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Links 31/10/2010: Motorola Wins With Linux, Acer to Put Linux on Tablet (Out in November)

Posted in News Roundup at 8:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 11 Uses for an Old PC

    You’ve heard about this Linux thing, and maybe you’d like to give it a whirl. But the thought of trying to create a dual-boot system on your primary PC leaves you a little green around the gills. Now you can experiment to your heart’s content on your old box.

    Check out Ubuntu, the sexy Linux distro that geeks love to, well, love. The neat thing about Linux is all the built-in support for older hardware, so installation is usually easy. In fact, installing Ubuntu is sometimes simpler than installing Windows. And there’s a wealth of free software for Linux just waiting to be tried out.

  • Mock-up: intelligent, ambient Boot Splash

    Reader Cullum Saunders pinged us with an interesting concept for an intelligent, friendly ambient boot screen, which he demoes in the video below.

  • Desktop

    • People Who Should Not Run Linux

      1) People with money to burn. There are people who buy a new car every year, have a chateau in the south of France and do not have to save to buy a house. That’s not me, but I hear that they exist. So if you are not money conscious, then you can afford to pay Microsoft or Apple for their latest creation. In fact, you can buy their super, deluxe edition with all of the bells and whistles and probably pay someone else to install it for you. For the rest of us, there is Linux, which is free as in beer and free as in speech, meaning that it costs you nothing and you can give away the disk after you have installed it.

  • Server

    • IBM: The Mainframe Is Back, Baby

      IBM announced third-quarter 2010 net income of $3.6 billion, compared with $3.2 billion for the third quarter of 2009, an increase of 12 percent driven by significant increases in systems and technology sales and IBM services as well as a boost in growth markets.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 172 – Port 25

      This week on the show: Ubuntu switching to Unity as their default desktop, Linux breaks world speed record at London Stock Exchange, more problems at Nokia, Apple violates Launchpad trademark and more…

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Vector Linux 7.0 Alpha 3 Reviewed!


        * Sharp Desktop layout
        * Fast with no-lag
        * Very stable Slackware 13.0/13.1 base
        * Great for low-ram and older PC’s


        * Installer doesn’t allow grub to be installed to extended partition
        * Lilo installation ends in error with no manual way to fix it ala Slackware
        * Some of the Wbar apps don’t work
        * No way to install proprietary video drivers except manually
        * Limited package selection and availability

    • Debian Family

      • Latest features of dpkg-dev: debian packaging tools

        I’m attending the mini-Debconf Paris and I just gave a talk about the latest improvement of dpkg-dev—the package providing the basic tools used to build Debian packages. Latest is a bit stretched since it embraces the last 2-3 years of development.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu To Challenge… Facebook?

          At the Ubuntu Developer Summit tomorrow there will be a session on the “WeMenu” (not to be confused with the “MeMenu”) the idea behind it is to bring the real relationships you have and the very real communities around you to your desktop.

        • Unity: Some Further Clarification Points

          So, I just wanted to clarify some of the key points regarding the transition to Unity by default in Ubuntu 11.04 to make sure these facts are clearly communicated:

          * Ubuntu is not ditching/forking GNOME – Unity is a shell for GNOME, but not GNOME shell. Ubuntu is still a GNOME platform. 11.04 will ship all the components required for GNOME application authors to have their software run out of the box in Ubuntu, and we will still ship all the GNOME apps you know and love in Ubuntu 11.04. The only change is that Unity will be the default shell. Likewise, this is not a fork: we are not diverging away from GNOME, just producing a different shell in much the same way others have (e.g. Meego). It is just a different porthole looking at the awesome GNOME platform.
          * Unity is the 3D experience, Classic GNOME is the 2D interface – if your graphics hardware cannot sufficiently run Unity, Ubuntu will present the 2D experience which is the two-panel GNOME desktop we currently ship, complete with all the Ayatana improvements such as application indicators, global menu, system indicators etc.

        • Maverick Meerkat on a Mac Machine – Lots of M!

          I don’t have anything too grand to say. Compare this experience with my Windows 7 installation on the Pavilion laptop and you’ll get the general idea how simple things are. Ubuntu, as the leading Linux distro, offers a smooth and seamless experience on pretty much any hardware, including the not-so-trivial Mac. This means that should you decide to explore the brave new world of geekdom, you probably have the ultimate testbed. And this includes you, the high-income Maccers.

          Ubuntu will work well with your Wireless adapters, even install them for you offline, your Nvidia and ATI cards, your USB and FireWire devices, including the HFS filesystem. Really great. The notion of dual-boot has never been more appealing. And so it begins. One distro to rule them all. Aha!

        • A week in Orlando (Ubuntu Developer Summit – Natty Narwhal)

          Currently flying from Orlando, FL where I had an awesome Ubuntu Developer Summit I wanted to quickly share what happened this week.

        • Coming Soon!

          Here is what I have been working on for Ubuntu Forum recently. At a session at UDS this week, we discuss the forums and how to bring it up to date with the new Ubuntu branding. There will be some big changes upcoming in the forums.

        • Happy Halloween With Ubuntu Pumpkin

          We are soon going to announce the launch of Cult Of Ubuntu, a website dedicated to Ubuntu Cult.

        • 4 steps to freedom
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Because I know you’re dying to know

            So far I’m quite liking Xubuntu 10.10. My only disappointment is that Chromium, which is Google’s Chrome browser for Linux, gets progressively slower on it, so I got rid of it and have stuck with Firefox for the time being. I recently moved away from Firefox because it just felt bloated and slow. But aside from that, it’s running smoothly overall. Also, I can’t play DVDs on the laptop, even after installing the necessary extra software to allow the decoding. I think it may be a hardware issue, though; this baby isn’t as spry as it once was. Whatever the case, it’s nice to be able to play around with all this FREE SOFTWARE.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • “Mint to Xbox… come in Xbox”

      The third option that I had planned to test was a program called Fuppes, however after an hour of failed installations, errors and generally getting quite hacked off with the whole thing, I have decided that if it cant be installed that easily then it cant make the list. I apologise in advance to all who use Fuppes without a problem as most forums seem to say that it is OK. Several attempts in different directories and after installing and reinstalling the necessary packages it refused to work so I am happy to put this one down as a win for Linux over my knowledge. I have decided to console myself by watching a film via PS3 with a smug “In your face Fuppes” look on my face.

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • Acer preps for November tablet launch

        Adding to the impending glut of tablet-style devices crowding a market resurrected by Apple’s iPad, computer maker Acer ‘s CEO Gianfranco Lanci told Dow Jones Newswire the company is planning to introduce a family of tablet computers in November, including Android and Windows models. The tablets will sell for between $299-$699 and will be unveiled during a press conference Nov. 23, says the story.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Advocacy doesn’t work if you tell someone they’re wrong

    Generally it isn’t a good idea to offend someone you’re trying to convince. This is sounding almost too obvious, but offending someone we are trying to get to free software is a tactic we often use unconsciously. Instead of getting your point across it will likely lead the other to strengthen or adopt a contrary believe. There’s much we can learn from social psychology in advocating free software.

  • Asterisk plots the end of the phone network

    It’s called Asterisk Scalable Communications Framework, or Asterisk SCF.

  • Eating Your Own Dogfood

    One of the reasons given for the writing of Free Software is to “scratch our own itch”, to create software the way we want it to work. If you then do not use it, how can you tell that the scratching satisfied the itch?

  • Events

  • Oracle

    • Take a Deep Breath, Then Vote for Eclipse: Our View on the JCP

      There is one thing that Matt, Ian Skerrett and others have gotten exactly right: the failure to communicate effectively with the Java community is costing Oracle dearly. They have got to fix that, and soon. The problem is that Oracle has always been an enterprise software company, with PR and AR people who think that controlling the message is the path to success. Oracle as an organization has a lot of internal institutional challenges to overcome before they can learn how to communicate with a community like Java’s. It will take time and there will be mistakes along the way, but I think they will. They have to, because as we have recently observed, silence is significantly worse than delivering even bad news in a clear and honest manner.

    • Read Beyond the Headers

      Recent reports on various blogs have attributed to the ASF a number of the source files identified by Oracle as ones that they believe infringe on their copyrights. The code in question has an header that mentions Apache, and perhaps that is the source of the confusion. The code itself is using a license that is named after our foundation, is in fact the license that we ourselves use. Many others use it too, as the license was explicitly designed to allow such uses.

      Even though the code in question has an Apache license, it is not part of Harmony. PolicyNodeImpl.java is simply not a Harmony class.

    • Have Oracle just made it worse for everyone?

      I guess everybody has heard that a majority of the key developers in the OpenOffice.org community decided to set up the Document Foundation: an independent foundation to continue and manage work on the Openoffice.org codebase. If you’ve not, then I can recommend Terry Hancock’s piece as a starting point (and a good summary of why forking is vital). To recap: Oracle are not behind the move so the foundation temporarily named their product LibreOffice. It was not, we were told, a fork. Oracle were invited to the party and asked if they would consider donating the OpenOffice.org brand to the foundation. After the mess with MySQL, here was an opportunity for Oracle to vastly improve relations with the free software community and their own reputation. In short Oracle missed their chance like an English footballer taking a penalty.

  • CMS

    • Reorganising The Screencast

      In the Drupal episodes I want to cover little known modules as well as Drupal Basics. The plan there is to explain basic concepts of Drupal such as blocks, regions, where to install modules to etc. In other words, the types of things that can help people get over the initial learning hump with Drupal with some basics of what not to do.

  • Business

    • Lighting the Fuse for an Enterprise FOSS Explosion

      The FUSE family of software is now under the FuseSource name and has gained new autonomy from Progress Software with its own corporate identity.

      Part of the IONA Technologies acquisition by Progress Software in 2008, FuseSource has now become its own company, owned by Progress, but now more independent, to aggressively pursue its open source business model and to leverage the community development process strengths.

      In anticipation of the news, our discussion here targets the rapid growth, increased relevance, and new market direction for major open source middleware and integration software under the Apache license.

    • Civil Rights Concerns as DHS Formalizes Military Role in ‘Civilian Cybersecurity’

      Speaking today at the National Symposium on Homeland Security and Defense, Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano announced that the National Security Agency and the US Cyber Command will be used in civilian cybersecurity matters, insisting it was perfectly appropriate to give the military this role.

  • Project Releases

    • PTS3 Iveland Development Update

      For those interested in the development activity of Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 “Iveland”, here’s an update as to the progress with a few notes.

  • Government

  • Programming

    • What Developers Think

      Nearly four out of five developers use some open source software for application development or deployment, little changed from last year. What has changed is the kind of open source software being used. Use of open source operating systems, primarily Linux distributions, jumped to 61% from 48% in 2009.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • What the Pro-MS Office video does not say

      In addition, Microsoft is also slanting information to favor adoption of its office solution. I have heard several times that .docx is an ISO standard, just like .odt. That is simply not true. Basically, ISO approved .docx if certain changes were made to the format. This format version is called ISO/IEC 29500 “strict”. The reality is that neither Office 2007 nor Office 2010 can generate the ISO standardized “strict” format and Microsoft has not committed to implement it.

      The format that the company is using today is the version known as ISO/IEC 29500 “transitional”, which ISO determined was not to be used for the creation of new documents. In other words, it can never be the default format for saving new documents as it does not have the status of an international standard and, therefore, it should not be used for electronic transmission or storage of documents.

      This distinction is significant because official documents produced by government institutions, such as schools, have to be created following a principle of interoperability, which Microsoft has admitted not to follow with its default-save .docx.


  • Lillian McEwen breaks her 19-year silence about Justice Clarence Thomas

    For nearly two decades, Lillian McEwen has been silent — a part of history, yet absent from it.

    When Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment during his explosive 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing, Thomas vehemently denied the allegations and his handlers cited his steady relationship with another woman in an effort to deflect Hill’s allegations.

    Lillian McEwen was that woman.

  • Law Prof: Entire Supreme Court Should Decide Recusal Due to Activist Wife

    A Northwestern University law professor notes that Justice Clarence Thomas may find himself in a controversial position when the health-care reform issue reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, most likely in 2012.

    Thomas’ wife, Virginia Thomas, is a leading opponent of health care reform legislation that passed this spring, law professor Steven Lubet notes in a Chicago Tribune opinion column. A memo briefly posted at the Liberty Central website founded by Virginia Thomas called the law unconstitutional, and it had Virginia Thomas’ signature. The memo was later taken down; the group’s chief operating officer explained that Virginia Thomas had neither seen nor signed the memo, and it should not have been posted.

  • Supreme Court bolsters protection of media’s confidential sources

    The Supreme Court of Canada has endorsed the public need to shield whistleblowers and bolstered the ability of journalists in Quebec to protect confidential sources, a significant ruling for media rights in this country.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Buy Wikileaks’ founder a beer

      Closing Wikileaks and executing Julian Assange won’t change this. Hundreds of such sites will follow it, each with its own agenda. Files will be leaked to the darknet and find their way out in unexpected ways.

      The only cure for Wikileaks is to eliminate this medium. The only cure for this light is a return to the darkness.

      David would have you think Wikileaks is a bug that must be squashed. I disagree. It’s a feature that must be protected, whatever the cost.

  • Finance

    • Kansas reaches $800K settlement with Goldman Sachs

      The office of Kansas’ securities commissioner, Marc Wilson, announced Friday that the state has reached an $800,000 settlement with Goldman, Sachs & Co.

    • Hedge Fund Fraud Alleged in Connecticut

      Hedge fund manager Stephen Hicks used his two unregistered hedge fund advisory companies to defraud investors “in three different ways,” after taking millions of dollars from them, the SEC says. The agency sued Hicks, 52, of Ridgefield, Conn., and his companies, Southridge Capital Management and Southridge Advisors.

      The three defendants defrauded customers “in three different ways,” the SEC says in its federal complaint.

    • Tribune investors sue banks that arranged financing

      A group of investors in bankrupt Tribune Co sued JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch, Citicorp and Bank of America, claiming the banks arranged $3.7 billion in loans in 2007 they knew the company could never repay.

      “The Lead Banks knew that this financing was barred by the terms of the Credit Agreement and it was tainted with fraud and other misconduct,” said the lawsuit, which was filed late on Friday.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • A Web Pioneer Profiles Users by Name

      In the weeks before the New Hampshire primary last month, Linda Twombly of Nashua says she was peppered with online ads for Republican Senate hopeful Jim Bender.

      It was no accident. An online tracking company called RapLeaf Inc. had correctly identified her as a conservative who is interested in Republican politics, has an interest in the Bible and contributes to political and environmental causes. Mrs. Twombly’s profile is part of RapLeaf’s rich trove of data, garnered from a variety of sources and which both political parties have tapped.

    • FTC ends probe into Google’s Wi-Fi snooping

      The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has closed an investigation into Google Street View cars snooping into open Wi-Fi networks, with the agency declining to take action.

      Google’s announcement in May that its Street View cars mistakenly collected data from open Wi-Fi networks raised FTC concerns “about the internal policies and procedures that gave rise to this data collection,” wrote David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a Wednesday letter to Google.

    • HTTPS Everywhere is in Beta!

      HTTPS Everywhere is a Firefox extension produced as a collaboration between The Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It encrypts your communications with a number of major websites.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Prosecutors Seek to Block Xbox Hacking Pioneer From Mod-Chip Trial

      Want a live tutorial on how to hack an Xbox by the guy who actually wrote the book on it?

      If so, you should plan to attend what likely will be the nation’s first federal jury trial of a defendant accused of jailbreaking Xbox 360s — installing mod chips that allow the console to run pirated or home-brew games and applications.

      Celebrity geek Andrew “Bunnie” Huang, the designer of the Chumby and author of the 2003 title Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering, has agreed to testify for a southern California man charged under the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • How LimeWire’s Shutdown May Impact Urban Sustainability
      • LimeWire Today, and What’s in Store for the Future

        During this challenging time, we are excited about the future. The injunction applies only to the LimeWire product. Our company remains open for business.

      • ACTA

        • The Proposed New Copyright Crime of “Aiding and Abetting”

          The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has caused concern for many reasons, such as secret negotiations and controversial provisions. Today, more than 70 law professors sent a letter to President Obama asking that he “direct the [U.S. Trade Representative] to halt its public endorsement of ACTA and subject the text to a meaningful participation process that can influence the shape of the agreement going forward.”

          Despite this beneficial attention, one clause has slipped under the radar. Article 2.14 of ACTA would require participating nations to “ensure that criminal liability for aiding and abetting is available.”

          This liability would apply to parties that assist others in engaging in “willful . . . copyright . . . piracy on a commercial scale.” Such scale includes “commercial activities for direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage.” These terms are not defined in the agreement. As a result, it would appear that any activity that would give an “indirect” commercial advantage (including the downloading of a single copyrighted song) could lead to criminal liability.

Clip of the Day

MeeGo OS running on a Mobile phone

Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: October 31st, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 31/10/2010: SplashTop Updates, Salix KDE Releases, Debian Installer 6.0 @ Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 3:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • B3 Wi-Fi home server review

      Operating system Debian Squeeze-based ( kernel)
      Processor ARM 1.2GHz
      Memory 512MB DDR2-800
      Ports 2x USB 2.0 and one eSATA

    • High Performance Community

      Now consider the Open Source mantra “give a little, get a lot.” All the organizations benefit from the combined efforts and the cost is cheaper than if they were to go at it alone or try to create complex IP agreements among the interested parties. A fair sharing model based on copyright, like the GNU license, short circuits many of the traditional impediments to cooperation. In addition, you get this thing called “a community” around your project. Within this community are your beta-testers, developers, reviewers, first customers, and most importantly conversations about your project/product.

    • Chinese Supercomputer Blazes Path to Glory

      The Tianhe-1A has a Linpack benchmark performance of 2.507 petaflops, according to Nvidia. One petaflop is a thousand trillion instructions per second.

    • LPI Exam Labs with InWent/FOSSFA in Africa

      The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization, announced promotional exam labs for their Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) with the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA) on November 13, 2010 (Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya) and February 12, 2010 in South Africa (location to be announced). These exam labs are part of a larger “train-the-trainers” program jointly sponsored by FOSSFA and InWEnt Capacity Building International of Germany (InWEnt).

    • Should Servers Be Rebooted?

      Another exception is that some AIX systems need significant uptime, greater than a few weeks, to obtain maximum efficiency as the system is self tuning and needs time to obtain usage information and to adjust itself accordingly. This tends to be limited to large, seldom-changing database servers and similar use scenarios that are less common than other platforms.

      In IT we often worship the concept of “uptime” – how long a system can run without needing to restart. But “uptime” is not a concept that brings value to the business, and IT needs to keep the business’ needs in mind at all times rather than focusing on artificial metrics. The business is not concerned with how long a server has managed to stay online without rebooting – they only care that the server is available and ready when needed for business processing. These are very different concepts.

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung Android PMP open for pre-orders

      French online retailer Material.net has begun taking pre-orders for an Android portable media player (PMP) spinoff of Samsung’s Galaxy S phones. Aiming to compete head-on with Apple’s iPod Touch, the Samsung Galaxy Player 50 offers a 3.2-inch 400 x 240 pixel display, a two-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, and GPS.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Gentoo PAM developments

      You might remember that last time I stated that only two patches were applied on version 1.1.2. Well, this time around no patches are applied over the released Linux-PAM! This makes it the first version in five years that Gentoo is shipping without custom patches at all, and thus without needing re-building autotools. It is indeed a milestone for us.

    • Remember SplashTop? Here’s An Update On Them

      At the Consumer Electronics Show this year, DeviceVM launched SplashTop 2.0 with a redesign application dock, customization wizard, tailored themes, personalized packages, instant search, and other features. Previous to that the last time talking about SplashTop on Phoronix was when Lenovo began deploying SplashTop as QuickStart OS and then within the Phoronix Forums there were some users that hacked SplashTop to allow it to run on other devices from a USB device. During this time there’s also been the emergence of Phoenix HyperSpace as another instant-on Linux environment, and to a lesser extent, the once-popular gOS and Linpus Linux QuickOS.

    • New Releases

      • Salix KDE 13.1.2 releases are available!

        The Salix team is proud to announce the very first official release of Salix KDE edition. A collection of three KDE iso images are immediately available to our users, including 32-bit and 64-bit installation images as well as a live image that can be burned to a CD or used with a USB drive.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 13 sailing along

          As I said at the beginning of this entry, I’ll very likely spend at least a few more months in this Fedora 13 Xfce environment since it’s working so very well (and I’ve cranked through most of the configuration-related surprises and arrived at a pretty good place audio, video and suspend/resume-wise).

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Installer 6.0 Reaches Beta

        With the upcoming release of Debian Squeeze, the Debian Installer team has announced the first beta release of the Debian Installer 6.0. This version of the Debian Installer brings several fixes, package updates, and new features.

        Among the new capabilities of the Debian Installer 6.0 Beta 1 include the auto-selection of the kernel for the Sony PlayStation 3, recovery partitions for Microsoft Windows are properly recognized, support for new platforms, support for isohybrid images when using cdrom-detect/try-usb, the installer now looks for Debian firmware packages within the firmware/ folder on the installation media for bundling hardware firmware, hardware-specific packages are now installed automatically, and there’s improved localization.

      • Debian Installer 6.0 Beta1 release
      • Debian totally flies (rant on the general state of Linux and my laptop included)

        Debian is fast. It’s always been so. I’ve run Debian on a half-dozen different machines since I downloaded my first Etch installer in April 2007. At the time I had just started getting interested in Linux, and the release of Etch just happened to dovetail with my growing ability to grab ISOs and try them out on test machines. I eventually spent considerable time running both Etch and Lenny on both Intel (Pentium II, Celeron and VIA C3) and PowerPC (Mac G4) architectures. (I could never get Sarge onto my Sparcstation 20, not that I didn’t try. I still don’t have enough geek skills for that one.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Adoption of Unity is the Most Significant Change Ever for Ubuntu, Says Mark Shuttleworth

          It’s going to be Unity all the way for Ubuntu’s next major release codenamed Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”. During Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) at Florida, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced that the Unity shell will become Ubuntu’s default interface not just for netbook editions, but also for Ubuntu desktop editions.


          But our experience with Ubuntu Unity has not been good so far. While GNOME Shell was really easy to learn and adapt to(even the keyboard shortcuts work as you expect it to), Unity is no piece of cake yet. It’s not even stable in my Intel dual core Lenovo laptop.

        • Unity thoughts…..
        • Unity workspace mock-up; 4 workspace limit in Ubuntu 11.04

          In the above picture, the purple boxes represent workspaces. The user can also move windows among workspaces easily.

        • Generative wallpapers for Ubuntu: Game of Life

          We love the idea of Generative Wallpapers – self-updating ever-changing backgrounds – here on OMG! Ubuntu! and, seemingly, so do you!

        • Official Ubuntu Advert at Its Awesome Best!
        • Ubuntu 10.10 Release Forecasts Cloudy Skies Ahead

          I recently upgraded my trusty Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 netbook from Ubuntu Netbook remix version 10.04 to the recently released version 10.10. Canonical and the Ubuntu community have made some very significant changes to the user interface, but the changes were pretty intuitive, so they did not take a lot of getting used to. In this article, I will reveal some of the insights that I have had over the last several days using the latest Ubuntu, and how I think that Ubuntu is really going to help cloud computing become more popular.


          Ubuntu 10.10 is the best Ubuntu yet. It is clean, polished, user-friendly, and very functional.

        • Ubuntu Makes Private Clouds a Breeze

          The tools you use to accomplish this feat are all found on one simple platform: Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), which is found on Ubuntu Server. Using an Ubuntu Server 10.10 disc, I was able to install all of the software I needed within a half-hour’s time: and a chunk of that time was downloading the software I needed, including Ubuntu.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MontaVista Android platform targets single-Watt ARM11 SoCs

      MontaVista Software announced the availability of an Android reference platform for the Econa CNS3xxx ARM11-based processors manufactured by its parent company Cavium Networks. The reference platform offers support for on-chip hardware acceleration blocks, and integrates drivers for peripherals including Bluetooth, 802.11n, and touchscreens, says MontaVista.

    • Full of Little Bugs but not without potential – First impression of the OYO

      The new e-reader on the European block was just released…

    • Huawei S7 Android tablet review
    • Android DIY kit builds on BeagleBoard platform

      LiquidWare announced an open source hardware development platform for Android-based tablet or HMI devices. Designed for rapid prototyping, the DIY Android Modular Gadget Platform is based on modular hardware, including a 720MHz TI OMAP3530-based BeagleBoard, a 4.3-inch OLED touchscreen, and a “BeagleJuice” battery pack.

    • PandaBoard opens up Cortex-A9 SoC to developers

      Digi-key is shipping a 1080p-ready development board based on Texas Instruments’ Cortex-A9-based, dual-core, 1GHz OMAP4430 system-on-chip (SoC). The $174 “PandaBoard” offers 1GB of DRAM, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, DVI, and HDMI connections, and targets smartphone and mobile device development using open source Linux distributions such as Android, Angstrom, Chrome, MeeGo, and Ubuntu.

    • PogoPlug Biz Review: File Sharing and Remote Access

      Enter the PogoPlug Biz, which aims to be an alternative to cloud-based storage, file sharing or collaboration services; it builds on the capabilities of the consumer-focused PogoPlug with some added features that offer small businesses more flexibility and control over remote access and file sharing.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

      • Android

        • Firefox’s Android play

          The mobile version of Firefox was originally only available for the Nokia’s Maemo platform which is not in widespread use. Now there is a version for Android, the rapidly growing mobile OS from Google.

        • Desktop Linux is Dead, but Linux is Still the Future

          Even if the train has left now, I think this approach is clearly working in other areas in which Linux indeed is a success. Google doesn’t sell “Linux OS”. They sell “Android”, and when people talk about Android they barely even think of “Linux”, let alone the whole debate over whether the name refers only to the Glossary Link kernel or to an entire OS. By treating it as an independent brand of its own, not tied to the confused legacy of the Linux ecosystem with all its antics, Google made Android seem like a platform that stands on its own even while it is actually “Linux in disguise”.

        • 10 great Android apps

          There are around 90 000 apps in the Android marketplace. We suggest 10 worth looking at.

        • The Gingerbread Man Cometh

          There’s still a bit of confusion swirling around Gingerbread. It’s not yet clear whether the OS will be dubbed Android 2.3 or 3.0. Further, Gingerbread is reportedly more suited for tablets than smartphones.

        • Android Gingerbread Baking Design, Video Chat Goodies
        • ObamaBerry tech heading to Android phones

          Although initially available for Android, the underlying security solution, described in a newly available white paper, could be applied to other open source operating systems, such as Linux or Symbian, says OK Labs.

        • Freescale’s Cortex-A8 SoC jumps into Android phones

          Lumigon Corp. announced three Android 2.1 phones — the T1, S1, and E1 — touted as the first smartphones to use Freescale’s 1GHz i.MX51 system-on-chip. Meanwhile, the company also reported contributing to Ulysse Nardin’s Chairman, an Android handset that will start at over $13,000, and Freescale announced an Android evaluation kit for the i.MX51.

        • Asustek, Garmin ending joint smartphone development
        • 10 Tips for Tricking Out and Optimizing your Android Smartphone

          Make no mistake, Android devices are amazingly powerful and useful right out of the box. Still, if you are a newcomer to Google’s mobile operating system, you may find yourself quickly overwhelmed by the configuration and accessory options available to you. If you look at a lot of the advertising, the convenience and productivity gains that a smartphone brings to your daily activities will be about the unique mobile apps that you download and install. I’ve found that being a satisfied Android user is not just about the apps — settings, configuration and accessories can make an enormous difference. Here are 10 practical tips that will enhance your complete Android experience.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Asterisk SCF Goes for Scale in New Open Source VoIP Project

    The open source Asterisk project started off as an effort to be an on-premise IP-PBX. Over the years, demand for increasingly scalable and modular approaches for voice communications has grown, which is why a new Asterisk project is being announced this week.

    The Asterisk Scalable Communications Framework (SCF) is a new project sponsored by Digium that aims to build an open source VoIP system for large-scale deployments.

  • Asterisk 1.8 Secures Open Source VoIP

    The new Asterisk 1.8 release is intended to be supported for at least the next four years, as part of a new support model the project first discussed earlier this year. Asterisk 1.8 packs in a long list of new features, including reverse call display and integrated Google Voice support.

  • How Open Source Can Help Real People

    The success of open source is undeniable. Just about any website you visit today is running on some kind of open source software. Your shiny new Mac is running FreeBSD under its beautiful surface. Google uses open source software. So does Facebook. Yet if you mention open source software to most people, they probably will give you a blank look. Few non-technies know what it is, even though they use it countless times everyday.

  • OpenERP Makes Open Source Business Software Work

    OpenERP seems to be a rarity among open source business software companies. There are no special enterprise editions — open source and paying customers get the exact same software and features — yet the company has managed to turn a profit on services and hosted solutions.

    “Exactly the same software is available for both customers and downloads,” OpenERP COO Marc Laporte told eCRMguide. “We don’t have an enterprise edition.”

  • The Opening up of GSM

    Traditionally the development of GSM technology has been largely the reserve of GSM Association members and their partners, subcontractors and licensees. This was due in part to the complexity of GSM but perhaps also as a result of concerns over the legality of any entirely independent grassroots initiative. In addition it is quite likely that a fear of being perceived as a black hat hacker has played some part. However, the situation has started to change over the last few years and we are now seeing the opening up of GSM technology via a number of open source efforts.

  • Events

    • Mid-America GNU/Linux Networkers Conference Announced

      In an effort to bring Open Source education to America’s Heartland, a group of volunteers have teamed up to host the Mid-America GNU/Linux Networkers Conference on May 6-7, 2011. These dedicated volunteers have attended, spoken at and sponsored other similar events in far flung parts of the United States and the world, from Florida and California to The Netherlands and Australia.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Wants You to Build Your Own Browser

        Mozilla has officially revealed “Chromeless,” an experimental project by the Firefox creator that lets developers create their own browser interfaces using HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other web technologies.

  • SaaS

    • Building a Test Platform in the Cloud with Open Source Technologies

      Cloud computing, which aims to provide easy, scalable access to computing resources and IT services on demand, offers new possibilities for testing. A cloud-based test platform delivers automated scaling — up or down — of testing infrastructure, which overcomes many challenges of traditional test environments.

  • Oracle

    • Every end is a new beginning

      the past days and weeks here in the project were marked by sometimes heated discussions, about how we perceive the cooperation in the project and how we make this more willing and able. Unfortunately, this discussion has not always been objective, problem- and goal-oriented, as it would have been desirable, but sometimes very emotional.


      Oracle’s official response to the announcement of The Document Foundation was clear – Oracle will continue OpenOffice.org as usual. The result is now indeed the lately postulated conflict of interest for those community members who are in charge of or representing project, but to whom it is not enough “to continue working as we always did”. Although it has been stressed several times that there will be collaboration on a technical level, and changes are possible – there is no indication from Oracle to change it’s mind on the question of the project organization and management. For those who want to achieve such a change, but see no realistic opportunity within the current project and are therefore involved in the TDF, unfortunately this results in an “either / or” question.

      The answer for us who sign this letter is clear: We want a change to give the community as well as the software it develops the opportunity to evolve. For this reason, from now on we will support The Document Foundation and will – as a team – develop and promote LibreOffice. We hope that many are going to join us on this path.

    • My dream: Java SE on Android Linux

      Although the Oracle – Google Java lawsuit looks ugly, there is a possibility that something good comes out of it: full Java SE appications running on Android.

      That would be an awesome success for Oracle since it is by nature (steward of Java) interested in running Java applications in Android devices. Devices shipping with Android (tablets with dual-core ARM processor and 512Mb to 1 GB of RAM) are powerful enough to run full Java applications, even with Swing. Desktop applications are quite common in the enterprise space and would make Android devices very appealing in this segment. Especially in the tablet form factor.

    • SAP concedes role in pirating Oracle software, moves to shorten trial
  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Commons Prosperity by Sharing
    • [Blender] Yafaray Shaders Database

      So this database now has 18 shaders and several categories, and you can help it growing.

      The site is hosted at Yafaray Shaders Database. Feel free to browse it, download and test any shader you want. You can also upload some worth-posting shaders, if you’re proud of your Yafaray work !

  • Programming


  • Curiosity is banned at Westfield High

    Westfield High School in Fairfax County is one of the largest and most competitive public schools in America. It is not unusual that 180 sophomores enrolled in Advanced Placement World History this year, more students than most U.S. high schools have taking AP courses of any kind.

  • New York Judge rules 6-year-old can be sued

    A girl can be sued over accusations she ran over an elderly woman with her training bicycle when she was 4 years old, a New York Supreme Court justice has ruled.

  • Pressure group calls for TV licence boycott over S4C

    A Welsh-language pressure group is calling for people to refuse to pay the TV licence fee unless the independence of S4C is guaranteed.

    The Welsh Language Society is urging the action from 1 December unless plans for the BBC to take over part funding of the channel are stopped.


    The BBC will take over part-funding of S4C from 2013, with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport reducing its grant by 94% over the next five years.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Kernel vulnerabilities: old or new?
    • Metasploit Goes Pro for Security Testing
    • D.C. hacking raises questions about future of online voting

      For the upcoming election, Washington, D.C., was preparing to allow some voters to send their ballots in over the internet. It’s a good thing election officials tested the system first.

      Just two days after the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics opened the application for the public to experiment with this fall, the system was hacked. Unbeknownst to D.C. officials, a team of computer scientists from the University of Michigan took control of the Web site, and changed the code to make it play the school’s fight song.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP to link pay to safety after Gulf spill

      BP is to link staff bonuses just to improvements in safety standards in its fourth quarter, in an attempt to improve its reputation after the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

      Bob Dudley, BP’s new chief executive, announced the move in an email to employees seen by the Wall Street Journal. He said the sole criterion for judging performance in the fourth quarter would be “each business’s progress in reducing operational risks and achieving excellent safety and compliance standards”.

    • Drought brings Amazon tributary to lowest level in a century

      One of the most important tributaries of the Amazon river has fallen to its lowest level in over a century, following a fierce drought that has isolated tens of thousands of rainforest inhabitants and raised concerns about the possible impact of climate change on the region.

      The drought currently affecting swaths of north and west Amazonia has been described as the one of the worst in the last 40 years, with the Rio Negro or Black river, which flows into the world-famous Rio Amazonas, reportedly hitting its lowest levels since records began in 1902 on Sunday.

    • Nagoya biodiversity summit is showing depressing parallels with Copenhagen

      Without a deal on these issues, Brazil and other developing nations – which are home to most of the world’s natural capital – are holding up international efforts to establish a strategic plan to halt biodiversity loss by 2020.


      In other words, Nagoya is another ill-tempered bout between the global haves and wanna-haves in which the fiercest blows are landing on the natural world that both sides claim to be protecting.

    • India examines cost of mining more closely

      Citing the need to protect the environment and local residents, Indian courts and government bodies have started blocking – or even cancelling – a growing number of industrial projects. Last month the high court in Madras ordered the closure of a copper smelter operated by the London-listed mining conglomerate Vedanta, to protect “mother nature” from “unabated air and water pollution”.

    • Borneo’s majestic rainforest is being killed by the timber mafia

      The cows are afloat, with squawking chickens sharing their sturdy bamboo rafts. Children splash and swim in and around their homes, keeping away from the deeper channel of peat-coloured water that powers through the village of Meliau. Adults tightrope-walk across makeshift paths of hardwood thrown over huge floating logs. Others paddle around in long wooden boats. Everything that floats is lashed to everything that doesn’t.

    • Rare scaled mammal threatened by traditional medicine

      An unprecedented haul of records from wildlife smugglers in Borneo has revealed the scale of the illegal trade in pangolins. They show that between May 2007 and December 2008, the smugglers bought at least 22,200 endangered Sunda pangolins, or spiny anteaters, and nearly a tonne of their scales, for export.

      By contrast, local police seized only 654 illegally shipped pangolins between 2001 and 2008. A report on the smugglers’ records from Traffic, the group that monitors wildlife trade for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), says that this “raises serious concerns for the continued survival of the species”.

    • Seed saver with a germ of an idea

      Despite training as a nuclear physicist at an elite Mumbai research reactor and then gaining a PhD in quantum physics from a top overseas university, Shiva switched to environmental activism.

      “I went from nuclear science to quantum physics and then to being a natural philosopher,” she says. “I would describe my vocation as a combination of natural philosopher – the old, old notion of trying to understand nature in all the complexity, which is the original form of science – and as a protector of the Earth.”

      Shiva’s attempts to protect the Earth have brought her into regular conflict with big corporations, especially those patenting genetically engineered seeds.

  • Finance

    • Book by PM’s economic advisor wins award

      The book looks at the hard choices that will prevent another recession like the one in 2008, following the financial collapse of 2007.

    • Benefits cut, rents up: this is Britain’s housing time bomb

      At last the Tories have a final solution for the poor – send them to distant dumping grounds where there are no jobs

    • Pakistan’s feudalism boosts Taliban cause

      Millions of peasants, who in many places work as virtual slaves, have long demanded reform, but to no avail.

      “It’s to reduce the wide disparity of income and opportunity between rich landlords and poor tillers of the soil and to maximise the agriculture output,” said Farooq Sattar, a mover of the bill and leader of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) that dominates the politics of the commercial hub of Karachi.

      Tenants in Pakistan work the land for no pay because of debts owed to landlords, often incurred generations before.

    • Vodafone shops blockaded in tax protest

      Campaigners claiming Vodafone has been let off an unpaid tax bill of £6bn spent the day blockading several shops.

      Campaigner Ed Brompton said: “This money – £6bn – could be spent on schools, housing and hospitals.”

      But a Vodafone spokesman denied the tax bill reports, adding: “We pay our taxes in the UK and all of the other countries in which we operate.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Joe Miller Security Guards Handcuff & Detain ‘Alaska Dispatch’ Editor (VIDEO)

      Security guards for Alaska senate candidate Joe Miller handcuffed and detained the editor of the online magazine “Alaska Dispatch” on Sunday while he tried to interview the Republican nominee, according to multiple reports.

    • The Tea Party movement: deluded and inspired by billionaires

      The Tea Party movement is remarkable in two respects. It is one of the biggest exercises in false consciousness the world has seen – and the biggest Astroturf operation in history. These accomplishments are closely related.

      An Astroturf campaign is a fake grassroots movement: it purports to be a spontaneous uprising of concerned citizens, but in reality it is founded and funded by elite interests. Some Astroturf campaigns have no grassroots component at all. Others catalyse and direct real mobilisations. The Tea Party belongs in the second category. It is mostly composed of passionate, well-meaning people who think they are fighting elite power, unaware that they have been organised by the very interests they believe they are confronting. We now have powerful evidence that the movement was established and has been guided with the help of money from billionaires and big business. Much of this money, as well as much of the strategy and staffing, were provided by two brothers who run what they call “the biggest company you’ve never heard of”.

      Charles and David Koch own 84% of Koch Industries, the second-largest private company in the United States. It runs oil refineries, coal suppliers, chemical plants and logging firms, and turns over roughly $100bn a year; the brothers are each worth $21bn. The company has had to pay tens of millions of dollars in fines and settlements for oil and chemical spills and other industrial accidents. The Kochs want to pay less tax, keep more profits and be restrained by less regulation. Their challenge has been to persuade the people harmed by this agenda that it’s good for them.

    • Leading scientists accuse thinktanks of being logging lobbyists

      Twelve leading scientists, including the former head of Kew Gardens and the biodiversity adviser to the president of the World Bank, have written an open letter accusing two international thinktanks of “distortions, misrepresentations, or misinterpretations of fact” in their analysis and writings about rainforests and logging.

    • EU food safety chief forced to quit GM lobby role

      Questions raised over why European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) chair Diana Banati failed to make clear her connections to International Life Science Institute (ILSI), which advises biotech giants like Monsanto, Bayer and BASF

      A key figure in charge of food safety within the EU has been forced to quit her director role at a pro-GM group.

      European Green MEPs had called for EFSA chair Diana Banati’s resignation after she had failed to disclose her seat on the board of directors of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI), which advises biotech corporations including Monsanto, Bayer and BASF.

    • Distorting Irish History, the stubborn facts of Kilmichael: Peter Hart and Irish Historiography

      The Newfoundland historian Peter Hart, who died recently at the age of 46, stimulated a debate on sectarianism within Irish nationalism and on the nature and conduct of the Irish War of Independence (WoI). He provoked controversy and subsequent research that has helped to clarify differences over the interpretation not only of Irish history but also of Irish society. Professor Paul (now Lord) Bew of Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), said of Hart’s landmark The IRA and its Enemies (OUP, 1998), ‘The first work on the Irish revolution which can stand comparison with the best of the historiography of the French Revolution: brilliantly documented, statistically sophisticated, and superbly written’.[1] The weight of academic opinion afforded Hart numerous prizes and plaudits.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • YouTube removes video on torture of Papuans

      The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | A four-minute video depicting Indonesian soldiers torturing Papuan separatists has been removed from YouTube because of its “shocking and disgusting content.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Linutop OS 4.0, custom Ubuntu for web-kiosks

Credit: TinyOgg

Microsoft’s Lock-in Tricks Decrease Rather Than Increase Microsoft’s Market Share

Posted in DRM, Europe, Microsoft, Standard at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“DRM is the future.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Summary: Microsoft’s insistence on ignoring international standards and limiting access is hurting adoption of its very own software rather than have the intended effect, which is to impede migration to competitors or to pressure for upgrades

THE British Government chooses to stay at risk with Internet Explorer 6, as we mentioned back in July and well into August when arguments about it began. The British public started demanding that the government no longer stays one decade behind with a rusty Web browser. The good news is that “Home Office does u-turn on Internet Explorer 6″ and the bad news is that they stay stuck with Internet Explorer:

A government department has abandoned browsing policy by deciding to upgrade its machines from Internet Explorer 6 to IE8.

The UK government has received severe criticism from many security companies for sticking to IE6 – a now non-supported Microsoft browser which is considered insecure.

A Home Office representative confirmed to TechEye today that it will upgrade to Internet Explorer 8, although the department gave no indication when the move will happen.

They should at least offer the option of Free/libre software like Firefox or as Glyn Moody put it, “great; now let’s have Firefox as an option” (remark is from Identi.ca and a fellow Identi.ca user from Romania responded by saying that it’s “strict policies and bureaucracy! Here, people would install whatever browser (or version) they want, without even asking”).

The UK is an exceptional case because the British public sector is still overwhelmingly tied to the US, just like in a lot of English-speaking nations. It is an issue that spans a wide range of institutions we covered here before (even defunct ones like BECTA). Last week it was the British Library (BL) that got another good spanking from Dr. Glyn Moody, whose memory of the BL’s services to the Microsoft monopoly (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]) was recalled in this post about locking down knowledge that belongs to the British public.

The British Library was also heavily involved in the formalisation of Microsoft’s OOXML, providing the vice-chairman for the original TC45 Office Open XML group (that is, OOXML). The convenor of the much-contested ISO meeting that finally approved OOXML, Alex Brown, is also linked with the British Library:

Alex Brown is convenor of the ISO/IEC DIS 29500 Ballot Resolution Process, and has recently been elected to the panel to advise the British Library on how to handle digital submission of journal articles.

Interestingly, Brown now seems to view the OOXML standard in a somewhat different light:

In short, we find ourselves at a crossroads, and it seems to me that without a change of direction the entire OOXML project is now surely heading for failure.

Which makes the British Library’s support for Microsoft’s format even more problematic.

But the real problem with the British Library is not just this technical short-sightedness. There is a far deeper issue that goes to the heart of what a research library is for. This can be seen most clearly from the existence of the “Business and IP Centre” at the British Library, where we are told:

Intellectual property (IP) can help you protect your ideas and make money from them.

Our resources and workshops will guide you through the four types of intellectual property: patents, trade marks, registered designs and copyright.

Now, recall that “IP” is just a polite name for time-limited, state-enforced intellectual monopolies. These are fundamentally and inherently about limiting people’s access to various kinds of knowledge. They are diametrically opposed to the stated role of the British Library, whose exhortation to visitors to its home page is: “Explore the world’s knowledge.”

Glyn Moody later pointed out that “publishers haven’t got a clue” because of this new British article about DRM:

For libraries facing dwindling borrowers and brutal budget cuts, the ebook seems to offer an irresistible opportunity to reel in new readers and retain old ones too busy or infirm to visit during opening hours.

A third of libraries across the country have embraced the new technology, allowing members to check out electronic literature without setting foot in the building.

But following abuse of the system – with China-based readers attempting to circumnavigate copyright laws by joining British libraries and plundering their virtual collections for free – publishers have now threatened to prevent libraries from accessing ebooks. It’s a move described by one library boss as “regressive” at a time when they are trying to innovate as they fight for survival.

Cheryl McKinnon in the Red Hat-led Web site opensource.com calls it Dark Ages 2.0 when “long-term preservation, provenance, and accessibility of digital content” is simply ignored, as we already find in the BL. Cheryl concludes by writing:

I hope this recent piece in opensource.com on the importance of open standards will be an ongoing discussion theme, as open source and open standards together provide one of the few realistic solutions to this escalating problem of digital preservation. The content management technology field, where I’ve spent most of my career, needs to escalate this debate. In a space currently dominated by proprietary technologies, managing the long-term preservation, provenance, and accessibility of digital content is often downplayed or ignored.

Going back to Internet Explorer lock-in, Mr. Pogson says that “Lock-in Is Double-edged Sword” as “IE6 addiction throws monkey wrench into Windows 7 migration” and: [via Slashdot]

Enterprises addicted to Microsoft’s nine-year-old Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) browser are having a tough time migrating to Windows 7, an analyst said today.

No wonder Vista 7 is having a tough time in businesses (no matter what Microsoft says). Another blogger says that Internet Explorer 6 is “Another Case of Microsoft Shooting Itself In The Foot”. Basically, a lot of enterprise simply cannot and will not leave Windows XP because of Internet Explorer 6.

The Gartner Group says that Windows is losing market share and as Matt Asay (Canonical COO) explained this before he pinged me about it, “Microsoft is selling more Windows (desktop), but losing market share in terms of units shipped and total”:

Sure – in absolute numbers, Microsoft is clearly selling more copies of Windows as the number of PC users in the world continues to increase. But when looking at market share, Windows is losing market share. The drop in market share may seem small, but when you are talking about hundreds of millions of machines installed worldwide, every tenth of a point of market percentage drop is a large number.

IDG’s Gregg Keizer has just published “Enterprises: We’ll run Windows XP even after retirement”:

Nearly half of the companies still using the nine-year-old Windows XP plan to keep running the aged OS even after Microsoft withdraws its support in 2014, a research analyst said today.

“IT just really, really likes the XP operating system,” said Diane Hagglund, a senior analyst at Dimensional Research, which recently surveyed more than 950 IT professionals about their Windows and Microsoft Office adoption plans. “They say it’s just that good, and don’t want to mess with it.”

Then there’s this interesting new statistic: [via]

Forty-nine per cent will deploy Office 2010 on a version of Windows other than Windows 7, released a year ago by Microsoft. Users are split on whether to upgrade from Windows XP: 47 per cent said they’d upgrade to Office 2010 when Windows XP’s support is discontinued — in April 2014 — while 48 per cent said they’d soldier on using Windows XP even without support.

Here is what happens to people who buy a laptop and expect to have Windows on it:

…if I wanted the OS installed, I had to pony up $130.

Welcome to the crazy world of proprietary software. No wonder Android is getting so popular, and not just on handsets anymore.

In summary, Microsoft has attempted to lock people in by deviation from standards, but in turn it also shoots its own foot because people cannot upgrade to other versions of the same software from Microsoft (because it attempts to correct things by better conforming and complying with standards). It not only affects Internet Explorer (which continues to lose market share rather than ever gain any) but it also harms adoption of Vista 7. Microsoft got served for its own bad behaviour.

US Government Wrestles With Patent Dilemmas

Posted in Finance, Patents at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Temple with blue sky

Summary: Patents on life are challenged by the federal government while NASA (mis)uses public money to make and trade software patents

THE Obama government is in a position where it must serve the public and not worry about shareholders of its own (or increase internal levels of work like the USPTO does), so it finally decided to look into the dilemma of gene patents and the outcome was reasonable. “U.S. Says Genes Should Not Be Eligible for Patents,” reports the New York Times (a very government-friendly publication):

Reversing a longstanding policy, the federal government said on Friday that human and other genes should not be eligible for patents because they are part of nature. The new position could have a huge impact on medicine and on the biotechnology industry.

Software patents too ought to be brought to the government for more independent scrutiny. They are controversial and very harmful as well (many patent trolls use them). Glyn Moody says that “the software patent rot begins to spread” as he points to this news from London:

As a result of the mixture of ‘technical’ and ‘non-technical’ features in the claimed invention, the Board took into account the type of analysis normally carried out for computer-implemented inventions. The applicant argued that the mathematical parts of the claim contributed to the technical effect of the invention, and should therefore be taken into account when assessing inventive step. The opponent, however, argued that the mathematical parts “did not require any further technical considerations” and were to be disregarded in the assessment of inventive step.

So, bioinformatics too are now harmed by software patents. Time for the Obama government to weigh in?

Sadly, the government too is biased. It knows that patents are a tool of power and leverage over other countries. Right now it goes further and does something controversial with NASA (which we occasionally bring up due to its relationship with Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]).

“[T]he public paid for these software patents from NASA and now they could go to patent trolls who attack the public.”“NASA to hold auction for automated software development patents,” says ZDNet.com (also in ZDNet UK), but the public paid for these software patents from NASA and now they could go to patent trolls who attack the public. This makes no sense. This news got covered in this press release and then mentioned by many news sites [1, 2, 3] including some from IDG [1, 2]. The Sun Herlald says: “NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center is auctioning an exclusive license to five patents for automated software development on November 11, 2010. The patents encompass a new method for automatically creating software code which is verifiably equivalent to user requirements specified in natural language, graphic formats, or other formats with a known semantic structure.”

Patents are a form of weapon used to protect a monopoly. Has NASA begun producing such weapons at taxpayers’ expense? If so, what does that say about the government’s priorities? NASA should invent, not patent and sell patents (which is a waste of time and effort, leading to increased market risk). Those Teflon fairy tales won’t be enough to guarantee NASA future funding; neither will patent zealotry.

With Software Patents “Microsoft Claims to Own the Whole Field of Syncing E-mail Between a Cloud and a Device.”

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, IBM, Mail, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 5:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ActiveSync logo joke

Summary: Microsoft’s sick strategy of pointing at other people’s code and claiming it to be its own (because of software patents) is revisited, Apple’s new anti-Linux lawsuit is analysed further, and IBM’s general response gets analysed too

LAST NIGHT we wrote about Apple's lawsuit against Motorola for its Linux-powered phones. Feedback in Identi.ca about this post was okay, but in Twitter the site was told off for not discussing Motorola’s lawsuit against Apple. For those who are new to this landscape, here is an older bunch of mobile patent lawsuits maps. It has become hard to keep track without one. After some discussion it was almost agreed that, even as a Microsoft-sympathetic mobbyist put it, “Motorola vs. Apple was a preemptive strike.” According to what we learned, maybe Nokia too sued Apple preemptively. Dana Blankenhorn, who entertains the ideas that Microsoft and VMware are the main companies/parties who matter in Fog Computing (it is easily disputable as several others cannot be realistically counted out) and would fight like Novell and Microsoft once did (VMware may soon buy SUSE), also wrote this new post about the “smartphone patent thicket”. He correctly pointed out that:

…Microsoft claims to own the whole field of syncing e-mail between a cloud and a device. NTP claims to own the whole idea of wireless e-mail.

How does this spur innovation? It doesn’t. You’re patenting the idea of killing mice. We can’t create a better mousetrap until your patent expires, and then we’re stuck with the first new patent to hit the door.

In a sane world of software patents, you patent your implementation of wireless e-mail, or e-mail sync. You publish your code and if someone goes at it in the same way, they know they’re infringing. The code is the design, and if you aren’t willing to publish that through the patent office it should be no patent for you.

There is this new post which takes an FSF (Free Software Foundation) perspective and concludes as follows: “Software patents are the cancer of the industry. It’s a big claim to make, I know, but how much longer will it take for governments to wake up and fix the problem? I encourage everyone to join in the fight by contributing to the End Software Patents wiki, and by helping organizations like the Free Software Foundation encourage governments to abolish patents.” The FFII, whose approach is similar, has found this very recent post from IBMIP.com (IBM intellectual monopolies) and it wonders:

IBM going to revive peer2patent?

Peer-to-Patent had a bit of a resurrection just days before that. Like OIN, this project is a legitimiser of software patents and thus not a permanent solution (hardly even a temporary one). A few days ago we found NBS Technologies getting a “Canadian patent for smart card personalization,” according to this press release:

NBS believes that this patent recognizes NBS as a clear leader in the Canadian marketplace for smart card personalization. NBS holds many software patents for card issuance and card production equipment in several countries throughout the world.

This is a Canadian company and not a patent troll. Why does Canada grant monopolies on algoritms? There is a bit of a debate about it these days [1, 2, 3, 4]. Regardless, Canadian software companies sometimes get granted software patents. One of these is conveniently and famously threatening Microsoft’s cash cash, but it’s no reason to be sympathetic towards Microsoft (which deliberately took the idea of the patent holder, i4i, and then used it to bury the company).

“What we’re seeing though now can be loosely described as patent terrorism, where people are using their patent horde as a threat [...] It’s almost like a cold war stand over tactic; where I have these patents and if you breach these patents, I’m going to come after you and sue you.”

James Eagleton, systems product manager for Sun Microsystems


IRC Proceedings: October 30th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

When Life of a Patent is the Death of a Person

Posted in Patents at 5:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: News about controversial patents on genes, life-saving drugs, and TRIPS in ACTA

THIS post presents some news where patents are a matter of life and death.

US Government Argues in Court that Isolated Genes are Unpatentable (patents on genes were also covered in [1, 2])

In March, 2010, District Court Judge Robert Sweet held Myriad’s gene patent claims invalid for failing to satisfy the subject matter eligibility requirements of 35 U.S.C. 101. The ruling was directed toward claims that cover particular isolated DNA molecules (genes) and processes of detecting and screening for those genes, but was written broadly enough to essentially invalidate all patents covering genes that were isolated from an organism.


Thus, the patent laws embrace gene replacement therapies, engineered biologic drugs, methods of modifying the properties of plants or generating biofuels, and similar advanced applications of biotechnology. Crossing the threshold of section 101, however, requires something more than identifying and isolating what has always existed in nature, no matter how difficult or useful that discovery may be.

Big Pharma Stranglehold: Thwarting India As Independent Maker Of Blockbuster HIV Drugs? (“neocolonialism kills AIDS,” remarks Dr. Glyn Moody)

Until recently, the pharmaceutical giants were little interested in the developing world, while looking almost exclusively to the profitable United States and European markets. But now, their momentum is substantially slowing down there mainly due to stiff costs to renew product pipelines, generic competition, recent economic downturn and cost-conscious government and commercial payers. Additionally, over the next five years, drug companies will lose patent protection of products worth US$140 billion in yearly sales [1]. As a result, the brand industry is increasingly looking to the emerging markets of fast-growing middle-income countries (including India, China, Venezuela, Brazil, South Africa, South Korea, Indonesia, Colombia, Egypt, Vietnam and Turkey) where a number of well-off elites, who can afford out-of-pocket spending (about 300 million people in India, at least 800 million in China), now live. Expanding middle classes in such countries are not only spending more on healthcare, but their rising wealth is contributing to increased rates of chronic diseases once limited to the western markets. Without counting that, sales of prescription drugs are forecast to wane in the United States as an effect of new health-care legislation that could lower the price of medicines. This is adding pressure on drug makers’ US businesses.


Cheap brand and branded generics to rural India

Now that big pharma industry is pushing forward its breakthrough in India, the acquisitions of local firms, as just mentioned, have resulted in a multi-pronged, deeply profitable strategy wherein the impact of lower prices applied to end products is offset by taking advantage of the lower manufacturing, distribution and marketing costs in the country.

Until recently, the brand companies doing drug business in emerging economies have focused mostly on the wealthy and middle class. Now, they are turning also to the “bottom of the pyramid” and are conducting an exercise in how to cut prices down to seduce poorer customers and rural villagers in India while still turning a profit. To this aim, nearly all companies have boosted their sales forces (as an example, Abbott now employs approximately 10,000 people across all of its country businesses) [8]. Reportedly, these pitchmen are fanning out in rural India, where they train doctors and patients also hoping to capitalise on a $19.5 billion Indian public healthcare programme for 742 million villagers [10].

In short, the multinational companies are selling some branded treatments to Indian customers at lower-than-Western prices, while licensing cheap therapies from local firms (the so-called branded generics) to build portfolios of low-cost medicines [4]. Through the branded generics (90 percent of drug sales), the multinationals are deeply involved in the current rise of India’s pharmaceutical market [11]. It comes as no surprise that in countries where generic drugs may frequently be substandard or fake, selling generics under the brand of a leading enterprise can look to doctors and patients as a more trustworthy and reliable option. The branded generics market is generating nearly $8 billion in pharmaceutical sales this year, a figure that is expected to more than double by 2015 [11].

USTR positions in China WTO TRIPS dispute at odds with talking points on ACTA flexibility (“ACTA: Brazil, Ecuador and India made interventions on ACTA at WTO TRIPS Council,” summarises ThiruGeneva in this first part of Knowledge Ecology International coverage on ACTA in USTR, Brazil, and India)

In a dispute between the United States and Canada over the enforcement of intellectual property rights, Article 1.1 of the TRIPS played an important role. See: WTO DISPUTE DS362, China — Measures Affecting the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.

In the US/China WTO dispute, the USTR took the position that parties have an obligation to “give effect to the provisions of the Agreement,” and that “Article 1.1 deals with the method by which a Member implements TRIPS Agreement obligations, not whether or to what extent a Member should implement them in the first place.”

One United States pleading in this dispute mentioned Article 1.1 of the TRIPS 15 times…

Brazilian intervention at TRIPS Council: ACTA

Extracts of India’s Intervention to the WTO TRIPS Council: ACTA (bricking BRIC)

On Wednesday, 27 October 2010, the WTO TRIPS Council held its annual review of the Paragraph 6 System. IP-Watch has a link to the detailed program of the annual review. This annual review of the Paragraph 6 system lasted till around 8 PM Geneva time. More details of this closed door meeting will be provided in due course. Sources close to the negotiations indicate that Canada provided a comprehensive overview of its implementation of the Paragraph 6 system, Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR). Rwanda was not present at this review; neither was Ghana, a country which has tried unsuccessfully to make use of Paragraph 6. After 8 PM, the TRIPS Council resumed and certain Members took the floor to discuss ACTA. Here are some key extracts from the intervention made by India yesterday concerning ACTA.

TRIPS Council Discusses Efficacy Of ACTA, Public Health Amendment (for more on ACTA and TRIPS see this video which slams TRIPS [1, 2, 3, 4])

ACTA “completely bypasses the existing multilateral processes provided in particular by the WTO and WIPO” as well as providing for much higher level enforcement than called for under TRIPS, India said in prepared remarks. It is already doing so with a “startling” decision to overturn a decision of the WTO dispute settlement on a US-China dispute over counterfeiting and copyright piracy (IPW, WTO/TRIPS, 26 January 2010), India said. ACTA reinterprets the definition of “commercial scale” to mean “any activity carried out for a direct or indirect economic or commercial advantage” while the WTO recently determined that it meant a particular level of activity, the statement said.

As “ACTA members account for about 70% of world trade,” there is a risk the agreement will “undermine trade liberalisation when there already are several threats to the multilateral trading system in the form of trade protectionist measures in wake the of the economic crisis and a simmering currency issue,” India added. For this reason, India requested that “Enforcement Trends” be discussed at this TRIPS Council meeting, despite having a position in the past that enforcement should not be a permanent TRIPS agenda item, they said.


A WTO source said ACTA parties largely argued the agreement “does not affect TRIPS and that action is needed to tackle the real dangers arising from counterfeit products such as medicines and spare parts.”

Drugs counterfeiting prevention has had ACTA misused to push for draconian copyright law, under the guise of saving lives.

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