Links 13/10/2010: Australian Taxation Office Accepts Desktop GNU/Linux, Linux Foundation-Funded Survey Debated

Posted in News Roundup at 3:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Free Linux discs for schools and LUGs!

    Here at Linux Format HQ we’ve got oodles of spare discs from previous issues of the magazine. Instead of sending them all to the recyclers, we’d love to get them in the hands of prospective Linux users. So, if you work in education, run a Linux User Group or have any other opportunity to spread the word of free software, email Mike DOT Saunders AT futurenet DOT com with your address and we’ll put a collection in the post.

  • Good-bye Windows, Enterprise Linux is Taking Off

    The Linux Foundation says Linux is poised for significant growth in the enterprise, some of it at the expense of Windows servers. 76.4% of companies surveyed are planning to add more Linux servers in the next twelve months. 41.2% are increasing their Windows servers, while 43.6% will decrease or stay the same. Over the next five years 79.4% of businesses surveyed plan to add more Linux servers compared to other operating systems, while only 21.3% plan to add more Windows servers.

  • Windows to Linux defections to outpace Unix shifts in 2011
  • Alcatel-Lucent Adopts Linux, Adds Carrier Features for New Enterprise Switch

    Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE:ALU) is taking aim at the enterprise with a new 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switching platform that is the cornerstone of its new Application Fluent Networks strategy.

    The OmniSwitch 10K platform can scale up to 256 10GbE ports, delivering up to 5.12 TBS of total switching capacity. The new switching platform includes technologies from Alcatel-Lucent’s experience with service providers. The OmniSwitch 10K is also the first enterprise platform from Alcatel-Lucent to leverage its new Linux-based AOS 7 network operating system.

  • Collaboration Aims to Boost Wireless Network Performance

    Alcatel-Lucent will use Wind River Linux, optimized for the Freescale QorIQ P4080 multi-core processor, to develop and support the common platform.

  • Linux Gaining Share at Windows’ Expense

    The Linux Foundation conducted a survey of nearly 2,000 enterprise users and found that 76.4 percent of respondents are set to add Linux servers in the next 12 months. In contrast, only 41.2 percent of respondents indicated that they planned to be adding new Windows servers during that same period. The picture looks even brighter for Linux when looking at the five year view. According to the Linux Foundation’s data, during the next five years 79.4 percent of enterprises will be adding more Linux servers, while only 21.3 percent will be adding new Windows servers.

  • New Linux Foundation survey shows significant gains for enterprise Linux
  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 118

    The following Linux-based operating systems have been announced last week: openSUSE 11.4 Milestone 2, ArchBang 2010.10, Calculate Linux 10.9 and Ubuntu 10.10.

  • OCZ Announces Proprietary SSD Interface; Icy Dock Intros New Storage Bay; QNAP Unveils Linux NVR

    QNAP has announced its VioStor Pro Series of Linux-based Network Video Recorders (NVR). The company claims the VioStor Pro Series is the world’s first Linux-based NVR to offer PC-less quick configuration, IP monitoring of cameras over a network, and HD video playback on a monitor or TV.

  • Linux users to get AUSkey access before Christmas

    The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has confirmed Linux users will finally have access to its AUSkey authentication software within two months, following compatibility complaints in May when the service eas launched with for Windows and Mac OS X only.

    The initiative comprises the use of an encrypted software key for the Standard Business Reporting (SBR) scheme launched this year, and seeks to save time dealing with up to 12 state and Federal government agencies for financial reporting and to access services.

  • Work on AUSkey for GNU/Linux proceeding apace

    The SBR is an Australian government initiative designed to reduce the reporting burden for businesses.

    When one uses the SBR, users can automatically create and securely send selected forms online directly from financial, accounting or payroll software.

  • Enterprise GNU/Linux Users a Happy Bunch

    The picture that emerges is very consistent: people using GNU/Linux are happy with it, and intend installing more of it, for more mission-critical tasks. Interestingly, they are even beginning to swap out Windows systems as well as the old Unix boxes. An important shift is that GNU/Linux is now sufficiently mature and familiar in this context to be seen as “more strategic” to the organisation in the CIO/management’s eyes. The main driver for adoption among correspondents is Features/technical superiority, ahead of TCO and security.

  • Server

    • SGI’s old-school supercomputer now revved up

      SGI is a venerable name in high-performance computing, but the company was buffeted by the arrival of mainstream technology that could match its highly specialized equipment. Its MIPS processor and Irix version of Unix gradually lost out to Intel and AMD processors and to the Linux operating system. In 2009 hardware upstart Rackable bought SGI and adopted its name and stock ticker.

    • London Stock Exchange completes first live Linux test

      The London Stock Exchange has completed the first “dress rehearsal”, a test with its customers online, of a new Linux-based system due to replace Microsoft-centric architecture.

  • IBM

    • RDP 8.0 Brings Linux Client, New Java Tools to IBM i Developers

      The capability to run the Rational Developer for Power Systems Software (RDP) development environment on Linux-based PCs is one of the big new features that IBM has included with RDP version 8, which was unveiled last week and ships later this month. Also, a new “Power Tools” feature should make it easier to combine Java, RPG, and COBOL development on the IBM i platform.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • 2010 Linux Graphics Survey Results

        Last month we carried out our fourth annual Linux Graphics Survey in which we sought feedback from the Linux community about the most common graphics drivers and hardware in use, what display/GPU-related features desktop users are most interested in, and collect other metrics to aide developers. Here are the results from this year’s survey.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • plasma in 18-24 months?

        First, I’d like to note that none of this would be possible without the fantastic work going on at Nokia’s Qt development offices. They are tackling hard and interesting problems with gusto and producing some very nice results in the process. QtComponents is being developed very much in the open right from the start: an open mailing list for all dev discussion, a public git repo that even contains experiments and early code sketches, a set of use cases and open tasks in Jira. Outreach to community members such as myself, which allowed me to join their design sessions last week, is just one more piece of this. This open from end-to-end, right from the beginning development model is part of the “new Qt” ecosystem that is the culmination of years of consistent effort on the part of many individuals involved with Qt. It’s paying off now, and I hope that all new Qt components undertake a similar, or even the exact same, type of approach.

      • KDE Marble at INTERGEO

        In the Free Software ecosystem, nearly everybody has heard about KDE. People associate us with a great desktop environment and some interesting applications. On other desktops there may be installations of KDE software, but those people may not know a single KDE application. This is why Torsten Rahn and Bastian Holst went to INTERGEO this year to present Marble.

      • activities as homonyms

        In GNOME Shell an “activity” is a virtual desktop, the same thing we’ve all come to know and love since X got support for them in 1989 based on work done earlier at Xerox PARC. Virtual desktops rock, and GNOME Shell has added an enforced overview (with +/- buttons to easily add and remove virtual desktops, something also in KWin these days) along with an integrated application and document launcher sidebar to the idea. They call this “activities” in an attempt to make the abstract and geekish “virtual desktops” more approachable to people. It is not, however, what most humans would call an activity in every day conversation. It’s just a more recognizable name for an old concept that they gave some polish.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ASUS RT-N16 the Perfect Linux Router

      This is going to be a little different from my normal fair as this is going to be a brief overview of a great little router I recently learned about (and purchased). In the future I may do additional guides on it, but for now I’m just going to give it a good overview in-case anyone is in the market and might have use for it.

      Before we get into it though, the topic of focus, the ASUS RT-N16, is a Gigabit and Wireless-N compatible router that uses a Linux kernel based firmware (essentially, the operating system) by default. The default firmware (or, operating system) on the router can be replaced with a different operating system (OS) such as TomatoUSB.

    • Multimedia GUI Development Software supports Linux.

      Timesys Corporation (http://www.timesys.com), provider of award-winning embedded Linux solutions and expert Linux support, today announced the addition of a new solution, LinuxLink for Rich Multimedia User Interfaces (Rich MUI). The new solution allows developers to easily build multi-media UI-based devices and reduces platform and application development startup time from months to days.

    • PogoPlug outs Pro version with integrated Wi-Fi

      The Linux-powered box can stream content to a PS3 or Xbox 360 as well as other devices while still connecting external hard drives to the Internet.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla launches Army of Awesome community support programme

        Mozilla has announced the launch of a new community care programme to help Firefox users get answers to their everyday questions about the cross-platform, open source browser. In a post on the Mozilla Blog, Mozilla Community Builder William Reynolds says that, “Every day, thousands of people tweet their Firefox questions”, and that the developers, “wanted to set up a lightweight way for them to get answers right away from fellow Firefox users”.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle and IBM to collaborate on OpenJDK

      In a move which analysts say demonstrates continual commitment to Java, both vendors announce new initiative to drive the open source platform including Open Java Development Kit and Java Community Process.

    • Java Trap, 2010 Edition

      As a member of the Apache Software Foundation, my views on open source tend to gravitate towards more liberal licenses, like the Apache License (v2.0), BSD, or MIT licenses. I strongly believe in enabling companies to take open source software and do whatever they wish to do with it, placing as little restrictions as feasible under current laws. I believe that better communities for software development are enabled by these liberal licensing situations. Rather than creating a single power with significantly more rights, as seen in the “open core” movement, liberal open source development encourages real, dedicated and sustainable contributions, made by companies with business models other than selling support and ‘enterprise features’.

    • Red Hat hails IBM’s move to Oracle OpenJDK

      Little added that IBM’s commitment to open source development for OpenJDK is consistent with Red Hat’s philosophy and they are happy to support it. Considering that Red Hat has already been at the OpenJDK table for three years, Little’s comments don’t surprise me.

    • Oracle and IBM join together on OpenJDK

      Oracle and IBM announced on Oct. 11 that the companies will collaborate on the OpenJDK reference implementation. OpenJDK is an open-source implementation (most of it under the GPLv2) of Java Standard Edition (SE) 6.

      In a press conference, IBM and Oracle officials said that the collaboration will center on the OpenJDK project and its related Java Development Kit (JDK) and the Java Runtime Environment (JRE). At the same time though, the Java Community Process (JCP) will continue to be the primary standards body for Java specification work and both companies will work to continue to enhance the JCP.

    • Can Openoffice.org rival Microsoft with Libre Office?

      Open source enthusiasts have claimed independence for the free office software Openoffice.org, from Oracle’s Sun Microsystems after 10 years.

      “The community has been discussing this opportunity for years, but Sun and Oracle have not been in the listening mood. It is time to move and become independent, in order to express the entire potential of the project and the community,” says Italo Vignoli, member of Libre Office volunteer group, The Document Foundation.

    • OpenOffice.org 10th Anniversary: 8 Years in Retrospective

      OpenOffice.org went live just ten years ago, on the 13rd of October 2000.Having been a community member for over 8 years, it is a good chance to recap what I have done until now.

    • Oracle Pledges Support for OpenOffice.org

      Oracle sought to dispel any doubts about its commitment to OpenOffice.org on Wednesday, announcing its participation in the ODF Plugfest event in Brussels this week and talking up future development plans for the open source productivity suite.

    • New Chart features in OpenOffice.org 3.3 Beta (part 2)
    • New: OOo-DEV 3.3.x Developer Snapshot (build OOO330m10) available
    • A Brief History Of OpenOffice.org
  • Business

  • BSD


    • FSFE’s opening statement at WIPO SCP/15

      The agenda includes several items of great interest to the Free Software Foundation Europe, and the Free Software or open source community at large. Free Software relies on licenses to give users the freedom to use, study, share and improve a program. These licences in turn rely on copyright. Free Software is, however, fundamentally incompatible with patents on software.

      Free Software underpins an economy the worth of which is approaching 50bn. It has come to be widely used not only in general purpose computers, but even more so in embedded devices such as cars, televisions and elevators.

  • Project Releases

  • Government

    • How Bristol made a fudge from open source

      Or imagine Microsoft as Ford and that Bristol is seeing the birth of Toyota. The problem is the only work Bristol City Council will have for local open source developers is in support of the Microsoft software they have been forced to buy because proprietary Microsoft standards are as sure a drain on progress as any protectionist trade agreement foisted by European colonial powers on hapless African chieftains.

      That’s not any reason to hate Microsoft, as they say. Not any more than a teenager might hate an overbearing parent.

      It’s all part of growing up. And the turn of generations. Something has to give. Because from Bristol’s perspective, “the only realistic alternatives are revolution or continued dependency”, to quote the development sociologist Ian Roxborough.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The 10 Most Popular DIY Wiki Projects

      In a 2005 interview with the BBC, World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee referred to the rise of wikis, or “editable Web spaces,” as meeting his original vision for a readable and writable communications medium. The success of such a medium was already apparent, as Wikipedia (only four years old at the time) had already surpassed 750,000 English language articles and today ranks among the highest trafficked websites on the planet.

    • A hole in the wall: How children learn without a teacher

      Sugata Mitra began with a question: “What would happen if I cut a hole in the wall that separates my New Delhi office building from a neighboring slum… and embedded a computer for children to access?”

    • Open Data

      • Mine Safety and the Story of Openness

        The challenge in working for government transparency is that you are always working against its opposite: opacity. What we don’t see is often what’s most harmful to us. When the Upper Big Branch Mine exploded in West Virginia last April and killed 27 miners, we were surprised because most of us had never seen it coming. The sad thing is, many of the experts didn’t see it coming either.

  • Programming

    • 67% of open-source devs code at work

      The Evans Data Open Source Software Development Survey of over 350 developers also found that 16 per cent of those developers spent more than half of their work hours developing those applications.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open standards explained

      Venky Hariharan explains: “The risk is that they will create a mountain of data and one day end up losing it because the person or company that owns that particular format has disappeared or because the royalty fees that are being charged on that formats are extremely high. By using open standards, you can completely avoid all these issues.”

      In the first part of this two-part series on the importance of open standards, Hariharan details what open standards are, why open standards are appropriate for e-government, and why you should care about how your government preserves your data.


  • Was Taken For Granted, Now Forgotten

    Anyway, the System/360 project had a huge mandate from IBM: the design had to include software which would hide the differences among the different System/360 models. (That software became OS/360, from which experience Fred Brooks wrote the inestimable volume The Mythical Man-month.) The system was a success, despite numerous obstacles, and became so popular that today’s powerful System/390 will still run programs built on the original System/360.

    This philosophy on programming by intentions, rather than to the hardware, gave rise to the compact and highly symbolic (hence immensely popular) C programming language, designed by the originators of the portable Unix operating system.


    Some may deride such “old school” studies. My response is to remind them that great work comes from great challenges. The sonnet form gave William Shakespeare a framework for the greatest soliloquies in the English language. What would Georges Seurat’s paintings be like without the slow, dot-by-dot technique? The first running version of Unix was on a PDP-11/20, the very first delivered PDP-11 model, very weak by today’s standards.

  • Andrew Marr angers bloggers, describing them as ‘inadequate, pimpled and single’

    British journalist Andrew Marr has angered bloggers by suggesting they are “inadequate, pimpled and single.” Marr, who was formerly the BBC’s political editor, also said that citizen journalism is “spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night”. He made the comments at the Cheltenham Literary Festival, saying: “A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people.”

  • Not Being Able To Spy On Everyone Online Is A Feature, Not A Bug

    With the recent news coming out that the feds plan to introduce dangerous legislation early next year to mandate backdoors for wiretapping into every form of internet communications, plenty of people have expressed their horror at such a plan. It’s not just the basic questions of due process and privacy, but the massive burdens lumped upon all sorts of companies, combined with the equally worrisome security holes opened up by such demands.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • European Governments unilaterally slash cost of medicines

      ublic health systems in Europe can no longer pay their pharmaceutical bills and have started to do something about it

      What began in Spain and Greece as a response to budget deficits has now become a general trend. Now national drug-pricing authorities across Europe are taking on run-away health spending in the context of severe financial constraints.
      Underway is a new harmonization in the way governments asses the value of medicines.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Darpa Starts Sleuthing Out Disloyal Troops

      The military is scrambling to identify disgruntled or radicalized troops who pose a threat to themselves or their buddies. So the futurists at Darpa are asking for algorithms to find and pre-empt anyone planning the next Fort Hood massacre, WikiLeaks document dump or suicide-in-uniform.

    • Wiretapping the Internet

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

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

  • Finance

    • Fed leans toward two-step plan to boost economy

      The Federal Reserve is leaning toward taking two steps to boost the economy: Buying more Treasury bonds to drive down loan rates, and signaling an openness to higher prices later to encourage more spending now.

      Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues appeared to be nearing consensus on those ideas at their September 21 meeting, according to minutes of the closed-door deliberations that were released Tuesday.

    • Bank sues government over debit card amendment

      A Minnesota bank filed a lawsuit Tuesday claiming that a law overseeing debit card swipe fees is unconstitutional and requested that it be overturned.

      The legislation, which Congress passed this summer as part of the wide-reaching financial overhaul package, directs the Federal Reserve to study the fees that banks receive from retailers each time a shopper uses a debit card to make sure they are “reasonable and proportional.” But in the first legal challenge to the law, TCF National Bank says that the language does not allow the Fed to consider all the costs of providing and maintaining consumer debit cards. It also argues that the legislation is unfair because it applies only to banks with $10 billion or more in assets.

    • Dodd Backs Warren for Consumer Bureau, but…

      Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut and one of the architects of the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory law, said Tuesday that the White House was likely to nominate a director for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the coming days, but he was doubtful that a nominee would be confirmed before the new Congress takes over in January.

      Mr. Dodd, speaking at New York University Law School’s fourth annual Global Economic Policy Forum, said he would support Elizabeth Warren, above, the Harvard law professor who is setting up the new consumer bureau, if the White House nominates her to be its director. But he reiterated his view that Ms. Warren, a strong consumer advocate, would have trouble being confirmed because of opposition from Republicans and the financial industry.

    • Proposed rules mean losses for creditors

      Federal regulators are proposing rules that would mean shareholders and other creditors of big failed financial firms seized by the government should expect to suffer losses and won’t receive any taxpayer money.

    • Despite freezes, US still racking up foreclosures

      For most Americans at risk of losing their homes, the brutal business of foreclosure goes on.

      Bank of America halted foreclosures across the country to address paperwork problems, but three other banks did so only in 23 states. Other banks holding millions of mortgages have not suspended any foreclosures.

    • Bailout watchdog probes GMAC foreclosure problems

      A government watchdog is investigating government-owned GMAC Mortgage after a company employee admitted to approving thousands of foreclosures without reading the paperwork.

      The special inspector general for the $700 billion financial bailout is looking into the improper foreclosures, which led GMAC Mortgage to halt foreclosures in 23 states, a spokeswoman for the watchdog said.

    • ForeclosureGate and Obama’s Pocket Veto

      Amid a snowballing foreclosure fraud crisis, President Obama today blocked legislation that critics say could have made it more difficult for homeowners to challenge foreclosure proceedings against them.

      The bill, titled The Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2009, passed the Senate with unanimous consent and with no scrutiny by the DC media. In a maneuver known as a “pocket veto,” President Obama indirectly vetoed the legislation by declining to sign the bill passed by Congress while legislators are on recess.

    • Who Owns My Mortgage Note…Demand To KNow

      This email came to me from SEIU – Service Employees International Union – a union, who for the most part, supports “the people”. I say, “for the most part” because there are times when I do disagree with them but as far as unions go, this is one of the better ones.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • 2 E-Books Cost More Than Amazon Hardcovers

      Readers of e-books may not be able to turn paper pages, lend their copies to friends or file them away on living room bookshelves. But they do have the comfort of knowing that they paid less for them than for hardcovers.

    • DRM promotes e-book piracy, and e-book piracy is on the rise

      Sooner or later, publishers are going to have to decide which they want: DRM and more piracy, and no DRM and less piracy. While I doubt that anything will ever completely eliminate illicit downloads, I think dropping DRM would go a long way toward cutting their numbers—especially if at the same time publishers focused on building communities the way Baen has. Baen books are very rarely seen on pirate sites, in part because the community gives “faces” to the people who it would hurt.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Papers on the Size and Value of EU Public Domain

        I’ve just posted two new papers on the size of and ‘value’ the EU Public Domain. These papers are based on the research done as part of the Public Domain in Europe (EUPD) Research Project (which has now been submitted).

      • Irish music mafiaa lose a court battle

        IRISH CABLE OPERATOR UPC has won a landmark case against the ‘three-strikes’ punishment of Internet filesharers that is being pushed by the entertainment cartels.

        The Irish High Court has ruled against Warner Music, Universal Music, Sony BMG and EMI Records for leaning on UPC to implement the draconian three-strikes system to prosecute filesharers.

      • Record labels fail to get ‘three strikes’ rule enforced in Ireland

        Four of the world’s largest record companies have failed in an attempt to get the “three strikes” rule enforced against illegal filesharers in Ireland.

        Warner Music, Universal Music Group, Sony BMG and EMI brought the case against UPC, one of Ireland’s largest broadband providers, in order to establish a legal precedent that would force internet service providers to cut off illegal filesharers’ internet connections.

      • Lord of the Rings Online doubles revenue since going free-to-play

        Lord of the Rings Online Executive Producer Kate Paiz announced during a panel at GDC Online 2010 today that Turbine has done it again: Lord of the Rings Online has doubled its revenue and created over a million new accounts since going free-to-play early last month. That’s the second MMO Turbine has taken from a paid subscription to a hybrid microtransactions-based business model, with Dungeons and Dragons Online doing the same thing last year (important to note: Paiz was in charge of both transitions, switching to LotRO in July). Paiz told us after the panel that LotRO wasn’t in trouble, but rather that Turbine did the math and decided the switch would work. “We knew there was more out there for us,” she said.

      • Korea Gets Its Own Dancing Baby Copyright Fight; Says Free Expression Trumps Copyright Concern

        If you follow copyright issues online, by now you’ve undoubtedly heard of the famous Lenz case, involving Universal Music issuing a takedown to YouTube on a 29-second home video a mother took of her toddler son dancing to a Prince song. While Universal didn’t protest the counternotice, the EFF sued, pointing out that it should have taken fair use into account.

      • Copyright mark makes it easier to find royalty free works

        NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION Creative Commons (CC) has announced its release of the Public Domain Mark (PDM), a way of distinguishing works that are free of known copyright.

        CC said the PDM will “increase the value of the public domain” by making those works that carry it easier to find over the Internet. It is being pitched to academics and artists to show that they are able to freely re-use the material without fear of triggering takedown notices or risking litigation.

      • Media Copyright Group Sues US Copyright Group Over Trademark Threat

        We had just written about the rise of a bunch of new pre-settlement shakedown shops, who send out massive amounts of lawsuits over claims of file sharing in order to get people to pay up. Just recently, some had noticed that these firms all seem to copy from each other, and now two of the firms may be heading to court over it. Seriously.

      • Democrat fights back against Fox News lawsuit

        EXCLUSIVE: Last month, Fox News filed an unprecedented lawsuit against Democratic senatorial candidate Robin Carnahan, claiming she violated its copyright by using a Fox News clip in a campaign commercial against her challenger.

        Now, Carnahan has struck back, telling a Missouri District Court that Fox News sued before properly registering copyright on the clip.

      • ACTA

        • How ACTA Turns Private, Non-Commercial File Sharing Into ‘Commercial Scale’ Criminal Infringement

          Notice how the ACTA negotiators conveniently left out the exclusion at the end. So for all the talk of how the new ACTA would only focus on “commercial scale” infringement, by subtly changing (mostly via omission) the definition of “commercial scale,” ACTA now covers an awful lot that most people would not, in fact, consider to be “commercial scale.” We’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader whether these omissions were done through incompetence or for other reasons.

        • BSA Falsely Claims ACTA Is A Treaty That Has Already Been Signed By 37 Countries

          Many ACTA supporters get very upset any time anyone refers to ACTA as a “treaty.” That’s because, technically, it’s an “executive agreement.” Of course, in reality, it is a treaty. The only real difference is one requires Congressional approval and the other does not. Even the State Department seems to admit that. Of course, technically speaking, a treaty can carry the weight of law in the US, while an executive agreement, by itself, cannot. And yet, in reality (again), there is little difference, as lobbyists will point to executive agreements, often calling them treaties, insisting that we need to “comply with our international obligations” and get lawmakers to change the law anyway.

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Beta

Credit: TinyOgg

Microsoft Employees Push Vista Phone 7 [sic] in Twitter, Without Disclosure

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft, Windows at 8:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Phones in row of five

Summary: Microsoft staff is spreading the love in public but does not name the paymaster

MEET Kurt. Microsoft pays him a wage and he wanders around Twitter promoting Microsoft products, working around the clock at the moment for Vista Phone 7 [sic] (see tweets like [1, 2, 3]). We’ve also learned that he is sometimes interrupting other people’s conversations in attempt to control the mood, so to speak, especially around the release of Vista Phone 7 [sic], the operating system so far behind that it can only rely on marketing and patent threats.

His blog seems like it may have been migrated from the now-dead/expiring Live Spaces [1, 2] and an old post from 2005 says:

I’ve been working for Microsoft since 1995 as a Systems Engineer. For those of you who aren’t familiar with that position, it’s basically a pre-sale technical sales role. Back in the 80′s, it was common for a single salesperson (Account Executive) to speak to customers, manage licensing contracts, and demonstrate products. Some time in the early 90′s, it was deemed near impossible for one person to accomplish all 3 tasks with the exploding number of products that we were creating. So in addition to the Account Exec role, we produced a role called the Systems Engineer, similar to what IBM had, whose responsibility was to understand and explain the usage and implementation of our technologies and how they could be best used together.

It is not unusual for Microsoft to use Twitter for marketing purposes and we wrote about the subject in posts such as:

Kurt has another blog from which our reader Tim quotes: “The thoughts expressed in this blog are my own and not representative of the opinions of my employer, the Microsoft Corporation.”

“Bingo!” says Tim, “He’s a Microsoft employee….now its all clear.

“There’s another advocate of Microsoft products….shame he’s an employee…I wonder, when will they get a person supporting them who isn’t on the payroll? [...] that one was too easy….. and it has reminded me why I started OpenBytes, to expose this type of thing….been sort of sidetracked by great FOSS software over the years… I should be basking in the glory of the find….unfortunately he was far too easy….. he interrupted a twitter conversation with a little WP7 promotion…. This is the blog he advertises on his Twitter profile: http://kurtsthoughts.com/ … and this is his wordpress blog (notice date of the latest post (11/10/10 so its current) http://kurtsh.wordpress.com/ [...] this is his twitter account: http://twitter.com/#!/kurtsh [...] on his “official” twitter blog he doesn’t seem to mention his association [...] If you compare the pictures between the blog and the twitter account, I think you’ll agree its the same person. [...] It’s a little bit of a hollow victory, he was far too easy….did make me nostalgic for exposing these “impartial” Microsoft employees that forget to mention who they work for. [...] I discovered Kurt on the journey home on the train, so Im not getting much satisfaction from the find…it was about 10 minutes work [...] One last thing on my new best friend Microsoft Kurt……. He said on Twitter (before I found out who he was) Quote “our presumption of understanding my purported “self-imposed preference limits” based on a 140 char Twitter descriptn is laughable. [...] To which I answer…well not really, I was spot on.”

The above is from IRC. We are having connections issues with IRC at the moment, so we’ll resume posting the full logs for all the days shortly.

Kurt’s antics reminds us of Microsoft’s Wong, who was heckling our Web site one year ago (he did not disclose the fact that he was working for Microsoft). We wrote about this in:

Some more thoughts from Tim:

_Goblin don’t forget “I myself am an Account Technology Strategist for Microsoft in Los Angeles, CA, USA.” Oct 13 00:01
_Goblin and if Technology Strategist involves covert marketing, I’d suggest he get some training….very amatuerish Oct 13 00:01
cubezzz _Goblin, my own old commodore buddies are all Microsoft users now Oct 13 00:02
*Chips_B_Malroy has quit (Ping timeout: 250 seconds) Oct 13 00:02
cubezzz I was the sole non-Microsoft hold-out Oct 13 00:02
cubezzz kind of lame :-P Oct 13 00:03
*Chips_B_Malroy (~username@nv-76-3-157-174.dhcp.embarqhsd.net) has joined #techrights Oct 13 00:03
_Goblin Hi Chips! Oct 13 00:03
_Goblin you’ve just missed the fun…. Oct 13 00:03
_Goblin bagged myself another Da Costa…. Oct 13 00:03
_Goblin this ones actually on the payroll of Microsoft… Oct 13 00:04
cubezzz how does one become a shill anyway? Oct 13 00:04
_Goblin check out my new best Microsoft friend: http://kurtsh.wordpress.com/about/ Oct 13 00:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[satipera/@satipera] Excuse my Anglo Saxon but the Palestinians really are stuck in a game where the referee is a wanker. http://ur1.ca/21tnr #occupation Oct 13 00:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[silner/@silner] An odd (presumably outsider) view of how an OSS community works [old] http://ping.fm/jk5bs Oct 13 00:04
TechrightsBot-tr Title: About « Kurt Shintaku’s Blog .::. Size~: 21.33 KB Oct 13 00:04
TechrightsBot-tr Title: U.S. nudges Palestinians to answer Israeli proposal| Reuters .::. Size~: 63.07 KB Oct 13 00:04
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Review of “Socialization in an OSS Community: A Socio-Technical Analysis | CSCW 2010 .::. Size~: 21.15 KB Oct 13 00:04
_Goblin cubezzz: I personally think there are three routes into it: Oct 13 00:04
schestowitz Chips_B_Malroy: _Goblin gave me a post to start tomorrow with Oct 13 00:05
hazzy http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20101006-710910.html Oct 13 00:05
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Oracle CEO: ‘We Are Interested In Buying IP Of All Kinds’ – WSJ.com .::. Size~: 129.39 KB Oct 13 00:05
_Goblin cubezzz: 1. You are an employee and its part of your job… Oct 13 00:05
_Goblin cubezzz: 2. Your blog/social networking site is befriended and given gifts/enticements Oct 13 00:05
schestowitz hazzy: they can get some from ICANN Oct 13 00:05
schestowitz There’s plenty in IPV6 space Oct 13 00:06
hazzy LOL Oct 13 00:06
_Goblin cubezzz: 3. You start off proactively championing them and hope to get noticed. Oct 13 00:06

Those who come across Vista Phone 7 [sic] promotion ought to be suspicious and aware of these marketing tactics.

Mono is Not a GNU/Linux Project and It Keeps Feeding Those Who Bite the GNU/Linux Hand

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 2:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hand and pear with Mono

Summary: Quick words of clarification about Mono, which now targets Mac OS X developers

PROJECTS LIKE Mono are about spreading the Microsoft APIs, not about spreading GNU/Linux. It is easy to see that in projects like NoTouch, which do nothing to promote GNU/Linux and everything to promote C#. Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza is still serving Mac developers in the sense that he gives them Microsoft development tools (created jointly by Microsoft and Novell) and it is hard to justify it given that Apple proponents are talking down on Linux/Android phones, which Mono contributes to only in the sense that C# gets pushed into them with MonoDroid [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15].

The official Mono Web site summaries the project as: “Cross platform, open source .NET development framework”

For some reason, many people continue to confuse or associate Mono with GNU/Linux. Historically perhaps this had some validity, but it’s time to realise that Mono is about .NET, not GNU/Linux. It’s no secret, either.

Patents Roundup: Microsoft’s and Acacia’s New Patents, Patent Lawyers Vilify Free Software, Oracle Wants “IP of All Kinds”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 2:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patents diagram

Summary: Today’s proof that software patents are the enabler of the monopolist, the troll, the patent attorney who serves them (Gene Quinn being awfully abrasive in this case), and that’s about it

AN aggressive patent strategy is what's left at Microsoft because, according to a new survey shared here last night and this morning, “businesses are moving to Linux far faster than they are to Windows or Unix.” Some years ago Microsoft funded a copyright lawsuit against Linux — a challenge that fell flat on its face but bought Microsoft some more time. Well, time’s up and as Microsoft takes on debt it is also building a patent portfolio rather than decent products. Microsoft has just been awarded a patent for graphics chip video encoding, according to a new report:

Companies ranging from Microsoft, Apple, AMD, and Nvidia have all worked for years to tap into graphics cards for certain kinds of non-gaming processing tasks, an approach typically referred to as GPU computing. Growing ever more prevalent, GPU computing has made its way to Web browsers, Photoshop, as well as both recent versions of Apple’s and Microsoft’s operating systems. That’s why we were so surprised by ConceivablyTech’s report today that Microsoft has been awarded a patent for GPU-Accelerated video encoding.

This new press release from Acacia — like other new ones of its kind — indicates an expansion of a counter-productive agenda. It only helps create a landscape where original lines of code are said to be “infringing”.

Well, Patent WatchTroll currently scares and warns fellow software patents proponents (probably patent lawyers who act as middlemen in this system) that “open source” does not like such patents. Microsoft knows this too, which is precisely why it promotes them (while pretending to have embraced “open source”).

Oracle is another reason for concern because it uses software patents for control. According to this article, Oracle’s CEO has said: “we are interested in buying IP of all kinds”

Ellison made the comments in response to a shareholder question about his remarks last month during Oracle’s financial analyst meeting. At that time, Ellison said, “You could see us buy a chip company.”

“My point really was that we are interested in buying intellectual property of all kinds,” Ellison said at the Wednesday meeting at Oracle’s headquarters in Redwood Shores, Calif., indicating that his remarks had set off a lot of speculation.

Oracle opposed software patents many years ago. Has anything changed since then? Well, in any event, let’s keep on eye on those who promote and use (e.g. sue or sell) software patents, which seem like the last barrier stopping Free software from spreading to a state of ubiquity everywhere (Linux and Apache, for example, already succeed in their respective areas).

Links 13/10/2010: Augen Tablet, LibreOffice 3.3.0 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 1:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Oracle

    • Findbar [OOo 3.3]
    • Behind-the-scenes DataPilot improvements in 3.3 Beta

      Everyone who’s interested in DataPilot in Calc has probably already seen the new pop-up window for sorting and item selection.

    • LibreOffice 3.3.0 Beta 2 released

      The second beta of the newly-forked, community-backed OpenOffice competitor LibreOffice has been released.

    • OpenOffice liberated

      One change I loved: LibreOffice finally has an honest-to-goodness Title Case function that enables you to capitalize the start of every word in a highlighted phrase. Long available on MS Word, this useful function has been long absent from OpenOffice.org, probably, I suspect, due to sheer obstinacy on the part of the original project managers. The willingness of the new foundation to change rapidly is both encouraging and exciting. Besides, doesn’t LibreOffice sound so much cooler than OpenOffice.org?

    • Oracle VM VirtualBox 3.2.10 Adds Support for Ubuntu 10.10 and Fedora 14

      Oracle’s VM VirtualBox 3.2.10 has been released. The update is a small release focusing on bug-fixing. However, the latest update brings support for a couple of the most popular and the most recent Linux distributions available, Ubuntu 10.10 and Fedora 14.

  • Licensing

    • GPL violation reports in HTC G2 Android phone

      There have been various reports and blog posts about HTC again committing copyright infringement by not fulfilling the GPLv2 license conditions in their latest Android phone, the G2.

      While at this point I haven’t studied the situation enough in order to confirm or deny any actual violations, let me state this: The number of GPL Violation reports/allegations that we receive at gpl-violations.org on HTC by far outnumber the reports that we have ever received about any other case or company.


  • Duke Nukem Forever developer interview

    Just over year ago, it looked as though the world had seen the last of Duke Nukem. The cigar-chomping, gun-totin’ shooter icon who once towered above the FPS genre looked set for the dustbins of history after developer 3D Realms shut down and laid of its staff due to funding issues. The demise of Duke Nukem Forever didn’t raise too many eyebrows. After all, this was a game that had been in development for the better part of 13 years, so the announcement by the game’s publisher, Take Two, that it was never going to see the light of day wasn’t too hard to believe.

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