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Links 18/9/2010: GNU/Linux in Dell China, Wine 1.3.3, Mageia (Mandriva Fork) Launched

Posted in News Roundup at 8:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Need Ideas for Christmas or Other Presents?

    Want a finished product not requiring installation? Why not buy a PC with GNU/Linux installed for presents. Recipients will remember your generosity for years of trouble-free use and top performance.

  • Desktop

    • Linux Out Performs Windows in OpenGL

      Late last year I did a posting detailing how Windows 7 crushed Ubuntu 9.10 in the area of 3D performance. Nine months later I am happy to say:

      Linux out performs Windows 7 in OpenGL benchmarks!

    • Dell.com.cn

      Dell, in China, has no qualms about putting Ubuntu before consumers. On their site they do “recommend that other OS” according to Google Translate but the Mini-10 comes in two models, one with Ubuntu and one with that other OS. That other OS is RM100 higher price. They even have N series with FreeDOS or “Linux Ubuntu 9.10“. Isn’t the outside of the USA a different world?

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Next X.Org Developers Summit?

        The X.Org Developers’ Summit in Toulouse, France just ended and it’s time in the morning to head to Oktoberfest to meet with many Phoronix readers at this annual outing. XDS 2010 turned out to be a wonderful event and more organized than some X.Org events in the past. Thanks to the wonderful organization by Matthieu Herrb, the venue itself was nice, the social event last night was terrific, the Internet and power at the event was plenty, etc. Stay tuned for Phoronix notes and some audio/video recordings to be published in the coming days, beyond what has already been reported. At XDS 2010 it was also brought up where to host XDS 2011.

        It was brought up whether to host the 2011 X.Org Developers’ Summit in Brazil, simply on the basis of the X.Org events usually being in the United States or Europe, even though that’s where a vast majority of the X.Org developers are located. No real reasons in favor of an XDS Brazil event were provided and there isn’t even any X.Org developers presently living in Brazil that could organize such an event. There were plenty of concerns though regarding the cost of transportation, the time needed to fly to Brazil for both Americans and Europeans, and just the overall location being inconvenient for everyone.

      • Most Drivers Won’t Be Merged Into X Server 1.10

        The last talk of the 2010 X.Org Developers’ Summit was regarding X.Org Server 1.10. The good news is that nearly every X.Org graphics driver will not be merged back into the xorg-server repository.

  • Applications

    • Wine

      • Wine Announcement [1.3.3]

        The Wine development release 1.3.3 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        – Improved support for right-to-left text.
        – Support for CMYK JPEG images.
        – Beginnings of a Game Explorer implementation.
        – Improved 64-bit support in MSI.
        – Stub inetcpl control panel applet.
        – A number of fixes to crypto support.
        – Translation updates.
        – Various bug fixes.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia – a Mandriva fork

        Most employees working on the distribution were laid off when Edge-IT was liquidated. We do not trust the plans of Mandriva SA anymore and we don’t think the company (or any company) is a safe host for such a project.

      • Mandriva’s Forked Into A New Project Called Mageia

        The Mandriva Linux distribution has been forked by a number of Mandriva contributors with the fate of this distribution formerly known as Mandrake being unknown due to financial troubles and layoffs facing Mandriva’s parent company. This new forked version of Mandriva is being called Mageia.

      • Mageia – A New Linux Distribution
    • Red Hat Family

      • UBS: IBM, Oracle could bid to buy Red Hat

        UBS strategist Thomas Doerflinger says in the note that the forces driving M&A activity include the economic slowdown and low interest rates. Also, the potential buyers have strong balance sheets and ample cash.

        Red Hat’s market cap is close to $7.3 billion. The company employs about 2,800 worldwide.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Shuttleworth: Defending Ubuntu

          I’m not talking about valid criticism or difference in philosophy either, I’m talking about people who personally attack rms and/or simply lie about the FSF (ala recent attempts to suggest the FSF supports software patents to attack non-GPL software [1][2]).

          I’m not sure how the Self-Loathing Free Software User gained traction in Ubuntu (or in any community for that matter), but it seems at odds with the messaging coming from Mr. Shuttleworth.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Device update: Analysts bullish on ereaders

      These forecasts not only predict a growing number of devices being used by consumers, but also a growing amount of online content to feed those devices. Taken together, these projections create an optimistic short-term picture for the ereader market.

      Turning to this week’s news: we’ve got announcements from Elonex, Ectaco, and Velocity Micro, as well as an update on the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Trade Practices Implications of Infringing Copies of Open Source Software

    Earlier in the year Linux Australia approved a grant for the production of a research note on the Trade Practices Implications of Infringing Copies of Open Source Software. The note has been completed and reviewed by the Linux Australia committee and is now ready for open release.

    The main finding of the research is that a vendor selling an infringing copy of open source software is likely to be in breach of at least one section of Part V the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) relating to misleading or deceptive statements or conduct, and likely more than one. There are many cases in which such breaches have been found in relation to infringing copies of software. Even where a vendor only offers to sell (as opposed to actually selling) an infringing copy they are still likely to be in breach of the Act.

  • Apache is Hanging in There…

    Netcraft reports that Apache has 66% share of the servers on the million busiest sites, 57% of all sites (up 1% which Apache stole from M$ last month), Since this demonstrates FLOSS works, it’s hard to see whence all the doom and gloom for GNU/Linux on the desktop comes.

  • Databases

    • Why NoSQL Matters

      “NoSQL” is a label which encompasses a wave of innovation now happening in the database space. The NoSQL movement has sparked a whirlwind of discussion, debate, and excitement in the technical community. Why is NoSQL generating so much buzz? What does it mean for you, the application developer? And what place does NoSQL have for apps running on the Heroku platform?

  • CMS

  • Education

    • 50 Reasons to Love GNU/Linux for Schools

      We have all read articles with 5 or 10 reasons to love/hate some facet of IT. I thought I would go for 50. It is not hard. What is hard is putting them in order of importance/preference. The first few are easy. The last few are a coin-flip, but there are many reasons to love GNU/Linux in education.


    • What is Software Freedom Day About?

      Other things that encourage both my use and support of free software are the heavy handed application of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and Technical Protection Measures (TPM). These are methods employed in hardware and software to force your tech stuff to be subservient to the manufacturer. In many if not most cases DRM/TPM result in degrading the hardware or software, sometimes making it difficult to use, sometimes just crippling it so that things that should work don’t, and sometimes breaking it so that it doesn’t work at all. It used to be inadvertent “bugs” were the biggest problem in running software. Today it’s deliberate DRM. I suppose you could put DRM on free software but people would know what it was and correct it out. As far as I’m concerned, DRM is as much malware as spyware or viruses. If it is going to be allowed at all, it needs to be clearly labelled. The fact that it is not and consumers only know about it after they’ve purchased it is a huge government #fail

      The biggest thing free software has done to change my outlook is that it has changed my way of thinking. Because the principals behind free software can be applied in many more things. For me, it’s made me rethink the idea of copyright, and then rethink it again. It has in fact encouraged me to join what Cory Doctorow calls the copyfight. As a writer, I’m embracing the concept of self publishing, and I will be releasing my debut novel under a Creative Commons License.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Introducing LAPSI and EVPSI

        Information generated and collected by public sector bodies represents a veritable gold mine: optimal access to and reuse of this public sector information (PSI) has a positive impact on market services improvements, but also on the democratic involvement of citizens in governmental decisions.

      • Mars Inc. Cacao Genome Database claims Open Access, public domain: falls short

        This initially looked very promising: Mars, along with a number of collaborators (USDA, IBM, Clemson University Genomics Institute; Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture at the University of California-Davis; National Center for Genome Resources; Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics at Indiana University; HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology; and Washington State University), have sequenced the cacao genome and released it “Open Access” and “public domain” for the benefit of all, at a site called the Cacao Genome Project…


        Clearly, this data set has not been released as Open Access and certainly not released into the public domain.

        Instead of Open Access or public domain, they have a restrictive license, which allows gated access for a restricted set of uses.


  • Email Netiquette – Part 1

    As with top-posting, not trimming your replies is lazy, and again, it’s rude. Some people don’t have the hard drive space you might, or the bandwidth to pull down such a noisy message. Cutting out the cruft, leaving the relevant pieces in, is considerate, polite and logically sound. Do you, and everyone else a favor, and trim your replies.

  • Jackson family lawsuit blames AEG for Michael’s death

    Michael Jackson’s family has sued AEG Live claiming the event production company is responsible for Jackson’s death.

    Here’s the complaint, filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court by Katherine Jackson on behalf of the family. The lawsuit claims AEG, president and CEO Tim Leiweke, Anschutz Entertainment and others are responsible for Jackson’s death because his contract with AEG for the planned “This Is It” tour created a legal duty to keep him healthy.

  • The Trouble with the View from Above

    It is both striking and important to recognize how relatively little the pre-modern state actually knew about the society over which it presided. State officials had only the most tenuous idea of the population under their jurisdiction, its movements, its real property, wealth, crop yields, and so forth. Their degree of ignorance was directly proportional to the fragmentation of their sources of information. Local currencies and local measures of capacity (e.g., the bushel) and length (the ell, the rod, the toise) were likely to vary from place to place and with the nature of the transacting parties. The opacity of local society was, of course, actively maintained by local elites as one effective means of resistance to intrusions from above.

    Having little synoptic, aggregate intelligence about the manpower and resources available to it, officials were apt either to overreach in their exactions, touching off flight or revolt, or to fail to mobilize the resources that were, in fact, available. To follow the process of state-making, then, is to follow the conquest of illegibility. The account of this conquest — an achievement won against stiff resistance — could take many forms, for example: the creation of the cadastral survey and uniform property registers, the invention and imposition of the meter, national censuses and currencies, and the development of uniform legal codes.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Big Corn wants to change “High Fructose Corn Syrup” to “Corn Sugars”

      The US Corn Refiners Association has petitioned the FDA for permission to change the name “High Fructose Corn Syrup” to the much more innocuous-sounding “Corn Sugars.” This comes as 58% of Americans say they are concerned about HFCS’s impact on their health. HFCS is a heavily subsidized industrial byproduct of the corn industry, and is ubiquitous in American processed food — everything from Rice Krispies to “healthy” granola bars.

    • Obesity costs US at least $215 billion every year: study

      Obesity costs the US economy at least 215 billion dollars a year in direct and indirect impacts including medical expenses and lost productivity, a new study showed Tuesday.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Why the Paul Chambers case matters

      This week will see the appeal by Paul Chambers of his conviction under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003.

      He was convicted – and so given a criminal record – for what was, and what was intended to be, a joke contained in a tweet.


      They send several anti-terrorist officers around to Paul’s workplace.

      (Unsurprisingly, Paul loses his job very soon after.)

      The police arrest Paul and keep him in custody for a number of hours.

      However, it appears that even the police do not think this is a serious matter.

      But again “process” means it needs to be taken further. And so the case is referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

      The CPS realise quickly that there is no evidence for Paul to be prosecuted under the bomb hoax legislation.

    • Body armor contractor convicted for $190M stock scam scheme

      NY jury convicts body-armor company founder of running $190 million stock scheme

      The founder of America’s leading supplier of body armor to the U.S. military was convicted Tuesday of charges that he ran a $190 million stock scheme.

      David H. Brooks, founder and former chief executive of DHB Industries Inc., was convicted of 17 counts, including securities fraud and conspiracy. Prosecutors said he used the company treasury for personal luxuries, with more than $6 million in unauthorized expenditures.

    • Darpa Wants You To Build An Anti-Secrecy App

      Usually the Pentagon expends time and technological effort to protect information. But now the far-out researchers at Darpa are looking for a few good futurists to help the Obama administration declassify reams of national security documents.

    • DRG SSH Username and Password Authentication Tag Clouds
    • WikiLeaks readying the ‘biggest leak of military intelligence ever’

      Whistleblower website WikiLeaks is teaming up with news outlets to release a “massive cache” of classified US military field reports on the conflict in Iraq, Newsweek magazine reported recently.

    • WikiLeaks founder Assange ‘free to leave’ Sweden

      Assange, 39, has said the allegations against him are part of a “smear campaign” aimed at discrediting his website, which is locked in a row with the Pentagon over the release of secret US documents about the war in Afghanistan.

    • Walt Disney, Monsanto discovered among Blackwater’s hidden clients

      Also on list: Royal Caribbean, Deutsche Bank, Chevron

      Almost three years ago exactly — Sept. 17, 2007 — a cadre of guards from the security firm then known as Blackwater shot and killed 17 Iraqis at a public plaza in Baghdad.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Week of Biking Joyously: An American Delegation Learns from the Dutch

      But the idea of learning from the success of the Dutch is not far-fetched. The Netherlands resembles the United States as a prosperous, technologically advanced nation where a huge share of the population owns automobiles. They simply don’t drive them each and every time they leave home, thanks to common sense transportation policies where biking and transit are promoted as an attractive alternative to the car. Indeed, millions of Dutch commuters combine bike and train trips, which offers the point-to-point convenience of the automobile and the speed of transit.

    • Measuring and Marketing in Japan’s Eco-Model Cities

      It’s an effort that has the support of top national leadership: in fact Chiyoda, home of the nation’s Imperial Palace and the Prime Minister’s Office, is one of the Eco-Cities. It has a population of 45,000 at night but swells with 800,000 government and business day tripper commuters. By 2050, the city portends a reduction in its volume of auto commuters: Chiyoda aims to reduce its greenhouse gases 50% from 1990 levels by that date.

    • The World Energy Congress kicks off with a splash

      This is how all energy industry events should begin. The World Energy Congress kicks off today in Montreal and as delegates arrived at the conference venue, hundreds of demonstrators were there to tell them that the industry needs to go beyond oil, and that dirty and risky fuels weren’t welcome here.

    • Unauthorised GE potato unleashed in Sweden

      In the North, in Haparanda, Greenpeace activists marked and sealed off the potato fields that were recently discovered to be contaminated with the illegal, unauthorised genetically engineered potato, named Amadea. Simultaneously, activists protested outside the Swedish Board of Agriculture office building in Jönköping, calling for the authority to order a full destruction of the contaminated fields in order to prevent further spread.

    • And the 2010 World Energy Congress Declaration is…

      I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised. After all, this is the energy industry talking to itself. But the reality is – as I said to the Congress yesterday – that the industry and governments that regulate it are accountable to us, the citizenry. And comforting words don’t do much good for those people still cleaning up in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, those people who have had their waterways and their air polluted by dirty energy or those who are suffering at the hands of greenhouse pollution-driven climate change.

    • Gulf oil well on verge of being plugged for good

      After five months, the oil well that had spewed millions of gallons into the Gulf of Mexico is on the verge of being plugged once and for all.

    • BP to completely seal Gulf well by late Saturday
    • Armed men kidnap seven foreign workers in Niger

      SEVEN FOREIGNERS working for French companies were kidnapped in a uranium mining region of Niger yesterday.

    • In legal filings, BP says thousands of oil spill victims do not have right to sue

      BP and its partners in the blown-out Gulf well said on Monday that thousands of fishermen, seafood processors, restaurants, hotel owners and others may not yet have the right to sue over the spill, according to court papers.

      BP and its partners such as Transocean Ltd and Halliburton Co said the majority of alleged victims who have brought about 400 lawsuits must first take their claims to a $20 billion fund established by BP.

  • Finance

    • World poverty seen falling sharply but patchily

      In China, whose economy this year officially surpassed Japan’s as the world’s second largest, the number living below the international poverty line fell from 60.2 percent in 1990 to 15.9 percent in 2005. By 2015, it is forecast to be 5 percent.

    • Motivating Miss Daisy

      The new small business legislation intended to support startups is based entirely on debt — getting banks to lend money to small companies. But the only kind of debt that most tech startups know is credit card debt. Little tech companies grow by selling equity, not borrowing money. Short-term debt goes on plastic at 18 or 23 percent because no bank has — or will — lend to real tech startups in any significant amount.

      They’ll finance new Burger King franchises, but lend money for electric cars or new kinds of data storage or — shudder — software? Forget about it.

      Presidents Obama and Bush didn’t know this, Fed chairman Bernanke doesn’t know it, nor does Treasury secretary Geithner. None of these men have a minute’s experience with tech startups, yet our economy is almost entirely dependent on those startups for real recovery.

    • Basel rewrites capital rules for banks
    • Basel III is out… who cares?

      In conclusion I suspect that is the way they want it. After all, as far as I can tell, Basel is a set of self-imposed rules by the banking system and their regulators and they are primarily concerned with their own survival, not the well being of the economy from a monetary standpoint. It should be no surprise that they avoid the larger question of systemic stability by monetary self-regulation. Beware of the invisible hand, it may be robbing your back pocket!

    • FBI arrests Ohio County Commissioner on bribery charges

      A Commissioner of Cuyahoga County in Ohio was arrested by FBI agents early Wednesday morning as part of a larger federal probe into corruption in the county.

      Seven other Cuyahoga County officials, labor leaders, and business people have also been arrested.

      Commissioner Jimmy Dimora, age 55, is accused of using his public office to obtain free home improvements, prostitutes, and trips.

    • US homes lost to foreclosure up 25 pct on year

      In all, banks repossessed 95,364 properties last month, up 3 percent from July and an increase of 25 percent from August 2009, RealtyTrac said.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • UID is an Identity Crisis in the Making

      AN EXERCISE is currently underway to enter every resident in India on a database. In a few years, the unique identification (UID) is intended to become a ubiquitous number, to be used in many operations: enrolling in a school, maintaining a bank account, ticketing for travel, seeking treatment in a hospital and having one’s death recorded in a mortuary register.

      The sales pitch for the UID is, like most advertisements, intended to mislead. Enrolment is said to be voluntary. But, and as is now acknowledged, other agencies may refuse to provide a service if an individual is not enrolled, making it compulsory. The Working Paper of the UID Authority of India (UIDAI), which has been the basis of many discussions, starts with a claim that the UID will bring down barriers that prevent the poor from accessing services; but quickly adds: “UID will only guarantee identity, not rights, benefits and entitlements.”

    • Magid on Tech: Online privacy a key topic at UN-sponsored conference

      Participants from throughout the world are gathered in Vilnius, Lithuania, this week for the fifth-annual Internet Governance Forum.

      The IGF is an annual United Nations-sponsored event where representatives from governments, nonprofits, academic institutions, and businesses worldwide discuss a broad range of policy issues including online safety, privacy, rights of children, equality issues and other topics pertaining to the way the Internet is affecting every country.

      The goal of IGF is “to foster the sustainability, robustness, security, stability and development of the Internet.”

    • Koran burner Derek Fenton booted from his job at NJ Transit

      The protester who burned pages from the Koran outside a planned mosque near Ground Zero has been fired from NJTransit, sources and authorities said Tuesday.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Time Warner Cable Sends a Message to Video Suppliers: Cross Us and You’re Out

      Why do we suspect that cable operators see online video as a threat and may try to use “managed services” exceptions to Net Neutrality rules to crush it? How about deals like this.

      Time Warner Cable has decided not to do any deals with the premium movie channel Epix, home to movies from studios like Viacom, Lions Gate, and MGM. Why? Because Epix decided to cut a deal with Netflix for streaming access to its movies.

    • The distinctions and controversies of net neutrality

      I started the wiki because I think we need it. Just over the past few weeks we’ve been treated to news coverage of a joint proposal from Google and Verizon, which I found muddled in ways that show why we need a finer understanding of the many topics involved. The FCC has released a request for comments that shows they’re trying to hone in on the distinctions. And a recent article where I made an initial stab at dissecting the arguments was well received and summarized in Forbes online.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Woman Trademarks Her Name, Says No One Can Use It Without Her Permission

      She even goes so far as to post a list of websites “illegally” using her name, as well as a copy of the cease and desist letter (pdf) her lawyers will send you. Now, it may very well be that some of the sites in question are, in fact, violating her trademark (and at least one of the pages I’ve found does appear pretty questionable from a trademark standpoint) but the blanket claim that “it is illegal to use the name on any website without prior written permission” is simply false. That’s not how trademark law works. Dr Ann De Wees Allen does, in fact, have a trademark on her name, used in commerce related to dietary supplements, but just because you have a trademark, it does not mean you have complete control of the mark.

    • Copyrights

      • Prison for camming – a UK first

        Emmanuel Nimley, 22, yesterday received a 6-month sentence for filming movies with his iPhone at The Vue cinema in Harrow and uploading them to silverscreen.com. His motive: self-glory. The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) say this is the first-ever UK prison sentence for ‘camming’.

      • 4chan DDoS Takes Down MPAA and Anti-Piracy Websites

        Following a call to arms yesterday, the masses inhabiting the anonymous 4chan boards have carried out a huge assault on a pair of anti-piracy enemies. The website of Aiplex Software, the anti-piracy outfit which has been DDoSing torrent sites recently, is currently down having been DDoS’d. They are joined in the Internet wasteland by the MPAA’s website, also currently under huge and sustained attack.

      • Why Are The Record Labels Demanding Money To Let People Stream Legally Purchased Music?

        Lately, I’ve been playing around with various music locker services, just to get a better understanding of how they work and to be able to access my (legally purchased) music collection on various machines and devices. So far, they’re all a bit limited, but it shouldn’t be long until they get better. However, the industry has always hated music locker services, and insisted that they somehow violate their copyright, even when the lockers simply allow individuals to place shift their own legal music. There’s an ongoing lawsuit over Michael Robertson’s MP3Tunes for which a decision is expected shortly. At the same time, Apple has been trying to quietly enter the market without disturbing the record labels.

      • How Much Did The Pointless OiNK Raid Cost UK Taxpayers?

        So how much did this entertainment-industry driven mess cost UK taxpayers? Well, police refused to release that information for a while, claiming that it “could undermine any ongoing and future investigations and cause potential damage to the criminal justice process.” Uh, right. About the only way it would do that is when people realized how much money was being wasted on bogus investigations. Eventually, however, it came out that the investigation itself cost about £29,000 — including £7,800 on overtime (OiNK after dark?) and £4,300 on “travel and subsistence.” Of course that doesn’t even get into what the actual trial cost taxpayers, which I’m sure is many times greater than that.

      • Pay what you want to see Freakonomics: The Movie

        In the most unique screening experiment we’ve heard of in a while (sorry, Jonah Hill), Magnolia Pictures and the Green Film Company will offer a pay-what-you-want preview of Freakonomics: The Movie on Sept. 22 for audiences in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Denver, and Seattle. The adaptation of Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s best-selling book applies economics-based thinking to everyday human behavior, using a “dream team” of documentary filmmakers like Seth Gordon (The King Of Kong), Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), and Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room) to examine everything from Sumo wrestling to baby names to students who are paid to study harder, and by participating in this screening—which requires filling out a short questionnaire—you’ll actually become part of a Freakonomics study yourself, in keeping with the book’s examination of how people interact with a pay-what-you-want bagel service.

      • Fox News Sues Senate Candidate For Using Clip In Commercial

        But, really, the bigger issue, is that in suing and sending takedowns over this video, all Fox has done is draw significantly more attention to the story itself and the negative impression of Blunt. If I had to guess, I’d say that Carnahan has never been so happy to be sued. It’s tons of free advertising on an attack ad on her opponent.
        And, of course, if the video is found to be fair use — as I would bet it would be — we’ll have yet another example of how the DMCA’s takedown process is a clear violation of free speech. Even if the video is eventually allowed back online due to a counter-notice, copyright law was being used to silence political speech in the middle of a campaign.

      • ACTA

        • European ICT sector’s concerns about ACTA: ECIS position paper

          The European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) is an international non-profit association that endeavours to promote a favourable environment for interoperable ICT solutions. Its members include both large and small companies in the ICT sector such as IBM, Nokia, Oracle, Opera, and Red Hat.

        • Internet Governance Forum a beacon of openness

          A representative from Internet Society (ISOC) proposed to extend the open and global multi-stakeholder approach of the IGF, its unique and sucessful governance model, to other processes such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations. The ACTA addresses Internet Governance issues along Camembert and is negotiated by a small coalition of supportive trade administrations.

        • ECIS ACTA position paper [PDF]

Clip of the Day

Stallman receiving Torvalds award at LinuxWorld conf 1999

Credit: TinyOgg

Malcolm Berko Suggests Selling Microsoft Without Looking Back, Apple Still Boxed in a Niche

Posted in Apple, Microsoft at 4:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spread money

Summary: Microsoft is having mid- and long-term problem and it seems like GNU/Linux — not just Apple — is poised to benefit from it

Microsoft’s financial situation fascinates us because Microsoft is not telling the whole story. The company certainly produced some billionaires and its two founders proceeded to becoming patent trolls/agitators (Bill Gates and Traul Allen), but Microsoft is already taking debt, laying off staff, moving other workforce to countries where labour is a lot cheaper, and seeing its cash cows decline in impact. Pogson has this to say:

There are compelling reasons to believe the cash-cow of licences on the PC will dry up. The only question is how rapidly the decline will be.


An OEM actually pushing GNU/Linux may be enough. OEMs are starving. They will change to ensure survival. It’s just a question of which OEM bolts first. Several sell some GNU/Linux products now, testing the waters, like sharks circling.

The end is not in sight but the ending has begun.

The post above was inspired by this new one from Malcolm Berko, an existing/former Microsoft shareholder who says: “Microsoft is no longer a growth company, and management is actually struggling to find new products to keep its 94,000 employees (30 percent of whom could leave and not be missed) gainfully employed. Even Bill Gates’ good buddy Warren Buffett knows that, which is why he doesn’t own a single share.

“Microsoft is no longer a growth company, and management is actually struggling to find new products to keep its 94,000 employees (30 percent of whom could leave and not be missed) gainfully employed.”
      –Malcolm Berko
“And it amazes me that UBS, Standard & Poor’s, Merrill Lynch, Argus, Janney Montgomery Scott, Goldman Sachs and legions of other brokerages have a “buy” rating on Microsoft. That doesn’t say much for the reliability of Wall Street research. So sell it and don’t look back.”

It is not entirely accurate to suggest the above. Standard & Poor’s, for example, recently downgraded Microsoft because of the threat from Apple. S&P could have named the many other top competitors which use or sell GNU/Linux. Apple is only successful within a niche which is rich people in rich countries (people with more money than understanding in computers) and their disregard/apathy for rights and for money can be seen in this new story: [via]

Network provider O2 told customers this week that some iPad data allowances will be cut by up to two thirds from next month.

The news that a brace of current deals were for a promotional time period only caught many customers unawares, and some are switching telcos as a result.

Customers currently paying £15 a month for 3GB of data will now get 2GB, while those paying £2 a day for 500MB will see their allowance drop to 200MB a day.

Our reader ThistleWeb says that “O2 [is] moving the goalposts [...] I’m still in an ongoing complaint with them for the same thing” (common story). How much of a ripoff can these people tolerate before moving to Linux-based tablets, which are just about all tablets except the hypePad? Linux-based tablets are not so locked down. What’s common to buyers of hypePads and buyers of Microsoft shares is that they are dazzled by wealth rather than substance. This may work well within the niche of the world’s affluence, but not in the context of the world at large. When it comes to installed based, Microsoft views GNU/Linux as a greater threat than Apple (on the desktop too).

Ballmer's slide on Macs and GNU/Linux
Steve Ballmer’s presentation slide
from 2009 shows GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple on the desktop

SD Times Says That VMware Wants Novell for Mono, Not GNU/Linux

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SLES/SLED, UNIX, VMware at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Miguel de Icaza and other Microsoft MVPs

Summary: Suggestion that the Microsoft-stuffed VMware may want to just chew Mono and neglect/spit out the rest of SUSE; more news from Oracle and SCO, which help not at all on the patent/copyright front

DUE TO the problems with Mono dangers becoming widespread knowledge, Mono has earned its deserved “perception issue”. Mono as a dependency in any piece of software is a deterrent, not a feature. No wonder a Mono booster posts another face-saving article (“Mono mythbusting”) right now, adding to Novell’s AstroTurfing in this site (from Novell IP addresses). They desperately try to shoot the messenger (including yours truly) and sell the illusion of .NET being the best thing since sliced bread.

Those former Microsoft executives who plan to buy SUSE [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] (here is another article that we missed) are said to be interested in it because of Mono (maybe the older headline was “VMWare wants Novell for Mono, not Linux” because that’s how it appears in Tux Machines, which does not modify headlines although Google cache does not display it that way). From the new article which claims this we learn that:

The Wall Street Journal reports that VMware is going to buy SuSE Linux from Novell. What, exactly, that would leave Novell, I can’t really say. But I think I know exactly why VMware wants SuSE, and it’s got very little to do with actual Linux. It’s not about the Linux so much as it is about the Mono.

You see, VMware has Microsoft squarely in its sights. The current game plan for the company is to grab up frameworks and supporting infrastructure to allow VMware to squeeze platform players out of the equation. The biggest such platform is Windows. So, what do you do if you want your customers to cut out one of their vendors, while still allowing those companies to reap the benefits of having dozens of .NET applications? Why, you buy up an open source implementation of .NET.

If SUSE gets sold to a company not dominated by Microsoft influence, Mono will probably perish along with Moonlight (which helps Microsoft sell the dying Silver Lie [1, 2, 3, 4]). So maybe it’s a strategic move for Microsoft too. This type of acquisition lets people with a long career at Microsoft manage .NET from all fronts. Techrights correctly predicted this type of acquisition back in 2009 when Novell transitioned from a 4-part company into a dual-operation company.

“Techrights correctly predicted this type of acquisition back in 2009 when Novell transitioned from a 4-part company into a dual-operation company.”One has to remember that the source of the claim, SD Times, has quite a history promoting .NET and occasionally Mono as well (Microsoft is one of the magazine’s biggest advertisers). Now that Microsoft is said to try to capitalise on Java FUD (mostly Oracle-imposed) it can make all the difference in the world. Oracle is already trying to calm developer fears, as we noted briefly in earlier posts. The following remarks are being made about OpenJDK:

“Oracle will work with the OpenJDK code base and the OpenJDK community like Sun did,” blogged Henrik Stahl, senior director of product management for the Java Platform Group at Oracle. “We will continue to develop the JDK in the open under a GPL licence.

“We welcome the cooperation and contribution of any member of the community – individuals as well as organisations – who would like to be part of moving the most widely used software platform forward.”

With catchy words like “SCOracle” out and about, some people already paint Java as a risk/threat. SCO tried to do the same thing to Linux and right now it’s just giving up and selling everything that’s left in its possession (covered before):

SCO Group is again attempting to sell its assets. The company states in a press statement that the “asset sale will be free and clear of liens and encumbrances pursuant to Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.” The company calls for a bid by close of business, October 5, 2010. The purchase price for the UNIX software assets will be determined in connection with the auction sale.

Groklaw suspects there might be a connection between Oracle’s action and Apple [1, 2, 3]. It also suspects that SUSE’s sale might be related to the sale of SCO’s assets. “My question is,” wrote Pamela Jones, “might the timing of all this be connected with the rumored sale of Novell? Not to be cynical, but with SCO, I always assume there will be vultures.”

Haters of Software Freedom Inside Planet Apache

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 2:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apache people portraits and Ballmer stuck inside

Summary: The ‘black sheep’ in the Apache bunch is a Microsoft employee who helps Microsoft’s agenda right inside the competition as he promotes its proprietary software; further thoughts on Microsoft’s latest verbal attack on “Open Source”

TAKE a quick look at Planet Apache. “Microsoft is astroturfing Planet Apache,” told us FurnaceBoy in the -social IRC channel a few moments ago. FurnaceBoy referred to a Microsoft employee promoting Office Live Groups inside the Apache community, having had his employer pay Apache for a ticket into the club’s membership [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18].

Only days ago we showed that Microsoft still hates Open Source, based on its words and actions around Brazil [1, 2, 3]. Sites like Groklaw, for example, continue to scrutinise Apache for failing or refusing to acknowledge the obvious problem. Brian calls it “The Smell of Microsoft Desperation” — the headline of his latest post analysing this situation:

[Microsoft's] Rincón’s remarks do seem to put a dent in my idea that Microsoft’s careful re-positioning within the BRIC (Brasil, Russia, India, and China) markets has caused it to ease off the FUD and anti-open source rhetoric. It paints the picture of a company that still has deep animosity towards free software. As well it should: free software poses a huge potential threat to Microsoft’s markets.

We have already seen, for instance, how free software is about to steal away the platforms of the future, so Microsoft is very well aware of the threat to its bottom line.

I wonder, though, if my original theory about Microsoft’s public position on open source was that far off the mark. The country Rincón was specifically chastising in his remarks, Brasil, is the big clue. Brasil has a long and friendly history with free software and has pledged to implement it across their government infrastructure. We’ve heard that before, and usually it’s turned out to be a bluff to get a better deal from Microsoft and other proprietary vendors.

But Brasil isn’t bluffing. The government and the tech community there love free and open source software, and are very happy to be implementing it. It’s almost got rock star status there: I was told by more than a few people that when Linux Torvalds and Andrew Morton showed up to speak at LinuxCon Brazil recently, they were mobbed by adoring fans.

Faced with such a pro-FOSS attitude, Rincón probably feels like he has nothing left to lose. Repositioning Microsoft as open source friendly in the Brasilian market would be like spitting at a forest fire at this point. So, we see Microsoft reverting once more to type and launching the anti-FOSS missiles.

Another company whose ‘openness’ seems like a farce at best is a major ally of Microsoft. That would be Citrix and it’s getting criticised (if not slammed) for it:

Citrix’s Confusing Open Cloud Strategy

Early this week Citrix announced their Citrix Open Cloud framework and ever since I am confused both about their name and also their strategy. Part of my confusion is due to the vague information, without any specifics, on their website and seemingly arrogant response on Twitter by some of their top executives when asked to clarify their position. In this post, I will dig a little bit about this announcement.

Companies which are arrogant about the claims of “openness” often turn out not to be open at all. It’s the questions that make them angry because they are unable to reply sincerely.

If Patent Offices Ran the World

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents, RAND at 1:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“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

Summary: The EPO thinks it’s the European Commission (EC), the EC thinks it’s a patent authority, and out of this whole affair comes a bastard child called software patents, lodged right inside people’s standards (which everyone must implement to and be taxed by merely to become compliant/compatible)

ACCORDING TO this announcement [PDF], the European Commission shows its close connection to the EPO and bending over regarding the sensitive subject of patents in standards.

The president of the FFII accuses the EPO of corrupting the European Commission. To quote:

EPO corrupting the European Commission to promote software patents barriers in standards, conference next 22 november: http://ur1.ca/1nw1r

The document is a one-page announcement about an event scheduled to take place two months from now. It says:

Tensions between Intellectual Property Rights and the ICT standardisation process : reasons and remedies

Brussels, 22 November 2010

The European Commission and The European Patent Office (EPO) are jointly organising a Conference to further discuss “IPR in ICT standardisation ” related issues; the objective is to find policy solutions for identified challenges.
Standardisation can make an important contribution to unlock the potential of innovative markets and strengthen the position of European economy through more efficient capitalising of its knowledge basis. European ICT producers in particular need to be able to rely on standards to ensure interoperability and success of new products as this would lead otherwise to fragmented ICT markets. However, as key ICT standards are perceived by many as critical technology platforms with a strong public interest dimension, concerns are voiced that Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and their exclusivity potential, may hinder or prevent standardization. Are today’s IPR features still compatible with fast moving markets and the very complex requirements of ICT standardisation in a global knowledge economy environment? Where are problems that we can we fix? To find out, the European Commission and the European Patent Office (EPO) are organising a conference to address some specific issues on patents and ICT standards.

Interoperability is a critical issue for the further development and market acceptance of innovative ICT services and applications. Consensus building between stakeholders on relevant technical matters often leads to standards. A common approach is therefore of importance both for European consumers and companies and will allow the EU to become a global leader in the sector.

However as technology, and thus interoperability, becomes more complex every day, ownership, patents, copyright and related IPR policies play an increasingly important role in ICT standardisation. Some maintain that problems related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) issues may hinder or prevent standardization and thus even become a barrier to the introduction of services and applications. On the other hand, the rights of those owning intellectual property incorporated in standards compliant solutions need to be properly taken into account and rewarded. Although all agree that this should happen in a fair, balanced and predictable way, there is often disagreement whether these principles are always followed, at least in key standardisation endeavours.

The conference is part of an open dialogue process that the Commission is undertaking with key stakeholders and the first in cooperation with the EPO in this very important domain.

The event aims to provide a platform to exchange ideas and suggestions on the following topics:

• Who needs standards-related patent registers and how should they look like?
• Is there a need to improve standards-related patents quality and how can we achieve it?
• How should ex-ante commitments of licensing terms be best drafted?
• How to ensure certainty on the availability and continuity of essential IP rights for licensing?
• What is the best relation between standards and open source software and freely available technologies?

The two conference partners envisage further events and meetings on relevant issues around IPR and ICT standards to improve transparency and predictability in this critical field. A previous workshop organised in November 2008 was a “fact finding” event to map the challenges and stakeholder positions. The current and future conferences aim at finding policy solutions to the identified challenges.

This is not acceptable because: 1) the EPO is not supposed to take the EC by the hand; if anything, things should be done the other way around and 2) software patents are not legal in Europe and some of the above legitimises them.

As a side note, patents — and not just software patents — have their basis challenged in TechDirt right now:

Gillette received patents in 1904 on both the razor and the blade. As Picker notes, conventional wisdom would suggest that this is the perfect point for Gillette to have used the famed razors-and-razor blades strategy, since it could use the patents to exclude competitors from offering compatible blades. But, it did not. The same “conventional wisdom” would then argue that once the patents expired, and others could offer compatible razors, the razors-and-blades strategy would not work. And yet, it was after the patents expired and when there were compatible blades on the market that Gillette finally went to this form of strategy…. and its sales and profits shot up.


The whole thing is quite fascinating in thinking about these kinds of business models. Printer companies, especially, might learn a thing or two, as they’ve now become quite aggressive in using patents to block competitors from offering compatible ink cartridges or ink refills. But, the example of Gillette suggests they could be better off not fighting it, but focusing on providing better quality that doesn’t annoy users quite so much.

Those who want patents in software (including software standards) are typically those who control this area of software and those who work for them, including lawyers. If the EPO is allowed to have a say in European policy, then the tail wags the dog and it harm’s the Commission’s reputation.

Media Blitz for Internet Explorer 9 Partly an Advertisement for Vista 7

Posted in Africa, Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft at 1:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ghana banana leaf plantation
Ghana banana leaf plantation

Summary: Complaints about Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) being used as a tool for marketing Vista 7 and the continued injustices of Internet Explorer

THE excellent Web site called Ghabuntu previously reported on Microsoft tricks which were used in Ghana to spread Internet Explorer. There are a couple of new posts from Ghabuntu and the author complains about other tricks that relate to IE9.

Your Internet- Should Internet Explorer Get its Way


First off all sites will only display a message telling you how you need to view it via IE9. Then when you hop over to download IE9 and are unfortunate to be using XP, you’d be told to switch to 7. That will require you to shell out some cash. With XP still being the dominant OS version out there, that would mean heaps of upgrade cash for Redmond.

From another new post:

I actually need to shell money to upgrade to 7 before I can try the beta? Mr Ballmer, WTF!

IE9 promotion as we covered it in [1, 2] is also somewhat of an attempt to tell people that they should upgrade to Vista 7, even though Internet Explorer is just a tool for Windows users to get a better Web browser (funny picture) which works in many operating systems and many versions of Windows. The other option (in Europe at least) is the ballot which we wrote about under:

  1. Browser Ballot Critique
  2. Microsoft’s Fake “Choice” Campaign is Back
  3. Microsoft Claimed to be Cheating in Web Browsers Ballot
  4. Microsoft Loses Impact in the Web Despite Unfair Ballot Placements
  5. Given Choice, Customers Reject Microsoft
  6. Microsoft is Still Cheating in Browser Ballot — Claim
  7. Microsoft’s Browser Ballot is Broken Again and Internet Explorer 8 is Critically Flawed
  8. The Microsoft Who Cried “Wolf!”

No matter the selection in the ballot, Internet Explorer is a mandatory option (potentially alongside another Web browser). Microsoft still does not play fair in Web browsers, not even in Europe where antitrust steps were taken.

Links 18/9/2010: Wayland at XDS 2010, Canonical Controversy

Posted in News Roundup at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Finally a decision on Solaris

      Now that Oracle has largely ended support for OpenSolaris, many Solaris users and customers that continued to be on the fence about the OS will finally be making their decision to either stay with Solaris or move over to Linux. Unix migration to Linux has always been a mainstay for enterprise Linux adoption, and while the low-hanging fruit is becoming more sparse, there is still plenty of Unix migration to Linux to come. We have seen cases in Linux communities where the most significant Unix in their world is OpenSolaris, and while we hear similar things regarding Solaris and its continued market presence, there is no question OpenSolaris — a fully open source OS with available binaries — was a much better fit for the growing ranks of Linux-savvy developers and administrators.

    • Red Hat License Fee for Rackspace Cloud Servers Changing from Hourly to Monthly

      The purpose of this post is to make you aware that beginning in September, Cloud Servers customers will be billed for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) instances on a monthly rather than hourly basis. Due to changes in our subscription arrangements with Red Hat, we can no longer offer Cloud customers hourly billing for RHEL licenses. Rackspace will begin charging our customers a monthly licensing fee, starting in September. This license fee will not be prorated.

    • More on Multi-core

      Moving over to the GP-GPU world, the NVidia GPU Conference is next week, I was going to attend, but I had a scheduling conflict come up. Look for some good stuff to come out of this event. Since I won’t be on the west coast next week, I will probably attend the one day HPC Financial Markets event in New York City. This show used to be called “High Performance on Wall Street,” which has a small, but free exhibit.

    • Talk About HPC Bang For Your Buck, How About Ka-Boom For The Server Room

      Reviewing HPC hardware is not easy. You usually need to travel to a data center and look at a rack of servers while someone tells you where they landed on the Top500 list. One could review a server, but basically they are all pretty much the same inside. They are running Linux and use either AMD or Intel processors. In addition, testing a cluster takes time because running meaningful programs that exercise the whole system must be done carefully. And finally, clusters are not sitting on the “shelf” as they vary by customer due to possible packaging, interconnect, processor, and storage choices.

  • IBM

    • The Limits of Strategy

      When I look back upon my long career, one of the major factors shaping my views of business, strategy and innovation is the creative destruction that I saw buffeting the IT industry over most of that time. In particular, having lived through IBM’s own near-death experience, respect – if not fear – for the hurricane-power forces of disruptive change is edged deep down in my psyche.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • Bcache Testing: Metadata

      Our two prior articles have detailed the performance results from a new patch, bcache, that uses SSDs to cache hard drives. We’ve looked at the throughput and IOPS performance of bcache and — while it is still very new and under heavy development — have found that in some cases it can help performance. This article examines the metadata performance of bcache hoping to also find areas where it can further boost performance.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland Demonstration At XDS 2010

        Nothing too exciting was learned during this time about Wayland, but there was a brief demonstration of this lightweight display server that leverages kernel mode-setting, Mesa EGL, and other technologies.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Growing the Open Source/Free Software Commons

          Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, has penned an interesting post about their involvement and contribution to the open source/free software community. He is responding to some criticism that Canonical is not giving enough back. Mark makes an excellent point that there are many ways to give back and Canonical and Ubuntu have focus on making Linux more accessible to a wider audience. To me this makes perfect sense and Canonical should be applauded for their contributions to the community.

        • A Canonical Controversy

          Up next, let’s pull from the Planet Gnome FAQ, “It generally helps to write a few words about you and your contributions to GNOME, or why you think your blog should appear on Planet GNOME”. Looking at the bug that was filed we find no explanation as to why it should be added other than “I contribute via Canonical”. This phrase is going to be flogged by those people that were/are irked with Canonicals level of contributions upstream.

          Lastly, since Mark is the CEO of a company, does this mean Gnome supports his company more than say…CEO of Red Hat or Novell since those CEO’s are not added on Planet Gnome? Does this constitute a conflict of interest? Does it signal favoritism? If one person believes it to be this way, everyone loses…because there will be a debate about it and it WILL divide people and not unite them.

          To be honest, I can’t believe Mark even asked to be on Planet Gnome as the CEO of Canonical. He should know right out of the gate that it would look bad if he was added in…if it were me, I’d remove myself immediately.

        • Ubuntu Open Week, request for instructors

          Here at Ubuntu we love to give training sessions over IRC. Since Developer and App Developer Week cover the more advanced end of the spectrum we have something for normal users — Ubuntu Open Week: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuOpenWeek

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Can Android be the answer to Nokia’s Problems?

          With a resigned CEO and the head of the smartphone division, all is not well with Nokia. What I am actually wondering is, how impossible is it to manufacture Android based devices? Yes Symbian is great, but it looks more like a dying breed to me. Is it at all possible that the two platforms could be marketed side by side to the myriad of markets that Nokia is found in?

        • GENIVI – Open Source In-Vehicle Infotainment Platform Based on MeeGo With Partners Like BMW, GM, Renault

          While Android is all poised to become the most popular mobile phone OS by 2014, what about the other open source, *truly* Linux, mobile OS platform, MeeGo? Well, MeeGo might just become the most popular open source In-Vehicle Infotainment platform!

      • Android

        • Leaked Documents Confirm T-Mobile End of Year Android Plans

          Today finds another leak that basically confirms all the Android devices we saw listed. TmoNews has obtained a pair of internal T-Mobile accessory listing that makes reference to multiple phones, some by their project names. If you weren’t already doing it, start looking forward to Motorola Begonia, Motorola Jordan, LG Optimus T, and myTouch HD.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • That’s what I call Linux mobility: Smart Book from Always Innovating

        If you need to do some serious typing (or run out of the battery of both the tablet and phone-core), you can dock the tablet into a stand with a keyboard which makes the device a proper netbook/laptop and gives you an extra 12000 (!!!) mAh battery capacity. When this happens, you may switch the computing core to a full Ubuntu Linux from the Android you used on the MID. This is done with a dedicated hardware button (called the AI button).

Free Software/Open Source


  • Neutrino version 6.5 released

    The QNX Momentics tool suite offers a comprehensive Eclipse-based IDE with innovative profiling tools to help developers gain maximum insight into system behaviour. Version 6.5 of the suite introduces support for the Eclipse platform 3.5.2, Eclipse CDT 6.0 and GNU compiler (GCC) 4.4.2. The compiler offers optimised dynamic linking, including lazy linking and GNU hashing.

  • Science

    • Capture Your Body – Or Someone Else’s!

      You’ve probably heard of hand-held 3D scanners before, but CreaForm produces units specifically designed for “body capture”. No, they’re not ensnaring people in nets, but rather they take a 3D digital picture in the form of a 3D model. (Actually any of these formats: .OBJ, .FBX, .DXF, .STL, .VRML, .LWO, .MAYA, .HRC, .3DS). The awkwardly named “MegaCapturor 3D Body Digitizer” has an amazing sub-millimetre resolution even at a distance of over a metre.

    • Implanted Fuel Cell Powered by Rat’s Body Fluids

      A new fuel cell is putting a twist on alternative energy from biofuels: The implanted device draws power from chemicals in living animals.

      Dubbed a glucose biofuel cell, the implant gets its juice from glucose—aka blood sugar—and oxygen, both of which are naturally present in the fluids between a body’s cells.

      In a recent study, researchers created a test version of their glucose biofuel cell and implanted it in a white lab rat named Ricky. The rat sported the device successfully for 11 days and suffered no ill effects.

    • For clean hands, don’t rub, scrub with a paper towel

      DOCTORS and nurses take note – rubbing your hands together in a hand dryer leaves them coated with more bacteria than just after you washed them. Even normal skin bacteria may be bad news for sick people.

      “When you rub your hands, you bring a lot of bacteria to the surface from the pores of your skin,” says Anna Snelling of the University of Bradford, UK. She asked 14 volunteers to dry their hands for 15 seconds using three different types of air dryer, sometimes rubbing their hands together and sometimes not.

  • Security/Aggression

    • What happened to Directory Services?

      The point here, though, is that in 2010 we are still looking for a method to connect to systems without having to register with all of them. And with all our current solutions, we still have not quite got that problem solved. And if someone mentions web of trust I might scream. Because, after all, that is the root of the problem, or at least one of them.

  • Finance

    • A History Of People On Wall Street Swearing Their A$$es Off — Even Buffett

      1) someone at Goldman got his or her panties in a twist when their “shitty deal,” email went viral, and is now insisting that Partners, VPs, Managing Directors – everyone at Goldman – waste their time, stop their train of thought, and fart it up with nicer words that feel unnatural and nobody really uses, and 2) that is ridiculous (much like the upcoming slideshow) and 3) the senate would have been just as furious if instead of “shitty deal,” “this is not a good deal” had been written, we’ve created a slideshow of swearing by “role models” like Gary Cohn and Jamie Dimon on Wall Street.

    • California Employment Hooks Downward Once Again

      Last month I suggested that the little hook downward in California employment, reported for July, was a troubling sign. Today, fresh data was released from the State of California, and the downward move has continued. Whereas employment levels had just managed to hang on above the 16 million person level in July–in August they slipped back below, to 15.968 million. | see: California Employment in Millions 2000-2010.

    • Obama taps Elizabeth Warren to launch Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

      President Obama picked a woman Wall Street loathes to crack down on unscrupulous behavior in the financial industry.

      Harvard Law School Prof. Elizabeth Warren will launch the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, answering directly to Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the President announced Friday.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Amazon Customer Puts “Toxic Sludge” on Top Ten Must-Read List

      One said Toxic Sludge is Good for You was “one of the top five most important books in my lifetime.” CMD’s founder, John Stauber conceived of the book, and this watchdog group, while fighting PR spin and intimidation efforts from Monsanto. Increasing corporate influence and ever-stealthier lobbying and propaganda techniques make this book more relevant than ever.

    • Watchdog Groups Request Criminal Fraud and Money Laundering Investigations against The U.S. Chamber

      Two national watchdog groups have filed separate complaints against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce requesting criminal investigations for tax fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations. The first, filed with the Washington, DC FBI Field Office by StopTheChamber.com, was predicated on a letter sent to the organization´s attorney, Kevin Zeese, from an insider at the Chamber who alleged in significant detail that the Chamber and its CEO Tom Donohue are engaged in a massive scam to support Mr. Donohue´s “lavish lifestyle.” Mr. Zeese wrote:

      “On August 4, 2010, we received a letter from a purported Chamber of Commerce insider in response to our latest reward offer. In short, the insider compares Tom Donohue to Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon and Bernie Madoff, in the manner in which he is scamming clients to serve his own interests rather than the interests of the business community. He alleges fraud, campaign finance violations and financial impropriety that could be uncovered with a criminal investigation. Equally troubling is that he alleges that Mr. Donohue does not fear the FEC or Congress and has a plan in place to attack the Department of Justice if the DOJ investigates him.”

    • Xenophobic Postage Stamp Email Resurfaces

      A year-old, anti-Muslim email has resurfaced and is curculating once again, riding the latest wave of U.S. anti-Muslim bigotry. The email urges people to boycott a U.S. postage stamp that recognizes the Islamic holiday of EID. The stamp, which rumor-mongers refer to as a “Muslim Christmas Stamp,” was first issued about ten years ago, and is one of six seasonal postage stamps the United States Postal Service sells that commemorate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, EID, snowmen and music makers.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • On the Web, Children Face Intensive Tracking

      A Wall Street Journal investigation into online privacy has found that popular children’s websites install more tracking technologies on personal computers than do the top websites aimed at adults.

    • ONLINE ONLY: Richard Stallman – No censorship is good censorship

      David Ramli: Why did you choose to name your free software system GNU?

      Richard Stallman: Because it’s funny. And since we announced the movement in 1983, which was 27 years ago, to call it the new system would be extremely misleading.

      DR: The Government’s planned mandatory ISP filter is practically dead now. Should people keep talking about it?

      RS: Australia already has Internet censorship and it has censorship of links. Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) made a link to a foreign political website and it got threatened with a fine of $11,000 per day if it did not remove that link. This is censorship and it has to be abolished.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Intel Threatens to Sue Anyone Who Uses HDCP Crack

      Intel threatened legal action Friday against anybody who uses its proprietary crypto key — leaked on the internet — to produce hardware that defeats the so-called HDCP technology that limits home recording of digital television and Blu-ray.

      “There are laws to protect both the intellectual property involved as well as the content that is created and owned by the content providers,” said Tom Waldrop, a spokesman for the company, which developed HDCP. “Should a circumvention device be created using this information, we and others would avail ourselves, as appropriate, of those remedies.”

Clip of the Day

Gaming In Linux : Rollercoaster Tycoon

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 17/9/2010: Software Freedom Day, Firefox 4 Preview Raves

Posted in News Roundup at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • 4 Ways to Give Desktop Linux a Test-Drive

      That desktop Linux offers myriad compelling advantages for business users is no longer the subject of much debate. All that remains for many Windows users is to give it a try.

    • Have Courage, Linux Noobs

      Using Linux is “almost natural, but you still need to poke around to be really fluent — just as in any OS with a lot of features,” Pogson added.

      “I have exposed Grade 1 kids to GNU /Linux GNOME desktops, and after they learned to click a mouse they were off to the races,” he recounted. “They were the only humans able to max out that terminal server.”

  • Server

    • Should Red Hat Be Worried About Amazon Linux AMI?

      Red Hat is facing another competition from Amazon on form of Linux AMI. Amazon has announced the availability of the Amazon Linux AMI.

      The Amazon Linux AMI is a supported and maintained Linux image provided by Amazon Web Services for use on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). “It is designed to provide a stable, secure, and high performance execution environment for applications running on Amazon EC2,” claims Evangelist Jeff Barr in his blog post.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Why Broadcom’s Release May be More Significant than Just Code

        On September 9 the news of Broadcom’s release of the code for some of its wireless Ethernet chip sets sent shockwaves throughout the Linux community. Broadcom owners, as well as distribution developers have a reason to celebrate.

        In the past, Broadcom owners had to resort to NDISwrapper or rely upon the limited reversed engineered drivers. Neither was optimal. The release of the code by Broadcom should eventually mean a much better Wi-Fi experience for owners of systems with Broadcom chip sets. But for those that like to read between the lines there may also be a deeper significance to this move.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The future of KDE instant messaging is happening now

        Kopete was initially very innovative, at least in its goals: to communicate with people, while leaving the IM network as a channel. We brought the concepts of “metacontacts” (bad naming), but basically you say people in your contact list, no matter if they were available on MSN, ICQ, or both.

        Today I have a telephone with internet 24/7 in my pocket and I can IM on the bus. I don’t choose IM networks as a soccer team, but rely on them because I have friends on various of them. Just like I use twitter for “geeky stuff” while Facebook is a more “relaxed” environment.

      • Edit Your Films In Ubuntu, Use New Kdenlive

        Ubuntu is one of the most popular, powerful and useful operating systems of the world. While Mac is locked to Apple machines and Windows is expensive and vulnerable to viruses and attacks, Ubuntu is the only operating systems which has all the merits — its highly secure, free of cost and can run on Apple machines as well.

  • Distributions

    • Fat or thin, it’s your choice.

      The point here is that, no matter what Linux distribution you start from, you can make it do anything, be anything or look like anything. If wished you can take an Ubuntu installation and have it look, feel and perform like a Fedora distribution. Or you can take a Fedora installation and have it as slim and trim as Puppy Linux.

    • Looking at Fedora 14 and Ubuntu 10.10

      Both releases seem to be shaping up well, if very differently — as befitting the focus of the distributions and projects. Ubuntu 10.10 is a polished consumer OS that is well-suited for users who are new to Linux, or just prefer a desktop system that’s easy to use. Fedora’s developer-centric approach makes for an OS that is easy enough to use, but better suited for developers or experienced users who want to tinker with technologies before they make an official appearance in RHEL and other distributions. Ubuntu, on the other hand, is the end result of development rather than the beginning. Many of the changes in 10.10, e.g. the Ubuntu One improvements and the application indicators, are unlikely to show up in other distributions (excepting, perhaps, Linux Mint).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat looks out of area for HQ-size space

        Red Hat Inc., one of the Triangle’s high-profile companies, is scouting for sites in other states where officials may also be wooing the open-source software developer to move its headquarters from Raleigh.

      • Smartrend’S Candlestick Scanner Detects Bearish Engulfing Pattern For Red Hat (RHT)

        SmarTrend issued an Uptrend alert on shares of Red Hat on August 23, 2010 at $33.03 per share (13.4% return since that call). This bearish candle pattern may point to a reversal of the previously called Uptrend.

      • Fedora

        • Momonga Linux 7 review

          Momonga is a Linux distribution based on Fedora. It is a community-developed distribution with roots in Japan (the name is derived from a species of flying squirrel found in Europe and parts of Asia). Like Fedora, it is a multi-purpose distribution, a Free distribution, with a script that makes it easy to build and install non-free applications

    • Debian Family

      • Squeeze in a jam?

        I put this down to being a complete noob, and reinstalled Lenny. Later I learnt that the upgrade has to be staged- certain packages have to be updated before doing a full upgrade, otherwise the upgrade falls down.
        Recently I saw a post on the Debian forum which suggested that an upgrade was now a relatively simple process- involving just a kernel upgrade before a full upgrade, so I thought I’d give it a go.

      • Ubuntu 10.10 – Wallpaper, and a few notes

        In the process of doing some other things, I have just noticed that those who thought the “Barf Bag” wallpaper that showed up in Ubuntu 10.10 Beta was just a “placeholder” were probably correct.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo Developer Day – Day 2 at IDF

          Sunil Saxena spent some time reviewing the MeeGo Architecture, along with our current thoughts on how we plan to define MeeGo compliance. The MeeGo compliance spec is still being developed, so now is a good time to review it and provide feedback.

          Bill Pearson was the next presenter talking about AppUp and the Intel AppUp Developer Program, which helps developers focus on what matters: platform sexiness, making money, getting recognition, and low friction deployment, while Intel helps with boring things like validation. Developers can create applications or components that they can sell to other developers. In addition to revenue from selling applications, the Million Dollar Development Fund provides additional incentives. Robust analytics are also available on the developer dashboards, to learn more about how your application is selling.

          Rajiv Ranganath gave us an overview of Qt, which has over 350,000 commercial and open source developers.

        • Day 1: Intel AppUp Elements 2010
        • Day 2: Intel AppUp Elements 2010
      • Android

        • Android lockdown: Thanks Linus

          The current lockdown of Linux based devices (including Android phones, TiVo, and many many consumer devices) is due, simply, to the Linux developers’ unwillingness to update their code to the GPLv3 license. We* contribute to Linux, Linux is taken for use in Android (and remains Open and Free), and then the phone manufacturers take our work and lock it up and sell it to us with reduced functionality. Big thanks, manufacturers.

        • Android Continues to Gobble Up Smartphone Share
    • Tablets

      • High-end Avaya Android-powered Table PC Unveiled

        Avaya, an enterprise communications systems company, just announced a high-end table PC that is primarily designed for business conferencing. Called the Avaya Flare, the device has an Intel Atom processor and runs Android operating system. It is said to make use of Avaya unified communications software utilizing a new interface called Flare User Experience and features Aura Conferencing and the Linux-based Avaya Aura Messaging software.

      • ViewSonic and Samsung tablets are U.S.-bound

        Viewsonic demonstrated a 10.1-inch, Android 2.2 “G-Tablet” that’s bound for U.S. sales, powered by an Nvidia Tegra 2. Meanwhile, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless say they’ll offer the Android 2.2-based Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet this fall.

      • Asus U35JC review

        OS Tested: Ubuntu 10.04.1

Free Software/Open Source

  • How do you find and choose free software?

    So you’ve got your GNU/Linux based box. You’ve installed the base system and you’re good to go. Welcome to the world of freedom. But then what? How do you determine what packages to install. How do you decide which of the alternatives to go with?

  • A Quick Look at OpenIndiana

    OpenSolaris is dead, but OpenIndiana lives on. Just a few weeks after Oracle made it clear that OpenSolaris was dead as a doornail, the Illumos and OpenIndiana folks have a distribution ready for the OpenSolaris community that’s been left in a lurch by Oracle.

    The code dropped on Tuesday, so I haven’t had a lot of time to muck with OpenIndiana yet. I spent a few hours with the live CD and installed it into VMware.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 update moves link previews to awesome bar

        Clearly, the status bar’s days are numbered. Even Internet Explorer 9 has removed the bottom-dwelling bar in favor of inline tooltips.

        Now, in the latest updates to Firefox 4, Mozilla’s browser has moved status bar link previews to the right-hand side of the Awesome Bar. Hover a link, and the destination URL appears in soft, gray text. Sure, it looks OK when you’re currently viewing a page with a nice, short URL — but what about on something like an Amazon product page? Take the jump to see!

      • Firefox 4 Preview – Foxy, sharp and fast!

        I think Firefox 4 is a very smart product. It looks better than 3.6 overall, tabs on top or without them, it feels faster, it has lots of useful features, and it’s got the Web 2.0 bling bling. Linux beta lags a step behind, but that’s understandable. Performance is good in all aspects, with major improvements in responsiveness. Memory consumption is fairly modest. Firefox 4 is a pleasant addition to the browser arsenal.

        Firefox 4 is a plenty of good, old stuff and a sprinkling of new to make you feel young and excited again. Mozilla, good job. Even the revolutionary stuff is done with style and moderation to make a hot-headed conservative like me smile. You should look forward to the next release. Firefox 4 is going to be a superb browser.

      • Mozilla releases Thunderbird updates

        One day after it released updates for its Firefox web browser, the Mozilla Project has issued versions 3.1.4 and 3.0.8 of Thunderbird, the latest stable and legacy branch updates of its popular open source email client. According to the developers, the latest maintenance updates improve the applications overall stability and address several user experience concerns found in the previous stable branch release.

      • Mozilla releases new “Kraken” browser benchmark

        Mozilla software engineer Rob Sayre has announced the release of “Kraken”, a new browser benchmark. The developer says that unlike other browser benchmarks, such as SunSpider, V8 and Dromaeo, Kraken focuses on realistic workloads and on forward-looking applications.

  • CMS

  • Business


    • Celebrate Software Freedom Day with the LibrePlanet community

      Saturday, September 18th is Software Freedom Day, a worldwide celebration of user freedom. It’s a great opportunity not only to introduce new people to free software, but to connect with other free software activists in your area or online.

      But what about the day after? How can we sustain these links? How can we make sure that people in your area who hear about free software can find a local community to connect with?

    • want to work on Bazaar?

      Now we’re looking for a very good software engineer to join the Bazaar team at Canonical, working both on the core tool itself and on how it’s used by Ubuntu developers.

    • A month of the Hurd: Media Appearances, procfs, Arch Hurd.

      Finally, amongst other bug fixing and other development work by the usual suspects, we had a short review of what the current Hurd contributors still need to use a GNU/Hurd system for most of their day-to-day tasks. This may help to prioritize the development efforts.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Developing films the open source way

      In a world where movies are produced on budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars, at a time when studios expect a huge return on their investment, in an industry where the opening weekend can make or break a film–one man refuses to live by society’s (or the movie industry’s) rules. One man is willing to put it all on the line and do something different. Something daring. Something… free.


      The key idea to take away here is freedom: freedom of the consumer to see what they’re paying for before they spend their money. This empowers the viewer, letting them control where they spend their money. Rather than spending their money up front before watching a film, they can see the work for free. As a result, more people are likely to watch the film, or listen to the music.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Power to the PC: How to Select a Computer Power Supply
  • Security/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Kaufman Says `Something Rotten’ in Commodity Markets: Video

      Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) — Frederick Kaufman, a professor at College of Staten Island, Alexia Howard, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Dennis DeLaughter, the owner of Progressive Farm Marketing Inc., and Alex Wittenberg, a partner at Oliver Wyman, talk about agricultural futures and commodity markets. They speak with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.” (This is an excerpt. Source: Bloomberg)

    • Setting the Agenda

      That’s what journalists are supposed to do: Set the agenda. Rarely, however, do we get the headlines. But last night, on Bloomberg TV, the Food Bubble came through . . .

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The Internet Freedom Fallacy and the Arab Digital activism

      This article focuses on grassroots digital activism in the Arab world and the risks of what seems to be an inevitable collusion with U.S foreign policy and interests. It sums up the most important elements of the conversation I have been having for the last 2 years with many actors involved in defending online free speech and the use of technology for social and political change. While the main focus is Arab digital activism, I have made sure to include similar concerns raised by activists and online free speech advocates from other parts of the world, such as China, Thailand, and Iran.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Red tape snarls rural Internet firm

      Ottawa tells Peace Region ISP that it’s not Canadian enough for new slice of spectrum

    • Tens of thousands could be priced out of broadband after Government announcement on file sharing code

      Up to £500m will be taken out of the UK economy according to the Government’s announcement today about the cost sharing for the letter writing regime following the Digital Economy Act. The BIS cost order confirms the 75/25 split of costs between rightholders and ISPs.

      ISPs will of course pass on these costs to their customers. According to the Government’s own estimates that means that up to 96,000 individuals will not be able to afford an internet connection anymore.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • BSA’s Latest Study on Piracy and Economic Benefits “Shockingly Misleading”

      When IT Business’s Brian Jackson asked me for a comment, I noted that such estimates were notoriously speculative (see Glyn Moody on this) and that the BSA would do far better to tell us how much Canada has gained from its recent significant reductions in piracy. Last year, the BSA said the Canadian rate dropped by three percent to 29%, the biggest drop among developed countries and – the BSA noted – an all-time low. In fact, since 2006 the BSA says that there has been a five percent drop in Canada. Has that created thousands of new jobs and generated billions in new revenues and taxes?

    • IP as a joke
    • Lars Johnson Has Goats on His Roof and a Stable of Lawyers to Prove It

      Having Trademarked the Ungulate Look, Restaurateur Butts Heads With Imitators

    • Copyrights

      • Millions at Stake in Education Copyright Battle

        Negotiating with individual authors or publishers for the rights to a single work may be cumbersome, but so too are the proposed reporting requirements. Moreover, individual negotiations hold the advantage of potential costs savings for students and ensuring that the actual authors receive full compensation for the use of their works. In other words, win-win-win for authors, teachers, and students.

      • An Explanation Of My Views On Copyright Part Four – The Sky Is Falling

        Going back to the section on Digital Locks, let’s assume that Bill C-32 passes into law with no changes. So Randy Bachman releases a new compact disc, and the Record Label uses TPM/DRM on it. The way the law is currently written, Randy Bachman could not legally break the TPM/DRM, even if he owns the copyright. Even worse, he wouldn’t be legally able to break the TPM/DRM if he owned the Record Label, and the compact disc pressing plant. You might argue that he shouldn’t need to, as he’d still have the masters, but accidents have happened before, and masters have been lost. Even if Randy controlled every step of the chain, legally he can’t break the TPM/DRM he decided to use. Does this make sense?

Clip of the Day

Microsoft Propaganda Film

Credit: TinyOgg

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