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07.10.10

IRC Proceedings: July 10th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

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Keeping the Software Patents Monster Caged in Japan and in the United States

Posted in America, Asia, GNU/Linux, Law, Patents, TomTom at 6:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WWI propaganda poster (US version)
DESTROY THIS MAD BRUTE – Enlist U.S. Army” is the caption of this World War I propaganda poster for enlistment in the US Army. A dribbling, mustachioed ape wielding a club bearing the German word “kultur” and wearing a pickelhaube helmet with the word “militarism” is walking onto the shore of America while holding a half-naked woman in his grasp (possibly meant to depict Liberty). This is a US version of an earlier British poster with the same image. Dated ca 1917. [source: Wikipedia]

Summary: Why software patents should be confined geographically, as Microsoft mostly manages to extort Linux distributors in few places that acknowledge patents (monopolies) on algorithms

LWN, one of the best Linux sites out there, says that In Re Bilski means “business [method patents] as usual” (that’s the headline).

“Business method patents nearly bite the dust,” says SCOTUS Blog in the headline. In summary:

Reflecting on Justice Stevens’ lost majority opinion in Bilski

Brad Feld, a critic of this system [1, 2] with a long series of rants about software patents, previously wrote about “Why Bilski Really Means That Software Companies should leave the US” (snippets in Digital Majority).

The problem is made greater when countries other than the United States become equally hostile towards software developers and more friendly towards their lawyers.

According to this patents blog, there are changes in Germany that almost overlap horrible news about the Siemens case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and even Microsoft’s FAT patent (upheld in Germany).

The German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) has recently made clear that every court has to take into account preceding decisions of the European Patent Office (EPO) and of courts of other contracting states to the European Patent Convention (EPC) if these decisions essentially concern the same questions. Although there is no principle of precedence in Germany – neither in respect of German nor of foreign decisions –, the recent ruling of the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof, 15 April 2010, Xa ZB 10/09 – “Walzenformgebungsmaschine”) requires more than just regarding other decisions with favour. Every court has the obligation to deal with the arguments brought forward in other – German, EPO or foreign – decisions.

Two years ago it was a Symbian-related case that seemingly brought software patents into Europe via the UK. Earlier this year Germany’s legal system was named as a similar type of culprit and it’s important to watch and report these precedences. According to this report, DENSO, which is based in Japan (where software patents are legal), has just signed a patent deal with Microsoft. Linux is not mentioned at all, except by The Register which brings TomTom‘s case into it (gymnastics in logic?):

Microsoft scored yet another patent licensing deal yesterday, this time with automotive tech firm DENSO Corp.

[...]

Famously, Microsoft’s original court allegations over the three file management patents involved TomTom’s use of the Linux kernel, and according to Redmond at the time the settlement provided TomTom with coverage under those three patents in a way that was compliant with TomTom’s obligations under the General Public License Version 2 (GPLv2).

Many people must have noticed by now that Microsoft is capable of signing Linux-hostile software patent deals in the few places other than the United States (where Xandros, Linspire, and Novell are/were based) that acknowledge software patents. Examples include Fuji Xerox, Turbolinux, Kyocera Mita, and I-O Data (based in Japan too). It is therefore important to ensure that software patents never reach Europe, not in any formal sense anyway.

Korean giants like Samsung and LG have sold out to Microsoft as well (software patents are arguably valid over there). These two companies pay Microsoft for Linux on any items they sell, so it’s not clear why some Linux proponents are jubilant:

LG, Samsung big on Android

[...]

And now most other mobile phone makers, and those readying to ship tablet PCs, are embracing Android. Among them are LG and Samsung both of which are on the brink of releasing Android-based devices.

Microsoft makes money from those. It is better to buy an Android handset from Motorola, for example.

Eye on Security: Uphill Battle for Microsoft

Posted in Boycott Novell, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 5:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mount Everest

Summary: Security news that applies only to Microsoft products

Microsoft investigating new Windows flaw

Microsoft said on Tuesday that it is looking into reports of a new Windows flaw that could compromise the security of machines running older versions of the operating system.

McAfee provides anti-virus to secure USB devices

INSECURITY SOFTWARE VENDOR McAfee has announced that its anti-virus software will be used on most USB devices thanks to partner programmes with the major orignal equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Microsoft patches Freetard-by-design bug

Windows Trojan Kills Antivirus

Researchers at Websense have uncovered a new Trojan that poses as a Windows Input Method Editor, or IME, and infects a system.

IME is a Windows component that allows users to input characters or symbols on their keyboard from other alphabets.

Failure isn’t an option, it’s integrated into the new Hotmail

If you are like me and use POP3 to get your email in your own client, congratulations, Microsoft has officially broke your secure login options.

So now I guess that in addition to sending all the emails from my bank and Amazon and other perfectly legitimate sites to the Junk folder while hosing down my inbox with obvious Nigerian scams, I can’t use TLS/SSL/STARTLS to log in either. I now have to send my password as plain text over a non-encrypted connection. I wonder if the NSA or the Russian KGB/FSB helped them engineer Hotmail like they lent a hand with Windows 7…

Disgruntled security researchers take aim at Microsoft

The Microsoft-Spurned Researcher Collective welcomes other researchers to join, though Microsoft employees are not welcome: it notes that it has a “vetting process” to weed them out.

Links 10/7/2010: OpenFeint Comes to Linux; Standard Business Reporting

Posted in News Roundup at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Desktop “Partner” of the Year

      Apparently, if you consider only that other OS you can make a proposal look good. Against MacOS and GNU/Linux the costs are staggering. TDSB has 60K PCs and 256 support people, 240 machines per support person. RedHat and others can set up systems where one support person can deal with thousands of machines. Could it be that the IT people did not believe CMS’ advice and lay themselves off upon migrating to Vista? Chuckle… The truth is only M$ and its partners benefit when a school board migrates to a product from M$. On top of that students are harmed by the exposure, instilling dependency on that other OS.

    • Relationship Stress Test…Here Honey, Try This…

      We use Linux.

      Now, Diane is well aware of the problems that Windows Users face. She’s been one of them for as long as she’s been using a computer but once she sat in proximity to a Linux computer and someone who knew how to use it, that all changed.

      Diane is retired from the Airline Industry. She spent years in the Accounting and Purchasing Divisions of several airlines and companies so she’s no stranger to spreadsheets and databases. In the last part of her career she also used many on line applications to do her work.

  • Server

    • Linux Servers: A Real Data Center Choice

      Linux provides the basis for much virtualization technology — Xen, VMware, KVM and OpenVZ, for example. Cloud vendors that use Linux exclusively, such as Amazon.com, attest to the fact that Linux provides the perfect virtualization backdrop for their services.

      [...]

      Linux is no longer viewed as just an anomaly among “real” data center OSes. Its developers and converts have made it a respectable and competitive choice for businesses that seek to lower their IT overhead and regain some profit. Converting to Linux isn’t difficult, even for those who find themselves drowning in a sea of proprietary software and hardware. It’s a real choice for developers, cloud vendors, database vendors, virtualization companies, hosting companies and you, the business owner. Linux is here to stay. Linux is a real commercial offering. Linux has proven itself as a real data center OS. And, the developers keep it real for everyone.

  • Google

    • The Chrome OS Spin Doctors Are Revving Their Engines

      In a matter of weeks, Google’s very first operating system aimed squarely at computers will be upon us: Chrome OS. As Dana Blankenhorn notes, Google has a FUD engine going surrounding the operating system that rivals the very best FUD campaigns from Microsoft’s past. Google is spoon feeding us 100 Chrome experiments, and appears to be wooing powerful hardware makers such as Dell. Like the iPad, the pent-up love for all things Google will probably make Chrome OS a short-term success, but where does it really fit in?

  • Applications

  • Xfce

    • Orage: Xfce calendar application

      As we continue on with our travels down the Xfce path, I thought it would be smart to highlight the Xfce calendaring application Orage. This tool is not an “all in one” tool like Evolution, nor does it have all of the bells and whistles of the Mozilla Sunbird calendar. But what it does, it does well and does so without taking up tons of your resources or your desktop real estate.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • And they call it Puppy Love…

        Puppy will run upon pretty much anything out there.

        It gives you a blisteringly fast machine with a sensible selection of pre-installed applications.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • KVM Adoption Isn’t All About Commercial Support

        The open source KVM virtualization technology is being promoted by many different vendors, often as a mechanism to help enable cloud deployments. Among the biggest backers of KVM are Linux vendors Red Hat and Ubuntu, though in at least one use case the solutions they’re marketing aren’t necessarily the solutions that cloud deployments are using.

        Hosting provider The Planet recently launched a new cloud service offering built on KVM technology without the benefit of the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) or Red Hat’s Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV). Instead The Planet has chosen to take its own path, leveraging the freely available Ubuntu Lucid LTS release and without engaging in a commercial contract with Canonical, the lead commercial sponsor behind Ubuntu.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Time to consider Ubuntu for your cloud needs?

        Stemming from Canonical’s relatively modest customer base, especially outside of cloud deployments, the vendor behind Ubuntu doesn’t have to worry about existing customers doing a similar price comparison between the pay-per-usage cloud approach and traditional support subscriptions. This is definitely an advantage for Canonical over Red Hat.

      • Oh where oh where could our CDs be

        Lucid, 10.04, was released nearly 3 months ago and still to this date the Ubuntu Chicago LoCo Team has not received our shipment. Not only has our shipment not been received but nobody seems to be answering my emails. Getting a bit tired of telling everyone, nope you can’t have any CDs because I don’t have any CDs, and not being able to have a decent gathering to promote Ubuntu because we have zero materials. Maybe this blog post will make its way to someone’s desk that can help or who possibly cares.

      • Freezing Maverick – behind the scenes on Ubuntu 10.10

        Ubuntu 10.10 (codename Maverick Meerkat) is well into the development cycle, with the planned celebrity release date of 10 October 2010 (10/10/10). The development time frame of Ubuntu is quite condensed, and this is managed with a number of stages. These stages tend to symbolise milestones of the schedule, and usually refer to a restriction on what activity can happen during this time.

        We have long passed the Alpha 1 CD image stage and I anticipate the release of Alpha 2 by the time you read this. You will no doubt be eager to test Alpha 3, which is currently scheduled for 5 August. Alpha 3 will be the last CD image created before the development of Maverick starts entering the second half of the ‘freeze’ stages.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The Fragmentation of Linux: Two Points of View

      The fragmentation of Linux has become a hot topic in recent weeks as industry leaders debate how the community can collaborate to compete against single, vertical operating systems without creating an ecosystem that pulls the community in too many directions at once to be truly effective. As FOSS developers work at a fever pitch to create Linux-based OSes, handheld devices, enterprise-level servers, and mobile phones, the point at which they join forces can make the difference between getting a leg up on other operating systems and lagging behind.

    • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Meego flies in benchmark test

        Tests run by independent benching site Carrypad confirmed that Google’s open source OS took a licking. The benchmark was the Sunspider Javascript test. This is a processer intensive test that measures how quickly applications get displayed in a web browser.

      • MeeGo Demolishes Android 2.2 in Javascript Test

        As I begin a series of tests on the Aava prototype phone today, the first thing I wanted to get out of the way was a Sunspider javascript test. It’s CPU-intensive and forms an important part of the chain of events that take place to get a web application displayed on your browser. Yes, it’s one of many variables but it’s a good indicator of CPU performance.

    • Android

      • OpenFeint Gaming Comes To Andoid

        iOS game developer OpenFeint has announced that the company will be bringing its open-source gaming platform to Google’s Android OS.

      • Android Grows at a Blistering Pace

        Apple ranked number two with 24.4 percent share and Microsoft third with 13.2 percent, while Palm rounded out the top five with 4.8 percent.

        Android’s growth should come as no surprise to mobile enthusiasts. More than 20 Android phones are available in the U.S. currently. Handset makers such as LG and Samsung that have been slower than rivals Motorola and HTC in adopting Android are now planning to launch new Android devices.

        Earlier this week, LG said it will have two Android smartphones and an Android-based tablet available by the end of the year. Samsung has already announced that its first 4G Android phone on Sprint will be available this summer.

      • Google updates its Android development kit

        OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE HOUSE Google has updated its Android software development kit (SDK) to match the latest version of Android 2.2.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source chosen for first major contract for Indian ID cards project

    MindTree is using open source software to build the applications. This was the choice of the authorities in charge of the project. But Lahiri says open source such as Linux is scalable and mature enough for a project like this. Mindshare will use some vendor applications.

  • University Challenge & the open source debating society

    One of the better blogs you might like to read up on in follow up to this event comes from Scott Wilson who talked about open innovation, development and collaboration. Wilson said that his focus was on barriers to community as he discussed areas such as, “Governance, diversity and personal barriers to engaging in an Open Source development community and how as a member of such a community you can make a contribution.”

  • The state of the open source nation

    Five years on, Simon Brock catches up with those original open source projects he covered in this very column

    It’s now five years since this column changed its title to Open Source, before which it had been restricted to Unix server software. We changed it because so much of the open-source Unix software we covered was also available for Windows and the Mac, and a broader remit seemed more sensible.

  • Newspaper chain Journal Register Company announces move to open source

    “Does this mean that [moving forward] all newsrooms will publish using Scribus or will tone all photos using Gimp? No, but if an operation — part Journal Register or an outside company — wanted to, they could,” the press release read. “The tools we discovered, trained on and used as part of the Ben Franklin Project could allow a news organization to throw away their old methods and start anew.”

  • A Topic for Discussion – Open Source Feature-Richness?

    The person making these comments is a professional writer who I follow, with several books published. So the opinion about the software not being feature rich is a valid issue and being too complicated is something that I too find with writing software in general. But that the author feels it is less feature rich because it is Open Source, or more correctly, because it is free is something that bothers me.

  • Symbian

  • Web Browsers

    • Browser Speed Test – Opera’s Claim Put To The Test

      Both Opera and Google are obsessed with the speed of their browser. With each release, each claim to be the fastest browser. Google has even gone on to make a game to demonstrate the speed of its browser Chrome. With today’s release of Opera 10.60, Opera is now claiming that it is the fastest browser on earth. So, we decided to see if it is indeed the fastest browser or if it is Google Chrome. We also decided to throw in the latest dev build of Chromium and Firefox 4.0 beta to the test.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Public License rewrite deletes Netscape

        Mozilla is perhaps best known today for its Firefox web browser. Underlying that browser however is the open source license that enables its development community to thrive. The Mozilla Public License (MPL) has remained nearly untouched since 1999 and now at long last is undergoing a process of evolution.

  • SaaS

    • Enterprise-Grade Hadoop for Petabyte Analytics

      If you’re slightly bewildered by all the buzz over this new technology with the funny-sounding moniker, you’re not alone. The official story is that Hadoop was the name of the inventor’s kid’s stuffed elephant. However, for most IT professionals, it could easily be an acronym for “Heck, Another Darn Obscure Open-source Project.” The fact that Hadoop, managed by Apache, includes subprojects with similarly opaque names–such as Pig, Hive, Chukwa, and ZooKeeper—contributes to the queasy feeling that this is an untamed menagerie of squealing beasties.

    • Five open source tools for building and managing clouds

      Open source technology is going to seriously impact the cloud computing world, and there are two main reasons why: Open source software is essentially free, and it is not generally encumbered by the software license models of proprietary software. Many proprietary software vendors, such as Microsoft and Oracle, are trying to maintain old and expensive license models, even though they impede the flexibility gained by virtualization and cloud computing.

  • Databases

  • CMS

  • Business

    • Why the Technology Matters – An Analysis of Consona’s Acquisition of Compiere

      While Consona has aquired a number of software companies based on this model, that doesn’t seem to be the strategy behind the Compiere deal. Compiere brings only 130 customers to Consona and I doubt Compiere’s open-source business model was generating big profits. Instead of buying customers and profits, Consona seems to be thinking ahead about how they can lead the market in the next generation of technology. The acquisition is more about growing organically – selling more Compiere systems – than it is about harvesting customer support contracts.

  • BSD

    • Taking a peek at GhostBSD 1.0

      The PC-BSD project brings a user-friendly pre-configured KDE desktop to the FreeBSD community. Which is all well and good, but what if you’re more of a GNOME person? Well, it turns out there is a project in the works for you too. The GhostBSD project is in its early stages, but it’s paving the way for users who enjoy running GNOME on a FreeBSD base without any configuring or installing extra software. I had a chance to exchange emails with Eric Turgeon, the project’s founder and lead developer.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GOLEMs are better than “Intellectual Property” – Passing criticism on “IP”

      Have you ever heard someone saying “Intellectual Property is a dumb term, please do not use it” in the parliament? Well it happened in the German Bundestag: Prof. Dr. Thomas Hoeren said it during the internet enquote this week. Afterwards one of the other experts, Prof. Rainer Kuhlen supported him and added that collecting societies abuse this term “so they can get goods with licensing agreements and circumvent copyright law”. (I already wrote about that in German blog entry.)

      [...]

      A bit later in 2004, Richard Stallman also wrote about that topic, in his article “Did You Say ‘Intellectual Property’? It’s a Seductive Mirage”:

      It has become fashionable to toss copyright, patents, and trademarks—three separate and different entities involving three separate and different sets of laws—plus a dozen other laws into one pot and call it “intellectual property”. The distorting and confusing term did not become common by accident. Companies that gain from the confusion promoted it. The clearest way out of the confusion is to reject the term entirely.

  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • ‘Open source’ software for the stage

      Sara Coffin likes to think of Schreibstuck as the dance equivalent of open-source software that allows members of the public to modify and redistribute the original code to suit their own needs.

    • Open Data

      • MapQuest Launches Open-Source Version Based on OpenStreetMap

        AOL’s MapQuest has announced an interesting partnership open-source online mapping outfit OpenStreetMap. Through the partnership, MapQuest will begin using data provided by OpenStreetMap to power a version of its product. This new product, available for now in the UK at open.mapquest.co.uk, will reside separately from the main site and will not use any commercial mapping data.

      • MapQuest Going Open Source
    • Open Hardware

      • Hardware hacking heaven

        OSCON this year will be a delight for anybody interested in working with hardware. A full open source hardware track offers a range of talks to get you started with hardware hacking, and gives a great insight into the current options for prototyping.

  • Programming

    • Does Python 2.7′s Release Mean the End of the Line for Python 2.x?

      The open source Python language is at a crossroads with two major versions available to developers. The end of the road for the Python 2.x branch is now a little closer, with the release of Python 2.7 this week.

      Python 2.7 is intended to be the last major Python 2.x release as the open source project aims to help developers migrate to the newer Python 3.x release codebase. Python 3.x first hit general availability in December of 2008. Though the Python 2.x branch is now at the end of the line in terms of new releases, Python 2.x still has a lot of life left in it.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Smokescreen alternative to Flash

      There are already a number of Flash alternatives available to users, including the promising open source Lightspark and Gnash players.

      The most interesting alternative, however, is not a replacement Flash player but a separate technology that converts existing Flash content into HTML5 and Javascript, on the fly.

Leftovers

  • Financial Columnist Lectures Little Kids Who Want To Give Away Lemonade That They’re Destroying America

    Stuart sends over a column from a Chicago Sun-Times columnist, Terry Savage, that I could have sworn was satire until someone convinced me that it’s not. Savage is apparently a “financial” columnist, who apparently is a bit confused about her basic economics. Over the long weekend, she decided to celebrate the American way by berating and lecturing some children who set up a lemonade stand because they wanted to give away the lemonade for free. According to Savage, these kids represent all that is wrong with America. I’m not joking.

    [...]

    Wait, what? You know what the Declaration of Independence also didn’t include? Anything about how much “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” costs. You know why? Because it has nothing to do with whether or not something costs money or is free. So that’s not “something to think about” because it makes no sense.

  • Best Buy Says Creator Of iPhone/Evo Video Can Keep His Job; Guy Says He’d Rather Not

    Given the massive backlash against Best Buy for this move, it appears the company is backtracking quickly. Best Buy’s CEO did a blog post saying the company had “completed its investigation” and Brian was being offered his job back. The CEO also points out — as people did in the comments, that some of the original concern wasn’t so much about the famed iPhone/Evo video (which doesn’t mention Best Buy), but other videos he had done that had mentioned the company (which have since been taken down).

  • Security/Aggression

    • Facebook security flaw remotely controls accounts

      Roger Thompson chief research officer at AVG revealed a Javascript injection attack that lures users by providing a link to a video, which it claims “99% of people can’t watch”. The link forwards users to another page that asks them to paste Javascript code into their browser’s address bar.

    • NSA setting up secret ‘Perfect Citizen’ spy system

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) is embarking on a secret domestic surveillance project dubbed “Perfect Citizen”, intended to monitor and protect important national infrastructure such as power grids and transport systems.

    • Threat of ‘cyberwar’ has been hugely hyped
    • NSA Launches Infrastructure Cybersecurity Program

      The National Security Agency plans to launch a program aimed at assessing vulnerabilities and developing capabilities to help secure critical infrastructure like power plants, air traffic control systems and the electrical grid.

    • 41% of IT pros admit to snooping on confidential information

      The results of a Cyber-Ark global survey show that 35 percent of respondents believe their company’s highly-sensitive information has been handed over to competitors. Thirty-seven percent of the IT professionals surveyed cited ex-employees as the most likely source of this abuse of trust.

  • Finance

    • Wall Street Reform Bill Yields Big Win for Little Countries

      At a minimum, once U.S. firms will be required to detail their payments to foreign governments, the citizens of these countries will know how much their governments are receiving and from whom, giving them a fighting chance to hold their government accountable for investing those funds in critical needs such as food, health and education.

    • Senate Bank Reform Bill One Vote Short

      The fate of the Wall Street reform bill is up in the air after the death of Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. The bill is a single confirmed vote short of the 60 votes needed to get past a threatened filibuster by Senate Republicans. From day one, the Bankster team has supported the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and that is still one of the strongest pieces of the bill. It is a great time to send off the last emails to Senators telling them to put a new cop on the block in the form of a CFPB.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Switch the Subject

      In addition to recommending a professional PR campaign to try and coax tourists back to Arizona in the wake of the state’s tough new immigration law, the task force appointed by Governor Jan Brewer suggested that Arizona try to “change the tone of the dialogue” by talking about the effects that tourism boycotts have on vulnerable employees within the state.

    • Coast Guard bans reporters from oil cleanup sites

      It’s a move that outraged observers have decried as an attack on First Amendment rights. And CNN’s Anderson Cooper describes the new rules as making it “very easy to hide incompetence or failure.”

    • Chez Sludge: How the Sewage Sludge Industry Bedded Alice Waters

      For the first time, thanks to an ongoing “open records” investigation by the Food Rights Network, the public and the press have easy online access to dozens of internal SFPUC files, documenting the strange tale of Chez Sludge, or how the sewage industry bedded Alice Waters.

      [...]

      San Francisco’s SFPUC is in the forefront of the latest maneuver in this toxic scam, “composting” its toxic sludge and marketing it as “organic Biosolids compost,” thus co-opting a venerable terms used in Organic agriculture. This greenwashing scam slipped rather unnoticed by the public from 2007 until the fall of 2009. That is when the San Francisco Chronicle reported on an effort by two public interest groups who petitioned the [SFPUC to halt the program. In December 2009, the The Atlantic reported that the city had rejected the petition and that the SFPUC was preparing to increase its toxic sludge to gardens giveaway ten-fold in 2010.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Wireless industry says ‘bill shock’ rules are unnecessary

      The wireless industry urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to mandate that cell phone companies make their billing practices clearer, a possibility the agency is considering in its effort to mitigate “bill shock.”

      The commission started a proceeding in May seeking comment on whether it should make regulations to prevent consumers from receiving higher-than-expected cell phone bills.

      [...]

      An FCC survey released in May picked up national attention for reporting that nearly one in five American consumers have been subject to sudden and unexpected rises in their monthly cellular phone bills.

  • Copyrights

    • Copyright abuse in Nevada politics

      This interesting abuse or misuse of copyright law again shows an old fox obeying the law but getting what he wanted, including great publicity in a campaign where it is not all that easy to get news coverage.

    • Angle Sends Cease-And-Desist To Reid — For Reposting Her Own Website

      Sharron Angle has resorted to an unusual maneuver to counter Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s attacks on her past quotes and positions, the Reid campaign has announced: A cease-and-desist letter, demanding that Reid no longer republish Angle’s previous campaign website.

    • Sharron Angle: We’re going to “pursue” Harry Reid for reposting my Web site — possibly in court
    • More bad news on pharma R&D productivity

      CMR International, a firm that tracks that performance of the pharmaceuticals sector, released a rather depressing report on research and development productivity last week. The report will set you back $10,000, but highlights have been made public:

      [...]

      - Pharma is having a tough time selling its new drugs: New drugs launched within the last five years accounted for less than 7 percent of industry sales in 2009, down from 8 percent in 2008, highlighting the big problems that companies are having in trying to reinvigorate their portfolios.

    • Woot Asks AP To Pay Up For Quoting Woot Blog Post Without Paying [Updated]

      There are so many reasons to love Woot, including their recent awesome letter and video about their acquisition. But, even better may be that in today’s Woot offering, they mock the Associated Press for its coverage of the Woot acquisition, because the AP just happens to have also copied text from the awesome Woot letter. Now, that’s all well and good for most publications, but this is the AP that we’re talking about. The same AP that threatens bloggers for copying headlines and snippets. The same AP that insists it needs “hot news” to protect others from “free riding” on its work. And, most importantly, the same AP that has a famously ridiculous pricelist for quoting five words or more from an AP article.

    • AP, MediaNews Boss Sends Legal Threat To Blog For Quoting Colorado Newspapers

      It’s no secret that the Associated Press is hot for the “hot news” doctrine (even as they seem blind to how it will come back to bite them). However, most of the lawsuits involving “hot news” to date have strayed away from really testing the legal limits of, say, blogs writing about newspaper stories and quoting parts of the story in the process. That may be changing. Dean Singleton is the chair of the Associated Press, as well as the CEO of MediaNews, one of the big newspaper chains out there. Apparently he’s decided to test the waters on threatening bloggers over “hot news.”

    • Men At Work to pay five per cent of earnings over Down Under breach

      THE composers of the legendary 1980s international pop smash hit Down Under have been ordered to pay five per cent of earnings from the song after it was found to have breached copyright law.

    • Ticketmaster’s Terms of Service Cannot Make You a Criminal

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and a coalition of academics and public policy groups are urging a federal judge to dismiss a criminal indictment that could give websites extraordinary power to dictate what behavior becomes a computer crime.

    • Hairdresser hit with £1,500 bill

      Neil Hull had bought a Performing Rights Society (PRS) licence… however, the relatively unknown Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL) took him to court because, unbeknown to Neil, he needed a licence from IT, too

    • The Twilight copyright saga: Forbidden love and forbidden T-shirts

      Late last year, Summit sued to shut down an unofficial Twilight fan magazine, in part for using stock publicity photos that Summit had distributed to the news media. The production company had licensed the use of the photos for “journalistic purposes,” and it argued that Beckett Media, the magazine’s publisher, violated the license because its use of the pictures wasn’t journalistic enough.

    • MPAA starts new crackdown on movie piracy, takes down 9 sites

      The MPAA is at it again, going after movie pirates. This time, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is helping out the movie industry, and they’ve seized nine different domains: Movies-links.TV, nowmovies.com, thepiratecity.org, filespump.com, planetmoviez.com, zml.org, tvshack.net, ninjavideo.net and thisninja.net. These were mostly ad-supported movie streaming sites that showed pirated versions of current theatrical releases.

    • Feds Seize 9 Domains For Copyright Infringement, But Based On What Law?

      According to the Wall Street Journal, federal authorities seized 9 domain names of sites that were offering pirated movies.

      The nine domain names were registered using U.S.-based registrars, allowing authorities to take control of their site addresses.

    • Federal Court of Appeal Rules ISPs Not Broadcasters: May Be End of ISP Levy Proposal

      The Federal Court of Appeal issued is decision today [not online yet] on whether Internet providers can be considered broadcasters within the context of the Broadcasting Act. The case is the result of last year’s CRTC New Media decision in which many cultural groups called on the Commission to establish an ISP levy to fund Canadian content. The ISPs argued that such a levy was illegal since they fell under the Telecommunications Act, not the Broadcasting Act. The cultural groups argued that ISPs should be considered broadcasters in the case of the transmission of video programs. The CRTC punted the issue to the Federal Court of Appeal.

    • Digital Economy

      • Challenge to Digital Economy Act

        News that TalkTalk and BT are challenging the Digital Economy Act in court is extremely welcome. It is a vindication of our view that the legislation should not have been rammed through parliament in the dying days of the last government.

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk – 09 Oct 2007 – Gentoo Portage (2007)


Patents Roundup: FFII Founder on IBM, Shazam Has No Case, Microsoft Wants to ‘Own’ Page-flipping, and Software Freedom is Hurt

Posted in America, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flipping pages

Summary: Founder of FFII says Florian Müller’s IBM-bashing currently does not have a basis in any existing movement; other new examples of patent news

TODAY we would like to deal with some bits of news about software patents. Much of this was covered before but with different sources at hand.

Hartmut Pilch, the FFII’s founder, has commented on Florian Müller's IBM phobia in the comments section of this post we mentioned a few days ago. He wrote:

I wouldn’t exclude the possibility that Florian M. could once more gain some following, even though some parts of his agenda, such as IBM-bashing, currently do not have a basis in any existing movement.

This is not entirely true because while the FFII remains critical of some aspects of OIN, it is not alone either. Criticism of IBM does have its place, but Müller goes too far and “FOSS” is not a priority of his, based on what he writes at least.

“One software patents story which makes a lot of people angry is Shazam’s action, which is carried out through a litigious proxy.”The patent troll called NTP was mentioned here yesterday and its lawsuit against almost everyone has generated hundreds of English headlines, including this report from AP (there is a load of other coverage [1, 2], which makes it easier for historians to find and there is therefore no need for lists of pointers). NTP has been doing this for years (targeting fewer companies) and this case will help define people’s perception of software patents. In this case, wireless E-mail is the claimed infringement. It’s rather outlandish.

One software patents story which makes a lot of people angry is Shazam’s action [1, 2], which is carried out through a litigious proxy. The story of the victimised Dutch developer has received some wider exposure [1, 2] and as TechDirt puts it, Landmark Digital is a “BMI subsidiary which owns the patents on Shazam’s music recognition technology” (i.e. it’s another front like the RIAA). Michael says:

The story is a perfect example of the ridiculous situation with patents today. Basically, the guy noted that what Shazam does in recognizing music is really not that complicated, and explained how to create something similar yourself, which he did himself in a weekend. He had not released the code, but was planning to do so when the legal threats came in. The guy wondered what patents they were talking about specifically, especially considering that in Europe, the standards to patent software are much higher. In response, he was only told about two US patents (6,990,453 and 7,627,477 — oddly, on that last one, Google still shows it as being patent pending, even though the patent was granted last year).

According to this news report, Roy van Rijn is doing something legal as long as he is in Holland. People should help van Rijn spread his code samples so that Landmark Digital/BMI/Shazam give up their patent bullying. They can fight one person more easily than they can find a whole crowd from all around the world (where their software patents are not even applicable).

Roy van Rijn, a developer based in the Netherlands, last month posted about his plans to release open-source Java code to implement a music matching algorithm similar to that used in Shazam, which lets users identify songs from brief audio samples.

His blog post describes how he implemented song matching in Java, with snippets of code. He said that while the code is not in a releasable state, he might clean it up and release it if there’s enough interest.

[...]

EFF Fellow and patent attorney Michael Barclay agreed that posting code covered by a patent could put van Rijn at risk of a lawsuit, but noted that some critical details need to be determined.

“Merely posting the code on a Netherlands Web site would not infringe any US Patents,” he said.

Landmark’s claim, he said, appears to be overreaching unless the company has patents in the Netherlands. “If there are no issued Netherlands patents, he’s free to ship and deploy all he wants in the Netherlands,” he said. “The really sketchy part, and I don’t know that this has ever been litigated, is he says don’t post the code.”

Some legal experts have gone on the record saying that software developers should consider leaving the United States because it’s too risky to develop there. That’s how Richard Stallman justified rejecting software patents in Europe; it puts Europe in a position of tremendous advantage. Brad Feld, an American VC who is strongly against software patents [1, 2], mentioned the story of van Rijn in a new post of his:

In case you need more evidence around the stupidity of the whole situation, take a look at the crap van Rijn is going through. Or maybe this patent from Microsoft on “how to turn a page in an electronic book.”

Here is an article about this Microsoft patent:

As if to dispell all doubt that innovation is alive and well in Redmond, Microsoft has filed a patent application for – wait for it – the “Virtual Page Turn”.

Yes, with filing number 20100175018 at the US Patent and Trademark Office, Microsoft is seeking to patent the animation of a page-flip when a user makes the appropriate gesture on an ebook’s touchscreen. As the filing reads:

A page-turning gesture directed to a displayed page is recognized. Responsive to such recognition, a virtual page turn is displayed on the touch display… The virtual page turn curls a lifted portion of the page to progressively reveal a back side of the page while progressively revealing a front side of a subsequent page… A page-flipping gesture quickly flips two or more pages.

John Boyd responds to Brad Feld and Paul Kedrosky, who co-wrote an article against software patents a few days ago. Boyd says:

I wholeheartedly agree most software patents are nonsense however and serve neither society, innovation or business.
Given the complications here, is it natural to suggest that the Supreme Court make law here? Should this not be within the realm of are ever capable and cogent Congress to adapt patent law to modern types of innovation and invention? Or do we need to clone Jefferson, grow him in a lab until he can make a new law for us?

For background about Jefferson and patents, see this post. Software patents may in fact be unconstitutional. “Business methods and software still patentable in U.S. following closely- watched Bilski decision,” says this new headline from the Montreal Gazette. It may take years to reverse this troubling trend, assuming it ever gets reversed. In the mean time, Free/open source software like ZFS will continue to be hurt by software patents [1, 2, 3]. The ZFS story is now among Slashdot’s promoted submissions where it is discussed extensively.

Scepticism Versus “Analysts”

Posted in Deception, FUD, Microsoft, Novell at 8:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Whether or not it actually represents ‘pay for play’ is, I suppose, in the eye of the individual but it is certainly true that many vendors refer to engagements with Gartner as ‘paying the analyst tax.’”

Mike Karp, Infrastructure Analytics analyst

Summary: Novell resorts to using so-called ‘analysts’ and Microsoft’s own analysts are shown to be knowingly/deliberately lying to give Microsoft ammunition

TWO YEARS ago Novell acquired Managed Objects (BSM), which it made almost no use of (and the CEO left). Over the past couple of weeks we have given some examples of Novell’s PR people trying to play up BSM and here is another new example (specifically this report). To make its case for BSM, Novell resorts to citing Gartner, which is essentially a company you pay to say whatever you want it to say (provided there is some trick for justifying it). Gartner is a business (with investors that include Bill Gates), it’s not a firm that’s dedicated to conducting unbiased research. The disclosure policy is very iffy, for reasons that we named and showed on several occasions in the past. The so-called ‘analysts’ themselves come from the commercial sector, which leads to conflicts of interests.

There is a new example of analyst lies. The annual IDC/BSA study [1, 2, 3, 4], which Microsoft uses for propaganda about counterfeiting, is a famous case of fabrication/deception. Here is a new article which exposes the BSA for spreading lies with IDC:

The BSA’s figures for software piracy in this country need adjusting. It could start by surveying some South Africans.

If it’s May, then it’s time for the Business Software Alliance’s annual Global PC Software Piracy Study. The study, a comprehensive look at the state of unauthorised software around the world, is commissioned by the BSA and carried out by research giant IDC, which uses its data from quarterly PC shipments and market indicators from around the world to come up with a global figure as well as rates for individual countries. South Africa’s piracy rate was given as 35 percent this year, not as bad as some other countries but not good either, according to local BSA chairperson Charl Everton.

[...]

How was the 35 percent rate arrived at? It’s a guess, or rather, a combination of guesses combined with some market data and presented as a final authoritative percentage.

As someone who claims to have worked for IDC told us anonymously in IRC, these numbers are indeed just based on gut feeling. They are guesses accompanied by a press blitz, which is easy for IDC to achieve because it has IDG, the media giant. As for the BSA, it is funded by Microsoft. It is essentially a front group.

One absolutely needs to treat analysts’ output sceptically. They are not academics and they do have an agenda. If they don’t, they won’t survive in this business.

“Analysts sell out – that’s their business model… But they are very concerned that they never look like they are selling out, so that makes them very prickly to work with.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Yahoo as Microsoft’s New Home, Microsoft New Zealand Boss Too is Leaving

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Search at 8:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Worm

Summary: Yahoo! seems to be Microsoft’s new host, based on yet another appointment; another Microsoft chief indicates problems for Microsoft NZ

LAST NIGHT in IRC we were all made aware of news that in addition to a set of Microsoft executives who now run Yahoo! (including the CTO for example [1, 2, 3]), this corporate takeover expands to a vice president position.

“Microsoft in their greed and stupidity have destroyed the only thing that had a chance against Google,” Oiaohm explained in sight of this news about Bill Shaughnessy, one among many Microsoft executives who left to join other companies (Shaughnessy is already in Mixpo's board).

Yahoo just added another former Microsoft executive to its ranks. Bill Shaughnessy, who left Microsoft in during a shakeup in 2008, will join as a senior vice president of product management, reporting to chief product officer Blake Irving, another former Microsoftie who joined last spring. Shaughnessy was a global VP of sales at Microsoft. Now he is moving into product management after taking time off for the past year and a half. He is also an investor and sits on the board of ad-tech startup Mixpo.

Microsoft keeps wrapping its tentacles around Yahoo! like it did with VMware and with Juniper for example (a whole fleet of Microsoft executives occupying management seats there). Amazon too is an interesting case because it signed a Linux-hostile patent deal shortly after it had hired some more Microsoft executives (including one who was assigned to head the Kindle project, which uses Linux). We recently saw some other examples that lead to reasonable concerns.

In other news that’s coming from New Zealand for a change, despite all the software patents mess, Microsoft has suffered a management exodus there for quite a while and real change was happening in favour of Free software. This new report reveals that the MD of Microsoft New Zealand (highest rank in the country) is leaving.

Microsoft NZ managing director Kevin Ackhurst is moving onward and upward in the organisation, to become vice-president of sales and marketing for the Asia-Pacific region. He will be based in Singapore.

One cannot help wondering if this in any way related to the software patents fiasco and subsequent backlash? Probably not, but either way, at least he does not end up in a different company. Microsoft New Zealand is likely to suffer from disorientation following this departure.

Links 10/7/2010: Salix LXDE 13.1, PCLinuxOS Quarterly ISO

Posted in News Roundup at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Doesn’t Cost Anything – But Maybe It Should

    Linux is easy to learn, highly capable of fulfilling a typical computer user’s needs, and 100 percent free. So why is it that Linux still has such a miniscule share of the overall desktop market? Maybe its gratis nature has been keeping it down. It seems that when consumers don’t know enough about a product, they judge it by its cost — and “free,” at least on a subconscious level, translates to “not as good.”

  • New Linux OS REMnux Designed For Reverse Engineering Malware

    Many security professionals who find themselves needing to analyze a specific piece of malware end up in a difficult situation. The classic approach to analyzing malware is to set up a virtual machine on a PC specifically designed for that purpose and then let the malware loose and see what it does. But that usually only shows you part of the picture; much of the malware’s behavior can remain hidden without the ability to do some deeper analysis.

  • Google

    • On GoogleCL, a ‘Virtual RMS’ and Highly Unusual Linux Distros

      Is a command line really what Google needs now? Opinions were mixed at the debut of GoogleCL, the search giant’s new and daringly named command line tool. Reactions ranged from “I’ve had to write bits and pieces of it myself. Thanks!” all the way over to “The APIs were already out there. Of course, the best APIs can already be used from the command line with curl, so I care even less about this.”

  • Ballnux

    • HTC Desire with North American 3G graces FCC with its presence

      Rumors of a June 8 launch of Telus’ HTC Triumph — a rebranded version of the Desire, seemingly — came and went without a trace, but now, we’ve got another reason to think that the model’s launch might be just around the corner.

    • Samsung spins $100 Android 2.1 phone for Sprint

      Sprint announced a Samsung handset running Android 2.1 that sells for $100 with a two-year contract. The Samsung Intercept is equipped with a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, a 3.2-megapixel camera, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and an optical joystick, says the company.

  • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • Georg Greve on KDE and the Supporting Membership Program

      At LinuxTag 2010, the KDE community announced the “Join the Game” campaign to support KDE e.V.’s Supporting Membership Program. The first new member was Georg Greve, founder of Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE). We caught up with him for a ‘short’ interview that turned into a two hour conversation about life, the universe and everything. The pertinent bits are excerpted below.

    • Planet KDE Goes International
  • Distributions

    • The Job of the Linux Distribution

      The Gnome project creates the desktop environment used in Ubuntu, Red Hat, and many other operating systems. Each distribution tweaks Gnome a bit by adding or removing applications, but most of it is the same between the different systems. For all practical purposes, to the non-techie, non-geek, Gnome is the operating system, because it’s what they see and interact with. In Ubuntu, the default Gnome browser, Epiphany is removed and replaced with Firefox. The Gnome office suite is not used, favoring the more popular OpenOffice.org suite instead. Each distribution picks what it feels are the best parts available from the open source community.

    • New Releases

      • Salix LXDE 13.1 Released

        Salix LXDE edition 13.1 has been released! Based on Slackware 13.1, it features the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment, “an extremely fast-performing and energy-saving desktop environment”, with a clean look and feel. The main applications that complete the LXDE experience are the lightweight and fast PCManFM file manager and the popular Openbox window manager.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS quarterly ISO updates released

        The PCLinuxOS developers have released the quarterly ISO updates for the GNOME, KDE and LXDE editions of their Linux distribution. The 2010.07 releases include a number of desktop and package updates, but don’t add any new features to the operating system.

      • PCLinuxOS
      • Mandriva 2010 Spring Is Released
      • The Long Awaited Release of Mandriva 2010 Spring
      • Mandriva 2010 Spring: A Review for Newbies

        There was a time in which Mandriva was considered a somewhat “intermediate” Linux distribution. In 2009, when I started using it, I found it slightly “difficult”. However, with the 2010 release, I have noticed how the distro has been oriented to the ease of use. I’m not saying that it is easy, as no OS is, but I must confess that I perceive less entanglement now. So, today I can confidently recommend beginners to install it as their debut distro in the fascinating world of Linux.

      • Mandriva fights through money woes, releases 2010 Spring distro

        Reprieved from its financial troubles with fresh investments, Mandriva released the final version of Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring. The latest stable release is touted for offering faster boot times, enhanced “Smart Desktop” file-organization technology, easier printer and wireless configuration, new scientific apps, plus updates including GNOME 2.30.1, KDE 4.4.3, and the new Go-OO branch of OpenOffice.

      • Mandriva Preparing For Organizational Reboot

        “Mandriva possesses in its DNA all the requisites of an Open Source world leader. A community of 3.5 million users, a leading position in the BRIC zone, and prestigious clients in both the public sector and major business,” stressed Jean-Noël de Galzain, President of IF Research. “We are going to focus on the company management and promoting a new, dynamic commercial activity based on innovative products offered on a new distribution network.”

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase

        Today, July 7th, Canonical proudly announced that it will support the Ubuntu Free Culture showcase, which will offer photographers, artists and musicians from all over the world and with any background, the opportunity to see their work in the next release of the Ubuntu operating system, Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat), due for release in October 10th, 2010.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MIPS64-based module supports 40Gbps network processing

      NetLogic Microsystems announced a Linux-based hardware/software development kit it says is the first fully deterministic networking solution that concurrently processes Layers 2-7 at 40Gbps wire-speed. The NLX321103A solution combines the MIPS-based XLP832 eight-core, 32-threaded system-on-chip with the NL11k and NETL7 Layer 7 “knowledge-based” processors, the company says.

    • ARM muscling in on desktop space

      Until now Brit chip shop ARM’s processor designs have been restricted to smart phones and other embedded devices, but new developments in a partnership between ARM and Canonical, the company which develops Ubuntu Linux, could see a new push into the traditional computing market.

    • Phones

      • Flash Player 10.1 Ported To MeeGo, Android

        Movial has announced enablement and certification services for Adobe Flash Player 10.1 on both systems-on-chip and mobile platforms for MeeGo and Android.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Android

        • Rover unveils five tablets based on Android, Windows CE

          Russian Rover Computers has revealed five new tablets, ranging from 5- to 7-inch models. The processors are also varied and include Samsung ARM chips, while the range-topping RoverPad TegA W70 gets NVIDIA’s Tegra CPU. All five are likely rebadged OEM offerings, with the TegA W70 based on the Compal Tegra tablet.

        • Android Gains Marketshare While All Others Lose It

          With the market moving so quickly, things are bound to change. The survey was conducted before Apple’s latest iPhone 4 was released in June. Also, look for Google to exceed Microsoft’s share in the next period since it is trailing by a minuscule .2 percent.

        • Android 2.2 SDK refresh

          The Android 2.2 SDK that was released at Google I/O contained a preview of the Froyo system image and today, we are releasing an update to bring it into sync with the system image pushed to Nexus One devices.

        • Report: Fujitsu develops its first Android phone

          And we have yet another cell phone maker joining the Android bandwagon. Various Japanese media, for example Sankei Digital [JP], are reporting that Fujitsu is currently working on an Android-based smartphone.

        • Ubuntu on Nexus One, Froyo on Sprint’s Hero

          One of the most popular sides of Google’s Android operating system is the openness to hacks and modifications it enables. We’ve already had the chance to take a look at a wide range of custom made Android ROMs for handsets that would not taste the platform otherwise, but today’s news bring something new into the equation. An Android 2.2 Froyo port available for users of a HTC Hero on Sprint’s airwaves in the US has just emerged accompanied by a video of Nexus One running under Ubuntu, complemented by detailed instructions on how this can be done.

        • Android sees healthy growth at expense of Apple, RIM, MS

          Android’s share of the smartphone OS market went up between February and May of this year while everyone else took a hit, according to the latest data from comScore. The analytics firm released its three-month MobiLens report Thursday, observing that Android’s share of smartphone subscribers had gone up a full four percentage points in the US, though it still remains fourth on the list after RIM, Apple, and Microsoft.

        • Motorola

          • Motorola aims low with Android-based Charm

            Motorola announced a low-end Android 2.1 phone for T-Mobile equipped with a new version of its MotoBlur UI layer. The Motorola Charm is equipped with a 2.8-inch, 320 x 240 touchscreen, 802.11b/g/n, a three-megapixel camera, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a “Backtrack” touchpanel on the back of the device.

          • Droid X reviews praise battery life, multimedia

            eWEEK has run two favorable reviews of the Motorola Droid X, praising the phone’s multimedia performance, call quality, battery life, and camera, but criticizing its Wi-Fi performance and MotoBlur interface. A Wired review, meanwhile, calls the Droid X “one of the finest Android devices available” — if one can handle the size.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • For Those Intel Netbooks, There’s A MeeGo 1.0 Update

        This update carries over 100 bug-fixes, including the upgrading of the Linux kernel against the 2.6.33.5 kernel, improved 3D performance via DRM and Mesa updates, web browser enhancements, improvements to visuals and the window manager, full support for the GNOME Proxy, and many other changes.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Project Management Tools

    The pre-selection of project management programs started by focusing on some of the most famous web-based ones, excluding the following (for the following reasons):

  • Proprietary Technologies Are Buggier Than Open Source?

    Katonda has published a list of top 9 bugs and blunders of the last few weeks. In that list Apple and Microsoft seems to lead the world of bugs by delivering some of the most lethal bugs.

  • Mozilla

  • Business

    • Open Source Software: Less Feature-Rich Than Proprietary Competition?

      Commercial open source software is a newer trend than open source software itself. Over time, it is likely that the distance, in terms of feature sets, between proprietary software packages and open source ones will be closed by contributions from commercial interests. At least that’s true for many important packages. It goes to show that even though many people in the open source community frown on commercial interests, companies that back open source projects can have a profoundly positive effect on them.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Where we’re going: Working together for Free Software

      By working together for free software in a focused movement, we can do much more than the sum of our individual or project efforts.

      That’s where this campaign is headed–to strengthen the entire movement by promoting the underlying message that all free software projects work for a unified ideal: an end goal of software freedom. It represents a new theme in the Free Software Foundation’s work and a shift in focus that recognizes we are ready to engage a much wider audience. The approach for “Working together for free software” is to find new common ground to facilitate an effective public campaign for software freedom that will benefit everyone.

    • New ideas for the Free Software Foundation
    • Two GCC stories

      The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) project occupies a unique niche in the free software community. As Richard Stallman is fond of reminding us, much of what we run on our systems comes from the GNU project; much of that code, in turn, is owned by the Free Software Foundation. But most of the GNU code is relatively static; your editor wisely allowed himself to be talked out of the notion of adding an LWN weekly page dedicated to the ongoing development of GNU cat. GCC, though, is FSF-owned, is crucial infrastructure, and is under heavy ongoing development. As a result, it will show pressures that are only seen in a few places. This article will look at a couple of recent episodes, related to licensing and online identity, from the GCC community.

  • Project Releases

    • Version 1.3 of WordPress for Android adds stats

      The WordPress developers have announced the release of version 1.3 of their WordPress for Android app. Using the mobile application, users can easily post to and edit their WordPress blogs from an Android mobile device.

    • RDPDesk Launches 3rd Version of RD Connection Manager

      RDPDesk, one of the leading companies in the field of security connection solution development would like to announce the launching of version 3.0 of RD Connection manager, a free open source remote desktop management solution which is licensed under the GNU General Public License

  • Government

    • Malaysian Government has reached 97% OSS Adoption — WOW!

      When I started working on GNU C++ in 1987, I could almost feel the course of history changing with every line of code I wrote. When I started Cygnus Support in 1989, I was convinced that it was only a matter of time before companies began to realize that proprietary software restrictions did nothing to help their competitive advantage and everything to harm it. And though early funding for my work came from government agencies (US DARPA in 1987 and French INRIA in 1988), I never quite expected to be visiting and promoting open source in Malaysia [short version] [longer version]. Yet such is the reach of open source software! Now the Government of Malaysia proudly reports an astonishing 97% adoption rate for open source software in this new report:

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Black hole emitting a giant gas bubble 1000 light-years wide

      A black hole only slightly heavier than our Sun is emitting the most powerful jets of energy ever seen, rivaling that of quasars a million times larger, and creating a bubble of hot gas and fast-moving particles 1000 light-years across.

      When black holes devour matter, they release massive amounts of energy. Physicists had thought this energy mostly took the form of radiation, primarily X-rays. However, as this newly discovered black hole so dramatically illustrates, at least as much energy, if not a great deal more, is released as jets of fast moving particles. These streams of particles smash headlong into the interstellar gas nearby, which heats up the gas and causing rapid expansion. The resulting bubble is a mix of the hot gas and the particles from the black hole.

    • As NASA’s Plutonium Supply Dwindles, ESA Eyes Nuclear Energy Program
  • Security/Aggression

    • Pirate Bay Hack Exposes User Booty

      Security weaknesses in the hugely popular file-sharing Web site thepiratebay.org have exposed the user names, e-mail and Internet addresses of more than 4 million Pirate Bay users, according to information obtained by KrebsOnSecurity.com.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs has sent me a letter . . .

      They’re decrying the fact I might fault them for having anything whatsoever to do with the rise of the price of global wheat. Harper’s will publish the letter, of course, with my response . . .

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Researchers tout new weapon in Internet censorship arms race

      Trying to get out in front of what they call a censorship arms race, a team of researchers has come up with technology that lets users exchange messages through heavily censored networks in countries such as China and North Korea in hidden channels via user-generated content sites such as Twitter or Flickr.

    • Google breached Australians’ privacy: Commissioner

      Google Australia breached the Privacy Act when it inadvertently collected data from private wireless networks using its Street View cars, Australian Privacy Commissioner Karen Curtis said today.

      In response, the search and advertising giant was forced to publicly apologise.

    • Internet filter rules under review in Australia

      The Australian government is conducting an independent review of websites due to be blocked by its controversial internet filter.

  • Copyrights

    • Tom Silverman Proposes Radically Transparent Music Business

      The basic recording contract upon which most of the popular music business has been based for the past 50 years is fundamentally broken.

      This is not the sentiment of one of the countless critics who throw stones at the music industry from afar, usually for vague philosophical reasons, but rather the pragmatic opinion of a true insider: Tom Silverman, founder of Tommy Boy Records, which sold millions of records by hip-hop artists including Club Nouveau, Coolio, De La Soul, Digital Underground, Everlast, House of Pain and Naughty By Nature.

    • Brazil’s Approach on Anti-Circumvention: Penalties For Hindering Fair Dealing

      Brazil recently unveiled its much anticipated copyright reform proposal and it provides a statutory example of applying this principle. Article 107 includes an interesting balance to legal protection for digital locks.

      Not only does the proposal permit circumvention for fair dealing and public domain purposes, but it establishes equivalent penalties for hindering or preventing the users from exercising their fair dealing rights. In other words, the Brazilian proposals recognizes what the Supreme Court of Canada stated several years ago – over-protection is just as harmful as under-protection.

    • ACTA

      • Defending against laws which threaten user freedom

        As our mission here at the Free Software Foundation is to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all free software users, we also have to defend against ill-conceived and misguided laws. Many of you may already be aware of an international trade agreement being negotiated by the G8 nations called ACTA, but another law known as the Digital Economy Act is of concern, specifically to citizens of the UK.

        We have already published a petition condemning ACTA on a number of specific grounds which we urge you to sign if you haven’t already. If you would like to know more, please read the rationale for this declaration. Right now, you can take action!

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk 28 October 2008 – GPU Computing (2008)


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