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09.27.10

IRC Proceedings: September 27th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 27/9/2010: Audiocasts, Fedora 14 Preview

Posted in News Roundup at 7:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source vs Proprietary Software – The never ending Battle

    Open Source provides solutions at the lowest costs possible or at no cost at all while Proprietary Software promises the provision of the best-in-the-business solutions at a higher cost.

  • Welcoming OpenIndiana

    Perhaps it’s not fair to make a judgement call so early given that this is OpenIndiana’s first release and they’re just getting started, but this initial offering felt more like an early beta than a final release. The system is stable and there are some good features in place. I liked the installer and the Device Driver Utility is a great point in the operating system’s favour. Hardware support was a little better this time around than it was a year ago on OpenSolaris. But the heavy nature of the operating system combined with the fickle privilege escalation and small package repository makes OpenIndiana an unappealing choice right now for a desktop system. Hopefully these matters will get ironed out as the project matures.

    There is one other thing I feel should be addressed. OpenIndiana seems to be lacking a focus. It has its roots in server technology, but it has become memory hungry, runs a desktop and uses a graphical installer. On the other hand it lacks the range of applications and drivers one might expect in a desktop system. Some people have told me it’s more of a testing ground for people migrating, testing and developing across platforms, but if that’s the case where are the great development tools and virtualization software?

    The wonderful tools which were previously attracting people to OpenSolaris (ZFS, DTrace) have been ported to other operating systems. OpenIndiana doesn’t showcase Sun/Oracle technology; all it really does is give people an open source version of Solaris. And, if you’re into tweaking operating systems or you’re considering a migration to Oracle solutions, then I suppose that’s all OpenIndiana needs to be. As a former fan of Solaris, I was hoping to find something which stood out, something the operating system could hang its hat on, and I didn’t find that. OpenIndiana isn’t a bad system by any means, but I haven’t found a reason, besides curiosity, to run it either.

  • Will Code For Beer

    People ask me why programmers write code and give it away “for free”. There are many reasons, but one I often give is that a programmer might end up at a conference and a grateful user of their code might “buy them a beer, or even a dinner.”

    It was February or March of 1995, and the port of Linux to the Alpha processor was well underway. In talking with some of the developers over the Internet, I started to hear rumors that the Alpha port would not have “shared libraries”, but instead would have statically-linked binaries.

    For those of you who do not understand the ramifications of statically linked binaries, it means that every program has all of the libraries it needs to run linked as one blob on the disk and even in the main memory of the computer with the rest of the code that the programmer wrote.

    In the early days of programming this was not as horrible as it sounds, because few libraries existed that could really be “shared”, but as operating systems became more sophisticated and included math libraries, graphics libraries, security libraries and a variety of other functionality that could be shared between programs, the duplication of this code thousands of times on an individual system by linking it into every program took up huge amounts of disk space and additional memory space that became intolerable.

  • 60 Great Open Source Developer Tools

    If you’re looking for good open source developer tools, you literally have thousands to choose from. For this list, we focused on 60 of the best and most well known. Rather than trying to rank them, we’ve arranged them into categories and listed them in alphabetical order.

    That said, we’re sure to have left off a few (or perhaps even a few dozen) that deserve to be included. Feel free to add your suggestions in the Comments section below.

    One quick note about operating systems: Many of these open source developer tools run on a wide range of OSes. In some cases, they support more than a hundred different platforms.

    For the sake of keeping the list short and readable, we noted whether each developer tool supports the big three – Windows, Linux and OS X. If you want to know whether a particular tool will run on Solaris or FreeBSD or another platform, you can click the link to check its Web site.

  • Web Browsers

  • CMS/Social

    • Highlights of the First Week

      The community’s response to our release has been amazing. Within the first week of releasing code to developers, Diaspora is the 10th most popular project on Github with over 2500+ watchers. We’ve had 412 forks of Diaspora to date, and about a half a million views of the code as well. Many people have gotten the alpha running on their own machines, and have provided countless bug reports and feature requests.

    • Beyond Diaspora: Another Facebook alternative has a head start

      StatusNet is a free software, aka “open source”, microblogging platform (e.g. Twitter). It successfully federates, and better yet, Diaspora has promised to implement OStatus, the same set of standards used by StatusNet so that if and when Diaspora goes public, users on each will be able to connect with each other seamlessly. Diaspora also promised to be free software under the GNU AGPL, same as StatusNet.[10] The most popular public instance is Identi.ca and you can sign up to try it for yourself. StatusNet alone may be a suitable replacement for Twitter, but by itself it doesn’t provide the same functionality as Facebook.

      This is where GNU Social comes in. GNU social aims to extend the StatusNet to provide the capabilities of a full social network. It will incorporate additional features for controlling privacy settings and sharing pictures or video, and it will display all of this in an interface that’s designed not for a microblogging site, but rather for a complete social networking site. The distinction between GNU social and StatusNet is a bit confusing as they has a unique relationship: when development on the original version of GNU social stalled, the developers looked for another codebase to work on. The result was the social/status alliance, between GNU social and StatusNet. Both projects are co-dependent and contain code from either other, thanks in no small part to the hard work of Craig Andrews of GNU social, and Evan Prodromou of StatusNet.

    • Microsoft surrenders Live Spaces future to WordPress

      Microsoft’s killing another me-too Web 2.0 service, sinking its fledgling Live Spaces blog network and shifting 30 million users to WordPress.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Telephony Statement on new Internet Surveillance Laws

      Good morning my relations. Today is not such a great day. In the United States the Obama administration is actively seeking a new law to legally mandate the forced introduction of insecure back doors and support for mass surveillance into all communication systems. Specifically targeted are Internet VoIP and messaging systems.

      Speaking on behalf of the GNU Telephony project, we do intend to openly defy such a law should it actually come to pass, so I want to be very clear on this statement. It is not simply that we will choose to publicly defy the imposition of such an illegitimate law, but that we will explicitly continue to publicly develop and distribute free software (that is software that offers the freedom to use, inspect, and modify) enabling secure peer-to-peer communication privacy through encryption that is made available directly to anyone worldwide. Clearly such software is especially needed in those places, such as in the United States, where basic human freedoms and dignity seem most threatened.

    • Happy 27th Birthday GNU Project!

      A hearty Happy 27th Birthday to the GNU Project! Here is a link to the original announcement of the GNU Project posted by Richard Stallman on September 27, 1983. Without the GNU project FOSS as we know it today would not exist. Thank You to everyone who works and has worked on the GNU project over the last 27 years. You have helped make the world a better place. We at LXer take our hats off to you.

  • Government

  • Licensing

    • Choosing and Using Free Licenses for Software, Hardware, and Aesthetic works

      What is this “Free Culture” thing? What is “Free Software”? And how do I get my work out there? If you’re looking to participate in the “Commons”, you’ll need to get comfortable with the idea of free, public licenses and how to use them for your works. This won’t be hard at all, especially with this short guide, but there are different traditions that have sprung up around different kinds of works.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Digital Primer Video Available from the Xiph.Org Foundation

      Today, the Xiph.Org Foundation announced that they have released the first of a series of videos aimed at teaching us geeks what video is really all about. From the xiph.org site:

      “The program offers a brief history of digital media, a quick summary of the sampling theorem, and myriad details of low level audio and video characterization and formatting. It’s intended for budding geeks looking to get into video coding, as well as the technically curious who want to know more about the media they wrangle for work or play.”

Leftovers

  • Science

    • This is a news website article about a scientific paper

      In this paragraph I will state the main claim that the research makes, making appropriate use of “scare quotes” to ensure that it’s clear that I have no opinion about this research whatsoever.

      In this paragraph I will briefly (because no paragraph should be more than one line) state which existing scientific ideas this new research “challenges”.

      If the research is about a potential cure, or a solution to a problem, this paragraph will describe how it will raise hopes for a group of sufferers or victims.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Feds Pushing For New Legally Required Wiretap Backdoor To All Internet Communications

      It’s difficult to see how this is any different than foreign governments demanding access to others’ communications as well. It’s pretty ridiculous for President Obama to talk about open internet principles to the UN, while cooking this up at the same time. Pushing for this also means that the US will have no excuse when the governments of Iran, China and elsewhere also demand backdoors into all US-based communications.

      And, really, that’s the biggest problem with this law. Beyond the inevitable privacy violations by the feds, putting backdoors into communications technologies guarantees that those backdoors will be used by others (outside of the federal government) to snoop on communications. The FBI and the NSA (who are pushing for this) are being totally and completely naive if they think that they’re the only ones who will use this. We’ve pointed out in the past how large scale surveillance systems mean large scale security risks, and this is no different. We showed how a similar surveillance system in Greece was hacked into to spy on government officials. US officials should be aware that they’re opening themselves up to these same potential risks.

    • Government Seeks Back Door Into All Our Communications

      For a decade, the government backed off of attempts to force encryption developers to weaken their products and include back doors, and the crypto wars seemed to have been won. (Indeed, journalist Steven Levy declared victory for the civil libertarian side in 2001.) In the past ten years, even as the U.S. government has sought (or simply taken) vastly expanded surveillance powers, it never attempted to ban the development and use of secure encryption.

      Now the government is again proposing to do so, following in the footsteps of regimes like the United Arab Emirates that have recently said some privacy tools are too secure and must be kept out of civilian hands.

    • Pentagon Seeks to Establish Basis for 1970`s Espionage Act Against Wikileaks
  • Finance

    • Geithner Calendar: Met Goldman’s Blankfein More Often Than Pelosi, Reid, McConnell, Boehner (EXCLUSIVE)

      Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein has shown up on Geithner’s calendar at least 38 times through March 2010 since the Treasury Secretary took office in January 2009, three more entries than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, 13 more than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and nearly four times as many as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader John Boehner combined, according to a copy of Geithner’s daily log recently published online by the Treasury Department. The imbalance is striking, considering that Geithner was heavily involved in financial regulatory reform legislation, which Congress was grappling with during the period covered by the calendar.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

Clip of the Day

Nathan Evans – “DHT and routing in GNUnet”


Credit: TinyOgg

Another Microsoft Product Effectively Dies: Windows Live Spaces; All Existing Users Migrated to GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 2:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Penguin
An estimated and esteemed crowd of ~30
million bloggers is saved by the penguin

Summary: Windows Live Spaces joins the many divisions/products at Microsoft which get the axe; the service will be shifted to a strong proponent of software freedom so that existing Microsoft clients don’t have their blogs evaporated

Windows Live Spaces is essentially dead. Microsoft will no longer run it. Instead, Microsoft will migrate everything to a separate company.

As we stressed this morning, Microsoft managers are currently killing products that don’t make them money. The list of dead products is quickly expanding (last addition yesterday) and the beauty of it all in that in this case, the closure of Microsoft’s Windows-based blog hosting means that approximately 30 million users (many of whom are notoriously sploggers) will be moved to GNU/Linux with nothing but free software in the stack (maybe bar acceleration, although that too may be free software). TechCrunch has the upper hand with this breaking news

Users will have a few choices when they hit the transition page: in addition to transferring their content to WordPress, they can also opt to download and store it locally, delete it entirely, or put off their decision for a while). But Microsoft is going to be killing off the existing Spaces product in six months, so they users won’t be able to put off the decision indefinitely. When Live users go to establish a new blog, they’ll be directed to a WordPress signup screen.

It’s already covered by OpenBytes too.

Microsoft may keep just the branding, but the hosting is all GNU/Linux-powered (they tested Solaris a very long time ago, just like Google did, and now it uses nginx with GNU/Linux). For Microsoft to use GNU/Linux for hosting is not so unusual [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], and not just for Akamai needs, either. “Like always…, microsoft.fr uses debian tough,” said Hardisk a few moments ago.

Microsoft also offshores internal operations to Infosys in India. Is Microsoft running out of money? We’ll debate this later in the week.

Links 27/9/2010: PlayOS GNU/Linux is Coming to PS3, Canonical Cooperates With Taiwanese Hardware Companies

Posted in News Roundup at 1:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 More Blender Made Movies and Animations You Probably Haven’t Seen Before

    Like two weeks ago, we featured some of best and most popular blender made short movies in our 8 stunning blender made short films and animations post. Now, let’s take the road less traveled. The blender movies we are going to showcase here are those rare ones which you guys probably haven’t seen before.

  • The open source organization: good in theory or good in reality?

    Most likely, these new employees will rebel with their feet. They’ll join a new breed of organization designed from scratch, like Red Hat, Google, and 100s of other yet unknown companies, built from the ground up to operate efficiently in an open world.

    Old-skool companies will have a tough time attracting the best young talent. And if they are losing the race for top talent, they be hard pressed to stay competitive.

    So this is why I love to talk about applying the open source way in organizations, even when I know that many of today’s corporate cultures would chew open source principles up and spit them out.

    I’m just running with the wind.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle aims to boost client-side Java with JavaFX improvements

      At the Oracle OpenWorld event, the database giant revealed some details about its Java roadmap. Oracle unsurprisingly wants to continue improving Java Enterprise Edition, but the company also highlighted its commitment to improving client-side Web support and mobile application development with JavaFX.

      The Java programming language plays an important role in facilitating third-party mobile application development, but the standard J2ME stack is increasingly being displaced on smartphones by custom frameworks or native toolkits because it doesn’t enable developers to create competitive user experiences. Java has long since lost to Flash for client-side Web development for similar reasons.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The benefits of publicness

      I’m reworking an early but foundational section of my book, Public Parts, arguing the benefits of publicness, a list I presented at the PII conference in Seattle a few weeks ago. I’d like to bounce my thoughts off you and ask for your views of the value you get from being public, the value that also accrues to groups, companies, government, and society as a whole. I won’t go into great detail in this list because I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

    • Learning to Share, Thanks to the Web
    • Open Data

Leftovers

  • The Grumpy Editor’s Twitter experience

    Your editor, being the grumpy, older sort that he is, must confess that he has never quite understood the allure of services like Twitter. 140-Character broadcasts look an awful lot like a combination of the worst features of cellular short messaging and Usenet; it’s conversation via bumper sticker. A local disaster recently pushed your editor to spend more time on the site; what follows are some observations, somewhat tenuously tied to the world of free software.

  • Keynote at the Coffee Party’s Mock Constitutional Convention

    25 September, 2010, Louisville, KY: Keynote given at the Coffee Party’s Conference, launching the “mock constitutional convention” that I hosted with Mark McKinnon. This extends the argument for Citizen Funded Elections, linking the movement to what I have elsewhere called “neo-progressives.” ;

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • A Tale of Two Root Exploits, and Why We Shouldn’t Panic

      “The article is alarmist,” said Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson, referring to a warning about a kernel bug. “It was ONE shared-hosting public-facing server at iWeb.com, among their tens of thousands of servers. “Are you running a publicly-facing shared-host server? No? Then don’t worry about it, and when your distro comes out with a new kernel, just update.”

    • Man gets 10 years for VoIP hacking

      A Venezuelan man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Friday for stealing and then reselling more than 10 million minutes of Internet phone service.

      Edwin Pena, 27, was convicted in February of masterminding a scheme to hack into more than 15 telecommunications companies and then reroute calls to their networks at no charge. He must also pay more than US$1 million in restitution, and will be deported once his sentence is served.

      Pena was sentenced by Judge Susan Wigenton in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on computer hacking and wire fraud charges.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Obama argues his assassination program is a “state secret”

      At this point, I didn’t believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record. In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims. That’s not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what’s most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is “state secrets”: in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are “state secrets,” and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.

    • Blackwater’s ‘black ops’ for European multinationals

      Here’s a question: what do Monsanto, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Deutsche Bank, Barclays and the Netherlands police have in common with the US Military’s European Command?

      The answer, as Jeremy Scahill – author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army – explains in The Nation, is that they have all availed themselves of the services of one of the most controversial private security companies on the planet. Here’s most of the article…

    • U.S. Is Working to Ease Wiretaps on the Internet
    • Sept. 26, 1983: The Man Who Saved the World by Doing … Nothing

      A Soviet ballistics officer draws the right conclusion — that a satellite report indicating incoming U.S. nuclear missiles is, in fact, a false alarm — thereby averting a potential nuclear holocaust.

      Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov was duty officer at Serpukhov-15, the secret bunker outside Moscow that monitored the Soviet Union’s early-warning satellite system, when the alarm bells went off shortly after midnight. One of the satellites signaled Moscow that the United States had launched five ballistic missiles at Russia.

    • ‘The Only Option Left for Me Is an Orderly Departure’

      In an interview with SPIEGEL, Daniel Schmitt — the 32-year-old German spokesman for WikiLeaks who is also the organization’s best-known personality after Julian Assange — discusses his falling out with the website’s founder, his subsequent departure and the considerable growing pains plaguing the whistleblower organization.

    • Small Change

      Shirky considers this model of activism an upgrade. But it is simply a form of organizing which favors the weak-tie connections that give us access to information over the strong-tie connections that help us persevere in the face of danger. It shifts our energies from organizations that promote strategic and disciplined activity and toward those which promote resilience and adaptability. It makes it easier for activists to express themselves, and harder for that expression to have any impact. The instruments of social media are well suited to making the existing social order more efficient. They are not a natural enemy of the status quo. If you are of the opinion that all the world needs is a little buffing around the edges, this should not trouble you. But if you think that there are still lunch counters out there that need integrating it ought to give you pause.

      Shirky ends the story of the lost Sidekick by asking, portentously, “What happens next?”—no doubt imagining future waves of digital protesters. But he has already answered the question. What happens next is more of the same. A networked, weak-tie world is good at things like helping Wall Streeters get phones back from teen-age girls. Viva la revolución.

    • U.S. should be able to shut Internet, former CIA chief says

      Cyberterrorism is such a threat that the U.S. president should have the authority to shut down the Internet in the event of an attack, Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said.

      Hayden made the comments during a visit to San Antonio where he was meeting with military and civilian officials to discuss cyber security. The U.S. military has a new Cyber Command which is to begin operations on October 1.

  • Finance

    • DMCA As Censorship: Citibank Doesn’t Want You To Remember What It Said About Obama’s Bank Reform Policy

      We’ve been discussing quite a bit lately how copyright law is often used not as a tool to provide incentive to create, but as a tool for censorship. Here’s the latest example. John Bennett points us to the news that Citigroup filed a DMCA takedown request with WordPress.com over the site LBO-news’ 18-month old post that presented a copy a Citigroup analysis of Obama’s (then new) bank reform plan, which noted that it was actually quite bank-friendly. The key quote in the report: “the US government is following a relatively bank-friendly, investor-friendly approach.”

    • The Open University’s Patrick McAndrew: Open Education and Policy

      At the beginning of this year we announced a revised approach to our education plans, focusing our activities to support of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. In order to do so we have worked hard to increase the amount of information available on our own site – in addition to an Education landing page and the OER portal explaining Creative Commons’ role as legal and technical infrastructure supporting OER, we have been conducting a series of interviews to help clarify some of the challenges and opportunities of OER in today’s education landscape.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet

      In an effort that raises fresh questions about privacy, officials are preparing to seek sweeping new Internet regulations, arguing that they are losing their capability to track suspects.

    • PI appeals to European Parliament to reconsider blocking measures

      In an open letter to the European Parliament, PI calls on MEPs to reconsider proposals to introduce internet blocking measures.

    • Privacy International launching legal action against ACS Law

      Privacy International (PI) has announced that it is planning legal action against controversial solicitors ACS: Law Solicitors (ACS Law), alleging a breach of the Data Protection Act (DPA).

      ACS Law, which is already under fire for sending letters to people alleged of copyright infringement, had its website hit by a denial of service (DoS) attack last Tuesday.

      The firm quickly suspended the site, but soon afterwards a file alleged to contain an archive of the firm’s email was uploaded to file sharing websites.
      Advertisement

      PI said this has led to the exposure of personal information of around 10,000 people alleged to have been involved in illegal file sharing.

    • Adult video-sharing list leaked from law firm

      The personal details of thousands of Sky broadband customers have been leaked on to the internet, alongside a list of pornographic movies they are alleged to have shared online.

      The list, seen by BBC News, details the full names and addresses of over 5,300 people thought by law firm ACS:Law to be illegally sharing adult films.

      It appeared online following an attack on the ACS:Law website.

      The UK’s Information Commissioner said it would investigate the leak.

      Privacy expert Simon Davis has called it “one of the worst breaches” of the Data Protection Act he had ever seen.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • FCC approves white-space use for unlicensed ‘Super WiFi’

      When the Federal Communications Commission issued its press release about the approval of additional unlicensed spectrum in what are called “white spaces,” it referred to the coming technologies as “Super WiFi.”

      In reality, it’s not clear that this previously unavailable set of unused frequencies will necessarily become anything that resembles WiFi. As the FCC points out in its statement, this is spectrum space that’s going to be available to a wide range of technologies, of which wireless broadband is only one. Even if this turns out to be a significant use of these white space frequencies, it’s not clear whether WiFi (or something like it) will be related in any way.

    • The Carriers’ Rebellion

      Before the Steve Jobs hypnosis session, AT&T ruled. Handsets, their prices, branding, applications, contractual terms, content sales…AT&T decided everything and made pennies on each bit that flowed through its network. Then the Great Mesmerizer swept the table. Apple provided the hardware, the operating system, and “everything else”: applications, music, ringtones, movies, books… The iTunes cash register rang and AT&T didn’t make a red cent on content.

    • Revenge of the Titans 1.52, and Very Cool DRM

      Since the year 350BC, Puppygames have all had DRM. Oh noes!!11!! Shock! Horror! Puppygames have DRM! Boycott all their shitty games! Find inferior open source / Flash alternatives and say you’d rather play them all day than give evil Puppygames a single cent of your filthy lucre! Use DRM as an excuse to install Trojan riddled spyware installs of Puppygames!

      Well, except Puppygames DRM is a bit different to other flavours of DRM.

      Nasty Big Corporation Ltd’s idea of DRM is that you are all thieving piratey scum who shouldn’t be trusted alone in a shop without being closely monitored by a big hairy security guard. Nasty Big Corporation Ltd likes to install rootkits on your PC. They like to insist on always-online validation to a server that sometimes goes titsup and stops you from playing. They’re pretty insistent that if you install the game on a couple of PCs that you’re probably just a filthy pirate, and that if you want to install it on your kid’s computer upstairs as well that you owe them another $59. Certain ones also reckon if you’re dissatisfied with a game in any way and want your money back you damned well can’t have it, and if you then go to the trouble of extracting the money back out of your credit card company, they erase all your games without any comeback, because unfortunately the small print dialog box you clicked through to get to your game said you agreed to this.

      Puppygames does it completely the opposite way around!

      Firstly and foremostly: if you don’t like our games, or they don’t work, we always refund you. Although we say no questions asked, we do like to ask anyway :) But we’ll never say no. Though we’d like to point out a couple of things: if the demo works, so does the full game, so you’d be kinda daft to buy the game without trying the demo first; and if you honestly didn’t think the full game was worth the cash, don’t be expecting to play it after asking for a refund, because it will mysteriously turn back into a demo again. What! You have a back door! I hear you cry. No, it’s a front door, and here’s me telling you about it. If your game is refunded because it doesn’t work or you don’t like it, it’ll connect to Puppygames, and find out, and turn back into a demo. Which of course should be just fine with you. Can you ever imagine a position where we’ll abuse this ability? No, because we’d look like total dicks.

      To date, only 18 customers have ever asked for a refund in 7 years. Because we use BMTMicro as our payment provider we’ve never had a single chargeback issued to us either, because we always refund.

      Secondly, we want you to share the full game with your friends and family. Yes, that’s right. We encourage you to spread the love to the people you care about. A Puppygames registration has your full name and email address encoded into it from your order (we’ve got your full postal address too, but that doesn’t get sent to the client any more). We think that anyone you care to share this information with, you probably trust enough to share your CDs and books with too, and so we also think you’d share your games with them. Your name flickers up on the title screen for a few seconds when the game starts just to remind everyone whose game it is, and then it fades away.

    • BBC DRM response from Ofcom and intial thoughts

      So the key confidential arguments that the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 used to convince Ofcom to permit DRM on the HD Freeview signal are to be kept secret because there is no public interest test to compel disclosure of that information under sections 41 and 44 of the Freedom of Information Act.

    • DRM In (and Out) of Schools

      There are two major reasons why Kindles and iPads have no place in schools, both of which are related to DRM (Digital Restrictions Management).

      1. DRM prevents learning. It’s the information that is a resource. The access to this information is provided by tools. DRM actually makes it illegal for students to keep learning past a certain point, by preventing them from looking closely at how the devices work or from making their own methods for accessing, using, and sharing the information.
      2. DRM is, in the words of a guy I almost knew, “jus’ morally wrong.” Forcing DRM on people, even more so.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Leaked Emails Reveal Profits of Anti-Piracy Cash Scheme

        Friday night the anti-piracy law firm ACS:Law accidentally published its entire email archive online, effectively revealing how the company managed to extract over a million dollars (£636,758.22) from alleged file-sharers since its operation started. On average, 30% of the victims who were targeted paid up, and this money was divided between the law firm, the copyright holder and the monitoring company.

      • Streaming video introduces a new wave of Internet piracy

        University of Southern California student Elizabeth watched the season finale of HBO’s lusty vampire drama “True Blood” along with about 5.4 million television viewers.

      • Pirate Party Elects New Leader

        The election initially had 4 candidates – Peter Brett, Loz Kaye, Graeme Lambert, and Eric Priezkalns, however Erc and Graeme withdrew before the end of the nominations period, meaning voting was between Peter Brett, Loz Kaye, and the Re-Open Nominations option.

      • High-Profile, High Damages File-Sharing ‘Conviction’ Was a Farce

        In 2008, lawyers Davenport Lyons courted the mainstream media with the news that a court had found a woman guilty of sharing the game Dream Pinball 3D, an action which cost her around £16,000. Anyone with an understanding of these cases knew that something was wrong and now, thanks to yet more information from the leaked ACS:Law emails, we learn that this ‘conviction’ was built on foundations of sand.

      • In Copyright’s Future (IMG)
      • Copyright law needs a digital-age upgrade

        Did you ever imagine you could be held liable for copyright infringement for storing your music collection on your hard drive, downloading photos from the Internet or forwarding news articles to your friends?

        If you did not get the copyright owner’s permission for these actions, you could be violating the law. It sounds absurd, but copyright owners have the right to control reproductions of their works and claim statutory damages even when a use does not harm the market for their works.

        The statutory damage rule of U.S. copyright law originally was designed to provide some compensation to copyright owners when harm from infringement was difficult to prove. U.S. law authorizes judges and juries to award such damages in any amount between $750 and $30,000 per infringed work – and up to $150,000 per work if the infringement is deemed willful – without proof of any actual harm. The statute says the award should be “just” but provides no guidance about what this means. In one extreme case, a jury ordered an individual file sharer to pay nearly $2 million in damages for illegally downloading 24 songs. Is that really “just”?

      • Esther Wojcicki becomes CC’s Vice Chair, focused on learning and education

        We’re excited to announce that Esther Wojcicki, current Chair of the Creative Commons board, esteemed and award-winning teacher, and leader at the nexus of education and technology, will become CC’s Vice Chair focused on learning and education. CC’s current CEO, Joi Ito, will step into the role of both Chair and CEO.

      • The Pirate Bay Appeal Starts Tomorrow

        Last year The Pirate Bay Four were sentenced to a year in prison, and each ordered to pay $905,000 in damages. Tomorrow the appeal of the trial will start, but unlike last time there is is an awkward silence in the media, blogs and even on The Pirate Bay. Is this the proverbial calm before the storm, or perhaps a change of course?

      • ACTA

        • IPRED2 pulled

          Ironically the IPRED2 failed to get Council consensus but the EU is negotiating via the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade agreement criminal measures with third nations which go beyond IPRED2, for instance include patent infringments which were explicitly excluded in the IPRED2 process. The ACTA criminal chapter also does not get the European Parliament involved in the legislative process and includes no fair use clause.

Clip of the Day

Matthias Wachs – “Low level transports and transport selection in GNUnet”


Credit: TinyOgg

If You Can’t Beat Them, Hijack Them (Microsoft Joins Nokia and It Already Shows)

Posted in Australia, Bill Gates, Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: Microsoft’s mobile “Slog” has begun, with fake coverage (marketing), entryism, and many similar examples in other areas too

IN THE previous post we shed light on Microsoft’s tough struggle to matter in mobile as it continues losing an already low market share and executives too (some end up in Yahoo!). What better company to intrude than Nokia, which is a world leader?

“What better company to intrude than Nokia, which is a world leader?”Nokia has not been acting the same way [1, 2] since Microsoft DNA entered it [1, 2]. The article ‘Nokia “considering Windows Phone 7″‘ says that “New Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is considering running Windows Phone 7 on the company’s future smartphones, according to reports.”

“Agent Smith” says: “They own QT. [Are] they going to board the sinking [Windows] mobile 7??? Well, let them die embraced then…”

“It seems increasingly possible that Nokia will not help Linux as a platform, not like it used to anyway”The original claim is here in VentureBeat and it made a lot of waves [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Microsoft Nick called it a rumour and a new article from The Street is titled “Nokia’s Crisis Call to Microsoft”. Microsoft seems to have convinced EMC to do something similar with VMB_ware (whether it was implicit or explicit we do not know for sure).

“This would be bad for MeeGo, which they neglected/left out in their very recent big event.”Elop’s reign already shows some strategic change. Some months ago Nokia was committing itself to Linux, however now we find articles such as “Nokia pushes Symbian” and “Nokia Paying $10M For Symbian Software Devs”. “Nokia’s new CEO needs to change the message,” said this article from The Register. It seems increasingly possible that Nokia will not help Linux as a platform, not like it used to anyway. That’s just entryism in action, is it not? This would be bad for MeeGo, which they neglected/left out in their very recent big event. It would also be a death blow to Moblin (two Linux birds with one stone).

To name some more new articles, “Rumor has Nokia likely to use Windows Phone 7″ and “Nokia May Use Windows Phone 7 Says Report”. This is a key part: “The site says three sources have corroborated the rumours and that the arrival of former Microsoft employee Stephen Elop as CEO may hasten things significantly.”

It would make little sense from a pragmatic point of view because Vista Phone 7 [sic] is technically lagging. It can’t even handle tethering [1, 2]. Does Nokia consider joining the Microsoft Movement? “Nokia’s search for viable market positioning goes on” says this one headline and “Welcome to Nokia, Mr. Elop” says another headline.

Looking elsewhere at some other new examples/candidates for entryism, Glam Media is taking a lot of staff from Microsoft [1, 2] and now there’s another new addition, Adam Roston [1, 2, 3]. As one article puts it: “Most recently, Roston served as Director of Corporate Development at Microsoft, where he managed an M&A team covering businesses generating a reported $30 billion in annual revenue.”

“Will connections with the BBC, Glam Media and other such entities (Bill Gates buys many newspapers as well) be of any help here?”The Managing Director there is now from Microsoft too (there are several more). Taking a lesson from the Glam Media example (it’s a PR/publishing business), one ought to expect more positive coverage for Microsoft. It’s akin to the migration of many Microsoft executives from Microsoft UK to the BBC. About Juniper, which is also filled with many Microsoft executives [1, 2, 3], there is this new report titled “The Microsofting of Juniper Networks”. “The Microsoft pedigree of senior executives at Juniper Networks has infused a new software centrism within the routing and switching company,” says the article. Tom Nolle from CIMI Corp. is quotes as saying: “Juniper and Microsoft are converging on a common reality: software is what provides functionality [...]Juniper’s hoping the influx of Microsoft people taught them something they didn’t have before – people from a software culture who recognize marketing.”

Marketing. Yes, once again it’s marketing, not technical merit. Will connections with the BBC, Glam Media and other such entities (Bill Gates buys many newspapers as well) be of any help here?

In other news, this press release says that i365, A Seagate Company, gets a new EMEA leader from Microsoft: “Pellicaan previously was the EMEA Director for Microsoft Corporation’s Office Business Applications group and the Global Sales Director for the Duet Business Unit — a joint venture with SAP developing business process solutions within Microsoft Office. ”

“[O]ne needs to remember Microsoft’s “Slog” for mobile ($400 million or more in marketing alone for this).”Telstra, which has also been filling itself with some Microsoft seniors [1, 2], takes it up a notch: “Microsoft Australia veteran and partner strategy marketing and programs director, Inese Kingsmill, has jumped ship to Telstra (ASX:TLS) to take on a key marketing role.”

Marketing. Of course. “Telstra snares Microsoft partner director,” says CRN, so the Microsoft-Telstra influence shift continues.

Speaking of marketing, one needs to remember Microsoft’s “Slog” for mobile ($400 million or more in marketing alone for this). That ought to explain propaganda like [1, 2]. It uses the “Gates” brand out of place, it echoes Microsoft’s claims which refute analysts’ take (including this new one), and it does not even properly attribute the claims to Microsoft. That’s just an example of marketing in the clothing of journalism. Some of it is not even journalism, it’s just sites like ZDNet, whose blogs Google News foolishly aggregates. Can Microsoft simply buy its way using these endless “Slogs” or shameless marketing plugs? Morgan Stanley thinks it might and the Seattle Weekly says it may be a violation of the law: “Microsoft is launching Windows Phone 7 with much fanfare and even more cash. So much cash that Morgan Stanley analyst Ehud Gelblum predicts the Redmond Company could buy its way into this mobile OS war, using its cash to propel itself into third place behind Android and iOS.”

“I have just sat through 20 minute Windows phone 7 video at Engadget. The GUI is crude and ugly ugly ugly.”
      –Satipera
The part about “with much fanfare” does not seem to be backed by facts. It’s the cash which gives the illusion of it being so. Vista Phone 7 [sic] is a lot of marketing with no real substance (or worthy news) and many journalists dare to say it is bad, even though they get washed aside by the hype machine, e.g. articles Microsoft simply buys (through marketing agencies).

Our reader Satipera wrote some days ago: “I have just sat through 20 minute Windows phone 7 video at Engadget. The GUI is crude and ugly ugly ugly. Can’t see Google loosing any sleep” (Microsoft is trying to steal Android’s (and Chrome OS/Linux) thunder by showing it early).

“Oh, great,” wrote Hazzy a couple of days ago in response to more hype generation. Microsoft has been losing many Vista Phone 7 partners before launch and it seems like it may be paying carriers to order symbolic-sized stock and give the impression Microsoft’s marketing needs. It won’t work much better than it worked when KIN was released. Maybe it’s good that Microsoft is blowing so much money on a product which can never succeed.

Microsoft’s last hope seems to be entryism. Just like with Vista, the only way to sell a bad platform is to force the hardware companies (notably OEMs) to sell it.

More People Including Vice President and Silicon Valley ‘Ambassador’ Quit Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Have chairs been thrown yet?

Chair tunnel

Summary: A “Microsoft startup guru” is leaving the company and so does Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Mobile Services

MORE layoffs are said to be coming Microsoft’s way [1, 2, 3] and some people are already leaving, including the man whom VentureBeat calls Microsoft’s “Silicon Valley ambassador” and the Microsoft boosters call “Microsoft startup guru”.

There is an addition to the many Microsoft departures at a President or Vice President level. Many such people have been leaving since the Vista debacle and we have a Wiki page for tracking some of the names.

The significant departures resume. This times it’s Arbogast, Corporate Vice President of Mobile Services, who calls it quits:

Arbogast’s latest title was the Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Mobile Services.In that role, Arbogast was in charge of “the mobile services strategy, platform, and experiences for Windows Live and Windows Mobile, as well as the strategy, platform, and integrated services for network operators and other syndication partners.”

The next rebranded (Seven-washed) release of Windows Mobile is not even out yet and release time is unknown. A lot of executives behind Vista Phone 7 [sic] are already out of the company and everything in the product is still in a crude state (more on that in a separate post). Microsoft Nick parrots Mary Jo Microsoft and adds more recent departures for context.

ZDNet’s Mary-Jo Foley spotted the posting and mentioned speculation that Arbogast might end up joining other former ‘Softies at Yahoo. (All Things Digital’s Kara Swisher reported Sept. 9 that John Matheny, general manager of the Windows Phone app studio, had left Redmond for Yahoo. That story was overshadowed by the departure of Stephen Elop, former president of the Microsoft Business Division, to become CEO of Nokia.)

The next post will deal with Microsoft entryism that Microsoft departures lead to. In particular, it will deal with the ill effects of Stephen Elop inside Nokia.

Microsoft Tries Growing on the Web Through Integration With Its Proprietary Software, More Bribes

Posted in Deception, Mail, Microsoft at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LinkedInSummary: Microsoft creates a LinkedIn tie-up, not just a Facebook tie-up; it pays people to use its services and security in Microsoft’s Web services is shown to be poor nonetheless (the company lobbies to slacken privacy laws)

HAVING recently hooked up with Facebook by sharing some more data*, Microsoft now turns to LinkedIn. Microsoft Emil (Protalinski) and other Microsoft boosters from Seattle write about that. It’s an attempt to integrate Web services with components of Microsoft Office and other such instances:

LinkedIn integrated with Windows Live, Facebook chat hits Hotmail

Microsoft has started rolling out multiple updates for the web services complementing Windows and Office. Over the last few months, the software giant has been regularly updating these services, but the number of features just announced implies today’s releases are not a coincidence.

There is a similar treatment of Twitter as well (they pass data directly to Microsoft for example). A little later we’ll write about security problems in Twitter. “Survey Finds Low Use of Microsoft Encryption Technology,” says IDG and one of the company’s former interns says that Microsoft admits that the Live@edu scam is not encrypted on servers.

Microsoft’s head lawyer is working to change the law [1, 2] right now, in order to reduce privacy. This would help Microsoft when details about its clients leak, as they so often do.

“Facebook will give access to information which is otherwise quite private in order to help Microsoft’s Bong [sic].”Yesterday we wrote about the implications of Microsoft controlling Yahoo!. There too exists some data for Microsoft to mine, not just in Facebook, which helps Microsoft’s privacy intrusion [1, 2]. Facebook will give access to information which is otherwise quite private in order to help Microsoft’s Bong [sic]. Furthermore, the fake donation tricks we alluded to earlier will be used to advance Bong. IDG and Mary Jo Microsoft play along with Microsoft’s tricks, flaunting bribe and putting it euphemistically, hidden under “donation” banners (“avoid Google to help the world” so to speak). The conditions for entry are also troubling (thanks to Will for this link), but the Microsoft spin from MSNBC/Fool says, “Use Bing, Get Rich” (silly headline given what’s actually involved ). MSNBC does not want to touch Silverlight (Silverlight it going nowhere), but it sure advertised it a few days ago by glorifying Netflix (Silverlight pusher with former Microsoft employees in charge).

The content of articles says “(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)” Does that help magically eliminate bias or at least just warn about it? Some other blogs are referring to these latest changes as rather minor while Mary Jo Microsoft is spinning this as featureful and some describe it as a response to complaints, at least in Hotmail’s case:

Microsoft has plastered Hotmail with yet more updates, after customers continued to complain about the firm’s recent shaky overhaul of its free web email service.

The software vendor didn’t want to draw too much attention to those gripes, by instead saying it had responded to user “feedback”

“Feedback” as in complaints [1, 2]. As always, watch out for hype. It’s Microsoft’s and Apple’s main output.
____
* One news site’s headline asks, “In social media, is Facebook becoming the new Microsoft?”

GPL Scare and Mono Advocacy Still Commonly Rooted in Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Novell at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“At Microsoft I learned the truth about ActiveX and COM and I got very interested in it inmediately [sic].”

Miguel de Icaza

Root against ruins

Summary: The joining of former Microsoft employees to advance Microsoft APIs inside GNU/Linux; fear of the GPL also somewhat intensified for the selling of proprietary software from Microsoft-connected companies

IN OUR previous posts about Likewise we explained that it’s a proprietary (‘open’ core) company which has roots in Microsoft and helps Microsoft battle Samba with software patents. Not surprisingly, based on this new Likewise post about VMware (managed by former Microsoft employees), for VMware to own Mono (by buying part of Novell) would be beneficial. The Source has responded to this as follows:

Now, by the authors own admission in the article, he has a “pro-Microsoft-tools bias”, but I think the future of Mono depends on a large pimp commercial sponsor, and if VMWare is assembling a SUSE+Mono foundation that is troublesome for Free Software.

That’s just an example of Mono promotion from companies that have roots in Microsoft. Not all Mono promotion is tied to Microsoft (SparkleShare as a new example seems connected to neither Microsoft nor Novell [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]), but a lot of it is. There are some major Mono projects that were created by former Microsoft staff. In the same vein, a lot of people’s fears of the GPL come from companies whose founders/CEOs are from Microsoft. One example is Black Duck, which organises this new event that Roberto Galoppini mentions:

Risk & Compliance: Managing Open Source – In this webinar, co-hosted by Black Duck Software, Bird & Bird and Clearvision, will discuss open source governance and OSS policy development.

Galoppini has also compared CodePlex and Google Code recently. Here is what was said about it:

Codeplex does the same thing, he found. Its box lists the Microsoft licenses that are no longer popular, according to Black Duck Software. And it doesn’t list more popular licenses like the Artistic License or GPLv3.

Black Duck Software previously copied without permission a GPLv3 database from a competitor (Palamida). Then, Black Duck advertised itself as an authority on these matters. This helped control people’s perception of the GPLv3′s success.

Galoppini further notes that an “OpenLogic webinar will discuss the key issues associated with mobile apps, app stores, and open source compliance.”

We wrote about this some weeks ago, noting that it was creating unnecessary fear.

“Black Duck Software previously copied without permission a GPLv3 database from a competitor (Palamida).”Right now, citing the likes of Black Duck with Microsoft roots (OpenLogic’s CEO is from Microsoft as well), there is commenting about the threat from Free software licences (real and perceived). For a change, CodePlex’/Microsoft’s Stephen Walli went a little against some FUD. IDG’s pseudo-open source blog (whose authors include OpenLogic and Black Duck people) has a new post from Microsoft’s Walli who maintains that “Open Source” licensing is actually not all that bad, but then again, Walli is assigned to look at Microsoft’s repository and try to attract Open Source developers to it. Microsoft’s general policy is different [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Lastly, there is proprietary software from Protecode [1, 2]. It does something similar to Black Duck and OpenLogic, but unlike those two, it appears to have no connections to Microsoft (only by product support, not staff). A new release has just been announced:

Protecode, Inc., a solution provider for managing open source software licenses, today announced a significant new capability that will enable software development organizations to view their code from a pure license obligation perspective reported in plain English. Expected to be released this month, the Protecode System 4™ License Obligations Report (LOR) displays information entirely in terms of licensing obligations, unlike conventional license reports that are generally organized by software structure and content.

In order to comply with the licence, one thing any company can do is ensure it spreads Free software, unlike Protecode. The GPL, for example, is designed to encourage that.

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