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Links 10/10/2010: 10.10.10 Release of Ubuntu, SimplyMepis Experiment

Posted in News Roundup at 11:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Linspotting project – Linux video editing workflow ready for action

    A full Linux video editing workflow is finally ready for production use. The certified solution is based on Kdenlive plus a set of components which allow easy integration with different sources of video (firewire capture, DVD extraction, H264 transcoding, screen capture, etc). The certification and packaging initiative, which was made possible by years of impressive work from several groups of open source developers, comes from Angulo Sólido, Caixa Mágica and the freelance journalist Caroline Pimenta.

  • Linux package management is brilliant

    Often times when something just works, we tend to take it for granted. I think software package management in Linux is one of those things. It just works. Time and time again I have to help people with packages in Windows, which makes me even more thankful for the solid package management system in Linux. Packages can be installed while software is currently being used, allowing changes to happen when the software is closed and reopened. Packages can also be removed/updated/installed while the user is actively using the computer, with a simple SSH connection to their PC. And, best of all, no rebooting is necessary, unless you are updating the kernel itself, which is pretty rare.

  • Thank you, Linux! My Windows computer is infected

    I used this public computer and saved a file onto my USB drive. Then, because I am accustomed to working without any concern thanks to Linux, I forgot to check the USB contents. When I returned home, I booted my desktop computer in Windows and plugged the infected USB drive.

    Since Windows XP has become a little slow, I went for a cup of coffee and, when I returned, my computer was behaving in a way that I had not seen for quite long, yet not one I can call completely unfamiliar. My firewall was flashing alert messages crazily, the antivirus could not be updated, and the system froze on me as I sat dumbfounded. As you can see, THE PENGUIN NUMBED MY WINDOWS SECURITY SENSE!

  • Emergency Booting Windows PCs: Another Use for Linux

    Can there be still more to add to the list of useful functions a live Linux CD offers? This brief article reviews the use of Linux as a means of emergency booting a failed Windows PC and accessing potentially lost files. Linux as a boot OS is fairly common today. For instance, DELL often ships its servers with Windows driver disks that actually use a micro-Linux boot.

    However, I discovered another truly invaluable use for Live Linux CDs when my friend Mitch asked me to come over and help him with a very urgent need. His business report was due the next morning, but at the last moment his Microsoft Windows laptop failed to boot and he lost his report.

  • Switching from Windows to Linux: One Month On

    After a while, you soon get used to it, and I can certainly say that Gimp is perfectly adequate for providing the graphics we use on the site every day. When it comes to detailed work on photos, I still prefer to wait until I go home so I can use Photoshop there. It’s going to take me a few more weeks or months before I can handle that …

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 168 – The Brigadier Drops By

      This week on the show: Brigadier Bradshaw joins us as a guest host, we talk to Bradley Kuhn about his move to the Software Freedom Conservancy, Sintel is released, LibreOffice is launched, the FSF turns 25, Microsoft sues Motorola and Canonical announces the Ubuntu One music streaming service.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa’s r600g Driver Test Drive

        There has been alot of talk about the Mesa driver in Linux. One of the new things that has been talked about as the savior of 3d graphics on Linux is the Gallium technology. This technology is supposed to make writing drivers easier and to allow for much more functionality in the Linux 3d stack.

        While I am not a gallium expert, I know enough to build the driver and test it out. So I started with my stock Fedora 13 setup (64bit, Q6600, 8GB RAM). I followed the wiki and installed the Kernel, libdrm, mesa and the ATI driver all from git. It took a little while, but it was reasonable to get going. It really helped that I had built many of these components before when the r600c driver originally came out, so I knew the process.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Ubuntu 10.04 E17 LiveDVD

      The Enlightenment foundation libraries (EFL) recently reached beta status after having been marked as alpha software for a decade. If you are unfamiliar with what EFL are, they can be summed up in a single quote from their front page:

      “Enlightenment is not just a window manager for Linux/X11 and others, but also a whole suite of libraries to help you create beautiful user interfaces”

    • GNOME Desktop

      • dots: a Braille translator for GNOME

        You can configure the output (cells per line, lines per page, etc…) and select the translation table. Also it presents the document on the screen in ASCII representation of using a Braille font with a review line. All the low level transcription is done using liblouis and liblouisxml libraries (the same that orca uses for the braille output). Also another nice feature is that you can actually edit the translation table with a nice UI. All the code is hosted on GNOME git: browse dots source code.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Simply Mepis 8.5 challenge: the first four days

        To sum up, my experience as a Mandriva user handling Mepis is satisfactory up to this point. SimplyMepis is not simply a disappointment. I think that it rivals Mandriva in its KDE handling…maybe a simplified experience than the one I am used to with Mandriva, but Mepis had given me little to complain about.

      • Preview: Debian 6 “Squeeze” (Part 2: KDE)

        there’s nothing show-stopping in either version for me to definitely recommend one over the other.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Officially Released

          Ladies and gentlemen, dear Ubuntu users, after three alphas, one beta and a release candidate, we are pleased to announce that Ubuntu 10.10 is here, today (October 10th), available on mirrors worldwide (see the download links at the end of the article).

        • Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Has Been Released – See What’s New In Both Desktop And Netbook Editions

          Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat final has just been released. I’m taking this opportunity to review the major changes (mostly on the UI) in both Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop and Netbook editions. If you’re a regular WebUpd8 reader, you should already know all these changes but even so, read on for a new Unity video (recorded today) as well as a recap of the changes to Ubuntu Software Center, Unity and so on.

        • 10.10 10:10:10 – thank you and Happy Maverick Day!

          I spent a lot of time observing our community, this release. For some reason I was curious to see how our teams work together, what the dynamic is, how they work and play together, how they celebrate and sadly, also how they mourn. So I spent a fair amount more time this cycle reading lists from various Ubuntu teams, reading minutes from governance meetings for our various councils, watching IRC channels without participating, just to get a finger on the pulse.

        • Ubuntu One and FOSS Services

          My good friend S.Gerguri asked me to talk about the nature of the Ubuntu One services offered by Canonical Ltd. and has sent me his thoughts by email, I’ve quoted him here and responded with my own thoughts. Full disclosure: I briefly worked on the team that develops the Ubuntu One service at Canonical and so I’m going to be careful since I’ve seen code and talked about strategy while on the team.

        • Wikinews interviews Ubuntu developer Fabrice

          The 10.10 version of Ubuntu (codename Maverick Merkaat), a free operative system is to be released in the next few days. French Wikinews contributor Savant-fou (Baptiste) has interviewed Fabrice (fabrice_sp on Ubuntu), an Ubuntu’s MOTU (Master Of The Universe), member of the development team of the operative system.

        • Ubuntu 10.10 beta review

          Ubuntu has long been the Linux distribution favoured by businesses wanting to make a hassle-free switch from Windows, and the full release of the latest version, Ubuntu 10.10, is due this coming Sunday (October 10). In this review, we’ll be looking at the beta release of Ubuntu 10.10.

          Version 10.04 of Ubuntu arrived earlier this year and was an LTS (long term support) release, which means it benefits from three years of support for the desktop version; the server edition gets five years. This latest version, however, is a standard release and only gets security updates for 18 months.

        • We’re moving!

          As most of you who follow the Fridge know, Ubuntu has been given a face-lift. There is a cool new theme with new colors, a lighter feel, and just all around an upbeat tone to all the official Ubuntu related sites. Check out ubuntu.com and canonical.com to see the new look if you haven’t done so already.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • HD Video Android 2.2 myTouch Coming to T-Mobile

          T-Mobile today expands its myTouch line with a new Android 2.2 handset from HTC that sports a speedier processor than initial models as well as a front-facing camera for video calls, a larger screen and support for the carrier’s HSPA+ network, which offers 4G-like performance.

        • Android phones push cameras to 14 megapixels

          Japanese carrier KDDI announced a November release for a new 3.5-inch, Snapdragon-based “ISO3″ Android 2.1 phone from Sharp, touted for its 960 x 640 display and 9.6-megapixel camera. Meanwhile, Altek offered more details on its previously tipped 3.2-inch “Leo” Android phone — including an unprecedented 14-megapixel camera — and said it will ship in Europe in the first quarter of 2011.

        • Taking Care of Business with 12 Great Android Apps for Enterprise Users

          While Android smartphones were initially targeted at the consumer market, with the release of Froyo/Android 2.2, they’re increasingly making their way into the enterprise — and several Android applications are now available that are specifically designed to meet business users’ needs, covering everything from document scanning to task management.

          Although many of these Froyo apps are free, remember that you can uninstall any paid Android app within 24 hours of your initial purchase for a full refund — so go ahead and try any of the below, with no commitment.

Free Software/Open Source

  • What Do You Believe In?

    I believe in giving users software ownership, that no matter how much or how little they paid for software that they should have complete ownership and control over their own computers. They should have source code, they should be able to modify it or pay others to modify it for them, they should be able to redistribute and learn from it without strings, restrictions or end user agreements.

  • Designed not to scale

    With the aim of bringing in one new contributor, Máirín Duffy sometimes writes a “Fedora Design Bounty”, a long description of something she could do herself.

    Look at the first one and you’ll get a sense of the process she underwent. She created a splashy web page and discussed a specific issue at length (rather than simply linking to a ticket). She singled out a specific task for a newcomer and provided context showing why it was important that the work gets done. In the “What’s in it for you?” section, she explained how you’ll totally be cooler if you do it. Finally, she made it a contest: anyone can try working on it for 48 hours, and if they don’t succeed, the next person in line gets a shot.

  • Education

    • Linux ,schools and zeitgeist

      By accepting that the Zeitgeist that propels the desirable is an unreliable indicator of worth and that as ICT moves outside this realm an opportunity is created for its dissection into its constituent parts and inclusion into the fabric of school subjects.

      In other words computing is old and boring enough to have earned its place in the mainstream curriculum.

  • Project Releases

    • Project News for PLplot

      This is a development release of PLplot. It represents the ongoing efforts of the community to improve the PLplot plotting package. Development releases in the 5.9.x series will be available every few months. The next full release will be 5.10.0.

    • LM_Sensors 3.2.0 Has Been Released

      It’s been quite a while since having anything to report on with the LM_Sensors project, which is the free software project to provide user-space utilities and kernel drivers for various hardware sensors to be supported under Linux. LM_Sensors makes it possible to monitor the CPU/system temperatures, fan speeds, voltages, and other metrics for many systems and motherboards. The last time though we brought up LM_Sensors was in May when it received some better Intel CPU support, but the last major release (LM_Sensors 3.1.0) happened in March of 2009. Today though, LM_Sensors 3.2.0 has been released.

  • Programming

    • C++ Snippets on Linux: Vectors Vice Arrays As a Better Way to Store Data

      You may have read and enjoyed my recent article “C++ Snippets: Converting Hexidecimal Values to Decimal Values.” In that article, I briefly discussed a secret project that I have undertaken that will eventually result in my first GUI application for GNU/Linux, Windows, and perhaps even MacOS. At that time, I said that I could not reveal the exact nature of the program. I still cannot reveal the exact nature of the program, but I am releasing more of the source code under the GNU GPL license version 3. If you look at this code, run and compile it, you may glean a few more hints as to what kind of program I am actually aiming to write. in this article, I will reveal a few more details as to how I came up with this program idea.


  • What we’re driving at

    So we have developed technology for cars that can drive themselves. Our automated cars, manned by trained operators, just drove from our Mountain View campus to our Santa Monica office and on to Hollywood Boulevard. They’ve driven down Lombard Street, crossed the Golden Gate bridge, navigated the Pacific Coast Highway, and even made it all the way around Lake Tahoe. All in all, our self-driving cars have logged over 140,000 miles. We think this is a first in robotics research.

  • Does the market need freedom, or is it modern sharecropping?

    Thorne gave another example: An industrial designer in Berlin who has been financially successful using open licenses. As a result, he’s often asked what the business model around this is. Despite his financial success and critical acclaim, he admits that it’s the creative freedom that has real value. He had tenure, etc., but some people undervalue the importance of the creativity result of the freedom as opposed to the monetary returns.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Conservationists row over ship hit by Japanese whaling vessel

      It was the moment a cat and mouse game between a Japanese whaler and a team of determined marine conservationists burst into chilling violence. In early January in the icy waters off Antarctica, the steel hull of the Okinawa-registered ship Shonan Maru II ploughed into a lightweight carbon-fibre pursuit vessel used by the anti-whaling charity Sea Shepherd, shearing off the sleeping quarters.

    • Rich nations ‘slow to start climate aid flow’

      Rich countries have been slow to launch the “fast start” climate funds promised at Copenhagen, the world’s least developed nations complained today as negotiators wrestled with a finance package to keep the UN climate talks process on track.

      World leaders agreed last year to inject $30bn (£19bn) into forestry and other efforts to tackle climate change between 2010 and 2012. Ahead of bigger, more long-term financing, the “fast-start” money was designed to build trust among poorer countries that produce very miniscule greenhouse gas emissions but suffer many of the worst consequences.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Corporate Censorship Kills Creative Innovation

      I recently twittered “Corporate censorship kills creative innovation because some great ideas aren’t seen as great until much later” but some people were confused, which isn’t surprising given that I could have fully explained what I meant if I’d just used all 140 characters.

      So to clarify, I’ll do a full post but due to how I have MySQL set up, I’ll need to keep to under two billion characters. Hopefully that will be enough this time.

      When I was talking about “Corporate Censorship”, I wasn’t talking about the relationship between a game developer and a publisher. That’s a unique relationship because one party (the publisher/employer) is paying the other party (the developer/employee) and I do think if you’re funding something, you do have the right to exert some control over what is being made. You are paying for it after all. In a good and healthy publisher/developer relationship both parties respect what the other brings to the venture and they let the other do what they do best with minmal interference, but that’s not what I was talking about.

    • Ninth Case Filed against Turkish Journalist Ismail Saymaz

      Turkish reporter Ismail Saymaz faces 79 years in prison due to the publication of critical articles for the Turkish daily newspaper Radikal, IPI’s National Committee in Turkey reports.

      Saymaz, accused of “violating the secrecy of an investigation” in relation to the Ergenekon trials and events in the city of Erzincan, has previously been charged with no less than eight other criminal cases. The eighth trial opened up against him on account of his article titled, “Love games in Ergenekon – The Ergenekon prosecutor also took the judge’s statement,” published on 8 June.

    • Pixel Light
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Scientific American appalled at US broadband, demands line-sharing

      Scientific American might be a bit late to the controversy over line-sharing and broadband competition in the US, but the magazine today released a sharp (and unfortunately short) editorial intent on making up for lost time. Called “Why Broadband Service in the US is so Awful,” the piece argues that ISPs need to open their networks to third-party competitors. As for politicians who don’t see things this way, they “have aligned themselves with large Internet providers such as AT&T and Comcast that stand to suffer when their local monopolies are broken.”

      The editorial appears in the October 2010 issue of the magazine and showed up online today. It breaks no new ground, instead citing the “recent” FCC-commissioned report from Harvard’s Berkman Center, the one arguing that most developed countries have more broadband competition thanks to their line-sharing rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sintel: An Epic Open-Source Movie

        On October first, the open-source movie project of the Blender Foundation released third animated short on YouTube: Sintel. Five days later, the movie had already reached one million views. Previously released only at the Netherlands film festival (on September 27), Sintel’s success is as much due to its quality than it’s open-source nature.

      • Anti-piracy lawyers caught pirating each other’s work

        We would like to think that the lawyers that are prosecuting alleged copyright infringers are practicing what they preach, but it looks like one of the most high profile firms involved in such cases are just as guilty of stealing other’s work as those who are downloading illegal media.

      • White House IP Boss: Digital Piracy Costs U.S. Jobs

        “Protection of our innovation and protection of our creativity is an essential part of our plan for economic recovery,” U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel said in a keynote address here at a policy conference hosted by the Future of Music Coalition.


        In June, Espinel, joined by Vice President Joe Biden and other top administration officials, released an ambitious strategy charting a course of action to bolster IP protection and tighten enforcement. That plan contained recommendations on a variety of fronts, and Espinel said today that the administration is “moving forward quite rapidly” to put it in place.

Clip of the Day

Open Source Soil Pulverizer Prototype II

Credit: TinyOgg

Microsoft Pays Mobbyists Who Are Promoting Software Patents Tax in GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Charles Luciano

Summary: The mobile arena is being distorted by Microsoft and some allies who use software patent to increase the cost of phones (including Linux phones); they are using patents on software also to scare manufacturers, giving them the impression that Linux is not free

BACK we go to talking about the mobbyists, who sometimes express love for Mono and almost always seem to promote software patents, even though they may hide their motives*. For those who are still in doubt, Microsoft suffers very badly (debt is growing) and in order to survive for a while longer it is attacking its main competitor, Linux, using software patents. Many companies that use Linux sign a patent deal with Microsoft but only a small fraction of those companies would name Linux as part of the deals. On two occasions so far Microsoft announced a patent lawsuit and injunction against companies for their use of Linux. There is more to it if one considers companies whose attacks on Linux Microsoft is funding indirectly.

As Groklaw keeps filling some gaps in the SCO case filings, a look back from Updegrove’s point of view treats SCO as the copyright challenge that never materialised because no infringement could be proven and besides, Novell is said to own UNIX.

Perversely, SCO’s suicidal mission against Linux therefore ultimately served to strengthen the role of the Linux operating system kernel it tried to encumber rather than the opposite. Today, the reality of FOSS/OSS is far stronger than it likely would have been had not SCO destroyed itself in its vain quest.

While it would go too far to thank SCO for what it has done for FOSS/OSS, the saga that hopefully ended yesterday does serve to prove the wisdom once again of that old adage, “Something good comes of all.”

SCO has been successful in the sense that it bought Microsoft a lot more time, only to eventually show that the claims were all in vain. Microsoft has since then moved to a new target and it is amassing software patents right now. According to Geek.com, “Microsoft [is] granted patent covering to-do lists” (yes, it is shameful for the USPTO too).

The to-do list. It’s a common enough task that no one would ever attempt to patent it as a general process of making a list. But Microsoft has decided that a to-do list specific to programming is worthy of protection and filed a patent covering it.

Sometimes Microsoft relies on companies which it funds or companies which comprise Microsoft staff to shove software patents down Linux’ throat. Likewise is one examples that we gave and now it goes after Sun/Oracle customers (who will be better off using something similar without all the Microsoft patent tax).

“Either way, ACCESS is now paid by Microsoft, which is interesting because it employed a mobbyist who was disrupting GNOME, GNU, and at times defending/promoting software patents (his employer’s agenda).”Yesterday and the day before that we continued to show that Microsoft pays Acacia and ACCESS. Due to an article which claims ACCESS to be an Acacia subsidiary (to quote, ‘It said the software giant paid licence fees for “a portfolio of patents related to smartphones owned by [Acacia subsidiary] ACCESS Co, Ltd”.’), we had to look deeper into it all. We could not verify this, so maybe it’s a mistake by the author and we have informed her. Either way, ACCESS is now paid by Microsoft, which is interesting because it employed a mobbyist who was disrupting GNOME, GNU, and at times defending/promoting software patents (his employer’s agenda). According to this press release, there was Microsoft money on his table (at least indirectly because it’s an employer, who in turn passes a paycheque), which is interesting. “M$ Funds a Patent-Troll” says this headline from Pogson, who claims: “This time the patent-troll will be going after Androidy smartphone makers so “the enemy of my enemies is my friend”.” From The Register:

So perhaps, somewhat uncharacteristically, Microsoft was simply heading off any such headache by signing a licence deal with Acacia.

Interestingly Acacia, as previously noted by Groklaw, does have a history of hiring Microsoft veterans to work at its offices. It appointed ex-Microsoft Intellectual Property general manager Brad Brunell in 2007.

In July of that year the firm also took on Jonathan Taub, who Acacia promoted to the job of senior vice president just this month.

As Acacia points out in his corporate bio: “Prior to joining Acacia, he was Director of Strategic Alliances for Microsoft’s Mobile and Embedded Devices division and Business Development Manager for Microsoft’s Security Business Unit.”

So it’s hardly surprising to see the two companies play nice over licensing. It also means Microsoft, for once, won’t be under the patent sueball spotlight.

One piece of news that we mentioned some days ago is Ballmer’s push for a patent law “reform”, which he spoke about in LSE (England). Here is some dedicated coverage of the issue he raised in Europe:

Microsoft chief executive: patent laws need reforming


“Is the patent system perfect, or the world in which we live? Answer is of course not, the patent law was crafted in a day and age that preceded modern IT systems,” Ballmer said, pointing out that two of the biggest industries which use patent law – the pharmaceutical and software industries – did not exist when original patent law was written in the late 19th century.

“We think that the law ought to be reformed to reflect modern times. But if you ask me in general ‘are we better off with today’s patent system, or no system?’ We’re better off with today’s patent system,” Ballmer said.

Ballmer is using BSA propaganda to justify his agenda (BSA is funded by Microsoft and it also lobbies for RAND/software patents in Europe). Words like “piracy” are being used.

It’s clear that Microsoft cannot compete anymore, at least not in the mobile arena. Verizon rejects Microsoft’s products after being bruised as a disgruntled partner (“KIN”):

Asked by Cnet, here, whether Verizon will offer devices on its 4G LTE network, coming later this year, McAdam said: “I can’t really say which phones we’ll offer yet. We like our relationship with Microsoft. But clearly in the US there are three major mobile operating systems: RIM, Google, and Apple.”

Microsoft must already know deep inside that it cannot beat UNIX/Linux in mobile devices, so it goes raiding those who are fragile. “Why Is Microsoft Going After Motorola And Android?” That’s the question OStatic answers and analyses as follows:

Indeed, it is interesting that Microsoft went after Motorola and not Google. (Motorola’s Droid phones have a custom MotoBlur interface that sits on top of Android.) All in all, this move from Microsoft seems to be a Hail Mary from a company that has been marginalized in the smartphone business and is now going after very fundamental types of feature sets found in other manufacturers’ smartphones.

An important point which seems to be missing from the above analysis is that Motorola has had more financial issues, just like TomTom. Google would fight back and not run away to Windows, as pointed out in IRC by some regulars. So Microsoft goes after weak companies. What Microsoft has essentially been doing is act like a patent troll which assumes the attacked entity will settle without challenge and in other cases Microsoft funds or passes patents to patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], whose goal may be to elevate the cost of Linux-based operating systems. Dana Blankenhorn has an interesting take on it, too.

The FSF says that Vista Phone 7 [sic] is “the best choice for Patent Trolls” and we translated its article to Spanish because tomorrow is Microsoft’s big day.

On Monday October 11, 2010 Microsoft will release Windows Phone 7 software, backed by the largest phone marketing campaign in history: reports estimate costs at between 400 and 500 million dollars.

Why does Microsoft need to spend so much money promoting their latest proprietary software? Clearly they face strong competition, but marketing, especially for high end mobile phones, is about creating an image in the consumer’s mind; an image that they want to identify with.

And that’s the problem that Microsoft has. Who wants to be identified with Microsoft? Who wants to be identified with a corporation run by Steve Ballmer?

Windows 7 Phone Series: Another proprietary device designed to trash your rights.

Microsoft has a long history of unethical behavior in the software industry, abusing competitors and its customers alike. Steve Ballmer has long been recognized as the leading force behind this behavior at Microsoft. Yet amazingly he was promoted to lead the corporation when Bill Gates stepped down.

Worry not for a moment about Vista Phone 7. Even analysts who are paid by Microsoft admit this will fail and all that Microsoft can do right now is elevate the cost of its rivals and ensure that their profits become Microsoft’ own profits. It’s not an honourable way to compete. It is more like racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

“The first wave will attack the perception that Linux is free.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft

* In some cases they pretend to represent the very opposite side while they derail public policies, as in ACT’s case. Jeremy Allison has just described the latest exposé as “Great analysis of (wikileaked) plan to curb the free software in the EU. [...] Jonathan Zuck really is the mouth of Sauron.”

VMB_ware — Now Headed by Former Microsoft Executives — is Claimed to be Promoting Microsoft DirectX Inside Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Mono, Patents, VMware, Wine at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paul Maritz
Photo by Robert Scoble

Summary: Non-standard and Microsoft-controlled APIs are said to be pushed into Microsoft’s #1 competition (Linux) via the VM company people should beware as it also strives to buy Mono

MICROSOFT is not the only company which attacks GNU/Linux using software patents, not anymore anyway (thus the need to diversify). But some of the companies which are attacking GNU/Linux using software patents are either Microsoft partners or entities which are accommodated by former Microsoft staff and today we’ll show some examples from the news. This post concentrates on VMware, which would be better off known as VMB_ware.

As we’ve been stressing and documenting for a couple of years, VMB_ware is the home of several ex-Microsoft executives. Even Microsoft bloggers are saying it. This does not take some crazy theory to show, one just needs to read the CVs of the top management there.

We have written several lengthy posts which explain how VMB_ware suffocates Zimbra [1, 2, 3], which poses a risk to Microsoft’s Exchange (VMB_ware’s parent company, EMC, appears to be promoting Exchange). Why can’t more people foresee the negative effects of SUSE being offered to VMB_ware?

One of our readers who goes by the name of gnufreex raised a curious point a short while ago. By the way, his opinions are his own are there are attempts by mobbyists to smear Techrights over mere informal words (IRC) of people who participate, so be sure to check context. To quote just a portion of a much longer discussion:

-TRIdentica/#techrights-[phoronix/@phoronix] Wine 1.2.1 Brings A Bunch Of Fixes: While a lot of new code has already been introduced into the Wine 1.3 developm… http://bit.ly/cwdVRe Oct 08 17:49
TechrightsBot-tr Title: [Phoronix] Wine 1.2.1 Brings A Bunch Of Fixes .::. Size~: 15.41 KB Oct 08 17:49
gnufreex Wine guys shitcaned Direct3D Oct 08 17:50
gnufreex No can do says them Oct 08 17:50
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[mairin/@mairin] @bkuhn can i see the logo? i haven’t seen any links to it! Oct 08 17:51
Tekk_ O.o Oct 08 17:51
Tekk_ isn’t direct3d needed for like……..everything now? Oct 08 17:51
gnufreex No.. Not that way. Oct 08 17:51
Tekk_ hmm? Oct 08 17:51
gnufreex I meant Linux native Direct3D Oct 08 17:51
Tekk_ ah Oct 08 17:51
Tekk_ as opposed to through wine Oct 08 17:52
gnufreex VMware is creating Linux native Direc3D Oct 08 17:52
gnufreex They bought Tungsten Graphics Oct 08 17:52
gnufreex They work on Gallium3D Oct 08 17:52
Tekk_ oh dear god Oct 08 17:52
gnufreex And they now pluged Direct3D in Galallium Oct 08 17:52
Tekk_ that’s the biggest patent trap I could ever imagine Oct 08 17:52
gnufreex Yes Oct 08 17:52
Tekk_ go for it vmware! but take novell with you first! Oct 08 17:53
gnufreex I am sure VMware wil crosslicense. Oct 08 17:56
gnufreex We can hate them next. Oct 08 17:56
Tekk_ yayyyy Oct 08 17:56
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[bkuhn/@bkuhn] @mairin, which logo? Conservancy logo @fabsh designed is on sfconservancy.org . First candidate !FaiFCast logo from @vinzv is: ur1.ca/204bi Oct 08 17:57
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[mairin/@mairin] @bkuhn oh wow i really love the logo @fabsh did, kick ass! Oct 08 17:57
DiabloD3 [12:52:41] <Tekk_> that’s the biggest patent trap I could ever imagine\ Oct 08 17:58
DiabloD3 how so? Oct 08 17:58
DiabloD3 and by the way Oct 08 17:58
DiabloD3 its for d3d10/11 only Oct 08 17:58
DiabloD3 the API is pretty different from 9 and earlier Oct 08 17:58
gnufreex Really, VMware is deader as KVM is better and better. Oct 08 17:58


DiabloD3 Tekk_: yes, but they cant patent anything here that GL isnt already in violation of Oct 08 17:59
Tekk_ oh, so there’s hope Oct 08 17:59
DiabloD3 its just an API Oct 08 17:59
DiabloD3 it works the same way GL3 in future mode does. Oct 08 17:59
Tekk_ so they could basically just make it a wrapper? Oct 08 18:00
Tekk_ cool Oct 08 18:00
DiabloD3 well, wine is “just a wrapper” Oct 08 18:00
DiabloD3 they’re making a native state tracker just to make it faster Oct 08 18:00
gnufreex But there is again problem. Oct 08 18:00
DiabloD3 theres no “problem” Oct 08 18:00
gnufreex Games will port to Linux and it will be DirectX Oct 08 18:01
gnufreex That is bad., Oct 08 18:01
DiabloD3 you can write D3D10/11 native code on linux… but you cant run that code on windows Oct 08 18:01
gnufreex They should be OpenGL Oct 08 18:01
DiabloD3 and you cant take your windows code and compile it on linux Oct 08 18:01
DiabloD3 so you still need wine Oct 08 18:01
DiabloD3 gnufreex: and no Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 go look at d3d10/11 Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 its almost an entirely different API Oct 08 18:02
gnufreex OpenGL is better. I looked. Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 opengl3 in future mode, and d3d10/11 do shit how the card wants it Oct 08 18:02
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[mairin/@mairin] @fabsh i could tell from the smaller version – it’s brilliant. the circuit board roots too :) Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 they both act and work the same Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 microsoft basically admitted d3d was trash, and cloned opengl with a d3d naming style Oct 08 18:02
DiabloD3 its sorta like what c# is to java Oct 08 18:03
gnufreex So they will later do extend and extinguish Oct 08 18:03
DiabloD3 get what Im saying? Oct 08 18:03
DiabloD3 well, they cant extend and extinguish Oct 08 18:03
DiabloD3 opengl keeps pushing features first Oct 08 18:03
DiabloD3 microsoft has to somehow get AMD and Nvidia both to support d3d features before opengl has them Oct 08 18:03
DiabloD3 which is impossible Oct 08 18:04
DiabloD3 microsoft refuses to let vendors be part of the design process Oct 08 18:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] @mairin Hehehe…. Thanks. @bkuhn had the original idea and we refined it together. I really like doing logos! :) Oct 08 18:04
DiabloD3 which is extremely hilarious about d3d10 Oct 08 18:04
DiabloD3 they copied an API that has 100% vendor input AND is older than d3d Oct 08 18:04
gnufreex Stupid people think DirectX is better than OpenGL. And most people are stupid. So it doesn’t matter. Oct 08 18:04
DiabloD3 gnufreex: well now it no longer matters Oct 08 18:05
DiabloD3 d3d IS opengl. Oct 08 18:05
DiabloD3 well, d3d10/11 is Oct 08 18:05
DiabloD3 its the same fucking api, just with incompatible syntax. Oct 08 18:05
gnufreex I have tough time beleiving that. Oct 08 18:05
DiabloD3 microsoft has basically killed d3d10/11 adoption because of it Oct 08 18:05
DiabloD3 all the hardcore opengl haters wont go to 10/11 from 9 Oct 08 18:05
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[bkuhn/@bkuhn] @fabsh sounds like you and @vinzv should fight over who gets the !FaiFCast logo,then. :) competing logo proposals could be fun for me & @kaz Oct 08 18:06
DiabloD3 (which 10/11 is vista7′s big selling point for gamers) Oct 08 18:06
gnufreex So then, this is the time when OpenGL should be pushed hard. No phuckin DirectX Oct 08 18:06
DiabloD3 gnufreex: not at all. Oct 08 18:06
DiabloD3 the problem is, the state tracker doesnt do anything for me Oct 08 18:06
DiabloD3 portal 2 is a d3d9 game. Oct 08 18:06
gnufreex Why to let MS kill DirectX Oct 08 18:06
gnufreex ? Oct 08 18:06
gnufreex If Linux have DirectX, OpenGL is dead Oct 08 18:06
gnufreex Nobody will use it Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 not at all Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 the most important game of the year is d3d9. Oct 08 18:07
gnufreex Everybody thinks DirectX is best thing since slice bread. Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 and no, NO ONE thinks directx is any good Oct 08 18:07
gnufreex Everybody are idiots. Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 it costs sales. Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 no android sales, no mac sales, no iphone sales. Oct 08 18:07
DiabloD3 and theres only one game console that uses d3d, and thats xbox, and the xbox doesnt do 10/11, it uses a customized version of 9 Oct 08 18:08
DiabloD3 so if they’re shipping pc AND xbox, its going to be a d3d9 pipeline (or multiple pipelines, and everyone hates that) Oct 08 18:08
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[fabsh/@fabsh] @bkuhn OK. I have an idea for one. Will try to squeeze it into my schedule…. @vinzv Oct 08 18:09
DiabloD3 all the other game consoles either offer some opengl or opengl-like api, or the rendering pipeline is completely different (ps2/psp/ps3, etc) Oct 08 18:09
DiabloD3 gnufreex: dx is rather dead Oct 08 18:10
DiabloD3 most games being sold are either opengl, or are neither gl or d3d. Oct 08 18:10
DiabloD3 why sell a silly PC game, when you can sell 25 times more on the DS? or 15 times more on the wii? Oct 08 18:10
DiabloD3 or if you need those next gen graphics, 10 to 15 times more on a PS3. Oct 08 18:11
DiabloD3 xbox has very few native xbox titles, and they dont sell well Oct 08 18:11
DiabloD3 gnufreex: so d3d10/11 on linux really doesnt mean shit at the end of the day. Oct 08 18:11
DiabloD3 not only that, they’ve cut themselves out of the largest gaming segment: casual gamers Oct 08 18:13
DiabloD3 I already mentioned iphone and android Oct 08 18:13
DiabloD3 but appletv and google tv may end up being casual gamer platforms as well Oct 08 18:13
DiabloD3 and microsoft is totally fucked out of that. Oct 08 18:13
gnufreex Apple has propriatary OpenGL extensions. Stipid Steve Jobs. Oct 08 18:14
DiabloD3 nope. Oct 08 18:15
DiabloD3 Apple is a vendor, they actually CAN name new extensions Oct 08 18:16
DiabloD3 its legit Oct 08 18:16
DiabloD3 and several apple extensions have made it into core. Oct 08 18:16
DiabloD3 apple maintains their own opengl stack for osx, and also a different one for opengl es on iOS hardware Oct 08 18:16
DiabloD3 mesa also has extensions Oct 08 18:16
DiabloD3 gnufreex: you cant just mysteriously have a phantom extension Oct 08 18:17
DiabloD3 you have to register for a number, and you cant register without a completed spec Oct 08 18:17
DiabloD3 gnufreex: I have no problem with Apple proposing new extensions Oct 08 18:19
DiabloD3 even Microsoft had that power at one time, before they quit the opengl board Oct 08 18:20
gnufreex When I last heard about that, Apple was not feeding back into core. Oct 08 18:20
gnufreex You say they are. Oct 08 18:21
gnufreex Then it’s fine. Oct 08 18:21

The short story is that it’s being suggested that VMB_ware is promoting Microsoft’s DirectX at OpenGL’s expense, even inside Linux. The problems are obvious; just like with Mono, it’s about control and patents. It’s something to keep an eye on, for sure.

Microsoft is already attacking GNU/Linux using patents (even in the courtroom several times) and that’s a subject we’ll cover in the next post.

What IBM, Apple, and Pharmaceutical Giants Could Learn From Andre Konstantinovich Geim

Posted in Asia, Europe, IBM, Patents at 3:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Andre Geim
Photo from Prolineserver

Summary: A Nobel Prize winner, professor Geim, joins the ranks of many people in his level whose thoughts about patents are very rational and progressive

Professor Andre Konstantinovich Geim earned the Nobel Prize at a very young age. I am inspired by him and am especially proud of his achievement because Geim — like myself — comes from the University of Manchester. When I did my Ph.D. there, my supervisor who holds an OBE was supportive of the fact that I shared all my code and never used proprietary software other than MATLAB (in order to interact and inter-operable with colleagues). It worked extremely well for me.

Geim has made some spectacular invention and he, unlike some in his field, chose to turn his back on patents. To quote a new Andre Geim interview with Nature: [via]

We considered patenting; we prepared a patent and it was nearly filed. Then I had an interaction with a big, multinational electronics company. I approached a guy at a conference and said, “We’ve got this patent coming up, would you be interested in sponsoring it over the years?” It’s quite expensive to keep a patent alive for 20 years. The guy told me, “We are looking at graphene, and it might have a future in the long term. If after ten years we find it’s really as good as it promises, we will put a hundred patent lawyers on it to write a hundred patents a day, and you will spend the rest of your life, and the gross domestic product of your little island, suing us.” That’s a direct quote.

I considered this arrogant comment, and I realized how useful it was. There was no point in patenting graphene at that stage. You need to be specific: you need to have a specific application and an industrial partner. Unfortunately, in many countries, including this one, people think that applying for a patent is an achievement. In my case it would have been a waste of taxpayers’ money.

We recently commented on the attitude towards patents in Nature.

Geim should not be ridiculed for his views, quite the contrary in fact. The Wall Street Journal has this new article titled “The Genius of the Tinkerer” and it says that “ideas are works of bricolage. They are, almost inevitably, networks of other ideas. We take the ideas we’ve inherited or stumbled across, and we jigger them together into some new shape.”

In the field of computer technology, IBM and Apple are believed to be most innovative, at least when people are asked on the issue (some people may also name Google). But people must be confusing hype and patents with actual innovation, which need not be accompanied by any patents at all, just a very good product or experimental results (execution of ideas, not documentation or monopolisation).

According to this new post, IBM continues to file for absolutely sickening patents:

IBM Patents Dividing The Number 60 By Your Car’s Speed

theodp writes “”A billboard,” IBM explains to the USPTO in its newly granted patent for Determining Billboard Refresh Rate Based on Traffic Flow, “is a large outdoor advertisement.” Guess you have to pad your writing a bit when a cornerstone of your ‘invention’ is dividing the number 60 by the speed of a car (in mph). To be fair, Big Blue explains things this way in the patent: “A system for determining the refresh rate per minute of the dynamic billboard based on the traffic flow information, wherein the refresh rate is equal to 60 mph/V, wherein V is equal to an average velocity in miles per hour of vehicles passing the dynamic billboard. If the average velocity is 60 mph, the new refresh rate of the dynamic billboard is one refresh per minute (i.e., each advertisement is displayed for one minute), while if the average velocity is 10 mph, the new refresh rate of the dynamic billboard is six refreshes per minute (i.e., each advertisement is displayed for ten seconds).” Which begs a question: Will you see an infinite number of ads if traffic comes to a full stop?”

Last week Apple received an opportunity to learn a lesson about software patents and why they should be avoided. Well, even more reminders are sent Apple’s way now that it is ordered to pay 0.6 billion US dollars just for Cover Flow. What is Apple’s crime here really? One can almost sympathise but also hope that Apple will learn its lessons from this and drop its lawsuit against Linux (legal action via HTC).

The New York Times (NYT) has this new article which helps show just how dependent pharmaceutical giants are on patents for profit reasons, not for research reasons. Last year we wrote several posts to explain that excess profits at pharmaceutical companies contribute almost nothing towards the making of better drugs. Their patents too should be abolished according to some intellectuals. There are better ways of producing medicine while also serving the population.

These are challenging times for Eli Lilly, the company he leads. It is losing patent protection in the next seven years on drugs that accounted for 74 percent of its sales in 2009, a decline considered to be the worst patent cliff facing major companies in the industry.

So what? They can still make new drugs, just not rely on obscene profit margins and exclusion of generics, which results in easily-preventable deaths. The title from the NYT is “Patents Ending, Eli Lilly Chases New Drugs” and it’s all just a sob story which describes patents as “patent protection” rather than “patent monopoly”. As Mike Masnick puts it, “Eli Lilly’s Reliance On Patents May Be Its Downfall” and here is an important point:

Because the patents on the drugs that make up most of its revenue are all set to expire soon, and their pipeline of newly patented drugs is pretty far behind.

Science does not really need patents all that much. Historically, patents were an award to encourage a person to publish ideas rather than die with trade secrets. In these days and age of the Internet, the same rationale is hardly applicable anymore and the same goes for copyrights. Reform seems inevitable, even though the Old Guard may delay it for a few more years.

Patents mean not to share. Patents are a monopoly. Are monopolies a good thing all of a sudden?

Steady Ascent of Techrights and Decreased Focus on Microsoft and Novell

Posted in Site News at 2:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techrights at Netcraft

Summary: Techrights has managed to climb to 872nd position on the Web (see above), as measured by Netcraft traffic rank; we take a moment to explain future direction which maximises effectiveness when it comes to protecting software freedom

EVER since we started requiring that readers register to leave comments (in order to reduce abuse and trolling) the site saw a decline of about 90% in terms of comments, but the site itself does attract a large and ever-increasing number of people, most of whom grab the full RSS feed and read the content offline. Over the past year or so Techrights steadily rose in terms of reach, based on Netcraft at least (unlike Alexa, for example, it is not biased in favour of Windows and Internet Explorer, which our target audience rarely uses).

“There may not be a company called “Novell” next year, except the jewelery company…”It is safe to say that, thanks to this hugely encouraging support from readers, Techrights will continue to post new commentary for quite some time to come. It is likely, however, due to reasons mentioned in my personal blog [1, 2], that posting volume will decrease. Microsoft no longer appears much in the media, so that, for example, is one area where less coverage will be required (worry not, we don’t take our eyes off Microsoft, we still cover its demise, just like SCO’s). With Oracle and Apple now suing Linux-based platforms using software patents, it becomes abundantly clear that in order to make best use of time, Techrights should hammer harder on core issues like patents and focus less on the two companies which initiated the patent attacks on GNU/Linux (yes, that would be Microsoft and Novell, which were the raison d’être here).

As for the “Boycott Novell” ‘campaign’ (we do not have campaigns per se), it may soon become obsolete as Novell remains standing on its last foot. There may not be a company called “Novell” next year, except the jewelery company (there are several more with the same name).

People can always help us (as they already do) by sending us articles to publish or join the IRC channels where we are far more active than in the blog and comments combined. I always post Techrights-related content in Identica, Twitter, and Digg. Last night I resumed posting in USENET (the Linux advocacy group to be specific) as I very much enjoy it and love the GNU/Linux advocates who are there. Without their encouragement, there would probably be no Techrights.

OpenSUSE’s Former and Existing Community Managers Promote Mono Patent Trap

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents at 2:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nice toy rat

Summary: Novell staff and sympathisers — including Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier (formerly of Novell) — promote forbidden fruit from Microsoft/Novell

Zonker is not particularly interested in Mono, but he has been doing quite a bit of work to help this project by means of coverage/promotion. Right now he is promoting Banshee (excluded from the MCP), which is developed by his former employer and colleagues. Why promote this patent threat? Few sites have actually covered Mono recently, despite the 2.8 release which contains code from Microsoft. So far we have found just one example of coverage (other than Phoronix which finally acknowledged the problems with Mono); Ryan Paul covered it as usual, just as we had expected (fair enough, it’s just a pattern).

Over the years it seems like fewer news sites pay attention to Mono (it becomes increasingly irrelevant), even those which are affiliated with Microsoft.

Pawel says that “Novell people found a new source to spread mono propaganda.” he points to the blog of OpenSUSE’s existing Community Manager, where the Mono-filled Smeegol is promoted. And “this blog appears at kde.org,” he added.

We wrote about Smeegol very recently and there is more information about it mostly in Novell territories [1, 2]. Very recently someone also uploaded this talk about Mono to YouTube [1, 2]. Why promote projects that are partly developed by Microsoft only to move GNU/Linux developers into Microsoft APIs and then put them at legal risk, as well?

EU Concerns Highlight Need to Remove Windows From the Network

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 1:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flag of Europe

Summary: With Stuxnet running rampant and security issues at Microsoft reaching an all-time high, employees of the company attempt to distract from the fact that Windows — not “sick” PCs — is the cause

ACCORDING TO this report, “EU calls Stuxnet ‘paradigm shift’” and there is need for change.

While official U.S. response has been comparatively mild, the European Union’s cybersecurity agency says Stuxnet represents a “paradigm shift” in critical infrastructure threats and that current defense philosophies need to be reconsidered.

In a statement released yesterday, Udo Helmbrecht, the executive director of ENISA (European Network and Information Security Agency), said that as a “new class and dimension of malware,” Stuxnet represents a “paradigm shift.”

“The attackers have invested a substantial amount of time and money to build such a complex attack tool,” he said. “The fact that perpetrators activated such an attack tool can be considered as the ‘first strike,’ i.e. one of the first organized, well prepared attacks against major industrial resources. This has tremendous effect on how to protect national” infrastructure in the future.

CNET’s Elinor Mills no longer 'forgets' to mention Windows and “let’s hope the[y] draw the right conclusion about Windows” was Glyn Moody’s response to the above.

Stuxnet has become somewhat of a blessing to GNU/Linux because it helps more and more people see the serious ramifications of Windows use. Stuxnet is very much alive and there is no solution to it yet. We wrote about the subject in:

  1. Ralph Langner Says Windows Malware Possibly Designed to Derail Iran’s Nuclear Programme
  2. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  3. Who Needs Windows Back Doors When It’s So Insecure?
  4. Windows Insecurity Becomes a Political Issue
  5. Windows, Stuxnet, and Public Stoning
  6. Stuxnet Grows Beyond Siemens-Windows Infections
  7. Has BP Already Abandoned Windows?
  8. Reports: Apple to Charge for (Security) Updates
  9. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  10. New Flaw in Windows Facilitates More DDOS Attacks
  11. Siemens is Bad for Industry, Partly Due to Microsoft
  12. Microsoft Security Issues in The British Press, Vista and Vista 7 No Panacea
  13. Microsoft’s Negligence in Patching (Worst Amongst All Companies) to Blame for Stuxnet
  14. Microsoft Software: a Darwin Test for Incompetence
  15. Bad September for Microsoft Security, Symantec Buyout Rumours
  16. Microsoft Claims Credit for Failing in Security
  17. Many Windows Servers Being Abandoned; Minnesota Goes the Opposite Direction by Giving Microsoft Its Data
  18. Windows Users Still Under Attack From Stuxnet, Halo, and Zeus

“Stuxnet Used in Black Hat SEO Campaigns” says Ziff Davis which also has this new slideshow-type article about Stuxnet.

That link that you click on for information about the Stuxnet worm might be leading you to a malicious site.

It’s the dark side of search engine optimization; attackers boosting the search engine rankings of malicious sites so they can lure visitors with the promise of interesting news. In this case, it’s the Stuxnet worm that is being used as bait.

Stuxnet has been a regular presence in security articles since it was discovered this summer. The worm was designed to target industrial control systems, and its complexity has made it a source of interest for security researchers and IT admins alike.

As expected, Microsoft is trying to distract from Windows as the source of this problem. In fact, it tries to take advantage of this fiasco and portray itself as a rescuer. As we showed some days ago, Microsoft steps up as the so-called ‘solution’ to the problem which Microsoft itself helped create and the old nonsense from Charney (he started this in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]) has washed the Web, leading to responses like Marco’s “Computer health certificates for surfing the Internet? Are you serious?”

First of all, he has managed to turn a problem that today, in large part, is caused by defects in his company’s products in something that any freedom-loving government would really love to fix for you. This is genius at work. Because presenting (1) virus-ridden computers as “sick PCs”, that is as a “public health” issue that should be fixed by “legal frameworks” that define and enforce “trusted computers systems” is just a way to mutilate computers so they can’t do anymore what you want, but only what somebody else likes. In other words, this proposal could give governments a reason to fix Microsoft problems with their (as in “yours”) money because it also does something else they want. Not to mention that movie and music corporations would surely insist to add “no copy” mechanisms to the “health” checklist.

Secondly, Mr Charney comes and proposes this… just seven months after an equally absurd and offending solution to the same problem, that is taxing ALL citizens to fix Microsoft’s security problems. I am speechless, really.

John Gilmore says: “I’d recommend merely ignoring his ideas til they sink like a stone. But it looks like Intel and Microsoft are actively sneaking up on the free Internet and the free 10% of the computer market by building in these techniques and seeking partnerships with governments, ISPs, telcos, oligopolists, etc to force their use. So some sort of active opposition seems appropriate.”

Here is what SJVN wrote about it:

My friend Richi Jennings is fond of the idea that users with malware-infected PCs should be cut off from the Internet. To this, I say not just “Yes,” but “Hell yes.” And, as he pointed out, other people are getting behind this idea of helping to clean up the litter of spam, malware, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that junks up the Internet highway.

Comcast, as Jennings pointed out, will be letting malware-infected users know that they’ve got garbage on their hard disk, but not keeping them off the net. Darn it.

If this was implemented, up to about half of the world’s computer users would get disconnected. It’s really that serious. Despite Microsoft’s many promises for the best part of a decade, things are not improving. Microsoft does not reveal just how many holes exist in its software (there is silent patching which Microsoft keeps hidden), but this month it claims to be breaking the record:

i. Microsoft Plans Biggest Patch Tuesday Security Update Ever

Microsoft is poised to break its record for the most Patch Tuesday security bulletins ever for the second time in 2010.

On Oct. 12, the company is set to release 16 security bulletins to cover a total of 49 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office and the .NET framework. In August, the company set a new record with 14 bulletins. That update fixed 34 security holes across a number of products.

ii. MS planning Patch Tuesday whopper: 16 bulletins, 49 vulnerabilities

This month’s batch of security patches from Microsoft will be a record-breaking one: 16 bulletins addressing a whopping 49 security vulnerabilities.

Windows XP may no longer be sold, but this Swiss cheese of an operating system is here to cause trouble for several more years:

Although Windows XP will no longer be for sale this doesn’t mean that existing users will be left high and dry. Microsoft has said that it will provide support for Windows XP until April 2014. Windows Vista support will also end in April 2014.

Notice what Microsoft is doing with Vista. Support gets cut on the same date, despite the releases being almost 6 years apart. What does that tell people who were foolish enough to fall for Microsoft’s hype and bet on Vista? It’s also a potential lesson about Vista 7. A reasonable upgrade route is to GNU/Linux and Ubuntu 10.10 will be released very shortly.

Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal Swiss Contracts to Take People to Court Again

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, HP, Microsoft at 12:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coat of Arms of Switzerland (Pantone)

Summary: Microsoft’s practices of blocking competition through abolition of a proper procurement process is going to end up in court again

THE LAWSUIT over Microsoft’s deal with the government of Switzerland was last mentioned in relation to this story about Canton of Solothurn. Links to resources about the case can be found in (chronological order):

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court
  13. When Microsoft-Only/Lock-in is Defined as “Technology”

According to this new report, free/open source service providers appeal the procurement case in Switzerland. We may finally see some justice, assuming the courts in Switzerland can be shown sufficient evidence.

Microsoft “Squeezes OEMs”, says Pogson in one of his latest posts which specifically names HP (now occupied by more Microsoft-sympathetic managers [1, 2]).

HP is bargaining so hard with OEMs that some are refusing to supply machines to HP. This is because M$ rakes in far too much for software licensing. The margins of manufacturers are just too thin. It is the end-game of monopoly when suppliers no longer accept the dictates of monopoly. They can make other products and sell to other customers. Once the monopoly concedes to the first OEM, there is no place to go for licence fees but down.

Microsoft is rarely selected for any merits; it very often gets selected due to lock-in, chokehold (obstruction of competition), corruption, and entryism.

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