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Links 8/10/2010: More GNU/Linux at Dell, Wine 1.2.1, Firefox 4 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 7:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Professional Institute Certification adopted by Public Schools in Spain

    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization (http://www.lpi.org), announced with its affiliate organization LPI-Spain (http://www.lpi.org.es/) that a program in public schools in Spain to promote Linux education and certification has achieved successful results in its first six months of operation. This public education initiative with Proyecto Universidad Empresa (PUE) has recruited close to 20 training partners. PUE is Spain’s leading agency in the development of IT training and certification and provides academic programs for such major IT organizations as Microsoft, Cisco and Sun.

  • ‘Linspotting’ – Linux ad spoofs Trainspotting

    If you’re familiar with the British cult film ‘Trainspotting‘ then be the following advert for Linux by Caroline Pimenta is sure to amuse.

    Parodying the 1996 aforementioned film via the use synonymous visual and audio cues, Linspotting is a well made and incredibly funny short that will have you smirking throughout.

  • Why Microsoft Buying Adobe Threatens Desktop Linux

    All of the above aside, what I found most interesting is the fact that no one has been able to put together another side benefit for Microsoft — owning Flash adds a new hurdle to desktop Linux adoption. Remember that Adobe deals with more than Photoshop and other desktop software applications. They also provide Flash to users of all three major desktop platforms.

  • Desktop

    • Dell likely to be first vendor to launch Ubuntu Light netbooks, say notebook makers

      Canonical on October 7 announced its latest Ubuntu 10.10 operating system and Ubuntu Light for netbooks, and noted that consumers should be able to see Ubuntu Light-featured netbooks appearing in the channel within a month. Taiwan notebook makers expect Dell to be the first brand vendor to launch related netbooks, as among all notebook vendors, Dell currently has the biggest number of PC products that are pre-installed with Ubuntu. However, Canonical declined to comment on the speculation.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Sprint’s Galaxy Tab rumored at $399 with contract

      Those of you who have been waiting for some glimmer of hope in the tablet wars will be pleased to hear the latest rumor on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. A source tipped off Boy Genius Report that the Sprint version of the Tab will go on sale November 14 (better late than never).

    • HTC Explodes – GNU/Linux Invades the Monopoly

      What TFA doesn’t say is that most of those units will be Android and 40 million people converted to GNU/Linux by a single manufacturer is M$’s worst nightmare.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Gallium3D / LLVMpipe With LLVM 2.8

        While LLVM 2.8 was just released, we have been curious to see how the latest Low-Level Virtual Machine compiler code affects the performance of the LLVMpipe driver. This is the Gallium3D graphics driver that lives in Mesa and leverages the unique modular LLVM compiler to efficiently handle processing the graphics rendering workload on a modern CPU as a much faster alternative to that of their legacy software rasterizer. To see how much of a performance impact – for better or worse – that LLVM 2.8 has on this open-source software driver we tested it when being built with LLVM 2.6, 2.7, and the 2.8 SVN code.

      • Multi-Touch For The X.Org Synaptics Driver

        Takashi Iwai of Novell/SuSE has just published a series of 18 patches for the X.Org Synaptics input driver that primarily provides multi-touch support.

      • Multi-touch at UDS-N in Orlando, October 25th-29th

        Ubuntu is not just a community; it’s also part of a community. Part of many communities, in fact — very large and thriving ones. The obvious candidates come to mind: Linux, GNOME, KDE, GTK, Qt, the massive collection of upstream applications. But there are more and subtler ones.

        All the work that Ivanka and the Design team have done over the past year and a half has brought open source software into a new place with regard to aesthetics and how to make our applications more appealing to people across the globe, folks who don’t have the same engineering-based perspective on software that we have. This is hugely important and I personally feel that I owe the Design team a HUGE debt of gratitude for what they are doing for something I hold dear to my heart: open source software.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Almost 9 Distros in Almost 6 Minutes

      Ubuntu has gotten the spotlight recently here at Linux Journal, but this week Shawn shows us a handful of other Linux distributions.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 Linux Boosts Security with OpenSCAP

          Security is always a primary concern for enterprise IT managers, with a constant need to ensure that systems are kept updated and properly configured to prevent exploits. A new tool debuting in the upcoming Red Hat-sponsored Fedora 14 Linux release could prove a key ingredient in enabling properly secured systems.

          Fedora 14 is set to include a technology called OpenSCAP, an open source implementation of the Security Content Automation Protocol (SCAP) framework for creating a standardized approach for maintaining secure systems. The new system builds on numerous other technologies and systems in an effort to enable IT organizations to ensure a standardized approach to security.

    • Debian Family

      • Preview: Debian 6 “Sqeeze” (Part 1: GNOME)

        Trying to forecast when the next version of Debian will be released is like trying to figure out whether or not it will snow the next day in Washington DC in winter; it’s an exercise in futility. That said, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Debian 6 “Squeeze” will be released soon. Why? I’m testing the new Debian live images which were first released a week ago (and are daily builds — this one is the 2010 October 3 build); before that, the most recent live image available was of version 6 “Sqeeze” alpha 2. Now that they’re doing daily builds, I figure that it’s not too long until we see the official release.


        The desktop isn’t much different from the live DVD (though, thankfully, the boot menu background is just as nice as in the live DVD; in the past, the installed boot menu would just be plain text on a black background, while the live DVD would have a much prettier boot menu). I used 1 GB of my 25 GB virtual hard disk for swap space and 4 GB for the root, which thankfully was and is enough. RAM usage of 100 MB is even better than the live DVD for obvious reasons. All the applications present in the live DVD are present post-installation.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu One Indicator Applet

          Ubuntu One started with an applet back on Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala but it was later removed with the intention of making Ubuntu One as unobstrusive as possible. But that brought a problem: now there is no easy way of knowing the Ubuntu One sync status.

          For this reason, Roman has created an Ubuntu One indicator applet which can display the file synchronization status, available space and it can also be used to disconnect Ubuntu One.

        • Elementary Firefox Theme 3.0, Released, Looks Amazing!

          If something looks out of place, it means you’ll have to customize the toolbars and re-arrange the elements exactly like in the above screenshot (that’s pretty easy).

        • Lubuntu 10.10 CD cover

          The new Ubuntu 10.10 CD cases we revealed with you a few days back are certainly worthy of praise but lets not forget ‘the spin that’s never in’ Lubuntu 10.10 and it’s own CD wallet effort which, as with Ubuntu’s design, takes cues from its default desktop appearance.

        • Brand Refresh of manpages.ubuntu.com
        • Ubuntu One Mobile, now with music streaming, is here!

          It’s finally here. Ubuntu One users can now add music streaming to the long list of things that we offer. This is a big step for us and our goal of creating useful services around your content.

          We have to thank the Android beta testers who provided great feedback, identified important bugs and streamed enough songs to their phones to help us identify ways that we should improve our infrastructure.

        • My new proposal for improving governance.

          I get a bunch of questions and mails from people who want to do great things.

        • This week in design – 8 October 2010

          Away from cool assets being produced we have been focussed this week on the release and by now the beautiful linux desktop you early adopters are already looking at is hopefully starting to feel like home. We can’t wait to hear what you think and hope that you love using Maverick.

        • 12 Reasons to Try Ubuntu 10.10 Now

          As Ubuntu 10.10, or “Maverick Meerkat,” hits the streets this Sunday, it’s a pretty safe bet that legions of existing Ubuntu users will be updating to the new release. After all, it looks to be Canonical’s most user-friendly Ubuntu Linux yet, and many of the new features promise to be must-haves.

        • Check if your next computer is Ubuntu compatible

          When the fear of hardware incompatibilities puts you off buying a new computer be sure to run your intended purchase through Canonical’s ‘Ubuntu Certification’ website.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • The Kubuntu Wishlist
          • Xubuntu 10.10 RC 1 Mini Review

            I found this software to be interesting and solid enough, even in test form, to install on my laptop computer and found it to be nearly ready for release, with just a few relatively minor issues still needing to be corrected. I like this software and I am likely to experiment with it quite often.

          • Linux Mint 9 review

            Finally, this version of Linux Mint 9 comes with three years of support. Now, we’re more than capable of supporting ourselves on Linux, but this will make Linux Mint 9 more interesting to new users or original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) considering offering a desktop Linux already installed on their PCs.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tablets

      • Dixons jumps on tablet bandwagon

        Dixons has announced that it will be flogging two self-branded Android tablets in the run-up to Christmas, which could make the electrical retailer the first outfit to have its own cheap and cheerful prodable PCs on the shelves.

        Dixons, which is the parent company of PC World and Curry’s, says the Advent Amico and Avent Vega will “bring tablet computing to the masses” and with prices starting at £130 it may just have a point.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mulva going open source
  • Open-Source As An Alternative To Commercial Software
  • Software Evolution Storylines

    I plan to make the code open source. It is only a matter of time. A research paper on this technique will be presented at SoftVis 2010.

  • Geert Lovink keynote: “After the Critique of Free and Open: Alternative Platforms and Revenue Models”

    Geert Lovink’s keynote, “After the Critique of Free and Open,” focused on the practical aspects of a free culture, and a need for the movement to shift from making legal demands and instead focus on the platforms and revenue models that could support the kind of culture we’re striving towards.

  • Why and How Indian govt can get huge benefits from Free Software/Open Source

    This article is written very late. So much late that government has wasted a huge amount of tax-payers money just for buying licenses to use few software which could have been produced by Indian Government itself. We still has time to save huge money wastage money by public and Government.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla releases Firefox 4 beta for Maemo and Android

        Mozilla’s efforts to scale down the Firefox browser and make it work on mobile devices took another step forward today with the release of Firefox 4 beta for Maemo and Android. On Android, the browser’s performance is still not competitive with that of the platform’s native WebKit-based browser, but the gap is starting to close.

        Firefox’s large disk footprint is also still problematic on Android, especially on devices like the Nexus One that have limited internal storage capacity. A fresh installation of Firefox on Android uses roughly 30MB of storage space. The first time it starts, it unpacks another 14MB, which takes about 15 seconds. Subsequent startups are faster, typically taking between 2 and 4 seconds.

      • Firefox 4 beta review

        Firefox is catching up to Internet Explorer in terms of market share, having already passed it in features years ago, but Google Chrome is nipping at its heels. Can Firefox 4 restore its glory?

  • Oracle

    • ‘LibreOffice’ Is Good News for OpenOffice

      Given Oracle’s recent decision to pull the plug on OpenSolaris, there has been considerable concern over the past few months about the future of the OpenOffice.org productivity software suite.

    • OpenOffice.org’s 10th Anniversary: The Difference a Decade Makes

      October 13, 2010 marks the tenth anniversary of the OpenOffice.org project. It’s a significant landmark, both for me personally and for free software in general.

      For me, OpenOffice.org was the wedge I used to find a niche in computer journalism. In the early years of the millennium, few people were writing about OpenOffice.org. Almost by accident, I started comparing it with Microsoft Office, and writing How-Tos in my spare time. Before I knew it, I was writing full-time. For a while, I was worried that I would be too closely identified with OpenOffice.org to sell stories on any other subject, but, with that worry long behind me, today I can thank (or blame) OpenOffice.org for what I am today.

    • Do you agree with LibreOffice fork?

      While this is no doubt true, it is also true that being under Oracle’s directions would slow the project, as far as could be seen from the reactions, and how patches to the next release are being treated in Oracle.

    • Oracle v Google: the open source perspective

      I spoke with James Governor, another Redmonk analyst and firm believer in the virtues of open source. Lending weight to Stephen’s position, he says: “If Google wins then it is open season on open source. If Oracle wins, then who else do they sue? Everyone? It would be the biggest stock price driver Oracle has ever acquired. ” If you think Stephen and James are correct then Google has to win.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • An open Open University course on openness

      Like Tony I think the OU has been a bit slow to start creating truly open courses – I’m partly to blame since I suggested doing one a couple of years back and then didn’t do anything. Before that Ray Corrigan simply released his course as openly, but that was withdrawn to make way for OpenLearn. We’ve had some good study skills courses from the library and Tony has dabbled with it, but I think those have largely been the release of course material. This is the first time we are running the course in the open I think (please correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t want to undermine someone’s else’s claim).

  • Government

    • German CIO caves in on open source

      First of all I don’t think it suits the dignity of a public office to endorse the commercial agenda of a vendor in a press release. The mere consideration of a cloud operator from third countries for a critical Federal information infrastructure seems insane unless the Ministry of the Interior believes it is appropriate to grant access to their colleagues from these third countries. I strongly doubt so but you never know. The European Commission for instance even outsources critical parts of their staff selection process to third country operators.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Mobile phone mashups: Imitation becomes innovation in China

      The open source solution

      If you exclude the copying of trademarks and logos and just look at the actual technology, innovations, and design, China essentially represents a free and thriving market of open source goods. Some safety regulation and oversight of the shanzhai phones is certainly needed, but overall there is no doubt that both the shanzhai developers and the Chinese people benefit greatly from this open mashup of an industry.

      In many ways, it’s like the American fashion industry—full of outrageous concepts, profit for designers, and something for every taste and every budget. The highest-end designers in both industries may well suffer some profit loss from those who imitate them, but let’s be honest. They’re doing just fine. (And to be frank, they’re also doing just as much imitating.)

      If the United States wants a fighting chance to keep a place in the global consumer electronics industry, it’s time to loosen up the legal reigns on intellectual property.

    • Poll: Kids say their friends share too much online

      The poll, conducted by Zogby International for Common Sense Media, also found that a majority of parents want Congress to update online privacy laws for children and teens, and that both parents and teens want online companies to get their permission before using their personal information for marketing.

    • Open Data

      • Our current consultations

        The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched its consultation on the Data sharing code of practice.


        This code explains how the Data Protection Act 1998 applies to the sharing of personal data. It also provides good practice advice that will be relevant to all organisations that share personal data.

      • October 8: Opening Research on Open Source, Carlo Daffara

        It was an interesting meeting, with some peculiarities: first of all the recognition that there are relatively few people working in the field; I think that we can count the publishing participants in such a group to be less than 100, substantially less than those working in other related fields. The other aspect is, that despite the relative friendliness among all of us, most researchers still have to collect data and process it on their own.

    • Open Hardware

      • The moral imperative for open-source hardware.

        Consider, for example, the machines in airports that check your bags for explosives. What, exactly, do they look for? How do they report their findings? What else might explain a chemical they consider evidence of explosives? Answering these questions requires access to the design of the machine, its software and its hardware. Without its “source”, you might be denied boarding on a flight, even arrested, because of the behavior of a device you have no possibility to examine.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Digital Standards Organization publishes “standards for standards”

      In 2007, the Digistan workgroup started designing a framework for grass-roots development of free and open digital standards. Today Digistan publishes its first specification, COSS, and a reference implementation in the form of a pre-configured wiki.

      Digistan founding member Alberto Barrionuevo explains the reasons for COSS: we wanted to offer small teams a fast, cheap, and flexible way to develop their specifications into free and open standards. Setting up a foundation is an important step in a software standard’s history, but it’s a large step that most small teams can’t make.

      COSS is a fully-distributed peer-to-peer model. André Rebentisch, who helped build the Digital Standards Organization and COSS, says: each contributor makes a unilateral grant, allowing others to use their work under specific conditions. Those conditions include the right to branch and merge, which is radical for specifications but a much appreciated freedom in the free software community.

    • W3C Says HTML5 Isn’t Ready for the Web

      As an official from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) told reporters today, “There is already a lot of excitement for HTML5, but it’s a little too early to deploy it because we’re running into interoperability issues.” Particularly when it comes to video content, different devices and different browsers aren’t handling HTML5 consistently.

      “I don’t think it’s ready for production yet,” the official continued. “The real problem is can we make it work across browsers, and at the moment, that is not the case.”

      HTML5, which was hatched by the non-W3C Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group in 2004, should be fully approved within two or three years. Until then, officials say Flash and Silverlight are still going to remain approved and viable web technologies.


  • Saving Identica and StatusNet?

    Marketing accounts, with names like scooterforsale, cheapwidebeltsanders, mastercrafttablesawspowertools, bestbuyfinancialcalculator, ad nauseum, seem to make up more than half of the members of any Identica group. They often don’t actually spam the group (though sometimes they do, and eventually get removed), but they make it hard to look through the genuine group members. This is a pity, as the “group” function is one of the features that sets StatusNet apart.

  • Reflections On My First AGM

    The idea of using some free service, then contributing back to it is the FOSS ideal too. Of course not everyone who uses FOSS software will give something back, and nor should they be forced to. But plenty will in their own way. I use Drupal and Linux Mint enough that I want to give something back to those projects. I see value in what both projects are doing and want to help them somehow. Does this mean I code? No. But coding is only one way to give something back. I help out new users in the Linux Mint IRC channel, I am planning to do instruction and demonstration screencasts for both Linux Mint and Drupal. I evangelise and blog about both.

  • Congress passes bill to make Internet, smartphones accessible for blind, deaf

    Specifically, the legislation allows blind consumers to choose from a broader selection of cellphones with speech software that calls out phone numbers and cues users on how to surf the Internet. It makes new TV shows that are captioned available online with closed-captioning. TV remote controls would have a button that makes it easier to get closed-captioning.

  • Blogging, empowerment, and the “adjacent possible”

    Clay Shirky, for instance, has focused, with great verve and insight, on how the Web enables us to form groups quickly and easily, and how that in turn is reshaping society. In his book Cognitive Surplus, Shirky identifies a spectrum of values stretching from personal to communal to public to civic. The spectrum, he writes, “describes the degree of value created for participants versus nonparticipants. With personal sharing, most or all of the value goes to the participants, while at the other end of the spectrum, attempts at civic sharing are specifically designed to generate real change in the society the participants are embedded in.”

  • Google News Starts Testing A Social Layer: Twitter

    There’s a lot of speculation about Google’s upcoming stab at social (take 15, or so, for those keeping track at home). The most recent talk has Google adding a social layer to all of their properties to tie them all together. One such property is actually already trying out such a layer — but it’s a social layer run by Twitter.

  • NKorean official confirms Kim Jong Un as leader

    A top North Korean official confirmed Friday to broadcaster APTN that Kim Jong Il’s youngest son will succeed him as the next leader of the reclusive communist nation.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Brazil battles spread of ‘mad soy disease’

      Now “mad soy disease”, is troubling farmers and scientists in Brazil, where it causes yield losses of up to 40%, and is expanding out of its stronghold in the north of the country. And, like its bovine namesake, it is incurable.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Friday
    • Spammers Using SHY Character to Hide Malicious URLs

      Spammers have jumped on the little-used soft hyphen (or SHY character) to fool URL filtering devices. According to researchers at Symantec Corp., spammers are larding up URLs for sites they promote with the soft hyphen character, which many browsers ignore.

      Spammers aren’t shy about jumping humans flexible cognitive abilities to slip past the notice of spam filters (H3rb41 V14gr4, anyone?). They’re also ever-alert to flaws or inconsistencies in the way that browsers render text to allow them to slip pitches URLs by programs designed to spot unwanted solicitations, phishing attempts and more.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • European Parliament Balks at US Data Deals

      Representatives of US security agencies want further concessions from the EU to ensure free access to police computers, bank transfers and airline passenger data in the fight against terror. But members of the European Parliament have said they will resist the moves.

      Washington’s army of diplomats in Europe has been taking on one country at a time. Germany stood at the top of the list and, initially, surrendered without even a whimper to the American demands. In 2008, the federal government in Berlin signed an agreement pushed by Washington allowing American officials wide-ranging access to the databases of German security agencies. It was only after leaders in Hamburg raised their objections to the deal that it was, temporarily, stalled in the Bundesrat, Germany’s upper legislative chamber, which represents the interests of the states. The city-state has since withdrawn its objections after securing minor concessions on data protection provisions in the document, and the treaty is now set to be approved.

    • Policing in the 21st Century: the role of transparency in Big Society

      In her speech at the Conservative Party Conference on 5 October, Theresa May placed great emphasis on the coalition’s vision for the future of policing in the UK. This vision has two core elements: to restore democratic accountability and to dramatically increase effectiveness through localism, innovation and a removal of bureaucratic constraints. For policing this represents among the most significant reforms since Robert Peel inaugurated the institution in 1829. In a wider context these elements lie at the very heart the Prime Minister’s ‘radical’ agenda for government (see statements on localism).

    • Philly officers in 25th District probe were not sting targets

      Investigators who set up a sting operation Monday had hoped to snare two corrupt Philadelphia police officers suspected of robbing drug dealers – just not the two who fell into the trap.

      The 25th District officers arrested Monday, Sean Alivera and his partner, Christopher Luciano, were not the initial targets of the investigation and were not previously suspected of wrongdoing, sources familiar with the case said.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Tune in to the live whale song network

      Just 2 minutes ago, a sperm whale swam by about 4 kilometres south of Cassis on the French Mediterranean coast. From my desk in London, I heard its whistle. Thanks to a new website, so can you.

      The LIDO (Listening to the Deep Ocean Environment) site offers a live feed to 10 hydrophones sprinkled around European waters, and one in Canada. Several more are scheduled to come soon in Canada and in Asia.

    • Dr. Ryan N. Maue’s 2010 Global Tropical Cyclone Activity Update

      While the North Atlantic has seen 15 tropical storms / hurricanes of various intensity, the Pacific basin as a whole is at historical lows! In the Western North Pacific stretching from Guam to Japan and the Philippines and China, the current ACE value of 48 is the lowest seen since reliable records became available (1945) and is 78% below normal*. The next lowest was an ACE of 78 in 1998. See figure below for visual evidence of the past 40-years of tropical cyclone activity.

    • Turtle Watching in Dominica
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Private health lobby out in force at Tory conference

      “Grassroots” think tank favoured by Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has strong links to the private health insurance industry

      2020Health, the centre right think tank with close links to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley is out in force at this week’s Conservative Party conference. It is chaired by the CEO of a huge global network of health insurers, at the same time as arguing for a greater role for the private health sector.

    • Map of online ad market, US
  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Chinese dissident wins Nobel Peace Prize

      The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to Liu Xiaobo, a leading Chinese dissident who is serving an 11-year prison term after repeatedly calling for human rights and democratization, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced.

      Liu was sentenced in 2009 for inciting subversion of state power. He is the co-author of Charter 08, a call for political reform and human rights, and was an adviser to the student protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989.

    • China’s Liu leads Kohl, EU in Peace Nobel race: TV

      Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is the leading candidate to win the Nobel Peace Prize with the European Union and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl also among the contenders, Norway’s main television networks said on Thursday.

    • The peace prize in the digital age

      In April 2009, Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo published an op-ed praising the internet for bringing about ‘the awakening of ideas among the Chinese’.

      Just two months later Liu, who had previously been imprisoned for participation in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, was charged with inciting subversion of state power and sentenced to eleven years in prison plus two years deprivation of political rights.

    • China blanks Nobel Peace prize searches
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • The BBC: an open and shut case of corporate schizophrenia?

      I just wonder how they can square that call for openness with their ‘confidential’ response to the Ofcom consultation on attaching DRM digital locks to the BBC HD signal? The BBC’s secret response was a key cornerstone of Ofcom’s approval the BBC’s application to add DRM restrictions to their HD signal.

      Just a small request, since I know how things work in large organisations and it is entirely possible that they don’t know each other – could someone at the BBC please introduce the team who drafted the demand for openness and net neutrality to the team who drafted the demand for DRM on BBC and Freeview HD? I do firmly believe the unwielding advance and malignant growth of bureaucracy leads to endemic corporate schizophrenia in all large organisations but it can be cathartic to at least give the individuals caught up in it an opportunity to defend their positions.

    • If the Internet Ain’t Dead Yet, It Soon Will Be

      It appears Wired may have gotten it right that the Internet is “dead,” but for the wrong reasons. Just as the information, communications and technology (“ICT”) industries are poised to deliver more mobility, faster speeds, greater control and a whole new range of service options such as software as a service or cloud computing, we see stories that (1) the Obama administration is going to “try to make it easier to wiretap the Internet” (as the New York Times put it), (2) Congress is considering legislation that would give the President authority to “shut down” the Internet, (3) countries like India and Saudi Arabia are requiring Blackberry maker Research in Motion to provide the government access to encrypted communications, and (4) Craiglist is forced to shut down its adult content section.

      Individually, each of these actions may have some merit (or not), but collectively they suggest that the “wild, wild west” days of the Internet are behind us. It was inevitable that as the Internet gained in popularity and became an engine of commerce there would be calls for the government to assert more control. And certainly spam, phishing, hacking, and other cyber threats are real problems that may require government action. Indeed, researchers who are analyzing the Stuxnet virus are concluding that cyber threats have just taken an exponential leap from criminal to truly dangerous. It is inevitable that governments are going to respond to Stuxnet with a new round of measures in the name of “national security.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cadbury Trademarks The Color Purple, and they’re not alone
    • Copyrights

      • Police Arrest Operator of Mulve Downloading App

        Last month, a relatively new music downloading application burst onto the scene. Mulve carried no music of its own, but instead allowed users to make their own searches and download material from servers owned by Russia’s biggest social networking site. This week Mulve disappeared unexpectedly but for good reason. Without any warning, the UK police arrested its operator.

      • Having a ball

        The longest, loudest boom is in live music. Between 1999 and 2009 concert-ticket sales in America tripled in value, from $1.5 billion to $4.6 billion (see chart 1). Ticket sales wobbled in America during the summer of 2010, but that was partly because some big-selling acts took a break. One of the most reliable earners, Bono, U2’s singer, was put out of action when he injured his back in May.

      • Copied pleadings show there’s no honor among antipiracy lawyers

        On September 29, Chicago divorce lawyer John Steele filed a case far outside his usual realm of family law and custody dispute; he represented First Time Videos, LLC, which an attached declaration calls “a leading producer and distributor of adult entertainment content within the transsexual niche.” Internet users had been sharing First Time Videos’ porn through BitTorrent—but what did Steele know of BitTorrent or file-swapping litigation?

      • CBC Bans Use of Creative Commons Music on Podcasts

        The producers of the popular CBC radio show Spark have revealed (see the comments) that the public broadcaster has banned programs from using Creative Commons licenced music on podcasts.

      • CBC agreement with talent agency prohibits use of Creative Commons music

        According to a comment from a CBC producer on a message board, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has banned the use of Creative Commons licensed music from its podcasts. Apparently, this goes “against some of the details in collective agreements [the CBC] hold with certain talent agencies.”

      • The Myth Of The “Lost Sale”

        Markets set the price, not the rights holders. If you have an item that you choose to price at £100 but nobody is willing to pay £100 for it, is it worth £100? No, it’s only worth what people will pay for it. If that means nobody is willing to pay your asking price for the latest reheat of yet another in a long line of factory pressed boy bands doing an album full of covers, then they are not worth the price you’re asking. If people are only interested when it’s free of cost, then that should also send a message of how much they’re willing to pay for your product.

        It’s not all about cost either. Plenty of people will pay for stuff they can get free if they see value in it. Plenty of independent musicians, writers and artists are bypassing the rich corporate middlemen and going straight to their fans. Plenty of fans are perfectly happy to buy “proper” copies of their favourite books or albums because they know their money is going to reward those who created the stuff they love. Even if they get the electronic version free of charge, they still want to donate a few pounds or dollars here and there, or help publicise a new release or tour.

      • US anti-P2P law firms sue more in 2010 than RIAA ever did

        In the UK, the Information Commissioner is investigating data security at an anti-piracy law firm, the country’s ISPs have started challenging the legitimacy of the entire detection process in court, and members of the House of Lords rage about “legal blackmail.” But here in the US, the antipiracy lawyers are just getting warmed up. Indeed, we might reasonably see 2010 as the Year of the Settlement Letter.

        Here’s how it works: a law firm drums up business, signing on copyright holders—mostly movie producers—as clients. The clients are charged nothing, instead getting a percentage of whatever revenue the law firm can collect by going after those sharing the film online.

      • CRAMER PELMONT – 2 day u-turn? and what of the others?

        Here’s something else to consider, could it be the “average” user sat behind their computer screen as a hobby has managed to stop the legal profession? It certainly seems that way to me and the law firms involved have certainly not had an easy time of it, challenged by, not some legal monster, but the average person. What ever happens in the future, one things for sure, it would make a great movie and really shows that whilst corporations can use the net as a powerful sales tool, the same internet can turn just as quickly and bring even the large firm to their knees.

      • Art Builds Upon Art: Nina Paley’s New Video

        From the maker of Sita Sings the Blues comes a new short film that artistically delivers a simple message: “All creative work builds on what came before.” Using artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nina Paley draws the visual conclusion that art borrows and remixes – that nothing is really out of the box. This argument resonates for some.

      • Musician Mourns aXXo’s Absence, Defends Piracy

        Drama struck parts of the BitTorrent community last year when the popular DVD ripper aXXo shared his last torrent with his millions of followers. At the height of his stardom aXXo suddenly went silent. Thousands have meanwhile begged for his return, and this week they’re joined by Norwegian musician Binärpilot, who has dedicated a track to aXXo on his latest album.

      • ACTA

        • Notes on the October 7, 2010 USTR NGO briefing on ACTA

          Today, USTR held a nearly 2-hour public briefing on the new version of the ACTA text. USTR representatives present included Stan McCoy, Kira Alvarez, and Rachel Bae. Stan and Kira did most of the talking at the meeting.

        • Brazil strikes deal rich against counterfeiting

          O Brasil atacou ontem o acordo assinado entre 40 países ricos que estabelece o primeiro tratado internacional para criminalizar o comércio, a produção eo fornecimento de produtos e remédios falsificados. Brazil has attacked the agreement signed yesterday between 40 rich countries establishing the first international treaty to outlaw the trade, production and delivery of products and counterfeit medicines. Para atrair a adesão do Brasil e da China, europeus e americanos flexibilizaram a versão final do documento, retirando do texto a obrigação do confisco de medicamentos genéricos nas fronteiras. To attract membership from Brazil and China, European and American eased the final version of the document, removing the obligation of the text of the confiscation of generic drugs across borders. Os dois países, porém, rejeitam o acordo. Both countries, however, reject the agreement.

          O Estado revelou ontem que, após três anos de negociações, Europa, EUA e outros países ricos haviam chegado a um acordo para tentar reduzir o comércio de produtos e remédios falsos – um mercado de US$ 250 bilhões, controlado por organizações criminosas. The state revealed yesterday that after three years of negotiations, Europe, U.S. and other wealthy countries had reached an agreement to try to reduce the trade in fake medicines and products – a market capitalization of $ 250 billion controlled by criminal organizations. Os países emergentes, no entanto, tomaram o acordo como uma verdadeira declaração de guerra: dizem que não foram incluídos nas negociações e argumentam que as medidas são direcionadas contra eles. Emerging countries, however, took the deal as a declaration of war: they were not included in the negotiations and argue that the measures are directed against them.

        • Copyright Criminal measures in ACTA

          The negotiating parties published the ACTA text. ACTA criminalises newspapers revealing a document, office workers forwarding a file and downloaders; whistle blowers and weblog authors revealing documents in the public interest and remixers and others sharing a file if there is an advantage.

          The EU is not competent to negotiate criminal measures in ACTA. The Presidency of the Council, representing the Member States, negotiated the criminal measures. It is unclear where this competence should come from. The EU has exclusive competence on trade agreements, the Council is not competent to harmonise criminal measures any more.

Clip of the Day

All Creative Work Is Derivative

IRC Proceedings: October 8th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Microsoft More Likely to Split Than to Merge With Adobe

Posted in Microsoft, Rumour at 10:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Adobe binary

Summary: A reality check amid rumours that Microsoft may be interested in Adobe’s assets and more bad news about Vista Phone 7 [sic]

Due to some reports like this one, people have begun to speculate that Microsoft might buy Adobe, which is extremely unlikely for reasons that were brought up in IRC. If Microsoft ever thought about buying Adobe, then it confirms yet again it has an identity crisis (as new internal documents appear to suggest). The article from the New York Times begins as follows:

Steven A. Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, recently showed up with a small entourage of deputies at Adobe’s offices to hold a secret meeting with Adobe’s chief executive, Shantanu Narayen.

The meeting, which lasted more than an hour, covered a number of topics, but one of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could team up in the battle against Apple. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft were among the options.

Microsoft has been poaching Adobe employees for a while, it has products that compete directly with Adobe (hello redundancy and antitrust), and it does not have money to buy Adobe. These are just some of the many reasons why an acquisition is not going to happen. Rather than Microsoft growing through stealthy deals it appears as though it may shrink by splitting up, just like it was supposed to after antitrust violations in the 90s. Such a ‘radical’ suggestion came from Goldman Sachs a few days ago and here it is in the news again:

Goldman Sachs, at one time the most respected Wall Street investment bank in the world, is urging Microsoft to shed its Xbox (and the entire entertainment division, actually) branch into its own company, and for Microsoft proper to just focus on the business, operating system and office software stuff.

Goldman Sachs has also expressed dissatisfaction with Microsoft’s next attempt at the mobile market. It was not alone. As IDG puts it:

Windows Phone 7 Buzz Muted by Naysayers


In fact Microsoft is facing a wall of naysayers leading up this Monday when it will introduce its first batch of Windows Phone 7 phones. Analysts and investors are wary about Windows Phone 7′s prospects. Third-party application developers are giving mixed reviews about the new smartphone platform. And average Joes and Janes are just making wisecracks.

Here’s a look at what people are saying about Microsoft.

Microsoft Downgrade

Market research firm Gartner on Wednesday predicted that Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows Phone 7 will not buoy the company’s sagging mobile handset fortunes. Instead, Gartner predicts, Microsoft’s global market share will drop from 4.7 percent in 2010 to 3.9 percent by 2014, according to Information Week.

Gartner’s prediction follows Goldman Sachs downgrade of Microsoft’s stock on Monday from “buy” to “neutral.” The investment firm dinged Microsoft for its failure to gain “a firmer foothold in the growing migration to mobile devices,” according to Bloomberg.

It’s not hard to see where that criticism comes from. Apple’s iPad, for example, has become the tablet device to beat and inspired a slew of competitors, and this has all happened in less than a year. Microsoft, meanwhile, has been trying to inspire tablet PC adoption for years without much success.

It may not take long for Vista Phone 7 to die and join this list, at which point buyers of such phones will be greeted by messages like this one:

Customers can continue to enjoy the full benefits of MSN Direct, along with service and support, up until that date. Pro-rated refunds for unused portions of existing One-Time Payment and 12 month subscription plans will be automatically credited after January 1, 2012. Customers may cancel service at any point prior to that date and receive a pro-rated refund for any unused portion of their subscription. Microsoft customer support is available to answer any questions about existing subscriptions or refund eligibility at 1-866-658-7032.

Why would Microsoft bury about 40 products only to spend ~15 billion dollars buying Adobe (the company’s market cap is around $14.3 billion at the moment)? Microsoft hardly even makes acquisitions anymore. It just makes no sense.

European Parliament Swallows the RAND Poison Pill

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EP on rand

Summary: RAND is found in the European Parliament (EP) draft on the “future of European standardisation”

A draft report [PDF] from Edvard Kožušník was produced for the European Parliament and it sure has room for improvement. This paper on the future of European standardisation contains some elements which may exclude Free software (as defined in terms of the GPL, the most ubiquitous software licence).

“This paper on the future of European standardisation contains some elements which may exclude free software (as defined in terms of the GPL, the most ubiquitous software licence).”In page 63 we have the text which speaks of “the need to ensure that licenses for any essential IPRs contained in standards are provided on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions” and that’s just a euphemism for patent tax.

It was only last night that we explained how Microsoft lobbyists and mobbyists were promoting RAND in Europe and the Open Web Foundation, partly staffed by Microsoft, has also included the RAND problem within its boundaries. It’s crucial not to let this be. It’s a way of illegalising software freedom and the European Commission fell for it [1, 2, 3, 4].

Microsoft NuPack an Exercise in Open-Washing Proprietary Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 7:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In the washing machine

Summary: Nu is not GNU; Microsoft is just openwashing (making something only appear more open), addressing perception issues around yet another part of its proprietary stack

Microsoft really tries to make itself appear “open”; the monopolist is by no means opening up or embracing freedom, it’s only trying to change public perception, most recently by renaming [1, 2].

These desperate moves (NuPack being the latest) are not going to fool Free software supporters, but they sure managed to get some attention from news sites, especially those which are run by Microsoft boosters [1, 2, 3, 4] or sympathisers [1, 2], and a couple of exceptions [1, 2]. It is especially funny how the Microsoft boosters try to make it seem like Outercurve and Microsoft are separate. What a great example of lousy reporting. This is why Microsoft grooms particular people, who eventually become an extended family of the PR department. NuPack is just about selling .NET and Windows, i.e. proprietary, highly-restrictive software. Katherine Noyes has just published this article which explains “Why Windows Is Bad for Business” and to quote one fragment:

Microsoft is also very good at suggesting that Windows malware is an industry problem rather than one that’s a direct result of its own lax security.

The fact is, there are few users in this world who choose Windows because it’s irresistibly good. Rather, most use it because of inertia, pure and simple. For that inertia, however, everyone pays a price–especially organizations. Here’s why Windows is undeniably bad for business.

Microsoft is busy trying to pretend that its proprietary stack is somehow open and thus equal/on par with GNU/Linux. It’s a lie, it’s openwashing.

Microsoft Pays Acacia Again and It Also Pays ACCESS Co.

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, LG, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 6:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Handouts from Microsoft

Summary: Software patents proponents share their wealth while companies that bring free/libre software to the market get sued

PATENT TROLL Acacia has been agitating Linux for almost exactly three years now and a few days ago it made a settlement announcement regarding Red Hat [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft paid Acacia some months ago and it’s paying it again based on Murdoch’s press and Mary Jo Foley who writes:

Sometimes it’s cheaper to head off a potential problem than fight — a stance the old Microsoft regime would repudiate, but one that the current one increasingly has been pursuing.

On October 7, Microsoft licensed 74 patents for an undisclosed amount with Acacia Research Corp. and Access Co. Ltd, the Japanese company that acquired PalmSource, the maker of the Palm operating system, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Notice the role of ACCESS in there. André Rebentisch from the FFII warned us last year about the patent pools ACCESS or LiMo were getting into. The company was pro-software patents and patent trolls are now using similar tactics to merely extort competitors. It’s a good thing that ALP is dead given the damage its staff was causing to software freedom. “Microsoft pays Acacia,” I pointed out to Glyn Moody, adding that “Groklaw perceives that as Microsoft rewarding those ex-Softies who work in Acacia and sue Red Hat et al.” Moody did not rule out the possibility of it being a factor.

“Acacia has been good to Microsoft as it helped generate Linux FUD for several years, just like SCO did.”Isn’t it fascinating how money can change hands through settlements? Microsoft did not even challenge this, it immediately paid. Acacia has been good to Microsoft as it helped generate Linux FUD for several years, just like SCO did.

In other news, now that Microsoft extorts Android, LG (with a Microsoft patent deal covering Linux) drops some of its Android plans and just a couple of days later initiates a Microsoft co-operation. A reader of ours from Latvia sent us this link. It turns out that some of those companies which signed Linux patent deals with Microsoft were actually quietly sued but settled before this was made publicly known. Melco is reportedly one of those. That’s just racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] and it’s where Microsoft seems to be going.

Smeegol Linux Has a Mono Problem

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 5:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft APIs instead of LSB-based MeeGo

Hand and pear with Mono

Summary: The tenacious monkey follows MeeGo around, just as it ‘infects’ everything with Linux

BACK in the early days of MeeGo, Novell staff got involved by putting some Mono in it [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Novell/OpenSUSE has just come up with a new name to this endeavour. It’s called Smeegol and coverage is seen as following the announcement from Andrew Wafaa. Here is how Phoronix describes it in one of two posts on the subject:

The openSUSE Goblin Team, which was originally formed to bring the latest Moblin innovations into the openSUSE world and now are focusing upon pulling in MeeGo innovations after Moblin and Maemo merged, has a new announcement. This openSUSE team is now announcing the first public release of Smeegol, which combines MeeGo with openSUSE into one netbook-designed Linux distribution.

As our reader Pawel points out, this “uses banshee, so it uses mono. I hoped meego will be pure qt and mono free” (but Novell and Microsoft want C# in all mobile devices, including hypePhone and Android [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]). Banshee falls outside the MCP and therefore Microsoft is capable of suing.

Novell Continues Downward Slide After Missing Another Chance to Sell

Posted in Finance, Novell at 5:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell after buyout plans

Summary: Evidence that Novell is suffering as a result of spurning another takeover bid — for now

THE GRAPH above is from a few minutes ago and it shows Novell’s stock price peaking when Novell seemed close to signing a deal and selling the company away (likely in parts). Novell is still looking at it, but in the mean time major customers are lost (the NHS for example [1, 2], with additional new coverage about it this week [1, 2]) and Novell’s value is likely to slide over time. It’s a declining business after all and expectation of a Novell sale depresses sales.

A while back (in the middle of September) we saw Novell jumping 6% because of expectation of a sale. Here is a video from that time:

This week in the news, Novell just gradually declined [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11] and the longer it waits, the less it will be worth.

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