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Richard Stallman’s Presentation From 2009 – eLiberatica (as Ogg)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, Videos at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An explanation of the value of software freedom (source as Adobe Flash)

IRC Proceedings: July 11th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

GNU/Linux Wins, Even on Desktops (and I’m Taking a Break)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Site News at 7:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Family picture

Summary: Pure GNU/Linux advocacy becomes less necessary as the operating system reaches mass adoption; efforts can instead be concentrated and focused on remaining authoritarian hurdles and expansion of GNU/Linux-inspired freedom to other walks of life

OCCASIONALLY we receive private messages that we cannot share with any readership. One such message touched a spot today because it raised the point that we emphasise issues (as in problems) and rarely revel in the wins. We would like to address this point very quickly (without quoting the private message).

There is rarely any noteworthy commentary on positive news (repetition would do for increased exposure), whereas when negative news arrives there is usually an explanation or point of rebuttal. That’s the short and direct answer.

Just looking at the news these days, it has become quite clear that GNU/Linux stayed behind in no obvious way. It is a capable, mature platform with excellent hardware support and now that thousands more schools are moving to it (starting in non-English-speaking countries, as expected), it is obvious that GNU/Linux is not just a winner in servers, HPC, phones, embedded, etc.

I recently received some mails from a 28-year veteran of Microsoft (who worked closely with Bill Gates) and he too told me that his field was moving towards Linux and RTOSes.

“The platform called or commonly known as “Linux” (shorthand) now has advocates like Nokia, Intel, IBM, Google, and Red Hat.”So basically, from here onwards Linux is winning and nothing can stop it. Even Apple is worth more than Microsoft, which is busy laying off employees and spending billions of dollars to just sell a few thousands of phones and maintain ~3% market share in search.

I’m gonna reduce posting volume in the coming weeks (or take several weeks off). GNU/Linux wins with or without anyone’s advocacy. The platform called or commonly known as “Linux” (shorthand) now has advocates like Nokia, Intel, IBM, Google, and Red Hat.

The “year of Linux” was several years ago, but the “year of Microsoft’s demise” was 2009 or thereabouts (massive financial decline reported in April).

I seriously consider leaving USENET so that I can better focus my efforts to bring software freedom through fora that don’t decline over time (USENET is still being assassinated by means we mentioned before).

Thanks to all those who supported me in USENET while I sacrificed vast amounts of time posting there. I will probably resume next month and in the mean time I’ll post GNU/Linux news almost solely in Techrights.org. Next week I plan to spend a lot of time with my mother (pictured above), so expect almost no blog posts. We’re going to Chester and then to London. I will give a public talk as soon as I return to Manchester.

I never lost interest in Techrights.org and we continue to ascend up the ranks (Netcraft now ranks us 1201st for traffic, which surpassed Groklaw at 1310th). Those who believe our daemonisers (there are even entire domains dedicated to discrediting our site) have clearly not paid attention or spoken to us directly. Our anti-FUD campaign is 100% sincere and honest and those who receive flak are obviously not happy.

“Long live the liberation of the workers off all countries from the infernal chasm of war, exploitation and slavery!”

Karl Liebknecht

UNIX Love of Ransom: Proprietary hypePhone, Novell, SCO

Posted in Apple, Novell, SCO, UNIX at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amiga UNIX

Summary: The story of three UNIX/proprietary software companies (Apple, Novell, and SCO)

WE would like to recommend the latest episode of Linux Outlaws, which ends with some smashing characterisation of hypePhone proponents (skip to the last 5 minutes or so).

hypePhone 4 is “Not For Every Tom, Dick & Harry”, but based on personal experience here in Manchester, many people buy the hypePhone because it’s a culture item; even people who are hardly able to afford it eventually buy one for the same reason some people sell the house or take a mortgage to buy a sports car. A lot of the time (not always) owning an hypePhone is making a statement about one’s social status.

Over the past year or so Novell has done a great deal not just to promote Mono but also to promote Apple products like the hypePhone. We gave many examples. Former senior staff of Novell even blogs and brags about buying Apple products. As for Novell, last week too it only advertised proprietary software [1, 2]. Novell’s days as a company that promotes Free software are long over and it now seems more like Xandros, which faded into oblivion.

Based on the latest from Groklaw, Novell and SCO may continue to argue over who owns proprietary UNIX.

SCO has filed a motion to stay taxation of costs until after the appeal they just filed notice that they plan to pursue. If you are getting that deja vu feeling, you’re right. They did this the last time too. It’s almost word for word the same. The last time, Novell opposed, and Judge Kimball denied SCO’s motion, ruling that “the court does not believe that a party’s speculation as to the possibility of the underlying judgment being reversed on appeal is a valid reason for delaying a determination of costs.”

This is not a fight over Linux. It’s about who owns UNIX, but Novell uses it for PR purposes by portraying this as Novell fighting for Linux. Apple too uses UNIX.

ISO is Irrelevant and British Government Pushed to Support ODF

Posted in ISO, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 5:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MicrISOftSummary: New reminder of how Microsoft corrupted international standards and a call for action in the United Kingdom

NOVELL’S SUPPORT of OOXML was mentioned in the previous post, which also helped put Mono in context. Mono will soon comprise Microsoft code licensed under Microsoft licences. It’s almost as though Novell is just a proxy for putting Microsoft stuff inside GNU/Linux. We’ll leave this discussion for another day though. More interesting news happens to have come through Rob Weir a few hours ago. It is a new post titled “Are Standards Organizations Relevant?”

Recently I was in a brief conversation about the use of the IEEE. They are an institution that, like many (all?) other standards organizations, seems to exist largely or entirely to standardize the reason for their existence. While it is generally agreed that we would greatly prefer a world with standards organizations to one without, it’s evident that standards organizations need to do more than they currently are to remain relevant. Given the complaints about standards organizations, the solution to this may actually be more standardization.


Another important point is careful control over what exactly becomes a standard. Standards must be fully defined with nothing critical being dependent on any particular implementation. If I pick up the document defining the standard for a document format, that document should contain all the information I require to create an application which handles that format in a manner identical to the reference implementation. For the Open Document Format (ODF) standard, this is possible. For the Microsoft Office OpenXML (MSOOXML) document format, this is impossible. The MSOOXML definition refers to the behaviour of previous versions of Microsoft Office applications without providing any documentation on how to properly produce that behaviour or even what the correct behaviour should be. Even worse, the MSOOXML definition defines an “arbitrary binary data” field — neither open nor XML, and by definition impossible to define. It is therefore possible for an application to create a MSOOXML document which would appear to be completely adherent to the document specifications but which could not be properly read by any other application.

We have covered to death the corruption that occurred amidst ISO’s decision. This was an extraordinary display of Microsoft’s criminal nature, which it showed not just once but possibly hundreds of times in a short period of time (we documented many examples).

In better news, a proposal has just been made for the British government to make ODF the national standard.

Establish the Open Document Format as the standard for use in all Government departments rather than continually upgrading to the latest version of Microsoft Office at a cost of many millions of pounds. This is a process which is already taking place in other European countries and one which should be started in Britain at the earliest opportunity.

Supporting OOXML in any way is acknowledging that abuse of the system is acceptable and that open standards no longer mean anything. The British Standards Institution has already been sued for what it did regarding OOXML.

Mono Demoted to “Proprietary Software” Status

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Open XML at 4:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: OpenSUSE classifies Mono-based applications correctly (as proprietary)

IN OUR previous post we cited an audiocast which goes back to around the time of the Novell/Microsoft deal. All 3 people on the show — Jeff Waugh included — were against this deal.

“These days, especially after the MCP was released, Mono is very much like “open core”, which means that it is proprietary but often marketed as “open source”.”We found it somewhat interesting that Jeff Waugh criticised the Novell deal because in 2007 he was having flamewars here; he acted as a Novell apologist and defender of Mono. He even went as far as justifying acceptance of OOXML, despite the fact that in the said audiocast they said that Microsoft had bought Novell’s support of OOXML very cheaply (given the prospective rewards).

Anyway, the above is mostly anecdotal, but nonetheless, it’s worth documenting. These days, especially after the MCP was released by Microsoft, Mono is very much like "open core", which means that it is proprietary but often marketed as “open source” (as long as you buy from Novell you are ‘safe’).

Novell finally classifies Mono correctly

openSUSE’s software manager lists Mono apps under Proprietary Applications Pattern



I’ve been using openSUSE for quite some time now, but this is definitely the first time that I’ve noticed this ( though probably because I tend to use zypper or the 1-click install rather than entering YaST).

Watch the image which verifies it. Maybe it’s an accident, but Mono is now co-developed by Microsoft. Mono is not closed-source, but it is proprietary.

A Sexy Dawn of Ubuntu Branding

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Ubuntu at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: An old audiocast contains interesting bits about the early days of Canonical (Ubuntu)

JEFF Waugh, who doesn’t code but was one of Canonical’s first employees, spoke to FLOSS Weekly a few years ago. Here is the direct link [MP3]. It has some fascinating bits and criticism of Novell, which has Google’s Chris DiBona involved too. But here is an interesting part which merely starts an interesting conversation about Ubuntu marketing.

Jeff Waugh [15:59]: “What happened was, we’ve had some very… some of the very early initial meetings (when, you know, there were about 10 people) and Mark [Shuttleworth] showed this picture… and it was of a girl called Sabrina, or that’s the name that he gave her. And it was a very [?] tone, Vaseline on the lens kind of shot, and it was a… a very beautiful shot, but it was with a girl with her face turned away but her breasts perfectly visible. And he saying to everyone, ‘this is what I want the desktop to look like.’”

Links 11/7/2010: 2,750 (or 3,650) Schools Are Moving to GNU/Linux Desktops

Posted in News Roundup at 2:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Gujarat set to follow Kerala’s LDF in IT education

    The Gujarat government is all set to follow Kerala’s Marxist-led Left-Democratic Front (LDF) in IT education in schools. Following Kerala schools, it has decided to use only Linux operating system, the open-source free software, in the computers installed in 3,650 schools.

    Linux will also be installed in another state-run 2,750 schools, where computers will be installed this year. Freely downloadable, Linux is internationally regarded as alternative to Microsoft Windows.

  • Russian state-OS based on Linux

    According to the publication “Kommersant”, the state enterprise “Russian Technologies” has almost completed the acquisition of shares LLC Alt Linux. This Russian company is developing software based on Linux. Interestingly, at the same time the Russian investment fund NGI acquired stake in Mandriva, the initiative is approved by the adviser to the Russian president Leonid Reiman. According to Kommersant, the result of both of these projects could be the creation of an operating system focused on the Russian public sector.

    In this case, the developers of each of these systems based on Linux can get the appropriate government funding, and this can be quite a good amount. So, every year the government allocates to the field of IT for government, government agencies and defense industry about 12 billion dollars. How did you find the publication, “Russian Technologies” will be adapted by “Alt Linux” for educational institutions and the future goals of the project “Electronic Government”.

  • Farewell to Windows: The Ubuntu Option

    Picture this: you have just left Yongsan, having put down well over a million won for a new laptop: 15-inch screen, RAM out the wazoo and enough space on your hard drive to store every single K-Pop music video in existence. You turn it on, and despite the salesman’s assertions of “Yes, Englishee, yes!” Windows is not only in Korean, but suspiciously already activated and operating a “free” version of office. This is the “service” you get for your patronage of Kim’s Wide World of Computer Goodness in the back streets of Yongsan.

  • PCI DSS from a Linux Sysadmin’s Perspective

    This post only scratches the surface of what is required of Linux administrators responsible for systems which must adhere to the PCI DSS. The standard is detailed and requires good planning and a commitment to maintain the final achieved security posture.

  • Ballnux

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • The Path to Sabayon 5.4

      The next Sabayon Linux release will be 5.4 as usual it will have the usual skew of package updates and bug fixes. We are tracking the bugs earmarked for fixing before 5.4 using the Sabayon 5.4 Tracking Bug. This means that you can see which bugs will be fixed for 5.4 and the status of each issue individually; it also means you can report bugs and we can easily target those before each release. This is a new public approach for to nailing down issues before release and is due in part to structural changes within the Sabayon testers group.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Expect to be a billion dollar co by next fiscal: Red Hat

        A: We are involved in developing free software as well. I am often asked, how can a company make money selling free software? What’s important to recognize is that the recent Red Hats has been successful because we don’t actually sell software. The software itself is functionally free. The source code is available. But an enterprise is not just implementing features and functionality, they need to implement a solution which needs to last for years. When the New York stock exchange which runs on Red Hat enterprise Linux spent millions of dollars to develop their exchange, they want to make sure that it works for the next 5-10 years.

      • Red Hat Close to 50 and 200 Day Moving Averages
      • Fedora

        • Fedora Design Bounty: Fedora slide deck template

          Fedora project members, from pretty much every part of our project (especially Ambassadors), give presentations all over the world: from FUDcons (Fedora Users’ and Developers’ Conference) all over the world, to FOSS.in in India, to the Linux Symposium in Canada, LinuxTag in Germany, to FISL in Brazil, to SCALE in Calfornia – and many, many more.

    • Debian Family

      • Firefox returns to Debian?

        Debian comes with a rebranded version of Firefox called Iceweasle. The reasons for this are that the Firefox logo was copyright, and everything in Debian must be strictly free software- thus free to modify- and Debian maintains its own Firefox/Iceweasle package after Mozilla itself has stopped providing security updates for them. (Debian Lenny comes with Iceweasle 3.0- perfectly stable- which is the aim of Debian stable releases by definition- but old.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • An OS is only as good as its package manager

          Ubuntu is based on Debian, so it uses a package manager called aptitude. This system allows users to easily add and remove software. Without a package manager, Ubuntu users would have to compile and install software from source code.

        • Something is wrong with the software publishing plan for Ubuntu

          Lately I have been watching a couple of threads related to Ubuntu packaging and publishing whichs makes me feel something is wrong.

          With all respect, I believe Matt was probably dreaming when he came up with the “We’ve packaged all of the free software” title. There are plenty of applications not properly archive maintained or even packaged due to the lack of human resources.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Kubuntu Netbook Remix Is Now Dead – But Not Really!

            Kubuntu Netbook Remix is basically Kubuntu with the KDE Plasma Netbook interface instead of the KDE Plasma Desktop used in the desktop versions. Till Lucid Lynx, Kubuntu Desktop and Kubuntu Netbook Remix were available for download as separate ISOs.

            However, from the next release of Kubuntu, i.e. Kubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, the Kubuntu Netbook Remix will not be released along with it. Rather, the Plasma Netbook package will be included in the Kubuntu Desktop ISO. At the time installation, using some screen resolution detection algorithm, it will be automatically decided if Plasma Desktop or Plasma Netbook is to be turned on by default. There will also be an option to change it manually in the System Settings.

          • Early Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Benchmarks

            There is still three months left until Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” will be officially released along with the Ubuntu Netbook spin and the various other incarnations of this popular Linux distribution, but today we have some initial netbook tests of this next version of Ubuntu Linux. While Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook may boast a new user-interface now that it is using the Unity Desktop, the changes that have taken place “under the hood” have led to some performance differences compared to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Netbook.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Android

      • sensorMote for Android

        sensorMote for Android, is an Android application that allows you to control your media from your phone with simple hand gestures!!

      • Android Market on the Verge of Hitting 100K

        This really is amazing news, and a testament to just how popular Android has become. In September 2009, the Android Market had only 10,000 apps. Now, just 10 months later the Market has over 90,000 apps and is on track to surpass 100,000 before the month is over. If Android Market continues to grow at its current pace, we could very well see it catching up to the iTunes market within a year.

      • Why I Turned In My iPhone and Went Android

        For me, more than the over-used phrase of “open”, the promise of true multitasking, and the platform’s integration with Google Apps, was one word – “Choice”. Choice of handsets. Choice of carriers. Choice of manufacturers. Second behind the word choice has to be “Momentum”. I can see that Android has momentum in terms of improved quality, in terms of the number of devices sold and users, and yes, applications, which are growing in quantity, soon to be followed by quality. I really do believe that if Android does not already have a market share lead over Apple yet in this discussion, they soon will. It is inevitable. The growth in the number of handsets, carriers and users will drive more developers to the platform, and the holdouts who are not there will eventually make the move. And yes, third is “Cloud” – the idea that I don’t need to be tied to my desktop computer to manage data on the phone, but instead, the phone is built to tap into data stored on the Web. Fourth is “Capability”. The Android platform, as the Droid commercials offer, simply does more. The power of the mobile hotspot cannot be understated, and the iPhone is a zero there.

      • Smartphone as ThinClients

        Trend of computing show that we are looking for a lightweight device.
        Future is all about a single device (a smartphone) which will do following task

        * Office & Internet Computing
        * Communication (audio, video)

      • New CEIVA Snap for Android App

        CEIVA Logic, Inc announced earlier this week that they have released an application to the Android Market that will allow users to send photos over-the-air from their mobile device to any CEIVA-connected photo frame. The application is called CEIVA Snap and since CEIVA invented connected digital photo frames, we’re sure this app will be a winner. Additional features allow users to view and store their photos on their devices all while on the go from anywhere.

      • Marvin v1.3.0 – Android app of the week!

        Marvin is a free ZX Spectrum emulator for phones running Android. Currently in v1.3, the package can be found in the market place and better still, its free! Marvin offers emulation of both the 48k and the 128k Spectrum, so lets look at how well it performs that task.

    • Tablets

      • Affordable Android-powered iPad-like Tablet Computers Galore

        Affordable Android-powered iPad-like Tablet Computers Galore: While browsing through dealextreme.com, a popular online shop for electronic products here in Asia, I was really surprised to see several iPad-like tablet computers that are sold for as low as $99 (US). Another surprising thing is that they are all powered by Android.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Reviewing the latest speed wars in Web Browsers

      I’ve been around a long time, and I can vividly remember when GNU Emacs was soundly criticized for being so large, using up so much memory. Well, those complaints went away a long time ago. Before we even had 1 GHz desktop computer systems, I found that GNU Emacs would load in just a few seconds on computers with as little as 200 MHz and 32 MB memory. It’s so much better today. The typical Web browser is four or five times larger just to download, and the amount of virtual memory they use can easily exceed a factor of ten beyond what an even loaded Emacs would consume.

      Where does that leave the typical Web browser then? Two years ago, Web browsers were probably near their all time low in terms of efficiency and performance. Yes, they were offering more and more features, but the cost of those features were becoming prohibitive.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Open Science Shift

      Recent years have seen technological revolutions in informatics, communications, and the life sciences. Xconomy readers are deeply engaged with these trends, but may be unaware of the most important development of all, the transition (sometimes painful), to an Open Science system better suited for a global, networked, knowledge economy. Sadly, rapid technical progress has thus far not been matched by a revolution in the democratization of scientific problem solving. Instead, the practices and institutions that comprise our science and innovation paradigm are badly strained, and in some cases, arguably crumbling in the face of rapid technological and economic change.

  • Open Access/Content

    • Open Course Production

      In short: maybe we shouldn’t just be releasing content created in a closed process as Open Educational Resources (OERs); rather, we should be producing them in public using an open source production model?

  • Programming

    • The Urge to Brag

      Way back in the late ’90s and early 2000s, many Perl fans could rattle off a list of big projects using Perl: Slashdot, Amazon.com, IMDB. Eyebrows popped up (maybe at one point), as if the fact that billions of dollars of online sales went through Perl were validation of a language.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Proposal of new project for UOF

      UOF is not in same structure of ODF, some features(such as Media Object and Conditional format of Spreadsheet ) can not transform well only with XSLT, so we need to develop a set of extensions to transform them into a friendly structure first. For UOF API we must bind a bundle of interfaces and services on OpenOffice.org in order to OpenOffice.org can be integrated into office system with UOF API. The mission of this project is improving the interoperability of UOF.We’re going in for transforming the format between UOF and ODF with XSLT.There’s an UOF filter including an extension to solve some very important problems with Calc and OLE.

    • Convert XHTML to ODF using Xalan-J?


  • Science

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • “Do I have your permission to say something sexual?” – Scotland’s new law against “indecent communication”

      In October Scotland’s new Sexual Offences Act will come into force. Unlike the 2003 Act that was written for England and Wales, the Scottish act contains a clause outlawing “indecent communication”. It will soon be illegal to communicate with someone sexually – either in writing or in speech – without obtaining their consent, or without the ‘reasonable belief’ that they do consent to it. Quite simply they have taken the standard traditionally applied to rape – to the actual penetration of another person’s body – and applied it to what people say.

    • Facebook & political unrest?

      A Chinese government-backed think tank has accused the U.S. and other Western governments of using social-networking sites such as Facebook to spur political unrest and called for stepped-up scrutiny of the wildly popular sites.

  • Copyrights

    • Brazil’s copyright law forbids using DRM to block fair use

      A UN treaty called the WIPO Copyright Treaty requires countries to pass laws protecting “software locks” (also called DRM or TPM). Countries around the world have adopted the treaty in different ways: in the US, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act prohibits all circumvention of software locks, even when they don’t protect copyright (for example, it would be illegal to for me to break the DRM on a Kindle to access my own novels, were they sold with Kindle DRM).

    • Copyright Board Issues Commercial Radio Decision

      It should also be noted that if Bill C-32 passes as is, the right to collect from commercial radio stations for “reproduction” activities – i.e. copying and storing music on servers so that it can be archived, stored and broadcast efficiently – will be gone, provided that broadcasters can live with the limited exception provided for such reproduction which would last a maximum of thirty days. If the broadcasters can work with this proposed regime, they could save annual payments of $11 million to CSI, $10 million to AVLA/SOPROQ and $200,000 to ArtistI.

    • Judge Slams RIAA, $675k Fine Ruled Unconstitutional

      Another break happened today in the RIAA’s case against Boston University student Joel Tenenbaum, as the $675k fine was reduced by 90%. The judge in the case criticised the RIAA and held that the jury’s damages were unconstitutional. Even the reduced fine is described as “severe, even harsh” by the District Judge.

    • ISPs Don’t Have To Block The Pirate Bay, Court Rules

      Two ISPs have won their court battle against an anti-piracy group which had demanded that they block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. Yesterday a judge at the Antwerp Commercial Court rejected the blocking demands and labeled them “disproportionate”. The Belgian Anti-Piracy Federation has reacted angrily, accusing the ISPs of siding with The Pirate Bay.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • Mandelson accused of running ‘worst election campaign in Labour history’

        Lord Mandelson has been accused of “running the worst general campaign in Labour’s history”, as he reignited the feud between Blairites and allies of Gordon Brown ahead of the publication of his memoirs.

        In an interview to promote the book, entitled The Third Man, Mandelson said Brown had been served badly by his aides, who had “unbridled contempt” for Tony Blair.

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk – 20 Oct 2007 – Darcs (2007)

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