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Who Are the Communists?

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Quote at 7:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Bill Gates cites copyright enforcement to justify Chinese censorship. Microsoft executives used to call us communists, but they are now clearly revealed as the ones who support communist-style dictatorship.”

Richard Stallman

IRC Proceedings: June 18th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Links 18/6/2010: VP8 Optimisations

Posted in News Roundup at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Network Security: Three open-source options

    Free and open-source software (FOSS) is everywhere. Its offerings span far and wide in the technology industry. The networking space is an excellent example of FOSS, with feature-packed firewalls, routers, VPNs and even UTMs, for nearly every need. In this article I will introduce you to a few of the commercially-supported open-source network security options currently available in the marketplace today. With open-source networking you can enjoy the benefits of lower costs, greater security, flexibility, extensibility and full enterprise support. Here are three examples.

  • Digium Expands Channel Partner Program

    Like many of its larger rivals, Digium is launching specializations within the company’s global channel partner program. If the strategy works as advertised, Digium’s open source IP PBX partners will gain deeper expertise in unified communications and VoIP telephony solutions. Here’s a look at Digium’s strategy and the implications for VARs.

  • Mozilla

  • Project Releases

    • Bluecherry releases its version 2 driver (GPL)

      As previously mentioned we have been working hard over the past few months on the driver for version 2 of our Linux hardware compression card. Since version 2 is a complete rewrite of our DVR software we naturally wanted to start with a clean driver, one that was written from scratch. So, we leveraged the Linux kernel’s API for Video (Video4Linux) and Audio (ALSA). This effectively puts Bluecherry as the first company to produce a multi-input MPEG-4 hardware compression GPL driver written around the Linux kernel’s API.

    • Twilio Releases OpenVBX

      Open source telephony service for businesses allows drag-and-drop call routing, text-to-speech, voice transcription and voicemail forwarding.

  • Government

    • ‘Over seventy cases studies on OSOR just the beginning’

      The European Union’s Open Source Observatory and Repository (OSOR.eu) has so far published 72 case studies. It’s most recent one, on the OSOR itself, was published last week.

      The case study, “OSOR: The more they know the more they share, Introducing Open Source Software communities to Europe’s public sector’, concludes the first phase of the project but the European Commission is about to organise OSOR’s continuation.


  • The New OS/2 Rumours Could Be Interesting

    Some rumours have emerged that IBM is considering an OS/2 comeback and I’m filled with the same mixed feelings that always emerge whenever the subject is raised. Would I want OS/2 back on my desktop now? Not really. Have these rumours got me a bit excited? Absolutely. In fact, I’m willing to take a guess about what the new OS/2 might be.

  • Environment

    • Whale poo helps offset carbon footprint

      Southern Ocean sperm whales offset their carbon footprint by defecating, scientists said on Wednesday, releasing tonnes of iron a year that stimulates the growth of phytoplankton which in turn absorb carbon dioxide.

    • Afghan Minerals — Cure, Curse, or Hype?

      The Pentagon revealed last week that Afghanistan has as much as $1 trillion in mineral wealth, a potential game changer in the ongoing conflict there. Many news outlets have picked up this story, with some simply repeating the official talking points, while others raise serious concerns. Is this ‘discovery’ just hype, or will this truly alter the landscape of the Afghan war? Perhaps more importantly, can this mineral wealth (whether real or illusory) pave the way to a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan, or is it more likely to drive geopolitical feedback loops that plunge the region further into turmoil? Below the fold is a quick look at the as-of-yet unasked questions about Afghanistan’s buried treasure.

    • What Good Are The Patents On Oil-Eating Bacteria Doing Us?

      Of course, you have to wonder if this kind of oil-eating bacteria wasn’t locked up to one provider for many years due to a patent, if much of that research on how to make it both safe and practical would have been done already. Probably could have helped a lot. Instead, we set things up so that living organisms can be patented, limiting the ability to do actual research on the impact of those patented organisms to just one party, greatly limiting our understanding of their practicality and safety. Progress?

    • We could not have stopped Gulf oil gusher, ExxonMobil chief tells Congress

      ExxonMobil would have been as powerless as BP to stop the Gulf of Mexico gusher, the chief of the world’s biggest oil company told Congress today in a contentious hearing into the oil spill.

      The admission undermined attempts by oil multinationals Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell to claim they operated to a higher safety standard than BP in testimony before the house energy and commerce committee.

    • U.S. Scientific Team Draws on New Data, Multiple Scientific Methodologies to Reach Updated Estimate of Oil Flows from BP’s Well
    • Fishermen win first legal battle against BP

      A U.S. District Court has made British Petroleum remove language from a Master Charter Agreement that would limit boat captains’ legal rights before allowing them to help clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil gusher.

      The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana opened Sunday afternoon to receive the petition of commercial fisherman to nullify and strike the offensive language in the British Petroleum volunteer fisherman charter contract.

  • Finance

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • German Publishers Want More Monopoly Rights

      This is a beautiful demonstration of a flaw at the heart of copyright: whenever an existing business model based around a monopoly starts to fail, the reflexive approach is to demand yet more monopolies in an attempt to shore it up. And the faster people point out why that won’t solve the problem, the faster the demands come for even more oppressive and unreasonable legislation to try to head off those issues.

      And make no mistake: if Germany adopts this approach, there will be squeals from publishers around the world demanding “parity”, just as there have been with the term of copyright. And so the ratchet will be turned once more.

Clip of the Day

Writing Better Shell Scripts – Part 1

Patents Roundup: Developing Countries Versus Patents, Qualcomm Antitrust Probe for Patent Abuse, Massive Lawsuits

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Patents at 3:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Qualcomm headquarters

Summary: Latest news about intellectual monopolies that affect software for the most part; abuse facilitated by the patent system is shown too

Should governments encourage open source?

As mentioned in earlier posts, Yours Truly presented at a conference in Rwanda a couple of weeks ago. The conference was attended by African IP office officials, and dealt mostly with software protection topics such as software patents, open source software and standards. However, I was surprised to find that one of the topics that interested the attendees the most was not software protection as such, but government software procurement guidelines.

This may seem like an incredibly dry subject (I can already hear mouse buttons busily changing page), but government software procurement has become the latest battlefront between proprietary and non-proprietary software. For example, some of you may remember the big keruffle when the International Intellectual Property Alliance submitted a paper to the U.S. Trade Representative accusing countries that favoured open source software in their legislation, and asking that they should be placed in Special 301 Watchlist, which is usually reserved to countries rife with piracy.

Qualcomm faces fresh EU inquiry

The new complaint, being looked at by the European Commission, comes from Icera, a UK rival, which claims that Qualcomm is using patent-related incentives to discourage customers from doing business with Icera.

Also covered in:

MobileFrame Issued Patents for Its 100% Code Free Smart Database

Patent Office Seeks Input on Three-Track Examination Proposal

For years now, experts and observers have claimed the U.S. patent system is broken. They all have different ideas about why and how to fix it. Congress floats some kind of reform legislation every year, it seems, but nothing that requires significant change has made it all the way through the process. (Maybe this is the year?)

Nvidia, Xerox, Motorola others get writ over remote access

The same day, and yet another patent action, this time involving another clutch of IT companies being sued over software patents.

A case was launched in the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division alleging that Xerox, Activision, Ademero, Cakewalk, Check Point Software, Coffeecup Software, Cvision, Document Imaging Solutions, Geo-Plus, Lenovo, Manedge Software, Motorola, Nvidia, Office Gemini, Polycom, Portable Tech Solutions, Silicon Graphics International, Synchronica and Treeno Software breached patents.

Apple, IBM, Adobe, Citrix others sued over software patent

This time Apple, Activision, Adobe, Autodesk, Capcom, Citrix, Corel, Dassault, Delcam, Square Enix, Electronic Arts, Frontrange Solutions, IBM, Intuit, Konami, Digital Entertainment, Maximizer Software, Nuance, Parametric Technology, Sage Software, Sega, Skype, SPSS, Teradata, THQ and Legacy Interactive are the numbers that have come up on the patent roulette wheel.

After Harbouring Microsoft’s OOXML Corruption, Alan Bryden Can Promote/Inhibit Software Patents in Europe

Posted in ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents at 3:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ISO for sale
Photo from the public domain

ISO standards for saleSummary: Alan Bryden of ISO infamy may now be hurting Europe as well, essentially by using ‘standards’ to help bring software patents to the continent

IS Alan Bryden the new Van Der Beld [1, 2, 3]? Two years ago we showed how Bryden helped Microsoft deny its corruption (he was also mentioned in [1, 2]) when Microsoft resorted even to bribery in order to derail/exploit ISO.

Alan Bryden is coming to Brussels (see page 41 of this document [PDF]) and according to this short report his agenda is potentially similar to that of Microsoft lobbyists, who want to put (software) patents inside standards in a continent which is against such patents.

Wednesday morning, 23 June 2010 Alan Bryden, the former ISO general secretary who let it happen and made European standard setting organisations a laughing stock of an US corporation, would speak about “European standardisation in a global environment” in the European Parliament “Internal Market and Consumer protection (IMCO) committee.

Bryden was also a member of the Commission’s EXPRESS “expert panel” group on the future of European Standardisation which report advises for strong IPR policies against open standardization. The IMCO meeting relates to the Parliament phase of the EXPRESS process and the Future of European Standardisation. Read what the winding lobby snakes write in their report to actually promote standards locked down by software patents

Glyn Moody has remarked on these findings as well as others which we covered this morning [1, 2].

Let’s be frank: standards are pretty dull; but they are also important as technological gatekeepers. As the shameful OOXML saga showed, gaining the stamp of approval can be so important that some are prepared to adopt practically any means to achieve it; similarly, permitting the use of technologies that companies claim are patented in supposedly open standards can shut out open source implementations completely.

Against that background, the new EU report “Standardization for a competitive and innovative Europe: a vision for 2020” [.pdf] is a real disappointment. For something that purports to be looking forward a decade not even to mention “open source” (as far as I can tell) is an indication of just how old-fashioned and reactionary it is.

The president of the FFII says that the “EU [is] promoting the RAND term, aims to get rid of Free Software”; Separately today he wrote that the “EU [plans] to abandon its powers of harmonization of patent laws in favor of an autonomous international patent system [PDF]

What is happening in Europe? Have enough lobbyists been gathered to impose software patents upon Europe through standards, which are almost the antithesis of monopoly, at least in principle?

How Bill Gates Uses Microsoft and the “Megatrolls” to Get Even Richer

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Patents at 2:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Nathan Myhrvold explains how he intends to make money from the nuclear energy patents which Gates urges the US government to put an additional $10,000,000,000 in

The Gates Foundation has its ringleader lobby for the taxpayers to pay his partner whom he invests in. That friend is Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll. What does that have to do with software? Well, Bill Gates continues to threaten GNU/Linux too. We have given many examples where Bill Gates still derails large-scale migrations to GNU/Linux and his current career in the patents business is a fundamental threat to the freedom of software. A short while ago Jose wrote this long comment which he titled: “Watch Microsoft megatrolls monopolize Linux”

Oh, and getting right back to the patent question, Microsoft’s covenant doesn’t specify patents by number. They simply state that if they own and control a core dotnet patent, you get a pass. As just pointed out, this is a trap; however, note that you are still on the hook for these core patents, as Microsoft is free to sell these core mono patents to someone (eg, one of Bill Gates’ or Nathan Myhrvold’s patent troll companies), who could then turn around and sue the daylights out of potentially arbitrarily simple mono programs.

The comment above was posted in reference to Mono, which Jose believes to be a patent trap that Myhrvold|Gates may exploit some day in the future as MonoDevelop continues to be developed, touching unpermitted territories.

Speaking of the ultra-anti-competitive and arrogant Myhrvold (he bullies companies), one day he might make a more visible stance against GNU/Linux, just as he did on the Charlie Rose show a few years ago. To quote his stance on computer languages based on a famous book:

“The last thing this company needs is another fucking [computer] language.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

GigaOM, which was previously paid by Microsoft to secretly ‘inject’ Microsoft advertising into posts, has apparently just decided to interview terrible people like Myhrvold without explaining what a fraud he really is and how he harms the industry with the massive patent troll he created along with Bill Gates. He is even worse than frauds like Peter Popoff because the damage he causes is vastly greater and Glyn Moody writes that GigaOM did a “weak piece failing to challenge super-troll IV.” For those who don’t know yet, Intellectual Ventures (IV) is a joint venture with large investments from Bill Gates, Microsoft, and even Apple. These companies essentially profit from the racketeering and the trolling Myhrvold does behind the scenes, using over 1,000 shell companies (‘satellites’).

As we mentioned the other day, Bill Gates is lobbying for his patents. To put it in the words of someone else, “Gates now runs an investment company in the guise of a charity.”

A bunch of charlatans are fooling most of the world, pretending to innovate or give away while only taking public money into their own pockets using patents.

A Story of Monopoly: Microsoft Accuses Google Again, This Time Directly

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Google, Microsoft at 1:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.”

Andre Gide

Summary: Microsoft appears to have forgotten its status as a convicted monopoly abuser as it proceeds to accusing Google of returning search results; Apple too is starting to adopt monopolistic tactics

THE hypocrites from Microsoft accuse Google of monopoly. What makes it different from the usual accusations is that Microsoft is doing this directly, thus leaving itself exposed to accusations of hypocrisy. Typically, Microsoft is pushing for Google antitrust through other companies and sometimes lobbying against Google using AstroTurfers too (e.g. LawMedia Group and potentially “Consumer Watchdog” [1, 2, 3, 4] too).

Here is what The Hill says:

Microsoft may be the latest company to raise concerns about a search engine (read: Google) acting as an Internet gatekeeper, according to comments published last week on the Seattle website PubliCola.

As Mike Masnick puts it:

Microsoft should know better than to complain about Google’s actions and suggest they’re in some way anti-competitive. Remember that, even if the actual penalties (penalties? what penalties?) made the ruling meaningless, Microsoft was a convicted monopolist. Having big competitors point fingers at each other screaming about “anti-competitive” behavior is just silly.

Currently there are FTC and ITC investigations into Apple’s practices [1, 2, 3, 4] and this one new article asks, “Is the new Apple ruthless at its core?”

Apple has also been embarrassed lately by accusations of worker exploitation after a spate of suicides at factories operated by Foxconn, its main Chinese manufacturer. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs responded, characteristically, by claiming that his company is exceptionally rigorous when it comes to overseeing its suppliers. Yet worker activists say Apple bears some of the blame for Foxconn’s subsistence-pay wages and long work shifts because it persuaded Foxconn to build devices for such a low price.

Although federal antitrust officials are reportedly looking into Apple’s effort to bar rival advertising networks, it’s hard to see how the company’s tactics violate the law. Simply put, the iPhone doesn’t dominate the smartphone market. The more important question is how consumers will react to the emerging picture of Apple. They may shrug off all these developments because they don’t change how Apple’s products perform. Or they may decide that the company revered for thinking different has become just another corporate bully.

Apple’s broken-by-design products are clearly blocking competition. Since it is no violation of the law to sell proprietary software, one ought to look at how Apple exploits the secrecy of its code to abuse a monopoly.

SharePoint Crashes

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Servers at 1:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SharePoint logo

Summary: Fine new examples of the fragility of Microsoft lock-in systems

WE HAVE just created a new Wiki page about SharePoint. To this page we add this latest story of a SharePoint catastrophe. As Slashdot puts it:

snydeq writes “Microsoft’s latest Black Tuesday SharePoint patch is causing Windows SharePoint Servers to lock up, according to a report from InfoWorld. There does not appear to be a single solution to the problem, which Microsoft has yet to officially acknowledge. Compounding the problem is a bug that prevents patch KB 983444 from being uninstalled. ‘Patching gurus recommend that anyone who’s encountered this problem call Microsoft support and file a problem report. Immediately. Until the level of clamor reaches a critical point, Microsoft may not have sufficient impetus to fix the patch.’”

From the original article:

Admins report that a new Microsoft patch is causing SharePoint servers to fall over — and getting them back up isn’t easy

As we argued this morning, support for Mono from companies like Infragistics seeks to guarantee that GNU/Linux inherits the flawed architecture of Microsoft software. There is nothing to be admired in it.

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