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05.23.10

Links 23/5/2010: GNU/Linux on TV; deltaCloud

Posted in News Roundup at 3:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Video post: Hey look, Ubuntu is on tv

    As seen on American TV CBS show on May 18, Ubuntu is shown as the favorite Linux operating system of a physicist charater. While I am greatful for the product placement, people should know “Ubuntu is for human beings too.”

  • Move Ubuntu 10.04 Window Buttons from Left to Right with 1 Command
  • Red Hat Commercializes deltaCloud, Eyes a More Open Cloud

    Open source vendor Red Hat is betting on a year-old open source effort that it hopes will further open up the Cloud. Red Hat’s deltaCloud project http://deltacloud.org/ started last year as a way of enabling and managing a heterogeneous Cloud virtualized infrastructure. Now, deltaCloud is on a path to commercialization as part of a set of new virtualization products from Red Hat. The potential payoff for Red Hat is that deltaCloud will be positioned as an open source approach to managing nearly any type of virtualized Cloud technology.

    “We’re creating a Cloud management engine based on the open source deltaCloud project,” Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager of Red Hat’s Cloud business, told InternetNews.com. “We haven’t yet issued a delivery date for that product, but it will be sometime next year. We have people using deltaCloud now, but in terms of a fully supported product, it will be incorporated into a family of products for Cloud management that Red Hat will provide.”

  • Android

    • Google, Sony and Android: TV and much, much more

      In the wake of Google’s announcement of the Google Android-based TV, Google and Sony have unveiled plans for Android-based entertainment products that go well beyond TV. And other partners have joined the Google TV bandwagon.

    • Amazon jumps into Androidland

      ONLINE BOOKSELLER Amazon will be offering an app that will allow users of Android smartphones to read books in the Kindle format.

    • Android mobile phones get streaming TV

      MOBILE TV OUTFIT Yamgo has released beta software for Android users so that they can see live streaming of high-quality mobile TV and video on demand.

    • Whereis Navigator finds its way to Android

      Whereis Navigator provides turn-by-turn GPS navigation on Android phones such as the HTC Desire and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Don’t be finicky
  • Gov 2.0 Week in Review

    “The more open a government agency is, the more it seems that the public trusts it,” mused Chris Dorobek in his post on public trust and government. If so, the creation of a “right to data” under the “Big Society proposals” from the new United Kingdom government could be significant. For those interested, there’s a good overview of European mashups of public data at OurData.eu.

  • Google programming Frankenstein is a Go

    “We’re already using Go internally at Google for some production stuff,” Robert Pike, one of Go’s developers and a former member of the Unix team at Bell Labs, said today during a question and answer session at the company’s annual developer conference in San Francisco. “The language is pretty stable.”

Leftovers

  • Chomp! Pac-Man, the arcade classic, turns 30
  • Crime

    • Lawyers Suspended for Ignoring ‘Warning Signs’ of Partner’s $17 Million Fraud

      An attorney accused of ignoring “multiple warning signs” of a $17 million fraud carried out by his former partner has been suspended from the practice of law for three years.

    • An Old Chip Cartel Case Is Brought to a Swift End

      The European Union fined a group of computer chip makers 331.3 million euros ($409 million) on Wednesday for price fixing in the first use of a new procedure that allows settlement of cartel cases in Europe.

    • Chipmakers fined by EU for price-fixing
    • Kurland to serve 27 months for Galleon case role

      The first Wall Street executive to be sentenced in the sprawling Galleon hedge fund illegal insider trading case was ordered to serve two years and three months in prison on Friday.

    • Tobacco Executive Charged With Threatening Family Court Magistrate

      A high-level executive at an Opa-Locka, Fla., tobacco company is facing extortion charges after allegedly threatening a Miami-Dade family court magistrate who recommended a judge rule against him in a paternity case.

      In a letter to the magistrate, he told her to step down or face a public relations nightmare, according to an application for an arrest warrant filed by investigators.

      Victor M. Gonzalez, comptroller for the family-owned Dosal Tobacco Corp., posted $7,500 bond Tuesday after his arrest at the company’s headquarters the day before. Gonzalez, 50, was charged with one count of extortion, a second degree felony that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison.

  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

    • Chelsea fans hack Man Utd phone systems

      Chelsea fans mocked their rivals at Manchester United last weekend by hacking into the Old Trafford club’s phone system and changing its recorded message.

    • Man accused of DDoSing conservative talking heads

      Federal prosecutors have accused a man of carrying out a series of botnet offenses including attacks that brought down the websites of conservative talking heads Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter and Rudolph Giuliani.

  • Environment

    • Sweet success for Kit Kat campaign: you asked, Nestlé has answered

      A big ‘Thank You!’ to the hundreds of thousands of you who supported our two-month Kit Kat campaign by e-mailing Nestlé, calling them, or spreading the campaign message via your Facebook, Twitter and other social media profiles. This morning, Nestlé finally announced a break for the orang-utan – as well as Indonesian rainforests and peatlands – by committing to stop using products that come from rainforest destruction.

    • Bad days for bluefin

      And on this side of the Atlantic, in the Mediterranean, the odds aren’t much better, even without a catastrophic oil-spill. The bluefin’s days are numbered. In just a couple of days the month long bluefin purse-seining season opens. It only lasts a month, a restriction that has come into place in the past few years because there are simply too many fishing boats chasing too few fish. But it happens to be the very time the fish spawn.

    • SNL’s Alec Baldwin Season Finale: 5 Funniest Moments

      Cold Open: “A Message From the People Who Ruined Our Ocean.” BP, Transocean, and Halliburton outline some of their proposals for cleaning up the mess.

    • Furious Louisiana officials accuse BP of destroying fragile marshes

      Crude oil oozed into US wetlands Friday as furious Louisiana officials accused BP of destroying fragile marshes and leaving coastal fishing communities in ruin.

      As delicate marshlands in the Mississippi Delta faced an environmental nightmare, BP conceded after days of pressure that it had underestimated the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico.

    • Link Roundup: Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
    • One Drill Too Far
    • Hopes pinned on BP’s ‘dynamic kill’ to stop oil spill

      BP, which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded on April 20, hopes to stop the noxious flow with a so-called “dynamic kill” operation, in which heavy drilling fluids would be injected into the well to stem the oil flow, followed by a cement operation to seal it up permanently.

    • The snakes we lost in the fire

      Some 80,000 snakes and several thousand spiders and scorpions were lost, including several specimens that had never been cataloged. Beyond simple scientific curiosity, the collection played an important role in helping scientists understand and prevent extinctions. You could always collect another 100K creepy crawlies, but they wouldn’t cover the same significant historic ground.

    • Nuclear News: BP’s Radioactive Liability Cap

      ‘As BP destroys our priceless planet, its lawyers gear up to save the company from paying for the damage. The same will happen — only worse — with the next atomic reactor disaster. By law, BP may be liable for only $75 million of the harm done by the Deepwater Horizon. Ask yourself why the federal government would adopt legislation that limits the liability of an oil driller for the damage it does to us all. Ask the same question — on another order of magnitude — about nuclear power plants. By any calculation, BP did more than $75 million in harm during the first hour of this undersea gusher. That sum won’t begin to cover even the legal fees, let alone the tangible damage to our only home. Now imagine a melt-down alongside the blow-out. See the Deepwater Horizon as a nuclear power plant. Think of the rickety Grand Gulf, a bit to the north, or the two decaying reactors at South Texas, a ways to the west. Imagine that apocalyptic plume of oil ravaging our seas as an airborne radioactive cloud. Feel it pouring like Chernobyl over the south coast, enveloping all of Florida, blowing with the shifts of the winds up over the southeast, irradiating Atlanta, then Nashville, then New Orleans, then Houston, all through Mexico and the north coast of South America, the Caribbean, then around again across Florida, through the Atlantic and all over Europe, then around the globe two or three times more. The instigators of such a nightmare are currently on the hook for a maximum of $11 billion. Ask yourself why the federal government would limit the liability of a reactor owner for the damage it imposes on the public.’

    • Nightmare scene as oil smothers Louisiana wetlands
    • BP Disaster: Oil reaches Louisiana marshlands
    • The Gulf oil slick has a tail, and that’s bad
    • The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference Greenpeace urges delegations to recognise proliferation risks of nuclear energy expansion
    • Free nuclear advice for the Polish Energy Group

      So Poland has declared its intention to launch a nuclear ‘renaissance’ of its very own. They’ve appointed analysis teams and signed ‘memoranda of cooperation’ with nuclear reactor builders. It’s a very serious business.

    • Climate change ‘no excuse’ for failure to beat malaria

      A team of UK and American scientists say that – assuming global warming proceeds in line with mainstream expectation – there is no reason to fear a global malaria outbreak.

    • Costa Rican elbows out South African as UN climate boss

      A Costa Rican bureaucrat is set to take the top job at the United Nations climate convention after a mini-revolt from small island states.

    • Iceland, Eyjafjallajökull – May 1st and 2nd, 2010
  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Revolving Door: The New Edition

      Since then, the scrutiny of Goldman has risen to a whole new level, with the SEC alleging that the firm committed securities fraud, federal prosecutors probing its subprime-mortgage-related activites and lawmakers grilling the firm’s top executives.

      And the revolving door continues to turn — plenty of former Goldman staffers now work at a range of agencies from the SEC to the Treasury Department. To win friends and influence people in Washington — and sway the pending financial reform legislation — Goldman fields a deep bench of lobbyists with plenty of experience in politics, as noted by CBS News and the HuffPost Investigative Fund.

    • High Frequency Trading Is A Scam

      No. The disadvantage was not speed. The disadvantage was that the “algos” had engaged in something other than what their claimed purpose is in the marketplace – that is, instead of providing liquidity, they intentionally probed the market with tiny orders that were immediately canceled in a scheme to gain an illegal view into the other side’s willingness to pay.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Clegg promises liberties restoration

      Nick Clegg promised government that will restore individual liberties and value dissent this morning, as he set out his Deputy Prime Minster’s brief to repeal Labour laws this morning.

    • Feds to step up monitoring of global press freedom

      President Barack Obama is set to sign legislation Monday expanding the federal government’s role in monitoring global freedom of the press, according to the White House.

      Obama will sign the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act, which requires a greater examination of the status of press freedoms in different countries in the State Department’s Annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

    • The secret life of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

      Julian Assange, the man behind the world’s biggest leaks, believes in total openness and transparency – except when it comes to himself. Nikki Barrowclough tracked him down.

      Julian Assange has never publicly admitted that he’s the brains behind Wikileaks, the website that has so radically rewritten the rules in the information era. He did, however, register a website, Leaks.org, in 1999. ”But then I didn’t do anything with it.”

    • Pakistanis shout ‘Death to Facebook’, burn US flags

      Pakistani protesters shouted “Death to Facebook”, “Death to America” and burnt US flags on Friday, venting growing anger over “sacrilegious” caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed on the Internet.

      A Facebook user organised an “Everyone Draw Mohammed Day” competition to promote “freedom of expression”, inspired by an American woman cartoonist, but sparked a major backlash in the conservative Muslim country of 170 million.

      Islam strictly prohibits the depiction of any prophet as blasphemous and the row has sparked comparison with protests across the Muslim world over the publication of satirical cartoons of Mohammed in European newspapers in 2006.

    • ‘Draw Mohammed’ call prompts Pakistan Facebook ban
    • ‘Draw Mohammed’ page removed from Facebook
    • Pakistan extends Web site ban to include YouTube
    • Everybody panic!
    • Twitter gets subpoenaed

      In his subpoena, Corbett has requested that the micro-blogging service appear as a witness to “testify and give evidence regarding alleged violations of the laws of Pennsylvania”. It will also be required to provide, “name, address, contact information, creation date, creation Internet Protocol address and any and all log in Internet Protocol address”.

      [...]

      In Oregon, privacy is also high on the agenda, as three lawyers have filed a class action suit against Google and its Street View vehicles, which we now know were cruising around sniffing up wireless data.

      Google executives have admitted that its survey cars mistakenly acquired information during the creation of its updated mapping tools. However, it looks like this candour could cost it dearly, and not just in terms of its reputation.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Europe outlines plan to boost broadband by 2020

      All European households will have broadband speeds of 30Mbps (megabits per second) by 2020, the European Union has pledged.

    • Cops back in on BT/Phorm case

      The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has called in City of London Police to assist as it decides whether to go to court over BT’s covert trials of Phorm’s web interception and profiling system.

      [...]

      It was claimed by privacy campaigners and legal commentators after The Register revealed the secret trials that BT and Phorm had committed offences under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which restricts covert wiretapping and interception of communications.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Wall Street banks lose court ruling on hot news ban

      Three Wall Street banks suffered a legal setback when a federal appeals court in New York put on hold a ban on financial news service Theflyonthewall.com Inc from quickly reporting “hot news” about their analysts’ research.

    • Copyrights

      • Worst Week for Album Sales Since 1991

        Without any major releases and amid overall decreasing record sales, this past week has the dubious distinction of seeing the fewest number of total album sales in a single week — 5.3 million — since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking in 1991.

      • Is YouTube’s three-strike rule fair to users?

        “Until I lost 900 videos, I never actually considered there was anything unsafe about trusting a company such as Google to protect my data. After all, who keeps photos in a shoebox anymore?”

      • EC plans stronger data protection and copyright laws

        The European Commission will strengthen legal protections for personal data, reform copyright law and ensure that device and software makers embrace standards, it said when outlining its new digital policies.

        The Commission will also consider forcing companies to tell users and customers when their systems have been breached and personal data has been lost, stolen or exposed.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – FoF – Launch Gravity (1/5/2003)


Patents Roundup: Patent Bully Erich Spangenberg Finally Loses, Europe Still Troubled, Microsoft Bullies With Software Patents, Monsanto Uses Earthquakes to Spread Patent Liabilities

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 3:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Espiritu Santo

Summary: As indicated in the title, separate topics relating to patents are covered here

Erich Spangenber

“PATENT TROLL Tracker” covered this man’s activities quite a lot and we too mentioned Erich Spangenberg for his abuse of the patent system for self gain. According to TechDirt, Spangenberg is finally losing.

Two years ago, we wrote about a patent held by Erich Spangenberg, a notorious patent hoarder who is involved in a ton of lawsuits against companies who actually make stuff, attacked with highly questionable patents. The patent in question (5,367,627) basically described an electronic parts catalog, which Spangenberg used to sue tons of companies.

[...]

After all that effort, the Federal Circuit has dumped the original ruling, noting that the “invention” (if you can call it that) was “anticipated” by earlier inventions. But, honestly, if you want to get a deeper sense of just how messed up the patent system is, you should read the full ruling

The system is seemingly becoming even more messed up as time goes on. Patent lawyers have hijacked this system to enrich themselves at the expense of scientists and they gradually increase the scope of patenting.

Patentability of Software

Digital Majority summarises coverage of the G3/08 (EBoA) referral while over in Germany we find software patents being legalised. Someone from the Pirate Party in the UK has published a long response to it.

German software patents are a sad day for software

[...]

Those members who know me well will be aware that one of the main reasons that I originally got involved with the Pirate Party was because of its support for patent reform, and in particular its opposition of software patents. Today is a sad day for software in Europe; the German High Court has now effectively declared software patentable without any meaningful limits. It’s especially bad news for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

[...]

As a Free Software developer, I’m particularly worried, because Free Software can only work when anyone can use the software and distribute it to others. Due to software patents in the USA, there is a whole bunch of functionality that was — or still is — impossible for Linux distributions to offer “out of the box.” These include such basic features as watching DVDs and Internet video, creating and listening to MP3s, and working with JPEG2000 images. In all these examples the patents cover mathematical algorithms for encoding and decoding data. What makes things worse is that FOSS developers are blamed for the lack of these, even though they’ve written the code and it works perfectly well.

As TechDirt puts it:

So, as we sit and wait in the US for a ruling on Bilski, hoping (but doubting) that it will greatly curtail software patents, Germany is going in the opposite direction.

Yes, over in the US, a high-level decision on the Bilski case could change a lot for software freedom. Here is some new analysis [1, 2, 3].

Trade Secrets

Originally, the patent office was intended to encourage inventors to publish their ideas; well, now it’s the opposite as it suppresses and often restricts people who want to practice ideas. Glyn Moody has a new piece criticising today’s regime of intellectual monopolies and trade secrets:

Now, some might say that this retreat into the widespread use of trade secrets to protect products is a huge loss to humanity, and a backward step from the current situation where people patent stuff – which, as the word originally meant, implies revealing to the world your secrets.

I think this is nonsense, and part of the romantic propaganda put about by those that use intellectual monopolies to stifle competition. Indeed, what is striking about so many patents today is that they reveal precisely *nothing*: they are either obvious, in which case they don’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, or else they are make such vague and general claims (even though patents aren’t supposed to work like that) as to be useless for practical purposes.

Companies that use Linux play the same game. The question is, should one’s own profit come before advancement as a whole? With state support even?

Microsoft

Here we have a company that held back IT for decades. Microsoft even implicitly admitted that it wanted to slow innovation so that it needn’t cope with new forms of technology that may be less profitable (or more challenging to monetise, e.g. SaaS).

Now that SaaS is catching on at companies like Salesforce, Microsoft is bullying and suing [1, 2]. TechDirt states: “Microsoft Decides It Can’t Compete With Salesforce.com; Sues For Patent Infringement Instead”

Suffice to say, Microsoft boosters like Paul Thurrott defend Microsoft and even add fuel to the fire:

This week, Microsoft sued Salesforce.com, accusing the latter of violating eight of its software patents. This development has raised hackles in certain circles—”Microsoft is reverting to its old ways!” But these people are clueless: Microsoft has been threatening companies with patent lawsuits for years, and my guess is that Salesforce just declined to roll over, as all those Linux companies have. And just so we’re clear, it’s not “spurious patent litigation” if it works or is held up in court. Let’s see what happens before we decide that Microsoft is in the wrong. It’s one thing to take a tiny company to court, but Salesforce.com is huge and can defend itself. Microsoft knows that.

It’s nice to know that Microsoft boosters are actually fans of Microsoft’s racketeering too. They haven’t much dignity, which is probably why they promote Microsoft in the first place.

Monsanto

Monsanto is a major abuser of the world’s population and Monsanto uses patents on life to coerce and to enforce. We wrote about the subject in posts such as:

  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

Monsanto and Microsoft have a great deal in common because they use the “drug dealer” mentality to spread their products and make people dependent on those products. Monsanto — like Microsoft — is also trying to make money out of a disaster in Haiti (Monsanto is seeding a monopoly in another nation).

Haitian Farmers Commit to Burning Monsanto Hybrid Seeds

“A new earthquake” is what peasant farmer leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) called the news that Monsanto will be donating 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds, some of them treated with highly toxic pesticides. The MPP has committed to burning Monsanto’s seeds, and has called for a march to protest the corporation’s presence in Haiti on June 4, for World Environment Day.

What Monsanto does here is akin to Microsoft handing out Windows in a nation that already uses GNU/Linux. But to make matters worse, Monsanto is making money out of a disaster, or at least looking to make money in the long term. Monsanto is exploiting Africa and India in the same way with Bill Gates’ help (as covered in some of the posts above). What a fine example of misusing patents against impoverished populations. It’s even less ethical when it comes to medicine (also covered by patents and prone to addiction).

YouTube is Embracing VP8/WebM, But Software Patent Trolls and DRM Stand in the Way

Posted in Apple, BSD, DRM, Free/Libre Software, Google, Patents, Videos at 2:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The closet patent troll Larry Horn as well as Steve Jobs are still the loudest opponents of VP8 and they prove the need to abolish software patents and DRM too

SOFTWARE patents are becoming a real headache, more so than before. The other day we mentioned the response from the ECIS to implicit legitimisation of software patents in Europe. As pointed out by someone in Groklaw:

I noticed that ECIS statement did not say anything about software patents. However, it did say that it’s goal is to allow all people to access without being charged by proprietary vendors. I wonder, when the EU finally allows software patents that there will be a provision that specifically prevents patents from being used as a weapon in the monopoly wars as far as public interoperability (whatever that means) goes.

The European Commission needs to be pressured to revise its digital agenda. They were led to using words like “interoperability” instead of “open standards”. Another common tactic is to squeeze in terms like “market standards”. It sounds almost like standards, but it’s not. ‘”Market standards” as a euphemism for monopolies is a rather astute piece of spin doctory for the technically inept,” said this person whom people recognise as the FSFE’s founder (Georg Greve).

“Market standards” as a euphemism for monopolies is a rather astute piece of spin doctory for the technically inept
      –Georg Greve
Some people would say that H.264 has become the “market standard” for video, but it is totally inappropriate because of software patents. MPEG-LA stayed in the background with its patents so that people naively help it become the “market standard”. At the very least, European authorities need to see this and respond to it by exclusion.

Several days ago Google formally took action and released VP8 as free software (BSD). “Flash embraces Google’s open video codec,” reports The Register.

Adobe has rolled out an HTML5 development kit and announced that Flash will use Google’s freshly open sourced VP8 video codec. The company wants you to know that despite its tussle with Steve Jobs, it very much believes in web standards.

Steve Jobs is being very disruptive and it matters because as katonda.com puts it:

The relation between Freedom and Apple is like that of fire and ice. They cannot co-exist.

Steve Jobs reportedly had an email exchange recently with Gawker Media’s Ryan Tate. Gawker Media is the blog firm which owns Gizmodo, the blogsite that bought published photos of a lost iPhone prototype.

I cannot comment on Gizmodo’s iPhone stint, or Tate’s intentions behind his email to Steve Jobs. However, I do care what Steve Jobs says; many people take his word seriously.

Steve Jobs reportedly replied to an email, “Yep, freedom from programs that steal your private data. Freedom from programs that trash your battery. Freedom from porn. Yep, freedom. The times they are a changin’, and some some traditional PC folks feel like the world is slipping away. It is.”

That’s not where freedom stops. This freedom is not even a grain of sand in the vast desert of freedom.

Choosing Apple devices to get these few freedoms is like choosing prison to get safety.

Apple’s Jobs just keeps ridiculing VP8. It means that he sees it as a threat to his business, which is probably a good sign. TechRadar has this decent new report:

Google on VP8: ‘We hope to start an arms race’

Google’s new open source VP8 video codec can’t do DRM, so YouTube will still use Flash to play protected content (and to insert ads).

In fact, says Google engineering VP Linus Upson, “DRM is fundamentally in conflict with open source and open standards because to do DRM you need secrets”.

Chromium already supports WebM videos and YouTube does too. Dana Blankenhorn understands that Google works to promote its own interests here (for reasons we explained before) and the FSF welcomes Google’s move. Groklaw too has positive things to say, whereas the patent troll Larry Horn is still taking shots at VP8 (it’s a threat to his business). He talks about patent pools rather than litigation (Larry Horn uses his trolling entity — a sort of alter-ego — to sue companies if they don’t comply with MEPG-LA). “MPEG-LA Gearing Up To Go Patent Nuclear On Google’s Decision To Release Open Video Standard” — that is the headline TechDirt went with:

It’s no secret that MPEG-LA, the private company that handles patent pools for a variety of digital video standards, including the widely used H.264 — and recently began dabbling in patent trolling, has suggested that there can be no digital video without licensing patents from its patent pools. And, of course, there were just rumors (kicked off by a Steve Jobs email), that MPEG-LA was gearing up to sue any “open” video standard out of existence. Well, that whole story got a bit more complex this week when Google announced its plans to open up its VP8 video codec, and make it royalty free, under the WebM name.

Here is an independent confirmation that the patent troll said what he said to Rupert Murdoch’s employees:

Asked it the MPEG-LA was creating a patent pool license for VP8 and WebM, a larger open source media standard that includes VP8, Horn said:

“Yes. In view of the marketplace uncertainties regarding patent licensing needs for such technologies, there have been expressions of interest from the market urging us to facilitate formation of licenses that would address the market’s need for a convenient one-stop marketplace alternative to negotiating separate licenses with individual patent holders in accessing essential patent rights for VP8 as well as other codecs, and we are looking into the prospects of doing so.”

An MPEG-LA spokesperson confirmed the comments in an email to The Reg.

The threats originally came from Rupert Murdoch’s press. It is potentially just FUD which is intended to suppress VP8 adoption. Some people say it should be ignored despite the bad press (e.g. [1, 2, 3] MPEG-LA generates for its competitor, VP8.

VP8 is crucial for a variety of other Google products (some are Linux based), as the following article might remind us:

WebM will make the hippies among the free-software movement (“software patents are like Nanking Massacre, only obviously far worse”) happy. It’ll allow developers to create free and open-source streaming apps and technologies without worrying about the licensing expense; one can only hope that Google has also ensured that there won’t be any risk that a patent shark might come along and sue the developers at a future date, but only time will tell. Otherwise, WebM a non-entity.

“Patent shark” is an outdated term. It’s now known as “patent troll” and Larry Horn pretty much admitted being one (that’s the work he does ‘on the side’, so to speak).

Have a look at the post titled “Oh my… the hypocrisy around WebM / VP8″

For years we were told by Mozilla and the like that they won’t ship MPEG codecs, because they are patented. At the same time they refuse to support the patent-free but high-quality Dirac codec (developed by the BBC using techniques whose patents expired – Xiph used the same method when designing Vorbis).

Then one day Google shows up and releases the sources to a codec that’s merely a derivate of the patented MPEG-4 AVC Baseline codec. Suddenly all hell breaks loose, Mozilla immediately supports the new (possibly patented) codec.

[...]

I suspect that since Mozilla (and Opera as well) gets many million dollars per year from Google for being the default search provider, questions about WebM are not asked. I think Mozilla mainly wants to please its pimp to get the money.

Luckily KDE is not part of the discussion (I merely state my opinion as an individual). Konqueror simply uses Phonon to play back HTML5 videos, hence the video can be in whatever format as long as a compatible Phonon back-end is used – WebM, Dirac, AVC,…

This sort of accusation against Mozilla and Opera is not fair. Even Microsoft had to give VP8 the nod. They are being pragmatic. Here is the response of Monty Montgomery from Xiph. “WebM VP8 Video Codec Won’t End Theora,” as one site puts it. They are complementary and Google helped fund Theora for particular architectures/form factors.

At Google’s I/O conference, the search giant this week released the VP8 video codec as open source and launched the WebM project for online video. The effort has already been embraced by multiple browser vendors.

Pogson concludes with some amazing numbers.

I wonder whether Hollywood will see it is in their best interests to use an open format for video? If not, Youtube may pass them by. Youtube is already the largest source of video on the planet. Who needs Hollywood if they do not want to be open with us? According to Wikipedia, “It is estimated that 24 hours of new videos are uploaded to the site every minute, and that around three quarters of the material comes from outside the United States.”

Without a doubt, given Google’s domination of web video, VP8 can gain great power very rapidly. The trouble which remains are patent trolls for their FUD or their genuine intent to sue over VP8. This is yet another example where software patents harm culture, in this case the free access to videos. This includes our own home videos.

Digital video

Novell’s Head in the Cloud

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Servers, Videos at 1:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sunset

Summary: Novell is still disabling users with so-called ‘clouds’ rather than enabling them with software freedom

SEVERAL days ago we showed that Novell’s marketing pitch had turned from “Open Source” to so-called 'cloud', which in some ways is worse than proprietary software.

Novell’s PR team writes about BrainShare Amsterdam (new videos) and echoes what we’ve seen so far — that Novell is primarily about Fog Computing now.

One example of this troubling trend is Pulse, which Novell advertises using a series comprising 8 parts (here are parts 1 and 2). This was uploaded several times and a 14-part series of videos with/about Novell’s Country Head in India (Sandeep Menon) was uploaded as well. Other new series of videos depict Novell co-founder Craig Burton, a nice lady who profiles Novell and pronounces Linux as “Lie-nox”, something about Tarek Moussa, and everything else is about Fog Computing [1, 2], with few exceptions.

The ‘cloud’ obsession which we wrote about the other day is better demonstrated by news such as (in addition to previous examples which needn’t be repeated):

Novell offers security for cloud

Novell: Identity & Security Management Pave the Way To the Enterprise Cloud

Novell Offers Cloud-Based Identity Manager

Novell Expands Identity Manager to the Cloud

Novell Identity Manager 4 Unifies Identity and Access Management for Physical, Virtual and Cloud Environments

There is also:

The best kept secret everyone knows

Fire! Flood! ok not really but do read on…

Atos Origin, Novell expand global partnership

To offer identity, security and compliance offerings as a service for cloud environments

Here is “cloud” again. Why are Free software products not promoted by Novell anymore? Mono and Moonlight don’t count.

IRC Proceedings: May 22nd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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