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05.13.10

TechDirt Explains How Microsoft/BSA/IDC Game the Press, GNU/Linux is Getting Games!

Posted in Deception, DRM, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 7:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steam on GNU

Summary: While Microsoft is whining that it does not make as much money as it used to (the convenient excuse is counterfeiting), GNU/Linux is actually making further progress on the desktop and Valve starts viewing GNU/Linux as a first-class citizen

EARLIER TODAY we wrote about the latest Microsoft/BSA/IDC propaganda, which is an annual ritual that predictably involves lies flooding the mainstream press. This morning when we wrote about it we hadn’t yet spotted the obligatory response from TechDirt, which always throws cold water at this annual propaganda of Microsoft/BSA/IDC (it’s always the same players, every year).

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, every May is marked by the release of intentionally misleading and bogus stats from the Business Software Alliance (or, more accurately, the Bogus Stats Alliance) concerning software “piracy.” As with every other year, the stats are compiled by IDC, despite the fact that even IDC has admitted in the past that the BSA is purposely misrepresenting their findings. You would think, at some point, that IDC would stop providing numbers that are blatantly misrepresented… but I guess if the money’s green, IDC will give you the numbers you want.

We’ve been covering these bogus stat reports for many years, providing a detailed look at how misleading the stats are, and pointing out how many in the press simply parrot the numbers without question. Two years ago, a VP at the BSA (who’s now working at the Justice Department, of course) was kind enough to call me to try to explain the BSA’s numbers (along with a PR person and a representative from IDC). When I challenged them on the whole “one copy equals one sale thing” they insisted that their numbers showed such a claim was accurate.

[...]

They just repeat the numbers — the same numbers the US government just said were bunk — as if they were pure fact. Just a sampling: the AFP, the BBC, ComputerWeekly, Computerworld, the UK Press Association, Network World, eWeek and many, many others.

Business Week gets credit for being one of the very, very few sources that at least mentions the GAO’s findings, though it does so in one sentence at the very bottom of the article. The National Journal also mentions the GAO report — though neither seemed to ask (or get any responses from the BSA) to this rather crucial point. ITWire, at the very least, points out that the study is basically made up, noting that:

“estimates of piracy rates are based mostly on inferences and the ‘gut feeling’ of the BSA’s research organisation IDC;

But that’s about all I could find. For the most part, the press — the one’s we’re told are supposed to be asking all the “tough” questions, simply reposted the BSA’s press release as fact.

This morning we gave an example from the gaming industry in order to show holes in this piece of propaganda. A lot of sites mentioned the revenue brought in by giving games away, but fewer sites mentioned the liberation of some of these games:

Humble Indie Games Bundle

[...]

I bought in when they announced they would be Open Sourcing the games – I haven’t gotten around to actually playing any of them yet!

With programs like this, and Valve bringing Steam/TF2/HL2 to Linux, the future is looking bright.

Helios had more to say about it:

Linux Users Speak…., Devs Open Source Their Games…

Now this is simply amazing.

Nils Grotnes emailed me about 20 minutes ago with some pretty cool news.

Aquaria by Bit Blot ,Gish Published by Chronic Logic, Lugaru HD by Wolfire, and Penumbra Overture of course by Frictional Games have pledged to go open source.

On the proprietary side too, there is good news for GNU/Linux (but not so much for Wine as a product which get repackaged and sold). Steam is now officially coming to GNU/Linux.

Valve Corporation has today rolled out their Steam Mac OS X client to the general public and confirmed something we have been reporting for two years: the Steam content delivery platform and Source Engine are coming to Linux. This news is coming days after we discovered proof in Steam’s Mac OS X Client of Linux support and subsequently found more Linux references and even the unreleased Steam Linux client. The day has finally come and Linux gamers around the world have a reason to rejoice, as this is the biggest news for the Linux gaming community that sees very few tier-one titles.

This is proprietary (with DRM), but it’s probably better than no Steam at all. According to Wikipedia, “There are over 1,100 games available through Steam…”

As The Source put it:

Still, progress is progress and Valve bringing the Steam infrastructure to Linux along with a few “AAA” titles is progress indeed.

We have come across a lot of news about GNU/Linux gaming recently, only good news in large amounts. Most of the news appeared in daily links (we have a “Games” section) and there are also new listings of game engines for Linux. There are no less than 16 and all in all, this an exciting time for desktop GNU/Linux, whose market share quietly grows and compels Valve Corporation to respond accordingly. Valve is a business, so this port isn’t just ‘fanboyism’, goodwill, or charity. It’s indicative of growth and demand.

Ubuntu’s Path to Freedom From Mono Now a Short One

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Patents, Ubuntu at 7:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Winter path

Summary: The Ubuntu distribution of GNU/Linux is removing F-Spot from its default installation, which leaves very little in terms of Mono dependencies — packages that are really simple to replace anyway

SEVERAL weeks ago, Canonical's CTO made it clear that he was aware of the Mono/C# problem. This happened around the same time that Canonical called off the Yahoo! mistake (sending Ubuntu users to Microsoft datacentres) and there is another sign of improvement now that F-Spot gets replaced in preparation for 10.10 (October 2010 release).

Although F-Spot currently maintains the comfortable position as the default image management and editing application in Ubuntu 10.04, Maverick will see the much-derided application dethroned in favour of photo management application Shotwell.

The decision, confirmed at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, had long been mooted.

This is great news. All that Ubuntu needs to do now is include Gnote instead of Tomboy as a default note-taking application [1, 2, 3, 4] (both applications store data in the same way, so the transition between those two would be seamless). There are many reasons to choose Gnote other than the fact that it is not Mono based like Tomboy. It is a lot faster, lighter, and it is actively maintained by Fedora which already includes it so as to remove the Mono dependency (and save a lot of disk space… more than enough to bring back the GIMP as many/most existing Ubuntu users requested).

“So, future versions of Ubuntu have no imminent additions of Mono-based applications.”Ubuntu would also need to remove games like gbrainy [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s apparently the last remaining Mono-requiring package, which can be removed without problems or remorse as it is just a game (and it can be installed from restricted repositories instead).

To clarify another thing since some readers have asked, Unity is not Mono based, despite the fact that its main developer has a history with Mono. So, future versions of Ubuntu have no imminent additions of Mono-based applications. That’s encouraging.

Ubuntu without Mono would still not be perfect, but it would be somewhat safer and it would not promote programming for Microsoft. Canonical can hopefully do more to promote Ogg Theora and no longer pay the MPEG cartel [1, 2]. It’s still a controversial issue. Yes, it would be a tricky situation with OEMs and software patents in H.264, but a bold company (like Red Hat) has found ways to avoid MPEG, promote Theora (e.g. in Fedora), and hopefully help abolish software patents. Fluendo’s path is probably counter-productive or at least controversial. It is better to promote adoption of Free software rather than make the #1 goal “market share” and then compromise the very goals of GNU/Linux. A Free software distribution with proprietary codecs (patents tax), C#, and proprietary software like Skype is hardly a victory at all, just misguided assimilation. We were pleased to see Mark Shuttleworth saying “Free software” rather than “open source” in his latest keynote speech. He hopefully intends to make that happen.

IRC Proceedings: May 13th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Links 13/5/2010: Finnish Schools Use Free Software; Bordeaux 2.0.4 for Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 5:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • At Work with Linux

    At MITRE we use Linux extensively because our customers and partners use it. The MITRE office is essentially OS agnostic; we don’t care what they use, as long as it’s the right tool for the job. So far Linux, specifically Redhat Linux, has proven itself fit for the tasks it is called upon to perform.

  • Air Force may suffer collateral damage from PS3 firmware update

    When Sony issued a recent PlayStation 3 update removing the device’s ability to install alternate operating systems like Linux, it did so to protect copyrighted content—but several research projects suffered collateral damage.

    The Air Force is one example. The Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, New York picked up 336 PS3 systems in 2009 and built itself a 53 teraFLOP processing cluster. Once completed as a proof of concept, Air Force researchers then scaled up by a factor of six and went in search of 2,200 more consoles (later scaled back to 1,700). The $663,000 contract was awarded on January 6, 2010, to a small company called Fixstars that could provide 1,700 160GB PS3 systems to the government.

  • Desktop

    • A US Army Federal Employee’s Linux Workspace

      It is time once again for our $100.00 (USD) Coolest Linux Workspace Contest. Today’s entry comes from Brian, a Federal employee with the United States Army, and working in a network evaluation lab. According to him, “left unattended and with no adult supervision, I tend to build really neat stuff at little or no cost to the taxpayer.” You can know more him about through his blog.

    • My First Linux Distribution

      I was starting to build a internet cafe. Thinking about how to make a internet cafe with low budget. Operating system with licence is too expensive. So i googling internet. And i found a sistem operation called “pclinux3d” i think this is a linux operating system. (i didn’t know “linux distribution”). I didn’t get satisfied with this operating system, so i googling, and after 4 month. I know what’s the meaning of “linux distribution” and “open source”.

      That distro is community remaster for internet cafe in my country (indonesia). Based on PCLinuxOS. Because i want to know how to build a distro. I try to download pclinuxos, ubuntu, mandriva.

      [...]

      PCLinuxOS is rock solid distros for me for now…, i don’t know if some people feel different.

      But Linux is good.

    • FI: Over a hundred schools using open source

      More than a hundred schools across Finland are using open source for all of their desktop PCs, according to Opinsys, an open source services provider.

      The company assists ninety schools in 28 municipalities with the maintenance of PCs and laptops running Ubuntu Linux. Tens of other schools are managing similar PCs themselves, according to Mikko Soikkeli, the company’s sales director.

      The costs per Linux PC or laptop, including maintenance, is about 282 Euro per year, according to a presentation last month by one of the schools using Ubuntu. “This infrastructure is easy to extend, it is secure, reliable and easy to use”, according to Allen Schneitz, a teacher at the Kasaviori School. “The system allows utilisation of second hand computers that are four to five years old.”

      A second case study on Linux based PCs in schools, by Risto Rönnberg for the city of Jyväskylä, puts the cost at 153 Euro per PC per year.

    • Hey, Consumer Reports!

      I agree. My folks get Consumer Reports, and the magazine is quite good about finding tech-savvy people to evaluate tech products, and then to distill that knowledge down to advice non-tech people can use to make buying decisions. (As in their reviews of antivirus software.) But not to even mention the Linux option is an implicit endorsement of one of most monopolistic, most consumer-abusive megacorporations on the planet. Would they print their annual automobile issue with only reviews of GM cars?

      It seems to me that Consumer Reports would be just the outfit to do a comparative review of the top dozen Linux distros, from the standpoint of an everyday (non-techie) computer user. But probably this is too much of a “niche” market for them. Or could it be that they don’t know how to critique products that are given away for free?

    • What Do You Use?

      It has become rather apparent that people are desiring the ability to run software designed for Windows or OSX on Linux. This is double-edged sword. This will of course give Linux an even more expanded library of applications, and applications with which people are familiar. The other side of this is that it does not give developers a reason to write native software for Linux. If we continue on the road toward Windows or OSX compatibility, will it help or hurt Linux?

    • Opinion: Competition vs cohesion

      I want competition amongst my desktop apps. I want Firefox and Chrome developers battling each other to make their browsers better. I want AbiWord to push forward with a fast and light word processor, making the OpenOffice.org folks realise that they have to do something about the bloat. I want a choice of music players, text editors, and why not, even calculators. This competition makes the Linux desktop better for everybody.

  • Server/HPC

    • Intel’s Single-chip Cluster Computer (SSC)

      There is even a modified version of Linux available. By the way, a separate Linux kernel runs on each core. It cannot run across the whole processor because it does not support cache coherency.

    • The Ethernet Cluster

      When the first Linux clusters were constructed Ethernet was one of the few choices for an interconnect. Of course there were more expensive and custom ways to connect computers, but Ethernet was the first network technology supported by Linux. Ethernet was also the most ubiquitous network, which also made it the cheapest.

    • Get ready for 7Gbps wireless networking
  • Audiocasts

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.34 (Part 4) – Architecture and Virtualisation

      On Sunday, Linus Torvalds released the seventh pre-release version of Linux 2.6.34. The release announcement indicates that he expects it to be the last release candidate, suggesting that the next kernel version from the main development tree is likely to see the light of day late this or early next week. It is not, however, uncommon for Torvalds to slip out another version despite pronouncements to the contrary, pushing back the final kernel release by several days.

    • How to Become Linus Torvalds

      Linus *still* has no formal power, no mechanism whereby he can enforce his decisions about the kernel. It’s still the case that the “only control” he has is that he knows the code “better than anybody else”, and that if he does “a bad job”, someone else can do it themselves – that is, fork the code.

      Linux has avoided that fate because Linus has developed what amounts to a new way of managing large-scale projects involving huge numbers of geographically-dispersed contributors. Although the final decisions rest with him, he takes them in consultation with a wide range of coders. He is constantly involved in discussions on key mailing lists that allow important issues to be raised by anyone. Ultimately, then, he leads in part by being able to sense what the collective will of the Linux development community is on particular issues, and by not straying too far from it.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • FVWM for fun & productivity

      Job done. Much nicer combination, plus because the right Windows key is so close to the arrows, if I’m being lazy I can swap screens one-handed.

      I’m also making heavy use of GNU Screen, another of my long-established favourite applications. I may post something about its configuration at some point..

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Being KDE

        In March, we announced a set of labels for use by people creating KDE software, to demonstrate their association with KDE. We chose three options: Powered by KDE, Built on the KDE Platform and Part of the KDE Family and asked for artwork for badges and banners to illustrate these terms.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome Shell Might Add Real Multiple Desktops

        The idea is to have custom folders for each desktop. Right now, the desktop is located at /home/your_username/Desktop and this would provide a new folder for each virtual desktop so that you can fully work on a project on a given Desktop – including all the files related to your project / task.

      • Future GNOME: What to Expect in GNOME 3.0

        The release of GNOME 3.0, the popular desktop’s first major release in eight years, promises to be the major free software event in autumn 2010. Where is GNOME now? What can we expect of GNOME 3.0? Of GNOME 3 as a series of releases?

        When I asked Stormy Peters, the executive director of the GNOME Foundation, where to go for answers, she directed me to Vincent Untz. A director of the GNOME Foundation and one of the senior members of the GNOME Release Team, Untz is better positioned than almost anyone to offer an overview of the project from both a general and a technical perspective.

      • GNOME Amazon Referral Fees April 2010
  • Distributions

    • Best Newbie Linux Distro

      I’ve taken a look at Debian, Mandriva and Fedora. (I might have tried Suse too, but the LiveCD has never worked on my computer.) After first trying a LiveCD, I installed all three distros and gave them a good try-0ut.

      The core Linux philosophy is Free, as in Freedom, but I’m also interested in Free, as in Beer, so I took a look at how each distribution handled multimedia- Flash and MP3′s in particular.

    • Gentoo just makes sense!

      I am not giving up on the other distributions and will continue to evaluate their progress but Gentoo has earned its place on my system, at least for now.

    • Fedora

      • Fedora 13 gives off plain vibe, but offers power and stability under the hood

        The differences between Linux distributions these days are often so minute, there seems little reason to even review them anymore.

        After all, one distro running GNOME 2.30 or KDE 4.4 is going to look very much like any other distro running the same interfaces. The interfaces will be nearly identical — all that remains different are underlying administration tools and a few variant choices on the apps that are included.

        That was the conundrum recently faced when turning to review the latest beta of Fedora 13: it looked so much like other GNOME 2.30-interfaced distros I have seen lately, the initial thought was “what’s the diff?”

        Such an attitude is, for the most part, not fair to the developers of the Fedora Project, who have put together a darn fine distribution that reads as rock-solid and very user-friendly.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Has Plans For Btrfs In 2011, 2012

        One of the meetings held this week during the Ubuntu Developer Summit for the Ubuntu 10.10 planning in Belgium was about Btrfs. During this session the developers discussed adding Btrfs support to GRUB2, whether or not Btrfs encryption is possible initially, an option to enable the Btrfs zlib compression, and other details.

      • The Ubuntu Support and Learning Center

        The website is designed to be very user friendly and minimalistic so the reader isn’t distracted from the main content and we should work closely with the Canonical training department and design team researchers so we can figure out exactly what users are having difficulty with and what questions they ask frequently.

      • I lightened up my Ubuntu Lucid desktop appearance

        Ubuntu was famous for being brown, even though it was probably half-orange for most of its storied existence. Mark Shuttleworth and Co. mostly blew that notion out of the water in Lucid Lynx (10.04 LTS), which is purplish and dark.

      • Perfect Purple
      • Nautilus-Elementary With Zeitgeist Brings Semantic file browsing to Ubuntu [Screencast]

        For those that don’t know much about Zeitgeist it, in essence, and to paraphrase the Zeitgeist framework launchpad blurb, ‘logs users activity, events and files and establishes relationships between these items based on usage.’ It then allows for other applications to use this data in meaningful ways – Such as with the GNOME Activity Journal.

      • Testing Out Ubuntu’s Unity Desktop

        For those wanting to test out the Ubuntu Unity desktop right now as we have done, you can add the ppa:canonical-dx-team/une Launchpad PPA to your Ubuntu system and then install the unity package.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx review
      • [VIDEO] Maverick Meerkat UDS Keynote Address by Mark Shuttleworth

        Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote address at the Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat UDS summit.

      • Instant-on Ubuntu

        For some time now Ubuntu chief Mark Shuttleworth has been pushing developers to speed up boot times in the Linux operating system. Now he has revealed Unity, a new interface that is aimed at netbooks users. He’s also announced Ubuntu Light, a fast, light, version of Ubuntu that will offer almost instant-on boot times.

      • The Performance Of Ubuntu KVM Virtualization

        The Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) has been in the mainline Linux kernel since Linux 2.6.20 in early 2007 and over time it has become one of the most widely used virtualization platforms on Linux. Ubuntu uses KVM, Fedora uses KVM, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux has even switched from Xen to preferring KVM, among others. While occasionally we deliver new KVM virtualization benchmarks, we decided to investigate how the performance of KVM virtualization has changed — if at all — over the past two years for better or worse.

      • Variants

        • Canonical’s Red Headed Stepchildren

          Who Are These Red Headed Step Children?
          Before I go any further with this column, let’s take a quick look at each Ubuntu derivative and then I’ll talk about what’s wrong with them and what Canonical needs to do to fix this mess.

          Officially Supported
          Kubuntu – Kubuntu uses the KDE desktop environment instead of GNOME. It also leans heavily on KDE’s desktop applications rather than Ubuntu’s GNOME applications.

          EduBuntu – Edubuntu is essentially Ubuntu for parents, teachers, kids and schools. Edubuntu features educational games, math applications, text editors and a bunch of other applications focused on learning.

          Ubuntu Server Edition – You want this version of Ubuntu if you’re going to be running a server.

        • Peppermint OS One

          If the name “Peppermint OS” reminds you of Linux Mint, it’s no accident. Kendall Weaver, one of the Peppermint OS developers, is also the maintainer for the Linux Mint Fluxbox and LXDE editions.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Myths Debunked: Why It Isn’t So Tough To Switch To Open Source

    Debunking Myth #1: There Is No Documentation. In the case of OpenOffice, there is in fact substantial free documentation for the suite, and there are free tutorials. You can find documentation for specific versions here. You can also find many free OpenOffice books here. You can also find many useful Flash tutorials here.

    Debunking Myth #2: There Is No Support. OpenOffice has a very large community of users, and the Community Support option can be sufficient for many users, but it’s not the only option. Inexpensive consultants offer support for OpenOffice, and there are inexpensive third-party solutions for paid support. OpenLogic is just one of the available providers.

  • The Graduate’s Guide To Finding Work In Open Source

    Try entering PHP or Drupal, for a start.If you have skills with open source programming languages, showcase them on Elance for freelance work. While you’re at it, put a citation up for your open source skills on RentACoder.

  • Evaluate Open Source Software

    Open Source software selection starts with the creation of a short-list of open source packages, and the very next step is the evaluation of all candidates.

  • Think laterally

    Open source created a bi-directional flow in which the market itself could make greater intellectual contributions than any of the original principals. Moreover, this could often be accomplished without any particular capital partner. Whereas piracy was seen as the scourge of the private property publisher, ubiquitous distribution was a necessary prerequisite for open source participation.

  • Continuous integration, can it work for software localisation?

    At Translate.org.za we want to keep delivering the best FOSS localisation tools. To do that we’ve started using Continuous Integration (CI) in the development of Pootle, Virtaal and the Translate Toolkit. We’re using a tool called Hudson to manage our CI process.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla detects insecure plugins for IE, Chrome, Safari

      Mozilla has introduced a service that checks plugins for the Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera, and Safari browsers to make sure they don’t contain known bugs or security vulnerabilities.

      The page builds off a feature rolled out last year that checked only for out-of-date plugins for Firefox. At the moment, the service offers limited coverage for Internet Explorer extensions, but Mozilla says it plans to offer full coverage eventually.

    • Mozilla Wish List.

      As long as I can remember I had been using the Netscape web browser which evolved to Mozilla and now Firefox. I still use Firefox and have grown so comfortable with it that I don’t really desire to move onto anything else. Needless to say, Mozilla’s products are not perfect and there is always room for additional features and what I believe to be necessities in order to function in today’s world of computing.

    • Mozilla CEO John Lilly stepping down
    • Firefox 4: fast, powerful, and empowering

      Today, I presented an early product plan for Firefox 4 to the Mozilla community (live, over the web!) to share our vision for the next version of Firefox, and what projects are underway to realize it. Then I invited everyone to get involved by joining our engineering or product development efforts.

      [...]

      If you have Firefox or a modern web browser that supports fully open HTML video, you can watch the presentation.

    • Mozilla and the Shuttleworth Foundation seek fellowship applicants

      Mozilla Drumbeat and the Shuttleworth Foundation have announced a joint fellowship focused on ‘education for the open web’. According to a post on the Commonspace blog by Mark Surman, executive director of the Mozilla Foundation and former open philanthropy fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation, the aim of the fellowship “is to find someone with solid, scalable and fresh ideas on how open learning and the open web intertwine.”

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL 9.0 is Serious Competition

      PostgreSQL supports Solaris, Linux and Windows with binary installations. You may also download the source code and compile it on any platform with which you’re working.

      Do I think PostgreSQL is ready to go head to head with MySQL? Yes. Do I think that PostgreSQL has a chance to unseat MySQL as the “World’s Most Popular Open Source Database Software?” Not for a second. I do think, however, that PostgreSQL will begin to raise corporate eyebrows and gain some enterprise adoption with its new, long-awaited feature set.

    • Top 10 MySQL GUI Tools

      Many third parties create rich applications to facilitate database management, database development and database administration. Here are ten outstanding graphical interfaces for MySQL.

  • OpenOffice.org

    • Small Business Software: OpenOffice.org vs. Google Docs

      First, why do we narrow down the options to only OpenOffice.org or Google Docs? They’re not the only competing solutions to MS Office. For online office suites you’ll find more full-featured competitors like Zoho, and desktop users can choose Apple’s iWork suite or many others. However, Google Docs and OpenOffice.org (OO.org) are the entrenched players here.

    • OpenOffice.org Still Kicking

      But OpenOffice.org isn’t going anywhere. If anything, I suspect it’s going to be getting some extra attention from Oracle and may be getting closer to Microsoft Office. It’s going to be a few more years before Web office suites take over entirely, anyway. Applications rarely just up and “die,” it takes a while for users to change habits.

    • OASIS Board of Directors elections: Vote for Charles-H. Schulz.
  • Business

    • Pentaho, Backed by Channel, Delivers Record 1Q Results

      Pentaho, the open source business intelligence company, generated record results in 1Q 2010, according to VP of Marketing Joe McGonnell. Pentaho attributes much of its performance to a growing channel partner program. Here’s a closer look at Pentaho’s momentum.

Leftovers

  • Would you buy a ticket to go to a restaurant?

    Instead of reservations, a restaurant in Chicago proposes buying tickets as if you’re going to a movie or the theater

  • Forbes new tool tracks advertisers’ corporate reputation

    That’s how Bruce Rogers, chief brand officer for Forbes, says the magazine is thinking these days. Even though circulation has remained relatively stable, Forbes sees an opportunity in thinking beyond selling advertising and diving into broader service areas for clients.

  • Indian outsourcing firm looks to prison for data entry work

    An Indian outsourcing firm is to run one of its data handling centres in a local prison as part of a new public/private partnership.

    Radiant Info Systems has come to a deal with the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh to hire 200 inmates of a state jail to work on data entry, and the processing and transmitting of information.

  • Science

    • Perhaps You’ll Visit Space In Your Lifetime, After All

      Space Adventures is going to use an Armadillo Technologies rocket to launch amateur astronauts 62 miles into the sky. Nothing new, except that they will do it for half the price of Virgin Galactic’s ticket, and in a real rocket!

  • Security/Aggression

    • If the government wants a ‘big society’, it needs to lift restrictions on people

      This is the second of a series of articles looking at the challenges the new government faces. Alan Cox is a Linux software developer and is a member of ORG’s Advisory Council

      [...]

      A big society means thinking about how the law works. It means passing laws that punish those who do offend, not nanny state laws removing the ability of the public to contribute to society for fear they might be naughty. It means creating a functioning creative market that reflects the world we live in and encourages creative output rather than channeling it into a tiny number of established mega-corporations who act as door keepers. Above all it means trust not restraint. It means trusting that most people will do the right thing, and trusting that the police and justice system will do their job with the rest.

    • My tweet was silly, but the police reaction was absurd

      The reason for the arrest was a tweet I had posted on the social network Twitter, which was deemed to constitute a bomb threat against Robin Hood airport in Doncaster: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!” You may say, and I certainly realise now, it was ill-advised. But it was clearly frustration, caused by heavy snowfall grounding flights and potentially scuppering my own flight a week later. Like having a bad day at work and stating that you could murder your boss, I didn’t even think about whether it would be taken seriously.

    • A welcome site…

      As our friends at Privacy International have noted, it will be very interesting to see the ‘how’.

    • Photographer stopped under anti-terror laws may sue police

      A photographer is to launch a legal complaint after being stopped and searched by police on suspicion of being a terrorist while he took pictures of London’s skyline.

    • They say “more police” – they mean “more CCTV”

      West is adamant that ‘more surveillance’ is needed and has ordered an “immediate review” to target the use of CCTV across the borough. But she’s not alone. The other day Boris Johnson showed Michael Bloomberg London’s unparalleled CCTV network and Wandsworth councils camera’s continued to bring home the bacon.

    • Microphones on street corners – just in case
    • Personal cellphone data end up for sale at Mexico flea market

      The government had asked everyone to register their phones, but many refused, citing fears of spying or other misuse of the data. It turns out they were right.

    • In Scunthorpe, the tail is wagging the alcoholic dog

      As always, it’s “for the children” – the supposedly unarguable assertion which, once made, destroys all opposition.

      And weren’t these nannyists listening to the recent debate on ID Cards per se, which showed that we are overwhelmingly against them?

    • The 9/14 Presidency

      If you believe the president’s Republican critics, Barack Obama takes a law enforcement approach to terrorism. His FBI came under fire for reading Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian national who nearly blew up an airplane on Christmas, his constitutional rights. His attorney general was blasted for wanting to give 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed a criminal trial in lower Manhattan. Republican Sen. Scott Brown rode to his historic upset victory in Massachusetts in part due to this slogan: “In dealing with terrorists, our tax dollars should pay for weapons to stop them, not lawyers to defend them.” Every sign suggests the GOP will make terrorism a wedge issue in the 2010 midterm elections. “As I’ve watched the events of the last few days,” former vice president Dick Cheney said shortly after the Abdulmutallab attack, “it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war.”

    • Do We Really Want To Criminalize Bad Jokes?
    • (en) US, Police brutality at May Day march in Chicago

      The police in Chicago have a long history of attacking protesters without warning or provocation.

    • MI5 faces allegations over torture of British man in Bangladesh

      The Security service is facing fresh accusations of involvement in the abuse of terrorism suspects after a British man was detained in Bangladesh and allegedly tortured while being questioned about his activities and associates in both countries.

  • Environment

    • Domtar: Print those e-mails to your heart’s content

      Domtar Corp. is getting frustrated with those “think before you print” messages at the bottom of so many e-mails.

      Now the paper giant is planning a North American ad campaign to urge computer users to hit the print button – often.

    • Obama biggest recipient of BP cash

      While the BP oil geyser pumps millions of gallons of petroleum into the Gulf of Mexico, President Barack Obama and members of Congress may have to answer for the millions in campaign contributions they’ve taken from the oil and gas giant over the years.

    • Oil spill: US failing to tighten ecological oversight, say activists

      The Obama administration waived environmental reviews for 26 new offshore drilling projects even as the BP oil disaster spewed hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, environmental activists said today.

    • Back to Petroleum

      A decade ago, the company then known as British Petroleum launched a multimillion dollar advertising campaign to rebrand itself as the greenest of oil giants. Since then, it has gone only by the initials “BP” and has popularized a new slogan: “Beyond Petroleum.” The campaign launched with a $200 million public relations and advertising budget and a new logo featuring the now-ubiquitous green-and-yellow sunburst. Ten years later, the company still spends big on advertising, dropping $76 million on radio and TV ads touting its image in the United States just last year.

    • Emperor Hickel: The Man Who Invented Alaska … and Sarah Palin

      Thirty years ago, Hickel realized that his arctic dreams lay in Alaska’s vast reserves of gas, oil, coal and lumber. But extracting and shipping those resources required removing a large obstacle: the land’s ownership by Indians and Natives.

      [...]

      Today, most of the Native Alaskan corporate land of the Prince William Sound is owned by people who don’t live in Alaska. The remaining Natives are now tenants of the land their ancestors have lived on for 3,000 years.

      Native leader Gail Evanoff told me, that was the plan from Day One. “They set it up for us to fail. They put it in a form they could take away.”

  • Finance

    • Morgan Stanley Investigation: Feds Looking Into Firm’s Mortgage Deals

      Fears of a growing investigation of Wall Street banks sent Morgan Stanley’s stock falling Wednesday even as the company said it knew nothing about a reported inquiry into its mortgage securities trading.

      The Wall Street Journal reported that federal prosecutors are investigating whether Morgan Stanley misled investors about its role in a pair of $200 million derivatives whose performance was tied to mortgage-backed securities. The newspaper said Morgan Stanley sometimes bet against the success of the derivatives, which were underwritten and marketed to investors by Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG.

    • The Real Misery Index April 2010: Underemployment Woes Lead To Two-Tier Economy

      The unemployment crisis continues to stymie a full economic recovery, with ripple effects from credit card delinquencies and rising food stamp participation indicating new hardships for millions of Americans, according to the latest update of Huffington Post’s Real Misery Index.

    • US home repossessions hit all-time high

      The number of US homes being repossessed hit an all-time high last month, but is set to start falling, says the body that tracks the figures.

      Banks took control of 92,432 properties in April, up 1% from March, and a 45% rise from a year earlier, said RealtyTrac.

      [...]

      A total of 333,837 new repossession filings were made in April, one for every 387 homes in the US.

    • Dylan Ratigan Coins the Phrase “Bankster Party”

      Dylan Ratigan (MSNBC) is the host of the only honest business show on cable. He doesn’t spend his day talking only about the ups and the downs of the stock market and encouraging people to “buy, buy, buy!” Instead, Ratigan covers real issues, like how the financial crisis is affecting average Americans, and what the chances are for real reform in Congress.

    • A Victory for the People!

      The Center for Media and Democracy’s Wall Street Bailout Tally shows that since 2008, the U.S. government has flooded Wall Street banks and financial institutions with $4.7 trillion dollars in taxpayer money, mostly in the form of loans from the Federal Reserve. The Fed has never told us which firms got these loans and what type of collateral American taxpayers got in return. This will now be revealed. We will also get an accounting of the Fed’s “stealth” bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

    • Treasury Bailout Records Fail To Include Key Details, Says Watchdog

      The Treasury Department is lax about keeping records of its negotiations with bailed-out banks, including undocumented conversations in which billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake, a new watchdog report says.

      Treasury fails to keep meeting minutes or notes from phone calls with banks that received money from its $700 billion financial bailout, says the report from Neil Barofsky, the Special Inspector General for the bailout fund.

    • Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley may eventually escape proprietary trading ban

      Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley may ultimately avoid a ban on bank proprietary trading under the Wall Street overhaul.

    • Goldman Sachs’ moral obligation to Wall Street

      Meanwhile, Proxy Democracy, which helps investors keep track of the actions of institutional shareholders, reports that both AFSCME’s employee pension plan and CalPERs voted in favor of the measure.

    • Round I to the Banks, More to Come

      The Senate resumes debate today on the Wall Street reform bill, having late last Thursday rejected probably the most important measure proposed to reduce Wall Street power, strengthen financial stability and fortify our democracy: breaking up the banks.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NPR Erases Domestic Terrorism

      National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast a story on May 9 by Dina Temple-Raston titled Terrorism in the U.S. Takes on a U.K. Pattern that started out with the following flawed premise:

      “For years, the U.S. seemed largely immune to homegrown terrorism, but experts think the recent attack [in Times Square] is more proof that has changed.”

      Raston then proceeded to discuss “home grown terrorists” only in the context of Pakistani-Americans, Afghan-Americans, South Asian Americans and others originally from outside the country who became citizens and then somehow became “radicalized.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Judge Rules That Filmmaker Must Give Footage to Chevron

      A federal judge in Manhattan on Thursday granted a petition by Chevron to issue a subpoena for hundreds of hours of footage from a documentary about the pollution of the Amazon rainforests of Ecuador and the oil company’s involvement.

    • German court orders wireless passwords for all

      Users can be fined if a third party takes advantage of an open connection

    • Houlihan Smith’s Phony Invocation of Trademark Law Fails to Keep Criticism off the Web

      It’s an old story, sad to say. Bank waltzes into court, represented by a big firm, decrying damage to its interests and demanding immediate relief, but giving no notice to the other side, and walks out with TRO issued by a credulous local judge, no questions asked. Happily, a recent case involving an investment bank that got a TRO against a message board host, in violation of section 230 immunity, has a happier ending, because the bank ended up before a federal judge who understood the technical details better than the bank’s own lawyers.

    • Four Nerds and a Cry to Arms Against Facebook

      They gave themselves 39 days to raise $10,000, using an online site, Kickstarter, that helps creative people find support.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Battle Gets Silly… Astroturfers, Sock Puppets, Student Projects, Overwritten Word Docs… Oh My

      Either way, as we predicted, the whole thing is becoming a political food fight being manhandled by lobbyists and special interests, with little regard for the deeper, important, underlying issues. Even when moves are being made by people outside of the beltway, it’s being dissected for the driving forces behind it, rather than what actually makes sense. What comes out in the end is going to be shaped by those lobbyists and special interests. And that’s my big fear with all of this. The end result isn’t going to have anything to do with actually looking at what’s best for the internet or the American people, but who can game the system better and turn this into a hotter political football.

    • Lessons From The US’s First Broadband Plan… In 1808

      But both Downes and the FCC seem to skip over the larger issue of speed. The real problem in the US is not that we’re so far behind on adoption rates — but in what kind of broadband most people can use today. With some exceptions, it’s slow. Especially compared to some other countries. And, yes, there are some issues involving population density and the ability to build out a faster network, but if the government is going to get involved, why not focus on the metric that matters: which would be the bandwidth of the network, rather than making sure that the guy living at the end of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere can get his broadband access.

  • DRM

    • Digital Right Management and/or Technical Protection Measures Cause Climate Change

      The biggest problem with Digital Rights Management and/or Technical Protection Measures is that the biggest proponents of such schemes don’t understand the technology. For that reason I’m going to try to explain it in simple terms, that a non-programmer can understand.

      [...]

      The more complex the DRM/TPM system, the more processing power is required. The Windows Vista DRM sub-system mentioned above was far more complex, and required far more processing power. And of course the more processing power required for a system to work, the more electrical power is required. For all of the examples we are going to assume that each command uses ONE unit of power. This is for illustrative purposes only – different computer processors require differing amounts of power to do the same thing, and at different speeds. This is a simplified explanation.

    • Adobe messes with Flash DRM

      SOFTWARE HOUSE Adobe has been tinkering with the digital restrictions management (DRM) for its Flash software.

      Dubbed Flash Access 2.0, the changes will mean that content providers can control what types of output devices can display the content.

      According to the Adobe blog, it is enabling HDCP and broadcast control flags for Flash content.

    • EA Sports Online Pass: Buy new or pay $10 to play online
    • Rockstar Using ‘Pirated’ Copy Of Max Payne 2 On Steam To Remove DRM?

      Apparently, in examining the code with a hex editor, someone discovered that the official Steam release is ascii tagged by the Scene release group Myth (which hasn’t been around for many, many years). No one’s quite sure what happened exactly, but the obvious suggestion is that Rockstar chose the easy way out in trying to remove the CD check DRM in the game to put it on Steam, and just found a cracked version online.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Kaleidescape Introduces Expensive And Almost Pointless Blu-ray Jukebox… And Hollywood Still Thinks It’s Illegal

      Kaleidescape has now come out with a new product that actually adds the ability to store Blu-ray discs as well — which might be a surprise given last summer’s ruling. However, in response to the ruling, Kaleidescape added one “feature” which it hopes will satisfy Hollywood lawyers: to play back a movie, you now have to put the original disc into the player. Yes, you read that right. This is a device designed to rip and store your DVDs — and the only way you can play them back is to go ahead and put the actual DVD into the player to prove that you have it. In other words, it takes away the whole idea of the convenience behind the product.

    • Hollywood Gets Injunction To Disconnect The Pirate Bay

      Last month it became apparent that several Hollywood movie studios had threatened to take legal action against the owner of ISP CyberBunker, the current bandwidth provider for The Pirate Bay. Now, according to fresh information from a reliable source, the studios have come good on their threats.

    • Why a binding treaty for the visually impaired at WIPO?
    • Copyrights

      • Copyright for Creativity declaration launched

        ORG has joined the initiative Copyright for Creativity. We believe that it is time for a discussion in the European institutions on how to ensure that copyright fully supports innovation, creativity, competition, and the public interest. The launch of the Declaration for Europe on 5 May marks the start of this discussion. The press release and a video of the launch in Brussels follow.

      • First-Sale Copyright Cases Headed for 9th Circuit

        AutoDesk sued Timothy Vernor for copyright infringement after the Seattle man tried to auction off four packages of Autodesk software on eBay. The software company argued that its license agreement doesn’t allow for reselling. Like Augusto, Vernor prevailed on summary judgment in the lower court.

      • ‘Hurt Locker’ producers about to sue an army of pirates

        The war against movie piracy is getting downright explosive. We’ve learned that the producers of the Oscar-winning “The Hurt Locker” are preparing a massive lawsuit against thousands of individuals who pirated the film online. The case could be filed as soon as tomorrow.

        Voltage Pictures, the banner behind the best picture winner, has signed up with the U.S. Copyright Group, the Washington D.C.-based venture that, as we first reported in March, has begun a litigation campaign targeting tens of thousands of BitTorrent users.

      • RIAA Wins Again: Judge Says LimeWire Induced Copyright Infringement

        This is hardly a surprise, given earlier rulings on various file sharing systems, but a court has ruled in favor of the RIAA and against Limewire, saying that Limewire “engaged in unfair competition, and induced copyright infringement.”

      • Court Grants RIAA Summary Judgment Motions vs. Limewire
      • Lichtenstein’s Estate has Changed Its Mind!!!

        The good people at The Estate of Roy Lichtenstein have decided that they’re ok with us using our album cover image. The power of the internet and collective thought has won!!!

      • EU must break down national copyright barriers, says Commissioner

        Piracy has created the single market in music and films that EU legislators have failed to build, European Commission Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes has said.

        Kroes told a business leaders’ convention in Brussels that pirates had done what single market regulations could not and established the borderless distribution of audio visual material over the internet. She said that the EU nations must work together to create a legal single market in digital goods.

      • Can You Copyright Blank Forms Used To File Papers With The SEC… And Then Block Selling The Filled Out Forms?
    • ACTA

      • ACTA Draft Release Was Apparently A One Time Deal: Now We’re Back To Secrecy

        After about a year or so of very public questions over the incredible level of secrecy of ACTA (including the patently ridiculous claim that details couldn’t be revealed for national security reasons), including a complete smackdown by the EU Parliament concerning the whole ACTA process, the negotiators finally (and very reluctantly) released the latest draft in April. Of course, by then, the full document had already leaked. Still, the officially released document left out some of the key parts that were in the leaked draft. Funny how that works.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • Will Nick Clegg push to repeal the Digital Economy Act?

        For ORG supporters, there is a lot that we can hope for from the new administration.

        * We can hopefully assume that talk of a repeal of the Human Rights Act is now shelved.
        * ID cards and their database should be scrapped
        * The DNA database should be restricted or scrapped
        * Promises of a Data Freedom Act are welcome

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – FOFE – Experimental Aircraft (1/11/2001)


Eye on Apple Hype: Secrecy, Coverup, and Bugs

Posted in Apple at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From the hype! hype! hype! dept.

Ad from Apple - 1984

Summary: Apple is said to be likely to be sending out thugs once again in order to catch hypePhone hype poopers; the HypePad has technical problems that Apple acknowledges

Apple Has Lost 3 iPhones. Is It Losing Control, Too?

Apple has lost not one, but three prototype iPhones in the past year. That’s a perplexing development for a company that is famously tight with security.

A leaked fourth-generation iPhone popped up in Vietnam this week, with a detailed video and teardown photos that show the ins and outs of the hardware. That video follows an iPhone lost in March, and put on display by Gizmodo in April. And there may be a third iPhone prototype out there somewhere — the one whose disappearance reportedly led a Chinese worker to commit suicide in 2009.

[...]

Whatever the case may be, Apple is likely tracking down the people who ended up with the latest prototype to determine where it was sold, and ultimately, who sold it.

Apple promises fanbois iPad WiFi fix

Apple has promised an iPad software fix for fanbois complaining of WiFi problems on the Jobsian handheld.

That also means the company has actually acknowledged the problems exist, but it says that only a few fanbois are affected.

Open Standards Out of EU Digital Agenda; EBoA Does Not Stop Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Apple, Europe, ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, Standard at 7:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alison Brimelow

Summary: Europe’s policy-making process is serving the hands of multinationals or monopolies with vested interests in lock-in and reduced competition; new patent lawsuits against Apple

EXTENSIVE lobbying from Microsoft, its cronies, and European allies seems to be paying off.

The EBoA has not been discussed here for a while (I too made a submission to it), but it was an opportunity to squash ambiguity regarding software patents in Europe.

Here is the official response [PDF]. It is about 100 pages in length and there is also this summary:

Today the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO handed down its opinion on referral G 3/08, taking the opportunity to set out and confirm the approach of the EPO regarding the patentability of computer programs under the European Patent Convention (EPC).

The opinion relates to four questions referred to the Enlarged Board in October 2008 by the President of the EPO concerning points of law of fundamental importance for the Office’s patenting practice in this field.

The Enlarged Board analysed in detail the development of relevant case law, and found that there was a divergence between two decisions of Technical Boards of Appeal. However, recognising that the “case law in new legal and/or technical fields does not always develop in linear fashion, and that earlier approaches may be abandoned or modified”, the Enlarged Board found that this constituted a legitimate development rather than a conflict of case law.

In the absence of conflicting Board of Appeal decisions, the Enlarged Board concluded that the legal requirements for a referral were not met. Nevertheless, the Board affirmed the right of the President of the EPO to “make full use of the discretion granted by Article 112(1)(b) EPC” in making a referral, and provided further guidance on how these requirements for such a referral should be interpreted.

The president of the FFII, Benjamin Henrion, says that the “EPO can continue to grant numerous software patents as it is doing for more than a decade” and Florian (from another push against software patents in Europe) says:

To answer your Twitter question to Benjamin, it’s not the end of the story. It just means the EBoA didn’t determine a significant difference in case law. I haven’t read the detailed ruling yet but the EBoA certainly doesn’t have the authority to overrule national court decisions. That’s for sure and doesn’t have to be verified by reading the EBoA’s statement.

BTW, I’ve participated very actively in today’s slashdot discussion related to Benjamin’s submission on the SUEPO letter. Tried to provide additional information and clarifications where people needed help.

To be honest, Florian has moved away from some dubious stances we saw before and more people — inside the FFII included — start to view him as trustworthy. He did disclose his interests to us, privately.

Regarding this Slashdot post which we mentioned the other day, Red Hat’s Wildeboer says: “Evil #swpat through the backdoor. EU parliament upset.”

“EPO can continue to grant numerous software patents as it is doing for more than a decade”
      –Benjamin Henrion, FFII
Benjamin also alerts us about this document [PDF] from Bruno van Pottelsberghe which is titled “Europe Should Stop Taxing Innovation”. The title is deceiving because the document is actually calling for the back door that may include software patents. The summary says: “The European Union failed to achieve its Lisbon agenda target of spending three percent of GDP on research and development, and so, in the EU2020 strategy, has given itself another decade to meet this goal. Meanwhile, the EU has been leapfrogged by China in terms of business R&D spend. One key element to stimulate innovation and ultimately drive European growth would be to create the long-awaited single EU patent. Today’s fragmented European patent system is poor value for money and overly complex, not least because national patent systems still have the last word over all European patents on their territory. After nearly 50 years of failure to create the EU patent, language issues and the design of a centralised patent litigation court remain unresolved. The recent EU Council deal on an ‘enhanced’ European patent system is potentially a step forward, though many problems remain unresolved.”

The aspects they don’t cover actually include increase of damages and scope (good for lawyers). Here is what the solicitors-targeted crowd from IAM have to say about Pottelsberghe:

What is absolutely clear to me is that a lot of people have a lot invested in the current system and want to see it changed as little as possible. National patent offices currently control the EPO, for example, and make a lot of money from it. They would still get substantial amounts of cash under van Pottlelsberghe’s proposals, but their influence would wane and they would no longer grant national patents. Then there is the legal profession. Just a couple of lines from the paper make it abundantly clear why so many patent attorneys and lawyers in Europe (not all, it is important to point out) are opposed to reform.

This is funny coming from lawyers. They too are interested in the same thing because it gives them revenue at the expense of those who suffer in this system.

Former MEP David Hammerstein, who provided valuable information about what Microsoft did to the EU Commission [1, 2, 3], has just said that Kroes is falling for Microsoft’s lobbying. “Open standards [are] out of EU Digital Agenda for ambiguous open architecture,” he writes, “Kroes back tracks on binding openness. for procurement and EIF” (there is no further information or links).

Only moments ago Glyn Moody wrote about a leak that says more.

European Commission Betrays Open Standards

Just over a month ago I wrote about a leaked version of the imminent Digital Agenda for Europe. I noted that the text had some eminently sensible recommendations about implementing open standards, but that probably for precisely that reason, was under attack by enemies of openness, who wanted the references to open standards watered down or removed.

Judging by the latest leak [.pdf] obtained by the French site PC Inpact, those forces have prevailed: what seems to be the final version of the Digital Agenda for Europe is an utter travesty of the original intent.

For example, the draft version [.doc] dealing with interoperability was headed “Open Standards and Interoperability”; this has now become just “Interoperability and standards”.

[...]

In short, this latest version of the Digital Agenda for Europe is an utter disgrace, and shows how beholden the European Commission remains to “significant market players”. There are no benefits for European citizens here: the Commission has abandoned them for who knows what reason, and ensured that millions of Euros will flow out of their pockets – and Europe – for costly software licences at a time when the European economy can ill afford such unnecessary expenses.

This disgraceful evisceration of the earlier sensible draft shows yet again why we need full transparency at the European Commission. We need to know who met with whom, and what was said. Until we do, these kinds of last-minutes stitch-ups will continue to occur, and will continue to add further blots to the Commission’s already besmirched record in this regard.

For some information about Microsoft’s involvement, see:

  1. European Open Source Software Workgroup a Total Scam: Hijacked and Subverted by Microsoft et al
  2. Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
  3. Does the European Commission Harbour a Destruction of Free/Open Source Software Workgroup?
  4. The Illusion of Transparency at the European Parliament/Commission (on Microsoft)
  5. 2 Months and No Disclosure from the European Parliament
  6. After 3 Months, Europe Lets Microsoft-Influenced EU Panel be Seen
  7. Formal Complaint Against European Commission for Harbouring Microsoft Lobbyists
  8. ‘European’ Software Strategy Published, Written by Lobbyists and Multinationals
  9. Microsoft Uses Inside Influence to Grab Control, Redefine “Open Source”
  10. With Friends Like These, Who Needs Microsoft?

Regarding this “Public consultation on the review of the European Standardisation System”, Glyn Moody suggests telling/asking them whether it’s “time to replace ISO?” (we have a fairly new Wiki page about ISO’s internal corruption, but it focuses on OOXML and not on the MPEG cartel, for example).

Nokia, one of Europe’s biggest lobbyists for software patents and an enemy of Ogg Theora, is currently suing Apple some more and so do other new claimants like SoftView.

Nokia is not the only company taking Apple to court over infringement of its patents. The latest mobile technology company to make that move is SoftView, a small startup based in Washington.

AT&T is also involved:

SoftView is not a patent troll, unlike Acacia whose defeat against Red Hat (and Novell) is still being covered by Rob Tiller. We also wrote about the subject in:

Apple is also said to have been sued by HTC (we will get to it later on) after Apple sued HTC, but Florian disagrees with the claim. He writes:

HTC patent counterstrike against Apple appears weak; Google still on the sidelines

HTC made this announcement today:

http://www.htc.com/us/press/htc-sues-apple-for-patent-infringement/15

“HTC SUES APPLE FOR PATENT INFRINGEMENT”

The word “sues” in that headline appears to be a somewhat misleading overstatement of what’s actually happening. The press release only says that HTC lodged “a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to halt the importation and sale of the iPhone, iPad and iPod in the United States.” By way of contrast, Apple’s March 2 announcement (http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2010/03/02patents.html ) had said that Apple “filed concurrently with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and in U.S. District Court in Delaware.” So what’s missing from HTC’s announcement is a lawsuit in the traditional sense of the word, meaning a lawsuit that would be filed with a court. HTC appears to be less determined than Apple and much less sure of having a strong case because otherwise it would, like Apple, take concurrent action at both levels, or if it had to choose between the two, HTC would take Apple to a court of law. Only filing a complaint in hopes of a governmental agency doing most of the work looks weak.

Also, HTC asserts five patents while Apple asserted 20. HTC had to choose its five bullets out of a rather small arsenal while Apple could pick its 20 out of an arsenal amounting to thousands of patents, which makes it much more likely, in purely statistical terms, that Apple’s selection of patents poses a threat to HTC than vice versa.

Maybe HTC hopes that its announcement could build some kind of pressure on Apple via its customers and shareholders.

It’s unfortunate that the dispute between Apple and HTC now becomes a sue-me-sue-you game between closed source and open source, with Apple most probably having the upper hand and HTC just trying to create the appearance of a retaliatory measure. I have serious doubts that HTC’s apparently half-hearted counterstrike will scare Apple. HTC’s light warfare is probably no match for Apple’s heavy artillery. Just comparing the two different press releases that announced legal action, and knowing about the size of the patent portfolios of the two combatants, this is in all likelihood a very unbalanced battle.

Google:

There’s still no indication of Google [whose Android open-source project is the reason for which Apple sued HTC in the first place] entering the fray and trying to bail out HTC and, if necessary, other vendors who build Android-based phones. When HTC and other vendors decided to create Android-based products, they might have thought that Google would help them out if any patent issues came up. I’m wondering whether Google can really stay on the sidelines of this forever, not only with a view to Android but also its other open source projects — existing and future ones.

More about that shortly. It is relevant to Linux.

How Yahoo! Reduced Zimbra’s Value From $350 Million to $100 Million and How Office Web Apps Excludes GNU/Linux Users

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenOffice, VMware at 6:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Paul Maritz
Photo by former Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble

Summary: How Microsoft’s Paul Maritz got hold of Zimbra very cheaply and how Microsoft uses its online office suite (as well as ties with Facebook) to exclude GNU/Linux users from accessing peers’ documents

EARLIER this year we explained why VMware’s acquisition of Zimbra has poor signs of commitment [1, 2]. For starters, VMware’s parent company is helping Microsoft Exchange/Outlook, which is Zimbra’s direct rival (Zimbra is often the ‘missing piece’ to OpenOffice.org users who need mail and calendaring). Having essentially hijacked Yahoo! (more executives are still abandoning, only to be replaced by former Microsoft staff) Microsoft saw Zimbra being passed from Yahoo! to the Microsoft executives who run VMware after EMC’s intervention. How much did that cost VMware? Not much, based on the numbers which have just come out.

Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) made about $100 million on the sale of its Zimbra enterprise e-mail and communications platform to VMWare in January; the companies had declined to release financial terms when the sale was initially announced but in its just-filed 10-Q Yahoo says it recorded “net proceeds” of $100 million and a “pre-tax gain” of $66 million on the sale.

Companies need to realise that Microsoft is trouble. It’s like a cult that induces assimilation or kills the product/company in question. Earlier this week we showed Microsoft taking more control of Facebook and its users/data, having given hundreds of millions of dollars to Facebook and formed personal relationships with its master. We found the following news worth passing around:

Facebook Adds A Former FTC Chairman To Its D.C. Team

With calls growing for the FTC to look into Facebook’s privacy practices, the social network has now enlisted a former FTC chairman to make its case.

This makes the FTC look like more of a farce with conflicting interests.

Earlier this week we mentioned how Facebook was helping Microsoft hold its users’ personal data hostage (using Microsoft’s online office suite), which is probably all that Microsoft has left now that its biggest cash cow (Office) suffers a decline, partly due to an exodus to Google, not just Free software like OpenOffice.org.

Watch how Microsoft suppresses the use of GNU/Linux using its Web-based office suite.

Linux users will need a Microsoft Office license to use Office Web Apps

[...]

Still, it seems to me that this licensing requirement will inhibit organisations from taking full advantage of what the Office Web Apps can do. The advantage of a web-based solution is that anyone can access it, both within an organisation, and beyond it if you choose to publish it on the Internet. I doubt there will be much enthusiasm for buying Office licenses for Linux users, though maybe the kind of organisation that has a full Microsoft-platform deployment does not have internal Linux users anyway.

If this is true (the source is eerily close to Microsoft), it can become grounds for more antitrust action. Microsoft wants to prevent people from sharing documents across the Internet unless all of them — GNU/Linux users included — pay Microsoft for permission. It’s an abuse of the network effect.

IDG/IDC Produces Propaganda for Microsoft as ‘Analyst’, Then Publishes That as ‘Journalist’

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: BSA, IDC, IDG, and Microsoft are doing it again, spreading false propaganda about so-called ‘piracy’ in software

ONCE A year we get to witness IDG/IDC's moral corruption when it works with the BSA (see Business Software Alliance), which is in turn funded by Microsoft, just like IDG [1, 2]. This triangle of liars perpetuates Microsoft’s lie that it suffers from so-called ‘piracy’ (Microsoft actually benefits from counterfeiting) and the funny thing is that the same company which conducts these so-called ‘studies’ also uses its publication arm (which some consider to be dozens of “trusted” news sites) to publish the resultant lies (Microsoft propaganda).

We haven’t yet found this year’s rebuttals to the propaganda, but it ought to be the same as every year. All they do is change the number of so-called ‘damages’ and dramatise it. The MPAA/RIAA/others do the same for ‘content’. IDC is using IDG (its parents) to publish the propaganda, which was also put forth by the MSBBC (thanks to ThistleWeb who alerted us about this).

Here is a good new post called “Another view of game piracy”:

While many game developers blame piracy for their decreasing PC game sales, it is clear that this is not the problem — relatively few gamers are pirates, and those that are would mostly not be able to afford games anyway.

However, it’s easier for these developers to point their fingers at pirates than to face the real problem: that their games are not fun on PC. The games in question are usually designed for consoles, with the desktop port as an afterthought. This means they are not fun to play with a mouse and keyboard, and don’t work well on PC hardware. Their field of view is designed to be viewed from a distant couch instead of a nearby monitor, and their gameplay is simplified to compensate for this tunnel vision.

Blizzard is one of the most successful game developers in the world, and it develops exclusively for desktop computers. Why do they succeed where everyone else fails? They create games that are designed from the beginning to work well with the mouse and keyboard, and with all kinds of desktop hardware. If developers spent more time improving their PC gaming experience, and less time complaining about piracy, we might see more successful PC games.

With the Humble Indie Bundle promotion we’ve seen that when we treat gamers as real people instead of criminals, they seem to respond in kind. Anyone can get all five DRM-free games for a single penny, and pirate them as much as they want — we have no way to find out or stop it. However, in just the first two days, we have over 40,000 contributions with an average of $8 each! Would we have seen this much support if the games were console ports that only worked when connected to a secure online DRM server? We’ll never know for sure, but somehow I doubt it.

The short story — in the case of games and software alike — is that those who were not going to pay for the product anyway are better off using it. They are not lost revenue. Even Bill Gates admitted this when he said: “As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours.” Adobe uses the same dirty tricks.

It is worth adding that this week we found quite a bit of “Open Source” FUD coming from IDG. Here is one daunting example and yet another whose message goes something along the lines of, “be very afraid of using Free software or portions of free/libre code.”

Processes can be pretty simple for a company with 10 or 20 developers. First appoint an open source czar. It’s important to have a resident expert to champion the effort. The other key elements are an approval process and a centralized catalog documenting open source components, where they are used and under what license. It all could be as simple as: You need to get permission from Joe and he maintains the spreadsheet and license docs. Automated solutions required by a big company would be overkill for you.

How is proprietary software any simpler? They always tend to ignore that. In fact, those firm that spread such fear (IDG gives them blogs) don’t even practice what they cover; they are typically proprietary software companies.

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