06.18.10

Links 18/6/2010: Parted Magic 4.11, AT&T Against Linux Freedom

Posted in News Roundup at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • HP: The Linux distributor?

    Hardware companies don’t tend to have their own Linux distributions. IBM uses Linux everywhere, but they don’t have their own Linux. Dell will be happy to sell you notebooks and netbooks with Ubuntu or a workstation or server with RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux). But, no major OEM (original equipment manufacturer) has had a house-brand Linux… until now. HP has recently bought not one, but two Linux distributions.

    Surely HP is not getting into the Linux distribution business? Are they!?

    HP first acquired its own Linux distribution bough Palm to get its hand on webOS. For some reason, a lot of people seemed to think that Palm was still using its old proprietary operating system, Palm OS. Nope. WebOS has proprietary extensions but this mobile device OS with its Linux kernel heart has more in common with Android and MeeGo than it does with its proprietary fore-bearers.

    [...]

    The one thing I can’t see HP doing though is releasing its Linux takes to other people as full Linux distributions. Instead, I see HP using its Linuxes to add value to their own offerings, not as something they’d sell, nevermind give away, to other vendors or users. HP will do what it needs to do to keep from running afoul of the GPL, but that will be it.

  • Linux Professional Institute and Government of Tunisia to certify IT graduates

    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization (http://www.lpi.org), announced with the Ministry of Communication Technologies of Tunisia (http://www.mincom.tn) a program to train and certify young graduates in Linux and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

  • First Linux to appear in Flemish comic series ?

    This is something I found via Dag Wieers.

  • Desktop

    • Improving The Linux Desktop? Why, It’s Elementary

      The motivation for elementary started long before project leader Daniel Foré had ever even heard of Linux. Back in those early days he was a Windows user (like many of us), who got caught up in the idea of making Windows look like OS X.

      Later on (I’m proud to say) he discovered Kororaa Linux and was amazed at the power and flexibility of the Linux desktop. This sparked an underlying passion for great computing and a desire to create the most amazing desktop possible. Through these experiences he began his first project, making a Crystal style icon set for GNOME, and shortly thereafter The elementary Project was born.

      There are now many parts to elementary and the project is currently working on several ideas at once. Still prevalent is the ever popular elementary icon set and GTK theme (called eGTK for short), but searching wider than that we find efforts to improve Midori (the lightweight GTK Webkit based web browser) and even Nautilus, GNOME’s built-in file manager. There’s even an elementary Theme Addon for Firefox. The goal for elementary is to improve many individual aspects of the Linux desktop and feed them upstream, while at the same time pulling it all together into a new and exciting desktop experience. Many of their modifications to Nautilus for example came from rejected Bugzilla patches and those that weren’t, have been sent upstream. If their work to-date is anything to go by, this is definitely one project to keep an eye on.

    • Dell joining Acer and HP in Chrome OS hardware

      A list of config files has been spotted within Chrome OS listing not only long-standing likely suspects Acer as hardware partners, but HP and Dell too.

      [...]

      According to Download Squad, a list of files within the .git repository, which look after Chrome’s hardware support in the build process, indicate that the three hardware makers are advanced enough in their preparations to be specified in config files.

  • Old PCs

    • “Smart Reuse With Open Source”

      Fosdick points out that with Linux, computers up to ten years old (basically Pentium III or better) are reusable. Microsoft’s difficult and expensive refurbisher program can only reuse computers up to about five years old.

    • Where in the world?

      Time for a fresh install of Linux! If only I had remembered to pack an installation CD along with my jim-jams and toothbrush… My Dad’s PC is so old, it doesn’t have a CD burner, nor does it boot from a USB stick.

  • Server

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • The kernel column #88

      Five years of Git
      Christian Ludwig noted that it’s now been five years since Linus Torvalds – frustrated by the fallout from use of the proprietary BitKeeper software – wrote the guts of the Git distributed revision control system in the space of about a week. A lot more effort has gone in since then, and Junio C Hamano (as well as many others) continue to do an excellent job further developing and maintaining Linus’s original invention. Git (now at version 1.7.1) is used by a vast number of different open source projects, and tools like gitweb, github and others make collaboration between developers easier than ever before. Christian Ludwig has made a fun video showing Git kernel history,

    • Graphics Stack

      • New ATI Linux Video Driver Has OpenGL 4.0 and RHEL 5.5 Support

        Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced last evening, June 16th, another improved version of its ATI Catalyst Linux display driver, available for both x86 and x86_64 architectures. ATI Catalyst 10.6 introduces final and stable support for the Red Hat Enterprise 5.5 Linux operating system, official OpenGL 4.0 and OpenGL 3.3 support, and many 2D performance improvements. The software version was updated to 8.741.

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • Epic Moment: Free and fast graphics at last

      So, what’s the epic moment? Well, the epic moment for me was seeing KDE Plasma start up with the Free driver, enable compositing automatically and by that delivering a much more beautiful and functional desktop to me, out of the box.

  • Distributions

    • The fragile balance between fast and reliable

      Being a Distro developer, or a packager if you prefer, is not always that simple. Many people think that our “job” is quite straight forward. All we need to do is to read the INSTALL file and then adapt the instructions into an ebuild format and we are done. Well it is definitely more than that.

      [...]

      Every time a new version is available, a series of tests need to be run to make sure we retain a high level of QA in our tree. Such tests involve multiple compilations with various compilation flags, compilers, use flags, etc etc

    • New Releases

      • Parted Magic 4.11

        The Parted Magic OS employs core programs of GParted and Parted to handle partitioning tasks with ease, while featuring other useful programs (e.g. Clonezilla, Partimage, TestDisk, Truecrypt, G4L, SuperGrubDisk, ddrescue, etc…) and an excellent set of documentation to benefit the user.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • BOSS is Nobody’s Boss!

        Developed by C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing), it’s yet another Debian fork with packages more dated than the current Debian stable, Lenny (Remember, Squeeze is close to freezing and is unofficially ready for mass consumption). BOSS’ software stack has all the usual suspects such as – Web server, proxy server, Database server, Mail server, Network server, File and Print server, SMS server, LDAP server, plus all major Indian language packs. However, all these and the underlying kernel, desktop environments and userland is very old. Now, the latest, at version 3.0, it still sticks to linux 2.6.22, xorg 1.3, gnome 2.20, OOo 2.2 and FF 3.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Review: Ubuntu Linux 10.04 – It just works

          Out of the box comes a complete operating system with a full office suite (OpenOffice), FireFox webbrowser, CD/DVD burner, movie editor, IM-client, BitTorrent-Client and so much more. You can practically immediately start working and doing everyday tasks right after the installation. It’s still a complete mystery why the .mp3 support is missing, but it take a few seconds to fix that and start listening to your music collection.

        • Ubuntu 10.04 Upgrade: Best Practices Checklist

          Have you been thinking about upgrading your computer to Ubuntu 10.04? I recently made the leap, at the prompting of my Update Manager. The process went fairly smoothly, but I did have to deal with a couple of minor annoyances. Since you never know exactly what may happen when you decide to upgrade, here are a few tips to get you started.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” To be Radical, Promises Shuttleworth

          Canonical chief, Mark Shuttleworth said on his blog recently that the Ubuntu version 10.10 will be focussed on being social and being fast. According to him, the OS is getting faster and faster when it comes to boot times but “the final push remains”. In the mean time, he said that the Netbook Edition of Ubuntu 10.10 will have a revamped UI and it will be the fastest booting and the fastest to network OS for netbooks at that time. Canonical is of course the company that funds and oversees the Ubuntu project.

          In keeping with the alliterative and animal naming scheme — Ubuntu 10.10 is being called “Maverick Meerkat”. Meerkats are social creatures by nature. They are very family oriented. And their name has been adopted to signify the emphasize being laid on being social.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Jolicloud: Ubuntu Linux Touch Screens Meet the Cloud

            Ubuntu Linux will ship on roughly 5 million computers this year, according to Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth. And that number could grow further thanks to Jolicloud — an Ubuntu-based operating system designed to blend netbooks with cloud computing. Moreover, Jolicloud recently gained touch-screen support, which could position the OS for mobile Internet devices (MIDs). But is Jolicloud ready for partners? Here are some insights.

          • Linux Mint 9 RC Backs Up Your Data and Application Choices

            We’ve previously suggested that Linux Mint, a distant cousin of Ubuntu, might make for a better beginner’s Linux OS. With the inclusion of an incremental backup tool, app selection backups, and a smarter software finder, Mint is hitting its mark.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Low Cost ARM11 Development Kits Runs Main-line Linux and Android

      Witech recently released another Low cost ARM11 development kit, With the price of US$ 139.00 for an ARM11 OK6410 development kit plus a 4.3 inch TFT LCD, Witech pronounce that the OK6410 features the best price-performance ratio to date.

    • Bluecherry releases a Linux MPEG-4 compression card

      OPEN SAUCE security surveillance vendor Bluecherry says it has released the software driver for version 2 of its Linux based hardware compression card.

    • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Nokia S Series – The MeeGo Smartphones We Want To See

        It’s always been expected that the Maemo based Nokia N900 will eventually run MeeGo, but it would be nice to see a whole range of smartphones running this smarter than smart Open Source OS.

      • A Review Of MeeGo v1.0: Is It Good Enough For Your Netbook?

        When I first set out to try MeeGo, I had hoped to boot up the live USB image on my netbook. What I soon discovered, however, is that it would not work. My netbook (an EeePC 1201n) has an Nvidia Ion graphics chipset, which is not supported by MeeGo (along with ATI and Intel GMA 500 chipsets). I further found that my other netbook (EeePC 900) was also not supported because it was a pre-Atom model, and MeeGo only supports Intel Atom processors.

        [...]

        MeeGo seems like a pretty decent operating system. On the surface, however, it does not seem very different from Moblin, which would make it appear to be a one-sided Intel affair. Underneath, however, Nokia has integrated it with the QT widget set and underlying Linux kernel development merged from Maemo. All of this makes MeeGo very fast, which I was not able to accurately test in Qemu.

        Overall, it seems good, but it will need some screen size improvement to work well on netbooks. For tablets, the large tabs at the top will work nicely. Assuming Intel and Nokia plan to support a larger number of devices than they currently do, MeeGo will be a nice addition.

    • Android

      • Droid X vs iPhone 4: The Last Phone Ringing

        Today there are many phones which may give the iPhone run for money if they had a ‘salesperson’ like Steve Jobs. This is no hidden fact that Apple has a fan following and most of its devices sell owing to this following. Apple fans ignore and reject the limitations these devices have, instead of asking for a device that fit their needs, they adopt to the devices.

        [...]

        On the contrary, Android is all about healthy competition. Droid X will have full support for Adobe Flash (Adobe should now release Flash under some Free Software license). Thus Droid X will have marketing backing of Motorola, Verizon and Adobe.

      • Is AT&T Polluting Android Phones?

        AT&T seems be pushing its iPhone philosophy on Android phone. The company is going against the very foundation of Free Software or Open Source on which Android is based.

      • AT&T CEO: We’re Happy Where We Are With Android Compared to Verizon

        Randall also comments on their desire to push Yahoo! Search on most of their devices, stating they don’t like Google’s decision on keeping their own search engine as the operating system’s default. The reason? It’s anti-open-source. I’m not going to go too deep with trying to argue Randall’s statements, but how is being given the ability to change Android’s default search and services experience to whatever you want “anti-open-source”?

      • Android leads growing Linux-based phone market

        A new report by ABI Research says Linux-based smart phones will outpace the rate of growth of the overall smart phone market by 2015. The drivers behind the expanding market share

    • Tablets

      • SmartDevices SmartQ V7 Linux Tablet

        SmartDevices has upgraded their Ubuntu Linux SmartQ 7 tablet and renamed it SmartQ V7 and classified it as a HD MID. The SmartQ V7 is a big brother of the SmartQ V5 has been upgraded to the Telechips TCC8900 ARM 11 CPU that runs at 600MHz and had the RAM doubled from 128MB to 256MB DD2 and runs at three times the speed @330MHz.

Free Software/Open Source

  • TransferSummit – Open innovation in software means Open Source

    Open source projects are very probably the best way to efficiently bring software experts together today. Industry associations and interest groups might fulfil that role in other industries, but developers like to express themselves in code, and open source projects are where that happens today.

  • credativ, LLC and Forest Informatics, Inc. Announce Partnership, Training for Open Source Geospatial Database Analytics, Potential for Massive Cost Savings

    credativ, a global open source consulting, service, and support company, announced today a partnership with Forest Informatics, Inc., a provider of turnkey and custom solutions for forest resource management. Together, they will offer introductory and advanced training on geospatial analytics, initially in San Diego, California.

  • Updating the Open Source PBX Story

    One of the big stories of 2009 was the finding by John Malone of Eastern Management Group, reported first on No Jitter, that open source systems account for 18% of the IP-PBX market. Now John is updating his research, so I encourage you to go take his survey and help as we continue to refine our picture of the IP-PBX user base.

  • Being locked in with proprietary software

    This is why I greatly prefer open source software. It is completely free as in freedom, and we can use it anonymously and that’s just OK with everybody. I don’t like giving away lots of details to vendors about any of my hardware/software. Many times, they don’t need to know anything more than the simple fact that you’ve paid them money, and you own their product.

  • Azul Systems To Open Source Significant Technology in Managed Runtime Initiative
  • Azul Systems Launches Open Initiative for Improving Managed Runtimes

    As part of the launch of the Initiative, Azul is contributing an open source reference implementation based on enhancements to OpenJDK and the Linux operating system.

  • When It Comes to Security, Openness Isn’t Always a Virtue – Con: Joe Brockmeier

    Companies have not shown a tendency to be entirely forthcoming about security breaches unless they have to be. It’s not only impossible to examine the code for vulnerabilities, it’s also impossible to know exactly what is being done with your data. This should scare the hell out of people when talking about their personal data.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.0 adds multi-site support

      The WordPress development team have released version 3.0 of their popular open source blogging and publishing platform, code named “Thelonious”. The thirteenth major update has more than 2,700 changes, including 1,217 bug fixes and feature enhancements.

  • Education

    • Questionmark Supports Moodle Course Management Integration

      The Questionmark Moodle Connector enables instructors to link their Moodle courses to course evaluations, quizzes, tests and exams deployed using Perception. Instructors may specify assessment dates and limit the number of times students may access assessments.

  • Healthcare

    • Alliance develops medical software for smartphones

      The Continua Health Alliance is developing a software library of source code to run medical applications on select smartphones. The work is being done in partnership with Vignet, a medical software developer.

  • Business Intelligence

    • Business Intelligence Alternatives ‘Good Enough’ for Many Users

      While lower upfront cost isn’t the only reason to consider open source software, it’s one that initially gets the attention of many organizations. (I guess most of us are no different. When I’m shopping, I generally head to the clearance racks first. Who wants to pay full price if you don’t have to?)

      In fact, with a continued emphasis on reducing IT costs, organizations are “obliged to at least evaluate open source as an alternative” to traditionally licensed software, said David White, a senior research analyst for The Aberdeen Group, when I interviewed him about his recent report, “Open Source Business Intelligence: The Cost, Utilization and Innovation Factors that Matter.”

  • Finance

    • How to Make Money on Open Source Software

      We are big fans of the open source software movement. We believe that free and open software opens up markets and new capabilities much more quickly than closed and expensive software products. In the comments to my post on another open source effort we are funding, MongoDB, there was a discussion about why a VC firm would want to invest in free and open software. In that discussion, I explained that there are a number of ways to make money with open source software. The most obvious one is the “Red Hat” model of building a services and support business on top of the open source software. Red Hat has revenues of almost $600mm per year and boasts a public market valuation of over $5bn. MySQL, which also used that approach, sold to Sun for $1bn.

    • Open Source VAT software, would you risk it?

      There’s a good deal of debate in technology circles these days as to what point level source software, or indeed free and open source software, can fulfil our needs – especially when business gets mission critical. For individuals, mission critical status comes along when it comes to our health, our family, our house and our money so Tax and VAT certainly come within radius.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • Norwegian Free Software Center Opposes Government Pro-FOSS Policy

      I may be missing something, but it looks to me as though the Norwegian Free Software Center is not only abandoning its mandate, but working against it. There is no evidence to justify crying conspiracy, and no doubt Gundersen and Austlid are sincere, yet you have to wonder how they could argue against the very cause they are supposed to promote.

      However, that is not the reason that I have spent time discussing their argument. With all respect, Norway is a single small country, and, living halfway around the world from it, I am unlikely to be affected much by what happens there.

      All the same, Gundersen and Austlid’s arguments are worth examining for their own sake. One day, those of us outside Norway may be lucky enough to hear our own federal, provincial or city governments propose pro-free software policies. If we do, then we will undoubtedly hear similar arguments against the policies, and need to start thinking about how to debunk them.

      Unless I am mistaken, though, the only difference will be that the counter arguments that we hear will most likely come from the critics and enemies of free software — not those who are supposed to support it.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source brings new meaning to user-generated content

      OpenBlock is the open source software powering the project and is being developed by the nonprofit group OpenPlans. They’re partnering with The Columbia Daily Tribune in Missouri and The Boston Globe on two separate, but similar, projects.

  • Open Data

    • Tricky Sea Ice Predictions Call for Scientists to Open Their Data

      With sea ice levels in the Arctic at record lows this month, a new report comparing scientists’ predictions calls for caution in over-interpreting a few weeks worth of data from the North Pole.

      The Sea Ice Outlook, which will be released this week, brings together more than a dozen teams’ best guesses at how much sea ice will disappear by the end of the warm season in September. This year began with a surprise. More sea ice appeared than anticipated, nearing its mean level from 1979-2007. But then ice levels plummeted through May and into June. Scientists have never seen the Arctic with less ice at this time of year in the three decades they’ve been able to measure it, and they expect below average ice for the rest of the year.

  • Open Access/Content

    • Can You Make Money from Free Stuff?

      It’s good to see companies like Getty Images trying to include material that’s licensed under Creative Commons licences, but it will be interesting to see how this all works in practice. It does, in any case, emphasise that making money from free stuff, while perfectly possible, requires careful thought about the licensing. But then you knew that anyway.

    • BCS EGM: It’s Time To Vote For Transparency

      Despite the unbalanced presentation on the official BCS web site (where there is no attempt to represent the views of the loyal and senior members who felt compelled to call the meeting as a last resort – their case is on their own site), the issues the EGM raises are serious and reflect a widespread disquiet among active BCS members. The webcast by the BCS President and CEO on June 10 didn’t make things any better, attacking the messengers further rather than responding to the message, and today I’m left with the same unease as I had when I first saw the EGM was happening.

  • Open Hardware

    • Open source automobiles?

      What is interesting about Riversimple is its business model. To begin with the cars are all leased for a monthly fee, not bought, and secondly, all the technology and design is open source. According to its publicity,

    • Future of Health: The Open Prosthetics Project

      The Open Prosthetics Project is producing useful innovations in the field of prosthetics and freely sharing the designs. This project is an open source collaboration between users, designers and funders with the goal of making creations available for anyone to use and build upon.

Leftovers

  • Security/Aggression

    • MP in talks over Birmingham ‘terror cameras’

      An MP is meeting the crime-prevention group involved a row over surveillance cameras in parts of Birmingham with large Muslim populations.

      Hall Green Labour MP Roger Godsiff is seeking reassurance there will be a “thorough” consultation before the 218 cameras are switched on.

    • The Case for Calling Them Nitwits

      When terrorists do execute an attack, or come close, they often have security failures to thank, rather than their own expertise. Consider Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab — the Nigerian “Jockstrap Jihadist” who boarded a Detroit-bound jet in Amsterdam with a suicidal plan in his head and some explosives in his underwear. Although the media colored the incident as a sophisticated al-Qaeda plot, Abdulmutallab showed no great skill or cunning, and simple safeguards should have kept him off the plane in the first place. He was, after all, traveling without luggage, on a one-way ticket that he purchased with cash. All of this while being on a U.S. government watch list.

    • Stalin’s harvest

      A PLAINTIVE siren wails as a government unit, invisible in the darkness, patrols. “We will shoot anyone on the streets. Military curfew. Do not leave your homes,” comes the clipped command in Russian over the loudspeaker. A round of tank-artillery fire rings out. A machinegun crackles a response. This is “calm”, of a sort, after the bloody mayhem of inter-ethnic violence between the Kyrgyz majority and the Uzbek minority that broke out in southern Kyrgyzstan on June 10th. But in Osh, as elsewhere, the wounds that have been opened may take generations to heal.

  • Environment

  • Finance

    • UK deficit and government borrowing – how has it changed since 1946?

      Britain’s budget deficit came in lower than feared last month, the latest indication that the public finances are over the worst of the financial crisis.

      The government borrowed £16bn in May, below last year’s £17.4bn and less than the £18bn expected by City economists.

      However, the nation’s debt has now reached £903bn – equivalent to 62.2% of GDP, the highest since records began in 1993, underlining the task faced by the coalition government in cutting the debt burden.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Why can’t journalists handle public criticism?

      Why do so many journalists find it so hard to handle public criticism? If you’re an athlete, you’re used to it. If you’re an artist, critics will regularly take you down. If you are in government, the pundits and now the bloggers will show no mercy. If you’re in business, the market will punish you.

      In all these cases, the seasoned professional learns to deal with it. But over and over today, we encounter the sorry spectacle of distinguished reporters losing it when their work is publicly attacked — or columnists sneering at the feedback they get in poorly moderated web comments.

      Clark Hoyt recently concluded his tenure as the New York Times’ “public editor” (aka ombudsman) with a farewell column that described the reactions of Times journalists to his work. It seems the process of being critiqued in public in their own paper continues to be alienating and dispiriting to them. Journalists typically, and rightly, see themselves as bearers of public accountability — holding the feet of government officials, business leaders and other public figures to the fire of their inquiries. Yet, remarkably, a surprising number of journalists still find it hard to accept being held to account themselves.

    • HTTPS Everywhere

      HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox extension produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It encrypts your communications with a number of major websites.

    • Toxic net filters ‘shelved until after election’

      The internet censorship policy has joined the government’s list of “politically toxic subjects” and will almost certainly be shelved until after the federal election, Greens communications spokesman Scott Ludlam says.

      Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – already facing a voter backlash over several perceived policy failures – is expected to call the election before the end of the year and the feeling of many in Canberra is that next week will be the last sitting week of Parliament.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Significant Objects Becomes A Book… More Infinite Goods Creating New Scarcities

      Last year, we wrote about a fascinating “art” project, called “Significant Objects,” that involved a bunch of writers buying up random cheap/worthless trinkets, but then listing them on eBay along with a creative (fictional) story about the object. The “story” was given away for free, but the object cost money. What those involved in the project quickly found was that these worthless trinkets were suddenly selling for a lot more than their nominal “price.” It was a perfect example of how an infinite good (the story), when properly attached to a scarce good (the trinket), can make that scarce good much more valuable.

    • Copyrights

      • Police Raids Tear Apart Hungarian BitTorrent Scene

        Through co-ordinated raids across the country, Hungarian police have attempted to decimate the country’s BitTorrent scene. Following the deployment of many officers, dozens of servers were seized and many of the country’s trackers shut down, including the prominent 900,000 peer ‘ncore’ tracker. An ISP, university and many seedboxes were also targeted.

      • EMI Rejig Gives Faxon Control Of Rights-Hungry Label

        The umpteenth restructure at EMI Group, since the Terra Firma takeover three years ago, sees the chief of one of its two divisions upped to group-wide CEO

        EMI is bringing both its EMI Music Publishing and its EMI Recorded Music divisions under the leadership of Roger Faxon, who has led the former unit since 2007 but who is being given an overarching role.

    • ACTA

      • Agenda For Round Nine of ACTA Talks Posted

        The agenda for the ninth round of ACTA talks scheduled for Lucerne, Switzerland from June 28 – July 1st. All the major issues – civil enforcement, criminal provisions, Internet issues, and border measures – are on the agenda. The agenda includes two elements that suggest considerable progress has been made. First, the morning of the first day is devoted to a report on “intersessional work.” This confirms rumours that there have been considerable negotiations (and progress) since New Zealand. Second, the international cooperation chapter makes the agenda for the first time.

Clip of the Day

Marc Welz: CLUG Talk – 26 August 2008 – DNS (2008)


Lessons to the UK-IPO and EPO, Courtesy of USPTO Failure

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Patents at 6:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EU and US

Summary: What the UK Intellectual Property Office and the EPO ought to learn now that software patents are candidates for deletion in the United States

The final decision regarding Bilski is imminent [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and Groklaw writes about the Bilski decision which leads it to “suspense”. To legal folks it matters a great deal.

No opinion on In Re Bilski will issue today. The next possibility is June 21.

Opinions today were in Dillon v. United States, Schwab v. Reilly, Ontario v. Quon, Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc. v. Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection and New Process Steel, L. P. v. NLRB. All are available at the link as PDFs, and there are some highlights by Tony Mauro on Law.com.

According to SCOTUSblog, Schwab was the last undecided case, except for Bilski, argued during the last November session.

I don’t know about you, but the suspense is killing me.

Groklaw then rebuts Patent WatchTroll, perhaps choosing to pay attention to lawyers to whom science is measured in terms of paperwork. They measure patent output, which is not a scientific measure of progress. They have also hijacked the patent system in order to increase benefits to themselves. Bastian Best is one example of someone who wants software patents in Europe for selfish reasons. A short while ago he asked: “Does anyone know a reliable #statistic about the number of #swpat filings vs. patents granted at the #EPO and the #USPTO? Help appreciated!”

As Simon Phipps put it regarding this article from March:

Not only is the patent system broken (it has forgotten to protect the public good in return for granting a temporary monopoly), but it turns out that thousands of the things are kept secret.

Shaped for an analog age where businesses were control points in a disconnected society, patents have become sinkholes for money an innovation in the connected digital age, allowing unjust monopolisation and chilling of network effects.

We are /so/ overdue reform of the patent system, in the UK, the US and pretty much everywhere else.

Patent lawyers in Europe are trying to legalise software patents and to an extent they succeed while the US goes the other way. In order to avoid the mistakes of the USPTO (which the Bilski trial seeks to correct), people all across Europe should refuse to acknowledge software patents.

European Commission Still Lobbied by Microsoft, OASIS Does Not Support Software Freedom

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Standard at 5:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OASIS members

Summary: Groups in Europe fight over the definitions of “open source” and “open standards”; meanwhile, “Free/libre software” is being left out of this conversation

THE EUROPEAN Commission made some disappointing statements recently [1, 2], probably and reportedly after being lobbied by Microsoft front groups like ACT (Jonathan Zuck’s current shell). For some background, see older posts such as:

  1. European Open Source Software Workgroup a Total Scam: Hijacked and Subverted by Microsoft et al
  2. Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
  3. Does the European Commission Harbour a Destruction of Free/Open Source Software Workgroup?
  4. The Illusion of Transparency at the European Parliament/Commission (on Microsoft)
  5. 2 Months and No Disclosure from the European Parliament
  6. After 3 Months, Europe Lets Microsoft-Influenced EU Panel be Seen
  7. Formal Complaint Against European Commission for Harbouring Microsoft Lobbyists
  8. ‘European’ Software Strategy Published, Written by Lobbyists and Multinationals
  9. Microsoft Uses Inside Influence to Grab Control, Redefine “Open Source”
  10. With Friends Like These, Who Needs Microsoft?

According to this new report, the Commission is still being bamboozled by Microsoft lobbyists:

European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes today (19 May) unveiled her strategy to create a “virtuous and self-replicating digital economy”. The five-year plan concentrates on infrastructure for high-speed Internet and fostering a borderless market for online music and film.

[...]

Jonathan Zuck, president of the Association of Competitive Technologies, stated: “Developing European digital services and products is crucial. European SMEs are not only users but often pioneers in developing new and original services which are critical for EU employment, competitiveness and growth. If we talk about our digital future, then innovative SMEs have to be a focal point. Policies should protect users and consumers, but also promote the innovative creators behind successful technologies.”

It is sad to see that the door is left open to lobbying groups that masquerade as fronts for SMBs whilst actually promoting monopolies that fund them.

The president of the FFII points to this new document from the EU Commission [PDF], saying that the EC stands for software patents in standards by arguing “There should be no bias in favour or against royalty free standards” and using the undefined FRAND term by writing: “IPR to all third parties on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms”

According to Red Hat’s opensource.com, the term “open standard” loses its meaning (partly due to lobbying). To quote:

Debate over the definition of an “open standard” has become a contentious one. Gerloff proposes that, “For a standard to be open, it is key that it can be implemented by anyone, anywhere, without asking for permission.” This perspective was largely reflected in the European Interoperability Framework v.1 (2004), but appears to have been abandoned in a leaked second version in October, 2009. “That was a key moment, when we saw how strong the lobby on the proprietary side is in Brussels,” Gerloff said.

Peter Brown (from OASIS, not the FSF) has also just made a somewhat hostile remark about “open source”:

It will also be important in the debate on the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) to assess the real value of open source as distinct from open standards. Whereas open standards contribute very positively to the IT eco-system, I personally believe there is much misunderstanding surrounding open source: even if ‘open’, increasingly complex code, often poorly maintained and under the aegis of a singly consultancy firm, can often create greater ‘lock-in’ and dependency than reliable, well-documented, licensed and known commercial software.

OASIS, the patron of ODF, made an encouraging statement about the subject of patents (not contradicting IBM's attitude towards software patents), but it is not to be viewed as a supporter of software freedom. OASIS is not supported by companies with such interests (IBM is the first member listed). To give one very recent example, see what IBM’s Rob Weir wrote about the FSF’s “4 freedoms” and presented some days ago. Here is slide 8 of this new presentation [PDF]:

Weir on freedoms

IBM keeps many of its crown jewels proprietary and it then raves about standards, obviously at the expense of software freedom. The screenshot above is part of several slides that demonstrate IBM’s attitude.

As we emphasised and showed many times before, IBM promotes the patenting of software. IBM brags about not only sending jobs to places where it’s cheaper (good for shareholders) but also amassing patents (monopolies), based on this new press release:

Since 1995, IBM employees in Massachusetts were awarded 2,950 patents.

Amongst IBM’s patents there was the attempt to have a monopoly on offshoring. The PR above is intended to send the opposite impression to the public in the US (jobs creation in Massachusetts).

Speaking of companies that drape themselves in “open source” while amassing software patents, how about Gear6? A couple of days ago we found this in The Register:

Gear6 fell on hard times, and a liquidation filing was reported in late April. Now Violin Memory has bought its technology assets, saying: “The venture funded Gear6 portfolio includes over 30 customers and multiple patents related to NFS Caching and Memcached.”

It doesn’t matter who applies for software patents. Such patents can change hands and sometimes end up being auctioned away to patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. The only real solution is to eliminate software patents. More to come in the next post…

Microsoft Fragmentation: 7 Editions of Vista/7 and No Less Than 6 Different Operating Systems for Mobile Phones and Devices

Posted in Apple, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 5:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Broken window

Summary: Windows is very fragmented and so is Apple, based on simple evidence

SEVERAL days ago we debunked the notion that GNU/Linux suffers from fragmentation (there is only one Linux) and showed that both Apple and Microsoft are just as ‘fragmented’ as (if not more fragmented than) GNU/Linux.

The latest reminder of Apple fragmentation is this hilarious comic. Watch it. It’s wonderful.

When it comes to Microsoft’s mobile platforms, we have many posts about the fragmentation there. It doesn’t take long to realise that it’s a sordid operating systems mess, but Mary Jo Foley actually made an attempt at counting them. From a new article titled “Microsoft rolls out yet another mobile OS”:

Meanwhile, ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley noted that Microsoft now offered at least six different (and confusing) operating systems for mobile phones and devices.

Well, now we can use the “fragmentation” slur against Apple and against Microsoft. Wouldn’t that be a reversal? By endless repetition they associated fragmentation with “Linux”.

FSF Hostility From Novell’s Former Managers Amid Fight Against ACTA

Posted in Boycott Novell, FSF, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Advocacy of freedom seen as “negative” by so-called ‘pragmatists’ who chose to serve Novell

The former community manager of OpenSUSE (who left Novell some months ago) continues an old tradition. Sometimes he lies about the FSF and sometimes he only daemonises. There are other Novell employees who do this, including Microsoft MVPs who still work for the company.

“Joe Brockmeier Has a Bad Day,” argues Pogson in response to this new piece.

He declares the campaigning of the Free Software Foundation for Free Software is negative and must change.

Talk about a narrow point of view. The FSF must advocate for Free Software. That is its purpose. There is nothing negative about requiring software to be able to be run, examined, modified and distributed under a global and popular licence. There is a battle raging with the forces who would take freedom away. It is necessary to have sentries guarding the boundaries. It is necessary to have leaders rally the troops.

Brockmeier would have us believe that open source is good enough, or something. It is not clear what he wants. I see FLOSS as widely accepted and growing constantly in share of usage. What does he see? Negativity!

Need criticism be forbidden? It was only a week ago that we last wrote about this subject, having written about it extensively in 2009 [1, 2].

Here are two more responses to Brockmeier’s piece:

i. Shooting The Messenger

There’s been another round of criticism on various blogs of the FSF’s media campaigns to draw people’s attention to the harm that not respecting software users freedom does. But the FSF’s campaigns explaining why Microsoft and Apple’s failure to respect users freedom is harmful have been successful in getting out the message that alternatives are needed. In the mainstream press as well as in the tech and tech culture media.

The FSF’s critics are ignoring the fact that most of the FSF’s work consists not only of the positive promotion of the idea of free software, but in practically supporting and protecting its creation and use.

ii. More Anti-Free Software Spin

Secondly, the lead anti-FSF person is – surprise, surprise – Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, who not only is consistently confused[1] about the FSF, he’s also amusingly fond of distorting FSF claims to try to make them appear like they support his position.

Mr. Brockmeier’s writings on the FSF reveal a misunderstanding so deep and profound of the FSF and its mission that I have a hard time accepting it is honest. It starts at the very first sentence, where Mr. Brockmeier falsely implies the FSF has no “positive way to push for software freedom” and continues to the very end, where Mr. Brockmeier idiotically implies that the FSF is not at the “center” of “folks concerned with protecting software freedom”.

Another example: Mr. Brockmeier’s ignorance (or maliciousness, take your pick) is revealed when he insinuates that RMS is “taking the FSF out of the game” by telling users not to use Saas, without mentioning that the FSF is in fact developing alteratives like GNU Social and LibrePlanet.

We won’t address the article from Brockmeier simply because 3 other people have done this already. There is no need for more rebuttals and some people would characterise this as a “personal attack”.

In more important news, “FSF Starts Anti-ACTA Campaign,” says Slashdot. We have included more references about it in our daily links.

My presentation will not be a very technical one but instead will be an analysis of where we are and where we are going. I will start by speaking of the economic and political context in which ACTA is being discussed. Then, I will give an overview of elements of EU IP enforcement legislation that is related to the ACTA text and that is at the centre of EU legislative debate. Finally, and most importantly, I will reflect upon the movement critical of ACTA and similar measures of IP enforcement the strategic options, coalition building, contradictions, strongpoints and pitfalls.

Florian Müller drew our attention to his comment about it. He speaks about the impact of ACTA on software patents. “Just thought I’d mention because the thing about EU responsibility for patents being included may be an angle of interest to you next time you write about ACTA,” he told us. From his comment:

My concern about ACTA is not related to copyright law but to its effect on patents. Copyright law is practically always infringed by intent, while patent infringement in the field of software is in most cases inadvertent (that’s the most fundamental problem I have with software patents). It would be desirable to introduce into patent law, at least in connection with software, an independent invention defense. However, ACTA in the version I saw might do quite the opposite, treating a patent infringer as a “pirate” once he is made aware of an infringement (for an example, by a cease-and-desist letter). That’s unreasonable and unjust in my view.

Here is the feedback from Pogson and from a former MEP. Nobody except Hollywood and other monopolists seems to like ACTA. In fact, everyone hates it. It’s part of the class war. There are loads of links here for those who wish to read further about the subject.

One reader drew our attention to this insulting article from The Register. It calls the FSF “freetards” (right in the headline) and our reader mailed us the following screenshot from the article to show how they are being daemonised where Microsoft is glorified.

Black helicoptors and Visual Studio

Here is a better article about the FSF’s action:

Richard Stallman and the Free Software Federation have issued a call to arms for the free software movement to mobilise against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently being negotiated.

In an extended posting on the FSF web site Stallman [pictured] called on people around the world to sign a declaration calling for severe limits on the powers being proposed in ACTA, or better yet the scrapping of the entire treaty currently being hammered out by politicians and industry.

“Those politicians serve the big music and movie companies,” he wrote.

The Inquirer says that the “Free Software Foundation calls for ACTA fight”

In a statement, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) said that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty is designed to attack the rights of computer users in some 40-odd countries.

“ACTA threatens, in a disguised way, to punish Internet users with disconnection if they are accused of sharing, and requires countries to prohibit software that can break DRM,” the FSF statement said.

The FSF clearly fights for people’s rights. So why the hostility from those whose rights the FSF is defending? It’s rather absurd.

Microsoft Certified Partner Supports Mono

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, OpenSUSE at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Infragistics - Microsoft

Summary: Infragistics adds its weight to Mono at times when Novell’s future is mostly unknown and OpenSUSE rethinks its strategy

THERE HAS BEEN almost no news from Novell in recent weeks. Well, maybe the expected sale of the company suppresses business, but it’s hard to tell for sure. Statistically speaking, OpenSUSE too has had little to tell, apart from some strategy discussions (there is lack of foresight or focus) and an announcement about the release candidate of OpenSUSE 11.3.

As we pointed out a couple of days ago, Mono and Moonlight have also gone quite silent, with the exception of MeeGo news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Based on the following new press release, a company that’s mostly associated with Microsoft gives Mono a boost.

Infragistics, the experience design software company and world leader in user interface (UI) development tools, today announced that the 2010 Volume 2 version of NetAdvantage for .NET will include the ASP.NET toolkit which is fully compatible with the Mono framework from Novell. With the most powerful UI controls available for ASP.NET, Infragistics enables .NET developers to rapidly build and style high-fidelity, full-featured line of business applications and deploy in a Linux environment.

Spreading Mono is spreading the Microsoft API (never mind the issue of software patents). Bad idea. As it was put by a blogger yesterday, “Mono is a disease. Why spread it?”

In case you don’t already know about it, the whole purpose of mono for Linux (hereafter just mono) is simply to allow microsofts self serving language and sub-standard net protocols to work under Linux. This project is hosted by Novell which entered into a partnership with microsoft because they were spooked by the whole license and litigation saber rattling of a few years ago.

Now c#, which is the programing language mono supports, is what I call a claytons language. You may not know what I mean so I will explain. Claytons is a non-alcoholic drink which mimics an alcoholic drink. It’s slogan is “The drink you have when you are not having a drink”. Which is what I think about c#. It’s the programing language you have when you don’t know a programing language.

Due to this matrimony between Novell and microsoft, this mono, and its bed buddy moonlight, have been spreading throughout the Linux family. This has been causing me some dis-ease. Linux advocates, even those who purport to hate microsoft, have been running around and willingly catching mono. What they do not realise is that they are contributing to microsofts success at the expense of Linux.

[...]

In short, I think that mono is a disease which infects Linux distributions and is not much different than its biological viral namesake. For that very reason I do not have mono installed on any of my Linux distributions. I do not even look at any program or distribution which forces me to install mono. For that matter I do not even consider Novell products when thinking about Linux. However, that is just me :)

It’s not just him. An unscientific poll from last year showed that 72% of GNU/Linux users say “No” to Mono. That was before the FSF added its opposition to Mono/C#.

The Changing of History (Updatedx2)

Posted in Deception, Dell, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 3:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Now you see him…

Voroshilov, Molotov, Stalin, with Nikolai Yezhov

Now you don’t.

The Commissar Vanishes

Summary: Dell repeats the mistakes of history by harbouring censorship and fearing to pass judgment about Microsoft

YESTERDAY I had a face-to-face conversation with a friend who thought that Bill Gates had invented computers. This was a reminder of the fact that PR agencies are in the awesome position of subconsciously programming people’s minds, lying to them even without making explicit lies (just insinuations and illusions).

“Microsoft didn’t even accept the Internet (thinking it was a passing fad) until long after others had embraced it.”One mythology that Microsoft has been trying to spread for a long time is that Windows is secure (note omissions) and that Windows was designed with security in mind, despite clear evidence that this was not the case (Microsoft edits Wikipedia). Microsoft didn’t even accept the Internet (thinking it was a passing fad) until long after others had embraced it.

Yesterday we posted a second update on a post about Dell. Several people who decided to insult the messengers (myself included) refused to believe that Dell changed its pitch about GNU/Linux security. There is more evidence and corroboration now. Here is the before/after screenshot:

Dell before and after

Revisionism is what the VAR Guy calls it. It is him who originally brought up the subject that ended up in hundreds if not thousands of blogs.

The VAR Guy saw this coming. On June 10, The VAR Guy was first to report Dell considered Ubuntu Linux safer than Windows. But now, Dell has apparently updated its web site to remove/alter that statement. Linux conspiracy theorists think Microsoft pressured Dell to make the change. Is that really the case?

Frankly, The VAR Guy doesn’t know for sure. Our resident blogger has requests for comment out to Dell, Microsoft and Canonical — promoter of Ubuntu Linux.

Dell pretends that it no longer knows what is more secure and the company says: “it is not Dell’s intention to recommend one OS over another”.

That’s a funny thing to say because Dell accepts a form of bribe from Microsoft to pretend that it recommends Vista 7 . Dell puts this fake endorsement is loads of pages in order to hypnotise the public and receive kickbacks.

Speaking of Windows security, a Google engineer revealed a serious flaw in Windows shortly after Google had dumped Windows for security reasons. Google apparently knows better than Dell, which actually stated the same thing before Microsoft may have implicitly threatened to retaliate again. The flaw which was found by this Google engineer has just put Windows XP users under digital artillery.

Five days after being disclosed publicly by a Google engineer, a zero-day security vulnerability affecting Microsoft Windows XP has come under attack. The controversial bug, which remains unpatched, gave rise to a new round of debate about responsible disclosure.

If Dell maintains its spineless approach and refuses to speak out its mind because it depends on Microsoft’s bribes/incentives, what does that say about Dell? And what does that say about truth?

Update: Here is another take on the reversal from Dell. The company ought to be challenged.

Update #2: And another.

Links 18/6/2010: WordPress 3.0, OLPC for 90,000 in Uruguay

Posted in News Roundup at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • All hail the easy to use!

      This is why I like SimplyMepis. I like Linux Mint. I like PCLOS. I like Sabayon. I like Pardus.

      Oh, I still like Slackware, Debian, and Gentoo too, for nostalgic reasons, but when it comes to choosing a desktop these days, I pick from the first list.

      I know why the bigger commercial distros can’t include all that stuff and why some others don’t. But this is why we hope these smaller projects never give up and go home. They make life easier and these days, we can all use that.

    • Linux Desktop Stigma Draws Ire and Fire

      Stand up and be proud of what you’ve done for Linux. Yes, you’ll draw your share of ire and fire but isn’t every great fight worth it for the freedom it brings to everyone?

  • Applications

    • Scenari – A powerful application to create and publish documents

      This application is most probably going to be of interest to people working in the education field, as I am, but not only.

      I discovered scenari when one of the developers came for a 3 days workshop at my university.
      I create resources and teach online and have been so far doing very poorly regarding online multimedia documents. Mainly out of ignorance and poor taste for multimedia techy stuff, I have given .pdf online and that was about it..

    • Serve Up Your Music with Zeya

      Have you always wanted to set up your own music station to stream your latest music collection to your friends or colleagues? Have you been thinking lately of setting up an always-on music streaming server so that you can just open up your web browser and listen to your favorite tracks? A music server is great in a dormitory, laboratory or office where the file server can double up as the music server! I will show you how using Zeya.

    • Bringing improved PDF support to Google Chrome

      Millions of web users rely on PDF files every day to consume a wide variety of text and media content. To enable this, a number of plug-ins exist today which allow users to open PDF files inside their browsers.

    • Disk Backup With Amanda On Debian Lenny
  • Games

    • Heroes of Newerth – Charge!

      Linux games are many and varied. You can find pretty much anything you need, from simple arcades via racing all the way to expansive and elaborate tactical shooters. Still, one aspect of the Linux gaming scene is underplayed, this being the Real Time Strategy (RTS). For whatever reason, there’s a lack of great strategy games for Linux. You will find some, but not as many as you would hope for.

  • Distributions

    • Pay what you want for Kiddix OS

      From Microsoft Bob to Edubuntu there have been a number of attempts at making computers of various sorts easier and more useful for young people. Another participant in this space is Kiddix, “a complete operating system and software environment for children, built from the ground up with your family’s needs and safety in mind.” Kiddix is built upon Linux, and aims to present things in a very “kid friendly” way. Through the end of June, Kiddix is running a “Pay What You Want” promotion, allowing you to pay any amount to buy their OS.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat @ Year Highs

        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) booked a new 52 week high today by trading above $32.34, traders are definitely monitoring Red Hat’s price action to see if this move attracts further buying into the stock.

      • New Highs for Shares of Red Hat, Deckers, and Alaska Air (DECK, ALK, RHT)
      • Red Hat Announces Finalists in Fourth Annual Innovation Awards

        The Red Hat and JBoss Innovation Awards finalists are recognized in four separate categories. In addition, a fifth category recognizes a finalist that is deploying a combined solution from Red Hat’s platform and middleware portfolios. Each Red Hat Innovation Awards category winner will be provided with complimentary admission to the 2010 Red Hat Summit and JBoss World, where they will be recognized at an awards ceremony in a general session for both Red Hat Summit and JBoss World attendees.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Canonical’s (Possibly) Excellent Adventure

        Is Canonical taking on Red Hat with its new commercial support service? Canonical’s move “is not as much a competition as an expansion into a growing market,” Pogson opined. “GNU/Linux has taken about all it can from Unix operating systems; now it is time to kick M$ out of servers.”

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OLPC’s New XO for 90,000 Teens in Uruguay

      OLPC has just been awarded an order from Plan Ceibal for 90,000 XO’s for teenagers in Uruguay. Yes, there will be a new XO specially for teenagers. Uruguay already has 380,000 of the original XOs for younger children, and now the kids can graduate to one designed for them as they mature.

      It’s to be a dual boot laptop. Note not triple boot. No Microsoft in this picture at all. GNOME has leaped into the pool to help out. The press release says, “It will feature the learning-focused Sugar user interface together with the Gnome Desktop Environment to provide a dual-boot Linux operating system with office productivity tools.” I wish I were a teenager in Uruguay so I could have one. If they do the partner program, I’m in.

Free Software/Open Source

  • About software forges

    I had the opportunity to talk a little bit with Dirk Riehle at LinuxTag about business models, collaboration and infrastructures, and one of the arguments was about software forges, like SourceForge or GForge. I would like to provide a little bit of overview of our discussion, along with my reasoning about the future of such forges.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.0 “Thelonious”

      Arm your vuvuzelas: WordPress 3.0, the thirteenth major release of WordPress and the culmination of half a year of work by 218 contributors, is now available for download (or upgrade within your dashboard). Major new features in this release include a sexy new default theme called Twenty Ten.

    • Clickability FUD on Open Source versus SaaS

      Clickability, a proprietary SaaS platform for content management, has compared SaaS to Open Source. Not only is the comparison inaccurate, it omits the downsides of SaaS and frankly, they are comparing apples to oranges. Open Source is a licensing and development model, SaaS is a software delivery model. Either they are distorting things on purpose, or they don’t understand Open Source at all. In other words, time to look at some good ol’ FUD and to share my take on Open Source versus SaaS.

  • Healthcare

    • From Apache to Health and Human Services

      Brian Behlendorf, one of the founders of the Apache web server project and the CollabNet cooperative software development company, is contracting now with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the CONNECT software project. CONNECT helps hospitals and agencies exchange medical data, which gives doctors critical information to improve patient care.

  • Business

    • Open Source: The capitalists’ choice

      After all, giving away your “intellectual property” for the greater good may be a nice theory in some ideal world, but it rather flies in the face of capitalism, doesn’t it?

      Rubbish! In fact, I’d argue that Open Source is actually more true to capitalist principles than traditional proprietary software practices. It all comes down to the principle of efficient markets.

      Proprietary software is akin to the privatisation of the railways. It pays lip-service to the perceived efficiency benefits but if you look at it closely, you realise that the fundamental motivation of competition is absent.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Open Data

    • The UK’s public data tsunami gathers speed

      When the British Government said at the beginning of May that they would be releasing a ‘tsunami of public data’ you had to wonder whether reality would match up to the rhetoric. Oh ye of little faith… A fortnight ago, the Government released hundreds of new datasets – including a full list of Government expenditure – and this week, Transport for London announced that they too would be releasing lots of their transport data for free to the public.

    • Victory on FDA Data

      Back in February, we were encouraging participation in the Open Government Directive conversations happening at federal agencies, since they were busy creating their open government plans, and in a uniquely responsive position.

      Sunlight’s Nancy Watzman, submitted a request for the Department of Health and Human Services, calling on them to release a database on drugs, medical devices, and food recalls by manufacturers. Nancy has been writing extensively on HHS and FDA data issues, including our award-winning investigation, Heart of the Matter.

    • Consuming the Transport for London Data

      The following guest post is from Julian Todd, who works on projects such as Public Whip, UNdemocracy, and ScraperWiki. He is also a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on Open Government Data.. The post was originally published on Julian’s blog, Freesteel.

      Yesterday Transport for London made a data dump of various locations and links to their traffic cameras, station locations, and so on.

  • Inhibiting Open Access

    • The EU proposal for increasing access?

      The aim is to restrict the conditions that would permit to increase the number and the range of accessible format works available. The Joint recommendation is about when “there is no appropriate commercial product on offer.” If a book exist in an audio format but not in a indexable format or searchable format, is it “on offer” to people with disabilities?

    • Accountability and Transparency at ICANN? Not looking good

      I’ve been keeping schtum about the Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT) for a while for three reasons:

      1. I submitted a proposal along with a team of professional evaluators to be the review’s “independent expert”
      2. I know nearly all the members of the team and I respect them all
      3. They’re working to a tight timetable so you have to give some benefit of doubt

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment

    • EU deal signals ban on illegal timber

      The compromise between the European Parliament, the Spanish EU Presidency and the European Commission is a step towards ensuring that illegally harvested timber and wood products cannot be sold on the EU market.

      It is estimated that 20-40% of global industrial wood production comes from illegal sources, with up to 20% ending up on the EU market.

    • What happens when energy resources deplete?

      One view is that energy prices will rise, substitutes will be found, and prices will come back down again, perhaps settling at a somewhat higher equilibrium reflecting the cost of producing the substitute energy source. The economy will continue to function pretty much as before. The catch is that we aren’t finding reasonably-priced, scalable substitutes, so this isn’t happening. Oil prices are down, but not because of substitutes.

    • The oceans look delicious now.
    • Conservatives to Obama: Leave BP alone!

      Joe Barton says it is “a tragedy of the first proportion” that BP agreed to Obama’s request to set up a $20 billion fund to compensate Americans — and then he apologizes to BP CEO Hayward!

    • [corp-focus] Closing BP’s Escape Routes
    • Stonemirror

      As BP’s boss Tony Hayward is grilled by US Congressional Comittee the results are all too predictable. You’d think Tony Hayward was a politician, with the skills he;’s shown at evading responsibility and dodging questions. It seems however that the politicians grilling him are understandably a tad annoyed at this behaviour. The problem is this; they (the politicians) spend their ENTIRE POLITICAL CAREERS doing the very same.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Autopsy on wacky Jacqui’s ID astroturfing

      The documents reveal the site bought 50 million adverts on Facebook and other social network sites. These 50 million ads resulted in an awesome 537 people completing the survey on the site. We can only hope the government was paying per click-through rather than for each view of its advert.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • What will Iceland’s new media laws mean for journalists?

      The Icelandic parliament has voted unanimously to create what are intended to be the strongest media freedom laws in the world. And Iceland intends these measures to have international impact, by creating a safe haven for publishers worldwide — and their servers.

    • Privacy of Government Workers Limited by High Court

      The U.S. Supreme Court, putting limits on the privacy rights of government workers, ruled that a California police department acted reasonably when it reviewed personal text messages on an officer’s government-issued pager.

      The justices today unanimously rejected arguments by SWAT team member Jeff Quon that the city of Ontario violated his rights under the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable government searches.

  • Copyrights

    • Filesharing: Die wundersame Musikvermehrung Filesharing: The wondrous music reproduction
    • Are Bad Copyright Laws Killing Jazz And Harming Jazz Musicians?

      In the face of increasing examples of such copyright policies doing exactly the opposite of what they intend, how is it that our elected officials continue to buy the claims from a few entrenched industries, that copyright needs to be made even more strict? How many more musicians have to have their art and creativity stifled?

    • Google Planning A Paid Content System For Publishers In Italy

      Google (NSDQ: GOOG), which had hinted for nearly a year now that it was working on building some sort of paid content system for publishers, is reportedly launching such a system in Italy, where it has had some of its ugliest confrontations with the news industry. According to a report in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Google is reaching out to publishers there to get them to participate in the program, which it is calling Newspass.

    • Internet File-Sharing Service Is Sued by Music Publishers

      A coalition of eight music publishers sued the file-sharing service LimeWire on Wednesday, accusing it of copyright infringement, according to the National Music Publishers’ Association, the industry group that organized the suit.

    • The Economics of Copyright

      There’s no pretending this report is light reading, but I do think it represents an important statement about the need for basing copyright law on empirical evidence. Against the background of blatant lobbying during the passage of the Digital Economy Act, that surely has to be good news for everyone – whether or not they are copyright geeks.

    • Saying information wants to be free does more harm than good

      It’s time for IWTBF to die because it’s become the easiest, laziest straw man for Hollywood’s authoritarian bullies to throw up as a justification for the monotonic increase of surveillance, control, and censorship in our networks and tools. I can imagine them saying: “These people only want network freedom because they believe that ‘information wants to be free’. They pretend to be concerned about freedom, but the only ‘free’ they care about is ‘free of charge.’”

      But this is just wrong. “Information wants to be free” has the same relationship to the digital rights movement that “kill whitey” has to the racial equality movement: a thoughtless caricature that replaces a nuanced, principled stand with a cartoon character. Calling IWTBF the ideological basis of the movement is like characterising bra burning as the primary preoccupation of feminists (in reality, the number of bras burned by feminists in the history of the struggle for gender equality appears to be zero, or as close to it as makes no difference).

      So what do digital rights activists want, if not “free information?”

    • A boost for legally shared media – new TV & movie titles!

      Pioneer One can be found over at VODO, a tracker site for free to download media and a worthwhile visit, since these files will not have a warning letter dropping through your letterbox for sharing them. The pilot episode apparently cost $6000 dollars to shoot and there are 7 episodes in the first series to be followed with a planed 4 more series.

    • Europarl Question: Stronger protection for copyright holders

Clip of the Day

Henny Keyzer – CLUG Talk 28 April 2009 – Microcontrollers (2009)


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