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Novell’s Microsoft Propaganda Now in the Press, Microsoft Seeks Linux ‘Patent Tax’ With SLES

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The paid-for Forrester praise/slur is being used to vilify free GNU/Linux and promote the patents tax-encumbered SUSE instead; IBM continues to use SUSE and pay the price

THE LATEST Novell/Microsoft-commissioned propaganda from Forrester advocates SUSE (patent tax on GNU/Linux), however subtly/implicitly. It is sad that Novell hasn’t grown out of this shameless marketing pitch and mainstream news sites are reposting Novell's latest propaganda (with Microsoft), usually without paying much/any attention to who paid for it. Critical analysis of press releases is an essential skill if one wishes not to be misled.

Here is a new article about Microsoft’s patent case against Salesforce [1, 2] (Salesforce has sued back). Microsoft wants Salesforce to start paying Microsoft some money for the GNU/Linux servers it uses (because these qualify as ‘cloud’, not because they contain Linux). This article contains one part which speaks about the Linux patent deals:

Microsoft has in recent years stepped up efforts to make deals to expand and protect its patent portfolio. The company has had a long-running patent sharing deal with Novell along with other vendors such as LCD builder Funai and printer vendor Brother.

One has to wonder, why does IBM still use SLES in some areas such as mainframes? Does IBM insist on paying Microsoft for software patents? From this week’s news:

Last year, IBM teamed with Amazon Web Services to provide pay-as-you-go access to its database servers, Lotus and Websphere middleware, running on Novell SUSE Linux.

IBM ought to encourage the use of GNU/Linux, not Ballnux. It does a bit of both.

IRC Proceedings: July 2nd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Company of Novell Co-Founder Drew Major is Now Dead

Posted in Deals, Microsoft, Novell at 5:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Detonations aboard the USS Oriskany

Summary: Move Networks is reportedly shutting down, self-destructing and selling whatever is left

The last time we mentioned Drew Major was one month ago. Major founded a company called Move Networks, which has just gone out of business and currently looks for a buyer of its assets.

A report today says that Move Networks, the video streaming firm founded by Novell founder Drew Major, has shut down, according to a report from The Diffusion Group.

In related news, a Novell Ventures partner is renaming itself.

The venture firm, whose partners includes managing directors from Utah Ventures/UV Partners and Novell Ventures, said “now was the time to change the name” to reflect the direction of the firm.

Novell Ventures is a 12-year-old captive venture capital vehicle of Novell.

HP Needs to Support OpenDocument Format (ODF) to Help Itself

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Vista 7, Windows at 5:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spread ODF

Summary: HP is launching more Linux-centred services, but ODF support is still lacking or deficient

FOR THOSE who do not remember any of it, HP helped Microsoft push politicians to override technical decisions and help endorse a proprietary format, OOXML.

Based on this Australian Windows booster, HP is flying people in to show them its Linux-powered or Linux-enabled technology, having recently acquired Palm and some other Linux-oriented assets.

HP invited me to its regional launch in Hong Kong of its new range of emailable printers, ones which naturally work as normal over corded USB, wireless Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, and now over a cloud-service enabled email printing service that lets you send an email (with or without attachments) to your ePrint capable HP printer, which then gets printed out in anywhere from a few seconds to less than a minute.

The Microsoft-affiliated Australian Web site called APC Magazine has also covered this.

Apps can be browsed and installed directly from the printers as well as online through the cloud-based ePrintCenter hub, which is also the mechanism for printing documents by emailing them to the printer.

From the same site we learn that HP does not yet support ODF, which is the international standard.

The service works with documents in PDF and Microsoft Office formats as well as JPEG images. Other file types such as the OpenDocument XML format of OpenOffice are not currently supported, although HP spokesman told APC that
“we have a roadmap and over time we will be expanding the types of documents we support.”

These types will hopefully include ODF. HP has been transforming itself to become more Linux friendly (sometimes at the expense of Vista 7); imperative to GNU/Linux adoption is the neglect of proprietary formats such as OOXML. Two days ago I received a .docx file by E-mail, for the first time ever.

Quote of the Day: “Gates Foundation Still Giving Windows Away for Free”

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Quote, Windows at 5:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let them eat Vista

Kids versus Microsoft
Protests in India used Boycott Novell banners

Summary: The leaked story of how Bill Gates fought GNU/Linux migrations in India evokes accusations against the Gates Foundation

WE occasionally point out that the Gates Foundation helps make Microsoft stronger, sometimes by blatantly blocking GNU/Linux adoption in libraries and schools. This meddling by the Gates Foundation in education has made this foundation some prominent foes/critics [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and in reference to leaked memos regarding EDGI (where Gates on behalf of his foundation steps in to interrupt GNU/Linux migrations across India), Barney wrote this comment titled “Gates Foundation still giving Windows away for free”:

How interesting it is that Gates was all for giving Microsoft software away for free in 2002 and they set up programs inside of Microsoft to help do this. We’ve heard that Bill will be giving his billions away and we learned he created a foundation for his family to run and act as a place for him to….wait for it….give his money away. Guess what he also has done there? Yup, he’s given out Microsoft software to educational institutions.

It is actually self promoting. You see, if Microsoft gets knocked from their lofty perch, the name Bill Gates and Microsoft end up quite faded. But, by Bill heading off Open Source Software and software freedom in the educational sector, he looks like a hero, slowly spends his monopoly money, and he keeps Microsoft brand value high. He also hooks children into the Microsoft software cycle of renting bad software and paying for the next fix which is advertised as being better.

I wonder if he wrote about this in his book, “The Road Ahead” since it seems he’s been thinking about this for a very long time. It is a rather convenient plan since he’s to way more than anyone could spend on his own needs. By spending that money on Microsoft software then giving that away, he preserves the market value of Microsoft software and heads off the open source software from gaining in the education sector and growing from there. And his name still seems important in the world of computers.

To which another person replied with:

I think it’s worse than that. I seem to recall that a condition of dealing with the Bill and Melinda Foundation was that you couldn’t use Linux.

And this
http://www.gatesfoundation.org/about/Pages/terms-o f-use.aspx#system
seems to confirm it. (Though I seem to remember it was for computers they donated as well)

And that doesn’t even get involved in some of the other things that the Foundation’s been up to.
Seems the foundation was investing in companies that were doing bad things. And in a rather bizarre turn of events, some of the foundation’s efforts were to try to ameliorate the conditions caused by the companies they had invested in.
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la- na-gatesx07jan07,0,6827615.story
And when this was found out, their effective response was that it was too much work to try to stop investing in such companies.

The term philanthrocapitalism contains the word “capital” in it; it’s about making good things happen while earning money (or power). As we wrote last week, Bill Gates still works for Microsoft.

Links 2/7/2010: First Look at GIMP 2.7, ‘Android Is Unstoppable’

Posted in News Roundup at 4:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Package Management in Enterprise Linux

    Package managers and repositories were a lifesaver for Linux. As the package management tools grew in sophistication and popularity, their associated repositories grew with software that was mostly guaranteed to work, and not muck up your system. I called it “staying in the box”. As long as you stick with what was provided by the default package managers of your distribution, you more than likely won’t run into the kind of dependency conflicts that were common in the earlier days of Linux.

  • Let’s Get Small: Linux Enables Low-Power, Space-Saving Systems

    A couple of systems have made the news recently that are targeting “scale out” cloud workloads, and Linux is likely to be the OS of choice on these systems. The SeaMicro SM10000 and the Quanta S2Q take different approaches, but the theory is the same: Cram a lot of low-powered cores into a system to handle workloads with massive amounts of small transactions. Sounds like a job for Linux!

  • Desktop

  • Security

    • Proprietary Software vs Security

      It’s been a long time since I’ve had to install a piece of proprietary software because generally my needs are met entirely by Debian’s packages or at very least by tools distributed as source. Recently though I needed to temporarily install something for interoperability reasons in order to extract some information from an opaque blob of data.

      The world has come on a long way since I last did this and the vendor in question had a Linux version of their software. So far so good. Unfortunately the install instructions for this piece of software were, to paraphrase, “download this binary and run it with root privileges, following the on screen instructions.”

      I beg your pardon? You expect me to take some piece of code with no explanation of what it is going to do and run it, not just with access to my own files but complete unrestricted access to my entire system? Are you mad? Or more to the point, do you think I’m mad?

    • New Windows Security Breech: Microsoft!

      A lot has been said about why Linux is inherently more secure than Windows. However, after reading this post (dated July 1, 2010) from PC Advisor, I realized that, right now, the security problems in Windows can actually be promoted by Microsoft. In fact, the security policy of the company has to do more with its business model than it does with costumer support.

  • Server

    • Billing’s new face: High performance at a lower cost

      For operators having to upgrade billing systems, expensive hardware is often no longer an option, and for that reason they are looking to low-cost Linux-based systems that deliver more bang for the buck.

      Growing demand for always-on connectedness and real-time rating and charging, for example, have made Unix a cost-prohibitive option, even though hardware costs have come down significantly. With that in mind, Intec today released performance numbers for its Singl.eView v7.0 charging, billing and customer care system. The purpose of the release is to demonstrate its performance on platforms that cost less than traditional Unix servers.

  • Ballnux

  • Applications

    • First Look: GIMP 2.7.1 on Ubuntu 10.04

      The GIMP development team has unleashed today (not yet on the official website) another development release of their popular image manipulation software. The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) 2.7.1 comes with lots of improvements, new functions and many bugfixes. Among these, we can mention support for layer groups, support for multi-column dock windows, improved single-window mode, Photoshop CS4 keyboard shortcuts, RGB565 support, GEGL updates, and many more. Without further ado, we’ve listed below some of the changes in GIMP 2.7.1. Don’t forget to check out the installation part, for the Ubuntu 10.04 PPA.

    • Easy Linux backups with Lucky Backup

      We would all like to think that, since we are using Linux, we will never really need a backup of our data. Now, let’s look at this realistically. Even if your OS is 100% rock solid, with nary a nanosecond of downtime, that hardware running that OS can not possibly give 100% forever. Add to that the irresistible urge to upgrade hardware and you have the serious makings for the need to back up.

    • Tell Your Story with Celtx

      Want to write your story, create a screenplay, block out a storyboard, or create a comic? Put down the text editor, and pick up Celtx. Based on Firefox, Celtx is an all-in-one tool for media pre-production.

    • Proprietary

      • 5 Things I Like About Opera 10.60 ” Pros – Cons

        For me Opera 10.60 best opera web browser i used so far, and things listed up there are the main pros i noticed on Opera 10.60

        Cons: i didn’t like the speed dials a lot cause it’s limited to 25 speed dial max, i usually use more than 25 speed dials on other web browsers like firefox and Google Chrome.

      • Stamping out Wine 1.2

        Everyone in the Wine community is driving to release Wine 1.2 the newest and best version of Wine.

        Its been two years since Wine 1.0, and weve really made huge strides. This version will include the beginnings of genuine 64-bit support, along with major Direct3D improvements, and improvements in a huge number of other areas.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • Cornelius and Vincent Join Different Games

        KDE has recently launched the “Supporting Membership Program” to raise funds for Developer Sprints, Akademy conferences and other activities of KDE e.V, the legal and financial representatives of KDE. President of KDE e.V. is Cornelius Schumacher and at the launch of Join the Game he made a pact with GNOME release manager and board member Vincent Untz that they would each join their rival’s support programme. And talk about it to the Dot. And so…

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • KDE and Science

      Free thinkers. Curious people collaborating across borders. Pioneers pushing back the boundaries of what is possible. Teams building upon the work of others. People trying things just to see what happens.

      Those are all phrases that could be applied to KDE – or to scientists. The scientific mindset shares a lot with that of free software and so it is no surprise that there are plenty of scientists within our community, nor that KDE has some strong applications in the world of science.

    • Clementine 0.4 Released (Amarok 1.4 Style Music Player For Linux, Windows And MacOS X)
  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • [syslinux] Syslinux 4.00 released

        After 64 prereleases, 626 commits, 52,742 lines of changes, and tons of work by many, many people, Syslinux 4.00 is now officially released.

        Syslinux 4.00 is the first of a set of major code restructuring releases. The single biggest new features are btrfs and ext4 support, and support for disks larger than 2 TiB.

      • Pay what you want for Kiddix OS

        Do you have an old PC that you want to “donate” to your children? Or are you looking for a way for them to use your PC without messing things up? Kiddix might just be the answer: It’s a Linux-based operating system with a child-friendly interface, software, and loads of parental controls.

      • The Imagineos 20100628 X1 is Released (Lançado)

        It is a great pleasure announce the first release of the Imagineos. Imagineos is born from GoblinX Linux following the same path started more than five years ago.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • The fall and rise of Mandriva Linux

        A recent report in LeMagIT, claims that Arnaud Laprévote, the company’s chief executive, has found unnamed investors who are prepared to rescue the company, following months of rumours of financial turmoil, unpaid staff and other troubles.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Democracy not Meritocracy – Eliminating the “Mediocracy”

        By shifting to a Debian base we have eliminated the mediocracy inherent within software developed in a meritocratic distribution. We believe in providing fit, finish, and stability while bringing the newest software possible meeting these guidelines. Usability is one of our core values. Our release philosophy is simple, it is released when it is ready. Patches, and software updates are rolled into the distribution on an on-going basis eliminating the requirement to “upgrade” the distribution every six months. Users will find respins released on a schedule which roll up existing updates making patching simple for new installations.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Review: Sonos streaming music players

      # The ZonePlayers use embedded Linux as their internal operating system. Hey, what’s not to love about that!

    • Pogoplug becomes printer server

      What’s a Pogoplug? Basically the device is a tiny, low-power, inexpensive ($129) device that runs a customized Linux-based operating system. In its normal modes of operation, it works in tandem with web services supplied by Cloud Engines at Pogoplug.com. Until now, the gadget’s main purpose has been to enable you to remotely access the contents of USB-connected hard or flash drives over the Internet, as illustrated below.

    • Nokia/MeeGo

      • MeeGo Handset Project Day 1 is Here

        The MeeGo project is happy to announce “Day 1″ of the MeeGo Handset user experience project. Many of you will remember this “Day 1″ concept from March, when we first made the MeeGo core OS source code available and started development towards the MeeGo 1.0 release. Today, the handset baseline source code is available to the development community. This code is being actively developed as MeeGo 1.1, which is scheduled for release in October. The team has been preparing MeeGo Gitorious with all the sources and infrastructure to perform the weekly builds for MeeGo 1.1 development. The MeeGo UI team has also been busy creating the handset reference user experience and preparing the MeeGo UI design principles and interaction guidelines. This milestone marks the completion of the merger of Moblin and Maemo as major architecture decisions and technical selections have been determined. Today, we are also opening the MeeGo Build Infrastructure.

    • Android

      • A Little Over A Year Later, Android Is Unstoppable

        The more you look at Android today, the more you have to think back to the fact that early last year, people wondered whether Google’s mobile operating system would even survive. There were countless columns in March of 2009 trumpeting the fact that only one Android handset was shown at Mobile World Congress that year. Now, Android is spreading out far beyond just the many smartphones it appears on. This week, Cisco announced a new tablet based on the OS, and that’s just one new direction for Android.

      • Top 15 Android Business Apps
      • Toshiba AC100 smartbook: with Android but why?

        Laptop-like smartbooks with keyboards (like the AC100) are much better served with a full-desktop Linux due to the fact, that on these devices, buyers will expect full-fledged applications like OpenOffice, Thunderbird, Firefox…etc. Android would be very limiting for the use cases expected from a netbook/smartbook (editing complex text documents, spreadsheets, using a full-fledged browser, email client…etc). Tegra2 with 1Gb of fast RAM could run OpenOffice and other desktop software with good performance. Instead, it will be reduced to run mini, Android versions of the real stuff (what is available for Android instead of OO and such).

      • Why do I use an Android phone?

        However, at the same time, there is one thing that I would point out as an Android, even at this time: the fact that an Android phone is a complete peer to the PC and not a slave to it in any way.

      • Cloud Computing: 10 Intriguing Things You Should Know About Google TV
    • Sub-notebooks

      • HP linux netbook

        This is the HP Mini 100e, a netbook which looks are fully customizable. There’s an option for SUSE Linux as the operating system. It’s nice to see something different in operating system options, too bad the other 2 options are windows versions (XP and 7)

      • Funky, Futuristic XO Classrooms on YouTube Cannal Ceibal

        It reminds me of a set from Dr. Who or the original Star Trek – all those primary colors for every object in the room. Very cool in a flashback kinda way.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mozilla

    • KidZui Internet For Kids Firefox Extension Works Like a Charm in Linux

      KidZui turns Firefox into fun, kid-safe browser and online playground for kids in the age group 3-12, with over a million kids games, YouTube videos, and websites. Or in other words, KidZui Firefox extension turns Firefox into a place where your kids would love to be. With Internet becoming such a useful tool for people of all ages, it is unfair to block Internet access to your toddlers and KidZui is exactly what you want to ensure safety of your kids from the hidden dangers of the Internet.

  • SaaS

  • Business

    • Open Core is not a Business Model

      “Open Core is the New Dual Licensing Model” is the last of a chain of interesting posts against or in favor of open core, coming from different realm of experience: the analyst guy Stephen O’Grady, the free software evangelist Simon Phipps, the hacker Brian Aker and last but not least the entrepreneur Mårten Mickos.

      Let’s dig now deeper into what is open core to business, and why it is not a business model.

  • Licensing

    • Backup Copy (Bad Eula, Bad Eula! Down! Down!)

      Backup Copy

      From Adobe reader (for Android)’s end user license agreement:

      3.3 Backup Copy. You may make one backup copy of the Software, provided your backup copy is not installed or used other than for archival purposes.


      Which leads one to wonder what, if any, point is served by using a service of a Certification Authority – which presumably is supposed to certify something – if you indemnify them when they stuff up.

  • Open Access/Content

    • GNU social and Libre.fm to use OpenHatch

      Today, FooCorp announced a strategic alliance with OpenHatch to encourage wider adoption of free software and allow greater involvement with FooCorp developments.

    • California against Nature

      Note the similarities to the UC rationale, including the triple-digit price increase, the recession, and the importance of speaking out against the business practices that harm research.

      It’s tempting to distinguish two phases of the serials pricing crisis. In the Early Crisis, universities resented hyperinflationary price increases and spoke out against them, but generally made painful cuts elsewhere to meet them. In the Late Crisis, universities lost their ability to cut further and spoke out against harmful and unsustainable business models, not just harmful and unsustainable price increases. UC is not the first sign of the Late Crisis, but it’s size and clout make it one of the most influential.

  • Programming

    • Google Summer of Code 2010: Meet The Students and Mentors!

      Following up on my post from a few weeks ago, I’d like to give you all some more statistics about our Google Summer of Code™ program participants this year.

      • We have 69 student countries represented this year. New countries represented by students include Jamaica, Morocco, and Cambodia.
      • For the first time we have mentors from Chile, South Africa, Taiwan, and Peru.
      • We have mentors from 52 different countries this year.
      • We had 3,464 students submit a total of 5,539 proposals in all. Last year we had 5,885 proposals submitted by 3,496 students.
      • The open source organizations participating this year received an average of 36 proposals to review. We have 150 participating organizations this year.

    • Why the Eclipse Way Works So Well

      Many enterprise development teams often struggle with releasing software projects on time. That doesn’t seem to be the case with the multi-vendor open source Eclipse Foundation, which for the last seven years has consistently shipped releases from multiple projects on time.

      This week, Eclipse Helios shipped with 39 projects in what is known as the Eclipse release train. How does Eclipse manage to organize so many projects and year-after-year hit their release targets? What’s the secret?


  • Kroes to beef up scrutiny of EU digital industry

    The European Commission will ensure that devices with always-on connectivity, like Apple’s iPhone, don’t lock consumers in to proprietary technology, Neelie Kroes, EU commissioner for the ‘Digital Agenda’, told EurActiv in an exclusive interview. A yearly scorecard will measure the industry’s progress.

  • Tweegle – You Look Googling From Your Boss, But Using Twitter Actually

    A new web service Tweegle [J] by Usagifrask Co., Ltd. [J] looks very similar with Google Search, but it is a web-based Twitter client.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Not even FBI was able to decrypt files of Daniel Dantas

      The equipment will remain under the protection of the feds. INC expect that new research data or technology could help them break the security codes. Opportunity Group reported that the two programs used in the equipment are available online. One is called Truecrypt and is free. The programs were used due to suspected espionage.

  • Environment/Health

    • US politicians oppose 2,000-mile oil sands pipeline

      Nearly 50 members of Congress warn State Deptartment against rubberstamping 2,000-mile tar sands pipeline as Obama insider John Podesta says fuel source “cannot be our energy future”

    • BP: Mitigating Exposure, Controlling the Response and Making Edward Bernays Proud!

      British Petroleum has stooped to a new low, if that’s at all possible.

      As if spewing over 80 million gallons into the Gulf of Mexico were not a sufficiently criminal activity, they are now attempting a cover-up and have facilitated, working alongside the police of New Orleans, a blockade of sorts of hard-hitting journalists from getting their hands on what’s actually taking place in the ravaged Big Easy. It is truly a sham of epic proportions.


      The Tail That Wags the Dog: BP Telling the Louisiana Police Who’s Boss

      In a situation resembling the nefarious military contractor Blackwater leading operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in place of the regular standing military, something that is probably much more commonplace than we will ever know as common citizens, BP’s private security has also been in the lead on “policing” efforts on the Gulf Coast in New Orleans. Yet, rather than policing the real criminals — BP — the Louisiana Police force has instead formed a quid pro quo relationship with BP and is policing the honorable journalists exposing the criminals. Indeed, they have things backwards.

    • Washington Post Gives False Assurance about Dispersants

      The Washington Post published a misleadingly-titled article June 30 about the environmental effects of dispersants BP is using in the Gulf. The Post article’s headline reads,”Oil dispersant does not pose environmental threat, early EPA findings suggest.” But neither the body of the article, nor the Environmental Protection Agency’s’s press release about studies the agency hastily performed on eight dispersants, indicates that there is no environmental threat from using them. The agency also gives no assurance about using dispersants in the quantities BP is applying them.

    • Bad Oil Spill News for the Day

      Anyone else sick of living in a country with a government that is so clearly for, by, and of the corporations?

    • President of Change Unwilling to Tackle US Oil Addiction

      US President Barack Obama has taken the fight to BP. But it is time that he picks a fight with the American public. American energy consumption is at the root of the Gulf of Mexico disaster, but Obama preferred to sidestep the issue in his Tuesday speech.

    • Creating A Constitutional Violation Out Of Thin Air

      Conservatives may have moved quickly to dissociate themselves from Representative Joe Barton’s apology to BP, but many on the right still believe that the establishment of a $20 billion escrow fund violated the legal rights of the company.

    • Judge OK’s class-action smoker suit

      A federal judge certified a class-action lawsuit yesterday that demands Philip Morris USA Inc. pay for chest scans to diagnose whether heavy Marlboro smokers have early signs of lung cancer, a ruling that a lawyer for the plaintiffs called the first of its kind in the country.

      Nearly two years after lawyers for two named plaintiffs sought class certification, US District Court Judge Nancy Gertner granted the request and said she would let the case go to trial on claims that the cigarette manufacturer designed a product that delivered excessive levels of carcinogens. Certifying the class-action suit means the judge has opened up the legal action to other plaintiffs with similar circumstances.

    • Obama’s Patients’ Bill of Rights: One Important Right is Missing, Thanks to Corporate Spin and Fear-Mongering

      President Obama is calling a big part of the health care reform bill he signed into law last March a “Patients’ Bill of Rights”, suggesting that many of the consumer protections contained in the new law were the same ones the health insurance industry succeeded in killing time and again over many years through a fear-mongering campaign it secretly financed.

  • Finance

    • Wall Street Reform Bill Could Be a Big Win for the Farm Belt

      Yup, that’s right. The good old boys on Wall Street ramped up the gambling in energy and food commodities when the housing market went bust. They sometimes speculated on regulated exchanges. For instance, Goldman Sachs has a commodity index that helps investors gamble on foods like wheat, cattle, corn as well as natural gas and crude oil. But the real action was in the unregulated, “over the counter,” or dark markets. Harpers Magazine has an incredible story in its July edition exposing how Wall Street speculators bumped up food commodity prices 80% between 2005-2008 contributing to hunger domestically and around the world.

    • The Lying Liars at Goldman Sachs

      Today, Goldman Sachs sent its second-highest-ranking officer to Washington, D.C. to tell the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission that his company is staffed and managed by complete idiots. In an effort to evade investigation, Goldman Sachs Chief Financial Officer David Viniar claimed that his company really just doesn’t know how to do basic bookkeeping. It was a silly and transparent lie, but if it were true, every investor the world over would be pulling its money from Goldman as fast as possible.

      At this point, Goldman Sachs execs have made clear that are very good at making themselves look like jerks. Viniar’s comments at yesterday’s hearing follow a series of, let’s say, unflattering public appearances over the past few months involving fraud investigations, “shitty deals” and “God’s work.” But Viniar still had some real whoppers ready for the FCIC:

      “We don’t have a derivatives business.”

    • Goldman execs grilled for taking AIG bailout money

      “The government stepped into AIG’s shoes” and therefore had to honor its contract with Goldman, Viniar told the congressionally appointed panel investigating the financial meltdown.

    • Panel Chairman Presses Goldman Sachs on Its Mortgage Bets’ Market Effect

      A Congressional commission questioned Goldman Sachs and the American International Group executives on Thursday about the way the companies set prices on complex mortgage securities during the financial crisis, when buyers for such assets were scarce.

    • On Edge, Awaiting Jobs Data

      Economic forecasters say they believe that the Census Bureau eliminated about 235,000 federal temporary jobs in June. That huge cut in the federal work force will probably dwarf any hiring or firing elsewhere in the economy. The overall change in jobs — the headline number released in Friday’s report — could well show job losses. Beneath all those federal layoffs, though, glimmers of hope in the private sector might — or might not — emerge.

    • Stocks fall as jobs report adds to economic fears

      Stocks fell Friday after a disappointing jobs report added to investors’ concerns about the economy.

    • Private sector job growth falters

      The U.S. economy created a modest 83,000 private sector jobs in June, adding to concern that the economic recovery is tepid at best and highlighting the political danger to President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats heading into a tightly contested midterm election cycle in which control of the House and perhaps the Senate are at stake.

    • Cantwell a ‘yes’ on Wall St. reform

      Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington announced Thursday that she’ll support a sweeping Wall Street reform bill, bringing Democrats one vote closer to securing Senate passage.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Canadian copyright astroturfers own up: front for US labels

      Remember Balanced Copyright for Canada, the shadowy “citizen’s group” that encouraged members to send form letters to media outlets skeptical about Canada’s new, US-style copyright law?

      Turns out it’s a front for the big US labels.

    • A revolutionary sneaker, or overhyped gimmick?

      But now a growing number of doctors are warning that toning shoes don’t deliver on their marketing promises and could cause injuries by, among other things, changing a person’s gait, or way of walking.

      Claims that toning shoes can significantly contribute to a person’s fitness are “utter nonsense,” says Barbara de Lateur, distinguished service professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine in Baltimore.

    • Lara Logan, You Suck

      I thought I’d seen everything when I read David Brooks saying out loud in a New York Times column that reporters should sit on damaging comments to save their sources from their own idiocy. But now we get CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan slamming our own Michael Hastings on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” program, agreeing that the Rolling Stone reporter violated an “unspoken agreement” that journalists are not supposed to “embarrass [the troops] by reporting insults and banter.”

    • Journalists Debate on Reporting Ethics
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • European Commission launches consultation on net neutrality

      The European Commission this morning launched a consultation on key questions regarding the contentious issues of net neutrality and the open Internet.

      The consultation covers such issues as whether ISPs should be allowed to adopt traffic management practices, prioritizing one kind of Internet traffic over another. This has become an issue with the onset of broadband and Internet services which require more bandwidth, such as VoIP or online TV. Essentially, the EC wants to find out whether these practices would create any problems (economical, technical or otherwise) and have ‘unfair effects’ for users.

  • Copyrights

    • Pirate Party to Run Pirate Bay from Swedish Parliament

      After their former hosting provider received an injunction telling it to stop providing bandwidth to The Pirate Bay, the worlds most resilient BitTorrent site switched to a new ISP. That host, the Swedish Pirate Party, made a stand on principle. Now they aim to take things further by running the site from inside the Swedish Parliament.

    • An (Analogue) Artist’s Reply to Just Criticism

      There’s a new meme in town these days: “rights of the artists”. The copyright industries have worked out that cries for more copyright and more money don’t go down to well when they come from fat-cat monopolists sitting in their plush offices, and so have now redefined their fight in terms of struggling artists (who rarely get to see much benefit from constantly extended copyright).

      Here’s a nice example courtesy of the Copyright Alliance – an organisation that very much pushes that line:

      Songwriter, Jason Robert Brown, recently posted on his blog a story about his experience dealing with copyright infringement. Knowing for a long time that many websites exist for the sole purpose of “trading” sheet music, Jason decided to log on himself and politely ask many of the users to stop “trading” his work. While many quickly wrote back apologizing and then removing his work, one girl in particular gave Jason a hard time.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • Repeal sections 11–18 of the Digital Economy Act 2010

        Sections 11–18 of the Act were pushed forward on the basis of questionable figures and assumptions, will not significantly achieve their stated ob jectives of reducing copyright infringement, and are liable to have serious unintended consequences.

Clip of the Day

CLUG AGM 24 Nov 2009 – Interfacing with the real world (2009)

FUD Watch: OpenLogic Survey Shows Enterprises Should be Afraid of GPL

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A boy and a window

Summary: Another new round of GPL scare, courtesy of OpenLogic

YAWN. It’s happening again. Firms that monetise fear of something (be it cyberwar, Windows security problems*, water/oil poisoning, or even GPL violation) are once again putting exaggerative press releases out there.

OpenLogic Survey Shows Enterprises Unknowingly Risk Violation of GPL

OpenLogic, a provider of enterprise open source software support and governance solutions for hundreds of open source packages, today announced the results of a survey that shows many companies are unaware that they may be distributing open source software, and thereby triggering critical “copyleft” provisions of open source licenses. Under copyleft provisions, companies may be required to open source code that they have written and combined with the open source program.

We have already given many examples (e.g. [1, 2]) where OpenLogic and Black Duck do this sort of thing. It’s how they get clients; it’s not a victimless act when the reputation of the GPL is at stake. Both OpenLogic and Black Duck happen to have gotten connections with Microsoft (OpenLogic’s CEO is from Microsoft [1, 2] and Black Duck’s founder is from Microsoft).

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

* Anti-virus software companies sometimes exaggerate the threats of GNU/Linux, when in fact it is Windows that contains back doors to crackers. The following new report relates to an incident which was mentioned before in a separate post.

Hi-tech criminals are “escalating” attacks on an unpatched bug in the Windows XP help and support system.

Microsoft said it had seen more than 10,000 machines hit by the attack that, so far, it has not found a fix for.

Microsoft Under Pressure in Europe

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bolzano streets

Summary: Bolzano is scrutinised for locking out competition of Microsoft; the reasoning for browser choice ballot in Europe is shown more clearly

SEVERAL DAYS ago we wrote about the latest tender-related story from France. There isn’t so much leeway for Microsoft to just sign boiler room deals with people who consult neither the public nor Microsoft’s competitors. Why is it not working for Microsoft anymore? Because the public begins to understand and get involved, sometimes even suing the government. To give the example of Switzerland:

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court

Another important story/issue which was mentioned before (in this separate post) has led to an awakening to the fact that Microsoft is a threat to Europe’s control of its own technology. And now there’s this gentle protest from the FSFE:

on 25 May 2010 the regional government authority of Bolzano decided to spend 2.2 million EUR over the next three years to renew software licenses from Microsoft Ireland, and to buy additional licenses. All this was done without a public call for tender, making it impossible for competing suppliers of similar software to make offers of their own.

We ask you to rethink this decision. It will influence your strategic position over a much longer time frame than the three years for which the licenses will last.

The European Commission’s vice president Neelie Kroes said on June 13 2010 in Brussels:

“Many authorities have found themselves unintentionally locked into proprietary technology for decades. After a certain point that original choice becomes so ingrained that alternatives risk being systematically ignored, no matter what the potential benefits. This is a waste of public money that most public bodies can no longer afford.”

With your decision to buy Microsoft Sharepoint and Microsoft Office communication server software without evaluating Free Software alternatives you will increase your organisation’s dependence on Microsoft. You will take your IT systems further down the one-way street of proprietary formats and proprietary software, locking in your organisation’s own data along with that of the citizens of Bolzano.

Bolzano is in Italy where Microsoft has a history of allegedly corrupt tender 'wins'.

Microsoft ought to be careful because as the European Commission has proven, it can and will take action. One example of this action is the Web browsers ballot which Microsoft was compelled to implement (or face heavy fines). Microsoft tried to dodge this one repeatedly, as we explained in:

  1. Browser Ballot Critique
  2. Microsoft’s Fake “Choice” Campaign is Back
  3. Microsoft Claimed to be Cheating in Web Browsers Ballot
  4. Microsoft Loses Impact in the Web Despite Unfair Ballot Placements
  5. Given Choice, Customers Reject Microsoft
  6. Microsoft is Still Cheating in Browser Ballot — Claim
  7. The Microsoft Who Cried “Wolf!”

The ‘Microsoft press’ has just published this article about why “Microsoft Is Busting Its Own ‘The Browser Is Part of the OS’ Myth”

This column is not going to revisit the oft-debated question of whether Internet Explorer really is part of Windows. That matter is ancient history, a relic of the U.S. Department of Justice versus Microsoft trial that ended more than a decade ago. Authorities allowed Microsoft to continue to bundle IE with every copy of Windows sold.

Nor am I going to dwell on the more-recent European antitrust case that revolved around the same topic. That case, of course, ended with Microsoft agreeing to provide European Union users with a “browser ballot,” which makes explicit the fact that they have a choice of browsers.

Indeed. And if Microsoft is not careful, more antitrust action may be coming its way. As Microsoft found out in Quebec last month [1, 2, 3], it is not above the law.

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