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08.11.10

Links 11/8/2010: KDE 4.5.0 is Out, Dell Backs GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 9:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Tuesday afternoon

    With his work with Felton Friends of Locally Owned Water (FLOW) and other activities in Felton (like the Friends of the Library), Frank seems to know everyone in Felton. People come to the table and say hello to Frank, and immediately Frank starts off into his pitch about FOSS and GNU/Linux.

    This farmers market table seems to be working well, not only for the LUG — which had nearly 20 people attend the meeting last Saturday — but also for FOSS in general.

    People have a general sense of what Linux is — it’s that operating system thing, right? — and seeing it in an arena that’s not normally a “tech environment” makes it a lot less threatening, for loss of a better term. So I would strongly urge everyone who wants to promote FOSS, GNU/Linux and Linux (for those who want to make that distinction, which I don’t anymore) take the word forth to places where you might not normally find tech talk; like farmers markets, or tractor pulls, or gun shows. Anywhere where people congregate is a place where FOSS can be pitched.

  • Events

    • Hype vs. Reality: Today’s Linux Story from the Media’s Perspective (LinuxCon panel)

      The panel consisted of:

      * Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier, Linux.com & Ostatic
      * Jason Brooks, eWeek
      * Sean Michael Kerner, InternetNews
      * Ryan Paul, ArsTechnica
      * Steven Vaughan-Nichols, ComputerWorld

      [...]

      Sean: The first stories were about SCO, and it’s the “story that keeps on going.” It was FUD and is still FUD. The bogey monster in the corner.

      Steven: Linux is real. It was IBM making Linux the center of their business operations. Now over half of large enterprises are using Linux. We’re now the majority, and that started when IBM said Linux is real.

      Jason: The birth of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It was something that had to happen, where distros forked out into the kind of stability that was needed for where Linux has gotten to be. And it set up an example of a business model and created a space where Red Hat Linux had been, which Fedora filled, and in that space, Debian filled part of it, and CentOS has risen. It was a move that had to happen and an important step in the development of Linux.

      Ryan: The growing ubiquity of the Linux platform in the mobile device ecosystem. It’s practically dominant, whether it’s your TiVo or Kindle. And other key components of the open source stack are there.

      Zonker: The rapid ascent of Ubuntu and forcing companies to really focus on community. Where Red Hat and certainly Novell weren’t focused on community and were concentrating on the enterprise, Ubuntu’s rapid ascent forced companies to look at community in developing their products.
      Kerner: Fedora was born about the same time.
      Zonker: Fedora was a failed attempt until they were forced to do something.

    • The continuum of Linux news

      The continuum includes:

      * Linux kernel releases (and associated kernel development).
      * Linux distribution releases (and associate events/developments)
      * Linux application/system management
      * My app/hardware runs on Linux type stories
      * This is the year of the Linux desktop
      * Linux is (in) secure
      * Linux is used by everyone on Earth (stats stories)
      * Legal stories (including the FUD mongers)
      * Linus says (i.e the kernel is bloated)
      * Shuttleworth says ..

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Linux: Great for the Environment, Bad for Economy?

      Software packaging, gas used to travel to the local big box store for software…I could go on. But I think you see where I’m going with this. When you utilize desktop Linux as an option instead of the usual proprietary OS, you generally find that you’ve saved on both wasted packaging for software as well as the expense of going out to buy it.

      Digital software copies have helped with this to some extent, but the fact is, brick and mortar stores are still stuffed to the gills with packaged proprietary software for the masses.

      Some individuals may say this is fine, as it’s helping our economy. Software sales are connected to jobs. But what happens if there was suddenly a big enough shift in the economy that people stopped buying software both in person and online?

      How is a big box store full of packaged software with a ticking expiration date of OS compatibility a good thing for anyone?

    • Dell backs Ubuntu

      Dell makes PCs for consumers. The company that made its name selling directly from its website, doesn’t claim to be on the bleeding edge of PC hardware but if consumers want it, Dell will deliver it. So it’s unsurprising that in the main Dell has always supplied PCs equipped with Microsoft’s Windows.

      It was a little surprising when Dell recently set up a dedicated sub-section on its site for Ubuntu Linux. Even more surprising was that the microsite listed, in detail, why Dell thought Ubuntu was a big deal. The one that stood out for most users was that the site said that Ubuntu was “more secure” than Windows.

      [...]

      All told, Dell appears to be throwing more and more of its weight behind Ubuntu Linux.

    • An overview of today’s top-ten Linux distributions

      DistroWatch, the popular Linux distribution-tracking website, publishes a continually updated list of what it judges to be the ten most widely-used Linux distributions globally. This post provides a brief overview of each distro on today’s “DistroWatch 10″ list, which range from the newbie-friendly Ubuntu to the sysadmin-oriented Gentoo.

  • Kernel Space

    • Qualcomm’s Rob Chandhok joins Linux Foundation board

      In an early morning announcement, LinuxCon kicked off with an introduction from Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the The Linux Foundation, to the newest member of the Linux Foundation Board, Rob Chandhok of Qualcomm. Qualcomm joins companies like IBM, Intel, NEC and Oracle as a platinum level sponsor of the foundation.

    • LinuxCon: Exploits Show Why Linux Is Vulnerable

      There is a widely held belief that Linux is a completely secure operating system. But to Brad Spengler of the grsecurity project, the belief is far from accurate. And he has the kernel exploits to prove it.

      Speaking at the Linux security summit during the Linux Foundation’s LinuxCon conference here this week, Spengler described how his efforts have resulted in Linux becoming more hardened for security, even though his approach — developing Linux kernel exploits — may be viewed with suspicion by some.

    • Stable kernel updates
    • Missing From Linux 2.6.36: VIA’s TTM/GEM DRM
    • Linux Chief Sounds Off on Android, Apple and App Stores

      Jim Zemlin: In the last year, there’s been this huge increase in device makers using Linux and open source in a much more high volume, high stakes way with more sophisticated supply chains. To make a Nexus One, you’ve got a chipset vendor, a radio supplier, a middleware supplier, a network operator — all these different people passing code around and shipping stuff.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Releases Development Platform, Applications and Plasma Workspaces 4.5.0

        New Versions of the KDE Development Platform, the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces, and many applications are released today with the version number 4.5.0. The KDE team focused on the usability, performance and stability of many previously introduced new features and technologies. Below, find the 3 separate announcements for each of KDE’s products: The Development Platform, the Applications Compilation and the Plasma Workspaces.

      • Five Tips To Get The Most Out Of KDE 4.5

        Did you know that you can actually make Plasma (the desktop shell) animate faster? I didn’t know about this until recently, and it’s really handy.

      • Hands-on: KDE 4.5 launches with tiling, new notifications

        The best way to get a new version of KDE is to wait until your distro includes it in a stable release. Users who want to get an early look can compile the KDE SC 4.5 source code, which is available for download from the project’s Web site. There are also experimental binary packages available for several different Linux distributions. I tested KDE SC 4.5 on Kubuntu 10.04 using the Kubuntu PPA. For additional details about the release, you can refer to the official announcement.

      • Short Rekonq 0.5.0 user review

        Bottom line: for now I switched back to Konqi, but will continue to follow Rekonq’s develpment closely.

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo Family

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva 2010 Spring review

        Being awhile since Mandriva 2010 Spring was released. Considering the company’s financial woes, and the rumored takeover negotiations, we thought they might never release it, but they did. Mandriva Linux 2010, aka Mandriva Linux 2010.1, was made available for download on July 8, 2010. There are three versions:

        * Mandriva One 2010 Spring – the free live CD edition that contains the usual cast of free software and a limited set of non-free applications. Available for 32-bit platforms in KDE and GNOME.
        * Mandriva Free 2010 Spring – the no-cost edition that ships free of proprietary (non-free) applications. Available for 32- and 64-bit platforms.
        * Mandriva Powerpack 2010 Spring – this is the fee-based edition (49 €, or about 65 USD). It comes loaded with all the applications – free and non-free – that you will ever need. It ships, for example, with non-free applications that are missing in Mandriva One. Like Mandriva Free, it is also available for 32- and 64-bit platforms.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Spin Your Own Debian with Live Studio

        Debian developer, Chris Lamb, has created a web-based service to allow users to build their own customized live operating systems. After selecting your preferred options, the server builds and readies your image. Users can select from CD, DVD, USB, or Netboot images. Debian Live Studio requires registration, but is free of cost to use and consists of 100% free software.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu and the importance of community

          Ubuntu and community have largely become two words that are known to work well together. The Ubuntu community comprises a large group of individuals from many backgrounds, not just the stereotypical bearded geek. With such a vast and diverse group of people, there has to be some form of governance. While this largely meritocracy-based control, where individuals are empowered based on their proven contributions, isn’t there to dictate what community members should be doing, it is there to try to organise what individuals would like to offer and how best they can go about that. It is also a support mechanism and network for all Ubuntu enthusiasts.

        • Just Say No!

          If Canonical’s commercial customers want to count their user-base, that’s between Canonical and those customers. I do not think this kind of functionality has any place in a free software product. I do not think this should be in the Ubuntu repository or on the Ubuntu project ISO images.

        • Can we count users without uniquely identifying them?

          Currently this system is only slated to be used by the specific OEM customer who requested it, and it will be up to the customer to disclose the data they collect as they wish. I wonder if it would be a good thing to install on normal ISOs though, but this would be part of our normal participatory community decision making process. Projects like this make think that users would like to be counted, so long as they can’t be tracked. We’ll see how it plays out, it may be something to discuss at UDS if the community feels the data would be useful.

        • Of GNU/Linux, Hardliners and a clear case of double standards!

          First of all, I was not impressed with Shuttleworth’s response to the whole upstream commits issue. He sounded more poetic than a technical guy to me on that post. Jono Bacon did a little better. That notwithstanding, the fact remains that there are millions of Linux (sorry GNU/Linux!) users out there that got exposed to the entire FOSS world via Ubuntu. That in itself is no small feat.

          I also agree that Ubuntu is not synonymous with Linux, I am not aware if Canonical is seeking to achieve that goal anyway. However, what I seriously have a problem with is the needless and mostly very inflammatory comments that some hardliners make at the mere mention of the word Ubuntu. Is it not ironic and hypocritical to have people that claim they are saving others by giving them choices other than Windows get all worked up at the mention of one of the options available as part of the choice subset they offer?

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Cellphones Go To War

          BTS’ particular pride and joy is its “Praefectus” operating system, which BTS claims can link commercial smartphones such as iPhones and Androids (with a BTS proprietary SIMM card installed), militarized handhelds from different companies, and existing military radio nets into a seamless whole.

        • Why Android should be in the main Linux kernel

          Android is often cited as a success story for mobile Linux. Yet, Google’s Android code is no longer part of the mainline Linux kernel.

        • Deviant Google Android probes Linux kernel re-entry

          Google’s Android has won partial re-admission to the Linux kernel, but much work lies ahead for a full re-entry.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • ON TEST: Jolicloud Netbook OS

        With netbooks, you can either run “lite” software, or push the grunt work into the cloud. Jolicloud OS, based on Ubuntu, aims to do the latter.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source: “The King Is Dead, Long Live The King”

    This return to the core engagement in co-development in transparent communities is very welcome. Software freedom matters, and this approach leverages rather challenges it. So the bubble is over, and open source will live on stronger than ever – “the King is dead, long live the King”.

  • Welcome to the 2010 Open Source Awards

    The Open Source Awards is an annual online event held by Packt Publishing to distinguish excellence among Open Source projects.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Draws Controversy Over Silent Firefox Updates

        Mozilla has been in a heated discussion with some of its users over a major change in Firefox 4 that has somewhat snuck up without warning. Firefox will be updating itself silently, without required user action. Now it appears that Mozilla may be looking for a compromise that may result in a half-baked solution that may or may not silently patch security problems in Firefox and most certainly will not upgrade your browser to the latest version.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Loves Linux, Has Advice for Improvements

      Wim Coekaerts, senior vice president for Linux and virtualization engineering at Oracle, came to LinuxCon with a message: The open source operating system will remain a priority at Oracle even now that it owns Sun Microsystems and its competing Solaris OS.

      In a keynote address here at the Linux Foundation’s conference, Coekaerts detailed Oracle’s Linux efforts to date and provided some guidance to Linux kernel developers on where the platform should go next.

    • Oracle Previews Solaris 11

      As part of an effort to maintain customer commitment to its derivative of the venerable UNIX operating system, Oracle today said that it plans to deliver a version 11 of its Solaris operating system in 2011.

    • New: OOo 3.3.0 Beta release (build OOo-DEV OOO330m3) available

      OOo 3.3.0 Beta is available for download. The build is delivered as Developer Snapshot OOo-Dev OOO330m3.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • New Website for Arch Hurd
    • [Linux-libre 2.6.35 & 2.6.34-1 Released]
    • Free Software in Ethics and in Practise

      Richard Stallman will speak about the Free Software Movement, which campaigns for freedom so that computer users can cooperate to control their own computing activities. The Free Software Movement developed the GNU operating system, often erroneously referred to as Linux, specifically to establish these freedoms.

    • Q&A with Richard Stallman

      Freedom for software users is no less important today than it was five years ago.

      The definition of free software is that it respects users’ freedom. It’s free as in freedom — price is not the issue. Specifically, it means that you as user are free to run the program as you wish, study the source code and change it so that the program does what you wish, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. With these freedoms, the users control the software and control their computing.

      Without these freedoms, the software controls the users. Don’t let that happen to you!

      I launched the development of the GNU operating system in 1984 specifically to make it possible to use a computer without letting the software control you. In 1992, the kernel Linux was freed and filled the last gap in GNU. The GNU/Linux system makes it possible to use a computer and have freedom, but in order to realise this benefit, you need to take care to avoid installing non-free programs.

    • Gwene

      Gmane is by now a very important piece of my Emacs life. It allows me to get postings to lots of mailing lists using NNTP, i.e., using Gnus, i.e., in a way fully integrated with the “information retrieval and massaging” engine i’ve built around a handful of Emacs packages and elisp snippets (one central actor among them being org-mode).

    • A look at Emacs

      One thing that I discovered recently is that external factors can sour the impressions of a piece of software.For instance, I was using a UNIX session where the keyboard mapping weren’t optimal. There’s nothing like unfamiliar behaviour for throwing you off track because you felt your usual habits were being obstructed. For instance, finding that a Backspace key is behaving like a Delete one is such an obstruction. It wasn’t the fault of Emacs and I have found that using Ctrl+K (C-k in the documentation) to delete whole lines is invaluable.

  • Government

    • OSFA Award Nominatations Open

      I’m actually fairly excited about the OSFA and their mission, because I think the argument for Open Source and non-Proprietary standards is even stronger for public records than it is in the private sector (and I think it’s pretty damn strong in the private sector to start off with!)

      The US Gov’t could close Bug #1 virtually overnight if it standardized on an Open Source platform. I know that won’t happen, but the American government is so influential, it is a very effective target for Free Software and Open Source promotion.

  • Licensing

    • Linux Foundation Makes Enterprise Open Source Boring

      This led to a very low-key, discreet approach, whereby defenders of the GNU GPL – since this was the main licence involved – tried to persuade companies to comply, without resorting to heavy-handed legal methods. That explains why there have been so few cases argued in court, and why those that have moved in that direction have all ended successfully for free software, as in the latest example.

    • May They Make Me Superfluous

      The Linux Foundation announced today their own FLOSS license compliance program, which included the launch of a few software tools under a modified BSD license. They also have offered some training courses for those that want to learn how to comply.

      If this Linux Foundation (LF) program is successful, I may get something I’ve wished for since the first enforcement I ever worked on back in late 1998: I’d like to never do GPL enforcement again. I admit I talk a lot about GPL enforcement. It’s indeed been a major center of my work for twelve years, but I can’t say I’ve ever really liked doing it.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Mendeley “sexes up” its academic API, opens it to all

      Knowledge equals power, goes the saying. If that’s true, Mendeley’s API could be very powerful indeed. The service, pitched to universities as a way of organising, tracking and ranking citations in academic and science research papers, has opened its API to the public.

    • Open books: The opensource.com summer reading list
    • Open Data

      • ‘Climategate’ university to open up data

        The University of East Anglia is to receive JISC funding for a project to open up its research on global warming to scrutiny and re-use.

        The university, which was at the centre of a scandal revealed by leaked emails from its Climatic Research Unit, will examine how best to expose climate data for re-use, make it easier for researchers to find the data and to understand its validity.

  • Programming

    • Results from the State of Haskell, 2010 Survey

      I got 804 responses, which is more than I expected. Since the survey was sent out to the main Haskell mailing lists, posted on my blog, and announced on Twitter there’s most likely some selection bias in the results. However, given the number of replies, I still think the results are indicative of the community as a whole.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF-REPORT

      Gem for generating .odt files by making strings, images, tables and sections replacements in a previously created .odt file.

    • ODF Become National Format?

      What a surprising news. ODF will soon become a mandatory format for all government documents. I have posted this since a year ago and two years ago, but finally it will come true. Right now, the Indonesian government is trying to migrate all computers in the governmental level to use Open Source to reduce it’s spending just to buy licenses for Windows and many other Microsoft products (mostly Microsoft Office). When that target has been completed (estimated 2011), they will follow with standarizing the national format to use ODF.

    • DeviantArt’s Muro Drawing App Is Pure HTML5 Awesomeness

      Muro works in all modern browsers, and you can dive in and start drawing on a blank canvas, all without Flash or any other plug-in. There are several brushes available to everyone, but to access the more advanced features, you’ll need to create a DeviantArt account and log in.

Leftovers

  • More Intel dirt cleaned by the FTC

    THE LAST PART of SemiAccurate’s look at the Intel/FTC settlement examines some of the worst accusations against Intel. Compiler tricks, technical openness, and a watchdog. Intel could be seriously hamstrung by some of these remedies, and worse yet, they could be the ones hamstringing themselves.

  • The 2.8 million mile man

    Those simple rules have allowed Gordon to rack up a record-setting 2.8 million miles on his beloved Volvo P1800. We caught up with him last week, when, shortly after his 70th birthday, Gordon announced he hoped to reach 3 million by the time he turned 73. That feat will require him to drive an average of around 5,500 miles per month.

  • Health

    • Antibiotics’ efficiency wanes due to global spread of drug-resistant bacteria

      International travel and medical tourism have led to the rapid, global spread of drug-resistant bacteria that may presage the end of antibiotics and leave doctors struggling to treat infected patients, scientists warn today.

      A new gene conferring high levels of resistance to almost all antibiotics has been found to be widespread in forms of gut bacteria that can cause potentially life-threatening pneumonia and urinary tract infections.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Anti-terrorist hotline ad banned for being ‘offensive’

      A radio advert urging listeners to report suspected terrorists has been banned by a watchdog for potentially offending law-abiding people.

      The anti-terrorist hotline ad suggests suspicious behaviour may include paying with cash and keeping curtains drawn.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Gansu landslide: Another manmade disaster?

      Now Tibetan poet and writer Tsering Woeser has compiled an impressive dossier that shows that the Zhouqu landslide in Gansu Province that has killed (so far) 702, with over 1,000 still missing, was likely precipitated by a variety of devastating ecological activities by – yes – man.

    • Coal barons at industry retreat plot to indoctrinate children about wonders of coal

      This past weekend, coal company executives convened for the annual West Virginia Coal Association meeting in White Sulphur Springs, WV. The event, which was closed to the public, was held at the lavish Greenbrier Resort, where an overnight stay can cost upwards of $6,000 (plus tax). One panelist at the meeting, state Senate Finance Chairman Walt Helmick, pointed out the exclusivity of the resort hotel: “I used to drive by the Greenbrier often when I was young, but I never had the money to come in because I’m a former coal miner.”

  • Finance

    • Dollar dips after Fed

      The dollar edged towards a 15-year low against the yen on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve moved to bolster the weakening U.S. economy, while technology plays dragged Asian stocks lower.

    • Goldman Sachs Is Sued by Technicians Claiming Bank Denied Overtime Pay

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was sued by five computer-network technicians who claim the bank denied them overtime pay for their work as contractors.

      The lawsuit seeks class-action status and unspecified damages, Goldman Sachs said today in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The plaintiffs contend they deserve overtime pay for working more than 40 hours a week.

      Goldman Sachs’s conduct was “willful and in bad faith,” according to the technicians, who say the bank never paid them overtime for work weeks that topped 70 hours. More than 100 employees in New York and New Jersey were underpaid as a result, according to the lawsuit filed in May.

    • Regulators probe Goldman’s notice about SEC case

      U.S. and British regulators are investigating the timing of Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s (GS.N) disclosure to them that the bank was the subject of a federal civil fraud probe, Goldman said on Monday.

    • SEC, Tourre Had Preliminary Talks, Agency Lawyer Says

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive director Fabrice Tourre had “very preliminary” talks with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to settle the agency’s civil fraud claims against him, an SEC lawyer said.

      “I would characterize us as having very preliminary discussions along those lines a while back, and that’s all,” SEC lawyer Lorin Reisner said in a hearing today in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

    • Nomura Hires Foran of Goldman Sachs as Bank Analyst Amid U.S. Expansion
    • Deutsche Bank Hires Ted Wasserman of Goldman Sachs Group for Option Sales
    • Goldman’s Derivatives Were 25-35 Percent of ’09 Revenue: Report

      Goldman was already scrutinized by the panel for its derivative deals with the bailed out insurer AIG during the financial crisis.

    • Goldman Sachs’ dependence on derivatives

      According to information provided by the bank to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, derivatives businesses generated $11.3 billion to $15.9 billion of the company’s $45.17 billion in net revenue for 2009, as said in media reports. That’s 25 to 35 percent. Until recently, a good chunk of that came from CDO-related activity.

    • What Do Goldman Sachs and B.B. King Have in Common? The Thrill Is Gone, Baby!

      In “The BoomBustBlog Review of Goldman Sach’s 2nd Quarter, 2010 Performance: I Told You So!” I took the time to remind readers and subscribers that Goldman Sachs, despite adulation in the press and the sell side, barely covers its cost of capital in ROE. This means that the firm is actually a lot riskier (economically) than many either realize or admit.

    • Goldman Sachs under investigation by US and UK watchdogs

      The bank admitted to the investigation in a regular quarterly filing with the SEC, which showed it lost money on ten days in the second quarter, breaking its three-month winning streak from the first quarter when it made money on every single trading day.

      Meanwhile, lawyers acting for Fabrice Tourre, the Goldman banker named in the fraud allegations alongside the bank itself, said during a pre-trial hearing he may subpoena as many as 50 Goldman colleagues at his upcoming trial with the SEC.

    • Laurie Santos: How Monkeys Mirror Human Irrationality

      A monkey economy is as irrational as our human economy. Why do people make irrational decisions in such a predictable way? Laurie Santos looks for the roots of human irrationality by watching the way our primate relatives make decisions. This video documents a clever series of experiments in “monkeynomics” showing how some of the silly choices we make are made by monkeys, too.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • ‘John Doe’ Who Fought FBI Spying Freed From Gag Order After 6 Years

      The owner of an internet service provider who mounted a high-profile court challenge to a secret FBI records demand has finally been partially released from a 6-year-old gag order that forced him to keep his role in the case a secret from even his closest friends and family. He can now identify himself and discuss the case, although he still can’t reveal what information the FBI sought.

      Nicholas Merrill, 37, was president of New York-based Calyx Internet Access when he received a so-called “national security letter” from the FBI in February 2004 demanding records of one of his customers and filed a lawsuit to challenge it. His company was a combination ISP and security consultancy business that was launched in the mid-90s and had about 200 customers, Merrill said, many of them advertising agencies and non-profit groups.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • No Way I’m Trusting Google on Net Neutrality

      Let’s go back in time, shall we, to around 1997 when Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were college students at Stanford. Let’s suppose that there were no such thing as net neutrality, that the idea the internet should be an open place never occurred to anyone.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Payola! (or, How to undermine your own argument to Congress)

        Sony was busted (and paid out much more) for even more egregious violations back in 2005. Sony’s promoters went so far as to tell radio stations that the “real people” (they were planted) calling in to request songs had to be more convincing.

        “As for Saturday nights, you need to rotate your people,” said one message from a promoter. “My guys on the inside say that it’s the same couple of girls calling in every week and that they are not inspired enough to be put on the air. They’ve got to be excited. They need to be going out, getting drunk, or going in the hot tube [sic], or going clubbing… you get the idea.”

        Later that year, fellow major label Warner Music paid out $5 million to make its own payola problems go away.

        In 2006, the world’s largest music label, Universal, paid $12 million for a long history of payola. As the New York Times noted, the payola could take many forms, including trips and baseball tickets.

        “In April 2004, Universal provided Mr. Michaels—by then a programmer at WHYI-FM in Miami—with a New York hotel room and New York Yankees tickets. The company booked the room under a false name and used a false Social Security number to conceal the transaction, the document states.”

      • Tesco goes to Trolleywood

        Because this is not just any movie. This is a Tesco movie. The supermarket giant that inhabits virtually every corner of our existence has this year moved into film-making with a straight-to-DVD movie or, as its makers prefer, a “DVD Premiere”. This autumn, Paris Connections will go on sale exclusively in Tesco stores. If successful, it could revolutionise the movie business, removing distributors and agents in one swipe and transforming how many films are made and funded.

      • “Is this Book Still Under Copyright?”

        Determining whether a work is still under copyright or is in the public domain is one of the most fundamental—and yet most challenging—problems of copyright law. A leading source of the problem is the law. The law of copyright duration is a mess. I have written elsewhere about the problems associated with understanding and applying the duration law. I am happy to post to the Copyright Advisory Office website a new paper intended to walk you through the process of “Researching the Copyright Status of a Book” (PDF). It is linked from relevant pages on the website about permissions and copyright duration.

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Computer Science rap at Stanford


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  6. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  7. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  8. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  9. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  10. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  11. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  12. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  13. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  14. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  15. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  16. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  17. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  18. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  19. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  20. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day



  21. Links 8/10/2014: A Lot of Linux+AMD News, New ROSA Desktop Is Out

    Links for the day



  22. Lawyers' Propaganda About Software Patents and a New AstroTurf Entity Called Innovation Alliance

    Patent propaganda and deception from patent lawyers (among other parasites such as patent trolls) continues to flood the Web, intersecting with reports that prove them totally wrong



  23. How Microsoft Handles Disasters: Grace Hopper Conference Has Been Infiltrated by "Microsoft Disaster Response"

    Free/Open Source software (FOSS) must be a disaster to Microsoft's bottom line because Microsoft is sending "Microsoft Disaster Response" to infiltrate and disrupt a conference about women in FOSS



  24. Links 8/10/2014: Gummersbach Moves to GNU/Linux, Docker Acquires Koality, KDE Frameworks 5.3

    Links for the day



  25. Links 7/10/2014: CAINE 6.0, PC-BSD 10.0.3

    Links for the day



  26. Benoît Battistelli's Balkan Standards in EPO: Part V

    How the European Patent Office facilitated the inclusion of previously-connected elements that are best known for misconduct and dirty politics



  27. Symptoms of Post-x86 Era: Even Intel Apologists Turn Against Bribes-Dependent Intel While Microsoft Continues to Deceive Journalists on Patents in Order to Create a Scare

    The Wintel press, which is bribed by companies that it covers, is challenged by prominent developers and Microsoft continues to plant its patent propaganda in the Wintel-centric (and paid) press



  28. Microsoft Reinforces Its Criminal Organisation Status by Bribing and Corrupting More Officials, Even in Europe

    More criminal activity from Microsoft in Romania and a new TV programme that sheds light on Microsoft's dirty assault on Free software in France



  29. Links 6/10/2014: Linux 3.17, OpenELEC 4.2.1, FreeBSD 10.1 RC1, Debian 8.0 Beta 2 Released

    Links for the day



  30. Links 4/10/2014: WebOS is Back

    Links for the day


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