EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.08.10

IRC Proceedings: June 8th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Links 8/6/2010: Ubuntu Limits Hardware Support, NPR Liberates Android App

Posted in News Roundup at 6:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Mobile Linux Gets Support From Chip Vendors

    The development of Linux on mobile devices may be poised to get a boost thanks to the formation of a new industry group called Linaro, backed by a consortium of chip vendors including ARM, Freescale, Texas Instruments, Samsung and ST-Ericsson.

    The goal of Linaro is to enable development of Linux on embedded System-on-Chips (SoC) including ARM-based processors. The effort will also leverage engineering help and resources from Ubuntu Linux vendor Canonical.

  • TUL shows off DIY AIO PC at Pre-Computex event

    Powered by AMD and Ubuntu

  • The road forward for systemd

    So it is not clear that any distribution will make the jump to systemd. But, then, even the above is a fair amount of attention for a project which has been public for less than one month. This program has reopened the discussion on how our systems should initialize themselves, and things may go on from there: there is talk of using systemd to take over the tasks of processes like cron and gnome-session. Regardless of who ends up running systemd, the ideas it expresses are likely to influence development for some time.

  • TurnKey Linux launches private beta of TurnKey Hub, a new simplified cloud deployment service
  • Desktop

  • Applications

    • 6 of the Best Free Linux Application Launchers

      Application launchers play an integral part in making the Linux desktop a more productive environment to work and play. They represent small utilities which offers the desktop user a convenient access point for application software and can make a real boost to users’ efficiency.

      An application launcher helps to reduce start up times for applications by indexing shortcuts in the menu. Furthermore, this type of software allows users to search for documents and other files quicker by indexing different file formats. This makes them useful for launching almost anything on a computer including multimedia files, games, and the internet. Application launchers often support plug-ins, adding to their versatility.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • Megadrive emulators in Ubuntu 10.04

        Here I tested 4 Linux MegaDrive emulators: dgen, gens, xe and rgen. Four classic MegaDrive games were used with each, including Sonic 3, Road Rash 3, Streets of Rage 2 and Zero Wing.

  • GNOME Desktop

  • Red Hat Family

  • Canonical/Ubuntu

    • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Won’t Run On Processors Below i686

      If you’re planning on using Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat on a computer with a processor older than i686, well… you can’t.

    • Ubuntu to decommission SPARC port, IA64 port in jeopardy
    • Canonical Rolling Out Ubuntu Advantage for Enterprise Linux OS

      Ubuntu Advantage customers will also receive the assurance of indemnification from Canonical protecting them against any potential legal issues. The legal indemnification is the same that Canonical had previously been making available to its paying support customers. Rival Linux distributions Red Hat and Novell also both provide their enterprise customers with legal indemnifications.

    • Flavours and Variants

      • Peppermint Team – Q&A with OpenBytes

        Peppermint, like many distro’s do need your help and support, whether its reporting bugs, telling people about your good experiences with the distro, making a donation or visiting the Peppermint store….it all helps to support and enables the development of excellent projects like this.

      • Linux Mint 9 review

        Mint 9, aka Isadora, is the latest update to the desktop-focused, Linux distribution based on Ubuntu (10.04). It is one of the more exciting desktop distributions, with a nice selection of custom-developed graphical management utilities.

      • Vinux – A talking linux distro for blind and visually impaired users

        Vinux is a remastered version of the popular Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx distribution optimised for the needs of blind and partially sighted users.. It provides three screen readers, two full-screen magnifiers, global font-size and colour changing facilities, and out-of-the-box support for USB Braille displays. The Vinux live CD boots into the Orca screen reader which makes it easy to navigate the graphical GNOME desktop using keybindings. For those who prefer to work in a simple text-based console there is the Speakup

      • [Reviews]: Qimo 2.0 Review Great Linux Distribution For Kids

        Overall it’s a really good distribution for kids, it’s a really good choice to install it on your machine for your kid.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Mobile OS guide

        Android, Symbian, Bada, WebOS. The list goes on. The list of smartphone operating systems is growing by the day. Many are open source, a good number are proprietary and some are barely out of beta.

      • Android

        • NPR to open source its Android app

          National Public Radio (NPR), a non-profit membership organisation, has announced that it plans to open source its NPR Android application. Created in 1970, NPR is a privately and publicly funded US media organisation that produces and distributes news, talk and entertainment programming. The NPR app for Android devices was created by Google developer Michael Frederick in his spare time. With the application, users can read, listen or create playlists of NPR stories, share them with friends and live stream audio from hundreds of NPR radio stations.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Six Different Linux Distributions, one HP 2133 Mini-Note Netbook

        My HP 2133 Mini-Note with WSVGA (1024×600) display has been out on loan for several months. It came back a week or so ago, and as it had missed the latest wave of Linux distribution updates, I decided to reload it from scratch. It originally came with SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 (SLED 10), and NO WINDOWS (Hooray!). I had preserved SLED 10 in a small partition “just in case”, but it is now so old that it would not be of any use whatever may happen, so I wiped it as well, and started from a completely clean disk.

      • 2 screen Linux tablet/e-reader to replace textbooks

        This is the prototype of the Kno a Linux based dual screen textbook replacement shown by californian startup Kakai at at the 8th Annual Conference of D: All Things Digital, otherwise known as D8

Free Software/Open Source

  • AfricanFOSS foundation looking to boost ranks

    Looking for a job and a way to promote free and open source software? The Free Software and Open Source Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) is looking to hire a project manager.

  • Rockbox 3.6 released

    On behalf of the Rockbox developers, I’m very pleased to announce that Rockbox 3.6 has just been released!

  • Malta: Open source preferred

    The Government of Malta has issued a new directivePDF instructing all of its agencies to give preference to the use of open source software (OSS) throughout government. According to the directive, Malta will adopt free software using the definition set by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and it says that, “Where it is not possible to make use of OSS in the implementation of solutions, appropriate evidence shall be made available.”

  • Qi Hardware Launches Open-Source Computer

    It’s difficult to envision a computer that’s completely open-source—and I mean completely, right down to the software on its drives, the drivers for its components, and the circuit boards for its construction. However, Linux News has gotten its hands on one such device, Qi Hardware’s “Ben NanoNote,” and it’s one of the few massive hardware projects in existence that runs on completely copyleft hardware.

Leftovers

  • 9th Circuit Affirms Rejection of Data Breach Claims Against Gap — Ruiz v. Gap

    In a decision that does not bode well for plaintiffs bringing privacy-based claims against Facebook in California, the Ninth Circuit recently affirmed the trial court’s rejection of data breach claims against Gap.

  • Security/Aggression

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Sender Who E-Mailed Links to Blog Post Open to Defamation Claim, Federal Court Rules

      A federal bankruptcy court ruled that sending an e-mail message with a hyperlink to a defamatory blog post can be considered a publication for the purposes of a libel claim.

      While the case before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas revolved around William Perry’s bankruptcy proceedings, the court relied on Texas law to determine that e-mail messages Perry sent linking to websites that made false and defamatory statements about Sugar Land, Texas, mayor David Wallace met the “actual malice” standard a public official needs to bring a defamation claim, according to the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Bulgarian organizers take Chessbase to court

      The Bulgarian organizers of the Anand-Topalov World Championship match take Chessbase to court for “violating copyright rules”. Chessbase transmitted the moves of the match live on their Playchess server, against the will of the Bulgarians.

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA asks court to close down LimeWire

        The music industry has asked a federal court in New York to order a shutdown of the LimeWire service, according to documents obtained by CNET.

      • Pubs can start claiming PPL refunds

        Licensees can now start claiming for refunds from music royalties collection firm, Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), to get a share of £20m owed to pubs, hotels and restaurants, following a legal battle.

      • Defining Success: Were The RIAA’s Lawsuits A Success Or Not?

        The fact that lots of people paid up to settle extortion-like fees didn’t stop people from using file sharing networks to access unauthorized materials. It didn’t get more people to buy. It didn’t help the bottom line. It hasn’t helped the record labels sell more product. It certainly hasn’t helped the big labels stay in business. Hell, it hasn’t even helped the RIAA. Towards the end of the legal campaign, the RIAA ended up having massive layoffs of its own staff. And, let’s not even get into discussing what the average music fan thinks of the RIAA and the big labels these days…

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – HT – Archaeologists (5/19/2005)


Apple Beats Microsoft’s Infamous ‘Blue Screen of Death’ Live Demo

Posted in Apple, DRM, Microsoft, Videos at 2:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct link

Summary: The proprietary operating system behind restrictive toys like hypePad and hypePhone is failing even when used by Steve Jobs

The complete video (not shown at the top) is probably needed in order to understand the sequence of events, but several thoughts spring to mind based on the above. First of all, did Jobs and his team make an excuse? Wouldn’t Apple staff be able to predict wireless issues? They would be able to know this in advance. Shades of Microsoft’s botched Windows 98 demo.

“Wouldn’t Apple staff be able to predict wireless issues?”CNET incorporates a long skip and later on Jobs is shown doing another demo altogether. Jobs’ claim that some people are still not turning their wireless off is akin to frauds who go on stage under uncontrolled conditions and then say something like “I’m not feeling positive energies today” (or “I’m getting negative vibrations”).

Another question is, how come people in the room could all get wireless except that revered man who carefully prepared the demo? Even the older phone that he used could handle it just fine. How about reproducing the part which failed for Jobs at the very start? He didn’t even show the same original demo that failed (unless CNET left that part out).

Here is Fabrizio Capobianco commenting on the incident and saying more about “Big Brother”:

I watched the Apple keynote today, including the hilarious moment where the demo collapsed, working on the old iPhone but not on the new one (see, it happened to Google and then to Apple, they are in a fight!).

[...]

If this is the case, it is borderline. Actually, a bit bigbrotherish. Apple collecting all cellphone numbers of all iPhone users. Mapping them at will on your address book… I guess if this works for Apple, it is going to work for Google as well (they can do exactly the same thing on Android).

Big Brother at work. Are you willing to trade some privacy over features? Probably yes: just a small percentage of the population is scared about it.

Still, open source and open cloud look a lot safer to me.

Charles implicitly warns that supporting Apple is like supporting the copyright cartel:

Let’s never forget that Steve Jobs used to buy what would become Pixar from the LucasFilm company and that he sold it back to Disney, becoming one of its shareholders in the process.

Steve Jobs is therefore a many of the “entertainment industry” as much as he’s an IT genius. Too many people forget it. Because of the focus on developing and selling machines for digital content consumers who are supposed to pay for it, one can come to see the iPad as one other device to consume paid content. The point, unfortunately, is that the lines are very much blurred at this stage between pundits taking on the angle of the tablet metaphor and the ones focusing on the business model instigated by Apple on the iPad (and the iPhone, indirectly).

Let’s not forget that Apple is big backer of the MPEG cartel (see links below), which is a huge threat to everyone, even those who don’t understand the issue.

European Lesson About Novell’s Software Patents, Germany Seemingly Continues to Allow Software Patents

Posted in Europe, IBM, Law, Novell, OIN, Patents, Servers, SLES/SLED, SUN at 2:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

German flag

Summary: How S.u.S.E. turned from an opposer of software patents into an extension of Novell which legitimises them in Germany (where software patents continue to challenge Europe’s status quo)

Henrik Ingo from Finland writes about software patents as “a bad legacy to leave behind”. He partly refers to MySQL and to Sun, whose patent portfolio got absorbed inside another company. For about three years we’ve heard the excuses from Novell apologists who told us that Novell’s software patents are a good thing because of OIN, but now that Novell’s patent are likely to be sold, the following analysis is worth some attention:

What neither of these gentlemen pointed out is that this is exactly what happened also with Sun. It wasn’t widely mentioned in public, although Mr Piana does single out patents as his first motivation to help Oracle clear the Sun acquisition. (Personally his fear that Microsoft would be allowed to buy any piece at all of Sun was in my opinion always just completely unrealistic (for the same reasons Oracle was in trouble), but I’m willing to give him a point about patent trolls offering to buy Sun’s patents.) Other than that it wasn’t spoken about (and journalists reporting on the case were mostly nowhere near the real issues anyway) but also other FOSS personalities who took Oracle’s side did mention in private conversations with me that for FOSS in general and Linux in particular, it was absolutely vital to make sure that Sun’s Unix and other patents would not fall into the wrong hands.

A personal observation is that it seems that particularly the lawyers of our community subscribed to that way of thought, whereas the “hacker” types like Stallman of FSF, Karsten Gerloff of FSFE, Alan Cox of the Open Rights Group, etc. came out clearly on the side of us where we argued that MySQL should not have been allowed to be acquired by it’s main competitor. (I should add that within the MySQL community, essentially old MySQL AB employees and other external contributors, the party lines followed completely different logic than in the broader FOSS community, and patents played no role whatsoever in people’s opinions.)

Let’s keep an eye on Novell in the coming weeks. Those many patents it has might even be passed to pro-software patents lobbyists (if not patent trolls) like IBM, which supported Novell’s acquisition of S.u.S.E. and also the patent deal with Microsoft. As the following news article reminds us, Novell is very IBM dependent, not just Microsoft dependent.

Despite struggling through Q2 of 2010 with a US$12m drop in net income on the same period last year, Novell continues to plough optimistically forward into the mainframe market with its support for the IBM System z Series.

The 451 Group has just correctly stated that Novell “is placing less emphasis on the Linux and open source technologies” — an argument we made many times before. To quote this within context:

While the company is placing less emphasis on the Linux and open source technologies that represented the bulk of the former Open Platform Solutions business unit, open source is no less important to Novell.

Open Source was never important to Novell, but it viewed this as a marketing opportunity and failed when it sidled with Microsoft and therefore repelled many clients who liked Open Source. They just took their business elsewhere. S.u.S.E. was popular among the European crowd where it originally came from, but why would anyway pay Novell extra for software patents that make Microsoft richer? And why in Europe where those patents are not even legal? Novell dared to advertise those software patents specifically in Europe and Groklaw got hold of reports. Shame on Novell for promoting software patents in Europe (also around the time of the major directive). Novell is at least partly responsible for pushing into Europe the notion that software patents can or should be considered there.

“Software to process telephone calls [are] patentable in Germany,” shows [PDF] the president of the FFII, Benjamin Henrion. This bizarre case is predating the Siemens case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and even Microsoft’s latest FAT ruling in Germany. What is going on in Germany?

“Software to process telephone calls [are] patentable in Germany”
      –Benjamin Henrion, FFII
German patent lawyers drool over any patent in a field that they specialise in. The Bastian Best blog is no exception. He gives a new example from Apple, one from Google (in German), and another tidbit about Apple (also in German). For those who do not remember, Apple is a patent aggressor that even assaulted Linux with software patents. HTC is fighting back, but it surrendered to Microsoft. According to some news sites, HTC grows with an acquisition (also here). Not that it would affect the patent case, but still…

Yahoo! Search Personnel Fired, Microsoft’s Bong [sic] Sued for Patent Violations

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Search at 1:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Both Yahoo! and Microsoft are having a hard time in search, but Yahoo! is a victim rather than incompetent

EVER SINCE Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo! began, many employees of Yahoo! quit or got sacked. Microsoft ruined this company. Now we discover that not only will Microsoft nick some of Yahoo!’s engineers (to work on Windows rather than something reliable like BSD and GNU/Linux) but it will also let many of them be fired. If it were not for the outsourcing of search, none of this would happen.

The company has cut an undisclosed number of jobs in its search team as part of a reorganization, Yahoo tells us.

[...]

Yahoo had said it would move at least 400 employees to Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) as part of its search-ad deal with that company and had said there might ultimately be some layoffs as well—although Bartz’s comment seemed to contradict that. The layoffs were first reported by TechCrunch; please e-mail us if you have any details on how extensive they were.

According to another new report, Yahoo! might end up being sold off cheaply, based on the Microsoft partner which Icahn et al. ushered into the company’s CEO position:

Seems unlikely—for one, Alibaba has said it plans to spend $200 million on acquisitions by 2012—not billions. But it’s worth noting that Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has said the company would “absolutely” entertain buyout offers—as long as they were at the “right price.”

Microsoft’s plan was probably to just cannibalise what was easier to digest (not Google) and as part of its date with destiny Bong [sic] it has just been sued. That’s right — software patents!

A company called AlmondNet has filed a law suit against Microsoft alleging the software giant has infringed three patents related to advertising incorporated in Bing.

The mess which is Bong [sic] is losing a lot of money and on the face of it, Microsoft can no longer afford to actually pay people to use it. What an atrocity. After Microsoft gives up we might be left with no choice other than Google. Microsoft just killed Yahoo! search (which has some valuable/dangerous patents on search).

Software Patents Still Fought Against by Red Hat, Brad Feld

Posted in Patents, RAND, Red Hat at 12:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jim Whitehurst
Credit: Red Hat @ Flickr

Summary: New evidence that Red Hat actively battles against RAND clauses; a venture capitalist opposes software patents

RED HAT’S Richard Fontana writes that “According to scotusblog.com, SCOTUS issues opinions in three cases, but no Bilski” (yet).

Separately, according to Red Hat employees in India (c/f Software Patents in India), there is an ongoing push against the RAND trick, which essentially puts software patents inside standards. Here is one relevant part which determines key stakes:

Section 4.1.2 of the policy states, “ The patent claims necessary to implement the Identified Standard shall be available on a Royalty-Free basis for the life time of the Standard. If such Standards are not found feasible then in the wider public interest, Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory terms and conditions (FRAND) or Reasonable and Non Discriminatory terms and conditions (RAND) with no payment could be considered.”

We request that the following statement, “If such Standards are not found feasible then in the wider public interest, Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory terms and conditions (FRAND) or Reasonable and Non Discriminatory terms and conditions (RAND) with no payment could be considered” be moved to the section 4.3 which deals with “Non-availability of Open Standard which meets all Mandatory Characteristics dealing with exceptions.” We strongly feel that this sentence is completely out of place, especially considering that it is currently housed in section 4.1 titled, “Mandatory Characteristics.”

We feel that section 4.1.2 is the heart of the Draft Policy and placing an exception statement in the very heart of the policy will send out wrong and conflicting signals. Also, in terms of sequence, the RAND/FRAND clause pre-empts the selection criteria listed in Section 4.4. It should also be noted that standards that are RAND/FRAND should be termed as “Interim Standards” and should NOT be termed as “Open Standards.”

For example, the H.264-encoded Internet Video format is currently free to end users until at least December 31, 2015. Once this period ends, MPEG LA, the licensing agency for H.264 may start charging royalties. Therefore, H.264 is a partially-royalty free standard, but cannot be considered an open standard because users do not have the freedom to encode and decode data and have to adhere to complex licensing conditions. Under the current wording of Section 4.1.2, H.264 may qualify as a suitable open standard for e-governance but this is clearly unacceptable in the long-term. For example, if Doordarshan uses H.264 to transmit a National Address by the Prime Minister of India over the web on 1st January, 2016, it may attract royalty that “…shall be no more than the economic equivalent of royalties payable during the same time for free television.”
Therefore, we suggest, once again, that this sentence be moved to Section 4.4 and be modified to read, “If such Standards are not found feasible then in the wider public interest, Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory terms and conditions (FRAND) or Reasonable and Non Discriminatory terms and conditions (RAND) with no payment, AND NO RESTRICTIONS ON REUSE, could be considered.”

Going back to the United States, Brad Feld, who is a venture capitalist (VC), mails many copies of an explanatory film about software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], as expected. He targets influential people in particular, including those who are close to the Bilski case. In his own words: [also republished in Technology Review]

On the eve of re: Bilski, the anxiously awaited Supreme Court decision on business method patents (with potential implications for software patents), I decided to collaborate with the End Software Patents coalition and send out 200 copies of the short movie they recently produced called Patent Absurdity about why software should not be able to be patented to a focused list of key people. The letter follows.

Furthermore, the “End Software Patents” Web site commends Mr. Feld, who helps software freedom even if it wasn’t his primary intention.

Venture capitalist Brad Feld has mailed a copy of Patent Absurdity to 200 policy setters in the USA (see Who should see Patent Absurdity?). The 200 are influential people in companies, standards groups, academia, and the relevent political committees.

The man behind “End Software Patents” has put this story in Slashdot’s front page, stating quite prominently that “Venture Capitalists Lobby Against Software Patents” (it’s a generalisation, but other VCs publicly took the same stance on the subject).

ciaran_o_riordan writes “No matter which side the US Supreme Court’s Bilski decision pleases, it will be just the beginning of the software patent debate in the USA — the other side will start a legislative battle. The lobbying has already begun, with venture capitalist Brad Feld arguing against software patents, mailing a copy of Patent Absurdity to 200 patent policy setters. As Feld puts it, ‘Specifically, I’m hoping the film will bring you to an understanding of why patents on software are a massive tax on and retardant of innovation in the US.’ The patent lawyers and big patent holders often tell us that patents are needed to secure investment, so it’s interesting to see now that venture capitalists are refuting that. And Brad Feld isn’t the only vocal one; there’s a growing list.”

Thanks to Mr. Feld for serving a good cause.

Links 8/6/2010: Eclipse Foundation Survey, ZFS for Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Developer Survey Reveals Greater Linux Development

    The Eclipse Foundation has released its 2010 Eclipse Community Survey results, which reveal an interesting snapshot of one slice of the development community.

    Taking the results at face value, the likely respondent from the 1696 total is a male programmer who works for a high-tech company with fewer than 100 employees. Oh, and their favorite IDE is some flavor of Eclipse.

    [...]

    And, the second half of the news will surely be that this increase comes at the cost of Windows development, which has seen a steady decrease in platform participation: in 2007, 73.8 percent preferred Windows; in 2009, it was 64.3 percent; and this year just 58.3 percent listed Windows as their favorite operating system.

  • Evolution of Linux computing and its implications

    Today Linux is acknowledged to be the ideal operating system amongst programmers and application intense users. This is not to say that UNIX solutions have developed problems, but simply that Linux continues to be increasingly capable of doing the task that has typically been expected of Unix, and in many instances does so more effectively and efficiently.

  • Sensationalism Isn’t Helping Linux

    No matter the intent, sensationalist articles are not overall helpful or realistic when it comes to advancing Linux. The only thing that will continue to help move Linux forward is action on the behalf of the community that supports it. This includes developing the software to make it better than the competition and providing marketing support, which can include written articles. Those articles need to be informative, however, and better educate users on what Linux is all about. We need to be smart about this though, since there is a difference between the audience on CNET and LinuxInsider — know to which audience you are writing. Why continue to preach to the choir about how Linux is ready to dominate when we can go help it achieve the goals we write about so often?

  • MeeGo, Android, ChromeOS – Signs of Linux REALLY Going Mainstream Finally?

    Ever since I have started learning and using Linux, this is something I always thought “was happening” and never knew when it will “really happen”. And the thing is called mass Linux adoption. Why is it necessary? How is the likes of Android, MeeGo and Chrome OS is going to change the world as we know it forever? Let’s explore.

  • Linux crash on a Plane!

    In the end, we can only hope that of the several networks likely running on a modern passenger jet, that true air-gapping is taking place and these systems are in no way connected to critical on-board networks. Time will tell if this is indeed the case. In the meantime, keep an eye out for those Linux boxes crashing on planes!

  • Can’t Buy Love

    Look what freely giving worthwhile stuff to people gets you:

    * FedoraProject.org up 18% and in the top 1000 sites in some parts of the world.
    * Debian GNU/Linux is in the top 3000 over much of Europe.
    * Ubuntu.com in the top 400 over much of the world

    Those organizations give stuff away for free sincerely and without trying to manipulate anyone. There are hundreds of GNU/Linux distros and most are thriving, taking a serious and increasing share of the desktop OS market.

  • Desktop

    • ES: Zaragoza’s move to complete open source desktop going to plan

      The move by the city of Zaragoza to an open source desktop is making good progress. All of the city’s civil servants now use open source tools including Thunderbird, VLC, Firefox and OpenOffice. And this year some seven hundred of the city’s 2800 desktop PCs will have seen their proprietary operating system replaced by the Linux open source alternative.

    • Comparative Test Problems – Hardware, Windows7 and Linux

      You knew I was gonna go there huh. If you want a printer, 3g and OS combo that works – go with Samsung, new Huawei Modem, and Ubuntu. I would recommend this to anyone who needs a reliable combination for the small office but needs Internet on the go as well.

    • The Perfect Desktop Articles

      The first problem I had with the article was just seeing it’s link on Lxer. People are still recommending and using 32-bit software. These people needed to be locked up for mental illness. Well at least they SAY it’s Gnome, instead of calling it the default desktop. They ruin it however by making users install mono applications like F-Spot, and a weird assortment of proprietary applications which HAVE NO PLACE in Fedora.

  • Audiocasts

    • Episode 142: Waterfront

      In the begin I talk a bit about difficulties in the forum and my thoughts about flattr.
      The TOC

      03:25 Subscribe to the RSS feed
      04:35 flattr
      06:30 An image from the Europahafen
      08:15 Goal: Enhance the contrast between old and new
      08:25 Rotation correction
      10:15 Saving as XCF
      10:45 Cropping
      11:25 Fixing the aspect ratio
      13:15 Duplicating the layer before tweaking the colours
      14:05 Adjusting the curve to get more contrast
      15:35 Desaturationg parts of the image with a layer in saturation mode
      20:00 Adding sepia colour
      22:20 Colour layer mode

  • Google

    • Chrome and Rust: Pros and Cons of Google’s Browser

      Should you be using one of the official Google packages, you might want to read the end-user’s license agreement. The agreement reads as though generic, and may not be the final license. Still, you may want to know that, like the license that openSUSE used on its betas until a few releases ago, it is non-free. When you download an official package, the license assumes that you have implicitly agreed not to copy or distribute it.

  • Ballnux

    • Hacking for Freedom

      These are first hours of hackweek. A lot of people in Novell and in the community are starting to work on different projects. What can I give for free software in this week? Sure, my favorite project is NetworkManagement.

  • Kernel Space

    • ZFS for the Linux kernel

      Developers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have cooperated with Oracle to port large parts of Solaris’ ZFS file system to the Linux kernel. Their aim is to make the distributed Lustre file system available under Linux with ZFS.

      [...]

      Native ZFS for Linux can be compiled with kernel versions up to 2.6.32; among the tested platforms are the 2.6.32 kernel in Fedora 12 and in the beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, as well as the 2.6.18 kernel in RHEL 5. The build requires the Solaris Porting Layer and a 64-bit Linux system.

    • X Server 1.9 Window Closing After RandR 1.4 Pull

      There’s good news for the Ubuntu camp and others releasing in the September-October time-frame: development work on X.Org Server 1.9 is still going as planned for an August release and its merge window is about to be closed. In the past it’s been tough for the X.Org project to release server updates in a timely manner that’s on schedule, but continuing from their X.Org Server 1.8 success, 1.9 is shaping up nicely too.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Eight Ways GNOME Could be Improved

        In this piece, I want to show you that the GNOME desktop has a number of issues that need attention as well. I’ll outline eight areas in GNOME that need to be improved for a better user experience.

  • Distributions

    • The Leading Enterprise Linux Vendors

      Enterprise Linux Vendors

      · Red Hat
      · Canonical Ltd.
      · Novell / SuSE
      · Other Major Players And Contributors
      · Debian
      · IBM
      · Oracle

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Canonical rejigs Ubuntu support services

        Canonical, the commercial presence behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution for servers and desktops, is in business to make money as well as to put out the best free operating system it can.

      • Well that’s a nice volume slider (minor post alert)

        You’re likely all aware that Ubuntu 10.10 is getting a funky feature-packed new sound applet for Maverick. That shindig promises to be crazy awesome and a great usability improvement. Until that pops up do allow me to bask in the sweet glow of simple progression because sometimes, as you may be aware, very minor changes make me giddy.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 196

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 196 for the week of May 30th – June 5th, 2010. In this issue we cover Maverick Alpha 1 released, Kubuntu: Maverick Alpha 1 Released, Postponing Ubuntu User Days, Call for Testing: Hardy Firefox Users (or willing to install Hardy in a VM), Request For Help Preparing ClassBot For Translations, Operation Cleansweep Launched!, Linaro: Accelerating Linux on ARM, Ubuntu Stats, LoCo Teams Best Practices and Guidelines, Help translating the LoCo Teams Best Practices and Guidelines, The LoCo Directory wants to speak your language, Ubuntu Development Team Meetings Minutes, Launchpad News, NGO Team during Maverick, Free culture projects need a ubiquitous funding system, Hacking on grub2, Severed Fifth II, Project Maintainers Required, In The Press, In The Blogosphere, Towards Linaro 10.11, Ubuntu Systems Management update, SouthEast Linux Fest Announces Full Speaker List, VMware User Conference – Phoenix, TurnKey Hub: a new simplified cloud deployment service, Featured Podcasts, Monthly Team Reports: May 2010, Upcoming Meetings and Events, Updates and Security, and much much more!

      • Ubuntu: when Linux ideology meets business

        Profiting from Linux doesn’t involve an obvious winning formula. There are as many different business models as there are distributions, and you seldom find much overlap between those that are working.

      • Lucid Productive Wallpaper
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Trust: the catalyst of the open source way

    Collaboration works better when you trust the people with whom you are collaborating. Transparency is more believable when you trust those who are opening up to you. And it is much easier for the best ideas to win when there is a base level of trust in the community that everyone is competent and has the best interests of the project at heart.

  • The Epic War of Browsers

    Since Symantec released its report in 2005, Microsoft lobbyists have quoted the old document to make people believe that Internet Explorer is the safest browser today. Their idea is to tell users that Mozilla Firefox might make one’s computer vulnerable to attacks.

    Symantec, the company that flags Norton Antivirus, stated back then that there were 25 vulnerabilities in Firefox while Internet Explorer had only 13. This is the part that supporters of IE love to repeat. The part that they don’t want us to consider is this:

    1. The Mozilla Foundation started in 2003, so Firefox was a fairly young browser back then. Yet, its problems were solved in a period of THREE DAYS. Some of the noted problems of IE are still there today.

    2. From the 25 problems in Firefox, only 8 were considered as real threats by Symantec …the SAME NUMBER OF PROBLEMS THAT WERE FOUND IN INTERNET EXPLORER. This means that the young Mozilla product and Microsoft’s 10-year-old browser WERE TIED REGARDING PERFORMANCE.

    3. According to Secunia (a Danish company that checks the security of software products), up to 2010, IE keeps a total of 19 vulnerabilities that have not been fixed, while Firefox has only 3.

  • BSDMag: Jun 6 BSD Firewalls [PDF]
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Geek Of The Week: Richard Stallman

      He is largely responsible for the popularity of the Linux operating system (including Linux-based derivatives like Android), and the open source community. If it wasn’t for him, you’d probably be paying for every piece of software you use on a daily basis.

    • GNU/Linux: The Name Game

      I want to make things easier for them to understand, not more difficult. I feel that I am not doing anything wrong; when I choose to call Microsoft Windows Vista “Vista” I am not doing a disservice to Microsoft. Nor do I do a disservice to Canonical by calling Ubuntu “Ubuntu.” A great many people and groups have to come together to make any particular operating system, particularly community-created ones, and credit for success should go to each and every one of them.

    • So, what exactly is a Freedom Outlaw?

      A Freedom Outlaw is (loosely) somebody who cares so much about freedom that he or she will go after it regardless of any laws or regulations blocking the way. Will go after it personally. Not petition for it. Not write letters for it. Not vote for it. But GO for it.

  • Open Data

Leftovers

  • Germany’s Artificial Cornea Ready To Restore Sight To Thousands

    An expansive EU project to produce an artificial cornea has found success thanks to the work of Joachim Storsberg of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Germany. Storsberg helped develop a new version of an opthalmological polymer which the eye will bond to and still allow to function properly. The new polymer could help restore sight to thousands waiting for corneal transplants around the world. The artificial cornea has passed clinical trials and is ready to see expanded use in patients this year. Very soon those with corneal blindness may find a ready cure in the form of the new implant.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Restraining order on CyberSpy lifted

      The Federal Trade Commission has come to an agreement with Florida-based CyberSpy Software that allows it to resume sales of its Remote Spy commercial spyware application. According to the U.S. District Court settlement, the company must not provide users with the means to disguise the software as an innocent file or email attachment. Users must also be advised that doing so may violate US state or federal law. Additionally, all recorded information sent over the internet must be encrypted and older legacy versions of the software must be removed from computers on which it was previously installed.

    • Cyberwar is fiction

      I’m reading various articles about the Russia’s proposal, with support from the UN, for a “cyberwarfare arms limitation treaty”. What astounds me is that nobody seems to realize that “cyberwarfare” is a fictional story, and that “arms” in cyberspace don’t exist.

    • Botnets Using Ubiquity as Security

      As major botnet operators have moved from top-down C&C infrastructures, like those employed throughout the 1990s and most of the last decade, to more flexible peer-to-peer designs, they also have found it much easier to keep their networks up and running once they’re discovered. When an attacker at just one, or at most, two, C&C servers doling out commands to compromised machines, evading detection and keeping the command server online were vitally important.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Bashing Is The New Chinese Black

      Did anybody tell these people how many “losing” trading days Goldman had in the latest quarter/year? Joking aside, we do find it somewhat ironic that the company which brought capitalism (or at least the Goldman-centric version thereof) to China is now being openly attacked for being “too successful.” It really is time for Buffett to MBO the squid and get the public company farce over with (that means only another $30 in GS downside before the Oracle announces his true intentions). We are sure that Goldman can pull enough strings where even as Buffett’s last hypocritical hurrah, it will still have full discount window access, even as a fully private hedge fund. Because the last thing Goldman needs is to be the primary scapegoat of a better way of life gone horribly wrong for 1.3 billion angry Chinese. On the other hand, look for the American Idol empire to promptly move to Beijing with Goldman’s blessings and venture funding – when all else fails, prime time distraction with moronic entertainment for an increasingly lazy middle class always seems to get the job done.

    • Goldman Sachs Must Defend Its Gains in China

      Always eager to jump at anything suggesting foreign conspiracy, the Chinese press leapt at accusations of fraud made against Goldman Sachs by the American regulatory authorities.

    • Goldman Sachs Reputation Destruction Tour

      The brutal combination of inept management, poor legal advice, and horrific decision making is combining is uniquely ugly ways to further damage their reputation — as if that were possible. Hard as that is to imagine, their PR — recently ranked as “For Shit” — is now heading south from there.

    • Goldman Sachs subpoenaed for failing to cooperate with finance probe

      A high profile panel investigating the causes of the financial crisis announced Monday it had subpoenaed Goldman Sachs for failing to cooperate with the probe.

      “The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has issued a subpoena to Goldman Sachs & Co. for failing to comply with a request for documents and interviews in a timely manner,” the body said in a statement.

      It is the latest controversy for the New York-based bank, which is facing civil and potentially criminal charges for misleading investors.

    • 15 attorneys leave LeClairRyan to form new firm

      Fifteen attorneys have left Richmond-based LeClairRyan to form Murphy & McGonigle, a firm specializing in advising financial services clients during lawsuits, government investigations and enforcement actions.

    • The Regulation Crisis
    • Countrywide Settles Fee Complaint

      Countrywide Home Loans and its mortgage servicing unit, which are now part of Bank of America, agreed on Monday to pay $108 million to settle federal charges that the company overcharged customers who were struggling to hang onto their homes.

    • The Greek Debt Crisis

      When the CCS derivative instrument maturity came, we saw back in 2009 that Greeks Deficit suddenly climbed to 12% of GDP which is 4 times over the limit. With the credit crunch, borrowing more to finance government spending became a problem. This resulted on the news of its potential default of certain loans.

    • European Stocks Follow Asian Markets’ Decline

      Stocks fell across Asia on Monday and the euro hit fresh multiyear lows against the dollar and yen, after disappointing U.S. jobs data and amid renewed fears that the European government debt crisis could spread to other vulnerable economies.

    • Hungary Is Playing Political Games on Debt

      Its budget deficit is about one-half that of Greece. It does not use the euro and so could, if pressed, lift exports by devaluing its own currency, the forint. And it is in the middle of an economic overhaul program with the International Monetary Fund and can call upon an additional $2 billion if needed.

    • Debtors’ Prism: Who Has Europe’s Loans?

      IT’S a $2.6 trillion mystery.

      That’s the amount that foreign banks and other financial companies have lent to public and private institutions in Greece, Spain and Portugal, three countries so mired in economic troubles that analysts and investors assume that a significant portion of that mountain of debt may never be repaid.

    • Anatomy Of A Bubble
    • Richard Fisher, Senior Fed Official: White House Is Dead Wrong

      Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Fed, has long been a proponent of serious financial sector reform. As a former commercial banker, he sees quite clearly that the legislation now headed into “reconciliation” between House and Senate versions amounts to very little. He also knows that pounding away repeatedly on this theme is the best way to influence his colleagues within the Fed and across the policy community more broadly.

    • This Flight to Safety Wasn’t Supposed to Happen
    • How to manage student loan debt

      In 2008, about two-thirds of students graduating from four-year colleges and universities had student loan debt averaging $23,200, according to data analyzed by the Project on Student Debt, an initiative of the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success.

    • Overcoming the Debt Trap

      But there is another part of their story that contains some truth. The government is borrowing large amounts of money right now to sustain demand in the wake of the collapse of private sector spending following the deflation of the housing bubble. If the deficit continues on the projected path, the country will substantially increase its debt burden over the course of the decade.

    • Pols turn on labor unions

      Spurred by state budget crunches and an angry public mood, Republican and some Democratic leaders are focusing with increasing intensity on public workers and the unions that represent them, casting them as overpaid obstacles to good government and demanding cuts in their often-generous benefits.

    • Bank Reform Bait and Switch

      When the Senate bank reform legislation passed in May, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said it sent the message to Wall Street that they can “no longer can you recklessly gamble away other people’s money.” The bill told Main Street, “you no longer have to fear that your savings, your retirement or your home are at the mercy of greedy gamblers in big banks. And it says to them: never again will you be asked to bail out those big banks when they lose their risky bets,” according to Reid.

    • Senate Financial Reform Bill DOESN’T End Too Big To Fail, Major Credit Rating Agency Says
    • Reining in Speculation on Oil and Food Prices through the Financial Reform Bill
    • New bonds to help cash-strapped states also benefiting Wall Street

      New federally subsidized bonds that have proven wildly popular in helping cash-strapped state and local governments fund roads, schools and other construction projects also offer a windfall to a less obvious beneficiary: Wall Street banks.

    • The Contractual Structure of Private Equity
    • Long-Term Unemployed Now 46 Percent Of Unemployed, Highest Percentage On Record

      The proportion of people jobless for six months or more has accelerated in the past year and now makes up 46 percent of the unemployed. That’s the highest percentage on records dating to 1948. By late summer or early fall, they are expected to make up half of all jobless Americans.

    • Banks Say No. Too Bad Taxpayers Can’t.

      FROM the earliest days of the credit crisis, the nation’s big financial institutions have been less than forthcoming about ballooning loan losses buried inside their books. To some degree this is understandable: denial is a powerful thing, after all, and writing off troubled loans during a period of severe stress is, for bankers, the equivalent of getting a root canal.

    • Distressed Sales: Sacramento as an Example, May 2010

      The Sacramento Association of REALTORS® is breaking out monthly resales by equity sales (conventional resales), and distressed sales (Short sales and REO sales), and I’m following this series as an example to see mix changes in a distressed area.

    • THE INFLUENCE GAME: Dueling over debit card fees

      Swipe your debit card at the supermarket and you’ve placed yourself at the heart of a contentious congressional debate.

      On one side are banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America and credit card networks like Visa and MasterCard. On the other are retailers, including giants like Wal-Mart and Target.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • University Networks Block Student Project

      An anonymous reader writes “A computer science student at University College London put together FitFinder as a bit of a joke — it’s been described as a cross between Twitter and personal ads, and it rapidly became very popular. The university took exception to this and started by blocking the site from being accessed on campus. Not content with this, a few weeks later it fined the student £300 and had him take the site down completely. Currently, the site is still offline, although there is a petition with several thousand signatures requesting its return. In the meantime, a site called PhitFinder has appeared, claiming to have no link to the original.”

    • Porn sites suddenly available in China

      Some websites, including ones with pornography, that were previously blocked by China’s Internet censors were accessible inside the country Friday, though reasons for the change were unclear.

    • U.S. Intelligence Analyst Arrested in Wikileaks Video Probe

      Federal officials have arrested an Army intelligence analyst who boasted of giving classified U.S. combat video and hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to whistleblower site Wikileaks, Wired.com has learned.

      SPC Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland, was stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer, 40 miles east of Baghdad, where he was arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. A family member says he’s being held in custody in Kuwait, and has not been formally charged.

    • Turkey bans use of Google, services

      Turkey has imposed an indefinite ban on Internet search engine Google and many of its services citing “legal” reasons.

      In an official statement, Turkey’s Telecommunications Presidency said it has banned access to many of Google IP addresses without assigning clear reasons. The statement did not confirm if the ban is temporary or permanent.

  • Digital Economy Bill

    • Paedo-Fear Pushes The Surveillance Agenda

      For instance, only a huge effort from concerned people prevented Europe from adopting software patents under the pressure of lobbying from big self-interested software companies. And only continued vigilance will prevent those big companies from wearing down resistance.

      In the UK a big campaign against the excessive measures of the Digital Economy Act has had some effect in tempering the eventual implementation as prpoposed by Ofcom, but it didn’t kill it, because in the end most elected representatives simply don’t get it, and let it pass in the rush before the end of the parliamentary session.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – HT – Jamestown (5/19/2005)


Microsoft Has a New Lock-in Model: Fog Computing

Posted in Europe, Google, Mail, Microsoft at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Foggy lake

Summary: Kentucky is the latest to be scammed by Microsoft’s Live@edu and the Microsoft marketing blitz for its own ‘cloud’ computing goes up a gear

Microsoft’s older-generation lock-in relied on habits (e.g. indoctrination in schools), file formats, protocols, application compatibility, and so forth. What Microsoft has in mind now is a new lock-in strategy (“Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie Says PC Is Razor, Services Are Blades”). Richard Stallman warned about this even years ago (not just recently).

“Microsoft will be turning children into Microsoft clients without their endorsement or even the ability to opt out.”There should be warning signs when this analogy involving “razor” and “blades” gets used. Printer manufacturers use this strategy too. As more reports trickle in, it becomes clearer that Microsoft will use euphemisms and deceptive marketing in order to prey on the gullible. See our previous posts on why “private cloud” is a deceiving term [1, 2].

The very sad thing is that many US states are being lured in by Microsoft these days. Their governors sign deals with Microsoft without realising the long-term consequences. We call this American EDGI, the latest examples being Oregon, Utah, New Jersey, Minnesota, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida, Alabama, D.C., and Arkansa, with yet more examples as there is still some newer coverage [1, 2]. Microsoft is moving on to academic institutions now. Last week we showed how it got hold of the University of Arizona and this week it’s Kentucky schools. Microsoft will be turning children into Microsoft clients without their endorsement or even the ability to opt out. Zack Whittaker, a former Microsoft intern, seems to almost celebrate bad news about another university becoming a hostage in exchange for some 'incentives' to few.

In what is expected to be the largest cloud deployment in the United States, Microsoft’s Live@edu service has been rolled out to over 700,000 students and staff in Kentucky, the state education department for education has confirmed via Microsoft.

Well, all of those so-called ‘clouds’ need to be rejected unless they are run internally with Free software and are also portable.

IDG passes on the message about this terrible news [1, 2] and so do other Web sites, e.g.:

Here is the press release.

The Microsoft boosters are rather cheerful [1, 2, 3], but who can blame them? Microsoft’s interests are their own.

“This whole initiative is part of Microsoft’s attempt to control people’s data, not just their applications.”Kentucky does not really deserve this kind of humiliation. It is already an American EDGI victim [1, 2, 3].

This whole initiative is part of Microsoft’s attempt to control people’s data, not just their applications. This attempt receives promotion from Mary Jo Foley, who never criticises Microsoft anymore, just advertises the company [1, 2]. Don’t we all have a responsibility to think ethically? Apparently not. There is a lot more deception and propaganda for Microsoft ‘cloud’ and it is “sponsored by Microsoft” (see the text at the top). It looks as though it’s news, but it’s not. There are other Microsoft sites at IDG — subsites/subnets which do the same thing. IDG’s Microsoft booster Shane O'Neill is even giving them a platform again. It’s almost as though it’s paid for.

Speaking of universities and schools that turn children into young Microsoft customers, BECTA is not quite dead yet and its words about Free software continue to resonate:

A BECTA report into costs of open source software (OSS) in schools(v)found that the annual total cost per PC was less for nearly all the open source software schools at both primary and secondary school levels. For OSS schools, cost per PC at primary school level was half that of non-OSS schools, and cost per PC at secondary school level was around 20% less than that of the non-OSS schools. Annual support costs in individual OSS schools varied widely, but on average were 50–60% of those of their non-OSS counterparts, except OSS secondary schools which had slightly higher costs for informal support.

The government that abolished BECTA seems like an opportunity to Microsoft-free education in the UK. It remains to be seen if they can deliver on the promise.

Small businesses have struggled in the past to win government contracts. Mark Taylor, chief executive of open-source software company Sirius Corporation, welcomed the government pledge.

Public institutions like schools must never become training facilities of companies (especially ones from overseas), but when people from Microsoft occupy key positions in UK universities almost anything can happen.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts