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09.04.10

IRC Proceedings: September 4th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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GNOME Gedit

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 4/9/2010: Huawei and Android Phones, Toshiba and Android Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Navigating a Dual World: GNU/Linux and Windows

    I did not mention one last major area in which I navigate two worlds, the area of administering my websites. I use GNU/Linux on all of my servers. However, I have to be able to talk to these servers using either my GNU/Linux machines or my Windows machine. What allows me to do this is the standard and open communication protocols that allow computers to talk regardless of what operating system is installed: http, ftp, and ssh, to name a few. The beauty of the Internet is that the communications protocols used are fully documented and this documentation is made available to everyone. Support for these protocols can then be built into every operating system by default.The Internet is becoming an operating system unto itself, and the traditional computer operating systems are becoming more and more transparent. The common primary goal of most computing devices today is to connect to the Internet to do work. The duality of the dual environment is becoming less important with each passing day. However, in the near future, navigating a dual OS environment will remain a valuable skill to have.

  • Server

    • IBM Code Unfetters Virtual Workloads

      One is KVM (Kernel-based Virtualization), a hypervisor technology that has been incorporated into the Linux kernel and is the cornerstone of Red Hat’s virtualization strategy. It has also been inserted into the Libvirt virtualization toolkit, which supports both the Citrix Xen hypervisor and the VMware hypervisors.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 13 update: A month and a half or so in

          I’ve been running Fedora 13′s Xfce spin on my new Lenovo G555 laptop for about a month and a half now, and I’m very much impressed with the performance, functionality and aggressive update policy even in an already aging (by Fedora standards) release.

          [...]

          Firefox has been great. I don’t run into any of the problems I’ve had on my older hardware in terms of speed. I’m not happy with the amount of CPU the 32-bit Flash player (in the 64-bit wrapper) is eating up, but it’s manageable. Java performance in my sole use of it (a photo-upload helper) has been great.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Pandigital launches a 7-inch Android e-reader at IFA 2010

      Called Novel, the 540g e-reader has an 800×600 colour TFT LCD touchscreen with virtual keyboard and has software for the downloading and presentation of e-books. It comes in black or white and runs Android 2.1, with a Samsung ARM 11 mobile processor, 1GB of memory, WiFi, a 1,600mAhr battery, accelerometers for portrait or landscape orientation and an SD card slot for up to 32GB. It can also be used as an alarm clock.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • WeTab is based on MeeGo
        • More MeeGo screenshots surface, shows promise

          You may recall that MeeGo is a new smartphone OS from Intel and Nokia and it merges the Maemo and Moblin platforms. It is expected to be a modern OS on par with the iPhone and Android, and the screen shots we’ve seen do look pretty good.

          The screenshot above shows a little of the multitasking interface, which kind of looks like a mix of the way Android and webOS handle this. It should also have little carousel animations and other flourishes for visual flair.

      • Android

    • Tablets

      • TOC’s Wednesday devices, gadgets and ereaders update

        With the IFA Consumer Electronics Unlimited techno-smorgasbord set to open this Friday, there’s a lot of buzz going around about upcoming announcements and unveilings. Much of the pre-show buzz is centered around Android-based competition for the Apple iPad.

      • Android Tablet Deluge Is Just Beginning

        Archos continues to embrace Android in a big way. Yesterday they announced not one, not two, but five new Android ‘tablets.’ They range in size from a 2.8″ screen (which is why I put tablets in quotes) to 10.1″. All of them are running Android 2.2, but sadly, none of them have the Android Market included. Instead they’ll be running Archos’ AppsLib. The top of the line Archos 101 has a 1 Ghz ARM Cortex A8 processor, a 10.1″, 1024×600 capacitive touch screen, 720P video playback capability, HDMI out, front facing camera and a kickstand, all for $300. It should be out in mid-October. CrunchGear has a full rundown of all 5 models.

      • Toshiba touts £329 Folio Android tablet
      • Samsung Galaxy Tab Rooted… A Month Before Release

        The folks at Sera-Apps, a German group of Android developers, have not only managed to get their hands on a prototype of the Samsung Galaxy Tab a month before the device goes on sale, but they managed to root the device at IFA, the world’s largest consumer electronics show being held in Germany.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Open Sources More of Wave So Developers Can Take Advantage

    Google has given an update on its immediate plans for Google Wave. As you probably know, the company recently announced that it would be shutting down Google Wave as a standalone product, thought Google said it would preserve the technology behind Wave for future use and integration with other Google products.

  • Events/Awards

    • 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.

      [...]

      The nominations will end on September 17.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Mark Waid on Delivery, Content, and the Gulf Between

      And I’ll tell you why. It’s not because people “like stealing.” It’s because the greatest societal change in the last five years is that we are entering an era of sharing. Twitter and YouTube and Facebook–they’re all about sharing. Sharing links, sharing photographs, sending some video of some cat doing something stupid–that’s the era we’re entering. And whether or not you’re sharing things that technically aren’t yours to share, whether or not you’re angry because you see this as a “generation of entitlement,” that’s not the issue–the issue is, it’s happening, and the internet’s ability to reward sharing has reignited this concept that the public domain has cultural value. And I understand if you are morally outraged about it and you believe to your core that an entire generation is criminal and they’re taking food off your table, I respect that.

    • Open Data

  • Programming

    • Day of The Dead: Web Drives Strong Demand for Java Skills

      Anyway the point of this post is really just to riff on the data from simplyhired, as per the graph above. A 59% increase in bobs since January 2009? Not bad for a dead technology. Java has plenty of runway left and plenty of room for innovation.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google Now Indexes SVG Files

      Google is now indexing SVG files. SVG, which stands for scalable vector graphics, is a widely-deployed, royalty-free, XML-based format for vector graphics and support for interactivity. The format was developed and is maintained by the W3C SVG Working Group.

Leftovers

  • Why Wasn’t The AP Able To Get A Better Deal From Google?

    And other AP officials had also said they wanted major news search engines, including presumably Google News, to feature “the original source or the most authoritative source”—frequently the AP—at the top of their results. Curley had said the AP would only work with “those who use our principles” saying that “if you can’t do that, or if you won’t do that, let’s not waste time.”

  • HP Agrees to Pay $55 Million to Settle Gov’t Fraud Charges

    Hewlett-Packard will pay the U.S. government US$55 million to settle allegations that it defrauded the U.S. General Service Administration and other agencies by paying kickbacks to systems integrators in exchange for recommendations that agencies purchase HP products, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday.

  • Accenture, Cisco and Sun Still Face Kickbacks Charges

    After recent settlements by Hewlett-Packard and EMC in a long-standing government contracting fraud case, three major IT and consulting companies are still embroiled in lawsuits brought by two former insiders.

    Lawsuits alleging a widespread kickback scheme among U.S. government IT contractors remain active against Accenture, Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems, according to court documents and a lawyer for whistleblowers Norman Rille and Neal Roberts. Rille, a former manager for Accenture, and Roberts, a former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, filed the lawsuits in 2004 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

  • HP Settles False Claims, Kickback Charges for $55 Million

    Not long ago, Apple was in the headlines after a former manager was indicted for receiving kickbacks from suppliers in Asia in exchange for information that would help them land contracts with the Cupertino, Calif.-based company. Now it’s HP’s turn for a kickback scandal.

  • Tosh has tiniest flash bits

    Toshiba has started mass-producing NAND flash ships using a 24nm process, and is offering the world’s smallest 8GB flash chips.

  • Toshiba recalls 41,000 computers over risk of burns

    Toshiba has announced the voluntary recall of about 41,000 notebook computers worldwide at risk of overheating and burning users.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Are the days of kidney dialysis numbered?

      There’s no gentle way to put it. Chronic kidney failure is ugly and often deadly, and more people in the States are suffering from it every year, with increasing rates of diabetes and hypertension contributing to the problem.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Scientists Question Safety Of New Airport Scanners

      After the “underwear bomber” incident on Christmas Day, President Obama accelerated the deployment of new airport scanners that look beneath travelers’ clothes to spot any weapons or explosives.

      Fifty-two of these state-of-the-art machines are already scanning passengers at 23 U.S. airports. By the end of 2011, there will be 1,000 machines and two out of every three passengers will be asked to step into one of the new machines for a six-second head-to-toe scan before boarding.

    • Corporate espionage for dummies: HP scanners
    • Hackers blind quantum cryptographers

      Quantum hackers have performed the first ‘invisible’ attack on two commercial quantum cryptographic systems. By using lasers on the systems — which use quantum states of light to encrypt information for transmission — they have fully cracked their encryption keys, yet left no trace of the hack.

    • A Trojan hits Adobe Air Tweetdeck

      HACKERS HAVE UPDATED a Trojan virus that bypasses sandbox insecurity on Adobe Air apps like Tweet Deck.

    • Scam preys on required TweetDeck update
    • Malware Convention — Not a Good Idea

      The conference coordinator Rajshekhar Murthy attempted to put a positive spin on the conference, Krebs reported. “While a conference can be done by inviting the best / well known security experts who can share statistics, slides and ‘analysis’ of malwares, it is not of any benefit to the community today except that of awareness. The need of MalCon conference is [to] bridge that ignored gap between security companies and malcoders. They have to get on a common platform and talk to each other.”

    • Huge spamming botnet injured but still alive

      A botnet responsible for a significant amount of spam has been crippled but may reconstitute itself in a matter of weeks, according to vendor M86 Security.

    • Alleged Ransomware Gang Investigated by Moscow Police

      Russian police are reportedly investigating a criminal gang that installed malicious “ransomware” programs on thousands of PCs and then forced victims to send SMS messages in order to unlock their PCs.

    • Russian cops cuff 10 ransomware Trojan suspects
    • Wikileaks founder blasts reopening of rape probe

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has blasted Sweden’s investigation into allegations against him for sexual misconduct after prosecutors reopened a probe into charges he raped a woman last month.

      “It appears to be highly irregular and some kind of legal circus,” Assange told the TV service of newspaper Expressen on Thursday. “Today I also had a case filed against me in the United States on a wholly unrelated manner,” he added without elaborating.

    • Apple Quicktime – Absichtliche Backdoor gefährdet Windows-PCs Apple Quicktime – Intentional Backdoor vulnerable Windows PCs

      Several websites report an apparently intentionally built-in Apple’s Quicktime loophole that a security risk to Windows machine is.
      Laut Webseiten wie Heise oder The Inquirer kennt das ActiveX-Plugin von Quicktime einen von Apple nicht dokumentierten Befehl, der von dem Sicherheitsexperte Ruben Santamarta gefunden wurde. According to websites such as Heise or The Inquirer knows the ActiveX plug-in Quicktime one of Apple undocumented command, the security expert Ruben found was that of Santa Marta. Der Parameter “_Marshaled_pUnk” sorgt dafür, dass über Quicktime andere Programmbibliotheken aufgerufen und deren Funktionen verwendet werden können. The parameter “_Marshaled_pUnk” ensures that called Quicktime on other libraries and their functions can be used.

    • Ex-spook jailed for selling secrets

      Ex-MI6 worker Daniel Houghton has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for unlawfully disclosing top secret material, in breach of the Official Secrets Act.

      Houghton, 25 years old and previously living in Hoxton, London, worked for MI6 for just under two years. He left the organisation with Top Secret files which he then tried to sell to MI5 agents masquerading as agents of a foreign power.

    • German gov pooh-poohs biometric ID card hack

      The biometric ID cards store a scan of a user’s fingerprints along with a six-digit PIN that can be used to digitally sign official forms. Hackers from the Chaos Computer Club, however, were able to use home scanners that work with the cards to extract personal information including a fingerprint scan and the six-digit PIN from RFID the chip embedded in the cards.

    • Fake Antivirus Software Uses Ransom Threats
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Oil sands release pollutants, contrary to government study

      The extraction of heavy crude oil from oil sands in Canada is releasing as many as 13 kinds of pollutants into the surrounding air and water, according to a study published in PNAS this week. The independent report directly contradicts the results of the government-administered Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program (RAMP) that claimed neither humans nor the environment were at risk from the oil extraction.

      Oil sands are swaths of ground that are laced with heavy crude oil that can be extracted and refined into fuel. Development of oil sands in Canada has been taking place since 1967, but scientists have long been uncertain of the production’s impact on the environment.

    • The Tokyo Two: Whaling, Activism, and Human Rights

      At the start the media strongly covered the embezzlement scandal, and asked serious questions about the industry for the first time. However, one month after we exposed the large-scale theft of whale meat and embarrassed the authorities, they struck back, and had us arrested, interrogated, detained for 26 days and finally charged with “theft” and “trespass”.

      The media were tipped off about our arrest and the raids of our homes, so when the images of our arrest appeared on national television the embezzlement scandal was dismissed and we were immediately seen as criminals by the public.

    • Crisis Commons, and the Challenges of Distributed Disaster Response

      The World Bank wasn’t the only large group interested in working with crisis hackers. Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft came together to found the Random Hacks of Kindness event, designed to let programmers “hack for humanity” in marathon sessions around the world.

    • Arctic Round-Up: New Sea Routes Opening Up, New Infrastructure Imagined, and Canada’s Taking Action

      Melting and thinning ice in the Arctic has proceeded so rapidly that new sea routes are opening up, infrastructure is being imagined, and countries like Canada are working to assert their sovereignty in the north…

    • The ‘cure’ for nuclear waste is worse than the illness
    • Untangling the ‘Environmentalist’s Paradox’: Is It All About Speed?

      We hear lots of concerned chatter these days – not least, here on this site – about peak oil, peak water, deforestation, resource depletion and the like, but a popular riposte offered by those doubting such concerns is something commonly referred to as the “Environmentalist’s Paradox”.

    • Climate Skeptic – Now with Less Skepticism!: Lomborg Changes Tune

      For those who – like me – missed the news on Monday: the world’s most well known climate change skeptic has done a dramatic about face.

    • How an Arctic oil rush will help suffocate the planet

      We’re not just saying ‘go beyond oil’ because it fits on a banner. We’re urging world governments to get their heads out of their oil wells and recognise that whoever’s oil we are burning we need to start stopping now, because in the end we are all stuck under the one sweater, and its getting really tight.

    • Greenpeace activists occupy Arctic oil rig

      Our activists are suspended 15 meters above the frigid Arctic waters of Baffin Bay. They have taken up position on the drilling rig Stena Don to call for a ban on deep sea oil drilling in the Arctic, and demand that ‘wild cat’ oil company Cairn energy stop drilling, pack up and go home. The banner? “Hands off the Arctic, go beyond oil!”

    • Bosnia probes video of girl tossing puppies into river

      Bosnian police said on Wednesday they were investigating claims by a local animals rights group that a Bosnian girl threw half a dozen puppies into a river in a video that sparked global outrage.

    • Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis

      The issue is so politically explosive that it’s remarkable when an institution like the Bundeswehr, the German military, uses the term “peak oil” at all. But a military study currently circulating on the German blogosphere goes even further.

    • Greenpeace Protests Facebook’s Data Center

      Facebook’s won the support of a lot of people as it builds a data center in Prineville, Oregon; an official Facebook Page is full of positive comments from locals. However, because the facility will primarily be powered by coal, Greenpeace – along with around 500,000 individuals – has sided against it.

  • Finance

    • When IT Fails
    • Lehman Derivatives Records a `Mess,’ Barclays Executive Says

      Barclays Plc had no idea how big Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s futures-and-options trading business was when it considered taking over the defunct bank’s derivatives trades at exchanges in 2008, a Barclays executive said.

      “Lehman’s books were in such a mess that I don’t think they knew where they were,” Elizabeth James, a director of Barclays’s futures business, testified today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. James worked on Barclays’s purchase of Lehman’s brokerage during the 2008 financial crisis.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Lower Merion School District ordered to pay plaintiff’s lawyer $260,000

      A federal judge Monday ordered the Lower Merion School District to pay about $260,000 now – and potentially much more later – to the lawyer who brought the lawsuit over the district’s webcam monitoring.

      In a 14-page opinion, Senior U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois said Mark S. Haltzman deserved to be paid for work that led to a preliminary injunction against the district in May. And he said Haltzman could submit the rest of his bills when the case ended.

    • Andy Coulson under pressure as furore over phone hacking claims grows

      A few paragraphs, tucked inside a lengthy article on the News of the World phone hacking scandal, are posing a threat to the career of one of David Cameron’s closest advisers. Andy Coulson “actively encouraged” the hacking of phones, his former News of the World colleague Sean Hoare told the magazine.

    • Google Settles Privacy Lawsuit Over Buzz

      Google is spending US$8.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed over the rollout of its Google Buzz social-networking service.

    • Ad watchdog to bite Facebook, Twitter

      The Advertising Standards Authority is to take responsibility for more online content, not just the paid-for advertisements it currently regulates.

      The ASA already covers content like banner adverts, pop-ups and paid-for search terms. From 1 March 2011 the new ASA rules cover content hosted by companies themselves, such as their own websites.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

Clip of the Day

Richard Stallman – DRM


Credit: TinyOgg

Novell De-emphasises OpenOffice.org and Emphasises Mono Trojan Horses Instead

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, OpenSUSE, Patents at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fuse box

Summary: Banshee, which Microsoft may be entitled to demand money for after an explicit warning, is being promoted by new employees of Novell, whereas other projects no longer receive much support

JUST OVER a week ago Brian Proffitt alluded to budget allocations at Novell, noting that Novell no longer supports the OpenOffice.org conference (which Microsoft attempted to crash, as usual). Proffitt has just spoken to Novell’s Michael Meeks, who was looking for a chance to grab hold of OpenOffice.org on numerous occasions for years. From the article:

Michael Meeks, a Distinguished Engineer at Novell, and active OpenOffice.org developer, is not happy with the lack of information from Oracle on OpenOffice.org, referring to the keynote by VP of Oracle Office Michael Bemmer as “vague.”

Meeks acknowledges that Bemmer indicated that Oracle will remain deeply committed to OpenOffice.org in the keynote, but beyond those broad promises, there was little in the way of detail.

[...]

Of course, it’s one thing to complain about community involvement, then another thing to actually do it. To his credit, Meeks referred to my recent post about Novell’s lack of fiscal support for the aforementioned OpenOffice.org conference before the words came out of my mouth. He indicated that for Novell it was partly an overall budget decision, and partly a reflection of the value of the conference itself. With fewer people attending the OpenOffice.org conference every year, Meeks argued, Novell is hard-pressed to sponsor the event.

Maybe it’s just not much of a priority at Novell anymore. The company has Microsoft projects to take care of, e.g. Mono and Moonlight.

Novell’s Banshee, which is built using parts of Mono that Microsoft excludes from 'safe' use, is currently being promoted by Novell’s recent hire Paul Cutler and OpenSUSE’s new community manager, Jos Poortvliet. He is typically a KDE person (of some prominence), but now he is advertising Novell’s Banshee. Why not Amarok?

Cutler writes:

Trying to do my part, I’ve been working on all new documentation for Banshee written as topic based help using Mallard. The first release of user help was last month in Banshee 1.7.4 and with 1.7.5 I’d call it functionally complete.

So it’s “functionally complete,” eh? How long before Novell is successfully pushing it into Ubuntu? Banshee has just made it into Ubuntu Netbook Edition by default [1, 2] and it’s also in OpenSUSE 11.3. Is Canonical aware of the consequences of including this Trojan horse from Novell? As Ubuntu often gets preinstalled on sub-notebooks, it would be simper for Microsoft to demand a share of the revenue, based on the fact that Banshee falls outside the Community Promise.

Readers Respond to IDG’s Fauxpen Source Blog

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IDG on open source

Summary: Linux Today readers and also one of our own do not fancy IDG’s attempts to change perception around the term “Open Source” and around Linux

OVER at IDG’s pseudo-open source blog there is some rather insulting new piece from Shimel.

One of our readers responded to it specifically by writing last night: “What a stupid article. The writer makes statements that are full of FUD and disinformation. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He names Linux the most successful Open Source project. Hellloooo: What about Firefox ??? Or Apache ??? And then, he crowns that pile of garbage of an article with this pearl: What works for Linux may not work for the rest of the open source projects, watch for revenue. What a MORON.”

“The writer makes statements that are full of FUD and disinformation.”
      –Anonymous
These attempts to belittle Linux while glamourising 'open' core (proprietary) at Open Source’s expense do not surprise us, but does that belong in a so-called “Open Source” blog? This only leads to further erosion of the term "Open Source".

Over at Linux Today we found just a couple of comments, which we thought were both worth quoting. The first one says: “If the author wanted to rant (and it is a rant) that he liked the “open core” model, he should have just said so. Instead he chose to set up straw men. I mean, does anybody really believe that everything that runs on Linux must be released under an “open source” (free software?) license or that it must be offered w/o charge? If so, that person hasn’t been paying attention! And where does he come up with the notion that all free software will attract a sizable contributor base like the Linux kernel? That is absurd on the face of it. He is correct that one can create “open core” software legally — i.e. w/o violating licenses. (Whether it is moral can be debated. I am sure RMS would be happy to oblige.) One doesn’t need the straw men arguments to do that. However, whether non-free software is *desirable* from a user’s perspective is a whole different question. One the author of this rant conveniently avoids.”

Another commenter says: “Can’t you find something better for marketing your typically closed products than labeling them as ‘open source’ in order to make your customers understand that they can download a free trial version?”

We’ve said it before and it’s worth saying again: be careful of IDG’s “open source” blog. They even have Microsoft employees writing there now. The tone and agenda are set by the selection process.

Death Patents Now Challenged and Software Patents Continue to be Used by Apple and Microsoft Against Linux

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents, Samsung at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bone texture
With patents like these, who needs disease?

Summary: Another quick overview of patent news most of which affecting Linux and Android

IN RECENT days we wrote several posts about something which had been dubbed “death patents” [1, 2, 3]. These are patents that act a barrier between as a person and his/her life. IP Watch has some repetition of the good news about challenge to patents on HIV/AIDS treatment. [via]

Eight patents on HIV/AIDS medicines are being challenged by the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT), a US-based nonprofit legal service group working to “protect the public from the harms caused by errors within the patent system, particularly the harms caused by undeserved patents and unsound patent policy,” the group has announced.

We need similar such challenges to software patents.

MPEG-LA’s latest trick [1, 2, 3] is now named by the news in the South African press, noting quite rightly that Apple and Microsoft (and Microsoft Florian) are proponents of this plot:

The H.264 video format is a heavily patented technology and the MPEG-LA group’s membership includes the likes of Apple and Microsoft, both of which are including support for the format in their respective Safari and Internet Explorer browsers.

Apple’s co-founder recently defended [1, 2] patent trolling from Microsoft’s co-founder. What a pair of like-minded groups. They also agree on MPEG-LA, which is headed by a patent troll. Some argued that the Jobs-Ellison relationship contributed to the lawsuit against Android as well [1, 2, 3]. Here is another new article about it:

Much like Ellison’s friend Steve Jobs at Apple, a longtime Microsoft foe who has now turned against Google, Oracle’s latest salvo shows it’s all right to root against both of them.

For those who think that the trolling from Interval/Paul Allen is a one-time hit, well… not everyone believes that’s the case.

Allen is suing on just four of the 300-plus patents at Interval’s disposal. Other patents, as Techflash suggests, put a target on the backs of Twitter and Foursquare.

Legal experts argue that Allen’s 10-year wait to file may make his patents unenforceable. It should.

How about Microsoft’s “new” patent on operating system shutdown (covered in [1, 2])? Should that be enforceable? “A good trivia question” offers this one blogger who asks: “What technology has Microsoft been the first to market?”

The blogger says:

So I ask the reader: What technology has Microsoft invented to be the first to market?

“Ridiculous Findings” is another new blog post which says:

More than ever, the world needs Linux. More than ever, the world needs open source. We are at a critical time for IT. There have been tons of innovations recently. New processing technologies, new software technologies, new fabrication techniques, new communications protocols and even new ways of thinking about communications, and heck memristors are really friggin’ exciting. Do we really want all of that controlled by companies like Apple and Microsoft? Apple and Microsoft are showing their propensities for a complete lack of care for their customer base. They are also showing their true colors. There are companies that genuinely care about their products, customers, and environments. SEGA, Mazda, HP, AMD, VIA, and a few others come to mind when I think of such companies. Microsoft, Oracle, Apple, Intel, and the like are not companies of such ilk. It’s time for open collaboration to trump top down empiricism.

These companies do not offer much innovation, either. A compelling example of stagnation would be the x86 and Windows monopoly. For companies that claim to be championing patents they don’t produce much innovation, do they? They only stampede competition out of the market.

To all those who are jiggy about Galaxy Tab (which runs Linux) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], do not rush to buy one. Galaxy Tab is taxed by Microsoft. Samsung pays Microsoft for Linux, for supposed patent violations that they never bothered to show. It’s a form of collusion.

For GNU/Linux to succeed software patents must vanish. Companies that meanwhile endorse Microsoft’s claims against Linux deserve a polite boycott.

Microsoft is Ranked the Worst Security Patching Offender

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Security at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blue jars

Summary: Despite silent patching (without any disclosure) Microsoft is positioned worst in a new report

MICROSOFT has a habit of hiding the real severity of its security flaws (and numbers). Despite or because of this Microsoft loves to pretend that it is leading among those who patch their software, but IBM’s report suggests otherwise. Microsoft is positioned worst among everyone after some amendments were made:

IBM has overhauled its list of worst security patchers among software vendors, putting Microsoft at the top of its list and shifting Sun from No. 1 to No. 5.

[...]

The corrected ranking for the companies with the most unpatched disclosed vulnerabilities by company name and percent unpatched is: Microsoft, 23%; Mozilla, 17%; Apple, 12%; IBM, 9%; Sun, 8%; Oracle, 6%; Cisco, 6%; Novell, 5%; HP, 4%; Linux, 3%; Adobe, 3%; Google, 0%.

By all means call out Windows. Do now allow Microsoft to get away with the excuse that it’s only targeted “because it’s popular” (meaning ubiquitous in desktops). Microsoft deserves to be treated differently because it’s exceptionally vain and negligent, meaning that it refuses to fix known flaws. Consider the recent example of Internet Explorer [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

Links 4/9/2010: ‘Amnesia: The Dark Descent’ as GNU/Linux Demo, WeTab Runs MeeGo

Posted in News Roundup at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Presenting the Local Akademy Team 2010

        It is a while now since Akademy 2010, KDE’s annual conference, came to a close. There were a huge number of blogs and articles about what happened and it is safe to say that the latest conference was a success. Many attendees noted how smoothly everything ran, thanks to the KDE organizers and the local team. The local team did an awesome job, not only during the conference itself but also during the many months of thought and hard work before Akademy. The Dot managed to catch up with some key players in the local team to get their take on the KDE invasion of Tampere and find out what it is like to organize such a large event.

      • Help Test the Next Generation of KDE’s Kontact
    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Cortex-A8 SODIMM module supports Linux, Android

      Direct Insight announced a SODIMM-sized COM (computer on module) based on TI’s Sitara AM3703 or DM3730, with ARM Cortex-A8 cores clocked at up to 1GHz. The SwiftModule-DM offers up to 256MB of RAM and 256MB of flash storage, and a touchscreen interface supporting up to 2048 x 2048 pixels, and is compatible with both Linux and Android.

    • Media players offer 3.2-inch displays, Android 2.1

      Philips and Samsung have both announced Android 2.1-based, 3.2-inch portable media players (PMPs), primed to compete with Apple’s newly upgraded iPod Touch. Philips’ GoGear Connect reportedly includes Wi-Fi, GPS, and Android Market access, while Samsung’s Galaxy Player 50 offers both a videocam and two-megapixel camera in addition to its multimedia capabilities.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Neofonie WeTab now runs MeeGo Linux

          The Neofonie WeTab gained grabbed a lot of headlines when the company first introduced it a few months ago. And why not? The tablet is kind of everything the Apple iPad is not. It has a nice big 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixel HD capacitive toushcreen display. It supports HDMI output, has 2 USB ports, and a 1.3MP camera. It also packs 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 2.1.

        • Toshiba shows off 10.1 inch Android tablet

          Toshiba Europe announced a 10.1-inch Android 2.2 media tablet, due for a fourth quarter release in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The Folio 100 runs Android 2.2 on an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and offers a 10.1-inch, WSVGA display, but it lacks both GPS and Android Market access.

        • Tablet Skirmish Heats Up With Toshiba Entry

          Toshiba has announced its own entrant into the tablet market with the Folio 100, which will run on the Android 2.2 operating system. Sporting a screen just over 10 inches, the device will be larger than other early competitors to Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad tablet computer, such as the Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) Streak.

    • Tablets

      • Strong early sales of $140 Android tablet surprise retailer

        Beijing-based international online reseller LightInTheBox.com announced it has had two months of surprisingly strong sales of a seven-inch, $140 Android tablet. The aPad Android Tablet runs Android 1.6 — with Android Market support — on Samsung’s ARM11-based 667MHz S3C6410, and offers 1GB of flash, an SD slot, Wi-Fi, and an 800 x 480-pixel screen, says the company.

      • Toshiba debuts Android-powered Folio 100 tablet

        Samsung’s Galaxy Tab got a lot of the attention Thursday, but Toshiba had an Android tablet of its own to debut here at the IFA electronics show: the Folio 100.

        Unlike the smaller Tab, the Folio bears more of an outward resemblance to Apple’s iPad, the dominant tablet device on the market today. And where Samsung will sell the Tab only through phone companies as a kind of smartphone on steroids, Toshiba’s Folio will like the iPad come in 3G and non-3G models when it goes on sale in Europe in the fourth quarter.

        The Folio will cost 399 euros (about $511) for the version with just Wi-Fi networking; the 3G version price jumps to 499 euros (about $639). It’s got a 10.1-inch multitouch screen with 1024×600-pixel resolution, an Nvidia Tegra processor, stereo speakers, a 1.3-megapixel Webcam, two USB ports, an SD card slot, an HDMI connector for sending video to other screens, Bluetooth communications, and 16GB of memory.

      • Bigger is Better… Right?

Free Software/Open Source

  • CAOS Theory Podcast 2010.09.03

    Topics for this podcast:

    *Open source seeding the clouds
    *Canonical’s cloud subscription pivot
    *Hypertable steers commercial route for NoSQL database
    *Implications of Oracle’s Java lawsuit

  • Events

    • Finding more women to speak at Ohio LinuxFest: success!

      Some conference organisers will say “we didn’t get any submissions from women” to explain the lack of women on their stages. As of two years ago, the Ohio LinuxFest was in that category. With a little outreach effort, and embracing diversity as a core value, the Ohio LinuxFest has successfully recruited more women to share their experience at OLF.

    • Ohio LinuxFest Registration and Contest Deadline Extended
    • Ohio LinuxFest Proves Real FOSS Diversity

      The annual Ohio LinuxFest is a genuine grass-roots community event. It is one of the most fun and most worthwhile Linux fests, and one of the most welcoming– everyone from brand-new Linux users, people curious about Linux, to wizened gurus and everyone in between are welcome.

    • Interviews from GUADEC, Part 3
    • ApacheCon NA 2010 registration opens

      The Apache Software Foundation has announced that registration is now open for this year’s ApacheCon North America. ApacheCon NA 2010, the official user conference of the Apache Software Foundation, will take place from the 1st to the 5th of November at The Westin Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta, Georgia.

    • [Registration Opens for ApacheCon North America 2010]
    • ApacheCon 2010 Registration Is Open
    • Call for Papers for SCALE 9x opens

      Organizers of the Southern California Linux Expo 9x have announced that the Call for Papers for SCALE 9x opens Wednesday, Sept. 1, with five speaker tracks.

    • XDS 2010 Has Been Moved To A Tobacco Factory

      Among the topics to be discussed at this ex-tobacco factory event are whether X drivers should be merged back into the X.Org Server for the 1.10 release, DRM/KMS support on non-Linux platforms, what hardware should continue to be supported and what drivers should be eliminated, a review of the latest DRI2 protocol additions, a development process recap, a multi-touch session, a session on X Gestures, handling input events, board of directors chat, documentation / how to get more individuals involved, EGL in Mesa, and libxkbcommon maintainer-ship. Birds of feather sessions for Xephyr, XCB, and the Wacom support are also planned.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • MySQL Connector Released for OpenOffice.org

      The OpenOffice.org community has released a MySQL connector for OpenOffice. This allows you to edit the table in any MySQL installation from any desktop installation of OpenOffice.

  • Education

    • LiveText – A Cross Platform Online Education System

      In the last couple months I have posted my disgust about two different online education systems that are being used at various colleges around the United States. My dislike for these systems stems from the fact that even though they are web based, they do not adhere to Web Standards. This means that they are not fully accessible on FOS operating systems as they should be.

      [...]

      So if you are an educator looking for a platform to teach your online class through (or an administrator at a school that make the decision for many) I implore you to choose LiveText or another system that supports all operating systems (Not just those paying a Windows Tax).

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • [ANNOUNCE] Git 1.7.2.3
    • Language agnostic web server Mongrel2 1.0 released

      Version 1.0 of Mongrel2, a language agnostic web server initiated by Zed Shaw, has been released. Shaw announced the release on his blog of the project which began development only three months ago. “I love this project” said Shaw, “Even if it doesn’t go anywhere and nobody uses it I am so happy I got to work on another cool idea nobody’s really done before”. Mongrel2 uses a simple backend protocol to allow Ruby, Python, C++, .Net and other languages make use of it’s ability to handle not just HTTP but Flash XMLSockets, WebSockets or Long Polling, and it’s event based I/O system.

    • First Alpha of uTorrent Server for Linux Released

      The uTorrent Server application provides a state-of-the-art implementation of the popular BitTorrent protocol and a full-featured WebUI (web-based user interface).

Leftovers

  • GPU vs. CPU Computing

    Graphics processing units (GPUs) have, for many years, powered the display of images and motion on computer displays. GPUs are now powerful enough to do more than just move images across the screen. They are capable of performing high-end computations that are the staple of many engineering activities.

    Benchmarks that focus on floating point arithmetic, those most often used in these engineering computations, show that GPUs can perform such computations much faster than the traditional central processing units (CPUs) used in today’s workstations—sometimes as much as 20 times faster, depending on the computation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Oil rig fire triggers new pollution fear in Gulf of Mexico

      Fresh fears about drilling in the Gulf of Mexico were raised today when fire forced workers to abandon an oil and gas platform, just six months after the BP explosion that created an environmental disaster in the region.

    • Tibetan nomads struggle as grasslands disappear from the roof of the world

      Like generations of Tibetan nomads before him, Phuntsok Dorje makes a living raising yaks and other livestock on the vast alpine grasslands that provide a thatch on the roof of the world.

      But in recent years the vegetation around his home, the Tibetan plateau, has been destroyed by rising temperatures, excess livestock and plagues of insects and rodents.

  • Finance

    • Afghanistan tries to prevent run on its biggest bank

      Afghan authorities today attempted to prevent a potentially catastrophic run on the country’s biggest bank after allegations of corruption and mismanagement led regulators to replace two of its top executives.

      The revolution at the top of Kabul Bank, which is responsible for paying the salaries of nearly all the country’s policemen and soldiers, has caused shock in the capital amid fears of a collapse in confidence in Afghanistan’s ramshackle and corrupt financial system.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MLB Decapitates Flugtag’s Phlyin’ Phanatic

      Major League Baseball is taking a guillotine to Phillie royalty. Well, a flying stuffed rendition of Phillie royalty.

      A Flugtag team that spent $3,000 and 400 hours building a flying machine topped with a replica of one of Major League Baseball’s favorite mascots was told two days before the local competition that the Phanatic can’t fly.

    • Copyrights

      • Mark Waid Explains: Culture Is More Important Than Copyright & It’s Time To Look For Opportunities In Sharing

        He also mentions that he’s got some plans in place for how he’s going to embrace things like BitTorrent and run some interesting experiments. He points out that they’re experiments, and there’s no guarantee they’ll work, but he wants to step forward and at least try to embrace it. This is great to hear, and I look forward to seeing what kind of experiments he runs.

      • Huge Push In Brazil To Legalize File Sharing

        That said… while I appreciate getting rid of “the war on copying,” I do think there are some serious problems with a proposal like this. Copyright levies tend to have serious unintended consequences. They create large bureaucracies, where money collection and distribution is not always done fairly. In fact, they often tend to favor bigger name artists over smaller artists, and just having the bureaucracy creates overhead that goes to the bureaucracy, rather than the artists. On top of that, it takes away incentive for consumers to support artists directly through other creative business models, because they feel that they “already paid,” via the levy.

      • Here come ‘Hurt Locker’ file-sharing subpoenas
      • ACTA/HADOPI

        • ACTA Action: Call on Obama to end the secrecy, reject the treaty

          Please read and share this article by Knowledge Ecology International’s James Love, sign our anti-ACTA petition, and call on Obama to publish the treaty text.

          Two weeks ago, we delivered over 4,000 of your signatures on our ACTA petition to negotiators meeting in Washington, D.C.

        • French ISPs and French Government Locking Horns Over HADOPI Costs

          There’s a major battle brewing between the French government and the French ISPs. A line is being drawn and it’s about the money. While this was foreseeable thanks to our earlier reports, it will be very interesting to see how far the battle will escalate. One report suggests that ISPs may even opt to not honor their end of the anti-piracy effort.

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