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05.24.10

IRC Proceedings: May 24th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 24/5/2010: ASUS + Expressgate/Linux, Xfce 4.6.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Choice: Linux or Red Dead Redemption?

    When Firmware 3.21 launched, many people thought it was a joke (partially due to its 1st April release date). In fact, it was nothing of the sort. It removed Other OS support, already omitted from the PlayStation 3 Slim, and led to some three separate lawsuits as people claimed that Sony was taking away advertised features. It also managed to bring down the United States Airforce, which was using PS3s with Linux for processing power (fine, it didn’t, but how awesome would that be?)

  • Linux is going mainstream

    The truth is that Linux is well on it’s way to being a mainstream operating system. The bad news is that this will not happen the way many of us envisioned.

  • Business

    • Who said Linux couldn’t make you money?

      But someone has done it, and done it well. That someone? The Linux Box. The “Box” was established in 1999 in order to provide regional, national, and international customers with support for open source technologies. On top of that, they commit 20% of their budget back into open source software development (to projects like OpenAFS, Moodle, Drupal, dotProject, Jobby, Squid, and more). Located in Ann Arbor Michigan, The Linux Box works closely with the community and has built its business around close collaboration with customers.

    • Show me the money…

      Every day I come to work, I get excited about the possibilities of the power of participation: to solve complex problems, to share knowledge, to bring people together. Opensource.com has been a great vehicle for me to learn and participate in a dialog about the power of open source principles–-especially when applied beyond software.

      I believe together we can solve many of the most complex problems our world faces. I also believe strongly that we, as a society, will never fully realize the full potential of the power of participation unless and until we find vehicles for individuals and institutions (both public and private) to directly profit from it.

      [...]

      Red Hat is an example: our mission is to be the catalyst in communities. Our community/enterprise model clearly works, but we need to find more business models to encourage others to play catalytic roles and foster their own communities of participation.

    • How to Sell Linux
  • Desktop

    • How to Configure an Ubuntu Linux Computer for Less Than $200

      Does your family need an extra PC? Educator, Mac expert, and Linux enthusiast Phil Shapiro explains in this YouTube video how, for less than the price of some operating systems, you can configure a useful, virus-free computer with a 23-inch LCD monitor ($150 refurbished) and a Wi-Fi wireless adapter ($15). This project is easy to do and should take about an hour.

    • Your old computer, born again

      Netbooks such as the original Acer Aspire One and the Dell Mini don’t use the latest iteration of the Intel Atom processor (called Pineview) and come with 1GB of RAM or less. (Companies such as Lenovo now offer 2GB and 3GB versions of their netbooks.) Older netbooks usually run Windows XP, which some see as outdated.

      One easy way to make your netbook run faster is to use a new operating system called Jolicloud.

      To use Jolicloud, you’ll need a 1GB USB key. Click the download link at Jolicloud.com and download the ISO file for Jolicloud and use Jolicloud’s USB Creator to create the key. Boot up your netbook, watching carefully for the key to press so you can access the netbook’s BIOS. Now, look for an option to boot from a USB key, enable it and save the BIOS. Jolicloud will walk you through the basic installation.

    • Church of Linux

      Another advantage of bringing spinoffs back to their parent distribution is the increased development power. Why have 10 people working on each of 10 distributions when you could have 25 people working on each of 4 distributions, each of which have a couple of specialised setups available.

    • The View from Mudsock Heights: Linux Has Come Far — In One Case, Maybe Too Far

      The free software movement, which in many respects means the Linux operating system, is a puzzle to those accustomed to paying for things. Software is expensive stuff — how good can the stuff be if it doesn’t cost anything?

      Actually, very, very good.

      [...]

      Then, in July 1998, the desktop problem started to be solved. That’s when KDE 1.0 was released. I downloaded, compiled, and installed it that very first day, and it blew me away. Linux was now easy to use, sort of. KDE (which stood for the “KDE Desktop Environment,” in that self-referential Linux way) could do things in version 1.0 more than a decade ago that only the latest Windows can do.

    • Washing the windows myths. Device support.

      There is a common mantra which windows advocates like to chant. I guess it has a calming influence for them as they navigate the labyrinth of installing new hardware on their machines. The mantra goes like this, windows has better device support. This mantra, while boosting the superiority complex of windows advocates, is simply a myth.

      It is said that myths generally have a germ of truth in them and I have to agree. Many years ago windows did have superior device support. That has all changed now. In fact the situation has reversed. Linux now has superior device support when compared to windows and arguably any other operating system. The reason for this is due to the differences between the way windows and Linux look at hardware device drivers.

      [...]

      The proof is in the pudding. Do this experiment, if you dare. If you have not already lost your windows drivers disks, put them away under lock and key. Format your hard drive and install windows from scratch, without installing any other drivers. How much of your hardware works? Now do the same for Linux. You will find that more of your hardware works with a standard install of just about any modern Linux distribution. Including printers, webcams, scanners and other peripherals.

  • Asus

    • Asus has NOT abandoned Linux

      We came across this article written by Steven Nichols, Computer World, who believes Linux is dead on netbooks. Well, guess what Asus Asia has been selling the Asus Eee 1201T with Express Gate which is actually a customized Linux OS. This allows them to sell this AMD NEO-powered machine under $380 because Linux does not cost a penny. It comes with AMD NEO processor, 2GB RAM, 320GB HDD, 12.1-inch 1366×768 pixel display and a very spacious chiclet keyboard.

    • Lost Sheep

      First ASUS unleashes netbooks with GNU/Linux. Then they push that other OS. Now they are selling good netbooks with no OS but Expressgate. What’s with that?

      Surely M$ does not approve. Is this another sign that M$ is losing its grip on OEMs?

  • Server

    • Linux trading system to save London Stock Exchange £10m a year

      The London Stock Exchange has said its new open source-based trading system will save it at least £10 million annually, as well as driving new business.

      Millennium Exchange, a Linux and Sun Solaris Unix-based platform, which uses Oracle databases, is being rolled out across all of the LSE’s electronic trading systems, replacing the slower TradElect platform, which is Microsoft .Net based. TradElect had suffered a series of high-profile outages and will be replaced by Millennium Exchange in stages from September.

    • When the Administrator walks…

      Each situation is different but here are some general recommendations. First, make sure you have a LiveCD of your favourite distribution. Fedora, Ubuntu, even Knoppix have a number of tools already baked in that you will find you will need. If possible, write your LiveCD out to a USB stick and add additional packages so they are there when you need them and you will not have to rely on an external connection to the Internet.

  • Audiocasts

    • Linux Outlaws 150 – Linux Cloudlaws

      This time on Linux Outlaws: HP buys Palm, Steam coming to Linux, Humble Indy Bundle goes open source, more PS3 firmware fallout, Red Hat & Novell win important lawsuit, Mandriva in trouble, UDS news and lots of Microsoft and Apple bashing as usual…

    • KDE and the Masters of the Universe – 2010-05-21

      This week on KDEMU we introduce Mike Arthur one of the co-hosts of KDEMU, we talk about KDE on Mac OSX, his plans for rend-a-child and his love for David Faure!

    • Episode 141: The Fourth Colour (Microsode 1)

      This is the first Microsode of Meet the GIMP. This are short(er) videos that are produced ahead of publication and cover one topic – and no chit chat about my life, the site, the forum and so on.

    • Full Circle Podcast #7: Two Tin Cans and a Length of String

      News: Ubuntu Developers Summit, Ubuntu Light, Unity.

      Guest Spot: We go through the Ubuntu bug-reporting process with Alan Pope.

      Games: Ed, Dave and Alan are all agreed about the Humble Indie Bundle and Dave looks at Wormux.

      Interview: Part II of the Ubuntu Manual Project – tools

      Keynote: Part I of Mark Shuttleworth’s keynote from UDS

  • Ballnux

  • Benchmarks

  • Graphics Stack

    • NVIDIA 256 Beta Linux Driver Released

      NVIDIA has rolled out its first beta in the expected 256.xx driver series for Linux, Windows, and other supported platforms. Last month we asked what you wanted from the NVIDIA 256.xx driver and while many of the respondents didn’t get their greatest wishes answered, the 256.25 beta driver does offer quite a bit of changes over the previous-generation proprietary NVIDIA driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Status of Gentoo on MacBook Pro (5,3)

      So, as you can see, besides pommed, a fan script, and the webcam, there’s really very little tweaking required. Everything more or less works.

    • Slackware Linux 13.1 screenshots

      If you’ve grown tired of all the hand-holding utilities in Ubuntu or Fedora, then look no further than Slackware — a distribution that shuns the now-standard GUI configuration and system utilities in favour of the venerable command line.

    • Reviews

      • First look at NimbleX 2010 (Beta)

        NimbleX NimbleX, based on Slackware Linux, is a project which attempts to provide a small, yet fully functional, desktop operating system for people on the go. Specifically, NimbleX provides a modern KDE desktop on a live CD or Flash drive. The project also provides a tool called Custom NimbleX, which allows the user to customize their ISO image prior to downloading it. Before taking NimbleX for a test drive, I had a chance to talk with Bogdan Radulescu, creator of the distribution.

    • Debian Family

      • More flexible firmware handling in debian-installer

        After a long break from debian-installer development, I finally found time today to return to the project. Having to spend less time working dependency based boot in debian, as it is almost complete now, definitely helped freeing some time.

      • Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS

          Overall I think 10.04 is another great step forward to Ubnutu and Linux in general to get into the hands and homes of the average user. Kudos to the Ubuntu team for a great OS distro, keep up the great work guys!

        • More Ubuntu 10.04

          The software bundled with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx is much the same as the past few versions – Firefox, OpenOffice, Rhythmbox (think iTunes), and F-Spot (for digital cameras) – so you needn’t scour around for the essentials. GIMP (Photoshop-like image editor, but without CMYK support) is not in by default any more but easily added.

          When you do need to install something else, a new Ubuntu Software Centre offers a cheerful interface, for a large repository of free apps.

        • Fawning Over Ubuntu 10.04

          I can’t say enough good things about this Ubuntu distro, I highly recommend you upgrade if you use older Ubuntu distros or if you’re a PC user who’s itching for a change from Windows, download the ISO and give it a whirl without even installing it. Yes, Ubuntu Live CD will let you test drive the distro without even installing it. Again, well done Ubuntu crew, keep up the work and thanks for a beautiful and functional OS!

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 194

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 194 for the week May 16th – May 22nd, 2010. In this issue we cover Ubuntu Mentioned on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, Audio from UDS Sessions Now Available, Taking a Long Term View of the Release, Next Americas Regional Membership Board Meeting Announced, Why Launchpad Rocks, Kubuntu Maverick All Planned Out at UDS, Ubuntu Stats, Ubuntu Uruguay Approved Team, Ubuntu-my (Malaysia) Workshop Monash University, Ubuntu-my (Malaysia) Lucid Release Party, Ubuntu Catalan LoCo Team Release Party, Ubuntu Brazil Release Party Pictures, Ubuntini Recipe Released, LoCo Items for Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Debian and Ubuntu, Archive / Permissions Reorg confusion, Ubuntu Maverick UDS Group Photo made with the Hugin Panorama Creator, Melissa Draper: UW World Play Day 2010 Competition: The Movie, In The Press, In the Blogosphere, In Other News, Upcoming Meetings and Events, Updates and Security, and much much more!

        • Puppy

          • Puppy Linux 5.0 “Lucid Puppy” Released

            My initial fears, that the move over to Ubuntu packages would have a serious negative impact on performance and resource usage, seem to have been unfounded. As ever, Puppy booted into a useful and responsive desktop on a test setup with 256MB of RAM. It remains my go to distribution for a certain type of project.

          • REVIEW: Puppy Arcade 8 (LiveCD 105mb)

            Yet another great release for Puppy Arcade. I like the idea of having a poll for the browser, which means that not only do you get a smaller .iso download, but you don’t have to waste your time downloading a browser which you are going to replace anyway. The size of the download is another massive plus and will have you enjoying emulation in no time at all. It’s quite amusing to think that the whole distro is downloaded in 105mb which is less than many PSX games themselves!

        • Kubuntu

          • Kubuntu Netbook Edition 10.04 review

            The installation is dead simple, just like Ubuntu. If you have installed any Linux OS lately, you should not have any problem installing Kubuntu Netbook Edition. I installed it using UnetBootin which allows one to make a bootable USB drive.

            Out of the box, everything worked, from Ethernet to Wireless LAN – everything! This is great as most of the netbook users do not like wandering over Ubuntu/Kubuntu forums trying everything to work. Even the function keys worked.

          • Video: Kubuntu with KDE 4.3 Overview. Linux Rocks!

            Today whilst browsing Youtube for KDE-related videos (hey, some of us do it!) I can across this little gem of a video from self-described novice user ms55555. It highlights Kubuntu 10.04′s beauty in style. Some gems to look out for…

        • Variants

          • Lubuntu 10.04

            Lubuntu is a faster, more lightweight and energy saving variant of Ubuntu using LXDE, the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment. The Lubuntu team aims to earn official endorsement from Canonical. Please join us.

            [...]

            I was pleasantly surprised and quite liked the Netbook mode, which give us a different from the traditional desktop as an alternative. I also like the way to manage start-up login, where it allows us to start with the default LXDE desktop or with Lubuntu Netbook mode.

          • Community Counts: Another Advantage to Linux Mint

            A few months back I listed five reasons I thought Linux Mint is a better choice than Ubuntu for a Linux distro. Today I would like to add another reason to that list. With the recent releases of Ubuntu 10.04 and Linux Mint 9 we see something that I feel really makes Linux Mint out shine Ubuntu (yet again)…

            [...]

            Now what is the big deal about a distro making improvements to itself in a new release? It is the fact that the creators took to heart what their users where telling them when making this improvement. For some of you this may not be a big deal, but personally I enjoy using a distro where my opinion counts.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Pandora’s Linux Based Gaming Handheld Now Shipping – Open Source Gaming Goes Portable

      In what can only be considered a major victory for the open source gaming scene the fabled Pandora handheld is finally shipping. After almost two years of sneak peeks and disappointing setbacks the first batch of units are finally being massed produced and sent out to paying customers. The end product is the polar opposite of the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP in just about every respect. Rather than trying to make a closed down platform filled with proprietary technologies, the hardware and software architectures are completely open and just begging to be exploited.

    • BYO Linux router to the NBN

      They can both be part of the home router you connect to it, according to ISP iPrimus. Customers will be free to use whatever router they like, such as a Linux-based Tomato router (firmware that you install into a readily available router such as the Linksys WRT54G).

      There had been concerns among the enthusiast community that the government would mandate a particular router be used at customer premises so that the network could be administratively controlled remotely.

      However, customers will have complete freedom to use their own homebrew Linux routers to connect their premises to the National Broadband Network instead of using a standard router from the likes of Netcomm or Netgear, internet service provider Primus revealed last week.

    • BYO Linux router to the NBN
    • Toyota’s Robot Violinist Wows Crowd At Shanghai Expo 2010 (Video)
    • Sub-notebooks

      • Will the ‘$100 laptop’ project ever be considered a success?

        “The creation of the netbook market is largely, and appropriately, credited to OLPC,” says Ed McNierney, Chief Technical Officer of OLPC. “We wouldn’t have $300 netbooks in the consumer market if that push from OLPC hadn’t happened.

      • Installing Linux On ARM-Based Netbooks?

        For example, the Augen E-Go. It is a widely touted theory that it is impossible to install Linux on one of these notebooks, replacing the commonly installed Windows CE operating system. The sub-$100 netbooks carry decent specs, including 533MHz ARM processor; 128MB DDR RAM; and a 2GB Flash drive, as well as most expected netbook components (USB, Wi-Fi, etc.). I find it hard to believe that a computer with these specs is impossible to hack and install Linux to, but Google searches have been largely unsuccessful in finding proper information. Do any Slashdot readers have experience in installing ARM Linux distros to these cheap netbooks like this? If so, what distros do they recommend?

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source film recommendation engine from Filmaster.com

    Filmaster.com, a social network for film lovers, has recently presented a new movie recommendations engine. The algorithm that generates recommendations is open source and has been released under AGPLv3 license.

  • Quality

    • Open source innovation on the cutting edge

      Open source doesn’t innovate — so goes the old saw. Proprietary software vendors, including Microsoft, would have you believe the open source movement has produced nothing but knockoffs of existing products and cast-off code that couldn’t cut it in the free market.

    • 7 open source innovations on the cutting edge

      Think open source doesn’t innovate? Think again. Here are seven projects that are exploring exciting new directions in computing — for free

    • License Equals Software Quality?

      But does closed source software simply work better? One could make the case that because of the commercial nature of closed source, i.e., finished projects make money, that closed source software is ready to work faster–though I don’t think you could make that a blanket statement. Like open source software, a feature added to proprietary software has to be decided upon, only now the feature has to pass another bar to get included: it has to be profitable. Which means, even if it’s the Coolest Feature Ever, if may not get included because the proprietary vendor may not want to make the investment.

      This is why, ultimately, I think the whole open vs. closed software quality argument is moot. Each of the approaches has strengths and weaknesses the other approach doesn’t, which balances out the notion that any software will be higher or lower quality because of its license. Developers code software poorly or well based on their own strengths.

      There are other facets of the open vs. closed debate, a debate that I believe open source ultimately wins. Just don’t make software quality part of the argument. It’s a moot point.

  • Events

  • Mozilla

    • a better web is winning

      There are more than half a billion people using these four amazing and modern browsers right now.

  • SaaS

    • Open APIs key in cloud computing

      It is the data formats and the walled gardens that sit within the cloud environments that will become the biggest challenge to customers looking to avoid vendor lock-in. And it affects home users as much as it does enterprise customers and governments – it’s hard enough as an individual to close a Facebook account, imagine trying to move that data to another service?

  • Oracle

    • How Could the NetBeans Team Make Money from the NetBeans Platform?

      With the snowballing interest in NetBeans Platform usage (here’s a nice list of +-150 screenshots and counting), is there a place, somewhere/somehow, where Sun/Oracle/NetBeans could make actual money from the NetBeans Platform? (And would the amount of money be an “interesting” amount?)

  • BSD

  • Government

    • FR: Chamber of Commerce selects open source for craftsmen

      A DVD with a selection of free and open source software applications tailored to very small businesses (VSBs), was published by the Chamber of Commerce for Crafts and Trades of the French Somme Department, earlier this year.

      “Our goal is to assist VSBs in their use of office productivity tools and business applications”, writes Alain Bethfort, president of the organisation, in his introduction.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Ninth worker death at Taiwan iPhone firm Foxconn

    A ninth employee has jumped to his death at Taiwanese iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, China’s state media reports.

    Xinhua said 21-year-old Nan Gang leapt from a four-storey factory in China’s Shenzhen in the early hours.

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment

    • “It’s BP’s Rules – Not Ours.”
    • Nature Conservancy faces potential backlash from ties with BP

      In the days after the immensity of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico became clear, some Nature Conservancy supporters took to the organization’s Web site to vent their anger.
      This Story

      *
      Nature Conservancy faces potential backlash from ties with BP
      *
      Salazar slams BP for missing deadlines
      *
      Gulf slick is invading fragile coastal bays
      *
      BP agreed in 2004 to parts changes on drilling rig, letter says
      *
      Oil spill cleanup, containment efforts, hearings in wake of gulf disaster

      View All Items in This Story
      View Only Top Items in This Story

      “The first thing I did was sell my shares in BP, not wanting anything to do with a company that is so careless,” wrote one. Another added: “I would like to force all the BP executives, the secretaries and the shareholders out to the shore to mop up oil and wash the birds.” Reagan De Leon of Hawaii called for a boycott of “everything BP has their hands in.”

    • Another Chance to Stop the Gulf Leak

      BP is preparing to launch a procedure as early as Sunday to clog the flow of oil and gas from the month-old Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But the proposed “top kill” method is untested at the 5,000-foot depth of the spill, and could easily join the growing list of fixes thwarted by the spill’s punishingly remote environment. It is also the most invasive maneuver attempted to date, and could rupture the leaking well and actually accelerate the flow of crude.

    • BP prepares complex ‘top kill’ bid to plug well

      Government and BP officials are hopeful after extensive preparations, but are not guaranteeing that a complex attempt early this week to cap an uncontrolled underwater oil spill from a well in the Gulf of Mexico will be successful.

      The so-called “top kill” procedure that oil major BP is tentatively scheduled to attempt on Tuesday involves plugging up the well by pumping thick “drilling mud” and cement into it. While it has been attempted on above ground wells, it has never been tried at the depths involved with this spill, nearly 5,000 feet below the surface.

      In an e-mail to staff late Friday, BP CEO Tony Hayward said success of the procedure could not be taken for granted, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • Finance

    • New financial rules might not prevent next crisis

      The most sweeping changes to financial rules since the Great Depression might not prevent another crisis.

    • Rules Grow, Banks Stay Same Size

      The financial legislation passed by the Senate last week, largely built to specifications that the administration provided last summer, vastly increases the scope and sophistication of federal regulation. It grants more resources and more authority to those charged with overseeing the industry. It is hoped that this will produce better results.

      The bill does not, as some liberal Democrats and populist Republicans had advocated, require the breakup of conglomerated behemoths. It does not prohibit some of the most speculative genres of Wall Street trading. It does not reduce the vast menagerie of financial companies that compete with banks.

    • Commentary: Maryland foreclosure-prevention law adds bite to federal efforts
    • Tax credit and low mortgage rates boost home sales

      Homebuyers rushed to take advantage of government incentives and low mortgage rates in April, giving the housing market its biggest boost in five months.

    • As Reform Takes Shape, Some Relief on Wall St.

      The financial reform legislation making its way through Congress has Wall Street executives privately relieved that the bill does not do more to fundamentally change how the industry does business.

    • Cuts to Child Care Subsidy Thwart More Job Seekers

      Despite a substantial increase in federal support for subsidized child care, which has enabled some states to stave off cuts, others have trimmed support, and most have failed to keep pace with rising demand, according to poverty experts and federal officials.

    • Government Spending and Economic Expansions

      With everyone waiting until the other guy moves first, there isn’t much of a foundation set down for future growth. But if the government steps in and acts when nobody else is willing to do so, it could create that more stable environment the private sector needs in order to get off the ground.

    • Ask Goldman Sachs to Give it Back!

      To be fair, sometimes they had the money to pay off one another without government bailouts, but not often. That’s because they were largely betting with money they never had. AIG is the perfect example. Their executives made hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses from the early wins in these bets, but then stuck the taxpayers with a $182 billion bill when they lost.

    • So much for the little guy

      The Obama administration’s tough statements about Wall Street misdeeds mask a strange fact: For an administration that talks so much about helping the little guy, it is astonishing how many of President Barack Obama’s “reforms” work to the advantage of powerful corporate interests at the expense of small employers and independent entrepreneurs.

      Two recent examples are the new burdens that Obamacare places on small business and the way the administration’s proposed financial reform legislation works to the advantage of the largest financial institutions at the expense of smaller competitors.

    • Poll: Economists more upbeat despite deficit woes

      Economists forecast the pace of U.S. growth to pick up in the year ahead as consumers and businesses alike accelerate spending, according to a new survey.

    • Bank Brawl Continues: Now It’s Lincoln vs. Obama

      Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a financial reform bill that was far stronger that what had been proposed by the Obama administration and passed by the House. Now it’s time to hold President Obama’s feet to the fire to ensure the strongest possible bill.

    • ‘100% Protected’ Isn’t as Safe as It Sounds

      For an investor in one of these notes to earn the return of the index as well as get the principal back, the index cannot fall 25.5 percent or more from its level at the date of issuance. Neither can it rise more than 27.5 percent above that level. If the index exceeds those levels during the holding period, the investors receive only their principal back.

    • Case Said to Conclude Against Head of A.I.G. Unit

      Federal prosecutors investigating the events leading up to the collapse of the American International Group in 2008 will not bring charges against Joseph Cassano, the chief executive of the unit that insured mortgage-related securities with calamitous results, according to two people briefed on the matter.

    • Financial Overhaul Bill Poses Big Test for Lobbyists

      Last Wednesday, Representative David Scott, Democrat of Georgia, mingled with insurance and financial executives and other supporters at a lunchtime fund-raiser in his honor at a chic Washington wine bar before rushing out to cast a House vote.

    • A Guide to Complaints That Get Results
    • What is the point of innovative financial instruments ?

      I remain very ignorant about banking and real world finance. Some time ago, a commenter noted that while at first I said I was winging it I seemed much more confident and asked if I had learned a lot or if I was winging it louder. I am winging it louder.

      I don’t know what innovative financial instruments have been invented. I tend to assume that the purpose of some is tax avoidance. For all I know, some are used to share risk, and might actually be socially useful.

    • Dems play old-school hardball

      To finish the Wall Street reform bill, Democrats are resurrecting a casualty of Washington’s hyperpartisan culture: the House-Senate conference committee, in which lawmakers from both parties will hash out differences between the two chambers’ bills.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Copyrights

    • Lady Gaga Says No Problem If People Download Her Music; The Money Is In Touring

      Like Mariah Carey, it looks like Lady Gaga has realized that this concept of Connect with Fans and giving them a Reason to Buy works at the superstar level just as much as it does down at the indie artist level. The specifics of implementing a business model around the concept are very, very different — but the core concept remains the same. Treat your fans right, learn to leverage what’s infinite to make something scare more valuable, and then sell the scarcity.

    • Eircom to cut broadband over illegal downloads

      EIRCOM WILL from today begin a process that will lead to cutting off the broadband service of customers found to be repeatedly sharing music online illegally.

      Ireland is the first country in the world where a system of “graduated response” is being put in place. Under the pilot scheme, Eircom customers who illegally share copyrighted music will get three warnings before having their broadband service cut off for a year.

    • How local TV could go the way of newspapers

      Once it becomes as easy and satisfying to view a YouTube video on your 50-inch television as it is to watch “Two and a Half Men,” audiences will fragment to the point that local broadcasters will not be able to attract large quantities of viewers for a particular program at a finite point in time.

    • ISP Must Hand Over Identity Of OpenBitTorrent Operator

      An ISP must hand over the identity of the operator behind a major BitTorrent tracker, a court in Sweden ruled today. OpenBitTorrent, probably the world’s largest public tracker, is currently hosted by Portlane. The ISP must now reveal the identity of its customer to Hollywood movie companies or face a hefty fine.

    • Federal Court Issues Permanent Injunction For Isohunt

      The injunction theoretically leaves the door open for the site to deploy a strict filtering system, but its terms are so broad that Isohunt has little choice but to shut down or at the very least block all US visitors. … The verdict states that they have to cease ‘hosting, indexing, linking to, or otherwise providing access to any (torrent) or similar files’ that can be used to download the studios’ movies and TV shows. Studios have to supply Isohunt with a list of titles of works they own, and Isohunt has to start blocking those torrents within 24 hours.

    • Want to buy a Linux company?
    • After keeping us waiting for a century, Mark Twain will finally reveal all

      The great American writer left instructions not to publish his autobiography until 100 years after his death, which is now

    • Separating Fact from Fiction: My Fair Copyright Proposals

      So yet again in an effort to separate fact from fiction, here is my submission to the copyright consultation from last summer. It doesn’t call for everything to be free, it calls for WIPO implementation, and it emphasizes that updating the law means accounting for both creator and consumer needs.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – FoF – RLVs (1/5/2003)


Microsoft’s Cloudy Skies Over Norway

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fiord landscape

Summary: Microsoft threatens to control data — not just software — in the beautiful nation of Norway

Governments must never deploy or lease so-called 'clouds', which give a company an authority over citizenship. Governments should generally use software that they totally control and control both locally and independently from any company. Free software is a good fit which is not expensive as it can be maintained by many parties simultaneously.

At the moment, Microsoft is trying to hijack citizens’ data and it even hires top lobbyists to do so. Over in Norway, Microsoft gets a step closer to achieving this. Norway must reject this for reasons that include Microsoft corruption. See the following posts:

More from Norway last week:

Microsoft has given its cloud-computing-based Live@edu and its Office Web Apps to a Norwegian “learning management” software company called It’s Learning Inc., whose U.S. headquarters is run by a group of Boston-area technology executives.

They are trying to impose the old Live@Edu scam, which is “free-of-charge” lock-in plus spying that Moglen recently spoke about. Who would accept such conditions? Here is the press release.

“It is never private when it is proprietary, so this is another case of misuse of terminology, intended to confuse and to market based on misinformation.”In last week's high profile meeting, Steve Ballmer made it clearer that they want to own and control people’s data too (also published in the Economic Times). Capgemini is helping Microsoft [1, 2] and so does their longtime booster Alexander Wolfe, who published promotional pieces in two places [1, 2] (Microsoft MVP Jason Hiner did something similar last week).

The spin to watch out for is named “private cloud” from Microsoft. It is never private when it is proprietary, so this is another case of misuse of terminology, intended to confuse and to market based on misinformation. Microsoft has the US army working with them [1, 2] and whether it’s something to be proud of or not depends on one’s idea of war (the secret services also get access to Microsoft-accumulated data). Surely enough, Microsoft’s competition against rivals can sometimes be described as militant.

“Where are we on this Jihad?”

Bill Gates

Microsoft is Lobbying in the United States and Buying Montana Brains

Posted in America, Microsoft at 12:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flag of Montana

Summary: American EDGI comes to Montana and Microsoft pretends to donate to children when it fact exploiting them with zero-cost introductory rate non-Free (proprietary) software

MICROSOFT lobbies aggressively in all parts of the world. Here is a partial listing of what goes on in the United States and in Europe. Our Wiki contains more detailed listings about Microsoft influence in governments, but it is work in progress.

ZDNet has passed on some interesting new charts about lobbying. Take a look.

When it comes to understanding how decisions are made in DC, the smart money says, “Follow the money.” That’s why yesterday’s Chart of the Day from Business Insider is so interesting.

The thing about lobbying is, a lot of it is not disclosed. It certainly is a problem in Great Britain and in the United States it ought to be a problem too (because it is secret, it is impossible to assess just how significant the “invisible” component is). Two years ago we accumulated some posts on the subject. As of late, Microsoft claims to be spending ~$1.7 million per quarter on lobbying, according to sources [1, 2].

Microsoft Corp. spent $1.72 million in the first quarter to lobby the federal government on technology in health care and other issues, according to a disclosure report.

Microsoft is once again playing the “charity” card using a bunch of spin which The Register (UK) deemed as worth promoting. Over in the United States, Microsoft carries on with the American EDGI programme that we recently covered in [1, 2, 3].

Governor Brian Schweitzer is selling out to Microsoft, giving Montana’s citizens for Microsoft to ‘educate’ (the proper term is train or indoctrinate). Here is just one report among several others from the local news [1, 2, 3].

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry announced today an innovative public-private partnership with Microsoft’s Elevate America Program.

It’s almost as though the authorities decided to go on and say to their citizens, “here. Go learn some Microsoft.” The convicted monopolist will happily indoctrinate the public with state support. It doesn’t really cost Microsoft anything, except bandwidth maybe. Watch the latest fluff piece from CNN about how Microsoft is indoctrinating kids under 10 (there are several other examples like that). What are they trying to accomplish and what would that tell Montanans about those so-called ‘skills’ that they acquire with the state’s endorsement? That it’s elementary school level? CNN defines “genius” by conformity and they are raising a generation of mental vegetables, serving a monopoly (anti-social) while losing one’s social life. It is nothing to be proud of. Honestly. A 9-year-old girl helps Steve Ballmer get richer.

Microsoft went further last week. It gave some bogus ‘donations’ of licensing, indoctrination, and curriculum hijack.

Officials with Microsoft said that Club Tech Centers of Excellence represent the latest evolution of Club Tech, a BGCA program initiated by a $100 million donation from Microsoft ( News – Alert) in 2000 to provide software, training and development of a digital literacy curriculum.

Microsoft claims to have donated $100 million, but it donates an absolute 0. It actually earns from it because those children who were allowed to just rent some copy of software are also becoming vassals of Microsoft’s industry. How is that a donation? These typical trick were mentioned here many times before and hopefully they are widely understood. Venom can often be disguised as an appetiser or a gift. Here is repetition of an example we covered last week. It has just been published under another headline, namely “MICROSOFT: Microsoft and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Bring 21st Century Technology Skills to America”’s Youth”

Microsoft has a real obsession with children. Rather than entice them with candy Microsoft gives them ‘free’ (gratis) software to get addicted to. When they grow up they are subservient and they have this same effect on their peers. It’s almost akin to child abuse when Microsoft defines and determines for them what software they should use, well before they are shown alternatives or given any real choice opportunities. Microsoft has even been airing advertisements where toddlers are marketed as fans of Microsoft’s products. It can hardly descend any lower than this level.

Thanks for the Support

Posted in Site News at 11:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The site hits 10,000 blog posts and crosses a milestone. If you have enjoyed it, please consider supporting us. In return, we will continue to deliver daily analysis and a roundup of links free of any promotion/commercial bias

THIS is blog post #10,000. Yes, we’ve finally made it! In 3.5 years*.

This site is purely a hobby. We never accepted donations. Never. In fact, we declined donations when people offered them. Since then, the site has grown a lot bigger and it attracts far more people now (considerably more every year, mostly GNU/Linux and Free software supporters). It needn’t be strictly just a hobby anymore. I used to carve out some time and put some posts out there between work and play (I don’t sleep much, but it’s a commitment I don’t give up and do take very seriously). The site now serves consistently over a million file hits every week. There are moderators working along in the IRC channels (we have 3 channels), ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak but also transparently because the logs get posted every day. There are tens of thousands of comments in the blog, but the volume fell by about 90% since we started requiring registered accounts for comments to be left. Every once in a while we also create dynamic pages that accumulate posts, sorting them by particular topics. We organise those primarily in the Wiki. Once in a while I get invited to also make an appearance related to the site’s information and share ideas/exhibits. This sometimes requires traveling. This means that the site has become more than just a hobby and it means quite a lot to particular people. The time and money required to run this site is cut as thin as can be, but it’s not free. I realise that micropayments rarely work as something that can sustain a Web site. We have Ad Bard promoting Free software at the sidebar and it brings in about $20 a month, which helps compensate our very kind Web host who operates a powerful server in the US. At certain times of the day the server slows down and sometimes hardly responds due to heavy load. It’s a side effect of growth and we already use caching heavily.

As it stands at the moment, everything that goes into operating the Web site is donated by myself and others who support this site in means other than financial. It comes out of the pocket of few people to whom the site matters. A fraction of the support comes from savings and is a personal investment in a cause that I believe in. One of the biggest expenses is measured in terms of time that’s missed — time that could otherwise be used to do paid work. Promotion for the site is sometimes done by people who care about the site and tell friends/colleagues about it. That’s appreciated as it’s the readership that gives this site purpose to exist and carry on with its mission. This helps bring the site to new audiences, which means that the site does not just preach to the choir, so to speak. Growing the audience size is what it’s all about if people are to be educated about the importance of software freedom, ethics, and the problems with proprietary software and those who promote it. Those who have read this Web site since its early days may have read thousands of posts and had a chance to share information even by word of mouth, not just links or texts. That’s a good thing.

If the site was to receive greater support, it would strive to extend the message to a broader audience and further the goals of enlightening, so that others who read the same material can pass on the message and work as an informed group. If you are willing to donate a few dollars/pounds a month, they will be spent with this goal in mind and be well spent by someone who is a minimalist and believes in this cause. Techrights has several sections, some of which are run by the community of contributors and readers. Some are edited by yours truly with advice from others (who are always attributed). The site may have grown to the point where it can be a part-time job and also sustainable as a source of daily news, as well as analysis which focuses on the issues, not brands.

This site is probably the biggest contribution I have ever made out of my own time and I hope others do appreciate a bit of sacrifice and dedication, which never has ill intent. Most of the time spent on this site is time that I allocate to reading material and connecting it to other material, then carefully checking the facts and ensuring all sentences are defensible. If errors are spotted, they do get corrected.

I never regret time that I spend on the site, especially upon hearing from people that they appreciate it. This has been the biggest and most personally fulfilling project I’ve ever worked on (more so than my Ph.D.). I run this site because of personal interest in the topics and because it matters to a lot of people who read and participate in it (there is always a lively discussion in our IRC channels).

My strategy is to find a way for Techrights to lead to something that can pay its own bills. I firmly believe that if a message is going to be successful, it has to be made something that can cover its author’s/maintainer’s most basic needs, so that the most minimal activity can be afforded. I participate in as many side activities as I can to help make up for the fact that this site never had a source of income (except ads that merely covered hosting expenses and sometimes fell short because our readers block ads… and we are glad that they do so if they dislike ads). We do the best that we can to keep the site going. So, please help with that if you can. At the side bar of every page of the blog there is a link that enables donating (I am not a fan of PayPal, but it’s what everyone uses, so I’ve just created an account there).

The commitment to you, dear reader, is that I’ll make you proud and glad that you donated (if you want a complete copy of the databases, we can arrange that too). We have not run out of topics and there are new ones popping up every day (with many more posts pending publication but requiring more work, which means time). People mail us every day with suggestions and pointers. People send material faster than we can keep up with, but we view this as a service to others, so we always make effort to incorporate all that can be incorporated. We also receive valuable leaks and promise confidentiality to protect the sources.

Once we choose subjects to work on we typically start the research by looking for required additional links (diversity of sources is important to us) and also some internal links to similar posts that covered similar/the same topic. Mixing internal and external links hopefully helps people go outside the site and verify the facts with more sources like we did in the first place. This process of research and aggregation of sources is not so foreign and if it requires improvement, someone will usually point this out. Each post requires over an hours of writing and research behind it (on average, as the length varies).

We are sometimes asked how research is being done and the answer is always the same. For instance, it is fair to say that 95% of the sources are accessible via the Internet and we do offer links to them. The limitation of having just over an hour for each post means that visiting the library is not most practicable, but there were exceptions in the past. Exhibits from key court cases can be considered peripheral and they are extremely valuable. We rarely rely on Internet sources unless they are corroborated by news sources or are verified, authenticated pieces of evidence. This way we minimise the likelihood of linking to and relying on false or falsified information. Our adversaries like to point out some needle in a haystack of 10,000 posts and point to innocent mistakes which were made due to bad sources (either private correspondence or other sites that present incorrect information). That’s called nitpicking. We rarely have errors in our posts and if any are found we add “(Corrected)” or “(Updated)” to the title along with the amendments/additions so that future reference won’t be deceiving.

As someone who lives in an apartment adjacent to a campus, I have an online account to just about any journal or printed material imaginable (PubMed, for example, would be easy for me to access). This helps a lot sometimes (even when other people require access), but in the context of what we do here we need news sources and PACER-type access. Old newspapers would require other types of sources (many are being scanned and archived in the UK these days), so we mostly rely on Google News archives that go a few decades back.

Writing the site is fun, but it cannot be treated purely like a hobby anymore. I cannot afford it. I treat it like teamwork and I follow a strict schedule in order to keep abreast of events. A hobby, by definition, is something that you fool around with in your spare time. It’s not managed. My commitment to people who help support Techrights is that it won’t be a mere hobby; that’s why you can expect to receive updates every day without exception. And that dependability is why people respond the way they do. Some people analyse specific issues differently after reading this site and that is why I perceive this as worthy project that can receive support from readers who find value in it. If you find it valuable, please consider supporting it on a micropayment basis. Maybe just a few bucks per month or whatever amount you prefer? It takes just a minute or two and I will continue doing the work on your behalf, every day, every week, every month. Again, I want you to consider yourself a partner in producing posts that anyone can use and share freely. That is how I view supporters of the site who help improve the information and offer story ideas. We’re all in this together. This type of support is an essential part of what we’re doing. For those who can’t support the site financially and still want to help there are other things that can be done. For example, share the message of the site with a friend of two, help spread the word. People can of course also help with research and there is a way to do this, mostly via the IRC channels. Just come and bring up the issue/topic of choice. When there are specific items we need help with, they are brought up in the channels and then discussed further until answers are found.

One last point: this unusual post does not take the place of today’s posting schedule, which will resume shortly. So thanks again for sticking with us for up to 10,000 posts. There are plenty more planned, including some that are quite exciting and exclusive. I hope you can support the site and regardless, I hope you continue reading the site and spreading the word. Whether you just lurk or participate, every single reader has earned our sincere thanks.





Please be aware of our candid confession that we never ever accepted donations (for the past 3.5 years). We do this because we believe in it and because readers do too. Some support us by contributing in content, time, advice, lively discussions, etc. Some are hopefully in a more fortunate position where they can offer financial assistance.
_______
* As a side note, Groklaw has just turned 7 and Techrights turned 3.5 years old a few weeks ago. Pamela Jones wrote:

I’d say we’ve met all the goals we set for ourselves, and more. And no, it wasn’t easy or even always pleasant. But it’s been soooo much fun too. There is nothing in the world, in my experience, as creatively satisfying as trying to do something no one has tried to do before and having it actually work. Our hope was that geeks could help lawyers understand the tech better, and vice versa. And it has happened.

Groklaw has kept the same style (more or less) over the years. It had an immeasurable contribution and if we keep on going for 7 years we too can make more impact.

Microsoft Connects With Governments as More Vulnerabilities Surface, Microsoft Can Be Sued in the UK for Security Problems

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 8:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The White House

Summary: Microsoft faces new challenges as security problems continue to be found even in the latest version of Windows and a UK High Court ruling indicates that Microsoft is now liable

NOW that one in two Windows PCs is believed to be a zombie PC Microsoft becomes a national and international problem. The latest Vista 7 vulnerability is a sign that things are not improving and Microsoft will start working privately/secretly with government in its disclosure of vulnerabilities [1, 2, 3, 4]. Will hidden/silent patches also be shared with governments? Last week there was an erroneous suspicion in Slashdot citing a blog with a semi-false alarm about a new security hole.

If you’re relying on the password encryption in Microsoft Dynamics GP — formerly Great Plains — to meet your PCI requirements, stop what you’re doing and listen up. It’s been revealed that its encryption algorithm is about as simple as it can be: a substitution cypher.

Look at the original source to see how Microsoft responded to the blogger by spinning and having the blogger state: “I must correct this and clarify. By default, GP gives the user access to the DYNAMICS database but the user CANNOT login to the SQL server using SQL Enterprise Manager. Here’s what happened: I reset the LESSONUSER’s passwords with SQL Enterprise Manager and afterward I was able to login to SQL Enterprise Manager with the LESSONUSER’s credentials. Some flag most have been updated when I reset the password – I need to investigate this further (this was all done in a Test environment). This was a BIG oversight on my part and I apologize for this. I really should have tested this out more before posting that statement. (Thank you Mark and others that pointed this out to me).”

Other known flaws are being addressed.

Microsoft, the software giant based in Redmond (USA), released two critical security updates on May 11, 2010, patching vulnerabilities within its e-mail applications as well as the Visual Basic for Applications designed to implement software programming language built into Microsoft Office.

“New Exploit Resists Windows Security Software,” reports IDG:

“This is definitely very serious,” said Alfred Huger, vice president of engineering at Immunet, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based antivirus company. “Probably any security product running on Windows XP can be exploited this way.” Huger added that Immunet’s desktop client is not vulnerable to the argument-switch attacks because the company’s software uses a different method to hook into the Windows kernel.

According to Matousec, nearly three-dozen Windows desktop security titles, including ones from Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro, BitDefender, Sophos and others, can be exploited using the argument-switch tactic. Matousec said it had tested the technique on Windows XP SP3 and Vista SP1 on 32-bit machines.

Here is security guru Bruce Schneier commenting on the news that Microsoft’s EULA is no longer an excuse for security flaws [1, 2], at least in the UK where Schneier’s employer is based.

The British High Court ruled that a software vendor’s EULA — which denied all liability for poor software — was not reasonable.

Microsoft claims no liability [1, 2, 3, 4] in its EULA and other places. From now on it may be possible to sue Microsoft UK when its inherently-flawed software leads to big damages (as it does all the time).

Protests Against Microsoft Corporation, Courtesy of Microsoft’s Own Employees

Posted in America, Asia, Deception, Microsoft at 7:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft jobs

Summary: Workers in Redmond — not just in China — are fed up with the way Microsoft treats them

LAST YEAR (and in later months of 2008) when Microsoft was laying off a lot of staff there were several protests waged by Microsoft employees, who claimed to have been exploited or mistreated by Microsoft. It is happening again while Microsoft is throwing private parties for very wealthy people who come to visit:

Microsoft janitors to protest during CEO Summit

Janitors at the Microsoft campus in Redmond will be protesting their working conditions Wednesday evening during the company’s annual CEO Summit. But they’re not mobilizing against Microsoft.

[...]

In a news release, Service Employees International Union Local 6 explained why its workers have mobilized two other times since November:

SBM Site Services has decreased their workforce since winning the janitorial contract for the Microsoft Campus in Redmond a little over a year ago. Layoffs have led to unmanageable workload increases for the janitors that clean the over 100 buildings at the Redmond campus.

While Microsoft is one of the wealthiest corporations in the world and has invested incredible resources into local and global communities, SBM Site Services workers at the campus have faced unsafe and unmanageable working conditions.

As Microsoft’s prepares for their annual Global CEO Summit in Redmond, janitors at the Microsoft campus are mobilizing to send a strong message to their employer SBM Site Services: Stop the greed, stop the layoffs, and support reasonable working conditions for janitors.

So now we know that Microsoft employees in Redmond — not just in China — are treated like tools. Last month we wrote about Microsoft sweatshops and there is a new article about them:

Teenage Microsoft Sweatshop

[...]

Over the course of a three-year investigation of the KYE factory in Dongguan, China, unprecedented photos were smuggled out of the factory of exhausted teenagers, seen slumping over asleep on their assembly line during break time.

“We are like prisoners… We do not have a life. Only work.” according to one teenage worker making products for Microsoft.

KYE recruits hundreds (up to 1,000) “work-study” students 16 and 17 years of age, who work 15-hour shifts, six and seven days a week making webcams, mice and other computer peripherals. Some of the workers appear to be just 14 or 15 years old. A typical shift is from 7:45 a.m. to 10:55 p.m. Most of the students work for three months, but some stay longer.

This article is from last week. Microsoft never said if the problem had been resolved at all. We just assumed that Microsoft said it was ‘investigating’ for PR purposes (damage control).

“Long live the liberation of the workers off all countries from the infernal chasm of war, exploitation and slavery!”

Karl Liebknecht

The Gates Foundation Nearly Doubles Its Investment in Walmart, Also Invests in McDonald’s and GMO

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft, Patents at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Walmart exterior - Monopoly, lack of competition and diversity; brought to you by the Gates Foundation

Summary: Investment (profit-making) aspects of the Gates Foundation come to the forefront of the news again and the race for GMO in India continues

THE “Gates Foundation Portfolio Gains,” states Philanthropy.com, which is actually a site that’s used to promote the Gates Foundation. For those who don’t know yet, the Gates Foundation is primarily a tax-exempt investment vehicle, not just a charity as it’s often described with the help of PR agencies. Some of the investments include those oil giants that pollute everyone’s ocean at this moment and poison people in Africa.

The nation’s largest grant maker, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, reported holdings of $12.7-billion as of March 31, up $2.3-billion over the previous quarter, according to MarketWatch. The foundation benefited from significantly increasing its stakes in blue-chip stocks, such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s.

As stated by this pro-Gates Foundation Web site, “The foundation benefited from significantly increasing its stakes in blue-chip stocks, such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s.”

See? Everybody wins.

Gates becomes richer by helping Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, two companies that help society, right? Just like Shell and BP. Gates is investing in McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and other such questionable companies that can help Gates make a profit (assuming the investments are well placed). This disclosure-centered news is also appearing in some Wall Street-oriented Web sites:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation profited from bets on several blue-chip stocks in the first quarter, nearly doubling its stake in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and adding two million shares of McDonald’s Corp. (MCD), according to a regulatory filing late Monday.

Another new headline: “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Buys Expedia Inc., Walmart Stores Inc., The Cocacola Company, Sells Peabody Energy Corp., CocaCola Enterprises Inc., The Home Depot Inc.”

That’s just so charitable, right? Over $12,000,000,000 invested, not donated. And some of those companies benefit directly from the work the Gates Foundation does as a charity. We gave many examples before. Not being familiar with them is hardly an excuse.

Market Watch says:

Gates Foundation nearly doubles Wal-Mart holdings

[...]

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation profited from bets on several blue-chip stocks in the first quarter, nearly doubling its stake in Wal-Mart Stores Inc., purchasing over three million shares of Coca-Cola Co. and adding two million shares of McDonald’s Corp., according to a regulatory filing late Monday.

Richard Stallman calls for boycott of Coca-Cola for crimes that too few people are aware of. Gates not only supports those companies; He is making money along with them. More from the news:

On another front, Bill Gates’ foundation nearly doubled its stake in Walmart stock, while unloading shares of Home Depot and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Perhaps Gates has confidence that Walmart will fare well.

This is also mentioned here. It is very important to remember what the Gates Foundation is, not how it sells itself to the public using the mainstream press. To be fair, there are other foundations that operate similarly. It’s sometimes known as philanthrocapitalism.

Here is a famous film about Walmart’s impact on people (Flash only):

Gates not only invests in American multinationals. Here in the UK, Walmart owns Asda. Gates also has investments in the UK-based JJB, which is a huge chain of sports shops. What about Monsanto investments or promotion? 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

Gates has generated quite a PR blitz in India after his recent visit there. Here are the Indian Express and other publications glorifying him. It is accompanied by a fluff piece playing for Monsanto|Gates and the Indian Express also prints “Gates backs GM crops: tech must help farmers, feed rising population” (it appeared in two places even). It says:

Giving his full support to the use of genetic engineering in agriculture, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates today said if the world continued to produce food with existing technologies it would not be able to feed its increasing population.

In an interview with Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of The Indian Express, for NDTV’s Walk The Talk programme, Gates, who is on a visit to India for work related to his charitable foundation, said the world needed newer crops with increased productivity, better adaptability to changing climatic conditions and the ones that use less of insecticides. And these, he said, could only be made through innovations in agricultural biotechnology sector.

“Technology, properly applied, is the reason, if you like, why nine billion people can live on this planet without destroying it,” said Gates who toured remote villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar during his visit.

The comments are all negative because this piece seems like it was ghost-written by those who manage the Monsanto|Gates marketing/agenda. From the comments:

“If memory serves me right this author tried the same GM push earlier without any foresight or vision(As expected :) ). Now wait..suddenly by adding Bill Gates into this mix the author is trying to “cook-up” some credibility around GM food. The idea behind organic/sustainable agriculture is for more farmers to embrace it thereby making it affordable to everyone. Just by mischaracterizing “organic” food as neo rich is not a solution but pure %u201Cpropaganda%u201D. It%u2019s the same lies churned out in a new flavor (vanilla with caramel anyone?:)). Again the Gates foundation which our author harps about…who are they? who funds them? what is BIG GM companies like Monsanto. Cargill%u2019s role in these orgs?”

Another one:

“Do people like to eat genetically modified chicken and meat? Do Indian farmers want to grow genetically modified seeds? Why are the opinion of the Indian farmers missing in this debate?”

As we showed earlier this month, these farmers often commit suicide with Monsanto pesticides in order to protest against Monsanto. It is estimated that about 100,000 Indian farmers have died this way. Another comment:

“I concur with Mr Y Srinivas’ arguments. Unfortunately our GM science is so poor, we have to follow the West to seek innovations and technology. Hope people are hearing the aftermath of growing Roundup Ready (RR) crops – RR resistant weeds are emerging fast in the USA. If we depend on foreign technology be rest assured that we will blackmailed.The editorial here has been influenced by lobbyists.”

Now watch Gates influencing Indian farmers with slush funds (farmers apparently need speakers from the West). He is putting in relatively small amounts of money and urging taxpayers (through their politicians) to pay the vast majority which is the rest that can feed Monsanto. They call it “kickstart” rather than lobby. It’s the same in the pharmaceutical industry where the research is quite similar (genetics and immunisation).

The Gates Foundation’s allegedly-corrupt official is dressing that up a little, in the context of health:

‘Grand Challenges Explorations continues to generate unique and creative ways to tackle global health issues,’ said Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Programme.

As we have shown in many previous posts, Gates has holdings in some of the same pharmaceutical giants that are set to benefit from the Gates Foundation’s activities. They are chasing a big bounty with diseases like malaria [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], always relying on more PR (entirely supportive press coverage), which is sometimes covered by African news site (few speak English):

While the Melinda and Gates Foundation should be commended for the grant, it should be born in mind that donors may have their own research priories.

The research priorities are also connected to investments. “Gates Foundation committed to tribes, but unfocused,” says the following article’s headline.

The Gates Foundation typically defines a goal and approaches it with strategies that vary in scope, cost, complexity and tactics.

Investments in vaccine are commendable, but it is crucial to understand who profits from them. Gates’ vaccine investments are further promoted by US politicians who put tax money in the pool, eventually to reach the pockets of particular companies. Last week we showed a conflict between WHO and Gates (staff intersection reported in the French press) and in recent days we found this report [1, 2] with names of beneficiaries.

Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and U.S.-based Pfizer Inc. make pneumonia vaccines.

Gates is an investor in them and they are working inside the Gates Foundation, as we showed before. The Head of Global Health for the Gates Foundation is from GlaxoSmithKline, where he was bullying researchers who expressed doubt about his products. We wrote about the Gates Foundation and Pfizer in [1, 2]. It’s a question of patents and who pays for a licence. Profiting from their patents at taxpayers’ expense is what the Gates Foundation has the option of doing and the problem is not vaccination, which is important; the problem is the conflict of interests, which routinely characterises profitable philanthrocapitalism. They seldom neglect the opportunity to gain more power.

“The Head of Global Health for the Gates Foundation is from GlaxoSmithKline, where he was bullying researchers who expressed doubt about his products.”Critics might be inclined to suggest that this is a misinformed demonstration against modern medicine, which it’s not (I understand the vitality of medicine and I hold a Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics); this is about an entirely separate issue which involves distribution/concentration of wealth, poor ethics, and mass deception. Politicians too have argued for a reform in the way drugs — including generics — are made available to those whose life they can save. The state of the US insurance/healthcare system is a wonderful example of what happens when profit comes before morality and huge numbers of unnecessary deaths just get ignored by a lot of the media (Murdoch leads here). The press sometimes prefers to play along with the companies that make obscene amounts of money from imbalance in the unjust system which they themselves propagate. In turn, this puts a lot of journalistic independence in jeopardy.

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