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05.18.10

Links 18/5/2010: Linux 2.6.34 is Out, Desktop Summit 2011 Extends Deadline

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • SouthEast LinuxFest announce more speakers
  • Linuxcare returns with focus in the cloud

    Back in Linux’s early days, Linuxcare emerged as the first important Linux support company. In 1998, the company made headlines not just in the technology press but in mainstream business publications like the Wall Street Journal as the company that would help businesses switch over to Linux. It was not to last. Poor top management decisions led Linuxcare to lose first its way, and, then, years later, to quietly vanish. Now, one of its founders, Arthur F. Tyde III, has brought Linuxcare back from the grave and made it ready for the 21st century.

    [...]

    In a statement, Dr. Scott S. Elliott, Linuxcare CEO, explained that since “Many companies are moving their IT to Cloud computing providers such as Amazon Web Services in order to reduce expenses for capital equipment, buildings, utilities, and supporting manpower.” We have built Linuxcare in the Cloud to provide scalable services such as helping clients set-up, configure and debug their open-source applications, including Linux, Joomla, SugarCRM, and many others.”

  • Weekend Project: Transition to IPv6

    The Linux Kernel and Utilities

    The Linux kernel has supported IPv6 since the very beginning, around 1996, and has adapted to keep up with the revisions and enhancements of IPv6-related RFCs over the years. Today, virtually no Linux distribution ships a kernel that does not include the IPv6 module compiled and loaded by default. You can test for its presence in several ways, though. The simplest is to look inside the /proc/net/ directory; if /proc/net/if_inet6 (and other entries) are present, the IPv6 module is loaded. If not, you can load it with modprobe ipv6.

  • Desktop

    • Bite the Bullet

      As I have previously mentioned, a friend contacted me Friday morning with a dead laptop – major graphic hardware problems. This was a system that I had worked on before, so I knew the most likely case was that there would be no saving it this time. So I told her to bring it to me, and I would extract her data and prepare another system for her to use while she decided on a new purchase.

      My plan was to prepare my mini-ITX dual Atom 330 desktop system with the latest Ubuntu distribution (10.04, Lucid Lynx). After transfering her documents and data, she would be able to surf the web (Firefox), email (Thunderbird), and work on MS Office documents (OpenOffice.org). From experience I know that loading from scratch, transferring her data, and showing her the high points of using those programs instead of the Windows programs she was accustomed to, would take me about two hours.

    • It Never Rains but it Pours PCs

      I just chatted with a teacher working late. He wants to try GNU/Linux because he is so tired of that other OS making him wait all the time. I will bet one of these new machines will be a rocket with GNU/Linux. I am unwilling to accept the EULA, too. I accidentally got that far into one when I applied power to insert SystemRescueCD instead of using the paper-clip trick. I did some tests:

      * all the hardware works with Linux
      * full disc reads at 110MB/s average, 130 MB/s peak.
      * memory cache runs at 18 gB/s

      I am leaning towards converting these machines for GNU/Linux terminal servers on a per-classroom basis. That will give the teacher total control of the students’ processes and a power-house multimedia station all at the same time. The advantages of the students’ processes running on a 64bit machine with RAID 1 and 3gB RAM are huge. If the teacher already has an application loaded, the students’ windows will pop open in the blink of an eye. I need some network switches soon…

    • Getting a Ubuntu Laptop setup for my Mum

      As sitting in the garden while surfing the internet is way cooler than only having a dedicated computer in an office we decided to get a notebook while at it. As both Thilo and myself are very familiar with Linux, the plan was to get a Linux-compatible netbook, install Ubuntu on it, get wireless up and running, pre-configure the necessary applications and hand it over after a short usage introduction.

      [...]

      For two weeks now mom is now happy user of the Ubuntu netbook edition – step by step learning how to write e-mails, chat and use the internet. As usual first thing we tried out was searching for vacation destinations, but also for at least my name.

    • When Microsoft hardware works more easily on Ubuntu than XP

      How often have you heard the words “it’s difficult to get this software/hardware working on Linux, that’s why it hasn’t caught the mass imagination”?

      On the other hand, how often have you heard that it’s more difficult to get software/hardware working on Windows compared to Linux – but others do it for you so you aren’t exposed to the problem?

      My personal experience is more of the latter and much less of the former. The latest example I have to offer is that of hardware made by Microsoft itself – LifeChat USB audio headphones.

      A bit of background. My children have run through eight pairs of headsets in the last two years, most of them LogiTech, for one reason or the other – the sound fails, parts break, the wires come loose. Each set costs something in the region of $40 so it ain’t cheap stuff.

      Whenever any set which they are using fails, they grab the one sitting on their mother’s PC and behave as though nothing has happened. I have to then buy my wife a new set.

    • eMachines Bring Power Of Linux To India

      Acer has announced the launch of a new notebook, eME730, under its super value brand eMachines. Through its value-driven product offering from eMachines, Acer aims to address the void in the value PC segment.

      eMachines is bringing the most aggressive mobile computing solution that exists in the market today. It enables to make the dream of owning a laptop a reality for the average Indian consumer. This Notebook from eMachines, is one of the most economical Core i3 based laptops available in the market today. eMachines730, with its dual tone refreshing design, is the best option in terms of price-performance ratio, as it offers the most competitive prices in the market for the specifications incorporated.

  • Google

    • The New Browser Wars: Will Ubuntu drop Firefox for Google Chrome?
    • Clearing the air around Ubuntu and Chrome

      Reports of the popular Linux distro ditching Firefox get clarified

      Amidst reports that Ubuntu would ditch longtime default browser Firefox for Google’s Chrome browser were put to rest with a resounding “sort of.”

      [...]

      Castro was also quick to dispel any rumors that the potential browser switch was for the desktop build of Ubuntu. If Chromium is chosen, it will only affect the netbook edition of Ubuntu 10.10.

    • Good Google!

      They have the rising-stars of browsers, OS, and are stronger than ever in search and advertising.

      [...]

      At the moment, this is happening on mobile things, small mobile things. With ARM it can spill over to immobile things, too. How many hundreds of millions of people will have to know GNU/Linux and derivatives work before the monopoly is broken? My estimate is one. Why? Because everyone knows a few people so the contacts the in-folk have are just about everyone.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Release

      • Linux 2.6.34 Kernel Released! Time For 2.6.35
      • Linux 2.6.34

        Nothing very interesting here, which is just how I like it. Various random fixes all over, nothing really stands out. Pretty much all of it is one- or few-liners, I think the biggest patch in the last week was fixing some semantics for the new SR-IOV VF netlink interface. And even that wasn’t a _big_ patch by any means.

      • What’s new in Linux 2.6.34

        The Nouveau driver for GeForce graphics hardware now includes everything you need to dynamically generate open source firmware for NV50 GPUs on demand, so that 8xxx, 9xxx and GTX2x0 series GeForce graphics chips will now run without the controversial ctxprogs, generated using proprietary graphics drivers.

    • File Systems

      • Linux 2.6.34 Kernel Debuts With New Filesystems

        The Linux 2.6.34 kernel is now available, delivering new filesystems to the open source operating system.

        Among the big new items included in the 2.6.34 release is the Ceph distributed filesystem and LogFS, a filesystem geared toward flash media devices. The update comes as the second major Linux kernel development of 2010 and follows the Linux 2.6.33 kernel release by just under three months.

      • Linux gains flash filesystem

        Linus Torvalds announced the release of Linux 2.6.34, which is notable for adding two filesystems: Ceph for distributed and cloud-based applications, and LogFS, which is optimized for flash-memory based devices. Other new features include a faster KVM virtualization driver based on Vhost.net technology, says LinuxPlanet.com.

      • Linux kernel 2.6.34 adds scalable Ceph filesystem

        Linus Torvalds announced this week the official release of version 2.6.34 of the Linux kernel. The update introduces two new filesystems and brings a number of other technical improvements and bug fixes.

      • Linux gets jiggy with more filesystems in 2.6.34 kernel release

        But open source software fans and vendors will be happy to see the Ceph distributed filesystem, which supports many petabytes of storage, and flash media-happy LogFS filesystem included in the 2.6.34 release of Linux.

      • A Random Btrfs Experience

        I still look forward to the promise of btrfs. I’m impressed with how far it has come, and it holds great promise. However, I just can’t see this being production-ready quite yet. At least not without heavy backups (which I can’t afford right now – at least not doing it right).

      • Article ZFS data integrity testing and more random ZFS thoughts.
    • LM_Sensors

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Blur Effect enabled by default

      I just enabled the blur effect by default for the beta cycle. If your graphics card at least supports the extension GL_ARB_fragment_program (check with glxinfo) you should see the blur behind Plasma tooltips, etc.

    • Is GNOME or KDE Better for New Users?

      One argument I hear is how much KDE 4.x looks like OS X or Windows 7, while GNOME feels more like something from the 90′s. Out of the box, a few years ago, this might have held some truth to it.

      These days however, GNOME is highly customizable and looks very professional out of the box. Taking the experience further, you can even alter the GNOME theme in three easy clicks. Four, if you count the new theme you’ve selected.

      I also appreciate the fact that from the same three clicks, I can download ready-made themes if those provides are simply not cutting it.

    • Someone is *Wrong* On The Internet

      What prompted this thread, you might ask? Well, I was reading Michael Read’s recent KDE4: It hurt, but did it work? article, and was tickled by the fervor of the anti/pro camps surrounding the great KDE vs. Gnome debate. Did the anti-KDE flamers win over any converts to whatever was being claimed as a superior desktop environment? I doubt it. Did it make for entertaining reading? I think so.

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Keynote Speaker at Akademy 2010: Aaron Seigo Interview

        In about 6 weeks the biggest yearly gathering of the KDE community starts in Tampere. To give you all a little taste of Akademy 2010, Guillermo Amaral interviewed Aaron Seigo and asked him about his keynote.

      • Desktop Summit 2011 Extends Deadline for Call for Hosts
      • KMyMoney announces release candidate for KDE platform 4

        After a year of hard work on a version for the KDE platform 4, the KMyMoney team is happy to announce the immediate availability of the first release candidate. Unlike previous versions, this one is recommended for general use. The feedback provided by previous beta releases makes us confident that it is as stable and rock-solid as previous stable versions.

      • Clementine is an attractively simple music player and organizer

        Clementine is actually a port of Amarok, one of the better music organizers for KDE and Linux. It’s still early days — they just released version 0.3 — but a core set of features and no bloat is what makes Clementine appealing! It plays music, it organizes music and it streams radio. That’s it! Sure, it also lets you scrobble to Last.fm and, yes, you download missing album art too — but these things happen in the background. It still remains a simple program with just a handful of precious, useful settings that can be changed.

  • Distributions

    • The Secret Identities of Linux Distributions

      Of the three, Ubuntu is probably the easiest to identify: most popular desktop Linux distribution. That’s a laudable goal, but right now that strong sense of identity could work against Canonical, which is also trying to position Ubuntu as a strong server platform and a cloud client. Look for a push to build some sort of meta identity for Ubuntu soon, I would expect.

    • Gentoo

    • New Releases

      • ABC GNU/Linux

        This is how the first version of ABC GNU/Linux arose, which was in trial phase by April 2009. It involves a free software-based distribution (Ubuntu), is live as well as installable, and is capable of automatically configuring a cluster of up to 254 computers. Castanos said, “100 PCs are purchased and my DVD is inserted into one of these and booted, either from the DVD or installed in the hard disk itself. This computer and the rest of the machines are connected together by a switch (a device that acts like a router). When the rest of the machines are booted, using a BIOS (basic in/out system) specifying which device is to be booted, they are told what to do by means of the network card. All are booted from the DVD itself — or the hard disk if installed — registered, and connections are created between them.”

      • Arch Linux 2010.05 arrives

        The Arch Linux developers have announced the release of the project’s official 2010.05 installation images. Arch Linux is a simple and lightweight Linux distribution for i686 and x86-64 platforms aimed at Linux users who want to create “their own ideal environment” and install only what they need.

      • Zippy, cloud-based Linux distro off to fast start

        A new fast-booting, cloud-oriented, “Peppermint OS” Ubuntu variant has been downloaded 25,000 times in its first week. Meanwhile, the Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone CentOS has been released in version 5.5, adding features such as improved KVM virtualization and expanded WiFi support, and pioneering Linux distro-maker Mandriva is up for sale.

    • Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • More On PCLinuxOS 2010

        I am still enjoying the distribution of Linux I have currently on my laptop and it’s stability and solidness.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s Worldwide Middleware ISV Ecosystem Expands

        “We are seeing a growing number of customers, who want to leverage the performance and price benefits of open source middleware, request that their application vendors certify against Red Hat’s JBoss Enterprise Middleware,” said Craig Muzilla, vice president, middleware, Red Hat. “We believe that the growth of our ISV Program reflects a migration away from complex and expensive proprietary platforms towards the leading open source middleware provider, Red Hat.”

      • The End Is In Sight For RHEL 3

        It’s doubtful that anyone really likes having to upgrade, but at some point it has to be done. For those particularly adverse to the upgrade — like enterprise users, with good reason — there are extra-long windows, but eventually even those windows close. Last week, Red Hat announced that the oldest of its supported platforms has officially entered the homestretch.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 13 – Ready to roll

          Automatic driver installations, better mobile broadband and the end of PowerPC support can be expected from Fedora 13.

          Fedora Linux, the community release of Red Hat, is putting the final touches to its latest release, Fedora 13. Codenamed “Goddard”, Fedora 13 has a number of features that will please end users as well as systems administrators. Fedora 13 also ends the relationship with PowerPC processors and now backs the KVM virtualisation system.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian-Ubuntu relationship: poll summary

        So, I’m now back and with some feedback to share. I’ll first post (in this mail) a summary of the replies I got to this “poll” and later on a more general summary of what I did at UDS.

      • Ubuntu

        • UDS Brussels: Prototype tool helps tracking kernel patches

          Steve Conklin, member of the kernel team at Canonical, wrote the patchtracker during the last couple of months, much of it in the last two weeks. The patchtracker is written in python running on the Django framework. It allows developers to locate all git branches in which a certain kernel patch found its way.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick) Developer Summit

          The community track discussed the usual line-up of events, outreach and advocacy programs, organizational tools, and governance housekeeping for the 10.10 cycle, as well as goals for improving the translation of Ubuntu and related resources into many languages.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 193

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #193 for the week May 9th – May 15th, 2010. In this issue we cover Ubuntu Developer Summit – Ubuntu 10.10 – Maverick Meerkat planned, Ubuntu Developer Summit -M Videos, Unity, and Ubuntu Light, A Case for Modifying the Ubuntu Release Schedule, New Default Applications In Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10?, Ubuntu Stats, Ubuntu DC LoCo InstallFest, Release Party In Uruguay was a Big Hit, Welcome To Ubuntu in Maryland! May 20th, Ubuntu Release Party 10.04 – Alagoas, Ubuntu Hams – Our First UDS Session was Great, Clarifications around Ubuntu using “Google Chrome”, UDS-Maverick recap, BTRFS By Default In Maverick?, Testing Ubuntu Releases, Receive Ubuntu bugs by mail with the Debian PTS, Columbia Areas Linux User Group – Featured speaker Mackenzie Morgan, In The Press, In the Blogoshpere, Canonical’s Ubuntu support scope, Commercial bug-fixes for Ubuntu, Upcoming Meetings and Events, Updates and Security, And much much more…

        • Ubuntu Maverick UDS Group Photo made with the Hugin Panorama Creator
        • Early Release Schedules For Ubuntu 11.04, 11.10, 12.04 LTS

          While the release schedules for Ubuntu Linux aren’t exactly a close secret — new releases generally coming in April and October with the version scheme being YY.MM such as Ubuntu 11.04 for the April 2011 release — Canonical’s Robbie Williamson has laid out tentative release schedules for Ubuntu 11.04, Ubuntu 11.10, and even Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

        • Ubuntu toolbox

          Eye candy. Compiz, which brings all sorts of cool effects to your screen, is already installed with Ubuntu, but to gain greater control over how it behaves, install the settings manager (compizconfig-settings-manager in Synaptic). Also install the Emerald Theme Manager (emerald in Synaptic) so that Compiz can display fancy translucent windows. To activate Emerald after it’s installed, hit F2 and type gksu emerald—replace and hit Enter. I also create a new start-up program using the same command to make sure my fancy windows come up every time.

        • Ubuntu (w/ GNOME) Switching To Single Click For Opening Files And Folders?
        • Variants

          • Linux Mint 9 “Isadora” released!
          • Cloud-ready Peppermint OS blasts off to fast start

            A fast-booting, cloud-oriented, “Peppermint OS” Ubuntu variant has been downloaded 25,000 times in its first week. Meanwhile, Red Hat clone CentOS has been released in version 5.5, adding features including enhanced KVM virtualization and improved WiFi support, and pioneering Linux distro-maker Mandriva is up for sale.

          • Linux and Open Source: A Look at Peppermint OS, a Linux for the Masses
          • Puppy

            • Ubuntu-based Puppy Linux 5.0 arrives

              The major update, also referred to as “Lucid Puppy”, was built using the Woof build system and is based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx binary packages. Lucid Puppy features the new Quickpet package manager which allows users to install a number of Linux programs with a single click. Available applications include the Kompozer web authoring system, GIMP for image editing and several browsers, such as Firefox, SeaMonkey, Chromium, and Opera.

            • Distro Hoppin`: Puppy Linux 5.0

              Puppy Linux is on an ever-ascending curve with every new release proving to be a must have for Linux nomads who need an Internet- and Multimedia-ready system wherever they go, without needing to sacrifice precious space on their thumb drives, nor tones of resources on the host machines. Puppy Linux 5, what a great specimen you are…

            • Puppy Linux 5.0

              Puppy Linux, in case you aren’t already familiar with it, is a lightweight version of Linux that is designed for portability.

              The .iso file of Puppy Linux 5.0 weighs in at an incredibly petite 128 MB. It’s much, much smaller than all of the usual desktop heavyweight distros. But don’t let its small size fool you, Puppy Linux 5.0 is anything but an also-ran in terms of functionality and usability.

              Puppy Linux 5.0 is built from Ubuntu Linux 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) binaries, so it’s…er…pet name is Lucid Puppy. Like a lot of other things about Puppy Linux, the name is cute and adorable. I felt like giving Puppy Linux a dog bone and a pat on the head when I started using it.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux on the iPhone: Status update

      I know the binaries for the iPhone 3G are taking a while. Everything is basically done and all the code I have is in the source repositories so people are free to build it for themselves. However, I wanted to improve the packaging slightly to ease installation (no longer requiring people to modify ext2 partitions). The release of the binaries (and a how-to) will be sometime within the next week.

    • Workshops tackle Qt, Linux, and i.MX development

      Future Electronics and Nokia will host six full-day, hands-on workshops across the North America on using Linux and Nokia’s Qt development framework to develop user interfaces (UIs) for Freescale’s ARM-based i.MX system-on-chips (SoCs). Starting in Boston on May 18, the workshops will use the Freescale i.MX23 SoC as its sample platform.

    • WebOS

      • Palm’s webOS installed and running on old Dell laptop

        Old used laptops are usually paired with old operating systems like Windows XP or some GNU/Linux variant. But for those of you who want to try out something completely different, check out Palm’s webOS.

        No, I have not gone crazy or fallen victim to a typo of some sort. Palm’s mobile operating system on the Pre and Pixi has been found to be capable of running on an old Dell laptop. See the image below for some introductory proof.

      • webOS up and running on PC hardware
    • Android

      • Rumor: T-Mobile ‘Project Emerald’ is Sidekick-Branded Android Product

        TmoNews and DroidDog are reporting that the phone that’s going to be part of T-Mobile’s latest initiative will actually be a Sidekick. This time around, HTC will be manufacturing the device as opposed to Sharp or Motorola. Rumored specs peg the phone with Android 2.1, a 1 GHz processor (assumed to be Snapdragon), a front-facing camera, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display, and 16 GB of internal storage. Sounds like a pretty grown up Sidekick to us! No firm dates yet, but we’ve learned it should be ‘summer’.

      • Can Froyo 2.2 Save Linux-Based Android From Fragmentation?

        As Google prepares to kick off its annual Google I/O developer conference Wednesday, the wireless industry — including many open source mobile app developers — are anticipating the Android 2.2 release, dubbed Froyo, not only because of its faster processing features but also for its potential to mitigate the nascent OS’s fragmentation issue.

        Handsets powered by Google’s Android are becoming increasingly popular, but the open source smartphone platform is facing a threat that could cause it to self-destruct.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Dual-core Atom for netbooks?

        Intel will launch its first dual-core Atom processor for netbooks and other mobile devices during the third quarter, Fudzilla claims. The N550 will be clocked at 1.5GHz, have 512KB of second-level cache per core, and offer an 8.5 Watt TDP, Fuad Abazovic writes.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Do we need open source vendors?

    One of the biggest misconceptions about open source software (OSS) in the enterprise is that it is software that can be rolled out without the involvement of a vendor. But in reality, in any enterprise software deployment, there will always be someone that needs to play the role that the vendor plays in the commercial software space.

    What I do mean when I say that there will always need to be a vendor? To put it simply, I believe that there will always need to be someone you can count on to provide the support and services that you can’t depend on the open source community to provide.

  • New Hampshire Libraries Band Together for their Implementation of Koha

    ByWater Solutions, an open source community supporter and official Koha support company, announced today that The Monadnock Library Community of New Hampshire has partnered with them for the installation and support of the community version of the Koha integrated library system.

  • Databases

    • 5 of the Best Free Linux MySQL Tools

      MySQL is a relational database management system. It provides a very fast, multi-threaded, multi-user, and robust SQL (Structured Query Language) database server. MySQL is the most popular open source database, and is the database component of the LAMP software stack. LAMP consists of the Apache web server, MySQL and PHP, the essential building blocks to run a general purpose web server. MySQL is used and championed by many large organizations including Google, Facebook, BBC, Intel, Sun, SAP, Dell, AMD, Novell, Veritas and many others.

  • Oracle

    • 6 Advanced OpenOffice.org Extensions

      OpenOffice.org (OOo for short) is a powerful open source and multi-platform office suite, and is even comparable to Microsoft Office. However, there’s always room-to-grow, features to improve, and things to customize. Luckily, the open source community provides a great repository of extensions and add-ons. Today, we’ll look at six of them. Now let’s get started!

  • CMS

    • Social networking platform eXo Social released

      eXo has announced the release of eXo Social 1.0, an enterprise social networking package which supports OpenSocial, under an AGPL licence. eXo Social is bundled with eXo’s GateIn 3.0 and Tomcat 6.0 to allow users to configure a social network “out of the box”. eXo Social is aimed at enterprises who want to integrate social networking concepts into their existing infrastructure.

    • eXo Social now open source

      eXo Software said its eXo Social 1.0, which follows the Open Social standard, is now available under the Affero GPL License.

      The AGPL makes server enhancements as well as software available to others. It is considered the bottom of the open source incline for online companies, and is staunchly resisted by Google for that reason.

    • Drupal

      • U.S. Department of Commerce using Drupal

        The United States Department of Commerce just relaunched their website on Drupal. Check out their new website at http://commerce.gov.

        According to Wikipedia, the Department of Commerce has more than 140,000 employees, and an annual budget of $14 billion USD. Needless to say this is another great win for Drupal, and for Open Source in government!

      • Forrester Research using Drupal
  • Business

    • Diaspora: The Future of Free Software Funding?

      A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Diaspora, a free software project to create a distributed version of Facebook that gives control back to users. Since then, of course, Facebook-bashing and Diaspora-boosting have become somewhat trendy. Indeed, Diaspora has now soared past its initial $10,000 fund-raising target: at the time of writing, it has raised over $170,000, with 15 days to go. That’s amazing, but what’s more interesting is the way in which Diaspora has done it.

      Of course, the sudden interest of mainstream media has helped, but beyond the arithmetical implications of having lots of people looking at your site, what’s important is how the Diaspora team has managed to turn those proverbial eyeballs into practical funds.

  • BSD

  • Government

    • MT: Government starts open source user group

      The government of Malta has started the Government of Malta Open Source End User Group (Moseug) last month. The group is meant to become a major driving force behind open source initiatives in the country.

      According to an article on the new user group in the Times of Malta newspaper, written by Michel Bugeja, an IT architect at Malta’s governmental Information Technology Agency (MITA), the government wants the group to help to increase the use of open source software in the government. “All stakeholders see the formation of the user group as a commitment from the government to promote open source software on equal play to proprietary software.”

  • Openness

  • Programming

    • Zend Raises Another $9 million – For What?

      They now claim to have more than 1 million registered users for its PHP solutions which include the Zend Studio IDE and Zend Server PHP efforts.

    • Google I/O: What to Expect, What to Hope For

      The folks at Apple have made an art form out of annual conferences with big announcements.

      In recent years we’ve seen the iPhone, MacBook Air, and more recently the iPad unveiled to much fanfare.

      Not to be outdone by Apple, Google has been making some Waves as well with their annual spring conference dubbed Google I/O.

    • Django 1.2 released

      Django 1.2 introduces several large, important new features, including:

      * Support for multiple database connections in a single Django instance.
      * Model validation inspired by Django’s form validation.

      …]

Leftovers

  • Verizon gives up on family’s $18,000 bill

    For, in the story of the Massachusetts family that fought for four years against a Verizon bill of some $18,000, a winner has been declared. And it is not, you will be pained to discover, Verizon.

  • Bill revealed affair, woman sues Rogers

    A Toronto woman says the billing practices of Rogers Wireless Inc. led to her husband discovering her extramarital affair.

  • Exclusive: Seagate confirms 3TB drive

    After a few weeks of rumours, Seagate’s senior product manager Barbara Craig has confirmed to Thinq that “we are announcing a 3TB drive later this year,” but the move to 3TB of storage space apparently involves a lot more work than simply upping the areal density.

    The ancient foundations of the PC’s three-decade legacy has once again reared its DOS-era head, revealing that many of today’s PCs are simply incapable of coping with hard drives that have a larger capacity than 2.1TB.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Cars’ Computer Systems Called at Risk to Hackers

      Automobiles, which will be increasingly connected to the Internet in the near future, could be vulnerable to hackers just as computers are now, two teams of computer scientists are warning in a paper to be presented next week.

    • Hack attacks mounted on car control systems
    • Security guard admits he hacked hospital PCs

      Jesse William McGraw, 25, called himself Ghost Exodus in videos such as this one as he wandered the halls of the North Central Medical Plaza in Dallas during the graveyard shift. He used his physical access to the facility’s PCs to install bots so he could launch attacks on a rival hacking gang, prosecutors said. The compromised machines included a nurse’s station computer for tracking patients and one that controlled the HVAC, or heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system.

    • CCTV? Oh yes, it’s a great earner!

      Oh good! If the system makes more money, then there can be even more watching!

    • Ahead of G20 summit, more CCTV cameras go up

      Crews have been hard at work downtown putting up dozens of security cameras, which will be used to monitor streets during the G20 Summit next month.

    • Tim Loughton and ClassWatch

      Loughton You may not have heard of a company called ClassWatch – but if you’ve got a child of school age, the chances are that Classwatch has an eye on your family. They install CCTV in classrooms. Have a look at their website – under “technology” you can see the way they install surveillance (including listening devices) in different classroom layouts.

    • Unpleasant to see you, to see you, unpleasant

      Of course, such schemes have at their heart a “won’t somebody think of the children” nanny state agenda driven by the extreme examples such as Baby P’s sad death. But cases like that are about the clear-cut failure of social services (who had had multiple interactions with that family). Rather than deal with such incompetence, the state’s solution is to dole out much greater powers to the same types of incompetent people, over the lives of a far wider sector of society. The vast law-abiding majority shouldn’t be intruded upon as a consequence of the state’s failure to deal with the tiny minority.

    • Judge Permanently Bans Webcam Spying On Students
    • Scientists Question Safety Of New Airport Scanners

      After the “underwear bomber” incident on Christmas Day, President Obama accelerated the deployment of new airport scanners that look beneath travelers’ clothes to spot any weapons or explosives.

      Fifty-two of these state-of-the-art machines are already scanning passengers at 23 U.S. airports. By the end of 2011, there will be 1,000 machines and two out of every three passengers will be asked to step into one of the new machines for a six-second head-to-toe scan before boarding.

      About half of these machines will be so-called X-ray back-scatter scanners. They use low-energy X-rays to peer beneath passengers’ clothing. That has some scientists worried.

    • Pentagon hacker demands Government payback

      Pentagon hacker, Gary McKinnon has called on the newly-elected British government to put its money where its mouth is and tear up his extradition order.

    • Alasdair Palmer is wrong, wrong, wrong

      I would love to ask Mr Palmer how he thinks ID cards would facilitate crime prevention? Is his ideal world one in which every UK citizen carries identification that the Police can order to see at any time; to paraphrase our new PM’s infamous gaffe – “ver are your papers?” Not even our overbearing previous government were ready to go that far!

    • The Controversy Magnet: PositiveID “Chips” Alzheimer’s Patients, Quite Possibly Without Permission

      When is a medical experiment in which you implant microchips in 200 old people with Alzheimer’s disease not a medical experiment? According to PositiveID (PSID), it’s when you forget to get permission from an institutional review board, which oversees medical experiments on humans.

    • Need a false identity? It’ll cost a couple of quid

      Confused about who was going to end up as prime minister earlier this week? Imagine how the fake identity card company felt which produced documents for The Observer and security company CPP.

      To show how easy it is to obtain fraudulent documents using anyone’s details, CPP applied for four official-looking proofs of ID using David Cameron’s name and Gordon Brown’s photo. As you can see, the results of this unlikely coalition are pretty convincing.

    • West Hull residents asked to shop neighbours for leaving bins out too long

      PEOPLE in a west Hull street are being asked to shop their neighbours if they leave their bins out for too long.

      City council officials are even asking residents to fill in so-called “environmental crime incident diaries”, similar to those used to log violent anti- social behaviour.

    • Pruning twigs leads to £20k fine threat

      When the Highways Agency chopped down dozens of trees shielding his home from the busy M6 last year, pensioner Bryan Wiseman had to simply put up with it.

      But after pruning a couple of branches from a hawthorn tree overhanging his garden in Woodside Way, Short Heath, the 70-year-old has been stunned by the threat of a court fine of up to £20,000.

    • Oh, You Mean Those Quotas

      In March, I wrote a column detailing a number of credible accusations made against the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for instituting a quota system for arrests and for stop-and-frisk searches. At the same time, additional allegations charged higher-ups in the department with actively discouraging crime victims from reporting crimes—as well as downgrading felonies to misdemeanors—in order to make the city’s crime statistics look better. Taken together, these allegations painted an ugly picture of New Yorkers being stopped, hassled, and frisked for either petty offenses or for no offense at all, while the victims of acutal crimes faced unsympathetic law enforcement officials.

      [...]

      Unfortunately, the current political class in New York has bought into the idea that these policies are responsible for the drop in crime. It seems odd to say that it will take an unusually conscientious politician to call for a crime policy that doesn’t involve suppressing real crimes, manufacturing fake ones, and harassing the citizenry. But that is precisely what it will take.

  • Environment/Health

    • Barack Obama sends nuclear experts to tackle BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil leak

      The US has sent a team of nuclear physicists to help BP plug the “catastrophic” flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico from its leaking Deepwater Horizon well, as the Obama administration becomes frustrated with the oil giant’s inability to control the situation.

    • Oil Spill Encounters Loop Current

      Satellite image speaks volumes

      There have been conflicting rumblings across the newswire services and across social media outlets whether the Gulf oil spill has been entrained into the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current.

      The images below from NASA’s MODIS satellite speaks volumes and confirms many people’s worst fears.

    • How Much Oil Is Really Spilling into the Gulf of Mexico?

      At first, right after the BP Deepwater Horizon offshore rig exploded on April 20, BP and U.S. government officials reported the underwater well was pumping about 1,000 barrels a day into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A few days later, that figure was challenged by the non-profit group SkyTruth, which uses remote sensing and digital mapping to evaluate environmental issues globally. Ten days later, by April 30, some industry experts said the well could be leaking at a rate of 5,000 barrels daily — five times the previous estimate, and the one that has been the most widely and persistently used in the media.

    • Gas surge shut well a couple of weeks before Gulf oil spill

      The material paints a chilling image of the violent force of the rig explosions and the chaos that ensued as rig workers tried to escape spewing mud, seawater and methyl hydrates in the form of icy slush. That same type of frozen natural gas blocked BP’s attempts during the weekend to control the well leak with a huge box lowered 5,000 feet to the sea floor.

      Back on April 20, the slush forced its way to the rig, shot 240 feet in the air and heated into a gas that quickly ignited into fireballs, Bea’s witness accounts say. Among those tossed asunder by the explosions were BP officials who were on the rig to celebrate a seven-year spotless safety record.

    • Submerged oil plumes suggest gulf spill is worse than BP claims

      Ocean scientists in the Gulf of Mexico have found giant plumes of oil coagulating at up to 1,300 metres below the surface, raising fears that the BP oil spill may be larger than thought – and that it might create huge “dead zones”.

    • The Right Wing’s Next Target: The Greenlining Institute

      Last year, right-wing activists masqueraded as a pimp and a prostitute and used a phony storyline and a hidden camera to take down the community group ACORN. ACORN was eventually absolved and the unsavory tactics of the right exposed, but that hasn’t stopped the right from moving on to a new target: the Berkeley, California-based Greenlining Institute. Like ACORN, the Greenlining Institute is a progressive organization that advocates for the poor and works for economic justice. It also supports implementation and enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act, a federal law passed in 1977 to mitigate deteriorating conditions in low and moderate-income neighborhoods by addressing the practice of redlining — denying credit or insurance to people based on their ethnic background or neighborhood.

    • MIT Team Unveils Airplane that Uses 70 Percent Less Fuel

      Today a team of researchers at MIT unveiled their latest feat of engineering — an airplane that uses 70% less fuel than conventional aircraft.

    • Mixing of poisonous chemicals in Tetra Milk Pack disclosed.

      The NA Standing Committee on Human Rights has constituted a monitoring committee to ensure the supply of quality edibles to consumers after disclosure of harmful ingredients in the preparations of Tetra Milk Pack. The meeting of NA Standing Committee was held at the Parliament House with its Chairman Riaz Fatyana in the chair on Monday.

  • Finance

    • Jim’s Mailbox

      Perhaps many intelligent German people studied the history of Weimar hyperinflation that occurred in 1923. The printing presses like those today went out of control sending the price of gold to the stratosphere as paper dollars became useless!

    • Why the SEC Decided to Sue Goldman Sachs

      As you might imagine, the ongoing revelations about the SEC (Bernie Madoff, Allen Stanford, and porn, among others) has made things somewhat awkward for the agency’s employees. Children jeer at them on the street. Priests sigh in disgust when they confess the name of their employer through the grate. Their local deli guys are like, “How’s it hangin’, ladyboy?” when they stop in to buy cigarettes. Even old ladies give them a hard time, according to this morning’s Journal.

    • An Updated List of Goldman Sachs Ties to the Obama Government Including Elena Kagan

      III. COMBINED LIST OF GOLDIES TIED TO THE OBAMA GOVERNMENT.

      This lists compiles the names above and those in the prior diary on this. For more detail on names not annotated in this diary, see the earlier diary linked here):

      ALTMAN, ROGER.

      BERKOWITZ, HOWARD P.

      BIDEN, JOE.

      BRAINARD, LAEL.

      BUFFETT, WARREN.

      CLINTON, HILLARY.

      [...]

    • The Government as Identity Thieves

      The spotlight remains on the Greek sovereign debt crisis as the riots continue. The terms of the Greek bailout from the IMF and Eurozone countries remain contentious with citizens on all sides. Europeans hate having their governments throw public money away as much as Americans do. The Greeks are not happy about having their taxes raised while their pensions and salaries are cut. Meanwhile, it is rumored by the Financial Times, AFP and others that Greece may spend more than it saves from austerity measures on arms deals with Germany, France and the US as a potential condition of receiving bailout funds. If true, it is certainly not unprecedented for the global military industrial complex to benefit from deals made by their friends in the central banking community. After all, war is the health of the state. The last thing big government proponents want is for peace to break out in the world.

  • AstroTurf

    • “Your Superhero is Smoking?”

      So, I’m new, but I said screw it and I took Gary’s concern up with management and here’s the deal.

      If Supercool Creative gets 500 tweets telling us the logo is no good we’ll change it… on our business cards, letterhead, websites, social networking sites… everything.

    • Death by Tweet?

      Supercool Creative, a social marketing company that tries to shape opinion by making viral videos and posting them on the Web, recently adopted a new Superman-like hero as its logo. So what’s the problem? The guy is shown smoking a cigarette. After the image prompted a man from Prospect, Connecticut to tweet the company letting them know their smoking logo was not cool, Supercool Creative decided to take turn what appeared to be a nascent social effort to oust their logo into a into a viral challenge.

    • Pampers Parents Liars? That’s P&G’s Response to Complaining Consumers

      Parents who’ve complained that reformulated Pampers caused severe diaper rash in their children are liars, a Procter & Gamble executive claims.

      “For a number of weeks, Pampers has been a subject of growing but completely false rumors fueled by social media that its new Dry Max diaper causes rashes and other skin irritations,” said Jodi Allen, P&G Vice President for Pampers. “These rumors are being perpetuated by a small number of parents, some of whom are unhappy that we replaced our older Cruisers and Swaddlers products while others support competitive products and the use of cloth diapers. Some have specifically sought to promote the myth that our product causes ‘chemical burns.’”

      Allen offered no documentation for her allegations, simply labeling the complaints of parents false. But an analysis of complaints filed with ConsumerAffairs.com finds that most come from parents who were loyal Pampers customers until they encountered problems with the reformulated “Dry Max” Pampers.

    • Spin

      • Texas schools board rewrites US history with lessons promoting God and guns

        US Christian conservatives drop references to slave trade and sideline Thomas Jefferson who backed church-state separation

        [...]

        The new curriculum asserts that “the right to keep and bear arms” is an important element of a democratic society. Study of Sir Isaac Newton is dropped in favour of examining scientific advances through military technology.

        There is also a suggestion that the anti-communist witch-hunt by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s may have been justified.

        The education board has dropped references to the slave trade in favour of calling it the more innocuous “Atlantic triangular trade”, and recasts the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as driven by Islamic fundamentalism.

      • My Growing Library of Banned Books

        I have never understood people who become justifiably apoplectic when the government bans books at the behest of a political party in power, but then remain silent (or even offer their support) when the same government power bans books at the behest of private corporate interests. The end result is the same. A free mind who wishes to explore creative works and form artistic judgments on them is prevented from doing so by force of law.

    • Fox

      • Jimmy Wales: Fox News Is Wrong, No Shake Up

        Contrary to several reports, Wikipedia’s Founder Jimmy Wales is not relinquishing his editorial control of Wikipedia and its related projects. On Friday, Fox News reported that “a shakeup is underway at the top levels of Wikipedia…Wales is no longer able to delete files, remove administrators, assign projects or edit any content, sources say. Essentially, they say, he has gone from having free reign over the content and people involved in the websites to having the same capabilities of a low-level administrator.”

      • Glenn Beck’s war on the FCC (and Satan worshippers)

        Right-wing talker Glenn Beck took to his Fox News TV program last Monday night to deliver a rant about how President Obama has compiled something “almost like an enemies list” and how Obama is into “silencing opponents.” The president’s tool of choice for this censorship? Network neutrality—the principle that ISPs cannot interfere with content.

      • Fox News Dishonest Edit of Obama as Exclusionary?
  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • U.S. military using private spy ring overseas despite concerns about operation’s legality

      Top military officials have continued to rely on a secret network of private spies who have produced hundreds of reports from deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to American officials and businessmen, despite concerns among some in the military about the legality of the operation.

      The American military is largely prohibited from operating inside Pakistan. Under Pentagon rules, the army is not allowed to hire contractors for spying.

    • Personal Data: reclaiming individual control

      The potential rewards are immense. It’s not just that, like BP, we need to stem the toxic leakage, in our case of personal data from government. Nor that we need to cut the cost of maintaining government’s huge data sets, and restore people’s trust in what goervnment does with personal data. The real wins come when public services are driven more directly by more accurate data sets, and can be more closely aligned only to needs which really exist. Imagine the “just in time” revolution of 1970s car manufacturing applied to public services. But the saving we have to make mean we’ll need nothing less than that.

    • EFF: Forget cookies, your browser has fingerprints

      Even without cookies, popular browsers such as Internet Explorer and Firefox give Web sites enough information to get a unique picture of their visitors about 94 percent of the time, according to research compiled over the past few months by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    • Web Browsers Leave ‘Fingerprints’ Behind as You Surf the Net
    • Facebook downplays privacy crisis meeting
    • Welcome to the former Big Brother House

      Finally and perhaps most importantly, data protection simply cannot be enforced while national DP watchdogs are starved of the cash and personnel they need to manage an enormous task of supervision and education and take on the crucial job of leading test and group cases. But proper resourcing needs not more law but political will. That must come from ordinary users making it clear that contrary to whatever Marc Zuckerberg may think, privacy really does matter to them. It’s not ALL about the economy, stupid.

    • Extended Civil Commitment of Sex Offenders Is Upheld

      The 7-to-2 decision touched off a heated debate among the justices on a question that has lately engaged the Tea Party movement and opponents of the new health care law: What limits does the Constitution impose on Congress’s power to legislate on matters not specifically delegated to it in Article I?

    • China’s Web “firewall” should be WTO issue: EU’s Kroes

      Dutch-born Kroes, who is also in charge of Europe’s digital agenda, said the firewall was a trade barrier as long as it blocked communication for Internet users, preventing the free flow of information.

    • AAT upholds EFA link deletion

      We are disappointed but not surprised by this decision, which we feel highlights many issues with the current system. Those who choose to can simply move their content overseas or change the address of the web page in question, leaving those who abide by the spirit of the law to remove their material, or have it removed for them by their provider. From the leak of the blacklist, we saw that many of the sites on there were far from obscene, but contained all manner of harmless, controversial and borderline political material. This raises enormous concerns. Could debate and culture thrive in Australia if all R-rated material was effectively blocked?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Legal experts: LimeWire likely doomed

      A federal court judge has likely dealt a death blow to LimeWire, one of the most popular and oldest file-sharing systems, according to legal experts.

    • The Pirate Bay Sinks And Swims
    • The Economist looks at “piracy” and internet access

      The problem with that is whether the portion “detected” as a copy is really piracy. The article totally ignores whether fair use would allow the “copy.”

      [...]

      It concludes, “America’s regulatory approach has left much of the country with a cable monopoly for truly fast broadband access. The single largest reason given for failing to purchase broadband access in America is price, and many non-adopters are stymied by hardware fees, a lack of billing transparency and the extra cost of bundled services that providers often add to internet access. The FCC’s current plan to ask last-mile providers to subsidise rural service, and to ensure equal treatment of packets of information is a mild intervention by global standards. America’s modern-day common carriers should count themselves lucky.”

    • Copyrights

      • Time Warner Cable tries to put brakes on massive piracy case

        Time Warner Cable has no intention of complying with thousands of requests asking it to identify copyright infringers.

        Remember the US Copyright Group? They’re the DC legal outfit that is turning P2P copyright infringement into cash, partnering with independent movie studios (the big players are not involved) to sue individual file-swappers in federal court—and ISPs are not pleased with the plan.

      • Over $50 Billion NOT Lost due to Software Piracy

        The main problem with software piracy is that people take software for granted. Software is easy to get, easy to download, and easy to pass around and share with friends. Joe might say to Fred “look at how awesome the new Photoshop is, let me install it on your machine so you can check it out”. Now Joe and Fred both have it, but neither would have purchased Photoshop if it weren’t so easy to get (have you seen the price of it lately?!) and therefore their theft wouldn’t factor in to the Business Softtware Alliance’s statistics.

      • Hollywood’s Passion For Movie Remakes May Run Into Copyright Problems… Created By Hollywood

        The MPAA and Hollywood in general have been very, very strong supporters of stricter and more restrictive copyright laws pretty much as far as they can go. Jack Valenti, for many years the head of the MPAA, has famously declared both that, if it were up to him, copyright would last “forever minus a day” and that fair use was not part of the law. But, of course, time and time again, we see that strongest defenders of copyright law often find that they get a bit upset when it constrains them as well. Eriq Gardner has the story of the rise in lawsuits over Hollywood remakes from the estates (or others who purchased the copyrights later) of authors claiming infringement over movies. The main case that resulted in the article is really quite impressive in the number of layers deep that the whole thing goes.

      • Time Warner Cable Stands Up To Automated Copyright Infringement Filing Factory

        During that time, we noted that US Copyright Group claimed that it had gone from having one ISP cooperating to “75%” of ISPs cooperating. This was a surprise, because years back, ISPs had been reluctant to cooperate with similar efforts. So the numbers seemed questionable. Either way, apparently Time Warner Cable is not at all interested in working with US Copyright Group.

      • Why I Steal Movies… Even Ones I’m In

        With bandwidth and storage increasing exponentially, getting cheaper, and consumers becoming more tech-savvy, it’s becoming easier every day to grab free copies of books, movies and albums. This is why Internet users are thrilled. Including me. This is why people in the entertainment industry are terrified. Including me.

      • Princeton Demands Website Remove Elena Kagan’s Thesis; Claiming Copyright Infringement

        Of course, ordering that the document be pulled down pretty much guarantees that it will get spread more widely — and there’s definitely a journalistic reporting defense for posting the document (though, I’m not particularly convinced that anything anyone wrote in college has much meaning once they’ve spent a few decades outside of college). And, of course, in trying to get the document taken down, it’s just going to lead conspiracy-minded folks to think there’s more to the document than there is (in actuality, it’s a rather bland historical analysis, but you wouldn’t know that from what some sites are claiming about it). But from a journalistic standpoint, it seems you could make a decent argument for fair use in distributing the document. In fact, publications like Newsweek are already sharing parts of the thesis as well (mostly to debunk the hysteria around it). It’s difficult to see what Princeton gained in issuing the takedown notice, other than to rile up people.

      • Reinventing Book Publishing: Building Real Communities, And Only Holding Rights For Three Years

        Now there are some things in this description that I think are great, and others that I’m not sure will work, but it definitely is a big and interesting vision, that really does seem to get the basic concept of both connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy, while also looking to build out complementary scarcities. My main concern are (as usual) the attempts to use infinite goods as if they were scarce, but given so many other smart aspects to this program, I get the feeling that after some experimentation, things will shake out in a way that works well.

      • James Moore Has Just Made Himself A Big Target

        James Moore now has a big target painted on his back. No matter what he does, someone isn’t going to be happy. In fact he, and the Conservative Government would have been far better served to have ignored the issue. The current Canadian copyright regime has problems, however it’s better than what the United States or Great Britain have implemented, and far, far better than what South Korea has implemented.

        Currently Canada has one of the best copyright systems in the world. It isn’t as flexible as it should be, the copyright term is far too long, it’s corporate friendly features are too strong, and it’s artist friendly features are far too weak. In fact the change that would most help creators could be made easily, would attract the support of a wide spectrum of Canadians, and incidentally bring us closer to the WIPO copyright treaty. That is to make it illegal for a corporation or anyone else to buy a copyright. Oh, they should be allowed to lease copyrights, but for a period of no more than five years, and automatic renewal should be illegal. The only method of changing ownership of a copyright would be through inheritance.

      • Canadian Appeals Court Says Song Previews Can Be Fair Dealing

        While the US entertainment industry continues to insist that Canada’s copyright law is way too “friendly” to would-be infringers, one area where it most certainly is not is in the area of fair use. Up in Canada, they don’t even have fair use, but the much more limited “fair dealing,” which is rigidly defined (unlike fair use) — with one area being “research.” Apparently, the Copyright Board of Canada ruled back in 2007 that the 30-second previews of music found on services like iTunes counted as fair dealing, because it was consumer “research” into whether or not they wanted to purchase the song. In response, the Canadian songwriters group SOCAN disagreed and asked a court to review. According to SOCAN such a broad definition of “research” was not what Canadian copyright law intended. In SOCAN’s view, “research” only meant scientific research (so, only folks in science labs and white lab coats could listen to 30 second previews legally).

      • And Here Comes The Media Campaign About How Spain Needs To Change Its Copyright Laws

        So when Spain finds that a file sharing network doesn’t violate copyright laws because it only points to infringing files, but doesn’t do any of the distribution, the industry spins it as Spain being weak on copyright, rather than just accurate in applying liability.

        Of course, childish threats from Hollywood to leave the market (yeah, that’ll stop file sharing…) has convinced some to put forth new copyright laws that mirror those elsewhere. This, despite the fact that an economic analysis of the new law suggests it would do more harm than good.

      • MPAA Worries About Pirating U.S. Soldiers in Iraq

        While U.S. men and women put their lives at risk in Iraq, the MPAA has queried the military about the pirating habits of the soldiers stationed there. A declassified document from United States Central Command confirms that the MPAA is fighting a war of its own in the Middle East, one against copyright infringing soldiers.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – WATMTG – Microgravity (1/12/2002)


David Koepsell on Ethical Problems With ‘Intellectual Property’

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Videos at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A new talk which criticises copyright and patents of particular types

Philanthrocapitalism

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Marketing, Microsoft, Patents at 6:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bill Gates Claimed to Have Said He Would
Spend Half His Money on PR (Propaganda)

Gates at Harper's Magazine

Summary: A roundup of news looking at the actions of the Gates Foundation and the consequences of profit which is made in the process

Matthew Bishop and Michael Green have published a book titled “Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World”. The concepts they introduce help us analyse today’s news items which are focused on the activities of Bill Gates.

Harnessing the Press

As we have shown for the past couple of years, Gates invests a lot of money (at least hundreds of millions) in “communication”, which essentially means putting PR pieces all over the place (obscuring such opinions of grandeur as “news reports”). Well, Gates’ investment in the media expands further:

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Link TV recently launched ViewChange.org — a digital media hub that highlights progress in reducing hunger, poverty, and disease in developing nations. It combines powerful video stories with the latest Web technology to make videos, articles, blogs, and actions readily available to key audiences working in global development. The Gates Foundation has also spearheaded the use of storytelling to shift industry and public attitude towards global health via the Living Proof Project, a multimedia initiative intended to highlight successes of U.S.-funded global health initiatives. By reporting success stories back to the people who funded them – American taxpayers and their representatives – the Project hopes to reframe the current global health conversation.

A few weeks ago we showed how the Gates Foundation pretends to do one thing while actually doing the exact opposite. This is simpler to achieve when one controls the message.

“If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.”

Bill Gates, Microsoft

Last year we explained the concept of PR and the history of it. GatesKeepers understands the matter and can probably see beyond some spin. “Barbarians Led by Bill Gates“, a book composed by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul, says a lot about how Microsoft employees built an image around “Bill Gates”. It says for example: “In the fall of 1982, Pam Edstrom [of Waggener Edstrom], a diminutive woman with piercing blue eyes, was recruited by Microsoft. [...] In modern-day business, flacks were responsible not only for avoiding bad press, but for spinning the good. [...] Hanson and Edstrom would spin a whole new image for Gates himself. They would tap the best and worst of Chairman Bill, changing his clothes, his voice, and his allegiances, driving him to become not just the boss, but, essentially, the company mascot—a sort of high-technology Colonel Sanders.”

Under the “Bill Gates” brand (similar to the “Obama” brand and associated PR tactics), we now find the following quote whose authenticity is said to be in doubt:

The tweetosphere is buzzing with this “quote” from Bill Gates. Did he really say this or is it apocryphal?

“If I had two dollars left, I would spend one on PR”

Assuming that it’s true (even hypothetically), it is curious to know that he would spend half his money on “perception management” [1, 2], not on health or development (which essentially have the same effect in the media if it’s properly owned and policed).

There is a lot of Gates PR going on in India this month. Microsoft and Gates are described as “software czar” and we’ll say more about this towards the end. In short, he is glorifying himself after committing crimes and there is money to be made while getting glorified.

Since the early days, we have quoted from many different sources bits of evidence that drew a clearer picture and explained how Gates takes control of education systems. We have only just discovered that some education reporting is also funded by Gates, along with a lot more papers and radio shows/sites that he funds (we gave many examples before).

The Hechinger Report is funded by four philanthropies: the Lumina Foundation for Education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Foundation for Child Development, and the Joyce Foundation. The Gates and Joyce foundations have also provided grant support for Education Week. At this point, news organizations that publish content from The Hechinger Report do not pay for it, Mr. Colvin said.

This matters because Education Week is now likely never to criticise Microsoft or recommend software freedom in the classroom. That’s just one new example and there are many more. This is how the messages are controlled, by buying out writers or their publisher/editor (which can lead to self censorship).

It turns out, based on this short analysis at least, that Gates’ communications in Twitter are also PR which is managed by a team rather than Gates himself. They are building and embellishing the “Bill Gates” brand, as some people have suspected for quite a while.

It’s something that the Gates Foundation typically refers to as “communication/s” rather than PR (it’s just a euphemism). They are putting their words inside publications, which in turn deceive other publications and set the tone. This normalises philanthrocapitalism as acceptable and even commendable.

Arrogance and Seclusion

The Seattle Times writes about Gates’ new centre of operations, which shows discouraging early signs. “The Gates Foundation doesn’t want people driving near their new headquarters,” writes GatesKeepers (more in here).

The arrogance is astounding … and the power of money is not surprising.

The report says:

The northern on-ramp to Seattle’s planned downtown tunnel could lead traffic right under the Gates Foundation’s new $500 million campus.

And the world’s largest foundation doesn’t like that one bit.

“It’s a serious concern for us,” said Martha Choe, chief administrative officer of the foundation, which is pushing for the road to curve around its campus, instead.

Why the secrecy and isolation? Transparency would breed trust.

A few days ago we found an article about what Gates had been doing for the past several years. It’s called “philanthrocapitalism” and it’s nothing particularly new, unlike the following article:

Philanthrocapitalism: dawn of a new era?

[...]

When Bill Gates and Warren Buffett stood on stage together at the New York Public Library and the elder billionaire announced the he was going to give away most of his fortune through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help the poor, a new ideology was born.

[...]

“It’s still in its early days, but if you go back 20 years, companies like Nike, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart regarded it as a badge of honour to be seen as not soft and sentimental, and socially progressive. They preferred to be seen as really focused on efficiency, and maximising profits and shareholder value.”

[...]

That said, he concedes that philanthrocapitalism is still “not a very well defined field” and that “there’s an awful lot of experimentation”, such as learning from others and trying things to see what works and what doesn’t.

These companies can afford to spend a lot for people to whitewash and change people’s memories. It’s an investment really.

Steve Jobs said that “It’s better to be a pirate than to join the Navy.” For Gates, being a pirate and then using the loot to buy PR seems like a way of life. Should we therefore cherish this pirate? And where did the wealth come from in the first place if not by exploiting or defrauding other people? Currency is a measure of power over others, it is not a commodity that can be increased in a planet with finite resources. You give and you take, you can rarely generate.

Colonisation and GMO

“Gates Foundation ‘strongly opposed’ to an expansion of the Global Fund mandate,” says GatesKeepers, which refers to reports like this.

Although it was set up by UN member states in 2002, the fund largely got of the ground thanks to the involvement of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

With new African ventures in places like Nigeria, Senegal, and Cameroon, one must remember who is investing in patents on drug production and the likes of that and who is actually paying (sometimes government, i.e. taxpayers). As it was put in The Scientist two weeks ago:

Most universities are non-profits, too, and many academic researchers share the altruistic motives of charitable organizations like the Gates Foundation. But when it comes to intellectual property rights, relations between universities and foundations can get tricky. Since 1980, when the Bayh-Dole Act was passed, research institutions that receive federal funding are required to seek ownership of any patentable technologies produced on school grounds. Some institutions also have licensing agreements with companies.

Bill Gates invests in drug design (invests, not donates), so the more of that business goes on, the more profitable it can be to Gates.

Last year we wrote about an African connection between Tony Blair and Bill Gates. It seemed like a scandal and news from Sierra Leone looks deeper into it:

Tony Blair’s Mystery Thieves in Sierra Leone – A Rejoinder to Blair/State House!

[...]

The said approximately ten billion leones cash was collected by Mr. Blair from the American Billionaire’s charity, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and paid into an entity operated by Mr. Tony Blair known as WINDRUSH VENTURES NO. 3 LIMITED PARTNERSHIP. The money was paid out to Mr. Blair in June 2008 under the award of a Grant numbered “Grant OPP50878″.

[...]

Mr. Blair regularly jets into Sierra Leone ostensibly to help Sierra Leoneans because he loves Sierra Leoneans but it is only now that Sierra Leoneans are learning that the “love” and the “help” has been propelled with some infusion of billions of leones from American Billionaire Bill Gates into the deep pockets of Blair’s private vehicle.

More information is contained in the article “Fresh Corruption Issues Dog Former British P.M. Tony Blair in Sierra Leone”

Another strand of investments which involve patents is Gates’ Monsanto push of which we are seeing more right now:

Research to improve sorghum’s nutritional levels through genetic engineering is under way.

[...]

The research is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

This is about GMO. Here is someone who apparently talks about bringing Monsanto to India [1, 2] and appeals to Bill Gates, whose relationship with Monsanto we have already covered in:

  1. With Microsoft Monopoly in Check, Bill Gates Proceeds to Creating More Monopolies
  2. Gates-Backed Company Accused of Monopoly Abuse and Investigated
  3. How the Gates Foundation Privatises Africa
  4. Reader’s Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods
  5. Monsanto: The Microsoft of Food
  6. Seeds of Doubt in Bill Gates Investments
  7. Gates Foundation Accused of Faking/Fabricating Data to Advance Political Goals
  8. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  9. Video Transcript of Vandana Shiva on Insane Patents
  10. Explanation of What Bill Gates’ Patent Investments Do to Developing World
  11. Black Friday Film: What the Bill Gates-Backed Monsanto Does to Animals, Farmers, Food, and Patent Systems
  12. Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies
  13. Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off
  14. Bill Gates Takes His GMO Patent Investments/Experiments to India
  15. Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited
  16. Beyond the ‘Public Relations’
  17. UK Intellectual Monopoly Office (UK-IPO) May be Breaking the Law
  18. “Boycott Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in China”
  19. The Gates Foundation Extends Control Over Communication with Oxfam Relationship
  20. Week of Monsanto

There are also signs that Monsanto is being promoted in India by Gates. As we showed last year, Gates and Monsanto are experimenting there, despite lawsuits from the government and backlash from farmers. As shareholders of the companies which benefit from it, is it fair to make judgment for the Indian people without their full understanding and consent? The press often deceives them.

Also in this month’s news:

Scientists have for years been using biotechnology to genetically modify crops in the United States. They say that changing the DNA of food with genetic engineering makes farming more efficient.

The United States is the main producer of such crops, along with Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India, and China.

But farmers and activists in many countries worry that genetic changes to crops are risky. They are concerned about health and environmental implications. They also say the new methods are expensive and tied to intellectual property laws, putting smaller farmers at a disadvantage.

There is a growing debate within aid groups over whether biotechnology is good for agriculture in Africa.

South Africa already grows biotech cotton, corn and soybeans, and Burkina Faso has started experimenting with BT cotton. Aid groups like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are looking into helping with biotech experiments in many other African countries.

But it appears to be the way forward for AGRA, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Four years ago, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation to launch AGRA. Their strategy was explained in the report, “Africa’s Turn: The New Green Revolution for the 21st Century.” The report emphasized hybrid and genetically engineered seeds [a.k.a. GMOs or GE seeds], chemical fertilizers, training agricultural scientists for crop improvements and agricultural reforms.

Jos Ngonyo, recipient of the Eastern Africa Environmental Leadership Award, wasn’t scheduled to meet with the Gates Foundation during his visit. He says he would have welcomed the opportunity to explain why he thinks AGRA is a bad idea.

Ngonyo: “AGRA didn’t involve the people in Africa. This was an idea pushed to Africa and that does not work. It’s not about us without us.”

Ngonyo says people are so aware in the world that “you can’t just bring an ideology from outside and push. They’ll only take it for sometime and then rebel against it.”

In early April, protestors, lead by Kenya’s Biodiversity Coalition, rejected 40,000 tons of genetically modified maize grown in South Africa. The maize remains blocked at the port city of Mombassa. Protesters say the maize is a springboard to contaminate non-GMO crops.

“Green Revolution” is carried out with the Rockefeller Foundation (another convicted monopolist). It’s about GMO. See the Rockefeller Web site for news about the Gates Foundation working alongside Rockefeller.

Sometimes we find competition over influence. Here is an interesting take:

While at TED, Bill took time out (twice) to bask in the genius award glow of Esther Duflo. She says: “I had two dinners with Bill Gates in two days. It was efficient.” “Gates later pressed MIT to make Duflo’s undergraduate course on poverty available online and told her, “We need to fund you.”" Too bad, Bill. She’s already taken by MacArthur.

Is Bill Gates really, like, crass, or does he just put his foot in it too often? Will he now abandon his beloved microfinance program?

One thing ought to be clarified. We never claim that GMO won’t stop hunger; in fact, one issue is that the more people are fed, the more children they will have, unless contraception is made more widespread. The main problem with GMO is one of patents and long-term risk. Evolution is a slow process of careful selection that is self-correcting, whereas these companies obtain patents (monopolies) on rather arbitrary changes that they make without proper testing. It is very short sighted and it is profitable.

Here is a new CNN article that compares Monsanto to Microsoft Windows:

In the view of DuPont and other alarmed observers, this situation makes Monsanto an industry gatekeeper, capable of deciding which new genetically modified traits can be introduced and which cannot. Put another way, Roundup Ready has become a monopoly platform product, much like what the Microsoft Windows operating system became in the market for personal computer software in the late 1990s.

The parallels are not lost on DuPont’s longtime outside counsel Boies, chairman of Boies Schiller & Flexner, who was the Justice Department’s lead trial counsel in its antitrust case against Microsoft. He argues that Monsanto’s stacking restrictions are actually more objectionable than the conduct that got Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) into trouble 15 years ago. “Microsoft’s actions were designed to inhibit the stacking of the Netscape browser on the Microsoft Windows operating system,” says Boies. “Here, you have outright prohibition of stacking genetic traits on top of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready trait.”

Some weeks ago we showed how selected officials from the US government backed Gates' adventures with Monsanto. It’s more of that push which would benefit Monsanto [1, 2] and thus benefit Gates at well, at the expense of taxpayers.

Patenting Life

Related to investments in GMO (biotechnology) there is the patenting of drugs, which are essentially biological too. We don’t intend to repeat old posts even though they are necessary background to those who are skeptical of Gates skepticism.

As we pointed out some weeks ago, Gates’ foundation comes handy when it comes to making profits. Gates is using it to market its patent troll Nathan Myhrvold (Intellectual Ventures), who is profiting from the vaccines push and apparently also these nuclear projects that Gates raved about earlier this year (Bill Gates is an Intellectual Ventures investor).

Now I know all this is a long way from Bill Gates trying to nuke us, but I’m getting there.

A spin-off company from Intellectual Ventures is TerraPower, a group developing new-age, next-generation nuclear power that is truly clean, cheap, safe and does not require the enriched uranium fuel that also makes bombs and leaves stockpiles of radioactive waste collecting around the world.

It’s almost as though Gates became a marketing front for Intellectual Ventures just as he did for Monsanto.

We previously wrote about the Lancet study [1, 2, 3], a study which was “published in The Lancet and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” says pharmacynews.com.au (also here). Gates does have his critics in the medical community and they deserve more attention than they receive.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is fascinating. So is the 19-page annual letter that describes the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropy. But for someone as smart as Gates, who can afford to hire experts on any subject under the sun, some of his foundation’s strategies are baffling.

Consider his foundation’s approach to malaria, which focuses on bed nets, a low-tech, only modestly effective intervention, and on the development of a vaccine, a high-tech solution that has eluded intensive efforts for decades. This approach dismisses an old, cheap, and safe way to control the vector – the Anopheles mosquito – that spreads the disease: the chemical DDT.

[...]

Moreover, even if mosquitoes become resistant to the killing effects of DDT, they are still repelled by it. An occasional dusting of window frames and doorframes is extremely effective. Bill Gates’s experts seem not to know that; the foundation’s annual letter contains the following single mention of DDT: “The world hoped in the 1950s and 1960s that [malaria] could be eliminated by killing mosquitoes with DDT, but that tactic failed when the mosquitoes evolved to be resistant to the chemical.”

[...]

But policies based on science and data have a short half-life at the UN. With a notable absence of fanfare, in May 2009 the WHO, together with the UN Environment Program, reverted to endorsing less effective methods for preventing malaria, announcing that their goal is “to achieve a 30% cut in the application of DDT worldwide by 2014 and its total phase-out by the early 2020s, if not sooner.” In the absence of effective vaccines or new anti-malarial drugs – and the funding and infrastructure to deliver them – this decision is tantamount to mass murder, a triumph of radical environmental politics over public health.

How can we drain the public-policy swamp?

This was also published in the Taipei Times. It’s a shame that there is no PR (or “communication”) department to broadcast these messages more widely. Opposition to Gates is being squashed by well-greased marketing machines.

Earlier this year we wrote about the vaccine project in Canada [1, 2, 3] and it turns out that Gates is still involved in this [1, 2].

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supportive of the mission of Grand Challenges Canada and pleased to work together on the Grand Challenge of Point-of-Care diagnostics,” said Dr. Carol Dahl, Director of Staff for the Global Health Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates’ affairs in Canada recently came under some scrutiny for the tobacco fiasco [1, 2], which is still being coverage in the Canadian press. The short story is that Gates’ foundation helped the tobacco companies for a long time and now it uses plausible denial.

Asia

GatesKeepers looks with concern at what Microsoft is doing in Asia and summarises:

Gates Keepers find the following statement distasteful: “Perhaps because of language or cultural barriers, stories of malaria elimination from Asia—Pacific have been under-recognised and under-appreciated within the region and by the international community.”

Let’s look a little deeper. Immunisation is a very important thing, but there is also money to be made from it and it’s important to understand who is doing that (the money which is made does not mean that immunisation is not effective). The new article “Bill Gates in India” says:

Bill Gates visited the village to research for a large-scale immunization program, which could potentially save hundreds of lives. By providing vaccines to villages in remote areas like Khangaria, “The idea is very exciting to us, we believe that we can save the lives of hundreds of children,” said Gate.

There are several new projects in this area, which Gates is funding:

OU assistant professor Sunil Joshi obtains $100,000 grant for his research on boosting immune systems.

Another project actually shows both the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Gates making the investment [1, 2].

BREAD is a new five-year program jointly funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

As in many such cases, Gates is among the stakeholders in the respective patents [1, 2] and in his trip to India he has just signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC), so he plays a bit of politics too, putting polio and vaccination on the national roadmap for some companies to supply aid. Gates even met the Health Secretary (also mentioned in [1, 2] where the health official is given advice by a person who is not even in the field of health) and he is found to be in the midst of a bit of a scandal which gets covered in French. An automated translation says: “Margaret Chan, director general of WHO, announced the opening of an internal investigation into the circumstances of the leak. World learned that members of the panel had not been asked to sign a declaration of conflict of interest. Some observers note that the Australian Mary Moran, who played a key role within the group of experts working for the George Institute, An institution largely funded by pharmaceutical manufacturers and the Bill & Melinda Gates.”

“As in many such cases, Gates is among the stakeholders in the respective patents…”We have already written many posts to shed light on the relationship between pharmaceutical manufacturers and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (some of them actually work inside the Gates Foundation). To clarify again, “Big Pharma” is not the monster which many people claim that it is (extreme daemonisation), but there is a lot to be known about it. Those companies are sometimes giving away experimental drugs to see what happens in poor populations (as they would be unable to sue for damages or generate much publicity), but then again, these are amoral entities (sometimes immoral) working for their own interests. They are mostly owned by shareholders, Gates included. It’s not as though they produce many billionaires from within. A breakdown of stakeholders is quite revealing.

There is criticism of what Gates is doing in India right now. For example:

This coverage of the head of the Gates Foundation’s trip to India is amusing. It gives a whole new meaning to: “You are our father. You are our mother. Please adopt us” Arey bap! Bill appears to be a development tourist and Rahul is leading him by the nose. What does he expect the villagers to say to him except that they love his grants and want him to be their mother and father just like the Congress Party?

And further:

Development tourism in Bihar for the head of the Gates Foundation

This development tourist is so naive. He has never heard of breast milk as the first vaccine but mothers in Bihar have been told this for years. And they can parrot it to any important visitor with connections to the ruling elite.

And then he says he knows nothing about the cervical vaccine trial being stopped. He is either lying or ignorant. We are not sure which is worse.

The Indian press did not exactly do its job giving a voice to opposition.

Bill Gates flew in a chartered plane along with Rahul and landed at Fursatganj airstrip in Rae Bareli 15 km from Jais. Jais is 32 km from Rae Bareli district headquaters.

Gates was scheduled to meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to “adopt the village” (their words, not ours) and “Bill Gates takes over Indian village,” says another headline.

Bill Gates has offered to adopt an entire village in India.

This sounds like colonialism and this is also affecting computing there (sounds familiar because of EDGI in India with backing from Gates). Not all villages will benefit from this as one report states that “Gates denies promises to help Amethi”

“I did not make any promise in the IT sector in Amethi … In fact, I have not spoken anything on the IT during the past one week,” says Mr Gates to the journalists in India.

Not to worry. Microsoft is always making promises to Indian IT coordinators, as long as they do not touch Free software.

Is Novell Spamming Google News With Anti-Red Hat Whitepapers and TechRepublic’s Help?

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat at 4:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: After many months, TechRepublic is still pushing Novell’s propaganda on a regular basis, which leads to the suspicion that they also game Google like Sys-Con does

“Whitepaper” is a fancy word for an advertisement disguised as well-formatted document. All sorts of Web sites like The Register rely on ‘injecting’ such fancy advertisements into search engines, or at least some unsuspecting readers. Articles are written to bring attention to whitepapers and the bias of these articles matters too.

“Why would people want to pay Microsoft ‘patent tax’ for a product that they already use without this ludicrous software patents scheme?”TechRepublic has been pushing Novell “whitepapers” for quite a long time now (it does the same thing for Microsoft, but then again, TechRepublic is full of Microsoft boosters and MVPs). We used to mention this every week when it started last year, but it has gone on for several months without exceptions, so we no longer bother to bring this up. However, one reader told us earlier today: “How is google news being gamed so that “Unrivaled support from Novell, now available for Red Hat” appears every day in linux search 24 hrs?”

Yes, TechRepublic/Novell is still pushing that old whitepaper pretty much every week or every other week in RSS feeds and beyond that. This does not happen autonomously and it must be deceiving to many people. Novell is trying to poach Red Hat customers, sometimes in illegal or unethical ways. Why would people want to pay Microsoft ‘patent tax’ for a product that they already use without this ludicrous software patents scheme?

Microsoft: Embracing and Extending Python, Excluding the GPL

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, GPL, Marketing, Microsoft at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest Microsoft moves which are intended to redefine “Open Source” and turn it into free labour for Microsoft’s benefit

Python’s creator Guido van Rossum is working for Google and Microsoft wants a share of his action? What does it do then? It throws some money at the problem, as always. Earlier today we showed how Microsoft people were taking more control of a Ruby company, having already embraced and ‘extended’ the language with IronRuby [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14]. Similarly, Microsoft wants more control of Python and there is already IronPython [1, 2, 3], which is used to spread Silver Lie and other such proprietary software.

Python ought to beware an “embrace and extend” here because Microsoft’s goal is to help sell proprietary software from Microsoft at the expense of GNU/Linux. Now, watch this from the news. Very typical Microsoft maneuver.

Microsoft sponsors first Aussie Python conference

[...]

“Microsoft hasn’t had a great relationship with the open source community, but that’s not to say it isn’t doing good things with open source,” Ansell said. “And we are not the only open source conference to have Microsoft as a sponsor.”

“At some conferences the keynotes are sponsored, but ours are really technical. It’s not Microsoft selling the technology, but about the work done at Microsoft on language interoperability.

That’s an interesting choice of headline and it appeared in other IDG sites.

The reason Microsoft is interested in Python is because it hopes to change the project’s direction and make it help the convicted monopolist. In the same way, CodePlex is intended to disrupt and redefine “Open Source”. Watch this new press release and be aware that Microsoft has a CodePlex ‘press tour’ in Microsoft blogs and elsewhere these days. Microsoft is trying to sell an image of Microsoft as a friend of open source (it even sends a female, which better shields it from criticism). In reality, Microsoft is the biggest enemy of "Open Source", although anyone who produces evidence of this will be called something along the lines of “irrational hater” [1, 2, 3, 4] (religions too use this as a suppressor of criticism). How many times need Microsoft sue and bribe against “Open Source” before more people wisen up and realise what’s going on? There is the reality, and then there is the PR.

“How many times need Microsoft sue and bribe against “Open Source” before more people wisen up and realise what’s going on?”Microsoft is promoting proprietary software using opposite terms like “Open Source” and in Techflash, Microsoft continues to further deceive the public. Microsoft’s Paula Hunter says: “The other thing that’s different about us — you know, there’s plenty of other open-source foundations out there — is, we’re license-agnostic, so we’re not trying to force-feed a particular license.” To which Groklaw replies with: “I’m sorry, but that simply is not true. Codeplex doesn’t allow you to use GPLv3. I wouldn’t call that license-agnostic.”

Of course. At Microsoft they want software patent traps, leaving developers scared and ensuring they will be at Microsoft’s mercy at all times.

To be fair, Microsoft is not the only company which fakes open-source (“open minus source”;here is a new example) but it is by far the biggest faker and it is also an aggressor against real “Open Source” (going as far as suing with software patents, even racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). There are always those who try to change what open source means, but at least they are not actively attacking Open Source or Free software, unlike Microsoft.

Those who try to be compatible with Microsoft seemingly get burned [1, 2]. As a Microsoft partner put it last year, Microsoft “destroys” partners. Is this a company worth trusting and working with?

“I’d be glad to help tilt lotus into into the death spiral. I could do it Friday afternoon but not Saturday. I could do it pretty much any time the following week.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft

Microsoft-Paid Web ‘Statistics’ Show the Opposite of the Rest

Posted in Deception, Google, Microsoft, Search at 2:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Net Applications
Is Microsoft 'pulling a Net Applications' with comScore?

Summary: comScore, which is paid by Microsoft in many ways, claims that Microsoft is gaining at Google’s expense but other surveys that measure the same thing say that both Yahoo and Microsoft dropped while Google gained

THE previous post was a reminder of how Microsoft insiders can help take over companies or other bodies. Microsoft has this phrase about "insider friend, ‘the fox’" and we also saw Yahoo getting hijack by agents of Microsoft who gradually increased dependency and gave Yahoo to Microsoft (without the need for an acquisition).

Here we have Yahoo and Microsoft increasing “integration”, as expected. Was there a virtual merger nobody heard about?

Last week, Yahoo posted an update about the search alliance with Microsoft, indicating that it would “protect the holiday period,” “ensure a quality transition,” and “provide a window-of-time.” Advertisers were still left with questions, however, and Yahoo has addressed some of them today.

Yahoo is said to be lobbying a lot already (also in MSN), which makes one wonder how much lobbying it is doing against Google [1, 2].

“The money which Microsoft gives to comScore is money well spent.”In any event, Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo aside, we are more concerned to see Microsoft’s partner comScore [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] saying the exact opposite of the rest about Google’s US market share in the month of April. comScore claims that it declined and it even promotes Microsoft. Microsoft-sponsored firms are always showing the opposite of non-Microsoft-sponsored ones, at least in recent months. Once there is money on the table, there is reason to play little games with statistic (by controlling the data set) as it’s not likely to be a mere coincidence when it happens time after time. Here it is fueling messages from Microsoft boosters and other sources where writers are ignoring comScore’s relationship with Microsoft (at the very least there ought to be a disclosure). The very opposite results were shown some days ago for the same month and region, but that’s not the story the press is telling [1, 2].

The money which Microsoft gives to comScore is money well spent. Microsoft also gives money to Net Applications and this relationship brings about/receives similar results (belittling GNU/Linux).

In reality, Microsoft is losing about $3 billion per year (at the current pace) competing with Google and its deals that remove Google from menus are expensive [1, 2], not to mention advertising.

5. Uniforms: The Storm signed a sponsorship deal with Bing, Microsoft’s search engine, and will display the Bing name across the chest of jerseys and on the back of warm-up tops. But that’s not the only makeover. No more calling officials zebras — their uniforms resemble the NBA with cream coloring accented by orange on the shoulder.

But anyway, the big story is that numbers from comScore are contradicting other numbers from other firms (Hitwise for example) and they are contradicting these in the same way one ought to expect, namely that they benefit Microsoft, which is among comScore’s paymasters.

comScore is apparently expanding areas/scope of those numbers that are not trustworthy. What’s next? Will comScore start measuring operating system market share and say that GNU/Linux has 0.1% market share?

Microsoft-oriented Fund Grabs Ruby Applications Through Heroku

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Xen at 2:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paying money to embrace and extend?

Confederate ship CSS Alabama

Summary: Microsoft’s extension Ignition Partners is putting money and board members inside yet another company that spreads Free software

LAST week we mentioned how former Microsoft executives who became Juniper managers [1, 2, 3] could lead to more services being offered to Microsoft and now we find this press release. For several years we have also argued that XenSource being sold to Citrix would render it irrelevant to Linux and this did actually happen. RHEL 6 won’t even have Xen anymore.

CBR says that “Citrix unveils new version of XenServer” and Microsoft is giving it “full endorsement” [1, 2].

XenClient, says Wasson, will be included in the “next major release” of XenDesktop and was developed not only in conjunction with Intel, but also PC makers Hewlett-Packard and Dell, which will be on hand to endorse XenClient at Synergy. Wasson said that Microsoft has given XenClient its “full endorsement” too.

It is important to remind ourselves how Xen ended up in the arms of Microsoft’s partner of the year (2008). We previously showed the role played by former Microsoft executives from Ignition Partners and now we find that the same arm is going after a Ruby company, which might in turn be tilted in favour of Windows Server.

Ex-Microsoft power pair puff Ruby cloud

Ruby cloud behemoth Heroku has sucked in some heavyweight power courtesy of two influential ex-Microsofties.

On Monday, Heroku announced that it’s been given $10m in VC funding, and the round is led by Ignition partners, home to Brad Silverberg – who established many of the Microsoft products you now take for granted – and Microsoft’s former chief information officer and chief financial officer John Connors. As part of the cash deal, Connors has joined Heroku’s board.

Heroku is home to 60,000 Ruby applications and it’s used by developers of all sizes, including giants like US consumer electronics retailer Best Buy. The company claims 1,500 applications are being added to its cloud each week.

Microsoft already has IronRuby [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] and we know extremely well Silverberg's participation in many of Microsoft's illegal activities because we have possession of evidence. Heroku now has Microsoft’s former CFO inside the board. It’s part of the deal. Why would former Microsoft thugs be interested in a company which is home to 60,000 Ruby applications? Judging by what they did to Xen, there is reason for distrust. See our previous analysis of Ignition Partners. It’s just loads of Microsoft veterans and they can use money to promote Microsoft’s agenda.

Protecode is FUD and It’s Proprietary

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 1:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protecode for fear

Summary: A company on the block warns about “Linux licences” being all scary and dangerous (and Protecode offers the ‘medicine’ to them)

THE OTHER day we mentioned a company called Protecode in a post about Microsoft’s harm to Free/open source software. Protecode is a proprietary software company which is spreading FUD about GNU/Linux and Free software for a living (it does other things too).

This company has just ‘injected’ a very long advertisement (disguised as article) into IDG (shame on IDG for collaborating). The disclosure appears only after one skips 5 pages and discovers that it’s the same trick telemarketers and snake oil marketers use. The FUD piece which names both “Linux” and “open source” licences (there is no such thing as “Linux licences”) came from Dr. Mahshad Koohgoli, the CEO of Protecode. He is trying to spread some fear after receiving ammunition from the Gartner Group (and Microsoft would probably be grinning too from afar)

Basically, this a classic business model: exaggerate problems in order to then sell a solution to those problems (usually more perceived than real). Black Duck is doing this too. It’s in the business of selling fear because wherever there is fear there is a business opportunity and if people can be misled, they will pay. Black Duck has Microsoft roots and so does OpenLogic [1, 2, 3], which does something similar. The following new article nicely classifies open-source (open minus source) companies as follows:

Recently a colleague from Apache commented to me that there are no such things as open-source companies. Instead, he identified a few types of companies that “make money out of open source”:

• via expertise in consultancy
• hoarding copyright ownership for a big sale
• providing additional value on top of open-source products
• licensing fear, uncertainty and doubt (choosing GPL to make users who fear GPL pay)

[...]

The second model where GPL is used is to protect code and force companies to buy a commercial (i.e. non-open-source) license. The logic is simple: Most companies don’t like GPL. The company that owns the copyright to a GPL codebase can re-license the code under a different license to those willing to pay.

One ought to pay careful attention to former Microsoft employees who create companies that not only spread fear of Free software but also enable those former Microsoft employees to make money in the process (win-win situation).

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