07.30.10

Microsoft’s Top Competitors Are GNU/Linux or Users and Vendors of GNU/Linux

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Marathon bound

Summary: In the enterprise market GNU/Linux seems to be Microsoft’s most dominant threat, not Apple

ONCE in a while Microsoft helps show why it is so preoccupied with GNU/Linux — to the point where it names GNU/Linux vendors like Canonical and Red Hat in its SEC filings and creates smear pages about both RHEL (server) and Ubuntu (desktop).

Microsoft’s GNU/Linux-hostile COO has just named enterprise competitors and they all have something in common:

Microsoft has five main competitors when it comes to the enterprise market, COO Kevin Turner said today at the annual Financial Analyst Meeting in Redmond. They are:

* Google — (Google Apps, Google App Engine)
* VMware — (virtualization)
* Linux/open source — (client and server operating systems)
* IBM — (database, Lotus Notes)
* Oracle — (database)

All the above companies use GNU/Linux and sometimes rely on its thoroughly. As an aside, Microsoft is comparing company names along with a phenomenon or a Free software project, which is hard but that’s just what Microsoft is doing right there. It’s like naming Libya, terrorism, and Afghanistan as 3 threats (one is not an actual physical location/entity).

“I’d put the Linux phenomenon really as threat No. 1.”

Steve Ballmer, 2001

Links 30/7/2010: Dell, HP to Resell Solaris, UberStudent Distro Born

Posted in News Roundup at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Warning: Five Things to Know Before Switching to Linux

    1. It Isn’t Windows

    Although this one should fall under the “duh” category, you shouldn’t expect Linux to be Windows. Linux has some striking similarities to Windows: the graphical interface, cascading menus, applications represented by icons, configurable desktop themes, and most of the desktop gadgetry you’ve come to expect from Windows. It looks and behaves like Windows, but it isn’t. Its fans say that it’s better because of its stability, its multi-user capability and its overwhelmingly cheaper price (free is hard to beat).

  • Desktop

  • Server

  • Google

    • Interview: Chris DiBona, Google

      Chris Dibona has worked within the open source community years before joining Google. As writer and editor for Slashdot and the coeditor of essay collections “Open Sources” and “Open Sources 2.0.” Now, as the open source and public sector manager at Google, he oversees the company’s open source endeavors, supervises the distribution of resources to open source projects and generally loves what he does. Trevan McGee had an opportunity to sit down with Mr. DiBona during OSCON 2010 where they discussed Go, Android, and the future of open source technologies.

  • Kernel Space

    • LVM, RAID, XFS and EXT3 file systems tuning for small files massive heavy load concurrent parallel I/O on Debian

      Mainframes have excellent parallel I/O performance. Data storage systems could deliver parallel I/O performance to Debian GNU/Linux if you configure them , your multipath connections , undestand the concepts, application behaviour and follow some hints for confguring and tuning your LVM, RAID, XFS, EXT3.

      The key word is PARALLEL.

      Fiber channel data storage systems, multipath connections, excell at parallel I/O.

      These days of multicore, multi gigabyte RAM, fiber channel and many channels gigabit connected Debian GNU / Linux systems serving thousands of concurrent users need PARALLEL I/O performance and new approach to file system tuning.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE and the Masters of the Universe – 2010-07-28

        This week on a *Cloud Based** episode of KDEMU we have Frank Karlitschek, OpenDesktop.org big cheese, OwnCloud master mind.

      • Plasma in KDE’s Wikis

        So everything we have had under Projects/Plasma on Techbase really is supposed to be on community.kde.org. We started, and are very nearly complete, that transition. You can see the results on community.kde.org/Plasma. We’ve used this as an opportunity to freshen up and reorganize some of the content.

    • GNOME Desktop

    • Xfce

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Deltacloud Joins Apache Software Foundation

        Red Hat is mounting a multi-pronged bid to become a larger supplier of cloud computing. One of its key open source projects, Deltacloud.org, which builds a multi-cloud API set, recently moved into the Apache open source incubator.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Events in LATAM a Big Draw for Participants

          The first of these events was the Fedora Users and Developers Conference, or FUDCon, held in Santiago, Chile from July 15-17. Over a hundred people participated in this event, which brought together contributors for technical sessions and workshops focused on Fedora features, projects, and community building. And as with all Fedora events, FUDCon Santiago gave contributors the chance to meet in person for impromptu conversations on how to continue moving the Fedora Project forward into the future. The event was sponsored by Red Hat’s Community Architecture team. There were also a number of presentations on topics such as virtualization, software packaging, and systems administration.

        • No video for you

          According with the latest thread of doom from the devel list, despite the expectation set in May when WebM was released, we won’t have Firefox 4 in Fedora 14, so effectively no out-of-the-box support for web video, nor the other goodies coming in this release (how fast you can say “faster JavaScript”?)

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 9 KDE Edition Released

            The distribution is quite large – 1.3 GB, much too large to fit on a CD – so it is listed as a “LiveDVD” distribution. However, the ISO image can also be converted to a LiveUSB drive if you have a running Ubuntu or Mint system (using the Startup Disk Creator utility), which fits very easily onto a 2 GB flash drive. I have just installed it to my HP Pavillion dv2-1010ez laptop, which has an AMD cpu, ATI graphics and Atheros wireless adapter, and it installed easily without a hitch. Total time for download, convert to LiveUSB and installation was well under an hour.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 32-core processor module claimed to rival 128-core SoC

      NetLogic Microsystems announced a multi-core “solution” using its MIPS-based XLP processor architecture, and says it will soon introduce nine new XLP SoCs. Aimed at high-end networking applications, the Linux-ready XLP8128S integrates four eight-core XLP832 SoCs clocked at up to 2GHz and offers over 160 programmable processing engines, for up to 160Gbps throughput and 240 million packets-per-second (Mpps) processing, says NetLogic.

    • Hackable home media system features touchscreen controller

      Berlin-based Raumfeld is shipping a Linux-based, UPnP and AV/DLNA-ready multi-room audio system claimed to be “hacker/DIY friendly.” The Raumfeld System comprises a handheld controller with a 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen, Wi-Fi-enabled speakers, a 160GB music server and access point, and a “Connector” box that integrates existing A/V equipment, says the company.

    • IP-STB DVR transcodes video to and from mobile devices

      Monsoon Multimedia announced a Linux-based IP set-top and DVR that supports streaming to and from remote PCs and Macs, plus the iPad as well as Android, BlackBerry, and iOS phones. The HD-ready Vulkano ranges in price from $259 to $379, starting with the Vulkano (8GB or 16GB storage) and advancing to the SATA-equipped Vulkano Pro (500GB or 1TB).

    • Lantronix releases EDS1100 and EDS2100 Linux SDK

      Lantronix, a provider of device networking and data centre management technologies, has released the EDS1100 and EDS2100 Linux software development kit (SDK), which allows Linux developers to create applications on the EDS1100/2100.

    • Sony Not To Drop Reader Price

      All these e-Readers are powered by Linux, except for the iPad which runs on Apple’s proprietary iOS which does have some open source components.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google CEO: Android could be a cash cow (worth $10 billion)

          Look, I know Google gets a lot of good will for the open source nature of Android OS but don’t try and think the company isn’t focusing on its bottom line. Google CEO Eric Schmidt told the Wall Street Journal that its mobile platform could soon generate as much as $10 billion for the company through add-on services.

        • Secure phone builds on HTC Desire, while G1 bites the dust

          Infrax Systems announced a version of the HTC Desire Android smartphone designed for encrypted voice and data communications. In other HTC-related news, HTC will sell Android phones under its own name in China, HTC’s “Sense” skin will move to Android 3.0, T-Mobile posted a teaser page for what may be the HTC G1 Blaze, and the carrier has discontinued HTC’s original G1.

        • Meet Andy: Android’s History In A Nutshell

          Before Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android OS burst onto the mobile device scene in 2007, there were few significant advances in mobile technology. Frankly, “smartphones” (if we could even call them that at the time) were boring: they did little more than email, general messaging, picture taking, some basic apps and games, rudimentary internet browsing, and enterprise integration.

        • Why Android Will Win the Mobile Platform War

          How would I answer? Like this: The iPhone can be pretty, that’s for sure, but it can’t hold a candle to Android’s allure.

          Linux-based Android is going to win, plain and simple.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Freescale Smartbook

        This low-cost slate would run Android, Chromium OS, or Linux, include Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and possibly come with a detachable QWERTY keyboard. It’s unclear when we’ll see shipping slates based on Freescale’s blueprint, but the $200 price makes it tantalizing.

    • Tablets

      • Olive Pad VT100 brings a voice-capable, 7-inch Android tablet to India’s airwaves

        Ha, and you thought Dell’s Streak was pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable to hold to one’s ear. In a bid to make even the xpPhone look diminutive, Olive Telecom has just announced India’s first 3.5G Android (2.1 for now) tablet in the Olive Pad VT100.

      • OLIVE TELECOM LAUNCHES INDIA’S FIRST 3G TABLET OLIVEPAD-VT100
      • Kmart Android tablets and the GPL

        The Augen Android tablet being sold in Kmart stores at the moment is (shockingly) running a 2.6.29 kernel and Android 2.1 on top of that. It’s also (shockingly) currently impossible to get hold of the source code for the kernel – Augen (whose corporate address is a small unit in Florida) say that the software comes installed on the units by the OEM and they don’t have any access to the source either.

      • Nicholas Negroponte Welcomes India’s $35 Tablet for Education

        One Laptop per Child applauds Minister Kapil Sibal for promoting a $35 tablet. Education is the primary solution to eliminating poverty, saving the environment and creating world peace. Access to a connected laptop or tablet is the fastest way to enable universal learning. We agree with you completely.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Enhancements to Open Source Java Content Management System Aimed at Enterprise

    The latest version of dotCMS, the open source, Java-based Web content management system (WCM), is all about the enterprise. This version sports a totally re-built user interface designed to provide data and HTML-driven commands, as well as a number of enterprise-grade enhancements.

  • 2010 Open Source Awards

    Packt is about to launch the 2010 Open Source award – now at its fifth edition, formerly known as Open Source CMS Awards – an award organized to encourage, support, recognize, and reward Open Source projects selected by a panel of judges and Packt website visitors. This year they have a prize fund of $247,000 spread across six categories.

  • 5 Best Web eCommerce Software for Linux

    5 Best Web eCommerce Software for Linux: The buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks is called electronic commerce (commonly known as e-commerce or eCommerce). Today, eCommerce is mostly done on the web and is conducted entirely electronically for buying virtual items such as access to premium content on a website and purchase of physical items using eCommerce payment gateway.

  • Convirture manages open source Xen, KVM virtualization and the private cloud

    In February Convirture unveiled the 2.0 version of its open source virtualization management tool designed specifically for the open source Xen and KVM virtualization platforms. The company also said at that time it had plans to deliver an Enterprise version of the management software. Five months later, Convirture makes good on that promise with the release of a 2.0 Enterprise edition that offers more advanced automation, improved scalability, and extensive enterprise integration necessary to manage a large-scale or mission-critical virtualization environment.

  • Now Available: Open Source Software in Enterprise Application Infrastructure Market

    Open Source Software (OSS) has been a part of the IT market for over two decades. Recently, the commoditization of IT markets, changing attitudes to the production and distribution of intellectual property, and the recession have put the OSS firmly in focus, particularly in the application infrastructure part of the stack.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 beta 2 arrives as open source browser use grows

        Many observers laud the project’s efforts to overhaul the user interface and address performance gaps in Firefox in an effort to become more competitive against the other big open soure browser — Google Chrome.

      • Firefox 4.0 Beta 3 Drops Next Week

        With the second Beta if Firefox 4.0 now available for download to testers running Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, Mozilla is shifting its focus on the upcoming development milestone. The open source browser vendor is planning to release Firefox 4.0 Beta 3 in the first week of August 2010. In this regard, even though Beta 2 did suffer a small delay Beta 3 of the next major iteration of Mozilla’s open source browser might be available to early adopters next week.

  • SaaS

    • Open source faces hurdles in the cloud

      As companies gain ground in cloud computing, a debate is growing over the extent to which cloud companies should collaborate on open standards and open source to protect customers from vendor lock-in.

      In July, a consortium of cloud companies launched the OpenStack scheme to spur the debate and give the cloud industry extra impetus. Companies are discussing the value of opening up: some are worried it could hurt their competitive advantage, while others see it as an opportunity.

    • Facebook, Done the Open Source Way

      Four New York University students have mobilized to produce a decentralized and open source alternative to Facebook called Diaspora that they say will give users full control over their privacy.

      Today, Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) general counsel Karen Sandler told me that Diaspora was inspired by a lecture that Eben Moglen, director-counsel and chairman of the SFLC, gave in February. The organization provides legal services to open-source projects and organizations.

      During his talk, Moglen cautioned that cloud computing has moved control over privacy far out of users’ hands, and that privacy laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. “The architecture is begging to be misused,” he said.

  • Security

  • Oracle

  • CMS

    • Alert: What’s Coming for Open Source CMS in August 2010
    • The Rise of the Web CMS

      Battles over open source preferences verge on holy war, and opinions on what’s best vary widely. If you want to get a simple blog up and running fast, WordPress has no equal, says Tom Wolf, senior Web developer for Summit Publishing. “It’s the ‘best’ blogging engine available and while it is technically a CMS and can be extended to do things other than blogging, you will see diminishing returns fairly quickly,” he says. “The more heavily you customize it (in terms of functionality; visually, it’s easy to make WordPress look however you want) the more you’ll find yourself ‘fighting’ with the underlying system.”

      According to Wolf, Joomla! is in the middle of the three most popular open-source solutions, which also include WordPress and Drupal. “Designed to be a general publishing CMS, Joomla! is still oriented toward a very specific set of workflows which pre-suppose a lot about the way your site does and doesn’t work,” Wolf says. “It also takes more work to set up and configure than WordPress (for a simple site), but that work pays off very quickly because you gain power and flexibility down the line.”

  • Education

    • 4 More Tips for Open Source in K-12

      Open source isn’t just about cost savings. As with any technology deployment in education, it’s about rolling out the right tool to accomplish a goal, whether it be enhancing classroom teaching and learning or streamlining the operations that support education.

    • Unique Linux Distro Geared Up To Impact Higher Education

      UberStudent, which dubs itself “a free Linux learning platform for learning, doing, and teaching academic computing at the higher education and advanced secondary levels,” is coupling its ground-breaking educator-designed distro with plans to offer free online courses to teach students to academically excel with its platform.

  • Funding

    • Open-source Lustre gets supercomputing nod

      A new start-up called Whamcloud is coming out of stealth mode Wednesday with $10 million in private funding and a notion to disrupt the often academic world of supercomputing by leveraging the Lustre open-source project.

    • Open source HPC file system gets startup

      High performance computing – by which is meant traditional parallel supercomputing as well as data analytics and hyperscale cloudy infrastructure – is facing a looming file system and storage bottleneck, and Whamcloud, a startup backed by $10m in private funding and some of the top people behind the Lustre file system, want to help.

      And get a piece of the exascale action, of course.

      Whamcloud is not saying much about its plans for the Lustre file system, and that is in part because Lustre is an open source project controlled by Oracle.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • No need to debate on open source definition: Tifatul

      In his next statuses, Tifatul clarified that he did not mean to introduce a new definition of open source. He said he was referring to the Open Source 2010 Award event, which aims to reward local software developers. The event is sponsored by his ministry and the Ministry of Research and Technology.

    • Info minister deems open source as ‘domestically made software’

      Information and Communication Minister Tifatul Sembiring may have a different perspective from the commoners when it comes to the definition of “open source” software products as he describes them in his Twitter update as “software products that are domestically developed using local language”.

    • Tifatul causes new stir in Twitter

      Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring shook the very basic of the software industry on Wednesday describing an “open source” as “software that is domestically developed using local language”.

    • Shift to Open Source Could Save Trillions, Govt Claims

      A government campaign to migrate to open source software instead of paying for proprietary products could save the state as much as Rp 3.6 trillion ($400 million), the State Ministry for Research and Technology said on Wednesday.

      [...]

      “We estimate that by that time, we would have saved as much as Rp 3.6 trillion,” said Kemal Prihatman, the Research and Technology Ministry’s assistant deputy for information technology development, after the opening ceremony of the Indonesian Open Source Award.

    • Lockheed releases open-source social networking tool

      Government technologists may soon have a new way to address the complexities of managing IT: Lockheed Martin has introduced a new open-source enterprise social networking tool, Eureka Streams.

    • Lockheed Martin Debuts Open-Source Eureka Streams
    • 5 lessons for win-win open source projects

      Lockheed Martin’s newly open sourced social networking platform, Eureka Streams, has faced FUD when it should be received with open arms. IT decision-makers can learn important lessons from Lockheed Martin when evaluating whether to open-source an internal project.

    • Who had the first government open source policy?

      Brian Purchia of Burson-Marsteller has a post over on GovFresh about the value of open source to unions. His argument pivots on cost-savings. I think you could make a more expansive argument that includes risk mitigation and innovation, but describing the advantage to unions is an interesting angle I hadn’t seen before.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Towards a Commons Taxonomy

      Here’s one such attempt:

      The Five Commons constitutes an evolving vision of the emerging 21st Century economy. Each of the five commons represents a key area in which transition is apparent.

      The Forward Foundation hopes that by sharing this vision, people will find clues and insights into new ways of structuring human activity and sustainable living.

      Five Commons Presentations

      Here are links to presentations of each of the Five Commons.

      * Thing Commons
      * Culture Commons
      * Energy Commons
      * Food Commons
      * Access Common

    • Open Hardware

      • Frankencamera Programmable Open-source Camera Debuts

        Stanford’s open-source digital photography software platform, “Frankencamera,” which allows users to create novel camera capabilities, is now available as a free download for Nokia N900 mobile computers. At the SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles, the Frankencamera engineering team will describe the platform and several sample apps created with it.

  • Programming

    • Python development – the golden rules

      As part of his massive Python Masterclass article, Kunal Deo drew up some golden rules when working with Python. Click here to jump straight to the article, or add a few of your own golden rules in the comments thread below…

      Keep it simple
      “Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.” (Einstein)

      Do one thing well
      The UNIX Philosophy certainly applies here.

      Don’t fret!
      Don’t fret too much about performance – plan to optimise later when needed.

      [...]

    • The PHP Content Management/Framework Upgrades in ExpressionEngine 2

      A few months ago I wrote a series of articles highlighting PHP-driven content management systems and frameworks, and I singled out ExpressionEngine as one particularly impressive solution that effectively balances the best features of both. This popular Web development solution recently took another major step forward with the July 12 release of ExpressionEngine 2.1, the product’s first major upgrade in several years. Version 2 sports a number of new features and significant improvements over its predecessor, many of which I’ll highlight in this article.

Leftovers

  • Slashdot Struggles to Remain Relevant in The Social Web

    Earlier today we published an analysis of the top traffic drivers in social media, based on data from Web analytics company Woopra. The biggest traffic driver was StumbleUpon (51%), followed by Digg (30%), Hacker News (12%) and Reddit (5%). Surprisingly, tech news community Slashdot was not in the list of top referrers. In fact, according to Woopra CEO John Pozadzides, Slashdot “drives close to 0% of traffic to the sites Woopra measures.” (emphasis ours)

  • It’s our duty to delve into the Wikileaks debate

    I HAVE written a great deal in this column about “open source software”, a term coined by technologist Christine Peterson in 1998 to describe software that was openly developed and freely modifiable. “Open source”, though, has an older meaning in a different context.

    “Open source intelligence” is a term in the spy community to describe obtaining and analysing information that is publicly available – as opposed to secret knowledge obtained through exclusive sources, such as informants and espionage.

    Last Sunday, a huge chunk of military sources switched abruptly from covert to open source.

  • Is WikiLeaks More Than Just a High-Tech Brown Envelope? Yes

    WikiLeaks, the crusading anti-secrecy organization that just published 90,000 pages of secret government documents about the war in Afghanistan, has gotten a lot of attention for its campaign to become the world’s repository of whistle-blowing and embargo-busting information, and leader Julian Assange has become the star of the political talk show circuit. But the most interesting thing about WikiLeaks and the release of the secret Afghan documents isn’t the details of the U.S. campaign — it’s what the incident says about the evolution of a truly distributed and dis-aggregated new media ecosystem.

  • New Benefits for Linux Foundation Members

    When someone discusses the Unix operating system on a PC, many modern computer users think of Linux, a Unix work-alike first released by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Linux is a relative newcomer to the field; Unix and Unix-like operating systems have been released for Intel x86-based systems as far back as 1979. This article covers some lesser-known Unix variants for IBM PC-compatible systems, both those that survive today and the ones that were not long-lived or commercially successful.

  • Hardware

    • For ARM, It’s Server Side Up

      Ian Drew, executive vice president of marketing at ARM Holdings, a Cambridge, U.K.-based company that makes semiconductors powering a majority of the smartphones, tablets, 70 percent of world’s hard drives and half the world’s printers, is on a whirlwind tour of Silicon Valley. And what everyone (including me) wants to talk to him about is servers, or rather low-power server chips that can power the data centers of tomorrow.

    • The end of Wintel

      Regardless of whether Microsoft and Intel prosper individually, they will drift apart as a couple. Since Microsoft has yet to deliver a competitive version of Windows for smart-phones and tablets, for instance, Intel has teamed up with Nokia, the world’s largest maker of handsets, to develop Meego, an open-source operating system for mobile devices.

    • SoC has dual ARM Cortex-A9 cores

      Operating system support was not detailed for the SPEAr1310, and we noted mention of only Linux for the SPEAr300, 310, 320, and 600 SoCs. However, earlier SPEAr offerings were also said to support Windows CE.

  • Security/Aggression

    • DNSSEC is Here. Now What?

      Two years ago at the Black Hat USA 2008 conference, security researcher Dan Kaminsky detailed a critical flaw in DNS that could have destroyed the Internet as we know it. Two years later, the root zone of Internet DNS is now signed with DNSSEC, partially as a response and a solution to Kaminsky’s 2008 finding.

      A panel of experts, including Kaminsky, addressed the issue of DNS security and what’s next at the Black Hat USA 2010 conference currently underway in Las Vegas.

    • Millions of Home Routers at Risk
  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Geoengineering: the risks and rewards of tackling climate change

      Any scheme which aims to artificially and deliberately change the Earth’s climate is called geoengineering. This includes everything from planting new forests to soak up greenhouse gases through to high-tech ideas, such as putting mirrors in space to reflect some of the Sun’s rays.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs: No More “Sh**ty” Deals

      Goldman Sachs might still be able to sell a bad mortgage-backed security, but there’ll be no more “sh**ty” deals.

    • Diversions: Goldman Sachs says no more s***** expletives in emails

      1. 34,000 Goldman Sachs employees are now banned from using an array of curse words on email. Under the new directive, typing out “s—— deal”–the phrase used to describe a now infamous mortgage deal that came up at a Capitol Hill hearing in April–is no longer allowed.

    • Goldman Sachs Bans the Phrase “Shitty Deal”; Making Shitty Deals Still O.K.

      The employees of Goldman Sachs have been told to please watch their language. Bad words—for instance, bad words that may have featured prominently in a certain e-mail characterizing a business transaction as a “shitty deal”—will no longer be allowed to sully the firm’s e-mails. Naturally, this mandate was not delivered in an electronic correspondence. “Of course we have policies about the use of appropriate language and we are always looking for ways to ensure that they are enforced,” a Goldman spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal.

    • Goldman Sachs bans employees from using swear words in e-mails, texts and instant messages

      The troubled Wall Street titan told its employees that they can’t use swear words — even ones with asterisks — in their emails, text messages or instant messages, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

    • Two Goldman Lawsuits on Abacus Placed on Hold

      A New York judge put two shareholder lawsuits against executives and directors of Goldman Sachs Group Inc on hold until progress is made on 16 other lawsuits related to a controversial debt transaction involving the Wall Street bank.

      The lawsuits, brought in state Supreme Court by Robert Rosinek and Morton Spiegel, accuse Goldman officials, including Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, of breaching their fiduciary duties by letting the bank enter transactions involving risky collateralized debt obligations tied to subprime mortgages.

    • Volatility Trade Buffett Embraced Backfires for Wall Street Hedge Experts

      A bullish stock market trade embraced by the smartest money is backfiring. And that has investors wondering if what Warren Buffett and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. know about derivatives is obsolete.

      Goldman Sachs, the world’s most profitable securities firm, reported losses from derivatives last quarter after selling insurance that protected clients against stock swings during the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s biggest retreat in more than a year. Buffett, the chairman of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., underwrote $37 billion of the contracts since 2004, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission show.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • 90% of web snoop document censored to stop ‘premature unnecessary debate’

      Government censors docs for web plan

      From black list to blacked out. Documents on plans to store web surfing data are heavily censored due to the possibility of ‘premature and unnecessary debate’.

    • Are CIA and Google teaming up?

      Hey, all you folks who like to plaster all the details of your daily lives on YouTube, did you know that your videos could soon be scanned and evaluated for terror threats? Yes, thanks to a new project funded by the US intelligence community, they soon hope to create a searchable warehouse of open-source clips.

      Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or IARPA, is behind the program called Automated Low-Level Analysis and Description of Diverse Intelligence Video (ALADDIN).

    • Google Teams Up With CIA, Invests in Analytics Firm
    • Google, CIA Back a Startup that Predicts the Future

      Google and In-Q-Tel, a non-profit investment firm launched by the CIA in 1999, have both backed Recorded Future, a company that looks for patterns in publicly available data to predict future events.

      Recorded Future scans tens of thousands of Twitter accounts, blogs and websites looking for relationships, organizations, actions and incident data. RF then plots that data over time to determine the momentum behind a particular event and when in the future it might happen.

      Google Ventures and In-Q-Tel each invested under $10 million in Recorded Future back in 2009, just after the company was founded, according to Wired. Google’s investment was revealed earlier this year, and In-Q-Tel’s was quietly announced a few weeks ago.

    • Google, CIA team up to invest in web monitoring software
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. Copyright Group ‘Steal’ Competitor’s Website

        The United States Copyright Group (USCG) has been all over the news in recent months. The lawyer group sued thousands of BitTorrent users who allegedly file-shared motion pictures belonging to their clients, including the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker. However, it turns out that USCG are not copyright purists either, as they have blatantly copied the website of a competitor without permission.

Clip of the Day

Happy System Administrator Day


Lawyers and Monopolies They Work for Are the Key Threat to Software Patent Policy

Posted in Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 3:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Quentin Massys painting
16th century painting of a civil law notary

Summary: Patent lawyers and software giants whom they are representing (also lawyers that become patent trolls) jeopardise emerging companies, almost all of which do not want software to be patentable

“Microsoft lobbyists [are] pushing for software patents in standards,” alerts the FFII’s president regarding this post from a familiar lobbyist we wrote about in this post and cited in [1, 2]. It’s always aligned with Microsoft’s agenda.

The USPTO is looking for feedback about post-Bilski guidelines and Groklaw rightly warns that solicitors would stuff the box (they have the tendency to do that when it comes to software patents in standards).

You know pro-patent companies’ lawyers in droves will be telling them that their clients should be able to patent God’s method and process for creating the heavens and the earth, so you may wish to comment yourself and let them know politely where you think the line should be drawn on the abstract idea exception to subject matter eligibility as set forth in Bilski, if this is a topic you care about. Otherwise, I can see it now, their report: We got 3,201 comments saying X and only 3 saying Y, so X carries the day.

The truth is, I don’t think anybody knows specifically what Bilski means, including the US Supreme Court. They couldn’t draw a straight line, because they couldn’t agree on enough, so they just didn’t. So what is the USPTO supposed to do with it in the real world? They give it their best shot.

Groklaw’s Pamela Jones used to defend the practice of patenting (maybe because of her background in the legal world), but she changed her mind over time. There is a great deal of indoctrination among lawyers, who are teaching and convincing themselves that patenting is beneficial to society (but they actualise their own meta-industry really). Dana Blankenhorn wrote about Groklaw and he defends/disputes its belief that OIN is necessarily a good thing (OIN is a proponent of patents):

When the subject of patents and cross-patent consortia comes up everyone is a troll.

Pamela Jones is an IBM troll. Florian Mueller is a Microsoft troll. It must be true because their enemies say so.

IBM and Microsoft both have patent consortia. IBM’s is organized as the Open Invention Network. Microsoft’s is a contract, the one first signed by Novell and since by many others.

[...]

Mueller calls OIN a “patent trap” and Groklaw’s acolytes have their own names for Mueller, most of which can’t be repeated on a family blog.

I think both sides are missing the point.

Absent legal clarity, or legislative action, this is the situation open source has to live with. It is a tax on innovation, which the Constitution sought to avoid. Of course, the Constitution also sought to avoid the direct election of Senators.

TechDirt is meanwhile catching up with the new study from Pamela Samuelson et al. [1, 2]. It shows that software firms are against patents and Mike’s interpretation is:

If a firm is venture-backed, it’s more likely to get patents, but this doesn’t appear to suggest that the patents are valuable. It seems to indicate that entrepreneurs still believe the old claim that venture capitalists want to see patents, so they feel the need to get patents just to show to investors.

On the whole, it certainly appears that the vast majority of the software industry isn’t interested in patents, don’t find them useful or important, and certainly don’t see them as creating an incentive. Even those who get patents don’t see much value in them, and appear to only get them because they feel pressured to get the patents for external reasons. All in all, this is a pretty damning bit of research for those who suggest patents help the software industry.

There is no real debate over software patents, not within software companies anyway. The issue was resolved a long time ago when proprietary and free/libre software companies alike decided that they don’t want patents; the exception is software monopolies with armies of lobbyists and lawyers, to whom they pay to continue to misrepresent commercial opinion and facilitate monopolisation through patents.

“Small Software companies cannot afford to go to court or pay damages. Who is this software patent system for?” —Marco Schulze, Nightlabs Gmbh

Links 30/7/2010: KDE 4.5 Screenshot Tour, Canonical Responds to DeKoenigsberg

Posted in News Roundup at 2:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • 10 reasons why your kids should be using Linux

      In this article, I will give you 10 good reasons why you should do just this. In the end, you can decide for yourself whether they’re reason enough to migrate those young users away from other operating systems.

    • Remember the year of the Linux desktop?

      For me the year of the Linux desktop was 2005. I started around 12/1998 and found distributions that I tried at the time still a bit rough and sometimes crash-prone, not really much better than Windows ’95. The real problem though was my ISA Winmodem. I never managed to get it to work and was too cheap to buy an external one which would have solved the problem. That was my decision and I cannot blame Linux for it. Then W2K came along and worked well for many years after applying some registry hacks and tightening of security. It got a bit long in the tooth by 2003, but it took until 2005 for Ethernet broadband to arrive at my household. I decided to give Linux another look shortly after and haven’t looked back since – VectorLinux, Debian Sarge, Ubuntu Breezy Badger (5.10). I was able to do everything I wanted and more. I would never have bothered to learn Vim on Windows although it is available. I would never have got into the capabilities of networking tools as much, or into protocols, NAS and file servers (due to not wanting to purchase Windows server licenses).

  • Applications

    • GLX-Dock 2.2 Enters Beta With Greater Usefulness

      The first beta release of GLX-Dock 2.2 is now available for those looking to add a Mac OS X-like dock to their Linux desktop. The GLX-Dock 2.2 release is focusing upon improving four core areas of this open-source application dock: being unobtrusive yet useful and simple while also introducing a new panel view.

    • Linux-based Hard Drive Data Recovery Tools

      Thankfully, there are tons of available Linux-based rescue tools that can get the job done quickly and easily.

    • Games

      • 211 free Wine-compatible Games in one download

        How does the thought of 211 completely free wine-compatible games available in one download, complete with slick launcher and per-game info, sound to you?

      • Alien Arena (latest release date July 29, 2010)

        Do you like fast paced deathmatch? How about rich, colorful, arcadelike atmospheres? How about…retro Sci Fi? Then you’re going to love what Alien Arena has in store for you! This game combines some of the very best aspects of such games as Quake III and Unreal Tournament and wraps them up with a retro alien theme, while adding tons of original ideas to make the game quite unique.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE 4.5 Screenshot Tour

        KDE 4.5 is coming out in August but I simply couldn’t wait to try it out a few days before the release. Hence, I got my hands on the Release Candidate v2 via kubuntu-beta ppa.Apart from some dazzling eye candy,KDE4 has matured a lot when it comes to stability.Here’s a screenshot tour and review of KDE 4.5 RC2 (click on each image to enlarge).

        1)The Desktop : As compared to the earlier KDE versions,the desktop looks more attractive with the Blur effect enabled.Also the system tray icons blend in with the theme.

        2)System Settings : The system settings menu has undergone a bit of shuffling along with some new additions.

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon 5.3 LXDE Screenshots

      I recently tried the new Sabayon 5.3 LXDE release and found it to be lightweight yet still hold up Sabayon’s feature packed, out-of-the-box way of doing things. The Sabayon 5.3 LXDE flavor is ideal for users who have lower hardware specs or prefer the speed of the lighter environment. Built on top of Sabayon “SpinBase” ISO images, this is said to be only a preview of upcoming spinoffs of the Sabayon project.

    • SystemRescueCD

      Yet another recovery OS has been updated this month. SystemRescueCD 1.5.8 is a minor update (the 2nd release in 3 weeks) to provide new standard kernels (2.6.32.16), alternative kernels (2.6.34.1) and a new version of the gparted package.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Friday Five: Red Hat’s Max McLaren

        Max McLaren has for the past five years been pushing the cause of open source software in Australia in his role as general manager of Red Hat in Australia and New Zealand. But he hasn’t always been — he used to work just as hard for proprietary software as a Lotus Notes stalwart. Max is this week’s guest on the Friday Five.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • My Motivation for Doing Opensource

          When I was the maintainer for the Linux Test Project , while my initial reason for doing it was because my employer requested me to, the reason why I stuck with it for so long (even when my job and employer changed) was because I knew people needed it. It felt good to know that I was helping to improve the “reliability, robustness, and stability of Linux”…it felt good to know that I was helping Red Hat, Novell, Terrasoft, and God knows how many other distros test their releases…it felt good to know I was helping IBM, Intel, HP, and loads of other technology companies test their hardware against Linux…it simply felt good. Hell, I even created the infamous crash test tux logo over a weekend because I thought it would give the project more of an identity…which lead to shirts being printed…banners being made…and me sitting for hours in a 2 person booth in the “dot org” pavilion at too many Linux World Expos to mention. As a project, we were always happy to receive testcases, bug fixes, and improvements from our users and others looking to help, and not once did I ever point the finger at someone using the test suite to improve their for-sale product and say, “you’re not giving enough!”….because I wasn’t doing the work for that reason. Now I’ll admit not participating as much as I should since passing on maintainership, but it’s not because I switched jobs, companies, or career paths…it’s because I got married, bought a house, and had 2 kids…and even got a dog…so

        • Red Hat, Canonical and GNOME Contributions

          I think the GNOME Census report is excellent, and it provides some excellent visibility into contributions in GNOME, but it only takes into account upstream contributions to GNOME itself. What the report doesn’t take into account are upstream contributions that are built on the GNOME platform but (a) not part of official GNOME modules, and (b) hosted and developed elsewhere, such as Launchpad. As such, while the report is accurate for showing code and contributions accepted into GNOME, there are also many projects built on GNOME technology that are not taken into account due to non-inclusion in GNOME modules or being developed outside of GNOME infrastructure.

        • What’s new in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

          Compiz
          There are minor changes in default set of animations for Compiz which makes the desktop experience better.

          Since Maverick is still undergoing heavy development, certain elements might be changed. I will keep you updated about the changes.

        • Ubuntu 10.04: A Second Look

          After I review an operating system or Linux distribution, it’s always fun to go back and try out the product again, with all updates, and see how it’s improved. Ubuntu 10.04 was something I thought was pretty decent, but not decent enough to steal me away from Arch. However, I know others that are Ubuntu users and my wife is a big fan as well, so I still continued to have exposure to it even after having reviewed it. Here are my thoughts on Ubuntu 10.04 and how it stands today.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Android

      • uTorrent Web Now Available on iPad and Android

        After adding support for the iPhone last month, BitTorrent Inc. has now made the remote access ‘Web’ feature of its uTorrent Falcon client compatible with the iPad and Android devices. uTorrent users can now remotely control their downloads from wherever they are on their favorite mobile device.

      • Android wallpaper app that takes your data was downloaded by millions

        That means that apps that seem good but are really stealing your personal information are a big risk at a time when mobile apps are exploding on smartphones, said John Hering, chief executive, and Kevin MaHaffey, chief technology officer at Lookout, in their talk at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas today.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Could open source tools make Facebook the next AOL?

    Open-source social, or “open social,” networking services are not new. StatusNet has been running an open source implementation of its Twitter-like microblogging service for several years, called Indenti.ca. But no open-source service has gained Facebook- or Twitter-proportioned success.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • RMS AMA

      1. corevette: If you could have one proprietary package/software released as Free Software, which would it be and why?

      RMS: I have not made an effort to study the possible candidates, since unless a genie offers me a wish of that kind, the results wouldn’t enable me do anything constructive. Thus, I can only respond based on the few proprietary programs I happen by chance to know about.

      Of the programs I know of, I think freeing Autocad would give the biggest boost to the free software community. It is used in a wide range of activities, and our CAD software lags quite a bit,

  • Openness/Sharing

    • $20 Wikipedia Reader Uses 8-Bit Computing Power

      In all, it can hold the equivalent of 5,000 books, including an offline version of Wikipedia, and requires no internet connection. The Reader will cost $20 when 10,000 or more of it are manufactured. Without that kind of volume, the each Reader will cost about $35.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Security/Aggression

    • WikiLeaks Secret Records Dump Stays in Legal Clear: Ann Woolner

      With his prematurely white hair and his Australia-tinged English, 39-year-old Julian Assange has become the face and voice of what is surely the most massive leak of U.S. classified documents in history.

      His online organization, WikiLeaks, devotes itself to government and corporate whistle-blowers and the documents they offer. It stands as a buffer between them and whomever had the secrets being bared, whether documents on Cayman Islands bank accounts, video showing Americans firing on civilians in Baghdad or Sarah Palin’s e-mail.

    • Wikileaks war logs revelations will be far-reaching, say MPs

      The portrait of a chaotic and failing war revealed in the secret military files casts serious doubts on the government’s policy in Afghanistan and its plans to withdraw British troops by 2015, politicians said today.

    • Wikileaks: Q&A with Jacob Appelbaum on “The Afghan War Diaries”

      Jacob Appelbaum: The 15,000 documents are part of the set of Afghanistan documents. They are being redacted for harm-minimizing purposes as requested by our source, and will be made available as is applicable with respect to the relevant security concerns.

  • Environment

    • Met Office report: global warming evidence is ‘unmistakable’

      A new climate change report from the Met Office and its US equivalent has provided the “greatest evidence we have ever had” that the world is warming.

    • Global warming signs unmistakable: report

      A new report by 300 scientists has flagged the past decade as the hottest on record and compiled 10 “unmistakable” indicators that the world is getting warmer.

      But the scientists mostly stayed away from discussions about the cause.

    • Rising sea temperatures linked to decline in food chain

      Sea temperatures are rising, but what effect that might have is up for discussion.

      A study published in Nature today finds a strong link between higher sea surface temperatures and a major decline in phytoplankton or ocean algae, which forms the base of the marine food chain.

    • Climate check-up ‘screams world is warming’

      A report on the world’s climate has confirmed that 2009 was one of Australia’s hottest years on record and provides more evidence of global warming.

      Three hundred scientists from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association compiled the report, which the association’s data centre chief Deke Arndt says paints a compelling picture.

      [...]

      The list of last year’s extreme weather events includes a flood in Brazil that left 376,000 people homeless, heavy rainfall in England that damaged 1,500 properties and three intense heat waves in Australia, one of them coinciding with the Victorian bushfires that killed 173 people.

    • Tata to sue Greenpeace over turtle game

      Greenpeace India launched the game at the start of June, the latest step in its seven-year campaign against Dhamra port, which is due to open this summer at Bhadrak in Orissa, a state on India’s eastern coast. The environmental group alleges that the development will endanger local turtles. Turtle Vs. Tata, which is still live online and has been played by nearly 25,000 people, places a turtle in the role of Pac-Man battling against Tata logos in the place of ghosts.

    • Hackers shut down EU carbon-trading website
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • White House proposal would ease FBI access to records of Internet activity

      The Obama administration is seeking to make it easier for the FBI to compel companies to turn over records of an individual’s Internet activity without a court order if agents deem the information relevant to a terrorism or intelligence investigation.

    • China jails writer for 15 years for ‘endangering state security’

      Human rights groups have attacked the heavy sentence a Chinese court has imposed on a Uighur writer who posted critical articles online and spoke to foreign journalists after last year’s riots in Xinjiang.

    • CNN anchors attack the scourge of anonymity

      CNN’s Kyra Phillips and John Roberts spent a good five minutes yesterday expressing serious concern over what they called “the dark side” of the Internet: the plague of “anonymous bloggers” who are “a bunch of cowards” for not putting their names on what they say, and who use this anonymity to spread “conspiracy,” “lunacy,” “extremism” and false accusations (video below). The segment included excerpts from an interview with Andrew Keene, author of Cult of the Amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing our Culture, who explained that the Real Media must serve as “gatekeepers” to safeguard the public against the dangers of anonymity on the Internet. Roberts demanded that bloggers should “have the courage at the very least to put your name on it,” while Phillips announced: “something is going to have to be done legally. . . . these people have to be held accountable, they’re a bunch of cowards.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Sometimes It’s OK To Steal My Games

      Sometimes
      This blog post is about the bright side of software piracy. It’s about the times when not only is it OK to steal my games, but, in fact, I get something out of it. Perhaps an unusual topic for a blog post from a game developer.

      [...]

      Because, when I’m being honest with myself, which happens sometimes, I have to admit that piracy is not an absolute evil. That I do get things out of it, even when I’m the one being ripped off.

Clip of the Day

Copyright vs. Community – Richard Stallman


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