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04.15.10

Quote of the Day: “Truth is Sunlight to the Microsoft Vampire”

Posted in Microsoft, Quote at 9:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vampire

Summary: Witty quote from a reader of ours and some new Wiki structure which covers Microsoft issues

Credit goes to our reader FurnaceBoy (Twitter account), who made the statement above. Our Wiki, which we are rebuilding these days, currently contains the following basic indexing pages:

Please help contribute to the Wiki by creating an account and extending the content.

TechDirt Questions Information as ‘Property’ and Patents’ Necessity

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 9:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mike Masnick
TechDirt’s Mike Masnick

Summary: Critical thinking from TechDirt merits special attention

ONE of the most effective Web sites when it comes to fighting intellectual monopolies would definitely be TechDirt. It’s a great site! Today it asks, “Rather Than Considering Information ‘Property,’ What About Looking At Productive vs. Destructive Uses?”

There is also a link to “Modern Day Protectionism” [via]

The consumer entertainment industry lobbyists lie. They lie over, and over, and over. They lie to the media, they lie to the politicians, they lie to you. The lies in question are rarely looked upon critically by the media or the politicians, only by grassroots opposition. The main lies involved are all variations on the same theme; copying equals theft. That is to say, if you copy a piece of data – be it a software program, a song, a movie, a book, that makes you a thief. You’re depriving the producer of that work of money which they supposedly have a right to.

I don’t know, maybe I wasn’t “educated” well enough in government schools, but no matter how I twist and turn my logic, I still fail to see how this even remotely makes sense. If I walk into a store and leave with a jacket for which I have not paid then I have deprived the store’s owner of his or her justly acquired, tangible property. They have one less jacket. They are directly harmed by my action.

[...]

For an extended discourse and refutation of the other ones, as well as a more in-depth take on copyright, I recommend to the reader Stephan Kinsella’s brilliant essay Against Intellectual Property.

TechDirt later brings up the question, “What If The Very Theory That Underlies Why We Need Patents Is Wrong?”

But, of course, patents are designed to make that sort of thing more difficult, because it assumes that the initial act of invention is the key point, rather than all the incremental innovations built on top of it that all parties can benefit from. In fact, the report points to numerous studies that show, when given the chance, many companies freely share their ideas with others, recognizing the direct benefit they get. This flies in the face of (unsubstantiated) claims by patent system supporters that the patent system is needed to disclose and share inventions. In fact, the evidence suggests that in many cases, firms will willingly share that information anyway (for a variety of reasons detailed in the report) without requiring the “prize” of a monopoly right to do so.

Here is the corresponding paper which TechDirt references. It necessitates a rethink if not an overhaul of the system.

“I would much rather spend my time and money and energy finding ways to make the Internet safer and better than bickering over patents.”

Dean Drako, Barracuda’s CEO

Microsoft and Novell Overwhelm Linux Collaboration Summit; Microsoft MVP Publishes “Revisionist, Uninformed, and Narrow-Thinking” Article About GNU/Linux

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 9:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation
2009 screenshot

Summary: Microsoft and Novell are omnipresent on the panels at the Linux Collaboration Summit; Microsoft’s MVP Jason Hiner spreads Ubuntu disinformation again, through Tech Republic and ZDNet

LAST YEAR we showed that the Linux Foundation was unnecessarily stuffed by Novell staff, who obviously act as apologists for Microsoft and even put Microsoft code inside Linux [1, 2, 3]. They occasionally cause damage at Linux Foundation events.

Based on this article, Microsoft and Novell are on the panel/s again. The Microsoft presence takes the form of someone who pretends to have left Microsoft (but continues to serve Microsoft’s agenda under a separate embodiment). Novell is not exactly loved in the GNU/Linux community, based on simple observations. Earlier today we cited an article about Novell's Pinta (developed by a Novell employee using Mono). Check out the resentment in comments at Linux Today.

“Novell is not exactly loved in the GNU/Linux community, based on simple observations.”Now, let’s clarify something. This is a polite and factual observation. The message ought to be addressed here, not its messenger. We are well aware that everyone is naturally dismissing people who are critical or skeptical* (who are in turn being described as “negative”, “poisonous”, or “bad guys” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]).

Look no further than the latest argument between Sam Varghese and Caitlyn Martin. Both of them are being critical and slinging shots; neither is entirely innocent, but both can be described as “negative” here. It makes neither of them wrong, just a tad abrasive perhaps (it is a tenuous debate).

A few days ago we deliberately avoided linking to a piece from a Microsoft booster called Jason Hiner. He is a Microsoft MVP who routinely attacks GNU/Linux. He has done this for several years and he plays the 'Linux curious' card in order to bash the platform. Hiner’s latest post about GNU/Linux may seem like flattery on the surface, but it’s utter junk therein. Here is a response titled “Dear Tech Republic, it’s called FOSS and that’s just how it’s done”

Hiner’s whole list looks like it was derived from “Producing Open Source Software” (Fogel), yet the article reads as if this is something in OSes that only Canonical has figured out. In fact, what he describes is part of the whole reason Red Hat Linux became Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Don’t think for a minute Canonical didn’t notice and learn from that, too.

The author later added (in response to Bob Sutor from IBM): “That article is revisionist, uninformed, and narrow-thinking, so I wrote — but I doubt ZDNet will repub.

“Have you posted a comment to this effect on the article, and contacted the author directly? I find this very valuable in educating journalists.”
      –Adam Williamson
Yes, Hiner and Tech Republic are also connected to ZDNet (the latest Hiner piece was published in ZDNet too), which is responsible for a lot of the FUD against GNU/Linux. It repeats the lies over and over again, even in the "Open Source" blog. Earlier today we found ZDNet’s “Open Source” blog making the claim that desktop GNU/Linux requires the command line, whereas Windows no longer needs DOS. The claim was made by Dana, who does not even use GNU/Linux. Last week he repeated the fallacious claim that GNU/Linux has less than 1% of the desktop market. For shame, Dana, for shame.

Anyway, two comments were posted in response to the response to Hiner’s piece. Both are from Fedora/Red Hat developers. The first is Rahul Sundaram’s, who wrote: “I do have to point out that GNOME learned six months release cycle from Red Hat Linux as I noted in http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Fedora…

Another Red Hat employee, Adam Williamson, wrote the second comment which says: “Have you posted a comment to this effect on the article, and contacted the author directly? I find this very valuable in educating journalists. :)”

But Hiner is not a journalist; he is a Microsoft enthusiast with a blog (or rag/tabloid known as ZDNet).
____
* Netscape’s former chairman, James H. Clark, once said: “Microsoft is, I think, fundamentally an evil company.” Does that make his an “irrational zealot”?

The High Cost of Disposable Proprietary Products

Posted in Africa, Apple, Asia, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is No Apple in Africa and China, Just Labour Abuses

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

Summary: Another look at Apple’s niche business and Microsoft’s exploitation that are the lesser-known sides of their operations

IN OUR WIKI we now have some new pages about the sins of Apple, primarily organised under the following indices: Apple Deception | Apple’s Dark Side | Apple Versus Partners | Apple on Software Patents | Apple vs HTC | hypePad Watch | Apple Helping Microsoft

“Apple remains a company that targets just a niche with products which are irrelevant in much of the world…”We shall continue to stress quite strongly that criticising Microsoft alone would be misguided; the problem is proprietary software, not just Microsoft. The Redmond-based company just happens to be more criminal than the rest of the bunch and it is also attacking GNU/Linux like no other proprietary software company (even many of them combined).

We continue to emphasise that Web surveys that are concentrated outside the West (and Japan) will show almost no Apple products at all; Apple’s Mac OS X is not Windows’ main rival, GNU/Linux is. Apple remains a company that targets just a niche with products which are irrelevant in much of the world; its customers consumers have more money than they need, based on new reports such as this one. “More Than 40% of iPad Users Own iPhone, Earn More Than $100,000,” says the headline. Apple is profitable because of overpricing.

Ghabuntu, an excellent Web site which is based in Africa, can attest to the fact that Apple is absent in Africa. This does not surprise us.

I have never used a single Apple product in my life before, and never dream to. With the way Apple is increasingly blazing the way to turning people into mere consumers, where you in reality do not *own* what you buy, I feel very sad for what the future holds should Jobs get his way.

I also find it very sad the way people, some from very reputed so called research firms are rushing head over heels to tell us how useful the iPad is, even though it is manifestly clear that the device is at best, a solution looking for a problem. And to those that are touting it as revolutionary device, I can only sympathize with their extreme love and fanboyism for everything Apple.

This is probably a good time to also announce Ghabuntu’s “OMG Africa! Linux Project” [Web site], the press release of which we appended in full at the bottom (for maximal exposure).

There is a vast untapped market available here where Linux in particular and Open Source Software in general have a lot of gains to make. But these gains will not come without efforts on the part of all FOSS proponents. It is in this light that we would like to present to you and seek your involvement in the OMG Africa! Linux Project.

Earlier today we wrote about the real cost of Apple and Microsoft to society at large (including externalities that Western people are encouraged not to pay attention to). Here is news coverage — gathered just hours ago — to remind us of the ethical factor when choosing software and hardware (whose consumption is typically paced by the software):

With help from its regular boosters (Microsoft Nick in this case), Microsoft is already trying to spin this by charactering itself as an “investigator” in this issue (the same PR tactics were used when Conficker hit the world [1, 2, 3]).

“..Microsoft is already trying to spin this by charactering itself as an “investigator” in this issue (the same PR tactics were used when Conficker hit the world).”As we wrote earlier today, although Apple relies on such labour as well, Microsoft’s strong public support of China’s regime [1, 2] does not serve it in this case. It’s also a breach of the Chinese law, based on several articles. So when Steve Ballmer says that they obey Chinese laws, do think twice. “Microsoft accused of condoning labour abuses,” says the headline of this one report. We mustn’t be selfish. The United States only amounts to about 4% of the world’s population, with just over 10% if Europe is added. There is a vast world around us and to pretend the system works perfectly well for “us” is to assume that “us” means the privileged percentiles. Needless to say, electronic waste is infamously being shipped to Africa and China where it pollutes the air and the water, leading to higher child mortality rates, terminal illness, and environmental eye sores.

GNU/Linux would be better at enabling solidarity, facilitating freedom, and increasing parity. It also strives to reduce waste by maximising reuse. It’s better for society but worse for GDP-driven corporations.


Introducing the OMG Africa! Linux Project

Though a great concept and model, the use and adoption of Free and Open Source Software in Africa is very negligible. This is not because Windows and other proprietary software are better, but because not much is being done by those of us in the FOSS world to bring it to Africa.

There is a vast untapped market available here where Linux in particular and Open Source Software in general have a lot of gains to make. But these gains will not come without efforts on the part of all FOSS proponents.  It is in this light that we would like to present to you and seek your involvement in the OMG Africa! Linux Project.

Essentially, the Project has 3 main objectives

1. To increase the use and adoption of Linux in Africa: We hope to achieve this by educating people and small businesses about the massive advantages Linux has over other systems. To increase accessibility to Linux ISOs, we would seek volunteers who would be willing to mail FREE copies of pre-burned CDs containing Linux distros to those who have no internet connection to download.

“There is a vast untapped market available here where Linux in particular and Open Source Software in general have a lot of gains to make.”2. Help curb the e-waste menace that is engulfing most parts of the continent: Given that Linux is free and runs on not so new hardware, the scourge of e-waste -which is mostly outdated computers that are dumped on us by advanced countries- can be reduced to the barest minimum by giving second lives to computers that would have ended as scrap because they are too old to run Windows. A look at this video titled from Anwerp to Ghana (my country) is ample evidence of the severity of the e-waste menace.

3. Find ways in which Linux in particular and Open Source Software in general can be used to enhance the quality of education here in Africa.

The goals and objectives of this humble but ambitious project cannot be realized without the active involvement of every single one of you wonderful FOSS  proponents.  If there is one thing that sets Linux apart from Windows, it is the strong community that surrounds it. Now we humbly  implore the power of this community of which we all belong, to help bring Linux and Open Source Software to Africa and help improve lives.

You can contribute in a diverse number of ways to this project, two of which are volunteering to send out a FREE Linux CD and joining or starting discussions on how to achieve the set objectives of the project. If you ever wondered if there was any way Linux could be of use in any way other than on the PC, then you definitely have a role to play in the OMG Africa! Linux Project.

You can join the project Facebook page , follow on Twitter or subscribe to the official blog of the project to keep in touch with it at all times. We also are open to your ideas, feedback, suggestions, constructive criticisms and general advice and opinions on how we can improve the project.

Once again, the noble goals of this project cannot be realized without your active involvement. Every single member we have counts towards achieving these goals. Why not join us right now and start a discussion? Can you help us reach a 100 members today?

Microsoft Brought Us a Trillion SPAM Per Week… and It Gets Worse

Posted in Google, Mail, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stop SPAM

Summary: Some new statistics about SPAM, courtesy of Google

ABOUT a hundred billion E-mail messages sent per day are said to be SPAM, spewed primarily by Windows zombie PCs (some sources say that numbers now exceed a trillion SPAM per week). Google says that things are getting worse, not better. [via IDG and Slashdot]

The spam data cited in this post is drawn from the network of Google email security and archiving services, powered by Postini, which processes more than 3 billion email connections per day in the course of providing email security to more than 50,000 businesses and 18 million business users.

“Spam will be a thing of the past in two years’ time,” said Bill Gates in 2004. This prophet is now busy working on other projects, hoping to accomplish the attainable while making a profit.

IRC Proceedings: April 15th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Links 15/4/2010: GCC 4.5 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 3:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Podcast Season 2 Episode 6

    In this episode: The Android-based WePad takes on the mighty Apple iPad while Nokia and Intel launch MeeGo. Hear the results of our music-making challenge and ask yourselves, is Linux sexy?

  • Why I Want My Daughter to be a Hacker

    Let’s define what I mean by the term “hacker” first. There is so much FUD out there around this term. Large controlling institutions want you to fear hackers, want you to think the hacker mindset is dangerous. This could not be farther from the truth. Hackers are simply empowered individuals that want to figure things out for themselves. With hacker properly defined, let’s get to the meat, why I want my daughter to be a hacker:

    1. Hackers are not consumer lemmings – As large institutions continue to brainwash American citizens into becoming slaves to the systems they’ve created; hackers know that there is a life outside these systems of user dependence, a better life. Institutional dependence is literally killing us. Our dependence on the institutional food system has left us disease ridden and physically incapable. Dependence on western medical systems is bankrupting us. Our two major political parties both preach institutional dependence; one insists dependence on big government institutions, the other dependence on big corporate institutions. Hackers preach self and small community dependence. i.e. independence.

  • Cooking with Marcel

    In 1999, Gagné happened to get access to an advanced copy of Corel’s NetWinder, a GNU/Linux-based appliance computer. He pitched a review to Marjorie Richardson, then editor-in-chief at Linux Journal, who rather tentatively told him to submit the review.

    “Well, it was a big hit,” says Gagné. “I have an unusual style in presenting technical information, very tongue-in-cheek and irreverent. I don’t have a classical approach to presenting technical information. I tend to think this stuff should be fun and approachable and readable.

    [...]

    Gagné wasted no time finding new ways to occupy his writing time. He remains a much-in-demand speaker at conferences, and now writes for Linux Pro Magazine, and has recently become senior editor at its sister quarterly Ubuntu User, for which he also blogs.

  • Desktop

    • Testing a New Notebook

      He spake to me thusly, “Install Linux on it.” I advised him to consider dual booting or virtualizing GNU/Linux to try them both. I was asked to check out the possibilities.

    • Ready to switch to Linux?

      Tired of Windows? Ready to look for an alternative? As a desktop user there are really only two options: Linux or Mac OS X. The second pretty much requires that you buy some Apple hardware before you can run it. Linux, on the other hand, will run on most hardware, even some of the older hardware that lurks around homes and offices. Linux is also free to download so you can try it out before having to spend any money.

  • Kernel Space

    • Is Linux graying?

      Too old is, of course, a vague term. After all, Linus Torvalds, Linux’s creator and leader, is just 40. Still, it is a clear that Linux’s top kernel leaders aren’t kids anymore.

      Greg Kroah-Hartman, a Novell engineer and head of the Linux Driver Project, replied, “Turnover at the upper level is not happening.” James Bottomley, another Novell engineer and the Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board Chair, agreed that: “There are more gray beards. The graying of the Linux kernel is going to continue until people start dying.”

    • You Can’t Control Linux

      10 years ago, IBM had a single mission for Linux: Make it better. Now in 2010, IBM (NYSE:IBM) has a decade of experience in working to do just that, and is sharing its knowledge about how companies and developers can better participate in the Linux community.

      Speaking in a keynote session at the Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit, Dan Frye, vice president of open system development at IBM, provided his insights into some do’s and don’t when trying to work with Linux.

      For IBM, one of the hardest lessons it had to learn was one about control. Mainly, there is none.

      “There is nothing that we can do to control individuals or communities, and if you try, you make thing worse,” Frye told the audience. “What you need is influence. It goes back to the most important lesson, which is to give back to the community and develop expertise. You’ll find that if your developers are working with a community, that over time they’ll develop influence and that influence will allow you to get things done.”

      Frye noted during his keynote that an early question that IBM asked internally about Linux was how it could control a chaotic development process. As it turns out, Linux development isn’t a chaotic process, though it may appear that way to some looking from the outside.

    • Linux Desktop Virtualization Shootout

      Computer Virtualization has many uses, from increasing server capacity and reducing power consumption to making it easier to test and develop software or to simply run a different Operating System on your computer. Virtualization has become an important aspect of the functionality of todays computers and computer Operating Systems. Many that are new to Linux or new to Virtualization often are overwhelmed by the number of Virtualization options the Linux Desktop has and often ask: “What Virtualization Solution is best suited for my needs”. This article will hopefully answer this question and others like it.

    • Linux Foundation Head Says OS Can Be ‘Fabulous and Free’

      Where is Linux headed? That’s a question the Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, is focused on as his organization gears up for the Linux Collaboration Summit this week.

      In Zemlin’s view, Linux is strategically placed at the intersection of a number of major IT trends that will serve to bolster adoption of the open source operating system. With the increasing growth of the mobile web and cloud services, Zemlin thinks Linux will end up the big winner.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Taking A Hit With ATI Graphics In Fedora 13 Beta

        In this article, we have ATI R500 tests using their open-source driver stack as we test out the OpenGL performance and the power consumption, compared to Fedora 12.

      • The Real Need For Nouveau Power Management

        We have already published a look at the Fedora 13 Beta, delivered ATI Radeon benchmarks atop Fedora 13 Beta, and have other articles on the way covering this new Fedora release, while in this article we are investigating Nouveau’s power performance using this newest Fedora release. If you are a mobile user planning to use the Nouveau stack right now, or you care the least bit about energy savings with your desktop, its power consumption alone may rule this open-source driver out as even a current possibility.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Confessions of a Clonezilla addict

      I think I may be addicted to Clonezilla. I don’t know what the symptoms are, but if they include bouncing between operating systems more than twice a day, scrounging a 256Mb USB drive off your friends just to have one that exactly fits the Clonezilla boot image, or dedicating one whole external drive to an array of system backups spreading out over the last two or three months … then I’m in the club.

    • The Linux Alphabet

      We’ve already been talking about the number of Linux distributions, and the cost, in terms of confusion that so much freedom can bring. Today I’d like to see the distributions number with a little of humor: I often wondered if the Linux distributions names could cover the whole alphabet and be used as sort of “ spelling alphabet”. The answer is … “Yes we can!” here is my personal list compiled after a little research on DistroWatch.com site.

      A – Arch Linux

      B – BackTrack

      C – CentOs

      D = Debian

    • Red Hat Family

    • Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Is That Embedded Software GPL-Compliant?

      Open source software is everywhere these days. In particular, Linux is being used increasingly to power embedded systems of all kinds. That’s good, but it’s also a challenge, because the free software used in such products may not always be compliant with all the licences it is released under – notably the GNU GPL. For companies that sell such embedded systems using open source, it can be hard even finding out what exactly is inside, let alone whether it is compliant.

    • Phones

      • Nokia

        • New Atom platform opens I/O to third parties

          Intel also announced today that Chinese auto manufacturer, Rongcheng HawTai Automobile will incorporate an in-vehicle-infotainment (IVI) system in its in its B11 luxury sedan (above) based on an Intel Atom processor and the Linux-based MeeGo stack.

        • MeeGo, Android operating systems takes stage at Linux conference

          Advocates for duelling open source mobile platforms Android and MeeGo championed their technologies on Wednesday, with a MeeGo spokesman offering a product roadmap, and a Google technologist emphasising Android’s release schedule and addressing fragmentation questions.

          Both platforms were touted at The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit conference in San Francisco in separate presentations.

        • Google: Android, MeeGo don’t have to fight

          Google open source chief Chris DiBona said he’s not in the killing business and expects that Android, MeeGo and other open source cell phone operating systems to play nicely together in the sandbox.

          “MeeGo doesn’t have to lose for Android to be great and Android doesn’t have to lose for MeeGo to be great,” DiBona told hundreds who gathered in San Francisco for the Linux Foundation’s :Linux Collaboration summit.

      • Android

    • Tablets

      • Toshiba prepping Android, Windows tablets

        The company already offers similar products, including the Journe Touch, in European markets. The device is focused on mobile Internet activities, running a version of Windows CE that does not support third-party apps. The US Android offering will take advantage of the range of content available through the respective Market.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is Your Site’s FAQ Helpful or Useless? Improving the Lowly FAQ

    Gracey suggests that you ask whether you really need a FAQ or not. The answer for any FLOSS-related project is yes, yes you do. There’s a strong expectation in the open source community that any project or product will have a FAQ associated with it, so it’s a bad idea to skip them entirely.

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox plugin decodes malicious Web sites

      A computer security researcher has released a plugin for Firefox that provides a wealth of data on Web sites that may have been compromised with malicious code.

      The plugin, called Fireshark, was released on Wednesday at the Black Hat conference. The open-source free tool is designed to address the shortcomings in other programs used to analyze malicious Web sites, said Stephan Chenette, a principal security researcher at Websense, which lets Chenette develop Fireshark in the course of his job.

  • Databases

    • Will enterprises support Drizzle?

      Former mySQL architect Brian Aker keynoted the mySQL Con in Santa Clara this week and pushed Drizzle, a mySQL fork he hopes to build a company around by the time of June’s OSCON in Portland.

  • Releases

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google funds OGG Theora

      The player as well as development tools are freely distributed here. The OGG Theora codec takes its name from Theora Jones, Amanda Pays’ character on “Max Headroom.”

Leftovers

  • Street View photos used for amazing Google Earth 3D cities

    3D textured cityscapes are nothing new to Google Earth users: international cities such as New York have displayed this type of imagery for a while now. But now Google has made an important, but critical change to Google Earth – adding high resolution Street View imagery to existing 3D city textures and improving the resolution of the facades.

  • Security/Aggression

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Somali radio stations bow to Islamist ban on music

      All but two stations in Mogadishu comply with order to cease broadcasts that militants say violate Islamic principles

    • Japanese Porn Actress Entices Chinese Net Users To Scale Great Firewall

      But apparently it’s also helping teach Chinese folks how to scale the country’s Great Firewall. A few days ago, the Twitter name of a Japanese porn actress got “discovered” in China, and thanks to her apparent popularity, tons of people started trying to access her Twitter page. Twitter, though, is blocked in China, and since the woman is a porn actress, information on her is blocked as it “could cause harm to youngsters’ mental and physical well-being”.

    • The End Of Impunity

      Right. Last week, on the eve of the Easter break, the summit of Ministers of Culture from the 27 European Union countries, and their meeting with the Forum of Cultural Industries, came to an end in Barcelona.

      The parallel citizen summit, the (D’) Evolution Summit – which was organized in order to put forward specific proposals and urgent demands on fundamental rights in Internet, and to give a real-time account of what was being said inside the official congress – allowed civil society to keep an eye on what was being said about its future.

      [...]

      So for them, things didn’t go as planned.

      We were able to verify, live, that when they are watched over, our rulers are not able to favour private interests with impunity, or to implement simplistic control policies based on obsolete formulas.

      What we saw:

      1 – The speeches supporting the interests of lobbies start to get a bit uncomfortable. What they usually do behind closed doors (and will continue to do). turns against them when it is discussed in public and has to contend with arguments.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Homeland Security Depends On Broadcast

      More than eight years after 9/11 and four years after Katrina, the nation is no closer to providing reliable emergency information to its citizens, a population increasingly fractionalized by diverse electronic communication devices. As the nation looks toward a new broadband policy, it would do well to consider a policy that balances the strengths and weaknesses of broadband, of broadcast, and of the impact on homeland security.

    • Should the US govt force all cell phones to carry TV tuners?

      So it is The Year of Our iPad 2010, and we’ve all got mobile phones, netbooks, laptops, desktop computers, and hybrid devices like PS3s and Xboxes. Given all our gadgets, does this mean that in the event of a tornado or terrorist attack, we’ve got a better emergency information communications system?

    • How Third Party Liability Can Stifle An Industry

      An article in the Times Online highlights the situation in Ireland, where there aren’t safe harbors against secondary liability for defamation — and it’s leading internet companies to blatantly censor or to avoid doing business in Ireland out of fear for the liability. Now, some in the entertainment industry seem to think this is just fine — because they think that the internet should be a broadcast medium for the big “professional” producers of content, and all these internet companies and user-generated content things should really all fade away.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Entertainment Industry’s Dystopia of the Future

      We’re not easily shocked by entertainment industry overreaching; unfortunately, it’s par for the course. But we were taken aback by the wish list the industry submitted in response to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator’s request for comments on the forthcoming “Joint Strategic Plan” for intellectual property enforcement. The comments submitted by various organizations provide a kind of window into how these organizations view both intellectual property and the public interest. For example, EFF and other public interest groups have asked the IPEC to take a balanced approach to intellectual property enforcement, paying close attention to the actual harm caused, the potential unexpected consequences of government intervention, and compelling countervailing priorities.

    • Copyrights

      • ‘Star Wars Uncut’: Fans Recreate Classic Flick With Legos, Dogs, And More (VIDEO)

        If you haven’t heard of “Star Wars Uncut,” here’s the deal: fans selected 15 second clips of “Star Wars: A New Hope” and reshot them in any style they wanted. The organizers then took each clip and pieced the whole movie together as seamlessly as they could. It’s scheduled to premiere in Copenhagen in the near future. And when we say “Copenhagen,” we mean “someone will bootleg and put online because the internet comes through every time.”

      • YouTube ‘Star Wars’ Sensation Explains Copyright Issues
      • Pomplamoose: Making A Living On YouTube

        You can add the band Pomplamoose to the long and growing list of YouTube sensations, with its cover of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” Its members don’t have a record deal or a publicist, but that song’s video has been viewed almost 4 million times on YouTube alone.

        Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn are Pomplamoose, and they recently sat down with Weekend All Things Considered guest host Linda Wertheimer to talk about their success. When it comes to Pomplamoose’s videos, what you see is what you get.

      • Photographer Makes One-Third Of His Living Expenses Off Only 94 Fans
      • Copying Is Not Theft

        Big Media has been producing (mis)educational videos since it’s early non-hit, “Don’t Copy That Floppy.” Most of us have seen those “Piracy: It’s a Crime” clips that incorrectly equate downloading with stealing. The Copyright Alliance offers a whole series of propaganda videos for school children. It’s no surprise that Big Media is ahead of ahead of copyright reform advocates in propaganda.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • Why My Union Is Wrong

        Over at the Writers’ Guild website, Bernie Corbett (General Secretary of the WGGB) has written a piece called ‘In Defence of the Digital Economy Bill’). It fundamentally misunderstands both the effects of the legislation and the manner in which it was passed, and is a worrying display of ignorance of the facts and issues that surround the Bill. The Bill is bad, that my union should be so maladroit in its defence is worse.

        Mr Corbett begins by calling the Bill ‘much-debated’. This is a coy misdirection. Although the legislation has been much debated in various online forums it has not been afforded full debate in the place it should have been: Parliament. It was rammed through as part of the ‘wash-up’ process at the end of a Parliament despite being hugely controversial.

      • One Stupid Thing About The Digital Economy Bill

        This fails to take into account the fact that a family who has been disconnected because someone has infringed copyright aren’t doing the following. They aren’t downloading TV or songs from iTunes. They aren’t buying books or DVDs from Amazon. They are not listening to songs on Spotify. They aren’t watching ad-supported videos or reading blogs which are supported by GoogleAds. They aren’t bumping up viewing figures through iPlayer, 4OD or ITV.com. They aren’t downloading free samples of the things creators make to advertise what they are making. They aren’t watching movie trailers. They aren’t emailing each other links to exciting and interesting things they have found. They aren’t clicking the ‘donate’ button on my or anyone else’s website. In short, they aren’t consuming media any more.

      • Bernie Corbett’s Response to WMUIW
      • Shame Peter Mandelson didn’t download some common sense

        What happens when an inadequate legislative process meets networking technology? Answer: the Digital Economy Bill (aka Mandy’s dangerous downloaders act), which finally staggered, slightly frayed, on to the statute book on Wednesday night.

        For those who haven’t been following the story, here’s the gist. Many moons ago, Stephen (now Lord) Carter, the former Ofcom boss, was commissioned to produce a report on the communications and networking strategy Britain should follow in order to drag itself into the 21st century. He duly produced the Digital Britain report which, although remarkably unambitious on some issues, such as aspirations for nationwide broadband speeds, was also judicious and sensible on hot topics like file-sharing and “piracy”. The stage was set for a deliberative path to legislation, probably timed for the next parliament.

“Microsoft Sending Its Business Partners (Like in OOXML) in New Zealand to Push for Software Patents”

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New Auckland montage
Picture by Taifarious1, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Summary: Microsoft appears to be sending lobbyists like CompTIA or business partners to lobby for software patents all around the world

SINCE the beginning of April we have seen a lot of good news but also setbacks in New Zealand [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The short story is that software patents are to be formally axed, but local lawyers and their clients (including multinationals like Microsoft) stand in the way of this truly sane amendment/clarification contained in a bill.

“Microsoft [is] sending its business partners (like in OOXML) in New Zealand to push for software patents,” states the president of the FFII, who links to this new article from IDG.

Any exclusion of software from the New Zealand patents regime will “suck the lifeblood” out of the New Zealand software development industry, says Chris Auld, director of strategy and innovation at Microsoft-specialist developer Intergen.

It was only yesterday that we wrote about Microsoft’s front group CompTIA lobbying for software patents in Europe, just as it had lobbied for OOXML all around the world, leading to major scandals that include bribes.

“The NZICT association does not represent most kiwi IT businesses.”
      –Benjamin Henrion
Another new lobbyist for software patents in New Zealand is NZICT. The president of the FFII, Benjamin Henrion, calls it “an association of software multinationals in New Zealand pushing for software patents” (see its members). “The NZICT association does not represent most kiwi IT businesses,” he adds in relation to this article. Going back to Europe, he showed this page (for attendance), arguing that “UPLS court will validate software patents without any debate or a new directive.” We wrote about UPLS in previous posts such as this one. ACTA would create a similar scenario by taking enforcement international (with unification).

“To be able to choose between proprietary software packages is to be able to choose your master. Freedom means not having a master. And in the area of computing, freedom means not using proprietary software.”

Richard M. Stallman

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