Summary: The Mono-based Banshee reaches out for the MPEG-LA- and Microsoft-taxed clouds; other Novell staff spreads Mono to more areas
“The cloud is a cloudy phrase,” says Professor Eben Moglen. Sadly enough, Canonical has been promoting this terminology, but so have Novell and Red Hat. It’s some very tiring jargon which we labelled “Fog Computing” to better convey its impact on the user.
In recent days we found some interesting posts from the Mono developers at Novell. One of them spreads photos of Miguel de Icaza in the toilet and when it comes to Banshee, he writes about Amazon & MP3 integration (other SUSE blogs promote this too). Well, we wrote about this before [1, 2, 3] and it’s also problematic because of Amazon’s patent deal with Microsoft. Well, look what’s in the news right now:
Novell takes SUSE Linux to the cloud with Amazon
Novell was to have announced at LinuxCon that users will be able to run their own customized instances of SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) 10 and 11 on the AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud. While the announcement was pulled at the last minute, I’m told that the marriage of SLES and AWS is going ahead.
In other news about Fog Computing, one of the reasons Canonical/Ubuntu members gave us for sticking with Tomboy (and thus Mono) is UbuntuOne, which is an element of Fog Computing for Ubuntu. Tomboy is still being marketed through instructional posts, but it really is somewhat of a threat because it’s Mono based. One Mono developer at Novell (the key MonoDevelop guy) writes about a community add-in repository for MonoDevelop and his colleague Jeffrey Stedfast (Ximian) writes about Mono in Android
Yesterday I published a beta version of what is going to be a Community add-in repository for MonoDevelop. This web site is based on the Cydin project, developed during the last hack-week at Novell.
One of the reasons I decided to get an Android phone is that the Mono team is working on MonoDroid, a port of Mono to Android phones. While I’m not on the team working on the port, I am interested as a potential Android developer in using MonoDroid to write some of my own applications for Android phones.
Summary: Tactless display of gender status in Planet SUSE
OpenSUSE has been trying to encourages women to participate in the project. Consider OpenSUSE woman and those preparations which were made by Sirko to celebrate OpenSUSE 11.3: “For number fetischists, I cooked arround 200 cups of coffee and on the barbecue after the talks I grilled 40 sausages and 25 steaks. So on the end I had not a lot of time for take pictures but I know some of the guests did. I hop I get them. On the end it was I cool event and we make next release a Launch Party again.”
As we mentioned this morning, OpenSUSE turns 5 and celebrations from male members sometimes objectify women. Stay classy, people. We are not the only ones to have noticed it (it was included in SUSE’s planet):
This post is showing naked women packaged as a present (for openSUSE’s 5th birthday) and asks “Ah… who does not want such a gift, eh”.
This is the type of thing which also repelled women in Debian, especially after it got syndicated in Debian’s planet. █
Summary: GNU/Linux is patching flaws very quickly (almost immediately), whereas Microsoft hides flaws and patches them a long time after their discovery, sometime patching them secretly or only once attacks strike
Mr. Pogson has just found this news about a vulnerability that affects Vista 7 and all of its predecessors. It took Microsoft no less than about half a year to patch this vulnerability. Yes, check it out:
The software company on Tuesday released MS10-049 to kill the bug in Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and 12 other versions of Windows that are still under support. The patch updates a part of the operating system known as SChannel, or Secure Channel, which is responsible for implementing SSL, which is also referred to as TLS, or transport layer security.
Either way, compare that to the speed of Debian’s patch for the same issue:
I read that M$ has just patched SSL to comply with RFC5746, five months after Debian GNU/Linux did it… on 12 architectures and several versions. Who are you going to call when you need software for your IT system? Debian GNU/Linux!
Microsoft still promotes the mythology that half of Windows PCs are claimed to be zombies just because Windows is ubiquitous. Maybe it has a lot to do with Microsoft’s shoddy patching practices, not supposed “popularity” which Microsoft loves to rave about like a cheerleader. █
“The trouble with you, Andy [Hill, Microsoft developer], is you aren’t willing to listen to schedules. When I tell you what the schedule is, you try to twist my arm to sign up to a schedule that I don’t believe in. You learned that at the Steve Ballmer cheerleading school too, didn’t you? Well, he’s nuts, and so are you.”
Summary: Despite financial backing from the Gates Foundation and in spite of executive connections with Microsoft (e.g. Microsoft’s COO), Walmart continues to de-emphasise Microsoft products, according to an eyewitness account; IronPython has problems similar to IronRuby’s
Well, the Zune has been virtually dead for a long time, but there was never any formal announcement about discontinuation. Moreover, some shops continues to stock and put this unpopular item on a shelf. When will an announcement finally be made to say that Zune is officially dead, just like “KIN”? It’s probably inevitable. Walmart also de-emphasised Xbox 360 earlier this year.
“…[I]t wouldn’t make sense to just drop it from stores in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio so I assume it’s gone”
–Ryan FarmerIn order to ensure that the Walmart situation is just a localised thing, we inquired further only to be told by Ryan Farmer that “they probably don’t want to make an issue of it [...] the one here no longer carries them… buying decisions take place on at least a regional level… that includes most stores within a few hundred miles of here… and it wouldn’t make sense to just drop it from stores in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio so I assume it’s gone” (Microsoft was responsible for making GNU/Linux disappear from Walmart's shelves).
When can Zune be added to our list of dead Microsoft products? It probably won’t be long. Last week we prematurely added IronRuby to it (still walking its last mile [1, 2]) and Microsoft’s IronPython too might be on its death throes based on this new report:
Microsoft’s open source IronRuby and IronPython projects are shrouded in a dubious future as the last of the full-time IronRuby developers departed the company last month.
Both the IronRuby and IronPython mailing lists are getting hit with questions as to the longevity of both projects, particularly from people looking to deploy the software for business use.
In the case of IronPython, Microsoft has demonstrated recent commitment to the project by sponsoring the first PyCon held in Australia back in June.
One concern for the developers is the source code hosting infrastructure is managed by Microsoft and some have suggested moving the code to a third-party repository effectively “forking” the projects.
Mono developer at Novell Jean-Baptiste Evain wrote a response to Schementi’s resignation notice on his own blog saying a fork is “indeed a possibility”, but IronRuby’s code is “far from being a simple”.
Summary: A connection is suggested between the artificial scarcity of patents and one’s ambition to make poor populations more scarce
WE HAVE written extensively about the Gates Foundation’s investment in patents, especially those that offer leverage over the developing nations. Keith Robertson-Turner posted a thought-provoking message some days ago and it seems reasonable to make a copy here.
Subject: Re: Evil Bill Gates secures billions for Monsanto’s agri-patents and eugenics
Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2010 05:16:47 +0100
Verily I say unto thee, that Tattoo Vampire spake thusly:
> Hadron wrote:
>> “Thirty-eight US billionaires have pledged at least 50% of their
>> wealth to charity through a campaign started by investor Warren
>> Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.”
>> What an evil bastard.
Yes, he is.
>> I bet Gates saved, ooo, hundreds of dollars by giving these
>> billions and millions away.
From 1994 to 2006, Bill and Melinda gave the foundation more than $26
billion. Those donations resulted in a tax savings of less than 8.3
percent of the contributions they made over that time.
Assuming “less than 8.3″ means 8.25xxx, I’ll be generous and round the
figure down to 8.2%.
( 8.2 / 100 ) * 26,000,000,000 = 2,132,000,000 or ~2.1 Billion USD.
That was up to 2006.
Also note the wording carefully: “Those donations resulted in a tax
savings”. IOW there’s no explicit correlation between the true source of
these “donations” and the accounts benefiting from the tax break. “We
donated” can mean anything from “our private bank accounts” to “shell
accounts” or even “money laundered though business accounts”. The Gates
Foundation is well known for it’s unethical investments.
Just How British Is BP?
By JOHN COLLINS RUDOLF
In a story in The Times on Sunday, our colleague Sheryl Gay Stolberg
wrote of growing displeasure in Britain over the use of the name
â€œBritish Petroleumâ€ by top federal officials in the United States in
referring to the party responsible for the gulf spill. The company
officially changed its name to BP several years ago, and to some on the
other side of the pond, invoking the old name is a backhanded slap at
Britain and even a threat to the â€œspecial relationshipâ€ our two nations
With tens of thousands of barrels of oil still gushing into the gulf
every day, quibbling over a name might seem petty. Nevertheless, it does
seem fair to note that BP is not exactly a foreign corporation running
roughshod over American soil. As Fraser Nelson, a columnist for The
Spectator, pointed out late last week, 39 percent of the company is
owned by American shareholders and six Americans â€“ half the total â€“ sit
on its board of directors.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is another a major investor, with
nearly 43 million shares.
>> It’ll be interesting to see how nutcases like Roy, Homo and their
>> shill Creepy present this to the COLA minions.
I hope you’re sufficiently “interested” now.
> Hadron, it’s possible for someone to be a humanitarian but still
> engage in questionable business practices.
Or even be a “humanitarian” *in order to* engage in questionable
business practices. Like this, for example:
Ending Africa’s Hunger? Gates Foundation & Monsanto
These are valuable efforts, but one might pause to ask why the need for
such philanthropic intervention arose in the first place. The faltering
quality of African agricultural research institutions, and the decline
in government spending on agriculture, is a result of the budget
austerity imposed by international financial institutions, such as the
World Bank, in the 1980s and ’90s. As Filipino scholar-activist Walden
Bello has noted, Africa exported 1.3 million tons of food a year in the
1960s, but after being subject to international development loans and
free-market fundamentalism, today it imports nearly 25 percent of its
food. In a 2008 report, the Bank’s internal evaluations group lambasted
the policies that led to this situation. What the Gates Foundation is
doing is using its private money to fund activities that once were in
the public domain and were, albeit imperfectly, under democratic control.
The preference for private sector contributions to agriculture shapes
the Gates Foundation’s funding priorities. In a number of grants, for
instance, one corporation appears repeatedly–Monsanto. To some extent,
this simply reflects Monsanto’s domination of industrial agricultural
research. There are, however, notable synergies between Gates and
Monsanto: both are corporate titans that have made millions through
technology, in particular through the aggressive defense of proprietary
intellectual property. Both organizations are suffused by a culture of
expertise, and there’s some overlap between them. Robert Horsch, a
former senior vice president at Monsanto, is, for instance, now interim
director of Gates’s agricultural development program and head of the
science and technology team. Travis English and Paige Miller,
researchers with the Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global
Justice, have uncovered some striking trends in Gates Foundation
funding. By following the money, English told us that “AGRA used funds
from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to write twenty-three grants
for projects in Kenya. Twelve of those recipients are involved in
research in genetically modified agriculture, development or advocacy.
About 79 percent of funding in Kenya involves biotech in one way or
another.” And, English says, “so far, we have found over $100 million in
grants to organizations connected to Monsanto.”
This isn’t surprising in light of the fact that Monsanto and Gates both
embrace a model of agriculture that sees farmers suffering a deficit of
knowledge–in which seeds, like little tiny beads of software, can be
programmed to transmit that knowledge for commercial purposes. This
assumes that Green Revolution technologies–including those that
substitute for farmers’ knowledge–are not only desirable but neutral.
Knowledge is never neutral, however: it inevitably carries and
influences relations of power.
Here’s a more detailed analysis:
Bill Gates advocating eugenics (elitism through genocide):
AFAICT the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is nothing but a corporatist
front for Big Pharma, agri-patents, eugenics, and unethical businesses’
tax breaks and money laundering.
| When all else fails, MOVE.L 4.W,A6 and JSR -726(A6)
Fedora release 8 (Werewolf) on sky, running kernel 184.108.40.206
05:16:13 up 6:26, 1 user, load average: 0.04, 0.22, 0.15
If anyone is familiar with this subject, please consider weighing in. █
Summary: Only days left for Xandros to decide that it wants to keep the Freespire domain alive; CNR Warehouse down for over 3 months
Xandros has already killed Linspire (the distribution), as it announced shortly after it bought the company. It said it would stay committed to Freespire, but it never made a release, not even of Xandros, for which it offers Microsoft patent 'protection' at the cost of $50. According to this thread, Xandros has only days left to renew the Freespire domain name. Will it do it? One former user is convinced that Xandros will make it “officially dead” (we too let our “Boycott Xandros” and “Boycott Linspire” domains expire last month):
According to this thread on the Freespire forum, the Freespire website and domain will expire on August 22, 2010, which at this time is a mere two weeks away. If Xandros doesn’t renew the website and domain and allows the Freespire website to go offline, then Freespire will be officially dead. Xandros cares more about kissing Microsoft’s ass and making insignificant OEM deals and killing off everything associated with Linspire, especially Freespire and CNR. The CNR Warehouse has been down for at least THREE MONTHS. Xandros, do you realize the money you could make from selling “Click N Buy” software on CNR?
That’s just what happens to almost every company which signs a submissive Microsoft deal. █
OIN Adds Members From the EU Despite EU’s Exclusion of Software Patents; ACTA Used to Push for EU Community Patent
Summary: An analysis of ForgeRock’s inclusion in OIN and irritating news about the potential role of ACTA in pushing software patents into Europe
LAST NIGHT we wrote about Microsoft's demise (leading to increased patent aggression) and this morning we wrote about the Europe-based ForgeRock joining the Open Invention Network (OIN). As expected, ForgeRock joined OIN for protection from lawsuits, even though evidence is still lacking that OIN deflects lawsuits from Microsoft et al. with possible exceptions [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. A few hours ago, Simon Phipps from ForgeRock confirmed that they joined for defence purposes and he added: “we have no patents and don’t intend to get any.”
“[W]e have no patents and don’t intend to get any.”
–Simon Phipps, ForgeRockIt is good news that OIN offers a place to companies without software patents. What’s the catch though? How much do they need to pay to join this pool? Canonical is in a similar situation as it recently joined OIN [1, 2], despite the fact that it’s located in Europe and thus has less trouble with software patents (with one exception as “Microsoft has already approached Canonical pressuring them to sign up to a patent deal,” said a recent report).
The reality of the matter is that Microsoft has managed to extort companies like LG using alleged patent violations in Linux. It still affects Android. An ideal solution to this problem would be elimination of software patents, but LG is located in Korea, where software patents are arguably legal. Over in Europe it’s an entirely different story. The FFII’s president, who is Belgian, has just shared the following audio
[Ogg] which he describes as: “FFII France at the RMLL meeting 2010, interview of Rene Mages about software patents” (maybe our French-speaking readers can transcribe and translate parts of it).
FFII’s president has also warned that based on this page, the “IP Summit in Brussels [will have] plenty of pro-software patent companies and proponents of a central patent court” on which he expands by linking to this article (in French) about ACTA. He says that the “Commission is pushing for patents in ACTA in order to create a legal base for the Community Patent [...] ISPs will be responsible of patent infringements of their users if patents are in ACTA, says PCimpact, EU [is] pushing for it” (full or partial translation of the article would again be handy). █