Links 8/9/2010: GNU/Linux Market Share Debate, ACTA Meets Barriers

Posted in News Roundup at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Debunking the 1% Myth

      Additional confirmation of the growth in Linux desktop market share last year came from an unlikely source: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Using a slide to visualize OS market share Ballmer had Linux desktop market share as a slightly larger slice of the pie than MacOS. Nobody considers Apple insignificant on the desktop and neither is Linux. Here is, in part, what Mr. Ballmer had to say about Linux on the desktop and the competition for Windows:

      Linux, you could see on the slide, and Apple has certainly increased its share somewhat.


      I think depending on how you look at it, Apple has probably increased its market share over the last year or so by a point or more. And a point of market share on a number that’s about 300 million is interesting. It’s an interesting amount of market share, while not necessarily being as dramatic as people would think, but we’re very focused in on both Apple as a competitor, and Linux as a competitor.”

      Does anyone believe that Microsoft would see Linux as a serious competitor is Linux had captured just 1% of the market? That doesn’t seem very likely, does it? All the figures I have quoted so far represent sales of systems preloaded with a given operating system: Windows, MacOS or Linux. They do not represent actual usage. If you go down to the local brick and mortar computer shop or big box retailer, buy a system with Windows, wipe the hard drive and install Linux that still counts as a Windows system, not a Linux system.

    • Multiple Desktops

      If you run Linux and the KDE desktop environment, you can run up to 20 desktops. Each desktop would be distinct and enable you to do a specific task.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Videos from LinuxCon and end to maintenance of 2.4 and 2.6.27 nears

      Videos and presentations from LinuxCon and the Embedded Linux Conference provide information about the development status of Btrfs and about problems between kernel hackers and the makers of Android. With the latest stable kernels, Linux 2.6.34 has reached the end of its life; furthermore, there are signs that maintenance of 2.4 and 2.6.27 will soon be discontinued or reduced.

    • Linux Foundation details 2010 End User Summit programme

      The Linux Foundation has announced that this year’s End User Summit will take place on the 12th and 13th of October at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City in New Jersey. According to the foundation, the “Summit is a unique opportunity for the most advanced enterprise users to collaborate with leaders from within the Linux community, including the highest-level maintainers and developers.”

    • Assessing the Tux Strength: Part 1 – Userspace Memory Protection
    • Assessing the Tux Strength: Part 2 – Into the Kernel
    • Android/Linux kernel fight continues

      You could argue that Google’s Android, so popular on smartphones now, is the most popular Linux of all right now. There’s only one little problem with that: Android has continued to be apart from the Linux mainstream.

      People became aware of the Android and Linux split when Ryan Paul reported that “Google engineer Patrick Brady stated unambiguously that Android is not Linux.”

      Brady over-stated the case. Android is Linux. To be exact, version, 2.2, Froyo, runs on top of the 2.6.32 Linux kernel. To quote from the Android developer page, Dalvik, Android’s Java-based interface and user-space, uses the “Linux kernel for underlying functionality such as threading and low-level memory management.” Let me make it simple for you, without Linux, there is no Android.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Puts Out A Major Beta Linux Driver Update

        It was just one week ago that NVIDIA released a stable Linux driver update, but today for those wishing to live on the bleeding edge of NVIDIA’s proprietary Linux driver development, the first beta release in the 260.xx series is now available for testing. The NVIDIA 260.19.04 Linux driver brings a lot to the table.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Zorin 3 – A great distro for newbies

      Zorin aims to be a simple, friendly operating system for Linux newbies. Then again, all distros do that. They all aim to be simple and friendly. When you think about distributions like Ubuntu, Linux Mint or PCLinuxOS, you have pretty much everything you need. With a small degree of variations here and there, they all offer a complete experience out of the box. So there must be something extra that makes Zorin special.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Old Generals Never Die – They just Wear a Red Hat

        The Red Hat board of directors announced a new chairman Monday, August 30, to replace outgoing Matthew Szulik. Henry Hugh Shelton, retired Special Forces general, has been serving on the board since 2003 after leaving the elite Army division.

        Jim Whitehurst, Red Hat president and CEO, said, “General Shelton is an individual of the utmost integrity. He has excelled in the numerous roles and positions held throughout his career and as a dedicated member of Red Hat’s board of directors for more than seven years. General Shelton possesses the right combination of leadership, experience and industry knowledge to help guide Red Hat toward achieving its future goals.”

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint Debian Edition Offers Faster Updates with Rougher Edges

        Previous versions of Linux Mint were based on Ubuntu releases, and users had to wait until the improvements and changes in Ubuntu’s new versions trickled their way “upstream” to Linux Mint. In the “Debian Edition,” changes and updates to the system and apps will flow constantly, so that users never really need to re-install their system.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu separatists

          I don’t understand the Ubuntu fanboi mentality to place Ubuntu apart from the underlying ecosystem that makes it possible. I’m not sure if Canonical encourages this behavior by downplaying how much they borrow (roughly 99%) and up-playing how much they create (roughly 1%) in an Ubuntu distribution, or if it is a side effect of the over-hyped rah-rah “OMG EVERYTHING TO DO WITH UBUNTU IS SO FREAKING AWESOME” cheerleading that permeates Ubuntu-land?

          I’m not sure how you can set up Ubuntu as a good community member while at the same time demand that other people drink from a different water fountain, but I guess we are going to see it attempted.

        • Exciting things in the post!

          A couple of months back Marcus and I got a call from a magazine in Japan who wanted to produce stickers for Ubuntu. We’d _just_ signed off the new logo and word mark and so we collaborated back and forth and finally yesterday the finished article arrived!

        • How Ubuntu Plays Nicely With Others: The Sponsorship Process

          Ubuntu developers have been busy in recent days discussing improvements to the package sponsorship process. Though this might seem at first glance like an esoteric technical topic that matters only to geeks, it fits into the larger picture of Ubuntu in important ways. Here’s why you should care.

          If you’re not an Ubuntu developer or some other kind of geek, chances are good that you don’t even know what sponsorship means in the context of Linux development. As the Ubuntu wiki explains, however, sponsorship is the process by which Ubuntu developers work with other programmers to upload their applications into the Ubuntu repositories, and to make sure they’re maintained properly once they’re there.

        • ‘Software Sources’ Disabled From The Ubuntu 10.10 System Menu

          Why? I didn’t see any discussion over this, but it seems Ubuntu is slowly removing all the “advanced” tools to make everything more user friendly (or at least that seems to be the purpose) – because let’s not forget that aptitude was removed from the default Ubuntu 10.10 installation and Synaptic is going to be removed in Ubuntu 11.04 and replaced by Ubuntu Software Center.

        • Ubuntu One Blog: Ubuntu One Maverick beta update

          Our team has been hard at work resolving them so I thought I’d provide a brief summary of a few of the most recent fixes.

        • A newbie tries to install Ubuntu
        • Official Ubuntu 10.10 Countdown banners revealed
        • Measuring the Value of Canonical’s Launchpad

          Without a doubt, Launchpad’s value has yet to be fully exploited. And with Canonical busy working on a variety of other fronts, Launchpad’s evolution over the years has been slow, if steady. Nonetheless, the website stands at the core of Canonical’s initiatives, while also underwriting many of the features vital to Ubuntu users–whether they realize it or not.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 beta review

          When the Ubuntu 10.10 beta was released on September 2nd, I decided to take a look at it and (briefly) the Kubuntu 10.10 beta as well. To put it through its paces I installed it on an Intel Core Duo machine with 2GB of RAM, a Dell Studio laptop with a Core i7 and 8GB of RAM, and also within VMware Workstation 7.1 for Linux.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android marches forward as iOS slips

          Google’s Android army is marching bravely forward, while Apple’s iOS continues to rapidly lose market share.

          According to Quantcast, Android has put in a “powerful” performance, as measured by the share of mobile web consumption attributable to devices running Google’s operating system.

          Indeed, Android captured share from every major player during the month of August, achieving its best month share gain since November 2009 by capturing 25% of the US mobile market.

        • Google to start TV service in US this autumn

          Google Inc will launch its service to bring the Web to TV screens in the United States this autumn and worldwide next year, its chief executive said, as it extends its reach from the desktop to the living room.

          CEO Eric Schmidt said the service, which will allow full Internet browsing via the television, would be free, and Google would work with a variety of programme makers and electronics manufacturers to bring it to consumers.

        • Caution: Stay away from making your Android app free for a short time
        • Ex-Googler Aims for China’s Mobile Users

          The first is called Tapas, a smartphone operating system based on Google’s Android with a number of features tailored for Chinese users, including software that detects what cities incoming calls are from, syncs contact lists with popular Chinese social networks, and a music player that detects what songs users are listening to and displays the lyrics, karaoke style. It also includes an e-book reader that can be optimized for subway-reading.

        • Kid-Friendly Browser Zoodles Now Available for Android
    • Tablets

      • Is it Time to Take Your (Android) Tablets?

        Aside from this growing flood of new tablets – not quite one a day, even if it sometimes seems like it – there’s one other noteworthy feature of this Android tablet spreadsheet: the fact that it was put together collaboratively. It’s really an obvious approach to take to gathering comparative product information for fast-moving markets with lots of players from different regions.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Selectricity Source

    After a semi-recent thread on debian-devel, I poked around and realized that I’d never actually gotten around to formally announcing the release of source code for Selectricity, a piece of web-based election software designed to allow for preferential decision-making and to provide “election machinery for the masses.” Selectricity is useful for a range of decisions but it targets all those quick little decisions that we might want to decide preferentially but where running a vote would be overkill.

    Things were delayed through a drawn out set of negotiations with the MIT Technology Licensing Office over how to release the code under a free software license of my choosing. I was swamped when things finally came through. Over time, I managed to forget that I never did a formal announcement, never setup a mailing list, and never did all those things that I have tried to teach other people in the Free Software Project Management HOWTO. Code just sort of appeared on my website under the GNU Affero General Public License. It was until the debian-devel thread that I remembered I’d never made a formal announcement. Sorry about that!

  • Open Source WYSIWYG HTML Editor Using jQuery UI

    elRTE is an open-source WYSIWYG HTML-editor written in JavaScript using jQuery UI. It features rich text editing, options for changing its appearance, style and many more. You can use it in any commercial or non-commercial projects. elRTE has been tested in Firefox 3.5+, Internet Explorer 7 & 8, Safari 4, Opera 10 and Chrome.

  • The 6 dimensions of Open Source


    Very close to the political dimension, we are now seeing philosophic interest in open source software. The 20th century saw the creation of a consumer class with a new divide between those who produce and those who consume. This dissociated usage of technology is a self-destroying model, and contributing models (or participative production models) are considered to be the solution to fix our societies for the future. Be a producer and a consumer at the same time and be associated with technology rather than alienated by it. Open source is an early and highly successful manifestation of that.

  • JavaScript framework YUI 3.2 interprets gestures

    Version 3.2.0 of Yahoo’s JavaScript framework, known simply as YUI (Yahoo! User Interface), now supports touch events and gesture controls. Events as touchstart and touchend handle touch controls. YUI recognises flick, whereas developers had to program more complicated gestures like wipes with such events as gesturemovestart, gesturemove and gesturemoveend from scratch. Finger movements on the screen will be recognised as gestures, as will mouse driven device movements.

  • Teaching Open Source Practices, Version 4.0

    This donation gave birth to the Rensselaer Center for Open Source (RCOS), where every year about 100 undergraduates receive stipends to work on open source projects.

    RCOS also identified a need to provide formal education on the practices of Open Source software, and crafted an elective course which has been taught for the last three years during the fall semester. The course is offered to EE and CS majors in particular.

  • Schillix 0.7.1i released with Illumos underneath

    The OpenSolaris distribution Schillix has released a version of its operating system which is based on the OpenSolaris fork Illumos. The new version, 0.7.1i, has no differences between it and the recently released version 0.7.0 which used the open source OpenSolaris Nevada build 147.

  • This is Why You Do It: Open Source Software Saves Charity

    We hear stories every day about open source software deployments in government, school districts, and big business. Its usefulness in saving a non-profit foundation trying to do good works is a great reminder of why many people choose to get involved in the FOSS community in the first place — to make software accessible to those who need it most.

  • Events

    • ELC 2010 videos

      Videos from the Embedded Linux Conference in San Francisco, April 12-14, 2010.

      The 2010 edition of the Embedded Linux Conference was once again a very interesting event. For embedded Linux developers, the Embedded Linux Conference is a perfect place to learn about new technologies, profit from the experience of other developers, and to meet key software developers.

      For people who couldn’t attend this conference, and for single core people who didn’t manage to attend two or three talks at the same time, here are the videos that we managed to shoot. As usual, the videos are released with a Creative Commons Attribution – ShareAlike 3.0 license.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Welcome to Mozilla Labs Gaming

        We are excited to present to you the latest initiative from Mozilla Labs: Gaming. Mozilla Labs Gaming is all about games built, delivered and played on the Open Web and the browser. We want to explore the wider set of technologies which make immersive gaming on the Open Web possible. We invite the wider community to play with cool, new tech and aim to help establish the Open Web as the platform for gaming across all your Internet connected devices.

        Modern Open Web technologies introduced a complete stack of technologies such as Open Video, audio, WebGL, touch events, device orientation, geo location, and fast JavaScript engines which make it possible to build complex (and not so complex) games on the Web. With these technologies being delivered through modern browsers today, the time is ripe for pushing the platform. And what better way than through games? Traditionally games and game developers have been at the forefront of technology, often pushing the boundaries of what was thought possible

      • Firefox and SeaMonkey updates released
      • Firefox 4.0 Beta 5 Arrives

        Today’s a big release day over at Mozilla. First it was a new version of the email client Thunderbird that has still not been announced officially. As of this minute, the Mozilla servers are being filled with new Firefox 4.0 Beta 5 releases. The distribution has not been completed yet, and it is likely that it will take at least a few hours before the official announcement is being made over at the Mozilla website.

  • Databases

    • First alpha for PostgreSQL 9.1 appears

      The PostgreSQL developers have released a first alpha of the PostgreSQL 9.1 with several new major features added since version 9.0′s development. PostgreSQL 9.0 was recently made available as a release candidate and will be finalised soon.

      Among the changes, SQL statements will now allow references to other columns without listing them in the GROUP BY clause, as long as the GROUP BY clause at least refers to primary keys; this should simplify forming more complex SQL statements with many columns referred to. Also added is a “CREATE TABLE IF NOT EXISTS” function, useful when writing scripts to bootstrap a database.

    • CouchOne is the new name for Couchio

      The commercial company behind the Apache CouchDB project, Couchio, are changing their name to CouchOne. CouchDB creator and CEO of the company Damian Katz told The H that “It turns out our current name is not what you call good. Nobody knows how to punctuate or pronounce it and the top-level domain is really bad for search engines”. The name change is another part of the company’s refocussing of CouchDB on mobile devices and offering a mobile development kit for CouchDB.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle vs. Google, not a private rant

      Somebody said this is just the first instalment of a massive and lethal attack on Free Software by Oracle, and accordingly I would be the Neville Chamberlain (or perhaps the Benito Mussolini) in the imminent Oracle vs. Free World War. Scary, but just a few think this can be the true story. Others have just pointed out that Oracle is a corporation, corporations make money, it just makes sense that if there is a revenue stream, the corporation just goes for it, regardless the collateral damages. I find this idea more compatible with the current scenario, but it would be equally scary. Also this could lead to a number of actions, perhaps fewer of them, but equally scary. I cannot entirely rule out that this is the case, absent a binding commitment by the company, and it would silly of me putting my neck on such a bet under the current circumstances.

    • FSF responds to Oracle v. Google and the threat of software patents

      Now Oracle’s lawsuit threatens to undo all the good will that has been built up in the years since. Programmers will justifiably steer clear of Java when they stand to be sued if they use it in some way that Oracle doesn’t like. One of the great benefits of free software is that it allows programs to be combined in ways that none of the original developers would’ve anticipated, to create something new and exciting. Oracle is signaling to the world that they intend to limit everyone’s ability to do this with Java, and that’s unjustifiable.

      Unfortunately, Google didn’t seem particularly concerned about this problem until after the suit was filed. The company still has not taken any clear position or action against software patents. And they could have avoided all this by building Android on top of IcedTea, a GPL-covered Java implementation based on Sun’s original code, instead of an independent implementation under the Apache License. The GPL is designed to protect everyone’s freedom—from each individual user up to the largest corporations—and it could’ve provided a strong defense against Oracle’s attacks. It’s sad to see that Google apparently shunned those protections in order to make proprietary software development easier on Android.

  • BSD

    • BSD and LINUX

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  • Project Releases

    • Remake – Version 0.2

      I am proud to announce new version of “Remake” – unified build system for animation projects. It’s purpose to automatically track changes in your project files and update rendered footage.

  • Government

    • Gov2.0 Presentation: An Open Government Scorecard

      I have to admit it was a real challenge to present an “Open Government Scorecard” in the 10 minutes I had allotted to me but as I prepared my remarks I found that the time constraint really made me focus. There were a number of disappointments that I have in the President’s record that I didn’t mention, such as his calling for — but not acting upon – a centralized database for earmarks, or his promises to push for lobbying reform that has never materialized — but I hit some of the major concerns that I and my colleagues at Sunlight have with the Open Government Directive, Recovery.gov, Data.gov, and USA Spending.gov. (Tomorrow I’ll talk more about our ongoing analysis of the data on that site.)

    • Look Who’s Blogging about Open Source Software…

      It’s clear we’re no longer in, er, Canterbury when a Vice-President of the European Commission not only has a blog, but uses it to write about this:

      I should have mentioned this yesterday, but was in Strasbourg for European Parliament debates and Jose Manuel Barrosso’s State of the Union address.

      We have great news: EU funded open source software can now be downloaded to preserve digital data for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.

    • US government shouldn’t fear foreign participation in Forge.gov

      In a recent blog post, Red Hat public sector strategist Gunnar Hellekson described several of the challenges posed by Forge.mil and explained why it’s important for Forge.gov to be operated as a more inclusive environment. Various security considerations made it necessary for Forge.mil to be developed as a relatively closed ecosystem, one which is only accessible to DoD employees, contractors, and others who have a DoD Common Access Card. The isolation obviously precludes public participation and leads to military-only forks of mainstream public open source projects.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Open High School of Utah Releases Open Educational Curriculum Under CC BY

      The Open High School of Utah is a public online charter high school. As DeLaina Tonks, OHSU’s Director, told us in an interview a few weeks ago, “The objective behind creating open content is to create free and simple access to knowledge and information through collaboration and innovation. The OHSU mission dovetails nicely with that of open education because we are among the first, if not the first, secondary school to create our own OER curriculum and share it worldwide.”

    • Open Source Research

      why tax-funded research should be in the public domain

    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content


  • Search: now faster than the speed of type

    Search as you type. It’s a simple and straightforward idea—people can get results as they type their queries. Imagining the future of search, the idea of being able to search for partial queries or provide some interactive feedback while searching has come up more than a few times. Along the way, we’ve even built quite a few demos (notably, Amit Patel in 1999 and Nikhil Bhatla in 2003). Our search-as-you-type demos were thought-provoking—fun, fast and interactive—but fundamentally flawed. Why? Because you don’t really want search-as-you-type (no one wants search results for [bike h] in the process of searching for [bike helmets]). You really want search-before-you-type—that is, you want results for the most likely search given what you have already typed.

  • Live From Google’s Search Event: The Importance Of Fast

    Over the last 24 hours there’s been a significant buildup to a special Google event that’s being held this morning at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. The search giant is clearly excited: Google featured a kinetic logo on its homepage yesterday, and they now have a logo that went live last night hints at live updating search. The event is about to kick off, and it’s sure to bring some big news. We’ll be live blogging it below and will also be writing individual posts calling out the biggest news. You can watch a live stream of the event here.

  • Piers Morgan to replace host Larry King on CNN network

    Former newspaper editor and Britain’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan will replace TV presenter Larry King on the US network CNN, it has been announced.

    Morgan’s selection as King’s replacement had been widely expected for the past few months.

    CNN president Jon Klein said Morgan can “look at all aspects of the news with style and humour with an occasional good laugh in the process”.

  • Has Rupert Murdoch’s paywall gamble paid off?

    Faced with a collapse in traffic to thetimes.co.uk, some advertisers have simply abandoned the site. Rob Lynam, head of press trading at the media agency MEC, whose clients include Lloyds Banking Group, Orange, Morrisons and Chanel, says, “We are just not advertising on it. If there’s no traffic on there, there’s no point in advertising on there.” Lynam says he has been told by News International insiders that traffic to The Times site has fallen by 90 per cent since the introduction of charges. “That was the same forecast they were giving us prior to registration and the paywall going up, so whether it’s a reflection on reality or not, I don’t know.”

  • Rupert Murdoch’s Paywall Disaster: Readers, Advertisers, Journalists & Publicists All Hate It
  • Wikipedia, if it were run by academic experts, would look like this
  • Science

    • DARPA alters the speed of light

      Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have found a way to change the speed of light — very, very slightly.

      The boffins have developed a prototype photonic microchip that uses light instead of electrons to transmit data. The chip uses quantum effects to slow down or stop photons, allowing the device to operate at speeds and efficiencies similar to fiber optic links. Such developments could lead to smaller, faster computers, sensors and communications systems that can overcome the limitations of current electronics, according to scientists.

    • Asteroid buzzes Earth; another one coming

      A small asteroid passed within the moon’s distance from the Earth on Wednesday morning, and another will do likewise later in the day, space watchers say.

      The double encounter is an unusual event that shows the need for closer monitoring of near space for Earth-threatening encounters, according to NASA.

      The objects don’t pose a threat to Earth, and they will not be visible to the naked eye, said Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near Earth Program, which tracks potentially hazardous asteroids and comets within 28 million miles of Earth.

    • Quantum computing – separating hope from hype
    • How and why telephones are going to get a whole lot better
  • Security/Aggression

    • Sussex police try new tactic to relieve snappers of pics

      The problem of police decision-making on who is permitted to take photographs of what is highlighted again in a disturbing incident at the weekend, where film was seized at an anti-fascist protest in Brighton.

    • China in Kashmir???

      This should elicit more attention than it’s been getting; Selig Harrison asserts that the Chinese have between 7,000 and 11,000 soldiers in Pakistan-held Kashmir. The Chinese have had military in and out of the area since they built the Karakorum Highway as far as Gilgit, but so many is abnormal.

    • Police seize protesters film

      A police evidence bag with film shot by local man Glenn Williams of an anti-fascist protest. The film cassette was seized by police on the street under Section 19 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 on Monday 30 August 2010 Brighton, England.

    • Long Island Man Arrested For Defending Home With AK-47

      He was arrested for protecting his property and family.

      But it’s how the Long Island man did it that police say crossed the line.

    • High-tech carts will tell on Cleveland residents who don’t recycle … and they face $100 fine

      It would be a stretch to say that Big Brother will hang out in Clevelanders’ trash cans, but the city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling — and fine them $100 if they don’t.

      The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city will roll out next year with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP spreads blame over oil spill

      In the 193-page internal report released on its website, BP said that decisions made by “multiple companies and work teams” contributed to the accident, which it said arose from “a complex and interlinked series of mechanical failures, human judgements, engineering design, operational implementation and team interfaces”.

    • BP report spreads blame across Gulf spill actors

      BP’s investigation found that Halliburton used a “likely unstable” cement mix that was not fully tested before it was used. Mark Bly, BP’s head of safety and operations, said in a video accompanying the report that Halliburton “did not conduct comprehensive lab tests that could’ve identified potential problems with the cement.”

      But he added, “We believe that BP and Halliburton working together should have better identified and addressed the issues underlying the cement job.”

  • Finance

    • World Bank on Land Grabs: It’s All Good Unless You’re African, a Woman, Disempowered, or Poor

      The World Bank’s long-awaited report on land grabs is out. I’ve not had time to study it – I only found out an hour ago – but here are some first impressions.

      First, the Bank doesn’t call them land-grabs. Unable to come up with a suitably technical alternative to describe the process whereby the poor are kicked off the land when the rich buy up the ground beneath their feet, the Bank refers instead to ‘global interest in farm land’. It’s a neat euphemism. When you say, “thou shalt not be interested in your neighbour’s ox”, it doesn’t sound nearly as bad does it?

      The Bank report is entitled “Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can It Yield Sustainable and Equitable Benefits?. The titular question is also a bit of a stretch. Can it yield sustainable and equitable benefits? Well, almost anything can have good if unintended benefits:book burning might encourage people to go to bookshops more and, while they’re looking for kindling, develop an interest in literature; bombing Iraq might propagate curiosity about Mesopotamian scholarship, and so on. It’s unlikely, but it might happen. A more telling question is Has Land Grabbing In Fact Yielded Sustainable and Equitable Benefits? To that question, the Bank provides answers. But you’d never know from reading the Bank’s own spin.

      If you look at the press release, you’ll see quotes from Klaus Deininger – the Bank’s resident free-market-in-land fundamentalist. He says things like “A consistent finding across regions is that better-defined land rights helped in many instances to improve efficiency and equity.” If, in other words, everyone knew what was going on when there were land grabs, there tended to be more equity. Goodness. Deininger also offers this rather cryptic quote: “Figure out a country’s niche and competitive advantage, then investors can help you achieve your goal. They know technology and other things, but you can often get a much better bargain – and investments will be sustainable only if everybody benefits.” I’m not really sure what he’s saying here, but it sounds informed and technical.

    • Q&A: Michael Lewis Talks About the Banks That Brought Down Greece

      Michael Lewis: [Laughs.] Yes, Greece is made for a Jonathan Franzen novel. There are no happy countries any more. Financially speaking, unhappy countries do seem to all be different in their own way. The thing that interests me (in what looks like is going to become a series) is that the raw event seems to be the same in each place: make credit available for people who would never have qualified for it before. How each of the cultures responds to this credit tells you so much about the society in general. Specifically, within the context of Europe, it communicates how different these cultures are that have been glued together by their monetary system. These differences are more riveting than you might have expected, given that global finance has this monocultural flavor to it, where everything seems to be sort of the same from place to place. Although the bankers in Greece kind of look like the bankers in Iceland, who kind of look like the bankers in the United States, in fact they’re not. They are still financially radically different. In a word, yes.

    • EU Probes Hidden Greek Deals as 400% Yield Gap Shows Doubt

      Four months after the 110 billion- euro ($140 billion) bailout for Greece, the nation still hasn’t disclosed the full details of secret financial transactions it used to conceal debt.

    • What does Goldman Sachs Do?

      According to public records of Goldman’s financial filings, only a tenth of its revenues came from investment banking last year and more than three-fourths from trading for its own account.

      In this video, the first in a two part series about unraveling the profit puzzle at Goldman, Economic Correspondent Paul Solman talks to industry insiders and former Goldman executives to find out the real scoop.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Virginia court: Police can use GPS to track suspect

      The same GPS technology that motorists use to get directions can be used by police without a warrant to track the movements of criminal suspects on public streets, the Virginia Court of Appeals said Tuesday.

      In a case that prompted warnings of Orwellian snooping by the government, the court unanimously ruled that Fairfax County Police did nothing wrong when they planted a GPS device on the bumper of a registered sex offender’s work van without obtaining a warrant.

    • ACLU Challenges Laptop Searches and Seizures at the Border

      Today, the ACLU, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) filed a lawsuit challenging the government’s claimed authority to search, detain, and copy electronic devices — including laptops, cell phones, cameras, etc. — at the country’s international borders without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

    • INDECT – privacy ethics in a secret project

      The INDECT Project, funded with almost 11 million euros, aims to research on “Intelligent information system supporting observation, searching and detection for security of citizens in urban environment” but was qualified by The Telegraph last year as the “‘Orwellian’ artificial intelligence plan to monitor public for ‘abnormal behaviour’”.

      Following the article, a lot of public pressure was put from media, civil society and the European Parliament. MEPs addressed to the European Commission 10 questions in the past year related to the project and its privacy ethics.

    • EFF’s E-Book Buyer’s Guide to Privacy v2
    • Groups Urge Craigslist To Eliminate Foreign Adult Services Ads

      Four anti-sex trafficking groups Tuesday praised Craigslist.org for shutting down its adult services ads in the United States but urged the online classifieds ad provider to eliminate similar ads offered on its foreign websites.

      After coming under fire from the groups and 18 state attorneys general who claim the company’s adult ads help promote prostitution, Craigslist this weekend abruptly shut down its adult services ads section on its U.S. website and replaced it with the words “censored.”

    • Future of the Internet Symposium: Lessons in Designing for Privacy

      There is a solution that, though I hesitate to call it generative, would preserve the generativity of the social web: design for social signaling. An example helps illustrate the type of signaling I’m referring to. A social network with photo sharing could easily enable an option to “disallow other users from tagging me in photos” that would technically prevent a metatag with my name from being attached to a photo. This is effectively designing for privacy enforcement. Instead what I would love to see is an option to “notify other users of my preference not to be tagged in photos” that would cause a notification to appear when a friend tried to tag me in a photo, telling him that I prefer not to be tagged.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Leggo My Likeness, Part Deux: Does Starcraft II Violate Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Right of Publicity?

      As comedian Myq Kaplan says, “There’s a spectrum of dorkery from people who use words like dorkery and those who do not.” When Starcraft II was released on July 23, I was one of the millions of uberdorks around the world whose preorder instantly made it the fastest and best-selling computer game of 2010. As an additional testament to my dorkery, I soon thereafter identified a myriad of legal issues with the game.

      Number one, the game destroys graphics cards (especially in laptops) because Activision-Blizzard forgot to include a framerate cap. This small oversight caused thousands of graphics cards like mine to overheat and die during game play. Huge potential for a class-action lawsuit? Possibly, but not very interesting, academically.

    • Twitter Makes Another Run For “Tweet”, “Twitter” Trademarks

      Twitter co-founder Biz Stone promptly clarified the situation in a blog post, stating that it has “no intention of ‘going after’ the wonderful applications and services that use the word [tweet] in their name when associated with Twitter.”

    • Using Google Books To Remove Access To Public Domain Books
    • Public Domain Parasites #2
    • Copyrights

      • Sharron Angle hit with lawsuit

        In a lawsuit filed Friday, Las Vegas-based Righthaven LLC says the Nevada Republican Senate nominee has violated copyright laws by posting two newspapers stories in their entirety on her campaign website.

      • Australian Judge Rules There Is No Copyright In Headlines

        Australia’s federal court has ruled that there is no copyright in newspaper headlines.

        The decision has far-reaching implications for publishers who are seeking to seal off their editorial content from people who do not pay for access to their online material.

        The court dismissed a copyright claim by one of the country’s leading newspaper groups, Fairfax Media, over headlines in its title, the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

      • No ‘Glee’ over no royalties

        Sources tell us Sony CEO Ralph Schmidt-Holtz struck a big soundtrack deal with “Glee” executive producer Ryan Murphy, but the cast — who have sold more than a million albums — were somehow cut out.

        “The ‘Glee’ cast is furious because they feel they were misled by Sony,” a source said. “They have all complained to Ryan that they want a bigger share of the royalties.”

      • Law Firm Puts In Mysterious Offer To Buy Leading Torrent Sites

        The Winnipeg-based law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP has put in offers to acquire several of the largest BitTorrent sites behalf of an unnamed client, TorrentFreak has learned. Although the true source behind the offers has not been officially confirmed, all leads point to a familiar name.

      • P2P Gambling Site is Illegal Bookmaker–Betcha v. Washington

        Betcha is one of those too-clever-by-half dot com ideas that practically beg VCs to roll the dice. Rather than allow illegal gambling on its site, Betcha styles itself as a P2P betting platform. Effectively, it is a messaging service for people making bets with each other, where Betcha charges the parties to talk with each other. Betcha also escrows the wager, but it allows the losing bettor to renege. Exercising that right, however, has bad reputational consequences that I suspect are tantamount to on-site seppuku.

      • Die-Hard Fans Follow Iron Maiden Into the Digital Age

        As music sales plunge and record companies face the future with angst, so-called Maiden heads are still flocking to record stores. Like the band’s zombie mascot, Eddie the Head, Iron Maiden refuses to die, and its continued vitality may offer the troubled music industry some tips on survival.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Conspiracy Theory

          The latest round in the ACTA talks has finished and KEI (Knowledge Ecology International) has released the leaked version of the text, which seems somewhat toned down. Still, it isn’t over yet. Nor is this an official version.

          Obviously the USTR (United States Trade Representative) is aware that there have been many ACTA leaks. It is reasonable to assume that the people who have leaked the ACTA documents have been as concerned about ACTA’s attempt to make an end run around democracy as I am. Leaking the ACTA documents has been a very risky undertaking with serious consequences if caught. Yet there have been many such leaks.

        • ACTA Action
        • Treaty Negotiators Turn To “ACTA Lite” In Hopes Of Closure

          The most obvious change made headlines throughout internet publications: out of the text are liability exemptions and conditions to make internet service providers eligible for such exemptions. The respective paragraph has been cut from Chapter 2, Section Four: “special measures related to technological enforcement of intellectual property in the digital environment.”

          Remaining in the digital environment section that has shrunken from five to three pages is a general request to ACTA partners to provide for civil and criminal measures to allow action against IP infringers in the digital environment. Enforcement measures in the text would allow protection against infringements like “unlawful file sharing and unlawful streaming,” the new draft version reads. Also still in place are measures against anti-circumvention technology and manipulation of or tampering with electronic rights management information.

        • ACTA Declaration – You Did It!

          Many thanks to everyone who joined me calling MEPs this morning – we did it!

        • Why ACTA is Not a Victimless Treaty

          Now, think about what this is saying: that the FBI could help many more victims of these appalling crimes, but can’t, simply because they don’t have the resources to do so. Now, consider the effects of ACTA, which will add a whole new set of responsibilities that the FBI and others will be required to shoulder.

          To be sure, there may be some increase in funding, but the way these things usually work is that politicians grandstand about all the amazing laws/treaties they have pushed through, but omit to mention that they don’t fully fund them (because that would mean tax rises or cuts elsewhere).

          That leaves the FBI and others being stretched even more thinly, forced to pursue counterfeits of varying seriousness. But worst of all, if the current ACTA text is any indication, they will be forced to spend time trying to stop file sharing, an impossible and hence pointless task.

        • And, Of Course, ACTA Leaks: Some Good, Plenty Of Bad
        • European Parliament Vs. ACTA: Rejection is the only option

          The adoption by the European Parliament of Written Declaration 12 opposing the ACTA agreement sends a strong political signal. European Commission shows its will to quickly conclude the negotiations of this agreement that includes harmful provisions for fundamental rights. ACTA aims at circumventing democracy to impose now and later repressive legislation through secret negotiations. The European Parliament now has a unique occasion to firmly oppose it.

        • European Parliament All But Rejects ACTA
        • EU Parliament Rejects ACTA: Will It Matter?
        • European Parliament passes anti-ACTA declaration

          Today 377 members of the European Parliament adopted a written declaration on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in which they demand greater transparency, assert that ISPs should not up end being liable for data sent through their networks, and say that ACTA “should not force limitations upon judicial due process or weaken fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and the right to privacy.”

Clip of the Day

Linux Mint Debian 201009 released Review Screencast Tutorial

Credit: TinyOgg

Red Hat’s Market Cap Tops $7 Billion Today, Novell Only at $2 Billion

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mail, Novell, Red Hat, Servers at 9:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat vs Novell

Summary: Novell is getting smaller and smaller while Red Hat expands, partly at Novell’s expense

ONE difference between Novell and Red Hat is that Novell is up for sale, Red Hat is not. Red Hat is now worth more — not almost — 3.5 times the worth of Novell, despite the fact that Novell sells a lot of proprietary software, even in Fog Computing (unlike Red Hat). To state the figure we see at this moment, Red Hat’s stock is at $37.19, which puts its market cap at just over $7 billion (compared to Novell’s mere $2 billion). See recent financial coverage [1, 2] and belated coverage about the poor results from Novell.

“Novell’s value will most likely continue to erode as it waits longer and sits tight while its proprietary legacy dies.”Novell’s latest proprietary software promotion and Fog Computing nonsense (also proprietary in Novell’s case) shows reluctance to change. The PR team is foolishly urging Novell customers to lose control of business data, not just program data. Are they bound to be so dangerously gullible?

Google announced the freeing of Wave last week [1, 2] and Novell promotes this only in the context of proprietary software, namely GroupWise.

The ‘Microsoft press’ and Gartner are advertising Microsoft Exchange/Outlook at IBM’s and Novell’s (GroupWise) expense. How nice. How utterly dishonest. GroupWise support gets promoted in some other contexts [1, 2].

Novell’s value will most likely continue to erode as it waits longer and sits tight while its proprietary legacy dies. Novell may be sold shortly. According to this new press release, former staff of Novell came through an acquisition, but Novell has not made any acquisitions for a very long time. In fact, it looks at being acquired.

As vice president for EMEA, he actively contributed to a successful IPO and impressive revenue growth before its acquisition by Novell /quotes/comstock/15*!novl/quotes/nls/novl (NOVL 5.81, -0.03, -0.51%) in 2002.

Novell’s days are numbered, its legacy will stay. It probably won’t be long before Red Hat can just afford to buy Novell without it hurting the wallet (not that Red Hat should do this, instead it should diffuse its patents urgently).

OpenSUSE is Not a Community Project, It’s a Novell Product

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 9:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Peace of mind

Summary: Clarifications about the role of OpenSUSE and how it is primarily developed by full-time Novell staff (while marketed as “community project”)

THERE IS still an attempt by Novell to sell the story that OpenSUSE is independent. Don’t believe the PR. OpenSUSE’s community manager says: “Initially our goal was to answer: “Who is openSUSE and what does it (want to) do?” prompted by the discussion about the default desktop at the openSUSE conference last year. In five years the openSUSE project has evolved from a fully company-driven project to a communty project where everybody can contribute.”

That’s disputable, but he himself is an employee of Novell, so it’s easy for him to sell this impression, not so much to defend it.

In order for autonomy to be gained, OpenSUSE will need to be forked. Even the trademark is still Novell’s, not just key areas of development.

In other news of interest, there’s this new piece about OpenSUSE Connect Beta and some bits about OpenSUSE Build Service [1, 2, 3, 4] (packaging sometimes gets done by volunteers).

The original post about OpenSUSE Connect Beta shows it to be driven by the “Boosters” which Novell uses for marketing.

As a result of the openSUSE Boosters’ ‘HackMeck‘ two weeks ago at FrOSCoN we are proud to present you with a new beta of openSUSE Connect.

Novell or its community recently created some marketing blog such as SUSE Studio (new examples in [1, 2, 3]). “OMG! SUSE!” is looking for volunteers to help promote GNU/Linux under the “SUSE” brand (taking credit for programs and games that are not specific to SUSE, just like Ubuntu does).

Milestone 1 of OpenSUSE 11.4 is still a Novell driven event, unlike for example Weekly News, perhaps the OpenSUSE FAQ (to an extent), and maybe even this design. We don’t know exactly who is paid by Novell and it’s not simple to find out either, maybe by design because blurring the differences between paid and unpaid keeps volunteers appeased. It seems like in Brazil there is a better sense of community and freedom:

After a long talk with Carlos Ribeiro, Ambassador from Brazil and a devoted member of the openSUSE Community we realized that it is important to get some more data about our Portuguese speaking user base. We will accomplish this by running a questionnaire open to all the Portuguese speaking community that uses or knowns openSUSE Linux.

The message worth getting across is that Novell still controls OpenSUSE and most of the “community” component is a volunteering effort which handles minor things. To suggest that OpenSUSE is “a communty [sic] project where everybody can contribute” is to merely say what Novell wants people to believe. OpenSUSE volunteers will be better off helping other projects, not a project that helps Novell reduce spendings on wages (i.e. make its shareholders richer).

Microsoft Came to VMworld Only to Ruin It, as Usual

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Virtualisation, VMware at 8:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Summary: Microsoft’s business strategy still involves mocking the competition rather than offering something better, let alone a truthful comparison; VMware and Novell still grow closer

MICROSOFT is trying to crash VMware’s own event, to which it invited itself. Microsoft did the same thing to OpenOffice.org in Hungary last week and it did this before to VMware, even prior to appointment of former Microsoft executives there. It’s usually out-sourced to PR agents that are hired by Microsoft to smear VMware's products, spreading leaflets with attack Web sites (same tactics which are used against Google). From The Register: “Microsoft slings mud in VMware living room”

On Tuesday, as VMware opened its annual VMworld conference in San Francisco, Microsoft dropped an open letter into national McPaper USA Today that accused the company of trying to lock customers into a technology platform incapable of building a “complete cloud computing environment.” Then Redmond actually turned up at VMware’s trade show to explain this sweeping claim, laying down any number of vague reasons why you shouldn’t ink an IT contract with its estranged son, VMware boss Paul Maritz.

We wrote about this before and it’s rather appalling given the timing, the venue, and the hypocrisy in these lies [1, 2].

Based on another press release which relates to what we covered last week, VMware gets closer to Novell and newer coverage about this includes:

1. SUSE Linux Enterprise for VMware

2. Beleaguered Novell Buoyed by VMware Linux Deal

Just when things were beginning to look pretty bleak for Novell, in comes a new partnership with an old friend to help the beleaguered company.

3. Suse Linux Enterprise Server for VMware ships

4. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server For VMware

5. VMware and Novell announces availability of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

6. VMware, Novell introduces SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware

7. Novell ships Suse Linux for VMware

Here is some more related coverage [1, 2, 3]. It is possible that VMware will buy a part of Novell at some stage.

Latest Examples of Gates Foundation Attacking the World Under Pretense of Charity

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Marketing, Microsoft, Patents at 7:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Monsanto - bones logo

Summary: A roundup of Gates Foundation activities from the past two weeks and an explanation of these activities within a wider context

EARLIER TODAY we wrote about Microsoft executives selling many of their Microsoft shares. The Gates Foundation (Gates’ tax-exempt bank account) chooses a similar trajectory as “Gates Sells Another $73M of Microsoft” and investments increase in Mozambique’s food market/agriculture (where Gates' investments cause hunger).

Monetising Imposed Hunger

Do not think for a second that Gates is sending airplanes full of food. Gates is a businessman, not an aid worker. He is trying to create or enable Western monopolies on seeds in African nations — monopolies which he just happens to also invest in (for profit). The only danger here is the PR, which helps hide the nature of these operations.

Gates is starting with privatisation of African soil, just he he works to privatise education (where the person on top of education is of course himself). We have a very long post about that coming.

To be fair, Gates is not the first person with this vicious, selfish idea. Others before him, Rockefeller included, found tricks to actually own food that’s grown from soil and sunlight, making all food the ownership of someone else whose participation in growing the crops is zero, zilch. People who stand behind such schemes have not quite found the trick (not yet anyway) to do the same with oxygen but in some nations it works with water (that is not contaminated, sometimes by factories which themselves sell expensive liquids).

Monetising Water Through Companies That Pollute ‘Competing’ Water

Speaking of monopolies on beverages/water, watch Gates’ new investment in water [1, 2, 3, 4] (worth mentioning is the press release). Here is a euphemistic description of it: “Water for People, a Colorado nonprofit that works to provide clean water supplies and sanitation in developing nations, said Monday it has received $5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

Here is the funny thing. We have given so many examples where Gates investments are made in the very same companies which cause the problems he claims to be resolving (e.g. polio, tobacco addition) and here we have yet another example because Gates is a huge investor in Coca-Cola [1, 2], which is notorious for its fight against fresh water in less developed nations. It doesn’t take an expert to know this, it’s common knowledge. A lot of people also know that Coca-Cola murders union organisers.

But anyway, enough about water. Who need it anyway, right?

Gates and GMO Euphemisms

What is it that Gates does to advance GMO? “Gates Foundation Criticized for Increasing Monsanto Investment” says Democracy Now (excellent news source by the way).

Acronyms like “AGRA” or “BREAD” are being used to hide the real agenda and in the mainstream press “improve farming” = more GMO. It’s all just a linguistics trick. “$3.3 million in grants aims to improve farming in Africa” says this headline and pay attention to the term “BREAD”. It has nothing to do with bread, it’s about patents (“Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development”).

The research is funded by Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development (BREAD), which is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. BREAD seeks to partner advanced research expertise with the developing world. NSF supports research components in the United States while the Gates foundation supports affiliated partners overseas.

Who will receive these patents? What does the Gates Foundation have to gain here? “Activists Urge Gates Foundation to Shift to Socially and Ecologically Appropriate Practices” says this new report. A University of Washington Professor (Emeritus) complains about the foundation’s stake in Monsanto (so it’s just not those “hippie environmentalists” Gates loves to mock and belittle who complain):

Dr. Phil Bereano, University of Washington Professor Emeritus and recognized expert on genetic engineering noted in a release that the foundation’s direct investment in Monsanto is problematic on two primary levels. “First, Monsanto has a history of blatant disregard for the interests and well-being of small farmers around the world, as well as an appalling environmental track record,” Bereano stated. “The strong connections to Monsanto cast serious doubt on the Foundation’s heavy funding of agricultural development in Africa and purported goal of alleviating poverty and hunger among small-scale farmers. Second, this investment represents an enormous conflict of interest,” he stated, referring to the foundation’s desire for Monsanto to make a profit while opening up new markets in Africa for the agribusiness giant to monopolize the seed market.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy, one of Gates’ charmed/blind fans, says that there is no comment from the Gates Foundation. The allegations are strong and no response can be given. The post is titled “Activists Criticize Gates Foundation Links to Monsanto”:

A Gates foundation spokeswoman said the organization does not discuss specific investments but that it has met with representatives of the alliance and other groups to collect “a broad range of views about agriculture in the developing world.”

The silence is deafening. Just watch how transparent these charities are… or aren’t. A recent survey (conducted by/for the stakeholder) showed internal problems relating to transparency. Why is the Gates Foundation so afraid of answering tough questions? All they do is seed PR through press outlets which they jam.

To say more about the Monsanto-caused backlash, Alternet.org writes about it and notes: “I wrote a piece recently about what happens when American industrial agriculture collides with poor, uneducated subsistence farmers in the developing world and it ain’t pretty. In fact, it’s tragic. It’s criminal. For a corporation to prey upon such a vulnerable population for its own gain, when the result is the starvation, continued impoverishment, or loss of land and lifestyle of the poor.”

Seattle-based protests against Gates’ support of Monsanto had the Seattle Times respond. For a change, Kristi Heim did not just blindly praise her masters, even though she belittles the significance of this and discounts Gates’ lobbying for Monsanto/GMO over the years. She wrote:

While the Monsanto investment is a tiny fraction of the foundation’s $33 billion endowment, it loomed large among those involved in food issues.

She seems to be ignoring all the lobbying.

There are many comments there, some more informative than others. The thing about this Monsanto push is, it goes a very long way back.

Much of the foundation’s work has avoided major controversy.

That changed when, four years ago, the foundation, along with the Rockefeller Foundation, created the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), aimed at alleviating hunger by boosting farm productivity.

Mac sites too are apparently upset by these deeds of Gates (they are not sufficiently gullible).

Theories About Population Control

Some groups are accusing Gates of working on population reduction in private groups rather than in national levels, in a transparent fashion. Here is how Gates’ actions fuel the Alex Jones crowd/circles (also regarding Monsanto):

The GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization)

The GAVI Alliance, founded in 2000 with the help of the Gates Foundation, has the goal of vaccinating all of the third world. The member organizations of GAVI are listed on group’s the website, which include:

“…national governments of donor and developing countries, the Bill and Melinda Gates Children’s Vaccine Program, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations (IFPMA), the Rockefeller Foundation, UNICEF, the World Bank Group and the World Health Organization (WHO).”

In December of 2000, David Rockefeller and William H. Gates Sr., among others, (pictured to the right) visited the Rockefeller University campus to take part in a meeting on “Philanthropy in a Global Century”. While there, Gates spoke glowingly about his inspiration from Rockefeller in founding GAVI,

Assuming the above is true (we are sceptical when it comes to this source), AGRA and GAVI are rather similar. We wrote about GAVI before, but we were not aware of its roots with Gates’ direct role. We assumed it was merely embraced and extended by Gates.

Patent Factor and the UN

Gates’ “Green Revolution” PR (GMO lobbying) was mentioned a lot last week because of an Accra forum. See for example [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Shallow coverage (lacking investigation) aside, it turns out that Annan — like Gates — is accused of “Fronting For Monsanto” (not surprising to those who already know about Gates and the UN).

Why is Kofi Annan Fronting For Monsanto? The GMO Assault On Africa


Why do you bring your mistakes here?
Kofi Annan has joined with President Obama, Monsanto, AGRA, and the Gates foundation to promote and execute food aid that replaces bags of wheat, rice and corn (agricultural dumping) with bags of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers and genetically engineered seeds. The end result will be to starve people in Africa and feed corporations in the US and Europe.


If you had any doubts about where the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is really placing its bets, AGRA Watch’s recent announcement of the Foundation’s investment of $23.1 million in 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock should put them to rest. Genetic engineering: full speed ahead.” (Eric Holt-Gimenez)

Gates’ role here is very much expected. Gates also uses politicians and connections in government, along with Monsanto and its moles in the FDA and other areas of government. Gates enjoys close relationships with UN officials, some of whom hang out in his mansion in Washington. We covered this before. They serve Gates and he serves them (personally). To quote further from the article at hand:

It is worrisome that Kofi Annan is connected with AGRA. Maybe he believes that US mechanized and chemical agriculture work well. Most people in the US do, aside from family farmers who see the effects first hand. I have a good friend who works for the US Dept. of Agriculture and thinks this kind of big agriculture really is the best and that Monsanto is a boon to mankind. We have had several heated discussions. In fact Monsanto is destroying land, causing chemically induced human diseases, creating super weeds, super insect pests, and economic havoc in many parts of the US farming areas, particularly in the midwest and the south. There have been countless protests all over India and Brazil. I’ve read many heartbreaking stories, including this comment from Pearl on this blog:

“The farmers of southern Kentucky have been enslaved by Monsanto. The previous generation fell for an ad campaign called “Hi-bred” or “High-Bred”, and the current generation is stuck with fulfilling the contracts their fathers signed. The chemicals that Monsanto has contractually required be applied to those fields have so damaged the soil that the only way to get anything to grow in the fields now is to keep applying more of those blasted chemicals. So even if a person who inherited a contract WANTS to discontinue the agreement with Monsanto when the contract expires, they are unable to do so unless they want to leave the land fallow for many, many, many years. Most farmers cannot afford to do this, as this would mean little to no income for their families for somewhere between 5 to 20 years, depending on how long it would take for the soil to renew itself.”

I’ve always had enormous respect for Kofi Annan, I do not understand his participation in this and it bothers me a great deal. Even though I admire and respect him there are no free passes with a subject like this.

Here is a new article about AGRA for those who are not familiar with it:

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is a consortium of international organisations to support the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to contribute about five billion dollars agricultural production in Africa.

For insight into the role of the Gates Foundation or the Rockefeller Foundation, delve into the depths of some of these articles. We hope not to be repetitive here. Gates’ influence in Africa is a subject we dissected in posts that include:

One article that we found some days ago describes this as “voluntary contribution from the private sector.”

That’s a funny way of putting it. Those rich families are blindly described as good-doing, regardless of how their wealth was gained in the first place and how they really use it (not how their PR agents explain/spin it). Behold this new article from India:

The urge to give back to the society is what has driven the most successful philanthropic initiatives world over, be it the Rockfeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

More on the role of AGRA here:

Monsanto in Gates’ Clothing? The Emperor’s New GMOs

If you had any doubts about where the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is really placing its bets, AGRA Watch’s recent announcement of the Foundation’s investment of $23.1 million in 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock should put them to rest. Genetic engineering: full speed ahead.


Under the guise of “sustainability” the Foundation has been spearheading a multi-billion dollar effort to transform African into a GMO-friendly continent. The public relations flagship for this effort is the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a massive Green Revolution project. Up to now AGRA spokespeople have been slippery, and frankly, contradictory about their stance on GMOs.


More to the point is that–as Monsanto and Gates are fully aware–to establish a healthy GMO industry one first needs a strong conventional breeding program in place: labs, experiment stations, agronomists, extensionists, molecular biologists… and farmer’s seeds. All of which Gates, Rockefeller, Monsanto and AGRA are actively lining up.


Africa’s seeds are a potential windfall investment for Monsanto. Regardless of the philanthropic side of its intentions, cloaked in the sheep’s clothing of AGRA, the Gates Foundation is moving stealthily opening African seed market to global corporations. When the research, extension, and U.S. foreign aid is all in place Monsanto will swoop in for the feast.

“Activists criticize Gates Foundation securities holdings,” says this blog about “cre8tive philanthropy”:

As someone who provides impact investment research and consulting services, this blog post on The Chronicle of Philanthropy is fascinating. Investments made by philanthropic organizations are generally more public, and therefore, more open to criticism. Explicitly, this post speaks to the ethical question of whether or not the foundation’s agriculture work in Africa will be used to help create markets for Monsanto’s GM crops. (More details between the relationship between the foundation and Monsanto but that almost smells of self dealing and conflict of interest.)However, there is an underlying tone: Why is a “good” foundation investing in a “bad” company?

Stakeholders are spreading their GMO agenda, starting with continents that are easy to corrupt, ensuing all pollination there becomes ‘ownership’ of the West, through patents. Usually it's Africa, then India (which is said to be suing Monsanto after it led to many farmers’ suicides).

Rich Men’s Club

The Times of India writes:

Bill and Melinda Gates have aroused as much controversy as awe over their unwalled giving. Their munificence of $22.8 billion-and-still-counting from 1994 onwards is seen as an affliction way beyond the old White Man’s Burden. Cynics, who as a statistical group usually match grants 2:1, have been quick to warn that Coca-colonialism is being replaced by something more sinister, a malignant benevolence overpowering global health bodies with its dollar-shaped carcinogens. The prognosis just got worse with the Gates syndrome spreading to the 40 US billionaires who pledged half their wealth to charity in August.

“Power systems do not like criticism, and they use whatever techniques they have to undermine and condemn it,” said Chomsky. That’s why it is so hard to criticise Gates in the mainstream press, especially after all the PR blitzes. It’s rarely well received. Robber barons are seen as charitable by publicity, which makes them almost entirely immune to criticism that they deserve. Slate has taken a bold step (considering past owners) and published what GatesKeepers calls “Well written Slate piece on the Gates Foundation”: [via]

[T]o make the “Giving Pledge” more than a vague promise to do good, billionaires should be asked to put an audited 50 percent of their net worth on the table for charitable use now, when it can make a difference to people starving today, not later, after they’ve worked up a heart attack from their third wife on their fourth yacht. Look at how the Forbes list changes, how many billionaires lose their fortunes and drop off it from year to year. Gates and Buffett are right to use the Forbes list as a symbolic target, but let’s get these big-talking “givers” to give now, when they’ve still got it.


There’s no doubt that the billionaires pledge is a beautiful idea, and Gates and Buffett deserve at least some of the sainthood the media has conferred on them. They’ve just announced they’ve already signed up 40 billionaires, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Star Wars’ George Lucas, and Oracle’s Larry Ellison. Even so, there has been little scrutiny amid the adulation of what the “Giving Pledge” really means. In fact, it may require more than warm and fuzzy words, gauzy and fluffy sentiments, to extract the cold hard cash.

This is a rather vain bunch that knows how to generate positive publicity for itself:

As part of their effort to encourage high-net-worth individuals and families to give more, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested over $8 million in the creation of educational materials aimed at equipping donors, especially new and emerging donors, with the tools and information they need to become effective, hands-on philanthropists.

Patents on Life

In addition to this, there is investment in tuberculosis research [1, 2], coupled with donation of access to patents with WHO [1, 2, 3, 4] and trips for PR purposes. They are marketing their work.

Merck, which is inside the foundation, also uses it for PR purposes right now [1, 2]. The PR machine shows no signs of stopping [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Here is the press release and AP coverage:

Drugmaker Merck & Co. Inc. said Tuesday its foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will commit an additional $60 million to Botswana’s African Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Partnerships.

In essence, they donate access to patents, which can also create a dependency for later years/generations. The main question is, whose patents (drugs) are being promoted at whose expense? The Gates Foundation only promotes its own line of drugs and research (which it invests in) and it was criticised for this before. It suppresses competition this way. “The chief of malaria for the World Health Organization has complained that the growing dominance of malaria research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation risks stifling a diversity of views among scientists and wiping out the world health agency’s policy-making function,” wrote the New York Times in 2008. Watch this new article from the New York Times:

H.I.V. Prevention Gel Hits Snag: Money


Researchers also worry that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the most important philanthropic supporter, has not committed major financing for the additional studies on the gel.

Those who own the patents in question sometimes include Microsoft's patent troll Nathan Myhrvold, whose book Gates is promoting right now. Yes, Myhrvold uses the Gates Foundation to promote his patents too (we gave examples before, ranging from pharmaceutical to energy).

Gates’ Energy Lobby (Oil Investments and Nuclear Patents)

Speaking of energy, Gates is still lobbying on issues pertaining to the energy market [1, 2]. He was again promoting his patents and some of Myhrvold’s last month, so the news fell for it [1, 2]. Petroleumworld published a Q&A with Bill Gates and it’s worth remembering that Gates invests in the world’s largest Petroleum companies, not just BP [1, 2, 3] (while he pretends to be pushing for clean energy).

Tax-Exempt Gates Lobbies to Tax Other People Even More

Last but not least, also on the subject of lobbying, Gates does not pay tax and his father (Gates Senior) lobbies on issues of tax right now [1, 2, 3], pretending to tax the rich even though he and his son are exempt from tax anyway. Who are they kidding? And why are they driving national policies without ever being elected? That’s the sort of “corruption” of the system Professor Lessig keeps lecturing about. Gates is harming the populations all across the world and making PR out of it:

Washington State is one of nine states without a state income tax. Bill Gates Sr., the father of the Microsoft founder, wants to change that. Gates is lending his high-profile name and influence to a ballot measure that would tax the income of individuals who earn more than $200,000 and couples who earn more than $400,000. His son — the world’s second-richest person — definitely falls into that category.

Driving policy in Washington… leave that to Gates. Later on we’ll address the area of education separately. That’s where Gates does an enormous amount of damage and a long update is required to show the full scale of it, in isolation.

Seattle Weekly: Microsoft May be Breaking the Law in California (Again)

Posted in Antitrust, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flag of California

Summary: Microsoft’s walking on the fine line of crime and disorder continues unabated, but some publications call out the issues

ASTROTURFING DISGUISED AS ACTIVISM ASIDE, MICROSOFT has already been charged in the state of California and it settled using a stunt which only punished Californians even more. To compensate someone using software licences or training is worse than nothing at all. At this moment, in many places across the world (based on word of mouth and evidence we got today), Microsoft implements the equivalent of American EDGI [1, 2, 3, 4], which includes California. It’s a rich man’s dumping technique which is anti-competitive and thus should be illegal (with actual legal action incurred). To put a long (ish) story short, Microsoft is portraying the exploitation of the population (wasting their time making them addicted to Microsoft products) as “donation”, extending this already-absurd state of affairs in education systems, which it turns into indoctrination systems thanks in part to the Gates Foundation. When Microsoft says “donation” it usually means the very opposite; it means that people donate their minds and bodies to the Microsoft movement.

According to the Seattle Weekly, “Microsoft’s Plans for Windows Phone 7 Are a Clear Violation of California Law” and here’s why:

All of which sounds like business-as-usual in the competitive tech industry. But, in fact, Microsoft’s gambit is clearly illegal under California law. How do I know? I read the recent decision by a California Court of Appeal in the lawsuit against Village Voice Media.

VVM (which publishes Seattle Weekly, as well as papers in a dozen other cities) has been sued by a competitor in California called the San Francisco Bay Guardian–and quite successfully. The Bay Guardian accuses VVM of unfair business practices, saying VVM’s paper, SF Weekly, has engaged in “predatory pricing.” The Bay Guardian won a $16 million judgment against VVM at a jury trial two years ago–and that decision was upheld last month by the First District Court of Appeal in California.

The lengthy written decision by the appellate court judges makes it clear that everything Microsoft is doing–investing in the creation of an improved product and selling it at less than its true cost, with the express intent of harming a California competitor–is completely prohibited in the Golden State.

Under California code, it is against the law for a business there “to sell any article or product at less than the cost…or to give away any article or product, for the purpose of injuring competitors or destroying competition.”

Sounds slightly archaic in the Internet age, right? By this logic, SF-based Facebook broke the law when it started up its free social-networking service, thereby causing irreparable harm to fee-charging Classmates.com, which had been in business for years. Nonetheless, the ruling stands, at least while it’s appealed further.

Microsoft will continue to disregard the law (plausible deniability or witch hunting, regardless of what the law says), but either way, Microsoft will never succeed in mobile. The race for developers is lost.

“The government is not trying to destroy Microsoft, it’s simply seeking to compel Microsoft to obey the law. It’s quite revealing that Mr. Gates equates the two.”

Government official

‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ Admits Being Hosted by Edelman’s AstroTurfing Network

Posted in Deception, FUD, Google, Marketing, Microsoft at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: Consumer Watchdog’s president reveals this AstroTurfer’s connection to Edelman, which is a hugely unethical ‘PR’ firm that bribed people for positive reviews of Windows and now hosts a “Slog” against Google

“According to this, the CW [Consumer Watchdog] attack ad will be running 36 times a day until October 15, I thought you’d like to know,” said one reader.

They are getting new ‘dirt’ with which to attack Google and as we showed before, it’s merely AstroTurfing. Right now they use Huff&Puff as their platform as they smear Google from over there. “It’s not funny, it’s damaging,” said to us a reader last night. He helped show us proof that Consumer Watchdog is indeed just AstroTurfing that’s connected to Edelman, which was previously bribing bloggers on Microsoft’s behalf. We already knew this and wrote about it, but now there is an admission right from the horse’s month because they are hypocrites:

Over the weekend, we heard back from c Jamie Court, who sent us the following statement:

The company that hosts our server and backend, Grassroots Enterprises, apparently pre-installs Google Analytics as part of a template on any page they host. We cannot control this, nor do we benfit from the display of data in “useful charts and tables.” We are doing everything in our control to leave as soon as possible, and other controllable sites don’t use GA. The choice of Piwik for Oilwatchdog.org and Insidegoogle.com was because we had a choice. By Thanksgiving Consumerwatchdog.org will have made a similar choie… As I said if we owned the site and not just the text in it I might see it differently, but we don’t and we are doing everything we can to change that.

To us, the key part is their admission that Grassroots Enterprises is hosting their efforts. Grassroots Enterprises is a notorious AstroTurfing arm of Edelman. Our reader asks: “Other than being despicable are they breaking any laws here by pretending to be a non-profit?” This was discussed in IRC (more information in the logs).

It would be reasonable for Google to sue Microsoft for agitation and lawsuits by proxy, like SCO’s. See what they do in Texas right now. The Hill writes: [via]

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has opened a probe into whether Google ranks its search listings with an eye toward nicking the competition, the company announced in a Friday blog post that suggested the concerns have a major sponsor: Microsoft.

Here is what Google says. One blogger asks, “Is Microsoft Funding Anti-Google Investigation?”

Microsoft was also accused of supporting SCO against Linux companies.

Many Gnu/Linux users might be waiting for someone to approach anti-trust authorities in the US to reboot investigations into Microsoft’s alleged anti-trust practices. If you want to buy a branded PC it comes pre-intsalled with Windows OS, thus killing market for competing OSes like Linux.

Do you think there should be an investigation into such matters?

Wired defends Google right now (“Why Consumer Watchdog is Full of It” the headline says), but the author is not naming the source of it all. “Consumer Watchdog” is just the made-up entity, it’s an AstroTurfing arm. People should call this out in the mainstream press, but they don’t.

Barclays Lowers Estimates on Microsoft; Microsoft Executives Dump Microsoft Shares and Stock Dives

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 2:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Barclays logo

Summary: Microsoft’s value is being hit again, this time by Barclays; many Microsoft executives choose to sell their stakes at Microsoft as its value approaches new lows

“For a hedged play on this stock, look at a Jan ’11 24 covered call for a net debit in the $22.54 area. That is also the break even stock price for this trade,” quotes Chips B. Malroy from here. Microsoft is again in $23 territories, very close to its 52-week low.

Malroy also shares this news article about Barclays — not just Credit Suisse and S&P (Standard & Poor’s) — giving Microsoft a knockdown. The latest goes like this:

Barclays analyst says, “We believe Microsoft is most exposed to slowing PC demand given its Windows and Office exposure. For FY11, we now forecast Windows & Windows Live revenue growth of 9%, slightly above our PC unit shipment growth expectation of 8% over the same period, but down from our mid teens prior expectation. We now forecast FY11 total revenue of $68.9 billion and EPS of $2.39, down from our prior estimates of $70.2 billion and $2.44.”

This was also covered by the booster of Microsoft’s stock, Eric Savitz. What can he say?

MSFT is down 30 cents, or 1.2%, to $23.99.

From the same site we learn that Kevin Turner (COO) is getting out of Microsoft, investments-wise. Malroy has been showing us for several days now (see IRC logs) that almost all executives of Microsoft are dumping their shares.

B. Kevin Turner, chief operating officer of Microsoft, sold 141,407 shares for an average price of $24.29 each on Sept. 3.

After the sale, he held 460,088 shares. His stake remains far less than 1% of Microsoft’s outstanding shares.

The number of shares Turner sold were equal to the number of performance shares from earlier grants that vested on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, less the shares he sold to cover the exercise price.

Microsoft declined to comment on the sale.

Combined with executive departures like this new one, one has to wonder what they think about the future of this company.

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