Microsoft Entryism Claimed at Python

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 9:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Earlier today Microsoft products were advertised in a Python users distribution list, but the message has since then been moderated, i.e. deleted

“Jimmy has an idea for The #DCPython Meetup,” warned us a reader who titled this warning “ENTRYISM – Net – Mono”. Watch the following message carefully:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Meetup <info@meetup.com>
Date: Tue, Aug 03 at 11:27 AM (GMT+4)
Subject: Jimmy has an idea for The #DCPython Meetup

Jimmy’s idea:

“Learn New Programming Languages”
Ever thought of broadening your horizon and increase your value and sell-ability by also learning other programming languages? Well, here’s your chance. There is an idea “Introduction Courses for Beginners” at the The Baltimore/Washington .NET Developers Meetup group: http://www.meetup.com/developers/ideas/

This course is designed to introduce anyone interested in .NET programming to courses like C#, ASP.NET, Silverlight, Windows Azure, etc. Join the group free and cast your vote so we can all take part in professional development and enrichment.

To vote for this idea, follow the link below:


To stop receiving this email, click here:


– Add info@meetup.com to your address book to receive all Meetup emails To manage your email settings for this group, go to: http://meetup.zpugdc.org/settings/ Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York 10163-4668 Meetup HQ in NYC is hiring! http://www.meetup.com/jobs/

Our reader called it “sickening” and added that it “looks like .NET operatives are trying to infiltrate the DC python group” (it is not the first time).

What the reader called “good news” is the fact that “they’re not buying it:

“On Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 12:49 PM, Alex Clark wrote: > > Actually, I asked him to send an email vs. using the “ideas” page (because > this is clearly not an idea for our meetup).”

“Jimmy, You also posted this as an “idea” on the meetup. Please stop spamming. -kpd On Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 12:44 PM, Jimmy wrote: > Ever thought of broadening your horizon and increase your value and > sell-ability by also”

The slanted fonts are quotes inside a quote, “but you gotta love the msft spammers trying to sell non-free to python user groups,” concluded our reader who also sent the following message:

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Fred Drake <fdrake@acm.org>
Date: Tue, Aug 03 at 02:25 PM (GMT+4)
Subject: Re: [DCPython] Learn New Programming Languages
To: DCPython-list@meetup.com

On Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 12:49 PM, Alex Clark <aclark@aclark.net> wrote:
> > Actually, I asked him to send an email vs. using the “ideas” page (because
> > this is clearly not an idea for our meetup).
Ours wasn’t the only area meetup that received this “idea”; I received it from at least two meetups.


Fred L. Drake, Jr. <fdrake at gmail.com>
“A storm broke loose in my mind.” –Albert Einstein

Please Note: If you hit “REPLY”, your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list (DCPython-list@meetup.com)


This message was sent by Fred Drake (fdrake@acm.org) from The #DCPython Meetup.
To learn more about Fred Drake, visit his/her member profile: http://meetup.zpugdc.org/members/11004115/
To unsubscribe or to update your mailing list settings, click here: http://meetup.zpugdc.org/settings/
Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York 10163-4668 | support@meetup.com

“I was going to link you to the idea (spam) itself,” said our reader, but “they’ve moderated (removed) it now, but the link is in one of the previous fwd’s anyway.” We have already seen similar Microsoft advertisements in Free software-oriented mailing lists.

Microsoft Laughs at — Then Deceives on — Interoperability

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Interoperability, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, UNIX at 8:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Don't cheat

Summary: Microsoft continues to discriminate against rival platforms, office suites, and the monopolist prefers to withhold information required to make technology work across platforms

A WEEK and a half ago we debunked Microsoft's "interoperability" claims, only shortly afterwards to discover that Microsoft’s Jean Paoli carries on with the same talking points. For Microsoft to claim respect for interoperability would be a good stand-up comedy show. Here we have a company which is buying another company that worked with GNU/Linux and demonstrated its software on GNU/Linux; then, Microsoft made it Windows-only. We’re talking about Photosynth here.

Microsoft has a habit of talking other UNIX/Linux-based products and making them Windows-only. Where is the interoperability? Going back to Photosynth, consider this new “sponsored by Microsoft” project which claims to be the world’s largest digital photograph. It’s Silver Lie-only. Wonderful, right? Try this.

Truth be told, Microsoft continues to deliberately decrease interoperability. Even Microsoft’s friends at the Burton Group [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24] (now part of Gartner) admit this:

Microsoft is essentially bolting Office to SharePoint to prevent customers from moving to other office products, Creese said.

That’s nice, isn’t it? Paoli, whom we named for his role in the OOXML corruptions circus, has just received belated coverage from the Microsoft booster at The Register. It says:

While open sourcers, IBM, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems and others lined up to establish the Open Document Format (ODF) as an official standard, Microsoft predictably went its own way.

Rather than open Office to ODF, Microsoft instead proposed Office Open XML (OOXML) in a standards battle that saw accusations flying that Microsoft had loaded the local standards voting processes to force through OOXML so it wouldn’t have to fully open up.

Then there were the real-world battles, as government bodies began to mandate they’d only accept documents using ODF. Things came to a head in the cradle of the American revolution, Massachusetts, which declared for ODF but then also accepted OOXML following intense political lobbying by Microsoft, while the IT exec who’d made the call for ODF resigned his post.

The sour grapes of ODF ratification, followed by the bitter pills of local politics, left people feeling Microsoft had deliberately fragmented data openness to keep a grip through Office.

Paoli was once one of Microsoft’s XML architects who designed the XML capabilities of Office 2003, the first version of Office to implement OOXML. Today he leads a team of around 80 individuals who work with other Microsoft product groups on interoperability from strategy to coding.

What lessons did Microsoft lean from OOXML that it can apply to pushing data portability in the cloud?

“I think collaboration is important in general and communication,” Paoli said

“If MS’s lesson from the OOXML debacle is the need to communicate better then they haven’t really learned,” responded IBM’s Rob Weir. Yes, this is not the first time that Microsoft blames poor communication for blunders. Novell said so too, regarding its 2006 deal with Microsoft. It goes along the lines of, “there is nothing wrong with what we did, people just didn’t understand it.” That’s an insult to people’s intelligence, but the target audience might actually buy it because it’s insufficiently informed.


Patents Roundup: Patents on Business Methods, Bilski, the Troll Problem, and Patent Fatalities

Posted in America, Patents at 8:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Waste paper

Summary: Piles of invaluable patents are being used to harm, to extort, and to stifle the industry, especially in the United States

What’s so bad about ‘business method’ patents? Small PR firms ‘goosed’ by a patent on press releases ((huge legal bills, a part which is only good for lawyers)

Kennedy’s business proposition is simple: For a one-time fee of $399, eReleases distributes press releases generated by his small business clients to thousands of members of the media and to the PR Newswire wire service. For an additional fee, Kennedy will write a release.

Bilski: Perhaps Not Much Of A Game Changer After All

Editor: Where does that put software programs?

Kiklis: Software remains patentable subject matter. So, for any new computer technology, if you have a method in which there is transformation or if it’s occurring within a machine and has sufficient ties to the machine, you should be safe. Software programs in the abstract – a program that is not tied to a machine – might not be patentable, but you should be safe if it’s tied to a computer.

Patent Litigation Weekly: Data Shows That Troll Problem Persists

Patent defense schemes seem to be everywhere these days. There’s Allied Security Trust (AST), a coalition of frequently sued companies that aims to pool resources to buy up patents that could be wielded in infringement suits. There’s Article One Partners, a company who goal is to “crowd source” the search for prior art and make money while eliminating bad patents. And there’s the more controversial RPX, whose CEO John Amster has ambitious plans to end the “NPE problem” altogether.

Less flashy, but in many ways more interesting, is PatentFreedom. For $25,000 a year—a small fraction of what the average patent litigation can cost–PatentFreedom offers operating companies access to exclusive research about the non-practicing entities using patents against them. PatentFreedom’s database contains information about more than 330 NPEs, which between them hold more than 23,000 U.S. patents and applications and are involved in more than 3,000 lawsuits–many of them sprawling multi-defendant affairs.

Patents Getting In The Way Of Saving Lives; Fabry Disease Sufferers Petition US Gov’t To Step In (life and death at stake again)

Genzyme is a pharma firm that has a patent on a drug, Fabrazyme, which is used to treat Fabry disease, an enzyme deficiency that can create very serious problems in those who have it — including kidney failure and heart attacks. The problem? Genzyme apparently can’t produce the supply needed by patients. Now, in a true free market, when supply was less than demand, a competitor would step up production, but (oh wait!) there can’t be any competitor, because the patent means that Genzyme is currently the only one legally allowed to make the drug. Now a group of patients who have been forced to ration their dosage at one-third the usual amounts, leading to serious health problems and at least one death, has petitioned the government for the right to break the patent.

“The tiny device I have here in the palm of my hand is the sort of product that could emerge if the information required by the Commission were available, Microsoft no longer has a stranglehold over the world’s networks.”

Andrew Tridgell

Reader’s Post: Steve Ballmer Threatens Apple and All Tablet Makers

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 7:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dirt and letter

Summary: A reader’s contribution sent to us by mail

Anonymous submits: “From the CEO who publically humiliated a rank and file employee by stomping his iPhone and the company that once offered all employees an “iPod” amnesty and fired another employee for blogging about a shipment of Macs:


“[Apple has] sold more than I’d like them to sell. We think about that. So it’s our job to say, we have got to make things happen. Just like we made things happen with netbooks, we have to do that with Slates.”

While there’s nothing new about Microsoft’s market failures and anti-competitive methods, it is unusual for them to admit in public that their way of “competing” is to block the sales of their competitors. What Microsoft tried to do to GNU/Linux netbooks by crushing Asus, Xandros, the One Laptop Per Child project and other netbook makers is something no one should forget. GNU/Linux is unmentioned, as usual, but everyone knows what the bully is talking about. Boycott Novell covered the story extensively from the co-option of other companies to the sad financial results of their compliance. Many might also remember similar things done to the Sharp Zaurus, Palm and the handheld market almost a decade ago. Microsoft has deprived people of cheap and useful hardware but they have been unable to protect their own profits because the technology just gets better and more successful with each iteration. If Microsoft does not go bankrupt beforehand, there is no way they will be able to block $35 computers from India.

Equally remarkable is how pathetic Ballmer and Microsoft have become. He actually brags about getting a “Bing App” on the iPhone, and Microsoft’s skills as an iPhone developer. This is a claim that might impress friends and parents of young developers but is it really a mark of prowess and income for Microsoft? Vaporware is trotted out over news of layoffs, Zune, Kin, Xbox and Vista/Windows 7 failure, ‘We’ve got to push with our hardware partners…as soon as they are ready.’” Wow.”

Rumour: Canonical Interested in Buying OpenSUSE

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Novell, OpenSUSE, Rumour, Ubuntu at 7:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A secret

Summary: Canonical employee is claimed to have blurted out something about Canonical buying OpenSUSE from Novell

A SOURCE of ours, who claims to have spoken with a Canonical developer, said that Canonical might be considering an OpenSUSE acquisition (Novell is still up for sale, and selling in pieces is a possibility). This rumour did get some responses but no other source has yet been able to verify. Has anybody else heard something similar? Mark Shuttleworth was looking to hire SUSE developers about four years ago.

Either way, Novell recently hired KDE's Jos Poortvliet to manage OpenSUSE's community and Poortvliet already lays out a KDE strategy for OpenSUSE. From his good blog:

I’d be willing to write such a proposal (yes, short notice, I know) if ppl think we should have it. I’m NOT saying here that that’s the direction we, as in openSUSE, should choose – personally I like the poweruser proposal as well as the developer proposal. Oh and the cloudy one as well… Besides, I’ve been involved only so short, my vote doesn’t count as I’m not even an openSUSE Member right now. So the openSUSE community should vote – not me. I’m just here to help!

Novell has also just hired another developer for SUSE. From the blog:

I guess most people who discussed with me there knew already and Michael already let the cat out of the bag: I’ve joined Novell, to work on SUSE MeeGo.

There are some other new posts about OpenSUSE. One says that Fedora is losing to OpenSUSE and another offers “quick impressions” of OpenSUSE 11.3:

About two weeks ago, the openSUSE Project released version 11.3 of its popular Linux distribution, and after putting it off for quite a while, I decided to give the latest version a download and see what SUSE has been up to. After all, the last time I took a serious look at SUSE (over four years ago!), it still went by “SuSE”… yes, it’s been quite a while. So far, my initial impressions of the latest version are quite good.

Novell claims to have made its SUSE business profitable a couple of quarters ago. Is it true that it considers selling it now? We hope that someone else has heard something through the grapevine. Novell is super-silent these days as it quietly negotiates with bidders.

British Computer Society (BCS) Distances Itself From Controversial Article Belittling Free/Libre Software Security

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Security at 7:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Escape key

Summary: BCS escapes bad publicity by clarifying that an article it (re)posted does not represent its views; Katherine Noyes explains what makes GNU/Linux particularly secure

LAST WEEK we responded to FUD from the British Computer Society (BCS) Web site. David Evans from BCS replied to our post and politely explained the situation. It turns out that many other sites — not just Techrights — were upset by the article which BCS had published. The article basically claimed that Free/open source software is fundamentally less secure than non-Free software. This whole thing started a “flame war” and The Register (UK) explains how so:

BCS Linux-baiting sparks flame war


Meanwhile, other readers criticised the article as being a “disappointing and unnecessarily biased article, to the point of being misleading” and worse. Part of the problem is that the article was not properly distinguished from being either an analysis or an opinion piece.


Mark Elkins, chair of the OSSG confirmed it had not been contacted and expressed regret at this oversight. Elkins told The Register that his main regret was that BCS members might go away from the article in the mistaken belief it ought to be read as the professional organisation’s considered view on the subject of open source security, instead of an opinion.

There are complaints there about the BCS deleting opinions. If true, that’s truly shameful.

Speaking of Free software and GNU/Linux security, Katherine Noyes began writing some nice articles for IDG rather than ECT. One of her very latest is an article titled “Why Linux Is More Secure Than Windows” (this extends to Free software in general). One line of argument goes like this:

“Linus’ Law”–named for Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux–holds that, “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” What that means is that the larger the group of developers and testers working on a set of code, the more likely any flaws will be caught and fixed quickly. This, in other words, is essentially the polar opposite of the “security through obscurity” argument.

With Windows, it’s a limited set of paid developers who are trying to find problems in the code. They adhere to their own set timetables, and they don’t generally tell anyone about the problems until they’ve already created a solution, leaving the door open to exploits until that happens. Not a very comforting thought for the businesses that depend on that technology.

In the Linux world, on the other hand, countless users can see the code at any time, making it more likely that someone will find a flaw sooner rather than later. Not only that, but users can even fix problems themselves. Microsoft may tout its large team of paid developers, but it’s unlikely that team can compare with a global base of Linux user-developers around the globe. Security can only benefit through all those extra “eyeballs.”

Visibility does make code more secure. To suggest otherwise is to assume that obfuscation trumps peer review. The BCS ought to understand the importance of peer review, as well as having research be published along with open data for replication/verification by independent parties. GNU/Linux development follows the scientific paradigm, which usually makes it more fault tolerant.

IRC Proceedings: August 3rd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Links 3/8/2010: Apache Climbs, Zenoss Joins The Linux Foundation, Illumos Launched

Posted in News Roundup at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Welcome: One Thing to Know Before You Migrate to GNU/Linux

      The silly article goes on for lots of pages/clicks until five things are listed to denigrate GNU/Linux. The truth is there is only one thing to know about migrating to GNU/Linux. Any problems you encounter will be solvable and once solved will not recur.

    • Is Linux Really Harder to Use?

      When North Americans learn to drive a car, they learn to drive on the right side of the road. Those in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, of course, learn to drive on the left. Neither option is “more difficult,” per se, they’re just different. Once you’re used to one approach, however, it can feel awkward at first to do the other.

      So it is with computer operating systems. Desktop Linux is simple, elegant and logical, but it works differently from Mac and Windows.

      In Linux, the graphical user interface (GUI) is optional, for instance. The desktop environment can be completely customized, and package managers let you install software in just a few clicks, no surfing the Web or searching for serial keys required.

    • If Linux is not for Everyone, Neither is Windows

      When contrasting Linux and Windows, one frequently hears the fallacy that Linux is not an OS anyone can use. Read this reaction about it. That recurrent argument is based on several misconceptions that I would like to discuss but, first, let us clarify something: there exists no such a thing as an easy, perfect OS. There is always a learning curve when using a system and the more you get exposed to an OS, the more “manageable” it seems. But easiness of use is only a perception, a mirage. Now, let us take a look at the misconceptions.

  • Server

    • July 2010 Web Server Survey

      Microsoft also experienced a loss this month, serving 648k fewer hostnames worldwide and also losing 265k active sites. A big contributor to this was a loss of 388k hostnames due to lower activity on Microsoft Live Spaces.

    • Desperately Seeking LAMP 2.0

      Today, though, people are so lost in the fog of cloud computing, that they have largely forgotten about LAMP’s appeal. Cloud computing may well go beyond LAMP in terms of its power and potential, but so far it lags woefully behind LAMP in terms of simplicity and ease of implementation. Today, though, people are so lost in the fog of cloud computing, that they have largely forgotten about LAMP’s appeal. Cloud computing may well go beyond LAMP in terms of its power and potential, but so far it lags woefully behind LAMP in terms of simplicity and ease of implementation.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Microsoft Exchange Alternatives for Linux

      Looking for a Linux-friendly groupware suite that can take the place of Microsoft Exchange in your organization? You’ll find a wide range of alternatives for Linux that offer most (if not all) of Exchange’s functionality.

      If your organization has standardized on Microsoft Exchange, switching may be a bit tricky (but can be done). But if your organization hasn’t started down that path, it’s a good habit to avoid. The good news is you’ll find several robust Exchange alternatives for Linux.

    • Bibble 5, DAM for Linux, and data portability

      So I’m evaluating Bibble 5 Pro (version 5.1f). I had to process over 1,000 images this weekend and LightZone was killing me. I really like LightZone. But, damn… it is slow. It does have batch processing capabilities but they’re not particularly robust (there’s no way to apply some adjustments but not others, for example).

    • Gloobus Preview + Nautilus Elementary = Absolutely Beautiful!

      Gloobus Preview is a beautiful file preview application for Linux. Select a file and click space bar to have a quick preview of the file, as simple as that. And when I say file, they include music, videos, images, documents and everything else!

    • Instructionals

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Workstation Benchmarks: Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu Linux

          As I alluded to recently, the second round of Windows 7 vs. Linux benchmarks — with the first round consisting of Is Windows 7 Actually Faster Than Ubuntu 10.04 and Mac OS X vs. Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu benchmarks — are currently being done atop a Lenovo ThinkPad W510 notebook that is quite popular with business professionals. With the high-end ThinkPad W510 boasting a dual quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU with Hyper-Threading plus a NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M graphics processor, we began this second round of cross-platform benchmarks by running a set of workstation tests. In this article we are mainly looking at the workstation graphics (via SPECViewPerf) performance along with some CPU/disk tests.

        • Ubuntu 10.10’s New File System: btrfs by Christopher Tozzi

          As far as production goes, btrfs is not yet an appropriate choice; as its documentation makes explicitly clear, it is “not suitable for any uses other than benchmarking and review.” So while the Ubuntu installer might provide btrfs as an option, I wouldn’t go putting it on the root partition of any production system until it has matured a little more.

          All the same, the new file system promises a number of significant advances on both Ubuntu desktops and servers. In my experiments with it, it’s also worked pretty well, and I’m excited to explore the new possibilities it offers to Ubuntu users as it continues to develop.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Phones

        • Android

          • Android is Awesome

            The question becomes “Why do OEMs not push GNU/Linux?”. The answers are many. OEMs have a tight margin. If unit sales were to drop even a little, their margins and income could drop seriously. They do not want to take the risk so, at best, they want GNU/Linux to be a sideline as Dell has made it. That seems quite unwise in view of the performance of Android. Margins can increase quite a bit per PC if the licence for the OS is taken out of the total. An OEM can either increase share by cutting prices a bit more than competitors selling that other OS or an OEM could charge what they would charge for that other OS and keep the change, increasing margin. Combinations are also possible, cutting a bit in price while cutting out payments to M$. The fact that no large OEM has done this suggests that M$ is paying them handsomely to keep out GNU/Linux.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 things traditional software customers want to know about open source

    I talk to many customers who have installed what I’ll call “traditional” or “commercial” software but what some people call “closed” or “proprietary” software. The most savvy customers understand that most traditional software contains a lot of open source software, and you need to think about open source not just at the application but also at the library level. These customers usually have enterprise installations and either run or outsource huge data centers, have multiple hardware and software platforms, and care a lot about quality of service, service level agreements, maintenance, support, and cost.

  • Oracle

    • Will Illumos Bring OpenSolaris Back To Life?

      Today sees the launch of the Illumos Project, heralded last week in a message on the OpenSolaris mailing lists. The announcement caused much excitement, with many assuming it was a fork of OpenSolaris or another OpenSolaris distribution.

    • Illumos sporks OpenSolaris

      If you were hoping that someone would fork the OpenSolaris operating system, you are going to have to settle for a spork. You know, half spoon and half fork. That, in essence, is what the Illumos, an alternative open source project to continue development on the core bits of OpenSolaris, is all about.

      The disgruntled OpenSolaris community has been ignored by Oracle since it acquired Sun Microsystems back in January, and the project’s governing board has threatened to commit ritual suicide by the end of August to try to get Oracle participating in the open source Solaris development effort.

    • OpenSolaris’ child, Illumos, goes forward without Oracle

      Nexenta, an open-source organization that’s been trying to “combine the OpenSolaris kernel with the GNU/Debian user experience has announced a new open-source effort called “Illumos”. Illumos, Nexenta proclaims “is a 100% community-driven and owned effort that aims to provide an alternative to a critical part of the OpenSolaris distribution, freeing it from dependence on Oracle’s good will.”

      This effort, Simon Phipps, former chief open-source officer for Sun and an Illumos supporter, said is not meant to be a fork of OpenSolaris. Still, as the group said in their announcement, “Oracle has significantly reduced their support for OpenSolaris as a distribution.” Actually, that’s too kind. Oracle has essentially ignored OpenSolaris and paid no attention to the OpenSolaris Governing Board.

    • Illumos launched as OpenSolaris derivative
  • Funding

    • Status.net Gets $1.4M to Take Open-Source Twitter Into the Enterprise

      Status.net, which distributes open-source microblogging software similar to Twitter, has closed a round of financing that it plans to use to take its services into the enterprise market. The Montreal-based startup has raised $1.4 million from New York venture fund FirstMark Capital, along with BOLDstart Ventures, iNovia Capital and Montreal Start Up, and FirstMark partner Scott Switzer — founder of the open-source advertising platform OpenX — will join the company’s board of directors. The new round brings the total amount raised by Status.net to $2.3 million.

  • Government

  • Licensing

    • BusyBox and the GPL Prevail Again

      I thought you’d want to hear about what’s just happened in the Software Freedom Conservancy v. Best Buy, et al case. It’s another BusyBox case regarding infringement of the GPL, mostly about high definition televisions with BusyBox in them, and while the case is not finished regarding other defendants, it’s certainly set another precedent. One of the defendants was Westinghouse Digital Technologies, LLC, which refused to participate in discovery. It had applied for a kind of bankruptcy equivalent in California. Judge Shira Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York has now granted Software Freedom Conservancy, a wing of Software Freedom Law Center, triple damages ($90,000) for willful copyright infringement, lawyer’s fees and costs ($47,865), an injunction against Westinghouse, and an order requiring Westinghouse to turn over all infringing equipment in its possession to the plaintiffs, to be donated to charity. So, presumably a lot of high-def TVs are on their way to charities.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • How Lawyers Can Help Us to Share

      Berkeley attorney and Shareable.net contributing editor Janelle Orsi is the co-founder of the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC), which aims to help social enterprises, worker-owned co-ops, and other mission-oriented enterprises sort through legal red tape. The co-author of The Sharing Solution, published by Nolo in 2009, Orsi also has a private legal practice focused on mediation and helping people share housing, cars, land, and other commodities. We talked to Orsi about the legal gray areas that social entrepreneurs can find themselves in, and what SELC is doing about them.


  • UK.gov smiles and nods at commentards

    More than 9,500 comments were published on the Programme for Government website, which was launched on 20 May, days after the formation of the coalition.

    Whitehall departments published their responses late last week to no fanfare, revealing as they did that not one policy will be changed as a result of the exercise.

  • Change is good. But show your work!

    An anonymous bug filer noticed that the Times seemed to have changed a statistic in the online version of a front-page story about where California’s African Americans stood on pot legalization. As first published, the story said blacks made up “only” or “about 6 percent” of the state population; soon after it was posted, the number changed to “less than 10 percent.” There’s “>a full explanation of what happened over at MediaBugs; apparently, the reporter got additional information after the story went live, and it was conflicting information, so reporter and editor together decided to alter the story to reflect the new information.

    There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it’s good — the story isn’t etched in stone, and if it can be improved, hooray. The only problem is the poor reader, who was reading a story that said one thing at one time, and something different when he returned. The problem isn’t the change; it’s the failure to note it. Showing versions would solve that.

  • New online business model will succeed, says Rupert Murdoch
  • The Politics of Email: Son of Reagan liberally attacks Apple, Google and Microsoft

    Michael Reagan, the eldest son of former US President Ronald Reagan, has accused people who use email services from Apple, AOL, Google, Hotmail and Yahoo! of “supporting the Obama, Pelosi and Reid liberal agenda” and ultimately “hurting our country”.

  • No Wonder it Sold for a Dollar

    Newsweek is running an amazingly bad story today titled “Taliban Seeks Vengeance in Wake of WikiLeaks”. Granted, I have my own beef with Julian Assange but how can an editor let that article go out when the author admits there is no known correlation or causation…

  • Why we can’t ditch 3D glasses just yet

    This is the first in a series of blogs based on a seminar given at the BBC by Buzz Hays, chief instructor for the Sony 3D Technology Center in Culver City, California – where they teach the professionals how to make better 3D. The series starts with an answer to the most common complaint about 3D.

  • The Ghosts of World War II’s Past (20 photos)
  • Environment/Wildlife

    • Fires still spreading in parched Russia

      Russia is mobilising more forces to fight hundreds of wildfires still raging across a vast area east and south of Moscow amid a record heatwave.

    • Rand Paul: Mine safety regulations aren’t needed since “no one will apply” for jobs at dangerous mines

      In April, two miners were killed at the Dotiki Mine in Western Kentucky after the mine’s roof collapsed. The non-union mine had been cited for 840 safety violations by federal inspectors since 2009, and the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing issued 31 orders to close sections of the mine or to shut down equipment during the same period. But when asked about the incident, Kentucky’s Republican Senate candidate, Rand Paul, said “maybe sometimes accidents happen.”

  • Finance

    • Why not Elizabeth Warren?

      Whether Elizabeth Warren heads the nascent Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has become the first pitched battle in how the recently passed financial reform laws are put into practice. If the episode so far is any indicator, the battle between interests and reformers is far from over.

      Detractors say that Warren lacks experience, that she’s not impartial, and that she could make it so expensive to extend credit that only the richest Americans and biggest businesses could get a mortgage, a credit card, or a loan. But these knocks against Warren obscure the likely impact that she would have on the bureau. And mostly, they are straw men.

    • Why We Really Shouldn’t Keep the Bush Tax Cut for the Wealthy

      From a strictly economic standpoint — as if economics had anything to do with this — it makes sense to preserve the Bush tax cuts at least through 2011 for the middle class. There’s no way consumers — who comprise 70 percent of the economy — will start buying again if their federal income taxes rise while they’re still struggling to repay their debts, they can’t borrow more, can no longer use their homes as ATMs, and they’re worried about keeping their jobs.

    • Geithner defends Obama policy on tax cut extension

      Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday it would be “deeply irresponsible” for the Obama administration to support a wholesale extension of Bush era tax cuts, including breaks for the wealthy.

      Geithner said in a nationally broadcast interview that President Barack Obama strongly believes those reductions should be retained for the “95 percent” of taxpayers with individual incomes under $200,000 a year and families below $250,000.

    • Geithner tells bankers not to fear new financial regulations

      Timothy F. Geithner, traveling salesman, swept through Manhattan on Monday making a pitch to skeptical bankers, business leaders and even the mayor.

      His central message: Far-reaching financial regulations signed into law by President Obama last month aren’t something to fear. Rather, they are the foundation of a stronger economy for the months and years ahead.

    • In devising punishments, SEC faced with competing interests

      What’s $75 million?

      For Citigroup, it’s a week of profits, less than 0.1 percent of its market value, a rounding error on a balance sheet worth more than $2 trillion.

    • Countrywide settlement pays fraction to investors

      Former shareholders of fallen mortgage giant Countrywide Financial Corp. are in line to recoup a fraction of their investments now that a Los Angeles judge has approved a settlement worth more than $600 million settlement.

      The payoff doesn’t come close to compensating for the money lost by investors. But it could prompt more lenders to settle legal disputes at the center of the housing bust.

    • 99 Weeks Later, Jobless Have Only Desperation

      Ms. Jarrin is part of a hard-luck group of jobless Americans whose members have taken to calling themselves “99ers,” because they have exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits that they can claim.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Julian Assange Responds to Increasing US Government Attacks on WikiLeaks

      It’s been ten days since the whistleblower website WikiLeaks published the massive archive of classified military records about the war in Afghanistan, but the fallout in Washington and beyond is far from over. Justice Department lawyers are reportedly exploring whether WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange could be charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for publishing the classified Afghan war documents. Meanwhile, investigators in the Army’s criminal division have reported

    • Secretive group seeks recruits, finds skepticism

      A secretive volunteer group that tries to track terrorists and criminals on the Internet went to the Defcon hacker conference this past week in hopes of recruiting information security experts, but it will first have to overcome some skepticism.

      That’s because most information security professionals have never heard of the group, called Project Vigilant. The group’s director, Chet Uber, came forward Sunday at a press conference run by Defcon organizers to try to recruit volunteers from among the show’s attendees. “We need more people,” he said. “By increasing the numbers, we increase the likelihood that we will get the work done.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • No, The Fifth Amendment Does Not Complicate Net Neutrality

      Lyons then tries to twist this into a claim that it’s like an easement on physical property. Again, this is simply untrue. The third parties are not proactively going onto anyone’s network. They have set themselves up and connected directly to the open internet (via their own ISPs to which they pay handsomely for bandwidth) and the only times their content crosses those other networks is when the end users (i.e., the customers of these ISPs) reach out and request that the content be sent to their computer. That’s how the open internet works. If the ISPs don’t like it, they shouldn’t have offered an internet service. To twist this and claim that the internet is somehow a “private network” of these ISPs and service providers who connect to the open internet are somehow “invading” that private network is the height of sophistry.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • FBI claims no-one may publish its seal

      The FBI ordered wikipedia to remove its seal from the article there about the bureau. It threatened to litigate. Unfortunately for the FBI, the law it cited is the one that forbids making counterfeit badges, and Wikimedia’s lawyers mocked them in its response.

      John Schwartz in the NYT: “Many sites, including the online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica, display the seal. Other organizations might simply back down. But Wikipedia sent back a politely feisty response, stating that the bureau’s lawyers had misquoted the law. ‘While we appreciate your desire to revise the statute to reflect your expansive vision of it, the fact is that we must work with the actual language of the statute, not the aspirational version’ that the F.B.I. had provided.”

    • Wikipedia and FBI in logo use row

      A row has broken out between Wikipedia and the FBI over the use of its seal.

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Founder Appeals “Political Gagging” Court Order

        Early 2010, a Swedish court banned Pirate Bay co-founders Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij from operating the site. Last month, the site’s former spokesperson Peter Sunde was also banned and faces a heavy fine for non-compliance. He has now appealed that decision, with his lawyer describing the court ruling as “political gagging”.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Hadopi’s secret 3-strikes security spec leaked

          Government certified security software: the French government’s Hadopi wants to spy on everything on your computer, every time you log on, otherwise you cannot defend yourself against breach of copyright allegations. How far does this breach our right to privacy or freedom of expression?


          Although the consultation is supposed to be public, the details of the specification that Hadopi is requiring were kept secret. The leak is significant because it reveals a proposal for surveillance on Internet users’ own computers.

Clip of the Day

Compiz NOMAD Demonstration

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