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Links 27/4/2010: NVIDIA 195.36.24 Linux Driver, KDE Desktops Made Avatar

Posted in News Roundup at 5:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Chris Dixon: Tradeoff Between Open and Closed

    The paper makes a very interesting point when talking about the open-ness of Linux:

    For Linux and other platforms, openness at the sponsor level entails greater openness at the user level, as it implies not only nondiscrimination in platform access, but also in the process of defining platform standards.

    Allow me to expand on this point:

    * Open-ness at any “higher” level entails greater open-ness at any “lower” level, and
    * Closed-ness at any “higher” level entails greater closed-ness at any “lower” level

    The retention of acceptable accessibility is why more often than not, companies based on closed and proprietary practices are unable or unwilling to produce truly open products, protocols or platforms.

  • Open vs. Closed: What Does Open Really Mean?

    So, in other words, Windows is open for “demand-side” users and “supply-side” users (developers) but closed when it comes to design and intellectual property, meaning the look and the underlying code can’t be changed or used by anyone other than Microsoft. An open-source platform like Linux, of course, is open in every sense of the word. And while the iPhone is open for users, it’s closed to developers and anyone who wants to change the platform. Even these definitions are open to debate, however: Dixon says that some see the iPhone as only partly closed to developers — a truly closed platform wouldn’t allow third-party apps at all, as most phones didn’t before the iPhone.

  • The adoption and use of Linux in Africa- A detailed African perspective

    My last article about spreading Linux here in Africa and other developing places seemed to have sparked off some interesting debate about what really hinders the spreading of FOSS in general and Linux in particular on this continent. FOSS blogging giants like Mr Glyn Moody are among those that added their voices to the debate.

    For the sake of clarity, I would like us to take a detailed look (from the perspective of an African living in Africa) at what I strongly and sincerely believe are obstacles to the adoption and use of Free and Open Source Software. For ease of reading, I would be dividing this article into 2 parts – the environmental factors and the software/vendor factors. For the sake of simplicity, I would also be using my country Ghana as a microcosm for the African continent.

  • We expose Steve Ballmer’s great big bloomers

    Here is our Steve Ballmer Hall of Shame:

    2000 – Ballmer: “Linux is communism”

    2001 – Ballmer “Linux is a cancer”

    2004 – Ballmer: “Windows is more secure and cheaper than its open source rival”

    CassiaNote: This must be why almost all of the major e-book readers run on Linux and Google’s own Chrome OS is based on it, while the Windows Mobile market share is shrinking rapidly – see “Windows Mobile market share drops like a rock” here.

    2004 – “Ballmer doesn’t get patents”

    2004 – Ballmer: “OpenOffice infringes 45 of our patents”

    2007 – Ballmer: “Linux violates 235 of our patents”

    2007 – Ubuntu, Red Hat rejects Microsoft patent deal

    2007 – Ballmer: “Vista is great for consumers”

    2007 – Ballmer: “Vista is selling well”

    2007 – Ballmer blames piracy for poor Vista sales

    2008 – Ballmer thinks consumers don’t want Windows XP

  • Enterprise Linux

    CentOS has been referred to often as Red Hat without the expensive support price tag. This is accurate, as CentOS is indeed based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Unlike its Red Hat counterpart however, CentOS is completely free of charge, enterprise friendly and is designed to meet the needs of enterprise servers, workstations and desktop environments.

  • Maintaining Linux in the home.

    Sure there is still a lot of focus on Linux for home use and there are many distributions who’s target audience is for home users. I have recently written an article about such a distribution. I do feel that there is something missing in all the hype about Linux that is being spread around so I guess that that duty falls on me to say something about it.


    It does not matter where in the world this person may be. As an example, I live in Turkey and can just as easily service my Linux using relatives in Australia as I can my daughters laptop in the next room. The speed of internet connection is not important as anything from a text only mode to a full graphical environment can be used. I cannot imagine easily doing that with any other proprietary home targeted operating system.

  • Server

    • Report: Linux adoption highest among APAC SMBs

      Released Monday, the report revealed that Linux servers in Asia-Pacific represented 5.1 percent of the total server market over the last 12 months, with Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) chalking up 4.7 percent, South America at 4.6 percent, and North America at 4.2 percent.

    • Legalizing Linux DVD Playback: Why Bother?

      CSS is licensed by the DVD Copy Control Association, which works in lock-step with the Motion Picture Association of America to prevent copyright violations. The upshot of the CSS license is this: if you have a DVD playback device, then you need to license the CSS encryption code. No license, then no DVD.

  • Audiocasts

    • Episode 139: Flight Cancelled!

      00:20 Greetings and looking for a flat in Berlin
      03:30 Content aware Fill in Photoshop – http://photwalkthrough.com
      04:20 HTML5 graphics program
      05:30 Train Station image and motion blurr
      08:10 Baggage claimage area shot
      08:50 Intentions of the image
      09:40 Straighten the image
      11:30 Finding a crop
      14:30 First try: enhance contrast and colours
      16:00 Using curves for reducing contrast
      21:40 Selective sharpening
      24:00 Function of a layer mask
      25:00 Denoise the layer mask
      26:30 Sharpen the top layer
      31:00 Saving as XCF for further work

  • Kernel Space

    • Android and Linux are growing back together

      Google’s Android, the increasingly important embedded Linux, had one major problem: it had been moving slowly away from the Linux mainstream. Now, after the recent Linux Foundation Collaboration Conference, Android and Linux are coming back together.

      Not only is Google going to be hiring two new Android developers to work more closely with the Linux kernel development team, they’re also working on re-merging its driver code with Linux. Indeed, the first series of driver patches that will bring Android and Linux back into alignment have already arrived.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Free NVIDIA Fermi Cards To Open-Source Developers

        Prior to launching their next-generation graphics processors, NVIDIA dropped their obfuscated open-source driver and have said they will not provide any open-source support at all for their GeForce GTX 400 “Fermi” series as they just recommended their customers use the X.Org VESA driver until they can install the official binary Linux driver. However, the community developers working on the Nouveau driver project still plan to support the GeForce GTX 470/480 graphics cards via clean-room reverse engineering. Today their efforts might be helped thanks to a hardware sponsorship.

      • NVIDIA 195.36.24 Linux Driver Released

        The NVIDIA 195.36.24 release brings forward official GeForce GTX 470/480 (a.k.a. Fermi) hardware support plus Tesla C2050 compatibility. This release also carries official X.Org Server 1.8 support, even though there has been unofficial support for this newest X Server release for a fair while when passing the X.Org Server the -ignoreABI argument to ignore the ABI differences.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • LXDE

      • An Eye-Opening Experience

        Most of us who are familiar with Linux are familiar with the advantages of running Linux as a desktop OS. We frequently bemoan the fact that others don’t know what we do about the reality of Linux on the desktop, and we seem to be hampered by difficulties in spreading the word outside our own circles. Recently, I was able to get outside the circle of Linux users and perform a live demonstration of Linux (and LXDE) to a group of professionals in a conference setting. Here’s my story.


        One thing about Mint 8 LXDE: it boots fast. And a room full of tech people saw it boot fast. That same room saw the desktop come up in a hurry (full disclosure: I had set SLiM on this laptop to auto-login.) They saw me login to the VPN with no issues. They saw me fire up the client.

      • Good and Bads of LXDE

        LXDE panel also has limitations and it takes some time to learn how to adjust to LXDE according to one`s needs.

        LXDE also lacks a well defined control center as is offered by KDE and GNOME and this is a real big short coming. Many distributions supply custom made tools for LXDE management because of lack of a native LXDE control center. Openbox is used along with LXDE and it helps to overcome many shortcomings of LXDE.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Cool Kubuntu Users

        One rather cool user which is missing is Weta Digital. Whenever I’ve been out the flat this week I’ve seen adverts for the Avatar DVDs, those blue 3D faces are all made on Kubuntu desktops and a whopping 35,000 cluster of rendering machines. That must be a large proportion of computers in New Zealand running Kubuntu.

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon – Nightly Builds, Installer & Recruitment

      Next up is nightly builds of sabayon, yes you read that correctly. The idea is that you will have one ISO on your hard disk which you will keep updated using rsync’s binary diff capabilities and the Sabayon rsync servers to only update the parts of the ISO that have changed, this is how we have been distributing ISOs to testers for a while now and is much quicker and easier than the old version using Xdelta. What has been done is that we have a scripted molecule install which creates a new ISO at 0200 UTC every night using the latest packages from the mainline repository, from these images the rysnc is updated and you can download the changes, simple but clever if you ask me.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • HP and Red Hat: Ganging Up On Sun?

        There’s plenty of traditional channel partner news here at the HP Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas. But sometimes, the juiciest news occurs over dinner. A case in point: Sources say HP VP Frank Rauch and Red Hat North America Channel Chief Roger Egan will likely meet for a meal tonight. Their mutual interest, besides fine dining: Finding new ways to target and engage Sun Microsystems’ customer base. Here’s the scoop.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Keeping 1000 devs focused: new Debian leader speaks

        Ten days back, the new leader of the Debian GNU/Linux project, Stefano Zacchiroli, began his term as the only elected leader of a free software project. But that’s not the only thing that makes Debian unique in the FOSS space.

        The project has well over 1000 developers from all corners of the globe and, despite the arguments and debates that figure on its many mailing lists, still puts together a distribution that is top quality and caters to more architectures than any other.

      • gNewSense: Libre GNU/Linux OS

        In the open source world, there are two kinds of freedom. There is software that is free as in beer, a mysterious phrase that relates to something which costs no money. By definition, any software released under the GPL or many related licenses which can be freely redistributed fits this definition. This is pretty much the state of most open source software. Less common, though, is software that fits the second type of freedom, “free as in speech”. This sense means that it has no restrictions, or is “libre” — something that in practice is much harder to achieve than simply being gratis.


        Except for the wireless issue, I was very pleasantly surprised by how easy gNS was to use. Specific package and application choices are different than a less restrictive distro might have, but basic functionality was on a par with what I’d expect for a baseline distro. (I’ll give gNS a pass on freezing up when I asked it to play my DVD — in retrospect, it was trying to save that hour and a half of my life.) It may be subliminal brainwashing by proprietary forces, but I think that I had assumed that the “libre” would have to work out to some kind of added difficulty.

      • Ubuntu

        • Canonical announces an Ubuntu certification scheme

          Canonical has announced that it will offer its own certification programme for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and that graduates will be entitled to claim an ‘Ubuntu Certified Professional’ certification. Previously Canonical had worked with the Linux Professional Institute (LPI) to offer the Ubuntu Certified Professional exam which combined the general Linux LPI 101 and 102 modules with the Ubuntu 199 module to provide an Ubuntu tailored qualification.

        • Canonical to Offer Junior Admin Certification for Ubuntu 10.04

          Canonical, the firm around Ubuntu sponsor Mark Shuttleworth, is planning its own certification for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS that is to appear still in April.

        • 21 gorgeous CD labels for Lucid

          In all 21 CD labels are included in the package, a few more of which are sampled below, all of which can help make a fantastic visual impression – particularly if you’re going to be burning CD’s to pass out to people you know. (Which you are going to be doing right?!)

        • Preview the slick new (new) Ubuntu 10.04 Firefox Start page
        • Wubi Installer and the Ubiquitous Ubuntu

          Wubi, the famous Windows Ubuntu installer, is probably one of the reasons why Ubuntu is the most popular Linux desktop distro, at least among Windows users. Agostino Russo – original author and ‘inventor’ of Wubi – told me more about how everything was started from a blueprint.

        • My Ubuntu 10.04 strategy

          Tonight at least, when I’m blogging as opposed to doing full “Web production,” and using Chromium instead of Firefox, I’m quite enjoying Ubuntu 10.04.

        • Linux Monday: Lucid Lynx Week

          It’s a big week in Linux Land as Lucid Lynx, the latest Ubuntu upgrade (number 10.04; the convention is year.month), is released on Thursday (4/29). I’ve been doing this long enough, and things went well enough on the test machine,

        • Ubuntu’s Lucid Lynx: screenshots
        • All Done With Ubuntu (Part 2)

          It all boils down to democracy. No, everything does not have to be a democracy, but people will give you their opinions when they offer you their services, whether warranted or not. When a large number of people hate the latest change or decision, then why implement it? Sure, people that like it don’t band together to offer praise, and people that hate it band together to fight it. But when there are enough people that hate it, it’s worth second guessing and taking their disdain seriously. Canonical doesn’t, until they cave to media frenzy.

        • Variants

          • Linux Mint 9: Desktop backgrounds

            I’m posting about the artwork again to follow-up on the contest and the desktop backgrounds for Linux Mint 9.

          • Mythbuntu 10.04 ‘Lucid Lynx’ [Ubuntu with MythTV]

            Mythbuntu 10.04 like the other members of the Ubuntu family is quickly approaching its final release. Mythbuntu also known as Ubuntu with MythTV Media center is a community supported operating system that focuses on setting up a standalone MythTV based PVR (personal video recorder) system. The development cycle of Mythbuntu closely follows that of Ubuntu, releasing every six months along side Ubuntu releases.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Freescale tips embedded partnerships for multi-core SoCs

      The agreement with Mentor Graphics calls for the company to work with Freescale on developing a common Linux build and distribution methodology for PowerQUICC and QorIQ system-on-chips (SoCs).

    • 1GHz SoC touted for single-Watt consumption

      Marvell is shipping a new member of its Linux-ready Armada line of system-on-chips touted for delivering up to 1GHz performance while consuming less than a single Watt. A slower but more power-efficient version of the Armada 300, the Armada 310 offers 256KB L2 cache, plus PCI-express, gigabit Ethernet, and USB 2.0 connectivity, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Japanese Consortium Looking To New Mobile Platform For Symbian And Linux Smartphones

        It seems that at least six Japanese companies, which include NTT DoCoMo, Renesas Electronics, Fujitsu, NEC, Panasonic Mobile and Sharp, have teamed up to come up with a new mobile application platform which will target Symbian and Linux mobile operating systems.

      • Android

        • Alex e-reader rooted

          The Android-powered Alex e-reader has just gotten rooted, where all you need to do is download the .ZIP file here, copy it to the root folder of your Alex’s SD memory card and you’re good to go. Once done, just power down your device, press and hold both “Back” and “Next” page buttons, and the power button as well until the Alex logo appears on the display. You will then enter recovery mode, whereby you release all buttons. Hit both “Back” and “Power” buttons to apply the ZIP file. Anyone given it a go?

        • Mysterious Motorola MT820 poses for a long, leisurely spy shoot

          Two in one week — Two leaked Chinese Motorola phones with Android and transparent MOTOMING-like flip covers, that is.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • EasyPeasy and the Challenges of Linux Netbook Design

        Netbook desktops in free and open source software (FOSS) are in a state of rapid development.


        EasyPeasy’s software has few surprises for anyone familiar with Ubuntu’s. Generally, it consists of GNOME components such as Evolution, or Ubuntu parts such as Computer Janitor or Software Sources. In fact, you do not have to look far to see uncustomized pieces such as an icon for Ubuntu Software Centre or Ubuntu One.

        Nor does EasyPeasy avoid proprietary software such as Skype or Flash — no doubt in the name of user convenience. Like Ubuntu, it also includes a number of Mono applications, such as Tomboy and Banshee. Since EasyPeasy openly declares its willingness to make such choices, you cannot be very surprised that it walks the walk as well as talks the talk.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Router To Replace WRT54GL?
  • Just because it’s free doesn’t make it open source

    To the open source veterans out there, that sounds moronic. Of course open source doesn’t mean free. And why would free mean open source? Heck, until recently anyone could download Internet Explorer (Mac users can’t anymore, but they weren’t using it anyhow), and no one would mistake that for open source software.

  • Mozilla

    • Five Essential Firefox Add-ons for Internet Ninjas

      When it comes to browsers, I have no loyalty. I am constantly hopping back and forth between Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Why? They’re both great browsers that have real advantages over competitors like Microsoft Internet Explorer and the Apple Safari browser. Google Chrome is a really clean and uncluttered browser that is stable and performs well. For its part, Firefox has a slew of great add-ons available to make your browsing experience a little better. Chrome is beginning to amass a pretty good collection of its own browser extensions, but, for now at least, Firefox still has them beat.

  • Databases

  • CMS

  • BSD

  • Solaris

    • OpenSolaris back on track.

      It would appear that the OpenSolaris project is back on track. This is a bit long overdue. The acquisition of Sun by Oracle left a few projects in questionable states. It was unknown as to whether Oracle would continue supporting these open source projects. OpenSolaris was included in that list.

    • [osol-discuss] OpenSolaris build 134a has closed

      Those of us feeling left in the dark might be pleased to know that build 134a, the first candidate for the next stable release of OpenSolaris, has been tagged in Oracle’s release branch (in project jargon: “snv_134a, the first respin of 134, closed earlier this week”). A packaged build should be available for internal QA soon, but even if it passes, it will be while some time before the release can be published to the external repo.

  • Government

    • EU Open Source Procurement Guidelines

      Public sector procurement is becoming a real battleground for open source in Europe. There have been few successes, but lots of groundwork has been laid in the form of interoperability frameworks and suchlike – despite fierce rearguard actions by old-school software companies naturally alarmed about losing their cosy monopolies.

  • Programming

    • From Novice to Adept: Perldoc

      Some people say that Perl (at least versiosn 1 Perl 5) is a cleaned up dialect of the language called Unix. Certainly that’s how I develop. Unix is my IDE, and I use Unix tools as much as possible.

      You can see the schism between Unix developers and everyone else in the Perl world. Cygwin doesn’t get as much attention and testing and bugfixing as it deserves. Dealing with shared libraries and installation on Windows and Mac OS X often requires special skills and knowledge and dedication that isn’t always available or obvious or interesting to those of us for whom Unix and the free Unix-alikes just work.


  • Big Brother doctors say patients don’t need to see their imaging test results

    If you are an American, you probably assume that this is a free country. So if you agree to undergo imaging tests — which cost you or your insurance company hundreds and even thousands of dollars and may subject you to radiation — you have every right to see the results.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Big Brother doctors say patients don’t need to see their imaging test results

      Blippy pledges to invest in security in response to the discovery that user credit card numbers had been exposed in Google search results. According to Blippy, the credit card information had been available since February.

    • Spokane company helps uncover cyberspace bandits

      Three Spokane businesses that saw tens of thousands of dollars stolen from their online bank accounts have taken the lesson to heart. All three say they no longer bank online and won’t until they’re sure they won’t get stung again.

    • Users’ passwords exposed by Splunk
    • Superspy in the sky could soon be patrolling over British cities to search for hidden terror cells
    • Gran’s bin to hell over dumped box

      A GRANDMOTHER was dragged to court – after carefully leaving a cardboard box next to a council recycling bin.

    • MSPs reject six-year DNA retention change

      A move to allow Scottish police forces to hold the DNA of innocent people for up to six years has been thrown out by a committee of MSPs.

      Labour’s amendment to the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill would have brought Scots law in line with the rest of the UK.

    • The American Anti-Revolution

      Why are we left worrying about that? Not because any such violence has occurred or has been convincingly threatened by modern “anti-government extremists,” but because people like Maddow keep telling us we should be worried. Howard Kurtz in The Washington Post sums up the current state of the fear, while taking an on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand approach to this week’s nostalgic debate between Clinton and his old nemesis Rush Limbaugh over whether right-wing rhetoric or government murders are more to blame for McVeigh’s crimes.

      “The 42nd president is out there saying that the current climate reminds him of the period before the Oklahoma bombing,” Kurtz writes. “Limbaugh is accusing him (and Barack Obama) of libeling radio talk-show hosts. And the debate has broadened to include Sarah Palin and her ‘reload’ rhetoric, as well as the Tea Party.”

    • TSA applesauce “assault” case thrown out

      A 58-year-old woman who was arrested, strip-searched, and handcuffed last year for grabbing her cooler (filled with applesauce and yogurt for her 93-year-old mother) from a Burbank airport TSA employee finally had her case thrown out.

    • Peter Watts won’t go to jail

      The absurd and awful saga of sf writer Dr Peter Watts’s adventures with the US border are finally at a close, and the news is moderately good. For those of you who missed it the first time around: Peter is a Canadian marine biologist and sf writer. He helped a friend relocate to the US, and, while driving back, found that US customs officers had opened his trunk and begun to search his car while he was in it, without saying anything. Peter had never encountered a US search on his way out of America, let alone a completely unannounced one. So he got out of his car and said something like, “Hey, what’s going on?” The customs officers ordered him to get back into his car and he said something like, “But what’s going on?”

    • The cloud and the future of the Fourth Amendment

      In mid-April, a coalition of privacy groups filed a brief in federal district court in Colorado, defending Yahoo against attempts by the federal government to obtain the contents of Yahoo Mail messages without first obtaining a warrant. One month earlier, the Justice Department filed a 17-page brief arguing that Yahoo Mail messages do not fall under current statutory protection because, once opened, those messages are not considered to be in “electronic storage.”

  • Finance

    • Too Big to Fail and the Real World

      This implies two things. First, because creditors know that the government will stand behind the debt of a TBTF in a crisis, they view its debt as less risky than the debt of other institutions. This means that the TBTF banks will be able to borrow at lower cost than other institutions. CEPR did a short paper last fall that suggested that the size of this TBTF subsidy to large banks could be as much as $34 billion a year.

    • Do You Have Any Reforms in Size XL?

      It is disappointing that none of the current proposals call for breaking up institutions that are now too big or on their way there. Such is the view of Richard W. Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

    • Financial Overhaul Bill Faces Showdown in Senate Vote Today

      The Senate is set to hold a test vote today on a Democratic plan to overhaul regulation of Wall Street, a showdown with political risks for both sides.

    • Decision near for financial reform in U.S. Senate
    • Goldman Sachs E-mails Spur Democrats to Push Wall Street Rules

      White House officials and Democratic lawmakers seized on internal e-mails from Goldman Sachs Group inc. to push for curbs including a ban on proprietary trading as they brace for a Senate showdown on Wall Street oversight.

    • Goldman Sachs Emails: Firm Had ‘The Big Short’ As Economy Fell

      The firm had “the big short,” declared chief financial officer David Viniar — Goldman Sachs was making money off the souring of the very securities it had peddled to the market.

    • Goldman Sachs E-mails Show Need for Volcker Rule, Brown Says

      “These emails signify that there are all kinds of conflicts of interest on Wall Street, that Wall Street is working for its clients and working against its clients in the same sort of bundled toxic securities,” Brown, a Democrat from Ohio and member of the Senate Banking Committee, said today on ABC News’s “This Week.” “That’s why we need the Volcker rule. That’s why we need really strong reform that will separate the proprietary trading from banking functions.”

    • Goldman Sachs Investors Sue Over Abacus Disclosures

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was sued by shareholders over a collateralized debt obligation known as Abacus 2007-AC1 that prompted a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit earlier this month, a law firm said.

    • Ready to Rumble – The Goldman Sachs Congressional Hearing Preview Game
    • S.Africa’s ex-cbank head Mboweni joins Goldman Sachs
    • Rich: Fight On, Goldman Sachs!
    • Goldman Sachs Exec Declares I Did Not Mislead [Video]
    • Goldman Money for Obama Wins at Monopoly

      The financial overhaul billcreeping toward law is more than a thousand pages, but it has a simple story line. President Barack Obama and the Democrats have decided to turn Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and a few other financial giants into organizations that resemble ATT Corp. in the 1950s.

    • The Goldman Sachs Fraud Explained

      With any major financial transaction there needs to be a middle man. In many cases, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is that middle man. Goldman Sachs Group is a powerhouse in the financial industry, providing investment banking and investment management services to corporations and high-net-worth individuals. Basically it does exactly what any bank does, only it caters to very wealthy people. Recently Goldman has been dominating front-page news for its role in a rather complex case of alleged financial fraud. What’s happening here isn’t as hard to understand as media reports make it seem, and it’s an important story everyone, regardless of net worth.

    • William Black: Key Component in Financial Crisis – Fraud – Is Not Being Addressed
    • SEC gathered range of experts for Goldman case

      Led by a former federal prosecutor and a pair of veteran SEC investigators, the team was preparing to take legal action against America’s most storied financial firm. On the line was the promise made by SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, appointed by President Obama last year, that the agency would restore its traditional role as an aggressive check on Wall Street abuses.

    • Goldman Sachs executives in hotseat [Video]
    • Frenkel Says SEC Case Against Goldman `Very Defensible’: Video
    • SEC Inspector General to Investigate Timing of Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) Fraud Charges
    • Goolsbee: Goldman Sachs CEO “not going to win any popularity contests”

      White House Economic Adviser Austan Goolsbee told me that Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein is “not going to win any popularity contests” after the release of e-mails which show company officials including Blankfein discussing how the company was profiting from the crash of the housing market. During my “This Week” interview Goolsbee added that “over a period that ordinary Americans’ pensions, houses et cetera were collapsing in value, they were actually making significant money off of it. If that’s true… we’ve got to end the conflicts of interest and that the Volcker rule is really on point on that I think is also highly relevant.”

    • Former Goldman Sachs CEO Says Company’s Actions Hard to Justify

      In an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Bianna Golodryga, Jon Corzine addresses the allegations against Goldman and also urges for financial regulatory reform. While skirting around the issue of whether Goldman acted improperly, he said that the business practices and transactions are hard to justify.

    • Goldman Sachs e-mails suggest firm profited from mortgage mess, Senate panel says

      Goldman Sachs executives bragged in internal e-mails in 2007 that they were making “some serious money” as the real estate bubble burst, according to documents released Saturday by a Senate subcommittee.

    • Scarlet Letter for the Greed Generation

      There is a plethora of Goldman alums sprinkled throughout the Obama administration.

      Until recently, there was no better credential for government service than a Goldman Sachs background; now the “G” is more like the scandalous “A” in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.”

      If there were an opening today for a Federal Reserve governor or deputy Treasury secretary or prominent White House economic role, a Goldman Sachs background, Obama administration officials privately admit, would be lethal.

      “Clearly, they’ve become a toxic asset,” says Simon Johnson, a former International Monetary Fund economist who is now a finance professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    • Goldman’s “Fabulous” Fab’s conflicted love letters

      Little did they know that three years later these very personal emails written through Tourre’s Goldman Sachs e-mail account would become part of one of the biggest investigations into the subsequent financial crisis.

    • Summers: Goldman emails show need for transparency

      Emails sent by Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N) executives on money the firm made by betting against risky mortgage securities highlight the need for transparency in financial markets, senior White House adviser Lawrence Summers said on Sunday.

    • Goldman executives cheered housing market’s decline, newly released e-mails show

      “Sounds like we will make some serious money,” Mullen wrote.

      Lawmakers said the internal e-mails, released Saturday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, contradict what they said are Goldman’s assertions that the bank was not trying to profit from the decline of the housing market in 2007 and was merely seeking to protect itself if prices collapsed.

    • The Goldman Sachs case isn’t all it seems

      He has also put his money where his mouth is and put up $1,000 dollars against any and all comers that GS does not win this case.

    • Will Goldman Sachs prove greed is God?
    • Will Goldman Sachs Prove Greed is God?

      So Goldman Sachs, the world’s greatest and smuggest investment bank, has been sued for fraud by the American Securities and Exchange Commission. Legally, the case hangs on a technicality.

      Morally, however, the Goldman Sachs case may turn into a final referendum on the greed-is-good ethos that conquered America sometime in the 80s – and in the years since has aped other horrifying American trends such as boybands and reality shows in spreading across the western world like a venereal disease.

    • Insiders Sold Shares As SEC Probed Firm

      Five senior executives of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., including the firm’s co-general counsel, sold $65.4 million worth of stock after the firm received notice of possible fraud charges, which later drove its stock down 13%.

    • Goldman Sachs fraud accusations jolt California political races

      The SEC’s charges against the investment firm may provide an unwelcome distraction for the campaigns of former business executives Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman.

    • Chuck Schumer fund-raiser John Paulson is key figure in Goldman Sachs fraud case, records reveal

      John Paulson, leader of the $33 billion hedge-fund firm Paulson & Co., helped Democrat Schumer collect nearly $100,000 in the first three months of this year. Schumer is running for a third term in November.

    • Somali Pirates Say They Are Subsidiary of Goldman Sachs

      There was an audible gasp in court when the leader of the pirates announced, “We are doing God’s work. We work for Lloyd Blankfein.”

    • Goldman Sachs Still Ripping Us Off [Video]
    • How Goldman Sachs Screwed Ghana

      In 1998, Ashanti Gold was the 3rd largest Gold Mining company in the world. The first “black” company on the London Stock Exchange, Ashanti had just purchased the Geita mine in Tanzania, positioning Ashanti to become even larger. But in May 1999, the Treasury of the United Kingdom decided to sell off 415 tons of its gold reserves. With all that gold flooding the world market, the price of gold began to decline. By August 1999, the price of gold had fallen to $252/ounce, the lowest it had been in 20 years.


      The destruction of Ashanti Gold by Goldman Sachs was saturated with fraud and conflicts of interest: Goldman Sachs served as Ashanti’s Financial Advisors; profitted form the contracts they designed and marketed for Ashanti; was involved in the manipulation of the gold prices on which the contracts depended; represented Ashanti’s creditors when the contracts went bad; and profitted as the Financial Advisors to the company that picked up the Ashanti corpse for pennies on the dollar.

    • What financial regulation? What neutrality on the net?

      Few people I know watch Bill Moyer’s Journal. His broadcast last week was really thought provoking. He first interviewed Professor William K. Black, a one time bank regulator link here and then FCC commissioner Michael J Copps link here, each with videos followed by transcripts.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Total Number Of Personal Data Records Leaked Since 2005: At Least 358.4 Million

      The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has put up a pretty interesting chronology of data breaches (via Guardianista) detailing leaks in the US since 2005 that resulted in the loss of people’s personal info. They’ve totaled up the figure over the past five and a bit years, and it’s a staggering 358.4 million records lost.

    • Would-Be News Blogger Must Disclose Sources, Court Rules

      An aspiring blogger who says she was investigating a company for possible fraud must reveal the sources behind statements she posted online, a New Jersey appellate court ruled last week, in a rare case examining who has the right to legal protections extended to journalists.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • McCotter’s Plan to Expand DMCA-Style Take-Downs

      Michigan Representative Thaddeus McCotter (R) has introduced a bill to create a take-down regime for personal information akin to the widely abused DMCA process. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act established a system where copyright holders could as a practical matter force content off the Internet simply by requesting it.

    • Twitter Is Now Giving Out DMCA Take Down Notices
    • Three Strikes Bill Passes NZ Parliament
    • Kiwi 3 Strikes Anti-Piracy Bill Receives Unanimous Support

      As the music and movie industries tour the world lobbying for changes in the law in an attempt to slow down online piracy, New Zealand’s legislation moves a step closer to becoming law. The Copyright (Infringement File Sharing) Amendment Bill, which allows for large fines and six month Internet suspensions, has just received its first reading in Parliament, to unanimous support.

    • The $7,865.84 Verizon Bill

      The charges stemmed from a recent trip to Tel Aviv where he used 350,000 kb of data on his Mifi connection. As we’ve extensively documented, Verizon charges 2 cents per kilobyte. Before leaving the states, a Verizon rep told him how much it would cost. Not used to thinking in kilobytes, David asked what his normal data usage was. His response was that David was on the unlimited plan so he was not charged by kilobyte. While a truthful statement, it didn’t exactly answer David’s question.

    • DRM-Ravaged Avatar DVDs May Not Work On Blu-ray Players

      Amazon customers are complaining that Fox has gummed up the Avatar DVDs with DRM, rendering them unplayable on many Blu-ray players in an effort to prevent piracy. That is, if you consider making a copy of a DVD you own as piracy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Justice Appoints New FBI Agents, Attorneys To Focus On IP

      To mark the 10th anniversary of World Intellectual Property Day, the Justice Department said Monday that it has appointed 15 new assistant U.S. attorneys and 20 FBI special agents who will focus on combating domestic and international intellectual property crimes.

    • Trademarks

      • Targo Bank and the OLPC XO Logo

        Here Targo Bank’s registration at the DPMA. I wonder if they cleared any overlapping trade mark rights.

      • F5 Sues A10

        Data center fight: F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) claims A10 Networks Inc. is infringing its patents.

        We think they should settle their differences more peacefully. Maybe meet at the G-20 summit and get the B-52s to play.

    • Copyrights

      • What Did The Three Amigos Tender To The Canadian Copyright Consultation?

        So out of the Three Amigos, the only one who filed a submission was Barry. Barry calls his an essay, and at 13,324 words, I’d agree. I’m still reading it, however it appears to have Barry’s usual level of accuracy, I’ve spotted a couple of errors in the first few paragraphs. I’ll be dissecting it in detail later – I’ll say one thing for Barry – he is verbose.

      • The National Agenda

        People seemed to fall for us after listening to our records many, many times. The corporate model has collapsed, but small-label bands playing to 200 people a night can pay the bills and raise a family on it. That’s why we’ll have better and more interesting innovations

      • Historical Association Claims Copyright To Scans Of 100 Year Old Photos

        The Clinton County Historical Glass Negatives Portrait Project has been “diligently identifying, sorting, re-sleeving and generally rediscovering a collection of over 15,000 glass negatives dating back to 1897.”

      • Why doesn’t the Labour Party respect copyright?

        During the debate on the Digital Economy Act, Ben Bradshaw, the Culture Secretary, told MPs:

        “Hundreds of millions of pounds a year is haemorrhaging from our creative industries because of unlawful file sharing, and that is not a harmless or victimless activity. It deprives our musicians, writers, film makers, actors and other artists of their livelihood, and if we do not do something about such activity it will pose a serious threat to our creative sectors and Britain’s leadership in them.”

      • Labour withdraws ‘sick’ David Cameron poster

        Mandrake understands that party officials removed the image from the website after they received complaints about its tastelessness.

      • Is That Two Strikes For Mandelson? Labour Caught With Another Potentially Infringing Poster

        So it’s a bit bizarre to hear that Labour and Mandelson have put out a second, quite similar, poster that appears to be just as questionable on the copyright front. Misterfricative writes in to alert us to a new controversy over yet another campaign poster involving the Conservative candidate photoshopped into an image from a BBC television program. Once again, the poster has been “withdrawn” over other aspects of the controversy, but it certainly looks like this should be Mandelson’s second strike, right? After all, these posters are supposedly his responsibility. If he wants to set a good example, perhaps he should cut off his own internet access. But I guess he shouldn’t worry. After all, as Mandelson himself pointed out, once kicked off, he can pay up in order to file an appeal.

      • Why Is UNESCO Supporting Locking Up Information?

        Today may be World Intellectual Property Day, but this past Friday was also apparently World Book and Copyright Day (quite a bookended weekend for government monopolies on knowledge!). Bas Grasmayer points out that UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which is supposed to be focused on “promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture” oddly chose Friday’s “World Book and Copyright Day” to launch an “anti-piracy observatory.”

        This is bizarre for all sorts of reasons. An organization focused on encouraging education and international collaboration seems like the last place that would be supporting locking up information through government-granted monopolies.

    • ACTA

      • Medicrime: Another Anti-Counterfeiting Convention Emerges In Europe

        “Medicrime is not overlapping with ACTA,” said Kristian Bartholin, expert at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France, talking to Intellectual Property Watch after a meeting in Basel last week that started talks on the implementation of Medicrime.

        “ACTA is regulating the market by protecting the regular supply chains against counterfeiting. Medicrime on the other hand does not try to regulate the market. It is about criminalisation of certain acts and related crimes,” explained Bartholin with regard to the scope. “You can apply ACTA and Medicrime together; together you will get protection the whole way around.”

      • Criminal provisions ACTA

        Criminal law tends to be conservative. Most lawyers share an elitist conception that the legislator shouldn’t unbalance the inner beauty of the inherited statutory law and that popular opinion has to be shielded from criminal law. Otherwise the welfare council leviathan would invent and punish all sorts of crimes to satisfy tabloid media.

      • ACTA official draft release unveils criminal enforcement revolution

        However, criminal provisions are negotiated by the member states:

        1.35 Each Party shall provide for criminal procedures and penalties to be applied at least in cases of willful trademark counterfeiting or copyright or related rights piracy on a commercial scale.
        Willful copyright or related rights piracy on a commercial scale includes:
        [(a) significant willful copyright or related rights infringements that have no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain; and
        (b) willful copyright or related rights infringements for purposes of commercial advantage or financial gain.]

      • Release of ACTA draft can only be the first step

        After two years of negotiations behind closed doors we have finally seen a draft of ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. It’s about time. This is the first official release of a document since negotiations on the treaty started in June 2008.

        The mere fact that the draft was released is a great victory for campaigners who have long fought for more transparency of the negotiations. However, it can only be the first step.

      • Notes on ACTA for a consumer perspective 2.0

        It is imperative for consumer protection that ACTA clearly defines what “counterfeiting” means as expressed by international law in TRIPS. ACTA should refer to trademark protection 1 as defined by international law. Consumers are in favour of measures that confront commercial fraud, especially when it affects public safety and health, the quality of consumer products or the false representation of a trademark. Counterfeiting, that can really be dangerous for consumers, should not be in the same agreement as other complex issues such as patent infringement.
        2. Consumers request that patents be excluded from ACTA to avoid higher prices and fewer innovative products.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – Plane Weather (1/10/1998)

Microsoft Wins Patent Case, Spreads ‘Piracy’ Propaganda in Portugal and Possibly Helps Create ‘Intellectual Property’ Court

Posted in Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 9:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How Microsoft pushes for changes in the law, having willfully broken the same laws that it is lobbying to change

MICROSOFT currently faces over 50 lawsuits for patent violations. One such lawsuit has just ended and Microsoft escapes safely.

Microsoft’s Tellme Networks unit won a patent-infringement lawsuit brought by Nuance Communications over speech-recognition software used in telephone systems. Nuance’s patent for a way to eliminate problems associated with background noise and poor audio quality is invalid because it didn’t cover a new

invention, U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson in Wilmington, Del., said in an April 20 decision. The case had been scheduled for a May 3 trial. Instead, the judge closed the case in Microsoft’s favor. The dispute was over Tellme software sold to AT&T and Verizon Communications for their directory assistance services.

It is worth adding that Tellme’s head quit Microsoft about a year ago. What actually interests us a lot more are the utter lies and spin (Microsoft’s crocodile tears [1, 2]) that are being spread by Microsoft Portugal at the moment. In order to promote its political agenda, Microsoft claims about 40% in ‘piracy’ rate (wrong word to use because it’s propaganda). This comes from the same company which is dumping Windows (free of charge even) in order to block GNU/Linux adoption. See for example the following stories from Portugal:

Microsoft drones like Assoft (not a good name in English) are currently batting for Microsoft Portugal and helping this government’s push with the creation of a court for “intellectual property” (also a propaganda term). Based on a rough translation, Assoft says that “this is an old dream that has always been cherished.” Does the alignment with Microsoft’s new ‘piracy’ propaganda have anything to do with this? And by “intellectual property” do they mean copyrights or patents (or both)? Either way, Microsoft’s mischievous behaviour in Europe carries on and Portugal is no exception; it’s actually a strategic place for Microsoft, for reasons we named before.

Fisher ship

Why Klaus-Heiner Lehne Lobbies for Software Patents (Money of Course)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 8:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Klaus-Heiner Lehne
Klaus-Heiner Lehne / Source: Europa.eu

Summary: A look at one of the software patent culprits, who advances personal agenda at the expense of Europe’s

WHEN it comes to software patents in Europe, lobbyists in their favour are rarely people who work in the software industry. Rather, they are lawyers, lobbyists, and software monopolies that hire lobbyists like CompTIA and ACT.

‘Lehne was a partner at Taylor Wessing, which advises clients [on] “software patents”‘
      –Benjamin Henrion, FFII
Klaus-Heiner Lehne has been a key lobbyist for software patents in Europe and his conflicts of interest have been known for a while. We wrote about him here and discussed his position a little further in this post about Bilski. Lehne was one of the MEPs pushing strongly for software patents and in 2007 we cited an analysis that said: “It now appears that Lehne works as a Brussels lobbying consultant for multinational corporations who are the main clients of one of the leading lawfirms for patent litigation in Europe, which is also itself involved in patent lobbying and closely connected to lobbying organisations.”

“Lehne was a partner at Taylor Wessing, which advises clients [on] “software patents”,” explained Benjamin Henrion (the president of the FFII) a few hours ago. “Taylor Wessing’s clients include SAP,” he alleges and here is the full document [PDF] which in page 96 says: “Kauppi, in fact, only just pipped two of her colleagues to the title for ‘Worst Conflict of Interest’ in the public vote. The runners-up were British MEP Caroline Jackson and Germany’s Klaus-Heiner Lehne.

Later on the document gives many more details about Lehne’s role:

Patently absurd?

Just behind Jackson in the public vote for the Conflict of Interest Award was German lawyer and MEP Klaus-Heiner Lehne, a member of the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee. Lehne has been one of the most influential backers of the EU software patents directive which, according to critics, granted large corporations stronger intellectual property rights over software. At the same time Lehne was a partner at the law firm Taylor Wessing, which advises clients “on patenting strategy in the software sector”.16 Taylor Wessing’s clients include SAP, the world’s largest business software company.17

Lehne sees no conflict of interest in being an MEP involved in EU patent legislation and acting as a lawyer to clients on patents. “Being a lawyer and being an MEP in the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliament is normal”, he says.18

An influential MEP who worked with Lehne on the patents directive is the British Liberal Democrat MEP Sharon Bowles, who is a patent lawyer19 and a partner in a patent firm (along with her husband Andrew Horton, a European patent attorney).20 Critics ask if it is possible for Bowles to “see the other side of the debate” given that she is so in favour of patents. Bowles maintains that there is no “conflict of interest with me being an MEP and a patent lawyer, as I am not practising. Technically I do maintain my ability to practise because of my partner in the business, my husband”.21

Another influential player in the software patents directive debate was the ‘Campaign for Creativity’, which won the 2005 Worst EU Lobbying Award.22 The man behind the campaign, Simon Gentry, noted that Sharon Bowles had been key as she had “excelled in putting the case for our side of the argument”.23 Bowles did not like being criticised about her commercial links and rather dramatically likened her critics to the “forces of evil”.24


16 Taylor Wessing, Patents, brochure, 2006.

17 In 2005, a spokesman for SAP denied working with Taylor Wessing. However information supplied by SAP to the website ‘Virtual law’, lists SAP as a client of Taylor Wessing. http://www.virtuallaw.eu/taylor-wessing.html

18 Klaus-Heiner Lehne, email to Andy Rowell, 17 June 2008.

19 Sharon Bowles, Declaration of Members’ Financial Interests, 2006.

20 According to Bowles biography on Liberal Democrat website.

21 Sharon Bowles, interview with Andy Rowell, May 2008.

22 See the website of the 2005 Worst EU Lobbying Awards: http://www.worstlobby.eu/2005.

23 Corporate Europe Observatory, How the Campaign for Creativity morphed into the Innovation and Creativity Group (Amsterdam: November 2006).

24 Sharon Bowles, interview with Andy Rowell, May 2008.

Why is Lehne still serving in the parliament? He obviously does not serve Europe; instead he is serving his own bank account and colleagues.

Author Calls for Action to Stop Bill Gates’ Abduction of US Education

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft, Windows at 7:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An increasing number of informed individuals will do whatever is possible to explain Gates’ ego trip, which puts schools and colleges at high risk of becoming private (but publicly funded)

“Boycott Microsoft,” says this new article about the Gates Foundation. The article alleges that Bill Gates not only monopolised the software industry (by repeatedly and knowingly breaking laws) but that he also monoplises the education system at the moment, using a financial vehicle which he claims to be a “philanthropy”. This is a subject that we explored and explained many times before and here is how the new article puts it:

Every so often we glimpse small stories stuck into the back pages of the corporate press on the continuing payouts by Microsoft for settlements to years-old State claims that Gates “had stifled competition and broken state antitrust laws by overcharging consumers for software and computers.” California settled for $1.1 billion, and this story last week shows more payouts continuing today, with Wisconsin figuring out how it will use $80 million that Gates promised years ago while continuing to deny any wrongdoing.

So bare-knuckled tactics are nothing new to the Gates team, as Bill’s cadre of crooks continue to demonstrate in the big all-in bet to help Arne stifle any competition in the rigged RTTT, corporate ed reform’s blueprint for the dismantling of public schools and the destruction of the teaching profession. Eerily, this is the same pattern of philanthro-capitalist bullying that Gates has used in other venues to restrict any diversity of views within the World Health Organization in the fight against malaria, as documented by Diane Ravitch in her new book:

The chief of malaria research for the World Health Organization, Dr. Arata Kochi, complained in 2008 that the Gates Foundation was stifling a diversity of views among scientists, because so many of the world’s leading scientist in the field were “locked up in a ‘cartel’ with their own research funding being linked to those of others within the group,” making it difficult to get independent reviews of research. The foundation’s decision-making process, he charged, was “a closed internal process, and as far as can be seen, accountable to none other than itself” (p. 204).

Ravitch’s analysis was covered here last week. There is more of this in the news, e.g.:

Book review: ‘The Death and Life of the Great American School System,’ by Diane Ravitch

The damage, she says, has been compounded by the well-meaning but ultimately misguided efforts of a new group of powerful private foundations, of which the Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most prominent.

“Never in the history of the United States was there a foundation as rich and powerful as the Gates Foundation,” Ravitch writes. “Never was there one that sought to steer state and national policy in education. And never before was there a foundation that gave grants to almost every major think tank and advocacy group in the field of education, leaving almost no one willing to criticize its vast power and unchecked influence.”

Updates to the Science Shelf plus a new review – edited with addition

NCLB has not been the only factor undermining our schools, Ravitch writes. A new group of powerful private foundations, of which the Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most prominent, have embraced education reform. The contributions of this “Billionaire Boys’ Club” have also come with heavy doses of advocacy.

“Never in the history of the United States was there a foundation as rich and powerful as the Gates Foundation,” Ravitch writes. “Never was there one that sought to steer state and national policy in education. And never before was there a foundation that gave grants to almost every major think tank and advocacy group in the field of education, leaving almost no one willing to criticize its vast power and unchecked influence.”

To its credit, the Foundation has been diligent in analyzing the impact of its grant money. “In late 2008,” Ravitch notes, “the Gates Foundation announced that it was changing course. Its $2 billion investment in new small high schools had not been especially successful.”

Diane Ravitch: Charter Schools Won’t Save the School System

Gates does to decision-making in schools what he does to decision-making in health. Two years ago the New York Times wrote that “The chief of malaria for the World Health Organization has complained that the growing dominance of malaria research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation risks stifling a diversity of views among scientists and wiping out the world health agency’s policy-making function.”

It’s the same strategy all over again.

We have more new examples here. What the article does not make explicit enough is that there are strings attached to Gates’ investments in schools.

Hillsborough hires 100 peer evaluators for its $100 million Gates reforms


This week, the district named about 100 teachers to serve as peer evaluators under its seven-year reform effort with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

$110 million is a very small price to pay in order to change the education agenda in one’s own favour. More new coverage from The Wall Street Journal:

The pledge, signed at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges in Seattle, was followed by an announcement there that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would pump as much as $110 million into replacing lackluster remedial-education programs at community colleges, long a barrier to graduation.

This is an investment and not a donation; there is also some low-cost PR [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], perhaps part of the PR which gives them influence in education and does not cost much at all. Sooner or later we find Gates Foundation staff telling them what to do and how.

Yesterday we presented one example of this and now we are seeing more lobbying by the Gates Foundation in colleges.

For years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle has pushed high schools to work harder to graduate more students.

That’s a lot of “pushing”.

Since when are Bill & Melinda Gates the ministers of education [1, 2, 3, 4]? Did anyone elect them or are they self appointed? This is the type of thing Diane Ravitch warned about. As usual, Gates’ worshippers at philanthropy.com play along with his party line. See the comments in this post. Not everyone is naive and people begin to realise what Gates is really up to.

Here is the Gates Foundation taking over schools with more new grants, which leads to yet more privatisation and agenda-setting:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation — which has become a major player in financing and agenda setting in community college education — was involved in bringing the various groups together, and the signing of the statement will take place just before Melinda Gates addresses the community college leaders.

Last week we wrote about Gates’ college tour (also covered the week before that) where Gates “Pushes His… Agenda,” to use the words from the headline of this article from Boston (Gates delivered his presentation for PR purposes also at MIT). As we indicated last week, Ina Fried was there to do the PR/advertising under the disguise of “journalism”. What an arrogant display of power and what an enormous risk to tomorrow’s schools and colleges.

At the same time we see that Microsoft still fights against OLPC and other such initiatives that spread GNU/Linux and make information a commodity. Microsoft calls it “no byte left unused”, which is a spinful euphemism that refers to:

Microsoft in new ‘no byte left unused’ deal with schools

Schools may no longer have to match the number of PCs in their IT labs with the student population, courtesy of Microsoft’s shared resource computing.

Under the programme, schools will put their computers’ capacity to optimal use and that institutions will realise savings on their information, communications and technology equipment acquisition, maintenance and support cost.

“No byte left unused” is a revealing slogan. Unlike “no child left behind”, this is neither about children nor advancement; it is about using them.

In short, it’s just another attempt by Microsoft to control schools. It has nothing to do with education or freedom. We wrote about what Microsoft is doing to education for quite a few years now. This is a pattern that we see all the time. Microsoft tries to indoctrinate the young people (for Windows and Office use) at a very young ages and at taxpayers’ own expense, sometimes also tying their personal data to Microsoft servers and formats (which makes it virtually impossible for them to ever escape). The important point is that the Gates Foundation contributes to this behind the scenes. Ain’t philanthrocapitalism just grand?

“Education and training: Target both developer and knowledge worker environment; Money and resources for curriculum development; Money and resources for teacher training; Subsidized certification on MS products”

Confidential Microsoft document [PDF]

Gates Foundation (and Microsoft) Take the Libraries Takeover Global

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, Windows at 7:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nice books on shelf
“Approved” curriculum

Summary: Breeding a generation of identical and docile human beings who are enslaved to Microsoft’s closed-source toolset

LAST WEEK we wrote about how the Gates Foundation makes people "addicted" to Microsoft. They start in the Unites States where they pay for so-called ‘studies’ and media blitz; then, they expand outwards.

In general, we also routinely explain how Gates has blocked or at least suppressed GNU/Linux in public libraries. That was earlier this month and now we find another perspective:

The Gates Foundation funds computers in public libraries and the FBI can snoop on the poor

The Gates Foundation loves to pay for computers in public libraries. How do you know if the FBI is snooping on you on that computer? You don’t. These computers are used mostly by the poor.

The Gates Foundation is expanding its libraries push to other parts of the world, which ought to help Microsoft.

President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaite received Deborah J. Jacobs, Director of Global Libraries for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Janet Sawaya, Program Officer for the foundation’s Global Libraries initiative, to discuss the Libraries for Progress project carried out in Lithuania, its results and perspectives, informed BC press service of the president.

Is there any place in the world where Gates and Microsoft have not yet mobilised and colonised? Maybe Antarctica.

Gates Foundation Increases Polio and Tobacco Risk While Pretending to Do the Opposite

Posted in Africa, America, Bill Gates, Deception, Finance, Microsoft, Patents at 6:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates Foundation logo

Summary: The acts of Microsoft’s co-founder are as monopolistic and self-serving as ever, but the PR efforts obscure the true nature of this situation; this post sheds light on what the press does not tell (or rarely tells) readers

THE scandal around big tobacco business was covered here last week. The short story is that Bill’s Gates Foundation was backing tobacco, even though it was masked as anti-tobacco (or “tobacco prevention”). As GatesKeepers (a longtime watcher of the Gates Foundation) put it, the response from the Gates Foundation had wrinkles in it:

This statement makes it sound as if the Gates Foundation didn’t have a project officer looking after the IDRC tobacco grant. Huh?

GatesKeepers is citing this article and as we pointed out last week, the Gates Foundation’s investment in tobacco goes a few years back when it was known. It seems more like it’s pretending not to have known what it invested in. Two days beforehand, GatesKeepers argued that: “The Gates Foundation, by announcing termination of the grant [for tobacco group], has claimed high moral ground. But the Foundation has been asleep at the wheel. They were forced to terminate the grant due to a conference boycott. How could they NOT know about the conflict of interest earlier?”


“The mainstream press missed the real story and instead played along with PR statements.”Like we proposed last week, the Gates Foundation ought to have known all along, but it “retreated” and pretended to be a victim, even though it had knowingly invested in tobacco for years (it also invests in alcoholic beverages). The mainstream press missed the real story and instead played along with PR statements. All they had to do is sniff around the tobacco fiasco in Canada and dig a little deeper. Gates has some other controversial relationships with the Canadian government, some of which continue to receive coverage even from The New York Times and the Canadian Press. For prior posts about Gates’ vaccination project in Canada (and the cancellation), see [1, 2, 3, 4]. We are also seeing some new vaccination initiatives in Africa . “Gates Foundation staff visits northern Nigeria to tell them what to do,” says GatesKeepers.

Wouldn’t it be better for northern Nigerians to make the call to end polio in northern Nigerial rather than someone from the Gates Foundation?

Africa’s polio push, where Gates employees give instructions, deserves a closer look. It’s akin to the tobacco fiasco.

Gates’ worshippers at philanthropy.com do no further investigation into it, despite recent blunders such as Gates-funded vaccines that allegedly killed girls. Gates allocates more money for the purpose of vaccination in Africa, which in a nutshell becomes a problem mostly because of patents that the public is forced to pay for (to make Gates richer).

“[T]he Gates Foundation is among the reasons for polio because of its investments in petrol companies that harm Nigerian children with unrestrained emissions.”As an important reminder from the Los Angeles Times, the Gates Foundation is among the reasons for polio because of its investments in petrol companies that harm Nigerian children with unrestrained emissions. The Los Angeles Times criticised Gates a few years ago as his investments are among the causes for these diseases. Some of the press is now saying that the Gates Foundation “urges Northern rulers to fight polio”, which is reminiscent of the foundation’s so-called ‘fight’ against smoking while investing a lot of money in big tobacco companies.

There is this thing called “Rotary” which Gates gives money to, but how come nobody talks about how Gates’ investments actually contribute to polio?

A major Rotary emphasis for several decades has been the “Polio-Plus” campaign designed to eradicate polio and other devastating illnesses in the world. Since its launch in 1985, reported cases have dropped from 350,000 to less than 2,000 cases a year, a 99 percent decrease. Today only four countries in the world are still fighting polio, but Rotary International has recently accepted a matching-grants challenge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to raise enough money to finally conquer this disease worldwide. In just three years, the Dalton club has fulfilled the six-year goal of committing $6,000 towards Rotary’s $200 million goal to match the Gates Foundation challenge grant. Further fundraising activities at the district conference raised enough money to immunize some 4000 children against polio and will be used by the Rotary Foundation for that purpose.

The Gates Foundation’s “challenge grant” is akin to those attempts from Gates to rally governments to give their money to companies that he invests in (their patents). “Challenge grant” is not the same as donation and we gave an example yesterday (about Monsanto).

The sentimental blackmail we are seeing in Africa is not to be taken at face value. There is a lot of money at stake because Africa has plenty of resources, it serves as a good breeding ground for experimentation with GMO, and it also serves as a good platform for experimentation with new drugs (if people die as a result of the experiments, then they won’t sue because they can’t). We continue to view with great caution the type of research Gates advances in Africa (same here) and yesterday we wrote about Monsanto's relationship with Bill Gates, noting in part that Gates had begun recruiting celebrity politicians like Timothy Geithner to market GMO along with him. A few days ago we learned that Gates is now using Colin Powell to market his “malaria campaign”. Considering Gates' investment in companies like Novartis, there is certainly money to be made here.

“[T]he racketeering operation known as “Intellectual Ventures” is also directly involved in this malaria project.”Let us remember that the President of the Global Health Program at the Gates Foundation carries a felonious baggage because he threatened academics who challenged his pharmaceutical agenda. These are the sorts of people who are working on this project and as we showed two weeks ago, the racketeering operation known as “Intellectual Ventures” is also directly involved in this malaria project. This has warning signs all over it. Intellectual Ventures is the world’s biggest patent troll, it is not a charity.

Here is a new article about the bully whom Microsoft appointed to become the President of the Global Health Program. These publication don’t write anything about his shady past. Other suspicious staff is in the same foundation, including the CFO who joined a few weeks ago from Merck (see references therein for information about Merck’s serious offenses and corruption).

Here is an interesting article from last week. It starts by saying:

The Lancet has just published the study, which was financed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO is now being examined for its handling of the swine flu so-called pandemic. They stand accused of being in bed with pharmaceutical corporations to promote the use of vaccines. One of the Gates Foundation’s primary goals is to promote vaccines.

We wrote about this 'study' last week. It is self serving (showing the required outcome even though the results were publicly challenged by scientists without massive PR departments) as Gates too makes money from investments in this. The following new example seems to combine GMO with pharmaceuticals:

Amyris manipulates micro-organisms, primarily yeasts, so that they consume sugar and produce a desired product, which could be diesel, jet fuel, or other chemical products. The company founders had originally received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to use its process for an antimalaria drug.

In the next couple of posts we will look at how the Gates Foundation encourages its rise in influence/monopolisation in other areas (along with Microsoft).

Microsoft Wants a Monopoly on People’s Data, Not Just Their Software

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft in health

Summary: Microsoft’s very latest moves whose goal is to vacuum people’s personal information/profiles/medical records

According to this new press release, which is already covered in some news sites (e.g. [1, 2]), Microsoft is spreading SharePoint lock-in through schools, with the help of ePals. Another new press release shows that Microsoft does the same thing with Open Text.

Later on we are going to address Bill Gates’ influence on schools and what role it plays in ensuring that schools become indoctrination facilities for Microsoft (as far as computer education is concerned, not education as a whole). With its new partnerships, Microsoft is not only pushing "Live@edu" into schools (to manage the lives of their students from Microsoft servers); Groklaw was concerned enough about it to cite a roundup from a Microsoft-oriented site covering the financial results [1, 2, 3] and also the aforementioned deal with ePals. It says:

Microsoft is teaming with education-technology company ePals Inc. to expand the presence of the Redmond company’s email, calendar and other technologies in schools. Under the agreement, announced this morning, ePals says it will expand its service by offering Microsoft’s Exchange-based “Live@edu” system to millions of its users, which includes teachers, students and parents in 200 countries and territories. Among other plans, the companies say they’ll also work together to roll out Microsoft’s upcoming Office Web Apps in schools.

This is an abomination for reasons we explained before. Students are not only being brainwashed for Microsoft; their whole life is also being put on Microsoft’s turf and managed by Microsoft. This privatisation of education is a serious matter we will properly address later today or tomorrow. Here is another bit of ZDNet coverage about the ePals deal:

ePals, a leader in connecting students, classrooms, and educational activities worldwide with safe, secure email and Web 2.0 platforms, announced today that it has signed a “strategic technical collaboration agreement” with Microsoft. ePals will integrate Microsoft’s Live@Edu offerings with their extensive network for millions of users worldwide while the two companies will continue to expand their integration in the future with Office Web Apps and features of Sharepoint Online.

Embrace and extend, anyone?

This scheme is also being advertised by Microsoft's friends at O'Reilly, who call this “smarter school infrastructure”. Surely they jest, right?

Our reader Omar brought us some thoughts from Jordan and examples about Microsoft’s Live@edu scheme, which is also trying to take over his country’s universities and administration. Microsoft forms other new deals in the Middle East/Gulf [1, 2, 3] as it is trying to take over the Arabic world with its proprietary software.

The further integration of Arabic language capabilities in internet and other technological architecture will grant millions access to the digital world, Microsoft and Google executives said.

Neither Google nor Microsoft belong there because they vend proprietary software. There are perfectly fine building blocks that are Free software and any country ought to build its infrastructure with them (the private sector can do as it wishes, but not governments elected by their people). Going further east all the way to Taiwan, Microsoft's center for 'clouds' (established with actual help from the same government that found Microsoft guilty of antitrust abuses) makes a leap as the government helps the monopolist take over the infrastructure, first with just “research” [1, 2, 3, 4] and later with a political agenda of invading people’s data (including sensitive government information like medical records), not just their computer software. This is accompanied by what seems like an advertisement in Asia and more help from Microsoft booster Todd Bishop, who apparently sees nothing wrong without Microsoft’s greed for people’s medical records amid intense lobbying. What next? Microsoft to collect DNA samples from all people, ‘on behalf’ of governments? It’s already close to that in India.

“First, Microsoft broke the law to build a monopoly on tools that people manage their data with.”Microsoft says that users will “win” if they let Microsoft manage their data and it also says something along the lines of “trust us”, which is the classic type of sentence people say when they cannot and shouldn’t be trusted. Microsoft has spurred a big wave of more articles with 'cloud' hype and why governments and businesses ought to embrace ‘clouds’, as long as "evil" Google is not controlling them.

First, Microsoft broke the law to build a monopoly on tools that people manage their data with. And now, several years later, Microsoft wants people’s data too.

“Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we’re doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.”

Bruce Schneier

“Microsoft should put its own house in order on privacy rather than waving about a discredited blueprint as a model for others… This attempt to portray itself as a leader in consumer privacy is as preposterous as the notion that it has treated its competitors with high standards of business ethics.”

Junkbusters President Jason Catlett

Microsoft Partners Hail Microsoft Without Disclosure, More AstroTurfing

Posted in Deception, Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Search at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Microsoft’s close ties with NetProspex; AstroTurfing group “Consumer Watchdog” attacks Google; Microsoft’s privacy violations in Hotmail highlight Microsoft’s hypocrisy

SOCIOPATHS WHO RUN MICROSOFT have a long history of AstroTurfing. Friendship is the exception at Microsoft, not the norm. After all, Microsoft stabs its partners in the back. When Microsoft approaches (anti-)social Web sites like Facebook*, it is only looking to see what it can get out of them (advertising, search bars, Silver Lie inclusion, etc.) and the latest example that we gave was Facebook's promotion of Microsoft Office. Joe Wilcox calls it “the surest sign yet of Microsoft’s defeat”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made some amazing announcements yesterday, during the f8 conference. Docs.com wasn’t one of them.

Microsoft will try to use this to ensure that Facebook users have their data stuck in Microsoft formats and Microsoft sites/services. But another more interesting item that we found comes from a company called NetProspex, which is essentially funded by Microsoft (a major client, see the screenshot at the top) and it currently praises Microsoft, portraying it as social. Sure, it’s funny. The Microsoft boosters use this to generate hype and there is a lot of deceitful press coverage about it (no disclosure though).

NetProspex has Microsoft as one of its major customers (shown in the front page even, as one among just 3 companies) and a PR blitz is the least it can do to repay Microsoft (the site’s profiles seem like they are all about Microsoft). We attempted to find staff listings to see if former Microsoft employees run this company, but there is no such listing that we could find.

“Last year we also wrote about Consumer Watchdog. It is a group of AstroTurfers, probably like LawMedia, which Microsoft hired to AstroTurf against the Yahoo!-Google deal.”There is nothing too unusual about this. Microsoft is “social”, says a company that’s being paid by Microsoft. Likewise, we have come across an anti-Google study which was conducted by former Microsoft employees (also without disclosure). Then there are cases like comScore, which is a Microsoft partner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] that serves statistics in a way Microsoft likes.

Last year we also wrote about Consumer Watchdog. It is a group of AstroTurfers, probably like LawMedia, which Microsoft hired to AstroTurf against the Yahoo!-Google deal. According to many headlines, “Consumer Watchdog” is at it again [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Basically, this AstroTurfing group which we suspect to be funded by Microsoft through their parent company which is all about AstroTurf, has asked the US DOJ to “break up Google.” Well, the DOJ is already in Microsoft’s pocket [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] because of its staff (post the DOJ vs Microsoft case). Combined with Microsoft AstroTurfing, this is an iffy recipe. IDG has attempted to speak to the DOJ about this (also in PC World) but got nothing:

A DOJ spokeswoman declined to comment on Consumer Watchdog’s request.

Other, more legitimate complaints about Google (from governments even [1, 2]) are being obscured by the AstroTurfers, “Consumer Watchdog” (it’s not about consumers and it’s not a watchdog, it’s a gun for hire). As we pointed out at the start, Microsoft has a history of hiring AstroTurfers to fight against Google. LawMedia is just one good example as it eventually enabled Microsoft to hijack Yahoo. Microsoft’s coup d’état is still being mentioned in some news sites and Yahoo’s collapse carries on now that the company’s head of advertising is said to be leaving. Will a former Microsoft employee occupy this position too? Microsoft has just injected some money into Yahoo! (as they agreed), making the company only more dependent on Microsoft. The news about Yahoo!’s latest results had “Microsoft” all over it. One might think that Yahoo! is just a Microsoft subsidiary now. Had it not been for Microsoft’s AstroTurfing with the LawMedia Group (and others), Yahoo! would be working alongside Google right about now.

Another thing is this: since Microsoft loves to accuse Google of privacy violations, here is something from the news which shows that “Hotmail’s social networking busts your privacy”; this headline comes from a Windows site.

In its rush to take on Facebook and Google Buzz, Microsoft is now collecting and displaying personal information on your Hotmail page — information you may never have wanted to broadcast.

Exactly how it’s mining this information is something of a mystery, but if you use Hotmail or Windows Live, it’s time to review your privacy settings — lest something you said or did comes back to haunt you.

Google is not without its flaws, but it is not Microsoft’s role to hire fake protesters against Google. Here is Google using an “Advocacy Group” to capture developers.

Google may be stepping up its efforts to have developers pay attention to Android. The search giant – or rather, a division of it known as the “Android Advocacy Group” – has supposedly gone on the offensive, emailing a developer and offering him (or her) a free device.

There is nothing too nefarious here. It’s called “Advocacy”, not “Evangelism”, which is Microsoft’s code for AstroTurfing.
* One ought to remember that Microsoft is among Facebook’s investors.

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