Links 24/3/2010: SystemTap 1.2, Strong Red Hat Results

Posted in Boycott Novell, News Roundup at 7:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Penguins converge on Austin Texas

      Let’s see … Softlayer, Zenoss, Canonical, Red Hat, Fedora, HP, IBM, Rackspace, Novell, and The Linux Fund are our commercial sponsors. Most of them had people submit session proposals, which was nice (and by that I mean they submitted talks independently of (usually before) being sponsors. We’ve also had several nonprofits lend us support in one way or another, like GNOME, Mozilla, the Linux Foundation. And the media sponsors have done a terrific job just helping us get the word out, which is vitally important when you’re an event that no one has heard of before. That includes the Linux Journal (which is based out of Houston), LWN, Linux Magazine and Ubuntu User, LXer. They’ve not only allowed us to advertise, but have run our announcements and written blog entries to help spread the word.

    • ZaReason Teo

      The ZaReason Teo, that I just discovered on Amazon.com, looks like the successor of the Terra A20, which was the first netbook by ZaReason, who build laptops, desktops, and servers running Ubuntu Linux or derivatives.

    • ZaReason Teo: Pine Trail netbook with an Ubuntu Linux twist

      Linux system builder ZaReason appears to have launched a new Linux netbook. While there’s no information about the new Teo netbook on the ZaReason web site, you can already order one from Amazon for $460.

      The Teo bears a more than passing resemblance to the original MSI Wind U100 10 inch netbook, and I wouldn’t be surprised if ZaReason was working with MSI to supply the chassis and possibly some other components. Spec-wise, the netbook has a 10 inch. 1024 x 600 non-glare display, a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N450 Pine Trail processor and 160GB hard drive.Amazon says it should get 8 hours of battery life.

  • Kernel Space

    • SystemTap 1.2 released

      The systemtap team announces release 1.2.

      prototype perf event and hw-breakpoint probing, security fixes, error tolerance script language extensions, optimizations, tapsets, interesting new sample scripts, kernel versions 2.6.9 through 2.6.34-rc

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Gnome And KDE Might Collaborate Into Creating A FLOSS Alternative To Dropbox

      There is an ongoing discussion on a Gnome mailing list which points out that Gnome and KDE might collaborate for a new project: a FLOSS alternative to Dropbox.

      One might think: well, we have Ubuntu One – but that’s only for Ubuntu (even though work is done to port it to other Linux distributions too – or it was done at some point) and also it’s KDE integration is still experimental (and not official as far as I know). And finally: many will agree that Ubuntu One is not the best implementation of this great idea so there is room for some competition. And also, the Ubuntu One server is not open source (only the client is) and it seems there are no plans to open-source it.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Arista – Multimedia Transcoder for GNOME

        Arista is an easy-to-use multimedia transcoder for the GNOME desktop. It focuses on the goal of transcoding media, namely the devices you wish to play the media on. It is designed for use by people who are not familiar with audio and video encoding and want an easy way to get multimedia to their devices. It supports input from DVD and V4L devices as well as regular files.

      • Five Things To Fix In Gnome Shell
  • Distributions

    • Parted Magic 4.9: New Device Names

      Parted Magic, a Live Linux with programs for partitioning and data rescue, is available in version 4.9. Apart from bug fixes, it includes a few new features.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • A real distro-hopper-stopper

        Above is the screenshot of the new PCLinuxOS with LXDE as native desktop environment. This baby is still in beta stage but compared to its predecessor, this version is almost complete. Having Firefox 3.6 with built-in flash as browser – watching videos via youtube and the likes is a breeze out-of-the-box.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Recession? What Recession? Red Hat Continues to Grow

        For many in the IT world, the last twelve months are likely ones that they’d rather forget as companies laid off employees and struggled to deal with the ravages of the recession. But for Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), the past year has been a pretty good one financially: Red Hat is set to report its fourth-quarter fiscal 2010 revenues after the market close today and the forecast is positive.

      • Building on a Linux brand

        Red Hat owns the brand and the quality assurance that goes with the Red Hat trademark, but does not “own” the software it sells. For this reason CentOS and Oracle are able to provide rebranded versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux which provide “complete upstream compatibility” with Red Hat’s product without fear of legal approbation.

    • Ubuntu

      • Lucid starts to get some updated icons

        I’ve held off from mentioning last nights arrival of some new (albeit WIP) icons for Lucid simply because I know how such‘minor’ posts irritate some of you.Sods law then that I wake up to an inbox full of people asking why I haven’t mentioned them already!

      • Ubuntu shops prefer the bleeding edge

        In preparation for the rollout of Ubuntu Server 10.04 Long Term Support next month, Canonical, the commercial sponsor of the Linux variant, and the Ubuntu community polled Ubuntu users to see how they use the operating system.

        Canonical is also keen on finding out what Ubuntu shops think of the focus on cloud computing and how relevant it is to them today as well as in the future. In the wake of the delivering of the Ubuntu 9.10 release late last year, the company solicited responses to an online survey of Ubuntu users through the Ubuntu forums and a variety of Web sites and other channels; a total of 2,650 finished the survey, although as you can see from the report, quite a number of people did not respond to important questions that Canonical asked.

      • Ubuntu One Music Store – first pics!!!

        I immediately went to purchase it, by clicking the checkout and signed in to my Ubuntu One account. Although it threw a wobbly when I refused to add my Lucid beta 1 desktop to my One account, I re-ran the purchasing process and it took me straight to billing. Thanks to Rhythmbox and Ubuntu, iTunes – and very probably my Windows dual boot – won’t be darkening my desktop again.

      • 75 Top Open Source Security Apps

        This year, we’ve once again updated our list of top open source security apps. While the list isn’t exhaustive by any means, we tried to include many of the best tools in a variety of categories. We dropped a few projects from last year’s list that have gone inactive or closed source, and we’ve added a few newcomers that are worth your consideration.

      • Variants

        • Mint 9: An overview of the new features

          It’s too soon to talk about what’s going on upstream but you can expect faster boot, the release will be an LTS release, there’s going to be many little improvements in Gnome itself and of course we’re getting a new kernel. I saw the controversy about the position of the window buttons in Ubuntu 10.04. There’s no plan to change anything in Linux Mint, we’re happy with the buttons staying on the right-hand side and away from the File, Edit, View menus.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Cool Linux powered robot boat

      The Roboat is an autonomous robotic sailboat powered by Linux.

    • Fast-boot tech claims to load Android or Linux in one second

      Tokyo-based Ubiquitous Corp. announced the availability of an ARM-focused technology claimed to load Android or Linux in one second. QuickBoot Release 1.0 preferentially restores memory areas necessary for booting from nonvolatile storage to RAM, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Educating the carriers on being open.

        Many thanks to Smart Mobs for bringing this to my attention…

        If somebody writes a book with “open” and “mobile” in the title I pretty much have to read it. Though you can buy a paper copy of Open | Mobile on Amazon you can also download a free PDF from the authors’ site — which is what I did.

      • Those Pesky Migration Issues

        Based on those requirements, it would seem I am leaning towards an Android-based unit. Not because I can hack it if I feel like it (I do not have that much free time) but because it meets my requirements. Would I like to have a Pré? Of course.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Episode 136: Shrinking a Bass Player

    I got the planned episode 136 nearly ready – a photography trip to Hamburg. But then came an urgent job from Chicago and overturned the schedule. (No, John, it wasn’t urgent, it was convenient to have a bit more time to edit the Hamburg show).

  • credativ pre-paid Open Source Support Card leads the market

    credativ UK joins its German counterpart in offering the Open Source Support Card for Linux distributions.

    Today, credativ is launching its unique pre-paid Open Source Support Card. Businesses using Linux distributions such as Debian and CentOS stand to benefit from expert support without being tied into a contract, in contrast to other commercial Linux support vendors.

  • AbiWord: Like MS Word but Without the Junk

    Choices for word processing applications abound for Linux users, but many of them are little more than glorified rich-text editors. AbiWord has the look and feel of a polished application like Microsoft Word but without the unneeded complexities that can bog some writers down.

  • Open Source DNS Enters Next Gen with BIND 10 Y1

    The first public release of the BIND 10 open source DNS server is now out. But don’t rush to update your servers just yet — it’s still years away from being ready for production use.

    The ISC (Internet Systems Consortium) has been talking about BIND 10 since at least 2007 when the BIND 9.4 release came out. Last year, the ISC told me that work had actually started on development of BIND 10 and now here we are a year later and the first public milestone.

  • Mozilla

  • SaaS

    • Suddenly the native app is cool again

      Running applications in the cloud is an ambitious dream, but one that keeps stumbling against the reality of dedicated, native applications, particularly those running on mobile devices.

  • Oracle

  • CMS

  • Business

    • Thoughts from OSBC: What’s driving open source acceptance?

      Recently I was in the audience for the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) keynote panel on the future of open source, and part of the discussion was about the rapidly increasing use of open source in both the public and private sector. No one seemed surprised by this fact, but there was some disagreement on the cause. The one thing all the panelists agreed on was this: IT departments are suddenly much more accepting of open source. One of the panelists asked the question, “What is driving IT’s acceptance of open source?”

    • Top 10 Quotes from OSBC 2010 and What It Means for Open Source Developers

      “Open source isn’t about saving money, it’s about doing more stuff, and getting incremental innovation with the finite budget you have.” – Jim Whitehurst, CEO, Red Hat

      In his keynote remarks on Wed., Jim emphasized what many other speakers at OSBC re-iterated. Business units are demanding more innovation through technology, and they need to get it done without getting more budget. With the low acquisition costs of open source software, and easy access to information from open source communities, it’s enabling IT departments to innovate faster and be a hero in their businesses.


    • Dru Lavigne made me do it: I killed Debian, installed an unbootable Ubuntu, now I’m running FreeBSD 8.0 with GNOME

      Did I mention speed? This GNOME 2.26 desktop just flies. It’s a pleasure to use, and if I can manage to install FreeBSD 7.2-release and get the same speed with working Java and Totem, I’ll be very, very happy. Working Flash, should I manage it, will be an added bonus.

      And thanks, Dru, for the inspiration to do my first serious FreeBSD test.

    • Evi Nemeth (an Ada Lovelace day tribute)

      These days, Evi lists her office as being “my sailboat, Wonderland, somewhere in the Caribbean.” She has a relatively low profile in the Linux community, despite being one of the authors of (and the inspiration behind) the Linux Administration Handbook, but the USENIX crowd knows her well. Her time at CU launched a whole generation of hackers who are in the field for the joy of it, and every one of them thinks back fondly to one of the people who got them started. Well done, Evi; you helped make all this happen.

  • Openness

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Groups in eleven EU member states participate in Document Freedom Day

      In at least eleven EU member states, groups promoting the use of open standards and open source software, are preparing for Document Freedom Day, 31 March. With workshops, presentations and demonstrations, they aim to make computer users aware of open formats for electronic documents. Many groups will focus on public administrations and governments.

    • Introduction to Document Freedom Day

      This year on March 31, along with more than 200 groups in 60 countries, we will observe the third Document Freedom Day. This grassroots effort aims to educate the public about the importance of open formats and open standards.


  • Robber Barons
  • Security

    • Ferocious hot chili pepper to make nasty weapons

      According to the SIFY news site: When deployed, the grenade showers the targets with a dust so spicy that in trials subjects were blinded for hours and left with breathing problems.

    • Wikileaks Receiving Gestapo Treatment?

      “Wikileaks announced on Mar 21 (via its twitter account) its intentions ‘to reveal Pentagon murder-coverup at US National Press Club, Apr 5, 9am.’ It appears that during the last 24 hours someone from the State Department/CIA decided to visit them, by ‘following/photographing/filming/detaining’ an editor for 22 hours. Apparently, the offending leak is a video footage of a US airstrike.”

    • The battle for Internet freedom

      In Italy, the government of neo-Fascist Silvio Berlusconi, the media magnate who detests the very idea of having anyone else in control of any news media, has drafted legislation to impose government examination of all videos before they can be uploaded to the Web. In a related case, an Italian judge convicted Google executives of violating a child’s privacy rights because someone posted an abusive video on Google Video and Google staff didn’t remove it fast enough to suit the judge.

      In contrast, in Iceland, the Wikileaks organization, devoted to open publication of information about government malfeasance, is receiving support from legislators.

  • Environment

    • Open Biodiesel

      During my time with OpenNMS I was migrating toward biodiesel. Biodiesel is a cleaner-burning renewable fuel that is made from fats, oils, and greases. I was making the stuff in my backyard and signed up for the fledgling Bio Fuels program at Central Carolina Community College.

    • Designing Open Source Washing Machines for Underdeveloped Nations

      Aside from being eco-friendly, this smart little machine could change the way people in under-developed nations tackle the challenge of having clean clothes to wear. The Open Source Washing Machine Project got underway in the spring of 2008 during a workshop examining ways to implement open source hardware to improve the quality of life in impoverished nations.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Ricardo Mireles, Free Open Source Software advocate in Los Angeles 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 24th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

How Articles About Novell Turn Into Promotion of Its Spouse, Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 3:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: How Novell news becomes promotion of Microsoft; Journalist/columnist publishes a SUSE ramble that echoes myths and PR lies about Vista 7 (he talks about SUSE/Linux and instead turns it into a borderline advertisement for Microsoft)

FREE(DOM) software has mostly been an area where programmers have full control, as opposed to marketing people, managers, and lawyers for example. It helps keep interests such as the entertainment industry’s out of the loop. In many ways, Free software is also an Apple- and Microsoft-free zone, but not where Novell is involved, with projects like Mono and Moonlight. More recently we found Novell staff advancing a Mono-based substitute to replace the GIMP [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. It’s called Pinta and the press in the Philippines gives it some coverage this week, offering Pinta what seems like GIMP parity for some peculiar reasons. This is like a free advert for .NET, thanks to Novell.

As for Novell’s future, this new report says that Novell still reviews its options after Elliott’s bid, which means that Novell is still up for sale and Microsoft is a potential buyer. From the opening of this article from the Wall Street Journal:

Novell Inc. (NOVL) rejected an unsolicited takeover bid valued at about $2 billion, but the software company essentially put itself up for sale by saying it would consider alternatives to enhance shareholder value.

Paul Rubens ponders the value of SUSE (assuming it gets sold separately), but then he veers off his original course and starts promoting Vista 7, repeating common misconceptions about Vista 7 and confusing reality with Microsoft-generated hype that it hires agencies to spread. We ought to correct them very quickly.

First of all, Rubens echoes the myth of compatibility. We addressed it in the following posts:

While we are at it, another common misconception has to do with “security”. We debunked this in posts such as:

How timely the news must be about Web advertising being used to infect Microsoft Windows. Elinor Mills sometimes characterises such things as a Windows-only problem, but not this time. It ought to be recognised that not all desktops run Windows. By perpetuating myths, CNET chooses to ignore reality and stick to a parallel ones of duality (where it’s either “Mac” or “PC”).

Ballmer's slide on Macs and GNU/Linux
Steve Ballmer’s presentation slide
from 2009 shows GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple on the desktop

Microsoft Scandal Versus GNU/Linux in Argentina, Legal Case Further Confirmed

Posted in America, Antitrust, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 2:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Park in Argentina

Summary: We finally find more news reports about the situation in Argentina, where Microsoft is accused of (and sued for) removing GNU/Linux from the market

THE stories of Microsoft in Argentina are rather distasteful and the latest one is relatively moderate in terms of its magnitude. eWEEK Europe may label this “Exclusive” to hype it up, but it’s not really breaking the new story from Argentina. Boycott Novell, for example, wrote about it some days ago. “Microsoft Facing £25m Argentinian Linux Lawsuit,” says the headline of an article which quotes individuals who are familiar with the matter at hand.

“About five years ago, I wrote a detailed report on how one could have the choice between GNU/Linux and other operating systems in Argentina that was most surprising for French people, that have always had the greatest difficulties in getting such a choice,” Di Cosmo wrote. “But starting from 2 years ago, I have seen that it has become impossible to find any longer a single machine with GNU / Linux in retail: worse, we saw some very dubious agreements negotiated under the high patronage of the founder of the multinational software company that monopolises the operating systems market.”

Di Cosmo’s blog contains a link to the Pixart court filing and alleges that the allegations against Microsoft made by Pixart may have been repeated in other countries. “Well, I happen to have in my hands right now a copy of the appeal filed against Microsoft by the little Argentine SMEs Pixart, and it is very helpful in understanding what really happened there … and very likely what is happening here [In France] too,” he says.

If the Argentinian Commission decides to hear the case, and finds against Microsoft, the software giant has the right to one appeal according to Blustein. “Microsoft can appeal the decision one level further, in case they are unhappy with the first judgement.”

As we pointed out the other day, Microsoft breaks the law even when it comes to legal procedures. Can Argentina tame the beast?

Amazon Pushes Ridiculous Software Patents Into Europe

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents, TomTom, Windows at 2:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bezos gives lecture

Summary: Bezos and Ballmer have more in mind than just Windows preference, ‘Linux tax’, and software patents; they also set dangerous precedence in the EPO

A FEW days ago we showed that Amazon does not care about Free software and that its deal with Microsoft was an attack on GNU/Linux [1, 2, 3]. Amazon — now filled with former Microsoft executives — is helping Microsoft’s cause against GNU/Linux, using software patents. Nick Farrell takes Glyn Moody’s scary headline (which we criticised last week) and turns it into another scary headline that says “Microsoft might be planning a patent attack on Linux” (it’s an exaggeration, but Microsoft has already sued TomTom, which is based in Europe).

“Amazon — now filled with former Microsoft executives — is helping Microsoft’s cause against GNU/Linux, using software patents.”Amazon’s history with regards to software patents is very bleak (not to mention remote deletion, DRM, and SaaS). In particular, Amazon has been accused of making a mockery out of the system by pursuing a monopoly on “one-click shopping” in several countries and continents. It turns out that Europe too is included. The president of the FFII cites this post and says that the “EPO validates the Amazon One-click cousin patent (send as a gift), proof that they grant software patents in Europe”

For those who needed another reason to boycott Amazon, here it is. Microsoft is doing the same thing to the EPO and even brags about it. They found workarounds, so they fool the system and ignore the rules.

In other patent news we have:

UK keeps three times as many patents secret as the US

UK patents are being declared state secrets more than three times as often as those filed in the US, according to information released to New Scientist.

An average of nine secrecy orders were imposed for every 10,000 patents filed in the UK since 2003, compared with less than three per 10,000 filed in the US, figures released for the first time by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) reveal.

MBTA sued for patent infringement over e-mail alerts on late trains, buses [via]

A pair of foreign companies today sued the MBTA, alleging the system it uses to notify passengers of late trains and buses violates two patents they hold for compiling information on the whereabouts of vehicles and then notifying people of their status.

False Marking: Lobbying against the Senate Bill

The false patent marking law imposes a fine on companies that label unpatented products as patented “for the purpose of deceiving the public.” Currently, the law allows any citizen to sue false markers on behalf of the federal government and any fine awarded by the court is split between the citizen who brought the case and the government.

Patent law needs reform or abolishment. It offers no value to programmers (they already enjoy copyrights) and it jeopardises many people's lives.

SD Times Removes Miguel de Icaza’s Admission That Mono Has Patent Problems and de Icaza Mocks Jeremy Allison

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Miguel de Icaza and other Microsoft MVPs

Summary: An article that quotes rather damning material about Mono suddenly vanishes without a trace and Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza still attacks critics of patents around Mono (which he himself implicitly criticised in the now-vanished article)

THIS could be an innocent accident, but it may also be a case of cowardice or consensual censorship. We ought to say this in order to give those involved the benefit of the doubt. If it’s a case of censorship, they can later pretend that it was an accident.

It involves the author [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] who promoted an article which Groklaw called “The history of Windows, the Pravda version”. And yes, the previous post showed a photo of Lenin reading Pravda. So, what is it all about? Less than a week ago we published this post about Microsoft MVP de Icaza saying that Microsoft “shot the .NET ecosystem in the foot” because of patent threats. A lot of people paid attention to it and there was a bit of a controversy in Twitter. Not realising the strong impact of the Streisand effect (articles will arouse more curiosity when someone tries to remove them), SD Times magically removed the source of the quotes from de Icaza. We urge readers to make copies of the cached version of the deleted article while it lasts on Google’s servers. They are probably trying to make it vanish and The Source is the genius which caught this. Jason’s explanation goes like this:

I know this will startle the Gentle Reader, but I actually try to check and verify stuff. It’s how I pretend I have integrity.

So I plugged the quote into Google and found a few references, all of which linked the SD Times article “Does Windows cost Microsoft opportunites?” allegedly by David Worthington.

Oh – don’t bother with that last link. It’s a 404. The article isn’t in the list of articles by the author David Worthington as listed on the SD Times site either.

Google cache has it though. It certainly appears like the story was out there, and was on SD Times, and contained the alleged quotes from Mr. de Icaza.

The Question(s)

Why is this article no longer up on SD Times?

Are all the quotes attributed to Mr. de Icaza in the article genuine? (If they are I have more to say about some of them!)

Just in case this article never returns and never sees the light of day again, here are some of the exact or approximate quotes from de Icaza:

Paragraph 2: “Among the critics is Novell vice president Miguel de Icaza, who said .NET’s focus on Windows has come at the expense of opportunities for Microsoft, and its desire to guard its intellectual property is an impediment on the platform.

Paragraph 3: “”Microsoft has shot the .NET ecosystem in the foot because of the constant threat of patent infringement that they have cast on the ecosystem,” he said. “Unlike the Java world that is blossoming with dozens of vibrant Java Virtual Machine implementations, the .NET world has suffered by this meme spread by [Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer] that they would come after people that do not license patents from them.”


Paragraph 7: “However, Mono remains the only implementer of the ECMA CLI specification outside of Microsoft, and that is a testament to the legal uncertainty surrounding some aspects of .NET due to Microsoft’s statements about open-source software, de Icaza said.”


Paragraph 9: “Facebook, Google, Ruby on Rails and Wikipedia could have been built using .NET, de Icaza claimed. “All of those are failed opportunities. Even if the cross-language story was great, the Web integration fantastic, the architecture was the right one to fit whatever flavor of a platform you wanted, people flocked elsewhere.”


Paragraph 12: “Further, developers can build languages on top of .NET 4.0′s dynamic language runtime, which supports both Python and Ruby, Watson said. But it’s the addition of new technologies on top of the ECMA specification, such as the DLR, that de Icaza believes impedes the CLI’s adoption.

“Let’s remember that the same thing happened to Groklaw where it merely dared to express concerns about Mono…”Paragraph 13: “Microsoft’s submission to ECMA has remained at a “core level,” de Icaza claimed. “It never went into other areas like server APIs, GUI APIs, or even updating some of the core to include LINQ, the DLR and many others.”

Equally worthy of a mention is this new post from The Source where Jason shows an example from last week where Mono bullies do their typical routine to dismiss critics. This time we have Miguel de Icaza calling Jeremy Allison “fear monger, hating, conspiracy theorist” (context here).

That’s right, Allison ‘dared’ to say the obvious about Mono [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], so now he has the label “conspiracy theorist” glued to his back by Miguel de Icaza et al. It’s a nasty label that we wrote about 2 years ago.

Let’s remember that the same thing happened to Groklaw where it merely dared to express concerns about Mono (for the reasons de Icaza explains and even justifies in the apparently-censored article). This is systematic bullying of everyone who criticises Mono (bloggers and journalists alike). This puts Mono at the same ethical level as Microsoft.

Press Fail

Posted in Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 12:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lenin reading Pravda

Summary: How PR puppets are attempting to influence people who mention their clients in one way or another

JUST ABOUT once a week I receive uninvited mail from PR agencies that act as proxies of companies that I just happen to cover or mention. I typically just ignore these E-mails, but sometimes I am pressured to reply and decline politely to engage with those companies and their proxies. Bruce Byfield wrote something similar about the subject 2 years ago (he writes for Datamation and so did I). There are so many sharks like these out there, whose full-time job is to haunt and/or to influence people who write about particular topics. It’s like lobbying, which I sometimes call “legalised bribery” (“lobbying” just sounds too innocent). Here is just one example from yesterday (names and identification removed):

Hi Roy,

I’ve seen your coverage and would like to pitch you on [company] (the open source [field] company) when you’re writing about relevant topics. I’ve been on the [company] PR team for a few months. Until this point my former colleague, [name], owned most of the outreach to you, but with her recent departure, I want to learn what topics you’re writing and thinking about most this year.

Mainly, I want to make sure I don’t waste your time with pitches you don’t care about. Likewise, if there are customers, ISVs or vendors I have access to that can help you on stories, I want to make sure I get you access to them.

I’d love to get 10 minutes on the phone with you. If you’ll be in the [venue], I’ll even spring for lunch. And if neither of these are options for you, I’d really appreciate if you could take 1-2 minutes and jot down top-of-mind topics you’re looking to cover so I know how to help. I’d like to be able to touch base with you every month or so to see what’s on your radar.

Best regards,

[name] Public Relations
[phone #] office
[phone #] mobile

This is just something to bear in mind when you read “the news”. There are a lot of dishonest people out there and they pretend to give “stories”. These are manipulated if not manufactured (sometimes ghostwritten) by PR people. These encounters with PR people are sometimes far less amicable and the E-mail above seems to suggest that these people keep dossiers on individuals whom they never even spoke to*. Microsoft does it for a fact (we have evidence from the courts and other examples).
* I was never in touch with them and I reject those practices for fundamental reasons.

Links 24/3/2010: Linux 2.6.34 Preview, Parted Magic 4.9 is Here

Posted in News Roundup at 12:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Total PC Gaming staff jobs safe

    Previous editor Russell Barnes confirmed to MCV that he is moving across to Imagine Publishing’s Linux User, where he will take the role of editor.

  • Team Seattle Raises Almost $400,000 for Seattle Children’s Hospital, with Support from Pogo Linux, at Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

    Pogo Linux (www.pogolinux.com), a Seattle computer-hardware company focusing on the open-source Linux operating system, was proud to support Team Seattle and the team’s fundraising efforts for Seattle Children’s Hospital and its Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) at this year’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 24-hour endurance race.

  • Linux support à la carte

    Credativ has launched a pre-paid Linux Support Card in Britain, Germany, USA and Canada, which gives holders access to case-based Linux support for Debian and CentOS with no contractual commitment. The support is available for all servers and desktops within an enterprise and is carried out over email, telephone and remote access.

  • [LCA] Talk Slides

    This page is simply a place to collect links to presenters’ slides.

  • Server

    • Linux Wins Again for HPC

      The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) has announced that the much anticipated Blue Waters supercomputer will be using Linux as its operating system.

    • FAI: Automated Install, Management and Customization for Linux

      FAI (Fully Automatic Installation) is a non-interactive system to avoid the boring and repeating task of installing, customizing and managing Linux systems manually. Nowadays FAI is used for maintaining chroot environments, virtual machines as well as physical boxes in setups ranging from a few single systems up to deployments of large-scale infrastructures and clusters with several thousands of systems.

  • Virtualisation

    • Virtual PC

      Many server-side applications are available in virtual-appliance versions. These are VM images that include an OS (Linux, typically) and a copy of the application pre-loaded, so the whole thing can be deployed and run by simply booting the virtual PC and connecting to it over the network. WordPress, SugarCRM, Joomla! and Drupal, just to name a few such apps, all exist in virtual-appliance editions.

    • Tool Time: Run VMs and More with VMware Player 3.0

      Browser Appliance is a Ubuntu Linux-based VM installed with Mozilla Firefox. It lets you securely browse the Internet without leaving a trace on the physical computer. This is a good VM to test drive initially as well as use later on.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Proprietary

      • The First Opera 10.51 Snapshot for Linux Is Here

        Opera 10.50 has been available for a couple of weeks on Windows and Opera 10.51 has just been released, but Linux fans are still stuck at Opera 10.10. Hopefully, this won’t be for much longer, as the new browser is packing some serious punch and is coming with an impressive feature list. The final release isn’t here, but Linux users can finally get to testing Opera’s latest creation as the first snapshot builds of Opera 10.51 6252 for Linux have been made available by the development team.

      • AVG Rescue CD: Free toolset for repair of infected machines

        The AVG Rescue CD is essentially a portable version of AVG Anti-Virus supplied through Linux distribution.

      • Coraid offers EtherDrive storage arrays and HBAs

        Coraid’s EtherDrive storage platform has organically amassed over 1,100 customers, including large enterprise and government organizations, since its 2005 launch into the Linux market.

    • Instructionals

      • Best of both worlds

        If you don’t wish to tamper with your system, there are ways to run Linux with USB sticks. The easiest way to go about is to take the help of http://www.unetbootin.com UNetbootin allows you to create bootable Live USB drives for a variety of Linux distributions from Windows or Linux. You can let unetbootin download a distribution or use your own Linux.iso file if you have one.

      • Bitdefender: Linux antivirus made simple
      • Replace a failed drive in Linux RAID
  • Distributions

    • Parted Magic 4.9 arrives

      Parted Magic developer Patrick Verner has announced the release of version 4.9 of the open source Parted Magic, multi-platform partitioning tool. Parted Magic can be used to create, move, delete and resize drive partitions and will run on a machine with as little as 64MB of RAM. File systems supported include NTFS, FAT, ReiserFS, Reiser4 and HFS+, LVM and RAID are also supported. The latest 4.9 release is based on the Linux kernel and includes several bug fixes, updates and changes.

    • Red Hat founder aims for another IPO home run

      Robert Young, author of one of the hottest IPOs markets have ever seen, is out to prove that he’s got another bestseller up his sleeve.

      The founder of software firm Red Hat Inc. is in the midst of an initial public offering for Lulu Ltd., a book publishing company with a premise no less revolutionary than Amazon.com.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 10.4 beta is bloody brilliant

        I’ve been playing with the Ubuntu 10.4 beta for the past two days, and it’s bloody brilliant.


        Thankfully, the wealth of free software that’s always been such an integral part of Linux’s allure can now be accessed through the Ubuntu Software Centre, which is essentially an open-source app store, complete with a “Featured Applications” section that provides a handy stepping off point for software experimentation.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 in Beta, Stable Release in April

        Ubuntu is Linux for the rest of us. It is simple to install and use. Despite that, not that many users are on board with estimates of 1-2% of all computer users running various Linux operating systems. But with the release of Ubuntu 10.04, there might be a few reasons to give it a try. It is currently in beta, so you may not want to install it on your primary computer.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • PI launches motion controller for PILine motors

      The software package includes the user program PIMikromove, Labview drivers, DLLs and support of Linux operating systems.

    • i.MX51 board initialization and memory mapping using the Linux target image builder (LTIB)

      This application note provides general information regarding the board initialisation process and the memory mapping implementation of the Linux kernel using the LTIB in an i.MX51 board support package (BSP).

    • JetBox 9532 Linux-ready VPN Router allows users to connect and remotely manage card readers, cameras and speakers

      Equipped with 4 additional RS232/422/485 serial ports, the JetBox 9532 Linux-based embedded platform allows users to connect and remotely manage card readers, cameras, speakers and other access and security control devices via Ethernet.

    • VIVOTEK’s first IP surveillance road show is a grand success

      The introduction of Linux-related technology, such as video recorders, storage, video management, video analytics, I/O controls, and embedded systems were also introduced in the road show for the first time.

    • Stretch S6000 Family Processors Power New NVR Server From Exacq

      Stretch Inc., the pioneer and leader in software configurable processors, today announced that Exacq Technologies, Inc., developers of the exacqVision VMS software and systems for video surveillance applications, is using Stretch S6000 family processors to power its new exacqVision EL-S embedded Linux NVR appliance.

    • Opera and Ocean Blue launch HbbTV solution

      This solution combines the Opera Devices SDK for Linux, Opera’s fully compliant HbbTV framework and Ocean Blue’s DVB middleware, which incorporates HbbTV extensions. The resulting package gives full flexibility to OEMs, enabling them to implement HbbTV portals and services, such as ARD/ ZDF Mediathek, Tagesschau and Arte.

    • Loewe selects Opera to deliver premium Web technology to connected TVs

      Opera Software today announced that its Opera Devices SDK 10.15 for Linux was selected by Loewe, the premium European brand in-home entertainment. Opera will help Loewe fulfill its promise to deliver “innovation for the senses” by providing Web browsing, widgets and HbbTV implementation on Loewe connected TVs.

    • Control Issues: Reviewing the Behringer BCF2000 and FCB1010

      That’s it for this week’s report. If you’ve been hesitating over the purchase of either the BCF/BCR or the FCB, hesitate no longer. The units are well-supported by Linux, they work beautifully, and software editors are available that can help you design more creative and effective configurations.

    • Multi-Tech Systems Announces Cellular Development Platform for M2M Applications and Products

      Set to be available in May 2010, the Platform enables developers to bridge multiple interfaces and create gateway access to the cellular network by leveraging Linux-based open source software and field-tested, globally approved hardware.

    • Ubiquitous Corporation Launches “Ubiquitous QuickBoot”, as a Break-Through Booting Innovation for Various Embedded Devices

      By using the epoch-making Ubiquitous QuickBoot on ARM platform, Android or Linux can boot in 1 second, after turning on the power as a “cold” boot.

    • Marvell Moby Tablet – the Linux factor

      It’s going to be running Linux. Now I love Linux. I use it for my web servers, all of my thin clients have a light Linux OS, and whenever I can get someone to give it a shot on their own computers, I hand them a live CD. Ubuntu will be the only way that these little tablets will be able to run on the Marvell chipset and the only way to hit that $99 pricepoint (or, for that matter, a sub-$200 pricepoint). The Flash implementation that Rachel King reported rules out Windows 7 Mobile as well.

      So Linux it is (and I say Ubuntu because that has been well-developed for embedded applications and runs the Tonido Plug quite handily). The problem with Linux is two-fold: 1) Most people don’t like it as much as I do and teachers will be put off by “something different.” 2) Development efforts in interactive ebooks are favoring the iPad and Microsoft slates, not Linux-based devices.

      While most folks don’t realize that their Kindles and other e-readers are running Linux, they expect these devices to be “different.” Over and over, though, I’ve encountered users who expect a computer-like device to either look like Windows or look like OS X.

    • Phones

      • The new ZTE smartphone is a must-have.

        With features including new operation systems like OMS and Linux giving high quality functionality, and an assortment of different options, the ZTE is sure to be a very sought after phone once it’s released to the public.

      • bphone flipscreen smartphone runs linux, java

        If you’re thinking about getting your hands on one, head on over to Chinagrabber, where it retails for $569 (USD).

      • Nokia

        • Maemo 5 SDK Update 5 Now Available

          A new version of the Maemo 5 SDK is now available for download, yet it seems that it comes only as an early access version of the SDK update 5, and that it includes a series of known issues, which are expected to be fixed as soon as the final update 5 release is delivered. The new version comes with a wide range of additions, updates and more, as well as with the Qt4.6 library.

      • Android

        • Android – From the Beginning to World Domination

          Android’s co-founders Andy Rubin, Nick Sears, and Chris White went to work for Google. Rubin is also the co-founder of Danger, Sears is a former Vice President of Product Marketing at T-Mobile USA, and White headed design and interface development at WebTV. Android Inc was an unknown company that made software for mobile phones. Then rumors were circulating that Google was planning to enter the mobile phone market. At Google, a team lead by Rubin developed a mobile platform powered by the Linux kernel which they marketed to headset makers and wireless carriers on the premise of providing a customizable and upgradeable system.

        • DropBox cloud syncing app for Android on the way

          File syncing service DropBox is set to get an Android app very soon, which means that another swathe of smartphone users will be able to access their Desktop files via the cloud.

    • Tablets

      • WePad is an Android tablet from Germany

        Another product is joining the tablet wars. It’s WePad, which comes from the German company Neofonie. Specs wise, we’re talking about the device that’s more powerful than the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) iPad, but as you know, it’s not the specs that win the consumers’ hearts, minds and ultimately wallets.

      • Apple iPad? How about a little German innovation instead

        The Neofonie WePad has similar form and function as the wet dreams of our Crunchgear editors, but facts are that the German Android device has a bigger multitouch screen and a faster CPU than the iPad. Also it runs Flash, has USB ports, an inbuilt card reader and expandable memory. Additionally it allows complete multitasking and has a webcam. Beat that baby.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Are Linux and FSF complementary?

    What is Free Software Foundation then? Free Software Foundation (FSF) happens to be a non-profit corporation founded at the behest of Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 and the main intention was to support the free software movement, a copyleft-based movement with the sole objective to encourage the universal freedom to forge, disseminate and change computer software. The FSF is incorporated in Massachusetts, USA.

    Ever since its foundation in the mid 80s, the organization has been working relentlessly based on its sole dedication to the cause. It should also be noted that in agreement with its goals, only free software is used on FSF’s computers.

    What do we get from all these? The descriptions of these two entities indicate self-confident software scenario. However there is also a question and this is rising gradually. What is that? Many have started to enquire whether the advocacy group has been solely responsible behind the exponential success of Linux.

  • How Thunderbird 3 works on Mac OS X: Better than Apple Mail?

    The one place where Thunderbird blows Mail out of the water is with the add-ons. Using the add-ons, you can GPG sign mail using the Enigmail add-on; you can sync contacts with Gmail or Zimbra using the Zindus add-on; and expand tiny URLs (via URL shortening services) using TheRealURL. Looking at the Thunderbird add-ons page, there truly is something for everyone: with over 640 “miscellaneous” add-ons alone, how could there not be?

  • Richard Stallman on SaaS

    At Saturday on Libre Planet, Richard Stallman announced the publication of an essay on software as a service (SaaS). By my count, it is his first published piece on the subject since Stallman’s controversial comments on GMail a year and a half ago. Readers of this blog will all be interested in reading the new essay if they haven’t already already done so.

    In his article, Stallman defines SaaS as, “a network server that does certain computing tasks … then invites users to do their computing on that server.” His basic message is simple: users should reject SaaS network services because SaaS users are inherently disempowered and out of control. Indeed, users should reject SaaS even if a service is implemented using free so

  • Free Software Awards Announced

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced the winners of the annual free software awards at a ceremony on Saturday March 20, held during the LibrePlanet conference at Harvard Science Center in Cambridge, MA.

    The award for the Advancement of Free Software was won by John Gilmore. The award for Project of Social Benefit was won by the Internet Archive. The awards were presented by FSF president and founder Richard M. Stallman.

  • Openness

    • Eyes wide shut?

      A debate is underway among the proponents and gainsayers of open access about the reality of whether OA leads to more citations. I am not over-concerned with citations as they are not the sole indicators of the usage of research output. As one of the contributors has said, there is an ‘invisible college’ within which data, methodology, ideas are shared among researchers via conferences, coffee-breaks, workshops, emails, reports, social networking and other communication devices. While this ‘college’ informs, it is seldom cited.

      Another statement made in these exchanges was that ‘open access is a solution looking for a problem’. This stopped me in my tracks, since over the last decade, evidence has been accumulating showing the high level of information imbalance and paucity, especially – but by no means only – in the developing world. And it was for this reason that the EPT and many other initiatives were formed to help resolve the problem. It is indisputable that access to all necessary research findings had not been met in pre-web days. Researchers, we had a problem.

    • Sharing Ideas about Open Philanthropy

      As regular readers of this blog will know, for the last five years or so I have been tracking the diffusion of the ideas behind open source into other spheres. I’m particularly interested to see what does and does not translate easily to other domains.

      Here’s another application: open philanthropy.

    • How to Spark a Snowcrash, & What the Web Really Does

      In order to understand the implications of the shift and to internalize it, you need to experience it firsthand. You can’t tell your organization that you’re going to be implementing “social media” and everyone is going to start “collaborating,” and assume that waving a magic wand is going to make this happen. My experience has been that I had to learn what trusting and sharing means on my own.


      What does society reward? Cheating. Stealing. Exploitation. Fame. Big houses. Fancy cars. Executive titles. Material stuff. All these things are attached to something else. Something has to be sacrificed to get these things. And they often don’t make you happy in the end. They’re not who you really are, or what you really care about, but you do them because that’s how it’s set up, and we’re just operating within the framework that exists.

      But, there’s this other way.

      In this experimental society in which you can participate, if you want – people are a little more “real.” People will give you advice, pass along a link they think might interest you, offer to collaborate on a real project, or exchange some information with you, for no other reason besides that it’s “how THIS system works.”

      The precondition is trust. You can’t buy trust. You can’t force trust.

      You earn trust.

    • Open Notebook Science

      Open notebook science (ONS) is the practice of making the primary record of a research project publicly available online as it is generated. This involves placing the personal, or laboratory, notebook of the researcher(s) online along with all raw and processed data, and any associated material. The approach can be summed up by the slogan “no insider information”.


  • Texts Without Context

    Mr. Shields’s book consists of 618 fragments, including hundreds of quotations taken from other writers like Philip Roth, Joan Didion and Saul Bellow — quotations that Mr. Shields, 53, has taken out of context and in some cases, he says, “also revised, at least a little — for the sake of compression, consistency or whim.” He only acknowledges the source of these quotations in an appendix, which he says his publishers’ lawyers insisted he add.

  • Libel reform bill to tackle ‘libel tourism’

    Foreign claimants will find it more difficult to initiate libel cases in UK courts and a “public interest” defence should be introduced to protect investigative journalism, under reforms unveiled by the government today.

  • Crime novelist sued for setting plot around Paris landmark

    When Lalie Walker set about using the Marché Saint Pierre as the setting for her latest crime thriller she thought she was paying a nostalgic tribute to a much-loved Parisian landmark.

    But, after reading her tale of a crazed killer who sews fear and loathing among the rolls of taffeta, the owners of the much-loved Montmartre fabric store have signalled that they do not appreciate her gesture.

  • Student Punished for Facebook Group Starts $10-Million Lawsuit

    Chris Avenir faced 147 charges of academic misconduct two years ago for his Facebook group, which let engineering students “discuss/post solutions” to homework problems. The course stipulated that students had to conduct independent work. Mr. Avenir faced expulsion, but a faculty committee ruled he should instead receive a zero for one assignment and a disciplinary note in his file.

  • Science

    • Will reclusive mathematician accept $1 million prize?

      A million-dollar prize for solving one of toughest problems in mathematics has been awarded to a Russian mathematician, but the real puzzle is whether he’ll accept it.

      The reclusive Grigori Perelman has been recognised for his proof of the Poincaré conjecture, one of seven Millennium prize problems selected by the Clay Mathematics Institute (CMI) in 2000 as the most important unsolved problems in mathematics.

  • Security

    • Policeman who hit G20 protester with baton mistook drink carton for weapon, court hears

      Opening the case, Nicholas Paul, prosecuting, said Smellie had “lost his self control” during an “excessive and unjustified” attack on Fisher. “He went from level one to level five without considering the intervening steps,” said Paul.

    • Author found guilty of Blue Water Bridge assault

      Toronto author Peter Watts was found guilty Friday of assaulting, resisting and obstructing a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer at the Blue Water Bridge.

      Jurors returned the verdict about in St. Clair County Circuit Judge James Adair’s courtroom. He will be sentenced April 26. Watts, 52, faces up to two or three years in prison.

    • New Amnesty briefing urges full inquiry to end secrecy over UK abuse involvement

      Amnesty International today (23 March) released a new briefing outlining its call for a full, independent and impartial inquiry into UK involvement in human rights abuses overseas post-11 September 2001. The briefing outlines ten key questions that an inquiry should seek to answer.


      1. What have been the UK government’s policies and practices in response to grave violations of human rights such as torture or other ill-treatment, enforced disappearances, renditions and unlawful detentions perpetrated by the USA and other states against people, including UK nationals, held overseas since 11 September 2001? Have they changed since then? If so, when, how and why?

  • Environment

    • Tories criticise UK for failing to support 20-year ban on African ivory sales

      The Conservatives today criticised the government for failing to support proposals from a number of African countries to impose a 20-year ban on any legal sales of ivory.

    • Bye-Bye Bluefin Tuna

      So, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected international trade restrictions on northern bluefin tuna, thus probably consigning it to extinction, and removing a key predator from the oceans, with who knows what knock-on effects.

    • Politics and Peak Energy

      Below the fold is a guest post by John Howe, an engineer who invented the solar tractor. In this post, John says, “Our only hope for a drastic course correction is to support grass-roots movements to elect leaders who clearly understand energy and the growing tension between an economic system based on continued growth (especially population) and declining energy.”

    • Institute for Energy Research Admits It Was Behind Anti-Wind Study

      Danish journalists have confirmed that The Institute for Energy Research commissioned and paid for the anti-wind energy study released last year by a Danish think tank that claimed Denmark exaggerates the amount of wind energy it produces (it doesn’t), questioned whether wind energy reduces carbon emissions (it does), and asserted that the U.S. should choose coal over wind because it’s cheaper (it’s not when you count the true costs of coal).


      IER has railed against green jobs, arguing that oil and gas are better job creators, despite the fact that investment in clean energy technology creates four times as many jobs as investment in oil and gas. IER continues its campaign against wind energy as well, asserting recently that the Obama administration had been “caught red-handed working with Big Wind energy lobbyists.”

      Yes, those scary “Big Wind energy lobbyists” pose a real threat to America. You can’t make this stuff up folks. Unless, of course, you work at the oil-and-coal-funded Institute for Energy Research.

    • Harper Government Stifles the Truth

      The scandal is growing at Environment Canada of how Canadian climate researchers are being “muzzled” by draconian policies of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

      This week the Montreal Gazette reported on a leaked document showing that the information restrictions brought in by the Harper government have severely restricted the media’s access to government researchers.

      “Scientists have noticed a major reduction in the number of requests, particularly from high-profile media, who often have same-day deadlines,” said the Environment Canada document. “Media coverage of climate change science, our most high-profile issue, has been reduced by over 80%.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • NCAA games coming to Syracuse, but businesses can’t mention it

      But the NCAA and its trademarks, restrictions and sponsor partners are putting the lid on any sanctioned events — rallies, parties and the like — for the Syracuse community and the other three cities hosting what’s come to be known as the Sweet 16.

    • China

      • What Chinese Censors Don’t Want You to Know

        Following are excerpts from media guidelines that the Communist Party propaganda department and the government Bureau of Internet Affairs, conveyed to top editors before this month’s annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

        The sessions are often referred to here as “the two meetings.” Such internal guidelines are typically circulated weekly, and the list issued before this year’s sessions was described as considerably lengthier than the norm.


        10. During the two meetings, do not feature or sensationalize news about petitioners.

        11. Do not report on the hunger strike by Ai Weiwei and other artists. [There was no hunger strike, but Beijing artists are protesting being forced to relocate their studios without fair compensation.]

      • Chinese netizens’ open letter to the Chinese Government and Google

        The letter concludes with several statements about censorship. “We support necessary censorship of Internet content and communications, whether it is on Google or any other foreign or domestic company,” the authors write.

      • Google’s unwise move to Hong Kong

        You know things are getting serious when Chinese editorial writers start invoking the specter of the infamous Brtish East India Company in the context of Google’s decision to withdraw its search engine services from China. As a symbol of oppressive imperialism, the British East India Co. is hard to beat in a nation where the scars from the Opium Wars still linger, raw and tender.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Stop BBC “Digital Rights Management” from disabling your HD TV

      The BBC want an offshore consortium of entertainment companies called the “Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator” to decide how your high definition TV and video can work.

      The American courts rejected these draconian restrictions, so the DTLA has chosen to pick on British TV viewers instead.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Happy Birthday, Gnutella: Pioneering P2P Protocol Turns Ten

      Still, Gnutella captured the imagination of many, one of them being Mark Gorton, founder of the New York-based Lime Group. Gorton was at the time pursuing a vision of automating businesses through structured data, and Gnutella, as something that could, for example, distribute real estate listings wrapped in XML, seemed to fit that image quite nicely. Early versions of the Gnutella client of Gorton’s LimeWire venture were still written with this vision in mind, hoping to build a P2P network that could eventually be used to do all kinds of things with which we’re now familiar on the web, thanks to web services.

    • Why Google Made BitTorrent a Success

      BitTorrent is undoubtedly the most efficient way to share large files on the Internet. The key to BitTorrent’s widespread adoption can nevertheless not be exclusively attributed to its technical superiority. Much of BitTorrent’s success lies in the fact that it is web-based, easy to monetize and indexed by Google.

    • UK Anti-Piracy Lawyers Threaten File-Sharing Forum

      ACS:Law have been making news headlines damaging to their reputation ever since they started sending out thousands of threatening letters to alleged file-sharers in the UK. Now they are threatening to sue Slyck.com, one of the Internet’s oldest file-sharing forums, because they don’t like what members have written about them.

    • Spanish Gov’t Moves Forward On New Law To Make File Sharing And Links

      The news of the approval sparked an immediate wave of protest on the Internet. Several Web sites that offer unauthorized links, such as Cinetube.es, Series Yonkis.com and Divxonline.com shut themselves down until midnight, showing only the message “For freedom in the Web. No to the closure of Web [sites],” with a black background.

    • MGMT’s Congratulations Leaked Like Watergate

      Most Americans were too busy tweeting about health care to notice, but MGMT’s forthcoming album Congratulations leaked over the weekend. The band is now streaming the whole thing from their website. Full disclosure: I listened to about five seconds of the first song, and it totally justifies that insane cover art.

    • More And More Musicians Embracing Free Music With Subscriptions For Support

      In many ways, all of this business model experimentation is similar to the kind of experimentation these musicians do in the music itself. That is, they take ideas they have themselves, combine it with ideas inspired from others, and come out with something wholly unique and creative, which best matches with their own community. It’s improvisational business modeling.

    • Why ‘TV Everywhere’ Will Fail

      Taking away choice.
      While Comcast pitches Xfinity as giving users more control over content by being able to watch what they want when they want, the reality is that Comcast is locking people into their menu of offerings for cable TV. And, most importantly, they are giving people the chance to watch content on other platforms — laptops, smartphones, etc. — only if they keep paying their cable bills. There is still no choice for people who want to pay less for just the shows they want. The ultimate in customization comes from the Internet, where you watch what you want and aren’t usually forced into bundles of content and channels.

    • Kulula Responds To FIFA Legal Threats With Hilarious Clarifying Ad
    • EMI pawns its pop stars in £400m rescue bid

      EMI is in talks to mortgage its back catalogue of music recordings in a last-ditch attempt to solve its mounting cash crisis.

      The group is offering rival labels the chance to manage its North American catalogue business, which includes tracks by The Beatles and Blondie, for a five-year period.

    • ACTA

      • [ACTA leak]
      • ACTA and the European Commission: The great escape

        Members of Act Up-Paris and La Quadrature du Net attended this morning a « stakeholders meeting » on ACTA hosted by the European Commission. Questions asked by the public faced a wall of condescendence and disdain. Luc Devigne’s answers did not reassure us. On the contrary, they strenghtened Act Up-Paris, April and La Quadrature’s concerns that ACTA could endanger access to medicine, Free Software and freedom of expression on the Net, while circumventing democratic processes.

      • ACTA – Stakeholders’ Consultation Meeting
      • ACTA New Zealand meeting agenda
      • ACTA: an unseen treaty in the making

        Le Monde diplomatique has just obtained a copy of section 2 of the ACTA treaty project, titled “Border Measures” and consisting of a dozen pages outlining, in very detailed practical terms, the future of customs practices with respect to “goods suspected of infringing intellectual property rights”.

      • EU defends itself from attack on ACTA

        At a public hearing in Brussels today, the EU executive tried to reassure business and civil liberties groups that the EU would impose criminal sanctions only on counterfeit goods “on a commercial scale,” but not on “proverbial housewife file-sharing,” meaning by private individuals.

      • EU Negotiators Insist That ACTA Will Move Forward And There’s Nothing To Worry About

        The talking points from ACTA negotiators seem clear. When accused of being secretive, deny it and insist that you’re being open. If really pushed on the matter, blame mysterious, nameless “others” for keeping the documents secret. Then, when specific items in the text are brought up, insist that these are being misrepresented, and if only you could see the real text (which you can’t, because it’s a secret) you’d know that it was all blown out of proportion. Then, finally, insist that ACTA won’t change any laws. Of course, if that were the case, there would be no need for ACTA at all.

      • To: EC’s Directorate General for Trade

        Without much fanfare, the European Commission has arranged an “ACTA Stakeholders’ Consultation Meeting”. Of course, the big problem is that it’s in Brussels, and few of us can afford to take a day off work to attend – unless we are professional lobbyists, of course, who get *paid* huge sums to attend.

      • Big ACTA Leak: Full Consolidated Text

        La Quadrature du Net has obtained another ACTA document – and it’s a biggie, but at the moment only a 56-page PDF. You can help convert it into text.

      • ACTA’s De Minimis Provision: Countering the iPod Searching Border Guard Fears

        The E.U. version:

        Where a traveler’s personal baggage contains goods of a non-commercial nature within the limits of the duty-free allowance and there are no material indications to suggest the goods are part of commercial traffic, each Party may consider to leave such goods, or part of such goods, outside the scope of this section.]

        Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Singapore support alternative wording:

        Where a traveler’s personal baggage contains trademark goods or copyright materials of a non-commercial nature within the limits of the duty-free allowance {Aus: or where copyright materials or trademark goods are sent in small consignments} and there are no material indiciations to suggest the goods are part of commercial traffic, Parties may consider such goods to be outside the scope of this Agreement.]

        Japan favours the following:

        Where a Party excludes from the application of the provisions in this Section small quantities of goods of a non-commercial nature contained in traveler’s personal luggage, the Party shall ensure that the quantitites of goods eligible for such exclusion shall be limited to the minimum allowed within its available resources.]

        And Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S. would also support this approach:

        Where a traveler’s personal baggage contains goods of non-commerical nature in quantities reasonably attributable to the personal use of the traveler there are no material indications to suggest the goods are part of commercial traffic, each Party may consider that such goods are outside the scope of this section]

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • A state-sponsored book-burning parade.

        For months, my head has been jammed with anger and ideas about the Digital Economy Bill that’s in the last stages of being rushed through parliament. I keep meaning to discuss it on this blog, and I haven’t. Not because I don’t care – actually, this piece of legislation offends me personally and politically more than anything Labour have done since they took us into Iraq – but because I care so profoundly that I don’t think anything I can say can really do it justice. Pathetically, I’m also a bit intimidated by the volume of clever stuff that’s been already been said about corporate copyright protection, and I’m scared that if I try to express how I feel I’ll reveal myself as a Stupid Shouty Girl who Doesn’t Understand. But I’ve got to at least acknowledge that this matters to me. It matters because the Digital Economy Bill is one of the most significant assaults on human rights that Labour has managed to execute in its twelve-year trigger-happy showdown with British civil liberties.

      • Debate: Will The Digital Economy Bill Undermine Our Basic Rights?
      • The Digital Economy Bill: A wise move?

        In one corner, we have the major record labels saying filesharing is theft that has “cost” billions; in the other we have the rest of the market showing that they don’t agree. That cost includes the death of a retail market, which would seem an inevitable part of all downloading, not just illegal downloading. Music is downloaded (legally and illegally) on a scale that record sales never matched and there is evidence to show that consumers who download and share the most music are also the people who are buying it. Some companies want to grasp the opportunities the internet gives, but not adjust to its challenges.

      • Brits: last chance to demand debate on Digital Economy Bill — act now!

        We’re in the final days for the British Digital Economy Bill. This Thursday, the House of Commons will decide whether to subject the bill to line-by-line debate (which will probably kill it or at least delay it until after the election), or whether to pass it without any real scrutiny or debate. Given that the DEB will touch every part of British life, from education to civic engagement to health to law enforcement to justice, it’s insane to think that Parliament might pass it without even examining what it says.

      • BPI Boycott
      • BPI lobbyist Mollett tries for parliament

        What does the Parliamentary candidacy of the BPI’s main spokesperson tell us about the links between the BPI (the four major record labels) and the Labour party?


        Mollett is unlikely to be elected. In fact, Mollett stands a greater chance of scaling the north face of the Eiger than he does of winning leafy Farnham under a Labour banner. But his candidacy tell us more about the close ties between the organisation he lobbies for – the BPI – and the Labour party. The BPI, for which Mollett is head of corporate communications, has lobbied extensively for the Digital Economy Bill, and wrote at least one amendment. The BPI is currently trying to get the bill through Parliament without a debate, before the election. It is lobbying for the bill to either be voted through by lazy and uncaring MPs, or that in the so-called ‘wash-up’ before the election, a deal will be done which ensures it goes through. A leaked email recently exposed the BPI’s attitude (see also my previous article on the BPI email).

      • The Pirate Party UK Launches its 2010 Election Manifesto
      • U.K. Anti-Piracy Law To Allow Appeals

        The U.K. government says it will add measures to the Digital Economy Bill that will create an appeals procedure for those accused of online copyright infringement.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Ricardo Mireles, Free Open Source Software advocate in Los Angeles 02 (2004)

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

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