EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.19.10

Links 19/3/2010: Google’s TV Project, OpenOffice.org Turning 10, OSBC

Posted in News Roundup at 8:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Quality over time in Munich

    LiMux has a long-term agenda

    Yes, LiMux has a long-term agenda. We could have switched to linux clients in just a few months, giving the order to all 21 IT units to set up a linux client until end of 2008. No further specifications, no standardization and no consolidation. I’m pretty sure they would have done this excellent and then I would have published great news in 2007 or 2008 “LiMux done, Munich completely on free software”. But if we would have done this we would have ignored this big opportunity for Munich’s IT as a whole. Quality over time! Not related to free software, but neccessary for cleaning up our IT.
    We never ever will be happy slaves again

    I won’t excuse me for being clever and adjusting the way to achieve better goals. Digital sustainability is a long-term effort and not only a matter of Linux vs Windows. It’s not a matter for or against Microsoft. There are many vendors trying to lock you in. We learned it and do our homework. We never ever will be happy slaves again. You, too?

  • LiMux project management, “We were naïve”

    Since the end of last year, test runs have, says Schießl, shown that the Linux client can be fully integrated into these heterogeneous environments. According to Schießl, the pilot projects have been successfully concluded. A total of 3,000 computers are running open source software, twice as many as planned under the new initiative. Converting all computers to the Open Document Format (ODF) standard has overcome dependency on a single office software suite. The team is now getting down to the optimisation phase, aimed at improving efficiency and supporting “digital sustainability”. Schießl is confident that the remainder of the migration will proceed in a similarly smooth and rapid fashion.

  • Audiocasts

  • Desktop

    • Crazy Linux Fans Are Messing up Departmental Store Computers

      I had not heard of that term until I was surprised to see, it even made to a Wikipedia entry! From what I could figure out, PCjacking is an art of messing up with departmental store computers by quietly installing Linux on them to promote Linux. This of-course is an unauthorized install.

  • Server

    • Rethinking Failsafes for Critical Linux Systems

      Yes! The configurations of Linux and server applications are often customized during the installation as well as ongoing maintenance and general troubleshooting. Even servers with very similar functions are often configured differently. A primary goal to protecting a critical Linux server is being able to repair or replace the system and get it back into production quickly.

      The best-documented changes can quickly become outdated and often cause errors if not found until the damage has been done. Having a process that will automatically protect the unique configuration information will allow those changes to be applied to a standby or replacement server for rapid recovery.

  • Kernel Space

    • ATI Radeon KMS vs. UMS Performance With Ubuntu 10.04

      Through the Phoronix Test Suite we ran the World of Padman, OpenArena, Tremulous, Urban Terror, and VDrift tests. On the next two pages are the results.

    • AMD RS780/SB700 CoreBoot Support Released

      This free software BIOS implementation should now work on these newer AMD-based motherboards and are just the most recent of a growing list of supported chipsets by CoreBoot. AMD had promised this support many months ago but finally they cleared the legal requirements to push this code out to the general public.

    • Bam! Phoromatic 1.0 Unleashed & Ubuntu Joins The Party

      Phoromatic has been a huge success, but today we are announcing that Phoromatic has reached a 1.0 status and additionally we are providing the Ubuntu Linux community with a new performance tracker in collaboration with Canonical.

    • Graphics Stack

      • With KMS, Now Run Two X Servers Off One GPU

        Over the past several weeks there have been a number of new Linux graphics features introduced by David Airlie, a Red Hat employee and long-time X.Org contributer. Last month David began on a project rampage by bringing hybrid graphics to Linux via code he called “vga_switcheroo” to switch between ATI/NVIDIA/Intel GPUs without rebooting the system (though restarting the X.Org Server is needed at this time) that that code has now made its way into the mainline Linux kernel.

  • Applications

    • Shaving megabytes: cplay and mcplay

      A few months ago I mentioned mcplay as an alternative to the time-honored but unfortunately departed cplay. mcplay is intended to be a close mimic to the dead program, written in C as opposed to Python. At the time I made no real distinction between the two, since my concern was mostly with function, but as yasen mentioned, I should have.

    • 5 of the Best Free Linux Medical Practice Management Software

      Medical Practice Management Software (MPMS) is a type of software that is designed to supervise and support the day-to-day operations of a medical practice. This category of software typically offers functionality such as data entry, scheduling appointments, billing, reporting, records management, the generation of reports, accounting, and capturing patient demographics.

    • Audio

      • Linux Arpeggiators, Part 2

        I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief introduction to arpeggiators for Linux. The programs I’ve profiled are valuable additions to the creative Linux musician’s audio armory, you can’t beat the prices, and they are all great fun to explore. For now, I leave you to those explorations, and I’ll return soon with reports on the Behringer BCF2000 and FCB1010 MIDI control devices.

      • What’s been going on with Ardour?

        There hasn’t been much news posted here for a while, so I thought it was appropriate to update subscribers and other supporters of my work on Ardour on what has been going on. Development efforts have ben split (about 60:40) between Ardour 3.0 and continuing work on the 2.X series, both to fix bugs and to support the continuing improvement of Mixbus.

    • Proprietary

      • 10 Windows applications that should be ported to Linux

        I can’t tell you how many emails, phone calls, IMs, and Facebook messages I’ve gotten that asked when or if an application would be ported from Windows to Linux. Or how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I would use Linux, if X were ported to it!” So I decided to put these wishes to good use and list the top applications that should be ported to Linux. Some could be possible. Some are not (for whatever reason), which is a shame because the “not possible” tends to keep people from adopting Linux.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • How Nexuiz did not become proprietary or: “Silly names in Games”

        Some company will use LordHavoc’s DarkPlaces engine (DPE) to publish a game on some game console(s). The development team includes “a number of Nexuiz developers, and previous Quake1 community developers”. Nexuiz is a (or rather “the”) FOSS FPS that uses DPE.

        As far as I can tell, no assets of Nexuiz will be used. On the other hand, the soundtrack playing on the console-DPE-game homepage sounds like a remix of a Nexuiz track. I will just assume that the composer agreed to this and that the same might happen to other high-quality Nexuiz content and that it will all be legal. Lee Vermeulen (Nexuiz’ lead developer) is no license-n00b after all. Also, the console game will be using Nexuiz’ gameplay, which I assume means “game modes”, “movement/physics” and “weapon functions/balancing”.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME and KDE to co-locate 2011 Desktop Summit

      Following the success of last year’s Gran Canaria Desktop Summit (GCDS), Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, former Community Manager at Novell, has announced that the GNOME Foundation and KDE e.V. boards have decided to once again co-locate their flagship conferences, Akademy and GUADEC, in 2011. In addition to simply co-locating the events, as they did in 2009, GNOME Foundation board Member Vincent Untz says that he hopes that the projects can “actually plan a combined schedule in 2011 so that KDE and GNOME contributors have every opportunity to work with and learn from each other.”

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Testing the Gnome 3 Release Candidate

        Although there’s no official word on when Gnome 3 will become the default desktop environment in Ubuntu, Mark Shuttleworth suggested last summer that the October 2010 release, or Ubuntu 10.10, would be a likely target.

        Given my experience with the new Gnome, I’m not convinced that’s a good idea, unless a lot changes on Gnome’s end between now and the fall. But I’ll save my criticism for another post. Below, I’ll focus on what Gnome 2.30/3 actually does, and how it’s so different from its predecessors.

      • Mutter 2.29.1 Brings Dependence On Clutter 1.2

        Mutter, the new window manager designed for GNOME 3.0 integration to replace Metacity 2, has experienced a new development release. Mutter reached version 2.29.0 last month and it integrated the most recent Metacity changes (up to v2.26), improved appearance of scaled down windows using mipmap emulation, new signals and properties, and many other changes. Metacity 2.29.1 that’s been released today doesn’t bring as many changes to the table.

  • Distributions

    • Three favorite distros currently in testing: SimplyMEPIS, antiX, PCLinuxOS

      SimplyMEPIS and antiX, two of the products in the MEPIS family, have been through several iterations of their Beta testing cycle, and now each of them has also released three release candidates (RC), and they are very cloe to release. Each of them has a Version 8.5 RC 3 now available for testing. These can be upgraded to final form by simply using Debian upgrade packaging techniques.

    • Debian Family

      • ROSE Blog Interviews: Margarita Manterola, Debian Developer

        Debian Developer Margarita Manterola recently threw her hat into the ring to be the next Debian Project Leader. Surprisingly, she was the first woman ever to do so.

        Join me in congratulating her for nominating herself and wishing her Good Luck!

        Q: Who are you?

        A: My name is Margarita Manterola. I’m a 30-year-old Software Developer from Argentina. I develop mostly in Python, but also in other languages, such as C or PHP. I teach programming at my local university. I’ve been married for five years to Maximiliano Curia, who is a System Administrator and a Debian Developer, like me.

      • Ubuntu

        • Tim O’Reilly: ‘Whole Web’ is the OS of the future

          Open-source developers and businesses are focused on the wrong opportunity, according to industry luminary Tim O’Reilly. The future isn’t programming for Linux or MySQL. The future is programming for the “whole Web.”

        • Difference Between Ubuntu and Linux

          Linux systems can be installed in various computer hardware, such as smartphones, laptops, PDA, and so forth. The use of Linux is very prevalent in servers. It is even reported that in 2008, at least 60 percent of web servers worldwide was run on Linux operating systems.

        • Testing The Power Management Of Ubuntu 10.04

          We tested out this new package with a notebook and netbook to see how it changes the power game for Ubuntu 10.04 along with whether it’s much of an improvement over the current Ubuntu 9.10 release.

        • Bye Ubuntu, it could have been fun .. but it wasn’t

          Ubuntu is supposed to be a meritocracy where an elite group of people make decisions based on technical ability. Where is this technical ability that they speak of though? How this process seems to really work is that Mark says “make it so” and his drones say “yes master”. That’s not a meritocracy, not at all.

        • OMG BUTTONS ON THE LEFT!!!

          The kicker, of course, is something I see way too often in Ubuntu land: people that don’t like it are simply called “trolls” and told to shut up. Often it’s shut up and leave.

          What the hell? How exactly are you supposed to get feedback and determine if you have a great success with your user interface if you don’t listen to the users?

        • Variants

          • Kubuntu is not Ubuntu

            So since Canonical does currently not exploit all business potential coming from Kubuntu, the community will probably be responsible for quite some time to come.

            This ultimately means that the community will apply the rules and judgment of which they think it is the best available. Since the community is mostly consisting of people contributing in their spare time human time resource is rather limited and thus one must choose the battles carefully. In consequence this means that some things simply cannot be done. Like say Ubuntu One integration, of course it would be nice to have, but currently there are much more important things to work on. Same goes for porting Software Center. Finally it also means that the community gets to decide how much branding gets committed, and currently the opinion is to stick with KDE’s. Not only is their artwork of incredibly high quality, but also are they the biggest contributors to the Kubuntu desktop, so they deserve most credit.

            On that last note I would also like to note that Kubuntu’s target was to make the best KDE distribution, not the best Ubuntu flavor, thus deriving from KDE’s artwork and color scheme would not only be in conflict with the fact that Kubuntu’s color palette is almost identical, but also with what Kubuntu is trying to achieve.

            In short: Kubuntu is not Ubuntu. Occasionally blogs and news stories and bug reports assume Canonical is responsible for things they are not. In general, me and the other Kubuntu developers are responsible for Kubuntu, please keep this in mind when moaning or praising us.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Marvell promises $100 tablet for students

      Marvell announced its intent to deliver a $100, Android-ready tablet computer built around a 1GHz Armada 600 series processor. Aimed at students, the “Moby” will offer WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, an FM receiver, and Adobe Flash compatibility, the company says.

    • Google’s TV Project

      • Google and Linux are coming to your TV

        In what may have been Google’s worst kept secret in years, Google, along with its partners, Intel, Logitech and Sony, is on its way to delivering the Web to your television. What will they be using to do this? Why, they’ll be using Google’s Android Linux, of course.

        Android is an embedded Linux that Google has already been deploying in phones like its own Nexus One and Motorola’s Devour and Droid. But Android has always been more than just a smartphone operating system; it’s also been used in netbooks and other devices. So taking it to a TV set-top box was an easy move for Google and its hardware friends.

      • News analysis: Google, partners have clout to make smart TV a reality

        With Google said to be working with Intel and Sony to develop a way to bring the best of the Internet to television, industry analysts wonder if the time for a smart TV has finally arrived.

      • Get Ready For Google TV, It’s Linux Too!

        Google has reportedly joined hands with Intel, Sony and Logitech to create Google TV. What is Google TV and why Google is suddenly interested in a new medium: TV?

      • Googleocracy
      • YouTube’s Bandwidth Bill Is Zero. Welcome to the New Net

        YouTube may pay less to be online than you do, a new report on internet connectivity suggests, calling into question a recent analysis arguing Google’s popular video service is bleeding money and demonstrating how the internet has continued to morph to fit user’s behavior.

    • Nokia

      • Nokia asks the Internet to help design a phone

        Nokia is tapping into the collective wisdom of mobile technology enthusiasts on the Internet as it designs a new smartphone concept device. The handset maker has launched a new project called Design by Community which aims to collect feedback about preferred device characteristics from visitors to the Nokia Conversations blog.

    • Tablets

      • Linux alternatives for the iPad – and the future of netbooks, tablets and smartbooks

        Apart from Apple, some other companies are bringing some interesting tablets. In contrary to the iTab, those other tablets do run Linux. Some are already available, such as the TouchBook from Always Innovating (AI), and some have supposedly better screens, like the Notion Ink Adam tablet. From the info available from Sola’s blog on the Notion Ink tablet, from the Wikipedia-info on the iPad and AI Touchbook and from the website of the AI touchbook I made a feature table so you can compare features. Apart from that, let’s take a look at the future: What technologies are coming to this market?

Free Software/Open Source

  • Building a better Firewall Builder

    Back in 1999, Vadim Kurland realized he needed a better way to configure a Linux firewall than the then-typical process of issuing cryptic commands or editing a text-based configuration file full of esoteric settings. Fortunately, he had lots of experience with commercial firewalls that he was able to apply to the problem. The result was Firewall Builder, a firewall configuration and management tool that lets administrators build firewall policies using a GUI, then push the configuration to firewall machines. It supports the open source firewall platforms iptables, pf, ipfw, and ipfilter, as well as Cisco ASA (PIX) and IOS access lists, and makes all these very different firewalls appear the same to the administrator.

  • SpringSource Launches TomcatExpert.com

    SpringSource says they’re expecting the site to be the single go-to-one-stop place for all your Apache Tomcat needs, be it troubleshooting to application server deployment. And that’s kind of a big deal, because, as the press release needs to remind you — Apache Tomact is the “world’s most widely used Java application server…” and “SpringSource employees” are credited with 95% of bux fixes to Apache Tomcat in the last two years. Plus, a good handful of Tomcat problem incidents are noted and fixed by SpringSource before they reach the community. SpringSource says it’s resulted in a 97% renewal rate for Tomcat support. Sounds pretty impressive.

  • The Tortoise And The Hare

    THE TORTOISE AND THE HARE

    The philosophy of Open Source reminds me of a story from ‘Panchtantra’: the tortoise and the hare.

    The tortoise and the hare were friends. One day, they decided to race against each other. The hare obviously took the lead; he thought of relaxing and went off to sleep. The tortoise, walking slowly but steadily, overtook the hare and won the race. The moral is,

    ‘Slow but steady wins the race’.

    In recent time, some new chapters have been added to this story.

    The hare was perturbed by the defeat. He asked the tortoise to race again. This time he did not take rest and won the race easily. The moral is,

    ‘It is better to be fast and reliable’.

    But, this is not the end of the story.

  • Mozilla

    • getting faster at getting faster

      Two things of note:

      1. The update offer of Firefox 3.6 to users of Firefox 3 and Firefox 3.5 is the first time we’ve ever done an offer to a .0 release to our user base. We’ve always waited until the .1 release or later. We did this because we were able to measure improvements over 3.5 in terms of performance, reliability and add-ons compatiblity.

  • Oracle

    • Ten Years of OpenOffice.org

      This year (2010) marks the 10th anniversary of a lot of things: Tuvalu’s entry into the United Nations, Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon, and the debut of Windows ME, for example. But much more importantly, 2010 marks OpenOffice.org’s tenth year of existence. To celebrate, here’s a look–literally, because there are a lot of screenshots–at how OOo has evolved throughout the decade.

  • OSBC

    • OSBC focus turns to best practices for open-source adoption

      Bob Sutor, vice president of open source and Linux for IBM, gave a keynote address in which he enumerated the criteria by which open-source projects should be evaluated. His talk highlighted the problems that can arise when organizations choose the wrong open-source project around which to standardize. He also advocated the creation of a company-wide open-source governance plan.

    • 2010 Open Source Business Conference – Day One

      I am currently in San Francisco attending the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC). While the conference has been around for awhile, I have never had a desire to attend before since people have told me it is more like the Open Core Business Conference. Also, it was founded my Matt Asay who nurses a strong dislike for OpenNMS (for proof just check out his negative article on us and our BOSSIE last year which is based on quotes that don’t seem to exist in the original article).

      We have a standing rule at the OpenNMS Group that we will pay the expenses for any employee who gets a paper accepted at a conference, so I dutifully submitted two talks. The first was my ever evolving “So You Think You Want to Start and Open Source Business?” presentation, but since I was pretty certain that would be shot down, I also suggested another presentation where two of our “Ultra” support customers, Rackspace and New Edge, could talk about how they use the OpenNMS management application platform in their business.

      Both were shot down.

    • OSBC 2010 – Age of open source enablement

      My talk at OSBC centers on the cost savings benefits of open source software and how this drove adoption amid difficult economic conditions. There was also discussion at the conference of the impact of an improving economy. While I don’t believe IT budgets will get fattened up with improving economic conditions, I do believe that this could put more emphasis on some of the other benefits of open source software. Again, we found cost savings was the main driver for customers considering open source. However, after adoption, the top benefit changes to flexibility. In addition, while factors such as vendor lock-in appear to subside after adoption, open source benefits such as reliability and performance grow in significance. I believe this is indicative of where the market, customers and vendors are headed as they contemplate the benefits and rewards of open source. I also believe these ‘other’ non-cost factors all contribute to enabling IT individuals and teams based on open source.

    • The New Open Source Business Model Still Relies on Closed Source

      Over the last couple of years a number of different open source business strategies have evolved. According to the 451 Group, it’s an evolution that includes the broader adoption and usage of open source overall by both open source and proprietary software vendors.

  • Releases

    • Introducing the ANGLE Project

      We’re happy to announce a new open source project called Almost Native Graphics Layer Engine, or ANGLE for short. The goal of ANGLE is to layer WebGL’s subset of the OpenGL ES 2.0 API over DirectX 9.0c API calls. We’re open-sourcing ANGLE under the BSD license as an early work-in-progress, but when complete, it will enable browsers like Google Chrome to run WebGL content on Windows computers without having to rely on OpenGL drivers.

  • Government

    • Open Source Gets Political

      As an election looms in the UK, copyright, intellectual property and Open Source, are making an appearance on the political stage, both at home and internationally.

      The government has been forced to make a number of significant changes to Lord Mandelson’s much-criticised Digital Economy Bill. In response to a petition, the Prime Minister has dropped Mandelson’s plans for a controversial ‘three strikes’ rule forcing ISPs to permanently disconnect those repeatedly accused of illegal file sharing by copyright holders.

      Amongst a long list of grievances with the proposed bill, critics had pointed out the potential human rights implications of cutting-off households, particularly school children, from the Internet, based on the behaviour of one individual using a shared connection. However, in a statement on the Number 10 website, the government did not rule out forcing ISPs to enforce bandwidth restrictions, download limits and temporary account suspensions onto customers accused of breeching copyright.

      [...]

      Meanwhile, Shaddow Chancellor George Osborne has reiterated previous pledges to “create a level playing field for open source IT in government procurement”. The Tories’ new manifesto also promises to publish more information on all government contracts and tendering opportunities, as well as spending by QUANGOs and Local Government, in a bid to “open up government procurement to more SMEs.”

    • Web inventor calls for government data transparency

      Countries should be judged on their willingness to open up public data to their citizens, the inventor of the world wide web has told the BBC.

  • Openness

    • U.S. systemic savings from a full shift to OA: $3.4 billion

      King argues for an open access system via article processing fees, fully paid by the federal government. It is noteworthy that King’s estimate is that this would cost, in a worst-case scenario, an increase of less than 1% of what the U.S. federal government spends on research grants right now. King acknowledges the unlikelihood of this scenario. Average cost-per-article of $1,500 and $2,500 U.S. scenarios are employed; the additional cost for 100% funding of articles would be $427 million (at $1,500 per article) or $712 million (at $2,500 per article). King estimates that academic and special libraries could, together, save an estimate $4.1 billion per year.

    • ONS Solubility Book: Edition 3 with Notebook Archive

      We’ve been trying for some time to find a way to conveniently take a snapshot of our Open Notebooks and all associated raw data files. This could serve as a way to back up all of our work as well as provide a means of finding out the state of knowledge for a project at a given moment in time. There is also a tremendous benefit to confidently using the best of free hosted Web2.0 services out there (e.g. GoogleDocs and Wikispaces) without being concerned with changes in policies or access down the road.

    • On Open Data, Open Source, UK Libel Law and Evidence-based Sustainability

      As is often the case, someone asks for a written answer to a question, but then fails to use the material. The great thing about blogs is that they make it very easy to make sure such content isn’t wasted. So here are some thoughts on the GreenMonk mission and sustainability more broadly.

      We set up Greenmonk with the explicit intention of lobbying for open data and open source for better environmental outcomes.

      [...]

      In the UK, libel law is regularly abused to shut down dissenting voices. Its not just randy footballers that try and abuse the law. Pushing back against the status quo are organisations such as Sense About Science, which is backing the National Petition for Libel Law Reform.

    • An Approach to Open Access Author Payment

      There have been hundreds of articles in recent years exhorting the strengths and warning of the weaknesses of Open Access through author payment. This article discusses a few of the favorable and unfavorable issues and proposes an approach that takes advantage of the favorable aspects and overcomes some of the unfavorable ones. It requires extensive government support, which may or may not be feasible, but the approach is presented here nevertheless. Some evidence is given for the potential savings that would be achieved by scientists, publishers and libraries in the US.

    • No Panaceas! A Q&A with Elinor Ostrom

      Ostrom’s seminal book, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, was published in 1990. But her research on common property goes back to the early 1960s, when she wrote her dissertation on groundwater in California. In 1973 she and her husband, Vincent Ostrom, founded the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University. In the intervening years, the Workshop has produced hundreds of studies of the conditions in which communities self-organize to solve common problems. Ostrom currently serves as professor of political science at Indiana University and senior research director of the Workshop.

      Fran Korten: When you first learned that you had won the Nobel Prize in Economics, were you surprised?

      Elinor Ostrom: Yes. It was quite surprising. I was both happy and relieved.

      Fran: Why relieved?

      Elinor: Well, relieved in that I was doing a bunch of research through the years that many people thought was very radical and people didn’t like. As a person who does interdisciplinary work, I didn’t fit anywhere. I was relieved that, after all these years of struggle, someone really thought it did add up. That’s very nice.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Wikipedia plans to offer open source video

      STANDARDS ADVOCATE the Open Video Alliance has got behind a campaign to enrich Wikipedia articles with video.

      Wikipedia walks a lonely path in supporting Theora, an open format which is in contention to be incorporated into HTML5′s video tag. This goes against the popular Flash encoded video ‘standard’ used by sites such as Youtube.

    • Let’s get video on Wikipedia

      The Open Video Alliance and the Participatory Culture Foundation have launched a new campaign to encourage people to upload videos to Wikipedia, the free collaborative online encyclopedia.

    • Why add video to Wikipedia?
    • What is HTML5 Video?
    • Open Video Alliance launches Wikipedia video campaign

      The OVA’s members include open video platform company Kaltura, Yale’s Information Society Project, Mozilla, and the Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF). To get the party started, the PCF is making available a new software tool for Windows and Mac OS X that can convert videos into the open Ogg Theora format. The OVA has rolled out a new website with simple instructions that describe how users can download the software and start participating in the campaign.

    • Will Open Source Video Finally Kill Adobe Flash? Steve Jobs May Be Sorry What He Wished For

      All the buzz is that HTML5 will signal the death knell for Adobe Flash. Many would say good riddance, especially Apple’s Steve Jobs, whose steadfast refusal to support the technology has left many iPhone users with a crippled web browsing experience (including this blogger). But Jobs should be careful of what he wishes for. The eventual winner of the HTML5 video standards debate could be an open source standard. This will leave Jobs and his black box, closed system henchman in Cupertino in a bind.

    • W3C to Microsoft – follow the process

      In a posting on W3C blog, Ian Jacobs, Head of W3C Communications, has taken up Microsoft’s offer and invited the company to create an “Incubator Group” for the specification. Incubator groups do not produce standards, but the W3C community can decide later on whether or not to move the API onto the W3C Recommendation Track.

      Jacobs says that “Incubator Groups can smooth the transition from ‘good idea’ to ‘widely deployed standard available Royalty-Free’”. He also pointed out that the invitation was “not just for Microsoft” and that the W3C is interested in data access APIs adding “If you’re working on an API and it has ‘data’ in the name, I encourage you to build community support in a W3C Incubator Group.”

Leftovers

  • Canon First in Line for Its Own Top-Level Domain, .canon

    Canon announced Wednesday it intends to be the first company to say goodbye to .com and buy its own top-level domain, taking advantage of ICANN’s decision to broadly widen the number of top-level names. If — or rather when — this starts happening, web address conventions may never be the same.

  • Is There a Google News Blacklist?

    My relationship with Google News has always run hot and cold. No make that cold and tepid. From the very beginning of Google News as an experiment back in 2001, they refused to index my work, which they said was my fault, not theirs (“they” being an algorithm attached to an e-mail box, of course). But new evidence has recently come to light suggesting to me that Google News has an actual blacklist.

  • Science

    • [LHC] 19 Mar, New record beam energy

      Commissioning of the LHC continues at a very encouraging rate. In the past few days the protection systems have been qualified such that the beams could be safely accelerated to higher energies. In the early hours of this morning, around 5:30am Geneva time, both beams were successfully ramped to 3.5 TeV, 3 times higher than ever before! Even more encouraging, the beams were extremely stable during this period and had a very long lifetime.

  • Security

    • Exclusive: Next-generation super ID card on the cards for 2012

      According to Hosein, if the upgrades do take place, early adopters will have a hard time swallowing the fact they had paid £30 for a card that had gone out of date in three years or less.

    • Confidential report on Summary Care Records finds database is inaccurate

      The Summary Care Records database – which is central to the government’s plans to create health records for 50 million people – contains inaccuracies and omissions that make it difficult for doctors to trust it as a single source of truth, according to a confidential draft report.

      The findings by researchers at University College London, are likely to reinforce the concerns of the British Medical Association which has called for a halt to the “rushed” rollout of the “imperfect” Summary Care Record scheme.

    • Senators push Obama for biometric national ID card

      Two U.S. senators met with President Obama on Thursday to push for a national ID card with biometric information such as a fingerprint, hand scan, or iris scan that all employers would be required to verify.

    • Don’t be fooled. The ID card has not gone away

      If you are over 60 and want a bus pass – Pensioners could be forced to carry identity cards to qualify for free bus travel

      If you are poor and bank at RBS and Lloyds – Meg Hillier said companies might offer to buy the £30 cards for people who wouldn’t pay for them otherwise

      Or if you are just poor – Home Office minister Meg Hillier argues ID cards can provide the foundation for fairer access to services and opportunities

      If you work at an airport – All staff who work ‘airside’ are eligible to get a free card as part of the regional roll-out of the ID cards scheme

    • Town Council hit for CCTV debt

      A surprise demand to settle an outstanding debt for surveillance cameras in Monmouth could land Monmouth Town Council in the county court, reports Desmond Pugh.

    • CCTV bungle causes more delays

      Halstead’s long-awaited CCTV system faces fresh delays.

      Although the four cameras have been installed in the town, they have been fitted with the wrong type of cable boxes.

    • Dismantling of Saudi-CIA Web site illustrates need for clearer cyberwar policies

      By early 2008, top U.S. military officials had become convinced that extremists planning attacks on American forces in Iraq were making use of a Web site set up by the Saudi government and the CIA to uncover terrorist plots in the kingdom.

      “We knew we were going to be forced to shut this thing down,” recalled one former civilian official, describing tense internal discussions in which military commanders argued that the site was putting Americans at risk. “CIA resented that,” the former official said.

    • Peter Watts found guilty

      Early terse reports are that the jury has returned a guilty verdict for Dr Peter Watts, a science fiction writer who was beaten at the US-Canada border when he got out of his car to ask why it was being searched, then charged with assault. Peter faces up to two years in prison. I’ve emailed him for comment and I hope that he’s appealing.

    • Georgia Supreme Court Says It’s Okay To Put Non-Sex Offenders On The Registered Sex Offender List

      The question of registered sex offenders lists is a tricky one — because for those people who really do commit sexually-driven crimes against minors, it’s hard to be even remotely sympathetic to any complaints they have about the punishment they receive. The problem is that so many things are considered sexual offenses these days that many people are put on the list, and must live with it for life, for something that most people may consider a youthful indiscretion, rather than something that automatically should brand them to neighbors as a possible child molester. Things such as kids having sex with each other after only one of the two teens has reached the “legal” limit or even urinating in public can sometimes be classified as a sexual offense.

    • The Seventh And Ninth Circuits Split On What Constitutes “Without Authorization” Within The Meaning Of The Computer Fraud And Abuse Act
  • Environment

    • Climate Action: Burning Forests to Avoid Megafires

      Prescribed burns in the forests of the western U.S. will prevent larger wildfires and significantly cut the nation’s carbon footprint, according to a new study.

    • Caught Red-Handed: How Nestlé’s Use of Palm Oil is Having a Devastating Impact on Rainforest, The Climate and Orang-utans

      Nestlé is using palm oil from destroyed Indonesian rainforests and peatlands, in products like Kit Kat, pushing already endangered orang-utans to the brink of extinction and accelerating climate change.

    • How to make a snake

      When these regions are compared in animals like turtles and people and chickens, the genomes reveal signs of purifying selection — that is, mutations here tend to be unsuccessful, and lead to death, failure to propagate, etc., other horrible fates that mean tinkering here is largely unfavorable to fecundity (which makes sense: who wants a mutation expressed in their groinal bits?). In the squamates, the evidence in the genome does not witness to intense selection for their particular arrangement, but instead, of relaxed selection — they are generally more tolerant of variations in the Hox gene complex in this area. What was found in those enlarged intergenic regions is a greater invasion of degenerate DNA sequences: lots of additional retrotransposons, like LINES and SINES, which are all junk DNA.

    • Need a break? So does the rainforest

      Nestlé, maker of Kit Kat, uses palm oil from companies that are trashing Indonesian rainforests, threatening the livelihoods of local people and pushing orang-utans towards extinction.

    • Bye bye, bluefin: bid for trade ban fails

      An unprecedented effort to use world trade rules to save a species from rampant overfishing has failed. A proposal to ban international trade in bluefin tuna under the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was defeated today at a meeting of the 175 nations that belong to the treaty in Doha, Qatar.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • End government pre-snoop on stats

      The ability of politicians to spin official statistics to support their own point of view is likely to be severely curtailed – at least if UK Statistics Authority has its way.

      While the Reg finds it hard to believe that any government minister would be tempted in this way, the good folk over at the Statistics Authority would appear to be a little more cynical.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • A Saint Patrick’s Day special: Further Thoughts on Manuscripts, Marginalia, Mashups and Reading as Writing

      I wrote a post the other day about Digital Manuscripts, Reading as Writing, and the danger of of “digital rights management” (DRM). The New York Times today provided a lovely follow up in the shape of an article – Turning Green With Literacy – about the Irish role in saving the book after the Roman Empire collapsed.

      [...]

      DRM is designed to prevent playfulness. But the smartest people in publishing realise that the future will be ludic – George Walkley, who runs digital strategy at Hachette recently told me of the importance of making publishing more “ludic” or game-like.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • YouTube Motions Highlight How Entertainment Industry Lawsuits May Have Slowed Useful Platforms

      Now, some will scoff and claims that Grokster was never going to turn into what YouTube is today, but you’re saying that with the gift of hindsight. A large part of Viacom’s motion tries to suggest that the two companies actually were quite similar — but even Viacom is now admitting that YouTube’s business model was able to mature and adapt. Considering that we still don’t have music discovery, promotion and distribution tools as convenient as Napster was back in the day, this can be seen as a real shame. These lawsuits killed off a useful path of exploration for legitimate business models, and that’s not only shameful but a waste of innovative effort. It’s only through the random quirk of a slow court that YouTube may avoid suffering the same fate.

    • Indie Artists Discuss Dealing With File Sharing

      Then there’s an interview of Dan Bull, known around these parts for his musically brilliant open letters to Lily Allen and Peter Mandelson. In the interview, he discusses his views on the music business and things like file sharing. He notes that he’s mainly “against… enforcing backwards laws in order to cling onto an obsolete business model.”

    • The Little Band of White That Forced a Design Copyright Fight

      This writer is worn out and he wasn’t even at South by Southwest this weekend. So in the interest of keeping things light, here’s something to put into the strange copyright battles file. Dixie Consumer Products and Huhtamaki Americas Inc. have just finished up in federal court over a suit filed by Dixie who said their competitor had copied their cup design.

    • Apparently The Word ‘Piracy’ No Longer Sufficiently Derogatory For Entertainment Industry

      Ok. Pick your jaw up off the floor. First, this is stunning in that it’s been the entertainment industry itself that pushed and popularized the term “piracy” for copyright infringement. They did so very deliberately in an attempt to demonize the act of infringement, presenting it as something much worse. That some have since taken that term and embraced it hardly changes that initial fact. Second, she’s wrong about the fact that they’re “talking about a criminal act.” Yes, in some cases copyright infringement may be a criminal act, but in most cases the use of “piracy” these days refers to civil issues between two parties and not criminal acts at all.

    • Is Copyright the Buggy Whip of the Digital Age?

      Then in another panel session, Mr. Griffin, the founder of OneHouse, whose company is developing a new model of music and entertainment delivery, probably made the most impassioned argument that content must flow freely (double entendre intended) given its capacity to improve the human condition. He likened the current copyright model to an “old vine we cling to,” unsuited for today’s digital world. His solution is to pay content creators based on an “actuarial” model where groups can share revenue collectively.

      What was most inspiring is that these people were openly saying what I was thinking — the current system is ill-suited to the current realities. The answer lies in innovating new ways to compensate content creators such as new compensation structures or new engagement methods that can be monetized. In their personal experiences and outlooks, these content producers effectively laid down the gauntlet to the legal industry — innovate or we may all die.

      Maybe that’s why Jim Griffin used this quote as a rallying call: “Copyright law … is not an engine of free expression, but a yoke of innovation.” Maybe that’s why the conference is themed: “The Collision of Ideas.”

    • The 94 Percent Solution

      Newspapers are folding, magazines are fading, ad pages are down and angst is up in the serial publishing business as it struggles through a global technological transition and may not survive. But what will be our next New York Times, our new Field & Stream, our improved Playboy? That’s what the big guns of publishing are fighting about with their Kindles and iPads. But I think they may have it all wrong and my friend Anina, the fashion model/girl geek may have it all right.

    • DIY icon Albini addresses music industry issues

      The scene at Hailey’s Club on Friday afternoon played like a rumpled, foul-mouthed version of Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton. Denton musician Scott Porter had notes at the ready for his interview with Chicago-based punk rock musician and recording engineer Steve Albini. The near-capacity crowd in the bar filed in from Mulberry Street.

    • ACTA/Digital Economy Bill

      • Why the ICC Report Makes Me Ick

        I have restrained myself from writing much about the ICC’s “Building a Digital Economy” report, because I knew it would make me too cross. Fortunately, someone who is rather calmer me than me has done a better job than I would with some careful, rigorous analysis.

      • About that Internet piracy study…

        Yesterday, Richard Wray wrote up a piece in the Guardian on a study which has been backed by the TUC and claims that by 2015, losses from piracy will reach £218bn and put 1.2 million jobs in peril.

        [...]

        What the BPI does publish (repeatedly on its site) is the figure of “some 7.3 million people engaged in unlawful filesharing”, according to Jupiter Research. Assuming these two figures — the number of people sharing and the amount of infringement taking place — are supposed to be consistent with one another, this leaves us with a few problems.

        That 7.3m figure was investigated by BBC Radio 4’s “More or Less” programme, and the results were written up by Ars Technica.

        [...]

        The bottom line here is that the 7.3m figure is essentially meaningless; it’s based on a survey of just over a thousand households and then multiplied up in the same way that the BASCAP report does in its predictions. If — and there’s potentially some wiggle-room here — this (still publicised today) 7.3m figure is related to the 1.1bn “infringements” figure, then it renders the UK music part of the BASCAP report as worthless as an educated guess by a journalist. If this is the quality of the data across the board, then the entire report has little merit at all from a analytics perspective.

      • Is the music industry trying to write the digital economy bill?

        Two weeks is a lifetime in politics – especially in the political life of the backwards digital economy bill, Labour’s gift to the incumbent entertainment industries that government is bent on ramming into law before the election.

        In my last column, I bore the bizarre news that the LibDem front-bench Lords had introduced an amendment to the bill that would create a Great Firewall of Britain. This would be a national censorwall to which the record industry could add its least favourite sites, rendering them invisible to Britons (except for those with the nous of a 13-year-old evading her school’s censorware). Over the following days, the story got weirder: the LibDem amendment got amended, to add a figleaf of due process to the untenable proposal.

        And then it got weirder still: a leaked memo from the BPI (the UK record industry lobby) showed that the “LibDem amendment” had in fact been written – with minor variances – by the BPI. And the BPI continued to leak: someone sent me the weekly internal status update prepared by Richard Mollet, BPI Director of Public Affairs for the core group of plotters behind the bill (someone should teach Mr Mollet about BCC).

      • New ACTA leak: It’s a screwjob for the world’s poor countries

        Translation for non-wonks: Historically, developing countries have asked the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization for “technical assistance” with their copyright laws. This has usually amounted to “Create copyright laws that will make it easier for rich countries to get richer,” but in the past several of years, WIPO has found itself with a large cadre of public interest activists and now, WIPO is working on a treaty on its “Development Agenda” to figure out a copyright system that serves humanitarian goals, too (for example, by making it legal for archivists and educators to work together to translated and adapt works that have different copyright rules in different countries).

        We’ve all known that ACTA is a way of writing copyright treaties without having to let poor countries and human rights advocates into the room. We’ve suspected that poor countries — who aren’t invited to the negotiations — will be strong-armed into signing onto the treate afterwards.

      • UK IP Minister Lammy Backs EU Release Of ACTA Text

        David Lammy, United Kingdom Minister for Intellectual Property, today said the UK supports the European Union’s position that the text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) should be made public.

      • Does ACTA = EU-wide copyright enforcement for the ‘Net?

        The European Commission has now admitted in writing what the ACTA negotiations will mean for the Internet. In Europe, it will mean a ‘harmonised’ enforcement

      • Now let’s visualise how the digital economy bill has changed..

        A simple programming tool is helpful in understanding what’s changed – but we really need some proper internet-enabled means of viewing bills, as MySociety points out

      • More ACTA Leaks: Would Create Special Organization To Manage Worldwide Copyright Laws

        The more of ACTA that leaks, the worse it seems. KEI has the details on another portion of ACTA that had not leaked yet, which focuses on setting up new institutions that would manage ACTA after it was implemented. Basically, it would be an ongoing organization tasked with continuing to update ACTA’s rules — sort of a parallel organization to WIPO, which already exists, but which has recently committed the mortal sin of actually listening to consumer rights groups.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Scottish Parliamentarian Patrick Harvey 03 (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 19th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:13 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.

Novell Hires More Mono People (Despite Sacking SUSE Developers) and Microsoft Buys an OSBC Spot/Seat

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’d like to see Gnome applications written in .NET in version 4.0 – no, version 3.0. But Gnome 4.0 should be based on .NET.”

“Gnome to be based on .NET – de Icaza”

Mono GNOME

Summary: Novell and Microsoft continue to fund development with the desired bias of using Microsoft APIs; Microsoft pays for its share of OSBC (again) and gets to set the tone with a keynote speech

THE correction we made the other day was perhaps premature because Paul Cutler, whom we quoted as being a Novell employee, is indeed becoming a Novell employee (and has probably had that planned for a while). “So technically I was wrong,” said our reader, “he’s not at Novell *yet*, but obviously he will be.” Here is what he wrote a short while ago: “Wrapping up my last day at Webroot today (packing boxes!) and then off until 4/1 when I start at Novell!”

It may be April 1st, but it doesn’t seem like much of a joke.

For over a year we have shown that while Novell reduces GNU/Linux focus (and lays off SUSE employees) it is increasing its focus on Microsoft with software like Mono and Moonlight. “That GNOME guy that said Mr. Cutler didn’t work for Novell was clearly disingenuous (I assume he was a GNOME guy anyway),” said our reader. “GNOME is such a joke, they are giving power to Novell so Novell can rape them and force Mono down their throats and thereby force it down everyone else’s throats. Such a joke.”

“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”

Bob Muglia, Microsoft President

We hope that even with excessive Novell power in the GNOME Foundation (including the Director) GNOME 3.0 can stay free of Mono at the core.

“Microsoft is trying to redefine “open source” and associate it with Microsoft and Windows.”We are seeing similar trends over at OSBC, which Matt Asay allowed Microsoft to join [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] (he also let Microsoft enter the OSI). They are still paying a lot of money to control the agenda at the event (Novell and Microsoft up at the top, only second to Red Hat; “Where’s Canonical?” asks us a reader). Microsoft’s investment in this event is paying off. “MS presents keynote speech at the OSBC,” tells us a reader in private and points to this article which says: “The presentation by Microsoft’s Stuart McKee, who holds the title of national technology officer for the United States, continued a pattern in recent years that has seen Microsoft publicly embracing the open source movement and even funding it.”

It’s not funding it. It pays money for developers to move over to Windows. That’s different. It’s like saying that Microsoft is funding the elections (in exchange for favours that it receives later, ones that are incompatible with citizens’ interests, such as tax breaks that cronyism enables [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]).

We notice that Geeknet, which got filled with some former Microsoft employees [1, 2], is there as well. It’s all just slush funds for Microsoft if it wants to coerce its competition, which is precisely what it’s trying to do here. The Novell deal was an inexpensive one and it turned Novell into an extension of Microsoft.

Microsoft is trying to redefine “open source” and associate it with Microsoft and Windows. It’s an old strategy. Last year we showed how Microsoft tried to paint ARM devices (they won’t run Windows) as incapable of handling normal computing tasks by calling them “smartbooks” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and comparing them to phones rather than small “PCs”. There is also the “industry standard” FUD from Gartner (where “standard” means Windows on x86) and now there is “PC”, which they try to equate to just “Windows”. Below we add some logs of a conversation from several hours ago; it’s about the term “PC”, which quite frankly, Apple too played a role in establishing as synonymous with “Windows” because of its many adverts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Patents Roundup: Europe, ACTA, Aldi Attacked by the MPEG Cartel, and More

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents, Videos at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Aldi logo

Summary: Europe’s policy on software patents and the ACTA factor; the MPEG patent pool turns out to be not much of a sleeping giant but an awake one; patents relating to cancer genes continue to needlessly cost lives

Microsoft keeps struggling to change Europe’s patent law and enable taxation of Free software. The FFII’s president, Benjamin Henrion, has tracked some of the latest developments in that regard; they happen to include ACTA.

“Just heard one guy on RTBF Purefm from an anti-piracy org in Belgium that they were pushing for “technical measures” on the ISPs (filtering),” said Henrion, who added that the “European Parliament ITRE committee [is] promoting interoperability and technological neutrality”; he skeptically points to this document [PDF] from the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy. ACTA booster Paul Rübig [1, 2] is the reporter and here is the text which alludes to patents (inside “interoperability”):

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Legal Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

Recommends that the Commission should:

1. Promote availability of EU-wide licenses for intellectual property rights (IPR);
2. Consider, as a step towards an internal market for IPR, licenses based on the original language, enabling a licensee for a work in one language to distribute it across the EU in that language;
3. Promote interoperability and technological neutrality, allowing content covered by IPR to be distributed regardless of technology or format used, and allowing convertibility of content between formats;
4. Maintain strong protection of IPR while facilitating legal use of works through easily available, one-stop, EU-wide licensing options, supported by transparency regarding the holders of the IPR;
5. Consider effective sanctions to deter infringement of copyright and prevent the losses caused to rights holders as a result, while upholding the principle that, for example, communications providers are mere conduits and as such not liable for infringement occurring through or facilitated by their services;
6. Make full use of sanctions available to it under competition and trade law where relevant;
7. Include, where relevant, an evaluation of the impact relating to IPR, in particular with respect to small and medium-sized enterprises, in all impact assessments;
8. Contribute, through the European Counterfeiting and Piracy Observatory, to the development of common standard procedures and criteria to enable the production of reliable and comparable data on the occurrence and value of counterfeiting and piracy across sectors.

FFII Greece has this new article describing the patent situation in Europe:

This is a presentation I made at an open source conference in Greece, 13 March 2010, at TEI of Piraeus.

Getting involved with software patents seems boring, and, unfortunately, it is, at least for me. I’m a computer professional and I like writing code. I’m a Python/Django fan, and I’m involved in a couple of free software projects. One of them is a state project (and it’s free because I took the opportunity to move it towards the right direction when I saw that the right people were in the right positions). I don’t like politics and legal issues much. However, I do occasionally mess around with copyrights and patents; not because I like it, but because I like being free, and it is a price I pay to defend my freedom.

[...]

I’m in Greece, I create a new invention, and I patent it at the Greek Industrial Property Organisation. What happens in other countries? Could someone from Italy copy my invention? The answer is they can, because the Greek patent is only valid in Greece. In order to solve this problem, many European countries signed the European Patent Convention (EPC) in 1973. Under the EPC, the European Patent Office (EPO) was born. If you are granted a patent by the EPO, then it is practically valid in all countries that have signed the EPC.

Note that the EPC is not a European Union treaty, but a treaty of the 36 countries that have signed it. The EPO is not an EU institution, but an international institution of the 36 countries that have signed the EPC.

“Since EPO failed to change the law, they then attempted to change the court,” quotes Henrion from the article above. This leads us to discussing the ACTA, which has a European Parliament meeting scheduled for 2 weeks from now (Room ASP 1G2).

Henrion has transcoded the following video, which he says is about “Punishing Patent Pirates with freeze of bank accounts.”


Direct link (“European Parliament about ACTA: Punishing Computer Pirates”)

The original video was in a Microsoft format (more here). Henrion claims that “Microsoft sponsors the European Parliament’s infrastructure, so now 600M EU citizens have to pay.” He also shows this parliamentary questioning where the “European Commission confirms they won’t give the ACTA documents to the public, since other countries oppose [it].”

Lastly, and also via Henrion, this article in German shows “ALDI threatened by MPEGLA in Dusseldorf court, the European version of the Eastern District of Texas.”

In this decent new recording, Novell’s former community manager for OpenSUSE asks: “What’s Bilski got to do with open source?”

Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier speaks with Aaron Williamson, counsel at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC).

The session was very good and interesting, but ironically, it’s available only in MP3 format (needs software patents). They should look at that new Aldi case for insight into the ramifications. The MPEG-LA-LA Land is mostly promoted by companies like Microsoft and Apple.

The creator of the World Wide Web says that “software patents are a terrible thing”, but often we forget about the patents that actually kill people. We previously gave examples where treatment of cancer was impeded by patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. This mostly revolves around a very controversial patent that we mentioned before and is now mentioned in Reuters [via].

New Study Points Out That Gene Patent On Trial Is Very, Very Broad

Myriad Genetics’ disputed patent on the BRCA1 breast cancer gene is “surprisingly broad” and could interfere with future research, three experts said on Tuesday.

They are killing people by obstructing doctors rather than saving lives. ACTA may have a similar effect. Patents and life are sometimes incompatible. How about those fashion patents that we sometimes mention? Some people already strive to obtain copyrights on clothes.

Basically, Suk’s whole position is based on the fact that the monopoly rents of designers is decreased by a lack of copyright, but she fails to consider that this leads to greater and more frequent innovation (which we see all the time in the market). What’s even stranger is that she flip-flops her argument in the middle of the paper. She talks repeatedly about how designers need big profits to have the incentive to innovate, but then says that big designers aren’t the ones really threatened. Instead, she claims, it’s the smaller designers. But, those designers didn’t have those big profits to protect in the first place. They’re out there trying to make a name for themselves by designing something new and cool — so they have plenty of incentive to innovate. And if their design this year is copied, that’s great for them because it gives them greater recognition and means the demand for their original products will be even greater the following season.

Do we want to live in a world where knitting can become a punishable offense for ‘infringing’ someone’s design? Seriously, when did the patent system lose sight of its original goals? It’s not there to assist big businesses; rather, it’s intended to protect small businesses with from the minority of the opulent.

Linux is Not Against Software Patents (and Why Linus Torvalds Should Speak Up)

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, IBM, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linus Torvalds

Summary: An inconvenient truth about the Linux Foundation is brought up again now that Linux is attacked with software patents that are named

Linux is a fine kernel, but it is not the Free desktop or the Free software movement; it also does not share all the same values as the FSF and the FFII, for example. Linux has grown to become more than a one-man project and it now falls under the banner of a foundation, which introduced corporate interests from software patents proponents (with large portfolios, evidently) such as IBM, Google, and Oracle. Linus Torvalds worries about software patents and he opposes them, but at the same time he relies on companies that fund Linux development.

Now that Microsoft adds its weight [1, 2, 3] to Apple’s software patents assault on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] maybe it’s time for Torvalds to speak up. It’s unlikely that he will.

At the Linux summit, OIN is still somewhat central (it’s like an extension of the Linux Foundation). FFII’s president wrote the following yesterday: “OIN, or the codification of vapour inventions, companies can capture and codify open source “inventions” http://i5.be/aC5

“HTC strongly advocates intellectual property protection…”
 –Peter Chou, HTC CEO
Just to clarify, even though the OIN can be effective sometimes [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], it does not aim to end software patents. It might be a hindrance if what isn’t part of the solution is part of the problem. OIN is not a problem, but it’s not a permanent solution, either. It deals with problems as they arise rather than eliminate the problem at its root. The funding sources of the OIN are pro-software patents, so this approach only makes sense to them.

Going back to Apple’s lawsuit that Microsoft endorses, here is HTC’s new and official response, which includes the statement: “HTC disagrees with Apple’s actions and will fully defend itself. HTC strongly advocates intellectual property protection and will continue to respect other innovators and their technologies as we have always done, but we will continue to embrace competition through our own innovation as a healthy way for consumers to get the best mobile experience possible.”

One reader interprets this as endorsement of software patents, whereas another says (about “intellectual property”): “Like copyrighted GPL code?”

China does have software patents, but for Apple to pull this card is simply a sign of misery. We don’t have the same problem in Europe although the TomTom case contests this assumption. The next post will discuss Europe in a lot more detail.

Microsoft Sued by VirnetX (Again) and Kodak Alleges That Microsoft’s Patent Troll Bullies Companies Along With Ray Niro

Posted in Bill Gates, Courtroom, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Intellectual Ventures is said to be attacking companies using its proxies and Microsoft suffers the wrath of the very practice it advocated with investments (patent trolling)

WITH some of its latest patent deals (e.g. Amazon [1, 2, 3]), Microsoft made it abundantly clear that it views racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] as an acceptable business model. No Microsoft executives have been arrested for it because we live in a society that typically jails the poor and glorifies the rich. It’s part of the indoctrination system. We are taught that large entities are immune to social responsibilities, whereas small ones can be viewed of “crooks”, “nutcases”, or “terrorists”. Both are harmful and there is room for infinite hypocrisy.

But anyway, Microsoft is quickly finding out that those small “terrorists” — the patent trolls — can cause a lot of damage. Shortly after losing the VirnetX case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], Microsoft gets sued by VirnetX again (this time triple damages for Vista 7). VirnetX is of course just a patent troll that contributes nothing to industry, whereas Microsoft is a marketing firm that contributes nothing to industry, except harm and monoculture.

“Usually Microsoft doesn’t develop products, we buy products.”

Arno Edelmann, Microsoft’s European business security product manager

Here is some more coverage of Microsoft’s loss to VirnetX:

Microsoft has been ordered by a US federal jury in Texas to pay nearly $106m to VirnetX Holding Corporation for infringing two internet communication patents.

Microsoft’s booster Emil Protalinski says that Microsoft will appeal, as usual. It’s the same rollercoaster of exhaustion when it comes to i4i [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

“Microsoft is a patent troll or at least a backer of some; one could argue that Microsoft is a patent troll by association…”Based on the words of Microsoft's patent troll at Intellectual Ventures, this massive patent-trolling firm was created after discussions with Bill Gates; he created his own troll to ‘address’ the issue of patent trolls. In order to avoid the “troll” status, Gates and his friends established a model whereby there is reliance on a central hoarder of patents that lends patents to legal attack dogs. This business model has proven successful because some large companies paid "protection money" to Intellectual Ventures under NDAs. Intellectual Ventures has no less 1,000 firms connected to it; these firms are akin to armed mafia people who will go around shooting victims and their families under “mysterious circumstances” unless those victims pay money to the mafia Dons, namely Nathan Myhrvold, Bill Gates, and their ilk (they are financially connected and Gates is part of this vehicle that resembles pyramid schemes). Microsoft is a patent troll or at least a backer of some; one could argue that Microsoft is a patent troll by association and the following new article sheds light on the connection to the father of patent trolling, Ray Niro. We wrote about this connection before

“Kodak Says Intellectual Ventures Behind Patent Lawsuit Filed By Shell Company,” says TechDirt:

It seems that at least one company sued over such a patent is hitting back. Joe Mullin points us to the Legal Pad blog, which notes that Kodak, who has been sued for patent infringement by a shell company (PFI) being represented by Ray Niro (famous for, among other things, being the first person labeled a “patent troll,” as well as suing a bunch of companies he didn’t like with a bogus patent — finally rejected for good, recently — that he claimed covered any website that used a JPEG image), doesn’t believe that it’s really the shell company that’s behind this lawsuit. It’s demanding that Intellectual Ventures take part…

The original report asks, “Will Patent Holder IV [Intellectual Ventures] Show Its Face to Kodak?”

Kodak is trying to draw large patent hoarder Intellectual Ventures into court.

With its 30,000 patents and opaque veil of mystery, IV has shied away from the courts, likely because an allergy to discovery. But with its new money making scheme of selling patents to trolls who then file lawsuits (free reg. req.), you knew that IV would eventually end up in a courtroom.

Here are the basics on the Kodak case:

1. IV sold patent to shell company named Picture Frame Innovations.

2. Picture Frame, represented by Ray “the original patent troll” Niro, sued Kodak for patent infringement.

3. IV co-founder Peter Detkin told me last year that IV is now cutting deals where it sells patents and takes a cut of any money made by filing lawsuits (free reg. req.). So it seemed like IV might have struck such a deal with Picture Frame and Niro.

We wrote about Kodak and patents before [1, 2].

Democracy is Not the Same as Freedom

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Search, Ubuntu at 8:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UDS (for Ubuntu Karmic)
UDS Karmic Group Photo, by Kenneth Wimer

Summary: People have lost track of real mistakes that Canonical is making and instead they focus on buttons and themes

ANYONE who wishes to fork a GNU/Linux distribution can do just that, provided the GPL is obeyed and trademark law too. That’s the power of Free software. Some people conflate that with democracy, which is an entirely different — if not a Utopian — view of the world where everyone is said to be perfectly happy based on consensus (an impossibility). In some sense, “democracy” is just a word that people like to say.

Ubuntu GNU/Linux can’t be everything to everyone, which is why we defend its latest decision to change the theme and we have no problem with Mark Shuttleworth’s latest response, which led to resentment or at least suspicion. Linux development and Wikipedia editing are the same. People give advice and offer an opinion for all to see, but it’s a meritocracy, not a democracy.

Here is Shuttleworth’s controversial message in full (it more or less repeats what Jono Bacon has been telling us in the Boycott Novell IRC channel for several weeks).

On 15/03/10 23:42, Pablo Quirós wrote:
> It’d have been nice if this comment had been made
> some time ago,
> together with a deep reasoning on the
> concrete changes that are in mind.
>
> We are supposed to be a community,
> we all use Ubuntu and contribute to
> it, and we deserve some respect regarding
> these kind of decisions. We
> all make Ubuntu together, or is it a big lie?

We all make Ubuntu, but we do not all make all of it.
In other words, we delegate well. We have a kernel
team, and they make kernel decisions. You don’t get to
make kernel decisions unless you’re in that kernel
team. You can file bugs and comment, and engage, but
you don’t get to second-guess their decisions. We have a
security team. They get to make decisions about security. You
don’t get to see a lot of what they see
unless you’re on that team. We have processes to help make
sure we’re doing a good job of delegation, but being an open
community is not the same as saying everybody has a
say in everything.

This is a difference between Ubuntu and several other
community distributions. It may feel less democratic, but
it’s more meritocratic, and most importantly it means (a) we
should have the best people making any given decision, and
(b) it’s worth investing your time to become the
best person to make certain decisions, because you
should have that competence recognised and rewarded
with the freedom to make hard decisions and not get
second-guessed all the time.

It’s fair comment that this was a big change, and
landed without warning. There aren’t any good reasons
for that, but it’s also true that no amount of warning
would produce consensus about a decision like this.

> If you want to tell us
> that we are all part of it, we want information,
> and we want our opinion
> to be decisive.

No. This is not a democracy. Good feedback,
good data, are welcome. But
we are not voting on design decisions.

Mark

People keep arguing over something as unimportant as a default theme which any new user can trivially change. This is a waste of effort because Ubuntu’s real problems are different. We have a problem with Ubuntu’s attitude towards Mono* (dependency increases over time [1, 2]), its relationship with Yahoo!/Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], and some also criticise the company’s promotion of the music store/online storage (reasons vary and include the involvement of Amazon, DRM, patented formats, and so on). Here is another new rant:

Ubuntu One Music Store: Tops or Flop?

Music seems to be a viable income stream also under Linux. After Amarok and Rhythmbox have earned at least a few hundred bucks with Magnatune, Ubuntu is now breaking into the market as well.

What Canonical does here is fair enough and the company did try to establish a deal around Ogg. It’s not so simple to make the market fit minority demands, rather than popular demand driving the market.

We are generally optimistic about the next release of Ubuntu and in our daily links we include a lot of positive news about the distribution. Bruce Byfield says that this next release is “Ubuntu’s Most Innovative”, but in his article he also casts a mistake as a merit:

Early in Lucid’s development cycle, the Ubuntu Development Summit announced that The GIMP would be dropped from the default selection of software installed. Since The GIMP is widely considered an example of excellence in free software, the announcement created some controversy, but the decision was in keeping with Ubuntu’s general priorities. Not only does The GIMP take up considerable space on a CD, but, more importantly, its features far exceed what beginning users could need.

For those who do not know or remember, most users voted to keep The GIMP, but their opinion was ignored or at least just ultimately rejected by the ruling majority. That’s what meritocracy means and that’s fine. The problem is, does Canonical realise the consequence of its actions? By ignoring a majority opinion it creates the perception that Free software is not receptive to feedback. Nowadays, our reader Ryan keeps ranting about Ubuntu being the “same as Windows” (development- and feedback-wise) and last night he argued that “Ubuntu beat Rhythmbox up and stole their lunch money. They modified the referrer in Rhythmbox and now Magnatune owes them $100. Are they really so petty that they’re going to keep that money and deny it to GNOME?”

We previously explained why Canonical’s search deal with Yahoo!/Microsoft was merely a case of taking money away from Mozilla — money that was used to develop Firefox, Thunderbird, and other great software. Canonical will be paid by Microsoft (via Yahoo!) at the expense of Mozilla, which was paid by Google. That again is the type of thing worth criticising, not some petty issue to do with a default theme and buttons that can easily be changed.
____
* Some minutes ago, Popey from Ubuntu wrote: “Liking the new automatic sync feature in the latest Tomboy” (they just don’t see the problems with Mono).

Amazon and Dell: Friends or Foes of GNU/Linux?

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Servers, Ubuntu at 7:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amazon rainforest
Amazon does worse things than killing of trees for books

Summary: What Amazon does not want to tell us about software patents in its recent deal with Microsoft; more reasons to suspect that Dell pays Microsoft for Ubuntu GNU/Linux

ONE of our readers, who goes by the name of “Mad Hatter”, has just explained why he will not link to Amazon anymore. As some people may recall, we called for an Amazon boycott* [1, 2, 3] not just because what Amazon does to the patent system but also because it joined Microsoft’s anti-GNU/Linux racket after hiring many executives from Microsoft (entryism). Here is the explanation about reasons to avoid Amazon:

By signing a deal with Microsoft, for technology that the Free and Open Source Community developed, Amazon has shown a lack of respect for the ‘Intellectual Property’ of the Free and Open Source Software Community. Amazon’s action is an attack on the community. It can also be considered an attack on the Constitution of the United States of America, which states

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

The wording above makes mention only of the Authors and Inventors. The drafters of the U.S. Constitution clearly meant that only the Author or Inventor of a work or invention can speak for that work or invention. Therefore if there are issues with a work or invention, the party who has the issues must approach the Author or Inventor, not a third party such as Amazon. In simple terms, Amazon has no right to admit that the Linux Kernel infringes on Microsoft’s patents, only the Authors or Inventors of the Kernel have that right. By making an admission that they have no right to make, Amazon has engaged in what is known as ‘Slander of Title.’

As he put it in a previous post:

So if you are considering a lawsuit against a competitor who uses Free and Open Source Software in the product you claim infringes on your patents or copyrights, don’t expect the community to like what you are doing, and do expect them to do something about it.

In other news, Dell appears to be lying about GNU/Linux, Vista 7, and maybe software patents (Dell announced in 2007 that it had joined the Microsoft/Novell deal).

On many occasions before we explained and showed why we suspect that Dell pays Microsoft for so-called “Linux patents”. The potential evidence comes from many places, including videos from Dell. And now we find this disappointing report showing up in the news, shortly after it turned out that Dell sells machines with Ubuntu at a higher price than equivalent machines with Vista 7.

Dell bars Win 7 refunds from Linux lovers

Dell has told a Linux-loving Reg reader that he can’t receive a refund on the copy of Windows 7 that shipped with his new Dell netbook because it was bundled with the machine for “free”.

In October, another Reg reader succeeded in gaining a $115 (£70.34) refund from the computer maker after he rejected the licence for Microsoft’s OS and installed Linux instead. Microsoft’s EULA, you see, provides for such a refund.

One of our readers asks, “If it’s ‘free’ then how does MS factor in the revenue into its accounts? If it’s not ‘free’ then who enthused DELL to not pay the refund?”

Ogg Theora


__
* Boycott as an action to correct a corporation’s behaviour, not to ostracise.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

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

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

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

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

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts