EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


IRC Proceedings: July 7th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Microsoft Spurned Researcher Collective Created to Revolt Against Microsoft’s Abuse of Security Researchers

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mounted stag

Summary: Microsoft’s hunting down of people who help spot defects in Microsoft products leads to backlash

MICROSOFT IS having confrontations over "critical" bugs (flaws) that affect Office 2010. Except for silent patching, Microsoft relies on policing of people who disclosure flaws in its software. Last month we showed how Microsoft daemonised a person who helped identify and report a serious flaw in Windows. Microsoft was shifting blame from its incompetent developers to people who find flaws in these developers’ work.

The “Microsoft Spurned Researcher Collective” has just been created by victims of Microsoft’s daeminisation and abuse tactics (with so-called ‘attack dogs’, who happen to be Microsoft boosters with blogs). Here are some of the details:

Security researchers irked by how Microsoft responded to Google engineer Tavis Ormany’s public disclosure of a zero-day Windows XP Help Center security bug have banded together to form a group called the Microsoft Spurned Researcher Collective*.

The group is forming a “union” in the belief that together they will be better placed to handle flak from Redmond and elsewhere following the publication of security flaws. A statement, published by The Windows Club blog, explains the Collective’s stance.

“Due to hostility toward security researchers, the most recent example being of Tavis Ormandy, a number of us from the industry (and some not from the industry) have come together to form MSRC: the Microsoft-Spurned Researcher Collective,” it said. “MSRC will fully disclose vulnerability information discovered in our free time, free from retaliation against us or any inferred employer.”

Microsoft is making too many enemies, even among security experts. This is a recipe for disaster.

Free Software: Technically and Ethically Better

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 7:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The BBC helps daemonise the idea of crowdsourcing, Google shows that proprietary software falters, and Bradley Kuhn (FSF/SFLC) explains why “proprietary software licensing produces no new value in society”

THE BBC is losing talent fast, by its very own admission (as published early in the day). Even Jonathan Ross is leaving. Earlier today we mentioned the corporate bias that the BBC helps push (including that of the Copyright Cartel) and another new example is a critique of crowdsourcing — the idea of pooling ideas. Here is a rare positive part of this Monday piece which was titled “Should we trust the wisdom of crowds?” (it’s a rhetorical “no”, as implied by the form of this question)

Open source computer operating systems, such as Linux and Google’s Android, the big rival to Apple’s iPhone, are written and refined by members of the public.

Another good example of such collaboration is Wikipedia, which allows users to write and edit entries for its online encyclopaedia: “For the first time millions of people can aggregate their talent and expertise,” says Williams.

A form of meritocracy works very well. Attempts to dismiss this approach often come from the likes of Jaron Lanier. Here is a new article which explains why more eyeballs can indeed improve reliability and security in the case of code: (more here for background)

Youtube Hacked – Ramifications for the Connected TV Industry?


Let’s start with a fact. Youtube is not like Android – it is not open source software. It is reasonably open however, and does have API’s available. But it is web-based and apparently has had some vulnerabilities exploited by creative hackers over the years.


There are far fewer minds at work on a proprietary project than there are on an open one… less testing, less debugging, less resources available.

People also develop differently when they are aware that their code is ‘naked’ for everyone to assess. It encourages high-quality programming.

Coincidentally, Bradley Kuhn has this new essay titled “Proprietary Software Licensing Produces No New Value In Society”:

Meanwhile, I’ve also spent some time applying this idea of “creating nothing and producing nothing” to the proprietary software industry. Proprietary licenses, in many ways, are actually not all that different from these valueless financial transactions. Initially, there’s no problem: someone writes software and is paid for it; that’s the way it should be. Creation of new software is an activity that should absolutely be funded: it creates something new and valuable for others. However, proprietary licenses are designed specifically to allow a single act of programming generate new revenue over and over again. In this aspect, proprietary licensing is akin to selling financial derivatives: the actual valuable transaction is buried well below the non-existent financial construction above it.


Software freedom is another principle of this type. While you can make a profit with community-respecting FLOSS business models (such as service, support and freely licensed custom modifications on contract), it’s admittedly a smaller profit than can be made with Open Core and proprietary licensing. But that greater profit potential doesn’t legitimatize such business models, just as it doesn’t legitimize strip mining or gambling on financial derivatives.

Glyn Moody responds to it by claiming that:

This idea of getting money for work already done is precisely how copyright is regarded these days. It’s not enough for a creator to be paid once for his or her work: they want to be paid every time it is performed or copies made of performances.

So ingrained is this idea that anyone suggesting the contrary – like that doughty young Eleanor – is regarded as some kind of alien from another planet, and is mocked by those whose livelihoods depend upon this kind of entitlement economics.

But just as open source has cut down the fat profits of proprietary software companies, so eventually will the exorbitant profits of the media industry be cut back to reasonable levels based on how much work people do – because, as Kuhn notes, there really is no justification for anything more.

Microsoft was born out of desire to suppress sharing of code, at least based on the manifesto-like document of its co-founder. A company that arises by striving to maximise wealth at the expense of good engineering is bound not only to produce shoddy software but software that also harms a community of software developers. The next post will show how developers feel about it.

News Failure

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft at 7:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Investigative journalism is dying

Love searching

Summary: New evidence that news/opinion sites rent themselves to corporate interests rather than maintain independent, professional judgment

EARLIER THIS year we wrote about the corruption of news by PR agencies. At Techrights we have a policy of ignoring or telling off PR people. PR is — by definition — associated with reality distortion fields.

Some sites pretend to be news sites, but they are merely an aggregation of output from people with agenda, sometimes commercial agenda (like the company they work for). Previously we showed how the Huffington Post gave Microsoft and the Gates Foundation a platform [1, 2, 3]. Arianna Huffington herself sells out to Microsoft by offering Microsoft (and Gates) a platform it does not deserve.

ScienceBlogs helps expose the type of things the Huffington Post lets notorious groups post without apprehension:

At ScienceBlogs we value our independence. Just consider the recent posts over the laughable PepsiCo nutrition blog to see how seriously people take this. But one thing that would never happen is for anything we write to be edited without our consent.

As I wrote yesterday, I am disappointed in the Huffington Post’s decision to grant a public stage to David Klinghoffer, Senior Fellow at the intelligent design “think tank” known as the Discovery Institute. DI is a self-avowed propaganda vehicle seeking to “wedge” religion into public schools. Once HuffPo handed him the megaphone Klinghoffer proceeded to assert blatant falsehoods about how Charles Darwin was responsible for inspiring Nazi eugenic policies towards a goal of racial purity, claims that have been refuted again and again.


Needless to say, the Huffington Post has had a very poor record as far as science is concerned. A simple search will bring hundreds of posts in the last few years from this network alone (and I guarantee you most will be critical). However, in contrast, some of their political writing has been quite good (see here and here for two recent examples). Since I am a political writer, as well as a science writer, I was conflicted about the opportunity to write for them. However, the positive response I received from my critique of US policy in Haiti and the abuses of Coca-Cola suggested I made the right choice.

But what should be done now? Reject Huffington Post as a hopeless loony bin? Focus only on political writing and let the pseudoscientific ramblings fester in their stew of illogic? Or is it useful to have a few contrarians in the mix?

Ironically enough (probably by sheer coincidence), on just about the same day ScienceBlogs (which offered the criticism above) is exposed by The Guardian, which occasionally sells out to Microsoft by offering Microsoft a platform it does not deserve [1, 2, 3, 4].

“At ScienceBlogs we value our independence,” says a writer from ScienceBlogs, but The Guardian shows them selling out too:

• Should ScienceBlogs.com have agreed to host a controversial blog on nutrition, written by PepsiCo? No, say the site’s readers, as some of its star bloggers stop their blogs in protest

Much consternation over at the home of science blogging, ScienceBlogs. The forum for the brilliant Orac, Pharynula, Molecule of the Day, and countless other insightful, funny and informative blogs has decided upon a bizarre new strategy in sourcing new posts. As of yesterday, the platform will host a new blog written by food giant PepsiCo, all about the company’s specialist subject of refreshing sugary drinks and their benefits for dental and dietary health.

Sorry, no, PepsiCo’s scientific staff will be writing about nutrition on the new Food Frontiers blog. I’ll give you a moment to get back on your chair.

There is a level of hypocrisy here because The Guardian does promotional things for companies. It’s good that Microsoft Jack has more or less left The Guardian, but he keeps posting in ZDNet UK instead (even this week). They merely relocated the problem and almost no publication is worse than ZDNet when it comes to corporate bias. We gave heaps of examples before.

“The analysts…the financial analysts particularly carry a lot of weight. We may think that, you know, Christine Comerford and Jesse Burst and other people who write in the Windows magazines are important, but the most important analysts are the guys who work for, like, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers and the other financial analysts. And if you can influence those guys’ opinions…and they almost never hear directly from. like, evangelists, and so when they do you have to be real careful. You don’t want Bill calling you up and saying, “What was this I saw from your _______?“ You have to be real careful. But going to those guys and giving them information can be very, very leveraged, because, you know, everybody reads PC Week, but the VPs and above, those guys are reading the Goldman Sacks analyst reports. They’re the guys, you know, really making the decisions.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

News Reports About Microsoft’s Confirmation of Layoffs

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Model of a sinking ship

Summary: Layoffs inside the main opponent of software freedom are now confirmed and the story is widely covered by the media

AS we mentioned a few hours ago, the layoffs at Microsoft carry on, which doesn’t really surprise us because we have heard rumours for several weeks now (since May in fact). Reuters makes the news more official, but special credit goes to Ziodotmatrix for being the first to inform us of the news by pointing to an article from yesterday (in IRC):

Microsoft is preparing to make a new round of job cuts as early as tomorrow, according to people with knowledge of the situation, but the unconfirmed numbers we’re hearing are relatively small in the scheme of things — far less than the thousands of jobs cut by the company last year.

Microsoft boosters such as Ina Fried spin it with headlines like “Source: No broad job cuts planned at Microsoft” (it gives the impression of no layoffs or minimal layoffs without giving actual numbers). The other reports that we found sometimes mentioned “KIN” and sometimes mentioned the affected locations/projects:

It was very late last night when mini-Microsoft wrote about it. See the interesting comments, which often come from anonymous and/or disgruntled employees like “mini”. “Look at the Linkedin profile of Matt Bencke,” writes one person, “This dude has degrees in Political Science, and still is a GM in a technological company.”


The significance of this news is that despite Microsoft’s claims of strength (like those fabricated/exaggerated numbers it used over a week ago in order to raise morale), the monopolist is suffering. Without a mighty Microsoft, Free software will thrive a lot more easily. Microsoft has cost many innocent people their jobs when it violated laws and although it’s nothing personal, the tyrannical entity known as Microsoft is better off dismantled.

“Pearly Gates and Em-Ballmer
One promises you heaven and the other prepares you for the grave.”

Ray Noorda, Novell

Links 7/7/2010: Mandriva Alive

Posted in News Roundup at 5:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Last Straw

    When I adopted GNU/Linux the impetus to change was the persistent failure of that other OS to run through a single 45 minute period of class time without fail. Perhaps the latest vulnerability in that other OS will be the impetus for many more to migrate. This one is not a bug but a feature of that other OS to permit working with foreign character-sets. That other OS welcomes executable files to manipulate foreign characters and in the process allows the system to be owned by aliens. Malware is out in the wild exploiting this feature of that other OS.

  • Desktop

    • A closer look at Open Source World Summit

      As a sidenote on Linux lack of success in China on the desktop, I have to mention a discussion end of last year with CS2C that has been doing OEM (original equipment manufacturer) deals for quite some time, which was just a way to avoid the Microsoft tax for some PC makers. For the first time in the company’s history, people are actually keeping the preinstalled Linux system and using it, “forcing” CS2C to start a customer support line.

    • 6+ Great Alternatives To Windows XP That Are Free and Open Source

      Fedora is second most popular Linux Distro next to Ubuntu. Even the Linux God Linus Torvalds uses it (an old claim, not verified). The latest Fedora 13 (Goddard) as usual has lots of goodies like OpenOffice, KDE, and much more. A versatile operating system for home and office users.

    • Gems Found Going Down the Road

      In Windows, the process goes like this:

      1. Temporarily Disable System Restore.
      2. Reboot computer in Safe Mode.
      3. Locate nice.exe virus files and uninstall nice.exe files program. Follow the screen step-by-step screen instructions to complete uninstallation of nice.exe.
      4. Open the registry editor.
      5. Delete/Modify any values added to the registry related with nice.exe.
      6. Exit registry editor and restart the computer.
      7. Clean/delete all nice.exe infected files :nice.exe and related,or rename nice.exe virus files
      8. Delete all your IE temp files with nice.exe manually.
      9. Run a whole scan with antivirus program.
      10. Run the antivirus program in your USB drive.

      Very easy, right? The process can take more than an hour (that is, if you know where to start!)

      In Mandriva Linux, you say good-bye to Mr. Nice by doing this:

      1. Select nice.exe from your USB drive.
      2. Delete it. If you get a message saying you cannot do it,
      3. Change the permissions of the file and delete it.

  • Graphics Stack

    • Qualcomm Snapdragon open-source efforts prove frustrating

      Qualcomm has found itself unwittingly annoying the open-source community by posting the source code for OpenGL ES 2D/3D Linux kernel driver for its Snapdragon chipset, as found in the Nexus One, Dell Streak and many other devices. However, while the kernel driver is open-source, Qualcomm’s user-space driver remains closed; that prompted David Airlie, who maintains the DRM for the Linux kernel at Red Hat, to tell Qualcomm – and anyone else considering doing the same half-hearted thing – “If you aren’t going to create an open userspace driver (either MIT or LGPL) then don’t waste time submitting a kernel driver to me.”

    • Open Source 3D Driver for Snapdragon Released
  • Applications

  • GNOME Desktop

    • Mobile, desktop or cloud: Where does the future of open source lie?

      In the following Q&A, OSCON speaker and GNOME foundation executive director Stormy Peters discusses the risks of cloud computing, the continued importance of desktop computing, and the interesting relationship between new mobile form factors and free software adoption.

  • Distributions

    • Learning While Playing for a Better World

      I can’t think of a better way to learn something new by playing. Since the “spin era” has begun with Sabayon Linux by using molecule, it’s something new to learn. Joost has posted a quick run down of how to do a basic spin. I’ve been messing around with this molecule thing and have found that adding and subtracting packages is simple enough to do. I do find that specific customizations of the user and root accounts a bit more complicated. I’m still trying to figure that one out yet. Scripting isn’t my strong point at all. I understand what it needs to do, but assembling a script of commands and paths is like writing hieroglyphics. I’m not sure where the script should be placed at in my spec file nor when the script should be invoked.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva is alive!

        Mandriva is one of the cornerstones of Open Source, a technological pioneer offering the sole independent Linux distribution on the European market. Nevertheless the company has been faced with a mounting financial challenge for several years due in part to its size and lack of a clear publishing strategy.

        Mandriva also plays a strategic role in the Paris Saclay innovative ecosystem centred on the Pole System@tic Paris Region and Cap Digital. The company is involved in a dozen R&D projects in partnership with some 60 research and industrial laboratories working on themes such as the semantic desktop, Linux Real Time distribution, shared infrastructures or cloud computing.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian by its numbers, as seen by keyring-maint

        At keyring-maint, we got a request by our DPL, querying for the evolution of the number of keys per keyring – This can be almost-mapped to the number of Debian Developers, Debian Maintainers, retired and deleted accounts over time since the keyrings are maintained over version control.

      • Debian Editions
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.04 (Desktop)

          I’ve been using Ubuntu as my distribution of choice for VM’s and server instances, and on a lark I took a swag at installing Ubuntu desktop onto a VM yesterday. I’ve got to say, it’s a pretty usable setup.

        • Your Meerkat Needs You! Help Hunt down geeky app descriptions in the software centre

          Fixing poor descriptions of Software Centre applications is listed as a papercut milestone for Ubuntu 10.10 because, as one tester during Canonicals’ user testing day put it: “Software centre descriptions are geeky.”

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Open source robotics – is Qbo the ultimate project?

      Robotics and artificial intelligence enthusiast Francisco Paz has launched a new open source robot called Qbo. Paz’s five-year-long personal project is an attempt to realise the recently stated goal of Tomomasa Sato, director of the Japanese Robotics Association, to develop “an open source Model-T robot in which all global standards may be applied to achieve a result as revolutionary as Ford’s Model-T was for the car industry.”

      As with other projects in the growing open source hardware space, Qbo will be made, as far as possible, from off-the-shelf components, and all design plans, firmware and control software will be distributed under an open source licence.

    • Birth of a world beater

      An estimated 20 billion ARM processors are installed worldwide, around four per person and up to four or five per device.

      For Sophie Wilson (pictured at left), who wrote the original instruction set back in 1983 for what was conceived as a co-processor for Acorn’s BBC Micro computer, they are still a “little bit awe-inspiring.”

    • Mother of ARM

      Almost everything that ARM could be doing it is except for widespread use in PCs.

    • Nokia/MeeGo

    • Android

      • No Nexus Two says Google’s CEO

        Android is now activated on 160,000 phones daily, that’s almost 5m every month, demonstrating a significant take-up of the operating system and Android app Marketplace. Google has also just announced plans to expand into emerging markets in a bid for a further slice of the mobile market.

      • Android phone gets a features reboot

        “Adoption of Android-powered devices is growing globally by leaps and bounds. We want our users to have the enhanced experience that the Galaxy S Android 2.1 offers, whether for browsing the Web or tracking important tasks on your phone,” said Cathy Santamaria, Globe brand head.

      • iPhone apps pricier than most

        Apple wins the battle with Android for hosting the most paid applications, which are also on the whole more expensive than its open source rival’s.

        According to a report by Distimo, the iPad store boasts the largest percentage of paid-for apps, at 80%, with the iPhone commanding 73% of costly applications, in contrast to Google’s Android store where the majority of apps are free.

      • Motorola Charm Makes Picture Debut Complete With Android [Unannounced Motorola Charm Shows Its Face For Camera With Android 2.1 And MOTOBLUR In Tow]

        Ever since Google officially launched their open source mobile operating system entitled Android, handset manufacturers like HTC and Motorola have seemingly been scrambling to get as many smartphones onto the market, powered by platform, as humanly possible.

    • Adobe

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free at last: WeWebU OpenWorkdesk for CMIS is Open Source
  • World’s First Open Source MHEG and CI Plus Authoring Tool Released
  • Open Source: strategic software with economic value

    The Open Source Initiative has worked hard to show that open source software, which are products primarily known for offering access to software source code, can provide economic value and strategic advantages to business practices around the world.

    Twelve years ago, open source was implemented by software developers, and the importance of this non-proprietary software has only been compounded as open source developers and users have tailored their codes to truly evolve and grow as needed by individual companies and users.


    According to the Open Source Initiative Web site, “the prehistory of the Open Source Initiative includes the entire history of Unix, Internet free software, and the hacker culture.” While the hacker culture may have been the birthing place of open source, different companies, users and communities have come to heavily rely on open source for several reasons.

  • Enterprise Open Source Support: Who Ya Gonna Call?

    This may seem obvious to some, but there are lots of commercial open source companies that don’t grok the importance of the “support first” mantra. Many commercial open source companies spend a lot of time detailing the feature-specific advantages their products have instead of detailing support options. It’s a cart-before-horse issue. Like Red Hat, Cloudera, Acquia and other commercial open source startups increasingly understand all of this. Their understanding will definitely make a difference over time.

  • Popular Facebook App “Bloo” Goes Open Source
  • PlanCake is an Open-Source and GTD-Friendly Task Management Tool
  • How to best deploy open source VoIP? Don’t go in cold
  • Open source alternative for Active Directory

    Originally, it was called the Fedora Directory Server, introduced in 2005, but it was later renamed to 389 Directory Server. It can interface with Microsoft’s Active Directory, and since it is LDAP based it is extremely fast and powerful, and can be interfaced with from other devices that support LDAP authentication. Even client authentication is possible (in Linux, configuring PAM to use it as an authentication service). It also offers a full featured console for easy remote administration.

  • Mozilla

    • MPL Alpha 1 released!

      Last week the Mozilla community had quite a few releases, and the MPL team, not wanting to be left out, is excited to announce the first Alpha draft of the next version of the Mozilla Public License.

    • a map of the open web
  • SaaS

    • Adobe Released Puppet Recipes for Hadoop

      Recently Adobe released Puppet recipes that they are using to automate Hadoop/HBase deployments to the community. InfoQ spoke with Luke Kanies, founder of PuppetLabs, to learn more about what this means.

  • Oracle

    • How Oracle has made Sun rise again

      Through the deal, Oracle acquired the Java software language that underpins its Fusion middleware, as well as the Solaris open source operating system and open source database technology MySQL. The deal also saw Oracle acquire Sun’s hardware business including servers, storage and desktop workstations.

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

  • Business

  • Semi-Open Source

    • Clearing the Air on the Open Core Business Model

      Don’t mention “open core” to Larry Augustin. Trust me, not a good idea.

      He gets a small twitch in his face and enough clouds build that, even though I’ve got a few inches, a lot more pounds, and some martial arts training on him, I felt it prudent to take half a step back when I stupidly lumped SugarCRM in with open core products in a barroom conversation with him last month.

  • Project Releases

    • IPFire open source firewall updated

      Following five release candidates, IPFire Project Leader & developer Michael Tremer has announced the release of version 2.7 of the IPFire open source firewall. IPFire is a Linux distribution that can be booted from a CD or USB drive, or installed to a computer’s hard disk drive.

    • Gimp 2.7.1 in Foresight, single-window mode

      Foresight been using stable release of Gimp until 2.7.1 released. 2.7.0 was too unstable to update to.

      Now users can easily use the “Single-Window mode” of gimp, it will make all windows in Gimp to be one. Looks more like photoshop.

    • Shotwell 0.6.1 adds basic support for RAW images

      The Yorba developers have released version 0.6.1 of their open source Shotwell photo manager for the GNOME desktop. According to the developers, the latest update to their free digital photo manager includes a number of bug fixes, language support improvements and several new features compared to the previous 0.5 release from mid-March.

    • FreeSWITCH Open Source VoIP Software Adds Support For T.38 Faxing
  • Government

    • Councils need to be more open-minded about IT

      But this can be taken one step further. By applying the principles of shared services to the exchange of best practice and technical knowledge, web teams from across the country can benefit from each other’s innovation and experience. And this is where open-source software is critical, particularly for applications such as web content management.

      The question for local authority leaders is whether the enthusiasm for efficiency savings will be enough to overcome traditional barriers to open-source uptake. These have been well documented and include shortage of vendor support, lack of control and worries over cost transparency. Potential users can also be put off by uncertainties about product road maps and, with so many parties involved, over where responsibility lies when things go wrong.

    • Jeremy Allison and Terri Molini on Open Source for America and change in Washington

      Jeremy Allison of Google and Terri Molini of Initmarketing, both presenting on behalf of Open Source for America (OSFA), joined us for the first Open Your World Forum. OSFA is organized to advocate for open source technology use in the US Federal government, and represents well over a thousand members, including tech industry leaders, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and academic research institutions.

  • Licensing

    • Are the Creative Commons Licences Valid?

      As readers of this blog will doubtless know, Richard Stallman’s great stroke of genius at the founding of the GNU project was to use copyright when crafting the GNU GPL licence but in such a way that it undermined the restrictive monopoly copyright usually imposes on users, and required people to share instead.

      That so-called copyleft approach has allowed a vast and thriving ecosystem to arise, but one that depends critically on the validity of the GNU GPL. If the GPL were shown to be unenforceable, then its terms would be void, and free software would have some problems. For that reason, every time somebody is threatened with legal action for allegedly violating the GPL, lawyers’ hearts beat a little faster at the prospect of a definitive ruling on whether it is valid or not.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • YouTube plans to open-source film ‘Life in a Day’

      Google-owned video sharing service YouTube is creating a movie titled Life in a Day with director Kevin Macdonald and producer Ridley Scott, besides roping in hundreds of its online open-source contributors, reports said.

    • Social Media Brings Open Source Sensibility to the Web

      This got me thinking that this social largesse was not unlike the open source movement. When left to their own devices people will help for free for the sake of helping and the social web helps drive this desire.

    • Open Data

      • When Open Public Data Isn’t…?

        As these examples show, the license under which data is originally released can have significant consequences on its downstream use and commercialisation. The open source software community has know this for years, of course, which is why organisations like GNU have two different licenses – GPL, which keeps software open by tainting other software that includes GPL libraries, and LGPL, which allows libraries to be used in closed/proprietary code. There is a good argument that by combining data from different open sources in a particular way valuable results may be created, but it should also be recognised that work may be expended doing this and a financial return may need to be generated (so maybe companies shouldn’t have to open up their aggregated datasets?) Just how we balance commercial exploitation with ongoing openness and access to raw public data is yet to be seen.

        (The academic research area – which also has it’s own open data movement (e.g. Panton Principles) – also suggests a different sort of tension arising from the “potential value” of a data set or aggregated data set. For example, research groups analysing data in one particular way may be loathe to release to others because they want to analyse it in another, value creating way at a later date.)

    • Open Access/Content

      • Report on the implementation of open content licenses in developing and transition countries

        The survey attempted to gather information from a broad spectrum of research institutions in developing and transition countries in order to get a better understanding of the current state of the implementation of open content licenses. Open content licenses or some explicit statement attached to the article when it is published in an open access journal or deposited in an open access repository help to refer to a specific type of libre open access.

    • Open Hardware

      • What Is Makerbot, Makerbot Inside and Outside

        “That’s one of the beauties of open source,” said Bre Pettis, one of the founders of MakerBot Industries, a company in Brooklyn, NY. What are Makerbots? Inventor Bre Pettis talks about how a Makerbot is like Ikea furniture, here are the reasons why it may be the next personal computer.


  • Introducing OpenCL
  • Digital Planet
  • FAQ 2.0 on SWIFT Agreement

    European Digital Rights has prepared a “frequently asked questions” document to explain the changes between the SWIFT agreement previously rejected by the European Parliament and the current text under discussion.

  • Science

  • Business Models

    • The Lack Of A ‘Golden Ticket’ Business Model Doesn’t Mean You Give Up And Go Home

      The role of the disruptor is not to make life easy for the disrupted. Swisher and these execs seem to be confusing the role of certain folks in the legacy industry with the overall entertainment industry itself. As noted, the entertainment industry is thriving. More movies, music and books are being created. More money is being spent. It’s just that it’s going to different players. There’s no reason to “figure out a way to keep talent from being dragged into the future.” The opportunities and wide open path are there. The problem isn’t that tech leaders haven’t made it easy for them. They have. It’s that these guys are so myopically focused on the way they used to make money they don’t realize that the new opportunities are already there and have been embraced widely by others.

    • Digital journalism: More work, more pressure but more opportunity

      Longer hours, more pressure, decreasing quality and less enjoyable work. Old media is a dark, dark place for journalism – at least that’s the mood of many of the journalists who were interviewed for the annual Oriella digital journalism study.

      There are some reasons to be cheerful, which include journalists not being quite as pessimistic as the previous year. Are things really that bad?

    • Time Magazine Dons An Online Condom

      Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way. Time.com didn’t go behind a paywall this week and there aren’t plans for that to happen. Technically, Time magazine didn’t put one up for its online content either—that is, you can’t pay to read the contents of current issues of Time (NYSE: TWX) online. What the Time Inc. flagship did was slip on the magazine equivalent of a condom, a barrier between online readers and the full content of the magazine.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Terrorism policy flaws ‘increased risk of attacks’, says former police chief

      Britain’s fight against terrorism has been a disaster, because its “flawed, neo-conservative” direction alienated Muslims and increased the chances of terrorist attacks, a former leading counter-terrorism officer has told the Guardian.

    • The Threat of Cyberwar Has Been Grossly Exaggerated

      There’s a power struggle going on in the U.S. government right now.

      It’s about who is in charge of cyber security, and how much control the government will exert over civilian networks. And by beating the drums of war, the military is coming out on top.

      “The United States is fighting a cyberwar today, and we are losing,” said former NSA director — and current cyberwar contractor — Mike McConnell. “Cyber 9/11 has happened over the last ten years, but it happened slowly so we don’t see it,” said former National Cyber Security Division director Amit Yoran. Richard Clarke, whom Yoran replaced, wrote an entire book hyping the threat of cyberwar.

      General Keith Alexander, the current commander of the U.S. Cyber Command, hypes it every chance he gets. This isn’t just rhetoric of a few over-eager government officials and headline writers; the entire national debate on cyberwar is plagued with exaggerations and hyperbole.

    • How dumb is the government when it comes to technology?

      What’s far, far more serious is the suggestion that the government be allowed to set up a National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. This sounds good. The plan is to create an Internet-based identity ecosystem, “where individuals, organizations, services, and devices can trust each other because authoritative sources establish and authenticate their digital identities.”

    • The Unintended Consequences of Katie’s Law: More DNA Samples Collected, More DNA Samples Untested?

      Last month, we discussed a bill nicknamed “Katie’s Law” that would give states financial incentives to collect DNA samples from individuals arrested for certain crimes. At the moment, less than half of the states currently collect DNA samples from these arrestees. If Katie’s Law were enacted, the remainder of the states would likely expand the scope of their DNA collection practices, greatly increasing the number of samples collected.

  • Environment

    • Heat wave smothers climate skeptic jokes

      As temperatures rise, smart-assed tweets about Al Gore from Republican senators appear to fall

      Living in Berkeley, Calif., it can be difficult getting excited about the weather back East. Every blogger on the East coast in my RSS feed has been moaning and bitching about the record-breaking heat wave, but in Berkeley, I was wearing a sweater in the mid-afternoon and the thermometer hadn’t broken 60. And guess what, the exact same conditions prevailed during the great Snowpocalypse-ageddon earlier this year. So while Washington and New York convulse in cataclysms of sweltering heat and pounding blizzards, in the Bay Area we just hope the fog lifts, eventually.

    • China’s green washout

      The launch of environmental disclosure rules was hailed as a turning point for eco-protection in China’s business world. But two years on, they have all but been forgotten, says Huo Weiya.

      When chinadialogue organised a talk last May to mark the first year since publication of China’s environmental transparency regulations, “Measures for the Disclosure of Environmental Information” (or “Measures” for short) Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), said the biggest problem had been “the almost total lack of action from business”.

      China’s firms may be unwilling to reveal environmental data, but when it comes to green marketing, there is no shortage of enthusiasm. In public, top executives never doubt the importance of environmental protection, nor do they deny their social responsibilities.

  • Finance

    • China’s New Focus on Africa

      If you want to see what’s wrong with Africa, take a trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo. The size of Western Europe, with almost no paved roads, Congo is the sucking vortex where Africa’s heart should be. Independent Congo gave the world Mobutu Sese Seko, who for 32 years impoverished his people while traveling the world in a chartered Concorde. His death in 1997 ushered in a civil war that killed 5.4 million people and unleashed a hurricane of rape on tens of thousands more. Today AIDS and malaria are epidemics. Congo, then, is not a place you’d normally associate with a yuppie.

    • China says foreign reserves not political `weapon’

      China tried Wednesday to allay concern about the political impact of its $2.5 trillion foreign reserves, saying they are not a “nuclear weapon” to control other nations and its vast holdings of U.S. Treasury debt “should not be politicized.”

    • China AgBank’s massive IPO highlights cash squeeze

      Agricultural Bank of China’s $22 billion initial public offering is making headlines as potentially the world’s biggest. It is also underlining the cash squeeze Chinese banks are facing after a massive lending binge.

    • Stocks extend gains after financial stocks climb

      Financial shares pulled the stock market higher Wednesday after State Street Corp.’s second-quarter profit forecast topped analysts’ expectations.

    • OECD: Rich country unemployment may have peaked

      Unemployment in rich countries may have peaked – but there are still 17 million more people out of work than at the start of the crisis, the OECD said Wednesday.

    • Amid Lack of Jobs, Suicide Hot Line Calls Surge

      In one of the darkest tallies of the nation’s still-sputtering recession, experts say financial desperation has played a significant role in increased calls to suicide-prevention hot lines — and likely has led to increased suicide rates.

    • Greece broadly on track with budget cuts

      The European Union’s executive says Greece is “broadly on track” with budget cuts and economic reforms linked to euro110 billion ($138 billion) in bailout loans from EU nations and the International Monetary Fund.

    • The More CEOs Make, The Worse They Treat Workers, Says A New Study

      In the study’s white paper, “When Executives Rake in Millions: Meanness in Organizations,” professors from Harvard, Rice and the University of Utah argue that rising income inequality between executives and ordinary workers results in “power asymmetries in the workplace such that top executives come to view lower level workers as dispensable objects not worthy of human dignity.”

    • Banks Redefine Jobs of ‘Prop’ Traders

      Some Wall Street firms aren’t waiting until the Volcker rule kicks in to shake up the trading desks that wager the banks’ own money.

    • Goldman Sachs had disappointed strategic investors

      Goldman Sachs reported an increase in the number of signs of slowing U.S. economic growth and China. Specialists Goldman Sachs warned of worsening situation in the U.S. housing market. Regarding China, the experts reported that the intensity of the recovery of the Chinese economy is now the most important factor to which regulators should pay special attention.

    • Goldman Sachs Just Became A Seller Of European Diapers

      Apparently there’s massive growth ahead for nappies, but we’re not sure if Goldman’s Ontex will target young children or European debt traders.

    • TPG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) set to buy Candover’s Ontex NV

      TPG Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s (GS) private equity business are close to buying Ontex NV, Europe’s biggest private-label nappy manufacturer, for more than EUR1.2 billion. The deal to purchase Ontex from Candover nearly collapsed when Goldman Sach’s original equity partner pulled out, but the late addition of TPG has kept the deal alive, and the belief is the deal could be completed as soon as this week.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Search Engines Should Become Government Spies, Says EU Parliament
    • Q+A-Without search service, what would Google do in China?

      Google Inc (GOOG.O), which runs the world’s largest search engine, is in a pickle as it could lose its licence to operate a China-based search page, while trying to hold onto its anti-censorship stance.

      In a bid to appease Beijing and keep its China license, Google said this week it will stop automatically redirecting China users to its uncensored Hong Kong site.

    • Is Gillard wavering on Aussie ‘filter’ plan?

      Australians may not be censored online after all.

      Under new leadership, the Oz government’s commitment to instituting what’s euphemistically called a net ‘filter’ is starting to look a little shaky.

      Mandatory ISP filtering legislation will be “out by November”, Aarnet has the scheme’s frontman, Stephen Conroy, stating. And “Sooner rather than later.”

    • Ed Miliband: Labour overstepped the mark on civil liberties

      Labour overstepped the mark on civil liberty issues, leadership candidate Ed Miliband has admitted.

      The shadow energy and climate change secretary made the comment in an interview with Liberal Conspiracy in which he came close to endorsing gay marriage and branded himself a feminst.

    • Bradley Manning, American Patriot

      Army Specialist Bradley Manning, the intelligence analyst who leaked the “Collateral Murder” video of US pilots shooting down Iraqi civilians (including two Reuters photographers) in cold blood, is finally being charged. For revealing to the American people the truth about what’s going on in Iraq, Manning faces horrendous legal consequences – nearly sixty years in prison if convicted on all counts. One of the charges, incredibly, is espionage. He was a “spy,” according to the US government – for letting Americans in on the “secret” that we are committing war crimes in Iraq, and around the world.

  • Copyrights

    • 3 Million European Orphan Works and Counting!

      The major digital issue, with the still to be resolved Google Book Settlement, is Orphan Works. These are works that are still in copyright but where the rights owner can’t be traced, or fully determined and many believe is a goldmine of works that can’t be legally digitised today. Different countries have different rules over length of copyright and the criteria under which they get impacted. Some claim the number of titles impacted is relatively small and that there is little value in them, other would suggest the opposite. Now a review involving responses from 22 cultural institutions and published by the European Commission claims, that not only books are affected but that there is a significant high percentage of orphan works among photographs and audiovisual collections and the numbers are high.

    • UK Hairdresser Fined For Playing Music Even Though He Tried To Be Legal

      We’ve pointed out many times just how ridiculously complex various licensing collection agencies are in the music space, especially when multiple collection societies cover the same music. The whole system seems designed to make it nearly impossible for anyone to actually play music legally. Take, for example, this situation in the UK, pointed out by reader mike allen, involving a hairdresser who had paid for a license from PRS For Music just to be allowed to turn on a radio in his shop… only to discover that he failed to pay the other UK collection society, PPL (home of the infamous CEO who insists that “for free” is a bogus concept). So even though this guy thought he was legit, he still ended up with a fine for £1,569.

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk 29 September 2009 – Virtualbox (2009)

Quick Mention: More Microsoft Layoffs

Posted in Microsoft at 10:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Deck opens

Summary: Another round of Microsoft layoffs is reported

Headsup for a coming set of posts: Microsoft pruning more jobs

We covered this in many recent posts, just ahead of this official announcement. Expect detailed coverage in the coming days. Microsoft’s staff is collapsing.

OpenSUSE 11.3 LXDE Rename/Rebranding Would Help

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, SLES/SLED at 9:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Why OpenSUSE-derived distributions can avoid the Microsoft/Novell patent liabilities, probably by avoiding the SUSE/OpenSUSE trademark

OpenSUSE LXDE (variant of Ballnux) is not a normal Novell project, but it uses Novell trademarks. LXDE is a relatively new project. “It is maintained by an international community of developers,” according to the OpenSUSE Wiki. OpenSUSE LXDE is built on OpenSUSE, but might as well rename itself and distance itself from Novell. Microsoft’s deal with Novell forbids use of OpenSUSE to make money; basically, Microsoft and Novell agreed that OpenSUSE users will be “safe” as long as they are just so-called 'hobbyists'.

A few weeks ago we saw that OpenSUSE sought more independence from Novell, which is up for sale. Generally speaking, OpenSUSE would be better off forked and made independent from the whole patent deal [1, 2].

Pascal is a prominent community (non-employee) member of Novell’s OpenSUSE and here is what he wrote some days ago:

Our good friend and contributor Lee “oldcpu” Matheson did a nice screencast of the very lightweight LXDE desktop on openSUSE 11.3 RC1.

Here is the video in question:

The branding in this distribution is still property of Novell. If they change it, then people will no longer associate this unofficial distribution with Microsoft. Let Novell take care of OpenSUSE, which technically is not so bad. From a new (p)review of the coming release:

Overall, openSUSE 11.3 does a decent job and packs the usual extras you would expect from a project that feeds into a commercial, enterprise Linux distro like SLED.

Well, but it comes with obligations to Microsoft and it therefore has limitations inherited from Novell. Why not rebrand derivatives/flavours/forks of OpenSUSE? That might actually overcome the contract Microsoft signed with Novell — a contract that specifically mentions OpenSUSE, a property of Novell.

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts