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Microsoft Cannot Win Against Linux, Not With Windows CE

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 8:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trigger Happy TV
Non-British readers should watch this clip and learn about Trigger Happy TV

Summary: Microsoft’s latest ‘leak’ of oversized vapourware is just legacy software on very unappealing hardware

THE CRISIS Microsoft is having in mobile phones is bound to escalate as Microsoft falls further and further behind the competition, which now seems to be led by Linux. According to Engadget, Microsoft’s oversized experimental phone which we mentioned a few days ago is just a Windows CE device; “nothing to see here folks,” says Engadget.

According to the paper, which tested out a Silverlight-based app that allowed users to follow a trail of virtual breadcrumbs back to their parked car, the device didn’t even have a magnetometer at the time of testing — thus the throwback compass you see immediately above — and it’s actually never referred to as a phone. We’ll keep you abreast of any future developments, but even if the project were leagues more exciting we’re not sure if we’d put our hearts on the line. Once burned, twice shy.

That’s the phone we mentioned before. It’s a total embarrassment. Jan Wildeboer saw it and wrote: “If there is a price for bad design, MSFT is a top favourite. Geez. That compass really is too much. Cant. Stop. LOLling… I mean, if #apple leaks a device it at least looks nice. MSFT, please add more design to avoid more #fail.”

Microsoft Xbox 360 Banned by China, But Microsoft Continues to Abduct Government Seats, Data

Posted in America, Asia, Deception, Hardware, Microsoft at 8:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Microsoft’s failings with Xbox 360, lobbying in China, former employees who enter the government, and the dangerous attempts to conquer public records

“XBOX 360″ is a failure and in China — one of Microsoft’s few international allies — this console is banned too (maybe for safety reasons, but not the RRoDs).

As we already know from search, Microsoft relies on the suppressive regime in China to give Bong [sic] a boost [1, 2]. It’s the same with Windows and apparently with Xbox 360. Microsoft wants preferential treatment.

The decision to allow the legal sale of Microsoft’s games console will involve acquiring approval from “several government bureaus”.

Although it is still unclear why consoles are banned, a Niko Partners researcher recently said that the government felt that this action would prevent the youth from wasting their mind.

Microsoft also wants the US government to give its data to Microsoft datacentres, despite the known dangers (the monopolist is using the Fog computing hype, for which there is a lot of empty PR and advertising these days, sometimes from Microsoft blogs). Microsoft’s fan press, the Seattle Times, also writes about government these days. It is playing ‘lobbyist’ for Microsoft staff to run the political system more than it already does (e.g. for avoiding tax):

DIFFICULT times call for more than a capable caretaker of a political seat. The 8th Congressional District needs a representative with vision, a sharp grasp of the issues and the ability to lead. The task is considerable.


DelBene has not held public office and has a spotty voting record, but her résumé is a narrative of leadership and vision. She was vice president for mobile communications at Microsoft and played key roles in leading two technology companies, drugstore.com and Nimble Technology. Most recently, DelBene worked with a nonprofit group that supports microfinance in Latin America.

Dillon has held senior management positions at Expedia and Microsoft. Differences mark the two candidates. Dillon would extend tax cuts made by the Bush administration set to expire later this year. DelBene would let them expire.

Watch the latest step (among many involving lobbyists that Microsoft hired from the government) taken by Microsoft to take over US healthcare:

Adding to Microsoft’s growing presence in the clinical trial business, contract researcher PPD says it’s working with the software giant on a solution for managing REMS programs. The partners have agreed on a joint implementation based on Microsoft’s data aggregation platform–the Amalga Unified Intelligence System–and HealthVault, a personal health application platform.

It is not “a personal health application platform”; it is exactly the opposite. It’s about shifting power from the person to Microsoft applications.

Microsoft Gives Three New Signs of Desperation

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 7:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Surrender of Lord Cornwallis
Surrender of Lord Cornwallis

Summary: The monopolist from Redmond exhibits symptoms of concern and surrender

Microsoft’s IronRuby appears to be dead (disbanded) and another nearly-confirmatory report states: “This leaves Tomáš Matoušek as the sole member of the IronRuby team; Microsoft had already halved the size of the development team to two people a year ago, which according to Schementi, severely limited the teams agility, leaving them unable to deliver IronRuby integration with VisualStudio and delaying the VisualStudio IronPython integration. The final straw for Schementi came when his manager asked him if there was anything he wanted to work on that wasn’t Ruby.”

Separately we learn from Chips B Malroy about “[a]nother small employee benefit cut, squeeze your own employees for extra cash.” Here is the ‘beef’:

Microsoft is ending a discount licensing program that has proven to be hugely popular among companies’ employees wanting cheap copies of Office.

Microsoft is clearly going the wrong way and its CEO is reportedly being pressured out, no matter the consequences.

According to this, sales of Vista 7 disappoint so much that Microsoft — under Steve Ballmer’s leadership — is beginning to attack Apple more and more (rather than promote its own offerings).

The managers stalking the halls in Redmond must finally feel confident in Windows 7, enough that heading into the back-to-school season, they are pitching an Apple attack ad that warns users that “Macs might spoil your fun.” However, Microsoft’s problem is that the piece appears unlikely to square with reality of the target segment: the happening crowd on campus.

When Microsoft shuts down projects, screws its own staff, and even attacks the competition, then it means only one thing; Microsoft is losing it.

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

(Usually attributed to) Mahatma Gandhi

Microsoft Leaves Windows XP SP2 Users Open to Attacks, ZeuS Exploits Windows Flaws, and 4Chan Becomes Unsafe to Windows Users

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

4chan front page in 2009

Summary: Grouping of security news from this week

“Has anybody seen the news about Microsoft not supporting the link vulnerability patch in XP SP2?”

That question was asked by Chips B Malroy earlier today. He cited the following two posts:

i. Registry hack used by gamers allows security for Windows XP SP2

If you use Windows XP SP2, then by now you are well aware that it has come to its end of life. This means no security updates, no software updates, no support. However, an interesting blog post from F-Secure explains how to install security updates on the aging operating system, if a user is willing to assume the risk.

ii. Windows XP SP2: Hack Allows ‘Shortcut Patch’ To Be Installed

PC users who are still using Windows XP SP2, even after the service pack was retired on July 13 can still receive security updates thanks to a trick found by editing the registry.

Had Windows been Free software, no “hack” around the Registry would be needed.

At the moment, all versions of Windows are still open for attacker to exploit. The press doesn’t call out Windows when it reports on the ZeuS Trojan:

Security vendor M86 Security says it’s discovered that a U.K.-based bank has suffered almost $900,000 (675,000 Euros) in fraudulent bank-funds transfers due to the ZeuS Trojan malware that has been targeting the institution.

More here:

A banking Trojan attack has led to the fraudulent withdrawal of more than $1m from online banking accounts maintained with a UK bank since the start of July, according to security researchers.

Web-based malware based on the infamous Zeus cybercrime toolkit is being used to steal money via the unnamed bank’s online banking system. Researchers at the M86′s Security Labs came across the attack after discovering the botnet’s command & control centre, which is hosted in Moldova.

What about Microsoft and Windows? Here is another IDG article whose headline says “Malware Circulating on 4Chan Forums” (it does not say “Windows malware”).

The important point to take away from this is that HTA files are programs, just like EXEs and can do dangerous things.

Here is a funny one:

INSECURITY OUTFIT McAfee has decided it’s time to get tough on cybercrime.

We’re not sure how McAfee was tackling cybercrime before the publication of its report, “Security Takes the Offensive”. Whatever it was doing obviously wasn’t enough, given the malware threats out in the wilds of the Internet.

Security would be simplified if Windows was removed from this equation. Earlier today we posted several links to new articles that claim GNU/Linux/Android superiority over Apple when it comes to security. Apple — like Microsoft — is being negligent again.

Apple sits on a patch for a critical flaw

PEDDLER OF BROKEN DREAMS Apple has apparently come up with a patch for a critical flaw in the Iphone OS that gives a hacker so much control over the device that they might as well be Steve Jobs.

Just because this operating system is proprietary doesn’t mean it’s harder to decipher and thus more secure. Fast patching is key.

IRC Proceedings: August 10th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

#techrights log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 10/8/2010: Software Freedom Day, Nokia and Android, GCC 4.5.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux safer than Windows

    Still another explanation is that Windows procedures for moving information from one application to another were not designed with security in mind. Scripts, too, such as Word or Excel macros, can be saved in data files and can alter the way Windows works, with disastrous results.

  • Events

    • SFD 2010 Registration is OPEN!!

      Dear all, this is with a lot of struggles that we have finally managed to open the SFD 2010 registration! As you can see there is still a lot of ongoing work on the site, and this includes a New Wiki where you can create your team page, a new home page for all the information about Software Freedom International and other generic and important stuff and much more to come.

    • Software Freedom Day Melbourne Photo Shoot

      Last week I was invited to take some publicity shots for the Software Freedom Day Melbourne crew at the State Library of Victoria Experimedia centre. Asides from occasional complaints from my camera (the infamous Nikon ERR CHA happened 3 times) I managed to get about 200 shots which I’ve whittled down to 26 of the best and put them up as a set on Flickr.

    • linux.conf.au 2011 Call for Papers has been Extended
    • LinuxCon: Linux’s Future in the Spotlight

      Industry observers will be looking for answers to that question this week at the Linux Foundation’s LinuxCon conference in Boston, where a wide range of participants, contributors and stakeholders in the Linux ecosystem will be gathering to discuss a broad range of topics.

    • Garrett’s LinuxCon Talk Emphasizes Lessons Learned from Android/Kernel Saga

      A LinuxCon session led by Red Hat’s Matthew Garrett discussed the lessons learned from Google’s ongoing attempts to include power-management code in the mainline Linux kernel… and revealed there’s still some emotions running high in the debate.

      If there was any doubt that feelings are still running high regarding Android code’s inclusion into the mainline Linux kernel, those doubts were quickly dispelled when Red Hat developer Matthew Garrett asked an audience member to leave the room as an argument began brewing between that audience member and another during the Q&A session of Garrett’s talk at the 2010 LinuxCon in Boston today.

  • Kernel Space

    • Lolpolicy for defining Linux security #LinuxCon

      Ever wonder how lolspeak, the language of lolcats could be used to secure Linux?

      At LinuxCon, Joshua Brindle from Linux security vendor Tresys (pic left) detailed something he called lolpolicy for making SELinux security policies easier to manage.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Ubuntu Kernel Developer releases Firmware Test Suite

        Colin Ian King, an Ubuntu Kernel Developer, has released Firmware Test Suite (fwts), a tool for the automatic testing of a PC’s firmware. King explains in a blog posting that many subtle or vexing kernel issues can be caused when a PC’s firmware is buggy and so a tool to automatically check for BIOS and ACPI errors is useful. Fwts incorporates over thirty tests and is able to offer advice on how to fix, or workaround issues, that it finds. In future, King plans to expand the number of tests whenever he finds an automatically diagnosable issue.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • New Raytheon system makes GSA list

        “With a proven track record of more than 190 installations, Raytheon High-Speed Guard is able to sustain full transfer rates on dual-processor commercial off-the-shelf servers running Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 with a strict Security Enhanced Linux policy,” the company said.

    • Debian Family

      • Mini Debian Conference, Pune, Day-2

        After the first day of enthusiastic activities like talks and hands on workshops, the momentum had been set for the second day of the MiniDebConf. The proof for it was the missing students in the Seminar Hall, who were all busy in the lab since morning trying out packaging and other technical skills.

        Although, the intervention was made by us, moving the talks scheduled for the day to the lab.

      • Freeze shows Debian 6.0 release close

        John Ferlito, president of Linux Australia, has said that the latest freeze on Debian 6.0 — known as “Squeeze” — means that users are likely to see a stable release within six months.

        The Debian Project announced the freeze at its annual developer conference “Debconf10″, meaning that no new features will be added to the release.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Synology to release Ubuntu-like Disk Station Manager 3.0 for its NAS range

      There’s great news in store for Synology Disk Station owners, in the form of a major update to the firmware. Although the current version – 2.3 – is well designed, Synology has clearly been busy completely redesigning the interface to its NAS products yet again.


      Rather than a website-like menu on the left, though, there’s now a ‘taskbar’ at the top, which makes DSM 3.0 look a lot like Ubuntu Linux. In fact, there’s more than a passing resemblence to Ubuntu in these screenshots. Given that the Disk Stations are Linux-based devices, this is no huge surprise.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Foss – Strengthening the Indian Software Industry

    A home grown operating system, GNU/Linux based Bharat Operating System Solutions (BOSS) with Indian language support, has been developed by NRCFOSS. BOSS desktop version 3.1 and BOSS server version 1.0 have been released for deployment. Currently the BOSS Desktop version supports 18 Indian languages – Assamese, Bengali,Bodo, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. BOSS comes with features like multimediasupport, cameras and scanners, USB devices, on-line dictionary, internet tools and support for integrating mobile internet devices etc. BOSS can be downloaded for installation from http://www.bosslinux.in. Both BOSS desktop and server versions have obtained Linux Standard Base (LSB) certification from “The Linux Foundation” which ensures that any LSB (Linux Standard Base) certified application will work correctly on BOSS. BOSS has implemented the security features such as Security Audit, Cryptographic Support, Objectreuse functionality, User Data Protection, Identification and Authentication, Security Management etc.

  • Estimating source-to-product costs for OSS: an experiment

    One of my recurring themes in this blog is related to the advantages that OSS brings to the creation of new products; that is, the reduction in R&D costs through code reuse (some of my older posts: on reasons for company contribution, Why use OSS in product development, Estimating savings from OSS code reuse, or: where does the money comes from?, Another data point on OSS efficiency). I already mentioned the study by Erkko Anttila, “Open Source Software and Impact on Competitiveness: Case Study” from Helsinki University of Technology, where the author analysed the degree of reuse done by Nokia in the Maemo platform and by Apple in OSX. I have done a little experiment on my own, by asking IGEL (to which I would like to express my thanks for the courtesy and help) for the source code of their thin client line, and through inspecting the source code of the published Palm source code (available here). Of course it is not possible to inspect the code for the proprietary parts of both platforms; but through some unscientific drill-down in the binaries for IGEL, and some back of the envelope calculation for Palm I believe that the proprietary parts are less than 10% in both cases (for IGEL, less than 5% – there is a higher uncertainty for Palm).

  • Oracle

    • Oracle releases VM VirtualBox update

      Oracle has announced the availability of version 3.2.8 of its open source VM VirtualBox desktop virtualisation application for x86 hardware. The latest maintenance update includes several bug fixes and a number of changes over the previous 3.2.6 release from late June, including various stability improvements.

  • Education

  • Business

    • Rethinking the open-source money train

      In the open-source world we’ve been “hell-bent on deepening relationships with customers” through support (in whatever guise), but if the HBR article is correct, this is the very thing that will be most likely to be dropped the minute a customer can. And, in fact, this is precisely what happens, as Jon Williams (formerly of Kaplan Test) famously pointed out at OSBC years ago.

      So what’s the right revenue model?

      Red Hat has a good model in which it packages up support as an ongoing stream of software updates, patches, etc. (Red Hat Network) Salesforce has an even better model, frankly, wherein it delivers the updates as part of the application: support is just part of the overall experience. But it’s not really an open-source model, so I’ll disregard it here.

      Red Hat’s model, admirable though it may be, is not ideal for all kinds of open-source companies. For example, it is a poor fit for a Java application like Alfresco, my past employer. We considered it but there weren’t enough moving parts in the application itself to make an RHN service compelling enough in itself to justify buying an Alfresco subscription. (Red Hat’s model works precisely because Linux is so complex.)

      Nor does Red Hat’s model work in the case of Canonical, my current employer, which has made a commitment to make all software – including bug fixes, updates, etc. – completely unfettered for customers and non-customers alike. (This isn’t to say that RHEL is proprietary, but only that easy access to the code, including ongoing maintenance, is available under a subscription.)

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • US court backs open source licence over TV maker’s restrictions

      It had included BusyBox software in its high definition TVs. BusyBox is a set of programs for embedded systems, part of which was written by Erik Anderson. He released his software under the GNU General Public License (GPL) Version 2, a licence used by open source programmers that allows others to use material for free under certain conditions.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • On Governments and Intellectual Property (or why we move slowly)

      The article discusses the travails of Mathew Burton, a former analyst and software programmer at the Department of Defense who spent years trying to get the software he wrote into the hands of those who desperately needed it. But alas, no one could figure out the licensing rights for the software it was supposed to work with… so it never went anywhere. Today Mathew has (unsurprisingly) left Defense and has open sourced the code so that anyone can use it. The lesson? The tangled mess of navigating all the license agreements isn’t protecting anyone and certainly not the public. It’s just preventing interesting new and derivative works from being used to render American safer.

      In short, the crises here doesn’t have to do with size of government, but in a misplaced desire by many governments to protect “intellectual property.”

      Now I understand the need of government to protect physical property. A forest, for example, can only be logged once every few generations, so allocating that resource efficiently matters. But intellectual property? Things like documents, data, and software code? It’s use is not diminished when someone uses it. Indeed, often its value increases when numerous people start to use it.

    • Cameron Neylon on practical steps toward open science

      Throughout all of this accept that as research becomes less directed or applied that the measurement becomes harder, the error margins larger, and picking of winners (already difficult) near impossible. Consider mechanism to provide baseline funding at some low level, perhaps at the level of 25-50% of a PhD studentship or technician, direct to researchers with no restrictions on use, across disciplines with the aim of maintaining diversity, encouraging exploration, and maintaining capacity. This is both
      politically and technically difficult but could have large dividends if the right balance is found. If it drops below an amount which can be useful when combined between a few researchers it is probably not worth it.

    • “Knowledge is a mashup”

      If the Smithsonian Commons project is any indication, the answer is yes. I talked to Michael Edson, director of Web and New Media Strategy for the Smithsonian about the project.

    • All Our Ideas facilitates crowdsourcing — of opinions

      Meet All Our Ideas, the “suggestion box for the digital age“: a crowdsourcing platform designed to crowdsource concepts and opinions rather than facts alone. The platform was designed by a team at Princeton under the leadership of sociology professor Matt Salganik — initially, to create a web-native platform for sociological research. (The platform is funded in part by Google’s Research Awards program.) But its potential uses extend far beyond sociology — and, for that matter, far beyond academia. “The idea is to provide a direct idea-sharing platform where people can be heard in their own voices,” Salganik told me; for news outlets trying to figure out the best ways to harness the wisdom and creativity and affection of their users, a platform that mingles commenting and crowdsourcing could be a welcome combination.

    • Open Access/Content

  • Programming


  • FTC busts domain name scammers

    The Federal Trade Commission said today that it had permanently killed the operations of a group that it said posed as domain name registrars and convinced thousands of US consumers, small businesses and non-profit organizations to pay bogus bills by leading them to believe they would lose their Web site addresses if they didn’t.

  • FDA Tells Novartis That ‘Facebook Sharing’ Widget On Its Site Violates Drug Ad Rules

    Technology can certainly make for some interesting clashes with regulatory regimes. Social networking, for example, starts to bring up all sorts of questions about the fine line between certain regulated areas of advertising, and basic free speech communication issues. Eric Goldman points us to the news that the FDA is warning pharma giant Novartis (pdf) over its use of a “Facebook Share” widget on its site promoting the drug Tasigna (a leukemia drug).

  • HP Needs Ann Livermore to Steer It Out of the Muck

    How many CEOs will the Hewlett-Packard board have to force out before it realizes that the person who should have succeeded Lew Platt back in 1999 is Ann Livermore, the HP veteran running the company’s enterprise business? If the board blows it again and fails to name Livermore to replace ousted chairman and CEO Mark Hurd, the way it blew it when Carly Fiorina was booted out in 2005, the wasted opportunity will be inexcusably senseless.

  • TSA Agent Accused of Stealing Cash from Wheelchair-Bound Woman

    A Transportation Security Administration agent has been arrested for allegedly stealing nearly $500 dollars from a wheelchair bound passenger as she passed through a security checkpoint at Newark Airport.

  • Britain’s oldest house found in North Yorkshire

    It was snug, round and had a stunning view of a lake, and its residents liked it so much that they stayed put for several hundred years.

    Welcome to the oldest house in the UK, newly unearthed by archaeologists amid a series of finds which are changing our knowledge of the earliest Britons.

  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

    • U.S. Urges Allies to Crack Down on WikiLeaks

      The Obama administration has asked Britain, Germany, Australia, and other allies to consider criminal charges against Julian Assange for his Afghan war leaks. Philip Shenon reports.

    • Suspect in $9 Million RBS WorldPay Hack Extradited to U.S.

      One of the alleged ringleaders behind the 2008 hack of RBS WorldPay has been extradited to the U.S., where he was arraigned Friday in the Northern District of Georgia on charges that he helped coordinate the global $9.5 million bank card heist.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • In Crackdown on Energy Use, China to Shut 2,000 Factories

      The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology quietly published a list late Sunday of 2,087 steel mills, cement works and other energy-intensive factories required to close by Sept. 30.

      Energy analysts described it as a significant step toward the country’s energy-efficiency goals, but not enough by itself to achieve them.

    • If an ice sheet the size of four Manhattans falls into the ocean, is it global warming yet?

      Global warming is one of those really strange, politically-charged topics. Politics is weird that way. Sometimes really obvious things, like rising global temperatures, become wedge issues between the political parties.

      On one level, it makes sense. If the world is getting warmer and we’re all doomed, fixing the problem could get expensive. After all, environmentally-sound behavior isn’t necessarily cheap.

  • Finance

    • Census Returning $1.6 Billion to Treasury

      Thanks to a better-than-expected response rate, lots of advertising and a little luck, the Commerce Department announced today that it is returning to the Treasury $1.6 billion in savings from the 2010 Census.

    • Why founding a three-person startup with zero revenue is better than working for Goldman Sachs.

      I joined Goldman Sachs in 2005, after five flailing years in a physics Ph.D. program at Berkeley.

      The average salary at Goldman Sachs in 2005 was $521,000, and that’s counting each and every trader, salesperson, investment banker, secretary, mail boy, shoe shine, and window cleaner on the payroll. In 2006, it was more like $633,000.


      Wall Street, like Scientology, has an all-inclusive and claustrophobic value system all its own. Particularly at Goldman Sachs, which prided itself as a breed apart from other firms, this provincialism went even further. Former employees who had left Goldman were rarely mentioned. The unanimous phrase for it was ‘no longer with the firm,’ said in the same tone used to describe the passing of a family member.

      This tendency reached the height of comedy inside the strategies division, where some of the quants published academic papers on the more theoretical aspects of their work. If an author quit Goldman though, his name would be removed from the official version of the publication. It got to the point that some papers had no authors, and had apparently written themselves. So it goes. No longer with the firm.


      The Goldman meat grinder doesn’t really need me. It doesn’t really need you either, gentle reader. That feel-good saying that made the rounds on Twitter a couple months ago is actually totally right: go out and write your own story, or you’ll just be a character in someone else’s.

    • House passes bill to help teachers, public workers

      House Democrats on Tuesday pushed through a $26 billion jobs bill to protect 300,000 teachers and other nonfederal government workers from election-year layoffs.

      The bill would be paid for mainly by closing a tax loophole used by multinational corporations and reducing food stamp benefits for the poor. It passed mainly along party lines by a vote of 247-161.

    • For the Housing Convulsion, Good Data Is Hard to Find
    • For G.M., a Subprime Solution

      The president’s comment came the same day that G.M.’s chief executive, Edward E. Whitacre Jr., avowed, “We don’t want to be known as Government Motors,” and told an industry conference, “If you liked our first-quarter financial results, stay tuned for our second-quarter financial results.”

    • Fed leaders meet as U.S. economic recovery loses steam

      As Federal Reserve policymakers meet Tuesday, they will face the challenge of a faltering economic recovery without a clear consensus on what, if anything the central bank should do about it.

      Fed leaders still think that the recovery is on track, though the pace of growth has slowed and the risks of a dip back into recession have risen since their last policymaking meeting in late June.

    • Gov’t likely to keep big mortgage market role

      Keeping Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in business will cost taxpayers billions. But getting the federal government out of the mortgage business would cost home buyers dearly, in the form of higher interest rates.

    • Pentagon belt-tightening will cut jobs

      Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday that tough economic times require that he shutter a major command that employs some 5,000 people around Norfolk, Va., and begin to eliminate other jobs throughout the military.

    • More on UBS and Secret Banking Jurisdictions

      Birkenfeld got paid, too: A starting salary of 180,000 Swiss francs (just over $170,000) plus an American-style bonus, which in his best year, he said, put him at one million Swiss francs in total compensation (about $946,000). When home from the road, Birkenfeld drove a BMW M5 and split time between a plush apartment in Geneva and a chalet in the shadow of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. Id, Part II.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Google Agonizes on Privacy as Ad World Vaults Ahead

      A confidential, seven-page Google Inc. “vision statement” shows the information-age giant in a deep round of soul-searching over a basic question: How far should it go in profiting from its crown jewels—the vast trove of data it possesses about people’s activities?

    • Internet, schminternet”

      I am baffled by the Google-Verizon agreement on nonnet-nonneutrality. I’m mostly baffled by why Google would put its name to this. What does it gain?

      As I see it, the agreement makes two huge carve-outs to neutrality and regulation of the internet: mobile and anything new.

    • Google under probe in S.Korea over data collection

      South Korean police raided Google Inc’s Seoul office on Tuesday, the latest in a series of legal challenges the company is facing because of data collected by its controversial fleet of “Street View” cars.

    • About That Open Internet Thing

      The Verizon-Google Net neutrality deal is now public. In brief: neutrality for Plain Old Internet, transparency but not neutrality for wireless, and nothing for “Additional Online Services” unless they “threaten the availability” of POI. They’re pushing their plan as a legislative framework.

    • Is Google Naive, Crafty or Stupid?

      The question is, why would Google do this?

      Is it a matter of corporate naivete? Verizon is, at base, a telephone company; it thrives in the interstices of state regulation the way small marine organisms thrive inside the nooks and crannies of a coral reef. That is its preferred habitat. Its organizational culture evolved there and it is brilliantly adapted to it. Google is a company built by engineers.

    • FBI Lab Gives Short Shrift to Missing Persons Cases

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation is giving short shrift to processing DNA from missing persons cases, taking as long as two years to handle profiles, according to a Department of Justice Office of Inspector General report.

      Overall, about 40 percent of the FBI’s backlog of processing 3,200 DNA profiles stems from missing persons cases, according to Monday’s report.


      “Backlogs can also prevent the timely capture of criminals, prolong the incarceration of innocent people who could be exonerated by DNA evidence, and adversely affect families of missing persons waiting for positive identification of remains,” the report added.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Newspaper Gets Around Photography Ban At Football Event With Cartoon Illustrations

      We’ve covered a few different recent stories of various sports leagues or professional sports teams trying to limit how journalists and photographers can report on their games, and have even covered cheeky attempts to get around such restrictions by having reporters cover events from home while watching on TV. Now, a whole bunch of you have been sending in variations on a story in the UK, where the Southampton football team apparently has decided to ban photojournalists from taking images of matches, instead telling newspapers they need to buy photos from the team’s “official” photographer.

    • Copyrights

      • Take.fm Pushes Movie Torrents To The Next Level

        Take.fm is a new movie torrent indexer that is a step above the plain old torrent indexes most BitTorrent users have become used to. The site, which only lists verified and high quality releases, combines a pleasant and great looking user interface with all the functionality needed to find the best films.

      • Sunday Times avoids punitive damages over unauthorised Hendrix CD

        When an edition of the Sunday Times newspaper included a free CD of a Jimi Hendrix concert without the permission of Hendrix’s estate it deprived the estate and two film-makers of potential profits for a year, the High Court has found.

        The paper believed it had permission from the concert’s rights holder to distribute the CD but the musician’s estate said that it had not. The paper will not have to pay additional damages, though, because it had genuinely attempted to licence the music, the Court said.

      • Sunday Times faces £150,000-plus payout over Jimi Hendrix CD
      • Rupert Murdoch, Pirate? Gave Away Jimi Hendrix CD Without Clearing The Rights
      • Yet Another Study Shows How Copyright Can Hinder The Spread Of Knowledge

        The research compared the book markets in the UK (with a strong copyright law) and Germany (with either weak or non-existent copyright), and found much more writing going on in Germany and (more importantly) much more innovation in the bookselling market. In the UK, where copyright limited printings, books were expensive and only owned by the wealthy and elite. In Germany, where copyright was weak or didn’t exist, certainly there was a fair amount of copying of other books, but it resulted in widespread innovation in the book market, including segmenting the market into hardcovers (for the wealthy and the elite) and cheaper paperbacks for those less well off.

Clip of the Day

Richard Stallman Speech Sina 2005-09

IRC Organisation

Posted in Site News at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechRights logo

Summary: Techrights is trying to make IRC logs look right, with less obscenity and more focus

TODAY will be a slow day at Techrights because we are re-organising the IRC channels and the way logs are posted. Stay tuned for a new format and a division that makes the IRC channels more topic-focused. We have also begun drafting a policy for the IRC channels because someone in the #boycottnovell channel was abusing Jono Bacon and this does not need to be tolerated (regulars protested and said there need to be rules).

As always, it helps to remind that the content of IRC logs (and comments) should not be treated as the site’s views to which yours truly can be made liable. We are open to many views, but responsibility for their expression (at times it gets vile) is another matter altogether. Freedom of speech is a top priority, but when speech becomes a weapon, then someone ought to blow the whistle and moderate. It’s a rarity anyway.

Links 10/8/2010: LinuxCon Coverage, KDE Branding, Canonical to Track Installations

Posted in News Roundup at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • A fund manager experiments in geek…

    I will start with a conclusion which should not surprise any geek – but tends to surprise non-geeks: linux is the “real deal” and is a much bigger threat to Microsoft than Apple. However it will also change Apple’s (laptop) business model beyond all recognition – and it will do so via virtualization. It will also change the hardware business beyond recognition. Indeed it is already doing so.

    I have now changed my laptop to a linux (Ubuntu) machine and run a piece of software (Virtual Box) on it. Virtual Box is a program which pretends it is another computer – a virtual computer. On virtual box I run Windows. This is – I believe – a superior set-up and it is unlikely I will ever run a machine primarily on Microsoft again.

  • Desktop

    • Dumping Windows, moving on with Linux

      Recently I went on a week’s vacation to “get away”. When I got back, I had 3 Windows XP computers waiting to be fixed by a few family relatives. Not exactly a warm welcoming committee. The first one was fixed fairly easily, Windows Internet Connection Sharing settings disappeared and I had to guide over the phone on how to set that back up. The second PC was blue screening at random intervals, and the third was infected with spyware and viruses (with loads of popups), as well as running slower than ever. The PCs were basically useless and probably need to be reformatted and have Windows installed all over again.

      However, for a while now I have been contemplating a new rule to deal with users and relatives bringing plagued Windows computers to me, in hopes that I can rectify them like a doctor. Basically, I can sum it up with “No, I will not fix your Windows computer, but I will install Linux on it for you.”. So, I ran the idea of Linux by the users, who seemed open to trying out a new operating system that will be practically immune to spyware and viruses, and overall more stable so that they will not have to bring it back to me over and over again. They too have had enough of the viruses and spyware that occur all too often in Windows.

  • Events

    • Bryant Patten on open source education (LinuxCon session recap)

      In LinuxCon’s education mini-summit, Bryant Patten of the National Center for Open Source and Education gave a presentation titled “Can open source save the world?” He noted a quote from Mary Lange, Educational Technology Resource Teacher at San Diego Unified School District. She says that we often assume students know how to use computers and that they are really good at it. But the truth is, they know how to use technology for personal reasons but not necessarily for education. They will say “I know how to do that,” but when it comes to reality, they don’t.

    • FLOSSCamp 2010
    • FUDCon Tempe update.
    • Goodbye DebConf10

      DebConf was really an awesome conference. I’m happy that I have finally met so many of the fellow Debian people I only knew from the mailing lists or planet. There where lot’s of interesting talks, the hacklabs where always busy, and the overall atmosphere was very good. Now that I’m back in Berlin, I’m already missing it — I’m by the way also missing my luggage which is apparently still at the JFK airport.

    • Report from Debian Conference

      One conference track, for instance, covered Java packaging, which has changed a lot since Sun opened up Java’s licensing. There were sessions on coordinating with the Ubuntu project and on working with enterprise projects such as Samba.

  • Kernel Space

    • SELinux sandboxing for Linux app security

      SELinux is a great way to limit the access rights/roles on a Linux machine.

      But how do you limit CPU or memory usage of a given application? Red Hat engineer Dan Walsh (pic left) has a solution that he calls SELinux Sandbox which he demoed at the LinuxCon conference today.

    • AppArmor more user friendly than SELinux?

      There are number of access control systems available for Linux but which one is easier to use?

      At LinuxCon, Z. Cliffe Schreuders (pic left) a doctoral candidate at Murdoch University in Australia presented the findings of a small usability study he conducted into Linux access control systems.

      Long story short, his study of 39 people found that AppArmor was generally found to be more user-friendly than SELinux. SELinux is the system used by Red Hat, while AppArmor is favoured by openSUSE and and Ubuntu.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • On branding

        With KDE’s 4.5 release day coming up, the KDE Promotion Team has been reviewing our brand structure that we first applied when Software Compilation 4.4 came out. There was lively discussion at Akademy, review of the things that have worked well and those that have not worked so well and discussion of how to make sure we use our brands consistently and in the ways that make sense for who we are and what we are doing:

        * KDE is us, the people who develop, translate, beautify, explain and promote the software
        * KDE’s products include the workspaces Plasma Desktop and Plasma Netbook, many KDE applications and the KDE Platform on which applications can be built
        * KDE Software Compilation is not a brand, but just a name for the stuff that we release simultaneously. It’s unlikely that anyone uses the whole software compilation and probably no one only uses the software compilation – even most distros don’t install the whole thing by default and all include other software too (I don’t use the software compilation, but I do use KDE software)

      • more plasma javascript, plasma mobile

        Marco’s been doing some more amazing work on Plasma Mobile.

      • Javascript DataEngines Get Services
      • Amarok is the future!
      • KDE wikis want you

        There were quite a few good comments on my last blog entry on how to get more people wikiing for KDE. Thank-you to everyone spent time thinking about it and providing feedback.

      • quick wiki experiment update
  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux From Scratch: End of an Experiment

        I enjoyed the hell out of LFS and consider it time well spent.

        Beyond the obvious lessons learned, I took away a new way to evaluate a distro for my personal use: packaging and technical support.

        See, most of this I can do and I enjoy doing. So, a distro basically needs to “take over” those areas that I don’t want to bother with – and, by contrast, get out of my way in those areas I do want to bother with.

    • New Releases (Also BSD)

      • FreeBSD 8.1 (Xfce)
      • Karoshi 7.0
      • Ojuba 4
      • Draco 0.3.1-20100802
      • FuguIta 4.7-20100804
      • eBox 1.5-1
      • Puppeee 1.0
      • Parted Magic 5.2

        Parted Magic 5.2 updates GParted to 0.6.2, fixes some bugs, and improves international language support. The new GParted re-enables MiB partition alignment option and fixes the problem with logical partition move overwriting the EBR. A mess of bugs have been fixed with the help of Dick Burggraaff (burdi01), Jason Vasquez, and most of all, users willing to take the time to report them and help us test. Asian language support has been greatly improved with the addition of SCIM and GCIN. GCIN is automatically started when Taiwanese is selected at the boot menu and SCIM is automatically started when Japanese or Chinese is selected at the boot menu.

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Post Earnings Update: Red Hat Has Trended 8.23% Higher In Past 45 Days (RHT)

        When Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) reported earnings 45 days ago on June 22, 2010, analysts, on average, expected the company to report earnings of $0.18 on sales of $203 million.

      • Deciphering Red Hat’s cloud computing strategy

        Of the three primary Linux vendors (Canonical, Novell, and Red Hat), Canonical and Red Hat have made the biggest splashes in the cloud computing market. Canonical’s focus appears to be simple partnerships and bundling software, rather than the comprehensive enterprise products offered by Red Hat. At its 2010 Summit, Red Hat provided a complete and separate track of cloud sessions that introduced its family of cloud products and services, along with its cloud strategy. While Red Hat provides an abundance of information about its cloud offerings, it’s not always clear how they fit together.

        The overarching strategy behind Red Hat’s cloud offerings is to provide a consistent environment that allows you to run your workloads in your enterprise data center (fully or partially virtualized, with or without a private cloud) or in a public cloud. This consistency extends all the way through licensing.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations

          Just uploaded to the Ubuntu Lucid repository for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (and we imagine it will appear shortly in Maverick too for Ubuntu 10.10) is a new package called canonical-census, which marks its initial release. Curious about what this package provides, we did some digging and found it’s for tracking Ubuntu installations by sending an “I am alive” ping to Canonical on a daily basis.

        • Ubuntu Probably the First Ever Linux Distro to Overshoot Popularity of Linux Itself

          Google Trends is not an authentic source of popularity index, but it can definitely give you a lot of pointers on what future holds for Ubuntu and Linux. As you can see from the above Google Trends screenshot, popularity of Ubuntu is almost same as that of Linux in 2010.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #205
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Peppermint OS One-08042010 Screenshots

            You may recall my previous reviews and screenshot postings I did on Peppermint OS One and Peppermint OS Ice, both I liked very much. Just like previous releases this new release Peppermint OS One-08042010 is based on Ubuntu and includes the LXDE desktop environment with web applications integrated into the desktop using Prism. It includes many bug fixes, new artwork and several new features. PeppermintOS went with Firefox 4.0 beta 2 in this release due to instability with the 3.6 series.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Is Best Buy prepping an Android tablet?

        Consumer electronics retail giant Best Buy has tipped an upcoming Android-based “Rocketfish” tablet, say industry reports. Meanwhile, the rumored Android tablet from Motorola and Verizon won’t ship until Feb. 2011, and other tablets waiting for Android 3.0 may also miss the holiday season, sources say.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Eureka Streams Brings Social Networking to Enterprise

    Eureka Streams a great way to bring the ever-growing field of remote workers together and allow users of huge companies to connect with other employees beyond their immediate cube farm. It’s already got a lot of really great features in place for a newly-launched, with more to come. Learn more at the project’s Google Group or check out the source code for yourself at GitHub.

  • Open Source Projects that Changed the World

    GNU: The grand-daddy of them all, and everyone’s favorite recursive acronym, the GNU project was founded in 1984 on philosophical grounds that software should respect users freedom. GNU is the founder of several other projects, but possibly the most important in sheer scope is the GNU General Public License, the GPL. The GNU project also tried for years to come up with a complete desktop system based around the Hurd kernel, but found another kernel that quickly leapfrogged GNU’s efforts, and was quickly adopted.

    Linux: Linux is now used to refer to a class of operating system that generally uses GNU userspace tools and the Linux kernel. Developed by Linus Torvalds as a college project to clone the Minux kernel, Linux has taken off in ways that were unimaginable a few years ago. Linux runs on the largest mainframes, and the smallest cell phones.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle pulls about face on Solaris support

      They hope the news — published in a release that also said HP and Dell can resell Solaris OracleVM and Oracle Enterprise Linux — signals new pragmaticism and flexibility on the part of a company they feared was becoming ever more proprietary.

    • Should OpenSolaris Die?

      Software freedom means no project with a community will go away, so long as they have the means and will to sustain it. That’s usually considered a good thing, but sometimes it’s less of a feature and more of a bug. Consider, for example, the sad case of OpenSolaris.

      Since Oracle gobbled up Sun, it’s remained mute on the fate of OpenSolaris. Attempts to get someone at Oracle to comment have been fruitless. I’ve spoken to Oracle PR and some of the employees on the community side about OpenSolaris and the responses have been both off the record and totally discouraging. To put it bluntly, Oracle seems to have put OpenSolaris out to pasture and won’t even do its community the courtesy of making it official.

      So a hardy band of OpenSolaris enthusiasts led by Nexenta have taken up the banner and are trying to save OpenSolaris with the Illumos project.

  • CMS

  • Funding

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware

      • Arduino Helps You Build High-Tech Home-Brew Projects

        Wired’s Priya Ganapati took an in-depth look Arduino recently, and says its maturity and strong community are largely responsible for the project’s success. “Arduino’s popularity means it’s easy to get started. Companies such as Adafruit, SparkFun and Liquidware not only sell chips, but they also host blogs that suggest ideas on how to use your Arduino while providing extensive project plans to guide you in completing your creations,” he writes. Lets take a look at two projects that use Arduino as the basis for their gadgetry.


  • Skype Files For IPO, Only 6 Percent Of Users Pay

    According to the filing, Skype’s revenues for the first six months of 2010 were $406 million, with a net income of only $13 million. But a big portion of that was from interest income. That is only a 3 percent net margin, and this isn’t exactly a new business. Its income from operations was only $1.4 million for the six months. However, its gross margins are 51 percent, and have been expanding steadily as the company benefits from the scale of is operations and is able to negotiate lower telephone termination fees around the world.

  • Buried By The Brigade At Digg
  • Digg is dogged by conservative pressure groups

    Multiple accounts are being used by these people, who combine to dislike articles put up for Digg consideration. By not liking something in their large numbers they are able to push those news and commentary items further and further away from the front page of the Digg website.

    The groups regularly send out ‘bury’ lists that urge the gang to act out against articles that lean to the left or in some cases appear fairly random, for example, “SETI Opens All Data To The Public” and “Sarah Ferguson: I Was Drinking At The Time Of Video Sting”.

  • NatWest calls off legal attack dogs

    Moving with the speed of an injured rock, NatWest has finally withdrawn its legal threats against a student advice site.

    118student.co.uk offers advice to students and has pages reviewing all the major banks’ student accounts. Site owner Peter Hale was shocked to receive a letter accusing him of abuse of trademarks and attempting to pass his site off as part of NatWest.

  • Ca. Appeals Ct. Affirms Conviction For Fake MySpace Emails Intended to Influence Custody Dispute — People v. Heeter

    In a criminal prosecution stemming from false evidence used in a family law dispute, a defendant was convicted of sending fake emails to herself with the intent that the emails would be used to influence a court proceeding. The appeals court affirmed her conviction.

  • Science

    • #5: Stephen Hawking’s Warning: Abandon Earth—Or Face Extinction

      Let’s face it: The planet is heating up, Earth’s population is expanding at an exponential rate, and the the natural resources vital to our survival are running out faster than we can replace them with sustainable alternatives. Even if the human race manages not to push itself to the brink of nuclear extinction, it is still a foregone conclusion that our aging sun will expand and swallow the Earth in roughly 7.6 billion years.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Pentagon to Troops: Taliban Can Read WikiLeaks, You Can’t

      Any citizen, any foreign spy, any member of the Taliban, and any terrorist can go to the WikiLeaks website, and download detailed information about how the U.S. military waged war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2009. Members of that same military, however, are now banned from looking at those internal military documents. “Doing so would introduce potentially classified information on unclassified networks,” according to one directive issued by the armed forces.

    • Defcon speaker calls IPv6 a ‘security nightmare’

      The internet’s next-generation addressing scheme is so radically different from the current one that its adoption is likely to cause severe security headaches for those who adopt it, a researcher said last week.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • A joint policy proposal for an open Internet

      It is imperative that we find ways to protect the future openness of the Internet and encourage the rapid deployment of broadband. Verizon and Google are pleased to discuss the principled compromise our companies have developed over the last year concerning the thorny issue of “network neutrality.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks – the good, the bad and the ugly
    • Copyrights

      • World’s Biggest Record Label Pulls Videos from MTV.com

        Negotiations between Vevo and MTV, the two heavyweights of the music video, have broken down with dire results for visitors to MTV’s websites where music videos from Universal Music Group, the largest record label in the world will no longer appear.

      • Henley, DeVore settle lawsuit; Henley rails against remixes and mash-ups, YouTube, ‘dark side’ of Internet; songs are not ‘toys or playthings’

        The lawsuit, which Henley had largely won at the district court, involved two videos made by the DeVore campaign which took the lyrics from Henley’s songs “The Boys of Summer” and “All She wants to do is Dance” and substituted in new lyrics attacking president Obama and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA). DeVore argued that the videos were fair use parodies of Henley’s songs, but the court held that the videos were satirical rather than parodic and rejected the fair use defense. Questions of willfulness and damages were still to be resolved. The court did rule for the defendants on the plaintiffs’ Lanham Act claim, which alleged that DeVore’s videos falsely associated Henley with the Republican’s campaign. DeVore lost the June primary to former HP exec Carly Fiorina (R) for the chance to take on Boxer in November.

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