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08.17.10

IRC Proceedings: August 17th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Enter the IRC channels now

Links 17/8/2010: Palamida Joins Linux Foundation, Natty Narwhal is Next Ubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 5:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Is Linux the computing Tower of Babel?

    There is a story called “The Tower of Babel”. It is based in ancient times where all people spoke the same language and made a decision to build a tower to reach the heavens. Then, according to the story, the big guy from above saw their hubris and decided to scramble their languages and spread these people around like Vegemite on toast. If you don’t know what Vegemite is then beware of Australians offering sandwiches :)

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Linux Showdown

      Last week I gave a presentation at LinuxCon in sunny Boston entitled Desktop Linux Distribution Showdown. The premise was to compare the three most popular desktop distributions to find out which is most user-friendly. It wasn’t easy, and the results might (or might not) surprise you.

    • Touch Slate PC: Made in Pakistan

      You are running a Linux Ubuntu Operating System on the laptop — Considering the Ubuntu penetration into the consumer market, what’s the target audience for this?

      We have customized the UBUNTU OS to feel and work like Windows OS. One major reason was the price of Windows 7 for touch screen is approximately US$ 110, which is 1/4th the price of the complete machine, and we have yet to find a customer willing to pay for the Windows OS. We installed Open Office and can install all Windows-based software through WINE, hence all Windows machine file formats are supported and interchangeable with those on our machine without any issues.

  • Server

    • LSI 3ware RAID Controller Cards Selected by Blue Box Group to Boost I/O Performance for Cloud-based Customers

      The improved data transfer rates and ease of management of 3ware 6Gb/s controllers, combined with Pogo Linux’s robust Intel(R)-based Iris servers, provide Blue Box Group with a scalable, high-performance infrastructure from which to build its cloud-based application and database solution.

    • Oracle dumping HPC: Genius or foolhardy?

      Oracle doesn’t seem to understand that HPC is the birthplace of IT innovation. Many of the technologies used in enterprise computing today got their start in HPC, including clustering for scale, the use of Linux for computationally complex tasks, and high-speed storage and networking gear.

    • IBM Bolsters Power7 Server Lineup

      IBM on Tuesday continued its introduction of servers based on its new Power7 architecture with the debut of several midrange systems, including one purpose-built for data intensive business analytics applications, and a high-end system that features 250 processor cores.

  • Kernel Space/OIN/LF

    • PyMT 0.5 advances multi-touch for Python

      The PyMT developers have announced version 0.5 of their Python multi-touch user interface library. PyMT 0.5 supports Windows 7 and Mac OS X multi-touch APIs and, in this version, now supports Linux multi-touch kernel events, which were introduced in the 2.6.32 Linux kernel.

    • Linux defense group invests in mobile ID security

      Linux patent defense organization Open Invention Network (OIN) announced a partnership with Arizona State University’s Arizona Technology Enterprises (AzTE) office, focused on mobile device identity management research. As part of the agreement, OIN acquired key intellectual property from AzTE aimed at providing “intellectual property for defensive purposes” for open source software on mobile devices, says OIN.

    • Palamida Joins Linux Foundation

      Palamida has become the newest member of The Linux Foundation. It will participate in The Linux Foundation’s new Open Compliance Program.

      The Linux Foundation’s Open Compliance Program includes a set of tools, training curricula and a new self-administered assessment that will allow companies to ensure compliance in a cost-effective and efficient manner. It also includes a new data exchange standard so companies and their suppliers can easily report software information consistently.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Open Invention Network Sponsoring Innovative Mobile Device Identity Management Research at Arizona State University

        A defensive patent management organization formed by IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony to support Linux systems, OIN has established a uniquely collaborative business model attractive to universities. OIN licenses the technologies from its defensive patent pool on a royalty-free basis. It typically works with universities on technology and patent acquisitions, funded research, and defensive publication programs.

      • Intel’s GLSL2 Branch Is Merged To Mesa Master

        As we reported last month, Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center developers responsible for working on their open-source Linux graphics stack has been wanting to merge their GLSL2 shader compiler into the mainline Mesa code-base by the end of August so that it can be released as part of Mesa 7.9 by the end of this quarter. Over the night this milestone was hit and the GLSL2 compiler is now in Mesa master and has replaced the antiquated GL Shading Language compiler long used by Mesa.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KMyMoney 4.5 for KDE Platform 4 released

        After more than 15 months of development, the KMyMoney team has released the first stable version of their personal finance manager built on KDE Platform 4. KMyMoney 4.5, which aims to be the best, free personal finance manager, is now based on KDE 4 and competes with such similar finance applications as GnuCash, a cross-platform personal and small-business financial-accounting program.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GTK+2, GTK+3 Plays More With Cairo For Drawing

        With GNOME 3.0 not being released now until March of 2011, GNOME 2.32 is being released next month and will continue to focus on dependable and trusted GNOME 2.x technologies, such as the GTK+2 library rather than GTK+3 that’s been in development for quite a number of months and is already supported by most GNOME modules.

        While most development work on this primary tool-kit of GNOME is still focused towards GTK+ 3.0, GTK+2 continues to receive a bit of love with GTK+ 2.22 being the last planned stable release. Making way towards GTK+ 2.22 there was the release of GTK+ 2.21.6 last night as one of the final development snapshots towards this release that bids farewell to GTK+2. GTK+ 2.21.6 is being checked-in with the many other official GNOME modules that are providing updates for the GNOME 2.32 Beta release that’s expected later in the week.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Does your organization need a “no policy” policy?

        At Red Hat, employees were given a lot of freedom, much more than in any other company I’d ever worked for. Yet Red Hat also had a strong culture of accountability. What we found over the years (these values were first articulated back in 2002) would probably be counterintuitive to many people:

        The more freedom the company gave, the more accountability it received in return.

        We watched this play out over and over in different parts of the company. More freedom in a department = more personal accountability from employees in that department. Conversely, the less freedom, the less accountability.

      • Installing CentOS Server for Production

        Installing a Linux server is easy, especially if you download one of the latest CentOS ISOs. There’s a nice wizard to walk you through the installation process, and it’s perfectly acceptable to do a standard default install. But, if you intend to do any serious hosting or expect production quality performance out of the system, or if you are just as particular as I am, than a bit of customizing of the install at the beginning could save you lots of time later on down the road.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Dell Expands KACE Systems Management Marketing Team

          An Ubuntu Linux veteran has joined Dell as part of the PC giant’s effort to focus on systems management. Ken Drachnik, a former manager at Canonical (promoter of Ubuntu) has joined Dell as director of product marketing for KACE, The VAR Guy has confirmed. Here are the details and the implications for Dell’s systems management strategy.

        • N-imal?

          And so, we come swiftly to a conclusion: allow me to introduce the Natty Narwhal, our mascot for development work that we expect to deliver as Ubuntu 11.04.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Is Codenamed The Natty Narwhal

          Mark Shuttleworth has just announced via his blog that Ubuntu 11.04, which will be released in April of 2011, is codenamed the Natty Narwhal.

        • Canonical developer decodes Apple’s Magic Trackpad

          Canonical developer Chase Douglas says Ubuntu 10.10 will have multi-touch support for Apple’s Magic Trackpad, iPod, iPad, iPhone, MacBook and MacBook Pro. Canonical’s announcement yesterday that it had released uTouch 1.0, a multi-touch gesture recognising stack for multi-touch based devices, prompted queries about which Apple multi-touch devices were supported. In a Canonical log posting, Douglas has listed the supported devices and announced that he has decoded the protocol for Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SODIMM-sized SBC has onboard flash, microSD slot

      Keith and Koep GmbH announced a SODIMM-sized, Linux-compatible single board computer (SBC) and a compact baseboard to go with it. The Trizeps VI offers Marvell Armada 100-series processors clocked at 800MHz or 1.1GHz, up to 256MB of RAM and 512MB of flash storage, and an onboard microSD socket, while the baseboard adds an Ethernet port and HDMI, among other functionality.

    • Boxing Clever: Livestation On Boxee, EMI On PS3’s VidZone, Sky On I-Can

      Live TV news aggregator Livestation is taking an app on to Boxee, the internet TV media centre software for Mac, Windows, Linux and AppleTV.

      For the time being, Livestation’s premium channels, which it is now trying to push, are available on Mac and Linux only.

    • Cheap Linux wall warts small on size, big on possibilities

      Every geek and technology lover will undoubtedly have stumbled across online adverts for tiny headless Linux-powered devices that are barely larger than the power point they plug into. What can you actually do with them? Plenty, it seems!

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google releases Froyo and new Voice Actions widget

          Froyo is currently available only on a few phones, including Google’s Nexus One and some HTC Evo 4G and original Droid phones. It will soon ship on the Droid 2, and next month will be available for the Droid X, while many other Android devices will be updated in the coming months.

        • Tablets, eReaders, and More Coming from Verizon as 2H Details Emerge

          Motorola isn’t taking their foot off of the gas, bringing an XT610 which is said to feature a Droid X-like screen size (4.3-inches) but with hardware more in the middle of the pack (think 3.2 or 5-megapixel camera and slower CPU). PhoneArena’s source says to expect a $100-$130 price point with a contract. Also arriving in October is a Motorola A957 “Sick” which likely comes from a “Dude, check out how sick this phone is!”

    • Sub-notebooks

    • Tablets

      • Archos thinks small for next Cortex-A8 Android tablet

        A 3.2-inch, Android 2.1 tablet called the Archos 32 has been spotted on the FCC’s website. Like the Archos 5 and Archos 7, the Archos 32 is said to run on an ARM Cortex A8 system-on-chip (SoC), and offers GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, accelerometers, and composite video out, according to a manual posted on the FCC site.

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenLuna Picks Up Where NASA’s Moon Mission Leaves Off

    Though the Obama administration is ending NASA’s moon mission, not everyone is taking the news lying down. A group of engineers and scientists have teamed up with a handful of universities and companies in the space industry to form a collaborative volunteer organization called the OpenLuna Foundation. Together, they hope to pick up space exploration where NASA left off and eventually settle a manned outpost on the surface of the moon.

  • 50 Open Source Replacements for Really Expensive Software

    The “Great Recession” has businesses and consumers alike looking for ways to cut costs. That includes looking for cheaper alternatives to expensive software.

    In most cases, open source applications offer much lower prices, even if you need to purchase paid support. With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of open source alternatives to software that tends to cost a lot.

    This list comes with a few caveats. First, it’s nearly impossible to find prices for the very most expensive software you can buy. Many enterprise software vendors don’t release their prices because they negotiate separately with each customer or because their licensing schemes are so complicated that they could never explain them adequately in less than 5,000 words.

  • OpenOffice Base – A Simple And Useful Database Management Tool

    When most people think OpenOffice, they think of word processing or spreadsheets. What many people do not realize is that OpenOffice also includes Base, a database system roughly equivalent to MS Access. Many businesses and individuals use these systems to allow even non-technical people to enter, store, retrieve and organize their data. Using Base, you can follow simple steps to create an easy, user-friendly way for people to store and retrieve information using custom-designed forms and reports.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • FoxToPhone sends URLs from Firefox to Android phones

        FoxToPhone, formerly known as SendToPhone, is an extension for Mozilla’s Firefox web browser that allows users to send their current web page directly and almost instantly to their Android-powered device using an address bar button. Users can also send any link, image or page to their mobile device by simply right clicking on it and selecting the appropriate action. Additionally, highlighted text can be sent directly to the phone’s clipboard.

  • Healthcare

    • Laws governing medical devices in the EU and their effect on free and open source software

      States of the European Union recently implemented Directive 2007/47/EEC of September 5th 2007 concerning Medical Devices. This Directive amended Directive 93/42/EEC from June 14th 1993. Given that this Directive should now have become part of the national legislation of each EU Member State, it is a good time to take a look at how the provisions of the Directive could apply to open source software.

  • Business

  • Project Releases

    • jQuery Mobile Project announced

      The jQuery Project developers have announced the launch of the jQuery Mobile project, a new project for a cross-platform mobile version of their JavaScript framework. According to jQuery creator John Resig, as part of the new mobile project, the core jQuery library is being improved to work across the various major mobile platforms and their browsers. Resig says that the developers are working to release “a complete, unified, mobile UI framework”. Current expectations are that this will be completed in late 2010.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • A Programmer’s Discussion: Procedural vs. OO

      So I have been writing code of one sort or another for over 15 years (mostly Perl) and there is still one thing I don’t get … what is the advantage of object oriented programming (OOP) over procedural programming (PP)?

      I want to have an open discussion on the topic. Obviously I deal with both OOP and PP, but I am strongly in the PP camp. I am wondering “did I miss the boat”? I heard that Perl 6 will have very strong OOP and possibly will be pure OOP only, so if Larry Wall (way smarter then me) thinks it is a good idea, I must have missed something.

Leftovers

  • Defamation reform – the role of juries

    Lord Lester explained that in his Bill he had reversed the presumption that trial is by jury rather than by judge in defamation proceedings because, in the present situation, the prospect of jury trial supposedly makes it more likely that parties hold out for the prospect of argument before juries rather than settling the case early, which would generally be in the interests of the parties (and, incidentally, save the state costs). I question whether the practical consideration about the likelihood of cases settling earlier is worth changing the principle of trial by jury, but – regardless of the accuracy or merits of that decision on its own terms – I would highlight the great risk involved in this approach.

  • How Do Native Apps and Web Apps Compare?
  • Health

    • Potter to NAIC: Be a Hero to Consumers

      A consumer watchdog told insurance commissioners here that consumers are looking to state regulators to protect them from health care companies’ tendency to put shareholders first.

      Wendell Potter, a former insurance company executive who is now affiliated with the Center for Media and Democracy, Madison, Wis., addressed attendees at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC’s) summer meeting Saturday.

  • Security/Aggression

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Welcome to the Infotainment Freak Show

      In a media atmosphere that prefers entertainment over enlightenment, segments such as the one occurring on Aug. 10 on Morning Joe have become the norm. Rather than spend time talking about issues of substance, Joe Scarborough and his team instead decided to spend a whole segment of his show poking fun at Rep. John Boehner new tan. It’s not as if anything else more important is occurring at the moment in the world, right? Infotainment, as epitomized by this segment, often reigns supreme in the mess that is the contemporary American “news” industry.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Pirate Party Strikes Hosting Deal With Wikileaks

      During his visit to the the Swedish capital Stockholm, Wikileaks spokesman Julian Assange struck a deal with the local Pirate Party. The Party, which participates in the national elections next month, will host several new Wikileaks servers to protect the freedom of the press and help the whistleblower site to carry out its operation.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • iiNet counts meaningful ISPs on one hand

      There are only “four and a half” meaningful players left in Australia’s internet service provider (ISP) market, iiNet supremo Michael Malone said today, with companies like Primus and Eftel not relevant any more in terms of providing competition.

    • Reports Of The Web’s Death Are Greatly Exaggerated Through Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics

      In fact, much of both articles seems to be wishful thinking to support a view that the two authors — Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff — hope the world will come to eventually, rather than what seems to actually be happening. In both cases, it feels like they take the misleading graph at the top as the starting point, and then justify it, even though it’s not painting an accurate picture. There is this new fascination with app madness as the latest new thing — and companies love it because they think it gives them back some of the control they’ve lost to the open web. But, openness tends to find its way through. Closed systems are great for leading a charge to a new level, but they almost always stall out as more open solutions leapfrog them in the end. Apps are still digital, after all, and it’s tough to keep anything digital closed for too long.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • U2 Manager Blames ‘Free’ And Anonymous Internet Bloggers For Industry Troubles

        Paul, the people responding to your speeches and interviews and columns with these concerns are not some bogeymen from the dark with no name reaching out to “attack” you. We’re people who love music and worry about an industry that is making many misguided and dangerous decisions that do more to harm the music world than the new services and technologies you apparently haven’t taken the time to understand. We’re not attacking you. We’re pointing out the very big flaws in your ideas. Rather than repeating the same flawed plans — with gratuitous and incorrect claims of some anonymous mob that’s out to get you — perhaps you could respond to the actual points that we’ve raised? Or is asking for that just a form of an attack?

      • Lawrence Lessig’s new journey (part one)

        Lessig is a visionary when it comes to digital freedom and is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever had the priviledge of meeting in person. I’m a huge Creative Commons fan. I see it and his work as championing one of the basic things there is to know and learn in life: sharing. We’re all part of one big community and, every chance we get, I feel like we should share knowledge, thoughts, science, research, art, and anything else that we know or create.

      • uTorrent Backs Artist, Bundles Album With New Downloads

        Following in the footsteps of The Pirate Bay and the successful BitTorrent distribution platform Vodo, uTorrent has now embraced an artist of their own. Starting today, all new uTorrent downloads will be bundled with the latest album from PAZ, an up and coming musician who hopes to achieve stardom through BitTorrent.

Clip of the Day

Ixquick’s New Proxy Service!


Oracle Action Could Cause Migration to GNU/Linux (at Expense of Solaris) and Help Vilify Software Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Oracle, Patents, SUN at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coffee book session

Summary: By spilling coffee Oracle scares Solaris users, upsets the GNU/Linux community, and helps show what a joke (literally) software patents are

THE ORACLE lawsuit is clearly bad news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12], but let’s find some positive things that can happen as a result of this ludicrously suicidal action.

Oracle is in many ways shooting itself in the foot. First of all, Oracle is harming Java — not helping it — by intimidating existing Java users (while claiming to fight for Java’s integrity). Secondly, Oracle pisses off many of the world’s developers, namely Free software developers (article from Katherine Noyes is an accumulation and Dana Blankenhorn takes it too far). Thirdly, by pissing off Java users and developers, in addition to betraying OpenSolaris, Oracle may only be pushing Solaris users right into GNU/Linux. To give a potential new example:

My opinion on OpenSolaris, Oracle and all open source Sun software

[...]

I will admit that this is most likely where I will end my use of Solaris, unless Oracle surprises the world and continues to maintain the type of quality that Sun brought to the operating system.

Regarding the claim about Java, this is where experts agree. Oracle is shooting its own foot, having bought a company whose stock symbol is JAVA (for no less than billions of dollars).

Oracle is suing Google over the use of Java in Android and that may change everything about Java and open-source development.

That’s one heck of a claim. Unfortunately, the experts agree.

Earlier today we wrote about the revelation that patents were somewhat of a joke inside Sun and elsewhere. It’s a hot news item at the moment. TechDirt writes:

Why The Oracle Java Patents Were Literally A Joke Played By Sun Engineers

[...]

While that patent that Gosling names isn’t included in this particular lawsuit, but others have noticed that one of the patents (RE38104) is a Gosling patent.

Of course, it’s easy to point out that the folks named on the patents are claiming themselves that the patents were part of a joke to see how bad the patent office is. But, you can take it to another level altogether, and have folks who actually know quite a bit about the technology go through the patents one by one and explain why each of them is a total joke.

This is yet another in an exceptionally long line of examples of what a complete mess our patent system has become. I’m curious if the patent system supporters out there can come up with some sort of way to defend the patent system in this particular situation.

Jan Wildeboer has this to say:

Oracle’s next target? Power switches

[...]

Yes. Remote power switches. James Goslin filed for a patent on remote power switches. And he/SUN got it. What originally was a joke, as the “inventor” explains here:

There was even an unofficial competition to see who could get the goofiest patent through the system. My entry wasn’t nearly the goofiest.

is now potentially a fortune for Oracle! If the play their cards right, millions and millions of infringing power switches must be destroyed!

As Groklaw has already found out and Pogson points out, Oracle made the same mistake as SCO, lending support to Android whilst also attacking it.

It appears as though the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing at Oracle. This is not unique to Oracle. Any organization of size will have this happen. I cut my left hand with a saw held by my right hand once and I am one.

It appears that the left hand, say the bosses and their legal advisors, were figuring out what to do about Android vis a vis Java, software patents and all that. It appears that the right hand, say the geeks in charge of certifying stuff for Java, certified Berkeley DB, JE, to run on Android…. Berkeley DB is a good database for smartphones because it is small and efficient. It has less overhead than some SQL databases.

This ought to weaken Oracle’s case, at least in the eyes of outside observers.

Microsoft Cannot Handle Its Own Stack

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 12:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Early merchandising

Summary: Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Service Center is down again, after a downtime lasting many weeks was seemingly resolved; another ministry hit by Windows viruses, so friendly advice suggests migration to GNU/Linux

EARLIER this year we wrote about Microsoft’s VLSC (Volume Licensing Service Center) being down for a long, long time [1, 2, 3]. Well, guess what? It’s down again. [via]

Microsoft’s volume licensing site once again went titsup on Friday and was out for several days with very little explanation from the software vendor about what had gone wrong.

Frustrated customers were simply greeted with a page that read:

“The Volume Licensing Service Center is currently unavailable because we are making essential site improvements. We appreciate your patience and apologise for any inconvenience.”

There are also national problems due to Windows viruses right now (“Scare at Home as dangerous virus stalks ministry computers”). See the comment which says:

This may not have happened if Ubuntu (Linux) was installed on those PC’s. Ubuntu is free, safe, secure, stable, customizable, great community support, efficient with resources and does not need an anti-virus. I have been using it for years and am very happy with it.

Since even Microsoft cannot handle its software, why would ministries? Several European ministries have already moved to GNU/Linux, even on the desktop.

Links 17/8/2010: Linux in Portugal, ~55,000,000 Android Phones This Year

Posted in News Roundup at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Cash and Community: Incentives and Open Source Development

    This is a concern for some members of the FOSS community, like Bradley Kuhn of the Software Freedom Law Center and Software Freedom Conservancy. During the session, Kuhn expressed dismay that “too many people make money” working on FOSS funded by corporations, and not enough projects are being driven by hackers looking to scratch their own itch. Kuhn’s concerns are echoed by a number of contributors in the FOSS community, who say that a strong community should include developers who work on a project out of passion rather than for a paycheck. While Kuhn doesn’t say that projects should be without corporate contributions, he says that too many projects are initiated and driven by companies rather than growing organically and becoming useful to companies over the long run.

    Sun’s purchase by Oracle highlights some dangers of corporate-driven FOSS projects, or projects depending too deeply on corporate largess. Many projects funded by Sun have floundered since Oracle took over the company, and other efforts — such as GNOME’s accessibility work — have taken a hit because Oracle laid off the only developers paid to work on those projects full time.

  • Business

    • New Report Details The Rise of Business Intelligence Software

      Not long ago, OStatic did an examination of Business Intelligence (BI) software applications and suites, and it got a lot of notice. That’s probably because BI is one of the fastest-growing categories in the whole open source arena. In fact, when we covered the results of North Bridge Partners’ 2009 Future of Open Source Survey, I noted that many of the respondents said that they see open source Business Intelligence applications as highly likely to cause disruption in the next five years. Now, there are new signs that BI software is gaining solid entrenchment.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain

      There he goes again, making up nonsense and making ridiculous claims that have no relationship to reality. Ray Kurzweil must be able to spin out a good line of bafflegab, because he seems to have the tech media convinced that he’s a genius, when he’s actually just another Deepak Chopra for the computer science cognoscenti.

  • Finance

    • The heresy of the Greeks offers hope

      The crisis that has led to Greece’s “rescue” by European banks and the International Monetary Fund is the product of a grotesque financial system that itself is in crisis. Greece is a microcosm of a modern class war rarely reported as such, but waged with all the urgency of panic among the imperial rich.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Amazon Case: We’re In!

      Last Friday, the district court in the Western District of Washington granted the motion to intervene that the ACLU filed on behalf of our clients in the lawsuit (PDF) challenging the North Carolina Department of Revenue’s (DOR) repeated requests for Amazon’s customer records in the course of its tax audit of Amazon. These customer records reveal highly personal and intimate details of people’s lives that DOR does not actually need for its tax audit, including what books people are reading, what films they are watching, and what other private and expressive materials they are purchasing. The First Amendment bars the government from demanding and collecting this information.

    • Lawsuit: Disney, others spy on kids with zombie cookies

      According to the complaint, each of the Clearspring affiliates independently and knowingly authorized the company to track users, even on non-Clearspring affiliated sites. A Flash-based tracking cookie was allegedly installed by the affiliate sites without users’ knowledge, and would recreate itself by digging into the Flash storage bin for the same user information if deleted. Essentially, users who were trying to remain privacy-conscious by regularly deleting their cookies were not able to rid themselves of the cookies deposited by Clearspring.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Why Intellectual Property Rights in Traditional Knowledge Cannot Contribute to Sustainable Development

      This paper makes a simple point: If sustainability (however defined) is the goal, intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge do not move us toward the achievement of that goal. The reason is that the only social policy justification for recognizing intellectual property rights at all is that they supposedly serve as an incentive to create socially desirable works of authorship and inventions. They are not and should serve as a reward for past achievements. In other words, outside of their usual incentive function of promoting new technology, intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge have no role to play in the sustainability analysis. This is not to say that traditional knowledge is irrelevant to sustainability; indeed, there is good reason to believe that much can be learned from study and implementation of traditional practices in a wide range of fields. Nor is it to say that intellectual property rights in general play no role in advancing the goal of sustainability. The incentives supplied by intellectual property rights to authors and inventors may help induce new technologies and methods for preserving what is left of the natural state of the planet and its ecosystems. The point is only that intellectual property rights in traditional knowledge can do no good (in promoting sustainability) and may do much harm, by tying up knowledge in exclusive rights that inhibit its application to sustainability (or anything else) without any compensating social gains.

    • Copyrights

      • CLA statement on Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Copyright Act
      • How to save the music industry

        My message was quite simple – and remains so today. We are living in an era when “free” is decimating the music industry and is starting to do the same to film, TV and books. Yet for the world’s internet service providers, bloated by years of broadband growth, “free music” has become a multi-billion dollar bonanza. What has gone so wrong? And what can be done now to put it to right?

        To my amazement, my speech was splashed across the world media. Partly this was due to the timing – President Sarkozy of France had just become the champion of the global music industry, tabling a new law requiring the telecom companies to finally crack down on internet piracy for the first time. But there were other reasons too.

      • A Big Fat Thanks To Record Execs

        In their recent edition, Rolling Stone Magazine has issued a thank you letter to the record label executives. Hopefully they’ll read it and get the bigger picture. It is a very wise and concise note that brings to light the changing nature in which individuals discover and spread music. Hats off to Rolling Stone for trying to get the RIAA and the music big wigs to open their eyes.

      • ACTA

        • Privacy challenges facing the European Union from ACTA

          The WP29 observed that the current text of the ACTA at the very least encourages the implementation of the controversial three strikes policy, which requires disconnecting purported intellectual property infringers, by collaboration between Internet service providers and right holders. Even worst, this policy does not seem limited to piracy and counterfeiting, which was the initial purpose of negotiating the ACTA, but it would extend to infringement of any kind of intellectual property rights, even patents (Articles 2.18.3 and 2.18.3 quarter).

Clip of the Day

Big Buck Bunny (excerpt)


Microsoft’s ‘Android Tax’ Shows Why Mono Should be Treated as Threat

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, KDE, LG, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Samsung at 9:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Money

Summary: Asian companies sell many phones with Linux in them, but Microsoft is extorting all of them

T

he following new article names Samsung, HTC, and LG as “makers of Android-based smartphones,” but it doesn’t say that these are the main three which pay Microsoft for Android (not Motorola and Sony Ericsson for example). To quote:

Samsung, HTC, LG and other makers of Android-based smartphones keep highlighting the fact that there is a vast sea of free applications written for Android that are available to their consumers now.

As Katonda correctly points out:

How much of the Linux penetration was affected when Microsoft came out with ‘baseless’ accusations that Linux infringes on its patents (I did a long story back then for LINUX For You magazine). Microsoft never showed the numbers. All they got was to ‘force’ some Linux companies to sign cross licensing deal with them and extort some money from Linux.

And right now we have Novell trying to shove Mono not just into desktops (Ubuntu Geek promotes a bad idea like Novell’s Banshee, which is uncovered by the MCP) but also into Android [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 , 16]. They try to make things worse. As for those who are using OpenSUSE (it contains more Mono than just about any other distribution, at least in the GNOME side), there is this useful new suggestion about moving to KDE 4.5. It contains no Mono at all.

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

Quote of the Day: “Children Are Often Taught “Computer Skills” That Are Really “Microsoft Windows Skills””

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Quote, Windows at 8:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: BECTA had British children indoctrinated for Microsoft’s benefit and The Guardian explains why it’s morally wrong (c.f. EDGI)

“Children are often taught “computer skills” that are really “Microsoft Windows skills” – how to use Microsoft’s operating system and its Office suite (its two monopolies) – rather than the possibilities of making computers do what you want. As such, children are being equipped to be uncreative office workers, just as those at the end of the 19th century were equipped for the routine of adding up huge lists of numbers in the accounts departments of big companies.”

The Guardian

ZDNet and IDG ‘Open Source’ Blogs Use Oracle for FUD

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Oracle at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Highlighting of some FUD from blogs that claim to be covering “Open Source”

EARLIER today we said we would watch out for FUD emerging from the Oracle-Google case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. We have already covered and refuted the FUD pattern which says that Oracle will ‘kill’ Android. That’s the party line which seems to be most beneficial to Apple.

Several fear-mongering bloggers have said that the whole of Android is at risk and now Linux too. Despite the fact that Oracle depends on GNU/Linux, develops a little for Linux, and even releases new software for GNU/Linux, there is ZDNet spin from Paula Rooney, who argues that Oracle is ready to “take Linux to court”. [via Sam Dean]

Now, armed with the recent Bilski decision, Ellison is ready to do what Microsoft has not done : take Linux to court.

This is not true. Microsoft has actually taken Linux to court when it sued TomTom. For Oracle it would make no sense to do this. Oracle targets not Linux but Java — or more precisely — copies of it. The whole “Android is dead” or “Oracle is attacking Linux” noise is pure FUD. Julie Bort, IDG’s editor of the Microsoft Subnet and fauxopen source blog resorts to a different form of FUD by legitimising Microsoft MVP de Icaza and defending Oracle’s action in some ways. Her colleague Shimel, who works for a Microsoft partner, uses another form of FUD. That’s why we’ve been warning about the “Open Source” blogs in IDG and ZDNet. They are run by people who are somewhat hostile towards Open Source. Why is Google News even syndicating those blogs as though they are “news” authorities? It only creates a pool of disinformation.

ZDNet

“The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had “retired” from Microsoft last week.

“”A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee’s to post to ZDNet articles like this one,” the email said.

“”The theme is ‘Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.’ The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The ‘memo’ suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students,” the author claimed.”

Wired Magazine

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