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06.30.10

IRC Proceedings: June 30th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

IEEE Hates Software Freedom, Now Makes it More Official

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The IEEE’s promotion of proprietary software is made more apparent by its position on software patents after deals with Microsoft and other monopolistic entities; Centrify wants to put Microsoft tax in Red Hat and Fedora

ONE OF THE world’s leading computer scientists is against them, but the IEEE is in favour of them. What are they? Monopolies on algorithms. Professor ‘Algorithm’ Knuth has already explained that “there are far better ways to protect the intellectual property rights of software developers than to take away their right to use fundamental building blocks.” He must be referring to copyrights and/or trade secrets.

The disparity between these views of Knuth (creator of LaTeX, which is Free software TeX) and the views of the IEEE (where Knuth is a special person for several different reasons) ought to be resolved because it’s rather shocking to find this new press release which chooses neither to be neutral nor to reject software patents.

IEEE-USA pleased that Supreme Court’s ruling preserves software patents

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Monday that a new method of doing business can be patented, and that the ability to patent software should not be limited.

What’s not too shocking is the IEEE’s active lobbying for software patents, especially given what we already know about the IEEE and Microsoft, for example. Over the years we have accumulated numerous examples where the IEEE takes a position which is hostile towards software freedom and towards computer science in general. Software patents are bad for all programmers in general, except the large employers of programmers (whose managers exclude competition and thus increase profits, using software patents). It’s “time to boycott IEEE,” writes the president of the FFII in relation to the press release shown above.

Bradley M. Kuhn (FSF/SFLC) takes a constructive approach. Yesterday he released this oggcast/audiocast which analyses the Bilski decision.

Dan Ravicher joins Karen and Bradley to discuss the Bilski case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

This show was released on Tuesday 29 June 2010; its running time is 1:14:22.

Kuhn also posted in his blog some advice for those who want to dodge software patents in the United States, using software licences. He endorses APGLv3, GPLv3, LGPLv3, and Apache-2.0 (they have ‘teeth’ to defend against software patents ambush).

Lots of people are opining about the USA Supreme Court’s ruling in the Bilski case. Yesterday, I participated in a oggcast with the folks at SFLC. In that oggcast, Dan Ravicher explained most of the legal details of Bilski; I could never cover them as well as he did, and I wouldn’t even try.

Anyway, as a non-lawyer worried about the policy questions, I’m pretty much only concerned about those forward-looking policy questions. Looking back at how our community responded to this Bilski situation over the last 18 months, some of it seems similar to what happened while the Eldred case was working its way to the Supreme Court. In the months preceding both Eldred and Bilski, there seemed to be a mass hypnosis that the Supreme Court would actually change copyright law (Eldred) or patent law (Bilski) to make it better for freedom of computer users.

[...]

License your software APGLv3, GPLv3, LGPLv3 or Apache-2.0. Among the copyleft licenses, AGPLv3 and GPLv3 offer the best patent protections; LGPLv3 offers the best among the weak copyleft licenses; Apache License 2.0 offers the best patent protections among the permissive licenses. These are the licenses we should gravitate toward, particularly when now that it is certain that companies with software patents are coming after Free Software. At least when such companies contribute code to projects under these licenses, we know those particular codebases will be safe from that particular company’s patents.

GNU/Linux ought to watch out for Microsoft offshoots of sorts, such as Centrify [1, 2, 3]. Their proposition is compatibility with Microsoft, but what they actually sell is access to Microsoft’s software patents, which have been more or less upheld in the United States but nowhere else. Centrify is trying to bring this Microsoft patent tax to Fedora 13 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 right now whilst Microsoft continues to mock the need for server interoperability. The company called Likewise also has roots in Microsoft and it operates similarly, by offering a Samba-type product with Microsoft patent tax [1, 2, 3, 4]. For those who still wonder why Microsoft protocols and software patents are counter productive, look no further.

Centrify

Speedy Deception From Microsoft

Posted in Boycott Novell, Deception, Microsoft at 11:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rollercoaster track

Summary: Internet Explorer 9 (IE 9) is not as fast as Microsoft wishes people to believe, according to independent tests

MICROSOFT loves to compare competitors’ real products to products that it has not even released yet (and therefore cannot be benchmarked reliably). Microsoft uses draconian terms in the EULA to prevent parties from conducting and publishing benchmarks. False performance claims are currently being spread around by Microsoft, touting the speed of a product which is not even out in the market.

Ryan Farmer has performed some tests and he concludes that “IE 9 Preview 3 is still really slow…”

That was the answer to your question. “Is it really fair to be bagging on something that’s not even released?”. Yes and no. Normally no, but when Microsoft is already lying about it being faster than the speed of light on a day that God did a line of coke, I’d say they made the damned thing fair game already.

In one of our IRC channels, Ryan said that “IE 9 is as fast as a browser can get without breaking the laws of physics. Lie mode cancel. How does Microsoft manage to make up benchmarks that anyone can download their browser and debunk?”

“There are ways to cheat,” Oiaohm responded to him. LifeHacker has its own benchmarks too. Microsoft is not a winner there, either.

Eye on Apple: Instructing Employees to Lie to Customers

Posted in Apple at 11:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest news about Apple’s defective phones that it released in a rush to counter Linux (Android)

How Apple Wants Employees to Deal With The iPhone 4 Antenna Issues

The iPhone 4 became the talking subject last week after many devices were reportedly losing signal when gripped in certain ways. There were rumors of Apple updating iOS 4 to try to resolve the issue. However, the update was supposed to be released yesterday. Thus far, the company has just refused to accept there’s something wrong with the device.

The Cupertino-based company is so close-minded that it’s training its retail store employees to deal with the situation as poorly and terrible as its PR department and even its CEO Steve Jobs have. According to leaked internal troubleshooting procedures, employees are basically told to deny the antenna issues and advise customers to avoid handling the device in ways that cover the black strip on the antenna. Additionally, Apple tells employees to suggest customers to buy a case and to not offer any for free.

Apple Hiring iPhone Antenna Engineers (Glyn Moody asks: “shouldn’t they have done this *before* releasing the handset?”)

Apple is hiring three antenna engineers, Engadget has dug out, posting the job ads on 23rd of June, which is when the iPhone 4’s reception issues started getting traction in the media.

Hey, Apple, you’re holding it wrong

The way that you hold me

Links 30/6/2010: Cisco’s Linux Machines; Npad

Posted in News Roundup at 8:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Year Of The Linux… Everything Else

    Now imagine what it would do for Linux if Apple’s products worked perfectly with it. That’s never going to happen of course (not if Apple can help it, anyway), but another important shift is coming. Linux is becoming the king of the appliance world and that’s a really big thing. Android and MeeGo are changing the scene. The growth in Android’s market share has been impressive and is only set to rise. Nokia just announced that they will drop Symbian for MeeGo on their high-end smartphones phones. I mean does anyone even realise how amazing it is that one can go to any retailer and buy a Linux powered phone? What these products have done, is turn Linux into a truly wonderful, sexy, easy-to-use appliance and it’s only going to get better from here.

    It’s not just phones. Consumers can also buy (or will be able to soon) Linux based:

    * ARM netbooks
    * cars
    * eBook readers
    * GPS units
    * media hubs
    * mini computers
    * music players
    * network attached storage
    * projectors
    * media centers
    * personal internet viewers
    * routers
    * tablets
    * televisions
    * set-top boxes
    * “traditional” phones
    * watches

  • The Best of Tux: 75+ Wallpaper Designs Featuring the Linux Mascot

    Linux has captured the underground nerd world of coders and hackers (white-hat, of course) with it’s simplicity, lightness, and functionality. The mainstream, however, hasn’t been as quick to catch on – that is, until they meet the adorable Linux penguin mascot, Tux.

  • Pros and Cons of Linux. is it Right for your Business?

    What is Linux?

    Linux is an operating system like Microsoft Windows, MacOS or Unix. It was created as a hobby by Linus Torvalds, a student at the University of Helsinki in Finland. What many people do not know about Linux is that its source code is available to anyone. The source code for Linux is called the kernel and is the base operating system Linux. Since the source code, or kernel is free, has enabled hundreds of companies and individuals to release their own operating systems based on Linux system. These operating systems or formats are often referred to as Linux distributions.

  • Desktop

    • Some you lose, some you win…you have to keep trying

      One other person showed up, however, who not only used computers, but was an avid Linux fan. I had given him a copy of Linux a couple of years ago along with a “plush Tux” and he was now using Linux other than “for one or two programs to do editing on his videos.” I told him about some of the multi-media programs that are available for Linux and he now thinks he can be completely “Microsoft free”. He also has his wife and family using Linux. I must admit that his presence made my day a little brighter.

  • Books

    • The perfect companion for mastering the latest version of Fedora

      Research and Markets: Fedora Bible 2010 Edition: Featuring Fedora Linux 12 – The Perfect Companion for Mastering the Latest Version of Fedora

    • LPI Linux Certification in a Nutshell–New from O’Reilly

      Linux deployment continues to increase, and so does the demand for qualified and certified Linux system administrators. If you’re seeking a job-based certification from the Linux Professional Institute (LPI), this updated guide of LPI Linux Certification in a Nutshell (O’Reilly Media, $49.99 USD) will help you prepare for the technically challenging LPIC Level 1 Exams 101 and 102.

  • Server

    • The Open Source Server Quagmire

      For many enterprises, the server OS presents a quagmire: They don’t want to pay too much for the server OS on which they rely, but at the same time, they don’t want their server OS makers going out of business. The big question is whether there’s enough money in open source software to build strong and stable enterprise OS makers.

      If you run your business using Microsoft’s Windows server OSes, then you really don’t have to worry. The Redmond giant is rolling in cash thanks in no small part to the high prices it charges for its desktop and server OSes and the client access licenses it requires to connect one to the other.

      But open source companies are different. They don’t sell their open source software per se, and therefore they don’t make a lot of money. Peter Wayner over at InfoWorld wrote recently about two highly valued open source companies: MySQL, which Sun bought for $1 billion, and Red Hat, currently valued by the market at around $6 billion. This was what he had to say:

    • When Experts aren’t Experts bad stories happen…

      The “Expert” also seemed to think it was harder to manage a Linux Server over a Windows Sever. This is strictly a matter of what you are used to. While there were times in my past where I did Administer Windows Servers. Going back now and trying to do things is difficult because of how much has changed. Learning and becoming an expert in any operating system takes time and requires work.

      Companies need to evaluate the Linux vs. Windows choice based on what they are trying to do. Everyone needs to not make this decision on a case by case basis. There are no hard fast rules and staffing and cost will always be the biggest things to determine it.

    • IBM, Arctur partner to bring supercomputing to the midmarket

      IBM said that its iDataPlex supercomputer running Linux will be capable of performing approximately 10 trillion calculations per second (rpeak teraflops) and is expected to grow to 25 teraflops in near future. It harnesses the new Intel six-core processors and QDR InfiniBand in a design that improves energy efficiency and cooling requirements.

  • Audiocasts

  • Ballnux

    • Critics’ Choice: HTC Evo 4G Smartphone Review Roundup

      For several years now, Sprint has been in next-to-last place among U.S. wireless network providers. But that might eventually change if Sprint continues to offer smartphones like the HTC EVO 4G ($200 with a new contract), a well-reviewed Android 2.1 handset boasting several firsts and currently a Sprint exclusive in the U.S.

    • Samsung Galaxy S: New Informations

      The new Samsung Galaxy S is a nice phone.Samsung Galaxy S will compete with Iphone 4 and I think that Samsung Galaxy S is better than Iphone.Just as success rate for the iPhone 4 a few days ago, also for its direct competitor, the Samsung S Galaxy, we have learned – through the channel twitter 3 Italy – its impending entry to list. Samsung Galaxy S is a good phone.

  • Graphics Stack

    • There’s A Gallium3D State Tracker For VDPAU

      Committed to a branch of the Mesa repository over the weekend is an initial Gallium3D state tracker for providing VDPAU support. Yes, VDPAU as in NVIDIA’s Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix that has become quite popular with Linux users and is supported by many media applications.

    • Gallium3D Gets A “Galahad” Driver

      Besides a VDPAU state tracker for Gallium3D having emerged in the past couple of days, a new Gallium3D driver called “Galahad” has been committed to the Mesa mainline repository and has been worked on over the past week.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KDE SC 4.5 RC1 arrives

        The KDE Project developers have issued the first release candidate (RC) for version 4.5 of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC), a development preview of the next major release for the popular Linux and Unix desktop. The final version of KDE 4.5 is scheduled to be released in August, 2010.

      • On Being Free pt 3

        So in short, we should try and keep us free and independent by doing the following:

        * Be Nice

        * Reach out

        * Share and talk

        Moreover, we should think about how we’ve organized some things. Maybe we can improve the way e.V. works? We are already working on getting community support through the Supporting Membership program; we might want to do more to diversify where our money comes from and give the e.V. more power in talking to companies.

      • KatchTV is an “Internet TV” application for KDE, otherwise known as a broadcatcher.

        KatchTV is very similar to Democracy TV, but focuses on KDE integration, using KHTMLPart and embedded players such as kaffeine. It’s much faster, and lighter on resources if you run a KDE desktop without GTK apps.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Zenwalk Linux 6.4

        The Standard Edition distribution installed with no problems on my HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez, which has an AMD cpu, ATI graphics and Atheros WiFi, and everything works just fine. I have not loaded it on my HP 2133 yet, but I just checked and it does include the openchrome driver in the base distribution (hooray!), so I am hopeful it will load on that system easily as well. I will try to get that done, as well as my “plain vanilla” Lifebook Intel-based system, over the weekend and post an update about it next week.

        If you read my short post about Slackware 13.1 yesterday, and perhaps were a bit put off by the “minimalist” installation booting to a text login prompt and such (or if you are just lazy like me), then Zenwalk is an excellent way to get started with a complete ready-to-run Slackware-based distribution.

    • New Releases

      • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 103

        · Announced Distro: Superb Mini Server 1.5.2
        · Announced Distro: CrunchBang Linux 10 Alpha 2
        · Announced Distro: Debian 5.0.5
        · Announced Distro: Sabily 10.04

      • Linux Mint 9 KDE RC Comes with KDE 4.4.4

        The KDE favor of the popular Linux Mint 9 is almost ready for a larger audience as the first release candidate has been made available. Linux Mint 9 KDE RC still has some known issues, but is overall usable and stable enough for most people. Linux Mint 9 KDE is based on the latest Kubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx” and comes with KDE SC 4.4.4.

    • Red Hat Family

      • The “Consumable” Cloud, Red Hat Flavoured

        Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager of Red Hat’s cloud business unit is trying hard to convince customers that the company can provide safe and managed cloud computing services. He asserts this on the back of the company’s track record in making Linux a safe place to run mission-critical applications with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

      • Red Hat fights Microsoft for cloud profits

        Red Hat got its start as Linux magazine publisher that tucked a Linux CD in the back, and then evolved into the largest commercial Linux distributor in the world. The company added middleware from JBoss and created other middleware, such as its Enterprise MRG messaging, grid and realtime Linux variant, and virtualization software for desktops and servers. And now it has to position itself as an alternative to Microsoft as the platform upon which customers can build x64-based clouds.

      • Red Hat and Cisco working on the virtualization deal

        Red Hat and Cisco Systems have readied for a joint alliance which shall expand their virtualization network offerings.

        Red Hat is known as a leading provider for open source solutions. It seeks to integrate its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) software with the virtual network link or the VN-Link technology offered by Cisco.

      • Fedora

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Linux Now Working On The HD2 In The Form Of Ubuntu

        People have been doing their best to get certain form of Linux working on the HD2. Well while they have been working on Android on the HD2, they have made some leaps on getting Ubuntu working on the Device. In a recent tweet from the guys that work on porting the perfect level of Linux to HTC device… They include a great image of the device running a seemingly stable version of the Linux OS.

      • 20 vendors CIOs should watch, part 2

        Canonical
        Any company that challenges the lucrative status quo is worth watching and with its Ubuntu Linux distribution, Canonical is challenging one of the great franchises in software history: Microsoft Windows. Ubuntu has become established as the simplest-to-use desktop Linux for many organisations (and hardware vendors) where Windows might appear pricey and overkill. Of course, PC makers are also looking at Google Android and other systems but if Ubuntu can make itself the free PC OS of choice for even a base set of configurations, tasks and workloads, it stands to become a new power broker.

      • Flavours and Variants

        • Like Experimenting With Your Ubuntu Desktop? Try Ubuntu Sugar Remix

          Sugar desktop environment was originally conceptualized to become the default desktop for OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project. Sugar desktop is designed with the goal of being used by children for learning. The original Sugar desktop environment was repackaged for Ubuntu and it was called Ubuntu Sugar Remix.

  • Google

    • Google Releases Chrome 5.0.375.86 Stable for Linux

      Just in time for the weekend break, the Google Chrome developers at Google announced last evening (June 24th) the stable release and availability for download of the Google Chrome 5.0.375.86 web browser for Linux, Windows and Macintosh platforms. This new version comes right after the beta release announced two days ago, which enabled by default the integrated flash player. Google Chrome 5.0.375.86 is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures with binary packages for Ubuntu Linux.

    • An overview on Google’s Chrome OS

      Chrome OS is an open source (the source code is open for all to see and can even be changed and added to) operating system built on a Linux kernel that in comparison to its Windows and Mac OS counterparts is more lightweight which lowers the demands of the specs of the computer running it and giving it a faster boot time making it very use-able on netbooks.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Meet The New Google Android Entrant In The Notebook Market-

        There is another alternative to the Windows OS and that is Linux. It is simpler to use and it offers more freedom to its users. This system also has an added advantage as its installation is free and it can also operate from any computer. Besides Android there is another operating system that ensures good performance and that is Moblin and it is currently the platform that is widely being used for Intel’s Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Wi-Fi Problems? Don’t Neglect Open Source Solutions

    Fortunately, though, the world of open source also offers some applications worth knowing about if you want to customize and optimize your Wi-Fi setup. Two of the best apps to know about are Tomato and dd-wrt.

  • Open Source Channel Alliance: Surprisingly Silent

    On paper, the OSCA sounds like a good idea. And several OSCA members tell The VAR Guy that they’re upbeat about long-term open source channel opportunities. But the Synnex-led OSCA effort ran into at least one problem: The Synnex reseller base doesn’t do much work in areas like traditional ERP, CRM and other enterprise applications. As a result, those same resellers have been slow to embrace open source alternatives to traditional enterprise apps, according to those familiar with the OSCA’s strategy.

  • Open Source World Conference 2010
  • Mozilla

    • Firefox Private Browsing Mode, Torbutton, and Fingerprinting

      Last week, Peter Eckersley and I met with the Mozilla team in Mountain view to discuss web fingerprinting, privacy and Torbutton. I gave an updated version of my Torbutton Design talk, and Peter discussed Panopticlick. Mozilla was primarily interested in hearing about these projects in the context of their Private Browsing Mode, which they unveiled in Firefox 3.5.

    • Firefox Update Gives Flash 45 Seconds, Then Pulls the Plug

      Mozilla has released Firefox 3.6.6, an incremental update which tweaks the way the browser handles misbehaving plug-ins, giving Flash and other plug-ins 45 seconds to respond, or else get shut down

  • Oracle

  • Openness/Sharing

    • ISKME’s Lisa Petrides: Open Education and Policy

      At the beginning of this year we announced a revised approach to our education plans, focusing our activities to support of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. In order to do so we have worked hard to increase the amount of information available on our own site – in addition to a new Education landing page and our OER portal explaining Creative Commons’ role as legal and technical infrastructure supporting OER, we have been conducting a series of interviews to help clarify some of the challenges and opportunities of OER in today’s education landscape.

    • Open Data

      • Government accepts academies should be subject to FOI Act

        Schools minister Lord Hill of Oareford has confirmed that the government accepts academy schools should be public authorities for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act. In response to an amendment proposed by Lord Lucas during the committee stage of the Academies Bill, to add academy proprietors to Schedule 1 of the FOI Act, the minister said he supported the amendment in principle and promised to come back to the issue at report stage.

      • Open Access/Content

        • Springer Announces New Open-Access Journals

          The Springer publishing company today announced that it is setting up a new open-access journal program. Called SpringerOpen, the program will initially include 12 new online-only, peer-reviewed journals in science, technical, and medical fields.

          The Chronicle sat down with Eric Merkel-Sobotta, Springer’s executive vice president for corporate communications, and Bettina Goerner, the company’s manager of open access, to talk about the program. (They were in town for the annual meeting of the American Library Association.) They emphasized that all SpringerOpen journals will be published under a Creative Commons Attribution license, which allows reuse of articles as long as the authors are given credit. So if you’re an instructor who wants to use a SpringerOpen article in a course you’re teaching, “you can include it in course packages without e-mailing Springer’s rights department,” Mr. Merkel-Sobotta said.

        • Open access publishing & open peer review

          I have never previously submitted a paper to JMIR or other open access journals, because the university I work for has no way of paying the submission and publication charges (although they spend a fortune on subscriptions to journals – some of which I and my colleagues have published in). This changed a few weeks ago when I persuaded my doctoral supervisors that the high impact factor and relatively fast review process of JMIR meant this was the right journal to submit my latest paper to. I had to make a special case (largely based on completing my doctorate before the next assesment under the Research Excellence Framework) and it was agreed that the university would pay the fees – but that this wouldn’t set a precedent for the future.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 Isn’t Ready For Primetime, YouTube Says

      Apple’s effort to leave the past behind, as CEO Steve Jobs has characterized his company’s rejection of Adobe’s Flash technology, may take longer than expected.

      Kuan Yong, platforms product manager for Google’s YouTube, says that despite his company’s efforts to make YouTube videos run in an HTML5 player, Flash isn’t going anywhere.

Leftovers

  • Knuth Plans ‘Earthshaking Announcement’ Wednesday

    I Don’t Believe in Imaginary Property writes “Donald Knuth is planning to make an ‘earthshaking announcement’ on Wednesday, at TeX’s 32nd Anniversary Celebration, on the final day of the TUG 2010 Conference. Unfortunately, nobody seems to know what it is. So far speculation ranges from proving P!=NP, to a new volume of The Art of Computer Programming, to his retirement. Maybe Duke Nukem Forever has been ported to MMIX?” Let the speculation begin.

  • A New Plan For Unix

    No one questions the stability, reliability, and durability of Unix. But there are lots of questions about its future, particularly on systems that occupy the market between commodity x86 boxes and mainframes. The midrange Unix market hasn’t grown in years, and the operating system faces competition from its cousin Linux, which can run on a variety of hardware platforms, from x86 to the more powerful and reliable systems that were originally built for Unix.

  • Security/Aggression

    • ACLU Study Highlights U.S. Surveillance Society

      Welcome to the surveillance society.

      That’s what the American Civil Liberties Union concluded Tuesday with a report chronicling government spying and the detention of groups and individuals “for doing little more than peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.”

    • Those Russian Spies

      I don’t have any difficulty in believing that the FBI really have discovered a colony of Russian sleeper spies in the United States.

      Spying is an industry. Most of its activity is pointless, counter-productive and misdirected. Those employed in it have the strongest urge to strengthen and perpetuate their own industry. They are, worldwide, shielded from public scrutiny of their efficiency, and it is easy to persuade politicians to dole out more and more funds. Politicians are flattered to see papers marked “Top Secret” and their vanity is stoked by knowing about things happening that the public is not allowed to know about. It gives them a feeling of power.

    • Police powers expanded for G20

      Police forces in charge of security at the G20 summit in Toronto have been granted special powers for the duration of the summit.

    • Immortality and Excess

      “Police, at their discretion, can deny access to the area and “use whatever force is necessary” to keep people out.

      Anyone who refuses to identify themselves or refuses to provide a reason for their visit can be fined up to $500.

      The new rules also give police the power to search anyone who approaches the fence.

      The regulation also says that if someone has a dispute with an officer and it goes to court “the police officer’s statement under oath is considered conclusive evidence under the Act.”

      Draconican, excessive, unaccountable. When governments treat their citizens like this, democracy is deeply threatened.

  • Environment/Energy

    • Would BP’s CEO Have Been Executed In China?

      Some time ago we reached the “China Zone” for the BP story. The China Zone is where you are ready to believe any story you hear happened in the country, because no matter how unbelievable it is, you just think to yourself, “Ha, that’s China!”

    • New UK Energy Minister and the Continuing Decline in Energy Production

      It’s a familiar story: every year the UK’s primary energy production declines significantly. Today, primary energy production is almost half what it was at the peak just a decade ago. Has any other country, let alone major economy experienced such a speed and magnitude shift in its energy system outside wartime?

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Rebecca MacKinnon on Internet censorship in China

      Rebecca MacKinnon’s blog post about Google’s recent moves with their homepage for their mainland Chinese users is informative but what’s more interesting to me is her testimony at the June 30th hearing on “China’s Information Control Practices and the Implications for the United States” for the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The entire testimony is powerful but the last part, where she reminds everyone that Baidu is listed on the NASDAQ and uses money from investors in the US and elsewhere to censor the Internet in China, is worth reading.

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk 28 July 2008 – Bazaar (2009)


The Gates Foundation May Be Turning School Teachers Into State-funded PR Agents

Posted in America, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Direct link to deposition video | Full set of the deposition videos (including Ogg Theora versions)


Footage from the Gates deposition (quotes for humour’s purpose only)

Summary: Bill Gates’ indoctrination of children (PR) offloaded onto schools; Gates Foundation staff put in charge of school districts

AS longtime readers probably know, the Gates Foundation spends a lot of money on PR. Recently it has been hiring external PR agencies to polish Bill’s image [1, 2] and tell tall tales about him. For instance, rather than say how he really started in the business (breaking computers), the goal is to have articles like this one, rewriting history and glorifying a convicted monopolist. To quote from the start, they make it sound like a poor kid from a dorm rather than a very rich kid whose father claimed him to be extremely problematic/arrogant as a child (even weeks ago on television):

Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq:MSFT) is one of the biggest corporate success stories in American history. From its humble beginnings in Bill Gates’ Harvard dorm room, in only 35 years the company grew to become one of the biggest companies in the world.

That’s not quite the story, but let’s carry on. AP has this new article about Gates’ more mature colleague at the time:

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen reportedly has paid $35 million for an eight-story office building in downtown Tempe, Ariz., creating a buzz in the city over what his real estate company will do with the vacant structure.

More in the WSJ:

Now that quest has yielded its first deal: Vulcan is paying $35 million in cash for an empty eight-story office building completed last year in downtown Tempe, Ariz.

It’s actually harder to find any wrongdoing which involves Allen (maybe except the sabotage of computers to buy computer time), but that’s because he left early, probably before Microsoft turned sour and decided to violate the law under Bill’s watch, with his endorsement.

“Waggener Edstrom is mentioned too (in other articles); it’s Microsoft PR department at the same time that it’s flirting with the Gates Foundation, so there is clear overlap.”Over the years it became hard to criticise these people because they bombard the media with self-congratulating coverage that omits the critiques. It’s as though time is supposed to heal the wounds and new generations of people (youngsters) are to be brainwashed and told a completely different story. This requires an enormous amount of discipline. Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft’s PR department, has been with Microsoft for decades. Pam Edstrom was the lady whose job was to merely change perception about Bill (a bit like carrying one’s golf club for a living) and here we have a new short report about new PR activities which are intended to promote the “Bill Gates” brand. Waggener Edstrom is mentioned too (in other articles); it’s Microsoft PR department at the same time that it’s flirting with the Gates Foundation, so there is clear overlap.

The decision comes after the Holmes Report exclusively revealed that the Gates Foundation was reviewing its PR activities last month. Weber Shandwick wins the business following a pitch that also included Waggener Edstrom and Hill & Knowlton.

We wrote about Weber Shandwick in [1, 2]. A lot of money is spent for these agencies to generate positive press coverage for Bill Gates and fellow investors (Warren Buffett for example), whose tax-exempt operation needs to be seen as worthy of those exemptions from the public. Their activities vary widely but also include tapping the minds of children. We wrote about this many times before because people occasionally complain about it. If the Gates Foundation is taking over public education in the United States [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], then it’s important to understand what agenda it promotes.

Here is a new speech from the Gates Foundation. They say about schools that “change is necessary.”

Today, I believe we’re on the cusp of dramatic changes to public education in this country. We, as a nation, are having some tough conversations, looking hard at what works and what hasn’t in our schools. Being clearer than ever before on what students need to succeed, and what is less central to success.

To many people those conversations are threatening, because change always causes uncertainty. But at the Gates Foundation, we think they’re vitally important, because more than ever, change is necessary.

This is part of a speech from the Gates Foundation’s Vicki Phillips, who is also mentioned in this new press release (additionally here):

The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) — the independent organization that provides National Board Certification for U.S. teachers — today announced its participation in the Measures of Effective Teaching project, a national effort to help educators and policymakers identify and support good teaching. As part of its involvement, NBPTS will utilize its widely respected National Board Standards and assessment processes to confidentially evaluate videos of classroom instruction — one of six types of data being collected by researchers for the project. A $1.2 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will fund the NBPTS work.

[...]

“This partnership will enrich the data that are so essential to understanding what works in the classroom,” said Vicki L. Phillips, director of education, college-ready, at the Gates Foundation.

Why does the Gates Foundation get to decide what “good teaching” is? Why does it lobby “educators and policymakers”? Do public institutions like the Department of Education really need help from private bodies created by monopolists? Probably not, but they do this anyway.

Here is some more lobbying with money. A lot of money is typically spent brainwashing the young generation to love Gates and that whole mindset of patents/monopolies. It’s PR. By capturing schools Gates ensures public subsidy of this PR activity, where teachers are the equivalent of PR agents. We’ll give some new examples from last week, but examples we’ve accumulated generally span as much as a year. To Bill, it’s not just about technology anymore; how about Microsoft’s ‘Home of the future’ which made the news last week? How about Microsoft’s “School of the future”, whose correlation to Gates we explained last week? Here is another article from last week (at CNN):

The world was watching in 2006 when the Microsoft-designed School of the Future opened in Philadelphia and attempted to reform education.

Despite having four principals, curriculum overhauls, and student technology gaps, the school graduated its first senior class last week, with every graduate having plans for institutions of higher learning.

“This isn’t a school about technology, this is a school about redefining the norm for urban education,” said Mary Cullinane, director of innovation for Microsoft Education, who is also the liaison to the school.

Microsoft’s ‘School of the future’ was also covered by USA Today 11 days ago. It generally got almost a dozen articles in the past 2 weeks alone (and this did not originate from the big corporate press only, just seeded there). Why does a technology/marketing company suddenly decide that it’s in the school business? Is it experimenting with children? And if so, then as we asked last week, why not let BP control US universities and Walmart run the kindergarten system? This hopefully helps get across the absurdity of this.

This is where Gates comes in again. He pushes for a reform in schools and he gets his way by making conditional donations, whereby a school receives some funds only if it implements changes to fit Gates’ model. Last week someone posted the essay “Redesigning college, one course at a time”

The project, the Washington State Student Completion Initiative, will be supported by grants of $5.3 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and $800,000 from the Ford Foundation.

Yes, Ford too. Gates is not entirely unique here; there are others like Rockefeller, among other rich families whose investments pose a greater or lesser ethical dilemma.

Watch how the foundation of Bill Gates is using funds to ‘plant’ some staff and bring about the reform sought:

Among the Gates staff participating will be former state Secretary of Education Vicky Phillips, said Bartley.

There are many examples just like that (this just happens to be the latest); no panel involving education can carry on without some cronies who serve private interests. It’s not just Gates’ foundation by the way, but the Gates Foundation is probably more prominent among those who virtually privatise US education. Previous posts gave detailed listings of members of such panels. They are not just elected officials, appointed to represent the public who voted for them. This is a substantial threat to democracy.

An article which was perhaps withdrawn (“The article requested can not be found!”) was published last week under the headline “Gates Grant Boosts Teacher Recruiting”; The article said that “the district’s 7-year reform effort with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation drew them to Hillsborough like a magnet.”

For those who do not know, the Gates Foundation’s better-known experiment in a school district actually involves Hillsborough. We wrote about Hillsborough in:

Raytheon (Military Industrial Complex) actually collaborates with Gates in education:

Raytheon, which is based in Waltham, now commits 60 percent of its charitable giving to activities that boost math and science education, Swanson said. The company is working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to sponsor research on ways to increase the number of technically trained graduates. Raytheon engineers have developed a mathematical model to simulate the performance of the nation’s schools, in an effort to predict which reforms are most likely to succeed.

The supposition/assumption/hypothesis that there is lack of engineers is a load of lies; these lies were spread by Gates himself in order to justify bringing cheap labour from other countries. At the time, Gates was assisted by Jack Abramoff, the criminal lobbyist who has just been released from jail and now works at a pizzeria (the press is having a field day about it).

Here is the most shocking news that we found last week. Gates’ foundation is taking more positions of control in US education:

The Los Angeles Unified school board today could appoint a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation director as the district’s No. 2 man, possibly setting him up to succeed schools chief Ramon Cortines when his contract expires.

The board is scheduled to vote in closed session on the appointment of John Deasy, the deputy director of education at the Gates Foundation, where he has worked since 2008.

So a convicted monopolist is now put in the position of running entire school districts. More coverage of this can be found in:

  1. School reformer named to top LA district job
  2. New job for ex-Pr. Geo. schools’ chief
  3. L.A. school system poised to hire senior Gates Foundation official [Updated]
  4. Controversies Surround LAUSD’s New Hire John Deasy
  5. L.A. Unified hires Gates Foundation official as deputy superintendent

This smells a bit like corruption. Seriously, why not just put Microsoft in charge of school districts too? Separately we learn that there are protests following the LAUSD’s decision to lay off 2,500 people including teachers [1, 2, 3]. In summary, Gates is slated for more control in LAUSD while at the same time thousands lose their job due to the LAUSD’s decision. Didn’t the Gates Foundation advertise itself as a blessing to teacher recruitment? Maybe that was just PR or maybe it’s just not related at all. They know how to say what people want to hear (PR 101). Here is an article from 6 days ago:

MANVILLE: Dear Manville: ‘No’ … signed, Bill Gates

[...]

And, even though the foundation “regretfully” rejected Dr. Ruberto’s request, none other than Bill Gates himself wrote Dr. Ruberto to acknowledge the foundation’s decision. While the foundation’s mission includes “improving high school education in the United States,” according to its website, its focus has been on classroom and instruction programs.

Yes, of course. They also affect the curriculum. They can affect the material that gets pumped into millions of children’s minds for hundreds or thousands of hours each. That is some massive PR power. Pedagogues could learn a lesson from people like Rockefeller, who helped raise a generation of people (next generation) to be unaware of the ruthless past and just think of Rockefeller as this rich family that builds massive centres and funds programmes for the public.

One thing which we mentioned last week is the role of NASSCOM (which describes itself as “the premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPO industries in India”) in promoting Microsoft Office in Indian NGOs. Last week it was also covered in the Times of India. Is NASSCOM an extension of Microsoft now? It has a similar effect on Indian education, so the public needs to reject NASSCOM. Here is some news about Microsoft pushing commercial propaganda into the classroom:

Free Office 2010 Classroom Posters Available from Microsoft

Schools interested in adopting Office 2010, can also grab no less than seven free posters from Microsoft, to display in classrooms. Microsoft Education teams in countries around the world can send the posters via snail mail to schools, provided that they are contacted to do so. In addition, the resources are also available for download, although not from an official Microsoft site.

Now they want Microsoft commercials right inside the classrooms. PR knows no bound. Speaking of which, Microsoft is refining the PR routines, based on this new report:

Today Microsoft Advertising and Mediabrands announced developments on the Media Operations Management System (M.O.M.S.), which is described as “an agency agnostic, enterprise-level architecture to connect the marketing ecosystem.”

The Gates Foundation is meanwhile commissioning more self-serving ‘studies’, proving that it’s lobbying, it’s not just a generous giver as PR wishes to portray:

A new study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — which has invested more than $150 million in New York City schools — suggests that the small schools have succeeded in boosting graduation rates for the city’s most academically challenged students.

These so-called ‘studies’ are then used by the Gates Foundation to lobby policymakers and change schools. Here is a new example from NYC [1, 2, 3]. The Gates Foundation creates models which it then assesses by paying someone from the outside; when it’s all shown to be working perfectly (according to the Gates Foundation itself), then it gets extrapolated and imposed with pressure from the Gates Foundation. We provided examples of this before. It’s all just done for influence. Think about Microsoft’s “School of the future”.

The American Thinker has a new article titled “Foundations Gone Wild”. To quote the ending:

Many of America’s current tribulations began as foundation do-gooder schemes. If you are exasperated with Windows’ poor security, switch to Apple. If Gates wants to undermine a school system with millions in “help” for his ill-conceived schemes, escape may be far costlier than a Mac. Free money can be expensive.

Fortunately, there is an increasing number of people who manage to understand these schemes and also write about them in respectable publications. Private interests rarely serve the public at large. But given a sufficiently large PR army, people can be led to believe otherwise.

As the Gates Foundation continues to commission self-serving ‘studies’, we are hopeful that people will see these for what they are. To quote another new press release:

“Computer and Internet access at public libraries connects millions of Americans to economic, educational, and social opportunity each year, but libraries struggle to replace aging computer workstations and provide the high-speed Internet connections patrons need,” said Jill Nishi, deputy director of U.S. Libraries at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “As demand for these services rise, public and private investment to support public access technology at libraries is more critical than ever.”

Conducted by the ALA and the Center for Library & Information Innovation at the University of Maryland, the study provides a “state of the library” report on the technology resources brokered by libraries and the funding that enables free public access to these resources. The study features the most current national and state data available on technology access and funding in U.S. public libraries.

The study, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the ALA, can be found online at www.ala.org/plinternetfunding.

Yes, this is yet another example where public library policy is being shaped by the Gates Foundation. Does the ALA really need help from the Gates Foundation? Can it not make its own mind? As we showed several times before, the Gates Foundation turns libraries against GNU/Linux:

As always, those who are still sceptical are encouraged to read the original articles for corroboration. There is overwhelming evidence piling up week after week.

Bill Gates Successfully Lobbies Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Ahead of G8 to Make Countries (Taxpayers) Pay for His Initiatives

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Europe, Finance at 3:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Barack Obama meets Stephen Harper

Summary: Super-lobbyist Bill Gates gives instructions to entire countries that attend G8 so that billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money will get spent on his project; The Gates Foundation expands its presence in Europe as it opens a new branch in London

TODAY’S story is a blatant case of rich people instructing world leaders. The key gem comes from the Vancouver Observer, which does not go far enough to show the result of Bill Gates’ lobbying. Let’s step back for a second and remind ourselves of some of the world’s richest and thus most powerful people, who typically operate within foundations. For foundations to run parts of America (and the world) all that’s needed is vicinity like this from last week:

You could have guessed something was up when Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates and David Rockefeller Jr. invited a dozen or so wealthy people to dinner.

That’s what’s sometimes referred to as the “Rich Boys Club”. Warren Buffett and Bill Gates pool their money in the same tax-exempt foundation and Rockefeller (foundation) collaborates with them on some projects such as Green Revolution (promoting Monsanto’s monopoly in Africa). They are still lobbying and meeting politicians, even though they were never elected to represent the public. The Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was lobbied by Bill Gates ahead of G8 in Canada. The article says that “Prime Minister Harper and Mr. Gates spoke about the Canadian government’s flagship maternal, newborn and child health initiative.” It also ends with: “Mr. Gates thanked the Prime Minister for Canada’s decision to make maternal, newborn and child health the focus of development discussions at the G-8 Summit and also thanked Canada for making accountability a priority.” This happens to be similar to what Gates did with Clinton back in March. Gates may be stimulating investments from taxpayers in some of his existing investments (the large portion of his foundation’s activities is for-profit investment). A few days later Canada committed billions of taxpayers’ money, to be funneled into a cause with an identical description to that promoted by Gates even 2-3 weeks ago (“maternal and child health”); not only that in fact, as “Canada Calls for Billions More In G8 Aid For Maternal Health,” according to this report (Harper repeated Gates’ sob stories and convinced other world leaders to put money in it too). How much of a role did Gates’ lobbying of Harper play here? This is also covered in [1, 2, 3, 4]. Watch this article and see how the group of Gates is listed among names of countries, almost a though the foundation is a state now. G8 had other political matters, but why does G8 involve Bill Gates? Is he a government? Does he determine priorities for the world? And if so, on what basis? This guy has tens of billions of dollars in investments (i.e. there are conflicts of interests). To clarify, nobody is against maternal health, but there are many ways of allocating finite public funds to tackle such important issues. It’s almost as though Gates became part of the political agenda of G8 — with all its notoriety that comes from arresting peaceful protesters (at G20 at least). As Cory Doctorow put it last week (courtesy of a reader):

Toronto’s secret ID law used to arrest G20 protestor

Alan sez, “In Canada you’re not required to show ID. Except if you’re in the ‘G20 Zone’. You see, the law allows an exemption to the ‘show ID’ principle for public works. These are usually things like power stations, dams, etc. Well, the government got clever and just declared the entire area a ‘public work’ so police can go around demanding ID. The best part of this? The law that made this happen won’t even be PUBLISHED until after the G20 is over. So nobody knew about it until the cops arrested someone.”

Perhaps these people have some legitimate reasons to be angry (never mind the severity of their mob-like response).

In summary, we find it fascinating that countries committed to investment in some of the very same things Gates has lobbied for in recent weeks. Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe it’s not. The piece from the Vancouver Observer makes it highly improbable that this was a coincidence. The issue is one of direction; scientists too have been accusing the Gates Foundation of making their field operate the Gates way (monopoly), essentially by controlling panels and money supplies.

Last but not least, the Gates Foundation is expanding to England like it’s a business:

A warm welcome to the Gates Foundation, who officially opened their European office in London today.

[...]

But today at the Gates Foundation he had business in his sights: European businesses that do deals in Africa and keep them secret.

I can’t understand that there are some very well respected companies still indulging in signing secret contracts worth billions of dollars for African resources and we have no idea how much they are paying and to whom. How much is going to the country and how much into people’s pockets? How can a board be quiet about this? It is unacceptable.

They should ask Monsanto and find out the role Gates and Rockefeller play in its promotion in Africa (links below). When they say “feed the world’s hungry” they mean “feed Monsanto’s bank account.”

  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

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