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IRC Proceedings: May 8th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Novell: Making IT Work As One Microsoft Way

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SCO, Windows at 4:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Some of the latest of Microsoft’s dishonest encroachments and how Novell participates in this

OVER THE NEXT couple of days we will uncover more of Microsoft’s reputation laundering that uses Gates’ new business ventures and Microsoft’s charm offences against “Open Source” as the core PR strategy. It’s the usual storyline… you know, excusing criminals and pretending they have changed their ways. History has many examples. Those who pay attention understand that Microsoft is as aggressive as ever (if not more than before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]).

“It is the logical compliment that Microsoft Apologists will never mention: if Microsoft should be accepted when they participate on Open Source terms, then they should be rejected when they do not.”
      –Jason, The Source
The other day we wrote about a disappointing perspective from 451 CAOS Theory (whom Microsoft might be paying, but the 451 Group refuses to disclose such information. Yes, it’s ironic for an open source-focused firm to resist transparency through disclosure). Anyway, The Source has responded to that same perspective by writing: “Yet another pro-Microsoft article from the “open source” people over at 451 CAOS Theory.

“Remove the ever-present Microsoft apologetics though and there is a nugget of truth there: So long as Microsoft participates 100% on Open Source’s terms, good on them. They don’t get any special appreciation for doing so – because a) it’s the right thing to do, and I never understood praising people simply for doing the right thing, and b) they have a Karma Deficit bigger than Greece to pay off.

“It is the logical compliment that Microsoft Apologists will never mention: if Microsoft should be accepted when they participate on Open Source terms, then they should be rejected when they do not. So stop apologizing for them when they take half-measures, what ever the reason. Thank you.

“If you want to heap praise on them for doing the right thing – go ahead. I think that just goes to reinforce low expectations, but YMMV.”

“Microsoft is already embracing to exploit GNU/Linux through projects like Mono and Moonlight.”We have become accustomed to this. More CodePlex boosting from Microsoft blogs continues to arrive (they promote proprietary software by tying “Open Source” applications to it). It’s all about advancing Microsoft’s interests, which are interests that are shared among its boosters (they receive small rewards for it).

The Microsoft booster David Worthington does something similar at the moment by giving publicity to Hadoop with .NET, IIS, and Windows (let’s remember that Microsoft hijacked Yahoo!, so it’s only natural to exploit Hadoop too).

Microsoft is already embracing to exploit GNU/Linux through projects like Mono and Moonlight. Jamie from ZDNet UK votes “No” to Mono.

Removing Mono from Ubuntu 10.04

One of the most controversial entities (for lack of a better word) in the Linux world today is Mono. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, because I would prefer to avoid yet another shouting match about it – there are plenty of those around, if you care to take part in one. What I will do here is simply present the command necessary to purge Mono and anything that depends on it from the Ubuntu Lucid Lynx distribution.


If you are interested in why one might want to banish Mono, one place to look would be the Mono-Nono web site.

Jamie mentioned Banshee, which has a new release that’s announced somewhere among the “Planet”-syndicated posts of SUSE. Yes, there are C# blogs in there, not just Mono ones. Frankly, this should not be viewed as bizarre because it has gone on for quite a few years. Ross Chevalier, one of Novell’s executives, writes in his blog the post “Getting Ready for Microsoft Office 2010″ (using it to market Novell products, just like they do with Windows releases such as Vista 7). Microsoft MVP (and Novell VP) Miguel de Icaza writes about MonoDevelop (main post for this week) and his colleague from Microsoft (Nat Friedman temporarily worked there) is still involved with SUSE, even after leaving Novell.

On the SUSE Studio team, we had a “level playing field” rule for our weekly meetings.

Based on the latest update from Groklaw, Novell is still useful for something. It has some more work to do against SCO.

SCO has filed its monthly operating reports for March. This is the month they did the deal with Ralph Yarro, so we find out what they did first with that loan money. Pay themselves, of course, and their lawyers. And one of their experts.

Isn’t it funny that Novell is fighting in court against a company that was funded by Microsoft, which is supposed to be Novell’s partner?

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO approached by Microsoft

Minor Observations About Novell

Posted in Boycott Novell, Europe, Microsoft, Novell, Videos at 3:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell shield

Summary: As part of our “Boycott Novell” action, here is a succinct overview covering some of Novell’s latest deeds and short-term plans

THIS post summarises some bits and pieces about Novell, based on the past week’s news.

Last year we wrote about Siki Giunta leaving Novell (where she served as Vice President of Strategic Business) and according to new reports [1, 2], she is in CSC now, serving again as a Vice President.

Some weeks ago we wrote about Itanium and later mentioned SUSE. Well, here is a relevant new report:

Being a fairly low-volume server player, once the old Silicon Graphics tossed away its own MIPS chips and Irix Unix variant in favor of Intel’s Itanium processors and Novell’s SUSE Linux, the company tightly aligned itself with Intel.

Novell is going to be a LinuxCon 2010 sponsor.

This year’s event is being sponsored by HP, IBM, Intel and Novell.

Novell’s “OpenSUSE Boosters” will also attend LinuxExpo 2010 (Novell has been trying some marketing gimmicks recently).

For those who didn’t know, last week there was an event called LinuxExpo in Prague. And we off course went there with the Czech part of openSUSE Boosters team to talk about openSUSE. Other colleagues also helped with running openSUSE booth. And some of our community members we standing around talking to people as well.

There is another event in Europe, namely the BrainShare in Amsterdam. It’s a case of contracting.

Novell has appointed Event IT to run a series of meetings in Amsterdam this month.

There is a new montage based on BrainShare 2010. Microsoft and Novell appear in what seems like Russian TV and Novell’s booth from Interop 2010 is shown in this new video (someone has also uploaded embarrassingly kitschy Novell videos from Interop 1991 [1, 2]).

Patents Roundup: Defensive Patent License, KnowRi§ht, Patent Overhaul Bill Stalled, Patent Absurdity, Brad Feld, and Pirate Party

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Patents at 3:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent reform

Summary: About 8 stories on the subject of software patents and sometimes patents in general

A lot of patent news ought to be shared today, but we lack the time to annotate this all that much, so here are just the key links.

The Defensive Patent License makes patents less evil for open source (another “defensive” pool)

Open source developers notoriously shy away from pursing software patents. The concept is ugly to them.

“At Gnome, pretty much our whole community is anti-patent. They think they are evil. They think they will hurt them,” explained Stormy Peters, executive director of the Gnome Foundation, at a conference on Open Source and Patents held by the Silicon Flatirons, in Boulder last week.

But without patents of their own, FOSS developers have limited their defense against patent bullies, those seeking to stop innovation by filing patent infringement suits. And to some extent, having no patents makes them vulnerable to patent trolls, those who make no product and buy patents to collect royalties. So says the DPLs creators, Jason Schultz and Jennifer Urban, law professors and directors of UC Berkeley’s Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic.

KnowRi§ht conference speech on software patents, standards and competition (Florian’s contribution)

Should A Toy Plane Get More Intellectual Property Protection Than A Real Plane?

However, as Ray Dowd at the Copyright Litigation blog points out, this creates a bizarre situation where the inventor of an actual airplane might only get 20 years protection via a patent… but the maker of a toy knockoff of that real airplane?

Conyers: Patent Talks Appear ‘Stalled’ [via]

House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said Wednesday that talks on addressing concerns he and other House Judiciary members have raised about a Senate compromise patent overhaul bill appear to be “stalled.”

The patent bill “seems to be stalled somewhere between the House and Senate,” Conyers said during a hearing on the Patent and Trademark Office. He said after the hearing that he and ranking member Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Judiciary members are considering offering a standalone bill on one of the less controversial provisions in the Senate compromise to allow the PTO to set its own fees and to bar Congress from diverting fee revenues to other government programs.

Tuesday, 18th May. Chris Warburton, “Sheffield University Free Software Society”. Plus Patent Absurdity. (yet another public showing of “Patent Absurdity”. The film was already mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and shown to the public in the Connecticut Film Festival)

This meeting is a double bill. A talk by Chris Warburton on the Sheffield University Free Software Society (FSS) and then a screening of Patent Absurdity.

Patent Absurdity is a documentary about software patents.

Software Patent Absurdity (also in TechnologyReview.com)

In additional “c’mon guys, software patents are invalid” news, there’s a great short movie that was supported by the Free Software Foundation called Patent Absurdity. It explores the case of software patents and the history of judicial activism that led to their rise, and the harm being done to software developers and the wider economy.

New federal Pirate Party wants to storm Parliament

The Pirate Party wants to change copyright law, giving artists more liberty to build on previous works and choose distribution and licensing models allowing them to make a living, and to help educate music artists about earning through means other than selling recordings through large corporate intermediaries. It pledges to evaluate introduction of levies to further compensate artists, but in turn, would make private, non-commercial copying of content legal and virtually unrestricted for consumers. Noting that current legislation grants patent owners 20-year monopoly rights, and contending that especially in the fast-moving software industry where inventions virtually always build on previous works, issuing patents on software consequently exposes innovators to lawsuit risk, chilling innovation, the party would ban software patents to encourage innovators to enter the market without fear of being sued.

Here in the UK, the analogous “Pirate” party has not gained significant momentum and we are sometimes told that there are other issues with its policies, including some which relate to copyright terms (the GPL relies on copyright law).

Apple Does Not Support Standards; Neither Does Microsoft

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, Standard, Ubuntu at 2:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mac and PC

Summary: Why Apple’s and Microsoft’s talk about “standards” is merely a shameful façade

A FEW years ago ODF was a very hot topic because Microsoft fought against it viciously and Apple helped Microsoft by supporting OOXML (Microsoft only pretends to have embraced ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] after corrupting ISO). As we explained at the time, it’s far from the first time that Apple helps Microsoft just like Novell does. Nowadays, these companies also pose a danger to the World Wide Web Consortium, with Apple, Microsoft, and IBM as chairs and a Novell veteran as CEO.

The South African press has published this new article about “online video wars”. The summary says “Apple and Microsoft join to fight Opera and Firefox”. Therein, Apple’s and Microsoft’s attack on Ogg Theora gets mentioned.

Apple and Microsoft have both thrown their weight behind H.264. Jobs in his open letter said as much and Microsoft has said that Internet Explorer 9 will only support H.264 video playback.

Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch, general manager for Internet Explorer, says that H.264 is “an industry standard, with broad and strong hardware support”. Jobs says that H.264 is a “more modern format” than Flash.

H.264, however, is a heavily patented and proprietary video codec, despite the impression of “openness” that Jobs tries to portray in his open letter. HTML5 is an open standard but H.264 is far from it with hefty associated licensing fees attached to its use.

Microsoft and Apple are both licensors of the H.264 standard which means that they stand to make money from licensing fees if H.264 is widely adopted.

We also covered this issue in recent posts such as:

So once again, Microsoft is anything but a friend of standards. It’s making up its own. Here is a new post which explains “Why Open Digital Standards Matter in Government”; the short story is that governments set an example for others to follow and in Massachusetts we witnessed just how far Microsoft is willing to go in ensuring that governments don’t embrace standards.

Just as in the case of ODF, what we see coming from Microsoft (and Apple) is a lot of spin and general deception to depict themselves as compliant with web standards. These are the sorts of friends who pretend to help a victim whom they rob and there is no peace in the HTML5 debate, partly due to Microsoft.

Mozilla, HTML5 editor differ with Microsoft


Microsoft is agitating for “same markup,” described this way: “Web browsers should render the same markup–the same HTML, same CSS, and same script–the same way. That’s simply not the case today. Enabling the same markup to work the same across different browsers is as crucial for HTML5′s success as performance.”

But today’s practice, while messy and plagued with incompatibilities, reflects the notion that it’s a good idea to test new technologies in the real world before solidifying them as a real standard.

Google’s Tim Bray writes about HTML5* and Slashdot reckons that HTML5 may win at the expense of binaries like Flash (and attempts to boost Microsoft’s Silver Lie with Moonlight, under the illusion of “open”). Here is the nightmare scenario:

Here a branding expert demonstrates that the sites of 10 out of 10 leading worldwide brands don’t display on the iPad — because they’re coded in Flash, of course.

Opera is already criticising Flash, as it probably should.

Adobe’s Flash now faces two outspoken critics: First Apple, now Opera — the web browser provider. Apparently, Opera Product Analyst Phillip Grønvold has some concerns about Flash and its influence over the Web. For VARs that are advising customers on Web development and design strategies, this story is too important to ignore.

Opera is also pushing for Ogg, unlike Apple and Microsoft (which would profit from squashing Ogg).

Apple, Microsoft, Opera and now Scribd have all spoken out about Adobe’s platform. What does this mean for open source?


But this isn’t quite the open source victory it seems to be. If HTML5 becomes the Web standard, there are plenty of people championing patented, proprietary codecs for video, specifically Apple and Microsoft who have both backed h.264. And while the user will ultimately be able to choose which codec handles video in an HTML5 environment, there is also talk from Jobs himself of pursuing open source video codec Theora for patent infringement.

Those who care about the World Wide Web or about real standards that don’t require GNU/Linux users to pay for patents (thanks to Canonical) ought to avoid buying anything from Apple and Microsoft. These companies are enemies of the Web and enemies of culture (as H.264 merely creates a hostage situation using our own memories which are encoded in video).
* Google matters a great deal here because it dominates most of the Web’s video.

Crackers Evolve to Dodge Anti-Virus Software in Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Ubuntu, Windows at 1:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DOS screen - virus warning

Summary: A fully ‘protected’ and patched Windows installation cannot be secured due to new tricks and hidden vulnerabilities that Microsoft conceals from the public

A FEW days ago we wrote about Joanna Rutkowska's observations and mentioned her firm’s use of GNU/Linux. Yesterday we found this article from The Register, which speaks about anti-virus software being ineffective in the face of a new pattern of attacks.

Researchers say they’ve devised a way to bypass protections built in to dozens of the most popular desktop anti-virus products, including those offered by McAfee, Trend Micro, AVG, and BitDefender.

Ghabuntu recommends Ubuntu GNU/Linux as a preventive measure and also argues that:

It is a very serious issue which can have a devastating consequence in the lives of a lot of people. However, there is still hope. The research did not make any mention of this anti-virus as being such an easy to evade guard.

Anti-virus software has been useless for quite some time. Authoritative figures spoke about these issues for years and McAfee went as far as doing more harm than good last month.

According to several independent sources, about one in two Windows PCs is a zombie PC and Microsoft carries on lying about the number of vulnerabilities/patches in order to give the illusion that things are improving when it fact they never did. Microsoft is just lying about its patches, as before. Anti-virus software can’t do anything about it and here in Techrights we opine that the public has the right to know the truth.

Links 8/5/2010: Wine 1.1.44 is Out, RHEL 6 Beta Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 9:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux lasershow Cool!

    One of the coolest things you can do with linux is control a show laser.

  • Linux on my Macbook Air

    During the last three years, my Macbook Air has been kinda depressed. Every time i tried to install my free GNU programs using ports it has silently played this tune for me.

  • Ballnux

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KDE Finance Apps Group Spring Sprint
      • A Blog on Sourceforge

        A little more than two weeks ago we released Kraft version 0.40, the first version of Kraft based on KDE 4 software platform. The release went fine as far as I can tell, no terrible bugs were reported yet. Some work went into the new website since then, but in general I need a few weeks break from Kraft and spend my evenings outside enjoying spring time.

        Today, Sourceforge posted a blog about Kraft after they kind of mail-interviewed me. It’s nice, it really focuses on the things also important to me. This might be another step towards a broader user base for Kraft. I say that because one could have the impression that the number of people actually really using Kraft could be larger. A high number of users is one of the fundamental criteria for a successful free software project and thus I am constantly trying to understand whats the reason for the impression or the fact.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Marketing Hackfest: Day 1

        * GNOME 3.0 Website: there’ll be a specific GNOME 3.0 website to introduce this new version of GNOME, and get people excited about this new version. In the long term, the content will be moved to the main website, but we feel a separate website is the best way to build momentum for the 3.0 effort. The target audience is existing GNOME users and there is already a good sitemap. Work is ongoing for the exact content and design, and the hard work will be the creation of videos. If you’re interested in helping there, raise your hand :-)

      • Preparing To Let Go Of GTK+ 2.x For GTK+ 3.0

        As we have mentioned with the first of the early GNOME 3.0 development packages getting checked-in (such as the improved Totem Movie Player), the first GNOME 2.31 development milestone is this week in the road to GNOME 3.0 (a.k.a. v2.32) that will be reached this September. Joining this round of new GNOME development packages that are looking for testing is GTK+ 2.21.0, which is leading up to the 2.22 release of the de facto standard tool-kit for the GNOME desktop.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • RHEL 6 – your sensible but lovable friend

        Another big change in the RHEL 6 beta is the wide selection of disk formatting options, including ext4. You know a Linux feature has arrived when it makes its way to the conservative enterprise releases like RHEL and such is the case with ext4 file system, which is now the default filesystem format in RHEL 6. In addition to ext4, the XFS filesystem is now supported.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 13 Expands Linux Virtualization

          Virtualization technology has long found a home in Red Hat’s Fedora community Linux distribution. Ever since Fedora 4 emerged in 2005, virtualization technologies have continued to advance in the distro and that remains the case with the upcoming Fedora 13 release set for later this month.

    • Ubuntu

      • Users want a Linux port of uTorrent?

        Its possibilities like this which I have always held as a reason why I don’t want mass migration away from Windows to the Linux platform. If Linux is to get a wave of disillusioned Windows users, we have to keep in mind that they will bring their demands (and their voting power) to a platform near you which has been going quite happily without Windows users turning up after finally working out that PC does not just mean Microsoft. Now please don’t get me wrong, I am happy that anyone would want to come to Linux after a Windows experience, but what these people need to remember is that Linux/FOSS is != Windows/Microsoft, Linux should never be looked as the OS of choice only for it to still depend on 3rd party Windows apps. Linux and FOSS are unique (and for me) better in their own right, why should we lust over anything Windows offers either natively or via 3rd party apps?

      • 5 lessons for other Linux distros from the success of the Lucid Lynx

        3.Try to become an answer

        Ubuntu Studio, Lubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu server among others are part of what I call the Canonical suite which helps to gain more users in that it is able to meet more needs. Do not narrowly focus on being just an OS, try to be an answer to more specialized needs.

        4.Clearly define the role of your community

        It is necessary to clearly define the role your user community will play in the growth and development of your OS. The faux pas that happened following the change of the window buttons from right to left in the Lucid Lynx could have had a devastating consequence had it been a smaller distro.

        5.It does not hurt to apply marketing to Linux

        If there is any one Open Source company that does marketing right, it is Canonical. And as is clear now, it does not hurt at all to invest some time and if possible some money to marketing your distro, it really pays.

      • Variants

        • Linux Mint Scarf

          In January I received a call from a friend: Her laptop hard drive had crashed leaving her in a bind. I was able go install a new one and reload Her OS that evening. She was very grateful and wanted to do something for me. The one thing I had been wanting was a scarf with the Linux Mint logo. So it was agreed She would do this for me. I most admit that I got the better end of the bargain, it only took me a few hours one evening and my part was done. The knitting of this scarf took much more time.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-ready, open-platform ARM9/DSP SBC costs $89

      Four distributors have begun shipping the open platform, Linux-ready Hawkboard single board computer (SBC) for as low as $89. Based on the Texas Instruments OMAP-L138 system-on-chip (SoC), which combines an ARM9 core and a DSP, the community-driven Hawkboard project is structured on the TI-sponsored BeagleBoard project, and is similarly designed for hobbyists and general testing.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu Netbook Remix a Winner

        Ubuntu Netbook Remix (reviewed version 10.4) is Linux like you’ve never seen before. It has a smooth, attractive, interface that works very well with the netbook form factor. It is a clear winner, as good as if not better than operating systems from enormous corporations. There was a gotcha on my HP Mini installation in an otherwise great work. Digg this article

    • Tablets

      • Google Android tablet runs Flash on Tegra 2 SoC

        Adobe has demonstrated a prototype Nvidia Tegra 2-based Android tablet from Google running Adobe’s Flash, say industry reports. Meanwhile, Samsung is preparing an “S-Pad” Android tablet, and Bill Gates tips new Microsoft tablet projects, say other reports.

      • 10 Reasons the T91MT is better than the iPad

        This is no doubt the Year of the Tablet computer. As such I began searching some months ago for a tablet I could add to my ever growing list of gadgets, I researched and played with many different devices before deciding on my Asus T91MT. I have had my tablet for a couple of weeks now and it amazes me how many people do not even know they exist when they released almost a year ago! The iPad on the other hand got more press than you can shake a stick at and everyone under the sun knows what it is after just a few weeks.

        The following is my list of reasons why Asus’s T91MT tablet/netbook hybrid is better than Apple’s iPad:

        #1 – It is also a Netbook
        Touch screens are fantastic, don’t get me wrong but honestly some things are much quicker to do with a physical keyboard and a mouse. Having the option to flip my T91MT around and use it as a netbook is a wonderful option to have. Plus I personally feel my device’s screen is much safer when I can “close” the screen instead of just sliding it into a case.

      • Android Prototype Tablet Makes Flashy Debut

        Android smartphones are giving Apple’s iPhone a run for its money and may soon overtake it. If Android tablets follow suit, will Flash get its mojo back?

Free Software/Open Source

  • Rockin’ FLOSS Manuals: The CiviCRM book sprint

    If you use open source software, and aren’t a programmer, you may wonder how you can give back to the community that provides you with such marvelous tools at no-to-little cost. At the same time, maybe you’ve run into a problem running some piece of open source software, clicked F1 or otherwise looked for some help in doing something—and found little or no help on offer. There’s a way to solve both these problems: Check out, and get involved with, the FLOSS Manuals project.

  • Closed source software hurts GUI development

    AS OPERATING SYSTEMS increasingly become visual feasts, those who want to create useful interaction enhancements are having to bend over backwards thanks to closed source software in order to bring innovation to the user’s environment.

    Two bright young men from the University of Washington recently presented Prefab, a technology which they say will facilitate the implementation of “advanced behaviours in graphical interfaces”. That in itself isn’t particularly new but the route Prefab takes to implement well documented graphical user interface (GUI) techniques are a clear example of the lengths engineers have to go to circumnavigate the limitations posed by closed source software.

  • Server

  • Databases

  • Oracle

    • FSF launches free software extension listing for OpenOffice.org

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced a project to assemble a replacement extension library for OpenOffice.org, which will list only those extensions which are free software, at http://www.fsf.org/openoffice.

      “OpenOffice.org is free software, and an important contribution to the free software community. However, the program offers the user a library of extensions, and some of them are proprietary. Distributing OpenOffice.org in the usual way has the effect of offering users the nonfree extensions too,” said FSF executive director Peter Brown.

    • Nexenta Leverages OpenSolaris and ZFS for Enterprise Storage
  • CMS

    • Midgard2 10.05 “Ratatoskr” released!

      The Midgard Project has released the first release of Midgard2 10.05 “Ratatoskr” LTS. Ratatoskr LTS is a Long Term Support version of Midgard2 Content Repository.

  • Education

    • Moodle Milestone: 2.0 Beta Preview

      Those who’ve been waiting for the release of Moodle 2.0 are getting their open source just rewards this week. The release, which has been met already with several delays, is a “beta preview” — which is to say, not yet a stable release, but a functional template of what’s in store for early adopters (note that Moodle HQ will be releasing weekly updates as the code matures as a series of beta previews leading up to the stable release¹).

  • Business

    • Recipe for a successful business: One part openness, two parts trust

      I’m reminded of an article Dana Blankenhorn wrote a few years back, where he noted that trust lies at “the heart of open source.” Trust is what motivates software coders to open up their projects to communities of strangers. It drives a CIO to choose an open source vendor, who won’t lock them into a particular technology or brand. And it is broken when a social networking (and advertising) business repeatedly strongarms its users into pushing their private information out to the world.

    • BIRT Generates Over $45 Million Across 450 Paying Customers, Used by Over 750,000 Developers Worldwide

      BIRT is an Eclipse Foundation open source project that was founded by and continues to be co-led by Actuate. It is used by about 750,000 developers worldwide and has become the de facto open source environment for presenting compelling data visualisations on the web.

  • SpringSource

  • Releases

    • Rapid-I revolutionises business intelligence processes with RapidMiner 5.0

      Rapid-I, a leading provider of open source solutions for predictive analytics, data mining and text mining, is launching RapidMiner 5.0: The new version allows enterprises to map and manage the entire business intelligence process chain from analytical ETL, data mining and predictive reporting with a single solution. The fully revised user interface offers a significantly simplified operation, meaning that even newcomers to analysis can be given vital support with tasks that come up frequently.

  • Government

    • VistA Modernization Report Features Open Source

      A Veterans Affairs requested VistA Modernization Report is now available. The good news: it prominently features and recommends open source and discusses the prospect of VA VistA as a national standard.


      Among the reports issues, it calls the GNU General Public License ‘restrictive’. Restrictive of what? Restrictive of the ability of proprietary vendors to establish and maintain vendor lock-in at the great expense of taxpayers and patients? The report at times treats open source and proprietary EHR software as equals instead of proprietary EHR software as a destructive invasive species. The report probably understates the number of private sector VistA deployments as measured by the 2008 AMIA Open Source White Paper. Finally, it makes the common error of subdividing open source vs commercial when open source is certainly commercial. They probably mean open source vs. proprietary.

  • Economist

    • The Economist and Launchpad

      Economist logoThe online team at The Economist recently set up a Launchpad project, using a commercial subscription. I asked Mark Theunissen, from The Economist Group, about their plans.

      Mark: We’re migrating the existing Economist.com stack from Coldfusion/Oracle to a LAMP stack running Drupal. At present, we’re about half way through — if you visit a blogs page, channel page, or comments page they will be served from Drupal, but the home page and actual articles are still served from Coldfusion. There’s a migration and syncronisation process happening in the background between Oracle and MySQL.

    • The Economist To Go Open Source

      The world renowned Economist Magazine is migrating its infrastructure from proprietary to an Open Source stack. According to this blog post on Launchpad, The Economist is migrating its existing stack “from Coldfusion/Oracle to a LAMP stack running Drupal,” says Mark Theunissen from the Economist Group.

  • Programming

    • Yehuda Katz on Merging into Merb

      In December of 2008, the Ruby on Rails community was at a crossroads. The mainline Rails project was losing ground to Merb, an alternative open source MVC framework for building Ruby applications. The community was fragmenting. Yehuda Katz was the creator of the Merb framework, and rather than continue on with that project, he and his fellow contributors decided to merge Merb and Rails. The decision sparked a number of Rails homecomings for other outside projects, and in February the first beta of an integrated Rails 3.0 arrived. We sat down with Katz to discuss the past, present and future of Ruby on Rails.


  • Law & Order

    • Spammers ordered to pay tiny ISP whopping $2.6m

      The judgment was awarded by Magistrate Judge Elizabeth D. Laporte of the US District Court in Northern California. It comes in a case filed against the principals of a business called Find a Quote. A four-employee ISP in Garberville, California, Asis said it receives about 200,000 junk messages per day and spends about $3,000 per month to process them.

    • Teacher Caught On Video Stealing From Lockers

      A school spokesman said it’s possible the student who recorded the cell phone video could get in trouble as well because students are not supposed to use their phones during the day.

      School officials said they are not allowed to record video in locker rooms because of privacy.

    • Italy: Prosecution Advances in Red Light Camera Fraud Scandal

      The investigation into the fraudulent use of red light cameras in Italy last week concluded with prosecutors preparing charges against thirty-eight public officials and photo enforcement company executives. Prosecutors claim that three photo enforcement companies formed a cartel that operated in collusion with public officials for the purpose of generating revenue. The officials accepted bribes in return for approving lucrative contracts and shortening the duration of yellow lights at intersections equipped with red light cameras.

    • Voters turned away from polling stations in UK general elections
    • Search neutrality? How Google became a “neutrality” target

      If ISPs should be subject to “net neutrality,” should companies like Google be subject to “search neutrality”?

      When we wrote recently about the idea of “search neutrality,” some readers seemed to believe that we had coined the term, but nothing could be further from the truth. “Search neutrality” now fills the FCC filings of companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T, all of whom see no reason why their businesses should be picked out for regulatory scrutiny while Google goes about its business unmolested.

    • Downloaded software presents legal woes

      A court decision ruling that the supply of software through a digital download mechanism is not a supply of “goods” has been upheld in the Supreme Court of NSW, setting a precedent that software downloaded via the internet is not protected by the Sale of Goods Act.

  • Science

    • Neanderthals live on in DNA of humans

      There is a little Neanderthal in nearly all of us, according to scientists who compared the genetic makeup of humans with that of our closest ancient relatives.

    • NASA team cites new evidence that meteorites from Mars contain ancient fossils

      NASA’s Mars Meteorite Research Team reopened a 14-year-old controversy on extraterrestrial life last week, reaffirming and offering support for its widely challenged assertion that a 4-billion-year-old meteorite that landed thousands of years ago on Antarctica shows evidence of microscopic life on Mars.

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment

  • Finance

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Iranian civil rights protester is spared deportation

      Bita Ghaedi, who feared her life was at risk if returned to Iran, wins interim reprieve

    • The Facebook Privacy War: What is Personal Data?

      There is a current campaign on the internet for users to not log into Facebook for a whole day on June 6th, 2010. This comes in response to the recent changes made by Facebook to their privacy settings, especially to the one leaving the default “on” instead of “off.” Basically it became quite apparent that Facebook is in fact, a business, and that your so-called “personal” data was for sale. To economists and investors, this was no surprise at all. They all expected Facebook to make a genuine attempt to make money at some point, and what better way than demographic targeted advertising?

    • Stealth installs and adware come to Facebook

      As noted earlier by PC World, the social networking site silently adds apps to profiles whenever a user is logged in and browses to certain sites. Facebook displays no dialogue box or notification window asking permission, and there is no easy way to opt out of the process.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Canadians Get To Pay More Money For The Same Broadband

      To be clear: this shouldn’t be confused with pure “billing by the byte.” The low cap and high overage model (which Time Warner Cable tried — and failed — to impose in the U.S. last year) simply jacks up prices “thousands of multiples beyond what the costs are” on top of the already high flat rate price — ensuring that consumers wind up paying significantly more money for the same service.

    • FCC Gives Hollywood The Right To Break Your TV/DVR… Just ‘Cause

      That logic is backwards. Basically, Hollywood is saying that it held the public hostage until the FCC let it break your TVs, and because the FCC caved in and Hollywood will release the movies it easily could have released before, consumers win. When someone is taken hostage and the family pays up, that’s not a “win” for the family. As Public Knowledge points out, this appears to be the FCC doing this just as a favor to Hollywood.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright law must be relaxed, says new group

        Librarians, digital activists, ISPs, music managers and other associations and trade bodies have called for the relaxing of copyright law in the EU to allow more people to access and re-use copyrighted material.

      • Canadian Writers Guild Wants ‘You Must Be A Criminal’ Tax On Both Distribution And Storage Of Content

        Canada has long had a blank media levy on things like blank CDs, which is a sort of “you must be a criminal” tax on things. Of course, what it really does is drive down the usage of blank CDs by making them ridiculously expensive — such that, in some cases, it accounts for 90% of the price of a blank CD.

      • UNESCO’s bizarre World Anti-Piracy Observatory

        Particularly notable: WAPO’s “collection of national copyright laws”, where each country’s page is linked to a “Disclaimer” in which UNESCO claims copyright on the content of the collection and restricts its use to educational, non commercial purposes – even though in most cases, they simply downloaded the copyright law from the official site, renamed the file and re-uploaded it on the UNESCO server.

      • A Copyright Violation???

        So, the question is do we not use Brittany’s painting, the piece that 18 months of design work have been crafted around, because the Manager of Intellectual Property of a famous Pop artist who also appropriated from the same source image says we can’t? Brittany’s painting certainly appears to be an appropriation of the uncopyrighted(?) graphic novel piece as opposed to an “adapted…Roy Lichtenstein image” as Ms. Lee has stated. We haven’t pressed the album yet, so we just need to know whether or not we CAN use the image based on its appropriative properties. What IS the answer here??????

      • How Many Bad Assumptions Can You Make In A Single Article About Content Creation And Copyright?

        That’s simply not true. McArdle is making the same mistake that many politicians and reporters make, despite it being pointed out as an error time and time again: she’s confusing the recording industry with the music industry. The music industry is actually doing quite well when you look at the numbers. Switching back and forth between the two, as McArdle does throughout the piece, and pretending they’re the same thing at some points, and different at others is really weak reporting. Yes, the numbers for the recording industry are worse, just as the numbers for the horse buggy industry got worse and worse each year as the automobile industry ramped up.

      • Library Group And Others Issue Declaration For Consumer Friendly Copyright In Europe

        Stuart Hamilton from the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) alerted us to the news that his organization, along with “a broad based coalition of European groups, representing consumers, creators, libraries, civil society and technology companies” have put together a declaration in the EU Parliament for Copyright for Creativity — with the goal being to reform copyright law to bring it back to its original purpose, while updating it for the internet age so that it “fosters digital creativity, innovation, education, and access to cultural works.”

    • Ofcom rattling ahead with Digital Economy Act letters regime

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