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09.11.10

With More Windows Worms and No More XP, Time is Ripe for Installing GNU/Linux on People’s PCs

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watching a screen

Summary: Two themes or factors for convincing peers, colleagues and family to make a move to GNU/Linux, a natural upgrade from Windows XP

AS WE’VE stated twice in recent days, Windows XP is ending [1, 2], but it continues to exist in many office desks. “An average Windows XP day” is an interesting new post about a GNU/Linux user who encounters XP on the desktop. The writer reports on the situation in dozens of points, starting with: “1. Bootup takes up to twenty minutes. It probably has to do with the fact that my entire profile has to be transferred to my workstation. That’s stupid. Can’t you just mount a /home directory with all my settings already there?

“2. The desktop comes up, but clicking desktop icons doesn’t have any effect. I have to wait for an additional minute or two. In the meanwhile I’ve started and shutdown my Ben Nanonote over a dozen times…”

An issue which was mentioned in the later XP post is the E-mail-transferred (Windows/Outlook) worm which helped produce/inspire this cartoon from Penguin Pete. GNU/Linux makes a lot of sense for XP users to move to, especially given the weight, the disregard for freedom (e.g. DRM, worse EULA), and maybe even the price of Vista 7.

Katherine Noyes has been posting some good articles in IDG and her latest attributes/blames security problems on Windows:

Less applicable in the present case, and yet still a factor in Windows’ relative insecurity, is the fact that its code is closely guarded by Microsoft. No matter how many developers Redmond has, it simply can’t compare with the countless users around the globe constantly scrutinizing Linux’s open code for vulnerabilities. Microsoft developers also don’t typically tell anyone about the problems they’ve found until a solution has been created, leaving the door open to exploits until that happens.

I’m certainly not saying that Linux is perfect, and any business user, in particular, should still enable firewalls, minimize the use of root privileges, and keep the system up to date. They could even implement a virus scanner for Linux, such as ClamAV.

The difference, though, is that such extra measures are not simply an accepted part of computing in the Linux world–they’re additional steps you can take, if you want extra peace of mind. Malware is primarily a Windows problem. Use Linux, and you can mostly forget all about it.

For Windows XP escapees we recommend a distribution which is based on familiar graphical user interfaces (not everyone is a hacker). This week I am planning to install PCLinuxOS on two XP machines. People increasingly ask for it.

Mono Outperformed by .NET Sometimes, Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 Dumps Novell’s Banshee

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amazed at Mono

Summary: The technical deficiency of Mono is shown once again and Mono dependency in Ubuntu has just been reduced

Mono is a copy of a copy of “the real thing”, which is Java. Mono is a way to advance .NET at Java’s expense, totally under Microsoft's control and at its mercy. According to this new benchmark, Mono continues to be more like “.NET express”, i.e. an introductory version to Microsoft’s stack, which the “real experts” will invest in and eventually use. Mono is essentially like a recruitment tool for .NET and its advantage is that it manages to scoop up Free/libre open source people who foolishly believe that they advance freedom by advancing C#. Here are some numbers from the new benchmark (Mono works well only in small examples, at least in this experiment):

As you can see on both plat­forms the sones GraphDB is able to work through more than 2.000 queries per sec­ond on aver­age. For the longest run­ning bench­mark (1800 sec­onds) with all the data imported .NET allows us to answer 2.339 queries per sec­ond while Mono allows us to answer 1.980 queries per second.

Why would anyone believe the spin from Mono proponents, who claim that Mono does more than .NET (even though the MCP forbid them, using software patents as ‘teeth’). The OMG!Mono! folks continue promoting Mono-based software like Sparkleshare [1, 2, 3], as usual paying no attention to Mono by at least naming it as a dependency in the post (it’s usually left for comments to do).

Sparkleshare – the open-source cloud storage (think Dropbox) alternative – has hit its first beta milestone.

Although this site does not pay attention to the Mono problem, it does currently state that Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10 won’t have Banshee by default [1, 2, 3], despite the original plan. This is excellent news and it buys users more time to explain why Mono should not be included by default in Ubuntu. The reason which is named for dropping Banshee from this release is the number of bugs:

Deemed to contain too many bugs to make it an acceptable default this cycle, the popular player’s default pinning has thus been held over to Ubuntu 11.04.

It does seem like Ubuntu reduces its dependency on Mono then, at least to an extent.

IRC Proceedings: September 11th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 11/9/2010: Android Statistics, Motorola MZ600 Linux-powered Tablet

Posted in News Roundup at 6:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Biometric Hardware with Linux and GPL violations

    So I had the chance to watch one of the biometrics terminal boot. What was my surprise when I see on the small LCD a Penguin and the word LINUX.

    Well this product is made by ZK-USA, and consulting their site there is some reference to Linux OS.

    I didn’t had access to the documentation in box but I can’t see anything on their website related to GPL. I’m no specialist at GPL, but I will go deep on this tomorrow, related to the papers that came with the hardware to see if they are violating GPL or not.

  • Desktop

    • Don’t Waste Money on a New Computer for College

      Heading off to college? Here’s my suggestion: buy a used laptop from Craigslist and install Ubuntu onto it. Seriously.

    • Is Linux-on-the-desktop already mainstream?

      Best estimates, according to Martin, is that Linux has a share roughly equal to that of MacOSX; which is certainly not a slouch on the desktop/laptop market.

      Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, people decried the fact that Linux wasn’t mainstream – it’s clear that today, it certainly is. A minority, yes, but a mainstream minority – Linux is not in the same category as, say, IBM AIX. So if you wanted to know “when Linux would be mainstream on the desktop,” the answer is probably “around 2009.”

  • Kernel Space

    • Some numbers and thoughts on the stable kernels

      Much attention goes toward mainline kernel releases, but relatively few users are actually running those kernels. Instead, they run kernels provided by their distributors, and those kernels, in turn, are based off the stable kernel series. The practice of releasing stable kernels has been going for well over five years now, so perhaps it’s time to look back at how it has been going.

      [...]

      A couple of conclusions immediately jump out of the table above. The first is that the number of fixes going into stable updates has clearly increased over time. From this one might conclude that our kernel releases have steadily been getting buggier. That is hard to measure, but one should bear in mind that there is another important factor at work here: the kernel developers are simply directing more fixes toward the stable tree. Far more developers are looking at patches with stable updates in mind, and suggestions that a patch should be sent in that direction are quite common. So far fewer patches fall through the cracks than they did in the early days.

    • The kernel column #91 by Jon Masters

      Linux 2.6.35 was finally released last month after what can only be described as a (comparatively) mundane development cycle. With the high drama of the previous cycle, that was hardly very difficult to achieve. Sure, there were the typical Linus rants of the month (the main one focused on Linus’s dislike of the ‘defconfig’ files that he sees as cluttering up the kernel tree with tens of thousands of lines of reference configuration files that could live elsewhere – like on the websites for the various supported architectures that create them) and there were a few harsh words for one of the C library maintainers. But there was no giant flame war related to graphics, or security modules, nor calls of protest at Linus’s ever ongoing effort to herd the developers into a focus on stability and regression-fighting prior to release. It was, in short, a rather sleepy summer month in which it seemed people were often busy being away on vacation or being at one of the usual round of conference events. I myself managed both of these things to a greater or lesser extent, and I was grateful for a little less mailing list traffic to catch up on.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • TI tip multi-platform ARM Cortex A15 “Eagle” mobile devices

      As Carlson points out, that sort of virtualization isn’t particularly new; earlier this week, VirtualLogix demonstrated Android 2.2, Chrome OS and Ubuntu Linux all running simultaneously on a Texas Instruments OMAP Blaze developer device (pictured above).

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Spam Trends and Android
        • Dell Streak Gets Android 2.1 Update

          Dell’s just released monster of a phone (it’s also a tablet) Streak was famous for running an ancient version of Android OS (1.6). Dell had promised an update to Froyo soon after the launch.

        • Early Android 2.2 Build for Acer Liquid Leaked
        • Best Buy Offering G2 Pre-Sales NOW
        • Froyo on 28% of Android Devices; 2.x Over 70%

          The Android Platform Versions page has been updated yet again, only this time, Froyo (Android 2.2) is holding a large 28.7% slice of the pie. Granted, Eclair (Android 2.1) still clings to a decent lead with 41.7%, but Froyo is creeping up there. Following Froyo is Donut (1.6), with 17.5%, as Cupcake (1.5) rounds out the pack with a mere 12%. This is a huge change compared to a month ago, when Froyo only had 4.5% and Eclair led the pack with a commanding 59.7%.

        • T-Mobile’s Android 2.2 phone launches on 4G-like HSPA+ network

          T-Mobile USA announced an HTC-manufactured heir to its original G1 Android phone, touted as the first handset to support the company’s new 4G-like HSPA+ network. The T-Mobile G2 runs Android 2.2 on a new 800MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7230 processor, and offers 4GB internal and 8GB external flash, dual cameras, and a 3.7-inch screen with a hinge-slider QWERTY keyboard.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola MZ600 Tablet Appears in Verizon Inventory

        It’s almost a certainty that the Moto tablet will end up with some sort of Droid branding as well. Whether it be DroidPad or DroidTab or something entirely different, we can’t see VZW missing out on the built-in marketing for the Droid line giving a big boost for a new tablet. In fact, even though leaks suggest the Galaxy Tab from Samsung will hit the carrier, I wouldn’t be surprised if that tablet is delayed until after the launch of this Motorola device in the same way the Fascinate was held off until after the release of the Droid X and Droid 2.

Free Software/Open Source

  • An algorithm for automated closure during assembly

    Conclusions: The algorithm is useful for small-genome automated finishing projects. Our implementation is available as open-source from http://wgs-assembler.sourceforge.net under the GNU Public License.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome’s and Firefox’s Plans to Unseat IE

      Mozilla, on the other hand, has limited itself to reaching “near or even to” Chrome 5 with respect to JavaScript performance for its next version of Firefox. Still in beta, Firefox 4 is within the 20 percent target performance of Chrome 5, which would make it much more than 20 percent slower than Chrome 6.

  • Oracle

    • Is VirtualBox on the same path as other Sun software?

      OK, truth be told, Sun didn’t always commit to a consistent release cycle either. What frustrates me though is that the latest version of 3.2.8 has brought with it numerous bugs for Linux. One of which involves the corruption of saved states and the other involves general usability in the main application window. None of which I had seen when Sun directed the application’s development.

  • Education

  • Licensing

    • Two Thank-Yous

      Secondly, I need to thank my colleague Chris DiBona. Two years ago, I gave him quite a hard time that Google prohibited hosting of AGPLv3′d projects on its FLOSS Project Hosting site. The interesting part of our debate was that Chris argued that license proliferation was the reason to prohibit AGPLv3. I argued at the time that Google simply opposed AGPLv3 because many parts of Google’s business model rely on the fact that the GPL behaves in practice somewhat like permissive licenses when deployed in a web services environment.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • RepRap repraps RepRap electronics

        Several people are starting to work on having RepRap make electronics. This includes, of course, making its own circuitry. For example, I’m pleased to say that this blog post itself is rather eclipsed by Johnny Russell’s beautifully neat Arduino Mega Shield made in a RepRap here.

      • Robotic Software Platform Behind Projects Like Segway RMP, Lego Mindstorm Going Open Source

        Yet another important project is going open source. This time, it is the popular robotic software platform called Urbi. Widely popular robotic projects like Segway RMP, Lego Mindstorm, Aldebaran Nao etc. runs on Urbi robotic software platform.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Yahoo claims invention of a Google feature?

    Most people by now will have experienced the live search feature Google is debuting. That aside (and we can look forward to the new ”innovation” Bing offers as a response), its being reported that Google instant was invented in 2005 by an ex-Yahoo product manager.

  • GoDaddy.com Goes on the Auction Block

    GoDaddy.com, the closely held website that registers Internet domain names, has put itself up for sale in an auction that could fetch more than $1 billion, people familiar with the matter said.

    [...]

    In addition to registering domain names, GoDaddy.com sells e-commerce, security and other services to people and businesses looking to manage their online presence. The company posted revenue between $750 million and $800 million in 2009, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury

    Even as Sarah Palin’s public voice grows louder, she has become increasingly secretive, walling herself off from old friends and associates, and attempting to enforce silence from those around her. Following the former Alaska governor’s road show, the author delves into the surreal new world Palin now inhabits—a place of fear, anger, and illusion, which has swallowed up the engaging, small-town hockey mom and her family—and the sadness she has left in her wake.

    [..]

    Sarah Palin’s connection with her audience is complete. People who admire her believe she is just like them, and this conviction seems to satisfy their curiosity about the objective facts of her life. Those whose curiosity has not been satisfied have their work cut out for them. Palin has been a national figure for barely two years—John McCain selected her as his running mate in August 2008. Her on-the-record statements about herself amount to a litany of untruths and half-truths. With few exceptions—mostly Palin antagonists in journalism and politics whose beefs with her have long been out in the open—virtually no one who knows Palin well is willing to talk about her on the record, whether because they are loyal and want to protect her (a small and shrinking number), or because they expect her prominence to grow and intend to keep their options open, or because they fear she will exact revenge, as she has been known to do.

  • To The Governor and President: Fulfill The Purpose (Part I)

    But until we understand that college is not and never has been about job-training (except for certain fields, such as medicine and law), we’ll never be able to help college or their students to cope with the changing society and economy. In particular, we won’t be able to help students and prospective students avoid excessive debt in the pursuit of higher incomes that they will probably never experience.

  • To The Governor and President: Fulfill The Purpose (Part II)

    Now we need to discuss the K-12 education system. It makes sense that fixing the collegiate system cannot be completed until we are ready to tackle the compulsory Kindergarten through twelfth grade system’s problems.

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Revenue and Customs boss says he need not apologise

      The UK’s top tax man has refused to apologise after taking the wrong amount of tax from six million people.

      Dave Hartnett, Permanent Secretary at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), claimed media stories of blunders and IT failures were wrong.

    • Everyone May Hate Goldman Sachs, But Goldman Still Loves Itself

      In an online survey of employees at 80 financial companies, conducted by consulting site Vault.com, Goldman Sachs came in as the No. 1 best place to work. Blackstone came in second, and rival JPMorgan came in third. “Employees at the firm noted that — the media attacks aside — Goldman is still a great place to work, and that’s reflected in its No. 1 ranking,” Derek Loosvelt, the finance editor for Vault, told the Post.

    • Goldman’s still got it, at least on Wall Street

      That had an obvious effect on public perception of the company – with opinion surveys showing that Goldman had a worse reputation even than scandal-plagued BP and Toyota.

    • Michael Lewis: World would be better ‘without Goldman Sachs’
    • Goldman’s hedge fund factory winding down

      As Goldman Sachs Group winds down its Principal Strategies group, the firm will be shutting a business that’s produced some of the most successful hedge fund managers in the world.

    • Goldman Sachs Said to Be Fined by U.K. Financial Regulator

      The U.K. regulator found that Goldman Sachs failed to notify it about the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation of the New York-based firm’s Abacus transaction and of employee Fabrice Tourre’s role in it, according to the person, who spoke anonymously because the penalty hasn’t yet been made public.

    • Goldman Sachs Hit With U.K. Fine
    • Goldman Sachs fined £20m by FSA
    • Goldman Sachs Shifts Majority Of Political Contributions To Republicans

      In the latest example of former Obama supporters on Wall Street turning against the administration, Goldman Sachs has pledged more money to Republicans than to Democrats in this year’s election cycle. It’s the first time the firm has leaned Republican in at least 20 years. (Hat tip to The Street)

      Data from the Center for Responsive Politics shows that in every election since 1990 (when the group started keeping records), Goldman has given most of its money to Democrats. This year, though, Republicans got 54 percent of its campaign money, up from 26 percent in 2006. With about $1.7 million in total funds (to Republicans and Democrats combined) donated so far, Goldman is, as usual, leading the Wall Street pack. Morgan

    • Goldman Leans Republican

      Data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) shows Goldman giving more money to Republicans than Democrats for the first time since it began keeping records back in 1990.

      During that 20-year time period covering 11 election cycles, Goldman has donated nearly $21 million to Democrats, nearly double the $12 million it has handed out to Republicans.

    • Politico: Is a Goldman Sachs consultant likely to replace Rahm?

      Now that the rumor of Rahm Emanuel leaving the White House has reached full flower, come the buds of the follow-on rumor — who will replace him as Obama’s chief of staff?

      Politico suggest that Thomas Donilon is the “most likely candidate” and Huff Post agrees sufficiently to write a story with that as the lead.

      Are they sniffing each other’s fumes, or does somebody know something? I guess we’ll find out.

    • Glaxo Nabs Goldman’s Half-Trillion-Pound Deal Maker
    • Goldman Sachs M&A chief to join GSK as CFO
    • Goldman Sachs Economist O’Neill Named Asset Management Chairman

      O’Neill, 53, will remain in London and report to Ed Forst and Tim O’Neill, global co-heads of Goldman Sachs’s investment management division, the New York-based firm said today in an e- mailed statement. The appointment to Goldman Sachs Asset Management, or GSAM, is subject to U.K. regulatory approval, the firm said.

    • The privateers of education – How banks collude with the government to inflate college costs. Student loan debt now surpasses total credit card debt.

      One of the more ominous statistics coming from this recession is that student loan debt has now surpassed total credit card debt in the United States. The reason for this is based on the deep impact of the recession. Credit card debt peak at $975 billion back in September of 2008 and is now down to $826 billion.

      [...]

      The student loan market has enriched a few while pushing on the inflated cost of education to the working and middle class of the country. Clearly people can’t afford the cost of education as it stands and thus go into massive debt (just like housing). As usual, this is part of a bigger theme of squeezing out the middle class from an elite and increasingly desperate banking class. The banking class is bent on making money through usury rates and basically skimming money off people via non-productive means. Plus, they are lending taxpayer backed money. There is a specific reason why college costs have gone up (and are still going up) even though the working and middle class are getting poorer.

      [...]

      Banks have dumped trillions of dollars of bad housing debt onto the taxpayers and have been pushing student loan debt onto the taxpayer as well for years. Al Lord and Tim Fitzpatrick, both Sallie Mae big names have pulled in over $400 million over the last decade. Glad that the new mission of education is now paving the way for subsidizing the salaries of big financial lenders.

    • Fidel Castro says his economic system is failing

      It was a casual remark over a lunch of salad, fish and red wine but future historians are likely to parse and ponder every word: “The Cuban model doesn’t even work for us any more.”

    • Since the Start of the Great Recession, More Children Raised by Grandparents

      One child in 10 in the United States lives with a grandparent, a share that increased slowly and steadily over the past decade before rising sharply from 2007 to 2008, the first year of the Great Recession, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The US has a way to shut down Wikileaks, the infamous SDN list

      You may not know what the SDN list (Specially Designated Nationals) is but we´ll explain. It’s the US version of Iran and Chinas state censorship machine. Initially created with good intent to inform the world (and US entities, persons) of Terrorists, Rogue regimes and other wrongdoers. It slowly converted into a censorship list to block free speech on the Internet. You see, by adding a website to the list the U.S authorities could then evoke a closure order on the registrar where the domain is registered. Of course, if it’s a .com or .org then the US can evoke the said closure order anywhere in the world via ICANN.

    • Judge: Movie Studios Can Subpoena Internet Users’ Names, Data In File-Sharing Cases

      A federal judge on Friday allowed the holder of a movie copyright to subpoena the names of people accused of illegally downloading and distributing a film over the Internet.

      Courts have held that Internet subscribers do not have an expectation of privacy once they convey subscriber information to their Internet service providers, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled.

    • Bahrain: Ali Abdulemam, blogger and Global Voices contributor arrested

      Ali Abdulemam, a leading Bahraini blogger and Global Voices Advocacy author, was arrested earlier today by the Bahraini authorities for allegedly spreading “false news” on BahrainOnline.org portal, one of the most popular pro-democracy outlets in Bahrain, amidst the worst sectarian crackdown by the government in years, and accusations of a supposed “terror network” involving several political and human rights activists.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Zero Install Intro


Credit: TinyOgg

Don’t Touch NoTouch

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 2:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hand and pear with Mono

Summary: Miguel de Icaza and his team are promoting proprietary software called NoTouch [sic], which only targets one of the world’s most restrictive operating systems

“Those of us that have a crush on iOS and .NET are grateful to Apple and the Apple employees that helped make these changes happen,” says the latest blog post of Microsoft’s MVP de Icaza. He is marketing NoTouch [sic], which is a proprietary Mono product nobody should touch. Using a similar project called MonoDroid [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15] de Icaza helps put Microsoft’s API inside mobile Linux.

IDG writes about the latest from NoTouch:

That said, it remains unclear to Hill what Apple thinks of the manner in which Novell is leveraging the iOS application development space.

As we showed yesterday, antitrust pressure led Apple to allowing ‘foreign’ APIs inside hypeOS [sic]. It doesn’t exactly matter how Apple feels about it. The question is, will Google be smart enough to block the Microsoft API (MonoDroid) while Microsoft is suing Google through several proxies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] (and even admits doing this in Europe)?

Microsoft is Still Trolling ODF and Other Free Software Causes Using Fake ‘FOSS People’, OOXML Defects Ignored

Posted in Free/Libre Software, IBM, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 2:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

MicrISOft

Image: stuffing-capable ISO

Summary: News about ODF, SC34 which is a farce, and some of the latest heckling from Microsoft proponents who masquerade as pro-openness or impartial

DESPITE interference from Microsoft intruders [1, 2], the OpenOffice.org conference in Hungary went pretty well based on numerous reports. People in attendance learned about the need for Open Document Format (ODF) and there are other pro-ODF articles in the press these days. The Guardian, for instance, is still making waves.

A good piece from the Guardian’s Charles Arthur yesterday, reporting teacher and Windsor & Maidenhead councillor Liam Maxwell’s analysis, of how much councils could save by switching to Open Document Format, as used in OpenOffice.org: some £200M if all councils did this for all their staff. There was some background to this, about the problems encountered by Windsor and Maidenhead, on Computer Weekly’s site on Wedensday.

The key stumbling block for councils, as for schools, appears to be compatibility with others systems, most notably those supplied by Capita. Liam calls for the Cabinet Office to strengthen its present position on open source and open standards by mandating ODF as a standards across the public sector, were this to happen I don’t doubt that we’d see Capita quickly make SIMS and their other products compatible with OpenOffice.org, making it far easier for schools and councils to choose their office suite from all those available, rather than forcing them to pay for MS Office, bundled with ‘features’ which many will rarely if ever use. Charles seems to think that such a requirement is far more likely with Francis Maude at the Cabinet Office than it had ever been under the previous administration, even in Tom Watson’s day.

Microsoft is not done throwing wrenches at ODF.

Bart Hanssens recently stated that “odf 1.2cd05 60-day review ended, comments received” (these comments are part of the openness of this system). Rob Weir, who works alongside Hanssens on ODF, found himself having to confront Microsoft minions again. Microsoft’s booster and insider Alex Brown, who was the BRM convenor for OOXML while he smeared ODF, is not being left alone by Weir, who writes about another scandalous SC34 (see coverage from SC34 in 2008 and SC34 in 2009): “If you are looking for OOXML defects to fix, how about going back to 100′s of NB issues you gaveled away at the BRM?”

Weir is then met by opposition from Brown’s longtime right-winger, the ODF-hostile Jesper Lund Stocholm [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. He is a known Microsoft booster and Weir’s responses to him go like this:

- “Are you saying that there are zero issues remaining from the OOXML ballot that should be addressed? Really? Zero?

- “So if I understand correctly, you are asking NB’s to resubmit defect reports for issues not resolved at the BRM?

- “It wasn’t clear. I assumed WG4 would look at the defects already submitted during BRM. You are saying they are not.

- “You should send note to all NBs telling them that they need to resubmit relevant defect reports from the OOXML ballot

- “With ODF we do it differently. Our defect log includes all ballot comments received for ODF 1.0. No need to resubmit

- “I understand how to submit comments. But I wasn’t aware that the previously submitted comments were being ignored.

- “Deferred ballot comments are either in WG4′s defect index or not. Simple question. What is the answer?

- “Earlier Alex suggested lack of interest explained the lack of comments. Maybe NBs think they have already submitted? I did.

“NB issues should be solved,” says the FFII to this booster (the FFII’s member also participated in squashing OOXML).

Watch Jesper Lund Stocholm belittling OpenOffice.org by implying that it’s a ripoff of Microsoft Office. Typical.

Weir finally responds to Brown by writing: “I’m not suggesting a new process. Just asking status of those defects. Sounds like they need to be resubmitted, right?”

“BRM comment processing rates can range from 0.5-1000 comments/hour,” says Weir to Mary McRae from OASIS (maintainer of ODF).

Not surprisingly, throughout this conversation the two Microsoft boosters (Microsoft is fronting with them) tried to defend Microsoft by attacking its competition. For instance, they turn to dismissing and attacking ODF, simply because they cannot defend their dirty handling of their proprietary OOXML. The conversations can be found in Twitter, so they don’t need additional exposure here.

Bart Hanssens adds: “The ironic thing is that Ecma never made public the public comments they received on OOXML. But for ODF this is an open book.”

On and on it went for a couple of days and at the end Weir gave up feeding those Microsoft minions. Microsoft rarely speaks directly about such issues, it just sends out MVPs or something else that may seem impartial to an outsider. Weir then posted a rant about ISO, which is captured by the vendor called Microsoft as far as document formats are concerned. To quote part of this rant:

We saw during the OOXML ballot, and especially at the BRM, how this totally fell apart. It was raised several times that Microsoft was dominating the committees, sometimes representing more than 50% of the people in the room. But ISO leadership dodged the issue, saying there was nothing they could do about it, based on their rules. This may be true. But that is just acknowledgment that their rules are not able to prevent domination problems.

And on Balance, ANSI says:

The standards development process should have a balance of interests. Participants from diverse interest categories shall be sought with the objective of achieving balance.

Like committees containing almost exclusively Microsoft Business Partners? Fail. In fact you can go up and down the list and ISO fails to meet these minimum requirements.

ISO got poisoned some years ago, at least the parts of ISO which Microsoft had to ‘stuff’ with workers who are in Microsoft’s pocket. We did give examples at the time. Other Microsoft minions are harassing the FFII right now, but the FFII is not alone among their victims. Microsoft Florian, for example, is labelling Eben Moglen “Fidel” (as in Castro) and calling him that many times. How low has Microsoft sunk in its battles against the SFLC/FSF? Microsoft’s MVP Miguel de Icaza is also attacking the FFII right now. Anyone who still believes that this man exists in the GNU/Linux world in order to serve an agenda not of Microsoft need look no further than some of this man’s most recent actions. He apparently still trolls ODF too. The FFII wrote to him: “Feel free to submit ODF1.2 bug reports to @rcweir and Oasis, 5 days to go.” There is increased friendship and collaboration between the Mono camp and Microsoft Florian, both of which attack the FFII, trying hard to cause trouble. Microsoft Florian maintains his rude habit of mass-mailing people to achieve his goals.

European Patent Law is Being Abducted by Big Business and Patent Lawyers

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 1:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Car vandalism

Summary: Europe may lose its advantage (for software developers) if it loses its sovereignty to hostile interest groups which strive to loot the continent using lawsuits

SLASHDOT has this interesting new entry citing some American press [1, 2] and quoting Foxconn’s founder as saying: “I worry America has too many lawyers. I don’t want to spend time having people sue me every day.”

Richard Stallman had the foresight to tell Europe that by rejecting software patents it will position itself favourably. European developers who don’t work for multinationals such as Microsoft (money talks) understand this because it takes very fundamental logic to grasp. Europe can leave US-based companies to fight among themselves, whereas Europe will serve as somewhat of a haven sheltering innovative minds that make good software. Nothing good ever comes out of lawsuits over software patents.

“Nothing good ever comes out of lawsuits over software patents.”The FFII suspects that there is a “power struggle between Council and Commission” in Europe, involving Jose Manuel Barroso of course. Obligatory attendance does not sound quite right. We have already explained how the Commission in Brussels did more harm than good sometimes, at least regarding software patents.

The Belgian EU presidency (lobbied by Microsoft’s pressure group Association for Competitive Technology) seems to have a hand in the problems. As Axel H. Horns put it:

In an earlier posting I had reported that, on the first day of the Belgian EU Presidency, the EU Commission had published a Proposal for a Council Regulation (EU) on the translation arrangements for the European Union patent. This Document suggests to require human quality translations of EU patents only in case of a dispute. Otherwise, machine translations are deemed to be sufficient for informing the general public.

This is just shameful. Whose hands are in it? It gets even worse. “Usually patent offices set the agenda, not business,” wrote the FFII, citing the IAM crowd, which is a subscribers-only platform (lawyers’ echo chamber).

This system is seemingly being hijacked by those who want to exploit it for personal profitability. The patent system is supposed to be focused on other goals, but it is being changed while it's self-deluded.

Last week we showed the Advocates General saying that the current pan-European patent court proposal would violate the principles of some of the EU’s founding treaties. It’s still a struggle between business and between public servants who are sometimes elected by the public. The Register has the following take from UK patent attorneys:

The European Court of Justice should reject the opinion of its advisors and put pragmatic economics ahead of legal technicalities and approve a pan-EU patent court, the UK patent attorneys’ trade body has said.

Advocates General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said in an opinion that the current proposal for a pan-European patent court violates the principles of some of the EU’s founding treaties.

But the Chartered Institute for Patent Attorneys (CIPA) has said that when making its final ruling the ECJ should make its decision in the light of the benefits such a court would bring to business.

That’s just appalling. Since when are lawyers (not elected officials with a legal background) determining the laws such that they increase their own profits? This is just cronyism. Lawyers are a big part of the problem here. Greed is an enemy of research and development.

In other news, WIPO transparency is said to be “threatened”. Was there ever transparency at all?

WIPO held its annual Program and Budget Committee meeting last week. The Committee discussed ways that it might better make its meetings and documents available in multiple languages. WIPO operates in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, and also Portuguese under specific conditions.

WIPO is designed to help oppressors maintain their power. It markets itself as defender of “innovation” rather than defender of gatekeepers. It was never particularly receptive to the needs of developing nations, much like the WTO. The world needs less regulation of this kind because it impedes the sharing that’s crucial for science to thrive everywhere.

“The USPTO Has Blown Smoke and Lived in a World of Denial and Obfuscation”

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Patents at 12:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nina Paley on patents
Credit: Nina Paley [via FFII]

Summary: BNET publishes strong criticism of the USPTO and what seems like a patent troll called Soverain Software LLC proves his point

IN HIS NEWEST essay, “Patent Office Admits the Truth: Things Are a Disaster”, Erik Sherman rips apart the USPTO and suggests removing software patents:

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, under its new director, David Kappos, has finally begun to seriously address transparency of information with a new data visualization dashboard. The big lesson? As a number of people who watch the organization have thought, for years — years — the USPTO has blown smoke and lived in a world of denial and obfuscation.

[...]

Perhaps the answer is to drop technologies like software patents. By the time the six years have gone by, what you could have protected is likely already swept into industrial-sized dust bins. It’s particularly true of smaller companies, as a large-scale study found that high costs often deter companies from getting patents.

The USPTO probably knows that those newly-issued patents it stamps are worthless, beneficial mostly to monopolists, and a treasure to patent trolls which do the exact opposite of spurring innovation. It’s time to shine some light on the USPTO and let examiners see for themselves what they are doing to their surroundings, especially those who approve patent monopolies on mathematics and life-saving drugs/biology.

Here is the latest patent blunder, taking place in the Eastern District of Texas, as usual: [via]

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has ruled against online retailer Newegg Inc. in a patent infringement law suit over shopping cart software and other related e-commerce applications.

This afternoon judge Leonard Davis ruled against Newegg and in favor of Chicago-based Soverain Software LLC in a case filed three years ago. Soverain Software LLC, which sells transaction management technology, filed suit against Newegg Inc. and other big web merchants in November 2007. At the time Soverain Software accused Newegg, CDW Corp., Systemax Inc., Redcats USA and Zappos.com of infringing on three of its patents that cover the underlying technology that e-retailers use to handle purchases and payments, as well as for their online shopping carts.

It’s tempting to say that it’s a patent troll. Earlier this year an article said that “Soverain denied that it is a “troll,” pointing to its flagship product, Transact, which it has sold to customers in 25 countries. Citing pending litigation, the company declined to comment further.”

Patent offices have a role not in providing jobs to more lawyers. These offices were originally created to advance science, clearly not to be detrimental to it.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

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