax integrated with e-mail, contacts, calendar and task information.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 3.0 approaches end-of-life

      Firefox Logo Mozilla has confirmed that version 3.0 of its popular open source Firefox web browser is approaching its end-of-life (EOL).

    • Firefox, Gecko, HTML5 and more: An (Email) Interview with Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler

      If it were not for Mozilla and its numerous open source projects that saved us from the IE Dark Ages, the browser market today would definitely be very different. In 2010, the Firefox browser is facing some pretty tough competition from the likes of Google Chrome, Internet Explorer 8 (v9 is actually good), Safari and Opera, all modern and feature-packed web browsers. With Windows’ new ballot screen, things might become even more interesting.

      The Web Browser is evolving at a mind-bogglingly rapid pace, and the changes it went through in 2009 only are incredible. That is why I was really happy for a chance to talk to Asa Dotzler, community coordinator for Firefox marketing projects, who has been with Mozilla for 12 years. This is my first interview and I hope you’ll enjoy reading Mr Dotzler’s answers as much as I did. We cover Firefox, Mozilla and the new Web. Don’t forget to check out Asa’s blog for even more on the topic.

    • Internet Explorer 9 vs Firefox 3.7 : Open beats Closed

      Currently Mozilla has a Firefox 3.7 developer preview available, testing all kinds of new features including out-of-process plugins (something that IE 9 isn’t currently testing). It’s a real browser with back button, tabs and address bar and it resembles the real world modern browser. It enables developers to actually see how the browser will work and doesn’t try to hide its flaws by limiting critical functions.

  • Databases

    • SXSW: When it Comes to Web Scale Go Cheap, Go Custom or Go Home

      Dealing with the terabytes of data generated by users online and serving up relationships tied to that data quickly are forcing web-scale sites like Twitter, Reddit and Facebook to investigate a variety of home-built, open sourced and hardware solutions, and reject as many closed-source software (such as Oracle) and specialized hardware solutions as possible.

  • Sun

    • An example of the awesomeness of the open source community

      OpenSSO is one of the best (if it isn’t the best one) open source web Single Sign On projects out there. Sun Microsystems on 2008 open-sourced one of their products called Access Manager, and rebranded it as OpenSSO. But it’s sad to see how Oracle after Sun acquisition, is slowly shutting down this amazing open source project, marking it as “not strategic” and dismembering the few parts they think are worth for their own SSO product. They started on December by freezing the next express release, and during the last few weeks they have slowly started to remove all the open source downloads from OpenSSO website. Last but not least, they have also started to remove content from the wiki. Now, the only download available is the enterprise version, which is buried very deeply at Oracle’s website (it took me like 15 minutes to find it, it isn’t even listed as an Oracle product),and the patch sets that also were free to download, are now only available to paying customers with a valid support contract.

      [...]

      But here it comes the awesomeness of the open source community: A Norwegian company called ForgeRock has stepped up to give OpenSSO a new home and continue developing OpenSSO under a new name: OpenAM (because of copyright issues with the name). They claim they will conitnue with Sun’s original roadmap for the product, and they have started to make available again all of the express builds, including agents, that were removed from OpenSSO’s site, and a new wiki with all the content that once was available at dev.java.net.

    • Open source SSO lands in spotlight

      Last week was a really big week — perhaps the biggest ever — for open source simplified sign-Ope on in general and OpenID in particular.

      [...]

      Not quite as momentous, and having nothing to do with OpenID, another SSO service was released into the wild as open source. I was really amazed by MetaPass SSO when I saw it two years ago (“MetaPass’ single sign-on package enables administrators to create scripts visually”) and now it’s open source. Windows, Mac, and Linux executables and source-code of MetaPass SSO are available for download on the MetaPass Web site and on major open source Web sites (such as SourceForge). MetaPass is definitely an enterprise (not a consumer, or “user-centric”) SSO solution. If you are friendly with “roll your own” software for your organization it’s definitely worth a look.

    • Non-Profit Open Wonderland Launches

      With the news last month that Oracle would be shutting down development resources for Project Wonderland, the open-source virtual world platform originally supported by Sun Microsystems, associated developers began looking for alternatives. Last week saw the launch of the Open Wonderland Foundation, a non-profit devoted to providing a free and open-source platform for virtual worlds based on Project Wonderland.

  • CMS

    • WordPress: A Web Developer’s Tutorial

      I chose WordPress as my general-purpose framework, even though it’s theoretically a blogging platform, for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s backed by a company, yet still has a large number of independent contributors. This is probably the best way of keeping code up to date and viable commercially, while still using the Open Source model. New features, bug fixes, and security patches are thus released relatively often, and it doesn’t hurt that you can now update WordPress with a single click. Secondly, there are a phenomenal number of freely available, high quality themes and plugins that allow you to easily customize not only the look and feel, but also the functionality of your WordPress site. Finally, the total interoperability of WordPress with other platforms is second to none, so your site will be able to handle everything from Google Maps to SEO to AdSense to iPhone capability from day one. Don’t believe it? That’s why I’m here to teach you how to do it all.

    • Matt Mullenweg, WordPress founder: Why it pays to stay faithful to open source

      As an open source project, WordPress is licensed under the General Public License (GPL). The code for WordPress is created both by Automattic developers as well as a community of hundreds of third-party developers. The open source nature of the product means it can be used by anyone and for anything without paying a licence fee.

    • Worldly wealth

      A little later Matt Mullenweg took to the stage. Matt is the charismatic and high-profile founder of Automattic Inc and WordPress, the world’s most successful open-source blogging software, powering over 200 million websites.

      He chatted intimately with the audience about the founding of his company and the driving philosophies behind its success. He also shared his views on the future of blogging and open-source software development. One interesting story was that he founded Automattic with three other people from around the world, including another Irish developer. These four people had never met physically but knew each other via their web-based interactions. This created enough of a bond for them to start a company together, one that has been very successful.

    • Open Source Delivers Enterprise-Class Website on Shoestring Budget

      We also use open source throughout our production and testing environments. The Verical Marketplace is deployed on servers running the Linux operating system. This open source operating system is of high-quality and performs better than most of the operating systems available for purchase. In addition, we were able to use commodity hardware that further reduces our cost of deployment. Testing is aided using open source products including JUnit and Apache JMeter.

    • Hosted Drupal CMS Planned for Midyear

      The service, called Drupal Gardens, is in beta testing now with a “couple of thousand” users, said Dries Buytaert, who created Drupal and cofounded Acquia to build a commercial business around it. The service will be based on Drupal 7, an upgrade to the CMS software that will be released at about the same time, Buytaert said at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

      Drupal is a software platform for publishing Web sites and managing text, images and other content on those sites. It has been used by individuals to publish blogs and by larger organizations, including the White House and NASA, to run their Web sites.

  • Funding

    • Magento Scores $22.5 Million For Open Source E-commerce Platform Play

      Magento currently has over 60,000 merchants using its software, which was downloaded about 1.5 million times as of January 2010. The company also says they’ve registered over $15 billion in transactions to date. The roadmap for the future is apparently paved with additional products, with a number of “Mobile Commerce, Saas offering and other products/services” coming later this year.

  • Security

    • Firewall Configurations Can Be Hard To Manage, Sounds Like A Job For Open Source

      For many people network security starts and stops with firewalls. The foundational technology of perimeter based security, firewalls have grown more complex and sophisticated over the years. Today keeping your firewall rule set tuned and managing complex firewall configurations is a job often best left to experts. A new open source tool, Flint offers help though.

    • Commtouch to present Open-source Email security

      Open-source security infrastructure can be taken to the next step by augmenting it with commercial solutions, according to Gabriel Mizrahi, vice president technologies at Commtouch.

    • Indian Security Startup Offers Free Software

      The UTM (unified threat management) offering, called Ubiq-Freedom, is available under an open-source license, and includes popular open-source software such as Squid caching proxy for the Web and IP tables for the firewall, said Debasheesh Bagchi [CQ], Wep’s program head for Ubiq-Freedom.

  • Releases

  • Government

    • More than 100 candidates to Italian regional elections support Free Software

      At least on paper, thanks to CaroCandidato, Free Software may have a voice this year in many of the regional councils assisting the governors. As of March 17th, the 2010 edition of the campaign has already enlisted more than 100 candidates from all parties. Citizens visiting the website can easily find, sorted by party or electoral district, which regional candidates have signed the Pact for these elections.

  • Licensing

    • The need for an Open Source license

      You DO NOT need permission to access it, modify it and/or distribute it. However, depends on the open source license, commercializing it may or may not be restricted.

      Without a defining open source license that the government can slap on each software project, there is no option but to revert back to the old ways of protecting intellectual property.

      The problem is this – the government can claim that the software source code is freely available to the public, but you need permission. Here’s the twist, there is NO guarantee that permission will be granted.

  • Openness

    • Applying Best Practices to Open Data

      Some of that is already going on. In a follow-up, Torkington links to a few posts from the Open Knowledge Foundation, which has come up with a Open Knowledge Definition (OKD) taken from the Open Source Initiative’s Open Source Definition. This includes everything from content like movies and books to government info, and sets 11 criteria that a work has to meet to be considered “open.”

    • SXSW: Bug Labs Says Content Will Drive Open Source Hardware

      That’s the viewpoint of Peter Semmelhack, founder and CEO of Bug Labs, whose modular, open source hardware company aims to fix that shortcoming by making it easier for people and companies to create their own electronics products using a Linux processor module, a camera module, a touchscreen LCD module and so on.

    • Open source: the way forward in the search for new treatments for the infectious diseases of poverty?

      Probably the best known open-source software is the Linux operating system but this is only one example. The mountain of software that open-source developers have created is robust enough to be used by big corporations and cutting-edge enough to have become incorporated into the latest mobile phones and laptops. But importantly, it has saved on development costs. It has been estimated that producing the open-source software we have today, using traditional means, would cost $387 billion and take 2.1 million people-years of development.

  • Programming

    • Benchmark of Python Web Servers

      The above results show that as a Python web developer we have lots of different methods to deploy our applications. Some of these seem to perform better than others but by focussing only on server performance I will not justify most of the tested servers as they differ greatly in functionality. Also, if you are going to take some stock web framework and won’t do any optimizations or caching the performance of your webserver is not going to matter as this will not be the bottleneck. If there is one thing which made this benchmark clear is that most Python Web servers offer great performance and if you feel things are slow the first thing to look at is really your own application.

Leftovers

  • Playboy accidentally played out on children’s TV

    TV bosses in the US have apologised after preview clips of the Playboy channel were accidentally played out on two children’s channels.

  • Science

    • U.S. sits on rare supply of tech-crucial minerals

      China supplies most of the rare earth minerals found in technologies such as hybrid cars, wind turbines, computer hard drives and cell phones, but the U.S. has its own largely untapped reserves that could safeguard future tech innovation.

    • Planck sees tapestry of cold dust

      Giant filaments of cold dust stretching through our Galaxy are revealed in a new image from ESA’s Planck satellite. Analysing these structures could help to determine the forces that shape our Galaxy and trigger star formation.

    • NASA finds shrimp dinner on ice beneath Antarctica

      In a surprising discovery about where higher life can thrive, scientists for the first time found a shrimp-like creature and a jellyfish frolicking beneath a massive Antarctic ice sheet.

  • Security

    • 7 Cool, Free Security Applications

      Encrypt or create a hidden OS with TrueCrypt

      Even if Windows is password protected, thieves can still access all your files, for example, with a Linux-based LiveCD. To protect your documents and privacy, you can encrypt your data. TrueCrypt is a great open source solution.

    • U.S. Civil Liberties Group Questions ‘Legal Basis’ Of Using Drones To Kill

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit Tuesday demanding that the government disclose the legal basis for its use of unmanned drones to conduct targeted killings overseas.

      In particular, the lawsuit asks for information on when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, the number and rate of civilian casualties and other basic information essential for assessing the wisdom and legality of using armed drones to conduct targeted killings.

    • Hacker Disables More Than 100 Cars Remotely

      More than 100 drivers in Austin, Texas found their cars disabled or the horns honking out of control, after an intruder ran amok in a web-based vehicle-immobilization system normally used to get the attention of consumers delinquent in their auto payments.

  • Environment

    • ‘Milestone’ for wave energy plans

      Ten sites on the seabed off the north coast of Scotland have been leased out to power companies in an effort to generate wave and tidal energy.

      In the first project of its kind in the world, areas in the Pentland Firth and around Orkney have been leased to seven companies by the Crown Estate.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Jim Gettys, HP computer scientist (2004)


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