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IRC Proceedings: April 16th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Microsoft is Not Promoting the Open Source Community, It’s Just Exploiting It

Posted in BSD, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, Oracle at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Heart and worm
Worm heart versus warm heart

“Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can’t imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business. I’m an American; I believe in the American way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don’t think we’ve done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat.”

Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft

Summary: Embracing, extending, and extinguishing something is hardly a case of promotion, but gullible minds remain

THOSE who refuse to learn from the past will sooner or later be devoured by the company whose CEO said that “Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.” Microsoft is all about software patents, which are inherently incompatible with Free/open source software.

One can either laugh or cry at this new sight of a press release stating:

“Companies such as Microsoft, Oracle and IBM have been active in promoting the open source community,” said Jim Miller, IWS Chairman and CEO.

This is a bizarre statement. Microsoft is a very bad example, probably the worst example one could possibly give in this case. When Microsoft supports something that it labels “open source”, this is simply done in order to sell proprietary software. Writes someone from OpenOffice.org: “Except that I have been able to talk with Paula Bach (from Microsoft) who was one of the organizers of the FLOSS usability workshop” (to make OpenOffice.org use Microsoft’s ribbon? That’s what our source alleges anyway).

The Microsoft-boosting blog at IDG writes about Microsoft’s attempt at embracing, extending, and extinguishing Ruby, using IronRuby which we wrote about in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]. Further down the post, the writer at least points out that:

Since 2007, Microsoft has done a stream of things that angered the open source community. We don’t need to list them all here, we’ll mention TomTom, and Amazon and leave it at that.

Microsoft engages in racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] against Free/open source projects whose existence it does not approve/tolerate. This makes Microsoft hardly a “promoter” of open source; rather, it’s a predatory exploiter. IronRuby too is a case of trying to consume Ruby using .NET. More in The H:

Microsoft’s Jimmy Schementi and the IronRuby team have announced the first stable version of IronRuby, the Ruby runtime for the .NET platform’s Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR. IronRuby 1.0 is available in two versions, one for .NET 4.0 and one for .NET 2.0 SP1; the former is more .NET feature complete and has faster start up, the latter is compatible with the Novell developed, .NET compatible Mono. IronRuby is generally Ruby 1.8.6 compatible and supports Rails 2.3.5.

Thanks to Mono, right? Novell is helping Microsoft as it embraces, extends, and extinguishes Free software as an independent platform/paradigm. IronRuby is about Microsoft and about .NET. It’s not same old Ruby or Ruby on Rails (RoR). It’s all about control for Microsoft, not about independence.

Apple seems to have realised all this, so it is blocking Novell’s MonoTouch [1, 2, 3, 4], which would have enabled Microsoft to gain more control over the hypePad (Apple has just delayed its international launch after failing to meet sales expectations in the US). Here is another new article on the subject:

Such wording appears to exclude not just Flash and Java runtimes from the iPhone platform, but also cross-compilers that translate foreign platforms into iPhone binaries. That nixes technology forthcoming in Adobe’s Flash CS5 and MonoTouch, a Novell tool that allows developers to compile iPhone apps from C# code.

This whole episode has led to sarcasm that daemonises Apple.

On closer inspection we noticed that iTunes didn’t even use the real windows API! They make their own scroll system and their own chrome COMPLETELY bypassing our fantastic Windows OS. So, we’ve decided enough is enough. We’ll allow iTunes back into Windows when they (Apple) make the following changes.

* Apple MUST write a specialised version of iTunes on Windows and use Windows compilers and Windows languages ONLY
* Apple MUST use native windows controllers such as our in built Windowing system and scroll objects.
* Apple MUST lose this RIDICULOUS attitude of writing code once and deploying to multiple operating systems. Just don’t go there.

It’s not much of a satire; Microsoft has a long history of abusing “third-party” developers who target Windows. The only popular platforms that have a good record when it comes to their attitude towards developers are probably BSD and GNU/Linux.

Patents Roundup: New Zealand’s Largest Application Vendor Rejects Software Patents; EU Patent System Overrides European Court of Justice; “Gene Cartels” Slammed by Former Insider

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 7:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DNA sequence

Summary: Orion Health says “no” to software patents; Europe tries a trick; cartels on human life under attack by a patent lawyer who used to participate in them

New Zealand

WE have just created this new page about software patents in New Zealand. So far we have seen that Microsoft, its lobbyists, and primarily patent lawyers are the only proponents of software patents in this country. It continues to seem that way now that New Zealand’s largest application vendor (self-acclaimed status) says that “things are getting patented. You might see a logical enhancement to your software, but you can’t do it because someone else has a patent. It gets in the way of innovation.” Here is the opening of the article in full:

Orion Health backs moves to block patents

Negatives outweigh positives, says one of New Zealand’s biggest software developers

Ian McCrae, CEO of Orion Health, which claims to be New Zealand’s largest application vendor, supports a Commerce Select Committee proposal to rule out software patents in New Zealand.


Regarding software patents in Europe, there is also some news. The president of the FFII attended events and put recordings of the CEIPI conference in some webspace of his. “There are bits on software patents,” he stressed, but they require transcribing. He has also just published six reasons to oppose the United Patent Litigation System (UPLS), beginning with:

The United Patent Litigation System (UPLS) is an international treaty which aims to create an international patent court in Europe. Here are 6 reasons to oppose the United Patent Litigation System (UPLS).

1. Democracy: this treaty creates a court system that won’t be balanced by elected legislators, turning the European Parliament or National Parliaments legislators of second zone. The legislator won’t be elected, and won’t be able to counter decisions of such court. The UPLS creates an international patent court outside of the European Union legal system, to which the European Union would have to adhere. Furthermore, the European Parliament does not have the power to initiate new laws if it wants to counter decisions of such a court.
2. Fundamental rights: No appeal to a constitutional court will be possible, in case patent law conflicts w ith other laws, such as fundamental rights. The European Union does not have at the moment a Constitution to which European citizens and companies could appeal. An international patent court such as the one created by the UPLS won’t allow appeal to upper constitutional courts, nor national constitutional courts. The recent interventions of the US Supreme Court against decisions of specialized patent courts (CAFC), notably to confront patent law with other pieces of law, shows that fundamental rights should have a place in the judicial system, and that patent law does not operate in a vacuum.


The United Patent Litigation System (UPLS) is a back door which would potentially permit patenting of algorithms. “EU Patent system taken away from European Court of Justice,” warns this new press release from the FFII (appended below in full).

Business Europe fiercely opposes a role for the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in patent law. During a conference in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Thierry Sueur of Business Europe disclosed the United Patent Litigation System (UPLS) was aimed to keep the ECJ away from interpreting substantive patent law under the European Patent Convention (EPC), particularly for software patentability.


Software patents are not the only problem with the patent system. Last week we wrote about gene patents [1, 2] and now we learn about a book on “Gene Cartels”. To quote part of a new book review:

It is a shame that there are so few existing copies of Luigi Palombi’s Gene Cartels. The initial press run for this remarkable book was apparently less than 1000, yet this is a book that every policy maker even remotely connected to issues of patents, economics, and biotech should read.

Palombi’s background is in law. He worked for years as a patent lawyer, writing and arguing for biotech patents. Over time, he grew disenchanted with the scope and reach of patents being granted on biotechnology “innovations”, especially as more and more patents began to be granted further “upstream”, over things that were not inventions, but rather discoveries. He is now a researcher with the Regulatory Institutions Network at the Australian National University. He devotes his research and activism to eliminating “gene patents” and his magnum opus on the legal case against gene patents works methodically through not just recent law on the subject but the history of patent law itself.

So even patent lawyers can realise that they are leeches that mostly harm the system which they purport to be defending.

EU Patent system taken away from European Court of Justice

Business Europe fiercely opposes a role for the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in patent law. During a conference in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Thierry Sueur of Business Europe disclosed the United Patent Litigation System (UPLS) was aimed to keep the ECJ away from interpreting substantive patent law under the European Patent Convention (EPC), particularly for software patentability.

“Instead of explicitly seeking to sanction the patentability of software, they are now seeking to create a central European patent court, which would establish and enforce patentability rules in their favor, without any possibility of correction by competing courts or democratically elected legislators.”
      –Hartmut Pilch
Hartmut Pilch analysed in 2007: “In July 2005, after several failed attempts to legalise software patents in Europe, the patent establishment changed its strategy. Instead of explicitly seeking to sanction the patentability of software, they are now seeking to create a central European patent court, which would establish and enforce patentability rules in their favor, without any possibility of correction by competing courts or democratically elected legislators.”

Benjamin Henrion, President of the FFII, comprehends their concerns: “While the US Supreme Court can review decisions of the Texas patent courts, this recourse would not be available to Europeans. A newly created UPLS patent court would have the final say over software patentability.”

TurboHercules’ Attack on IBM Gains Support From Microsoft Investor/Booster and More

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft at 6:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A stone statue of Hercules on the way to the Hercules tower

Summary: The ‘mini-SCO’ from Seattle continues with the same talking points and gains new lobbyists, found in the form of Microsoft enthusiasts with financial interests in Microsoft’s welfare

WE HAVE created a new page about TurboHercules vs IBM. This is where we’ll keep track of the case. LWN has great new coverage (as usual), whereas IDG, in its pro-Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] tabloid-esque fashion is letting Microsoft investor and Microsoft booster Bill Snyder write about the case as though he is an independent observer.

“IDG has published his musings under at least two separate and somewhat inflammatory headlines (with a question mark of course).”Suffice to say, Snyder takes Microsoft’s side by accusing IBM of “giving up” on Open Source. How far fetched. We saw that statement before. IDG has published his musings under at least two separate and somewhat inflammatory headlines (with a question mark of course) [1, 2]. Rather than give attention to his misinformed piece, we wish to quote the commenter, who writes: “You got a few things wrong. (1)Groklaw was created by Pamela Jones, not “Penny Jackson”. (2)Florian Mueller is not an open source activist. He is a lobbyist who will say whatever someone pays him to say. (3)IBM’s letter was part of an exchange with TurboHercules. That particular letter was in response to a claim by Bowler that IBM had no IP rights in the area covered by the emulator. IBM was just saying “yes we do.” While I don’t particularly agree with IBM’s refusal to license z/os this way, they have every right to do so. If anyone can force someone to license something in a way they don’t want to we might as well not have any licenses or copyrights. The right to license things the way the creator wants is one of the pillars of open source and free software. If you don’t like my license you are free to create your own work, but you are not free to steal mine.

It appears as though TurboHercules has sent (or has had) one of its PR bunnies to also leave a comment and promote Jay Maynard’s blog, which takes the form of ibmvshercules.com, constantly rants about Groklaw, links to Eric Raymond’s blog, and is very much reminiscent of Florian Müller’s new attack blog against IBM. What a bunch.

Links 16/4/2010: SimplyMepis 8.5 Reviewed by LWN; Goldman Sachs Accused of Fraud by SEC

Posted in News Roundup at 3:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Introducing the EVTV – A step forward in Linux-based Home Theater PCs

    EightVirtues.com Computers and ElementHTPC.com are proud to announce the EVTV! An innovative Home Theater PC designed to deliver a fully functional computing environment for your television alongside web media services like Hulu Desktop, Boxee TV, YouTube XL, and more.

  • The $100.00 (USD) Coolest Linux Workspace Contest

    After posting the 15 Cool and Unique Linux Desktop Workspaces, I decided to officially launch today “The $100.00 (USD) Coolest Linux Workspace Contest”. This contest is open to everyone who can show and tell us something about his/her cool and unique Linux workstation setup.

  • LinuxCertified Announces its next Linux Device Driver Development Course

    With the increasing adoption of Linux in wide variety of environments, supporting Linux has become vital for device vendors. Being able to support Linux opens a rapidly growing market to these device vendors. For developers,the skill set to develop and maintain Linux drivers presents a lucrative career option.

  • Sony falls short with system update to PS3

    The issue isn’t that users are losing the ability to install Linux on their machines, but whether a company can remove a feature after purchase. Owners must agree to what is called an “End User License Agreement” upon purchase, which explicitly states that revisions to the firmware are expected; if the agreement also says that Sony can engage in some nefarious bait-and-switch scheme, though, the agreement can be challenged in court.

  • Could open source overtake the iPhone?

    “In a few years, you may just find that what happened to Sun happens to Apple as open source and Linux and this huge collective of companies comes back with some pretty stunning stuff,” Zemlin said.

  • Google and Sun differences are more than source deep
  • Google and Sun: Same vision, different results
  • Server

  • Google

    • Google: “With Chrome OS, Net access will be in a few seconds”

      The product manager Anders Sandholm behind the scenes development of Chrome and Chrome 5 OS. Two programs pursuing the same goal: faster access to Web applications.

      With 40 million users, Chrome is now the third most used browser in the world. A software that Google has managed to impose only a year and a half, thanks to a marketing campaign unprecedented for a browser. This is just the beginning.

    • Google Chrome Cloud Printing Enables Universal Printing

      Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of the anticipated Google Chrome OS has been the absence of computer peripherals compatibility. The drivers contained in printer software etc. simply haven’t been announced compatible with Google’s operating system, requiring printer owners to use Linux or Windows to print pages from the internet. Yesterday though, Google announced a significant step to repair this weakness in their operating system, with the introduction of: Google Chrome Cloud Printing.

  • Kernel Space

    • Collabora joins the Linux Foundation

      According to the Foundation, the open source development veterans will also contribute to the MeeGo mobile Linux platform. Collabora Ltd. director and co-founder Philippe Kalaf said, “The Linux Foundation provides a home for important projects such as the MeeGo platform,” adding that, “We’re excited to join the Linux Foundation so that we can participate directly in upstream development of the MeeGo platform, attend online and face-to-face meetings and do what we can to invest in the project’s success.”

    • Google

      • Android and Linux Foundation to Reunite?

        The Linux Kernel Archive hasn’t been too pleased with the direction Android has taken. Claiming Android’s developers offer little cooperation and are slow to patch and update their code, they parted ways last year.

        But all of that may change soon, as Google has extended the old proverbial olive branch at the Linux Collaboration Summit taking place today and tomorrow in San Francisco. Executive Director of the Linux Foundation Jim Zemlin and open source and public engineering manager for Google Chris DiBona both see hope for Android to rejoin the good graces of Linux.

      • Android and Linux Discuss Code Reunion

        The guardians of the Linux Kernel Archive, repository for the source code for the Linux open source operating system, turned the code for Google’s Android phone out the door last year. The guardians felt they were getting too little cooperation from Google and too few patches from its engineers.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nvidia Releases OpenGL 4.0 Linux Drivers

        OpenGL was released just a month days ago. Now, Nvidia has released its latest OpenGL Linux driver with full support for OpenGl 4.0 on GeForce GTX 480/470. In addition to this, Nvidia has also release four new OpenGL extensions which provides additional capabilities to developers.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMepis 8.5

        In conclusion, while technically this was a minor version update, SimplyMepis 8.5 represents a big change for developers and users. As the last official KDE 3 holdout moves on, it signals the true beginnings of a new era. I still get emails every once in a while from users complaining about being forced to migrate to KDE 4 and for that body of users, SimplyMepis 8.5 is a wonderful transitional release. It presents KDE 4 in an environment that remains very similar in appearance to its previous KDE 3 desktop. For SimplyMepis users, it still very much like home. For new users, it could be a gentle introduction to KDE 4.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu One Music Store has arrived

          This morning I woke up to write an article for Ghacks. I was searching around for inspiration while I was updating my Ubuntu 10.4 beta install. Near the end of the update I thought “Let’s just check to see the status of the Ubuntu One Music Store”. So I fired up Rhythmbox and, to my surprise, there it was…all ready for me to start shopping!

          So…with that said, in this article I am going to introduce you to the Ubuntu One Music Store and how it works. It’s time for the real fun to begin.

        • Ubuntu One Music Store Open for Testing
        • The New Wallpapers of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
  • Devices/Embedded

    • 6WIND Speeds Time to Market for Multicore Processors

      6WINDGate, set up by tier one networking and telecom OEMs around the globe, is the commercial multicore packet processing software’s gold standard. The product enables OEMS to create multicore-based produced that attain the industry’s best integration, energy efficiency and cost-performance by offering a complete Linux networking software solution that brings a 7-10px packet processing performance improvement weighed against the standard Linux networking stacks.

    • SOFTWARE TOOLS: eSOL Unveils eSOL for Android

      According to company president Tsutomu Sawada, eSOL for Android consists of eSOL Adaptor for Android(TM), which enables Android to run on non-Linux OSes, and eSOL Professional Services for Android(TM), which offers technical services for Android-based software development. As a result, he said, eSOL for Android is expected to bring Android to a much wider market beyond mobile phones.

      eT-Kernel Adaptor for Android, the first in a series of eSOL Adaptor for Android products, permits replacement of a Linux kernel with the eSOL eT-Kernel OS, a high-performance, highly reliable POSIX- and TRON-conformant OS.

    • Phones

      • Linux gets mobile and starts to build a big following

        Linux is taking on the big boys of mobile technology, with most of the leading vendors using its systems.

        US software firm Adobe and three other firms joined the wireless Linux group LiMo, underlining the growing role of the Linux computer operating system in cellphones.

      • Nokia/Intel

        • Nokia, Intel demo MeeGo at IDF

          Nokia and Intel have demoed their upcoming MeeGo platform co-venture at the Intel Developer Forum 2010 in Beijing, showing not only how the platform is being developed for netbooks, TVs and smartphones, but how the system will be able to cooperate from device to device. In the demo video (below) an Intel spokesperson plays a video streaming to a netbook on a TV and a smartphone at the same time.

        • Intel shows off MeeGo devices

          MeeGo is a joint venture with Nokia and is built on their Moblin and Maemo mobile OSes. Unlike rival operating systems, MeeGo is intended to “support multiple hardware architectures across the broadest range of device segments, including pocketable mobile computers, netbooks, tablets, mediaphones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems.”

        • Intel shows off Meego
        • Linux-based MeeGo mobile OS makes its netbook debut

          The open-source offspring of Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo gets its first public outing running an an Atom netbook, as well as a smartphone and a TV set…

        • MeeGo May Go Somewhere With New Partners and Updates

          MeeGo is a Linux-based operating system for portable devices. It’s the product of a partnership between Nokia and Intel which brings together Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin environment. This operating system could power your smart phone and your netbook as well as other devices you might not consider like a vehicle or an embedded system.

        • Comment: Has Intel’s Android move wrong-footed Microsoft?

          The news that Intel has got the Android mobile software stack from Google running on Atom-based smartphone designs as well as being important in its own right, could also be a sign of a break in the log-jam over Big Windows and ARM processors.

          Maybe Intel has wrong-footed Microsoft with the move, or maybe Intel is responding to a Microsoft move that has not yet gone public. But what does Intel and Google Android have to do with Microsoft’s full Windows operating system and ARM, I hear you ask?

          Well some observers have assumed that there was tacit understanding between Intel and Microsoft to the effect that Intel wouldn’t support the Microsoft-threatening Android software as long as Microsoft wouldn’t expand its support of the Intel-threatening ARM.

        • £55 p/m Nokia N900 Ultd Min Ultd Text + Free 32-inch Samsung LCD

          The Nokia N900 is a powerful smartphone running the Linux based Maemo OS. Featuring a vivid 3.5 inch WVGA touchscreen display, the N900 also features a slide out QWERTY keyboard which aids messaging and web browsing.

        • Mobile Linux collaboration gets a boost as MeeGo grows

          Opportunities for the open source Linux operating system in the mobile device market was a prominent theme of the keynote presentations at the Linux Collaboration Summit on Wednesday.

      • Android

        • Android/HTC Desire Question

          I’ve read it’s down to something to do with android being Linux based, with application piracy also to blame. This aint the case for the HTC devices running windows mobile as they can save to external memory cards.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Open Source?

    Managers are quickly realizing the benefit that community-based development can have on their businesses. The real-time communication and transparency their developers are discovering in open source communities are exactly what internal development teams need in order to create in a more agile way and meet the increasing business demand for delivering higher-quality software with reduced development cycles.

  • What is the future of open source software?

    The open source movement has changed the course of modern software development. Certainly, Linux has been the most prominent example so far, but there is far more to come. Open source continues to infiltrate mainstream development at an ever faster pace. As that happens, the rules change too.

    Open source Eclipse tools overturned the IDE business. Open source frameworks helped drive Ajax. Open source unit testers are now par for the course. In the form of Hibernate and Spring, open source has challenged the conventional application server stack. Open source has penetrated the mysterious world of BPM in the form of BPEL and various rules engines. Open source software is on the evaluation list for more and more messaging and enterprise service bus projects.

  • HUBzero Open Source Release Is a Hub-in-a-Box, Without the Box

    It also is a tool now available to anyone, thanks to the new free, open source release of the software package — called HUBzero — underlying nanoHUB.org. The open source package became available Wednesday (April 14, 2010) on the HUBzero web site at http://hubzero.org/getstarted.

    Developed at Purdue, HUBzero is the YouTube of simulation tools — sort of a Swiss Army Knife for deploying and accessing computational research codes, and visualizing and analyzing results, all through a familiar Web browser interface. Built-in social networking features akin to Facebook create communities of researchers and educators in science, engineering, medicine, almost any field or subject matter and facilitate online collaboration, distribution of research results, training and education.

  • ImageWare Creates Open Source Biometrics Initiative

    The Open Biometrics Initiative (OBI) is an open source project and forum managed by ImageWare Systems, but available for inclusion by anyone participating in the open source community.

  • International

    • Will ‘Telecentros’ Transform Cuba’s Internet Access?

      Another new development is arriving by way of Brazil’s “Telecentro” program. Telecentros are public computer labs that use open source software and provide free Internet access.


      Open source software is playing a key role in the Telecentros. Ryan Bagueros, the owner and founder of NorthxSouth, a software development company that describes itself as a “network of open source developers from all over the Americas,” said Brazil and other Latin American governments are unenthusiastic about the high cost and security leaks of U.S.-made proprietary software. (Bagueros joined me on a panel at the annual meeting of Roots of Hope.) He noted that these Latin American countries are investing heavily in developing open source alternatives, and expanded via email about the value of open source software:

    • Malta Open Source End User Group

      Free Open Source Software (Foss) has reached appropriate levels of maturity in terms of quality and reach; Foss is also being adopted as a mainstream solution and also an alternative to proprietary solutions. The Malta Information Technology Agency (Mita) seeks to adopt cost-effective and non-disruptive OSS within government and is therefore seeking open participation, collaboration and transparency through the creation of a Government of Malta Open Source End User Group to become a major driving force behind the evolution of Open Source initiatives.

  • Events

  • SaaS

    • Startup Pushes Hadoop via Spreadsheet

      A startup called Datameer is offering a simpler way for business analysts to use Hadoop, the open-source framework for large-scale data processing on clusters of commodity hardware.

  • Databases

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Analyzing MySQL, OpenOffice Partner Strategies

      When it comes to Sun Microsystems’ technology, Oracle’s top partner priority is to promote Sun servers and storage. But if you listen closely to Oracle Channel Chief Judson Althoff, you’ll discover that he’s already contemplating channel partner strategies for Sun’s MySQL, Java and OpenOffice offerings.

    • The viability of open source forking

      Although my feelings haven’t changed, based on the information currently available, questions regarding OpenSolaris are starting to generate notable discussion.


      Said differently, “The source is available, so be warned, Oracle.”

      OpenSolaris community member Ben Rockwood wrote a measured response:

      Here is where I want to be careful. Asking for autonomy at this juncture would be very foolish I think. If they grant it, they will essentially expect us to fork and re-establish the community without Sun/Oracle resources. That means the website goes, communication is severed, employees are instructed not to putback to the autonomous codebase, etc. I think it would go very very badly and we’d essentially help kill the community.

      The size of the community at present is pretty small and relatively inactive. Support for Nexenta, Belenix, etc, is orders of magnitude less so. These projects are productive and active, but the numbers are tiny compared to the official community. Add it all up and I think we have little reason to think that an autonomous community would really have any real support unless we get a sudden and massive influx of contributing developers. So it is, imho, a non-starter.

  • Business

  • Government

    • Lib Dem manifesto focuses on ‘better’ IT procurement

      “As part of the review, we will seek to identify additional savings which can be used to pay down the deficit further, including better government IT procurement, investigating the potential of different approaches, such as cloud computing and open-source software,” Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrats leader, wrote in the manifesto.

    • Conservative manifesto aims for open data

      Large ICT projects would be opened to smaller suppliers by breaking them up into smaller components. All government tender documents worth more than £10,000 would appear on the Supply2Gov website, a far lower level than that currently used by the Official Journal of the European Union, and a “level playing field” would be created for open source ICT in government procurement.

    • Government remains vague on open-source commitments

      Digital Britain minister Stephen Timms has said in an interview with V3.co.uk that smaller firms should be given more opportunities to compete for public sector contracts, but he was vague when discussing the government’s open-source commitments.

      We asked Timms how Labour’s strategy compares with statements made in the Tory manifesto, which promises to open up the £200bn government procurement market to small and open-source companies, partly by breaking up large ICT projects into smaller components.

  • Applications

    • Open Source Video Conferencing

      Open Source Video Conferencing software are pretty new. Except the grand father Ekiga (former GnomeMeeting), the most promising Open Source Video Conferencing solutions have less than 2 years on the
      market.DimDim and Vmukti are the gorilla of the field, with aggressive features list.Open Source Video Conferencing software are pretty new. Except the grand father Openmeetings (former GnomeMeeting), the most promising Open Source Video Conferencing solutions have less than 2 years on the market.DimDim and Vmukti are the gorilla of the field, with aggressive features list.

    • Test VLC 1.1 With GPU Acceleration

      The developers of VLC are already working on the next iteration of the video player which could be beneficial in future comparisons as the developers plan to add gpu acceleration to the media player.


  • 10 things the Internet has ruined and five things it hasn’t

    For some people, the Internet is the killer app — literally. From newspapers and the yellow pages to personal privacy and personal contact, the Net has been accused of murdering, eviscerating, ruining, and obliterating more things than the Amazing Hulk. Some claims are more true than others, but the Net certainly has claimed its share of scalps.

  • Finance

    • U.S. Accuses Goldman Sachs of Fraud in Mortgage Deals

      Goldman let Mr. Paulson select mortgage bonds that he wanted to bet against — the ones he believed were most likely to lose value — and packaged those bonds into Abacus 2007-AC1, according to the S.E.C. complaint. Goldman then sold the Abacus deal to investors like foreign banks, pension funds, insurance companies and other hedge funds.

    • Update: SEC says Goldman defrauded investors of $1 billion

      The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged investment banking titan Goldman Sachs with civil fraud over a pre-packaged mortgage instrument they say was designed to fail.

      Goldman Sachs created the derivative — called Abacus 2007-AC1 — in response to a request from a hedge fund manager who predicted that the housing market would collapse and wanted to bet against it. The trader, John Paulson, later earned $3.7 billion for his wager. Goldman’s practices cost investors $1 billion, according to the filing.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Internet becomes an election issue

      Downloading has become an election issue. Elsewhere in Europe ever stricter measures are being taken to protect copyright and security on the internet. Which way will digital freedom go in the Netherlands after the parliamentary elections on 9 June?
      “Prepare yourselves in The Hague! The Pirates are about to enter.” This is the Twitter warning with which the Dutch Pirates Party presented itself. ‘Captain’ Salim Allioui hopes to win 14 seats in June. The phenomenon began in Sweden four years ago, where the Pirate Party has the third largest membership in the country.

    • FOI shows Department of Justice planning internet blocking for Ireland

      In January we filed a Freedom of Information Request with the Department of Justice asking for all documents dealing with internet blocking by ISPs. Last month the response came back – refusing access to almost every internal document!

      Sometimes, however, it can be informative to know what is being concealed. When answering FOI requests, departments prepare a schedule of records listing each document they hold by data and title.

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 1: Episode 6 (2004)

“Patent Absurdity” is Released (Ogg)

Posted in Patents, Videos at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The video whose release we have been anticipating is finally out

THE FOLLOWING video was released just half an hour ago. It is titled “Patent Absurdity: how software patents broke the system”

Other sizes/formats

Whose Rights? Yours or the Corporations’?

Posted in Videos at 7:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: SourceCode video on the subject of human rights versus corporate rights, which are a somewhat recent phenomenon

TechRIGHTS wishes to share the following good episode from the show “SourceCode” (2005). The early parts touch on the subject of rights.

In other media formats

We are still in the process or readjusting the Wiki. Help from anyone would be appreciated.

“The corporation had no rights of individual persons. The model for the corporation back at the time of the framing of the Constitution was a municipality. Through the 19th century, that began to change. It’s important to remember that the constitutional system was not designed in the first place to defend the rights of people. Rather, the rights of people had to be balanced, as Madison put it, against what he called “the rights of property.” Well of course, property has no rights: my pen has no rights. Maybe I have a right to it, but the pen has no rights. So, this is just a code phrase for the rights of people with property. The constitutional system was founded on the principle that the rights of people with property have to be privileged; they have rights because they’re people, but they also have special rights because they have property. As Madison put it in the constitutional debates, the goal of government must be “to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.” That’s the way the system was set up.”

Noam Chomsky

Links 16/4/2010: Nouveau Power Management, New GNU/Linux Game

Posted in News Roundup at 7:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Link Tech Show #349 – Apr 15 [OGG]
  • Sony

    • Sony refuses to sanction PS3 refunds

      Sony says that it has no intention of reimbursing retailers if they offer fat PS3 users partial refunds because of the removal of the Install Other OS function.

      Last week, the first PS3 user successfully secured a partial refund from Amazon UK as compensation for the removal of the ability to run Linux on the console.

    • Quotes of Sony promoting the OtherOS feature

      Taken from the Playstation.com forums (nice work!):

      CREDIT goes to Xrobx who posted these in another thread and i wanted to make sure that everyone sees them…

      Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.:
      “In addition to playing games, watching movies, listening to music, and viewing photos, you can use the PS3 system to run the Linux operating system. By installing the Linux operating system, you can use the PS3 system not only as an entry-level personal computer with hundreds of familiar applications for home and office use, but also as a complete development environment for the Cell Broadband Engine (Cell/B.E.).”
      http://www.playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/index.html [playstation.com]

      k&gl=us&client=safari) – google’s cached page of the above hyperlink from March 30th 2010 which does not say anything about FW 3.21 removing Other OS. I’ve saved the page in case it goes offline, copy http address into browser as link probably won’t work. Or, just search google and get the cached page. – kiyyto.

      Phil Harrison, February 2007,
      President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios 2005-2008:
      “One of the most powerful things about the PS3 is the ‘Install Other OS’ option.”
      http://kotaku.com/235049/20-questions-with-phil-harrison-at-dice [kotaku.com]

      Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., 2006-2009:
      “The Linux Distributor’s Starter Kit provides information, binary and source codes to Linux Distribution developers who wants to make their distro support PS3.”
      http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux [kernel.org]

      Izumi Kawanishi, Sony, May 2006:
      “Because we have plans for having Linux on board [the PS3], we also recognize Linux programming activities… Other than game studios tied to official developer licenses, we’d like to see various individuals participate in content creation for the PS3.”
      http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=9290 [gamasutra.com]

      Geoffrey Levand, August 2009,
      Principal Software Engineer at Sony Corporation:
      “Please be assured that SCE is committed to continue the support for previously sold models that have the “Install Other OS” feature and that this feature will not be disabled in future firmware releases.”
      mailing list to PS3 customers using Linux

      Phil Harrison, May 2006,
      President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios 2005-2008:
      “The Playstation 3 is a computer. We do not need the PC.”
      http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/web/0,1518,418642,00.html [spiegel.de]
      Make.Believe… you didn’t see that

  • Desktop

    • A Reminder to Purveyors of Linux

      Those who want to use Linux, Unix, or any one of the BSD distributions, are expected to know how to read with comprehension, know how to use a search engine – using actual arguments – and, above all else, have some level of patience.

      Today’s average user has none of those skills.

  • Server

  • IBM

    • IBM and the labors of TurboHercules

      The story starts with the Hercules emulator, which lets PC-type systems pretend to be IBM’s System/370 and ESA/390 mainframe architectures. Hercules is good enough to run systems like z/OS or z/VM, and, according to the project’s FAQ, it has been used for production use at times, even if that’s not its stated purpose. The project is licensed under the OSI-certified Q Public License.

      Enter TurboHercules SAS, which seeks to commercialize the Hercules system. The company offers supported versions of Hercules – optionally bundled with hardware – aimed at the disaster recovery market. Keeping a backup mainframe around is an expensive proposition; keeping a few commodity systems running Hercules is rather cheaper. It’s not hard to imagine why companies which are stuck with software which must run on a mainframe might be tempted by this product – as a backup plan or as a way to migrate off the mainframes entirely.

  • Kernel Space

    • Long-Time Open Source Contributor Collabora Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Collabora Ltd., has become a member and will participate in the MeeGo project (http://www.meego.com).

    • Linux Graybeards? Yes, But Also A Wisdom Circle

      Linux is in a strong marketplace position, despite the graying of some of its key maintainers, thanks to cloud computing and other trends that favor it over Windows and older versions of Unix, claimed Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation.

      Zemlin didn’t bring up the fact that key maintainers of the Linux kernel are getting older. That was for Jonathan Corbet, editor in chief of the Linux Weekly News, to point out later during a panel Wednesday at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, in San Francisco.

    • Linux Kernel Devs: We Need New Blood

      Morton does have a solution for the problem. In his view, Linux kernel developers need to document the work that they do better. He wasn’t talking about offline documentation, but rather documentation within the code itself.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Real Need For Nouveau Power Management
      • Nouveau Is Power Hungry On Desktops Too

        This morning we talked about the real need for Nouveau power management as with a notebook bearing a NVIDIA GPU this open-source NVIDIA driver can easily consume 10~30% more power than using NVIDIA’s official binary driver. While power management is more important on the mobile side, a quick test was carried out on a desktop too.

        For this Nouveau desktop testing of the power consumption a AMD Sempron box was used running a NVIDIA GeForce 9800GTX. Ubuntu 10.04 LTS was used comparing its Nouveau KMS driver (using the Linux 2.6.32 kernel but with the 2.6.33 DRM back-ported, and no Gallium3D driver in use) to the NVIDIA 195.36.15 binary driver. Ubuntu 10.04 was used for some variation in the test results and the Red Hat Anaconda installer with Fedora 13 Beta would hang with this AMD system when it came to detecting the Serial ATA hard drive.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • 4.5 updates so far

      I’m not going to make a detailed post, just a screen-shot based overview of the new features you can expect in KDE 4.5.

  • Distributions

    • Bootchart on Archlinux
    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • In loving memories: Phil Lavigna (1963-2010)

        I just learned that Phil Lavigna, author of the nice ulteoadmin.com website has passed away on April, 1st. Phil was a very talented, humble and perfectionist guy. He wrote several books on Linux, including “Test driving Linux” at O’Reilly. I knew him for a long time, we spent many nights on writing contents and press-releases for Mandrakesoft.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Options Alert for Red Hat Inc

        RHT options saw interesting call activity today. A total of 251 put and 1,292 call contracts were traded raising a low Put/Call volume alert. Today’s traded Put/Call ratio is 0.19. There were 5.15 calls traded for each put contract.

    • Debian Family

      • The role of the Debian ftpmasters

        Linux distributions don’t simply appear on mirrors and BitTorrent networks fully formed. A great deal of work goes on behind the scenes before a release sees the light of day. Linux users who aren’t involved in the production of a Linux distribution may not fully appreciate all of that work. Take, for example, the work done by Debian’s ftpmasters team.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.04 OS has enterprise appeal

          Open source operating system Ubuntu 10.04, otherwise known as LucidLynx, slated for availability end of April as a Long Term Support (LTS) release, will be particularly appealing to enterprises dealing with large server deployments, said one analyst.

          Enterprises running data centres or managing many servers will welcome the new LTS release because they’ll be “more interested in stability and less interested in updating,” said Jay Lyman, open source analyst with research firm The 451 Group.

        • Ubuntu 10.04 delivers usability, strength

          Every time I tried to use Ubuntu, it felt like I’d stepped into a kiosk machine: it looked like Linux, but the functionality I needed just wasn’t there. Sometimes that absence was drastic: I remember having great hot docking support for my laptop in Ubuntu 8.04 that somehow vanished in 8.10.

        • Ubuntu 10.04 beta – Over 100 updates today … and the buttons moved again

          I turned on my laptop running the Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid beta (I think we’re still technically on “beta 2″) and found more than 100 updates ready for me.

          I did these from the console with apt, and I had to remove Thunderbird before the apt-get upgrade would work. I hadn’t started using Thunderbird yet, so that was no problem. Once I removed Thunderbird, the upgrade went forward without incident.

          But when I rebooted, I noticed that the button order in application windows changed again. The picture above shows what the buttons look like at the time of this entry.

        • Why Use Ubuntu?

          I’ve been asked why I use Ubuntu a few times. When asked I ask why not. The answers to that are usually different but always follow the lines of, “Well, I was just curious because you know everything about Linux.” That answer makes me laugh a little. My follow up is, I use Ubuntu because it works and does what I want it to. Thats not the only reason though. It’s not that I haven’t tried other distributions. It’s not even that I haven’t liked certain things in others more. The real reason is much deeper than that.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • A Sneak Peak At the Black Box Inside Your Phone

        About two months ago, Harald Welte announced a project called OsmocomBB which intends to close what might be called the missing link between the free GSM network implementations and the free mobile phone operating systems. When accomplished, the projects aims to have a fully functioning and free GSM baseband software stack in the mobile phone.

      • Nokia

        • Mobilizing Open Source: Intel, Nokia Dish on MeeGo’s Progress

          The two companies’ goal is to press forward on MeeGo, the joint project resulting from Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) and Nokia’s (NYSE: NOK) move to combine their respective mobile Linux efforts. Even before they joined forces earlier this year, Intel and Nokia have been working closely with a number of high-profile open source projects — putting the two in prime position to share some insight on productizing open source.

      • Android

        • REPORT: HTC adding 1080p recording to its 2011 phones, also planning Android tablet

          According to a report on a site identifying itself as Phone Report, HTC’s South African MD Quinton Leigh came out with a huge shopping list of next-gen features the smartphone giant is planning to add to its forthcoming models.

        • Orange To Launch Android Handset Boston

          The Boston is expected to ship with Google’s Android 1.6 operating system on board, which might not sound that great, though it seems that software updates are set to arrive after launch. I can’t wait to hear more about this phone, it looks very attractive.

        • Why Verizon’s Skype client forces Android Wi-Fi shutdown

          Verizon Wireless users with Android-based devices – most notably the popular Motorola Droid – are not able to run the new Skype Mobile client with the phone’s Wi-Fi radio turned on. The consequence: Users can either turn Wi-Fi on the device off completely, forcing all data services to run over the Verizon 3G network, or leave Wi-Fi on and be unable to use Skype Mobile to make calls or even have it running in the background, the major of appeal of the app in the first place.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Linux-ready netbook touted for eight-hour battery life

        ZaReason is shipping a Linux-ready, 10-inch netbook that uses the Intel Atom N450 processor and is claimed to offer eight hours of battery life. The ZaReason Teo Netbook offers 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 160GB hard disk drive (HDD), 802/11n wireless networking, Ethernet, three USB 2.0 ports, and a 1.3-megapixel webcam, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • SugarCRM 6 Gives a New View on Open Source CRM Software

    The new Sugar 6 release includes a revamped user interface and other tweaks that aim to make the system more efficient for users. To SugarCRM, the project’s chief commercial backer, the new version marks the latest step in the evolution of both the company and its core CRM offering, though to the layman, the improvements might at first seem relatively minor.

  • Crowdsourcing

    • Why the open source way trumps the crowdsourcing way

      A while back, I wrote an article about why the term crowdsourcing bugs me. Another thing that drives me nuts? When people confuse crowdsourcing and open source. My friend David Burney wrote an interesting post on this subject a while back highlighting the differences.

      It finally hit me the other day just why the open source way seems so much more elegantly designed (and less wasteful) to me than what I’ll call “the crowdsourcing way.”

    • Crowdsourced Project Relies On Fans For Rotoscoping A Johnny Cash Video

      Digital artist Aaron Koblin has a fantastic knack for creating innovative, beautiful, fascinating works that merge the worlds of data and technology with art. Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, he created The Sheep Market by commissioning 10,000 online workers each to draw a left-facing sheep. Ten Thousand Cents created a representation of a $100 bill, also drawn by 10,000 turkers. Now, he’s back with a video project, and is creating a crowdsourced music video for Johnny Cash’s song, “Ain’t No Grave.”

    • The Case for Being Disruptively Good

      What’s different, immediately, about a hyperconnected world is that information flows much faster and more freely. So it’s less costly to ascertain who’s really evil — and who’s really good. So the first force is information.


      Google’s just climbed back up to the third rung, competition — by leaving China, it is once again competing not just to gain more share, but to do more good, by offering higher quality services, instead of compromised ones (in turn, amplifying pressure on rivals like Microsoft).

      Apple’s on the fourth rung, disruption. It is utilizing radical new building blocks, markets — the Apps Store, iAds — and their great promise is to reinvent the deep economics of media and advertising. Will they live up to it? Only time will tell whether Jobs’ insistence on heavy-handed control is hubris — or whether it really does radically rewrite the balance of good and bad. If the former, Apple will likely stumble back down the ladder of next-gen strategy.

    • Grand Challenges of the 21st Century — Your Ideas Welcome

      One of the goals of President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation is to harness science and technology to address the “grand challenges” of the 21st century in areas such as health, clean energy, national security, and education and life-long learning. Grand challenges are important national goals like putting a man on the Moon or sequencing the human genome that require advances in science and technology to achieve. They also have the potential to drive sustainable economic growth and the creation of quality jobs.

    • Evan Williams: “Twitter Is the Ecosystem”

      Twitter’s fundamental tenet, Williams said, is that “The open exchange of information has a positive impact on the world. Our goal as a company is to maximize this impact, that’s what we’re about and it’s what drives everything we do.” That’s why Twitter made those deals with Google, Bing and Yahoo, though investors worried that the licensing deals would be “giving away the farm.” Williams said his team was swayed by the idea that putting the Twitter firehose in front of those engineering teams and their millions of users would “maximize value for end users.”

  • Mozilla

  • Education

    • How Hard Can it Be? DIY OCW

      One of the miracles of free software is that it always begins with one or two people saying: “hey, how hard can it be?” The miracle is that they say that even when “it” is an operating system like GNU, or a kernel like Linux, or a graphic image manipulation package like the GIMP. Despite the manifest impossibility of one person writing something that usually requires vast, hierarchical teams, and months of planning, they just start and the miracle continues: others join in and the thing grows until one day, with the help of a few hundred friends, they achieve that impossibility.

  • Releases

    • GNUmed 0.7.0 released

      I am pleased to announce the immediate availability of
      GNUmed 0.7.0 (server v13).

  • Government

  • Licensing

    • 3% of open source software ever created use Apache Commons libraries

      TOP 5 most reused components from Apache Commons

      * Logging: Wrapper around a variety of logging API implementations.
      * Collections: Extends or augments the Java Collections Framework.
      * Lang: Provides extra functionality for classes in java.lang.
      * BeanUtils: Easy-to-use wrappers around the Java reflection and introspection APIs.
      * Httpclient: HttpClient is a HTTP/1.1 compliant HTTP agent implementation based on HttpCore (Httpclient is now an independent project)

    • Binary Analysis Tool checks component licenses

      More details about the release, including limitations of the tool and a demonstration video, are available on the project web site. The Binary Analysis Tool is available to download from the project’s web site and is released under the Apache license. Documentation is also provided. The project is sponsored by the Linux Foundation, the NLnet Foundation, Opendawn and Loohuis Consulting.

  • Open Data in Governments

    • data.norge.no
    • Open government data in Germany: what next?

      Quite a lot has happened since last September, when we founded the “Open Data Network”, a non-profit organisation to promote open data, open government, transparency and citizen participation here in Germany. This new initiative gained a lot of attention and positive feedback from all across the society: among the founding members we have representatives from civil society organisations, the public sector, private companies and representatives from all 6 major german political parties. Since then we have established a wide network, continually reporting on open data issues on our well known Open Data Blog, and have been invited to present at a wide variety of meetings, workshops and conferences.

    • The Europeana Public Domain Charter

      The Europeana Foundation has published a policy statement, the Public Domain Charter, to highlight the value of public domain content in the knowledge economy. It alerts Europe’s museums, libraries, archives and audiovisual collections to the fact that digitisation of Public Domain content does not create new rights in it.

    • Case Study: How Open data saved Canada $3.2 Billion

      Why does open data matter? Rather than talk in abstract terms, let me share a well documented but little known story about how open data helped expose one of the biggest tax frauds in Canada’s history.

    • Government transparency: Using search data to connect with your audience

      A couple of weeks ago at Transparency Camp, I gave a talk on using search data to help ensure that the information the organizations in attendance were opening up could be found by the right audiences. It’s awesome that organizations like the Sunlight Foundation, Open Congress, and Follow the Money are making details about government actions easily accessible by citizens. And the government itself has made great strides in opening up data with sites such as recovery.gov and data.gov.

    • Datadotgc.ca Launched – the opportunity and challenge

      Today I’m really pleased to announce that we’ve launched datadotgc.ca, a volunteer driven site I’m collaboratively creating with a small group of friends and, I hope, a growing community that, if you are interested, may include you.

      As many of you already know I, and many other people, want our governments to open up and share their data, in useful, structured formats that people can actually use or analyze. Unlike our American and British peers, the Canadian Federal (and provincial…) government(s) currently have no official, coordinated effort to release government data.

  • Transparency

    • When transparency can save lives

      Dan Froomkin has a good write-up of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s (MSHA) failure to release certain notes related to violations that Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine was cited for in the past year. The Upper Big Branch Mine was the site of the worst coal mining disaster in the United States in the past forty years.

  • Programming

    • Analyst: New developer demographics favor Linux, PHP

      But there does appear to be a definite expiration date on these old-school programming languages. Interest in dynamic languages like PHP and Ruby is not complementary to Java and .Net, as Savio Rodrigues found, but rather is happening at their expense.

      The “youthquake” threatens to shake up old hierarchies.

      This demographic shift is indicative of much more than a passing fad in lightweight development, reflecting, rather, a deep and abiding interest in open source, as I’ve written, but one that is maturing.

    • IcedTea6 1.8 Released!

      We are proud to announce the release of IcedTea6 1.8.

      The IcedTea project provides a harness to build the source code from OpenJDK7 using Free Software build tools. It also includes the only Free Java plugin and Web Start implementation, and support for additional architectures over and above x86, x86_64 and SPARC via the Zero assembler port.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • US Broadcast Groups to Develop National Mobile TV Service

    ­Twelve US broadcast firms have announced plans to form a standalone joint venture to develop a new national mobile content service. Utilizing existing broadcast spectrum, the service will allow member companies to provide content to mobile devices, including live and on-demand video, local and national news from print and electronic sources, as well as sports and entertainment programming.

  • Schools

    • Schools: Too Big To Fail

      “Why Are 25 Hedge Fund Managers Worth 658,000 teachers?”

      “That money could have hired 658,000 entry level teachers…with benefits.” The wealthy will have placed an estimated $2 trillion into hedge funds by the end of this year, while schools experience cutbacks everywhere. “That’s about $6,500 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.” To add insult to injury, they pay only a 15 percent tax rate on their “earnings” while an experienced teacher will be paying 28 percent-plus.

    • Who Really Failed?

      Students in introductory biology don’t need to worry about meeting her standards anymore. LSU removed her from teaching, mid-semester, and raised the grades of students in the class. In so doing, the university’s administration has set off a debate about grade inflation, due process and a professor’s right to set standards in her own course.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Brutality probe into epileptic’s tasering

      The police tasering of a man having an epileptic fit has sparked an investigation into claims of officer brutality.

      The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) confirmed it was investigating officers at Greater Manchester police for using “excessive and unnecessary force” in firing the stun gun at the unnamed 40-year-old man in November last year.

    • Identity cards, identity databases, biometric passports and compulsion: Some clarifications

      At one level, scrapping identity cards is a fairly trivial activity as the card is simply a piece of plastic, currently with limited functionality (there are very few ‘readers’ available that the card can be used with, and no online verification capabilities for card holders, so current advice on security checks for the card involve visual and physical inspection of the card and, potentially, phoning a telephone hotline to check that the card has not been reported as lost or stolen). There are no current plans to upgrade the cards either to provide more useful functionality.

  • Environment

    • Forensic DNA blow to commercial whaling proposals

      Proposals to resume commercial whaling have been dealt a blow by DNA detective work showing that restaurants in the US and South Korea illegally sold whale meat from Japan.

      In June, Japan, Iceland and Norway are expected to ask the International Whaling Commission (IWC) for permission to resume commercial whaling. They say they can prevent smuggling by matching the DNA of whale meat sold in markets to a register of all legally caught whales. But all have refused to make their DNA registers public.

      To find out the origin of whale meat being sold outside Japan, Scott Baker of Oregon State University in Corvallis and colleagues secretly took samples from two restaurants, one in Santa Monica, California, and another in Seoul, South Korea.

    • Anti-Tar Sands Protests Gather Momentum

      Tar sands extraction in Alberta, Canada is already the world’s largest industrial project, requiring the removal of vast areas of ancient forest and consuming enough natural gas per day to heat 3.2 million Canadian homes. Extracting usable fuel from the oily soil emits 3 to 5 times as much carbon dioxide as conventional oil drilling, the lakes of toxic waste it produces are so large they are visible from space, and the pollution from the project is poisoning the Indigenous people who live in its shadow. There is enough oil in the Alberta tar sands to push us over the climate tipping point even if we keep all other fossil fuels in the ground. Grassroots resistance has been taking place on the ground in Canada for years, led largely by Indigenous communities, but has attracted limited international attention – until now.

    • Audit Finds Vulnerability of EnergyStar Program

      Does a “gasoline-powered alarm clock” qualify for the EnergyStar label, the government stamp of approval for an energy-saving product?

    • EnergyStar Program Flunks Test

      Most of the applications were approved without questions or challenges, leading auditors to conclude that the EnergyStar program is highly vulnerable to fraud. Another problem auditors found with the program is that once a company gains registration as an EnergyStar partner, it can download the EnergyStar logo from the government’s Web site and paste it onto products for which it had not even requested approval.

  • Finance

    • ‘Innovation in New York’ Revisited

      While the New York area has long been one of the world’s major financial centers, it was also preeminent in a number of other major areas, including health care, law, arts, entertainment, publishing and media. But then, over the past twenty years, financial services started to dominate the NY economy to an unprecedented degree. While the numbers employed in the industry grew modestly, their overall compensation went up significantly. For example, according to NY State Department of Labor statistics:

      “In 2007, [Wall Street] was responsible for almost 30 percent of private sector wages in the City. Between 2003 and 2007, total wages paid on Wall Street more than doubled, increasing from $35.8 billion to $73.9 billion. Similarly, average salaries in the industry jumped more than 77 percent over the period to top $400,000 in 2007; the rate of increase in average wage level was more than three times faster than growth in the rest of the City’s private sector economy. During this period, Wall Street accounted for almost one-half of all private sector wage growth in the City as well as approximately 20 percent of the tax revenue for the state as a whole.”

      The concerns expressed in this NY Times article from November of 2006 seem prescient in retrospect: “The 280,000 workers in the finance industry collect more than half of all the wages paid in Manhattan, although they hold fewer than one of every six jobs in the borough. The pay gap between them and the 1.5 million other workers in Manhattan continues to widen, causing some economists to worry about the city’s growing dependence on their extraordinary incomes.”

    • Wall Street tires of penitence and turns on Washington

      As stock markets surge, debt markets thaw and corporate deal-making picks up pace, trading floors are back at near record levels of profitability even if, as JP Morgan’s figures showed on Wednesday, the financial environment for the general public at high street banks remains bleak. Most of those who work at financial institutions think it’s only fair they should be rewarded – and they want more than last year’s average bonus of $123,850 (£80,000).

    • Lehman Examiner Sees Possible Grounds for Suit

      In a portion of the Lehman examiner’s report unsealed Wednesday, Anton Valukas, appointed to investigate the circumstances surrounding Lehman Brother’s collapse and liquidation, says that the failed investment bank might have cause to sue Goldman Sachs and Barclays for what might be a “fraudulent transaction.”

    • Goldman Director Examined in Galleon Case, Report Says

      Add another name to the long list of companies reportedly tied to the federal prosecutors’ continuing investigation into the Galleon Group: Goldman Sachs.

    • Goldman Sachs Director Gupta Under Investigation For Passing Inside Info To Rajaratnam

      A Goldman Sachs director, Rajat Gupta, is now under investigation for passing inside info to Galleon head Raj Rajaratnam, says the WSJ.

      Gupta is also a board member of Procter & Gamble and American Airlines parent, AMR. He is the ex-head of consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

    • Goldman Sachs Director May Have Passed Insider Info to Galleon

      A Goldman Sachs (GS) board member may have passed sensitive data to Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam (pictured), according to The Wall Street Journal.

      Rajaratnam has been accused of insider trading by the government and, as part of its investigation, “the government is examining whether Rajat Gupta — a current Goldman director, former head of McKinsey & Co. and close associate of Mr. Rajaratnam’s — shared inside information about Goldman, the people close to the situation say,” The Wall Street Journal reports. Another former McKinsey employee has already been charged in the case.

    • Galleon case reveals Wall Street’s connections

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s role in the Galleon hedge fund insider-trading probe is great headline fodder, but the takeaways from the case shed light on an industry-wide issue.


      Whether Goldman had a role in the alleged insider trading or was just a bystander is something prosecutors will determine. But the Feds are employing more tools in trying to find out. If suspicions turn to convictions, Wall Street will feel the chill. Phone conversations and other communication could come with a question: who’s listening?

    • Goldman Director Gupta to Leave

      Rajat Guptatold Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in March he wouldn’t stand for re-election as a director, after receiving notice from prosecutors that they were reviewing recorded conversations between him and Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam, people close to the matter say.

    • Goldman Sachs Real Estate Fund Vaporizes 98% Of Client Capital

      A Goldman Sachs real-estate fund, Whitehall International, has incinerated almost all of the $1.8 billion invested in it.

      Remarkably, it’s not just Goldman clients who have gotten hosed: Goldman itself invested $436 million in the fund, 98% of which is now gone.

      The culprit?

      Highly leveraged bets on international real estate.

    • Goldman Sachs Would Like To Remind Noted Thespian/Former Client Of A Few Things, And Vice Versa

      Earlier today actor Alan Cummings told New York magazine that he’d taken his money out of Goldman Sachs because he was disgusted with how they conducted themselves before during and after the crisis. Cummings knew writing to Lloyd Blankfein and telling the CEO how disappointed he was would accomplish nothing, and that the only way to send a message that would actually penetrate senior management was to speak their language. The language of cash-money.

    • White House Asks Blankfein, Dimon To Halt Bill Fight: Sources Bloomberg

      White House officials have urged the chief executive officers of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), Bank of America Corp. (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) to stop lobbying against a financial regulatory bill in Congress, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday on its Web site, citing unnamed people who attended a meeting on the matter.

    • Legislation would bar taxpayer bailouts of derivatives ponzi schemes

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and their biggest rivals would be forced to wall off derivatives trading operations from their commercial banks under a measure to be introduced by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, a congressional aide said.

      Lincoln, an Arkansas Democrat, will propose a “no-bailout provision” as part of an overhaul of derivatives regulation she plans to unveil today, according to the aide, who declined to be identified because the plan isn’t public. The measure aims to ensure banks don’t endanger depositors’ money with risky trading of over-the-counter derivatives, the aide said.

    • Is it Time to Pull the Plug on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission?

      Last week, in the middle of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s testimony in front of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC), the lights went out.

      According to Greenspan, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were to blame for the housing bubble. The Fed may have noticed, but it couldn’t really do anything about it. “Regulators cannot successfully use the bully pulpit to manage asset prices, and they cannot calibrate regulation and supervision in response to movements in asset prices. Nor can they fully eliminate the possibility of future crises,” said Greenspan.

      After that self-serving drivel, no wonder the God’s zapped the electrical system. There was a lot Greenspan could have done to rein in the housing bubble, not the least of which was simply telling people there was a bubble as housing prices began following an unprecedented and unsustainable path.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Marketing to Distrust

      Goldman Sachs, Halliburton, Monsanto, Blackwater, Bank of America, Citigroup, Cigna, Aetna, Enron, Arthur Andersen, Mercury Insurance, Philip Morris …These are just a few corporate names that engender feelings of distrust, anger and betrayal. They represent scandals, greed, blatant disregard for public welfare, lavish spending of taxpayer money and other negatives, and serve as reminders about how corporate wrongdoing has brought shame on our country and harmed millions.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • U.S. Leaders Should Heed Their Own Advice On Internet Filters

      It has been kind of entertaining (some would say frightening) watching the Australian government’s futile efforts to clean the Internet of its naughty bits. As part of their filtering plans, the government conducted trials with a handful of ISPs, many of whom have been very vocal in their beliefs that the filters won’t technically work. These ongoing trials had no quantifiable metric to determine whether the trials were a success or failure, so obviously, Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy proudly announced that the trials proved the filters to be 100% effective. Political leaders in favor of the filters haven’t exactly been open to feedback on the dangers of filters, and the country learned nothing early on, when a teenage kid hacked their original filter system in all of half an hour.

    • UK MPs call for ID cards and surveillance, but demand privacy for themselves

      Guy from Power2010 sez, “Power2010 have released a brief report showing examples of hypocrisy by UK ministers and MPs when it comes to privacy and personal information. We are timing the release of the report alongside a ‘speak out’ campaign targeting all parliamentary candidates which allows people to message their candidates asking them to take a different approach to privacy and transparency and end the ‘one rule for us, one rule for them’ approach. ”

    • Thousands wrongly labelled by CRB checks

      The Criminal Records Bureau has paid out compensation of £290,124 to people wrongly labelled criminals during background checks by the agency.

    • British Chiropractic Association v Singh – BCA admits defeat.

      The BCA today served a Notice of Discontinuance bringing to an end its ill-fated libel claim against Dr Simon Singh arising out of criticisms he made of its promotion of treatments for childhood ailments.

    • British Elections Neither Free Nor Fair

      In my diplomatic career, I spent a great deal of time assessing the democratic merit of elections in various countries abroad. That gives me a peculiar perspective in looking at elections in the UK, and wondering what a foreign observer would make of them. I can do this also with the insight of having twice run as an independent parliamentary candidate.

    • McKinnon’s mum stands against Straw at general election

      Gary McKinnon’s mum is standing for Parliament against Jack Straw in the UK’s upcoming general election.


      McKinnon faces the latest in a long series of court hearings on 25 and 26 May, three weeks after the general election. The next two months promise to be extremely busy and stressful for Sharp, a point she readily acknowledges. “It’s something I feel I have to do. If we don’t stand up we all might wake up in a Nazi style police state,” she said.

    • Labour manifesto: More ID cards, less NHS IT

      Businesses have had VAT cuts and the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme to help them access loans, as well as increased capital tax allowances in 2009/10. For the future, there will be a number of different support measures, such as reduced business rates for start-up.

    • Whistleblower Wins Again

      Good news stories aren’t so frequent here in the Caucasus region, so when they do come along, they’re worth celebrating. Last year, Armenian environmental activist Mariam Sukhudyan was facing a possible five-year prison sentence for slander after exposing alleged abuse at a children’s home. The charges were finally dropped a few weeks ago, and in another welcome development, Sukhudyan and her colleagues won first prize at the Social Innovation Camp event here in Tbilisi last weekend with their web project aimed at combatting ecological damage to forests.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why Hollywood Doesn’t Want You Betting on Hollywood

      Basically, the M.P.A.A. believes that such a movie exchange would not just be purely a speculative prediction market that operated in isolation, but that it could actually harm the filmmaking and distribution process itself. Some of the movie industry’s biggest headaches over the exchange seem to come from concerns about “market manipulation.” With so many investors/speculators invested in box-office numbers, studios are worried this could be just another incentive for pirates to steal an advance copy of a movie and post it on YouTube. Last year’s Wolverine debacle was a case in point: it’s one thing to keep the latest comic-book blockbuster from the eyes of curious fans, another to withhold it from a million Gordon Gekkos betting that a given film will fail and then making that happen by leaking a copy to YouTube.

    • Copyrights

      • Activists oppose ‘discriminatory’ amendment to Copyright Act

        Opposing the upcoming amendment to the Copyright Act, 1957 that proposes to exempt only the ‘specially designed’ formats like Braille to help the disabled read, a group of disability rights activists on Thursday said that the move is “discriminatory” to people not knowing Braille and will be “counterproductive”.

        The National Access Alliance (NAA), an umbrella body campaigning for an appropriate amendment to the copyright Act, said it believes that the proposed clause, 52 Z (a) will hamper rather than help the print-impaired (people with any form of visual, cerebral or orthopaedic disability that deters normal reading) in accessing books.

    • ACTA

      • [OpenACTA]

        We are writing to bring to your attention the European Parliament Resolution of 10 March 2010 on Transparency and State of Play of the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) [1], showing the growing concern of European citizens regarding ACTA. We are aware that this is an unconventional request but considering the circumstances, we would like the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to provide an expert assessment and analysis of the current provisions of ACTA from your institutional viewpoint as one the two specialised organisations entrusted with the issue of norm-setting in the field of intellectual property rights and related issues.

      • ACTA’s Acts of Stupidity

        Alongside the UK’s Tom Watson, New Zealand’s Clare Curran is shaping up as one of the leading net-savvy politicians in the world. Here’s a typically clueful post about ACTA and her country’s role in the negotiations, concluding:

        Why are law-makers heading down this route? It flies in the face of reality. What lies behind the Digital Economy Bill and ACTA?

        The best thing the NZ Govt could do is to release its negotiating position to its citizens. Let’s all be in this discussion. Transparency is by far the best policy.

      • Will ACTA end the purchase of foreign titles by libraries?

        With the release of leaked versions of the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), opposition to the drafting process continues to grow. Recently IFLA issued a statement arguing that while it is appropriate for governments to act to stop commercial counterfeiting, the copyright and patent issues at stake in ACTA would be better addressed through the World International Property Organization (WIPO). They also object to the secrecy of the negotiations. The Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) has also been active in its opposition to ACTA, most recently joining in a letter complaining about provisions in the leaked text and issuing a statement of LCA concerns. Earlier, Janice Pilch had prepared an issue brief on ACTA for the LCA.

    • Digital Economy Bill/UK

      • This website has been blocked by your government
      • Anti-Piracy Letters: Could Services ‘Sponsor’ ISP Warnings?

        This section only specifically names BBC iPlayer for TV downloads, and – somewhat remarkably – tells alleged infringers: “You may be interested in the following links [sponsored links]”…

        “Sponsored links”? Surely the government isn’t expecting that online services – let’s say, Spotify or Lovefilm or ITV.com – could advertise in warnings sent to ISP subscribers?

      • ACS:Law Anti-Piracy Hunt Takes Toll On Legal Profession

        Today, anti-piracy group DigiProtect are again quoted by the BBC as having no regrets about their controversial campaign file-sharing hunt in the UK. Nevertheless, their actions don’t come without cost. Their lawyers, ACS:Law, have had more than 280 official complaints filed against them with the UK legal regulatory body, dwarfing all comers in the IP sector.

      • Law firm defends attacking pensioners

        The firm employed ACS:Law, a company that has been widely criticised for its carpet-bombing approach and bullying tactics for extracting money on behalf of its client, Digiprotect. Again talking to the BBC, the firm justified its disgraceful behaviour simply by saying that its approach is the “the only proven effective proceeding”.

        Unsurprisingly, the law firm has a statement on the recent passing of the Digital Economy Bill, saying it is “delighted” and hailing it the start of a “new age of prosperity”, no doubt for the firm rather than the artists, who are well known to get shafted out of their dues.

      • Digital Economy Act: Built on Sand

        Bad statistics are not the basis for good law, and this latest analysis from the US is just one more reason why the extraordinarily ill-thought out Digital Economy Act needs to be repealed in its entirety, and the entire process of drawing up legislation that will truly stimulate the UK’s digital economy started afresh.

      • Why Content Is a Public Good

        This post has been two years in the making. I had the insight for it about two years ago and have been meaning to blog about it since then, all the time wondering why no one has twigged this yet, or whether they have and were too scared to say, or whether I just didn’t know that they had. Anyway, what with the Digital Economy Bill having become the Digital Economy Act last week, it’s about bloody time I get my act together and put this out there.

      • Measures to Tackle Online Copyright Infringement: Terms of Reference

        The Digital Economy Act (the Act) has created new responsibilities for Ofcom to adopt measures aimed at significantly reducing levels of unlawful file sharing via peer-to-peer online networks. The Act has set out two initial obligations on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in order to secure a coordinated approach, involving both copyright owners and ISPs. Should those initial measures fail to significantly reduce levels of unlawful file sharing the Secretary of State may require that ISPs implement technical measures against serious repeat infringers.

      • The Digital Economy Bill has betrayed the young

        Sutton, who at 22 is a first-time voter with little prior political experience, organised the Stop Disconnection Demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament on 24 March. Hundreds of young people assembled, wearing gags and holding black placards to symbolise their fear of being “silenced”. Yet despite this pageant of political passion, many young voters intend to remain silent on election day.

        Most of the available polling data predicts that turnout among 18- to 24-year-olds in 2010 will follow the dismal pattern established in 2005, when only 37 per cent of young voters went to the polls, down from 39 per cent at the previous election.

      • Time to Re-Boot British Politics

        For rather than passing crucial parts of the Digital Economy Bill, and leaving out the controversial ones that are likely to have a major negative effect on the British economy, the government chose to do precisely the reverse, using a three-line whip to force the worst measures through. The result was a travesty of the Parliamentary process that any tin-pot dictator in a banana republic would have been proud of.

        This means that the longer-term goal has to be to reform the system itself. Fortunately, the very flaws that made the passing of the Digital Economy Act possible also map out for us what needs to be done.

        For example, that fact that some clauses were pretty much drawn up by the media industries, and that much of the rest was framed purely to shore up outdated recording industry business models based on scarcity, means that we must address the issue of lobbying.

      • How File-Sharers Will Bypass UK’s Anti-Piracy Act

        In an apparent attempt to stop piracy from bankrupting the music industry, the UK Government passed the Digital Economy Bill last week. Despite their good intentions, the lawmakers have come up with a legislative equivalent of DRM that will not have the slightest effect on seasoned file-sharers.

      • The silent spring of the internet: cyberspace needs its stewards

        Maybe it’s because of the events leading up to the Digital Economy Bill becoming an Act here in the UK. It’s been a bit like Chinese water torture for many months; then, more recently, as the BPI saw their chance to corrupt parliamentary process and took it, it felt more like being waterboarded. I have had it up to here with people who think the internet was built to become a distribution mechanism for Hollywood and Universal Music and David Geffen.

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SourceCode Season 3 – Episode 6: Environmental Cost of War (2006)

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