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Links 12/5/2010: New KDE Menubars; GTK+ 3.0 Test; 2010 Fedora Scholarship

Posted in News Roundup at 4:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • OMG! Indian Government to develop its own Operating System and anti virus products

    Government probably should be told that CDAC has developed OS (derived from Debian), called BOSS [i.e. Bharat Operating System Solutions].

  • Fragmentation is Good and Bad for Linux

    Linux already has a unified base: it’s called upstream components. An Embedded Linux OS, just like an enterprise Linux OS, is comprised of core upstream components like the Linux kernel. First, at the kernel level — where most hardware support happens including all driver support — the Linux ecosystem is extremely unified. Device makers or silicon suppliers that wish to support their hardware with Linux – whatever the variety – simply contribute code to the mainline Linux kernel project hosted at kernel.org. Use a mainline kernel and you are using the right base. Recently Google has been working with the kernel community to ensure their drivers are in the mainline kernel and great progress has been made to “unify” Android with the mainline kernel.

  • Desktop

    • Ultra-minimal Linux Desktops Roundup

      Of the three, fvwm looks most like a ‘normal’ window manager. It’s pretty basic, though. When you start it up for the first tine, there’s no desktop decoration at all. No menu bar, no docking bay; the only thing you can do is to click on the desktop, which fires up a basic menu.

    • Linux: King of the Hill

      Linux is overall the king of the hill and I do not care who says it is not. Linux may not be the most gross producing or the most wealthy Operating System out there but it is the most supported Operating System. All I hear out of most Windows users is the pain in the butt the system is. I know this because I used to be one of those Windows users. Now I have switched over to the Ubuntu distro and I have not regretted a minute of it. Have you heard of a Linux user complaining about Linux? I know I have not and if you have they are usually a new user.

      Overall the system is just more stable. It does not give you that amazing Blue Screen of Death Windows does. It does not all of a sudden freeze on you. The viruses are virtually non existent in the system. The system is backed with a root user that you have to have special permissions to be in. This system is made for being stable and a work environment. A majority of enterprise companies are now switching over to the Linux franchise. The reason why? Linux does not give you the problems that Windows does.

    • Who Says Desktop Linux Is Doomed?

      The fact is, Windows 7 and Linux serve different types of users and markets, and Dana Blankenhorn has a good inventory of reasons why Ubuntu can compete with Windows here. I have only been impressed with Canonical’s recent moves with Ubuntu, making it more graphical, easier to use, more compatible, and now massaging it into new, lightweight versions that have promise on netbooks.

      Meanwhile, let’s not forget that Google’s Android operating system is Linux-based, and its upcoming Chrome OS for netbooks is Linux-based and was created with the help of the Ubuntu team. Android is an enormous success story, and is spreading out beyond smartphones, and Chrome OS holds much promise too.

  • Kernel Space

    • A Detailed Look At The ATI Linux Power Management

      Last week we reported that the open-source ATI Linux driver had picked up improved power management in the form of dynamic power management and power management profiles that can be defined by the end-user. With the ATI Linux power management finally coming to fruition within the Linux kernel for its kernel mode-setting / DRM driver, we have decided to take a close look at how this power management support is working in the real world.

    • X.Org Server 1.8.1 Released To The Wild

      X.Org Server 1.8.1 boasts a variety of fixes and minor improvements while all major work is already focused on delivering X Server 1.9 that should make its debut in August.

  • Applications

    • Brasero Burns Data, Not Time – or Piles of Discs

      I often think of Brasero as a frustration-free computing tool. Burning files to a CD or DVD can be filled with angst and error. Writing failures ruin blank discs, quickly reducing the number of blanks left in the box.

      Brasero is my idiot-proof solution to creating CDs and DVDs in minimum time with maximum efficiency. It is one of the best burning tools I’ve used.

    • Top Antivirus For Linux

      Linux is easily one of the most secure operating system, added that it is least prone to virus and malware attacks. However, we cannot conclude that it is completely free from viruses.

      The number of malicious programs including viruses, malwares, trojans etc. written for Linux are very less when compared to other operating systems. Even though the numbers are very low, using an anti-virus would ensure you complete protection from viruses and malwares. There are a number of anti-virus programs available for Linux.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • Humble update: open source extension (5/11/10)

        The Humble Indie Bundle experiment has been a massive success beyond our craziest expectations. So far, in just over 7 days, 125,520 generous contributors have put down an incredible $1,150,639. Of this, contributors chose to allocate 30.91% to charity: $355,716 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child’s Play Charity. I have made a page for the full breakdown including credit card fees in a JSON format here (json).

      • Lugaru goes open-source

        In the spirit of the Humble Indie Bundle, we have decided to release the source code to Lugaru! Our community has already made some great mods by editing the levels and graphics, but source code access will allow for much deeper modifications. The coding style is what you might expect from a self-taught high school student, so it could be a challenge to understand, but feel free to give it a shot!

      • Warp Speed – 2D Multiplayer Shooter

        Two indie companies Por Design and Double Dude decided to combine forces to work on a new game named Warp Speed which as I’ve confirmed will have a native GNU/Linux client !

      • Alien Arena 2010

        Alien Arena 2010 (v7.40), the next in the Alien Arena series, is a freeware online deathmatch game with fast and furious action for Windows and Linux!

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • 6 Useful Widgets For Amarok Music Player

        Like KDE’s Plasma desktop, Amarok has the ability to display widgets. It is divided into the three columns. The left column is the music browser, which displays the user’s local collection or the Internet music library of his or her choice. The right column shows the current playlist, and the center column can hold a number of widgets. Users must click the wrench icon at the bottom to add, remove, or reorder widgets.

      • Getting menubars out of application windows…

        This is quite handy for Netbooks. I have been using my laptop with this setup recently and I find it nice to work with. The cost of the extra-click to get to the menu items does not bother me for now.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Marketing Hackfest – Zaragoza

        We had a really productive and busy week, working on the marketing plans and actions for launching GNOME 3.0.

      • The First GTK+ 3.0 Test Release

        GTK+ 2.90.0 is this initial GTK+3 test release. GTK+ 3.0 can co-exist just fine with a GTK+ 2.x installation on the system for those interested in trying out this tool-kit library.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Grace Digital Audio Has A Slick, Pandora-Centric Linux Radio

      We’ve covered Pandora-centric, Linux-based Internet radios before, such as Livio’s, but the new one that I have my eye on is Grace Digital Audio’s Solo Wi-Fi radio and media streamer.

    • Bigfoot Networks Announces 3rd Gen Killer NIC: Killer 2100

      The Killer NIC marked a sort of return to the idea of a complex NIC, forgoing a simple controller/PHY combination in favor of a complex dedicated device capable of acting more independently. By endowing a NIC with a full-fledged microcomputer running Linux, not only could the card offload virtually every part of processing required for network operations, but it could even bypass Windows’ notorious networking stack and handle packets in a manner better suited for low-latency use (i.e. games)

    • Nokia

      • MeeGo Using Btrfs As Default File-System

        MeeGo, the mobile Linux operating system that came about when Intel and Nokia joined forces to marry Moblin and Maemo, will be using Btrfs as its default file-system.

    • Android

      • Practical Open Source

        Getting the Source · Before you can do anything with the source code, you have to go get it. This could be a daunting task if you’re not familiar with what a “case-sensitive filesystem” is, or how to use the git distributed version control system.

        Fortunately, over at source.android.com there are step-by-step instructions that’ll let you get by even if you’re only lightly acquainted with all that stuff.

        I’d advise you, if you’re doing anything substantial with Android, to go grab that source code. It takes less than 10G of disk space, and if you haven’t done this kind of thing before, you might find that it feels empowering.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • $100 netbook switches to Android

        Cherrypal announced its first two netbooks to run Android. The Cherrypal Asia is available in seven-inch ($99) and 10.1-inch ($148) models, both of which run Android 1.6 on an ARM9-based Via VT 8505 processor clocked at 533MHz, and offer 256MB of RAM, 2GB of flash storage, Ethernet, WiFi, and USB connectivity, says the company.

      • World’s first $99 laptop goes Android, Cherrypal drops Linux in favor of Android for sub-100-dollar laptops
      • Vodacom unveils low-cost Linux netbook

        Cellphone group Vodacom is making a play into the netbook market. On Tuesday, it unveiled a low-cost compact computer, the Linkbook, that it says is designed specifically to provide users, especially first-time computer buyers, with “simple and affordable Internet access”.


        The Linkbook supports Wi-Fi. It has 16GB of flash memory (no hard drive), an 8,9-inch TFT display and a Motorola-derivative processor.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mozilla

    • What’s Next for Me (But Not Yet!)

      I just announced internally that after 5 years at Mozilla, and a couple as the CEO, I’ve decided to leave later this year to join Greylock Partners as a venture partner.

    • Firefox 4 release plan: The need for speed

      Mozilla hopes to release Firefox 4 in October or November, a new version that has speed among its top goals.

      “Performance is a huge, huge, huge thing for us,” said Mike Beltzner, vice president of engineering for Firefox, in a Webcast on Tuesday about plans for the browser. “We created the performance story, and we’ve got to keep at it.”

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Joomla vs Drupal: business models and commercial ecosystem

      Why is this happening? First, the Joomla people that I talked to believed that there was more money to be made in the Drupal world, as Drupal tends to attract larger projects. Further, the lack of Drupal template clubs is perceived as an opportunity for Joomla developers already familiar with that business model. Third, since the long awaited Joomla 1.6 release is “only” an incremental release, some people are only marginally excited about it. Contrasted with Drupal 7 and WordPress 3.0, both of which are shaping up to be phenomenal, paradigm-shifting releases with tons of improvements and feature additions, many Joomla developers are expanding their horizons and portfolios.


  • Openness

    • Creative Commons Treasures

      The MakerBot contest has brought a lot of new members of the Thingiverse community, and I hope, inspired by your experiences so far with creating open source content for 3D printing, you’ll stick around and keep making Thingiverse amazing! I also hope you’ll be exploring the world of open source and creative commons wizardry that’s quietly transforming the world. To aid you in this, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite open source and creative commons gems and wonders:

      http://www.instructables.com Perhaps most importantly to Thingiverse users, hardware is now an open-source thing. Instructables is an excellent place to learn tricks for building things and making them real.

    • “Always collaborate”: Say hello to OpenFile, the local news site putting those new media maxims to the test
    • Open source hardware is making big bucks

      IT TURNS OUT that 13 companies are making millions from their open source hardware (OSHW) products.

    • Open Access/Content

      • The real political nerds

        Data matters. We use it to understand what has already happened in the world, and we use it to make decisions about what to do next. But in among the graphics and electoral cock-ups lies a terrible truth: a small army of amateur enthusiasts are doing a better job of collecting and disseminating basic political data than the state has managed.

        Chris Taggart blogs at CountCulture and was baffled to discover that there is no central or open record of the results from local elections in the UK. If you go to the Electoral Commission’s website, they pass the buck to the BBC, where you can find seat numbers for each area, but no record of how many votes were cast for each candidate. Plymouth University holds an unofficial database of these results, and they pay people to type every single one of them in, painstakingly and by hand. After all that they charge for access, which is perfectly understandable. So for democracy, open analysis, and public record, it might as well not exist.

      • Bill would require posting government docs, contracts online

        Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has introduced a bill that aims to put all government documents online—or at least the public ones, anyway. As part of the “Public Online Information Act,” the documents would be submitted to a free, searchable database, and an advisory committee would be established in order to oversee the process.

      • The Global Development Of Free Access To Legal Information

        Since the mid1990s the Internet’s Worldwide Web has provided the necessary technical platform to enable free access to computerised legal information. Prior to the web there were many online legal information systems and numerous legal information products distributed on CD-ROM, but there was no significant provision of free access to legal information anywhere in the world. Both government and private sector online legal publishers charged for access. The web provided the key element required for free public access – a low cost distribution mechanism. For publishers it was close to a ‘no cost’ distribution mechanism if they were not required to pay for outgoing bandwidth. The ease of use of graphical browsers from around 1994, and the web’s use of hypertext as its principal access mechanism (at that time) meant that, the web provided a simple and relatively consistent means by which legal information could be both provided and accessed. This was an attractive alternative to the proprietary, expensive and training intensive search engines on which commercial online services largely relied. The development of free access Internet law services was based on these factors.

      • Enlightenment 2.0: Unleashing the Open Science Revolution

        Now look at reality. Without massive coordinated effort we shall surely fail to achieve a Free and Open Science and Technology Paradigm. The vision sketched here needs to come about within the next decade if humanity is to make any progress against our interrelated great challenges—Energy, Climate, Health, Food Security, and Poverty. By 2020 there must be a distributed, global network of institutions participating in the governance of Science and Technology. I hope you share our excitement for this unique instant in history when it is finally possible for mankind, a species distinguished and defined by its capacity to use tools, to unleash the unlimited problem solving powers of the tool of tools, science.

      • Why I’m Going to Publish the Mediactive Book with Lulu

        My former publisher was fine with Creative Commons, as proved by the fact that we did the first book that way. But as David told me at the outset of the new search, I was likely to limit the potential field because I had one non-negotiable requirement: The book will be published under a Creative Commons license. In this case, as with We the Media, the kind of Creative Commons license would say, essentially, that anyone could make copies of the work for non-commercial use, and if they created derivative works, also only for non-commercial purposes, those works would have to be made available a) with credit to me and b) under the same license.

      • Over 20% of the world’s scholarly journals now open access! (Kudos to DOAJ)

        This is a conservative estimate. DOAJ is doing great work, but they are a small group, and kvetches from the open access community tend to center around the lag time it takes for new or converted journals to get through the DOAJ vetting process and be included in DOAJ.

  • Programming


  • Google Reader Adds HTML5 Support

    Google Reader has released a slew of new updates today, the most prominent being support for HTML5-powered videos and audio.

  • Science

    • One of Jupiter’s belts disappears

      Over the next few months, we can expect to see a white spot appear which will gradually get stretched out by the planet’s 350mph winds to form a new SEB.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Torture Supporter Peter Ricketts as National Security Adviser

      Even worse news. Cameron’s much vaunted National Security Council will be headed by the FCO’s pro-torture Peter Ricketts, who is personally up to his ears in the policy of complicity in torture, and in its continued cover-up – including being personally involved in the censorship of this vital FOI release last week.

    • British Sense of Humour? Not So Much

      In other words, our society has become so corrupted by the cynical abuse of the idea of “terror” that we have lost all sense of proportion, not to mention humour. Tragic – and dangerous, since it is bound to have a chilling effect on Twitter in this country.

    • The Race to Build a Secure Operating System

      Early in 2009 a Dutch university was awarded a grant for $3.3 million from the European Research Council to fund 5 more years of work on a Unix derivative version operating system called Minix. This research effort is designed to be more resilient and secure than either Linus or Windows. The most impressive feature in Minix is said to be its self healing feature. This is believed to be the first operating system with the capable of fixing itself when a bug is detected.

    • Software Insecurity is Our Biggest Weakness

      If the United States wants to remain competitive in the global economy and prevent widespread penetrations of its strategic, corporate and commercial networks, enterprises and government agencies should stop relying on commercial software and go back to writing more of their own custom code, a security expert said Tuesday.

  • Environment

    • Economics for the Story of Stuff

      Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff, the explosive online video (now also expanded into a book), provides an entertaining explanation of a glaring economic flaw. The Story of Stuff takes a look at the economy’s linear system that runs from extraction to production to distribution to consumption to disposal. As Annie says, “… you cannot run a linear system on a finite planet indefinitely.” You especially can’t grow the size of that linear system indefinitely. But that’s the misguided aim of current economic goals and policies. Misguided as it is, however, we know why politicians and economists push economic growth and consumer spending. As soon as we slow down our shopping and buy less stuff, the economy spirals into a recession. That’s when we start hearing about and experiencing real problems – problems like people losing their jobs, their homes, and even their ability to take care of basic needs.

    • Sharing: The New Recycling?

      Over at the wonderful Streetsblog, Shareable friend Chris Carlsson reminds us that curbside recycling was once considered a wacky, far-out idea. “We tend to take curbside recycling for granted,” writes Chris. “It seems like common sense, and these days the ubiquitous three bins are everywhere: black for landfill, blue for recyclables, and most recently green for compost. But only a few decades ago it was ‘crazy hippie activists’ who started the process of bringing our trash out of the dark and into the light of day.”

    • Mountains of rubbish

      The Qinghai-Tibet railway has brought an influx of non-biodegradable waste to the Himalayan plateau, posing serious environmental challenges. He Haining and Guo Haiyan report.

    • Mercury high in Japanese town that hunts dolphins

      Residents of the dolphin-hunting village depicted in Oscar documentary “The Cove” have dangerously high mercury levels, likely because of their fondness for dolphin and whale meat, a government lab said Sunday.


      Environmentalists have long protested Taiji’s dolphin slaughter and Japan’s whaling activities, and have adopted the mercury issue as part of their cause.

    • If You Think You Have a Sense of the Oil Spill’s Scale

      Try this utility from Paul Rademacher’s site, which overlays a scaled representation of the Deepwater Horizon spill onto a Google Earth view of any city you choose. (May require a Google Earth web plug-in, available at the site linked above. I’ve used that plugin for a long time with no ill effects.)

    • China’s coal bubble…and how it will deflate U.S. efforts to develop “clean coal”

      The conventional wisdom in energy-and-environment circles is that China’s economy, which is growing at a rate of eight percent or more per year, is mostly coal powered today and will continue to be so for decades to come. Coal is cheap and abundant, and China uses far more of it than any other nation. The country is trying to develop other energy sources fast—including nuclear, solar, and wind—but these won’t be sufficient to reduce its reliance on coal. That’s one of the reasons it is important for the U.S. to develop “clean coal” technology, which China can then begin to adopt so as to reduce the horrific climate impacts of its coal-heavy energy mix.

    • The Ecological Footprint of e-Books

      There has yet to be a conclusive study that compares the environmental cost of a single e-book in comparison to a single print book, so we’re left to draw conclusions from the rough comparisons made in the New York Times article and this well-considered Exact Editions blog post. Until then, it’s best to be aware of our consumption behaviors, no matter which we prefer, and push for further research comparing the respective ecological footprints of e-books and print books. And if we want to play it really safe, follow Siel’s advice and make better use of what may remain the greenest (and most shareable) distribution system: the public library.

    • Brookings Report: “Bright Flight” Transforming Cities and Suburbs

      The report merits much more careful analysis and closer reading. But one thing seems evident: “suburbs” and “cities” are no longer clearly defined categories with predictable attributes. The vast metropolitan landscape of America is far more fluid and dynamic than it has been in decades past. And old-school policy solutions are not going to be applicable to these new challenges.

  • Finance

    • The Decline Of The West

      Most analysts (at least the ones that are worth reading) contend that the sovereign default crisis (Greece, Portugal, Spain, etc.) in the EU is about the collapse of a system that created monetary union without a political union. It isn’t. That’s actually a narrow, parochial view. Instead, the current sovereign debt crisis is about something much more interesting: it’s another battle in a war for dominance between “our” integrated, impersonal global economic system and traditional nation-states. At issue is whether a nation-state serves the interests of the governed or it serves the interests of a global economic system.

      Who’s winning? The global economic system, of course. The 2008 financial crisis, the first real battle of this war (as opposed to the early losses in skirmishes in Russia, Argentina, the Balkans, etc.), generated a very decisive outcome. It was a resounding defeat for nation-states.* The current crisis in the EU will almost certainly end with the same results.

    • 4 Big Banks Score Perfect 61-Day Run
    • Last week’s stock plunge largely caused by big Wall Street firms, SEC chief says

      Major Wall Street firms retreated from the market Thursday at the very moment when they were most needed to support normal trading, in what a senior federal regulator called the “most significant” factor behind the stock market’s dramatic volatility.

    • [Satire] The Case Against Goldman Sachs
    • The Financial Oligarchy Reigns: Democracy’s Death Spiral From Greece to the United States

      These are the 61 “Senators” who sold out the American people and voted their allegiance to the Economic Elite. These “Senators” not only voted against the American people, they voted against the fundamental structure of a democratic society and free market.

    • Senate clears measure to audit Federal Reserve

      The amendment, which passed 96-0 with overwhelming bipartisan support, was the product of a deal brokered late last week by sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) to make the provision acceptable to White House and Treasury officials, and appealing to Senate moderates.

    • In Greek Debt Crisis, Some See Parallels to U.S.

      It’s easy to look at the protesters and the politicians in Greece — and at the other European countries with huge debts — and wonder why they don’t get it. They have been enjoying more generous government benefits than they can afford. No mass rally and no bailout fund will change that. Only benefit cuts or tax increases can.

    • Liquidity

      First money is liquid. Money is any asset which can be used to buy anything or pay and debt right now. Other assets are more or less liquid depending on how quickly they can be converted into money and how much that operation costs. One definition of liquidity (the only one which I accept) is the cost of a round trip money to the asset to money divided by the price of the asset.


      The main point of this post is to object to the equation of round trip costs for medium size round trips and huge round trips. However, the abuse of language is much worse. A third meaning of liquidity is the money supply. This is the sense in which Central banks are said to inject and remove liquidity via open market operations. Here “liquidity” means “liquid assets.” I don’t think this abuse of English is dangerous. It is just very mildly irritating.

    • MBA: Mortgage Purchase Applications Decrease
    • Financial overhaul pits military against car dealers

      In the battle to overhaul the nation’s financial regulations, a lobbying effort by the world’s most powerful military force may have met its match in the local car dealer.

    • Our Eurozone Call In October 2008 And Banking Reform Today

      If you don’t fix the system now, you’ll have another major crisis – and then you likely won’t fix the system again.

    • A Polish Internet Revolution

      Poland is one of the few countries that is emerging from Europe’s financial crisis relatively unscathed. While many European Union members struggle to raise funds, Poland’s zloty remains stable and interest rates low.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Adobe’s new Flash DRM comes with selective output control

      Adobe has rejiggered its DRM software for the Flash platform, combining a number of access control features under the rubric of Flash Access 2.0. The new platform can give content providers all sorts of ways to offer media content securely, including controlling what type of output devices can display the content—in effect, Adobe it enabling HDCP and broadcast control flags for Flash content.

    • No DMCA Protection For You

      I have previously written about the Viacom v. YouTube case here and here. Ben Sheffner has an update that points to the Washington Legal Foundation amicus brief in the case. This brief, unlike the other brief mentioned in the article, deals not with the facts in this case, but rather with whether sites like YouTube should be afforded DMCA Safe Harbor protection at all. The brief is incredibly misleading, even for a Washington-based company.


      What makes this so hypocritical is that Viacom isn’t even sure what videos it owns the copyright to and has issued bogus DMCA takedowns for innocent videos. Yet the Washington Legal Foundation thinks that YouTube should be liable when users upload infringing content? How could YouTube possibly be able to find all unwanted content when the content creators don’t even know what content is theirs?

    • The Telcos’ Secret Anti-Net Neutrality Strategy

      NoMoreHelio writes “The political blog ThinkProgress lays out big telecom’s plan to attack net neutality. The blog obtained a secret PowerPoint presentation from a telecommunications industry front group (PPT) that outlines the industry strategy for defending against regulatory attempts by the FCC. The industry plans to partner with two conservative ‘astroturfing’ groups, best known for their work seeding the Tea Party movement. Today’s revelation from ThinkProgress comes as Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) joined various telecom-funded front groups to unveil an anti-net neutrality bill.”

    • NEC announces video checking technology
    • Big Content’s depraved indifference

      Something I think gets lost in the debate over DRM: Big Content doesn’t want DRM because they want to usher in an era of totalitarian control technologies; they don’t want copyright filters because they want to make the censor’s job easier; they don’t want increased intermediary liability because they want to extinguish easy personal expression and collective action.

    • CMAP #9: Ebooks

      There is no topic in the publishing industry this decade that is the source of as many misconceptions, superstitions, lies, plausible untruths, and idiocies as ebooks. Ebooks generate more email to my from my readers than just about any other topic. And the situation is only going to get worse over the next few years, so strap your safety helmet on tight …

      I am coming to this topic from two different angles. Firstly, I’m an author and some of my books are published through ebook channels. Secondly, I’ve got a computer science degree — having graduated in 1990, this makes me about as current as someone with an aeronatical engineering degree issued in 1937 — which qualification, along with several years earning my crust as a programmer and as a computer journalist, has fine-tuned my bullshit detector.


      Publishers inflict DRM on their ebooks.

      I shouldn’t need to explain why DRM is bad, stupid, and doomed to failure, so I’ll leave it to cryptography guru Bruce Schneier, who in 2001 pointed out that DRM is an attempt to repeal the laws of nature. When you get down to it, every DRM scheme relies on encrypting files, then giving them to someone else, along with the necessary decryption key for decrypting them, and trusting that the someone else is too stupid to reverse engineer the decryption algorithm and use the keys you helpfully provided.

    • Open vs. Closed: Google Takes on Amazon and Apple in e-Books

      According to Google product manager Chris Palma, who described the search giant’s plans at a recent publishing industry event in New York, it will start selling digital books in late June or July. And unlike books bought from either Apple or Amazon, which are locked by digital rights management software and can only be read on the proprietary devices sold by those companies, Palma said that e-books bought from Google Editions will be accessible from a range of non-Google websites and will be readable on any device that has a web browser (including presumably a Google tablet, if one ever materializes). It doesn’t get much more open than that.

    • Google Editions Could Boast Over 4 Million Titles at Launch, eBook Revolution to Follow

      The publishing industry has been backed into a corner as of late, as the digital age hasn’t played too nicely with old fashioned paper and ink. Companies that rely on the sale of books and printed media have turned to producing their own e-readers in an attempt to capitalize on digitized publications (see Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook), but stand-alone devices for reading e-publications have proven hard to justify for consumer’s who already own any combination of MP3 player, mobile phone, laptop, and now tablet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ACS:Law Anti-Piracy Scheme Cited In Sex Shop Closure Row

      A sex shop company owned by one of Britain’s richest men has been revealed as a client of controversial anti-piracy lawyers ACS:Law. Following an objection against a license renewal for one of its premises, the owning company complained that it was the target of a national campaign, and later withdrew its application and closed down the shop.

    • Big Music lawyer as US attorney general?

      Just when you thought things couldn’t become any more twisted in the Obushma administration, meet (ex-)Jenner & Block employee Don Verrilli (right).

      If his face seems familiar, it’s because you’ve seen it before.

      In Excess Copyright, Canadian copyright lawyer Howard Knopf noted Verrilli “fought and won the Grokster case for the music industry in the US Supreme Court”.

    • Copyrights

      • Publishers were expert at selling copies – not intellectual work

        Publishers aren’t interested in developing business models that pay intellectual workers for their intellectual work, because they’ve never been interested in paying intellectual workers anything except as little as possible. Moreover, they know exactly how to pay intellectual workers. They’ve been doing it for centuries.

    • ACTA

      • EC’s ACTA Negotiator Devigne: Rejected U.S. “Blackmail”

        Luc Devigne, the European Commission’s lead ACTA negotiator, recently appeared before the International Trade Committee which brought together Members of the European Parliament and ACTA negotiators. Sources say Devigne revealed several key things:

        * the release of the draft ACTA text may be a one-time deal. There are no current plans to release the updated text following future rounds of talks.
        * Devigne reportedly told the MEPs that the EC successfully rejected U.S. “blackmail”, a reference to U.S. demands for changes on the scope of ACTA in return for greater transparency.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – SF – NASA Airport Simulator (1/9/2001)

20-Year Microsoft Veteran Becomes HP Vice President in Charge of Software and Solutions Business

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Google, HP, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 9:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Augusto Pinochet is a well-known example of coup d’état

Summary: By means of entryism, Microsoft increases influence inside HP, thus reducing the chance of Slate and Windows Home Server joining the list of dead products from Microsoft

IN THE PREVIOUS post we showed how HP was preparing to dump Vista 7, apparently only to replace it with a newly-acquired Linux-based operating system. It’s all just a rumour at the moment.

Mary Jo Foley asks the question, is “Microsoft and HP['s] Love on the rocks?”

Well, hardly.

Microsoft and HP collaborate in many ways and we have given many examples to that effect.

Vista 7, which is a hyped-up Vista with few improvements here and there, does not fulfill HP’s needs for tablets. Vista 7 is just not competitive enough and HP really hated Vista, based on E-mails from its management (unsealed around the Steve Ballmer deposition).

We are saddened but not surprised that HP has announced in a press release [1, 2] that it takes Microsoft staff to lead “Software and Solutions Business” — whatever that practically means.

This news was mostly covered by enthusiastic Microsoft boosters (for obvious reasons) and we found:

From the point of view of Free software and GNU/Linux, this is bad news. Microsoft’s Veghte very recently left the abusive company, right after meeting privately with Steve Ballmer. Amazon ought to serve as a cautionary lesson here. Amazon added Microsoft patent tax to Red Hat and Kindle’s implementation of Linux after hiring many executives from Microsoft, including one who joined the Kindle team just weeks before that notorious patent deal. Veghte could potentially put a Microsoft tax on WebOS just like in those predatory attempts against Android, which is also Linux based.

Veghte is not merely an innocent guy who spent a couple of years at Microsoft (like employees of companies that get acquired by Microsoft). He really grew up in this culture and in previous posts we gave examples of his role in antitrust violations:

Hewlett-Packard’s hiring of former Windows executive Bill Veghte, announced today, is another example of the computer maker’s potential to compete with its longtime partner, Microsoft, in the software business. The 20-year Microsoft veteran will lead HP’s software and services unit in his new role as an HP executive vice president.

Vice President, eh?

Speaking of seats being swapped, one reader told us that “[i]t’s time for the annual re-org to keep Nokia from getting competitive: Nokia has yet another corporate reorganization, this time they’ve put Anssi Vanjoki back in charge

“It’s time for the annual re-org to keep Nokia from getting competitive…”
      –Anonymous reader
See this page about Mary T. McDowell and recall how Nokia got ‘poisoned’ by Microsoft influence, later to sign Microsoft deals and play ball for software patents in Europe. A leopard like Veghte won’t change his spots overnight and not within a month, either. He spent two decades working alongside people like Steve Ballmer.

Now, lo and behold; in the past 2 weeks’ news we found this press release, titled “AMD Works with Microsoft and HP to Raise the Bar for 2P Price/Performance with Windows Server® 2008 R2″


Let’s look further at the news.

How about “HP and Microsoft on Sex and the City 2″?

In the upcoming “Sex and the City” sequel, Carrie Bradshaw and her friends will carry Hewlett-Packard (HP) laptops that run Microsoft Windows.


HP’s Debian-based home servers will hopefully not be neglected. Over the past week or two Microsoft has generated many headlines about Windows “home servers” (here is just one example), which are a technical disaster that falls short of Linux [1, 2] and usually relies on bundling from HP. Will HP call this bad product off and concentrate on Debian now that its “Software and Solutions Business” VP is a hardcore Microsoft executive?

Microsoft has seen many of its products dying recently, Forefront being one of the latest. It was only days beforehand that Microsoft still recommended it, so just because Microsoft raves about a beta of Home Server doesn’t mean it won’t be cancelled like Windows Essential Business Server for example. But with Veghte in charge? Not likely.

New Indications That HP is Dumping Windows for Linux (for Mobile Form Factors)

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad Vista 7

Summary: Vista 7 is put where it belongs (the trash can) as Linux remains lighter and more suitable for devices such as tablets; new security headaches involving Vista 7

LAST WEEK we wrote about a Microsoft Windows summit being called off. Microsoft “scraps” it according to its very own booster and refunds are being issued to those who thought that Windows means partying. Well, the Windows business is declining and products that use Windows get cancelled or discontinued. Watch Microsoft excuses coming via Paul Thurrott, who is another Microsoft booster. He tries to repaint the death of Microsoft's Courier as a “non-event”, but the press does not agree with him. A lot of coverage about a product that was never said to exist in the first place sure arrives from all over Internet, except fake ‘news’ like MSN/MSNBC (distractions). Here are some examples from what qualifies as ‘news’ sites, not mere blogs (there are tons more):

The Windows-powered Slate is dying too (Vista 7 dumped), not just Courier (some of the articles above wrote about both).

We found fewer articles about the latter because it’s not confirmed by Microsoft yet and the role of Linux as a Windows replacement is only a rumour at this stage (although now it is more certain than before). To give a sample of what’s considered news articles:

It may make sense to be done with it. Windows 7, though much lighter and more efficient than Windows Vista, is still a full-fledged desktop operating system. Even though it runs pretty well on netbooks, it’s clearly not suited for super-simple touchscreen tablet devices. Microsoft would need to undertake a major rewrite and strip the software down to its essentials.

The last we heard about the HP Slate, it was dead (at least, according to rumors). HP found that it just couldn’t get the performance it wanted out of Windows 7 on the Slate’s Intel Atom processor and 1 GB of RAM. That’s no surprise to anyone who’s used a netbook with similar specs. Add the touch layer to this package and performance really isn’t going to be great, at least not without a lot of tweaking.

A lot of the Web sites which comprise Microsoft boosters are quoting some vapourware talk from Bill Gates about tablets (styluses and touchscreens) because they cannot accept an embarrassing defeat, apparently to WebOS (they hardly mention that it’s based on Linux). We choose not to reference those sites because they distract, as intended.

Vista 7 is failing in many other ways. In fact, here is a new blog post titled “Windows security software FAIL?”

It will be interesting to see how long it takes the security vendors to respond, either in the form of software patches or corporate denials, but in the meantime one does have to wonder if Windows security is if not dead in the water then certainly floundering around a little. One thing is for sure, if security researchers can uncover these problems, and if the bad guys can uncover these problems, one has to wonder why the vendors themselves are not made aware of them during the security software testing process?

IDG says that the “Windows 7 ‘compatibility checker’ is a Trojan”

Scammers are infecting computers with a Trojan horse program disguised as software that determines whether PCs are compatible with Windows 7.

Yes, without software repositories, Vista 7 too will be very vulnerable (see links at the bottom).

It is worth adding that WebOS is becoming a risk to Apple’s mobile OS. Apple has already threatened Pre/WebOS with patents. Here is the unofficial Apple defence (they don’t like Linux) responding to Microsoft booster Michael Gartenberg without naming/highlighting his deep roots in Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11].

Vista 7 and security:

Microsoft Mouthpieces Put a Number on Microsoft ‘Linux Tax’

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, SCO, Windows at 8:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“What we’re seeing though now [from Microsoft] can be loosely described as patent terrorism, where people are using their patent horde as a threat…”

James Eagleton, systems product manager for Sun Microsystems

Summary: Rob Enderle puts a price tag on Linux/Android to deter companies from using it; Gartner’s software patents proponent does the same thing; CNET’s Ina Fried carries on participating in Microsoft’s patent terrorism with multiple dishonest articles about Android; Microsoft’s own mobile business is a total disaster as we show using new articles

LAST year we found out that Xandros was paying Microsoft $50 per copy of GNU/Linux for patent 'protection' (no patents are even named, but it’s just extortion/racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], so it’s part of the plan).

Now that Microsoft is increasing its attacks on Android (extortion against HTC after collecting ‘Android’ tax from LG, Kyocera Mita, and Samsung) we find this totally misinformed article from Associated Press. The headline says that Microsoft is “cozy” with HTC when signing that settlement, but the HTC-Microsoft agreement was apparently an extortion. There is nothing “cozy” about that, so Jessica Mintz is just playing along with Microsoft PR. “Google Pays Microsoft To Sell Google Nexus One,” says the weird headline of another news site. This same silly Web site says (in the headline) that “Apple & Microsoft Benefit From Android Phone Success”

What??? Apple?

A writer would have to be seriously out of touch to summarise the situation this way. This is extortion. It’s not about being “cozy” with Microsoft and it’s not about “Google Pay[ing] Microsoft To Sell Google Nexus One”. These reports are bound to deceive a lot of readers and benefit Microsoft’s racket, which is probably illegal in many countries. Here is a better example of coverage.

According to another article which cites another, 'Microsoft Enderle' says that $20-$40 is the size of the ‘Android tax’ or ‘Linux tax’.

A Bloomberg article has it that analyst Rob Enderle estimates that HTC, as well as other unnamed phone makers, may have to pay Microsoft $20 to $40 for each Android handset sold. Of course, analyst predictions can be (and often are) wrong. $40 per phone is way too much.

Rob Enderle also says that “Android is going to fall off as an expensive and risky platform”, unless Google manages to avoid paying that much money to Microsoft.

“If it’s 20 to 40, [this] is more than what Microsoft would get for [Windows] CE on the phone,” remarked our reader Oiaohm. Rob Enderle could just be lying here for FUD; he also insisted that SCO had a true case.

“Microsoft’s Got Nothin’,” explained one blogger, who makes the mistake of confusing patent deals in general with patent deals involving Linux (the first sentence is not correct).

In the last three years, Microsoft claims to have entered into over 600 licensing agreements with companies small and large over alleged patent violations in “Linux”. One consistent feature of all these agreements is that their contents are unknown. No one, other than Microsoft and the relevant “licensee”, knows which parts of “Linux” violate which patents. Another consistent feature is that most of the “licensees” are small companies without the resources to take on Microsoft in a patent claim. However, there are a number of larger or more high profile companies that have also entered into such agreements, including Amazon, Novell, Xandros, Turbolinux, TomTom and most recently HTC. The whole situation is clouded in mystery under a veil of PR speak and mumbo jumbo. So what the hell is going on? What can we deduce from what we know so far?


Because all of the licensing deals are confidential, no one knows “what” in “Linux” infringes on Microsoft’s patents. By keeping the “what” confidential, Microsoft does not need to identify the patents it claims are infringed. This means that Linux users cannot investigate these patents and analyse their potential validity if challenged.


Obviously, this whole article is based on conjecture and speculation, however, it is an interesting analysis, which may point to a number of conclusions in relation to Microsoft’s recent patent enforcement activity. First, Microsoft is worried – not specifically about Linux per se, but about the shift of the computing world to new appliance-like devices and the cloud. Linux being just one player in this space. Secondly, the patent claims against “Linux” are in fact based on the vfat file system, and attacking “Linux” vendors and distributors is a convenient way to hit both embedded device manufacturers and Linux distributors at the same time. Thirdly, the patents that Microsoft claims to be infringed by Linux are probably not particularly robust, and/or where they are robust, they can be easily coded around.

This post makes the incorrect assumption which is based on a claim attributed to Microsoft. Very few companies pay Microsoft for Linux. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of companies out there which sell Linux in one form or another. Only about a handful or maybe a dozen pay Microsoft for Linux; FAT is a separate matter and it was resolved last year with a patch whose availability got overshadowed by an announcement from Microsoft. We wrote about this before and provided the supporting links.

“Very few companies pay Microsoft for Linux.”In any event, this latest extortion against Android (it was not the first because LG, Kyocera Mita, and Samsung preceded it) was mentioned by Florian, who says that the “Gartner Group believes need to pay for patent licenses “puts a serious crimp in Android’s game plan”” and he points to longtime software patents proponent Brian Prentice [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Does he know who he references there? Gartner has been playing along with Microsoft's software patents spiel for quite a few years now.

Let’s explore Microsoft’s motives for attacking Linux so viciously while trying to paint itself as a friend of "Open Source". The short story is that Microsoft is dying in the mobile space, so unless it finds a way to sabotage or ‘milk’ its competitors’ business, its future is uncertain.

“Verizon runs low on Droid Incredibles,” says this new report, which is another sign that Linux-based phones are flying off the shelves because of customer demand (whereas Microsoft’s are taken off the shelves by sellers because no customers buy them).

Speculation has it that Verizon wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of Incredible buyers who had been holding out for Google’s Nexus One phones. Google last week indicated that it may not bring its own branded smartphone to Verizon, recommending Verizon consumers look at the Incredible instead.

The “Incredible” is an HTC phone, which means that Microsoft will make money from it (even though it contains not a single line of code from Microsoft). Here is a new video showing the phone.

HTC’s small yet power-packed Incredible phone has already bagged a rave review from us. If you want to see more of the phone, here’s a cool stop-motion animation video, via Engadget, that shows the unboxing of the Incredible.

TechRestore, an electronics repair shop, has taken apart the Incredible and then it put all back together.

PhonesReview asks, “Will Microsoft KIN Phones Lose out to HTC Droid Incredible?” Well, no matter which one people buy, Microsoft gets paid either way.

The latest handsets from Microsoft the KIN One and KIN Two have now become available, but according to an article over on strategyeye, the Microsoft KIN phones may well lose out to the likes of the HTC Droid Incredible, and even the Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus.

We’ll soon come to discussing the Palm Pre, whose Linux-based operating system is apparently also defeating Vista 7.

We ought to point out that HTC’s patent deal/settlement with Microsoft came around the same time that HTC hyped up Windows. The ‘Microsoft press’ called it “Redmond vs. Android” and there are signs that Microsoft’s actions act as a deterrent to those who wanted to use Android in their products (BlackBerry maker for starters) (another site asks, “Will RIM’s New Operating System Save It Market Share?”). That’s just what Microsoft intended, other than the intent to tax products it does not own.

Microsoft’s booster from CNET (Ina Fried, who also pasted Microsoft’s patent terrorism against Android) has co-authored and published the article titled “Patent fights could change Google’s Android pitch”

Recent moves from Apple and Microsoft show that the big guys are not going to be shy about deploying their array of patents as competition increases.

More shameless FUD from Fried. Are people still reading CNET at all? What is this?

“Ina Fried is therefore no better than SCO boosters like Rob Enderle and Laura DiDio.”In another article from Fried, it says: “In a statement to CNET, Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez said that, although Microsoft prefers to resolve intellectual property licensing issues without resorting to lawsuits, it has a responsibility to make sure that “competitors do not free ride on our innovations…”

At Groklaw, Pamela Jones responded to the above portion by saying: “That’s exactly what SCO said.”

Ina Fried is therefore no better than SCO boosters like Rob Enderle and Laura DiDio. CNET is just starting to look like more of a joke than we already knew it was, with Fried carrying the torch [1, 2] of Microsoft FUD.

Microsoft’s frantic response to Android is not too surprising. Android is said to be the fastest-growing mobile platform, whereas “WinMo and Zune depress Microsoft’s mobile sales,” says this new report

As part of its Q3 results announcement, Microsoft said revenue in its mobile and entertainment division – excluding the Xbox gaming platform – fell by $80m. Windows Mobile has lost over 20% of its smartphone market share in the past four months, according to estimates from comScore, with Android the main predator. In the US – the best market for both OSs because of the weakness of market leader Symbian – the study says WinMo has just 15.1%, while Android has doubled its share in a year, to 9%, and is sure to hit double figures very soon.

Microsoft is dying in the mobile space and we know this because the company is leaping to vapourware again. Windows Phone 7 is not even out yet and they are already talking about Windows Phone 8. Should we laugh or should we cry? One thing is for sure: Microsoft boosters like Mary Jo Foley are promoting Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 in the most futile of ways (with question marks and words like “maybe” because they don’t believe what they write anymore).

Mary Jo Foley is also writing for the ‘Microsoft press’ now (unless it’s just a mirror), which removes most pretenses of unbiased reporting/opinions. As another new article points out, there are no applications for Windows Phone 7 (or hardly any).

Microsoft is still trying to generate hype using journalists*, but largely negative reviews continues to flow in. How about this roundup from Information Week?

KIN Reviews: Microsoft Phones A Flop?

The early reviews are in for Microsoft’s new KIN phones—and pundits, for the most part, aren’t overly impressed with Redmond’s attempt at a mobile device geared primarily toward social-networkers.

In our previous posts about KIN [1, 2, 3] we showed many more negative reviews. There is a limit to how many journalists Microsoft can bribe incentivise with phones that are not yet available to the public. Microsoft used similar tricks to preset a consensus and glorify Vista 7 (Vista with a new name and marketing/AstroTurfing campaign) before real customers could review it.

The company is now filing for the “Kinect” trademark. What a repellent word. Is this another attempt to compensate for bad products using branding? We gave several such examples earlier in the week.
* Or boosters masquerading as journalists, Todd Bishop for example because he can’t ever say anything negative about Microsoft products, not to mention those givings of schwag to boosters like Ina Fried , who also did the same thing when Zune was released and then hyped it up quite a lot in CNET.

Microsoft Loses Market Share in Search, Exploits Yahoo! Some More, Exploits Linux/Android Phones, and Harvests Many People’s Data

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Search, Xandros at 7:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Small cuttle fish

Summary: The software squid on the face of the Earth expands its perimeter of negative influence and subjugation

LAST week we wrote about belittling of Google, courtesy of a highly paid de facto Microsoft ‘insider’, groomed to replace Yang (currently mentioned in this new article) and wed with Ballmer. It turns out that a lot of other sources covered this too and mocked her for hypocrisy, with the exception of Microsoft partners like Ziff Davis and MSBBC [1, 2]:

Microsoft bloggers are raving about Microsoft’s use of Yahoo! as a de facto subsidiary [1, 2, 3] (the only other example of coverage comes from WebProNews), which is either hilarious or sickening. It probably depends on one’s mood. What Microsoft did to Yahoo! ought to teach everyone in the industry why Microsoft staff is corporate poison and why Microsoft is a bully without boundaries. It should be treated like a dangerous cult, which is exactly what a government delegate compared this company to.

Joe Wilcox, a former Microsoft watcher, says that “Microsoft cannibalizes Yahoo search share”

Microsoft sure is gaining search share fast. Too bad it’s cannibalizing Yahoo rather than gaining on Google.

Microsoft merely arranged the passing of traffic from Yahoo! to Microsoft. The tragic thing here is that a search option has been removed by Microsoft. Anyone who wishes to avoid Google might as well be stuck with Microsoft. This is another fine example of how Microsoft ruins the market, kills products, harms innovation, and puts people out of work.

Indeed, according to other articles too [1, 2], the only firm which gauges US search market share and is not receiving payments from Microsoft* says that Bong [sic] lost market share in April, despite losing (‘investing’) billions of dollars per year by paying companies to drop Google [1, 2]. It couldn’t get much worse for Microsoft. Or maybe it could [1, 2].

Anyway, as Search Engine Journal points out, Microsoft also uses its search/advertising business to exclude competition in the Web browsers and operating systems space:

Here are some things I’ve seen change and LOVE:

* AdCenter Desktop Editor – My only qualm here is that this is only for PC (come ON Microsoft, stop it, we are computer users too, and no this is not making me want to buy a PC).


* Support Your Competitors Products – They aren’t your competitors when it comes to your advertising. Get over it, k?
o Mac Support for Excel Plugin and Desktop Editor (while you’re at it can you tell the Excel people to make Excel Mac like Excel PC? Thanx.)
o Google Chrome Support (it works, but can we remove the warning?)


Now that Yahoo! is hijacked by Microsoft, we are not surprised to see Microsoft’s bedfellow Samsung putting Yahoo! on Linux phones to not only make money for Microsoft (patent racket) but send users to Microsoft’s datacentres too.

Yahoo and Samsung are expanding their partnership so that mobile services such as Yahoo Mail and Yahoo Search will be preloaded on Samsung phones running the proprietary Bada and Google Android operating systems.

We will say more about what Microsoft is doing to Linux/Android phones in the next post. Samsung makes it a Ballnux and just like Xandros, it is paying Microsoft for Android. Those new Samsung phones are therefore not a victory and the same goes for LG’s new Android-powered phones, which are ‘taxed’ by Microsoft. How about HTC, which also became a victim?

Two Android ROMs crammed onto HTC Hero

If you’d like to give it a go, you’ll need at least some knowledge of the rooting process, and a computer running a flavour of Linux. Be aware also that the process takes some time to complete – around 15 minutes to “dualize” the handset, and slow boot-ups the first few times that you start your dual-booting handset.

HTC is also paying Microsoft for Android. HTC is based in Taiwan, whereas LG and Samsung are based on Korea. They all pay Microsoft for Android and we can’t quite see the Taiwanese government stepping in to stop this abuse because Microsoft has just become a partner of the government there (smells like corruption).

The Taiwan branch of U.S. software giant Microsoft Corp. showcased cloud computing applications created by local companies on Microsoft platforms, at a summit Tuesday in Taipei, with the aim of forging closer partnerships in a country known for its technology strength.

Why on Earth is the government assisting the very same company that it found guilty of breaking the law (about twice last year and even before that)? This ‘news’ from MSN (we knew about it months ago) makes no sense and it takes us back to yesterday’s news about what Microsoft does in Panama and some other countries whose sovereignty it takes away. Governments should by all means avoid everything that's classified as 'cloud' that's managed by another party.

“Governments should by all means avoid everything that’s classified as ‘cloud’ that’s managed by another party.”Microsoft’s relationship with Taiwan’s government is all about taking people’s data using the so-called ‘cloud’ which it makes a lot of noise about [1, 2, 3, 4] because it’s viewed as an opportunity for further lock-in, with both proprietary software and users’ loss of data possession. They are using buzz terms like “private cloud” to insinuate that the user has privacy or ownership. If it’s proprietary, however, then it’s not private, it’s rented. Free software is required for privacy in a so-called "private cloud".

Watch how Microsoft is painting everything as “cloud”, even Exchange. In the same way, Microsoft is painting everything that's Windows with the "seven" brush these days. It’s all just branding and marketing.

Here is a former Microsoft intern who says that “UC Davis scraps Gmail pilot: Privacy levels ‘unacceptable’” (not that Live@Edu is any better).

E-mail should only belong to or be seen by routers and maybe ISPs, not so-called ‘cloud’ providers. Nobody needs to have a mail account on a service whose storage capacity costs just a cent and a half and is given in exchange for spying and advertising. Hotmail is just as bad as Gmail, but the former Microsoft intern from ZDNet is more concerned about Google (where the FUD is better placed). Microsoft’s booster Ina Fried (from a sister Web site of ZDNet) has a new Microsoft boosting piece which shows how Microsoft was changing Hotmail (along with screenshots), but it’s important to remember that Microsoft ruined Hotmail ever since it took over, turning it from a leader into a follower that causes problems to the Internet as a whole. Microsoft also turned Hotmail into a spying trap, just like Google. These boosters/employees of Microsoft are being hypocrites and they know it.
* Two of the other meters, namely comScore and Nielsen, receive money from Microsoft and they all just measure something in the United States, with perhaps one exception (that’s rarely cited by the English-speaking press).

Why Microsoft is Still the Biggest Enemy of “Open Source”, Not Just GNU/Linux

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, VMware at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft has gotten so big that it can put out a Preview that will install itself without checking first to see if it has expired. The message here is that Microsoft’s time is worth more than yours…. no start-up company could get away with being that arrogant.”

Jerry Pournelle, Byte columnist

Summary: A look at how Microsoft and its former employees/current partners have been subverting the “Open Source” label while redefining what it actually means

A LOT of projects and companies are said to have ‘diluted’ the impact of “Open Source” by calling things that have no source code “Open Source”. The newest examples we found are “open-source media project”, associating “Open Source” with transparency as an answer to corruption, and “open-source game developer”. To quote one example:

US open-source media project TEDTalks is being made available to television networks around the globe.

When it’s written as “open-source” (minus, not dash) it usually means that the source code was omitted or never existed. They are trying to ride the wave of buzzwords because “open source” has connotations like ethics, sociability, and trust.

“Microsoft has deliberately hijacked the term “Open Source”, which it continually subverts and uses to market proprietary software under false or misleading labels.”The above uses of the term “Open Source” (or “open source” or “open-source”) are mostly harmless as they do not encourage proprietary software in disguise of the very opposite. That’s where Microsoft comes in.

Microsoft has deliberately hijacked the term “Open Source”, which it continually subverts and uses to market proprietary software under false or misleading labels. That’s just what makes Microsoft so unique, even though SAP is doing something similar these days.

One company/firm that routinely participates in corruption of terminology is the Gartner Group, to whom Free/open source software does not constitute a source of revenue, unless of course it’s just pseudo-open source or what Novell calls “mixed source”. One example of that is Talend, so Gartner is willing to make the exception.

This has not been lost on the VC community, who have invested in Talend to the tune of 28m dollars. Nor has it been lost on Gartner who have placed Talend in the highly desirable visionary quadrant in their most recent Magic Quadrant for data integration.

Let’s remember that Gartner got sued for granting such status mostly to companies which pay the “analyst tax” [1, 2, 3, 4]. Not so long ago we saw the proprietary software company known as Black Duck (still masquerading as “Open Source”) also promoted by the Gartner Group (Black Duck is turned again into a Microsoft booster for CodePlex). One of Microsoft’s favourite open source fakers (Aras) is also receiving legitimacy from Gartner, which Microsoft and Gates help fund.

Aras still describes itself as “Enterprise Open Source” [1, 2], but it’s just a Microsoft stack disguised as “Open Source”. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

“It’s revealing that almost nobody in the GNU/Linux world is gullible enough to fall for Microsoft’s charade…”A lot of former Microsoft employees seem to have turned to the ‘other side’ only to ‘reform’ that side to be more like Microsoft, their former employer. We previously wrote about Ohloh for example [1, 2], noting that it was promoting Microsoft in all sorts of ways under the disguise of “Open Source”. They are now adding features to SourceForge, having already tilted SourceForge more in Microsoft’s direction. Microsoft too is adding features to its Microsoft-centric parallel universe of “open source”, where merely every piece of software is just some ‘addon’ to proprietary software. See the comments in LWN. It’s revealing that almost nobody in the GNU/Linux world is gullible enough to fall for Microsoft’s charade; but Microsoft’s target audience is probably managers who are not aware of/familiar with technology, or even clueless developers who think that by adding function to SQL Server and .NET they are really doing “Open Source”. They don’t.

As we showed in some previous posts, Microsoft Austria and Microsoft Canada apparently target GNU/Linux users in their country and try to get them to abandon their preferences/beliefs, then embrace Microsoft. Here is a brand new example of this, from the United States for a change. This GNU/Linux blogger received a sort of invitation from Microsoft, so he responds with:

The irony is the fact that this email came out around the same time as Microsoft decided to utilize closed source patents in IE9 instead of public domain codices such as Theora. Apple even followed suit. To make matters worse, Microsoft is waging a patent war against Android smartphones, claiming that they infringe on their patents. So with all of this activity against open source, how can Microsoft claim that they are committed to it?

The thing is, nothing about this makes sense. At first, I got the impression that they are planning to destroy Open Source while masquerading as supporting it. That would make sense, given their patent wars against open source software. Then again, if they really wanted to get word out that they support open source, wouldn’t they push this nonsense to more sources? What exactly are they trying to achieve?

Microsoft has a history of not making sense when it comes to open source software. First, they submit code to the Linux kernel knowing that it would never be accepted anyway, and then they opened up the Outlook file format. After that, this year Microsoft starts their war with Android and HTC, bullying companies into buying license agreements for things that haven’t been proven to be under Microsoft’s ownership, and then announcing that IE9 will use proprietary media formats.

Watch the second comment which says: “Open source is simply a ‘buzzword’ for Microsoft. They know it’s good for marketing. While the FOSS software market has been growing very slowly, it is still growing. Users are more aware and are beginning to request ‘open’ things such as open standards, open hardware and yes open source software. Microsoft as “pro open source” is plain and simple marketing. They just really don’t want to have to deal with not being able to charge for every line of code.”

“When Microsoft was just publicly mocking “open source” every other day (i.e. not pretending) it was possible to rebut with logic.”Another case of “Open Source” fakes from Microsoft is one that’s to do with biology and “open”. We wrote about it some days ago, having previously given more examples which the Seattle press is promoting and Dana Blankenhorn falls for (we have been writing about this whole “biology” trick for months). He implies that Microsoft is “leading the open source bioinformatics movement,” but they don’t lead it, they hijack and fake it, selling proprietary software with a false label of “open source”. As the commenters point out, Microsoft only pretends to be a leader (there are prior movements) and this is not even “open source”; it’s just Microsoft’s proprietary software with some ‘dressing’ on top of it, intended to give it some luring label like “open source” (many companies do this with the word “cloud” and Microsoft sometimes does that with the word "Seven").

There is still a difference between fakes and the spreading of fear. When Microsoft was just publicly mocking “open source” every other day (i.e. not pretending) it was possible to rebut with logic. In this case, Microsoft is embedding itself in everything and then redefines what things mean. This way, people get confused and may in turn become apathetic towards “Open Source”. Watch this new DLP project which is labeled with the “open minus source” label:

Until last week, there really were no open-source agent-based DLP tools. There have been several open-source discovery tools, including Spider, Senf, and Find_SSN, but they had to be run on individual systems. Workarounds were created to use them in a distributed manner across many desktops, but the attempts were often very specific to a particular environment, kludgy, and required constant care and feeding.

The irony is that it’s Windows-only GPLv3-licensed software, as pointed out by IDG:

OpenDLP runs on an Apache Web Server using a MySQL database. This version only works on Windows computers via an installed agent. The project is hosted on Google code and is licensed under the GPL v3.

They will hopefully port it to Free/libre platforms. At the moment, just like Chem4Word, this project urges users to buy proprietary software from the company that attacks “Open Source” more than anyone else.

Watch another IDG article where Microsoft employees make it abundantly clear that they don’t understand or don’t want to understand what Free/open source software is:

“It’s something we talk about a lot,” he [Microsoft employee] says. “We release quite a lot of stuff through open source agreements so people can access them and lift the covers off. You can download F# and run it as a standalone without Visual Studio on other operating systems and stare inside.

It’s not about visibility. It’s not about “lift[ing] the covers off”. It’s supposed to be about freedom — something that Microsoft cannot or will not ever accept.

As one last item from the news, the Microsoft executives-run VMware carries on scooping up “open-source” and “Open Source” companies/projects, only to receive encouragement from the 451 Group.

The analysts at New York-based 451 Group have been pushing VMWare to buy, buy, buy, even offering a helpful list of targets, which includes Terracotta, Chordiant, and Mulesource, among others. (Yes, Gemstone was on the list.)

This is not something to be encouraged. VMware is where projects like Zimbra come to die, apparently [1, 2], at least as “open-source” projects. VMware never cared about Free/open source projects. It just wants more source code and the Microsoft folks who run the company after Tucci had overthrown the old management are not doing much to advance GNU/Linux (the old management did). There are allegations that VMware is also a GPL violator. It’s truly a shame that VMware too was ruined by former Microsoft executives.

“We are going to cut off their air supply. Everything they’re selling, we’re going to give away for free.”

Paul Maritz, Vice President, Microsoft (now VMWare CEO)

Patents Roundup: Cracks in the USPTO, Patent Trolls, and More About Theora

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Holiday luminarias

Summary: The patent system celebrates monopoly; software patents with “defensive” pools hardly a solution; the H.264 vs Theora debate rages on

THE EPO is losing its way. But the USPTO too had gone insane and as we noted the other day, there is a sharp rise in the number of monopolies it grants these days. TechDirt explains why the USPTO should not be proud to have only increased risk of litigation and perhaps lowing the bar to acceptance of applications (which leads to devaluation).

USPTO Ramping Up Patent Approvals


However, is all that being reversed? Patently-O recently pointed out that the USPTO appears to be approving patents at a much higher rate again, and there’s lots of speculation as to why. Many assume that, as was noted in the original link above, Kappos and his boss, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, are focused on reducing backlog. And so the incentives and pressure within the USPTO is to just approve patents to get them out of the way. If true, this is incredibly short-sighted and will backfire. The end result is that more bad patents get approved, and when bad patents get approved it increases bad lawsuits, followed by bad rulings for huge sums of money… leading more people to file for more bad patents hoping to win the same kind of jackpot.

Right at this moment, Nokia and Apple are suing each other. Is that a good thing? is that innovation?

“A definition which excludes hardware as part of a computer program ought to make In Re Bilski expandable to software patents.”Swpat.org has found an old case which demonstrates that it is not sufficient for software to be run on a computer to make that computer qualify as a new physical machine. To quote the summary: “Alappat applied for a patent, at the USPTO, on a particular method used in a particular kind of electronic instrument. The patent examiner rejected the application, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) of the USPTO then found in favour of the application and the case then went to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, where it is known as In re Alappat. The Federal Court reversed the decision of the BPAI, denying the patent.”

A definition which excludes hardware as part of a computer program ought to make In Re Bilski expandable to software patents.

TechDirt writes about Bort’s piece on the "The Defensive Patent License" for Free/open source software and notes that it’s not a true solution. The FFII has already explained why collective shields won’t work. What happens when a patent troll strikes? How about the Acacia case for example? We recently covered its conclusion in:

Red Hat adds some more information about the case in Law.com:

Acacia’s first quarter filing also indicates the company is wielding its patents against more targets than ever before: It reached 40 new licensing agreements in the first quarter of 2010, compared with 29 the previous year.

In the case of Red Hat and Novell, the two companies opted against signing such agreements and chose to go to trial instead. In doing so, they faced a hurdle common to defendants in patent trials: winning over jurors with little or no prior knowledge about the technology at issue in the case–open-source software, in this instance.

Here is the take of someone from the 451 Group:

There’s been a stepping up of competition among the Linux vendors, particularly Novell and Red Hat, which both continue to advance their Linux distributions in the latest versions Suse Linux Enterprise Server and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Much of the increased competition centers on pushing Linux even further into cloud computing, where it is already winning use with ideal licensing, scalability and clustering capabilities. With the focus on cloud computing, the ‘other’ Linux vendor, Ubuntu distributor Canonical, also becomes more significant.

Speaking of Ubuntu, a hot new subject at the moment is Theora because Canonical pays the MPEG cartel for software patents in H.264 [1, 2]. There is still an ongoing discussion about the topic, with Slashdot recalling this old article about patent M.A.D. situations. For context and some perspective about Microsoft’s and Apple’s position, see the posts below.

Patents Shred Europe’s Democracy to Pieces

Posted in Asia, Europe, Law, Patents at 2:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European Union

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: New developments in Europe and in India show not only that software patents are being pushed into Europe but that people are also left to die with TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights)

ACCORDING to the FFII, the Staff Union of the EPO says that the EPO should be integrated into the Community Institutions. The FFII received a shocking letter which is summarised as follows: [via]

‘No Power for the Parliament’ warns EPO examiners association

The Staff Union of the EPO sent a letter to the President of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, warning of risks integrated into the accession of the European Union to the European Patent Convention (EPC). They warn that the European Parliament can be circumvented as a legislator in patent law.

This is a serious step in the wrong direction. Last year the FFII warned that democracy was being stepped on as attempts were (and still are) being made to contaminate the European system with bad patents.

IAM Magazine has published the article “Patents are “the test ground” for Europe’s commitment to a single market, says new report”

The FFII also links to new presentations from the CEIPI conference, where the EU central patent court got discussed (that’s how they can sneak software patents into Europe and outlaw Free software).

An event which will take place at Maastricht University is also being described as follow:

Intellectual Property, Open Source, and Standards: Friends or Foes?

The Institute for Globalisation and International Regulation at Maastricht University Faculty of Law and the Stockholm Network Intellectual Property & Competition Programme are delighted to invite you to a forum and debate on “Intellectual Property, Open Source and Standards: Friends or Foes?


How should we consider the relationship between patents and standards, and what are the implications of not allowing standards to be protected by IPRs? Is the dichotomy between open and proprietary standards at all justified, or are these types of standards in fact complimentary?

Terms like “IPR” make no sense. “Open Source” is fine with copyrights and trademarks. It’s only software patents which are the issue and it is typically lawyers who are trying to change the law by expanding the scope of patents, despite the fact that it’s known to be better when software patents are treated as illegal.

There is another area where patents can be harmful and many lives are at stake. The other day, Europe decided to put patents before life:

Huge seizure of Indian generic drugs at EU ports; India, global NGOs cry foul


Generic drugs from India which are meant for Latin American countries have been seized by European port authorities alleging infringement of intellectual property rights.

The Indian generic drugs shipments, which were headed for Peru, Columbia, Ecuador, Mexico and many other countries, included medicines for treatment for AIDS, Cardiac problem, schizophrenia, dementia.

Let’s not forget about TRIPS as murder. ACTA will only make things worse. Regarding the article above, Richard Stallman wrote:

EU countries are confiscating generic anti-HIV drugs made in India and being sent to various poor countries.

This article spreads confusion when it refers to patents as “intellectual property”, using the terms interchangeably. (I am sure the author does not realize how harmful that term is as propaganda.)

The EU’s attempt to confuse generic drugs with fake drugs is part of another propaganda campaign, which calls copying “counterfeiting”. ACTA is an instance of that nastiness.

The governments which have confiscated the drugs are evidently more concerned with corporate profits than with human lives. Their actions as of this moment endanger people in poor countries, but I am sure they are just as glad to threaten the inhabitants of their own countries when they can get away with it.

ACTA is not gone and based on India's provisional trade agreements with Europe, it’s back to secrecy. Here is some further analysis of the latest leaks and a summary from Slashdot that says:

The draft agreement between Europe and India on Intellectual Property Rights has been leaked, and clearly mentions at its Article 34 the possibility for administrative tribunals, such as the ones currently being setup in France via the Hadopi, to shutdown internet access of suspected downloaders (“This article shall not affect the possibility for a court or administrative authority, in accordance with Parties’ legal systems, of requiring the service provider to terminate or prevent an infringement”). The draft also contains provisions on ISPs liabilities. The European Commission is also pushing for ISPs liabilities for copyright infringements in the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, which was criticised in the public hearing on ACTA on going beyond existing EU laws and the E-commerce directive.

The FFII has called the EU “Crazy” over this.

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