Thumbs up to Ubuntu for Removing a Part of Microsoft; TurboHercules Likely a Psystar-Type Microsoft Shell

Posted in Antitrust, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Ubuntu at 6:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ubuntu dumps Microsoft and Yahoo

Summary: An analysis combining Ubuntu’s relationship with Microsoft proxies such as Yahoo! search and Mono; more on how TurboHercules may be connected to Microsoft and why IBM’s response was tactless

SEVERAL days ago we argued that Canonical was making a serious mistake by sending Ubuntu users to Microsoft’s datacentres [1, 2]. The good news is that Canonical has just changed its mind, but people keep wondering why.

However, for the final release, we will use Google as the default provider. I have asked the Ubuntu Desktop team to change the default back to Google as soon as reasonably possible, but certainly by final freeze on April 15th.

It was not our intention to “flap” between providers, but the underlying circumstances can change unpredictably. In this case, choosing Google will be familiar to everybody upgrading from 9.10 to 10.04 and the change will only be visible to those who have been part of the development cycle for 10.04.

Several people reckon that Canonical did this because of backlash relating to Microsoft, not habits (why else would habits be ignored when realigning/repositioning buttons, for example?). Others say that Google perhaps offered some money or Mark Shuttleworth had a change of heart (or intervention after someone had made this decision which he did not endorse). Either way, we might never find out the whole story and who was behind the decision, unless someone uploads some videos or internal discussions that reveal the anatomy of these decisions (both the old decision and the new one, which retracts and reverses the former).

Canonical’s important decision has received a fair deal of coverage [1, 2, 3], mostly very encouraging. Ubuntu users are happy with this sudden reversal. The Source writes:

In any case, having Google as the default search engine is the best option, so I welcome the change. Whatever the convoluted dance-stepping offered to un-justify and then re-justify it.

Here is a new response to the removal of the GIMP:

The one other thing I did notice right off the bat was that the GIMP was gone. Why Canonical decided to leave out a very, if not the most important piece of software raises some questions. Canonical needs to spend less time on Google’s Chrome OS and more time on their own OS.

Some users remain dissatisfied with the decision to remove the GIMP [1, 2, 3]. In the news we have this for example:

The next major update of Ubuntu code named Ubuntu Lucid Lynx is scheduled to arrive in April 2010. This is going to be an LTS edition, which means updates will be available for three years in desktop and five years in Servers. Even though Ubuntu 10.04 is going to be an LTS release, a complete overhaul is on the cards. Lets take a peek at what’s coming in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.


In another rather controversial move, Ubuntu is going to ditch GIMP. In Canonical’s observation, most of the users don’t ever use the advanced functionalities of GIMP and all their basic image manipulation needs are met with other applications. Again, you can always install GIMP with a few clicks using Ubuntu Software Centre, and so IMO, this is not going to be a big deal for most of us.

Then there is Ubuntu’s Mono problem that Jeremy Allison warned about [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. There is a new Ubuntu-based distribution without Mono. It addresses general distrust that Canonical turns its back to. More from the news:

[Canonical's] Carr wasn’t hinting, however, about Ubuntu not including Mono, Novell’s Microsoft .NET-compatible set of software tools, applications by default. While some open-source fans really dislike Mono, thanks in no small part to Novell’s Microsoft partnership and Mono’s reliance on .NET, if anything, Ubuntu seems to be incorporating more of Mono in its default distribution.

We remain a little concerned because Canonical’s new COO, Matt Asay, is still defending hypePad (iPad) in another new blog post. As we pointed out yesterday, it’s a disservice to his Ubuntu business. As TechDirt puts it:

As it’s become clear that the iPad is more of a “content delivery vehicle” than an interactive device (and there’s nothing wrong with that), people are quickly discovering how regional licensing issues and copyright may hold the device back in some areas.

We have shared many other explanations of why hypePad is bad [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10], so we won’t be repeating the old arguments. Either way, Asay refers to source code in his blog, but he does not want to talk about Freedom (with a capital F) and what hypePad does to one’s freedom. It’s rather tragic because Ubuntu’s added value ought to be more than just source code which is shared/co-developed with other companies. Ubuntu’s leadership should be thinking about other marketing factors or at least not be represented by the views of Asay. It’s distracting from GNU/Linux. Hostility or apathy towards Free software could put off Ubuntu users, at least a good majority of them.

“Hostility or apathy towards Free software could put off Ubuntu users, at least a good majority of them.”The hypePad is very revolutionary; it introduces the renting of a tablet and merely the renting of some text for it (and paying for the privilege to rent what once could be owned). No wonder Big Media companies give it so much coverage. They love the idea. Xbox is similar to that, but it’s a console.

Fortunately to some people who decided to pay hundreds of dollars to rent an hypePad, there is a way out of Apple’s prison. Within less than a day hypePad got jailbroken.

Apple’s iPad has already been jailbroken, using a variation of the iPhone method and demonstrating just how much the two devices have in common.

The hack was completed in less than 24 hours. In theory it enables the owner to install everything from Wi-Fi scanners to pornography – applications Apple disapproves of – though for the moment it just allows a remote terminal connection.

Another new complaint about Asay comes from The Source, which writes about his response to IBM:

Be careful now – if you want to excuse IBM by pointing out that they can chose to enforce patents outside of the 500 named (let’s assume they listed the 2 by mistake and will retract them), then you must in turn acknowledge that projects like Mono and Moonlight which range far far beyond the standardized core are in explict danger as well.

I do not think IBM is legally out-of-bounds here, no more than I think Microsoft would legally be out-of-bounds to shut down vast portions of Mono and Moonlight now or in the future. (Perhaps after Novell is bought out and agreements are no longer renewed?)

I’m just surprised Mr. Asay finds this an encouraging development for Open Source.

Ubuntu GNU/Linux currently claims 12 million users worldwide and with this privileged position comes responsibility to represent GNU/Linux properly. Ubuntu stands on the shoulders of giants (other people’s labour). According to some recent surveys that are geography dependent, about a third of GNU/Linux users — at least on standard desktops/laptops — use Ubuntu (source: Linux Journal, 2010). Fedora has many users too.

Since the subject of IBM was brought up, here is a quick roundup of what we wrote about TurboHercules so far:

  1. Microsoft Proxy Attack on GNU/Linux Continues With TurboHercules
  2. Eye on Security: Windows Malware, Emergency Patches, and BeyondTrust’s CEO from Microsoft
  3. IBM Uses Software Patents Aggressively
  4. IBM’s Day of Shame
  5. IBM Will Never be the Same After Taking Software Patents Out of Its Holster

Groklaw believes that it’s just another Psystar. We agree to the extent that this quite likely has Microsoft involvement (we wrote this a month ago). It was weeks ago that sources told this to us privately, after we had raised suspicions. Our criticism of IBM is not for threatening (Groklaw suggests suing) TurboHercules, but for using software patents, including some that were part of an “open-source pledge” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Florian Mueller, who we do not consider to be a friend of Free software (he lobbied against the GPL for example), is having a day trip with this one.

The free and open source software community in Europe is going after IBM for using its patents against an open source project by a French company called TurboHercules. “IBM is using patent warfare in order to protect its highly lucrative mainframe monopoly,” open source advocate Florian Mueller wrote on his blog Tuesday. “The Hercules project is anything but anti-IBM. Hercules just wants to provide customers with an interesting and much-needed choice.”

IBM screwed up very badly by attempting to use software patents and it is trying to undo the damage right now [1, 2]. All in all, IBM is not an enemy of GNU/Linux, but it is not a true friend, either (it’s a selfish interest). It needs to be scrutinised, but not shunned. Here is IBM’s spin:

IBM may be using a further clause from the original pledge which says that they reserve the right to terminate the pledge if any company “files a lawsuit asserting patents or other intellectual property rights against open source software”. TurboHercules filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission last month, and IBM may be considering that as a move that qualifies for revocation of the pledge in this case.

As one person points out:

One thing is for sure, IBM is certainly a friend of the Patent Office.

Indeed. With IBM’s Kappos at the top of the USPTO, there’s almost ‘incest’ in there.

Jim Zemlin, who is working for IBM (indirectly), is not an impartial observer and he helps IBM spin the incident in the two Linux Foundation Web sites.


There’s been recent interest in IBM’s “500 patent” pledge made in 2005 and how it applies today. It’s always important to get the facts, and the words of the pledge itself are the facts we need.

“The pledge will benefit any Open Source Software. Open Source Software is any computer software program whose source code is published and available for inspection and use by anyone, and is made available under a license agreement that permits recipients to copy, modify and distribute the program’s source code without payment of fees or royalties. All licenses certified by opensource.org and listed on their website as of 01/11/2005 are Open Source Software licenses for the purpose of this pledge.

“IBM hereby commits not to assert any of the 500 U.S. patents listed below, as well as all counterparts of these patents issued in other countries, against the development, use or distribution of Open Source Software.”

IBM stands by this 2005 Non-Assertion Pledge today as strongly as it did then. IBM will not sue for the infringement of any of those 500 patents by any Open Source Software.


Daniel Frye
VP, Open Systems Development
IBM Linux Technology Center

Given that IBM funds the Linux Foundation (and is among the founding members of OSDL), this is not too shocking at all. Jim Zemlin has always been an IBM stickler. He really ought to at least criticise IBM’s use of software patents, but he can’t. As The H puts it, “Linux Foundation say ‘breathe easy’ on IBM patents”

This is rather funny. It’s like IBM saying, “be easy on IBM.”

In any event, IBM is currently celebrating the 10th anniversary of GNU/Linux for the mainframe. What a timing!

2010 marks the 10th anniversary of Linux for the mainframe. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Bill Claybrook delves into the 10-year history of Linux for the mainframe, discussing its first deployments, advantages and appropriate workloads, as well as its current market outlook, cost of ownership and available applications. He also offers advice on how you can determine if Linux for the mainframe is the right choice for your data center’s server virtualization project.

The year was 1999. It was the beginning of Linux for the mainframe. IBM and SUSE (which was later acquired by Novell in 2004) began working on a version of Linux for the mainframe. By 2000, the first enterprise-ready, fully supported version was available: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for S/390. The first large, important customer was Telia, a Scandinavian telecommunications company. This year, 2010, is the 10th anniversary of Linux for the mainframe. The value propositions for Linux for the mainframe that were important in 2000 are still important today.

They ought to move to Red Hat.

In other important news, Slashdot has caught IBM patenting optimisation.

jamie(really) writes “IBM appears to want to patent optimizing programs by trial and error, which in the history of programming has, of course, never been done. Certainly, all my optimizations have been the result of good planning. Well done IBM for coming up with this clever idea. What is claimed is: ‘A method for developing a computer program product, the method comprising: evaluating one or more refactoring actions to determine a performance attribute; associating the performance attribute with a refactoring action used in computer code; and undoing the refactoring action of the computer code based on the performance attribute. The method of claim 1 wherein the undoing refactoring is performed when the performance attribute indicates a negative performance effect of the computer code.’”

IBM ought to stop patenting software. Better yet–IBM should use its connections in the USPTO to stop software patents as a whole. As long as IBM refuses to do this, the Big Blue may be a friend of “Linux”, but it is not a friend of Free software; one just cannot be a friend of Free software and software patents at the same time.

IBM logo twist

Quote of the Day: Microsoft’s 6% Market Share in Itanium

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, HP, Microsoft, Quote, Servers, UNIX, Windows at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“An Intel spokesman said that most of the Itanium servers around the world do not run Microsoft Windows anyway. He said that it represents six per cent of current Itanium sales and most Itanium users run HP-UX.”

Nick Farrell, 8th of April, 2010

Chart (pie)

Patents Roundup: Apple, Creative Commons, Domino’s, FedEx, China, and Pacid Group (Patent Troll)

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 4:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Patent pending” pizza fraud from Domino’s (no kidding!)

Summary: The latest batch of evidence showing that the patent system is simply not working (with the exception of monopolies, conglomerates, and trolls)

Apple Wins Patents for iChat, iDVD, Virtual Keyboard & Multi-Touch

Stop Wasting Money On Patents

Patent law is currently broken. Especially software patent law. A pending Supreme Court case (Google Bilski for more info) may fix it or make further break it. In short, you can expect to pay more for, wait longer for, and get less from your patents than you would have 5 or 10 years ago.

Patent Litigation Weekly: DataTreasury Wins First Patent Trial, Against U.S. Bank

Infamous Check Scanning Patents, That Senators Tried To Bury, Wins First Lawsuit

A couple years ago, there was a really sleazy move by some Senators to try to exempt banks from lawsuits brought by a company called DataTreasury, who held a patent on a method for scanning checks. The only purpose for this legal change was so that banks could avoid having to deal with patent infringement threats and lawsuits for doing something as basic as automatically scanning their checks. What we couldn’t understand is why the Senators would single out two specific patents to be ignored, rather than trying to actually fix the patent system. Well, actually, it wasn’t hard to figure out: the Senators were trying to do the banks (the same ones they were about to bail out) a big favor — and doing real patent reform is difficult. Anyway, that story got some publicity and it forced the Senators to back down, so that specific “exemption” never made it through to being law.

Launching Public Discussion of CC Patent Tools (Simon Phipps adds: “Creative Commons starts to address patents. This should be interesting, they have pointedly avoided patent issues until now.”)

We’re happy to announce that we’re launching the public comment and discussion period for our new patent tools: the Research Non-Assertion Pledge and the Public Patent License. We invite you to join the discussion at our public wiki. There you can read about these tools, catch up on hot topics of interest to the community, or join our public discussion list to contribute your thoughts and suggestions.

An uncompromising look at the Domino’s Pizza Tracker

“The Tracker is a fraud,” claimed one pizza eater who requested anonymity. In a rambling online post, the man insisted that, despite the tracker’s insistence that his pizza had been successfully baked and cooked to perfection, Domino’s had left numerous messages on his voicemail explaining that his order could not be filled because the store had run out of dough.

Can You Patent Pretending To Let Customers Know Their Online Ordered Pizza Is In The Oven?

Jeff Nolan points us to an amusing article trying to dig into some questions over whether or not Domino’s “patent pending” pizza tracker is real. Launched a little over two years ago, apparently, if you order a pizza from Domino’s online, it takes you to a website where it alerts you in real-time to the status of your pizza: is it in the oven, has it been put in a box, is it on its way, etc. Domino’s was quite proud of the fact it had filed a patent for the technology, but there have been some concerns about whether the technology is real, or if it’s just a pretty flash animation connected to nothing in reality.

Pat Lit Weekly: FedEx Sends Scott Harris Patent Packing [via]

Over the years, Harris’s patents have been used to sue a wide range of companies, including Dell, FedEx, Motorola, and Google. The Harris patent that had progressed furthest towards trial, No. 6,666,377, is controlled by BarTex Research LLC, a patent-holding company that filed an infringement suit against FedEx in the Eastern District of Texas two weeks after it was formed there. In the company’s complaint, BarTex lawyers at the Chicago patent boutique Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro claim that the existence of the ’377 patent, which covers bar code-scanning technology, means FedEx should make the holding company a royalty payment on every package it ships.

Careful What You Wish For: Greater IP Enforcement In China Being Used Against Foreign Companies…

It turns out that was just the beginning. Joe Mullin points us to a story about how there have been a series of recent patent and trademark rulings in Chinese courts all of which appear to be going against large multinational companies and in favor of Chinese companies.

The world and its dog get sued over encryption [via; It’s clearly a patent troll]

The Pacid Group alleged that Asus, Samsung, Sony, Sony Ericsson, Fujitsu, LG, Gigabyte, GBT, MSI, Motorola, Research in Motion, Nikon, Microsoft, Nintendo, HTC and Palm breached US patent number 5,963,646 and another patent 6,049,612.

Microsoft’s Ally Fortify Software Attacks Free Software Again

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 4:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Fortify’s latest cheap shot at Firefox is very weak and difficult to justify (Fortify is very close to Microsoft)

Fortify Software just cannot help itself. Every now and then it slams Free software for having some of the same deficiencies that exist in proprietary software. This is nothing new from Fortify by the way. We covered some previous examples (even more obvious ones) in:

Fortify’s latest bit of FUD makes use of a Firefox bug. Fortify is an opportunist here, having decided to generalise this bug to the whole of Free software and the FUD begins like this:

This issue, says Fortify Software, highlights the fact that open source software must be tested for security vulnerabilities – and fixed — before it is used in any business.

Oh, really? Is that not the case for proprietary software too? Fortify is just trying to sell its own services, but why does it pick Free software as a scapegoat so often? Could it have something to do with its close Microsoft relationships?

Speaking of “open source”, guess who is still ushering Microsoft's "open source" entryism as we described it yesterday? It’s David Worthington. When “open source” means Microsoft-only.

Netrunner: Ubuntu GNU/Linux Sans Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Finally we have a Ubuntu-based distribution which does not encourage reliance on Microsoft’s C#

Clemens Toennies has launched Netrunner, which is based on Linux Mint (Ubuntu derivative) and contains no Mono, as a matter of conscious choice.

“We stripped it from Mono, so it serves as a testcase for a functional Ubuntu without Mono.”
      –Netrunner’s developer
Techrights happily recommends this distribution to those who were going to download Ubuntu anyway. “We stripped it from Mono,” explains Toennies, “so it serves as a testcase for a functional Ubuntu without Mono. We added WINE for backwards compatibility instead.

“Also, we added some KDE apps for good measure like VLC and acetoneiso.”

Links 8/4/2010: New Mandriva CEO, Debian Mini Conference in Germany

Posted in News Roundup at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ubuntu Claims 12 Million Users Even Before Lucid Lynx, But on What Basis?

    This is not even close to Fedora’s claims of its desktop installation user base of 24 million. The new Ubuntu marks a milestone with its LTS release. This release will be supported for the next three years.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 91
  • Sony

  • Server

    • Creating cloud infrastructures

      You don’t want to throw your server hardware away, but using the AWS sounds cool to you? Maybe you want your own private cloud that is interface-compatible to the AWS. With Eucalyptus, an open source solution exists. Eucalyptus provides the EC2, S3 and EBS functionality and you can use the same open source tools for managing your private cloud that you already know from the AWS. The Eucalyptus team provides packages for CentOS, Ubuntu, openSUSE and Debian, as well as source packages. The easiest way to install Eucalyptus is the Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition because this distribution already contains Eucalyptus. Give the cloud a try.

    • US weather meisters buy mini Cray

      The implication is that Cray is in the running now for the next big upgrade at NCAR. And since NCAR is dabbling with Windows HPC Server as well as Linux in addition to its big production AIX supers, you can bet that NCAR would love to have a box that could run either Windows or Linux, which a super based on Xeon or Opteron processors can do. (IBM’s Power-based supers can run either AIX or Linux, except for the BlueGene machines, which are restricted to Linux.)

    • IBM widens data analytics fleet

      The Linux partition runs Cognos 8 analytics and InfoSphere Warehouse; these are the special mainframe Linux editions of those programs. This partition is capable of doing the analytic work for between 5 and 10,000 users, depending on how many processors in the System z10 box you dedicate to it. The bundle includes some base DS8000 storage arrays as well, but does not include the Linux license, which you need to buy separately from Red Hat or Novell.

  • Applications

    • Evolutionary development of a semantic patch using Coccinelle

      Creating patches is usually handwork; fixing one specific issue at a time. Once in a while though, there is janitorial work to be done or some infrastructure to change. Then, a larger number of issues have to be taken care of simultaneously, yet all of them are following the same basic pattern, e.g. a replacement. Such tasks are often addressed at the source-code level using scripts in sed, perl, and the like. This article examines the usage of Coccinelle, a tool targeted at exactly those kinds of repetitive patching jobs. Because Coccinelle understands C syntax, though, it can handle those jobs much more easily.

    • Visualizing open source projects and communities

      Visualization is a critical tool for exploring and understanding large amounts of data. Thanks to the computer power of the 21st century it has become possible to visualize ever-expanding amounts of data. Because the open source development model is massively decentralized and network-centric, it is by its nature the perfect domain for graph-based visualizations. Connections or dependencies between projects, communities, and code commits can be explored and displayed in a lot of ways. These visualizations can give us a unique perspective on open source projects and communities, such as fundamental differences in their approach.

    • Linux Recipe for DVD Creation

      One thing that’s taken me a while to find is a suite of programs to create video DVDs from scratch for home videos. From capturing, editing, authoring, and burning to a DVD. Finally, I’ve found a solution that is 100% done on Linux from start to finish, and it works better than the proprietary products I’ve used in the past that cost hundreds of dollars. Here’s what I have found to work very well:

      Capturing – Kino. Kino is a great and lightweight program. It works flawlessly and can capture to AVI, DV, or Quicktime DV. It integrates perfectly to my video camera that is connected by firewire (Kino can preview and control the video camera right within its own interface). I can even do other tasks while it is capturing, which I could NOT do in Windows programs like Adobe Premier.

    • Kleo Bare Metal Back for Linux

      Kleo Bare Metal Backup has finally made backing up a machine just about as simple as it can be. And the restoration is just as easy. If you are looking for a free, easy to use backup solution give Kleo a try…you might never turn back!


      Kleo comes in a handy live distribution. So what you need to do is download the ISO image, burn it onto CD (or you can put it onto USB with the help of Unetbootin), boot it up, and walk through the wizard.Now before you think Kleo is going to offer some clunky, kludgy ncurses-like interface, think again. When you boot up Kleo you will be surprised to find it boots into a typical GNOME desktop (see Figure 1). In fact, I am writing this article from the Kleo desktop!

    • Proprietary

    • Instructionals

      • How it works: Linux audio explained

        There’s a problem with the state of Linux audio, and it’s not that it doesn’t always work. The issue is that it’s overcomplicated. This soon becomes evident if you sit down with a piece of paper and try to draw the relationships between the technologies involved with taking audio from a music file to your speakers: the diagram soon turns into a plate of knotted spaghetti. This is a failure because there’s nothing intrinsically more complicated about audio than any other technology. It enters your Linux box at one point and leaves at another.

      • Kernel APIs, Part 3: Timers and lists in the 2.6 kernel
  • Distributions

    • 6 Tools to Easily Create Your Own Custom Linux Distro

      While it’s hard to make the claim that there aren’t enough Linux distros out there, it’s also hard to escape the fact that no distribution is all things to all people. There are all kinds of reasons to consider rolling your own, but many people never make the attempt because it seems like such a huge undertaking. Fortunately, with modern software we can create new distros, remixes, and custom configurations in a matter of minutes instead of months. Here, we’ll showcase some of the current software tools that make this so easy.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Announces Arnaud Laprévote as CEO

        Mandriva today announced that its board of directors has named Arnaud Laprévote on the 24th of March to serve as the company’s Chief Executive Officer.

        Arnaud Laprévote succeeds Stanislas Bois. Arnaud will surround himself with Hervé Yahi, Chief Stategic Officer and Stanislas Bois, Chief Financial Officer at Mandriva.

        Arnaud Laprévote will also hold the position of Chief Technical Officer and of Director of Research and Development.

    • Debian Family

      • First Debian Mini Conference to be held in Germany

        The Debian Project, the team behind the free Debian operating system, is pleased to announce that the first Debian Mini Conference in Germany will take place on the 10th and 11th of June in Berlin as a subconference of this year’s LinuxTag. LinuxTag is one of the most important Open Source Events in Europe and takes place from June 9th to 12th on the Berlin Fairgrounds.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 codenamed Maverick Meerkat

          Ubuntu 10.10 will be codenamed Maverick Meerkat, as Canonical pushes social-networking services to the forefront of the popular open-source distro.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 codenamed Maverick Meerkat

          Unitrends, the leader in affordable, vertically integrated, disk-based all-in-one data protection appliances, today announced that all of its backup appliances have been certified for use with the Ubuntu operating environment through a partnership with Canonical, the commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu project. Unitrends now supports Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix, Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop Edition, and Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition and is actively working to certify Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

        • Recent announcements from:

          – Unitrends announced that all of its backup appliances have been certified for use with the Ubuntu operating environment through a partnership with Canonical, the commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu project. Unitrends now supports Ubuntu 9.10 Netbook Remix, Ubuntu 9.10 Desktop Edition, and Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition and is actively working to certify Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

        • New User Interface and Logo for Ubuntu 10.4

          The new Ubuntu will have a much more stylish design which seems to have influences from both Microsoft and Apple. According to Ubuntu’s branding page, the overall design theme from 2004-2010 was “human”, while the new version uses “light” as its overall theme.

        • Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Boots In 3.6 Seconds [Using SSD]

          The upcoming release of Ubuntu, i.e Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, is already showing signs that it boots fast – very very fast if you are using SSD. The Ubuntu developers will probably not be able to achieve the 10-second boot that they were aiming for in Ubuntu 10.04, but an Ubuntu Developer, Benjamin Drung, has managed to boot Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx in 3.6 seconds using SSD. On a normal spindle-based hard disk, such booting times, of course, cannot be achieved due to the mechanical parts that are involved.

        • Canonical’s desktop Linux OS fitted with new look and feel

          Providing an alternative to the Microsoft-dominated desktop, Canonical later this month will offer a version of its desktop Linux OS featuring a new look and feel, faster boot speed and accommodations for social networks.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ARM9 SoCs feature programmable I/O controller

      Shipping initially with Linux, with a Windows CE version due later this year, the AM1x SoCs support applications ranging from smart metering and Point-of-Service (PoS) devices all the way up to home and industrial automation with the high-end AM1808. In addition, the processors offer pin-compatibility with the OMAP-L1x line of DSP-enabled SoCs, such as the OMAP-L138 model, which shipped last year with a TI TMS320C6748 DSP.

    • Linux-ready SoC touted for video analytics

      Texas Instruments has spun a new IP camera system-on-chip (SoC) that enables 1080p video and analytics for the video surveillance market. The TMS320DMVA1 SoC combines an ARM9 core, a new Vision analytics co-processor, and a codec co-processor, and is offered in a Linux-ready DMVA1 IP camera reference design, says TI.

    • Android

      • Analyst Angle: Android in Japan

        Android, the mobile operating system from Google, is on a tear. Because it is free and open source, there are now 24 different Android devices available from 61 operators in 49 countries. Last month, Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced that Android is selling 60,000 handsets every day. At that rate, and if Google continues to double sales every quarter, we can expect to see 25 million Android handsets this year. Most of this market share expansion is at the expense of Windows Mobile.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Free Netbook OSes

        Ubuntu Netbook Remix

        Also known as Ubuntu Netbook Edition, this is one of the earliest and best known netbook-optimized OSes. UNR basically contains optimizations for Intel Atom processors which are used in most netbooks today, as well as a new application launcher and other tweaks that make it easier to use on small screens. However it’s still very recognizable as a full Linux OS and nothing is stripped out, as opposed to other oversimplified PDA-style interfaces with icons for programs and nothing deeper.

      • IBM puts cloud on Ubuntu netbook

        In an interesting hook-up, IBM collaborated with Indian outfit Simmtronics to make a netbook which runs the new Ubuntu Netbook Remix operating system.

      • iPad falls short on cloud integration

        Somewhat to my surprise, I’m equally as excited about the upcoming Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid) release for netbooks as I am by the iPad. The iPad is not yet a netbook-killer.

      • Apple’S Ipad And Its Operating Function

        The huge problem is that there is no multithreading technology. This means that your $600+ tablet computer can only run one application at a time just like your iPhone. For some who like multitasking while using a computer this is a big let down. Even the cheapest sub $300 netbooks running Linux can handle multiple applications at one time and that hardware is quite a bit less powerful than what the iPad has.

      • Google Android fonts now available on a netbook

        So the Android operating system seems to be catching on with many folks these days in a myriad of devices, so why not adorn your little netbook with fonts from the Google Android OS instead? Developed by Ascender Corporation’s Steve Matteson, this custom family of fonts including Droid Sans, Droid Sans Mono, and Droid Serif are sure to spruce up your netbook whenever you type out a geeky document.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Microsoft to soon face competition from Russia

    Written completely from scratch, ReactOS will run all softwares that are supported by Windows XP. An initial pre-launch version (alpha) has been launched and the final version is expected in the next few months. Users such as Nirmalya Mukherjee, a programmer based in Kolkata, said using free software is better than downloading pirated version of the Windows software.

  • KnowledgeTree Announces Sponsorship of Fifth Annual 2010 Open Source Think Tank

    The Think Tank is hosted by Olliance Group, the leading independent open source business and strategy consulting firm and DLA Piper, the leading global legal services practice providing services to the open source industry. This year’s event focuses on the next evolutionary phase of commercial open source and will address customer adoption trends, the impact of SaaS and cloud computing, the growing complexity of the ecosystem and industry consolidation.

  • Open source Qubes OS alpha available

    The security researcher who invented malware known as Blue Pill has come up with a secure open source operating system called Qubes OS that is available for alpha-testing downloads.

  • The Many Flavors of Open Source eCommerce

    Everywhere I go, I am constantly asked, “which open source cart is the BEST?” But that’s not fair; it’s like asking which child is my favorite.

  • Sh*tMyDadSays Moves To StatusNet Open-Source Twitter Clone

    StatusNet, the open-source microblogging service that serves as the foundation for identi.ca, announced the launch of the Shit My Dad Says website yesterday afternoon. The site will run on the service’s SatusNet Cloud Service, which also powers a community-driven microblog for the Mozille Foundation.

    According to StatusNet CEO Evan Prodromou, the main point to move a service like SMDS to StatusNet is that the site owner can take control of advertising revenue, while still being able to send out content to other services.

  • Liferay Partner Network Expands Global Reach to Japan with Aegif

    Liferay, provider of the world’s leading enterprise-class, open source portal, announced a new partnership with Aegif, a leading provider of solutions and services to the Japanese market. In partnering with Aegif, Liferay will leverage the Tokyo-based firm’s expertise in the Japanese enterprise market and gain a local provider of training, consulting and support.

  • First Known Library in Kentucky Now Live on Evergreen

    Washington County Public Library is the first known library in Kentucky to go live with Evergreen, the consortial, open-source library automation software. Equinox Software provided assistance with the migration and will continue to provide ongoing technical support.

  • MphasiS witnesses significant growth in open source projects

    The recessionary period witnessed last year gave a big boost to the adoption of open source technologies. With customers looking to lower the total cost of ownership for their IT projects, players in the software services industry have been steadily adding open source components to their overall portfolio. A case in point is mid sized player, MphasiS, which has seen a gradual rise in the usage of open source technologies.

  • Tides Awards 2010 Pizzigati Prize to Yaw Anokwa

    This year’s Pizzigati Prize winner, Yaw Anokwa, will be accepting the award in Atlanta today at the NTEN 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference. He’ll be accepting on behalf of a team of University of Washington doctoral students who have crafted, in Open Data Kit, an open source application that unleashes the mobile phone’s social change potential.

  • SaaS

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Chief Architect to Reveal MySQL Strategy

      “We’re looking forward to outlining our plans for MySQL and providing the development community with deeper insight into the enhancements they can expect right now and moving forward,” Screven said in a statement released Thursday.

      MySQL “is strategic to Oracle,” he added.


      Oracle released a list of pledges regarding MySQL in December, including promises to continue making the database available through the General Public License; to not require customers to buy support from Oracle in order to get a commercial MySQL license; and to boost spending on research and development.

  • Funding

    • VC Funding for FLOSS Dips in 2009: Rebound in 2010?

      But the good news is that open source vendors pulled ahead of the pack. Aslett writes that “OSS-related vendors fared better in terms of investment compared to software as a whole.” This takes into account 67 deals, with a dip of 25% year over year from 2008. The total investment bill came in at about $375 million.

  • BSD

  • Education

    • We must learn to put the virtual world at the heart of our education system

      The second reason was that it was based on the principle of “open source”, meaning that the software is free to install and use. Open-source software is fundamentally different to the business model used by most 20th-century software companies, who still write software and then sell licences.

      If you want to change the software to suit your needs, you pay the originator of the software to make the changes and the software remains the property of originator. Open-source software, on the other hand, is available to anyone to take, change and enhance as they need and then share their experiences.

  • Transparency/Government

    • Obama White House unveils ‘open government’ plans

      Want to investigate — er, research — the Obama administration?

      The White House announced “open government” plans today for all Cabinet agencies, calling them road maps “for making transparency, citizen participation and collaboration part of the way they work.”

    • Got Transparency? Agencies Release Open Government Plans

      One of President Obama’s major campaign promises was to bring more transparency to government, and the administration has launched several Web sites–including the stimulus-tracking recovery.gov, and the IT Dashboard, which tracks government spending.

    • Election 2010: The main parties’ technology policies

      The Tories also say they will encourage departments to use open source software, and work on the assumption that projects should not cost more than £100m. A Conservative government would also publish all Gateway reviews. In the past, the party has also pledged to scrap the child database Contactpoint and ID cards.

  • Openness

    • Open Source Culture: The End of Artistic Ownership?

      Open-source culture. What does this bring to mind? For some, it represents freedom: freedom to speak, freedom to share, and freedom to change. Yet, to others, the words sound a death-knell. To them, anything open-source is dangerous. Sherman Alexie, a novelist, was quoted in an interview: “With the open-source culture on the Internet, the idea of ownership — of artistic ownership — goes away… it terrifies me.” I must respectfully disagree. Artistic ownership can not go away simply by sharing it freely with the world, by allowing others to contribute their own ideas and solutions. When you freely share your own creativity with the world, it is still your own property. Licenses similar to the GPL for software, or Creative Commons licenses preserve original thought, while still freely sharing your creations. Others may make their own changes, just so long as they attribute the original work to you. Of course, this is a decision to be made by the content creator; if you do not want others messing with it, you have that legal right.

    • 3D Printing Helps Fuel Open Source Prosthetics Project

      Makerbot, the affordable open-source 3D printer, has begun to experiment with the Open Prosthetics database, creating a prototype for the Trautman Hook, and posted the designs to the wiki.

    • Open Source Washing Machine Project: Developing Sustainable Laundry Machines for Developing Countries

      The Open Source Washing Machine Project (OSWASH), an innovative project developed several years ago by Jean-Noel Montagne, takes a different “spin” on washing machines for people in developing countries.

      Montagne developed the concept during an Open Source Hardware workshop for artists in Paris in 2008. The project was created in order to help the billions of people across the globe that do not have access to clean water, electricity and other basic amenities.

    • Open Source Music Finds Free Tunes On the Web

      Open Source Music will also lead you to contemporary music that includes New Age, Ska, and Indie Rock. The team beind the Web site makes regular podcasts of music they enjoy. Be sure to also check out the with-permission rebroadcasts of the populr radio show “Selvin on the City,” that features interviews wtih big name entertainers like Steve Miller and Sammay Hagar.


  • On projects and their goals

    Recently, we have seen two projects come under considerable criticism for the development directions that they have taken. Clearly, the development space that a project chooses to explore says a lot about what its developers’ interests are and where they see their opportunities in the future. These decisions also have considerable impact on users. But, your editor would contend, it’s time to give these projects a break. There is both room and need for different approaches to free software development.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Careless talk costs private lives

      The_lives_of_others Although this story emerged over the weekend, there can be little doubt that it requires full exposure and investigation.

      As reported by the Sunday Telegraph:

      Brussels is funding research at Reading University aimed at detecting suspicious behaviour on board aircraft.

    • Conservatives drop opposition to DNA proposals following Alan Johnson ultimatum

      The home secretary today accused the Tories of being “soft” on crime and threatened to throw the reforms out of the crime and security bill, should the Conservatives pursue their efforts to limit retention to three years.

      He said he would pull all provisions from the amendment bill today if the Tories refuse to sign up to the government’s plans – including a six-year retention limit – in full. The bill is destined for this afternoon’s wash-up session to complete the government’s legislative programme ahead of the dissolution of parliament for the election.

      Johnson told Sky News: “This is a basic example of how they [the Tories] talk tough on crime but act soft.”

    • Erasing David

      A feature documentary, Erasing David is the story of what happened when Filmmaker David Bond received a letter informing him that his daughter Ivy was among the 25 million children whose details were scandalously lost by HMRC in 2007.

      David decided to find out just how much of our personal information is floating around in government and corporate databases by disappearing for a month and setting two of the world’s top private investigators the task of tracking him down, using only publicly available data.

    • Second-hand goods shoppers told to leave thumbprints at stores in new police scheme

      Customers are being asked to leave a thumbprint when trading in second-hand goods for cash in order to stop criminals making money out of stolen items.

      A number of second-hand stores in Norwich have agreed to take part in the scheme, launched by local police.

      A police spokeswoman said the prints would help detectives trace sellers if goods turned out to be stolen.

    • North Yorkshire shop owner has stone willy seized by police

      Jason Hadlow, chairman of Yarm Town Council and owner of the Simply Dutch store in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, was left gobsmacked at the confiscation.

      Now he faces an £80 fine to get his 4ft high masonry manhood back – something he has refused to do.

      Mr Hadlow has instead ordered 150 more of the garden ornaments from Indonesia, 10 of which have already been sold.

    • Report: Fast-growing crime of identity theft has ‘faded’ as DOJ, FBI priority

      Identity theft is on the rise nationwide, yet in a report released Tuesday, federal investigators lament that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) efforts to combat such crimes have to some degree “faded as priorities.”

      According to the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General (IG), many of the suggestions pitched in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush’s task force on identity theft have yet to be implemented fully. As of March, the agency had not even appointed an official to oversee those efforts, according to the report.

  • Environment

    • The Great Barrier Reef scandal

      On 11 June 1770, six weeks or so after becoming the first European to make landfall on the east coast of Australia, Lieutenant James Cook unexpectedly ran aground. His ship, the Endeavour, had struck a reef now known as the Endeavour Reef, within a manifestly far bigger reef system, nearly 25 miles from shore. Only the urgent jettisoning of 50 tonnes of stores and equipment (including all but four of the ship’s guns), a delicate operation known as fothering (in which an old sail was drawn under the hull, effectively plugging the hole), Cook’s expert seamanship and a great deal of hard pumping saved the vessel and her crew.

  • Finance

    • Are Taxpayers Making Money Off Bailed Out Banks?

      Almost every day, I read in the paper that the goverment is making money off of the bank bailout. Papers love good news, even if it is has little to do with reality. Today, the Financial Times reported that the U.S. made $10 billion off bank repayments on the bailout funds. $10 billion, hooray! We are in the black!

      Unfortunately, our recent comprehensive bailout accounting puts taxpayers $2 trillion in the red. That is right, $2 trillion. While most of this money was in the form of loans, and American taxpayers might recoup those funds one day, it is foolish for the press to declare “Mission Accomplished” based on a thin study by the SNL Group. (Saturday Night Live strikes again?) Especially when taxpayers also lost $14 trillion in wages, retirement, college savings and housing wealth.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Leaked CIA Memo Suggests Spinning War Messaging

      A classified CIA memo (pdf) obtained by Wikileaks.org outlines public relations strategies that could be used to shore up French and German support for continuing the war in Afghanistan. In February, the Dutch government effectively collapsed over a dispute about whether the Netherlands should continue to keep its 2,000 troops posted in Afghanistan.

    • Media Feeds Americans Fake News About Afghanistan

      An egregious example of this occurred on February 12, 2010, when NATO’s joint international force issued a press release that bore the headline Joint Force Operating In Gardez Makes Gruesome Discovery. The release said that after “intelligence confirmed militant activity” in a compound near a village in Paktiya province, an international security force entered the compound and engaged “several insurgents” in a fire fight. Two “insurgents” were killed, the report said, and after the joint forces entered the compound, they “found the bodies of three women who had been tied up, gagged and killed.”

    • Citing Trig, Palin Says “Give Health Care Reform a Chance”

      While some Tea Party members accused Palin of “flip-flopping” on health care reform, Sean Hannity of FOX News disagreed: “Sarah Palin is not the extremist that much of the media likes to portray her and she supports bipartisan solutions when they make sense.” On the heels of last weekend’s campaign appearance for John McCain, Palin appears to be moving to expand her base in preparation for her expected presidential run in 2012.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Criminal inquiry under way to find source of Sarkozy affair rumours

      A criminal inquiry is under way in France to find the origin of internet rumours that President Sarkozy and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, his wife, were having affairs.

      The investigation was made public because the President’s advisers suggested that the rumours might have been started in an attempt to destabilise Mr Sarkozy’s position at a time when he is seeking to regulate global capitalism.

    • NHS Forth Valley apologies after patient records lost

      A computer failure at NHS Forth Valley led to the loss of records for all patients being treated at its audiology department, the BBC has learned.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Thinking Clearly about Spectrum and Property Rights

      To see what’s wrong with this, imagine if we implement a “property rights” regime in which we clear out the entire electromagnetic spectrum and auction it off to a single owner. You could call that a “property rights” system, but most people would just call it a monopoly. And this monopoly would be subject to precisely the same knowledge problem as the FCC. Central planning is hard regardless of whether you’re a private company or a government agency.

    • FCC Democrats determined to reclassify broadband

      Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission say the federal court’s decision regarding Comcast has renewed their resolve to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service in order to enact net neutrality regulations.

      “The only way the Commission can make lemonade out of this lemon of a decision is to do now what should have been done years ago: treat broadband as the telecommunications service that it is,” said Michael J. Copps, the senior Democratic member of the panel. “We should straighten this broadband classification mess out before the first day of summer.”

    • The BBC, DRM and the demise (?) of get_iplayer. what the hell is going on?

      It’s never nice to hear about the demise of a piece of simply brilliant software. when I discovered that get_iplayer was being pulled by its developer I was, to use a cliche, gutted. The potential loss of a piece of software that did just what it said on the tin is bad enough but it was impeccably free and open. What’s more, it was an example to the BBC about how things should be done. It was the work of one lone, unpaid developer, not the product of professional developers subsidised by the BBC licence. What happened exemplifies everything that is wrong with proprietary software.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Aspiro taking WiMP to Denmark

      WiMP, which is already available to Telenor customers in Norway, allows subscribers to stream unlimited music to PCs, Macs, Linux and mobile handsets powered by the Android OS for 99 kroner a month.

    • The Story Behind Facebook Threatening To Sue Developer Into Oblivion For Highlighting Useful Facebook Data

      Facebook’s lawyers have been getting pretty nasty lately. We recently covered the company’s threats against the creator of a useful Greasemonkey script, and now a developer named Pete Warden has shared the sordid details of his legal run-in with Facebook — where they threatened to sue him for his activity aggregating publicly available data found on Facebook.

    • Rupert Murdoch Doesn’t Recognize That There’s Competition Online

      Recent profiles of Murdoch have suggested he doesn’t use the web, so perhaps he doesn’t realize it, but there’s always somewhere else to go, and if News Corp. is so short-sighted to lock itself away from the open web, well that just opens up a much greater opportunity for his competitors to make sure they’re the place to go.

    • How “Dirty” MP3 Files Are A Back Door Into Cloud DRM

      All the big music sellers may have moved to non-DRM MP3 files long ago, but the watermarking of files with your personal information continues. Most users who buy music don’t know about the marking of files, or don’t care. Unless those files are uploaded to BitTorrent or other P2P networks, there isn’t much to worry about.

    • Copyright industry: Copyrights trump human rights?

      The International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) is heavily involved in the Special 301 process, filing submissions every year on behalf of its member organizations, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It’s only natural that these trade associations would be concerned with intellectual property laws and their enforcement around the globe, since copyright is where their members make their livings. It’s less understandable, though, when they seem to argue that their exclusive economic rights should have priority over others’ basic human rights.

    • Newspapers Pushing For Hot News Doctrine May Find It Comes Back To Bite Them

      [A] really troubling aspect of all of this is that some newspaper industry lawyers have been pushing for massive changes to copyright law on the false belief that stricter copyright law for newspapers will somehow magically save them. One (but certainly not the only) aspect of this is an attempt to bring back the “hot news” doctrine, a concept that had been mostly considered dead. However, with some recent lawsuits, “hot news” is suddenly making a troubling comeback, much to the delight of some very short-sighted newspaper industry lawyers.

    • Hot news: The next bad thing

      Sadly, the “hot news” right is not as racy as it sounds. It does not offer legal protection for scantily clad celebrities. This is a legal right that extends far beyond copyright law to cover the facts of the news themselves; if I break the story, the hot news right allows me to stop competitors from repeating the facts – at least for as long as the story has immediate currency.

    • Digital Economy Bill

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season3 – Episode 2: Eco Dissent/Not Terrorism (2006)

How Apple Ruined an Employee’s and a Fan’s Life

Posted in Apple at 1:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rotten apples

Summary: Guest post from a person whose name we keep anonymous

I give my permission for anyone to freely post, publish or distribute this information in the hopes it may prevent others from being exploited by Apple Management in the future. The only thing that I ask is to please send me a link so I can see where you post or publish this to: appleruinedmylife@live.com.

If you would like any further information or details, you may contact me at appleruinedmylife@live.com.

Here is the case info:

Filed: August 4, 2009 0:2009cv61183 Updated: August 5, 2009 05:45:57

Plaintiff: [anonymised]
Defendant: Apple, Inc.
Presiding Judge: Judge William J. Zloch
Referring Judge: Magistrate Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum
Cause Of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act
Court: Florida > Southern District Court
Type: Labor > Plaintiff

Here is the story:

I expect many people are curious why I sued Apple (filed 8/4/2009). The short answer is that I and the rest of the Genius Team were exploited by the assistant manager, Steven Commander to make his “productivity” look better. When I made this known, I was summarily terminated after a case was “created” against me.

“I helped thousands of customers at the Genius Bar with an almost perfect NPS score of 100%. (NPS is a management tool used by Apple to gauge the loyalty of customer relationships).”I was employed as a MAC Genius at the Galleria Apple Store in Ft. Lauderdeale, Florida from 10/08 – 6/09. By anyone’s account I would be considered an ideal employee. I was never late or sick. I helped thousands of customers at the Genius Bar with an almost perfect NPS score of 100%. (NPS is a management tool used by Apple to gauge the loyalty of customer relationships). Additionally, being fluent in Spanish, I was able to assist the Spanish speaking customers. I always gave over 110% in all my interactions with customers and fellow employees.

When I was initially hired, we were short staffed and I expected that more Geniuses would soon be on board. I quickly learned that this understaffing had been going on for a number of months.

My typical schedule would be at the Genius Bar assisting customers from 12:30 p.m. to close to 9:30 p.m. with an hour for lunch. Immediately upon entering for work I would be told to go to the Genius Bar.

The store closed at 9:00 p.m. but we always had standbys for iPhone repairs and sometimes computers. I never refused service to anyone. I was almost always multitasking, working with 2 and sometimes 3 – 4 customers at once while still maintaining almost 100% customer satisfaction.

When a female customer would enter the store she immediately received “special” attention from Steven Commander. It did not matter that she had no Genius Bar appointment or stand-by position. These added customers further increased our workload.

If we were lucky at the Genius Bar, we would be finished will all the customers by 9:10 to 9:20. Then myself and another Genius had to clean and organize the Genius Bar, replenish printer papers, secure replacement inventory, organize, sort and file the daily paperwork, complete our final daily reports and email the results, clean and organize the Genius Room (as necessary).

We were also supposed to check our company email, stay current on the latest company policies, technology changes/updates and any procedural changes in addition to our more specific responsibilities as “geniuses”. With many times only 10 minutes or less left during my assigned shift, it was humanly impossible to accomplish this workload without “working off the clock” which was encouraged by immediate management.

I was also supposed to be allowed time for further education including Apple Technical Certification but obviously given my schedule this was impossible.

Although we were told no over time, it was understood and encouraged by my fellow team members and our team leader, Rich Chang to “work off the clock” to get our expected work done. Rich was constantly “working off the clock” even working from home on his days off to send email correspondence and make our new schedules.

“Apple had system wide downtime beginning 5/22/09 for 2 days. Everything had to be done manually and written by hand to be entered into the system upon reactivation.”When I was initially hired, there was no store manager (he had gone to open a new store in Dadeland) so I had no one to speak to about “working off the clock” above Steven Commander until Kendall Scrape was hired as the new store manager. It was over a month before I had the chance to speak to Kendall about the “working off the clock” situation. At first Kendall was sympathetic but soon sided with Steven and a case was quickly made against me to support termination. Alan Wu, a fellow team member, helped create the case against me (Do you think that somebody you greet everyday for over 7 months and he never says hello may not like you?) It was a very negative environment. Apple had system wide downtime beginning 5/22/09 for 2 days. Everything had to be done manually and written by hand to be entered into the system upon reactivation. It took most of the next week to sort out all the errors everyone had made and create and correct the paperwork from this downtime. These errors were used as the final piece in the case against me for termination.

As the case against me was created, my many emails to Rich regarding supposed errors were unanswered. I believe Alan Wu actually made changes to some of my documentation with customers to create errors. This was witnessed by several other Geniuses.

In my opinion, this “working off the clock” situation did not need to occur. Apple had and still has no financial problems that would require exploitation of its employees. This situation could have been easily corrected by simply adjusting our schedules, hiring more Geniuses, limiting or eliminating standbys and other means but there was no desire to do so. This extreme workload was obvious to everyone else who worked in the Galleria Apple Store but apparently not to Steven Commander or Rich Chang.

“Apple had and still has no financial problems that would require exploitation of its employees.”I do not blame Apple as a Company. I am one of the original Mac “addicts”. Three weeks after Macs first went on sale in 1984 I bought one. I have personally owned almost every make and model Mac (even a couple of clones).

I was an initial subscriber to MacWorld, MacUser and MacAddict and used to keep every issue (until I moved out of the country). I also attended many of the first MacWorld Expos in San Francisco.

I worked in Mac Retail Sales at Personal Support Computers in Beverly Hills, California and did Mac Phone Sales for Digicore in Van Nuys, California.

Later, I became a Mac consultant to many businesses and individuals specializing in installation/integration of AVID systems, Mac systems and upgrades including software and peripherals.

Yes. I admit it. I am what some refer to as a MacAddict.

On the advice of my attorney, I settled with Apple for payment of a very few hours of overtime from my allegations of “working off the clock”. In addition to being illegal by not paying the overtime “worked off the clock”, Apple avoided paying taxes, unemployment and social security benefits.

“In addition to being illegal by not paying the overtime “worked off the clock”, Apple avoided paying taxes, unemployment and social security benefits.”If you Google my name you will see me on around the first 15 pages as a result of my lawsuit against Apple. I have already lost one potential new job that I know of when the perspective employer Googled me. I never expected this publicity nor desired it. Unfortunately, I guess Google is for life.

I feel I was exploited by Apple Management. I was given virtually no support by my immediate managers. Specifically, Steve Commander, Richard Chang and Kendall Scrape. I have named the specific people involved as my own name has been widely publicized by Google and other search engines.

I left my wife and then 1 ½ year old son in Costa Rica during this time in the hopes of bringing them both to live and start a new life as a family in the U.S.

I did seek other employment after it became apparent that I would be terminated by Apple but given the economic conditions at the time, it was nearly impossible to find another job quickly. I had no more money left so I had to return to Costa Rica.

During this stressful time, my systolic blood pressure shot up to over 200. I visited 2 different cardiologists but was unable to successfully control my blood pressure with medication. I have probably suffered permanent heart damage as a result.

“Thanks Apple, for ruining my life.”My life savings is gone (I had used it to relocate to Florida). My marriage is now in jeopardy (my wife and I are currently living separately). I may lose my house from being unemployed for over 9 months now (unemployment here in Costa Rica is above 20%). My son may never learn English as his native language.

Thanks Apple, for ruining my life.

Oh – I almost forgot. On a positive note, I did get quite a few T shirts.

Links 8/4/2010: Linux Probably Back to the PS3, Ubuntu GNU/Linux Users @ ~12 Million

Posted in News Roundup at 6:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Giving Credit Where Credit is Due…
  • Linux Outlaws 144 – No Muppetry Included (Corenominal Interview)

    In this special show we interview Philip Newborough aka. corenominal and his wife Becky about Crunchbang Linux and a lot of other pretty random stuff…

  • Linux logos are cool

    Linux logos are often a expression of feelings. Often they express a sense of humor, or great feel for esthetics. One of the reasons people use linux is because it’s possible to make it a personal experience.

  • Skills

  • Sony

    • Purported hack brings Linux back to the PS3

      Sony PlayStation 3 owners who held off on updating their systems in order to keep from losing the option to install alternate operating systems have a new glimmer of hope. Hacker George Hotz (a.k.a Geohot) has released a video of a new hack that promises to keep the alternate OS install feature, even with the 3.21 firmware update that was released last week.

    • Playstation 3 Update locks out Linux and Ubuntu, bricks consoles

      Opting to not download the update bars the user from accessing the Playstation Store, playing games online or playing any games or Blu-ray movies that require the 3.21 update to function.

    • x86 Server Standardization Does Not Equate to OS Pluralization

      And now, as of April 1, you’ll have a hard time finding Linux running on one particular high performance computing (HPC) platform — Sony’s PlayStation3. Since its launch, the original version of the games console has had the ability to run another OS as well as the gaming platform on its processor (although the newer “slim” models couldn’t). A new version of Sony’s PS3 firmware released in late March removed the option to run Linux on the PS3 once and for all.

      Why would anyone want to run Linux on a PS3? As it happens, the PS3 is a pretty powerful beast with an IBM Cell BE processor at its heart. It runs Linux like a bat out of hell. The consoles are dead cheap because Sony subsidizes them, hoping to make money on the sale of games and extras. More to the point, you can link large numbers of PS3s to build a low-cost supercomputer cluster. That’s why the U.S. military announced last November that it planned to increase the power of an existing 336 PS3 HPC cluster by buying a further 2,200 of the consoles, according to Ars Technica. Compared to buying IBM Cell blades there’s a ten-fold price/performance advantage in using PS3s, according to a “Justification Review Document” quoted in the piece.

  • Desktop

    • Is the Desktop Becoming Legacy?

      Windows vs. MacOSX vs. KDE vs. GNOME vs. BeOS wars are thing of the past. The future discussions and most exciting developments will happen on mobile devices. So watch out for iPhone OS vs. ChromeOS vs. MeeGo (and probably Microsoft if they get their act together with Windows Phone 7 and Slate). For Intel and AMD this development means that they should concentrate on server processors and very low power processors for the consumer devices, since this is the area with the most demand in the future.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Graphics drivers and Mesa3D updated, four new stable kernels

      Almost simultaneously with the first series 1.8 X Server, the developers have also updated Mesa3D and various drivers. Four new stable kernels offer bug fixes and minor improvements.

      The X Server isn’t the only component for which a new version has recently been released, as many other components that impact the graphics support in Linux distributions have also been updated in the past two weeks.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Launches FirePro V8800 Graphics Card

        More than a year ago AMD rolled out the ATI FirePro V8700 workstation graphics card and months later then pushed out the FirePro V8750 as their new ultra high-end graphics card for those engaging in CAD, imaging, and other tasks. Now though AMD has unveiled the FirePro V8800 series that replaces the V8750 for the top spot.

  • Applications

    • gEdit and Leafpad Make a Good Text-Editing Team

      It’s no longer a hard-copy world, and most writing tasks don’t require all the bells and whistles in heavyweight word processing programs. Text editors are a much more nimble choice. However, not all text editors are alike. You may not need a lot of features, but you definitely want the right ones. gEdit and Leafpad are two open source options that complement each other nicely.

    • 6 Linux Music Players To Replace Songbird
    • Desktop Virtualisation

      Virtualisation is a bit of a buzz word at the moment. Virtualisation can be used for all sorts of different computing tasks from server consolidation to cross-platform software development, to running that one “must-have” app in that “I – wish – I – didn’t – have – to – use – this – damned – OS” OS. This article is more at the latter end of that scale. It will tell you about some VM options for linux, and will run you through some tips and tricks for getting the more popular VM’s up and running.

  • Instructionals

  • Games

    • 24 More of the Best Commercial Linux Games

      The amount of software that is available for Linux is truly mind-boggling with tens of thousands of applications available to download, including an impressive arsenal of open source games.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • one team, two teams! small team, big team!

        We could try to excuse the issue and say, “Well, KDE is huge now. 600+ developers contributing to the last release, even more translators, artists and others. That’s a lot of people to move about!” While this is true, I don’t think it is the whole picture.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • The Difference a Decade Makes

        The evolution away from these origins has sometimes seemed slow. Often, in looking at a GNOME release, I have been disappointed in the apparent lack of progress. Yet looking back over the 2.0 series as a whole, I now suspect that part of that perception was impatience on my part.


        That’s something to remember while we look forward to GNOME 3.0 six months from now. GNOME 3.0 marks a new chapter in the free desktop. It is going to be attracting increasing attention, both from those who enthuse over it and those who condemn it as misguided or new. Yet in the excitement of GNOME 3.0, I think it worth looking back at the GNOME 2.0, and congratulating all involved on an impressive work in progress.

  • Distributions

    • How 10 Popular Linux Distro Sites Looked When they Launched

      This is how some of the popular Linux distro websites looked like when they launched initially. Thanks to the archive.org for all the screenshots. Redhat website looked pretty decent for a 1996 website. Which one of these websites did you like?

    • What’s the best lightweight Linux distro?

      There are plenty of reasons for wanting a low-resource distro running on your computer. Maybe you have some ancient hardware that you need to breathe new life into. Perhaps you want something that will fit on a modestly sized memory stick. Or it might be that you want to run 200 virtual machines simultaneously on your desktop.

    • Another one-disk wonder: DexOS

      I got an e-mail a day ago that reminded me about DexOS, which is another one-disk wonder. You’re probably still wondering what the point is, when floppies are so far out of date as to be completely irrelevant. Well …

    • KGB Says: The Best Linux is Ubuntu or Fedora

      Last night while watching my usual list of recorded television programs, I saw a commercial for KGB, the company that begs you to text them with your questions. For a mere 99 cents, they’ll answer any question that you ask of them. I’m sure that they have their share of tricksters with questions such as, “What is life” and “What is the air speed of an unladen swallow.” But my mind dances to a different beat. And, with my wife’s permission, I posed the following question using her cell phone: “Which Linux distribution is the best for new users?”

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Linux: The Best New User Distribution is not Necessarily Ubuntu

        I am sure many will have other new user distributions to recommend and may argue against my choices. Debate over distributions is one thing that is not in short supply in the Linux community. However, I am going out on a limb to state that Mandriva Linux is easily at the top of the list of new user distributions. I am confident that this assertion will hold up under scrutiny once I make my case.

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMEPIS 8.5.01 Review

        I’ve tried several versions of the SimplyMEPIS but never really got hooked on the visual appearance leaving me wondering what beginners find so appealing in SimplyMEPIS. With the release of SimplyMEPIS 8.5.01 I decided this was the perfect time to give it a try and see what all the fuss is about.


        Before using SimplyMEPIS this time around, I wasn’t sure what was so exciting about this Debian-based distro. Now I know. Two reasons SimplyMEPIS 8.5.01 might make a great distro for newbies is it offers GUI configuration tools and also a huge package selection due to it’s Debian base. The visual appearance is getting there and I think that this most recent version is an improvement in the overall look and feel but still may have some catching up to do when compared to other top distros.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu considering critical bugs an “invalid” bug?
        • Dell’s Ubuntu Linux Strategy Extends to China

          From time to time, Dell does a poor job articulating its Ubuntu Linux strategy. But sources close to Dell and Canonical continue to insist the relationship remains healthy and “stronger than ever.” Here’s an update on Dell’s Ubuntu strategy — which includes a dramatic Dell-Ubuntu PC push in China.

          First, some background: Dell began shipping Ubuntu preloads in mid-2007 on selected U.S. desktops. Dell’s decision to offer Ubuntu came only a few months after Microsoft launched Windows Vista. That certainly caught my attention.

          By July 2007, I jumped on the Dell Ubuntu bandwagon, and hoped to eventually launch an Ubuntu-centric web site that tracked Canonical’s business strategy.

        • Ubuntu Claims 12 Million Users as Lucid Linux Desktop Nears

          Ubuntu Linux is gearing up for the debut of its latest release with Ubuntu 10.04, codenamed “the Lucid Lynx” and scheduled for general availability at the end of the month. It’s a release that offers multiple new features on the desktop and a new look to Ubuntu Linux.

          The Lucid release could also help to further accelerate adoption of Ubuntu, which has been growing over the last several years. In 2008, Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind Ubuntu, pegged the number of Ubuntu users at 8 million. It’s a figure that could have increased by as much as 50 percent or more since then, insiders say.

        • Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat

          Although Ubuntu Lucid Lynx has not yet been released, Canonical chief Mark Shuttleworth has already named its successor: Maverick Meerkat.

          Ubuntu Lucid Lynx is due for release at the end of April while the newly named Maverick Meerkat is only scheduled for release in October. But, as is traditional, Shuttleworth used the remaining weeks of the Lucid development phase to lay down guidelines for the next phase.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Is your tv running Linux? (yet)

      Some manufacturers are using Linux for their television sets, Sony for instance has a impressive list of tv’s which are running Linux.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • PaleXO is Deploying OLPC to Palestinian Schools

        PaleXO is the Palestinian XO Laptop Community. We are working with the coordination and support of the Palestinian Educational Initiative (PEI) on implementing the XO laptop project In Palestine, and trying to create a success story out of it.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open sound series: Part 1 – The Freesound Project

    This week’s featured site is The Freesound Project (TFP). While working on a personal Ardour project, I began looking for some sound clips to throw into a song in order to bring the track a bit more life. Namely I was looking for a drunken countdown, or something similar. I had bookedmarked TFP while researching an earlier article, so I figured I’d give it a go. What I found after a quick search using their integrated search tool was a well-recorded group countdown from roughly the number 12. They mumbled at the beginning, making it seem like it could very well be at a bar. What’s great is, as mentioned previously in my Open Music article, this meant that I had to attach credit to the song I was working on. Thus generating more traffic back to the page where I received the file, helping both the author of the file itself and The Freesound Project as a whole. It’s a great web that is quickly woven around art that otherwise would go unnoticed. The best part? It wouldn’t be possible at this level without open source.

  • OSCON show announces sessions and keynotes

    The O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) has posted sessions and keynotes for its annual conference. Scheduled for July 19-23, at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, OSCON features keynotes including Google’s Chris DiBona, Facebook’s David Recordon, Canonical’s Simon Wardley, and the GNOME Foundation’s Stormy Peters (pictured).

  • Time to Abandon AIM

    AOL has closed the doors on its Open AIM program. Pidgin developer Mark Doliner outlines where to go from here to support AIM, but maybe it’s time to close the door on the protocol altogether.

    AIM and Yahoo! were the predominant protocols for IM when I started using Linux, and for a very long time they were the only reliable ways to chat with most of my friends and family that used Windows or Macs. IRC was fine if I wanted to chat with other Linux folks, but most of my contacts didn’t use IRC and weren’t about to switch or pick up yet another client because I was the odd man out on the desktop.

  • Education

    • Can Professors Teach Open Source?

      The answer is simple: the skills required to succeed in an open source software project are the exact same skills required to succeed in any large software project. The biggest difference is that, with just a bit of guidance, anyone can build their software skills in the open source world.

    • Academia’s Obligation to Software Freedom

      The Free Software philosophy is founded in the ideals of freedom, openness, and sharing. Producing software based on these ideals has great pragmatic benefits. Free Software is developed in the interest of its users instead of the owner of the software. This method of producing software benefits the entire community, and the software is of much higher quality due to the huge number of volunteer and paid contributers.

  • Mozilla

    • Top 5 Firefox addons that enhance your web experience

      With the massive amounts of data that we have at our disposal online, there are times when you just don’t know where to start from. Thanks to some really cool Firefox addons, you can get more out of the web in less time and sweat. The following 5 addons should be of interest to you if you want to enhance your web experience.

    • What I Have Against Contextual Design and Personas

      Last night Boriss wrote a great post about the benefits of the contextual design process. Aspects of the contextual design process like the inquiry, work modeling and environment design are all incredibly important skills for a UX designer to have. However, I couldn’t disagree more with the premise that this process should have been applied by Lead Ubuntu designer Ivanka Majic in the design of the window manager.

  • SaaS

    • Olliance CEO Interview Series: Larry Augustin on the intersection of Open Source and Cloud

      Larry: I agree with that. I think of the Cloud as the platform now. I think of porting to Amazon, Rackspace or Windows Azure. I don’t think of porting to Linux or porting to Microsoft Windows.

      I think of the Cloud service provider as the platform. And the OS, just like the database, is a piece of the stack. The app server is a piece of the stack. Those are all pieces of the stack. The importance of the OS is declining and the importance of the Cloud service is increasing. And that to me is independent of Open Source or proprietary.

    • Business of open source: my take on “open core”

      From a higher perspective, I believe that the whole IT market is moving toward service-based approaches — SaaS paved the way — because it aligns customer value with vendor revenue. That’s why we — at Nuxeo — won’t use the open core model even if it could increase short term revenue. We’re here to stay and we believe that basing our revenue stream on the value we create for our customers is the best way to create sustainable growth.

    • Please, no more ‘Open Source Company’

      In fact, open source is now so fundamental to the software industry that it is part of every software company’s product and/or business strategy. The industry needs to start thinking of open source as being the software commons for the entire industry, not just one small group of companies. Therefore, it is my hope that in the next 12-18 month the term ‘open source company’ will quickly fade away.

  • Oracle

    • The future of MySQL in a post-Sun world

      There’s good news for fans of MySQL: It won’t be left to wither and die any time soon. Oracle has made very public assurances that it will spend more on developing the database than Sun ever did, at least for the next three years. The Community Edition will continue to see improvements, which will be released under the GPL at no charge with all of the source code.

    • Datacenter Barometer: Good News for OpenSolaris?

      Setting up the paywall for Solaris 10 simply refines the open core model the Solaris/OpenSolaris relation already had. It’s just that now the commercial Solaris 10 will not be free in any sense: neither as in beer or freedom.

      Obviously, the restriction of these freedoms is not a good thing, but I have a feeling that this may be the way Oracle will reconcile its desire to maintain a strong OpenSolaris community versus its need to generate revenue.

  • Business

    • Making Money In Open Source: Does It Matter?

      Roughly, the participants in the discussion can be split into three camps. On one side, there were those who went gaga over how open source is successfully making money and, on the other end, there were skeptics who were wondering why Open Source is not making big bucks like their proprietary counterparts. In between these two camps were the so called “moderates” who argued that open source need not make big money but they enable others, like Web 2.0 vendors and the current day cloud vendors, make big bucks. They even showed the example of how open source is single handedly keeping Wall Street running and, thereby, helping some people make really big bucks.

    • Lucene and Solr Development Have Merged

      The Lucene community has recently decided to merge the development of two of its sub-projects – Lucene->Java and Lucene->Solr. Both code bases now sit under the same trunk in svn and Solr actually runs straight off the latest Lucene code at all times. This is just a merge of development though. Release artifacts will remain separate: Lucene will remain a core search engine Java library and Solr will remain a search server built on top of Lucene. From a user perspective, things will be much the same as they were – just better.

    • WANdisco Delivers Certified Subversion Binaries With Enterprise-Class Support

      WANdisco, a leading provider of infrastructure software for replication, scalability and high availability, and a corporate sponsor of the Subversion open source project with core developers from the project on staff, today announced that it has made WANdisco certified Subversion binaries available for free download. WANdisco’s certified Subversion binaries provide a complete, quality assured version of Subversion based on the most recent stable, fully tested release.

    • Zenoss Releases Service Assurance Monitoring Product for Private & Public Clouds based on Cisco UCS
    • Orange, OpenX launch challenge to Google’s DoubleClick in Europe

      Orange, the key brand from Europe’s third-largest telecom, and OpenX, an open-source ad server, are teaming up to challenge Google’s DoubleClick in the European ad exchange market.

  • BSD


    • Free Software is not only GNU

      We’ve got to worship principles, not people.

      With this I mean that even if I agree with the idea behind FSF and the GNU Project, I don’t have to see either Richard Stallman or Linus Torvalds as my personal God, nor I would have to accept the GNU project as the owner of all good software in this world. There is more to that. The same principles apply to other situations, even situations where GNU is laughed at, even situations where GNU’s code is laughed at but their license is used. Because what makes me dislike some of the GNU project’s applications and in general the FSF (America) approach, is not the license, otherwise I wouldn’t be using it extensively for my own projects, both personal and work-related.

  • Releases

  • Licensing

    • Proprietary Licenses Are Even Worse Than They Look

      Apple’s licenses are probably the easiest example of proprietary licensing terms that are well beyond reasonableness. Of course, Apple’s licenses do the usual things like forbidding users from copying, modifying, sharing, and reverse engineering the software. But even worse, Apple also forbid users from running Apple software on any hardware that is not produced by Apple.

    • Using the GPL for Eclipse Plug-Ins

      Recently we’ve seen some questions about whether Eclipse plug-ins can be released under the GPL. Answered briefly, this is possible if you can provide an additional permission with the license to allow combining your plug-in with the necessary EPL-covered libraries. The rest of this post examines why an additional permission is necessary, and has specific recommendations for interested developers.

  • Openness

    • NY Times Trashes Crowdfunding Without Looking At A Single Big Success Story

      Hmm. Jill Sobule raised over $80,000 in less than two months. That seems like more than gas money. Ellis Paul raised over $100,000. That seems like more than gas money. It’s not clear exactly how much Josh Freese was able to get from his experiment, but it was clearly over $30,000 from reports that were given. Marillion has been surviving on crowdfunding for over a decade.

    • Misconceptions about Transactional Open Innovation

      On the Harvard Business Review blog, John Hagel III, John Seely Brown and Lang Davison, recently wrote a thought-provoking piece on the future of open innovation. They make many keen observations about the limitation companies currently face in making effective use of “Transactional Open Innovation” (TOI), defined below.

  • Programming

    • C is number one!

      Right next to my desk in a bookshelf is my 1988 copy of Kernighan and Ritchie’s second edition of The C Programming Language. I’ve kept this book, the urtext of C programming, because C has always been the first language of Unix and Linux, and I like to be able to read source code. I know that, over the years, C had declined in use. What I didn’t know was that, old as it is, C has actually maintained more of its popularity than I had thought and that it’s now once more the number-one programming language in the world.

    • C Programming Language Back At Number 1
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Get Prepared for the HTML5 Revolution

      In many ways, HTML5 is an attempt to bring order to many of the features and behaviors that have become the norm in recent years. This section highlights some of the more compelling additions.


  • Science

    • New element discovered: Ununseptium

      Even though the name ununseptium (symbol: Uus) is only temporary, Russian and U.S. scientists still have made an important discovery of a new chemical element, one with an atomic number of Z=117.

    • ScienceShot: Animals That Live Without Oxygen

      Scientists have found the first multicellular animals that apparently live entirely without oxygen. The creatures reside deep in one of the harshest environments on earth: the Mediterranean Ocean’s L’Atalante basin, which contains salt brine so dense that it doesn’t mix with the oxygen-containing waters above.

    • H.P. Sees a Revolution in Memory Chip

      Hewlett-Packard scientists on Thursday are to report advances in the design of a new class of diminutive switches capable of replacing transistors as computer chips shrink closer to the atomic scale.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Police cuff 70 eBay fraud suspects

      Romanian police have arrested 70 suspected cybercrooks, thought to be members of three gangs which allegedly used compromised eBay accounts to run scams.

    • From Cyber War: The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It

      Cyber war is not some victimless, clean, new kind of war that we should embrace. Nor is it some kind of secret weapon that we need to keep hidden from the daylight and from the public. For it is the public, the civilian population of the United States and the privately owned corporations that own and run our key national systems, that are likely to suffer in a cyber war.

    • The 9/14 Presidency

      The U.S. still reserves the right to hold suspected terrorists indefinitely without charge, try them via military tribunal, keep them imprisoned even if they are acquitted, and kill them in foreign countries with which America is not formally at war (including Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan). When Obama closed the secret CIA prisons known as “black sites,” he specifically allowed for temporary detention facilities where a suspect could be taken before being sent to a foreign or domestic prison, a practice known as “rendition.” And even where the Obama White House has made a show of how it has broken with the Bush administration, such as outlawing enhanced interrogation techniques, it has done so through executive order, which can be reversed at any time by the sitting president.

    • Obama to take middle course in new nuclear policy

      A year after his groundbreaking pledge to move toward a “world without nuclear weapons,” President Obama on Tuesday will unveil a policy that constrains the weapons’ role but appears more cautious than what many supporters had hoped, with the president opting for a middle course in many key areas.

  • Finance

    • Wall Street’s Cloudy Opportunity

      Cloud computing providers have often looked to the financial companies as potential customers. But what about potential competitors?

    • Morning Update/ Market Thread 4/7

      The number of people using food stamps increased for the 14th consecutive month with the number of people receiving them at a record 39,430,000! That’s equal to 12.8% of our entire population! No pictures of people in soup lines that extend around the block? There they are.

    • Goldman Sachs Proprietary Trader Hedayat Said to Leave Firm

      Ali Hedayat, a managing director in Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s largest internal hedge fund, has left the firm, the second senior departure from the unit in less than a month, according to three people familiar with the matter.

    • Goldman Sachs denies betting against mortgage clients

      It was “grateful” for the government assistance during the market turmoil, Goldman chief executive officer Lloyd Blankfein and chief operating officer Gary Cohn said in the firm’s annual letter to shareholders.

    • Goldman Sachs denies ‘betting against’ its clients during financial crisis
    • Goldman Sachs denies ‘betting against clients’

      Nine months after being labelled “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”, Goldman Sachs has issued a wide-ranging justification of its conduct before, during and after the financial crisis.

    • Exclusive: Is Goldman Sachs Playing Fair?

      But increasingly that international influence has come at a cost to Goldman’s once gold-plated image – including the charge of putting its own interest above all else.

      For example: allegedly helping the Greek government hide its ballooning debt – and then betting it would eventually default – contributing to a financial crisis so deep it has led to riots in the streets.

      Goldman defended itself against similar accusations about its role in the housing crisis in a letter issued Wednesday, saying it didn’t “bet against our clients,” but rather was simply “managing our risk.”

    • Goldman Sachs: Spinning Gold

      The Fed abused the taxpayers’ trust when it bailed out AIG’s trades for 100 cents on the dollar. The Fed claims its loan for purchases of the CDOs may be paid back, but that is only 40% of what taxpayers are owed. The loan was only for the 40 cents on the dollar that remained after Goldman (and others) already took billions out of AIG. The purchases should be reversed, and taxpayers should be paid 100 cents on the dollar–the original principal amount (less interim principal payments). [2] The proceeds can be used to pay down AIG’s public debt.

    • Goldman Sachs: No apologies

      Goldman Sachs defended its controversial employee bonuses and multi-billion dollar relationship with AIG in its annual report released Wednesday, while downplaying its short-selling in the mortgage market.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • ‘Eyes on the Prize’ comes to DVD

      The 1987 civil rights documentary emerges from a long period of unavailability.

    • Another hearing tomorrow on transatlantic data exchange

      Tomorrow a hearing “Protection of Personal Data in Transatlantic Securitz Cooperation, SWIFT, PNR, etc. The Public Hearing is hosted by MEP Jan Philipp Albrecht.

    • Iraq Video Brings Notice to a Web Site

      Somehow — it will not say how — WikiLeaks found the necessary computer time to decrypt a graphic video, released Monday, of a United States Army assault in Baghdad in 2007 that left 12 people dead, including two employees of the news agency Reuters. The video has been viewed more than two million times on YouTube, and has been replayed hundreds of times in television news reports.

      The release of the Iraq video is drawing attention to the once-fringe Web site, which aims to bring to light hidden information about governments and multinational corporations — putting secrets in plain sight and protecting the identity of those who help do so. Accordingly, the site has become a thorn in the side of authorities in the United States and abroad. With the Iraq attack video, the clearinghouse for sensitive documents is edging closer toward a form of investigative journalism and to advocacy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Do as we say, not as we do

      If you haven’t been following the story, the Labour party took a photo of actor Philip Glenister as Gene Hunt from Ashes to Ashes, photoshopped in David Cameron’s face and put it on a poster with a tagline about going back to the 80s. The Conservatives took Labour’s image, and changed the words to something more positive, and put it on their own posters. The problem is that it appears neither of them bothered with the trivial matter of getting approval from the copyright holders.

    • James Gannon Presentation – Copyright Viewed By A Lawyer – Correct Legally But Wrong – Part 1

      James Gannon is a lawyer who works with Barry Sookman at McCarthy Tétrault LLP. He also has a blog called ‘IP, Innovation and Culture’ which is hosted at WordPress.com, where he expounds on ‘Intellectual Property‘ issues.

    • James Gannon Presentation – Copyright Viewed By A Lawyer – Correct Legally But Wrong – Part 2

      Let me see – Wal-Mart shut down their DRM servers in 2009, and his presentation was in 2010. Does anyone see the disconnect here? RealNetworks is has been struggling, Sony’s music sales aren’t work breaking out in their year end reports (at least I couldn’t find them), and Microsoft doesn’t break out music sales on their year end reports (probably too embarrassed to do so). As I stated above, the two giants of digital music sales don’t use TPM/DRM on their music. From that you can guess how essential it is to running a successful Digital Music Store.

    • James Gannon Presentation – Copyright Viewed By A Lawyer – Correct Legally But Wrong – Part 3

      So which is it? Do you want Canada to adopt the WIPO Copyright Treaties? If so, why are you not criticizing those who are not in compliance, like the United States (with the DMCA) and the United Kingdom (with the Digital Economy Bill). For that matter, where is Doctor Mihaly Ficsor, the supposed copyright expert? Why isn’t he criticizing the United States and the United Kingdom for passing legislation which is not compliant with the WIPO Copyright Treaties?

      Logic people. Use some logic.

    • Why Copyright Criminals Filmmakers Won’t Get Sued? Because They’d Win

      Last year we had a post, based on a post by Peter Friedman, suggesting a big reason why Girl Talk hadn’t been sued for creating entirely sample-based music was because there was a good chance that Girl Talk/Gregg Gillis would win that lawsuit, and establish a clear fair use right in sampling. Now, with the more recent discussion about the legality of the documentary Copyright Criminals, Friedman is making the same point again: suggesting that the filmmakers won’t get sued, because they would likely win, and redraw the boundaries of the law on music sampling and fair use:

      But if McLeod is willing to fight a lawsuit — and I think he is — the recording industry won’t sue him. The existing precedents requiring licensing of every single recorded sample would be overturned, and the record industry would [have] lost the appearance created by these precedents, an appearance that makes the vast, vast majority of samplers pay license fees for their samples. It’s better business for the industry to let the occasional brave and creative soul feel as if he’s getting away with something than to have the industry’s precious — and ill-founded — legal precedents put at genuine risk.

    • ✍ Copying Is Not Theft; Saying It Is IS Spin

      Just in case you were in any way confused (which it seems a whole lot of people are), copying is not stealing, as this charming little jingle illustrates.

    • ACTA

      • ALDE ACTA consultation makes tea not war

        The lobbyists blackmail Luc Devigne by embracement on principles. It is great to have finally a more professional discussion.

      • Smooth Criminal Harmonisation: ACTA, EU And IPR Enforcement

        Anything one can consider as politically cool from an EU perspective, ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, the multilateral treaty to combat counterfeiting and piracy) negotiations have got it all: the internet, the USA, large potential for media exposure and a hitherto Nixonian element of secrecy balanced by a flow of thrilling documents leaked by generous deep-throats.

        Thus it’s hardly a surprise that during the past few months, being horrified – sometimes on the basis of irrational arguments – about this secretly negotiated treaty has superseded SWIFT as the fashionable cross-party pastime in Brussels.

        At the heart of all the ACTA anxiety is the hazard of policy laundering or legislation through the back door. Simply put: can we as Europeans envisage one morning “waking up” to our legal reality having been transformed via ACTA?

      • Luc Devigne and DG trade’s ACTArchy (ALDE hearing)

        What do I mean in the context of ACTA? It is the “maximalist attitude” which regards politics, legal technicalities, competences, balances, mandates as a simple restriction to be exhausted, pushed to its limits. I remember that was what fascinated me about ACTA from the very start of the process, the way in which the Commission brushed away all the technical difficulties.

      • Europe Learns The Truth(s) About ACTA

        The truth about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is different depending on which side you are on.

        At a hearing organised by the Liberal Party Group in the European Parliament in Brussels yesterday Canadian law professor and ACTA expert Michael Geist challenged the position of the European Commission and other negotiating parties to the agreement that ACTA would not lead to substantive law changes in the ACTA countries and also explained what possible long-term effects could result from the heavily debated treaty. Critics in Europe go one further in their rejection of ACTA which does undermine according to them democratic processes in the EU and EU member states.

        The “truth about ACTA,” according to Geist, is first and foremost that it is not what it is said to be. “It is essential to recognise that ACTA is not the norm,” Geist said, countering the argument of negotiating parties who have pointed out tirelessly that trade agreements never were negotiated openly.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • New forum for next steps in Digital Economy campaign

        We’ve launched a new forum, over here. Please sign up and use it to help us plan the next steps in our campaign against the Digital Economy Bill.

      • UK Digital Economy Bill Turns To Ashes

        After months of warnings from photographers, and weeks of viral posters demonstrating the dangers of Clause 43 and misuse of photography, the Labour party have got in on the act by launching their election campaign with a poster using all the techniques warned of: only to see it blow up in their faces.

      • The Statute of Anne, the Digital Economy Bill and the Red Flag Act

        This week marks the Tercentenary of the 1710 Statute of Anne – the world’s first Copyright law. It also marks the first discussion of the Digital Economy Bill in the Commons. And in 1865, the Locomotive act was being discussed in the Commons too. How do they compare?

      • Clause 18 of the DEB removed? – And its different because…..?

        I won’t repeat myself about my objections to the DEB. Whilst my articles and opinions are strongly anti-piracy, I think that there is so much wrong with the implementation and current copyright laws, that there are issues on both sides.

        What I want to look at is it is now reported that Clause 18 has been removed in the final throes of the DEB debate. Before I do that though, many sites report:

        Copyright holders will be able to apply for a court order to gain access to the names and addresses of serious infringers and take legal action.

      • UK House Of Commons On Digital Economy Bill: We’ll Approve Now, Debate Later?

        Despite tens of thousands of people writing their MPs, and multiple MPs asking for approval of the Digital Economy Bill to be delayed, it looks like the Leader of the House of Commons, Harriet Harman, has decided that the bill will be rushed through via a “wash up,” no matter what. Glyn Moody points us to an image showing that a lot of MPs simply decided not to even show up for the discussion, which is a bit of a disgrace.

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 3 – Episode 1: Climate Change (2006)

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