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05.27.10

Lawyers Love Software Patents, Developers Do Not

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, Law, Patents at 1:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The worship of Mammon

Summary: The latest examples of lawyers lobbying for software patents and the latest updates about the Bilski case

IT has been almost a month since we last addressed the situation of software patents in New Zealand. As we showed several times before, lawyers from New Zealand are very consistently promoting software patents over there, as opposed to developers (with the exception of multinationals like Microsoft).

We are still seeing the same trend this week. Guy Burgess, who describes himself as “a lawyer with an IT background practising in New Zealand,” has just published this article without disclosing his stake in the matter. The headline is revealing: “Protecting IP in a post-patent environment” (the word “IP” as a substitute for “patents” and “protect” instead of “monopolise” or “block” is what solicitors often do).

Recently the Government announced its intention to adopt a select committee’s recommendation to “exclude software from patentability” – that is, to ban software patents. Where will the ban — if implemented — leave local software developers’ ability to protect their intellectual property?

How will the removal of software from patentability, if confirmed, affect the ability of local IT firms to protect the intellectual property in their software?

Patent WatchTroll, a crass lawyer and loud proponent of software patents, is waiting for the Bilski decision. He wishes to patent software not because he develops any but because he is greedy and like many other lawyers he makes money when people patent their software or sue someone else who develops software.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, who is this system for? Do we want a patent system that defends lawyers’ income? Or is it better to assume that the patent system exists to encourage science and technology (as it existed before leeches arrives at the scene)?

The FSF, which represents developers rather than lawyers (the latter have all sorts of guilds), has sponsored a film which was watched over 100,000 times. It continues to receive a lot of attention, but whose attention exactly?

In the month since its release, the Free Software Foundation funded documentary film about software patents and the Bilski case, Patent Absurdity, has been viewed more than 100,000 times. But are the people we most want to influence in the debate seeing it?

The End Software Patents campaign is looking to identify the 200 people who are most influential to the software patent debate in the US, and are working with the well known venture capitalist and anti-software patent blogger Brad Feld to send a copy of the documentary film to them in the postal mail.

End Software Patents director, Ciaran O’Riordan said, “We’re looking for the key people in US patent politics, the software patent critics inside the big companies, the professors who support patents but might see why software doesn’t fit that system, and anyone else that might consider giving our position some support when the post-Bilski debate erupts.”

There are some uncounted views in places such as film festivals. Here is another example:

FDL Movie Night: Patent Absurdity – How Software Patents Broke the System

[...]

Patent Absurdity takes a look at software patents, and makes what may seem to some to be radical points: That patenting software hurts innovation and harms inventors and consumers

Mike Melanson writes about Brad Feld's plan to mail this video to influential people (post sponsored by Microsoft, ironically enough).

If you have been working in the startup industry, then you may already be well aware of what venture capitalist Brad Feld calls “a massive tax on and retardant of innovation” – software patent litigation.

In his blog post this morning, Feld points to the circular court battles of companies like Apple, Nokia and HTC and the “ridiculous nature of software patents” as reason enough for all members of the startup community to take an interest in this topic.

Forbes has this to say about In Re Bilski (software is hardly mentioned):

As the Supreme Court issues its last decisions before the end of the spring session, intellectual-property lawyers have been asking: Where’s Bilski?

This is the case that may deliver a knockout blow to business method patents, those patents that everybody from free-software zealots to conservative Republicans love to hate. Inventors Bernard Bilski and Rand Warsaw wanted to patent a novel method for hedging against weather-driven changes in energy prices, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office wouldn’t even give them a hearing. The Supreme Court is expected to uphold that brush-off, and the big question is whether it will do so in a way that eliminates forever dubious patents like the infamous government monopoly Amazon.com obtained on one-click purchases.

Daily Finance says:

Legal Briefing: When Can You Patent Math? Supreme Court Must Decide

[...]

One of the most eagerly watched cases pending before the Supreme Court is Bilski v. Kappos, which will shape the scope of patent law in profound ways. Bernard Bilski and Rand Warsaw created and sought to patent a way of using complex math to hedge against demand-driven commodity price risk — for example, helping a school system cope with heating oil prices spiking because an extra cold winter creates unusually high demand, or helping a fuel dealer handle the opposite situation. The Bilski/Warsaw idea is a “method of doing business by evening out risk among those in an ongoing economic transaction,” as SCOTUSblog put it.

Subscription is needed to access some other articles on this important subject [1, 2] that may define the legality of Free software in the United States and Europe. Lawyers’ sites have a special affinity for paywall (or “pay firewalls” that shut out opposition to their echo chamber).

The final decision is imminent. Let’s hope that Bilski’s patent is nullified along with software patents (although the latter may be open to doubt/debate, depending on one’s judgment).

How far should we let patents go? From the news:

Synthetic life patents ‘damaging’

A top UK scientist who helped sequence the human genome has said efforts to patent the first synthetic life form would give its creator a monopoly on a range of genetic engineering.

Professor John Sulston said it would inhibit important research.

US-based Dr Craig Venter led the artificial life form research, details of which were published last week.

Some people want patents on clothing (watch out, knitters). It’s an endless trap which requires economic analysis. Economists say that the harms of software patents outweigh the perceived benefits, but that’s not the story lawyers would tell. They hardly belong in this debate due to vested/conflict of interests where betterment of science gets excluded.

Alexandre Oliva Explains Why the Patent Troll Larry Horn (MPEG Cartel) is Bluffing

Posted in FUD, Google, Patents at 12:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alexandre Oliva
Photo by Rafael Bonifaz

Summary: One possible explanation of why preparatory statements are intended to just cause fear and uncertainty

MR. Alexandre Oliva writes: “here’s how I know MPEG-LA is bluffing with its FUD against WebM

Even just before Google released VP8 and WebM as Free Software, MPEG-LA and likely partners started rattling their (dark)light sabers threatening to assemble a patent pool to collect royalties from WebM users, just like they do with MPEG and H.264. Please bear with me while I show why it’s nothing but a bluff to scare businesses and people away from the multimedia format that will displace the MPEG-LA golden-egg layer. Unless their FUD campaign succeeds, that is.

It can be taken as a given that MPEG-LA or other patent trolls will attempt to collect royalties from any multimedia formats. What got my attention was a combination of the fanfare, the timing and the wording of the press announcements.

Smart patent trolls don’t scare people away from technology covered by their patents…

For some background, see the posts beneath.

Related posts:

US State Department and the Redefining of LAMP

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Red Hat, Servers, SUN, Windows at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lamps

Summary: How LAMP (Linux, GNU, Apache, MySQL, and Perl/PHP/Python) is being bent by those who want to insert proprietary software at the very foundation’s layer

SUN had attempted to redefine LAMP by putting Solaris where the "L" goes and still calling it "LAMP". That was before the Linux Foundation responded.

We found it curious that despite the White House moving to GNU/Linux on the server, the State Department in the Bush years had a bizarre GNU/Linux phobia, as revealed in the following new report from Ars Technica.

“The notion of deploying Linux, an open source operating system, was considered deeply problematic” in late 2005. “The State Department had minimal experience with Linux, and its information security officers knew that certifying a new operating system for enterprise use would be a monumental task.”

The team worked within its constraints, ultimately deciding to run atop Windows Server and IIS. “Although ‘L’ and ‘A’ were out of the mix,” note the authors when talking about the LAMP stack, “‘M’ and ‘P’ were acceptable” when running on Windows.

GNU/Linux distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux have received certifications that Windows never managed to receive. So what is this bizarre superstition/intuition that made the State Department so reluctant?

It continues to seem as though ignorance is one of the main market forces that drive Windows sales, the other one being lack of choice (OEMs virtually force people to buy Windows along with any computer and ignorance makes it tolerable).

Let us acknowledge that Windows — to put it quite bluntly — is a piece of junk. Here is a new story about why someone threw away Windows for good and is now moving to GNU/Linux exclusively.

Ok, I’m officially mad. Steaming. Furious. I simply can’t believe how awful Windows is, and (unfortunately) how gullible I am.

[...]

You have sunk to new lows. You are even worse that I had considered you to be. You, and the so-called operating system that you sell, are the lowest form of scum on the earth. Oh yes, I know, Microsoft and all of their apologists will be happy to tell me that it was my fault, I did something wrong (I didn’t), I didn’t have anti-virus installed (I did), I must have gotten a virus (I didn’t), or a rootkit (I didn’t), or I screwed up by rebooting at the wrong time when an update was installing (I didn’t, and this isn’t “patch Tuesday” week anyway, is it? Or is it ‘patch everyday” with Microsoft now, considering all the out-of-cycle emergency patches they have been sending out). It’s simple. Windows is unreliable garbage, it always has been, it always will be, and if you use it you should be willing to accept that risk.

I am no longer willing to accept that risk, even part-time as a secondary operating system on this laptop. Windows is gone, it has puked all over its disk for the last time here, and I will not reload it. I am in the process of transferring the data to one of the Linux partitions – yes, Linux is quite happy to read the partition that Windows says is hopelessly corrupted. When that is done, I will reformat that partition and load something reliable and useful on it. Perhaps CP/M, that would be infinitely better.

A very, very angry…

Vista 7 is already being rejected by some massive companies like HP [1, 2, 3]. They do not opt for GNU/Linux just because they are “fans” of the platform. They are in the business of selling products that will not embarrass them.

“Steve [Ballmer], I’m sure you’re aware of this. Our call lines are being overrun. [by Vista complaints]“

Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Mark Hurd

“I am going to continue to elevate these issues, our customers and HP’s reputation is getting hurt by poor execution and we need more aggressive action on your part.”

Todd Bradley, Executive Vice President of HP’s Personal System Group

Novell: The Copy of a Copy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SUN at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stationery

Summary: Why Novell’s me-too Microsoft projects are third-rate copycats that go back to original works outside Microsoft

Microsoft claims “innovation” for many things it did not invent at all. See for example:

InfoWorld (IDG) has this new piece which starts with a false premise. This premise is being debunked as follows:

I read a story this morning over at Infoworld.com that shocked me a bit. Neil McAllister discusses how proprietary software companies, like Microsoft, criticize open source projects by saying that, “They don’t innovate, they copy.” Is that really the consensus for an entire software realm that brought us the world wide web, TCP/IP, sendmail, DNS, DHCP, Perl, PHP, Apache, HTML and basically everything else that we use on the Internet today? Is that really the stance they want to take?

[...]

Here is a list of Microsoft products and the originals:

* Windows (The Name) – X Window
* Windows – OS2 and Mac
* Explorer Interface – Mac
* MS Office – Lotus and Framework
* SQL Server – Sybase
* Exchange Server – Domino
* Internet Explorer – Mosaic
* MS DOS – CP/M and IBM PC DOS
* C# – Java
* NetBIOS/LanManager – IBM’s NetBIOS/LanManager

Two years ago (and previously, in some Free/open source software conferences) we learned that Microsoft employees were being brainwashed inside Microsoft so as to believe that Linux is “stealing” from Microsoft. They daemonise software freedom over there and conveniently deny the roots of Microsoft, which were about stealing in the proper sense of the word. “Don’t Talk The Talk, Without Walking The Walk, Otherwise You Are Just Throwing Gasoline On Fire,” says another person in response to Neil McAllister’s piece.

One good example of Microsoft copying from others would be C#/.NET (running after Java). Twice even. First it was Microsoft copying Sun and later on it was a Microsoft MVP copying Microsoft’s copy of Sun (and copying Microsoft’s copy of Adobe). Yes, Mono and Moonlight are not examples of copying from Microsoft. These are a copy of a copy going back to more original projects (which Microsoft patented). Watch how Daily India has just marketed Mono:

For any of you who want to program in C#, but can’t afford Visual Studio just to play around, here is a solution.

Mono is open source C#. Check it out!

Yes, that’s what Mono is. It’s like a trial version for Visual Studio, which requires Windows and other proprietary software from Microsoft. That “Microsoft MVP” title of Miguel de Icaza was deserved and well received.

Why OpenSUSE Should Pay Attention to Novell’s Prospective Acquirers

Posted in Fork, GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chameleon

Summary: OpenSUSE 11.3 and OpenSUSE Build Service 2.0 are nearly ready, but Novell’s situation casts some doubt

LATER on today, Novell will possibly speak about an acquisition (if not on Friday, well after market close). OpenSUSE should pay careful attention because not every possible acquirer has an interest in Free software as a strategic direction.

“Why not try OpenSuSE 11.2,” asks one writer and the answer might be, “because it’s tied to Novell.” Had the OpenSUSE community forked the project, that would be a different situation. With automated testing and adoption in schools, the future of OpenSUSE matters to all of us and it’s dangerous to make it rely upon Novell, whose days are numbered.

A few years ago the LUG opensuse-nicaragua has the project named “Escuelita opeSUSE” this project was to provide basic courses for the people opensuse.

And the last week, we finally made it!!!

OpenSUSE 11.3 and OpenSUSE Build Service 2.0 are coming out soon [1, 2]. OpenSUSE should think carefully about what will have happened by the release dates.

Novell’s openSUSE developers have been a busy bunch this week.

Today openSUSE 11.3 milestone 7 is out which is the last stop ahead of a Release Candidate in June and a final release in July. The openSUSE Build Service 2.0 Beta 1 came out yesterday with a final release now set for June 10.

A fork would increase this project’s sustainability, not reduce it.

Apple Surpasses Microsoft? So What?

Posted in Apple, Finance, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve Jobs, Apple

Summary: The copycat/copyright marketing machine known as “Apple” need not be commended for a milestone achievement, which is only additional threat to people’s freedom

SEVERAL people have sent us the news about Apple leapfrogging Microsoft in terms of market cap [1, 2]. Is that good news at all? We suspect not. Apple — just like Microsoft — is suing GNU/Linux and trashing people’s freedom, even basic rights.

Well, guess what? Apple is not only the company that copied many ideas from Free software (and infringes on software patents owned by several Linux distributors). Apple is now being accused by the FSF of violating the GPL (official statement available in Arabic and other languages too).

An iPhone port of GNU Go is currently being distributed through Apple’s App Store. However, this distribution is not in compliance with the GNU GPL. The primary problem is that Apple imposes numerous legal restrictions on use and distribution of GNU Go through the iTunes Store Terms of Service, which is forbidden by section 6 of GPLv2. So today we have written to Apple and asked them to come into compliance. We would be happy to see Apple distribute these programs under the GPL’s terms, but unfortunately, it seems much more likely that they’ll simply make the problem go away by removing GNU Go from the App Store.

There are many other Apple violations, but this post is not intended to exhaustively cover them (we have better listing in the Wiki). A reader wrote to us last night about “hypePhone and Sony Death Trap.”

“Conditions in these sweat shops [are] unlivable.”
      –Techrights reader
Our reader continued: “From Daily Rotten [originally here]: “A ninth employee killed himself Tuesday at the Chinese electronics supplier Foxconn, which makes the Apple iPad and Sony Ericsson phones, turning attention to working conditions at the firm’s huge complex… Workers are required to stand at fast-moving assembly lines for eight hours without a break and without talking… The basic starting pay of $130 a month — barely enough to live on — can be augmented to a more respectable $295 only by working 30 hours overtime a week.”

“So, it’s official,” said our reader. “Conditions in these sweat shops [are] unlivable.” See this page about Microsoft’s sweatshops as well.

Speaking of the hypePhone, a new vulnerability has just been found which Linux takes advantage of:

A lost iPhone is a bigger problem than previously thought. Despite encryption the finder can gain easy access to data including photos and audio recordings, even if the owner has set up their iPhone to require a pass code. And, of all things, this is made possible with Linux – the very operating system which Apple regularly cold-shoulders.

Pogson writes:

Apple Insecurity

[...]

Yet another reason to use GNU/Linux, an OS designed by geeks for performance. Carpet bombing self is not performance, Steve.

The title, “Apple Insecurity”, has two possible interpretations. Apple is very afraid that its clients will attain a level of control. They are treated like children and slaves (probably more so than Microsoft’s customers), but the funny thing is that many of them accept it quietly. One day they might wake up only to smell the consequence of their apathy — an apathy that also jeopardizes their neighbours’ freedom.

The goal is NOT to eliminate Microsoft. The goal is to promote software freedom.

For defeatists who believe that Linux fell behind the competition, well… how come it replaces Vista 7 and surpasses hypePhone? [via]

(On Friday, Digitimes [5] quoted an HP Taiwan exec saying the Slate would use WebOS instead of Windows 7.)

Software freedom everywhere is an attainable goal. Let’s not lose sight of it. Let’s play for behaviour, not brand names.

Anti-Linux Company (Microsoft) is ‘Infiltrating’ LinuxTag 2010 and LinuxCon 2010

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 10:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Horse

Summary: Two conferences which target a Linux audience, namely LinuxTag 2010 and LinuxCon 2010, have invited (or were pressured to invite) people from the company that attacks Linux with insults, lobbying, and litigation

THE convicted monopolist which engages in racketeering against Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] is up to it again. “It appears that Microsoft will have a speaker at LinuxCon 2010,” writes Satipera. “I see that Hank Janssen goes to many Linux conferences in his role for Microsoft, I wonder how well he is received?”

“Microsoft even uses the word “infiltrate” to describe this and it did that many times before.”Microsoft does this in order to silence critics and try to divide people. How do we know this? We have leaked documents from Microsoft which state this very clearly. Microsoft even uses the word “infiltrate” to describe this and it did that many times before. It’s purely malicious and self serving, so the organisers of these events are being bamboozled, by Microsoft’s own admission. Microsoft is laughing at them behind their backs.

But it’s not just LinuxCon 2010 though. “Microsoft is going after Linux Tag directly,” told us a reader this morning. “The conference organizers still have time to salvage their reputation by sending James Utzschneider and any others like him out the door.

“There’s nothing that Microsofters can say that can overcome their past and current sabotage of all things Open Source and Open Standards.

“The conference is a few weeks away and there is time to round up a reputable speaker or two to fill in the gap.”

Is it LinuxTag or LinuxTax (as Microsoft wishes it to be)?

How much crime and litigation must Microsoft commit against Linux before it is rejected from Linux conferences? This happened before and the story is always the same. Attendees get pissed off. This whole excuse of “tolerance” is frequently being brought up, but Microsoft has zero tolerance towards Linux, which it keeps suing. Moreover, Microsoft is not a DNA thing, it’s a choice people make. They choose to work against society, so why reward them or treat them with abundant respect?

People who attend Linux conferences are having Microsoft shoved down their throat. Even in a Linux conference, those who oppose this will be called or at least secretly labeled “Microsoft haters” (if they say something about it, Microsoft will spread rumours and smears, as we saw before). Microsoft uses the exact same strategies as some of the religious lobbies. They play the same cards and they hurt Linux while smiling back.

“Where .com meets .org” is how our reader described this year’s LinuxTag. That one particular .com is the company behind several Linux lawsuits. Next up: Poseidon invites the president of BP for tea and cookies under the sea.

Links 27/5/2010: Fedora 13 Reviews, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Run Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 98

    · Announced Distro: Arch Linux 2010.05
    · Announced Distro: Linux Mint 9
    · Announced Distro: Slackware 13.1 RC2
    · Announced Distro: SystemRescueCd 1.5.4
    · Announced Distro: Mandriva Linux 2010.1 RC1

  • TTE Wrappers protect system operations

    If intending to use an off-the-shelf processor running Linux or another standard OS in the embedded system, it can be challenging to ensure that the system will operate safely at all times.

  • Desktop

    • Growth in Mobile PCs and “No OS”

      Coincidence? I don’t think so. HP and the others are not big on “No OS”. I think “No OS” may be working for folks who hate that other OS and want to pick their own OS, such as GNU/Linux. I think about 10% of PC users are able/willing to install an OS so a large part of the growth of ASUS and Acer could be due to this plus the fact that they push low-end mobile PCs.

    • Students can turn to free alternatives for necessary software

      Most computers that you may purchase will come with an operating such as Microsoft Windows or a Macintosh OS. However, not all manufacturers include an operating system on their computers and if you need to purchase an operating system it can cost you several hundred dollars, depending on what you need.

      Linux is a term used to refer to operating systems based on the Linux Kernel and is generally free and open source. Linux is made of different distributions or “distros.” Each distro has its own features and uses, so it is up to the user to decide which is best for them. A distro can be made by a single individual or a collaborate group of dozens.

      However, because Linux is the way it is, there is no paid support for most distros and help comes from online forums normally. Linux is usually considered fairly advanced and requires the computer user to be fairly computer literate.

      Usually considered one of the most user friendly distros, Ubuntu is very popular among new Linux users and would be a good place to start. Download at www.ubuntu.com.

    • Downloads of MEDUSA4 Personal up by 38% for free 2D/3D CAD on Linux® and Windows®

      About a third of all users are on Linux.

  • Server

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • The Linux Foundation Announces LinuxCon 2010 Program and Schedule

      The Linux Foundation (LF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced new keynote speakers and its full conference schedule for North America’s premier annual conference LinuxCon taking place in Boston August 10-12, 2010.

    • LinuxCon Program Announced: This Year’s Themes
    • The People Who Support Linux: Driving 4,000 Miles to LinuxCon
    • Graphics Stack

      • Intro to CUDA

        General Purpose computing on Graphics Processing Units, or GPGPU, is one of the hottest up-and-coming trends in software development. By writing code specifically to run on the massively parallel stream processors found on today’s high-end 3-D graphics cards, programmers can speed up an array of algorithms — and not just in high-performance computing (HPC) applications. One of the most popular GPGPU architectures available for Linux is NVIDIA’s “Compute Unified Device Architecture” (CUDA). If you are looking to get started, CUDA allows you to write GPU-optimized code in C, using only a few language extensions.

  • Applications

    • Spirit iPhone Jailbreak for Linux gets User Interface
    • Spirit Jailbreak for Linux now Available
    • Spirit Jailbreak for iPhone 3.1.3, iPad 3.2, iPod touch 3G Ported to Linux

      The developer behind Greenpois0n, p0sixninja has managed to port “Spirit” jailbreak tool to Linux. Spirit is an all-in-one untethered iDevice jailbreak for iPhone 3.1.3, iPad 3.2 and iPod touch 2G/3G. It was released earlier this month for both Windows and Mac OS X.

    • Nautilus Elementary Simplifies File Browsing in Linux

      Linux only: While lots of people like advanced file browsers like previously mentioned Total Commander or Path Finder, sometimes the explorer can get overwhelmingly complicated. Nautilus Elementary is a mod that compacts and streamlines Nautilus in GNOME to make file browsing easier.

    • Proprietary/Middle Ground

      • Wine 1.2 gets a first release candidate

        The Wine developers have announced the availability of the first release candidate (RC1) for version 1.2 of their Windows API implementation, marking the beginning of the code freeze period. Wine, which is an acronym for Wine Is Not an Emulator, is free open source software that allows users to run Windows applications on Linux and Unix by providing its own native versions of Windows DLLs.

      • Google releases Chrome for Mac and Linux

        Google has officially released Chrome for the Apple and Linux operating systems, taking the software out of beta.

      • Google Chrome grows up: Out of beta on Mac/Linux

        Although I’m perfectly happy clicking away in Opera, Firefox, or Chrome/Chromium, the speed/stability improvements in this cross-platform release make for a pretty compelling argument to stick with Chrome, especially for those of us who spend a lot of time in Google Apps and AJAX-heavy sites.

      • Interesting times for Linux Flash support

        Although many proponents of free software and an open web don’t like Flash, the multimedia platform has become so ubiquitous that it is difficult to imagine the web without it. However, Flash support has always been a challenge for Linux distributions. Adobe has had a proprietary Linux release of its Flash player software for years now, but only for the x86 processor architecture. Meanwhile, open source projects trying to recreate Flash functionality are lagging behind and struggling with lack of manpower. Luckily, there are also some interesting new technical developments in the open source Flash world. One that sparked our interest recently is Lightspark, which was written from scratch based on the SWF documentation Adobe published in June 2009 as part of the Open Screen Project.

        [...]

        But x86 and preliminary x86_64 support for Flash obviously isn’t enough in the open source world. Granted, Adobe is or has been working with some mobile phone manufacturers to offer a version for ARM (for example on MeeGo or Android), but people running a Linux desktop system on a non-Intel processor are left in the cold. Until last year, your author was in exactly this position, running Debian on a PowerMac G5. If non-Intel users want to run the official Flash player they have to use ugly solutions such as running Flash in an x86 emulator.

        Luckily there are some open source programs recreating Flash functionality, of which the most well-known is Gnash (“GNU Flash”), which also runs on PowerPC, ARM and MIPS processors. It’s not even limited to Linux: Gnash also supports FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD, so it pleases a lot of people that don’t want to run proprietary software on their open source operating system but have to be able to see Flash content. In March we looked at the current state of affairs of Gnash when project lead Rob Savoye talked about the project at SCALE 8x.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Exploring Lilliput: Is the Cloud Replacing Tiny Linuxes?

      In case anyone wondered why I haven’t been offering any of my highly-opinionated pieces on Linux Planet lately, it’s because I’ve been exploring Lilliput: sampling for myself a few of the better known small-footprint distros that offer an astonishing amount of computing power packed into a mere handful of megabytes. And though I haven’t been at this long enough to try out more than a small fraction of the available ones, some overall characteristics of the breed are beginning to appear. The most interesting feature to me is that there seem to be two main branches of small distros: the Tools and the Products.

    • Red Hat Family

      • 3PAR adds could support with Red Hat server virtualisation

        3PAR has announced support for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation for Servers, a server virtualisation offering that includes a standalone Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) hypervisor and server management tools.

        The company said that 3PAR InServ Storage Server customers can choose the Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation Hypervisor to build and deploy a virtualisation environment on a scale necessary for public or private cloud datacentres.

      • 200Day Might Become a Great Reference Point for Red Hat
      • Fedora

        • Fedora’s Paul Frields: Leadership, trust, fail early and often

          Paul works for Red Hat and is currently the Fedora Project Leader and chairman of the Fedora Project Board. It’s no coincidence that our chat with Paul was posted on the day that Fedora 13 was released. But I can’t express how excited I was when I saw his responses to the interview questions drop into my inbox. Then I read the email. Twice. When Paul started talking about overcoming failure, curating leadership, and fostering community participation, I was ecstatic. I think you will be too.

        • Fedora 13 update revamps virtualisation
        • Fedora 13 gets utility for tracing code
        • Fedora 13 brims with updates
        • Fedora 13 Released
        • Fedora 13 Released
        • Fedora Linux 13 released

          For developers Python 3 can be installed in parallel with an existing Python stack and there is support for the Java EE 6 specification in Netbeans 6.8.

        • Fedora 13 released
        • Rock it

          Known as “Goddard”, Fedora 13 not only boasts a current software selection and a modernised design, it also offers an extensive range of technological improvements. As usual, the distribution demonstrates its pioneering role in this area and many of its advanced features are likely to appear soon in other Linux distributions.

        • Fedora 13 (Goddard) Hits the Waves

          I have loaded the Gnome 64-bit version on my Lifebook S6510 (Intel Core2 Duo and 965 graphics) and HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez (AMD Athlon Neo and AMD Radeon graphics), and the Gnome 32-bit version on my HP 2133 Mini (VIA C7-M and Chrome9 graphics). All loaded easily and without significant problems. The 2133 has a small (10″) relatively high resolution (1280×768) screen, and I thought the default font size was much too large, but it took just a few mouse clicks to reduce that, and it looks fine now.

          Here are a few of the significant changes and improvements that I have noticed personally.

        • Fedora 13 released with open 3D drivers and Python 3 stack

          I tested Fedora 13 myself to see how it compares to the previous version. It’s a fairly solid release, certainly one of the better offerings from Fedora that I’ve seen in a while. The improvements relative to version 12 are somewhat modest, but compelling enough to motivate an upgrade. The general level of fit and finish has increased since the previous version. After spending several hours with Fedora 13, my conclusion is that the new hat is a good fit.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS: Lucid Lynx Benchmarked And Reviewed

        Ubuntu 10.04 LTS comes with a video editor pre-installed–a widely perceived weak point in desktop Linux distributions. PiTiVi is probably the best choice to bundle with Ubuntu. It is one of the easiest-to-use video editors out there, yet still robust enough to keep most users from seeking an upgrade. Throw in the best GTK conformity, and PiTiVi is the obvious choice for Ubuntu. With a minimalist interface and a focus on drag-and-drop interaction, this app finally brings Linux users a video editor that can seriously compete with Windows Movie Maker for user-friendliness.

      • Ubuntu Live CD As A Forensics Too

        Ubuntu is one of the best open source computer operating system based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. Ubuntu provides an up-to-date, stable operating system for the average user, with a strong focus on usability and ease of installation. The Ubiquity installer allows Ubuntu to be installed to the hard disk directly from the Live CD, without requiring the computer to be restarted prior to installation.

      • Canonical Releases Landscape 1.5, the Ubuntu System Management Tool

        Ubuntu has taken the Linux world by storm on the desktop, but, for the enterprise market, it is still an up-and-comer. The open-source operating system is evolving to meet the requirements of this market as well and has proven especially popular for cloud applications. The Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud version is an interesting option for those looking to deploy an Amazon EC2-compatible private cloud. Now, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, has released an updated version of its Landscape management tool for enterprises.

      • Canonical updates Landscape manager
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Open-Source Gaming Console is Just About Ready to Play

      The OpenPandora project has created a Linux-based hand-held intended for hacking, gaming, and for use as an ultra-portable desktop. The ARM-based OpenPandora platform features OpenGL ES–the mobile version of the OpenGL 3D graphics API–and is capable of powering real-time 3D games similar to what might be found on the Nintendo DS or Playstation Portable.

    • Pandora open-source handheld gaming console finally ships

      The Pandora packs a 600MHz CPU, PowerVR SGX OpenGL 2.0 ES compliant 3D hardware, analogue and digital gaming controls, and a host of other features. It’s basically a little Linux OS computer made for portable gaming and with an app store.

    • Cute Qbot aims to be Model T of robots

      Where’s the robot revolution already? It’s 2010! Aren’t we supposed to be hip-deep in droids by now? Well, Spanish robot developer Francisco Paz thinks he’s got the makings of a proverbial Ford Model T for robots, a cute little number called Qbot.

    • StrandVision Offers Preconfigured Linux Point-of-Display Digital Signage Player

      StrandVision LLC recently introduced an optional preconfigured, point-of-display Linux player for use with its digital signage system. The compact appliance can be mounted at or behind a flat screen digital signage display to ease deployment and administration.

    • Readying Linux for today’s embedded devices

      Linux is making rapid strides into the embedded world. There are several factors that are driving this trend. Many devices such as netbooks, set-top boxes, mobile devices, assorted gadgets, media players, etc, are Linux powered. Cutting down Linux’s boot time is one of the final hurdles that’s left to be conquered.

    • How Linux-powered helicopters are taking off

      Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) today are becoming smarter and are able to perform ever more difficult tasks. They can help find people in remote environments, or explore dangerous places.

      Nicolas Roy, from the Robust Robotics Group at MIT, leads a team that designed a quadcopter that won the International Aerial Robotics Competition last year. And guess what? It runs on Linux.

    • Phones

      • Nokia

        • Researchers track eyeballs

          Researchers at Dartmouth College have developed an advanced iris recognition algorithm that they have cleverly christened the Eyephone. The algorithm runs on Nokia’s 810 tablet, which runs Linux.

        • Nokia N900 Review

          Nokia may lead the pack in the mobile handset race but when it comes to their smartphone market share, it’s totally a different story to tell. Nokia has evidently struggled to keep pace with the growing competition in the smartphone space but is trying their best to gain some lost ground.

          It has the aging Symbian OS that currently powers few Nokia smartphones like N97, N97 mini, 5800XM and they’ve Maemo, a linux-based platform that has often been undermined by the Finnish giant. Maemo OS is responsible to produce some decent tablet devices in the past but it’s the N900 that is the first device from Nokia to marry the internet tablet with cellular capabilities. But does N900 deliver? We delve to check out.

        • Nokia N900: The Smartphone That Runs Linux-Based Maemo OS

          Maemo is backed up by a superscalar ARM Cortex-A8 processor to deliver a PC-like multitasking experience and a super-fast, fully interactive, Mozilla-powered browser that has to be seen to be appreciated.

        • No MeeGo Upgrade for the N900, Says Nokia
        • Nokia Releases PR 1.2 Firmware Update for N900

          In the next few weeks, we will be coming to you with a review of the N900 featuring the new PR 1.2 firmware which we will extensively explore. In the meantime, we will give you a short summary of the features that have been added by Nokia with the PR 1.2 firmware update.

        • MeeGo, the new netbook Linux, arrives

          Take one part Intel’s Moblin, mix with Nokia’s Maemo, bake for three months in the Linux Foundation oven, and you get MeeGo. Linux Foundation executive director, Jim Zemlin has called this new embedded Linux, the open-source uber-platform for the next generation of computing devices: tablets, pocketable computers, netbooks, automotive IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) and more.”

        • MeeGo 1.0 For Netbooks And Nokia N900, Now Available For Download

          MeeGo is an open source Linux Project which integrates the Moblin project headed by Intel and Maemo headed by Nokia, into a single open source platform. MeeGo platform delievers no-compromise web standards and rich web experience to the Netbooks and mobile devices. MeeGo’s immense popularity is based on the fact that it includes flexible and powerful app development environment based on Qt.

      • Android

        • Android 2.2 Headed to OEMs in Coming Weeks

          Sending Android 2.2 to OEMs and open source community in the coming weeks is a good thing, right? Definitely. (Hello 2.2 ROM anyone?) Continuing to expect the Motorola Droid or Droid Incredible to receive the update sometime in June? Probably a reach.

        • Google: Guess what, Apple, we’ve discovered the internet

          The war of words between Google and Apple – in public at least – has never raged more fiercely. On stage, as the search company announced the new generation of its Android mobile phone operating system, Vice President Vic Gundotra repeatedly referred disparagingly to the closed ecosystem that Apple uses for its products.

        • Turf war heats up as Google accuses Apple of forgetting its roots and stifling innovation

          “He said it was critically important to provide a free mobile operating system, an open-source operating system, that would enable innovations at every level of the stack,” Mr Gundotra started.

        • Google: Android fragmentation isn’t fragmentation

          “Some of the press has called it fragmentation, but that’s probably the wrong word for it,” he told reporters last week at Google I/O, the company annual developer conference. “The better word for it is ‘legacy.’ With these phones and devices, the iteration cycle is incredibly fast. It used to be that every 18 months, a new device would reach the market. But we’re seeing it happen every three or four months. The software obviously has to keep up and I don’t think anyone is harmed by it.

        • Try Out Android on Older iPhones

          Want to see what all the Android fuss is about? You can if you have an older iPhone 3G or 2G. 3GS owners need not bother; it won’t work yet. For details you’ll need to head on over to Linux on the iPhone and read about the process. There is a version of Android that has been hacked to install and run on older iPhones.

        • A Step into the World of Google’s Android

          Since Google first announced that they were working on a Linux based open source mobile platform, many people were already on board with the Android operating system. The establishment of the Open Handset Alliance already saw many major figures in the mobile industry moving to support Google’s project.

        • Why the Android Brings Sales to Smart Phones

          Reports are stating that Google’s Android operating system is bringing a bigger boost to the already growing number of smart phone sales. The big plus factor comes from people finally seeing the point of owning a smart phone over a conventional handset –thanks to the many practical and useful features of the Android OS.

        • Can Google TV Win Where Apple and Microsoft Haven’t?

          Leveraging Linux – Many home electronics already run embedded Linux, and Linux is at the core of Android. Manufacturers know how to integrate Linux, so commercializing Google’s platform should not require dramatically new skills. Additionally, these same hardware companies are also delivering Android mobile devices today.

        • Flash on Android 2.2: Slow loading, but smooth running

          eWEEK evaluated a Nexus One running Android 2.2 and a beta Flash Player 10.1, and found Flash to be slow loading, but surprisingly smooth and power efficient. Meanwhile, HTC vows that most of its Android phones will move to version 2.2 later this year, and a 4Q release for Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) has been tipped.

        • An Updated Android OS History: from Android 1.5 Cupcake to Android 2.2 (Froyo)
    • Sub-notebooks

      • What’s next for the future of the netbook?

        New platforms hint at new directions too. ARM’s recently-released Cortex A9 processor claims far greater computing power per watt than the Atom, but doesn’t offer the x86 compatibility required to run Windows. ARM could thus bring Linux-based netbooks back into play, perhaps providing a boost for Google’s web-based Chrome OS.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why We Still Need OSI

    For reasons best left to the reader to uncover, the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has often been at loggerheads with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and particularly with its more excitable supporters.

    In the words of one trollish commentator:

    The (Free Software) world doesn’t need a worthless ORG like the OSI.

    Advert

    I beg to differ. I have been (and in plenty of ways still am) a critic of OSI, as well as a firm supporter and advocate of the FSF. I believe OSI should be a member organisation with a representative leadership.

    I believe it should strive for the inclusion to its community critics, ending the perceived divide. Most of all, I believe that its stewardship role for pragmatic software freedom should be broader than just licence approvals.

  • FOSS Yellow Pages Is Now On Web!

    For those looking for a cost-effective solution for maintaining their company’s IT infrastructure, here’s some good news. FOSS Yellow Pages, the brain child of LINUX For You magazine, is now available on the web to cater to enterprises looking for experts to deploy and support various Linux and Open Source Solutions.

    Fossyellowpages.com lists all companies that support and provide Open Source and will be of great help to users in finding category-wise information on Free and Open Source Software.

  • Champion Man Wins Top It Prize

    The award which was the first of its kind by the Free and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) and Deutsche Welle (DW), under FOSSWAY project, was presented to Mr. Nweke in Accra, Ghana, last week by the Director, Deutsche Welle Online, Mr. Thomas Bastian, in company of FOSSFA chairperson, Ms. Nnenna Nwakanma, as part of the weeklong fourth Idlelo Conference, organized at the Banquet Hall, State House, Accra.

  • Open-source services show signs of growth in Africa

    Changing procurement rules and regulations, increased uptake of open-source-based certification and growth in the software and hardware markets has led to the rise of businesses that were previously ignored.

    [...]

    Most open-source software service companies were considered too small to get big contracts and did not have the capital to invest in technical support compared to established proprietary software companies.

  • SabreDAV PHP framework becomes calendar server

    Most calendar clients are able to use the CalDAV protocol which allows remote swapping of appointments – however, there is a shortage of open source CalDAV servers. Version 1.2 of open source PHP framework SabreDAV now includes the requisite functionality.

  • BitTorrent open sources µTP protocol

    BiTtorrent has open sourced an update to its popular peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol.

  • Digital Parallels Embraces Zenoss for Managed Services

    Zenoss, maker of open source monitoring software, has added another managed services adopter: Digital Parallels, a master MSP in the United Kingdom. Although most MSPmentor 100 companies seem to be using traditional closed-source software, there are niches where open source alternatives are gaining momentum. Here’s a closer look at Zenoss and open source in the MSP ecosystem

  • Zombies, Open Source, and Bad Analogies

    I guess Vernon has not spent a lot of time watching zombie movies. Generally, at best, humans find a bit of respite from the zombies but they’re still there. Usually waiting for George Romero to work on a sequel. But the point is, zombies generally win. While I’m not crazy about the zombie analogy, the same is true of open source. It’s not really possible to kill off an open source project or the movement permanently. The licenses ensure that the code will always be there for someone else to pick it up. The community may suffer setbacks, but over time it will adapt to solve not only technical problems but also solve the business, legal, and social issues. Maybe more slowly than some of us would like, but like the undead, we have time. Maybe that zombie analogy isn’t quite as bad as I thought.

  • FOSS Community Member Launches Documentation Project for Blind Linux User

    During a recent interview at technology blog The Stop, OSS community member Tony Baechler raised the issue of how difficult it is for visually-impaired Linux users to access documentation. He says that he would like to point other vision-impaired friends to Linux and open source software but custom audio tutorials designed specifically for the blind are almost non-existent.

  • Events

  • Guradian

  • Mozilla

    • Experiments with audio, part X

      I’m working with an ever growing group of web, audio, and Mozilla developers on a project to expose audio data to JavaScript from Firefox’s audio and video elements. Today we show you how much JavaScript can really do.

  • Databases

  • Oracle

    • Red Hat Denies Oracle as the Largest Open Source Company
    • O JavaFX, What Art Thou?

      Partly. As described in the section above on licensing, there is a portion of JavaFX that is open source, but significant portions are not. The openjfx site now forwards one to the JavaFX.com site.

      Again, I’m not the first to wonder about the degree of “open sourcedness” of JavaFX. Others have posted questions on this topic in posts such as JavaFX: Open source or not? and the JavaFX forum thread Is JavaFX open-source? I particularly like the latter (the forum thread) because it nicely covers the intricacies of making a product like JavaFX open source.

  • CMS

    • USASpending.gov Refresh Uses Open Source, Cloud

      The refreshed site, like other federal Web sites, takes advantage of open source components. It was developed on the open-source platform Drupal, which also powers the WhiteHouse.gov site that was relaunched late last year.

  • Education

    • Harley From PTFS-LibLime: What It Is—and Isn’t

      While the LibLime Koha Community offering is available both as a SaaS or hosted service and for local installation, Enterprise Koha is limited to SaaS because the General Public License, which all those participating in Koha development must accept, requires that any enhancements made to open source software must be “distributed” by free download to any interested party.

    • Open source code software saves schools money on licence fees

      When seventh grader Joonas Puuska switches on the computer in his school library, it’s not the familiar Windows that appears. Instead, it is the big Ubuntu logo, under which Puuska types in his name and password.

      Puuska, a pupil at the Lauritsala School in Lappeenranta, shows the software on the computer, which includes word processing, picture modification, a web browser, a spread sheet, and various teaching programmes.

      The appearance of the desktop on the screen is similar to the traditional one, but the computer uses the Ubuntu operating system. Puuska dies not really like Ubuntu, because the computer tends to crash.

  • BI

  • Openness

    • Open Your World forum preview: Q&A on music and Creative Commons

      Daniel James is the director of 64 Studio Ltd, a company developing custom GNU/Linux multimedia products for OEMs. He was the founder of the linuxaudio.org consortium, which promotes the use of GNU/Linux and Free Software in the professional audio field.

      Daniel is also the author of Crafting Digital Media: Audacity, Blender, Drupal, GIMP, Scribus, and other Open Source Tools (Apress). The book is a foundation course in photographic manipulation, illustration, animation, 3D modelling, publishing, recording audio and making music, DJ’ing, mixing and mastering audio CDs, video editing, and web content delivery with open source tools.

    • Beatfly: The open source blimp

      While he has no immediate plans to mass produce this blimp, Mr. Yoshimoto has kindly open sourced his work, making his software, materials, mechanical drawings, and circuit diagrams readily available on this page (Japanese only) for anyone who would like to take to the air with Beatfly. It uses an Arduino chip and the free software Pure Data was used as the programming environment.

    • The Open Source Approach to Feeding the Hungry

      Now a Florida-based engineer has come up with an open source design to help feed the hungry.

    • Glaxo Tries a Linux Approach

      A decade ago, the Linux operating system helped spark a revolution in how software is developed. A move by GlaxoSmithKline PLC could test how well similar open-source principles work for developing new drugs.

      [...]

      In software, the approach has spawned the Linux operating system, MySQL database and an array of other programs. Those community-born technologies now compete with products from Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp. and other traditional, commercial software makers. Open-source developers share programming instructions called source code that software companies traditionally kept confidential.

    • Open Data

      • Cut high textbook costs

        I see the high costs for textbooks and wonder why. What about open-source e-textbooks? Set up an online community that can develop e-textbooks.

      • Open education vs. Texas Board of Education

        The best way to get around this would either be some coordination between states in order to increase their leverage against the publishers, or for more states to begin opting out of the for-profit textbook industry altogether and moving toward an open-source curriculum / open-source textbook model.

        Indeed, even in Texas the open-source textbook movement may prove to be a bit of a thorn in the Board of Education’s side. Of course, open-source has its share of problems also, and if implemented badly these could be just as worrisome as anything the Texas reformists are doing. But done properly, open-source can connect education communities nationally without a national mandate; they can save states lots of money to spend on things like teachers and school supplies; and they can get around bad education reforms like those passed in Texas. Furthermore, open-source can combine the best parts of local autonomy and the best parts of national connectivity, and the material will constantly evolving to meet the needs of modern students and educators.

    • Open Access/Content

Leftovers

  • IBM’s Moffat, Chiesi Were `Intimate,’ U.S. Says

    Robert Moffat, the former International Business Machines Corp. executive who pleaded guilty in the Galleon Group LLC insider-trading scheme, had an “intimate relationship” with accused tipster Danielle Chiesi, prosecutors said in court.

    Moffat admitted to securities fraud and conspiracy in March and is scheduled to be sentenced in July. He faces six months in prison at most. Today at the sentencing of Mark Kurland, a co- founder of New Castle Funds LLC and Chiesi’s former boss, a defense lawyer said Kurland deserved no more prison time than Moffat.

  • ☞ WebM Data Points

    IBM’s Moffat, Chiesi Were `Intimate,’ U.S. Says
    So Sun’s secrets were gifted to an insider trader as pillow talk? Great, that makes it so much better. Can’t say I instantly feel “Moffat is the least culpable person charged” on that basis.
    (tags: IBM Sun Insider Corruption Acquisition)

  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

    • Application Security – Who Is Responsible?

      When companies pay such a lot of money for software, it should be possible, somewhere in the development cycle, to put the investment in to make the software properly secure. The problem at the moment is that there is no incentive to make that investment.

      When software fails or is insecure, the developer, producer and seller rarely suffer. The small print of any contract protects them.

      If there was some sort of accreditation for secure software, then at least vendors could get extra revenue. If we could build up trust in the security kitemark, then users would pay a premium for accredited software, and it would actually be worth their while making secure software.

    • War on whistle-blowers intensifies

      The Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers — whose disclosures are one of the very few remaining avenues for learning what our government actually does — continues to intensify. Last month, the DOJ announced it had obtained an indictment against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who exposed serious waste, abuse and possible illegality. Then, the DOJ re-issued a Bush era subpoena to Jim Risen of The New York Times, demanding the identity of his source who revealed an extremely inept and damaging CIA effort to infiltrate the Iranian nuclear program. And now, as Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports, an FBI linguist who leaked what he believed to be evidence of lawbreaking is to receive a prison term that is “likely to become the longest ever served by a government employee accused of passing national security secrets to a member of the media.”

  • Environment

    • Researchers race to produce 3D models of BP oil spill

      NSF approves supercomputing time as researchers apply storm surge models to oil spread

    • Time for industry to end its war on regulation

      The biggest oil spill ever. The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The deadliest mine disaster in 25 years. One recall after another of toys from China, of vehicles from Toyota, of hamburgers from roach-infested processing plants. The whole Vioxx fiasco. And let’s not forget the biggest climate threat since the Ice Age.

    • CALL TO ACTION: Let’s stop the spill the open source way

      So let’s do it. Let’s show the world how the open source way can help solve the world’s most pressing issue and let’s do it in the next week. May the “best ideas win” and always remember that none of us is as smart as all of us.

  • Finance

    • Doubts on European Central Bank Amid Crisis

      The euro stops with the European Central Bank — or does it?

    • Tighter Credit in Europe Tied to Turmoil in Stock Markets

      As fears grow that Europe could face a full-blown financial crisis, potentially damaging the economy in the United States, investors are abandoning risky bets in the financial markets and rushing for safety instead.

    • 10 Most Corrupt US Capitalists

      America’s Ten Most Corrupt Capitalists

      1. Robert Rubin
      2. Alan Greenspan
      3. Larry Summers
      4. Phil and Wendy Gramm
      5. Jamie Dimon
      6. Stephen Friedman
      7. Robert Steel
      8. Henry Paulson
      9. Warren Buffett

    • Lights, Camera … Derivative Trading!

      Max Keiser is unhappy. “I feel like Robert Oppenheimer. I invented something and it destroyed civilization.”

      Keiser, unlike Oppenheimer, didn’t have access to atomic bombs. His lethal weapon is more the financial kind, and after a long hibernation it has become the root of this year’s biggest controversy in Tinseltown: an exchange on which traders could bet on the performance of movies. What Keiser created along with Michael Burns in 1996 was the Hollywood Stock Exchange, a virtual technology where over 350,000 registered players traded shares of movies and celebrities using fake dollars. If Congress approves the idea, real trading should go live on exchange as soon as June 28—with real money.

      For much of its life, the HSX has functioned as a prediction market, and pretty accurately; in 1999, its users correctly called 82 percent of the major Oscar nominees. Keiser’s technology eventually got acquired by Wall Street bond trading firm Cantor Fitzgerald, then warehoused in favor of different technology created by Cantor itself—although the name and idea of his creation have lived on for the past 12 years.

    • Regulators Seek Global Capital Rule

      Capital is the body fat of banking: too much is debilitating, too little is fatal. During the financial crisis, as large banks burned through their capital reserves, governments were forced to add padding at public expense.

    • Price of single-family homes drops for sixth straight month

      Home prices remained weak through the early months of this year, according to a closely watched housing index released Tuesday, an indication that the housing market continues to struggle despite recent improvements.

    • Senators appointed to hammer out differences with House on financial overhaul

      Senate leaders on Tuesday appointed seven Democrats and five Republicans to meet with counterparts from the House in coming weeks to hammer out differences between new financial rules approved by each chamber.

    • U.S., Europe fall out of step on global financial reform

      The global campaign to harmonize rules for financial firms is swerving off course, threatening efforts to curb the risky bets that rocked the world economy two years ago.
      This Story

      * Lawmakers to work out final financial overhaul
      * Nations go own way on global financial reform

      As U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner lands in Europe on Wednesday, differences are growing among world leaders over how to keep the promise they made at the height of the financial crisis: that they would work together to reshape how finance is governed. Their aim was to avoid another upheaval by making financial rules consistent across borders and closing loopholes.

    • The FinReg battle: The next two years

      A lot could still happen in either direction this week, but let’s talk about the medium term in this fight for financial reform. Given where progressives are, I think it is best to think in terms of specific battles where it is likely they’ll both win and where they’ll be able to do the most in terms of serious reforms of the financial sector. I see three battles in the next two years that will happen regardless of a double-dip financial crisis.

    • Wall Street ‘Popping Champagne’ Over Watered-Down Financial Reform Bill (VIDEO)

      Sorkin, appearing on “Charlie Rose,” initially didn’t agree with his fellow guest Steven Pearlstein of the Washington Post, who argued that Wall Street was “popping Champagne” over the bill’s holes and omissions.

    • 4 Easy Ways to Improve Financial Reform
    • SEC proposing uniform ‘audit trail’ for orders

      Federal regulators moved Wednesday toward requiring a uniform system for tracking all securities orders on U.S. exchanges, in hopes of making it easier to investigate market disruptions like the May 6 plunge.

    • Banks, credit unions face tough fight on swipe fees

      As part of the 1,500-page effort to overhaul Wall Street regulations, the Senate adopted a seven-page amendment with major implications for debit card issuers, merchants and consumers. The legislation aims to limit fees paid by merchants to debit card issuers.

    • The debate over GSE reform is beginning

      I can already hear you saying, “Whatever, I’m never going to be a homeowner in the bleak 21st-century job market,” but remember that all this liquidity and stabilization handles the rental market, too. Where you live. (Or your parents’ mortgage or rental, if you live with them.) So there’s no getting outside of this question.

    • Treasury: AIG in better shape to repay bailout

      Insurance giant American International Group Inc. is better positioned to pay back all of its $182 billion federal bailout, a key Treasury official testified Wednesday.

    • Ex-execs charged in $60M stock scam in NYC

      A former bank director built himself a financial fiefdom out of automotive-chemical companies, then plundered it through a series of stock frauds that let him live lavishly even though he’d declared bankruptcy, prosecutors said Tuesday.

    • Fed boss: Fed must be free from political meddling

      The Federal Reserve and other central banks must protect their ability to make key economic decisions free from political interference, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday.

    • With credit scores, it should be equal access for all

      The proposal, included as an amendment to the financial reform legislation recently passed by the Senate, isn’t far-reaching enough. There’s still time to fix this during the reconciliation process, but you should let your congressman and senators know that when it comes to something as important as credit scores, half a loaf isn’t enough.

    • The Manufactured Deficit Crisis

      Harold Meyerson wants Washington to quit the Deficit hawkery and focus on creating Jobs: Of all the gaps between elite and mass opinion in America today, perhaps the greatest is this: The elites don’t really believe we’re still in Recession. Or maybe, they just don’t care.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Digital Economy Bill

    • BCS EGM

      The British Computer Society is in the process of being transformed into The Chartered Institute of IT. This is the wrong direction – it’s becoming a club for the Pointy Haired Boss instead of an association to support Dilbert and Alice. The consequence? It’s full of talk of outsourcing real computer jobs abroad and wants to serve the people who are doing it. It failed to take any public leadership position over the Digital Economy Bill and rejects attempts to embrace open source. It has no connection to the interests of actual computer professionals any more. For me (a Fellow, for now) it has come to symbolise all that’s worst in British IT.

      [...]

      Thanks for the reply, David. The BCS did indeed show up a little in the DeBill debate, but it was not in the way most of the computer professionals I know would want.

      The BCS appears to support 3-strikes/graduated response kangaroo-courts-without-the-court, according to http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=conWebDoc.34746 where I also see BCS supporting the fallacy that “the creative industries” need defending from the internet (rather than recognising the benefits of adapting to it). BCS concerns I have read are rarely about fundamental liberties or software freedom; they are about the cost of implementing the legislation.

      From my vantage point as a branch committee member, I see none of the vitality I would want from my professional association; just PHB-speak and core governance that gives lip-service to inclusion of technologists. The bCS voice I read in http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/read-all-about-it/2010/04/the-egm-debate-bcs-v-len-keigh.html turns me off, I’m afraid.

      Maybe the BCS doesn’t need people like me as Fellows? That seems to be the message I’m hearing.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – VE – Representation (10/16/2003)


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