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Links 29/9/2010: GNOME 2.32, Fedora 14 Analyses

Posted in News Roundup at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux in Schools

    France’s Gendarmerie Nationale, the national police force, is in the process of switching its 90,000 workstations to Ubuntu Linux.


    In 2006, the Kamloops School District started its journey into Linux at the Barriere Secondary School when the principal, Dean Coder, switched the entire school over to Linux. After the success of that pilot project the school district had difficulty keeping up with the demand from schools to help them switch. In September 2009, the transition was largely complete throughout the school district.


    Linux is no longer a fringe operating system, but has widespread adoption at the high end of the market with organizations and companies at the leading edge of science and technology. Students who learn Linux may find a substantial advantage in job opportunities compared to those trained in Windows only.

    Schools can benefit by lower costs. In these days of tight education budgets, money saved on computers can be put toward special programs, teachers and assistants, or reduced school fees.

  • Desktop

    • Loss Leaders and Linux

      This also highlights what I believe to be the single biggest factor which limits widespread adoption of Linux on the consumer desktop: the lack of preloaded systems in retail stores. Yes, you can order a system with Linux preloaded from Dell or from Linux boutique vendors like System76, ZaReason or LinPC.us and that probably has helped with the growth of Linux desktop market share a little. However, until Linux systems are available side by side with Windows systems and are price competitive with Windows systems, including loss leaders, I don’t see how Microsoft’s hold on at least 80% of the market is going to be broken. This is particularly galling when systems that are sold with Windows perform so poorly when compared with the same system running Linux.

  • Server

    • Tesla GPUs Come to IBM BladeCenter

      I think the most significant announcement at this year’s GPU Technology Conference was the one that didn’t get a press release. You have to forgive IBM, as they had a lot of Deep Things going on, I guess, but this is a big deal; Tesla M2070 GPUs are coming to BladeCenter.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 2.32 Release Notes

        GNOME 2.32 is the latest version of the GNOME Desktop: a popular, multi-platform desktop environment for your computer. GNOME’s focus is ease of use, stability and first-class internationalisation and accessibility support. GNOME is Free and Open Source Software and provides all of the common tools computer users expect of a modern computing environment, such as e-mail, groupware, web browsing, file management, multimedia, and games. Furthermore, GNOME provides a flexible and powerful platform for software developers, both on the desktop and in mobile applications.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 Preview: What’s New in Fedora 14?

          Fedora 14 is on track for a final release date of November 02, 2010. If all 14 does is improve upon 13, Fedora will have another winner on its hands. Why? Fedora 13 was one of the strongest releases the Red Hat sandbox has had in a while. And with what Fedora 14 has under and above its hood, the next release should up the ante yet again for the Fedora distribution.

        • Spicy Fedora 14 Adds New Linux Flavor

          One new feature that desktop users may benefit from is the SPICE virtualization support included in Fedora 14. SPICE, the Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment, is technology that Red Hat gained as part of its acquisition of Qumranet in 2008.

        • Fedora 14 adds MeeGo — and spiced-up virtualization

          The Fedora Project announced the Beta release of “Fedora 14 “Laughlin,” featuring faster JPEG downloads and MeeGo 1.0 for Netbooks. The Fedora 14 Beta also adds improved debugging and IPMI server management, and debuts the “Spice” virtualization desktop framework and “Systemd” management technology for faster start-ups.

    • Debian Family

      • Quick Impressions – Linux Mint Debian

        Linux Mint is exploring the “Rolling Distro” route.

        Recently they launched Linux Mint Debian Edition, or LMDE. I took some time to play with it, waiting for a proper time to do a full install and review.

        My impressions so far are largely positive though…


        In short, I think that LMDE is a good direction for Linux mint, should they decide to go this direction. I believe that the six month upgrade cycle is beginning to irk some Ubuntu users, and a rolling distro can be a solution to the upgrade cycle.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • What is Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud?
        • Ubuntu 10.10 Preview: Steady Progress for Maverick

          Maverick Meerkat, the next release of Ubuntu and its official derivatives, is scheduled to hit the Internet in two weeks’ time. When it does, users will find a more polished release that continues Canonical’s five-year trend of providing steady incremental improvements. Ubuntu continues to make small usability changes that push each desktop experience slightly forward without tripping up users, but all most people will notice is a faster, more stable Linux distribution.

          The public release of Maverick is slated for October 10 in order to play off of the day’s binary-like date (10/10/10). ISO images of the beta release are available (via both HTTP and Bittorrent) through ubuntu.com for Ubuntu Desktop, Netbook, and Server, as well as mainline variants such as Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and several others. I tested the Desktop release for several days, as it is the most commonly-selected option.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo Looks Pretty Great On Everyone Else’s Phones

          Just because Nokia’s been slow to deploy MeeGo doesn’t mean the developers over at MeeGo Wiki have to be. They’ve already managed to port the operating system to a Nexus One, Dell Streak, and HTC Desire.

        • MeeGo Gets Ported to Additional Smartphones

          Intel and Nokia have been stingy about showing off official MeeGo hardware, but that hasn’t stopped intrepid members of the MeeGo community from porting the open source mobile OS to other mobile devices.

      • Android

        • Coders tip Google Android for eclipse of the Steve

          Seventy-two per cent of developers believe that Google’s Android is “best positioned to power a large number and variety of connected devices in the future,” whereas only 25 per cent favor Apple’s iOS, according to a new study.

          Appcelerator – the outfit whose Titanium dev kit was recently freed from the threat of Jobsian destruction – has now teamed with tech research mainstay IDC on its regular mobile developer studies, and their first joint effort indicates that although developers are currently more interested in Apple’s platform, they see lots o’ Google in the future.

    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • ElastixWorld 2010

      PaloSanto Solutions is pleased to announce that the inaugural ElastixWorld 2010 will take place over two days on November 18-19, 2010 in Quito, Ecuador, and you’re invited!!

      The main objective of this event is to share a common area with community members, hardware vendors, resellers and Elastix users alike, where we can exchange and expand on ideas related to product capabilities, future development and direction, experiences from implementers, feedback from users, and other related topics.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome 60 times faster

      According to its Chromium blog the version 7 of the Chrome browser could get a healthy speed boost.

      Chrome already holds a strong position when it comes to speedy performance so increasing this even more could leave all other browsers in the dust.

    • Mozilla

      • Jetpack 0.8 helps automate web site mashups

        Until recently, if you wanted to automatically modify the display of web site pages when you accessed them, you needed the Greasemonkey extension, but now the latest version of the still-in-development Jetpack, you can do the same with JavaScript. Jetpack 0.8 adds the PageMod API, which allows JavaScript code to be registered for execution when specified pages are loaded. Users can then add their own JavaScript instructions to the registered code to modify the formatting or the colour scheme. More advanced users and developers can add new interactive elements into the page to add functionality to an existing web page.

      • Firefox Never Coming to iPhone

        I a recent blog post on the official Mozilla blog, Prabhakar Raghavan laid out future plans for Firefox Home and in the process put the question of whether the popular open source browser would ever make the jump to the iPhone.

        The blog, titled “Firefox Home — looking to the future,” Raghavan outlined new features for Firefox Home, the cloud-based iOS app that synchronizes bookmarks, passwords, and tabs between Firefox and an iOS device. Some new features mentioned in the post include the ability to share links, reviews, and comments directly with Facebook friends and Twitter followers via Firefox Home.

  • Oracle

    • How Should OpenOffice.org Fix Itself?

      OpenOffice.org has established itself as the free alternative to Microsoft’s Office suite—but not necessarily the better alternative. Now the project heads are breaking off and starting LibreOffice. It’s a great chance to remake the project. So, what should they prioritize?

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.3.x Developer Snapshot (build OOO330m9) available
    • OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 needs QA

      People interested into good quality of OpenOffice.org 3.3 should at least start now to check the current OOO330m9 developer milestone to find show stopper issues. In a few weeks we will start OpenOffice.org’s release candidate phase. Please have a look at the new implemented features.


    • The FSF and Project Harmony

      We just published an article about contribution agreements for free software projects from our president Richard Stallman. You should read it if you haven’t already, but put briefly, it makes the point that organizations that collect contribution agreements for free software projects should not make that software proprietary, and recommends you ask for specific language in the contributor agreements you sign to ensure that your code is always available as free software.

  • Project Releases

    • vtiger CRM 5.2.0 released

      The vtiger developers have announced the release of vtiger 5.2.0 with over 50 new features / enhancements and over 350 bug fixes. A popular, community developed Customer Relationship Manager (CRM), vtiger claims over 1.5 million downloads to date and is used by Nokia and the German Postbank, among other corporate customers.

  • Government

    • Estonian Government publishes open source policy

      According to a report on osor.eu, the Open Source Observatory, the government of Estonia has published its policy on open source software. Estonia plans to recommend use of the EUPL for code developed or funded by Estonian public administrations and plans to create a software forge for this software.

    • Calls for action on UK Government Open Source

      Among the other speeches at the event, Glyn Moody’s speech that emphasised that open source and open standards were good for everyone was well received as was Alan Lord of the Open Learning Centre (OLC) who spoke of the challenges faced by small, medium and large organisations implementing Free and Open Source Software.

      The obstacles currently facing advocates of public use of open source are rarely anything to do with the software itself. As Mark Taylor of Sirius IT pointed out in his speech, the top five companies take 80% of the governments IT spending. In the US, this figure is 50% and in the Netherlands as low as 20%. This means that UK Government IT projects is centered around these incumbent companies, who have historically supplied proprietary software.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Fund-raising and self-publishing (the open source way), Part one

      The primary open source graphics offering is a package named Scribus, a desktop publishing tool based on the same Qt framework as KDE, Skype, and LyX. Proprietary equivalents of Scribus are Adobe PageMaker, PagePlus, QuarkXPress and Adobe InDesign. However, Scribus cannot read these formats as developers were concerned with copyright and the complexity of working backwards through the code.

      This program was developed by the Scribus team, a group of programmers who evidently did not promote themselves. The earliest reference on Wikipedia is from 2001, and the nicks of programmers presently maintaining the program were all that could be found through the Scribus website.

    • Open Hardware

      • Arduino launches two new boards

        Open source hardware group, the Arduino Team, has announced two new Arduino micro-controller boards for open source hackers and developers to experiment with. Arduino’s board designs offer a micro-controller with numerous analogue and digital connections and a USB / Serial interface. The board designs are open source and there is a thriving community which uses the boards to create interactive objects and experiment with electronics. Some community members even use the design to build their own version of the Arduino board themselves.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Interested in free video formats? We need your help!

      We’re looking for a few volunteers willing to commit an average of a few hours per week as reliable technical consultants helping people transcode their videos to free formats like WebM and Ogg Theora.

      In particular, we want to provide this assistance for people who record videos of Richard Stallman’s speeches around the world, and other FSF events.


  • Funeral Directors Want To Put Monks In Jail For Offering ‘Unauthorized’ Coffins

    Ah, regulatory capture. Down in Louisiana, there’s a law that makes it a crime (yes, a crime) for anyone other than a funeral parlor to sell “funeral merchandise.” This rule is enforced by the state’s “funeral regulatory board,” which (you guessed it) is mostly dominated by funeral parlor industry insiders. Now, a few years back, you may remember, there was a big Hurricane called Katrina. Among the massive damage done to the state of Louisiana, it also knocked down much of a large forest of pine trees on the property of the Benedictine monks at St. Joseph Abbey. With so many downed pine trees, the monks, in a lemons-into-lemonade type of moment, decided to use the downed trees to make hand-crafted caskets.

  • The Internet Needs a Dewey Decimal System

    I need for people to be able to carry to the library the word processing they’ve done on donated computers to print on our library printers. These $2 flash drives are ideal for that. The fact that these flash drives come with a bootable version of Linux, well, that’s even nicer.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Arresting your customers isn’t the best PR

        One of the great things about the Internet is accessible information. The point is that it is a network of interconnectivity… that’s why it’s called the INTERnet.

        Many people still don’t get this. So sometimes old articles disappear. Which can lead to broken links.

        I just discovered a whole pile of broken links in my ACTA Articles, A.C.T.A. is BAD, errata: A.C.T.A. is BAD and A.C.T.A. is still BAD

        The Chicago Sun Times has removed the articles about Samantha Tumpach, the 22 year old Chicago woman who spent two nights in jail for videorecording her sister’s 29th birthday party.


        Statements made by movie company executives in the articles I had linked to indicated they believed this arrest was justified under existing US law (DMCA).

        The Press Association story about the New Moon Director trying to make it up to her is also gone. (Funny how that served to point up the corporate heartlessness.)

        I don’t know whether the articles being expunged is a case of the Chicago Sun-Times not grasping the way the Internet is supposed to work, or if the embarassment factor (the theater chain, the movie company and the laws that allowed the arrest come out of this look very bad) had anything to do with it. Either way, my blog posts are left riddled with broken links as a result. Even the Wayback Machine can’t help (lending credence to the embarassment theory)

Clip of the Day

Mark Shuttleworth in China

Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: September 29th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 29/9/2010: Dell to Bring 7-Inch Linux-based Tablet; Mageia Gets a Logo

Posted in News Roundup at 2:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Mocking fortunes

    X windows:

    The ultimate bottleneck.

    Flawed beyond belief.

    The only thing you have to fear.

    Somewhere between chaos and insanity.

    On autopilot to oblivion.

    The joke that kills.

    A disgrace you can be proud of.

    A mistake carried out to perfection.

    Belongs more to the problem set than the solution set.

    To err is X windows.

  • The joy of installing hardware in Linux

    I want to write about the bright side of Linux hardware management and support.


    Contrary to what many believe, Linux hardware support is superb, which is not the same as saying it supports every single hardware part or device under the sun. This is a key concept that has been misinterpreted (and misused at times).

  • Desktop

    • Chasms and Imagination

      GNU/Linux on the desktop has long ago ceased to be a geek/early-adopter thing. It is being accepted on the mainstream/mom and pop desktop now. That started happening with the netbook. Many millions of netbook users are not geeks and don’t know an OS from an application. They know GNU/Linux works and love it. OEMs have passed up that opportunity in some ways but consumers have not. They have bought GNU/Linux whenever and wherever it has been offered.

    • Uncluttered Minds Do Not Care…

      Chase, Ami and Zeneda are three fairly recent recipients of HeliOS Project computers, ages 12, 13 and 11 respectively.

      When we go into a home to give a child a computer, one of the first things we do is explain to them that we have installed Linux on their computer, not Windows.

      This announcement is usually met with even stares or shrugs.

    • How I converted my Office to Linux

      I use Linux for my TV, notebook, development (work & hobbies), electronics and thin clients.


      Im a programmer at heart and although I do a lot of administration at work I try my best to minimise this with the use of technology be it hardware, software or scripts. What we had to start with Mixture of large noisy desktops Running Windows XP 100Mbps 24port switch 6 Staff, with requirements for 10 desktops (display screens, boardroom, casual employee and test computers) Safety net I had many safety nets as I was migrating…

  • Server

    • Dell Servers Certified to Run Ubuntu Server Edition

      It’s a small step for Dell and symbolic victory for Ubuntu Server Edition, Canonical’s Linux distribution. Specifically, selected Dell PowerEdge servers are now certified to run Ubuntu Server Edition. Does that mean Dell is shifting away from Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SUSE Linux? And what are the implications for Linux channel partners?

    • Amazon Web Services unveils PHP tool kit

      Amazon Web Services (AWS) has released a toolkit to make it easier to develop applications in PHP that will run on Amazon’s cloud, the company said on Wednesday.

      Using the AWS SDK for PHP, which works with PHP 5.2 or later versions, developers can build applications that use different parts of Amazon’s cloud, including Simple Storage Service (S3), Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for computing capacity, and the SimpleDB database.

    • Red Hat KVM Virtualization Powers Banking Startup

      Financial services firm Ganart’s experience with the open source code as the basis for its check cashing kiosks indicates how Red Hat is positioning itself for growth in private clouds.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Harmony brush adoption in Krita: Sketch

        Besides my sponsored work on Krita, I work in my spare time (if I find some) on some new features. I did a thesis about brush painting and I still enjoy this topic. So when I find some new interesting brush, that might be usable, I’m trying to adopt it in Krita as a new brush engine. Few months ago I discovered project Harmony and I liked the brushes there. Especially Sketchy, Shaded, Chrome, Fur and Long Fur. The idea for those brushes comes from concept of connecting neighbour points. The concept was realized first in Scribbler and Harmony was inspired. Then I adopted the Harmony version in Krita.

      • 5 Intriguing KDE Apps

        The beauty of an open development platform is that anyone can take a stab at creating an application. KDE, which is built upon the Qt application and UI framework, is a shining example of this. A quick look at KDE-Apps.org reveals that new apps are added daily. I periodically browse through the latest KDE apps to see if anything stands out, and I found these five, some of which are in early development.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • How will GNOME 3.0 be Received?

        After a week of using GNOME Shell, the preview of GNOME 3.0, on Fedora 13, that is the closest I can come to a prediction about how GNOME’s new desktop will be received when it is officially released in the spring of 2011.

        On the one hand, GNOME Shell is an attractive and easy to use interface that integrates multiple workspaces better than any desktop that I’ve seen. On the other hand, it requires some adjustments in the way you work, and, in its present form, feels inflexible — although part of that inflexibility may be due to features that haven’t been implemented yet.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Spotlight on Linux: SliTaz GNU/Linux 3.0

        In the world of small size distributions, SliTaz is one of the most remarkable. Not only does it have one of the smallest download images, but it can also run on modest hardware while offering graphical applications with familiar interfaces. It’s one of the wonders of the Linux world.

        SliTaz ships as an installable live CD and features an attractively configured OpenBox window environment. Not only is it attractive, but also very familiar. Expected elements are in place on a lower panel such as an application launcher, system tray, task manager, pager, and traditional menu system. With the 30 MB ISO, one might expect only commandline applications, but SliTaz offers graphical applications for many tasks. For example, the Midori Web browser is featured and it offers many of the amenities that other more popular browsers have such as Speed Dial (visual bookmark page), tabs, and Private Browsing. Using the SliTaz Package Manager, get-flash-plugin can be installed to fetch and install Adobe’s Flash Player.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Best of Proposed Mageia Logo

        The Mageia project is a fork of Mandriva Linux. It is a brand new project, announced on September 18, 2010. There is an ongoing discussion about different aspects of the project, and one of those discussion revolves around the project’s logo. There have been some very good and some not so good logos proposed by community members, and what is being presented in this article are some of the proposed logos.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Software Center will have Zeitgeist Integration in Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’

          Ubuntu Software Center will have Zeitgeist integration in Ubuntu 11.04 as announced by Michael Vogt on his blog. Seif Lotfy, from Zeitgeist Developers’ Team proposed the idea of possible integration of Zeitgeist into Ubuntu Software Center.

        • zeitgeist support landed in software-center trunk
        • Googlubuntu Aims To Make Your Linux Mint / (K)Ubuntu Searches More Relevant

          Thanks to a tip from a friend, and the newly redesigned (and much maligned) Digg, a really handy, highly customized search engine was recently brought to our attention named Googlubuntu. How did we miss it? What Googlubuntu is, as you might guess, is a specialized search engine that pries through relevant ‘buntu domains in order to help you get your ‘buntu-fied answers faster – and presumably to weed out the nonsense stuff.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Beta 1 and a Dell M4500

          My Linux life has been pretty stable and mundane lately (other than a DAVMail outage, mentioned below). The main desktop runs Ubuntu 10.04, and it has been humming along without issue. Every now and then the summer rainstorms come along and pop the mains, and it and its companion PC, a Windows 7 system, crash to the ground. When power returns, the Linux system spins right back up and keeps right on going. The Windows 7 system committed Harikiri a couple weeks ago after one of the power hits, and it was a slow painful process to get it put back together. The office UPS system went to meet its maker a few month back, and I guess I should have replaced it sooner. I did not replace it because I had a new laptop coming, and I was rethinking the need for desktop PC’s at all. Laptops have their own built in UPS’s.

        • mFatOS – A fat Ubuntu

          mFatOS has a few big issues that need to be smoothed out.

          First, there are just too many programs available. I can understand variety and color, but it’s just too much. Adding applications for the sake of adding them does not help the average user. Sometimes, less is more.

          Second, the integration of various elements. Ubuntu logos all over the place, hard-coded repositories for developer’s country, applets in non-English configuration, browser history, GRUB menu layout, all of these are not done with enough care to make it feel professional enough.

          mFatOS joins a long series of quickly remastered Ubuntu forks, including OzOS, MoonOS, Zorin, Ultimate Edition, and some others. Like most of these, the integration of elements is not good enough. The magic is in the little details. Unfortunately, it takes months and months of dedicated work by entire developer teams and can’t be done easily.

          It’s very decent, it works well, it’s fairly suitable for the typical Linux user, and the offline stuff is a blessing for people with bad Internet. However, mFatOS does not have a critical WOW factor. If you’re looking for a heavily loaded distro that has it all, take a look at openSUSE Edu-Li-f-e. You may even want to consider PCLinuxOS. Another suitable choice could be Scientific Linux. Last but not the least, let’s not forget the one true fork of the highly successful Ubuntu family, Linux Mint, which really takes the remastering business to another level.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tablets

      • Dell to Launch 7-Inch Tablet in Weeks Ahead

        Dell Inc. will launch its seven-inch tablet in the next few weeks and a 10-inch tablet within 6-12 months, Dell Greater China President Amit Midha said Wednesday.

      • Next Up for Netflix: Android Phones and Tablets?

        Now that Netflix has an app on the iPad and the iPhone, it could soon make a push into the Android ecosystem, based on job postings that have cropped up on the company’s website recently. The creation of an Android app could expand Netflix’s addressable audience on consumer electronic devices even further, especially with a group of new Android-based tablets set to launch.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Databases

    • Open Source Databases Have Come of Age

      Client/server systems with SQL interfaces jockey for position against upstart NoSQL systems with intimidating (and exciting) new models for data representation, distribution and consistency. In addition, more than a dozen embedded and special purpose databases have grown up to serve the needs of applications too small or too agile to require a full RDBMS.

  • Oracle

  • Government

  • Licensing

    • The “Free Beer” Hangover

      Changes to the way mailing lists work are nothing new. I am a member of several Yahoo Groups. But I am also a member of a number of Google Groups and a mess of mailing lists running on Mailman. While reading the complaint, I had two thoughts.

      First, I was reminded of comments made by Stormy Peters at LinuxCon this year. She was talking about Facebook and Google and by implication Yahoo, when asking us if we were aware of all the things that these services provide and the licenses, for lack of a better word, that they provide them under. She pointed out that they are essentially offering free beer and we, as users are drinking it up without any thought of the costs afterwards. And as the folks decrying the changes in Yahoo’s Groups are discovering, some of those costs are pretty high.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Wikipedia Adds BitTorrent Powered Video Streaming

      Streaming capabilities have been added to BitTorrent via the Tribler client, and more recently uTorrent. Thus far the implementation of these technologies into major websites has been lacking. That position changed this week as the Wikimedia Foundation partnered with P2P Next to use BitTorrent-powered streaming for their video content.

    • Tunnel vision: Sydney movie maker stopped from listing free BitTorrent film

      A top movie website has rejected a thriller about a TV crew being hunted in tunnels – and the producers, including Andrew Denton, believe it’s because they want to give it away free.

      Sydney independent film producer Enzo Tedeschi said he tried five times since June to get the film, The Tunnel listed on the Internet Movie Database, IMDb.com.

      But each time it has been rejected and Mr Tedeschi – who has had other films accepted – believes it is because he wants to distribute it through BitTorrent – which is best known for the illegal sharing of movies and music.

      Getting listed on IMDb is important to a producer, as the site is considered the premier database used by industry professionals, including those in Hollywood.

      “Some people think that by releasing our film legitimately on peer-to-peer networks that we are condoning piracy,” said Tedeschi, who has worked in television and film for a decade.


  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Home prices to take hit next year in many markets

      Don’t take the latest snapshot of U.S. home prices too seriously.

      The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday ticked up in July from June. But the gain is merely temporary, analysts say. They see home values taking a dive in many major markets well into next year.

      That’s because the peak home-buying season is now ending after a dismal summer. The hardest-hit markets, already battered by foreclosures, are bracing for a bigger wave of homes sold at foreclosure or through short sales. A short sale is when a lender lets a homeowner sell for less than the mortgage is worth.

    • Recession rips at US marriages, expands income gap

      The recession seems to be socking Americans in the heart as well as the wallet: Marriages have hit an all-time low while pleas for food stamps have reached a record high and the gap between rich and poor has grown to its widest ever.

    • Sour economic mood in living room and boardroom

      Americans in both the living room and the boardroom are growing more fearful about the economy, creating a Catch-22 for the job market: Shoppers won’t spend until they feel more secure, and business won’t hire until people start spending.

      The eroding views were revealed Tuesday by two separate surveys, one that found everyday Americans are increasingly pessimistic about jobs and another that found CEOs have grimmer predictions about upcoming sales.

    • Biz leaders gloomy on economy

      A wide swath of U.S. businesses Tuesday reported that the economy has slowed significantly in the last few months, and they said that the tax stalemate in Washington was a major reason that flagging consumer sentiment is now endangering the recovery.

      In separate reports, big business members of the Business Roundtable, along with manufacturers, home builders and the oil industry gave gloomy assessments of the recovery and said Congress’ decision to postpone action on tax cuts until after the election was weighing heavily on consumer sentiment.

    • Where Are All the Prosecutions From the Crisis?

      A consistent question since the financial crisis in 2008 is why has the federal government not prosecuted any senior executives for their roles in the collapse of firms like Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns or the risky investments that led to bailouts of onetime financial giants like the American International Group, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. How can companies worth billions of dollars just a few months earlier suddenly collapse in 2008 without someone being held responsible?

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • New sex laws: Conservatives ‘very concerned’

      Toronto judge Susan Himel says Canada’s prostitution laws meant to protect women and residential neighbourhoods are endangering sex workers’ lives.

      If her decision to strike down the laws stands, “prostitutes will be able to communicate freely with customers on the street, conduct business in their homes or brothels and hire bodyguards and accountants without exposing them to the risk of criminal sanctions”, says the Toronto Star.

      But the Stephen Harper government is “seriously considering” an appeal against the decision, says Xtra!.

      “Yesterday we had the naming of the commissioner for the Public Inquiry in Vancouver for the missing women,” NDP MP Libby Davies, part of a special parliamentary committee on sex laws, is quoted as saying in the story, going on:

      “These are related issues — what happens to women who are on the street who are involved in the sex trade, and the risks that they’re at. This is something that can’t just be swept under the rug and pretend it doesn’t exist.”

    • People Behind the Internet Question Plan to Block Piracy Sites

      A group of engineers with legitimate claims to helping invent the Internet — and we’re not talking about Al Gore — are opposing a Senate bill intended to fight copyright infringement, saying it would endanger the system of domain names that underlies the Interne

    • Political Porn Scandal Revealed as Internet Bungle

      The arch-conservative Christian Democratic Party is staunchly against pornography and defended the allegations, claiming any website visits logged were for “research purposes.”

      But Paul McLeay, the minister for the state’s ports and waterways, resigned after admitting he looked at adult and gambling websites on his parliamentary computer.

      However, further investigation revealed that McLeay — guilt aside — possibly resigned prematurely, while Nile probably was using the Internet for research purposes.

      Analysis of the audit left investigators red-faced when it was discovered that mainstream news websites had been classified as “adult” because of advertisements or links to matchmaking and dating sites.

    • Thai Webmaster Arrested for Online Speech

      On Friday, the Director of a popular alternative Thai news portal Prachatai was arrested by the Thai government. Chiranuch Premchaipoen — popularly known as Jiew — was charged under the intermediary liability provisions of the 2007 Computer Crime Act and for “Lèse Majesté,” or defamation of the Thai royal family. She faces a 32-year prison sentence.

      Jiew’s crime? In 2008, Prachatai published an interview with Chotisak Onsoong, a Thai man known for refusing to stand at attention during the Thai Royal Anthem — a dangerous political act in Thailand, though not technically a crime. The interview received huge attention, drawing over 200 comments from Thai citizens. On April 28, 2008, complaints were filed against Prachatai alleging that several comments on that interview were a defamation to the Monarchy. An arrest warrant for Jiew was issued on Septemeber 8, 2009, but no summons was received by Jiew until her arrest this past Friday.

    • Which words does Google Instant blacklist?

      Some folks at the Hacker publication 2600 decided to compile a list of words that are restricted by Google Instant.

      Except in extreme and special cases, Google is known for anything but censorship, but as we’ve said before, there are some terms the web giant’s new instant search feature won’t work with.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Public consultation on the open internet and net neutrality

      DG Information Society and Media has launched a public consultation on key questions arising from the issue of net neutrality. European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, announced in April 2010 her intention to launch this consultation in order to take forward Europe’s net neutrality debate. The consultation is part of the Commission’s follow-up to its commitment – one of the prerequisites for the successful conclusion of the 2009 EU telecoms reform package – to scrutinise closely the open and neutral nature of the internet and to report on the state of play to the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Seriously? ASCAP Still Wants A Performance License on Downloads

        The download part of the decision may seem rather obvious to the outside observer, though in the post-analog land grab, traditional definitions seem to carry little weight. “[We] are, of course, disappointed in the Court’s decision that there is no public performance in the transmission of certain musical downloads,” ASCAP told Digital Music News. “We are studying the decision and will determine what further action is appropriate.”

      • A Field Guide to Copyright Trolls

        With all of this talk about copyright trolls and spamigation, it is easy to get confused. Who is suing over copies of Far Cry and The Hurt Locker? Who is suing bloggers? Who is trying to protect their anonymity? Who is defending fair use? What do newspapers have to do with any of this? In order to cut through the confusion, here’s a concise guide to copyright trolls currently in the wild, with status updates.

      • BT embroiled in ACS:Law porn list breach

        BT has admitted it sent the personal details of more than 500 customers as an unsecured document to legal firm ACS:Law, following a court order.

        The news could put BT in breach of the Data Protection Act, which requires firms to keep customers’ data secure at all times.

        The e-mails emerged following a security lapse at ACS:Law.

        A BT official admitted “unencrypted” personal data was sent, adding it “would not happen again”.

Clip of the Day

Karl Goetz – GNewSense

Objective Signs of a Silent Microsoft Crisis, Deflation

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 9:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I was out with a couple of Silicon Valley software guys in New York the other night and got their view of Microsoft’s finances. Microsoft makes 60 percent of its profits on Windows, 60 percent on Office, and minus 20 percent on everything else, they said. “

Technology & Finance

Summary: Microsoft — like Novell — has halted its buying spree; instead, Microsoft is borrowing money and its future seems less than certain (unless it splits to separate the profitable parts from the many failures)

IN ONE OF OUR LATEST posts we showed that Microsoft approved debt of up to $16 billion, at least for the time being. We explained that unless Microsoft keeps its money in some tax haven there is no reason for Microsoft to borrow money. Nevertheless, Microsoft takes further loans, thus increasing its existing debt, and it stopped buying companies (same with Novell, which looks for buyers). As CNET puts it, Microsoft bought not a single company this year and Google — by comparison — bought 23.

A recent blog post from information service provider CB Insights reveals a truly shocking piece of news: Microsoft has announced zero acquisitions in 2010, while Google has acquired 23 companies, 75 percent of which are venture financed or angel-backed.

Look closely as the graph (or bar chart) is definitely worth watching. Microsoft not only lost a lot of its value; it also stopped growing in terms of size through acquisitions, having previously been a top serial acquiror (that title is now reserved to Google on the face of it).

Most journalists do the safe thing by merely repeating other journalists who rewrite Microsoft press releases and other public statements, but Microsoft keeps taking more debt, repeatedly announcing layoffs, and killing many products. As Brad puts it in the post “Microsoft Death Watch”, the situation becomes risky to Microsoft customers because Microsoft pulls rugs from underneath many people’s (and partners’) feet as it shuts down a product or division every 2 weeks or so. Brad writes:

Instead, I’m offering this as technical advice: how will it affect you personally, or your business, if Microsoft were to fail? No more Windows updates. No more Office updates. No more support. No more monthly security patches.

You need a plan B. Sure, your existing software will continue to run for months or years without updates, barring any major security breach. But instead of being tied by the gonads to one vendor, and hoping for the best, perhaps you should figure out now how to move away from reliance on Microsoft.

Windows and Office will be supported for quite some time to come (because they are cash cows), but almost everything else at Microsoft is a purging candidate. Nothing lasts forever, so the responsible thing to do is assess risk.

Q: You say that “you can bet your business on Free Software”; how do you back up that statement?”

A: How can you bet your business on proprietary software? If a company is bought, goes bankrupt or merges or decides to delete a product line you have no choice but to go with whatever product or path they desire. How can you plan when the company keeps changing its licensing terms, and you have no real alternatives? What do you do when the company that makes your software puts its own profits and its values ahead of yours, the customer? When the software company holds back on releasing the latest bug fix so it fits its “release schedule?” When you can’t get that one little feature added that would allow you to streamline your business, save a lot of money and beat your competition to market?

“What happens if that company (no matter where it is) is embargoed?”

Jon “Maddog” Hall, President, Linux International,
ComputerWorld interview

Links 29/9/2010: Linux 2.6.36 RC6, MeeGo Ported to More Devices

Posted in News Roundup at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Linux

      I’m announcing the release of the kernel. This is only needed if you run Xen, there was a typo that caused problems. My fault, sorry.

    • Linux 2.6.36-rc6 Kernel Released

      The Linux 2.6.36 kernel is just about here. Linus Torvalds has now released the sixth RC build of this upcoming 2.6.36 build. In the past week since 2.6.36-rc5 was released, there’s been many more regression fixes going into the kernel, but still it’s not in a state ready for release by Linus’ standards.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The ATI R600g Driver Gets Boosted By A New Design

        We’ve said it a few times already that the R600g driver continues to advance, but this open-source Gallium3D graphics driver that provides hardware acceleration for ATI R600/R700/Evergreen ASICs (the Radeon HD 2000/3000/4000/5000 graphics cards) has now received another huge boost with what has been dubbed as the “new design” and with the latest Mesa Git code these new code paths are used by default.

        Jerome Glisse describes the R600g driver’s “new design” on the Mesa development list for those interested in all of the technical details behind it and/or were curious what the stream of Git commits against Mesa master referencing this new design were all about.

  • Applications

    • Xnoise music player adds Sound Menu integration
    • OpenShot 1.2.2 Now Supports Export of Video in HTML5 WebM Format

      As you should know already, the WebM project is dedicated to developing a high-quality, open video format for the web that is freely available to everyone. Latest Open Shot 1.2.2 now has an option to export your videos in WebM format.

    • Rhythmbox Needs an Overhaul, 100(or less) Papercuts for Rhythmbox Maybe?

      Rhythmbox is, as you all know, the default gnome music player and default music player for Ubuntu as well. Canonical integrated Ubuntu One Music Store with Rhythmbox through a plugin with the release of Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx” and the implementation works pretty good. The store has a discreet selection of music if you live in UK or USA, for everyone else it’s a very small selection of music, but that’s another story.

    • gThumb 2.12.0 (Stable) Has Been Released [Ubuntu PPA]

      Finally, after a long period of development, a new stable gThumb version has been released: 2.12.0. We’ve been following the gThumb development here at WebUpd8 so you should already be up to date with all the changes. To mention just a few new features since the last stable version (not development!): Facebook, Flickr, PicasaWeb and Photobucket export, import from Flickr and PicasaWeb, gThumb can now play videos and many many other new features and improvements which I’ll not cover since we already talked about all of them throughout the gThumb 2.12 development posts (gThumb 2.11.x was the development branch for gThumb 2.12). You can read all about the gThumb 2.12.0 new features by browsing our gThumb posts.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Software Center with a dose of Zeitgeist and maybe Teamgeist

        Today the Zeitgeist team showed Michael Vogt a possible integration of Zeitgeist with Software Center. And guess what he likes it and he will look into making it become a soft dependency. He will look into merging our branch soon. All it does is tell you how many times you used an application in the detailed view.

      • Ubuntu Software Centre with a pinch of Zeitgeist? More please!

        Stat fans looking to get a informational fix on the applications they use may be interested to hear news on semantic tracking tool Zeitgeist’s latest possible excursion into the desktop – via the Ubuntu Software Centre.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat v. Oracle: Which is More Standards Compliant?

        RHEL 5 was released in February 2007, while LSB 3.2 was still being put together for its January 2008 release. So Red Hat did put a little effort into getting compliant with the then-cutting edge LSB release. I might suspect that when RHEL 6 comes out, it will be compliant with LSB 4.0 (or whatever’s available at that time). But I have some concerns: Red Hat hasn’t gotten any of its RHEL-5 point releases updated to LSB 4.0 yet, even though it has had plenty of opportunity to do so.

        While I have issues with Oracle’s spin-doctor moves to lock more users into its hardware offerings, I think I will be a little hard-pressed to call Oracle Linux a complete knock-off of RHEL. In this instance, it seems clear that Oracle, which has not always been the best open-source player, has actually put in the extra effort to maintain current LSB certification.

      • Red Hot?
      • Fedora

        • Is Fedora’s Boot Time Increasing?

          The last time we closely examined the boot performance of Fedora Linux was in 2008 when comparing the boot times from Fedora Core 4 through Fedora 8. However, with more distributions taking pride in recent months over shortening their boot time — with Canonical for example having worked towards a ten second Ubuntu boot time — we decided to see how long it’s taking Fedora to put its hat on these days. With the three Intel notebooks we used from our recent Fedora power consumption review, we measured the boot times using Bootchart on the Fedora 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 Alpha releases.

        • Graphics Test Week starts tomorrow!

          It’s been creeping up, and now it’s time: the world-famous Graphics Test Week begins tomorrow, with the Fedora 14 Nouveau Test Day! That is 2010-09-28. As always, the event runs all day in #fedora-test-day on Freenode IRC (you can connect with WebIRC). To complete Graphics Test Week, the Radeon Test Day takes place the following day, Wednesday 2010-09-29, and Intel Test Day takes place Thursday 2010-09-30.

          As always, we’ll be testing a range of graphics driver functions, and we need as many people as possible to join in so we can evaluate the widest possible range of hardware and identify as many bugs as possible for the developers to fix. You can do all the testing from a live image – no need for an installed copy of Fedora 14, though you can test that way too if you like – and the testing is very easy, there are step-by-step instructions for each test and for entering your results. And of course, there’ll be many people in IRC to help with testing and debugging.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Community Artwork – Building Bridges

          With nearly all of the design work complete for Maverick Meerkat some folks are reflecting on Community and the path which lead to here. The Ubuntu Artwork Team and perhaps others are trapped by the pressure to produce in a manner which competes with established professional players and finding resources with the time and skills to complete tasks on time. With the desire to move Ubuntu into the mainstream, Canonical added talented resources to the design team leaving Community members standing on the side line to wonder how they can get back into the game. To add additional confusion to the mix the paradigm changed as new players entered and challenged existing norms.

        • Ubuntu Hardware Summit Success !
        • ARM A15: A Game Changer

          ARM based devices are ubiquitous, just like Linux. You may of not of even heard of ARM, just like you may not of heard of Linux, but making a phone call or searching on Google means you could already using their technologies.

          ARM, just like Linux, is a quiet pioneer, prevalent in the background just waiting for the opportunity to become mainstream. Whether mainstream is the goal, prevalence most definitely is on the agenda.

        • Something New and Beautiful: Ubuntu, distilled, in type

          Ubuntu is a global phenomenon, and we knew at the start we didn’t have the breadth of eyeballs close at hand to keep the font on track as it expanded. So we planned a process of expanding consultation. First within Canonical, which has folks from nearly 30 countries, and then within the Ubuntu community. We published the font to Ubuntu Members, because we wanted folks who participate and contribute directly to Ubuntu to have the strongest say in the public process of designing the font. We heard from Greek, Turkish, Hebrew, Arabic, Indian, Chinese and many other cultures. Not everyone has glyphs in this first round, but everyone has had a hand in bringing us to this milestone.

        • Interview with Leann Ogasawara

          My name is Leann Ogasawara and I’ve been working for Canonical for the past 3 years. Since joining the Ubuntu Kernel Team, I’ve been involved with QA and triaging, stable maintenance, and am now this cycle’s Ubuntu 10.10 kernel release manager.

        • ‘Party the real way for Ubuntu 10.10’ says Vancouver LoCo team

          “Don’t Call It A ‘Party’ If It’s Not!” yells the catchy slogan from the Ubuntu Vancouver LoCo team in their promotional call-to-arms for celebrating Ubuntu 10.10’s release next month.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • LMNR (Linux Mint Netbook Remix)

            I’ve stumbled upon a version of an as-yet-unnanounced new edition of Linux Mint, LMNR (Linux Mint Netbook Remix). It appears to be a netbook UI on top of the regular Linux Mint 9 Gnome edition. It looks very nice, and appears to be the answer to those with small screen netbooks who want the polish of Linux Mint.

          • Edubuntu 10.10 boasts many surprises

            Ubuntu’s education spin ‘Edubuntu’ has gained a new-look installer, some new applications and much more for its 10.10 release coming next month.

            Talking about the changes Edubuntu’s Jonathan Carter notes that whilst 10.10 doesn’t see the spin receive as big a overhaul as 10.04 had it nevertheless continues to build on the work laid down then, making for a ‘very good’ release.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo port for Dell Streak, HTC Desire and Nexus One

          Various developers have ported the handset variant of MeeGo, a platform mainly sponsored by Intel and Nokia, to a variety of smartphones that ship with Google’s Android. A page in the MeeGo wiki provides details about the ports’ current state of development and shows a Nexus One and a HTC Desire with the MeeGo handset user interface. Another photo shows a MeeGo command line log-in prompt on a Dell Streak.

    • Tablets

      • Chromium OS infiltrates iPad, makes itself comfortable

        What is this madness we see before us? Hexxeh, he who provides your nightly Chromium builds, has dropped a small but perfectly formed bombshell by revealing that he’s managed to install Google’s nascent OS onto Apple’s hotcake of a tablet, the iPad.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Practical Open Source Software Exploration
  • What makes Zeitgeist tick

    Zeitgeist is a prototype developed by BBC Research & Development to discover and track the most shared BBC webpages on Twitter. An overview of the project has already covered in our previous post.

    Today we’re publishing the full source code of this system under the GNU GPLv3 licence on github at http://github.com/bbcrd/zeitgeist.

    This post will discuss the technical architecture of the system, how we approached various problems, and our technical learnings from building the system.

    From a research point of view, we were particularly interested in two things:

    * The Twitter Streaming API and how it worked in practice
    * Whether a messaging pipeline architecture would be a good fit for this problem domain

    The system consists of an interface to the Twitter Streaming API which passes tweets to a processing pipeline. The pipeline finds and extracts links to the BBC, resolving shortened and redirected urls. Continuously-running background jobs extract page metadata and handle retweets and deletions. Finally, there’s a web interface to present the results to end users, which was written using the well-tested software stack of Sinatra, Thin and nginx, all fronted by a Squid proxy. The Zeitgeist database is mysql, the modelling done using Datamapper.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Elementary Firefox hits version 2.0

        An updated version of elementary styled Firefox theme ‘Firefox elementary’ has been released today.

        The theme helps to seamlessly integrate Ubuntu’s default web browser into your Elementary themed desktop.

  • Databases

    • Couchapp Walkthrough – Part 1

      Couchapps are a particular way of using couchdb that allow you to serve web applications directly from the database. These applications generate HTML and javascript to present data from couchdb to the user, and then update the database and the UI based on their actions.

      Of course there are plenty of frameworks out there that do this sort of thing, and more and more of them are adding couchdb support. What makes couchapps particularly interesting are two things. Firstly, the ease with which they can be developed and deployed. As they are served directly from couchdb they require little infrastructure, and the couchapp tool allows for a rapid iteration. In addition, the conveniences that are provided mean that simple things can be done very quickly with little code.


      In addition to all the client-side tools for interacting with the database, it is also possible to make use of couchdb features such as shows, lists, update handlers validation functions in order to move some of the processing server-side. This is useful for various reasons, including being more accessible, allowing search engines to index the content, and not having to trust the client not to take malicious actions.

  • Oracle

    • James Gosling Interview – 9/22/10

      James Gosling: Well, the tshirt had been kinda fun. I am yet to see anyone wear one.

      Moderator: (jokingly) yeah, we’ve been all “taken care of” by the Oracle employees already, that’s why you don’t see us wearing them.

      James Gosling: Various Oracle employees have been instructed not to wear them. I’ve noticed this is a great tshirt to wear in big crowds around here because the seas just parts, ‘cuz people are like, ‘I don’t want to be near that.’ Which I find really funny. And the whole free java thing is kind of a weird history with me because Sun from day zero is an open source company and this whole weirdness that we have about open source was not a weirdness open source but a weirdness about the actors and the games in the drama. So when the start of the Java foundation thing happened in 2007 what we have to understand is that that was entirely orchestrated by Oracle. Oracle wrote that bizarre clause that went in that one set of meeting minutes, they wrote that. They went around to everyone in DC and said it is the sense of the executive committee that the Java community would be best served by the established new Java and Java foundation. And so if you’re an open source contributor, participant, that all sounds really good. And fundamentally we agreed with that. The problem was that A. it was driven by Oracle whose motives were more than slightly not what we wanted them to be, and they had strong-armed a bunch of people into signing in ways that made them uncomfortable. And some folks like IBM I mean, IBM’s been kind of weird on the whole topic because on the one hand they do everything they can to try and screw Sun over, I mean they didn’t name eclipse casually

      Moderator: I was surprised that they aren’t the ones that bought Sun

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Generation Facebook and higher education

      Many challenges lurk at the intersection of the open world of FOSS and the (traditionally) closed world of the college classroom. Perhaps it is because I’m reading The Starfish and the Spider with my first-year students right now, but I believe there are a lot of opportunities for educators who embrace the chaos and find ways to support their students in entering into and flourishing in the connected world of decentralized learning.

  • Programming

    • Interview with James Gosling

      About a half hour into our libations in walks a legend: James Gosling, creator of Java itself. Nervously, but keeping our cool, we approached and introduced ourselves. We left it at that. As the beers flowed, our courage and machinations began too as well. “What if, now just what if, we could get Gosling to do a cast?” But doubting thoughts prevailed: “Nah we aren’t big enough” “Do we really want to disturb a guy drinking his beer?” Quickly some of the Coder’s wives keyed into our anxiety over the issue. Wanting to play match maker, they approached James and asked him if he’d be willing to do a podcast with us. And wouldn’t you know it, he whipped out his iPhone (yay James!), opened his calendar and said “Sure! What works for you guys?”


  • Once More, With Feeling: Embracing ‘Free’ Doesn’t Mean You Make No Money

    I usually like The Guardian, but Lindvall’s work is not up to its normal standards. Free is a part of a business model. That’s all anyone’s saying. And when you say that it means you do believe in a larger business model, which means making money. I’m always amazed at how people like Lindvall seem to have their brains stop in their tracks when they get to the big 0, and never reach the other side of the tracks where it’s explained how you use that $0 to make money elsewhere.

  • AOL Acquires TechCrunch

    The rumors have proven true: AOL is snapping up Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch family of sites. The site will share a stable with AOL’s other major tech property, Engadget, along with TUAW, Switched, and DownloadSquad. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but Business Insider has a source claiming the site went for $25 million.

  • Science

    • Basic Religion Test Stumps Many Americans

      Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.

    • PICTURES & VIDEO: British team proves flapless flight with Demon UAV

      Manoeuvring without the aid of control surfaces has been demonstrated by an unmanned air vehicle designed by a British team of industry and academic specialists.

    • Why cell phone talkers are annoys-makers

      Cell phone users irritate so mightily because their background chatter forcibly yanks listeners’ attention away from whatever they’re doing, says psychology graduate student Lauren Emberson of Cornell University. Overhearing someone spewing intermittent exclamations into a handheld gadget lacks the predictability of hearing a two-way exchange and thus proves inherently unsettling, Emberson and her colleagues report in an upcoming Psychological Science.

    • Solar cells thinner than wavelengths of light hold huge power potential, Stanford researchers say

      In the smooth, white, bunny-suited clean-room world of silicon wafers and solar cells, it turns out that a little roughness may go a long way, perhaps all the way to making solar power an affordable energy source, say Stanford engineers.

      Their research shows that light ricocheting around inside the polymer film of a solar cell behaves differently when the film is ultra thin. A film that’s nanoscale-thin and has been roughed up a bit can absorb more than 10 times the energy predicted by conventional theory.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • DHS Launches Cyber Attack Exercise

      For three or four days this week, the Internet will come under a virtual attack from an unknown adversary, and it will be up to the government and private sector’s coordinated efforts to root out the cause and work together to keep systems up and running — at least within the simulated confines of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Storm III exercise, which begins Tuesday.

      The Cyber Storm series of exercises simulates large cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and government IT assets in order to test the government’s preparedness. Specifically, this year’s exercise will be the first time DHS will test both the draft National Cyber Incident Response Plan (an effort to provide a coordinated response to major cybersecurity incidents) that will be publicly released later this year and the new National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (the hub of DHS’ cybersecurity coordination efforts).

    • Soldier confesses to ‘thrill kill’

      In a disturbing video, a young corporal admits his role in the killings of unarmed Afghan civilians — alleging that his superior egged him on

    • FBI drive for encryption backdoors is déjà vu for security experts

      The FBI now wants to require all encrypted communications systems to have backdoors for surveillance, according to a New York Times report, and to the nation’s top crypto experts it sounds like a battle they’ve fought before.

      Back in the 1990s, in what’s remembered as the crypto wars, the FBI and NSA argued that national security would be endangered if they did not have a way to spy on encrypted e-mails, IMs and phone calls. After a long protracted battle, the security community prevailed after mustering detailed technical studies and research that concluded that national security was actually strengthened by wide use of encryption to secure computers and sensitive business and government communications.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Shell in row over Brazilian Indian land grab

      Brazilian authorities have written to energy giant Shell expressing concern over the activities of its new Brazilian joint-venture partner, which is producing biofuels from land taken from an impoverished Indian tribe.

      Last month, Shell signed a $12 billion deal to produce biofuels from sugar cane with Brazilian biofuels giant Cosan. But some of Cosan’s sugar cane is grown on land officially recognized as belonging to Guarani Indians.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Motorcyclist wins taping case against state police

      A Harford County Circuit Court judge ruled this afternoon that a motorcyclist who was arrested for videotaping his traffic stop by a Maryland State Trooper was within his rights to record the confrontation.

      Judge Emory A Pitt Jr. tossed all the charges filed against Anthony Graber, leaving only speeding and other traffic violations, and most likely sparing him a trial that had been scheduled for Oct. 12. The judge ruled that Maryland’s wire tap law allows recording of both voice and sound in areas where privacy cannot be expected. He ruled that a police officer on a traffic stop has no expectation of privacy.

    • An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the Senate Judiciary Committee

      Today, 89 prominent Internet engineers sent a joint letter the US Senate Judiciary Committee, declaring their opposition to the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA). The text of the letter is below.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Guest column: Copyright is no justification for digital locks

      Many creators start with views similar to what Stephen Ellis wrote in this space on Friday. While some retain this naive view, others take the time to learn how the technology in question works. They change their views once they speak with independent technical people, and go through the legal and economic analysis of real-world technology. Far from digital locks protecting copyright, they are the greatest threat to copyright and the interests of creators.

      I will not speak about audiences of copyrighted works. I am a creators’ rights activist trying to protect the interests of fellow creators, and oppose the C-32 digital locks based on this. The fact that digital locks also harm the interests of consumers is in addition to its harm to creators, not a matter of allegedly balancing the interests of one over the other.

    • TalkTalk, BT: we’d put iPlayer in the slow lane

      The UK’s two biggest ISPs have openly admitted they’d give priority to certain internet apps or services if companies paid them to do so.

      Speaking at a Westminster eForum on net neutrality, senior executives from BT and TalkTalk said they would be happy to put selected apps into the fast lane, at the expense of their rivals.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Challenge To Graham Henderson: Please Point Out Who Believes Music Should Just Be A Hobby

        There’s been a bizarre shift lately in the recording industry’s attempt to demonize people who believe in embracing new business models and new technologies in the music business. We just wrote about Universal Music’s Jim Urie claiming that “copyleft” supporters don’t care about art, and along those same lines, Zeropaid points us to Graham Henderson, the head of the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA — which is almost entirely dominated by foreign companies) going to Washington DC to lobby in favor of more draconian copyright laws.

      • Appeals Court Tells ASCAP: A Download Is Not A Performance

        A few years back, we covered the legal fight pitting ASCAP against Yahoo and RealNetworks, where the two internet companies were told to pay up based on a ridiculously arbitrary fee formula, including a totally made up multiplier called the “music-use-adjustment-fraction.” The really scary part was that it calculated the revenue based on all of Yahoo’s revenue. So, yes, even though Yahoo makes most of its revenue in ways that have nothing to do with music, its total revenue is used as part of the calculation. The one good thing that came out of the legal fight was the court making it clear to ASCAP that a download is not a performance, which requires a separate fee. As you may recall, ASCAP has been trying to claim just about anything involving music is a “public performance,” in a weak attempt to get more cash.

      • The “legal blackmail” business: inside a P2P settlement factory

        UK pornographer Jasper Feversham was fed up. The Internets were sharing his films, quality work like Catch Her in the Eye, Skin City, and MILF Magic 3. He wanted revenge—or at least a cut. So Feversham signed on to a relatively new scheme: track down BitTorrent infringers, convert their IP addresses into real names, and blast out warning letters threatening litigation if they didn’t cough up a few hundred quid.

        “Much looking forward to sending letters to these f—ers,” he wrote in an email earlier this year.

        The law firm he ended up with was ACS Law, run by middle-aged lawyer Andrew Crossley. ACS Law had, after a process of attrition, become one of the only UK firms to engage in such work. Unfortunately for Crossley, mainstream film studios had decided that suing file-sharers brought little apart from negative publicity, and so Crossley was left defending a heap of pornography, some video games, and a few musical tracks.

      • Law firm faces huge fine over leak of personal files

        A law firm that pursues the owners of internet accounts linked to alleged illegal downloads of music and films was warned yesterday it faces a swingeing fine after the personal details of a further 8,000 people were leaked online.

        The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said that ACS:Law, which has sent thousands of letters to suspected internet “pirates” asking them to pay compensation of £500, could be forced to pay up to £500,000 if it is found that the company has flouted data protection law by failing to safeguard personal details on its computer system.

      • 7 Bit Torrent Piracy Suits Target 5,469

        In one of the largest swoops targeting bit torrent piracy, numerous suits were filed Friday against 5,469 suspected of poaching porn off the Internet, XBIZ has learned.

        West Coast Productions, Combat Zone, Third World Media and Patrick Collins Inc. filed seven suits at U.S. District Court in Martinsburg, W. Va., against the bit torrent users whose IP addresses were tracked.

        All of the suits were filed by attorney Kenneth J. Ford at U.S. District Court in Martinsburg, W. Va., and seek to identify each user through their Internet service providers. Each asks for injunctive relief and damages.

      • A Look At The Technologies & Industries Senators Leahy & Hatch Would Have Banned In The Past

        The more I look at the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,” (COICA) bill proposed by Senators Patrick Leahy and Orrin Hatch (and co-sponsored by Sens. Herb Kohl, Arlen Specter, Charles Schumer, Dick Durbin, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar, Evan Bayh and George Voinovich) the worse it looks. The idea behind the bill is to give the Justice Department the ability to avoid due process in shutting down or blocking access to sites deemed “dedicated to infringing activities.”

Clip of the Day

Ralf Wildenhues – “Recent developments in GNU Autotools”

Credit: TinyOgg

Microsoft’s Patent Offensives, Patent Trolls, and Other Patent Agitators

Posted in Apple, FSF, GNU/Linux, Google, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 7:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

I see gnomes

Summary: A roundup of news about software patents with increased focus on the weakness of the patent system and its ill effects on software freedom

HP’s use of GNU/Linux scared Microsoft enough to put the company under “risks” in its SEC filings, warning investors that HP had become a threat. Then HP bought Palm, which used Linux its flagship product. Soon afterwards a Microsoft executive was put in charge of software at HP, Hurd got the boot [1, 2, 3, 4], and Slate saw Vista 7 returning, possibly at the expense of Linux/WebOS. Joseph Tartakoff, a Microsoft booster, was unimpressed by Vista 7 on Slate. He wrote:

Is this the HP Windows 7 Slate? Let’s hope it’s a joke news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-2… #pcbuzz

BackWeb, which Microsoft paid some money to settle a patent case [1, 2, 3], is now suing IBM and HP:

Looks like IBM and HP have just been hit with patent infringement lawsuits. According to a release, BackWeb Technologies has filed separate lawsuits in the United States District Court in San Francisco, California against IBM and HP, alleging patent infringement.

The patents seems to deal with technology for transmitting information between a remote network and a local computer and distributed client-based data caching systems. BackWeb alleges that IBM’s Tivoli Provisioning Manager and IBM’s recently acquired BigFix products infringe four U.S. patents owned by BackWeb. BackWeb also alleges that HP’s Client Automation product infringes three U.S. patents owned by BackWeb covering methods for transmitting information between a remote network and a local computer.

When it comes to Android, Microsoft has been trying to put a patent tax on it. Dana Blankenhorn provokes a little by suggesting that Google cannot defend Android’s good name although he is not referring to the patents issue. He wrote:

“Don’t be evil” may drive cynics away, but it’s a powerful message many people believe nonetheless.

Google is risking nothing less than its brand through its passivity over Android. Carriers have hijacked the mobile Linux distro and turned it decidedly evil, sometimes even preventing buyers from accessing Google without jailbreaking their phones.

CEO Eric Schmidt’s response has been completely passive. Were we to restrict the use of the code, we’d be violating the principles of open source, he says.

It is being claimed that Google is now infringing on Yahoo! patents, because of Google Instant [1, 2] (trivial idea, just bandwidth- and server resources-consuming).

Yahoo! owns several patents covering Google’s new Instant search engine, according to Shashi Seth, Yahoo!’s senior vice president of search and a former search product leader at Google.

The Microsoft-dominated Yahoo! was said to be such an issue a couple of years ago. Some sites argued that Microsoft wanted control of Yahoo! only/mostly because of its patents.

The most effective solution right now would be to eliminate software patents. The FSF is working towards that and Stallman campaigned on the issue down in Australia this month [1, 2]. Here is some more coverage about that [1, 2] (the latter is a Slashdot discussion). Stallman carried other messages too, basically about the importance of sharing.

Looking at some patent news from around the Web, here is another update on Newegg’s battle against a notorious software patent [1, 2, 3]. Patent trolls still roam free in land of the free (but with low success rates when it comes to patents in software) and TechDirt has a lot more to say about that:

Digging deeper into the report, it looks at and tests a variety of different concepts around patents and litigation. In theory, if a patent is used in multiple patent cases, you tend to think that it must be a pretty solid patent, and one that has been vetted plenty of times. And yet, when the researchers looked at the 106 patents that have been involved in eight or more lawsuits since 2000, they found that the patent holder wins such cases only 10.7% of the time. For patents that have only been brought to litigation once, the patent holder wins 47.3% of the time — an astounding difference.

My first thought on hearing such numbers is that the data could be misleading in that many companies may be a lot more willing to settle when sued by a serial patent litigator. However, the researchers tested that and while they did find that a higher percentage of those sued will settle in cases involving a “most-litigated” patent as compared to a “once-litigated” patent, the higher settlement rates don’t offset the huge difference in win rates.


On the whole, the results certainly seem to suggest that patent trolls with software patents do very much view the system as a lottery ticket, and they’re willing to use really weak patents to try to win that prize. That is not at all what the patent system is designed to do, but it’s how the incentives have been structured — and that seems like a pretty big problem that isn’t solved just by showing how many of these lawsuits fail. The amount of time and resources wasted on those lawsuits, as well as the number of companies who pay up without completing a lawsuit, suggest that there is still a major problem to be dealt with.

WIPO is under scrutiny from singing legend Mr. Wonder, who continues to make them look bad, even in the UN. Here is an update on the “pay-for-delay” patent lawsuit, courtesy of TechDirt:

Among the many, many nasty things done in the name of patent law is the rather disgusting practices of “pay-for-delay”, where a big pharma firm sues a generic pharma maker for patent infringement, with no legal basis, and part of the “settlement” that is then worked out is that the big pharma will pay off the generic pharma not to enter the market with a generic for a certain period of time. Basically, it’s a (by definition and government support) monopoly player in the market paying off competitors to keep the market exclusive. It’s difficult to see how that’s not a blatant violation of anti-trust law. But, alas, apparently the Second Circuit doesn’t see it that way. In April it tossed out a lawsuit over this issue, because the pharma companies involved put in a few worthless other things into the deal that acted as “cover” for the real anti-competitive move — and, since the “monopoly” was from a patent, the court didn’t see it as an anti-trust issue.

Apple turns out to have just gone suppressing rivals using a trademark on “Pod”. [via]

The trademark battle centers on independent entrepreneur Daniel Kokin (right), founder of startup Sector Labs, and his in-development video projector called Video Pod. Apple had previously filed oppositions against Kokin’s usage of “Pod,” alleging that it would cause customers to confuse it with Apple’s iPod products.

Apple, which sued Linux via HTC, is also using patents to exclude competitors right now. “Apple sues ‘HyperMac’ accessory maker over MagSafe, iPod cables,” reports Apple Insider:

Apple has filed a lawsuit against Sanho Corporation, maker of the HyperMac line of accessories, alleging violation of patents it owns related to the MagSafe charger and cables that use the iPod 30-pin connection.

TechDirt wonders, “Is It Patent Infringement To Reuse Recycled Apple Magsafe Connectors?”

AppleInsider has the details of yet another patent infringement lawsuit filed by Apple, who has become a lot more aggressive on the patent front lately. This lawsuit is against Sanho, a company that makes a variety of external batteries for Apple products. There are six patents listed in the lawsuit, but two are design patents, which are pretty narrow.

Apple is just killing competition using patents and in another new story the same tricks are being used quite blatantly (to drive a competitor into bankruptcy also). [via]

Football gear maker files for bankruptcy after losing patent-infringement suit


The phrase “bet-the-company litigation” is an overused metaphor to describe high-stakes cases. But once in a while the survival of a business is hanging in the balance, as in the case of Schutt Sports Inc.

The Illinois-based maker of football helmets and other sports gear filed for bankruptcy on Labor Day, a month after it was sacked with more than $29 million in damages for violating its rival’s helmet patent. Schutt Sports said in bankruptcy court papers that the verdict was the final hammer, as the company already was struggling with deteriorating revenue and profit margins and an overleveraged balance sheet prior to the jury decision.

Instrumental in blocking competition is the ITC (International Trade Commission), whose role we wrote about in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Here is Sony meeting the ITC wall because of “alleged patent infringements” (mere allegations).

THE US ITC (International Trade Commission) will investigate complaints from a Taiwanese manufacturer about Sony regarding some alleged patent infringements.

The accusations about patent toe-stepping come from Chimei Innolux, one of the biggest LCD manufacturers in Taiwan, Chi Mei Optoelectronics, and Texas based Innolux Corporation, all of which appear to be related companies and are complaining that Sony has ridden roughshod over their patent rights on gadgets ranging from Sony’s televisions to its games console, the PS3.

Innolux Corporation is a company of just 5 or so people and its Web site lists no products.

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