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10.04.10

Entryism Watch: Yahoo! Keeps Being Abducted by Microsoft Executives, HP Cancels Android Projects After CEO Appointment From SAP

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, HP, Microsoft, Novell, Search, SLES/SLED, VMware at 11:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Troy wall
Site of the Trojan War

Summary: The more Microsoft executives enter other companies, the less committed those companies become to projects that use GNU/Linux and the more receptive they become to other Microsoft veterans (friend brings a friend)

Entryism is much cheaper than buying an entire company (rather than taking over it from the inside). Entryism is usually a zero-cost means of converting a rival into an ally, with examples that in Microsoft’s case include Novell, Corel, Xandros, and XenSource. One of the most recent examples is VMB_Ware, which now wants to buy SUSE. VM_Bware is filled with former Microsoft executives at the top. Other ongoing cases of entryism appear to be Yahoo!, Nokia, and HP. These are the ones we deal with in this post.

Microsoft’s multi-year shakedown of Yahoo! has had Yahoo! hijacked by Microsoft from the inside. We documented this in many dozens of posts since 2008. What usually happens is that old Yahoo! managers leave or get expelled, only to be replaced by managers from Microsoft. It becomes like a Microsoft alumni reunion inside the newly-conquered company, whose old logo and name remain even though the agenda is different.

Many top managers are fleeing Yahoo!, still.

Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) is finally confirming the departure of a trio of top executives, including Americas head Hilary Schneider. In a just-filed statement with the SEC, Yahoo says Schneider will “be leaving after a transition period.” And, in a statement provided to us, the company says it expects to appoint Schneider’s successor by year-end.

Yahoo is also confirming that SVP of audience, mobile and local David Ko and Yahoo Media Head Jimmy Pitaro are both also leaving. The company isn’t saying why, but Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz says in a memo sent to staff (via AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher) that all three are leaving for “different reasons that suit their life.”

Here are the terms of Schneider’s departure from Yahoo! [via Joseph Tartakoff] and here is indication of more of this exodus (“Yahoo In Disarray: Schneider, Ko, Pitaro All Reportedly Leaving”). There is more coming later today, based on the now-AOL-owned TechCrunch. The third paragraph is quite revealing:

Yahoo is in shambles right now. You’ve likely already heard about the most recent SVP exits, which CEO Carol Bartz has tried to spin. Now we’ve heard another one is leaving as well — Jeff Kinder, the SVP of Media Products and Solutions. And you know what that means — time for a massive re-org at the top of Yahoo. Yes, again.

Based on what we’re hearing, this re-org will take place next Tuesday. Of course, us reporting on this means that it could possibly be moved (as has happened in the past with Yahoo deals), but as of right now that’s the plan.

Based on what we’re hearing Yahoo Chief Product Officer Blake Irving may be the big winner of this re-org, as he’s been seen as the rising star in the company. Word is that he’ll be bringing some of his old Microsoft chums in to join him in high-up positions at this new-look Yahoo.

So, according to this, the Microsoft VP who became Yahoo Chief Product Officer “may be the big winner of this re-org, as he’s been seen as the rising star in the company. Word is that he’ll be bringing some of his old Microsoft chums in to join him in high-up positions at this new-look Yahoo.”

Yahoo! is making it all quite stealthy. Joseph Tartakoff, who has been somewhat of a Microsoft watcher (especially in the past) and a Yahoo! watcher more recently, writes: “So, if this report of another Yahoo SVP leaving is true … umm … why didn’t Yahoo announce his departure with the others yesterday?”

He also says: “Like, if Yahoo announced it, then people would cover that. Instead, people are being forced to write all these analysis pieces.”

“It seems like Yahoo is just asking for yet ANOTHER story about how top people are leaving the company in droves”
      –Joseph Tartakoff
The rants go on as he argues: “It seems like Yahoo is just asking for yet ANOTHER story about how top people are leaving the company in droves”

“But instead it seems we’ll have another week of stories about all the troubles at Yahoo,” he adds.

Lastly, says Tartakoff, “Yahoo will continue to leave their external PR/messaging to bloggers instead of taking control of it themselves.”

Microsoft is having problems and suffering many notable departures too (cannot be good for orientation); the issue is that these departing executives help Microsoft occupy some of its direct competition, due in part to HR mistakes. The thing about these seniors is that they land inside other companies and in the case of the mobile, entertainment, and Office businesses, we already see the negative impact. Microsoft appears to be poisoning Nokia these days, as we covered in:

Chips B. Malroy alerts us that following the latest news about SAP inside HP [1, 2] there are signs that HP is indeed losing some of its Linux direction, just like Yahoo! and Nokia. “If the headline is true,” wrote Malroy in IRC, “this is what Roy has been saying.” The headline says “HP Officially Drops Plans For Android Phones and Tablets” and here is a portion from the article:

The decision isn’t surprising, particularly as HP already announced it had no plans to make a phone running Windows Phone 7. However, the company still plans to sell that slate that Steve Ballmer was waving around back at a CES in January. Albeit, only business customers will see that still-unnamed slate.

This — combined with the lawsuits from Microsoft (against Android) — may lead to all sorts of conclusions or at least speculations. There was a lot more discussed in IRC (some parts to appear tomorrow as it went on past midnight). To quote some portions, Malroy said that “it looks like HP is only doing one Windows tablet” and Ziomatrix replied by saying that “it’s only logical considering [that] if the new CEO proclaimed to not use acquired Palm assets for future projects that’s worth $1.2B, the BoD would have him thrown out faster then you can say sexual harassment.

“I as well as other analysts foresee the new CEO forging a deeper relationship between SAP and MS in enterprise packages while competing more fervently with the likes of Oracle…”
      –Ziomatrix
“HP as an OEM has plenty of room to continue to accommodate MS products in PCs and Enterprise. I as well as other analysts foresee the new CEO forging a deeper relationship between SAP and MS in enterprise packages while competing more fervently with the likes of Oracle, like this: http://tinyurl.com/2c8wudg Perhaps we’ll be surprised, don’t forget most of the folks who re-vitalized Palm came from Apple and they wanted to be as un-Apple as possible as far as software openness is concerned.”

“We are at the point where computer tech is changing at a faster rate and it becomes increasingly harder for Microsoft to hide both it’s failures and it’s decline,” Malroy remarked later on and Ziomatrix responded with the claim that “perhaps this is the start of HP wanting to assemble an executive dreamteam to pen a strategy that will take them on their own path with exclusively their own assets such as Pheonix or HP-UX 11i+. One can dream…”

¿Por qué importan libertades civiles – una carta abierta a la administración de Obama

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software at 10:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spanish flagTranslation by Eduardo Landaveri – see the English (original) version

EN una entrevista reciente con la revista Rolling Stone, usted ha hablado del compromiso de esta administración a los derechos civiles al mismo tiempo que insultar la inteligencia de los que se refieren a las libertades civiles. Este es el registro real de las administraciones a las libertades civiles, un disco que es en realidad peor que la anterior, que es a la vez claramente inexcusable e irresponsable peligrosamente.

“Otras acciones de este gobierno hacer explícito su deseo de revertir la práctica institucional de la presunción de inocencia y sustituirla por la presunción de culpabilidad”.

El movimiento de derechos civiles que se habló, y como lo reconocen hoy en día, no habría sido posible sin las libertades civiles. Si bien las leyes fueron claramente abusiva para tratar de suprimir ese movimiento, los esfuerzos fracasaron en gran parte porque los Estados Unidos en el momento de la comisión institucional de los principios básicos esenciales legales que incluyen la privacidad, la libertad de expresión y asociación, el debido proceso y la presunción de inocencia. Aunque cada uno de estos principios jurídicos fundamentales ha sido cuestionada de forma reversible por la administración Bush, es el departamento de justicia que ha trabajado incansablemente para hacer esas transgresiones temporales se convierten en una parte permanente y duradera de la ley orgánica de los Estados Unidos.

Tal vez la mayoría de la gente piensa de las declaraciones más dramáticas de su gobierno a las libertades civiles, como hizo valer el derecho a la meta para los ciudadanos estadounidenses en el extranjero asesinato del capricho y la declaración de un funcionario de gobierno por sí solo. Esto no es lo más importante, y ciertamente no por mucho, la única amenaza para las libertades civiles hoy su administración se ha comprometido pulgadas Otras medidas importantes son los esfuerzos de los Estados Unidos Departamento de Justicia para utilizar explícitamente secretos de Estado que desestime las demandas de aquellos que buscan una reparación de la práctica ilegal de entregas extraordinarias y la tortura a manos de contratistas privados, y establecer secretos de Estado como una protección institucional para los que lleven a cabo acciones ilegales en nombre del gobierno de Estados Unidos en general, incluidas las empresas de telecomunicaciones que ha facilitado amplia intercepción ilegal de nacionales en el pasado.

“En relación con esto es el esfuerzo para crear un tratado de derechos de autor completamente nuevo en secreto (ACTA) que busca la posibilidad de castigar a los individuos directamente por presuntos delitos sin recurrir al debido proceso.”

Otras acciones de este gobierno hacer explícito su deseo de revertir la práctica institucional de la presunción de inocencia y sustituirla por la presunción de culpabilidad. Un ejemplo claro de ello es la afirmación del derecho del gobierno de Estados Unidos a la lista negra de forma automática sitios web simplemente “acusado” de violación de los derechos de autor de alguna manera, ni con la supervisión judicial ni el debido proceso. Relacionado con esto está el esfuerzo de crear un tratado de derechos de autor completamente nuevo en secreto (ACTA) que busca la posibilidad de castigar a los individuos directamente por presuntos delitos sin recurrir al debido proceso. Como estos ejemplos ilustra, en una sociedad basada en la presunción de culpabilidad, puede ser castigado por delitos que no sólo no han sido probadas, pero que ni siquiera se han presentado pruebas de que puede ser impugnada. Está muy claro de ver, y la historia demuestra, cómo estas herramientas pueden ser mal utilizada para silenciar o censurar fuentes independientes y críticos de expresión en Internet.

“Tal vez la salida más desconcertante en una sociedad basada en la presunción de culpa es el esfuerzo de este gobierno de buscar una nueva ley con el mandato que los backdoors gobierno existen en todos los servicios de comunicaciones y software.”

Igualmente preocupantes son las recientes redadas en las casas de disidentes y activistas por la paz interna. Como ya se informó por el departamento de justicia propia, muchas de estas investigaciones de los disidentes internos se iniciaron mal sin ninguna prueba real que sea, y, a menudo con declaraciones falsas a sabiendas. Sin embargo, este hecho no impidió que el FBI de participar en “ataques terroristas” contra activistas de la paz en el país o la afirmación de “secreto de Estado” ante el reto después para justificar la realidad estas acciones.

Tal vez la salida más desconcertante en una sociedad basada en la presunción de culpa es el esfuerzo de este gobierno de buscar una nueva ley con el mandato que los backdoors gobierno existen en todos los servicios de comunicaciones y software. Este esfuerzo desea tanto ampliar y totalmente institucionalizar el uso ilegal de vigilancia interna practicada por la administración Bush.

De vuelta en los años de Clinton, una ley fue creada llamada de CALEA (la Asistencia de Comunicaciones para la Aplicación de la ley Ley). Esta ley requiere que todos los sistemas telefónicos vendidos y desarrollados por operadores comerciales en los Estados Unidos incluyen puertas traseras para que el gobierno de interceptar las comunicaciones de voz. Mientras la policía del Gobierno de los Estados y locales sólo se comprometen con cerca de 1000 legalmente iniciado investigaciones escuchas telefónicas a nivel nacional en un año determinado, esta ley el mandato de la capacidad para espiar al mismo tiempo a millones de personas a la vez va a crear. En el momento de su “prometida” que el abuso generalizado como “nunca” en realidad sucede. Sin embargo, hemos aprendido que ya en la primavera de 2001, la administración Bush ya había utilizado directivas presidenciales que autoriza las compañías privadas de telecomunicaciones para el uso puertas traseras de CALEA para participar en la vigilancia a gran escala doméstica, probablemente, dada la fecha, exclusivamente para fines políticos internos. Esta administración no sólo se niega a repudiar estos actos el pasado secreto e ilegal, pero defiende tanto explícita y desea volver a hacer en las que están totalmente institucional legal.

“Tal vez lo más terrible es la adición de puertas traseras en los sistemas operativos como Microsoft Windows, ya se sabe que es inseguro y defectuoso por diseño, que simplemente aumenta aún más su vulnerabilidad y los peligros inherentes a su uso continuado.” Cuando hablamos de la introducción de puertas traseras en los sistemas de comunicación , como puertas traseras rara vez se mantienen en secreto y con frecuencia se presentan a los abusos no sólo por los gobiernos nacionales, sino también por empresas privadas e incluso particulares. Estos mandatos no hacer una sociedad más segura, pero en realidad menos. Tal vez lo más terrible es la adición de puertas traseras en los sistemas operativos como Microsoft Windows, ya se sabe que es inseguro y defectuoso por diseño, que simplemente aumenta aún más su vulnerabilidad y los peligros inherentes a su uso continuado.

Esto es un peligro muy real, que puede ser letal. Si hablamos de un sistema de alarma aérea comprometida que dio lugar a un accidente aéreo en España, un buque de guerra prestados muerto en el agua, o un sistema de alarma en su defecto en una plataforma petrolera, en parte, contribuyendo a un catastrófico derrame de petróleo en el Golfo de México, inocente las personas se ponen a un gran riesgo por la promulgación de esta política. Mientras que estos accidentes se debió en parte de la mano de obra de mala calidad de un sistema mal diseñado ya operativo que se utilice en lugares inapropiados, imaginar las posibilidades más para mal intencionada por la explotación de cualquier instalación de tales garantizado y el mandato de puerta trasera.

“La privacidad es en última instancia acerca de la libertad mientras que la vigilancia siempre se trata de control”.

En Estados Unidos la cuarta enmienda no se produjo simplemente porque no era práctico para espiar directamente en todo el mundo en una escala tan grande. Tampoco final simplemente porque ahora puede ser técnicamente factible hacerlo. privacidad de las comunicaciones, además, es esencial para el normal funcionamiento de las sociedades libres, ya sea hablando de los denunciantes, los periodistas que tienen que proteger sus fuentes, los derechos humanos y activistas por la paz participar en la disidencia política legítima, los trabajadores empleados en la organización de sindicatos, o los abogados que deben proteger la confidencialidad de sus comunicaciones privilegiadas con los clientes. La privacidad es en última instancia acerca de la libertad mientras que la vigilancia siempre se trata de control.

Con este fin, en 2006, y en el momento en respuesta a las acciones ilegítimas de la administración anterior, he creado un proyecto cuyo objetivo era explícitamente para crear y entregar peer-to-peer criptográficamente segura software de comunicación directa al público en general. Este software ha sido licenciado como libre (como en libertad) de software explícitamente a facilitar a las personas para verificar que no hay puertas traseras están presentes y que les permita modificar la ley y redistribuir el software a los demás como les parezca conveniente. Si una nueva ley se crea que trata con el mandato legal la inclusión de puertas traseras en el software, que abiertamente se niegan a cumplir.

“Para este fin, en 2006, y en el momento en respuesta a las acciones ilegítimas de la administración anterior, he creado un proyecto cuyo objetivo era explícitamente para crear y entregar peer-to-peer criptográficamente segura software de comunicación directa al público en general . “Lo más preocupante de todo acerca de la expansión de la vigilancia ilegal es cómo va a formar de nuevo el carácter institucional de la sociedad. Para apreciar el efecto de esta vigilancia sobre las sociedades humanas, imaginar que entre los varios cientos de millones de personas que se despiertan cada día tener que demostrar que no son “terroristas”, sin embargo, que puede ser caprichosamente definido por el momento, agravado por la imposible tarea de hacerlo sin que se concede el derecho de enfrentar a sus acusadores en el ‘procedimiento’ resumen o incluso para estar informado de las supuestas “pruebas” obtenidas por cualquier métodos arbitrarios, agentes secretos del uso de la represión, y en su procesamiento se lleva a cabo bajo la cubierta de “secretos de Estado” que todos los estados la policía como el uso de abusar de sus propios ciudadanos. Tal es una sociedad cuyo fundamento se basa en la premisa de que todos son culpables hasta que el debido proceso se demuestre lo contrario y donde no existe, una sociedad donde el fin justifica los medios. Es la imposición de una sociedad tan ilegítimo que elegimos para oponerse abiertamente, y hacerlo de esta manera.

Gracias por su tiempo y atención,

David Alexander Sugar
Chief Facilitator
GNU Telephony Project

Microsoft Watcher Source: Windows Live Spaces Had Been ‘Abandoned’ by Majority of Users Before Microsoft Gave Up (99% of Blogs Will Die)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Rumour, Windows at 10:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pirate flag is happy

Summary: The vast majority of Windows Live Spaces is about to get wiped out, according to a source familiar with those matters

Windows Live Spaces became a notorious spam trap, as pointed out by blogs over the past year or so. Microsoft was a very poor steward, so the whole network got filled with splogs and other rubbish. Microsoft is playing loose with the numbers when it claims that 30 million users exist in Windows Live Spaces, which will be shifted to GNU/Linux in another company [1, 2, 3] so that Microsoft can shut down its own service. Based on this post with some statistics, only about 1% of Windows Live Spaces will actually be active, so it’s natural to assume that 99% (or about 29.6 million of those 30 million users which Microsoft claims to have) won’t even bother migrating to another service. Their blogs/splogs will die permanently within months.

Windows Live Spaces’ shutdown may not be a big win for WordPress.com, after all. According to internal e-mail messages obtained by Betanews, Microsoft expects only about 1 percent of Windows Live Spaces bloggers to move to WordPress.com. If not there then where? In the e-mail exchange, one Microsoft executive asserts about the 30 million active Windows Live Spaces blogs: “Most are dead.”

As MinceR put it earlier today, Microsoft is “where projects go to die”. It’s also where blogs come to die. One blog from Windows Live Spaces — and one that we are particularly interested in — belongs to the man behind Microsoft’s highly unethical tactics. He wrote about them in Windows Live Spaces and we covered these back in 2008. Just in case he does not migrate his blog (it’s not maintained anymore based on the amount of comment spam), we are going to keep a copy. To quote him: “To be profitable, the platform must not only dominate its market, but also be defended from cloning. Anti-cloning defenses include patents and rapid evolution. Maintaining the platform’s anti-cloning defense must also be cheap, relative to the platform’s revenue, else the cost of defense will consume the platform’s potential profits.” Well, somebody tell that to fans of Mono.

BSA is a Hypocrite: Powered by GNU/Linux, Won’t Even Buy From Red Hat for Its Development of Software

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Red Hat, Servers at 9:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who is the so-called ‘pirate’ now?

BSA as a pirate

Summary: The BSA sinks deeper in the mud as it attempts to rescue what’s left of its reputation by phoning bloggers who expose its shameless propaganda; it also turns out that the BSA is too poor to actually pay for Red Hat, which developed the software running/powering the BSA’s online presence

JUST over a week ago we criticised Matt Asay for part of his post about the latest propaganda from BSA and IDC. It turns out that this pair — the BSA and IDC — is calling bloggers to try to control their coverage. It’s that pair which loves to flood the media with hundreds of articles about “pirates” (not those ones from Somalia, just children and adults who share files) and TechDirt responds to it by highlighting Asay’s claim that people at the BSA are hypocrites because not only are they using GNU/Linux (which they constantly lobby against) but they also don’t pay for it. From Masnick’s excellent post:

We recently did our latest debunking of the BSA’s latest laughable report on “piracy” of software and its impact on the economy and jobs. We have to do this every few months, as the BSA continues to trot out the same laughable and debunked analysis, including the flat-out ridiculous idea that every unauthorized copy is a $1 for $1 lost sale. A few years ago, when a BSA VP and IDC VP called me up to defend the report, they insisted that “their research” showed the $1 to $1 ratio was pretty accurate, insisting that companies who need software really want proprietary software, and that open source or other alternatives generally aren’t what they’re looking for.

Of course, most people know better than this, but a recent Matt Asay column highlights how more and more of the world moves to open source and cloud-based solutions could seriously change that equation. In it, there’s a lovely tidbit about how much the BSA itself doesn’t seem to believe its own claims about open source software — or, even that good software is worth paying a license for:

Ironically, the BSA has discovered one of the few ways to “pirate” open-source software, and is apparently an advocate. The BSA’s website apparently runs on Red Hat Enterprise Linux clone CentOS. Surely a license-respecting organization like the BSA would want to pay full freight for a RHEL license rather than undermine Red Hat by choosing CentOS? Evidently not.

The BSA should hang its head in shame. It could compete with ACS:Outlaw for world’s worst group.

Best of ‘The Source’: Outercurve, LibreOffice, Mono, and Novell’s Sale

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 8:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Source

Summary: New FUD-busting posts about threats to software freedom, courtesy of The Source (Web site)

AT TECHRIGHTS we like the site called The Source because — much like Groklaw — it covers many of the issues that we focus on, especially the opposition to Free software which opposes it by proactive attacks or infiltrations. Today we go through 4 of the latest new posts from The Source, posted over the past week or so (there were 5 in total).

Microsoft, the company which lays off and outsources people who are ‘too expensive’, has been trying an entryism charm manoeuvre for quite some time; it did not get so far with that in the Free software world, certainly not with the remarks its managers occasionally make (e.g. Hernán Rincón last month [1, 2, 3, 4]).

CodePlex has failed to be dissociated mentally from Microsoft (it is certainly technically associated with it), so Microsoft has it nymshift to "Outercurve" and The Source explains why this is a rubbish attempt to distance oneself from Microsoft, without making any real changes other than the name:

Case in point – Microsoft OuterCurve

By extension, then, independent foundations and non-profic organizations represent the most attractive attack vector for those hostile to Free Software. See, for example Microsoft CodePlex Microsoft OuterCurve, where you can get spin from Executive Director Paula Hunter like:

What distinguishes us from Eclipse and Apache is that we’re license agnostic and platform agnostic

“Platform agnostic”? Let’s look at the 6 Microsoft CodePlex Microsoft OuterCurve approved “galleries”:

  • Orchard – ASP.Net (Microsoft Windows)
  • MVC Contrib – ASP.Net (Microsoft Windows)
  • ASP.Net Ajax Library – ASP.Net (Microsoft Windows)
  • Web Forms MVP Project – ASP.Net (Microsoft Windows)
  • CoApp Project – Microsoft Windows
  • Network Monitor Parsers – Microsoft Network Monitor (Microsoft Windows)

Yes, indeed: real platform agnosticism there.

I also love how Ms Hunter says:

And to be direct, no, we are not distancing ourselves from Microsoft; we are very pleased with our relationship with them and their continued support of the foundation.

Of course you aren’t distancing yourselves from Microsoft –  you don’t have anywhere to distance yourselves to - every single project you have is based on a Microsoft platform!  Your relationship with Microsoft is your entire and sole reason for existing.

There is one bit of truth on the Microsoft CodePlex Microsoft Outercurve site:

We have changed our name, but not our mission.

Believe that.

The Source then compares Outercurve to some other so-called ‘foundations’ and deals separately with LibreOffice [1, 2, 3], which is also attached to a foundation that’s rather diverse. The Source explains why Novell’s limited role in this foundation makes LibreOffice nothing like Go-OO, at least in the long run (we have already addressed this typical trolls’ argument and so does The Source).

Allowing Mr. Schulz a bit of satirical lee-way in his representation of those who are concerned with Novell’s behavior, this is a very solid and reassuring response.

It not only recognizes Novell has severe perception issues in the larger community, but it clearly addresses the main concern (Mono) in the context of LibreOffice. I also appreciate the acknowledgement of acceptable and non-acceptable patches from Novell.

Further on this subject of Novell and Mono, the latest Miguel de Icaza interview which we covered here is now being tackled by The Source, which addresses both Mono and Moonlight. To quote one part of this detailed response to the ‘Microsoft press’ promoting Mono:

I’m not sure that anyone ever was looking to Team Apologista to be convinced to move to the iPhone, Android or Mac platforms. Perhaps the meaning is “using-our-.NET-knock-off-instead-of-the-native-developent-platform”?

Also, I’m confused. I was told that bringing software to Linux was not really the point of Mono? But here, it seems like Mr. de Icaza is asserting that Team Apologista was out there “begging” for Mono to be used to bring software to Linux?

Lastly, argues The Source, Novell is worth more dead than alive:

The Gentle Reader may note that Your Distinguished Author has noted time and time again that Novell has very little product of value outside of SuSE Linux (and directly related products), which Novell promptly and idiotically hobbled with secretive deals with Linux Public Enemy #1.

The diplomatic way of phrasing it you’ll see? “[P]rivate equity buyers were balking over the price the company was asking for the [non SuSE Linux] assets” – this has been noted in many financial articles analyzing the difficulty Novell is having throwing itself at potential buyers.

Confer or revisit some of the latest posts about Novell’s sale [1, 2].

IRC Proceedings: October 4th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 4/10/2010: Codenames Needed for Fedora 15 , Linux-based Palm ‘Mansion’ Rumoured

Posted in News Roundup at 7:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Penguins Old, Penguins New, Penguins Battered and Penguins Blue

    The canton, in fact, “should fire those and hire more flexible people,” Pogson suggested. “Seriously, why would an employer tolerate insubordination? There are thousands of people ready, willing and able to work with GNU/Linux.

    “If GNU/Linux gives the canton the efficiency and performance it needs, why should employees be allowed to say, ‘No’?” he added. “That would not be tolerated in any place where I have worked.”

    At Pogson’s current employer, “we brought in GNU/Linux with little fanfare, just swapping it for dead/dying XP machines, and there has been no fuss at all,” he noted. “Why are the canton’s employees different — or is that just hype by the media to sell papers?”

  • 20 Reasons Linux Will Boom in a Post-Recession World

    1) Total cost of ownership – Despite what the marketing material from select proprietary software companies might like you to believe, the software provided by proprietary vendors comes at a cost. There’s something to be said for having the ability to control the cost of your data and the software that runs it.

    By using Linux, one can be assured that the future of any projects enabled by this open source solution will be in firm control of those who are running the controls. No faceless company is going to come along and suddenly change the rules as to how you run your projects or how their software can be used. With Linux based options in your arsenal, you’re in control of your data. From beginning to end, you have control over how much or how little your company spends on Linux solutions.
    2) Updates are automatic – For many desktop Linux users, it’s something that we often take for granted. When we go to update our desktop operating system, we also have the option to update the software installed on our system as well…automatically. 1

  • Linux Magazine Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary

    Prize drawing for a free 10-year subscription — Linux Magazine celebrates its 10-year anniversary with the November 2010 issue, which includes a free archive DVD with a complete library of all previous issues.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Geek Time with Ric Wheeler

        Ric Wheeler is the File System Group Manager at Red Hat, and Jeremy Allison caught up with him at LinuxCon in Sao Paulo, Brazil earlier this month. Ric tells Jeremy how he got into file system development as a grad student, then how he progressed into building storage arrays, eventually becoming a Linux advocate. From there, Jeremy and Ric talk about the direction that Linux is headed and the future of desktop computing. At the very end of the video, you can even hear about Ric’s brush with Hollywood!

  • Applications

    • CloudSN: Google Reader, Identi.ca, Facebook Or Any RSS Feed Notifier (And More) With Messaging Menu Integration

      CloudSN (Cloud Services Notifications) is an application similar to Specto (which is not maintained anymore): it can display notifications when you have new emails (POP3 and IMAP), new Identi.ca messages, Google Reader unread items or it can watch any RSS feed for changes. It used to also work with Twitter but since Twitter introduced OAuth for all apps, CloudSN stopped working with Twitter (hopefully it will be fixed soon).

    • Improve Your Linux Desktop Experience with a Dock

      One of the best features of Linux is its flexibility, and nowhere is that more obvious than the desktop. Your Linux desktop can have the look and feel of any desktop environment you want. One reason for this flexibility is the ability to add and remove small applications to better the desktop experience, like desktop docks Cairo-Dock and Avant Window Navigator.

    • DockBarX Gets Closer To Version 0.40 Stable (DockBarX 0.39.8 aka 0.40 RC, Released)

      DockBarX is a taskbar with grouping and group manipulation which works as an applet for both the GNOME Panel and Avant Window Navigator. DockBarX 0.39.8 (codename 0.40 release candidate) has just been released, bringing 2 changes:

      * The tooltip for pinned programs with no open windows shows name and description now, just as normal Gnome launchers do.
      * The width of the window list frame is slightly smaller.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Addictive Linux Game ‘Steel Storm’ Released

        Arcade shooter game Steel Storm Episode 1 version 1.0 is released which was only available as beta until now. The game is quite addictive with fast paced action that wants you to annihilate hordes of enemies . Episode 1 is available as free download for Linux, Mac and Windows users.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Give a helping hand to a fellow Linux user in need

        This is a bit atypical for OMG! Ubuntu! but this morning Bryen Yuko Yunashko, also known as suseROCKS, reported that he was robbed for many valuable gadgets during his travels in Europe. As a user Bryan has dedicated much of his life to raising awareness of accessibility in technology, and this theft has robbed him not only of valuable data but of the tools he uses to increase his quality of life given his disability.

  • Distributions

    • Open Ballot: is Graham Morrison wrong?

      Our kid Graham has had a rough time of it on the internet recently. His article for our sister site TechRadar, “The trouble with Linux: there’s too much choice”, sparked off a few flamewars. Most notably, Caitlyn Martin over on the O’Reilly blog delivered a no-minced-words response: “Are you intimidated by breakfast cereal?”.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Can Debian offer a Constantly Usable Testing distribution?

        The rolling distribution is certainly a good idea but the rules governing it must be designed to avoid any conflict with the process of releasing a stable distribution. Lastly, the mere existence of rolling would finally fix the marketing problem plaguing testing: the name “rolling” does not suggest that the software is not yet ready for prime time.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Palm planning keyboard-less ‘Mansion’ with 800 x 480 screen?

        This one is still very much a rumor, but PreCentral is reporting that it’s heard from a “very reliable tipster” who says that Palm is prepping a new phone codenamed “Mansion,” which may or may not be the same device that recently turned up in a certification database under the name P102.

      • Android

        • Amazon building its own Android App Market?

          The current Android Market — actually Markets, since several carriers have customized it to their own ends — have a long way to go to match the customer and seller experience of iOs. Amazon knows ecommerce better than just about anybody, and the kind of collective intelligence filtering they brought to books would be a big leap forward for app discovery. But I’d caution developers eager to get their apps in front of more buyers via an Amazon store to carefully review the terms and conditions to make sure they’re entering a relationship with a retailing behemoth like Amazon with both eyes open.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Wipeout! Google Wave’s inevitable crash

    Well, it seems that Google Wave isn’t quite dead yet after all. Turns out, they’re open sourcing a bit more of the project and asking for collaboration. (Ok, someone to take over.)

  • Minix 3.1.8 Release

    We would like to thank our Google Summer of Code students for their hard work this summer. Thanks also to Google for generously supporting our students while they hacked on MINIX. We are also grateful to the MINIX community for all your contributions and feedback. We hope you enjoy the new release.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Google releases first Chrome 7 beta

      The Google Chrome development team has released Chrome 7.0.517.24, the first beta of version 7 of the company’s WebKit-based web browser. Formerly only available in the Chrome developer channel (a.k.a. the Dev channel), the first Chrome 7 beta resolves a number of bugs that lead to crashes in the Dev channel release and introduces several changes and new features.

  • Databases

    • Firebird 2.5 Released 4-Oct-2010

      The primary goal for Firebird 2.5 was to establish the basics for a new threading architecture that is almost entirely common to the Superserver, Classic and Embedded models, taking in lower level synchronization and thread safety generally.

  • Business

    • (Finally) Meeting Mr. Open Source Business

      I spoke with Augustin ten years ago when I was writing Rebel Code, but until today, I had never met him. So it was good to do so, and to catch up with the many interesting things he has been doing in the world of open source business recently.

      Things soon went downhill at VA Linux after those amazing times a decade ago. The dotcom meltdown meant that people stopped buying VA Linux’s boxes almost overnight: revenue went from $60 million a quarter to $15 million in six months. So Augustin set about restructuring the company, turning it from one based around hardware, to one based around the Web. For when it was flush with money, VA Linux had acquired a number of leading sites, including Slashdot, Sourceforge and Freshmeat. These formed the core of a business with $40 million annual revenue – rather a come-down from the $240 million the hardware business had been bringing in just a little while before.

      One side effect of this slimming down was that Augustin had effectively made himself redundant. He joined some friends who had set up the venture capital firm Azure Capital Partners. The idea was that Augustin would help them invest in exciting new open source companies. During this time he formulated his view – novel then, but hardly earth-shattering in retrospect – that the next wave of open source companies would be at the application level.

    • Alfresco Community 3.4 arrives

      Alfresco has issued version 3.4 of its open source enterprise content management system (CMS). The latest release is aimed at making it easier for users to collaborate and and share their content as quickly and easily as possible. Discussing the release, Alfresco Software CTO John Newton said that, “The demand for collaboration and social sharing around enterprise content is rising – and content that was once meant just for the intranet is now being re-purposed for the public web, external portals or even to destination sites across the web”.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Software Freedom Conservancy Appoints Full-Time Executive Director

      Today, the Software Freedom Conservancy, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which provides Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects with fiscal sponsorship, asset stewardship, license enforcement and license compliance services, announced the appointment of Bradley M. Kuhn as its full-time Executive Director.

    • Free Software Foundation Turns 25

      The original license was written by Stallman. Stallman had subsequently written a large number of GNU tools, but the license was his most important contribution.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Silke Helfrich on the commons and the upcoming International Commons Conference

      As more and more of the world’s population has gained access to the Internet so a growing number of free and open movements have appeared — including the free and open source software movements, free culture, creative commons, open access and open data.

    • Open Data

      • Rethinking Freedom of Information Requests: from Bugzilla to AccessZilla

        During the panel I noted that, if we are interested in improving response times for Freedom of Information (FOI) requests (or, in Canada, Access to Information (ATIP) requests) why doesn’t the Office of the Information Commissioner use a bugzilla type software to track requests?

      • Govt to make FoI data machine readable

        The government is to change the law so that all data released under the Freedom of Information Act will be fully accessible to computers.

        Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude told the Conservative party conference in Birmingham that the Freedom of Information Act will be amended so that all data released through FoI must be in a reusable and machine readable format.

      • A Taxonomy of Data Science

        Data science is clearly a blend of the hackers’ arts (primarily in steps “O” and “S” above); statistics and machine learning (primarily steps “E” and “M” above); and the expertise in mathematics and the domain of the data for the analysis to be interpretable (that is, one needs to understand the domain in which the data were generated, but also the mathematical operations performed during the “learning” and “optimization”). It requires creative decisions and open-mindedness in a scientific context.

        Our next post addresses how one goes about learning these skills, that is: “what does a data science curriculum look like?”

    • Open Access/Content

      • Opening Up Technology in Service of Teaching

        Electronic content and digital interactivity are everywhere – except in most public school classrooms. How can schools and teachers take advantage of technology to help students excel? What do teachers really need?

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Five Things You Need to Know About HTML5

      It’s open standard. The good news with HTML5’s standards is they are open and free of patents. For example, WebKit, which keeps a library of open-source software, provides a free layout engine that can be used to create browsers or ­applications. “You won’t have IBM (IBM) knocking at your door, saying, ‘You’re using our patents,’” says Le Hégaret. This also means you’re not dependent on one vendor’s tools, as with Adobe Flash or Microsoft (MSFT) Silverlight.

Leftovers

  • SBA suspends major contractor GTSI from government work

    Federal officials on Friday suspended one of the nation’s largest government contractors from receiving new work, alleging that the Northern Virginia company inappropriately went through other firms to gain access to contracts set aside for small companies.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration’s action imperils hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for GTSI Corp., a top-50 contractor that has relied on the Pentagon and the rest of the federal government for more than 90 percent of its sales in recent years.

    At issue is work GTSI did as a subcontractor for small businesses serving as the prime contractors on government contracts.

  • Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson on Where Ideas Come From

    Say the word “inventor” and most people think of a solitary genius toiling in a basement. But two ambitious new books on the history of innovation—by Steven Johnson and Kevin Kelly, both longtime wired contributors—argue that great discoveries typically spring not from individual minds but from the hive mind. In Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, Johnson draws on seven centuries of scientific and technological progress, from Gutenberg to GPS, to show what sorts of environments nurture ingenuity. He finds that great creative milieus, whether MIT or Los Alamos, New York City or the World Wide Web, are like coral reefs—teeming, diverse colonies of creators who interact with and influence one another.

  • IBM Explores Water Management Market

    Divining a possible new market in municipal water management systems, IBM has set up a pilot project in Dubuque, Iowa, to investigate whether cities could both save money and conserve water by monitoring citizens’ usage more closely.

    In this project, over 300 home dwellers have been issued smart water meters that wirelessly transit their water usage back to IBM data center, on a periodic basis. The citizens can check into a secure Web site, run by IBM, to see how much water they use, and when the it is being used during the day. The idea is that by studying water usage habits, citizens may be able to tell if they have hidden leaks.

  • Investor Peter Thiel asks Silicon Valley: Where’s the innovation?

    .

    In an interview with TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacy, Thiel, 42, argued that the high-tech gold rush that has skyrocketed valuations for Internet companies represents a sharp disconnect from the economic malaise that has blanketed much of the world, stagnating median wages and living conditions for most people just 30 miles outside of Silicon Valley.

  • Science

    • Scientists find potentially habitable planet near Earth

      A team of planet hunters led by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington has announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet (three times the mass of Earth) orbiting a nearby star at a distance that places it squarely in the middle of the star’s “habitable zone,” where liquid water could exist on the planet’s surface. If confirmed, this would be the most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered and the first strong case for a potentially habitable one.

    • History of hardware tessellation

      With the introduction of Shader Model 5.0 hardware and the API support provided by OpenGL 4.0 made GPU based geometry tessellation a first class citizen in the latest graphics applications. While the official support from all the commodity graphics card vendors and the relevant APIs are quite recent news, little to no people know that hardware tessellation has a long history in the world of consumer graphics cards. In this article I would like to present a brief introduction to tessellation and discuss about its evolution that resulted in what we can see in the latest technology demos and game titles.

  • From My Personal Blog

    • Science Blogging

      I found it gratifying back in the days around 2006 when people in my scientific field knew me in conferences because of my blogs and wanted to hang out with me because of these. The readership grew steadily as long as I kept writing. PZ Myers sees the same type of trend and Techrights, where I wrote over 11,000 posts, is the same. Perhaps I will resume posting in blog form about science later this month or next month. As always, I will separate my professional life, my personal life, and my hobbies (the 4 blogs I run will provide this separation).

    • One of My Favourite Documentaries: BBC Dissecting the True Evils of PR

      The programme is broken down into several episodes, each delivered in parts due to time limits in YouTube. Here is the first part of the four episodes.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • The Cyberwar Echo Chamber

      On Wednesday, Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn III discussed the military’s cybersecurity strategy after meetings at NATO and the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. “Like air, sea, land and space, we’re going to have to treat cyberspace as an arena where we need to defend our networks and to be able to operate freely,” he said.

      The rhetoric sounds uncannily familiar to what retired CIA and National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden told infosec professionals at the annual security conference Black Hat in July. “Cyber is a domain like land, sea, air, and space,” he said.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • FBI ignores DoJ report, raids activists, arrests Time Person of the Year
    • Reddit user flames Flickr photographer; Flickr photographer threatens copyright lawsuit

      A Reddit user who posted meanspirited remarks about a Flickr user’s photo was called a jerk by the photographer. To get back, the critic posted a tiny thumbnail of the Flickr image (which is licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike) to Reddit along with a complaint about his treatment.

    • Wikipedia co-founder slams Wikileaks

      The co-founder of online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, on Tuesday slammed whistleblower WikiLeaks over its release of Afghan war documents which he said could “get people killed”.

      Wales also expressed irritation over the website’s use of the term “Wiki” in its name, which refers to a site that allows different users to collaborate and make contributions.

      “I would distance myself from WikiLeaks, I wish they wouldn’t use the name, they are not a Wiki. A big way they got famous in the first place was by using the word Wiki, which was unfortunate in my view,” he said at a business conference in Kuala Lumpur.

    • Teller accused of texting robber during bank heist

      Technology is such an enabler. Even when it comes, allegedly, to robbing a bank.

      For police in Arlington, Texas, believe they have rumbled an inside job of a bank robbery by stumbling on the cell phone of one of the bank’s tellers.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Bearing witness to the human cost of water pollution

      As part of our work to witness and expose water pollution problems around China, Greenpeace campaigners and photographer Lu Guang visited several areas along the Yangtze River that have been severely affected by industrial water pollution.

    • Global Warming Aids and Frustrates Archaeologists

      The discoveries are providing new insights into the behavior of our ancestors – but they come at a price. So rapid is the rise in global temperatures, and so great is the rate of disintegration of the world’s glaciers, that archaeologists risk losing precious relics freed from the icy tombs. Wood rots in a few years once freed from ice while rarer feathers used on arrows, wool or leather, crumble to dust in days unless stored in a freezer. As a result, archaeologists are racing against time to find and save these newly exposed wonders.

    • Oil on the bottom of the Gulf

      Here aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, we are continuing our three-month science mission in the Gulf of Mexico. We are floating about five miles north of the Deepwater Horizon well site, in water that would have been covered with oil a few months ago, where thousands of gallons of oil were skimmed and burned on the surface while an armada of boats and planes delivered daily bombardment with chemical dispersants that sunk the oil back underwater into the path of any unlucky sea creatures nearby.

    • Where’s all the oil gone?

      While the water samples taken from way down deep during the trip are off to the lab to get analyzed, the immediate, measurable data obtained by Rainer tells us this; that there’s a clear indication of an oxygen deficiency in the Gulf’s waters, in an area stretching from around the Deepwater Horizon disaster site to 300 miles (500km) to the west. The infamous plume still exists – perhaps not visibly, but the essence of it is still there.

    • Man caught with uranium in Purulia

      A criminal with alleged links to gangs across the country and even Afghanistan was nabbed in Purulia with nearly 1 kg of uranium on Sunday. The market value of the radioactive element is said to be about $7 million.

    • A global network of marine reserves can restore the world’s oceans to health

      Our oceans are an absolute marvel – but they are also in a deep, deep crisis. If we don’t act fast, our oceans will continue to deteriorate and vital food sources and essential functions provided to our planet and its people by the oceans could be lost forever. Since healthy oceans underpin our very survival, Greenpeace is today releasing an “Emergency Oceans Rescue Plan” aimed at world leaders, which sets out the best way to save our oceans- something that can and should be done at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which takes place later this month in Japan.

  • Finance

    • Bank of America halts foreclosures in 23 states

      Bank of America is delaying foreclosures in 23 states as it examines whether it rushed the foreclosure process for thousands of homeowners without reading the documents.

      The move adds the nation’s largest bank to a growing list of mortgage companies whose employees signed documents in foreclosure cases without verifying the information in them.

    • FTC Report Will Detail Ways To Help Journalism Survive

      FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said Wednesday that his agency hopes to release a report by the end of the year that would detail proposals for helping journalism survive but said one idea that is unlikely to be included is a call for taxing electronic devices to subsidize newspapers and other media platforms.

      [...]

      He added that “government shouldn’t be picking winners and losers and [any proposal] should be platform neutral.”

    • IMF admits that the West is stuck in near depression

      The IMF report – “Will It Hurt? Macroeconomic Effects of Fiscal Consolidation” – implicitly argues that austerity will do more damage than so far admitted.

      Normally, tightening of 1pc of GDP in one country leads to a 0.5pc loss of growth after two years. It is another story when half the globe is in trouble and tightening in lockstep. Lost growth would be double if interest rates are already zero, and if everybody cuts spending at once.

    • Rich Germans demand to pay more in taxes.

      You read that correctly. Some of Germany’s wealthy are demanding that they pay a “Rich man’s tax” They feel that simply contributing to charity is not enough, they feel that they should pay more to support society, because they can. They say they have more money than they need.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation Fires Back At Righthaven

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation is joining the fight against Righthaven, a company that has been widely criticized for suing a string of news sites that use content belonging to its clients, including, notably, the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The EFF is now defending Democratic Underground, a political site which Righthaven sued last month for using a five-sentence excerpt of a Review-Journal article without permission. The Las Vegas Sun, which has closely been following Righthaven’s moves, says it’s the first time that Righthaven has been hit with a counterclaim.

    • ‘Pre-crime’ Comes to the HR Dept.

      In the Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report, police belonging to a special Pre-crime unit arrest people for crimes they would do in the future. It’s science fiction, and it will probably never happen in our lifetimes.

      However, the pre-crime concept is coming very soon to the world of Human Resources (HR) and employee management.

      A Santa Barbara, Calif., startup called Social Intelligence data-mines the social networks to help companies decide if they really want to hire you.

      While background checks, which mainly look for a criminal record, and even credit checks have become more common, Social Intelligence is the first company that I’m aware of that systematically trolls social networks for evidence of bad character.

      Using automation software that slogs through Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs, and “thousands of other sources,” the company develops a report on the “real you” — not the carefully crafted you in your resume. The service is called Social Intelligence Hiring. The company promises a 48-hour turn-around.

    • Doctors caught revealing secret patient information in Facebook posts

      DOCTORS have been disclosing sensitive medical information – and even mocking patients – on Facebook.

      The NSW Medical Board has cautioned one doctor for making “flippant and derogatory” comments, and warned others to “think twice” before disclosing patient details on social networking sites.

    • Illinois Mayor Claims Anonymous Bloggers No Different Than 9/11 Terrorists; Says Anonymity Is A First Amendment Challenge

      And so, the mayor of Mokena gets a history lesson on the First Amendment from the press that the First Amendment enables. There’s something nice about that, though, you would have hoped the history lesson would have come sooner.

    • Blocked for two years, then taken down in just 30 minutes – a disastrous result of Internet Blocking policy

      Internet blocking is advocated as an allegedly effective measure against the proliferation of child abuse images. Countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark have been using this technology for years. But a practical test by the German Working Group against Access Blocking and Censorship (AK Zensur) in cooperation with European civil rights advocacy groups has shown: Internet blocking does not fight abuse, in practice it only serves to conceal the failures of politics and police. Websites can remain on blocking lists for years even though they have either been deleted or could be deleted easily and quickly.

      How is this possible, and what could be done against illegal sites? Answers are given by a new analysis of current blocking lists from Sweden and Denmark by the Working Group against Access Blocking and Censorship. The group developed software to select, categorise and geo-locate 167 blocked Internet domains as a representative sample of websites blocked in Denmark at the time of the investigation. “The result is a smack in the face of law enforcement authorities”, says Alvar Freude of the Working Group. “Of the 167 listed sites, only three contained material that could be regarded as child pornography.” Two of these three sites had been blocked in Denmark since 2008, and these are, or least were, blocked in Sweden, Norway and Finland as well. These sites were therefore known for at least two years in several countries, and apparently law enforcement authorities did nothing to try and get this illegal content removed.

    • RIAA Claims That If COICA Isn’t Passed, Americans Are ‘Put At Risk’

      With the Senate trying to rush through COICA, the online censorship bill that ignores history and appears to violate both the principles of the First Amendment and due process, a bunch of concerned citizens have been speaking out against the bill, and asking the Senate not to rush it through without at least holding hearings about the massive problems with the bill.

    • What Else Might COICA Be Used To Censor
    • Even Without COICA, White House Asking Registrars To Voluntarily Censor ‘Infringing’ Sites

      While there’s been increasing attention paid to the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA), the proposed law that would allow the government to require ISPs and registrars to block access to websites deemed to be “dedicated to infringing activities,” it looks like the White House (which we had thought was against censoring the internet) appears to be working on a backup plan in case COICA doesn’t pass.

    • Quebec Carnival hires lawyers to protect Bonhomme

      Quebec City’s Winter Carnival has hired lawyers to defend its beloved Bonhomme Carnaval, whose iconic image is gracing newsstands across the country this week after Maclean’s magazine used it to illustrate an explosive cover story about corruption in la belle province.

      “For the past 57 years, the Carnival has invested considerable energy and resources into protecting Bonhomme Carnaval’s outstanding reputation,” said the event’s CEO Jean Pelletier in a statement released Monday afternoon. “We are therefore examining the options available to us to enforce our intellectual property rights.”

    • Your Comments: The Maclean’s cover with Bonhomme Carnaval
    • DoT rejects BlackBerry’s email decoding solution

      The BlackBerry security jinx is unlikely to be resolved soon. The telecom department has rejected the interception solution offered by Canada’s Research In Motion (RIM) for its secure corporate email service. What’s more is that it has spurned RIM’s technical solution for decoding all chat communication on the popular BlackBerry Messenger service, which contradicts the home ministry’s recent clean chit to the Canadian smartphone maker’s interception solution for its messaging service.

    • Wiretapping the Internet

      Taking a cue from the authoritarian regimes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, American law-enforcement and intelligence agencies are seeking to re-engineer the Internet and other digital communications networks to make them easier to spy on.

      In the week since the plan became public, it has been roundly condemned by civil liberties groups and security experts — and rightly so. While the proposal described in Monday’s New York Times probably won’t do much to hinder sophisticated criminals or terrorists, it does threaten to undermine the security of global communications and stifle technological innovation.

    • Opting out of behavioral ad tracking may get easier

      A number of major advertising associations have banded together to announce a self-regulatory program that would allow users to opt out of ad tracking. The program revolves around the awkwardly named “Advertising Option Icon”—an icon that websites could place on their site that would allow users to get more information on why they’re being targeted for ads and let them control their data collection.

      The program is based on an industry report from July 2009 titled Self-Regulatory Principles for Online Behavioral Advertising, which focuses on education, transparency, and consumer control when it comes to targeted ads. The participating organizations include the Association of National Advertisers, Direct Marketing Association, the Better Business Bureau, Interactive Advertising Bureau, and Network Advertising Initiative. And, lest you assume this is a small effort, these trade groups represent some 5,000 other companies when it comes to advertising on the Web, so they have some pull.

    • Introducing the PCI Hug It Out Podcast Series [EFF donations]
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Films and the Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010

        One of the key objectives of the Indian Copyright (Amendment) Bill, 2010, is to protect the authors of underlying works in films (such as scriptwriters, lyricists and music composers) from exploitation by effecting extensive structural changes in the Copyright Act, 1957, and, consequently, in India’s film and music industry. The amendments proposed in the 2010 Bill cover a range of subjects including exhaustion, the regulation of copyright contracts and the role of copyright societies.

      • Launch: From “Radical Extremism” to” Balanced Copyright”: Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda
      • Inside the finances of the UK “legal blackmail” copyright enforcement company

        Ars Technica’s Nate Anderson continues his excellent reporting on British law firm ACS:Law, a much-derided firm that sends threatening copyright letters on behalf of pornographers. ACS suffered an Anonymous denial of service attack in September, and inadvertently dumped its entire email repository, which is now available for download all over the net. Today, Anderson digs into ACS’s finances — how much it makes, what it expects to make, and how much paper it goes through printing threatening letters to mail to poorly researched accused infringers.

      • Sarah Novotny joins OSCON for 2011

        Tweet

        The O’Reilly Open Source Convention will be returning to Portland, Oregon, July 25-29, 2011.

      • R-J owner faces counterclaim in copyright lawsuit campaign

        The owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has for the first time been hit with a counterclaim over its online copyright infringement lawsuit campaign, with attorneys for the Electronic Frontier Foundation accusing the newspaper of entering a “sham” relationship with the Review-Journal’s copyright enforcement partner Righthaven LLC — and accusing Righthaven of copyright fraud.

      • Would IMDB Really Not List A Film Because It Was Distributed Via BitTorrent?

        .

        The explanation that it’s because of the BitTorrent release is pure speculation. Another article, from TorrentFreak provides some more details, with notes of rejection from IMDB. They claim that the movie needs to be associated with a production company that has a history of releasing movies, in order to get listed at this early stage. However, Tedeschi notes that this is a real production house that has released movies in the past, all of which have been listed in IMDB. The only thing that he sees that’s different is the planned BitTorrent release.

      • LA Times’ Propaganda Piece Claims Piracy Hurts Filmmakers Without Any Actual Evidence

        The article also highlights a filmmaker, Ellen Seidler, who complains about spending hours a day sending emails to file sharing sites, demanding they take down her film. Just think how much better she could be doing if she spent that same time connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy.

        What a waste of space by the LA Times, who shouldn’t be misleading people like this with bogus articles. It’s articles that portray these people as victims, due to their own lack of business initiative, that does real harm to filmmakers. If, instead, the LA Times focused on smart filmmakers who are in the same situation as Carter and Seidler, but instead embraced it and are making real money because of it, they’d be helping. Instead, they’re just making more of a mess.

      • If The Major Record Labels Tried To Adopt The ‘Radiohead’ Model…
      • No court order for Gallant Macmillan today!

        In the meantime one has to wonder, if BTplc had expressed concerns in the past, why is it only now they get an adjournment? Could it be that in not only damaging ACS:Law, the recent email leaks have also damaged the system which some wished to seek revenue from? and now Gallant Macmillan has been put on hold, what of Ministry of Sound? their site is still appears to be down. How much damage to their reputation with its potential customers has been done? From some forums, I’m seeing quite alot.

        [...]

        Torrent Freak is currently reporting a comedy spoof of a certain historical figure finding out about he leak at ACS:Law. You can find that here: http://torrentfreak.com/acslaws-anti-piracy-downfall-sends-hitler-crazy-101004/

      • ACTA

        • The ACTA deal – are they faking it?

          ACTA negotiators claim a deal has been done, but is it really a counterfeit? How is it that a deal is successfully concluded when there are matters still outstanding? It would seem that the European Commission statement of a “successful” conclusion of ACTA is somewhat pre-emptive.

        • Vrijschrift: ACTA’s secrecy is illegal

          The Dutch foundation Vrijschrift requested publication of ACTA documents. The request was denied. Vrijschrift filed an objection, below a translation:

          1. Many provisions in ACTA are mandatory: “Each Party shall”. Substantially, often they regard legislation, eg “Each Party shall provide for criminal procedures and penalties to be applied at (…)”. There is a binding relationship between ACTA and legislation.

        • ACTA W5

          Participating in ACTA

          mouse ears on the world: text says ACTA ATTACKS INTERNET

          * Australia
          * Canada,
          * the European Union
          * Japan
          * South Korea
          * Mexico
          * New Zealand
          * Switzerland
          * United States

          American Flag hangs down

          ACTA came with heavy duty Non-Disclosure penalties. Which is why most if not all of the elected representatives of the participating governments were kept in the dark about what was even on the table. This includes elected representatives of the American Government. If they were made privvy to the negotiations, they were legally restrained from talking about it. Not very democratic, eh?

        • Did ACTA pass?

          The fact that ACTA did NOT go as planned probably means they will fight harder to achieve their goals in different ways. Canada is likely to get more “special treatment” since we’ve provided a hot bed of opposition. The fact that ACTA has not passed probably means that there will be an even stronger push to get the dreadful Bill C-32 passed.

        • Upcoming Comic Book By Law Professors Compares ACTA To 1984
        • ACTA: No More Negotiating Rounds Planned; Latest Text To Be Released

          The round of negotiations in Tokyo last week on the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will be the last in the several-year long process to come to a final agreement, negotiators have said. The latest text – along with highlighted issue areas on which certain countries still have reservations – will be released before the end of the week, negotiators told Intellectual Property Watch.

          The most critical outstanding issue is scope, especially on border measures, a Japanese negotiator told Intellectual Property Watch today. There was a “certain convergence” but “further examination was needed in some capitals,” the negotiator said. “In that sense we haven’t gotten agreement” yet.

Clip of the Day

Juan Pedro Bolivar – “GNU Psycosynth”


Credit: TinyOgg

GNU Telephony Addresses President Obama

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they kept only one; they promised to take our land, and they did” - Ma¿píya Lúta

Portrait of George Washington

Summary: Letter to the president from David Alexander Sugar, GNU Telephony Project

Attention: The President and the people of the United States of America

Why civil liberties matter – an open letter to the Obama administration

IN a recent Rolling Stone magazine interview, you spoke of this administration’s commitment to civil rights while simultaneously insulting the intelligence of those who are concerned with civil liberties. It is this administrations actual record on civil liberties, a record that is in fact worse than the preceding one, that is both clearly inexcusable and dangerously irresponsible.

“Other actions by this administration make it explicit it wishes to reverse the institutional practice of presumption of innocence and replace it with presumption of guilt.”The civil rights movement that you spoke about, and as we recognize today, would not have been possible without civil liberties. While laws were clearly misused to try suppressing that movement, those efforts failed largely because the United States at the time was institutionally committed to essential core legal principles that included privacy, the freedom of speech and association, due process, and the presumption of innocence. Although each of these fundamental legal principles had been challenged on a reversible basis by the Bush administration, it is your justice department that has worked tirelessly to make those temporary transgressions become a permanent and enduring part of the institutional law of the United States.

Perhaps most people think of your administration’s more dramatic statements on civil liberties made like asserting the right to target for assassination American citizens abroad on the whim and statement of a government official alone. This is not the most important, and certainly not by far the only, threat to civil liberties today your administration has engaged in. Other important actions include efforts by the United States Department of Justice to explicitly use state secrets to dismiss lawsuits of those seeking redress from the unlawful practice of rendition and torture at the hands of private contractors, and to establish state secrets as an institutional protection for those carrying out unlawful actions on behalf of the United States government in general, including telecom companies that had facilitated widespread illegal domestic intercept in the past.

“Related to this is the effort to create a new copyright treaty entirely in secret (ACTA) that seeks the ability to punish individuals directly for alleged crimes with no due process recourse.”Other actions by this administration make it explicit it wishes to reverse the institutional practice of presumption of innocence and replace it with presumption of guilt. One clear example of this is the assertion of the right of the United States government to automatically blacklist websites merely “accused” of copyright infringement in some manner, with neither court oversight nor due process. Related to this is the effort to create a new copyright treaty entirely in secret (ACTA) that seeks the ability to punish individuals directly for alleged crimes with no due process recourse. As these examples illustrates, in a society based on presumption of guilt, one can be punished for crimes that have not only not been proven, but that do not even have evidence presented that can be challenged. It is very clear to see, and history proves, how such tools can be misused to silence or censor independent and critical sources of speech on the public Internet.

“Perhaps the most disconcerting departure into a society based on the presumption of guilt is the effort of this administration to seek a new law to mandate that government backdoors exist in all communication services and software.”Equally troubling are the recent raids on the homes of domestic dissidents and peace activists. As already reported by your own justice department, many of these investigations of domestic dissidents were improperly initiated without any actual evidence whatsoever, and often using knowingly false statements. Yet, this fact did not stop the FBI from engaging in “terrorism raids” on peace activists across the country or asserting “state secret” privilege when challenged afterward to actually justify these actions.

Perhaps the most disconcerting departure into a society based on the presumption of guilt is the effort of this administration to seek a new law to mandate that government backdoors exist in all communication services and software. This effort wishes to both expand upon and fully institutionalize the illegal use of domestic surveillance as practiced by the Bush administration.

Back in the Clinton years, a law was created called CALEA (the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act). This law required that all telephone systems sold and deployed by commercial carriers in the United States include backdoors to enable government intercept of voice communications. While the United States government and local police only engage in about 1000 lawfully initiated wiretap investigations nationwide in any given year, this law mandated the capability to simultaneously spy on millions of people at once be created. At the time it was “promised” that such widespread abuse would”never” actually happen. Yet we have learned that as early as the spring of 2001 the Bush administration had already used presidential directives authorizing private telecom carriers to use CALEA backdoors to engage in large scale domestic surveillance, presumably, given the date, entirely for domestic political purposes. This administration not only refuses to repudiate these past secret and illegal acts, but both defends and explicitly wishes to re-make into fully institutionally legal ones.

“Perhaps most terrifying is adding backdoors to operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, already known to be insecure and defective by design, which simply further increases their vulnerability and the dangers inherent in their continued use.”When we speak of introducing backdoors into communication systems, such back-doors rarely remain secret and often present themselves to abuse not only by national governments, but also by private corporations and even individuals. Such mandates do not make a society more secure, but in fact less. Perhaps most terrifying is adding backdoors to operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, already known to be insecure and defective by design, which simply further increases their vulnerability and the dangers inherent in their continued use.

This is a very real danger, one that can be lethal. Whether we speak of a compromised airline alarm system that resulted in an plane crash in Spain, a battleship rendered dead in the water, or an alarm system failing on an oil rig in part contributing to a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, innocent people are put to great risk by enactment of this policy. While these accidents resulted in part from the shoddy workmanship of an already poorly designed operating system being used in inappropriate places, imagine the further possibilities for deliberate mischief by exploitation of any such guaranteed and mandated backdoor facility.

“Privacy is ultimately about liberty while surveillance is always about control.”In the United States the 4th amendment did not come about simply because it was impractical to directly spy on everyone on such a large scale. Nor does it end simply because it may now be technically feasible to do so. Communication privacy furthermore is essential to the normal functioning of free societies, whether speaking of whistle-blowers, journalists who have to protect their sources, human rights and peace activists engaging in legitimate political dissent, workers engaged in union organizing, or lawyers who must protect the confidentiality of their privileged communications with clients. Privacy is ultimately about liberty while surveillance is always about control.

To this end, back in 2006, and at the time in response to the illegitimate actions of the prior administration, I created a project whose purpose was explicitly to create and deliver peer-to-peer cryptographically secure communication software directly to the general public. This software was licensed as free (as in freedom) software explicitly to facilitate people to verify that no backdoors are present and to enable them to legally modify and redistribute the software to others as they see fit. If a new law is created that tries to legally mandate the inclusion of backdoors in such software, we will openly refuse to comply.

“To this end, back in 2006, and at the time in response to the illegitimate actions of the prior administration, I created a project whose purpose was explicitly to create and deliver peer-to-peer cryptographically secure communication software directly to the general public.”What is most troubling of all about the expansion of illegal domestic surveillance is how this will reshape the institutional nature of society. To fully appreciate the effect of such surveillance on human societies, imagine being among several hundred million people who wake up each day having to prove they are not “terrorists”, however that may be whimsically defined at the moment, compounded by the impossible task of doing so without being accorded the right to face their accusers in summary ‘proceedings’ or even to be informed of the alleged ‘evidence’ produced by whatever arbitrary, secretive methods such agents of repression use, and where their prosecution is carried out under the shroud of “state secrets” that all such police states use to abuse their own citizens. Such is a society whose foundation is built on the premise of everyone being guilty until proven innocent and where due process does not exist; a society where the ends justifies the means. It is the imposition of such a illegitimate society that we choose to openly oppose, and to do so in this manner.

Thank you for your time and attention,

David Alexander Sugar
Chief Facilitator
GNU Telephony Project

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