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08.25.10

Microsoft Tactic: We Love Open Source, But Those ‘Zealots’ Don’t Love Us Back

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 7:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samson and Delilah

Summary: One last response to the provocation from Microsoft (charm offensive), which IDG’s fauxpen source blog is still spinning (third time now)

IT WAS ONLY a matter of time until IDG trolled yet again for Microsoft. For those who missed the “OOXML Paoli” series, here are prior posts from this week:

So now it’s the turn of Julie Bort’s colleague to use the same old tricks. He is a Microsoft partner (through his employer) yet he writes a lot about “open source” and from IDG he spins the latest debacle as “Open Source” being intolerant of Microsoft (like calling people who are on the receiving end of an abusive relationship “zealots” or “intolerant”). One has got to love this part:

Anyway, the real shame is that Microsoft is much more embracing of open source and they will probably never get credit for it.

Microsoft is trying so hard to make it proprietary-reliant, more reliant on Windows for example. What credit does it deserve for that? Shockingly I agree with Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, for a change. He says that Microsoft needs to take a crown jewel like Windows into the GPL’s domain in order to prove “love” for Free/Open Source software (the “freedom” part matters). It will never happen of course, not in the foreseeable future. Here is another important point:

Put an end to the whole “open source infringes on our patents” rhetoric/FUD/nonsense. If not put an end to it, come clean as to what these infringements are so that the it can work with the open source community to rectify outstanding issues. As CEO, this job should fall to Ballmer, and the open source community should expect a statement shortly (although I wouldn’t hold my breath).

[...]

Without taking measurable actions to prove that it supports open source, Microsoft’s love of it as it stands could be little more than a return to the old ways of embrace, extend and extinguish.

Adrian’s colleague Dana Blankenhorn has been writing some reasonable posts recently and this too is one of them:

Of course just because Microsoft loves open source that doesn’t mean it does what the open source movement wants it to do as opposed to what Microsoft wants to do. Microsoft loves open source because it has found a way to twist it in the direction of its own self-interest.

Yes, that’s exactly it. Microsoft is trying to change and redefine Open Source to the point where it can relate to this bogus, twisted, and subverted definition, wherein even Windows-only software for Fog Computing can be labeled “Open” and proprietary Office formats can be called “Open” too. That’s Paoli’s expertise. Here is a funny new cartoon about what Microsoft is trying to achieve.

“More Open Than Open [...] I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Microsoft’s Jason Matusow, integral part of the ‘Open’ XML corruptions (further background in [1, 2, 3])

IRC Proceedings: August 25th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

HTC, Greens, and EFF Go After Apple

Posted in Apple, EFF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 6:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Utah State Prison Wasatch Facility with Apple

Summary: A look at HTC’s counterclaim, filed after Apple sued Linux via HTC/Android; Apple refuses to have its phones tested for environmental impact; EFF goes hard on Apple for what it calls “traitorware” (iOS)

Apple’s case against HTC is also Apple’s case against Linux. Groklaw has begun covering this case, which helps show that Groklaw does not always take Apple's side.

HTC denies infringing the patents, of course, but they also say as a first affirmative defense that four of the patents are invalid for “failure to comply with one or more of the conditions for patentability set forth in Title 35 of the United States Code, including, but not limited to, utility, novelty, non-obviousness, enablement, written description and definiteness in accordance with 35 U.S.C. §§ 101, 102, 103, 112, and/or 116, or are invalid pursuant to the judicial doctrine barring double-patenting”. HTC also claims prior art, marking, laches and marking defenses, and it says it has license agreements with third party suppliers to do what they do the things Apple is suing them over. It asks the court to declare the patents invalid. Here’s a recent case highlighted on EFF’s site where some of those types of defenses worked perfectly.

Both Apple and Microsoft are already known for their severely negative impact on the environment [1, 2]. The manufacturing material and processes just don’t bode too well. Watch what Apple is doing now, according to Adam Vaughan.

Apple blocks iPhones from green ranking scheme

Apple has refused to allow its iPhones to be included in the UK’s first-ever green ranking scheme for mobile phones.

The scheme gives phones a rating of zero to five based on their environmental footprint and major manufacturers including Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung have signed up. The network O2, which is launching the rating system today, said 93% of the devices its customers use will be covered.

Launched in partnership with sustainability advisers Forum for the Future, the green ranking scheme scores handsets on the ecological impact of their raw materials, the manufacturing process, packaging, how long they are likely to last, energy efficiency and how easy they are to reuse or recycle.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on why the company had decided not to join the voluntary labelling scheme, but highlighted its environmental reporting online.

What is Apple so afraid of?

Last but not least, Apple patents spyware:

The EFF weighed in on Apple’s recent security software patent. The EFF’s post, Steve Jobs Is Watching You: Apple Seeking to Patent Spyware, states, “This patent is downright creepy and invasive – certainly far more than would be needed to respond to the possible loss of a phone. Spyware, and its new cousin traitorware, will hurt customers and companies alike – Apple should shelve this idea before it backfires on both it and its customers.”

We actually covered this earlier in the week. The EFF generated a lot of negative press for Apple. They deserve it. Apple is a patent aggressor (see above).

NZICT is a Fake Group (Lobby Group) Connected to Microsoft, Foreigners

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Patents at 6:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NZICT logo

Summary: NZICT represents not New Zealand but large vendors from outside New Zealand (and their local allies who help those foreigners occupy New Zealand)

NZICT is beginning to look more and more like the ‘ACT’ of New Zealand. For those who don’t know, ACT is a pressure group of Microsoft (NZICT represents more than just Microsoft though).

ACT essentially masquerades as a representative of 3,000 or so small businesses in Europe. ACT uses this costume to pretend that small businesses are in favour of Microsoft’s policies and agenda, e.g. OOXML, software patents, RAND, etc.

The fact that NZICT does not actually represent NZ (as in New Zealand) was pointed out in Techrights before, e.g. in:

The following message from today helps show just what NZICT is really made of:

From: Peter Harrison <cheetah100@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 11:11 PM
Subject: Re: [NZOSS-Openchat] New NZICT head .. New Direction?
To: ian@karearea.gen.nz, NZOSS Open Discussion List <openchat@lists.nzoss.org.nz>

On Thu, Aug 26, 2010 at 8:45 AM, Ian Beardslee <ian@karearea.gen.nz> wrote:

An interesting comment, probably brought about by the noises we have made.. “Medary says his election will giving the organization a more New Zealand face and moderate the dismissive reaction of some local sources who consider NZICT is primarily a lobby for big multinationals.”

This is nothing but a PR exercise. Without substantial changes to the constitution of NZICT it remains an organisation in the pockets of the Multinationals, regardless of the puppet fronting it. So long as the general membership are confined to a couple of seats on the board the organisation will remain a mere policy launderer of the large vendors.

Let me be clear though; I have no problem with these vendors expressing their point of view. I support free speech. However such speech is understood in context of their own self interest, not the interests of NZ. The NZICT tries to pretend it is the voice of NZ computer companies when in fact it’s membership does not even include companies like Orion Health – the biggest software export earner in NZ. It’s constitution was expressly drafted to exclude the majority of small NZ software houses from having any influence.

But perhaps I was too quick to dismiss the new chair. So I look up Simpl and find out the following:

“Simpl is a Microsoft Gold Certified Global Partner in Custom Development, Data Management Solutions, Information Worker, Advanced Networking Infrastructure and Networking Infrastructure.We work closely with Microsoft in New Zealand and also enjoy direct relationships with Microsoft in Redmond, Microsoft UK, Canada, AsiaPac and New Zealand. Simpl is one of Microsoft’s leading Global Health Partners.”

Wow – colour me shocked. Who would have thought that the new chief would have “direct relationships with Microsoft”.

Victoria Barret from Forbes Magazine has suggested breaking up Microsoft. Microsoft is not just Microsoft but an entire 'ecosystem' of shared interests and commonwealth. Maybe it’s time to give it an audit/probe. No other company in the software industry causes so much damage to its peers, even internationally.

Links 25/8/2010: MeeGo Call for Proposals (Last Day), More Sub-notebooks and Tablets With Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • My Linux Computer is Acting Weird

      But here comes the most remarkable thing: my computer, regardless of the quantity of viruses I store in my USB drive (if I decide not to delete those files, of course), keeps WORKING, unaffected by the frightening threats! Now, that is TRULY WEIRD. Why would a person want to have a computer like mine, that is invulnerable to the scourge of USB viruses?

      I turned to my student and said to him: “You think that my keeping of the USB viruses is weird. Well, they are harmless in my computer. I believe it’s weirder to know that these viruses can destroy your OS and you, as a meek sheep, simply accept to live with that condition”.

      I saw something sparking in his eyes as another student asked me to help him install Linux in his computer.

    • HeliOS Project Gets Local Support

      The HeliOS Project, a well-known non profit that builds computers for disadvantaged kids, has caught the attention of 2 local business men.

  • Server

    • A Cluster In Your Pocket

      Sometimes there are ideas that won’t go away. The other day, the Linux Magazine publisher asked me about a “cluster of smart phones.” As the processors in cell phones continue to get more powerful, the question is actually worth asking because many smart phones only need to be smart part of the time. Cluster HPC mavens are always looking for latent CPU cycles, why not check your pocket.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI Catalyst 10.8 For Linux Brings OpenGL ES 2.0

        Last month the Catalyst 10.7 driver for ATI Radeon/FirePro graphics cards brought Eyefinity support to consumer-grade graphics cards after it had been available within the Windows Catalyst drivers for months. Meanwhile, the Windows version of Catalyst 10.7 brought OpenGL ES 2.0 support so that web browsers can take advantage of it for accelerating HTML5 rendering and WebGL. While the Catalyst 10.7 for Linux release went without this support, it’s been added to the just-released Catalyst 10.8 build.

      • Apple’s Enhanced OpenGL Stack Versus Linux

        While our primary focus at Phoronix is on providing Linux benchmarks, we do enjoy trying out and benchmarking other operating systems like FreeBSD, Solaris, and Mac OS X. When Apple originally launched Mac OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” we were the first to provide detailed Mac OS X 10.6 benchmarks compared to Mac OS X 10.5 and also how Apple’s new operating system at the time compared to Linux. We have continued to monitor the performance of Snow Leopard and found that some point releases had introduced some regressions and we have compared the performance of Mac OS X 10.6 to Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. With Apple’s release last week of the “Snow Leopard Graphics Update 1.0″ that is reported to bring “stability and performance fixes for graphics applications and games in Mac OS X”, our interest was piqued and we set out to run a new set of Apple OpenGL benchmarks. In this article we are looking at the OpenGL performance of Mac OS X 10.6, 10.6.2, 10.6.3, 10.6.4, and 10.6.4 with this graphics update installed.

      • Now You Can Run Wayland From Mainline Mesa

        The work going into Mesa the past few months that will eventually be released as Mesa 7.9 continues to get more exciting. There’s many improvements and new features in Mesa and Gallium3D for the 7.9 release and the latest feature was brought this morning by Kristian Høgsberg with merging support for the EGL_MESA_drm_image extension.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KPackageKit = new UserInterface;

        KPackageKit 0.6.1 has received lots of love regarding it’s user interface, last KPK (KPackageKit) was released 5 months ago, after that release I decided to work on things that were also upsetting me like printer-manager (my last post), well it was a good exercise although I couldn’t make printer-manager for KDE SC 4.5 (due not being able to add printers yet). And because of that KPK got abandoned for a while (my mailbox had more than 1000 of bug emails), this was definitely good.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Thoughts on Sabayon Gnome 5.3

        After having a horrible experience with certain distribution (maybe the version number didn’t help much) I was desperate to install anything else, so it was either Ubuntu 9.04, which I remember left me quite pleased plus it is still maintained and it should have got better with age, or Sabayon 5.3 Gnome. I was going to install PCLinuxOS 2010 Gnome Zenmini but Fed…. the distro I was using couldn’t even burn a cd properly. I gave the buring process a second chance with Ubuntu 9.04 but this time the drive wouldn’t even get recognized. So I opted for Sabayon with unetbootin, which luckily it worked.

      • Spotlight on Linux: Parsix 3.6 (RC)

        Parsix GNU/Linux is a great little distro hailing from the exotic lands of Persia. It features a lovely customized GNOME desktop and lots of handy applications. It reminds folks of Ubuntu in many ways and is often described as a nice alternative to Ubuntu.

        Parsix made its debut soon after the first release of Ubuntu and long before Ubuntu reached any measurable level of popularity. This is why its resemblance to Ubuntu may be coincidental, but this resemblance is so strong that one can’t help but think its intentional. Regardless, earlier incarnations featured the same orangy-brown theming and later, around version 1.0, it looked very much like Ubuntu Studio. These days, with version 3.6rc, it looks like Ubuntu again and their attempt to slightly mimic Mac OS X. Whatever the developers’ intentions, Parsix always appears polished and unobtrusive.

      • Dell Vostro V13 review

        One reason the V13 would work well as a notebook you use for most employees – even including developers and artists – is that the system is streamlined for getting work done. It is remarkably thin, at just 16.5mm, so it has a low profile. There’s aluminium plating and hinges made from zinc to add durability. The notebook weighs just 1.6kg so it has a pick-up-go quality that’s ideal for mobile users, yet has the specs of a full notebook with a powerful enough processor and 4GB of RAM.

        One slight complaint is that, when testing the system, it is a little too easy to accidentally brush the mousepad, situated as it is directly under the space bar. Type too fast or without much accuracy and you may find your mouse jumps to a different location in OpenOffice. Other notebooks, such as recent Toshiba models, position the mousepad a bit farther away from the space bar to avoid stray finger swipes.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Red Hat heads into the clouds, not into an acquisition

          Get over it people. Red Hat is not getting acquired anytime soon. I know, I know, you’d heard all the rumors. Here’s the truth as I see it: If Red Hat gets acquired anytime soon, I’ll eat my fedora. It’s not happening.

          What is happening, as Paul Cormier, EVP of Red Hat, announced this morning is that Red Hat spelled out more about its cloud strategy. Sorry, I know that’s not a tenth as exciting as an acquisition, but it’s just not in the works right now.

        • Is 10 years of RHEL support still sufficient ?

          Almost exactly a year ago, I posted a blog article titled Is 7 years of RHEL support still sufficient ?. In that article I make the case that with RHEL major releases moving from 1.5 years to 3 years and virtualization reducing the importance of hardware life cycles, RHEL support should be extended beyond 7 years.

        • Fedora 14 alpha gets ROOT

          On the security front there is new SCAP (Security Content Automation Protocol) support built-in which is a huge bonus for Fedora in my opinion. I saw a session on the new tech at LinuxCon a few weeks back and I was blown away by it.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha: Slouching Toward Ubuntu GNOME

          Many of the other features of the Maverick alpha are simple version changes of standard features and applications, such as the GNOME and KDE desktops, or the Linux kernel. Still others are changes in default applications, such as the replacement of F-Spot with Shotwell. For the most part, though, such changes have minimal effects on the Ubuntu menus’ content or order. If you know earlier versions of Ubuntu, you are unlikely to have much trouble navigating the Maverick menus.

        • Natty Ubuntu release

          It’s just under two months to go to the release of Maverick Meerkat, the October release of Ubuntu, and Mark Shuttleworth has named its successor.

          The Ubuntu chief this week formally named the release scheduled for April 2011 as Natty Narwhal, continuing the tradition of alliterative animal names. Natty Narwhal follows such names as Maverick Meerkat, Lucid Lynx, Karmic Koala and Jaunty Jackalope.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Pocketbook 302 eBook Reader review

      OS: Linux derivative

    • New QorIQ SoCs feature datapath acceleration

      Freescale Semiconductor announced three new Linux-ready, PowerPC-based QorIQ system-on-chips (SoCs) incorporating the company’s Data Path Acceleration Architecture (DPAA) technology. The single-core 800MHz P1017, dual-core 800MHz P1023, and quad-core 1.2GHz P2040 processors all offer the DPAA programming model, which is said to accelerate packet parsing, classification, and distribution, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo Extends Call for Proposals

          MeeGo Community Manager Dawn Foster announced that the call for proposals for the first-ever MeeGo Conference had been extended to August 26.

        • MeeGo at the crossroads

          If any good is to come out of Oracle suing Google over Android, the one to benefit could be MeeGo, the Intel-Nokia joint-venture mobile operating system.

          Oracle’s threat against the search giant for its alleged use of patented Java technology could, if it succeeds, open the way for MeeGo to jump into the mobile market more fully. And right now MeeGo could do with a boost.

        • Intel and Nokia pick MeeGo for mobile 3D research

          Nokia, Intel and the University of Oulu have opened the newest branch of Intel Labs Europe, which will be dedicated to researching compelling new mobile user experiences — particularly in 3D. The “Intel and Nokia Joint Innovation Center” will be “well aligned” with the MeeGo open source platform launched earlier this year, the companies said.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Acer supplying advance Chrome OS netbooks to Google?

        A discovery late Monday has revealed that Google may already be testing Acer-made netbooks running Chrome OS. An “Acer ZGA” system has surfaced in a Linux kernel changelog that would be consistent with Aspire One netbooks made by Quanta and which has shown in Google’s own bug trackers for the open-source version of Chrome OS, Chromium OS. The details found by Macles make clear references to Intel’s 1.66GHz Atom N455 and a SanDisk pSSD for storage.

      • Dual-core Atom for netbooks finally breaks cover

        Ironically, Intel appears to have been pushed into releasing a dual-core processor for netbooks by AMD, which originally had little interest in the netbook market at all. The latter’s dual-core, 1.3GHz Athlon II Neo K325 was released earlier this year as part of AMD’s 2010 AMD ultra-thin platform, and has since been employed by Acer, Gateway, and, most recently, Dell (in the Inspiron M101z pictured below).

    • Tablets

      • Multi-touch tablet will run Linux, Android

        The Belgian company Point Net announced a ten-inch tablet that is available now with Linux, with an Android version promised for the future. The Dune has a resistive touchscreen, 1.67GHz Intel Atom N450 processor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a 3G cellular modem, according to the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Open Source/Free Software Rocks!

    I believe that having access to code, being able to extend other’s ideas, and being able to combine code accelerates the art of computing through a form of evolution.

  • Fork me? Fork you!

    The scenario goes like this. Open source develops a popular project. Proprietary company buys it out. Open source worries what proprietary company will do with open source project. Proprietary company assures open source that nothing will change. Open source applauds proprietary company. Proprietary company scales back on open source project. Open source complains. Proprietary company cuts communication. Open source becomes angry and now hates proprietary company.

  • Dreamwidth Studios: Bringing the Corner Store to Open Source Publishing

    Starting with a Fork

    Paolucci, who manages business and non-programming volunteers, says that FOSS has “resonated” for her since she first encountered it in the early 1990s. However, her first direct experience came when she was hired in 2001 as community manager for LiveJournal.

    [...]

    Only two years old, Dreamwidth is still in rapid development. For the rest of 2010, the goal is to improve the tools for posting and searching for content. Paolucci herself is also focusing on a survey of other blogging platforms to ensure that Dreamwidth’s features are competitive, and on adding media hostings “for people whose creativity lies in areas other than text. Other goals include improving usability and accessibility.

    But, most of all, Paolucci hopes that Dreamwidth can preserve its spirit of openness as it matures. “When we started Dreamwidth, we went into it with the idea that we never wanted to be Wal-Mart; we always wanted to be the Mom and Pop corner grocery story, where everyone knows who we are and knows that we’re doing this out of love,” Paolucci says. “That spirit has served us incredibly well so far, and I hope we never lose it.”

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • 10 Compelling Reasons to Switch to Opera from Firefox

        When it comes to innovation, Opera leads on many fronts (which we will be discussing today) but it hasn’t seen the success it deserves. It is a remarkable browser, which is still not too familiar to regular Internet users, but it should be praised.

  • SaaS

    • OpenStack Community Update

      It’s been four weeks since the launch of OpenStack, and we’ve been amazed by the response. A huge thank you to the developers who have been working tirelessly to move the OpenStack Object Storage and Compute projects along at a rapid pace, and to the commercial supporters who have been rallying around an open source cloud alternative.

    • Marten Mickos defends honor of Ubuntu’s Koala food

      Marten Mickos – the former MySQL chief executive who now heads build-you-own-cloud outfit Eucalyptus Systems – has defended the Eucalyptus platform against recent criticism of both its “open core” model and its ability to scale beyond a relatively small number of servers.

      His comments come as Eucalyptus releases a new incarnation of its open source platform, which exists alongside the company’s for-pay enterprise platform. Version 2.0 of the open source Eucalyptus is designed to, yes, improve the platform’s ability to scale.

  • Government

    • Aussie Govts don’t know how to buy open source

      Open source offers a diverse range of applications which are robust, feature-rich and compliant with current standards. Indeed, the government has publicly recognised its benefits for years. For example, the 2005 release of the Guide to Open Source Software for Australian Government Agencies notes that “[Open Source] has the potential to lead to significant savings in Government.”

      Despite the potential benefits, however, government uptake of open source is surprisingly low. Why? Because government purchasing practices inadvertently hinder the procurement of open source. Government purchasing guidelines favour business models that build closed systems and apply lock-in tactics over the sharing and collaborative business practices used by open source communities.

  • Licensing

    • “Which Open Source Licence” Is The Wrong Question

      The debate over the demise of “Open Core” has led to a reprise of “which open source license is best” arguments again. But the real driving force is not the licence; it’s the equality of participants.

      Various commentators are beginning to pick at the threads of the rediscovered collaborative model for open source now that the “open source bubble” is being superceded. This is a return to what many of us regard as “real open source”(the co-development of software by a community of people who align a fragment of their self-interest in order to do so, using their software freedoms under an open source license and open governance).

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Five questions about open innovation with Stefan Lindegaard

      Another common view on open source within the open innovation community is that open source is very much about co-creating as well as co-owning what is being developed in order for everyone to benefit. This is definitely not the case with the leading open innovation companies. They try—some better than others—to set up partnerships that create true win-win situations, but the leading open innovation companies are much more focused on their own benefits than the overall benefits for a larger society.

    • Building a positive meritocracy: It’s harder than it sounds

      In Young’s book, standardized testing and other ranking systems are essentially coded systems of enforcing class differences. The genius of the meritocracy, Young asserts, is the way it reinforces the values of the ruling classes by declaring what comes easily to them to be “of merit,” thus building their sense of entitlement. They are successful because they are at the top and define what is important for success.

      Meritocracy provides the enticing possibility for upward mobility and the illusion of equal opportunity. Someone born with the right set of gifts, plus a good bit of ambition, can rise in a way that would have never been possible in an aristocracy. (The converse unfortunately holds true; someone without those gifts is left with a general sense of hopelessness.)

Leftovers

  • [Tfug] OT: Election update and plea for help…

    Basically, we caught Maricopa County elections in a felony today – cross-wiring the central tabulator to a non-secure laptop owned by Sequoia Voting Systems, complete with cellular modem card in there and live. And I couldn’t get a picture. Need a micro-cam of some sort to get the proof. See also my affidavit filed with our attorney today.

    Remember: by law, the central tabulator system on what’s supposed to be an isolated local network is completely unpatched – it’s not allowed to be modified in any way since the day it shipped in 2006 or 2007. Even if the Sequoia tech didn’t cross-connect the cellmodem to the Ethernet (and both appeared to be live), he could have easily “pwned” the “secure” systems with any number of ancient script-kiddy exploits.

  • The great university con: why giving degrees out willy-nilly doesn’t actually help the economy

    So predictable, so rote is the newspaper coverage of exam season that I can only presume editors of mid-market newspapers have to sit their own A-level on how to report them. Shots of exuberant blondes jumping up and down clutching their results? That gets you a basic pass. Fancy-that story about an Asian lad with top grades in maths and science – even though he’s only 10 and in all likelihood faces an adolescence of Belmarsh-style bullying? Now you’re up to a B. Oh, and the conviction that university is the best place for any 18-year-old? Bingo: you’ve scored the A* required for a place at Associated Newspapers.

  • Which do you think is the most evil tech company these days?
  • Health

  • Security/Aggression

    • Airport Scanner Technology Mounted On US Gov’t Vans To Scan What’s In Nearby Vehicles

      Already thought those full body scanners at the airports were a bit much when it came to privacy? How about having government officials sitting in a van next to you scanning your car as you drive by with the same basic technology, without you even knowing about it? Jay points us to the news that a version of the same backscatter x-ray scanner technology found in airports has also been sold to the US and other governments to mount on vans to scan nearby vehicles to see what’s inside. Apparently, the company has sold 500 of these already.

    • The Government’s New Right to Track Your Every Move With GPS

      Government agents can sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, put a GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of everywhere you go. This doesn’t violate your Fourth Amendment rights, because you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway – and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking your movements.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Greenpeace mobilises as firm strikes oil in Arctic

      A British oil firm will tomorrow announce that it has struck oil off Greenland, a find that could trigger a rush to exploit oil reserves in the pristine waters of the Arctic.

      Cairn Energy, the first company to win permission to drill for oil in this sensitive environment, will break the news to the London stock market along with its half-yearly financial results.

      The company declined to comment tonight, but sources confirmed that hydrocarbons had been found, and Greenland’s foreign office said it was hopeful Cairn would have something positive to reveal.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Nokia Siemens slammed for supplying snoop tech to Iran

      An Iranian journalist imprisoned in that country without trial since June 2009 is suing telecommunications concern Nokia Siemens for allegedly providing the surveillance equipment that led to his capture.

      Isa Saharkhiz went into hiding following Iran’s 2009 presidential elections, after publishing an article branding the Grand Ayatollah as a hypocrite who was primarily responsible for vote tallies widely regarded as being fraudulent. According to a complaint filed in federal court in Virginia, officials with the Ministry of Intelligence and Security in Iran tracked him down with the help of cellphone-monitoring devices and other eavesdropping gear provided by Nokia Siemens.

    • Iran bans mention of opposition leaders in press

      Iranian newspapers have been banned from publishing the names or photos of the leaders of Iran’s green movement, according to a confidential governmental ruling revealed by an opposition website.

      The move is part of a new round of censorship, which follows the recent closure of a newspaper and the suspension of two magazines.

    • WikiLeaks founder cleared of sex allegations

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange no longer faces sex abuse charges in Sweden after a prosecutor decided Wednesday to investigate only one of two complaints against him, and not as a sexual offense.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Android antipiracy cracked, Google says devs used it wrong

      In a report published by the Android Police blog, third-party Android application developer Justin Case explained how pirates can circumvent the LVL protection mechanism by using a simple decompilation tool. He says that applications using LVL can be disassembled and patched to make them consistently appear to have passed the validation check. Once patched, users can simply sideload the application package onto an Android device and use it without paying. Users don’t even need to root their devices in order to run the pirated software.

      He believes that it would be possible to build a tool that can automatically patch applications that use LVL, rendering the system ineffective. Despite the weaknesses of LVL, he acknowledges that it is an improvement over previous antipiracy systems for Android software and is currently the best solution available for the platform.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Not welcome in this town

      After trademarking the phrase “Welcome to Parry Sound,” Nick Slater, owner of an Internet service provider in the Ontario town, began invoicing local groups using the greeting on their websites, among them the Town of Parry Sound, the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame (which the town, the hockey great’s birthplace, owns), and the non-profit Parry Sound Snowmobile District. When the $1,000 invoices persisted, the recipients consulted a lawyer, who advised them not to pay. Undeterred, Slater brought a $23,000 small-claims suit against the snowmobile club and threatened the town with the same.

    • Copyrights

      • The Costs of Ownership: Why Copyright Protection Will Hurt the Fashion Industry

        It’s worrisome to think about the frivolous litigation that such legislation could introduce (that’s not exactly what our over-taxed court system needs right now) as well as the ethical problems associated with conferring an arbitrary right of ownership to any Joe Blow who decides to lay claim to a certain combination of design features which used to belong to the public domain.

        Right now, designers pore over vintage magazines and patterns and visit museum archives in order to find inspiration for the next season’s look, cherry picking design elements that feel fresh and in line with the current zeitgeist. It’s a refreshingly open process unhindered by legal consultations. Those archives could become battlefields where litigants try to find evidence to support their assertion that a design is or is not unique. The geeky librarian in me is worried that some powerful people may attempt to limit access to particularly rich collections of design history and some unscrupulous types may destroy or hide rare materials that prove that their new design isn’t as unique as they claim.

        The scope of items that the bill intends to protect is larger than you probably think. It’s not just ornate red carpet gowns: it also includes coats, gloves, shoes, hats, purses, wallets, duffel bags, suitcases, tote bags, belts, eyeglass frames and underwear. I can only imagine the lengths to which some companies with deep pockets will go to lay claim to an exclusive right to an iconic popular design.

        The sad thing is that just about everyone will suffer (well, except for lawyers). Consumers will pay higher prices (someone has to pay those legal fees) and they won’t have the same access to the plethora of knock-offs that allow them to participate in global fashion trends without paying aristocratic prices. Designers who can’t afford legal counsel will worry about being accused of copying and they probably won’t be able to sue if someone copies them because, well, litigation is expensive.

      • Anti-Piracy Campaigns Fail, People Keep Downloading

        For as long as Internet file-sharing has been considered a problem, copyright holders and their respective anti-piracy groups have been mobilizing with campaigns they hope can reduce the phenomenon. Despite the efforts, downloading continues unabated. Against the law? One in four in Denmark certainly don’t.

      • Treating Houses Like Copyright… And Then Securitizing And Selling Off The Revenue From Future Resales

        Reader Mark points us to another article about this attempt to contractually create a resale right for homes. This article has a lot more details about the plans, put together by an financial firm called Freehold Capital Partners (which the last article called a Texas company, but is now referred to as a New York company — which is interesting, given that the last article also noted that Texas law probably prohibited this practice). However, this article notes that the whole plan is prefaced not on actually giving the builders a cut of all future sales, but (of course) to securitize and sell off the potential future revenues to investors. Forget securitizing mortgages, now we’re talking about securitizing a bizarre contractual resale right that means you have to pay some random investors any time you sell certain houses. Yikes.

      • Stevie Nicks Claims The Internet Destroyed Rock; Seems To Think You Need A Record Label

        First of all, I’m not quite sure what rock and roll and “social graces” have to do with one another. But the rest of her comment reveals an amusing misunderstanding of what is actually happening with “the kids trying to make it in this business today.” You see, many of them are realizing they don’t need a major label to become successful any more, and they celebrate when they get dropped from a label, because it means they can take control over their own business models and actually do things that make fans happy, rather than piss them off. And many of those things involve using the internet to help create, promote and distribute works, while also building up a strong, loyal and committed fan base. The internet hasn’t destroyed rock at all. It’s destroying the old gatekeeper system that kept so many out before.

      • Entertainment and Hypocrisy

        It’s the KDE logo! Disney animators are using Free Software on their desktops! Disney affirms our rights under the General Public License! After all, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for the rest of us, right?

        Wait a minute. I thought the MPAA opposed my right to use my computer as I see fit. Wasn’t that the whole point of encrypting DVD’s, so that I couldn’t watch a movie without a properly locked, licensed and blessed DVD-playing program? Yeah, a whole lot of good that did. So here is a question for Disney et al…

        If Free Software is good enough for your movie production companies, why is it not good enough for us, their customers?

Clip of the Day

Samsung Galaxy Tab in the wild


OMG!Mono!

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Kyocera Mita, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, Samsung, SLES/SLED at 1:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amazed at Mono

Summary: Mono boosting comes from OMG!Ubuntu! (as usual), but the original source of Mono development is drying up

The OMG!Ubuntu! Web site recently got a sibling called OMG!SUSE! and both appear to be regular Mono pushers. The latest example from OMG!Ubuntu! is promotion and glorification of the very thing we warned about some days ago:

The video below sees Seif Lotfy (of Zeitgeist, Sezen, OMG! fame) show off a Zeitgeist-powered Tomboy plug-in he’s been working on .What does it do? Simply put it shows you everything you were doing whilst writing a note – from what you were listening to what you were looking at.

Mono is another sure route to domination by Microsoft, not just patent threats. Consider the fact that Microsoft will be paid for each such device that Kyocera ships and the same goes for Linux-based tablets from Samsung. Because of the wording of the patent deal with Samsung, we immediately suspected at the time (2007) that Mono had at least something to do with it.

The rumors are now reality: Samsung on Tuesday showed the world its first glimpse of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, the company’s new 7-inch tablet.

Can one have this tablet without Android and then install Android (or Cyanogen) oneself in order to sidestep the ‘Microsoft tax’ on Linux from Samsung? If not, then it’s better to avoid all of these products from Samsung and instead reward companies that sell Android on similar devices without paying Microsoft for the ‘privilege’ of selling Linux.

With the exception of some posts [1, 2, 3] that lack substance, OpenBallnux is a ghost town and Ballux is mentioned in conjunction with IBM at Novell’s PR blog. That’s some extremely scarce coverage. It’s probably a good thing because Ballnux is where Mono typically spreads from. If Novell goes bellyup, so will Mono. Too few people except Novell employees are interested in this Microsoft-serving project. As for Microsoft boosters, they already stick with .NET, not its Novell-flavoured little cousin.

Novell Authorised Training Centre Goes Bust and Novell’s Neighbour LANDesk Acquired

Posted in Novell at 1:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lonely

Summary: Novell’s legacy continues to dissolve as companies that surround it simply vanish

OVER the past couple of years Novell has lost many partners. Novell’s Vice President Javier Colado admitted that Novell's channel was broken. Well, another one bites the dust this week.

Excom was an authorised training centre across vendors such as Novell, Cisco, Citrix, Microsoft and VMware.

One of Novell’s few assets is trained professionals whose skill set includes Novell indoctrination. Here is another new article about training:

Ivy Tech students get certifications

[...]

Imbedded in the curriculum of CIS and CIT programs, students were able to earn competencies in 21 different computer certifications, ranging from A+ Essentials to Foundations of Novell Networking.

LANDesk, which we wrote about back in May, is probably just a name somewhere in the pages of history. Thoma Bravo has just bought it.

It remains to be seen if there is positive news over the horizon. MSPmentor seems reluctantly optimistic:

3. Novell and Service Provider Partners: A few weeks ago, a reader asked me why I’m spending time poking around Novell, which is best known for its SUSE Linux distribution. I suspect Novell’s service provider partner strategy will become much more clear within the next few days. Stay tuned.

One IDG pundit compares the smartphones competition to old battles involving Novell when it actually mattered.

Meanwhile, Novell was trying really hard to show everyone that Netware was the superior NOS to Windows NT, only to be crushed by the Microsoft juggernaut.

Here is another new historical perspective from a Windows site:

In August 1994, my colleague Tim Daniels and I were working as systems administrators for a small publishing company called Duke Communications International in Loveland, Colorado. We were discussing our frustration with Novell NetWare, which at the time had 70 percent of the file and print market share. Tim suggested we try Windows NT, a new Microsoft Server OS that had no market share.

Novell — just like its vicinity — may soon sleep with the fish. Sale of the company seems imminent.

Novell is Up for Sale, Not Red Hat

Posted in Finance, Novell, Red Hat at 1:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NYSE for sale

Summary: The likelihood of Novell revealing something about a takeover increases because the financial crossroad (quarterly report) arrives within a day

NOVELL has just been upgraded for some reason, maybe in anticipation of a takeover (Novell is up for sale). Novell recently warned that it would miss expectations, but it did turn out that Novell was still in the process of selling or going private (a similar thing).

As Motley Fool put it a couple of days ago, Singer's bid is something to remember.

For instance, Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) received an unsolicited bid from hedge fund Elliott Associates back in March. Although the company rejected the bid, the stock has continued to trade near the bid price, which is much higher than where the stock traded before. Similarly, the fund owns shares of Qwest (NYSE: Q) in light of its being bought out by CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) for $10.6 billion in stock.

Novell will probably report poor financial results at the end of Thursday. The presentation will depend on expectations, which Novell has already adjusted by lowering them (so there is no reason to be surprised if Novell beats its already-lowered expectations, which is a trick Microsoft always uses). This outlook which covers Novell is incorrect in the sense that it says: “Novell Inc., the Waltham-based open-source software developer, reports quarterly financial results.”

As noted and shown in the previous post, Novell is a proprietary software developer, not an “open-source software developer” (that’s just how Novell markets itself through endless repetition). Here are some more outlooks for Novell [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL) and A-Power (Nasdaq: APWR) check in Thursday. The two companies are in entirely different sectors — Novell is the former networking darling while A-Power’s specialty is wind turbines — but they have one thing in common. Both are projected to post flat earnings growth Thursday.

We shall write about these results tomorrow night.

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