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07.06.10

IRC Proceedings: July 6th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 6/7/2010: Linux 2.6.35 RC4, Wine 1.2 RC6 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 9:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux: We Put Our Money Where Our Mouth Is

    This press release is to announce that for the month of July 2010 ERA Computers & Consulting (ERACC) is following the idiomatic phrase, “Put your money where your mouth is!” when it comes to our Linux PC sales. What do we mean? Read on.

    For every PC purchased from us in July 2010 with any Linux distribution preinstalled ERACC will donate 5% of the sale to the Free Open Source Software (FOSS) project of your choice. As with most such offers there are caveats. These are:

    * The PC must be ordered and paid for within the month of July 2010.
    * The PC must be configured with at least the minimal configuration to have a working PC (case, power supply, motherboard, cpu, ram, hard drive, video adapter and operating system). You can choose to use your existing monitor and input devices.

  • Non-Geek Use of GNU/Linux

    When it comes to GNU/Linux, even though I was a late adopter amongst geeks, I am still an early adopter compared to many. I found another article describing the experiences of a non-geek with GNU/Linux. The important points I get from stories like these:

    * non-geeks can use GNU/Linux well
    * they do appreciate some of the many advantages of GNU/Linux
    * they do appreciate some help from family, friends or whoever sold the PC
    * if we all helped our friends migrate to GNU/Linux, the share of GNU/Linux would be pretty decent

  • Desktop

    • Review: Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 15

      The first step was booting Ubuntu 10.04 from an USB hard disk to check the Linux support. Using Ubuntu, everything worked out of the box, including stuff like HDMI audio support or output switching. An exception may be the DVD drive, which only works if you set the SATA mode to compatibility. Non-DVD media also works in AHCI mode, but only if you start with a disc inserted in the drive. Playing DVDs requires setting a region code using setregion(8) [otherwise they do not work at all] and SATA compatibility mode [otherwise they only work partially].

    • My First LXDE Desktop

      LXDE is desktop environtment like KDE and Gnome. But it’s lighter than KDE and Gnome. But it’s still need middle spec computer like pentium 3/4 and with Minimum Ram 128-256 MB Ram. LXDE is simple, but for newbie user like me it’s still little hard. LXDE support compiz fusion for eyecandy your desktop. My First LXDE Linux distribution was PCLinuxOS 2009.1 KDE. I install PCLinuxOS 2009.1 then install task-lxde, then remove kde 3.5.10.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts

  • Kernel Space

    • SELF: Anatomy of an (alleged) failure

      Like most community-run events, the second SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF) featured the standard set of positive talks on Linux and open source. It also featured a somewhat more controversial talk about failures to get some features merged into the Linux kernel by Ryan “icculus” Gordon.

    • Linux 2.6.35-rc4

      So go out and test -rc4. It fixes a number of regressions, a couple of them harking back to from before 2.6.34. Networking, cfq, i915 and radeo. And filesystem writeback performance issues, etc. It’s all good.

    • A flood of stable kernel releases

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has announced the release of several stable kernels: 2.6.27.48, 2.6.31.14, 2.6.32.16, 2.6.33.6, and 2.6.34.1.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Akademy Day 2

        After a successful first day of talks and the Akademy party, hundreds of KDE contributors returned to the University of Tampere for the second day of the conference. Already, the slides and videos are starting to be uploaded on the Akademy website, for those of you who couldn’t make it to Akademy or are here but couldn’t attend two presentations at once.

      • KDE Akademy 2010 conference: First videos and slides published

        This year’s general assembly of KDE e.V., the non-profit organisation that represents the KDE Project in legal and financial matters, is also taking place today during the event. The annual Akademy KDE world summit is taking place in Tampere, Finland. It began on July 3rd and runs until the 10th of July. All of the latest files are available to download from the Conference Program page.

      • More on netbooks, devices and everything

        KDE SC and Plasma:why?

        We still hear again and again that KDE is to heavy and too bloated to run on any modest hardware. Of course technically the situation can be improved and it will, for instance the platform profiles that are being cooked right now will be able to provide a law fat (as in Kevin words :) you will find information about that in the upcoming future on the planet.

        n the other hand, complaints are often not completely true, we need better communication about what the advantages of a KDE based solution are, and where the problems are: we pushes the edges of what all the layers of our platform can do, Being Qt, X, or graphics drivers, due to our hard beating the quality of the whole stack is really increasing (and this funningly enough is benefiting non KDE users as well).

      • Kubuntu developer wins KDE Akademy 2010 Award

        Top Kubuntu developer Aurélien Gâteau (agateau) has been honoured with an Akademy Award for 2010. The Akademy Awards are given out each year at the annual KDE Akademy conference; the jury being formed of previous prize-winners.

        Aurélien won the award for his work on Gwenview, the image viewing application which ships with Kubuntu. He was also commended at Akademy for his work in getting the KDE Status Notifier specifications adopted by the Ubuntu project, where they are known under the name Application Indicators along with necessary DBusMenu additions.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Absolute 13.1.2 Screenshots

      The Slackware-based Absolute Linux 13.1.2 was release yesterday. Absolute Linux features the IceWM window manager which is very fast and lightweight. This version of Absolute has opted for the popular Chrome web browser where previous versions included Firefox as the default. Numerous other features, enhancements, and security fixes can be viewed on the Absolute news page.

    • Big distributions, little RAM 2

      I will point out though that almost all of the distributions have done a good job of lowering memory usage with system updates, which is very commendable. Also it’s important to note that even though RAM and disk space increase with updates so might performance so it’s all about which metric you hold as most important.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring delayed

        Mandriva has confirmed that the next major release of its Linux distribution, originally expected to arrive on the 3rd of June, has once again been delayed. In early June, the French Linux distributor surprisingly issued a second release candidate (RC2) and postponed the release date for the distribution indefinitely. According to a post on the Cooker mailing list by Mandriva Director of Engineering Anne Nicholas, the delay was caused by “internal organisation and some hardware problems”.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Rapache on Ubuntu 10.04 ? Not likely.
      • Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 2 Gets Linux Kernel 2.6.35 and Btrfs

        A few minutes ago, the Ubuntu development team unleashed the second Alpha release of the upcoming Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) operating system, due for release in October 10th, 2010. As usual, we’ve downloaded a copy of it in order to keep you up-to-date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 10.10 development.

      • Impression GTK Themes Get radical update for Meerkat

        As the 10.10 development cycle rolls along various user-created themes are submitted for potential inclusion in the ‘Community Themes’ package.

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 200
      • Flavours and Variants

        • Aurora is the new face (and name) of Eeebuntu netbook OS

          EeeBuntu Linux has been one of the most popular independent Linux distributions for netbooks for the last few years. And when I say independent, as the name makes clear Eeebuntu started out as a modified version of Ubuntu Linux — which is maintained by a nice big institution called Canonical. But Eeebuntu releases typically pack a number of customizations that make Ubuntu run better on low power netbooks with small displays. The latest release wasn’t even based on Ubuntu anymore, instead using Debian Linux as its base (Ubuntu is also Debian-based).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Panel: Smart consumer devices market to explode

      Open-source software has also been maturing for the last decade, and now has passed Microsoft in keeping up with usage trends, according to Michael Kress, senior director at Canonical Ltd., a provider of support, engineering services and hardware and software certification for the Linux-variant Ubuntu.

      “We are taking the best of all the open source software available today and bringing it together into a single platform. Linux continues to evolve, coming out with a new version every six months, unlike Microsoft which is much slower to respond,” said Kress. “We think that Linux is the one—with Android, Amigo and Ubuntu leading the smart devices revolution.”

    • Android

      • A look at CyanogenMod 5.0.8

        One of the core features of Linux has always been the ability to switch to a different distribution in the eternal pursuit of something shiny, new, and different. Linux on handsets should be no different. Someday, with any luck at all, we’ll be able to change between systems like Android and MeeGo on a single handset. For now, the options are a bit more limited, but there are still toys to play with. Your editor took the CyanogenMod 5.0.8 announcement as the perfect opportunity to avoid real work for while. In short: CyanogenMod is a classic demonstration of what can happen when we have control over our gadgets.

      • Google Looks to Emerging Markets for Android’s Growth

        Google plans to push its Android mobile software in India and China and is exploring ways for developers to make more money from applications, stepping up competition with Apple and Nokia.

      • HTC HD2 Android and Ubuntu Builds Now Available
      • HTC HD2 Gets Android, Ubuntu Options

        That’s right. The HTC HD2 can now run Android as well as Ubuntu with the official XDA Developers blog confirming that early builds of the OSes are working fine on HD2s.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Netbooks: Facts, Figures, Options and Opinion

        Yes, we are getting to it. :-) It is in the world of open source that most of the operating systems, that are tailor-made for netbooks, have emerged. While Ubuntu had always been in the lead, with the Ubuntu (and Kubuntu) Netbook Remix, Intel is also inching forward with its much celebrated Moblin (recently out of beta and now launched as v2.1). Th en there is one of the most interesting distributions we have come across—JoliCloud, developed by Tariq Krim ( founder of Netvibes), and based upon Ubuntu Netbook Remix.

    • Tablets

      • Cisco Cius Android Tablet Unveiled, Loaded with Business-friendly Features

        The table computer trend continues with the announcement of Cisco’s Cius Android-powered tablet. The device is targeted at business users providing them access to a wide range of Cisco mobile communication and collaboration tools that include HD video streaming, multi-party conferencing, email, messaging, web browsing, and creating, editing and sharing content or files stored locally and in the cloud.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 popular open source eCommerce platforms

    There are so many off-the-shelf web solutions out there, many website owners are asking: Why should I bother building it myself? When thinking about their eCommerce platform, a site owner faces three key choices: the Software as a Service hosted solution, download and install an open source or purchased solution, or just build it yourself.

  • Events

  • SaaS

    • IT in the Age of the Cloud

      Cloud computing represents the rise of the Internet of services. As digital technologies are increasingly penetrating every nook and cranny of the economy and society in general, we are seeing an explosion in the volume and variety of cloud-based services flowing through the Internet. Consequently, the cloud computing model requires a highly disciplined approach to the management, delivery and consumption of services for individuals and companies.

  • Oracle

    • New branch for OOo 3.3: OOO330

      With entering the timeline for the new feature release OOo 3.3, a new master workspace (MWS) was created: OOO330. In HG (Mercurial) the OOO330 branch can be found here: hg.services.openoffice.org/hg/OOO330. It was branched off from DEV300 m84 and will help to stabilize the new milestones towards 3.3. The first milestone is scheduled soon.

  • Business

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Biocep R Project Brings Open Science to the Cloud

      Using these tools, any number of geographically distributed users can collaborate simultaneously on scientific projects, using the same virtual machine, the same analytic tool, the same data.

    • Open Data

      • iRail is back

        Also, dear NMBS/SNCB, please provide us with an API. Clearly, I’m not the only one interested in open data and APIs. This would make small projects like this quite a bit easier and would greatly increase the end quality. Data scraping just doesn’t fit web2.0.

      • 10 Rules For Radicals – Open Data
  • Web

    • Overbite Project brings Gopher protocol to Android

      The Overbite Project is an open-source effort to produce browser plugins and client applications that enable support for Gopher, an early network protocol that preceded HTML and the contemporary World Wide Web. The lead developer behind the project is retrocomputing enthusiast Cameron Kaiser, one of the few remaining champions of gopherspace. His latest undertaking is a mobile Gopher client for Google’s Android operating system.

    • A tale of a tale of a shareable future, part 3: Apache Web Server conquers the world

      There was a moment, sometime near the end of the last century, when it rather suddenly became clear that Apache’s web server was going to cement its position as the dominant webserver — what the Web ran on. This meant that a loose nonprofit affiliation of moonlighting, largely unpaid volunteers had just massacred the giants of Silicon Valley — Sun, Netscape, Microsoft — on their own turf, on their central battleground, a space on which those corporate giants (I knew from reading their annual reports) had focussed their full attention and hundreds of millions of dollars.

    • June 2010 Web Server Survey

      Global web server usage: The Apache server leads by some 55 percent share serving 112,663,533 web sites.

Leftovers

  • New donation pool to raise funds for Ripple development

    A new donation pool has been created to raise funds for development of the Ripple project, with an initial contribution of $500.00. The final amount will be donated to the Ripple project to support the development of a standalone Ripple server to provide open decentralized payment through the Ripplepay site as well as other services using Ripple. All content created will be released under an open license.

  • Killer chemicals and greased palms – the deadly ‘end game’ for leaded petrol

    At least $9m (£6m) was corruptly paid during the “endgame” in Iraq and Indonesia, simultaneous court hearings in London and Washington were told in March. According to court documents, Octel bribed at every turn. Brown envelopes with £1,000 “pocket-money” were slipped to various officials visiting London. Octel even agreed to pay $13,000, purportedly for a top Iraq oil ministry official to honeymoon in Thailand in 2006.

  • China’s population rapidly moving to cities, getting old

    Figures released by the National Population and Family Planning Commission have estimated China’s population will reach 1.39 billion by the end of 2015, with those aged 60 or over topping 200 million people. Over the next five years, China’s urban population will also surpass its rural counterpart, with city dwellers expected to exceed 700 million.

  • Processor Whispers – About Launches and Corsairs

    On the other hand, there are no real technical flaws or an absurd selection of workloads that the Intel crew, under captain Victor W. Lee, could be accused of. The fourteen benchmarks they used are classics, mostly taken from the scientific sector: SGEMM, FFT, Lattice Boltzmann (LBM), Ray Casting (RC), Search & Sort, Collision Detection (GJK), Constraint Solver (Solv) and so on.

  • Environment

    • Sunday Times admits ‘Amazongate’ story was rubbish. But who’s to blame?

      In criticising Dr Richard North, below, for not having checked [ eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/01/and-now-for-amazongate.html] whether there was a reference to the claim that up to “40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation” in the WWF Report, I was unaware of, and therefore omitted to mention, that Dr North had himself later spotted that there was a reference to the 40% figure in the WWF report. His initial mistake had been corrected on another page [ eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/01/corruption-of-science.html ] (before the Sunday Times article had been written) and he had added a cross-link to the original page, which I failed to note. Apologies.

    • Paris looks for power from turbines beneath the Seine

      River currents could be harnessed at four bridges across the capital

    • Galápagos giant tortoise saved from extinction by breeding programme

      Reintroduction of species that Charles Darwin saw raises conservation hopes for other wildlife

    • Invasive Asian Carp advancing through Indiana

      Environmental groups are nevertheless saying the Wabash River discovery creates a new threat to Lake Erie’s fishing and tourism industry and that safeguards must be put in place to keep the carp out of Ohio.

    • BP

      • Biologists find ‘dead zones’ around BP oil spill in Gulf

        Methane at 100,000 times normal levels have been creating oxygen-depleted areas devoid of life near BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill, according to two independent scientists

      • What’s so bad about the biggest Gulf spill ever?

        Are environmentalists putting the Louisiana fishing industry in peril by overstating the potential disastrous consequences of the Deepwater Horizon spill? That might seem like a crazy question to ask on the same day that the Associated Press reports that the BP disaster may have just passed the 1979 Ixtoc gusher as the worst oil spill in Gulf history. But that’s the message conveyed in a Financial Times article this morning, claiming that while the fish will surely come back to the Gulf, the fishing industry may be permanently damaged.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Farmers’ Markets Protest Safeway Look-Alikes

      Farmers markets are hot right now — so hot that big supermarkets want in on the act. But attempts by local Safeway stores to host so–called farmers markets have created an uproar.

    • Arizona to Spend $250K on Tourism PR Campaign

      On May 13, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer appointed a task force to address flagging tourism amid the backlash created by Arizona’s strict new law on immigration enforcement. The task force recommended that Arizona undertake a public relations campaign to reassure potential visitors that Arizona is “a safe and welcoming destination” and promote the idea that boycotts against the state hurt “the most vulnerable employees.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Finance

    • 21st century depression

      And this third depression will be primarily a failure of policy. Around the world – most recently at the weekend’s deeply discouraging G20 meeting – governments are obsessing about inflation when the real threat is deflation, preaching the need for belt-tightening when the real problem is inadequate spending.

      In 2008 and 2009 it seemed as if we might have learned from history. Unlike their predecessors, who raised interest rates in the face of financial crisis, the current leaders of the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank slashed rates and moved to support credit markets. Unlike past governments that tried to balance budgets in the face of a plunging economy, today’s governments allowed deficits to rise. And better policies helped the world avoid complete collapse: the recession brought on by the financial crisis arguably ended last summer.

    • US banks off the hook until 2022

      It was billed by Barack Obama as the toughest crackdown on Wall Street since the great depression. But top US banks could be given until 2022 to comply with the so-called Volcker rule, which is supposed to restrict financial institutions’ risker trading activities.

    • Hearings That Aren’t Just Theater

      Were A.I.G.’s credit-default swaps — which were supposed to be insuring billions of dollars worth of AAA subprime securities — fatally flawed? Did the collateralized debt obligations — those infamous C.D.O.’s — that Goldman was creating and A.I.G. was insuring offer anything of value to the larger society, or were they simply a means by which Wall Street made giant, useless, bets? Given that the taxpayers have put out $185 billion to prop up A.I.G., these are certainly questions worth asking.

    • Goldman Sachs Pressed for Derivatives Data

      Banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest derivatives dealer, have provided estimates to investors. The top five U.S. commercial banks, including Goldman Sachs, generated an estimated $28 billion in revenue from privately negotiated derivatives in 2009, according to company reports collected by the Federal Reserve and people familiar with banks’ income sources.

    • Feds query Goldman’s part in economic crisis

      A federal commission questioned whether the investment bank deliberately discounted prices to push markets lower because it had bet on a decline in the value of subprime mortgage-backed debt.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • European Parliament report on IPR Enforcement stalled

      A report that attempts to force the hand of the European Parliament on IPR enforcement – including a possible weakening of the Telecoms Package outcome – has been temporarily stalled.

      The Gallo report dealing with copyright and IPR enforcement has been stalled following a vote today in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The Parliament voted 140 to 135 in favour of postponing it until September, which will allow more time for scrutiny of the text.

    • Copyrights

      • Hurt Locker Lawsuit Doesn’t Affect BitTorrent Downloads

        Despite a pending lawsuit against 5,000 Hurt Locker downloaders and the promises from its makers to sue even more, the film is still being downloaded by thousands of people every day. Interestingly, the makers do not seem to be sending takedown notices to torrent sites, most likely because that would ruin their business plan.

        In recent years copyright holders have been trying to find creative ways to turn piracy into profit, with some success. One way to make money from file-sharers is to collect the IP-addresses of the people sharing a particular file, get a court to subpoena ISPs to reveal the identity of the sharers, and then ask the alleged sharers for a settlement of several hundred dollars to avoid a $150,000 fine.

      • Kookaburra gets last laugh in Men At Work case

        Men At Work have been ordered to pay 5 per cent of royalties for plagiarising part of their 1980s hit Down Under.

        In February the Federal Court ruled the iconic Aussie band plagiarised part of the song, which was penned in 1979 but only achieved worldwide success after a flute riff was introduced to the track two years later.

      • Woot To The AP: Nice Story About Our Sale — You Now Owe Us $17.50

        Gotta love those guys at Woot. They just sold to Amazon for $110 million, but that’s not stopping them from calling anyone out as they see fit. In this case, we particularly love it because they’re calling out the AP — and they’re doing so right on their highly trafficked homepage.

      • Prince Primes Pirates For Huge Download Fest With 20Ten

        Pint-sized popstar Prince will be giving his latest album away for free in a UK newspaper this week. Declaring the Internet “completely over”, iTunes nor any other online store will get access to his music. “Computers and digital gadgets are no good,” he declared in an interview, just as millions of file-sharers line up to use their hopeless number crunchers to suck his latest offering down the pipes.

      • ACTA

        • WD12 on ACTA: It’s the Final Countdown!

          A round of negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) just finished last week in Luzern, Switzerland. While the negotiators expressed their will not to release any further draft of the text, the European Parliament has now a unique opportunity to oppose both the process and the content of ACTA. There is just a few days left to collect 110 signatures from Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to Written Declaration 12. Will you spend 5 minutes to help defeat ACTA?

        • ACTA slouches on, will be final within 6 months

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement rolls on. Negotiators have just wrapped up another round of talks this week in Lucerne, Switzerland, and more than two years into the ACTA process, have actually started to meet with civil society groups to talk about the actual ACTA draft text. (Many governments have previously asked for comments on ACTA, but before releasing the full text.)

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk – 29 Jul 2008 – Open Source advocacy, awareness and community building in Europe, with emphasis on women in IT (2008)


Gates Foundation Still Sponsors Blogs That Praise Its Work, Lobbies Governments, Takes Over School Districts

Posted in Bill Gates, Marketing, Microsoft, Patents at 1:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

School in the UK

Summary: Latest examples of lobbying and agenda-setting by lobbyists and investors from the Gates Foundation

PETER FOSTER HAS just published an article titled “Conspicuous donation” [1, 2]. Therein, he speaks about the acts of the Gates Foundation, whose donations are not just giveaways. For some background, see our lengthy posts about philanthrocapitalism.

Last week we showed that Canada’s Prime Minister was being used by Gates. The role had an impact which is mentioned here right now:

You could say Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s effort to raise $5 billion for child and maternal health in poor nations wouldn’t have succeeded without the G8 and G20 summits.

Gates is using marketing/applying PR tactics and putting pressure on them. It happened just before the summit, in a private meeting. Harper was the right man to lobby because he was the host, but Gates previously lobbied other heads of nations who attended the summit [1, 2, 3, 4]. It includes pressure on Nigeria (first reference), which relates to last month's lobbying visit.

Anyway, here are portions of the good article from Peter Foster:

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and the dangerous rise of philanthrostatism

A couple of weeks ago, the world’s richest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, launched a scheme to “invite” America’s billionaires to give away half or more of their wealth.

This move was widely interpreted as applying “pressure.” It thus left the impression that America’s Super Rich are a stingy bunch. Similarly, it tainted any signatory of the “Giving Pledge” with the suspicion that he or she might not have coughed up unless Bill and Warren — like the two portly gentlemen in the Scrooge story — had turned up on behalf of the poor.

The motivation behind the move is intriguing. Capitalism is perpetually under siege, and particularly so in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the BP blowout, the two latest alleged examples of the unbridled “greed.” But far from defending this remarkable wealth-generating system, which enables individuals to indulge their charitable urges on an unprecedented scale, the Giving Pledge seems to confirm that there is something wrong with it. More than that, it supports the subversive notion that private wealth is somehow really collective property, to be marshalled by the High Minded.

[...]

Mr. Gates has also become an advocate for corporate arm twisting both to make more products for “the poor” (under pain of government sanction), as well as becoming directly involved in promoting such grand UN schemes as the Millennium Development Goals. He has called for a “Creative Capitalism,” which muddles bottom-line objectives with political ones. This potential morass is also called “Philanthrocapitalism,” which again implies that capitalism and philanthropy need to be negotiated together.

One of the more bizarre analogies for the Giving Pledge is that it is like the promise taken by alcoholics, as if a talent for wealth creation was some kind of disease. According to The Economist, no less, the Giving Pledge letters “are intended to create a moral obligation, which will be reinforced by peer pressure from others who take the pledge — a bit like members of Alcoholics Anonymous who promise to stay off the booze.” But then maybe that parallel is less surprising when you realize it was Economist New York bureau chief Matthew Bishop who co-wrote the book Philanthrocapitalism.

[...]

While Messrs. Gates and Buffett should be free to give away as much as they like, and pressure their peers to their big hearts’ content (although I hope somebody has been bold enough to tell them to mind their own philanthropy), their activities become dangerous when they start directing public policy: Philanthrostatism. The best thing great capitalist entrepreneurs can do for society is to create jobs, serve consumers and make profits.

Previously we gave many examples of Gates paying journalists to write their stories about the activities of the Gates Foundation (sometimes book authors are paid too, as long as they advance the same plot). This is a subject that we covered a lot at the beginning of the year and now this appears in the news:

Gates Foundation quadruples Crosscut grant

[...]

This month, the Gates Foundation posted a $400,000 grant to Seattle news and opinion blog Crosscut, which late last year received $100,000 from the world’s largest foundation.

They are funding the press, which leads to bias (by selection or omission). Crosscut may also raise suspicions about other publications like the Seattle Times, which is widely criticised for just praising Microsoft and the Gates Foundation on a regular basis (not even throwing soft balls at any of them). Microsoft takes them out to dinners, maybe pays/compensates them too (in one way or another). Kristi Heim continues to advertise the Gates Foundation on a weekly basis [1, 2] and former Microsoft employees receive promotional coverage from this publication. More Microsoft PR (not even technology) from Sharon Pian Chan of the Seattle Times continues to indicate that something is amiss in the Seattle press. Maybe it’s that money which Gates even quadruples to support “opinion blogs”. Whose opinions are they and what priorities will there be when Gates pays half a million dollars to just one blog? Crosscut does not get many visitors at all and it contains a lot of Gates promotion. No wonder Gates gives it money. It’s like PR. It’s business. A few years ago it was reported that Gates gave hundreds of millions to newspapers. It can easily affect coverage.

“It’s a natural extension to Microsoft’s mindset of artificial scarcity and centralised control.”As we pointed out last week, Microsoft hopes to turn US schoolteachers into its state-sponsored PR agents. Gates plays a role in it too. It wouldn’t be too cynical to suggest that Gates’ push for reform in US education [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] is part of Microsoft’s attempt to use PR to grab children’s education around the world. It’s a natural extension to Microsoft’s mindset of artificial scarcity and centralised control.

Here is the latest article which shows how Gates is working to change schools. People should be reminded that state officials are actually elected to manage such tasks; Gates is merely intervening.

School reform advocates are rightly excited about a persuasive new study showing that New York City’s small, specialized high schools are outperforming larger, more traditional schools, significantly narrowing the graduation-rate gap that currently exists between white and minority students across the city.

[...]

The study, done by MDRC, a nonpartisan research group and paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, focused on about 21,000 students. Nearly half attended the small schools focused on in the study, and the rest attended schools that were mainly larger and older.

Gates engages in more lobbying as he goes on trips, this time trying to turn education into his own establishment, treating these schools like private property. An example we repeatedly mention is Memphis. We covered the subject in:

The short story is that Memphis is all about advertising and PR. Those advertisers try to spin off these ‘models’ which are essentially experiments to later be expanded to other places and become the ‘norm’ for schools. It’s all managed and funded by Gates, who sincerely believes that he knows better than anyone what’s good for education. This is a threat to people’s democracy and also the verge of tyranny by the state’s rich list.

“Wanted: Ad firm to tout Memphis City Schools Gates Foundation Grant,” says the headline of this new article. That’s right, they are advertising again. It’s all PR and we’ve seen it before.

PR effort seeks to recruit top teachers, attract private funds

Just about the time the leaves begin changing color this fall, Memphis City Schools itself expects to roll out a more colorful and nuanced image.

The district plans to spend about $200,000 on professionally designed TV ads, social-media campaigns and print advertising as it pushes to recruit high-quality teachers, retain the ones it has and pump up a community fund drive scheduled to raise $21.3 million by the end of the year — a task the district took on when it received a $90 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

So Gates is generously donating in terms of brainwash and imposing one’s views on the public, appealing to psyche. The funding given to blogs ensures that people won’t notice; it leads to self-glorification and shallow coverage.

“Bill Gates touts charter schools, accountability,” reports AP.

Billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates said Tuesday that charter schools can revolutionize education, but that the charter school movement also must hold itself accountable for low-performing schools.

What is this all about? Let’s find out. According to this press release, Gates is playing politics again. He was made the keynote speaker in the National Alliance for Public Charter School.

Here is a transcript and some of the press coverage which helped push Gates’ agenda in schools:

Gates’ power was probably less harmful when he was still inside Microsoft; at least he was only confined to bossing people in software and not bossing everyone’s children. Does this whole gig make him the unelected minister of education?

“With goal of newer, better teaching, charter schools have spread across Texas,” reports Dallas News. Guess who’s being it?

The forces include strong local political support, backing from philanthropic giants like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, ambitious charter school management groups, private investors, fed-up urban parents – and even President Barack Obama.

On we move from the area of schools and into public libraries, where Gates has been combating GNU/Linux by making a ‘donation’ (but it needs to run Windows and Office). We wrote about the subject in posts such as:

Here are some self-funded, self-serving ‘surveys’ in the news:

The library was one of a handful in Louisiana to take part in a national survey last year conducted by the University of Washington Information School in cooperation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

More here. GNU/Linux is not an option, according to the Houston Herald. It includes software and it’s Windows only, based on the descriptions.

Here is a new example of a library being used to indoctrinate members of the public for the use of Microsoft Office.

Library calendar: Learn Microsoft Word

10 a.m. Woodruff Library, Beginning Microsoft Word. Learn the basics of using MS Word 2007 to type and save documents on your computer.

This is not good. State-backed promotion of Microsoft products is advocacy of the same monopoly abuser whose shoddy products were found to be violating competition rules. What kind of lesson does that give to children and impoverished adults?

More Windows in libraries can be found in the past week’s news. It’s funny that the Gates Foundation is almost always mentioned.

Donations are not donations when the donating party has something to gain. Then it becomes just an investment with RoI. One good example of this is the “Green Revolution”, which received some criticism in this very recent article that names the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

MB: Do you think that liberal foundations and/or individual liberal philanthropists have influenced your own work, and if so how?

MD: No.

MB: In Africa there is often quite a lot of overlap between the activities of environmental groups (i.e., Big International NGOs) and major mining corporations: how do you interpret the nature of such relationships? Here I am referring to groups like Richard Leakey’s WildLifeDirect, and the mining industry’s support of conservation ventures in Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

MD: Corrupt.

MB: Major foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have taken a lead role in promoting what they refer to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Could you please comment on the potential impact of this new Green Revolution for Africa?

MD: If they learn from the disastrous blunders of the original green revolution, it just might succeed.

It’s worth saying something about these NGOs. Microsoft uses them for lobbying and in last week’s news from Microsoft Jordan we found this:

Under the Patronage of Hala Bseiso Lattouf, the Minister of Social Development, Microsoft Jordan organized the ‘NGO Connection Day’ in cooperation with the Ministry of Social Development on Thursday June 17th at the Sheraton Hotel, with the attendance of 250 active NGOs and civil society organizations.

Microsoft Jordan is just trying to “connect” with NGOs in ‘NGO Connection Day’. What’s in it for Microsoft? Well, that’s just too obvious.

“Microsoft Jordan is just trying to “connect” with NGOs in ‘NGO Connection Day’.”Last but not least, something ought to be said about Gates’ huge investments in health-related industries (“CSU Cancer Researcher Awarded NIH and Gates Foundation Grants”). The foundation has massive (and ever-increasing) investments in vaccine, which is an important thing for human health all across the globe. But one mustn’t forget that many companies are getting extremely rich in the process. A lot of swine flu vaccines have just been burned after hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars were spent on them. The companies which made them lost not a penny; it is those who bought the vaccines from them who had their money burned in a big pile and recent reports from most reputable papers revealed that scientists had senationalised and exaggerated the threat in order to help makers of the vaccination increase sales. This is good for shareholders of big pharmaceutical companies, including the Gates Foundation (being an investor, which is the side it does not advertise).

One problem which is occasionally brought up by biomedical researchers is that the Gates Foundation promotes a sort of monopoly in various areas; In other words, trying to drive the health agenda, just as they do in schools and libraries. Here is a gem from last week’s news:

William H. Gates Sr. was the first of two keynote speakers at this year’s annual meeting of the American Health Lawyers Association, held June 27-30 in Seattle. Gates, otherwise known as Bill Gates’ dad, had a long career as a lawyer himself and now works on directing his son’s vast fortune toward global health initiatives as co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

More money, more power. Veterinary investments are spotted in last week’s news too:

Here is another new example. On top of it, the Gates Foundation is sending people to potentially influence agenda:

Guardian Activate summit is back with an extra-special array of speakers primed to tackle the challenge of changing the world through the internet

[...]

4.36pm: Now: Where next for the web? “Future technologies and their impact on society and humanity” with Joe Cerrell, European director of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Jan Chipchase, executive creative director of global insights of Frog Design, Desiree Miloshevic, board trustee at Internet Society, and Clay Shirky, professor of Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. Quite a cast.

In Africa too one can find the involvement. It’s too easy to forget that Gates has huge investments (for-profit) in the pharmaceutical industry, so there is justifiable scepticism when donations are being made (see the start of this post).

GAVI connections aside, Bill Gates is said to (possibly) be a bigger funder of WHO than the US government. What does that say about the WHO‘s direction? It’s like Gates participates in influence games (lobbying).

However, a careful examination of the list of voluntary contributions and the donors shows there are several organizations like the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) — which has contributed over $85 million — and the Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH) that has given over $9 million to WHO. The Gates Foundation happens to be one of the biggest donors for both GAVI and PATH.

This gives the Gates Foundation enormous influence over the direction taken in health. It would probably be innocent had Gates not profited from decisions made by the WHO.

“The chief of malaria for the World Health Organization has complained that the growing dominance of malaria research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation risks stifling a diversity of views among scientists and wiping out the world health agency’s policy-making function.

“In a memorandum, the malaria chief, Dr. Arata Kochi, complained to his boss, Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the W.H.O., that the foundation’s money, while crucial, could have “far-reaching, largely unintended consequences.”

“Many of the world’s leading malaria scientists are now “locked up in a ‘cartel’ with their own research funding being linked to those of others within the group,” Dr. Kochi wrote. Because “each has a vested interest to safeguard the work of the others,” he wrote, getting independent reviews of research proposals “is becoming increasingly difficult.”

“Also, he argued, the foundation’s determination to have its favored research used to guide the health organization’s recommendations “could have implicitly dangerous consequences on the policy-making process in world health.””

New York Times, 2008

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