Summary: The latest software patents news from New Zealand, Europe, the United States, and an American Microsoft proxy that pretends to be European (near the Commission)
LATER this week — on Thursday to be precise — people will speak about patents at the 2010 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. The list of speakers is interesting because it includes some lawyer types who do not oppose software patents.
The EPIP conference is also looking for paper submissions. Emphasis will be put on Free software and software patents, oddly enough (because the conference is in Europe).
This year an emphasis will be given to the issues of IPR and development and open source. Papers addressing the challenges encountered by developing countries in the context of the TRIPS (trade related aspects of intellectual property rights) agreement, the protection of traditional knowledge, the issues of IPR and health and access to knowledge in developing countries, and the challenging view of the open source alternative to IPR will be particularly welcome.
Over in New Zealand, it’s mostly the lawyer types who stifle a necessary reform that would explicitly forbid software patents [1, 2, 3, 4]. Watch the following new video from New Zealand (NZOSS) and listen to the background sounds.
Commerce Minister Simon Power says the Government will back changes proposed by a select committee that will mean computer software can no longer be patented.
Parliament’s commerce select committee proposed amending the Patents Bill, which passed its first reading in May last year, after receiving many submissions on the controversial issue.
As we pointed out a couple of days ago, Judge Stevens is retiring and this is a big deal because of his involvement in the Bilski case. The president of the FFII, Benjamin Henrion, shows that a “Patent Attorney is afraid of Judge Stevens for writing Bilski decision, hopes he retires soon” (well, he got his wish fulfilled).
Henrion has also spotted IPKat’s new essay on what he calls “the UPLS attempt to validate software patents in Europe” (the former can facilitate the latter).
“Where are we now?” is the question on everyone’s lips when it comes to the long trek from national patents alone to the desired destination, the Promised Land of the single patent for the European Union and a centralised and harmonised patent litigation system. Explaining the background, Oliver Varhelyi (Head of Unit, DG Internal Market and Services, European Commission) described the legal bases on which the form and substance of the agreed new regime could be reached through a combination of unanimous and majority votes.
We cannot quite avoid speaking about the curious case of TurboHercules — a case that we’ve covered in :
Intel’s heinous crimes did not prevent HP from getting closer to Barrett this month (he is among the key people who attacked OLPC), but we were more interested in understating HP’s possible role in the TurboHercules case. Groklaw has just explained this relationship. It’s great work from Pamela Jones; in fact, many updates on her previous post show that TurboHercules used a simple trick to pull the list of patents from IBM. The closer one looks, the worse it looks for TurboHercules, whose location is elucidated as follows in one of the comments:
I am purposefully not making these links HTML clickable so there won’t be referring clicks from Groklaw. You can copy them into your browser to verify if you want to.
The TurboHercules website is at http://www.turbohercules.com where it is clearly the right site, talking about the TurboHercules emulator and founder Roger Bowler. The About Us page at http://www.turbohercules.com/about/ has their Paris, France address.
At http://www.turbohercules.com/resources/permalink/turbohercules-overview/ is a link to the PDF of a whitepaper http://www.turbohercules.com/uploads/main/TurboHercules_Overview_1.pdf “TurboHercules Overview: A Quick Overview of the TurboHercules System” which at the bottom of the cover page lists the address “TurboHercules Inc. | 701 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4200 Seattle, WA 98104″
There is also a marketing brochure at http://www.turbohercules.com/uploads/main/Turbohercules_Brochure_IDF_1.pdf that has the same address. An interesting snippet from it: “TurboHercules has approached IBM to consider making available to its mainframe customers a license for IBM operating systems on the Hercules platform.”
As Groklaw shows, it is also a Windows company, not quite an “open source” company as Florian Müller and others from that same ilk want reporters to believe (Müller has failed to properly deny his role).
All in all, patent law is broken, yet some people mischaracterise the problem by pointing their finger in the wrong direction. Mike Masnick responds:
This is a problem that happens all too often in these discussions. Folks who don’t know much about how innovation really occurs in the tech world, and who falsely conflate concepts in tangible property with a completely different government-granted monopoly right — automatically assume that infringement is the equivalent of “stealing.” Are there cases where big companies “copy” an idea from a small company? Yes, absolutely. But it’s a lot more rare than many make it out to be. The really innovative ideas? Those are the ones that big companies don’t even realize are big ideas until it’s too late.
Very few people who are developers would deny their disdain of software patents; it’s mostly them who matter, but it’s rarely them who vote on the subject. The “Litigation Industrial Complex” runs this show. █
“Small Software companies cannot afford to go to court or pay damages. Who is this software patent system for?”—Marco Schulze, Nightlabs Gmbh
AST YEAR we wrote about Microsoft's relationship with Kyrgyzstan. For those who have not heard the news, “Kyrgyzstan’s head reveals overthrown president left only $80m in the budget” and Richard Stallman writes: “Kyrgyzstan’s President Bakiyev sold off nearly all the state’s assets at low prices to his family’s cronies. Kyrgyzstan should seize the former state assets that are physically in the country, such as the telephone company, and tell the new “owners” they can try to collect from Bakiyev.”
Microsoft loves those. It has them everywhere and even brags about it.
It was only a month ago that someone in the US congress accused Microsoft of “enabling tyranny” in China [1, 2].
In my earlier post on the recent Kyrgyzstan revolution, I commented on the lack of cyber attacks and what that implies for this event. Now, thanks to the help of a contact in Central Asia, I see that the Bakiev administration had effectively shut down all opposition media in the months and weeks prior to the April 7th revolution, which isn’t all that surprising.
What is surprising, however, is that Microsoft appears to have helped Bakiev do it. Essentially, Microsoft’s Kyrgyzstan agent assisted the Kyrgyz authorities in cracking down on dissenting media five days before last week’s uprising.
This is where Microsoft comes in. According to the local 24.kg news agency, agents of the State Financial Police and a representative of Microsoft arrived armed with an order from the Kyrgyzstan Prosecutor General’s office to seal all the station’s equipment. This included confiscating private laptops that were on the premises at the time. The justification for this action was the charge from Microsoft’s agent that Stan Media LLC may be using pirated Microsoft software. This charge had yet to be proven, however the station was shut down pending such time when a final determination could be made. A Stan TV official was quoted as saying:
“We understand that actions of the financial police, possibly, break rules of proceedings, but we made no resistance to the police. We asked human rights organizations for help”, editorial director of the STAN-TV Kirill Stepanyuk added.”
CPJ, a non-profit organization based in New York, has pointed out that this is an oft-used tactic by regional authorities to quash dissent. I’ve made a request for an official comment from Microsoft about their role in this incident, but so far no response has been forthcoming.
Classic Microsoft. The essay is from Forbes and it’s titled “How Microsoft Took The Wrong Side On The Kyrgyzstan Revolution”; last year we argued that activists don't use Windows because only Free software enables freedom of operation and expression. In Russia, for example, journalists whom the government wants silenced or arrested are being accused and then caught for counterfeited proprietary software that they use. It’s a widely-publicisd factoid and a crucial lesson regarding the importance of software freedom.
“The US supports compliant dictators in many countries, and might be glad to support one more.” –Richard StallmanAccording to another new report, the cronies are being pushed off their throne and Richard Stallman writes: “The people came onto the streets to fight the government of Kyrgyzstan, after the government had opposition leaders arrested. Over 50 protesters were killed, but they seem to have won the battle. I am concerned that Obama will try to put the president back in power so as to keep using the airport. The US supports compliant dictators in many countries, and might be glad to support one more.” We are not endorsing or taking any sides here, but the fact that Microsoft carries arms (the wording is ambiguous) to merely attack the messengers using a EULA is absolutely pathetic; it must be intimidating for the victims, who are being criminalised by a foreign company called Microsoft (we wrote about Microsoft’s criminalisation of youth around the world just earlier today). █
Summary: Very encouraging new signs that Mono/C#, Flash, and Silver Lie are being buried in an age of standards and resentment against software patents
DEVELOPERS of Mono might wish to rethink their vocation. While statistics and surveys indicate that Mono’s share is minuscule, things are getting worse not just for .NET but for Silver Lie too (and Moonlight). Microsoft only hypes that up at the moment due to an imminent new release.
Livnat Peer says that Qumranet (now part of Red Hat) is working to replace C# with Java and she explains how to achieve this.
In 2008 RedHat acquired Qumranet, a startup whose focus was Virtualization. Among other products Qumranet developed a management application for Virtualization.
The management application was written in C# and one of the first tasks we got was to make the management application cross platform, well this was expected considering the fact that the acquisition was done by RedHat…
We started exploring the web looking for ideas how to approach this task. At the beginning things did not look promising most of the references we found for porting projects from one technology to another were about complete failures, the only obvious suggestion that we saw all over was not to change technology and architecture at the same time.
In addition to the ongoing effort with Tangible we had to dumb down the C# code.
For example we had to remove the usage of the Linq library in the C# side since it is not converted to Java properly.
And in the same time we wrote some “sed” scripts to manipulate the Java output and fix some errors like packaging, adding import statements at the beginning of the class or adding a static data member (logger) in each class.
If Flash/.NET/Whatever dominates Apple development, then Apple is no longer in charge of their own platform. Adobe is. Or Microsoft. Or Whoever.
I see the entire situation as “How dare you do to us developers what we are together doing to the users!” Hey, Mr. Developer, you want Freedom? How about developing for a platform that offers Freedom?
The Source actually defends Apple when it comes to this decision. Given that Google intends to push for HTML5 video (VP8 or Ogg), who will need Flash anyway? It seems as though Flash is nearly doomed. It was quite irrelevant before Web video became widespread and it may be going back right where it used to be (only to compete with HTML5 and SVG, which is tougher). Lee Brimelow from Adobe was so upset that he publicly wrote “Go screw yourself Apple.” The press was all over this [1, 2, 3].
“Go screw yourself Apple,” wrote Lee Brimelow, an Adobe platform evangelist, on his personal Web site, The Flash Blog.
Actually, like Jason from The Source, we believe that Apple does the right thing by blocking proprietary plug-ins and denying Microsoft/Mono access. It’s long overdue. █
Most folk know if they want a secure gateway between the Internet and their home or business they should use Linux for maximum protection. The new IPFire distribution seeks to take security to the highest level while also making things a breeze for the less experienced to set up.
Stephen Timms — currently the government minister in charge of Digital Britain — spoke to ZDNet UK to explain how the Labour Party stands on strengthening the digital economy, using open source in government IT and protecting consumer data, among other issues.
The NHS ‘Spine’ uses an operating system based on open source. At least 35 percent of NHS organisations covering almost 300,000 users are supported by Linux infrastructure. GP applications running on Linux are being deployed — these are ‘black boxes’ that will handle key functions in GP surgeries. Hundreds of desktops across the NHS are running Linux.
Sure computer technicians make money off of these peoples ignorance and stupidity. Personally I would prefer to work on real problems, instead of mindless operating system re-installation and scut work cleaning junkware. Linux does far more towards turning a computer into an appliance than windows can ever do. If the computer users do not wish to properly maintain their machine then they need Linux. Linux is far more advanced at self maintenance than windows will ever be and the sheeple will be far less frustrated at that mysterious box and wonder why they were foisted with windows in the first place.
Army-owned Viettel group just became one of the pioneer organizations using open source software (OSS) in Vietnam. According to local ICTnews, since July 2009 more than 2,200 PC units in Viettel network of stores and postal counters had been installed oss: Ubuntu, Open Offfice, X-Unikey, Mozilla ThunderBird. This is the first stage, and all new PCs will be used with OSS from now on, Viettel said.
Xen 4.0 was just released a few days back with a variety of features from graphics card pass-through support to online resizing of guest disks, but features for Xen 4.1 are already brewing. Xen 4.1 will be the next major release for this once-popular virtualization platform and its feature list is quickly growing.
A month ago the Canonical crew working on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS received an unreleased Catalyst 10.4 driver from AMD for inclusion with the Lucid Lynx since the publicly available ATI Catalyst drivers had not — and to this day still do not — support the X.Org Server 1.7 used by this next Ubuntu release. Similar pre-releases for Ubuntu have happened in the past when AMD hasn’t been quick to the game in supporting new Linux kernels and X Servers. This driver was made available in Ubuntu 10.04 even before Catalyst 10.3 was released. Catalyst 10.4 still has not been publicly released, but another updated 10.4 driver has made its way into the Lucid repository.
It’s been three weeks since Phoronix Test Suite 2.6 Alpha 2 was released (compared the usual two weeks, due to the tour of Chernobyl), but the third alpha release for this next release codenamed “Lyngen” is now available.
Phoronix Test Suite 2.6 Alpha 3 is carrying mostly internal changes and improvements to pts-core, but there are some externally visible changes too. The start of the suite-to-pdf option has been introduced, various bug-fixes, text-based interface enhancements, tweaks to the generated graphs, and compatibility with older versions of PHP 5.1/5.2.
Ubuntu Linux is a free; open-source operating system based the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. However, many people do not prefer to use it because of the number of applications that are available for Ubuntu Linux, when compared with Windows and Mac. If you are a Ubuntu user and confused which instant messaging client you should use, I gathered a list of few excellent IM clients for Ubuntu Linux.
Setting up Last.fm streaming and scrobbling in Ubuntu 10.04, Lucid Lynx, is fast and easy. The Rhythmbox music player provides scrobbling support and the Last.fm client will let you stream your favorite stations in a nice stand-alone application. Here’s a screencast and written instructions on exactly how to set things up.
Avant Window Navigator is a dock for the Free Desktop which shows your launchers and open applications. It also contains support for extensions, via plugins for third-party applications, which communicate with the dock with DBus, and via applets, which allows for workspace switchers, system trays, clocks, etc., to be embedded in the dock. These applets can be written in Vala, Python or C.
My list of stuff to write about seems to get longer and longer every day, instead of shorter and shorter. I just got done explaining four console “tools” that lack real interfaces but are still useful, and I could probably come up with three or four more posts similar to that.
We are several days into Script Frenzy, a thirty day challenge to write a script, either a movie, play, television or graphic magazine. The challenge is similar to the fall exercise known as National Novel Writing Month where you have to write a novel. But where NaNo is about word count, Script Frenzy is about page count. But this is not the only difference.
This article will cover a very powerful but little advertised feature of Inkscape. If you don’t know it, Inkscape is a free vector graphics editor, counterpart of Adobe Illustrator (like GIMP is Photoshop’s counterpart for raster graphics).
Gaming can sometimes be a make or break affair for most people that would like to give Linux a try. There are lots of free, world class games that run natively and via WINE on Linux. However, there are times when you just cannot get the game you want, even though you are willing to pay for it.
Well if you are such person, then Tux Games should be of interest to you. Tux Games is an online store that features a wide assortment of games for the Linux platform. Some of the games available are X3: Reunion, Majesty Gold, Prey, Creatures- Internet Edition among others. They have all the gaming genres covered: action, strategy, role playing, FPS, arcade, sports, puzzle and more (some of the genres are yet to be filled with games though).
Heroes of Newerth Real-time strategy based on Defense of the Ancients
Shadowgrounds: Survivor Single and multiplayer shooter with fantastic graphics
BOH Original, retro-flavoured exploration game
Telepath Psy Arena 2 Tactics based role playing game
X³: Reunion Space trading, empire building, combat game
Grappling Hook Innovative first-person action puzzle / platform
Irukandju Fun score attack shooter, set in an abstract underwater trench
Cube Combat Based on the classic Bomberman game
Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) closed the trading session at $30.81 just above calculated resistance at $30.72 effectively breaking out, grabbing the attention of momentum traders, which could eventually push the stock to different trading range
Today, 42 first-year students at Allegheny College were thrown into the deep end of the pool on the Fedora project. Given that these are first-year students with no particular background in computing, we’ve worked closely with Mel Chua to get these students plugged into the Marketing and Design teams. This puts them in a context where their lack of experience as programmers is a benefit, as they are discussing and developing feature descriptions with developers with the explicit goal of making the end-result readable by people with no particular background in computing.
Welcome to this year’s first issue of DPN, the newsletter for the Debian community. Topics covered in this issue include:
* Debian Project Leader Election
* Bits from the Release Team
* Estimates of the number of Debian users
Four Debian Developers are nominated in the currently running election for the Debian Project Leader: Stefano “Zack” Zacchiroli, Wouter “Yoe” Verhelst, Charles Plessy and Margarita “marga” Manterola — the first woman ever nominated for this position. The voting period ends on Thursday, April 15th.
The first woman ever to be nominated for Debian Project Leader is Margarita “marga” Manterola. Would it be chauvinistic to hope that a woman might make Debian GNU/Linux a bit more tidy? Perhaps emphasizing communication and cooperation?
The sidux distribution is one which has been on my to-review list for a while. It’s a small project which makes a bold effort to take Debian’s Unstable repository and turn it into a functioning day-to-day operating system.
Having played with sidux for a week, I find that it’s an interesting operating system and brings a special collection of characteristics to the table, some of which almost seem contradictions. For one, the Xfce edition is very light of resources, a trait generally found in distributions targeting older hardware. But sidux isn’t looking back, it’s looking ahead, it’s cutting edge, designed with the newest hardware in mind. The operating system itself doesn’t do much hand-holding (such as one might expect from Mandriva or Ubuntu), but sidux does have some excellent documentation and, from what I’ve seen thus far, a polite and friendly community. The distro is based on Debian, but has a flavour, a character, of its own. I wouldn’t recommend sidux to new-comers to the Linux scene, but for people who want to keep up with the latest and greatest without any extra fluff in their faces, sidux seems like a good fit.
Testing out my new laptop from System76. I feel I could have thrown much more at it, I was just running out of applications. This laptop does a great job with multi-tasking, as you can see, the effects got slow towards the end. However, the Serval Professional out performs (by a long way) all of my previous laptops… This is 32bit Ubuntu Karmic Koala, NOT the 64bit version that ships with the computer. Specs: -Very limited, one-of-a-kind “Light-Up Bumpy Edition” Serval Professional (Serp5) from System76. -nvidia geforce GTX 260M with 1GB DDR3 -Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 2.53 ghz -4 GB – DDR3 RAM -320 Gb HDD 15.4″ WUXGA Matte Finish LCD (1920 x 1200)
Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #188 for the week April 4th – April 10th, 2010. In this issue we cover: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Beta 2 released, Countdown Banner is live, help spread the word, Regional Membership Boards: Restaffing, Call for New Operators in the #ubuntu, #kubuntu and #ubuntu-offtopic channels, Patch Day, May 5th 2010, Next Ubuntu Hug Day! – April 15, Being passionate about some things, Website Localization Project Meeting, Reviving the Ubuntu Accessibility Team, Ubuntu One contact phone sync opened again, Canonical Upgrading GNOME Bugzilla and Commercial Sponsorship, Ubuntu’s News Web Office Integration, and much, much more!
So far, with only a very few exceptions, the comments and discussion around my criticism of Ubuntu has been respectful and on topic, even when people strongly disagreed with me. This says something very positive about the Ubuntu community.
Ubuntu adoption for communities in the “Third World” seems like it should be a no-brainer: how could a functional, free operating system not prove wildly popular in developing countries? Nonetheless, I believe Ubuntu use outside rich nations remains limited. Here’s a look at some suggested explanations of that reality, and how to change it.
Counting Ubuntu users by country–like counting Ubuntu users in general–is surprisingly difficult. There used to be a frappr page, a map run by ubuntu-fr.org and a world map hosted on the Ubuntu forums all dedicated to this purpose, but these resources no longer function.
k cards are One of the first things someone notices when working with Kubuntu or introducing Kubuntu to someone is networking and how wireless works. Or based on what I’ve been working with, the lack of working. I now that everyone who reads this post is going to comment its the drivers stupid, network drivers are mostly closed source, if there were better drivers then the problems wouldn’t occur.
The Gnome DE and no Mono in connection with its Ubuntu roots make this distro a winner in my opinion. Whilst I am going to favor any distro which excludes Mono as default it has to be remembered how rock solid Ubuntu is. Even when booting from the LiveCD a few things struck me, first was the speed. I cannot say if this is due to the absence of Mono or the tinkering in other area’s by the Netrunner team, but Netrunner LiveCD is noticeably faster on the same machine than Ubuntu LiveCD(from which its based).
Don’t let this first release of Netrunner make you think its incomplete, I’ll stress this is a fully functional, damn good distro. I expect Netrunner now only to improve on the solid first steps it has already made.
Highly recommended and Im glad that at least the developers of Netrunner have returned “the gift to the world” of Mono back to the shop.
Just yesterday, as Mobile Burn reports, Skyfire’s CEO Jeff Glueck said that his company is stopping work on a BlackBerry version of Skyfire to focus on Android, noting carrier and manufacturer interest. Not only are carriers and manufacturers warming up to Android, developers increasingly are. Google recently confirmed that there are over 30,000 applications for Android, and that the number doubled in only three months.
Guess who’s bizzack? Anonimac! After leaking the Incredible User Guide and the Incredible Equipment Guide he made it trifecta by hooking up our readers and members with an internal email showing the Incredible will probably be officially announced on Monday!
Looks like HTC has just filed a patent for a device that would feature dual touchscreens in a clamshell design. Many are comparing the device to the Microsoft Courier, a similarly dual-screened device, but the Courier would be lacking one key element that is sure to make its way on to this interesting HTC design: Android.
Confirming the rumors, and after dismissing the iPad as nothing more than a large phone, Google is getting ready its own tablet computer. At least, that was what Google CEO—and Steve Jobs’ own personal Judas—Eric Schmidt is saying.
The Department of Computer Science and Engineering of Federal Institute of Science and Technology (FISAT) will organise ICEFOSS- 10, a conference for enthusiasts of free and open source software, from April 19 to 21.
ICEFOSS is a platform for the promotion of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). It will feature various programmes, including lectures on the philosophical and technical aspects of free software, workshops and open discussions.
Not everyone was happy with that, and we got rebels such as the heroes of the Free Software Foundation. I’m not going to preach to the choir and repeat the rise and success of free software, but I’m going to say that the rebellion was all about a world-class hacker such as Richard Stallman being unable to fix the driver software for his brand new Xerox printer because it was proprietary. The use value was greatly diminished.
Free software is all about making software useful again. Software is only useful when you can do what your needs are, not someone else’s. No software vendor is ingenious enough to predict what you might want to do. Free software communities are: they just do what you tell them to do. We’re talking usefulness, use values again.
So now that we have philosophically and economically fixed everything with the free software ideology and open source development models, and we have wonderful systems like Linux-based GNU systems and all the awesome apps that run on them, we’re home free, right? I’m not sure.
The nearly 400 million current Firefox users is a testament to our ability to make those tough calls and change towards the better. As our user base continues to grow, those calls will only get tougher. We need to find technical and cultural ways to overcome the innovators dilemma and lower the cost of experimentation.
The Obama Administration’s Open Government Directive ordered Federal agencies to produce open government plans by April 7th, and while some advocates are disappointed, we have before us a bewildering number of initiatives to improve transparency, collaboration, and participation across the Government. It will not surprise you to learn that I spent some time looking for places where open source is being used in these plans.
TSO (The Stationery Office), the leading provider of publishing solutions to the public sector, has today announced the launch of OpenUp, a £50,000 development fund aimed at encouraging the British public to come up with ideas of how open data can be put to better use for their communities. The move by TSO to offer the substantial fund for investment follows the recent launch of Data.gov.uk by the Government. Individuals or teams of people are encouraged to enter the competition by submitting an idea that can use public data to deliver value to communities locally, regionally, nationally or even internationally. As well as securing the fund to see their idea developed the winner will also be awarded a personal prize of £1,000.
CommonsWare’s publishing strategy is fairly simple: try to give readers a fair deal.
Digital publishing with a price tag attached — whether it be books or music or movies — is trying to leverage an artificial scarcity. For all intents and purposes, there is really no additional costs for delivering 200 copies than there are for delivering 2 copies. However, the alternative revenue models are works-in-progress.
Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you the official mascot of OggCamp, the Ogg! I came up with this little fella because we needed something to decorate the merchandise for the event and I think mascots are cool.
As I’ve already established with Dan, Oggs live on a steady diet of puffles, chips and of course, beer. They usually spend their day listening to podcasts, mostly UUPC and Linux Outlaws, and generally looking cool. They are born on the mysterious island of Ardour (somewhere off the coast off France) and when they die, they go to Ogg heaven which they call The Vorbis. You will see lots of these little guys around OggCamp this year, I think.
Google will soon make its VP8 video codec open source, we’ve learned from multiple sources. The company is scheduled to officially announce the release at its Google I/O developers conference next month, a source with knowledge of the announcement said. And with that release, Mozilla — maker of the Firefox browser — and Google Chrome are expected to also announce support for HTML5 video playback using the new open codec.
Yelp Inc. made several significant changes to its review policies on Tuesday, following a series of class-action complaints accusing the popular San Francisco site of extorting companies into buying advertising.
The lawsuits, which include several Bay Area plaintiffs, allege the company’s salespeople offered to highlight positive reviews and bury negative ones for businesses that agreed to advertise on the site. Further, some said that positive reviews of their businesses disappeared after they refused the offers.
China will reach maturity not when returns the the hubristic self-audulation of The Qing emperors, but when it learns to walk a middle path in its approach to things foreign, assigning value to ideas, innovations, systems and people based not on their origin, but on their intrinsic merits. The country could once afford to forego this middle path, but today it is at odds with everything China seeks to accomplish in a global economy, polity, and society.
A SLAPP, or “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” is a little known but widespread threat to the First Amendment. SLAPPs are meritless suits brought by companies, individuals and sometimes the government, not to win, but to silence critics. Congress is now considering federal anti-SLAPP legislation. OTM producer Nazanin Rafsanjani investigates.
Astronauts took part Sunday in the second of three planned spacewalks to replace an old storage tank on the international space station.
Rick Mastracchio and Clayton Anderson removed an old ammonia tank that is part of the space station’s cooling system. The tank has to be replaced periodically. The current one had been at the station for eight years.
On 4th December 2008 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that keeping the DNA profiles of two men from Sheffield – who had previously been cleared of criminal charges – on the British police DNA database was a breach of their human rights. Reacting to the court’s decision, Jacqui Smith – then Home Secretary – said that “the existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement.”
It turned out to be way easier and much more like a webapp than I had thought it would be originally. After a couple hours of poking, I found a huge unauthenticated confidentiality hole. Once the euphoria wore off, I realized I had a big problem on my hands. I had to tell my employer’s app owners and we had to assess risk and make a decision on what to do about it. After some quick meetings with stakeholders, we decided to severely limit access to the thing while we worked with the vendor.
The vendor refused to acknowledge it was a security issue. Odd, considering most everyone who sees the issue unmistakably agrees that it is not acceptable. Now I’m forced to play hardball, yet nobody wants to fully-disclose and destroy relations with this vendor, whose software is somewhat relied on. Meanwhile, I know there are hundreds of institutions, small and large, using this software who have no idea that it has flawed security and who would probably not find the risk acceptable. What can I do? Nothing. Oh well, sucks to be them.
Why is it that the topic of the National DNA Database (NDNAD) brings the worse crassness out of politicians? Two days ago, the Tories changed their mind on what they had long claimed to be a ‘point of principle’, allowing the Crime and Security Bill to become an Act with its DNA clauses intact. Today, Gordon Brown went a few notches up by misleading the public about DNA retention in the presence of the family of Sally Anne Bowman, at a campaign event in Stevenage. His arguments, that retaining the DNA profile of anyone arrested is essential to bring to justice criminals, including the killer of Sally Anne Bowman, has been debunked before, many times.
Disrupting the operation of a website is very different from disrupting the operation of the internet, which is very different from interfering with military communication systems, which is very different from interfering with military battlefield communication systems, which is very different from being susceptible to the interception of digital communications. But all of these things are just jammed together, mindlessly.
Petrol prices have hit an average all-time high of 120p per litre, it emerged today, and there were predictions they could go even higher this summer to as much as 150p – and fuel duty could become an electoral issue.
In late 2005, the booming U.S. housing market seemed to be slowing. The Federal Reserve had begun raising interest rates. Subprime mortgage company shares were falling. Investors began to balk at buying complex mortgage securities. The housing bubble, which had propelled a historic growth in home prices, seemed poised to deflate. And if it had, the great financial crisis of 2008, which produced the Great Recession of 2008-09, might have come sooner and been less severe.
At just that moment, a few savvy financial engineers at a suburban Chicago hedge fund   helped revive the Wall Street money machine, spawning billions of dollars of securities ultimately backed by home mortgages.
Kay argues that nearly all use of credit default swaps (or CDSs) is gambling, and that this is highly damaging. He doesn’t extend the argument to other derivative instruments, but it applies equally and feeds into Kay’s recommendation, made elsewhere, that if utility and other banking were separated, the utility banks’ use of derivatives should be restricted to those directly required to protect the utility business.
The Federal Reserve System – itself an independent government entity therefore having human rights obligations – has extended its emergency powers in response to the crisis, but at the same time refused to disclose to us, the people, the details of its bailout operations. Indeed, the Federal Reserve is a paradigm of opaqueness and unaccountability. The Government Accountability Office is restricted in its ability to audit the Fed; the Fed enjoys critical exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act, and the banking industry advisors (the Federal Advisory Council) are allowed to meet behind closed doors and not report on what they are doing.
The new regulatory legislation must take the required obligation to protect seriously. The failure to do so over the last few decades created the economic problems that have engulfed the nation and the world. We need reform that protects the economic and social rights of people and safeguards them from the avarice of the financial market.
One of the most botched cases of conflict of interest abuse by a Federal Reserve official will forever remain the purchase of Goldman Sachs shares by Goldman Board Member, and FRBNY Board Member (the squid likes to keep its Federal Reserve puppets closely supervised) Stephen Friedman: an act strictly forbidden by the Fed itself. The action was so indefensible it led to Friedman’s quitting shortly after disclosure of his transgression leaked. Yet the reasons why Friedman managed to effect this purchase of 37,000 shares of GS on December 17, 2008 is because he was granted a “waiver” by the Fed. A month ago, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Edolphus Towns sent a rather angry letter demanding an explanation from Ben Bernanke why he had allowed this blatant case of semi-insider trading to occur at the highest echelons of shadow government.
An outspoken Chinese human rights lawyer whose 13-month disappearance caused international concern has said he is abandoning activism in the hope of being reunited with his exiled family.
Gao Zhisheng, who resurfaced last month at a retreat in Shanxi province after being seized in February 2009, today said he did not want to discuss his disappearance and whether he had been held or mistreated by the authorities.
“Comcast has quietly launched a new on-screen guide for its cable boxes. What they’re not advertising is that they’ve removed the ability to schedule VCR-compatible channel flipping any time more than a few hours in advance for people who don’t buy the $20/month DVR service. What this means is that VCR owners are now forced to pay for Comcast’s $20/month DVR service or else start their recordings manually. For us techies there might be a way around this, but ordinary VCR enthusiasts and owners of other recorders are left in the dust. Anyone know a good antitrust lawyer?”
Although PushyPixels maintains the company did not use any copyright or trademark infringing materials, it killed Captain’s Log rather than get into a long, costly legal battle with Paramount.
A Paramount Pictures spokeswoman, meanwhile, said PushyPixels simply did not have a license for the app, which was similar in design and function to an app – also called “Captain’s Log” – that the studio is working on for the iPhone.
A British law firm, which only recently entered the file-sharing settlement letters business, has withdrawn due to masses of bad publicity. Tilly Bailey & Irvine, who tried to rewrite history on its Wikipedia page to remove its connection to this work, say that they fear the rest of their business could be damaged.
We covered TBI Solicitors in previous articles here. TBI were the law firm who were the latest crew to enter into the world of warning letters and fines for those suspected of file sharing.
According to Which? TBI, (which was alleged to be pursuing amongst other material, Adult film titles, now appears to have removed itself from the practice making the comment:
We are concerned that the adverse publicity could affect other areas of our practice and therefore following discussions with our clients, we have reluctantly agreed that we will cease sending out further letters of claim.
The largest copyright pirates are the large corporations, particularly in the content distribution business. Yes, those companies who scream the loudest that their customers are ‘pirating’ movies, songs, books, etc. In this series, we are going to look at cases where these companies have engaged in large scare copyright infringement.
When the MPAA did not respond to his requests, Matthew actually had to resort to a Digital Millennium Copyright Act take down notice sent to the MPAA’s ISP to get action. The problem was that the MPAA, that great advocate of copyright, was not in compliance with copyright law, specifically they did not release the source as required when you distribute an application which uses code which is covered by the General Public License.
Do you get the impression that there’s two sets of rules? One for them (we can do whatever we want and you can’t stop us) and one for us (do what we say, not what we do).
With 500.000 iPads sold in the first week, Apple’s new multi-gadget is already a force to be reckoned with. As book publishers see the iPad as a potential threat to their revenues, we take a look to find out what happened to eBook piracy in the last week. The results are surprising.
The move is notable because the FT has been so ardent in defending its pay system. Clearly, the Foursquare deal shows that the FT isn’t about to give up on its metered model, but it demonstrates that even one of the prime examples of paywalls has to be flexible when it comes to attracting younger users.
If computer reading is cheaper and more convenient, can free digital publishing lead to sale of same data on physical substrate ? Free data on physical substrate has market value if the substrate has value on its own or if the data has sentimental value. That is a potential axis of development for the traditional publishing industry : when nostalgia and habits are involved, the perceived value of the scarce physical substrate of digitally abundant data may actually increases. Of course, free data has value on its own – but, as the reader of this blog certainly knows, it involves a business model entirely different to physical items.
The copyright consultation concluded last fall and it seems worth reminding Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore and Industry Minister Tony Clement what Canadians had to say when they asked for their opinion on copyright reform. It has taken some time to calculate the final numbers as the government conducted a review to ensure that all were properly posted. There were ultimately more than 8,300 submissions – more than any government consultation in recent memory – with the overwhelming majority rejecting Bill C-61 (6138 submissions against, 54 in support), while thousands called for flexible fair dealing and a link between copyright infringement and anti-circumvention rules.
This week marks the start in Wellington New Zealand of the next round of ACTA negotiations, nominally the US-led Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. The scope of the agreement, however, has extended well beyond trade in fake medicines and knock-off Gucci handbags into the technical realms of file-sharing, ISP liability, disconnection, and DRM. Such issues have been contentious where they’ve arisen in New Zealand, France, the UK, USA, and elsewhere, yet negotiators seem ignorant of consumer and technology concerns. To correct this, the open PublicACTA conference two days ago drafted and released the Wellington Declaration.
The U.S. Trade Representative issued a release just prior to the launch of the New Zealand round of ACTA negotiations that has left no doubt that the U.S. is the biggest barrier to official release of the ACTA text. The full text of the release is couched in terms of improving transparency, but is really a thinly-veiled shot at the European Union’s public demands for release of the text. The U.S. statement:
“In this upcoming round of ACTA negotiations, the U.S. delegation will be working with other delegations to resolve some fundamental issues, such as the scope of the intellectual property rights that are the focus of this agreement. Progress is necessary so that we can prepare to release a text that will provide meaningful information to the public and be a basis for productive dialogue. We hope that enough progress is made in New Zealand in clearing brackets from the text so that participants can be in a position to reach a consensus on sharing a meaningful text with the public.”
Only one thing mattered to the UK’s digital constituency this week: the digital economy bill. The election date announcement meant the #debill, as it is referred to on Twitter, was hurried through parliament before the election.
An ambitious bill designed to kickstart the UK’s broadband-enabled future and tackle internet piracy, it deserved more scrutiny than two hours’ late-night discussion in an empty chamber, but was passed on Wednesday with Tory support.
The Tory and Labour parties colluded in forcing through a piece of draft legislation today – the Digital Economy Bill – which is one of the most barefaced examples of Olde Media trying to protect it’s position via legislative muscle.
I am writing firstly to commend you for your attendance at the Digital Economy Bill Second Reading last night. I was one of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people watching the reading unfold on Twitter. By now perhaps some MPs and party strategists are digesting what happened but I wished to pick out a few things that seemed particularly relevant, particularly in the context of a general election.
Finally I would note that, while you were present, the lack of other Liberal Democrats in the house was noted. This is a natural constituency for your party. Indeed Bath has a vibrant technology community as you are no doubt aware. I hope your party strategists have seen the damage that was done last night and I hope they draw the logical conclusion. If the Liberal Democrats turn out in force tonight and bury this bill at the third reading then it will make a difference to your electoral results. If you want a hung parliament, this is the way to get it.
It’s a bit premature to declare winners and losers from the Digital Economy Bill just yet. The Open Rights Group may have given up campaigning – having already turned its front page into a giant click-through recruitment poster* – but the fight’s not over. The legislation may yet fall.
Colin Jackson, a commenter on a blog, on the miserable state of international law: “What a pity international governments don’t seem to be able to make an agreement to ration finite resources like tuna, atmospheric carbon or fossil fuels, but instead devote their time to making an international agreement enforcing controls over something that costs no resources to copy.”
Posted in Site News at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
IT seems as though we never made it explicit enough, so for whoever has any doubts, here is a disclosure. Techrights/Boycott Novell has never ever received any donations and never had financial interests in promoting any particular company. The site’s editorship has no known conflicts of interest and the editorship refuses to speak to any PR agents, as a matter of principle. █
Summary: Some of the more embarrassing news about the Gates Foundation, based on the past week’s reports alone
THE previous post showed — using evidence from the past week alone — how Gates uses ‘studies’ to promote his own agenda. The following new ‘study’ is funded by the Gates Foundation and it receives coverage from the Seattle Times, which is Microsoft’s fan press (more so than other publications in Seattle).
For every dollar in health aid received, governments in the developing world on average shifted between 43 cents and $1.14 from their own health budgets into other priorities, says an analysis published Friday in the medical journal The Lancet and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Given that it is funded by Gates, questions ought to be asked, so we shall look deeper into it. The Washington Post, where Melinda Gates has some special control as board member [1, 2] and as story planter, is another source that covered it (published by Associated Press):
Most countries in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East doubled their health budgets. But many in Africa – including those with the worst AIDS outbreaks – trimmed their health spending instead. In the Lancet study, for every dollar received from donors, poor countries transferred up to $1.14 originally slated for their health budgets elsewhere. The research was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
We managed to find a few more articles [1, 2], but some articles like this one don’t even disclose the financial role of Gates.
The study which Gates has just purchased opens the door to more intervention in Africa, such as his Monsanto ventures that help privatise the continent for ego and for profit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Gates has hired a lot of staff to set the tone on these issues. A few days ago there was this:
The role of strategic philanthropy in agricultural research and development will be addressed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln April 9 by a representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
According to the African press, Gates continues to pay locals to cover his ventures in a congratulatory and flattering way, despite the great opposition (among locals) to what they perceive as imperialism.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (Agra) to launch radio programmes to ensure access to timely and relevant information for farmers.
We saw that before and we have given many examples where Gates pays people to write books and articles which glorify his work. He is funding a lot of media to tell just one side of the story. Here is a new example from the United States:
Six Washington journalists have been awarded a $219,347 grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to publicize and spread awareness of family homelessness through various media outlets in Seattle and the greater Washington area.
This institution, funded by the Gates Foundation, reports that the Gates Foundation has made a splash in funding for neglected diseases. And there is a great quote by Gates Foundation employee Rabinovich to underline the importance of the Gates Foundation: “In these tough economic times, every contribution to neglected disease R&D is absolutely critical”.
Gates Keepers have heard a rumour that the major Gates Foundation project on global investment in drugs for neglected diseases (G-Finder) is about to be hijacked by a disgruntled ex-employee of the not-for-profit group (George Institute) that has been running the project. Is an unduly cosy relationship between the ex-employee and key people within the Foundation about to result in the multimillion dollar project moving to the ex-employee’s private company? If this is true it’s not good for Gates Foundation or the battle against neglected diseases.
As someone points out in the comments:
This is an old scam but a good one.
First get malleable/naive NGO to make your bid for a big grant.
Second make yourself seem indispensible.
Third start your own company and force NGO to subcontract to you (with big margin).
Fourth appoint a few poorly paid flunkies to do the work.
Fifth pocket the profits.
And its all for the greater good of mankind … perfect!
MicroEnsure was established in 2002 to help the poor weather life’s storms via micro insurance products. It serves 3.5 million people around the world and through the support of the Gates Foundation and other generous funding, it is in the process of rapidly scaling up to reach more of the 3.3 billion who live on less than $2 a day.
It sounds very beneficial on the surface, doesn’t it?
If Bill Gates and his spouse believe that better lives lead to smaller families why are they making this grant?
Population growth has already plummeted, though patchily, in Indonesia, due to the highly effective family planning programme they have already implemented. The demographic transition should do the rest.
It is similar in Africa. Gates advocates contraception for lower population growth (“family planning” is the popular euphemism).
When Dr. Tachi Yamada, President of the Global Health Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, wrote a commentary for CNN last fall following his visit to empty wards in Zanzibar, he wrote one striking sentence: ‘Zanzibar — a relatively small but striking example — has virtually eliminated the disease over the past five years.’
It is the word virtually that is key here. ‘Virtually’ is all the difference between elimination, the complete and sustainable disappearance of the disease, and temporary success. Like that witnessed in the 1960s. Einstein’s words ‘If you do what you did, you get what you got’ apply to Zanzibar’s malaria. Pour large sums of money in the battle against parasites and mosquitoes and you’ll knock it over the head. But you won’t eliminate it.
Zanzibar’s malaria situation in 2010 resembles that of 1968.
Looking at India, there are protests against a Gates-funded vaccinations project that went awry and allegedly killed people (4 deaths are being denied by some sources).
A ‘demonstration project’ conducted by PATH International in cooperation with ICMR and the Indian state governments Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was called to an abrupt halt amidst allegations of unethical conduct this week.
58 various health advocacy groups took it upon themselves to conduct an independent fact finding mission when reports of 4 unexplained deaths and 120 girls suffering from debilitating new illnesses after being vaccinated against the HPV virus.
Gates et al were accused of “fatally flawed” vaccination projects in Canada last month [1, 2]. Here are all the news reports that we could find regarding the HPV vaccine experiment in India (where liability is less expensive):
The trials are being described as a “demonstration project” by PATH-International, a U.S.-based non-governmental organisation, which is conducting the project for American pharmaceutical company Merck since July 2009.
The girls, aged between 10 and 14 and belonging to the most vulnerable sections of society, were enrolled in the study approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the respective State governments, and is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
So Merck is behind this too.
Merck is collaborating with Microsoft, it is engaging in corrupt activities, and we wrote about its relationship with Bill Gates in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. The Gates Foundation’s newly-appointed CFO has just come from Merck.
The company has been around since 2000 and is run by Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft. The malaria research hasn’t yet resulted in a marketable product; much of the company’s business involves buying up patents and using them to generate licensing fees. It’s a practice that has made Myhrvold a hated man in some tech circles, where he’s been derided as a “patent troll.” (It’s a description he disputes, saying that he merely helps inventors bring their creations to market.) But Intellectual Ventures is also in business to invent new ideas of its own, most notably in medical devices and nuclear power. A project called TerraPower is trying to develop a new kind of nuclear reactor.
In 2007 Bill Gates, who is a friend of Myhrvold’s and an investor in Intellectual Ventures, challenged the company to come up with ideas for eradicating malaria. That’s a problem Gates was tackling through his philanthropic organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Come up with some good ideas,” he told Myhrvold, “and I’ll come up with some money to pursue them.” Myhrvold brought himself up to speed by attending conferences and poring through thousands of research papers on malaria. He came to believe that epidemiologists needed a computer model that could simulate malaria outbreaks and predict how effective various remedies (bed nets, insecticides, medicines) would be in any given location at any given time.
Intellectual Ventures is not a charity, it is a racketeering operation. There is a lot of money in malaria (usually extracted from taxpayers after lobbying the governments). According to the New York Times, “The chief of malaria for the World Health Organization has complained that the growing dominance of malaria research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation risks stifling a diversity of views among scientists and wiping out the world health agency’s policy-making function.
“In a memorandum, the malaria chief, Dr. Arata Kochi, complained to his boss, Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the W.H.O., that the foundation’s money, while crucial, could have “far-reaching, largely unintended consequences.”
“Many of the world’s leading malaria scientists are now “locked up in a ‘cartel’ with their own research funding being linked to those of others within the group,” Dr. Kochi wrote. Because “each has a vested interest to safeguard the work of the others,” he wrote, getting independent reviews of research proposals “is becoming increasingly difficult.”
“Also, he argued, the foundation’s determination to have its favored research used to guide the health organization’s recommendations “could have implicitly dangerous consequences on the policy-making process in world health.””
To put it simply in terms that anyone can understand, Gates et al are monopolising research on disease and they are also investors in the companies which benefit from it (through patents that are killing rather than helping). █
“Gates has created a huge blood-buying operation that only cares about money, not about people.”
Summary: This week’s analysis of the Gates Foundation and in particular its contribution to education, which has strings attached
THIS post presents new evidence of an issue that we’ve covered here many times before. We wish to begin by stating that those who did not view previous evidence can do so by visiting the index on the subject.
Last month there was a huge media blitz following some libraries ‘studies’ which were funded by and published by the Gates Foundation. These studies were self serving and the Gates Foundation was quick to step in and capitalise on the hype it had created.
As we showed some weeks ago, there seems to be a Huffington Post-Bill Gates financial tie following some meetings [1, 2, 3]. The Huffington Post added a section on philanthropy and the funding source of this section seems to be chained to Gates (although we lack certainty about that). Anyway, last week we saw more blind praise in the Huffington Post (worshiping Gates) and the latest libraries ‘study’ from Gates is pushed by the Huffington Post in this new article.
Yet, according to a recent study, commissioned by the Information School at the University of Washington, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a much larger number of people were likely using computers at their local library last Saturday morning.
A recent survey funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services reported that last year, nearly one-third of Americans age 14 or older (roughly 77 million people) used a public library computer or wireless network to access the internet.
Since the program was part of a project by the Gates Foundation, ostensibly with primary usage aimed at these libraries, it makes one wonder what the folks at Microsoft are thinking.
My first opinion, and one I believe I’ll stick with, is that there is absolutely no need to update to Windows 7, for as the saying goes “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. Though the talking heads at Microsoft would have you believe that Windows 7 is worlds better than Windows XP, that is far from true. If there are any small differences in security, they can be fully mitigated with a simple change of browser, firewall, and antivirus/antimalware programs.
SteadyState is descended from the Public Access Computer security software developed in the early 2000s by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It was part of the foundation’s ongoing drive to put computers into schools and libraries.
In 2005, Microsoft picked up the torch with the release of the Shared Computer Toolkit and then followed with SteadyState in 2007 for Windows XP.
Ironically, news of Microsoft’s decision not to support SteadyState in Windows 7 arrived in the same month as a Gates Foundation–funded, University of Washington study, which reported that some 77 million Americans used a library computer or Wi-Fi network to access the Internet last year.
Not only is the Gates Foundation supposed to be sensitive to this, Microsoft, working in its own best interest, should see the immediate need to do something, or else, some enterprising person will come along and show many libraries the benefits of a little jewel called Linux.
Let’s face it, for what people do on computers at the library, Linux, specifically Ubuntu or OpenSuSE would work very well, and be very easily administered by the right person. SO each library district may have to pay for that right person, in the long run it saves thousands, if not millions of dollars in bypassing the Microsoft trough, and forced cash removals every 3-4 years.
This new post is explicitly mentioning the blocking of GNU/Linux using those “donations”. At the Gates Foundation, they only concentrate on Windows machines. To give some of the past week’s examples:
A nationwide study in 2007 showed that libraries are critical to a community’s quality of life. Yes, they are places where you can borrow books and movies. But the Making Cities Stronger report, funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, showed that they impact early literacy, workforce readiness and the success of small businesses.
The Cornelius Library continues to add new equipment. This month, library staff will unveil two new computers, which will bring the total number of machines to 10. The new units come courtesy a $2,600 grant from the Gates Foundation and another $2,600 from the Friends of Cornelius Library.
With a special ribbon cutting ceremony, the main branch of the library unveiled new computers and software they received through grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Knight Foundation.
These computers come with Windows. How about buying those libraries some chairs, shelves, and books?
El Paso Community College president Richard Rhodes recently met with Microsoft chairman Bill Gates at the headquarters of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle.
Rhodes said the success of programs here in El Paso designed to help more students test into college is what peaked Gates’ interest. The programs are supported by grants from the foundation.
As we’ve shown before and we’ll show again in a moment, there are usually strings attached.
Gates is also making visits to other colleges this month, including MIT [1, 2] (home of GNU and the FSF, which Microsoft somehow managed to move to Exchange not so long ago, as it is not based on merit because there is none), UC Berkeley [1, 2], Stanford, and Harvard.
That Microsoft gazillionaire Bill Gates is coming to Harvard later this month as part of his three-day tour of universities across the nation designed to inspire students to get involved. Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will speak at Sanders Theatre at 3 p.m. on April 21.
It’s like Gates’ latest lobbying tour. There is also private intervention in Florida schools [1, 2, 3, 4] (explained in greater depth in previous weeks), which requires careful attention to finer details, such as:
Ms. Clements, who is president of the Hillsborough teachers’ union, fully supports those reforms. So does the union. Palm Beach County’s union supported similar reforms when the district applied for a Gates grant that it did not receive. The key to teacher acceptance? Districts must be sure that evaluations are valid before putting them into general use. Such union support is possible statewide if legislators drop their arrogance and work with teachers.
Standards good enough for the Gates Foundation ought to be good enough for the Legislature. In fact, a truly “bold” Legislature would provide the money for Palm Beach County to carry out Gates-style reforms in parallel with Hillsborough.
They need to “carry out Gates-style reforms”, i.e. change their agenda hoping for a grant. Others may try to imitate them. So again, strings are being attached, as usual. We previously gave more compelling examples of this. Also see:
If Senate Bill 6 becomes law, the Hillsborough school district would be exempt. Hillsborough is developing a similar program to improve teacher quality under a 7 year long, $100 million grant from the Gates Foundation.
The purpose of the survey was to keep teachers’ voices in the debate over education reform, said Vicki L. Phillips, director of the Gates Foundation’s K-12 education program.
Public schools are being privatised and their curriculum changed. The previous post may serve as a lesson here.
It is also worth paying attention to what Gates’ people are doing in Memphis and in Denver. They are intervening in the states’ school systems and they are commissioning their own ‘studies’ to influence the country’s direction (buying political influence).
The scholarship programme, set up in 2000 and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, enables postgraduates with a strong interest in social leadership and responsibility to study at the University of Cambridge.
The strings commonly attached to these postgraduate paths is that they cover issue affecting the Gates Foundation and promote its interests. It’s similar to the funding of academics by many companies such as pharmaceutical giants, which eventually receive some results that they can use.
Among the donors were the Gates Foundation, $250,000; the Bush Foundation, $50,000; and the Minneapolis Foundation, $100,000. The company also received taxpayer money. The state Department of Education chipped in $100,000 of federal stimulus funds.
A call to McKinsey’s Minneapolis office was forwarded to the company’s public relations office in New York. A spokesperson there referred MPR News to the Gates Foundation.
Should they not speak to the Department of Education? Since when is the Gates Foundation the new patron of US education? More ‘studies’ on education are coming:
The Gates Foundation also is giving DPS $10 million to develop a teacher evaluation system that will use data from the effectiveness study.
As we have shown in previous posts, these studies are flawed. They are usually set up in a way that ensures their outcome aligns with Gates’ preconditions/interests.
I participated in a conference call with Melinda Gates of the Gates Foundation and Melanne Verveer – the first U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues.
She is being called the “first U.S. ambassador-at-large for global women’s issues”. How come? In the next post we will show how the Gates family increases its wealth and power while portraying itself as a giver. To be fair, other dynasties that accumulated power through criminal activities (which are long forgotten) adhere to the same principles of philanthro-capitalism. █
“Gates’ gimmick of becoming a philantropist repeats the Rockefeller scam almost one to one a century later.”