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06.28.10

Manual for Removing Microsoft Trap From Ubuntu GNU/Linux (and Lessons of TomTom and SCO Cases)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SCO, TomTom, Ubuntu at 8:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trash sign with Mono

Summary: How to put Microsoft’s and Novell’s Mono where it belongs (the garbage can)

SOMEONE has just published these instructions for removing Mono from the Ubuntu distribution of GNU/Linux and one reader of ours wrote an ode about Mono earlier today:

Alejandro Nova

Life with Mono – Mononono

They sold us it was free
>From someone else’s claims
The code began to show
And no one spoke at all
But when I asked to Novell,
If I’m protected…
Ingenue

Ingenue
I just don’t know what to do

GNOME-sized avenues
Brought us a perfect doom
F-Spot, Banshee and a paint
Made us target for threats
But if you still trust MS
Then you are a complete…

Ingenue

Ingenue
I just don’t know what to do

Ingenue
I just don’t know what to do

For reasons we explained before, Mono is a gift to Microsoft and a Trojan to GNU/Linux. Even Canonical's CTO is aware of the issues associated with Mono. According to this uncertain post from Groklaw, Microsoft’s preparations for lawsuits against GNU/Linux (like SCO and later TomTom) may take a long time to ‘cook’ before action is taken. Groklaw’s post uses evidence that we covered a year and a half ago [1, 2, 3, 4], thanks to Comes vs Microsoft exhibits.

What did Microsoft know about SCO’s plan to attack Linux, and when did it know it? And was it a force behind it?

[...]

But now, thanks to a volunteer working on doing the exhibits in the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust litigation as text, we find an email thread in Exhibit 8953 [PDF] where Microsoft employees, including the managing director of Microsoft in India at the time, mention SCO in a discussion about heading off the Linux threat in India. The emails are dated September 11, 2002. Given the date, I believe this opens up the question of Microsoft’s involvement once again. At a minimum, it needs clarification. If it doesn’t demonstrate Microsoft knowing about SCO’s plans before they unfurled, what does it mean? I’d like Microsoft to tell us. Because I have a lot of questions about the email thread.

[...]

If you recall, EDGI was about pushing Microsoft in India so as to head off Linux and StarOffice use there in government and education. This email says Bill Gates thought they should just give away their software in India and wherever necessary to head off the threat, and that is part of what is being discussed, because some disagreed about giving it away for free. But EDGI was not restricted to India; it could be implemented wherever needed.

I believe this exhibit may be a smoking gun. At a minimum, it calls for clarification, and if and when SCO v. IBM starts up again, I believe it could provide a basis for limited discovery on this very topic or if Michael Anderer is put on the stand, it opens up a fruitful thread. Regulatory bodies are also completely free to investigate whether it was indeed Microsoft using SCO as an anti-competitive weapon against Linux in violation of antitrust law.

The email mentions Novell, SCO and Trishul, and I thought it might be referring to an inside name for the strategy, since that is the name of a Trident air defense missile (“The Trishul air-defense missile is intended to counter a low level attack with a very quick reaction time and has an all weather capability.”), but it is also possible it’s referring to a Microsoft employee who heads up the Runtime Analysis & Design research group, so I’ve written to him asking him which it might be or if he can clarify the email. Meanwhile, take a look. The reference to Novell is more puzzling, but it is certainly possible, given the evidence that SCO thought Novell would join them, that Microsoft back then thought so too.

This fascinating part of an antitrust exhibit about EDGI and the mentioning of SCO was covered by Techrights last year, but for those who are interested in a detailed analysis and some background, the above will do. Mono — like FAT — is a form of an ambush. Microsoft recently validated a FAT patent in Germany. But Mono is not just about software patents; it’s about controlling developers and it’s developed/coordinated by a Microsoft MVP.

How Microsoft (and Other Proprietary Software Companies) Derail Free/Libre Software in South Africa and New Zealand

Posted in Africa, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coat of arms of South Africa

Summary: Tectonic and others tell the story of South Africa and how Free software proponents got “subsumed” or drained; Microsoft hijacks the “open” flag in New Zealand

Tectonic remains an excellent Web site which is back in action after a dormant year. The informants from Tectonic are some of the very few in Africa who spread progress reports in English (except for corporate-controlled African media, which rhymes with companies’ press releases and advertisements, as we showed on numerous occasions before).

“It’s yet another example of government hijack by proprietary, patents-encumbered lock-in, bundled deceitfully and marketed under the “open” banner.”Outrageous claims are being made in this new recording which is interesting but depressing to listen to at times. It covers issues which we pointed out before, such as the pushing out of Free software proponents from government (typical tactic), even buying out of Free software players and dismantling them by proprietary giants, who are always pretending to be open. It’s a lie. They are imposters who are aided by Microsoft lobbyists like CompTIA. It’s probably better to listen to the full audiocast.

Microsoft seems to have also ‘pulled a LinuxTag’ [1, 2] over in New Zealand where it has just lobbied for software patents. Shameless liars are ‘pulling a NASA’ [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] by organising an “Open Government” conference that they are sponsoring and hosting. Microsoft? Open? Who are they kidding? It’s yet another example of government hijack by proprietary, patents-encumbered lock-in, bundled deceitfully and marketed under the “open” banner.

It came outta the blue this conference. The topic is Open Government. There was another Open Government un-conference in Wellington last year.

[...]

Microsoft sponsored the first. This one they pretty much completely hosted. They was enough reason for many to stay away — and coupled with the suprise announcement and lack of involvement in any open government initiatives in NZ so far, those who pointedly didn’t attend make a good point. I see this as undoubtedly microsoft trying to wedge their brand in with something successful. The question is will they really be able to take this movement they have tried to block so much in the past, and magically be able to repaint it as something they’re all about? They seem to be on the start of a mission to do just that.

Don’t they already know that Microsoft is doing this on purpose? Microsoft enjoys and takes pride in destruction and obfuscation. It’s also what it did in South Africa.

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

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Links 28/6/2010: KDE SC 4.5 RC1, GTK+ 2.90.4

Posted in News Roundup at 7:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Locking Down Linux: Is it Necessary?

    One thing I love about Linux is it’s ability to be modular and customizable to degrees Windows users can only dream of it. The insides of the operating system are available to sift through if doing so peaks your fancy and the source code is free to take and edit. Many Linux Advocates, myself included, assert that our operating system of choice is more than ready for the “general public” or “average user”. In recent years it seems the term “user friendliness” has become associated with the exact opposite of what I love about Linux:

  • Moving to Linux

    Several organizations have been successful in moving to Linux. I’d like to discuss this topic again.

  • ActiveLearning Launches Linux Training in the Philippines

    ActiveLearning, Inc. today introduced a new training program in the Philippines entitled “Linux Boot Camp”, a comprehensive Linux training program that immerses participants in 2 weeks of intensive hands-on Linux training under the guidance of an expert instructor.

  • Why have you switched to GNU/Linux?

    Everyone has a different story why they switched to Linux. I would like to hear your story and why you made the switch. Was it financial, political, technical or other? Are you using Linux on a Server, Desktop, Netbook or another device? Please leave your comments below.

  • Visuals

    • Awesome Compiz Skydome images

      I stumbled across some really neat wallpapers the other day and I could not resist setting them up as Compiz skydomes. These backgrounds gave the Compiz cube additional depth. Complementing the cube shaped desktop very well. I just had to share these with everyone. Here is a link were these and other really cool back grounds can be downloaded.

    • Compiz Switch

      Compiz-switch is a program available for Ubuntu and Suse that enables you to turn Compiz on or off with just one click. So if you are getting ready to play some games that require accelerated 3d or just run better without compiz then all you have to do is click on the compiz-switch to turn Compiz off. Then when you want to turn Compiz back on, all you have

    • Ubuntu Notifications (osd-notify) Sucks, notifications-daemon Rocks – Exploiting the Goodness with Compiz
    • AWN vs Cairo Dock vs Docky: Mac Style Linux Docks Reviewed

      Mac style docks or launchers have become very popular among *nix users with the increase in popularity of Macs. And unlike Snow Leopard users there are quite a few free options for Linux users. I am going to review three such popular docks. The platform that i am using is Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, but I would expect my conclusions to hold true for most of popular *nix systems be it Fedora 13 or OpenSUSE 11.2.

  • Audiocasts

  • Google

    • GPL: The Google Public License

      While it’s true “the year of Linux” is not yet happening on the desktop, it will. Right now it’s a smartphone thing, which will soon encompass the tablet and netbook. I figure by next year your neighbor, the one who always buys what the sales staff at Best Buy talks him into purchasing, will be bragging to you about his new super-duper desktop running Linux. Except he won’t call it Linux. Nor will he call it Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, Debian, PCLinuxOS, Slackware, Gentoo, Knoppix, SUSE or Sabayon.

    • Facebook Steals the Architect of Google Chrome OS

      Facebook’s quest for the world’s best technological talent continues. The social networking behemoth has hired Matt Papakipos — the leader and key architect of Google Chrome OS — and VMWare Vice President Jocelyn Goldfein onto its engineering team.

  • Ballnux

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KDE Software Compilation 4.5 RC1 Release Announcement

        Today, KDE delivers the first release candidate of the upcoming KDE Software Compilation 4.5. The final version will be available in August 2010 and this RC is intended for testers and early adopters who can help by finding and reporting bugs. It will also interest those who want an early look at what is coming to their desktops and netbooks this summer.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Meritocracy, Fate Or Anarchy

      Many folks on a higher pay grade than mine tout that open source thrives as a Meritocracy. In this model, folks who are interested enough create a project and release the source under GPL/Whatever and if the project is “good” or “gooder” than other ones it has more merit and will advance to become more widely used etc. One interesting counter point to this made by Alain de Botton in his TED talk where if this rise due to merit, then things also sink due to it. Alain is not talking open source, but if we switch to that context, then if your project is not becoming successful, or you are struggling, then the Meritocracy eye balls would see that since you created the project, by implication you are scum.

      [...]

      Another good example of this is the Linux distributions who want a project for “Y” and decide to create a solution themselves rather than trying to adopt something that a committed developer has been working on for years. In some cases the “owning” the code can be more important than reuse, and most often the code is released under and open source license. But this be a fairly vicious demotivator for folks who were writing the existing “Y” solutions.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva 2010 Spring ISOs coming

        Anne NICOLAS has announced on the Cooker mailing list that 2010 Spring isos should be available July 5, but will confirm Monday, June 28.

      • Prufrock, Mandriva, and other Observations

        This very same situation can be argued about Linux distributions and becomes particularly relevant concerning Mandriva Linux in the context of the stormy times that it has been facing.

      • London Calling

        Three weeks ago I got a job offer that would be very hard to reject, so I resigned from Mandriva and sent back the contract last week. My last day at Mandriva will be July 23rd, so I can attend GUADEC and I will start at Google as Site Reliabilty Engineer in London on September 6th.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat, Inc. Q1 2011 Earnings Call Transcript

        Revenues rose 20% to $209.1 million & net income rose 30.3% to $24.1 million or 12 cents a share. Operating cash flow of $61 million was in line with Q1 last year. Non-GAAP operating expense came in at $126 million up 3% sequentially and 16% year-over-year. Non-GAAP operating income was $52 million.

      • Kernel Issues – The “Hurricane Katrina” of programming

        Last week I spent two days that the Red Hat Summit in Boston. Unlike a lot of conferences I attend, I actually spent much of my time in technical talks listening to some of the things that Red Hat was going to be putting into RHEL 6.0 which is due out in a short time1.

        I enjoy listening to technical talks, particularly ones talking about kernel issues since I used to teach operating system design. I taught other types of programming (database, compiler design, networking, graphics) but in my opinion most application-level programming (including libraries) is a “calm sea” versus the “Hurricane Katrina” of kernel programming.

        One of the areas of interest to me was the various file systems being supported in the upcoming RHEL, not only the various attributes of the filesystems (that I could also get by reading various white papers and reports on the Internet) but some of the lower-level “grunt work” that needs to be done to make sure the files system is dependable and efficient under different loads.

      • Interview with Karanbir Singh, CentOS project

        CentOSKaranbir Singh CentOS, a Linux distribution built by compiling the source packages for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), has emerged as the most popular RHEL clone available today. Although often perceived as an operating system for mission-critical servers where stability and dependability are far more important than cutting-edge features, CentOS can be used in other deployment scenarios, including specialist servers or development workstations. Today we talk to Karanbir Singh (pictured on the right), a CentOS developer, about the reasons behind the project’s continued success, attempt a comparison of CentOS with other similar distributions and enterprise operating systems, and describe the process of building CentOS from the source code that Red Hat makes available with every new release.

      • Fedora

        • Is Fedora Going Through More Or Less Power?

          Along the same theme of yesterday’s article entitled Is PowerTop Still Useful For Extending Your Battery Life? today here are some results showing the power consumption of the past three Fedora releases (11, 12, and 13) from a notebook computer.

          This is just a quick, weekend test and more power tests from Fedora and other Linux distributions will be published in the future. Clean installations of Fedora 11, Fedora 12, and Fedora 13 were carried out on a Lenovo ThinkPad T60 notebook with an Intel Core Duo T2400 (1.83GHz) processor, 1GB of system memory, an 80GB Hitachi HTS541080G9SA00 SATA HDD, and ATI Radeon Mobility X1400 graphics. Via the Phoronix Test Suite we monitored the notebook’s power consumption when running off the six-cell battery under different workloads.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Some fun stats from The Ubuntu Manual project

        No, The Ubuntu Manual Project is indeed not dead. We’ve just been quieter than usual recently due to a number of things, mainly because our core contributors have been tied up with University exams taking place, getting real life jobs and generally having a lot of work to do behind the scenes.

      • Lojban software for Ubuntu

        Lojban is a carefully constructed spoken language designed in the hope of removing a large portion of the ambiguity from human communication. It was made well-known by a Scientific American article and references in science fiction Lojban has been built over five decades by dozens of workers and hundreds of supporters.

      • My first experience with Ubuntu

        Overall I rather like Ubuntu. OpenSUSE 11.2 left me feeling rather frustrated, so my experience with Ubuntu is really making me consider switching away from openSUSE on my desktop. We’ll see how openSUSE 11.3 is when it’s released in two weeks. However, I think that ultimately I won’t make the switch because of how poorly Flash works on Ubuntu. Linux, oh how close you are! I can almost taste the victory over Windows.

      • [Full circle magazine] Issue 38

        * Command and Conquer.
        * How-To : Program in Python – Part 12, a NEW SERIES: Virtualization, and Browser Blogging.
        * Review – Ubuntu 10.04.
        * Top 5 – Favourite Applications.
        * plus: MOTU Interview, Ubuntu Games, My Opinion, My Story, and all the usual goodness!

      • Peppermint

        • Distro Hoppin`: Peppermint OS 2010.06.17

          Wow, gotta tell you, I have the best excuse for not spending more time with you, my awesome audience. The weirdest thing happened: as I was hoppin` around the Linuxland, I stumbled onto a springboard which threw me waaaaay up into the air, right in the middle of the cloudy cloudosphere (what? it sounds like a word… right?). As we all know, there is still a pretty poor visibility up there, but thankfully, all sorts of awesome software projects guide us through the haziness. One of which is Peppermint OS, receiving a LOT of attention from tech writers everywhere. What I tried to find out was if this OS is really providing a bridge between users and the cloud or it simply clinged to the concept just to enjoy some undeserved publicity.

        • Peppermint, a web-centric Linux OS

          CREATING A WEB-CENTRIC LINUX DISTRIBUTION that’s not just another Ubuntu-based operating system (OS) has vexed Kendall Weaver since working as a maintainer on Linux Mint Fluxbox and LXDE 8.

          “After some serious thought and some serious investigation, [I found that] a market exists in between the more traditional desktop operating systems and the newer ‘cloud-based’ operating systems,” Weaver said.

          Kendall Weaver is the lead developer of Peppermint Linux, a free software OS based on Ubuntu and Weaver’s work on Linux Mint. He was struck by the divide between bloatware desktops and lighter cloud-based OSs that weren’t offering the format he was looking for.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MontaVista and Bosch team up on in-car infotainment

      MontaVista Software and Robert Bosch Car Multimedia GmbH announced a multi-year partnership for developing Linux-based software for Bosch products, starting with in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. The initial IVI system will comply with the Genivi Alliance open source middleware standards for IVI, and future jointly developed Bosch/MontaVista projects are expected to include instrument clusters, say the companies.

    • Android

      • BBC Iplayer comes to Android phones

        THE BBC has tweaked its Iplayer video streaming software to work on smartphones running Android 2.2.

        With the latest version of Google’s Linux based Android operating system supporting Adobe’s Flash player, the scene was set for web based video streaming services such as Iplayer to appear on smartphones. However, as we noted in our review of Android 2.2, our previous experience with Iplayer playback was painful, with audio and visual artefacts galore.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Aurora is Here

        Well the name is anyway! Eeebuntu is now Aurora: perfect for all your PC’s, Laptop’s and Netbooks. Aurora is designed for users, by users with users. We are working hard gearing up for a release in the coming months with a wealth of features right from the off!

    • Tablets

      • Joojoo ripped for another failing, this time it’s a GPL violation
      • Joojoo

        Of course, releasing shoddily put together technology isn’t generally illegal and from that point of view Fusion Garage aren’t any worse than a number of products I’ve had the misfortune to actually spend money on. But they’re distributing Linux (stock Ubuntu with some additional packages and a modified kernel) without any source or an offer to provide source. I emailed them last week and got the following reply:

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • The Best Browser: Summer 2010 Edition

      With the Chrome-Opera JavaScript speed war, HTML5 video support coming in IE9, and an improved Safari from Apple, can Firefox keep our Editors’ Choice?

  • Mozilla

    • Firefox 3.6.6 Now Available for Download

      Today, we launched an update to our crash protection feature to extend the amount of time Firefox will wait before terminating unresponsive plugins.

    • A Look At The Latest Firefox 4.0 Design

      The Mozilla Firefox developers are working on several different branches of the web browser at the same time. The latest public version, Firefox 3.6.6 just released today, and Firefox 3.7 which will be renamed to Firefox 4.0 later this year.

  • Oracle

    • Has Oracle been a disaster for Sun’s open source?

      The problem is that Oracle is naturally trying to optimise its acquisition of Sun for its own shareholders, but seems to have forgotten that there are other stakeholders too: the larger open source communities that have formed around the code. That may make sense in the short term, but is undoubtedly fatal in the long term: free software cannot continue to grow and thrive without an engaged community.

      It would probably be unfair to characterise Oracle’s running of Sun’s open source projects as a disaster – at least, for the moment; but as the above shows, there are plenty of grounds for concern, both in terms of how the code is being developed, and the happiness or otherwise of developers and users. Whether buying Sun will prove to be a smart move in the long term depends critically on how smartly Larry Ellison and his managers can address these issues. They also need to start to think more seriously about how Oracle can contribute to Sun’s open source products, and not just the other way around.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • A global teacher of 1,516 lessons and counting

      From a tiny closet in Mountain View, Calif., Sal Khan is educating the globe for free. His 1,516 videotaped mini-lectures — on topics ranging from simple addition to vector calculus and Napoleonic campaigns — are transforming the former hedge fund analyst into a YouTube sensation, reaping praise from even reluctant students across the world.

    • Openness, Radicalism, and Tolerance

      The idea advocated by groups like the Open Knowledge Definition or the Free Cultural Works crowd that there should be a litmus test for openness really bothers me. Deeply bothers me. What is the point of crying from the rooftops that some content is “Open in Name Only?” Why must we, the “open” folks, be in the business of ideological purging like the politicians? If someone has gone out of their way to waive some of the rights guaranteed them under the law so that they can share their creative works – even if that action is to apply a relatively restrictive CC BY-NC-ND to their content – why aren’t we praising that? Why aren’t we encouraging and cultivating and nurturing that? Why are we instead decreeing from a pretended throne on high, “Your licensing decision has been weighed in the balance, and has been found wanting. You are not deemed worthy.” Why the condescension? Why the closed-mindedness? Why the race to create machinery like definitions that give us the self-assumed authority to tell someone their sharing isn’t good enough?

      Why isn’t the open crowd more open-minded?

    • Open Data

      • Maude calls for public choice on open data

        Maude said: “In just a few weeks this government has published a whole range of data sets that have never been available to the public before. But we don’t want this to be about a few releases, we want transparency to become an absolutely core part of every bit of government business.

        “That is why we have asked some of the country’s and the world’s greatest experts in this field to help us take this work forward quickly here in central government and across the whole of the public sector.

        “And in the spirit of transparency we are asking everyone to comment on our ideas and help us to define these important principles. Anyone who wants to will be able to put forward their suggestions for what the principles should be by logging on to data.gov.uk.”

      • Publishing Local Open Data – Important Lessons from the Open Election Data project

        Local authorities were encouraged to publish election results on their websites as ‘Linked Open Data’ – data that is published under an open licence that allows unrestricted reuse, and that is marked up to identify the structure and meaning, making possible its automated collection for re-publishing and mashing up with other data.

      • New UK transparency board and public data principles
      • Data.ed.gov Launches

Leftovers

  • Bill to Highlight “Conflict Minerals” in Computers
  • Preview: Tibet Film Festival 2010

    In a month that sees the 75th birthday of the Dalai Lama, the Tibet Film Festival returns to London for it’s third year – once again celebrating the art, culture and heritage of a country that has been famously struggling to regain independence from Chinese rule for 50 years

  • Science

    • Science Historian Cracks the ‘Plato Code’

      Plato was the Einstein of Greece’s Golden Age and his work founded Western culture and science. Dr Jay Kennedy’s findings are set to revolutionise the history of the origins of Western thought.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Oklahoma granny sues cops over tasering

      An 86-year-old Oklahoma woman is suing the El Reno police department for tasering her in her sick bed, local koco.com reports.

      Lona M Varner’s grandson, Lonnie D Tinsley, was visiting granny’s apartment on 22 December last year, and claims he called 911 “to request emergency medical technicians to stop by to help her with medication”.

    • US Supreme Court extends gun rights

      The US Supreme Court has restricted the rights of state and city governments to enforce controls on gun ownership.

    • Home Office internal document reveals bunker mentality of secrecy and suppression

      This is an extraordinary comment to write in a document like this as it so blatantly goes against the spirit of FOI. But more importantly demonstrates that the Home Office was not applying the guidelines that say that all FOI requests should be dealt with ‘blind’. (i.e. not taking into account who has made the request.) . In this context it is particularly odd, indeed faintly ridiculous that the Home Office in response to Rosenbaum state that ‘The Freedom of Information Act is applicant blind. Regardless of who the applicant is, all requests for information are assessed and answered in the same manner’ – when this is obviously not the case as evidenced by the actual document they were being asked about. Bizarre. (See update below).

      A document is either exempt under the Act, or it is not. It is not for civil servants to make decisions about releasing information based upon its potential to provide ammunition for those challenging Government doctrine or policy. That is not and should not be the function of the Freedom of Information Act.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Privacy – the final frontier?

      WikiLeaks is a site that publishes leaked documents for all to see. Most controversially it is now about to release a video leaked to it that shows events in Iraq aren’t exactly the way the US Government depicts them in one particular bombing. Recently in Brussels to participate in discussions on media freedom at the European Parliament founderof WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Sweden’s Christian Engstrom MEP member of the Pirate Party took the time to discuss the role of the site and the EU with Andy Carling.

    • Elena Kagan and the porn wars

      A 1993 conference at the University of Chicago Law School on the subject of pornography and hate crimes wasn’t your typical legal seminar.

      The gathering of nearly 700 lawyers, scholars and activists sometimes seemed more like a revival meeting for anti-pornography forces than an academic symposium, journalists observed. Protesters beset the event, complaining that it was one-sided and threatened to trample free speech.

      Amid that tumult, future Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, then a junior Chicago law professor, gave a well-received, relatively-subdued presentation that would become one of her first and few published law review articles. During a panel discussion, Kagan presented the group with what she portrayed as promising legal strategies to combat the scourge of pornography.

  • Copyrights

    • IsoHunt Tells Court That MPAA’s Filter is Needless Censorship

      BitTorrent search engine isoHunt is fighting the permanent injunction the District Court of California issued in their case against the MPAA. According to isoHunt’s owner, a site-wide filter based on a list of keywords provided by the movie industry is an unworkable solution that would impede freedom of speech and bring China-style censorship to the U.S.

    • Retroactive Copyright on Public Domain Works

      A federal appeals court has handed down a worrisome decision in the case of Golan v. Holder et al (decision available on DocStoc here). As part of the Uruguay Round Agreements (“URAA”) on international copyright, the U.S. agreed to extend copyright protection to certain foreign works which had previously been in the public domain in the U.S. Indeed, some of those erstwhile public domain works had been used by U.S. artists and writers to create derivative works. For example, one Richard Kapp, now deceased but whose estate is a plaintiff in the case, used a sound recording based on works by Dmitri Shostakovich to create a work of his own. Having in good faith acted creatively with public domain works, such plaintiffs now find that Congress has cut their legs out from under them, and maintained that Congress infringed their First Amendment rights.

    • You can’t beat the sports TV pirates, so join them

      As millions sat glued to their television screens watching the epic Isner-Mahut tennis battle this week, countless others took the opportunity to watch the match illegally over the internet. Thanks to the proliferation of illicit websites offering live streaming of every major sporting event, huge amounts of broadcast revenue are being siphoned out of the world of sports – threatening the industry in the same way that Napster and Limewire decimated the music business.

    • The Economic Argument For Why Court’s Viacom Ruling Makes Sense… And Why Viacom Hates It

      Larry Downes has a different, but important, analysis of the Viacom/YouTube decision, where he looks at it from an economic perspective. Specifically, he looks at it from “the principle of least cost avoidance.” The idea is that which solution costs the least from a social perspective: Google trying to prevent infringing videos from appearing on YouTube or Viacom doing the same? And he makes the convincing case that the ruling here makes the most economic sense by a long shot. He compares it to the recent Tiffany/eBay ruling which hits on the same basic principles (noting that eBay is not responsible for others selling counterfeit Tiffany goods). Downes first points out that these platforms, like YouTube and eBay have certainly opened up amazing new markets that have great social benefit — even if they’ve also opened up opportunities for infringement.

  • Publishing

    • Caught Between the Old and the New

      As I’ve been thinking on this recently there’s been lots of other news in the world of academic publishing. The University of California proposed a possible faculty boycott of the Nature Publishing Group. And an unusual scholarly publishing project came out of the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University: Hacking the Academy, a book that gathered all of its submissions in just one week. I can’t help but think that we’re in an odd scholarly communication moment right now, stuck between old and new worlds of knowledge dissemination, and I’m not always sure how to chart my course.

    • The war between journalists and bloggers at the Washington Post

      Returning from long travels and a week’s vacation abroad, I waded in to catch up on the Washington-Post-fires-Dave-Weigel tempest and was quickly swamped by the sheer volume of thoughtful commentary.

      I’ll conclude this post with a roundup. But for now let me just dig a bit into this bizarre Post ombudsman column on the affair.

      It shouldn’t have been that hard to explain why the paper fired Weigel, a talented young journalist-blogger: he’d made some rude comments about some of the people he covered on an ostensibly private email list. Somebody leaked them, and now Weigel is out of a job, and the mailing list — Ezra Klein’s Journolist — is shuttered too.

    • Publishers Who Don’t Know History…

      Mistake #1: Piracy is the enemy

      Tim O’Reilly wrote about this years ago. There is no compelling evidence that the impact of piracy on media is nearly as negative as the double whammies of technological change and institutional incompetence.

      Mistake #2: People will always want hardcover books

      True, but true in the same sense that people — and by people, I mean “hardcore fans” — will always want vinyl. Despite vinyl records being crushed by CDs, vinyl has made a bit of a comeback of late. Collectors and audiophiles have created a thriving niche market.

      But it’s still niche. In the case of vinyl, about 1% of overall music sales.

      Mistake #3: People will always need bookstores

      Three words: Independent. Record. Stores.

    • Interactive Chart: Where UK Newspaper Websites Get Their Traffic

      The BBC News site sent nearly two million unique visitors to the papers in April, and over 100,000 more clicked from other BBC.co.uk sites, according to the Newspaper Marketing Agency‘s own online analytics data.

    • There is no hot news. All news is hot news.

      The most dangerous defensive tactic parried by legacy news organizations today is their attempt to claim ownership of “hot news” and prevent others from repeating what they gather at their expense for as long as they determine that news is still hot. It is a threat to free speech and the First Amendment and our doctrines of copyright and fair use. It is a threat to news.

      The old companies — NY Times, Advance, Gannett, Belo, McClatchy, Scripps, AFP, AP, Washington Post, et al — are lining up against the new companies — Google and Twitter — on hot news as they file briefs in the TheFlyOnTheWall.com case. I’ve just read both briefs and will give you highlights in a moment.

    • Write For The NYC Beat: The Huffington Post Citizen Journalism Music Blog

      Every week we will post a calendar of concerts happening in the New York City area. If you are interested in covering a concert, just sign up and tell us why you are the best journalist for the assignment. We hope you can participate in this exciting opportunity. Good luck!

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk 10 March 2009 – The Cloud (2009)


IRC Proceedings: June 28th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Microsoft and Focus

Posted in Microsoft, Site News at 5:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we asked registered users (whom we consider to be trusted) of this Web site whether we should keep a sceptical eye on Microsoft. 71% said “Yes” (actually we asked this in reverse), so we will continue as before. Thanks to all those who voted.

Bilski Decision – As Text (Updated)

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The Bilski decision is finally out and now available as plain text too

THE decision is out as PDF [PDF] and as text (we have just converted it). Read it along with us and comment below with the findings. We’ll cover interpretations over the coming days. The ruling says: “As numerous amicus briefs argue, the machine-or-transformation test would create uncertainty as to the patentability of software, advanced diagnostic medicine techniques, and inventions based on linear programming, data compression, and the manipulation of digital signals.”

Update: Early reactions include:

[16:03] [Notice] -BNi to #boycottnovell- [satipera/@satipera] Bilski looses !fs !free !linux !foss !floss !techrights #swpats
[16:04] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [fosspatents] #Bilski ruling suggests very broad scope of patentability, awaiting more news but so far disappointing to me ( I follow @scotusblog )
[16:05] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [glynmoody] RT @genomicslawyer Bilski affirmed. Opinion available here: http://bit.ly/aU9JLz >>everyone get reading #bilski #swpats
[16:06] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [jwildeboer] RT @fontana #Bilski decision http://is.gd/d7JT3 #SCOTUS
[16:06] Title: Not a web page! Aborting application/pdf type .::. Size~: 0 KB
[16:08] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [jwildeboer] with #bilski in, we can now check if everything under the sun is patentable.
[16:08] [Notice] -BNi to #boycottnovell- [satipera/@satipera] “machine or transformation test” is NOT the sole test for eligibility to obtain a patent. !fs !free !floss !foss !linux !techrights #swpats
[16:27] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [glynmoody] “I find it hard to believe that many of our entrepreneurs forwent business innovation because they could not claim a patent” – Bilski p. 41
[16:31] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [glynmoody] “the patent laws are not intended to “creat[e] a class of speculative schemers” oh really? – Bilski p.46
[16:32] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [schestowitz] “The machine-or-transformation test would create uncertainty as to the patentability of software” -SCOTUS http://ur1.ca/0emgk #swpats
[16:33] [Notice] -BNi to #boycottnovell- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] The #Bilski decision is finally out, as plain text http://ur1.ca/0emgk #swpats #patents #bilski !techrights supporters, please share
[16:36] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [glynmoody] “costs of business method patents not only may stifle innovation, but they are also likely to stifle competition” true of swpats Bilski p.46
[16:41] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [schestowitz] “State Street [...] piece of s/w could be patented and addressed only claims directed at machines” -SCOTUS http://ur1.ca/0emgk #swpats
[16:43] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [glynmoody] Judge Stevens writes strongest analysis: “I concur in the judgment, I strongly disagree with the Court’s disposition of this case” Bilski
[16:43] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [ruiseabra] Neither pork nor sausage in #Bilski decision? Is that what should be expected from a ‘supreme’ court?
[16:48] [Notice] -BNi to #boycottnovell- [ml2mst/@ml2mst] ♺ @schestowitz: The #Bilski decision is finally out, as plain text http://ur1.ca/0emgk #swpats #patents #bilski !techrights
[16:50] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [zoobab] Bilski is out: http://ur1.ca/0em2c
[16:54] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [zoobab] It appears that Stevens does think that business method patents are a problem, but couldn’t convince other SCOTUS judges http://ur1.ca/0emnv
[17:04] [Notice] -BNtwitter to #boycottnovell- [fosspatents] #Bilski decision doesn’t invalidate even one software #patent http://bit.ly/9E0Mg6 gave #swpat abolition the widest berth possible

Microsoft is Just Copying and Playing Catch-up in Consoles

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 8:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Photocopy machine

Summary: In gaming consoles — just like in software — Microsoft sells unreliable, faulty, and generally inferior products that merely copy the competition

IN RECENT posts about Xbox 360 we showed [1, 2, 3] that Microsoft resorted to bribing journalists who write about it, probably because it still has problems such a “Red Ring of Death” (RRoD) problem. We wrote about this three times before [1, 2, 3] and Microsoft claims that there is thermal monitoring [1, 2]. This is not actually working effectively (or at all) based on reports that we found last week:

Many video game users are eager to get their hands on the brand new Xbox 360 system and the upcoming Microsoft Kinect. However, it appears that the old Xbox 360 Red ring of death aka “RROD” has shown its ugly self already, and just days after some owners have plugged in their new consoles!

“Xbox 360 red rings of death replaced with red eye of doom,” says this report (one among many [1, 2]) and tips are being given for people whose machines suffer “Red Ring of Death” (it’s still there, just not visible). Some go as far as selling cooling fans for Xbox 360. Shouldn’t ventilation be self-sufficient by now? Apparently not.

As we showed before, Microsoft dodges addressing the issue [1, 2] and the redesign of the unit sometimes does more harm than good. As for the new peripheral, it faces problems and one blogger’s headline asks: “Is Microsoft Kinect Already A Failure?”

There is a serious problem with the price [1, 2, 3], but Microsoft has excuses (contradicted by the pre-selling at that exact cost). Microsoft is making expensive what Nintendo Wii buyers get bundled (for about the same price as the peripheral alone) and there are better things coming from Microsoft’s competitors anyway [1, 2]. Microsoft is still behind:

Playing Catch-Up With Wii

The current generation of consoles were launched at the annual E3 show in 2005. And at this year’s E3, they didn’t showcase any completely new ideas. Instead, they designed new features and peripherals to extend the old model’s lives and broaden their appeal.

Microsoft is just copying others, as usual. It’s safe to guess that next year it will copy 3-D from Sony and Nintendo (we wrote about this last week because it’s still important enough to stay in the headlines [1, 2]).

Watch how Microsoft makes excuses for being behind the rest of the pack [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Microsoft pretends that the present adoption or lack thereof implies future adoption or lack thereof. Microsoft has always been reluctant to move forward, being the monopolist which it is (there is incentive to keep the status quo). Here is how Joystiq put it:

“We’re going to take more of an attitude of seeing what the adoption looks like,” Penello said.

That’s just shameless spin and an excuse for being the only console without 3D. Last week (or around E3) the excuse was that it’s too expensive, not that it’s lacking “demand”. They keep moving the goalposts. Inconsistencies are indicative of dishonesty.

People who are heavy gamers probably know that Microsoft is not at the forefront and it is even being snubbed by game makers [1, 2] because of its greed:

Wondering why Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV isn’t coming to Xbox 360, or why Cryptic canceled the release of their own MMO, Champions Online, for the Microsoft console? The answer might be as simple as money.

For the time being it seems like Nintendo is the big winner. Why does it matter to Techrights? Because Microsoft has lost literally billions of dollars in this area, which harms Microsoft more than it helps it. As long as Microsoft attacks the freedom of software, its failures are good news to the software industry.

Gates Foundation Helps Bring Coca-Cola and Monsanto (GMO) to Africa

Posted in Africa, Bill Gates, Patents at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Colonial Africa

Summary: Neo-colonialism by multi-national corporations is promoted by well-known capitalists to subjugate under an “aid” pretext

FOR THOSE who do not know yet, the Gates Foundation invests heavily in Coca-Cola, whose offences against humanity are unknown to many people but still well documented. Based on this new report from The Guardian, Coca-Cola is taking more its vicious business to Africa, along with the Gates Foundation which invests in Coca-Cola. To quote the portion of interest from last week’s article:

How can African agriculture be more productive?

[...]

This is an issue that has come up in Soroti district (in which Katine is found). The local politicians lobbied hard for an orange processing factory in Soroti, and believed they had a strong case because the climate and land is excellent for citrus growing. But the investment went in the end to west Uganda. (An $11.5m partnership between the Gates Foundation, Coca-Cola and TechnoServe is, however, expected to benefit smallholder fruit farmers in eastern Uganda).

According to the Killer Coke campaign, Coca-Cola deserves to be accused of “inaction and neglect on health issues in Africa. Health care advocates around the world have demanded that employees of Coke bottlers in Africa be provided with access to care and medicine that would treat, or prevent the further spread of, HIV/AIDS. Although Coca-Cola, the largest private-sector employer on the African continent, has been barely addressing the problem, its public relations juggernaut puts forth the lie that the company has all but solved it. An Oct. 27, 2003 press release from the organization Health GAP (www.healthgap.org) is headlined: “Coke’s HIV/AIDS Treatment Program in Africa Still Just a Public Relations Ploy.” Some in South Africa accuse Coca-Cola of racism.

Anyway, Coca-Cola is likely to profit or inflate its massive brand value (PR) and guess who is a shareholder? Africa has bigger agricultural issues and as we noted in previous posts, the Gates Foundation is promoting GMO (for Monsanto) down in the oppressed continent. Posts on the subject include:

  1. How the Gates Foundation Privatises Africa
  2. With Microsoft Monopoly in Check, Bill Gates Proceeds to Creating More Monopolies
  3. Gates-Backed Company Accused of Monopoly Abuse and Investigated
  4. Reader’s Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods
  5. Monsanto: The Microsoft of Food
  6. Seeds of Doubt in Bill Gates Investments
  7. Gates Foundation Accused of Faking/Fabricating Data to Advance Political Goals
  8. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  9. Video Transcript of Vandana Shiva on Insane Patents
  10. Explanation of What Bill Gates’ Patent Investments Do to Developing World
  11. Black Friday Film: What the Bill Gates-Backed Monsanto Does to Animals, Farmers, Food, and Patent Systems
  12. Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies
  13. Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off
  14. Bill Gates Takes His GMO Patent Investments/Experiments to India
  15. Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited
  16. Beyond the ‘Public Relations’
  17. UK Intellectual Monopoly Office (UK-IPO) May be Breaking the Law
  18. “Boycott Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in China”
  19. The Gates Foundation Extends Control Over Communication with Oxfam Relationship
  20. Week of Monsanto

Bill Gates has only just returned from a lobbying trip Nigeria and a new report from Natural News has an explicit headline: “Bill Gates now pushing genetically modified seeds in Africa” (this might still be news to some people).

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation continues to throw its support behind risky genetically modified (GM) seeds as a means for feeding hungry Africans, ignoring safer and more reliable technologies that already exist.

Not long after publicly blaming GM critics for prolonging hunger in Africa, Gates announced that his foundation is partnering with DuPont subsidiary Pioneer Hi-Bred to develop higher yield GM strains of corn. Two years ago, the Gates Foundation also partnered with Monsanto to develop drought-tolerant GM corn.

The companies claim that these GM seeds will be delivered to small farmers free of charge. Yet Monsanto says its drought-tolerant corn will not be ready until 2012, at which point it will be introduced into the commercial market. It will not be made available to poor African farmers until 2016.

For those who know nothing about the criminal activity of Monsanto and its impact on farmers, the posts above will hopefully shed light. As we have shown on several occasions before, Monsanto staff has also entered top positions inside the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which it can now use for Monsanto’s lobbying. Some pharmaceutical giants have followed the same trajectory.

A few days ago we found the press release titled “Lutheran World Relief Responds to Growing Food Crisis in Niger” (maybe GMO, but it does not say so explicitly), which led to some coverage which does not say much more. The Gates Foundation is involved in it.

For the sake of brevity we won’t discuss this news from Pakistan, which is similar to the recent investment in Haiti (the Gates Foundation is also involved this time). There is the big abortion question which still leads to concern and backlash. For those who believe that rich people from the United States are not pursuing more power (or money) when they approach Africa*, here is a book worth reading, in addition to old articles as well as some of the posts below.

Related posts:

___
* In the past it was mostly Europe and increasingly it is China too which exploits Africa’s resources.

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