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10.20.10

Links 20/10/2010: Groklaw and Linus Torvalds Win Awards, London Stock Exchange Breaks Record With GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux’s Brilliant Business Career

    Fans of FOSS already know that Linux is one of the best technologies out there for business servers, but it’s always nice to see that point of view validated by good, hard data.

    Thanks to a recent survey by the Linux Foundation, that’s just what we got last week. A new report from the group found, in fact, that large businesses have very big plans for our favorite operating system.

    Not only will they be buying more Linux servers than Windows servers in the coming years — they’ll also be using Linux for an increasing number of mission-critical tasks in their organizations, the report found. And a full 36 percent are even using Linux on the desktop!

    Any of that sound surprising? Not really — but that doesn’t mean Linux bloggers couldn’t find plenty to argue about.

  • The Social Network: The loneliness of the Linux-based programmer

    Many reviewers have generously suggested that the filmmakers are letting the audience decide, that in real life there are no heroes or villains. But so little evidence is offered, and that which is is so clearly labelled ‘possibly fictitious (therefore not libellous)’, any conclusions that might be drawn are so ludicrously pointless as to negate the entire process. That’s not to say that the film is not engaging, the script not well-written and the performances not compelling. But like the website it portrays, after spending two enjoyable hours on this film you get the sneaking suspicion that your time might have been better spent on something else.

  • Linux users: why you should watch The Wire

    What bothers me though is when there are elements of snobbery involved. One of the most pointless debates I’ve seen come up from time to time in all the while I’ve had an interest in Linux is its name. I have absolute respect for GNU, for the work it did in establishing the foundations on which the Linux kernel was built, and for its vision in pushing a free open source operating system when most of the market was heading in the opposite direction. I also appreciate that the proper name for Linux, if you go by the book, is GNU/Linux. Sadly, I can’t recall a point where I’ve called it that in my life.

  • AsbestOS: Run Linux on your PS3 without OtherOS

    Hector Martin aka marcan42 has just posted to his blog the launch of AsbestOS, a way to run Linux on your jailbroken PS3 without OtherOS. Martin has been working on AsbestOS for over a month.

  • Desktop

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Eight Reasons to give E17 a Try

      If you are new to Linux you may never have tried any desktop environments beyond Gnome and KDE. If you have been in the Linux world for awhile odds are you are aware of the fact that several other desktop environments exists.

    • E17 Basics – An FAQ
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 10th October 2010

        In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest: Return of the KDE Commit-Digest! Route Guidance mode (with automatic route recalculation based on position) in Marble. A basic UDev backend added in Solid. KFormula “Formula” shape becomes compatible with OpenOffice.org.

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon

      • Why Free Software doesn’t always fly

        To make our philosophy successful, we need to find a good mixture of business and openness.

      • Why do we bump just to bump?

        In my daily maintenance routine I tend to throw an emerge -uav world against the sabayon trees and see what packages can be bumped. I also check http://www.gentoo-portage.com to see what is new. In this routine 90% off all things I bump for Entropy it is done manually writing each emerge -av command by hand.
        Since I trust Gentoo developers for doing a good job within their own little expertise and interest, I kinda trust each package bump makes sense. If it is either some revision bump because there was some LD flags to respect, a fix for –as-needed or simple another minor thing I just bump them. Even though on the binary end this would not make any difference for the user experience I just do it.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Release Candidate Available to Partners

        Back in April, we began talking about the development road toward the availability of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 when we delivered the first beta of the platform, with noteworthy improvements spanning performance enhancements to new security features to expanded virtualization capabilities. With the introduction of the first beta, we began working with our customers, partners and the community to test and further develop the release into an ambitious and robust operating platform. Since then, we have continued the momentum of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 development with the delivery of a second beta in June with additional updates and technologies. We also recently announced an agreement to certify Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 under Common Criteria at Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 4+ in August.

      • Red Hat Launches First Red Hat Academy in the Middle East

        The Red Hat Academy at AASTMT allows the university to train undergraduate or postgraduate engineering students on Red Hat Enterprise Linux courses, and offer certification up to the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) level on successful completion. The Red Hat Academy will support the web-based course curriculum that prepares students with hands-on, performance-based learning and testing. Courses will be immediately available to AASTMT’s 5,500 students through its facilities in Cairo and Alexandria, including the College of Computing and Information Technology (CCIT) and the Academy Company for Communications and Information Technology (ACCIT).

      • American Tobacco plays host to Red Hat visit

        Red Hat’s search for new digs has taken the Raleigh company to the other end of the Triangle. The American Tobacco Campus, including the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, hosted the company for an event on Monday. Greg Behr, a spokesman for American Tobacco, said Red Hat officials were in Durham to discuss possibly leasing space.

      • GBM earns Red Hat partner status

        Bahrain-based Gulf Business Machines (GBM), the region’s leading IT solutions and service provider, has earned Red Hat premier business partner status in the GCC region.

        GBM already shares a longstanding relationship with Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, and offers its full range of products and services.
        The enhanced partnership will allow a fresh focus on developing complex, high-end open source solutions for customers in the region.

      • Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst to Deliver Keynote at Interop New York
      • Fedora

        • The Fedora RPG

          A couple of weeks ago at the weekly meeting of the Fedora Design Team Mo brought an idea floating for a while inside the community: a Fedora RPG, which got a good part of the team hooked. The “game” is supposed to take the form of a badge or banner available for inclusion in web pages and being played by contributing to Fedora: creating tickets, submitting patches, building packages, helping people…

    • Debian Family

      • Neuroimaging research in Debian

        “Debian 6.0 “squeeze” will be the first GNU/Linux distribution release ever to offer comprehensive support for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) based neuroimaging research. It comes with up-to-date software for structural image analysis (e.g. ants), diffusion imaging and tractography (e.g. mrtrix), stimulus delivery (e.g. psychopy), MRI sequence development (e.g. odin), as well as a number of versatile data processing and analysis suites (e.g. nipype). Moreover, this release will have built-in support for all major neuroimaging data formats.”

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Do the evolution baby, did you remember Ubuntu 4.10 Warty Warthog

          It will be 6 years since the first Ubuntu released in the October 20th.

        • Shuttleworth denies move toward Open Core

          Kuhn later admitted that the headline he had used was something of an exaggeration. “I agree my title was a bit of an exaggeration. I’d change it, but I am not sure that would clarify things, and probably would look strange,” he said.

          “Based on feedback, I did add a note at the bottom of the post making it clear that this reading of these events is my opinion, not fact,” he wrote in a response to readers’ comments on the Linux Weekly News website which had linked to his article.

        • Ubuntu Netbook 10.10: Usability vs. Constraints

          From KDE’s Plasma Netbook to EasyPeasy, every Linux desktop for netbooks that I’ve seen are designed with the same assumptions. Each assumes that, because of the smaller screen, the desktop must be simpler than a workstation’s, and will be used mainly for light computing in general and social networking in particular.

          Released at the same time as the Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick) general version, the latest version of Ubuntu Netbook Edition does not question these assumptions. This conventionality may be questionable to many: workstation versions of GNOME, KDE, and Xfce work perfectly well on the smaller screens of netbooks for anyone with regular vision, and netbooks — especially the latest generation, with their extra memory — are capable of more than light computing. In addition, though, Ubuntu Netbook also has some design quirks that can make it less than ideal.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Not so Minty fresh

            This sums up my reasons for writing the original post. There are very few genuine flaws I can point to in Mint; it’s just that in the areas where Mint and Ubuntu differ, I mostly prefer Ubuntu. So I’m going back to Ubuntu, not because Mint is bad (it isn’t) but because Ubuntu suits me better.

          • Quick Look: Xubuntu 10.10

            Last week I reviewed Kubuntu 10.10 and Ubuntu 10.10 over on Desktop Linux Reviews. This week I wanted to look at Xubuntu 10.10. I decided to do a quick look rather than a full-blown DLR review because less has changed in Xubuntu than in the other two distro releases.

            If you aren’t familiar with Xubuntu, it’s essentially a combination of Ubuntu and the Xfce desktop environment. Xubuntu is designed to provide a lighter-weight desktop experience than GNOME (Ubuntu’s default desktop). Xfce is set up to conserve system resources while still providing a great range of desktop functionality. Xubuntu is a good to Ubuntu alternative for older hardware or underpowered hardware.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • HP announces Palm Pre 2 with WebOS 2.0

        HP announced a faster, 1GHz Palm Pre 2, as well as a major WebOS 2.0 update that features “true multitasking,” improved “Synergy” sync, and a “Just Type” feature that enables text entry before an app fully opens. The Pre 2 debuts on Friday in France on SFR, and will appear on Verizon Wireless in “the coming months,” says HP.

      • Mobile Linux enters world of the app store

        LiMo Foundation has joined the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) to encourage the development of mobile applications to run on the mobile Linux operating system.

        The hope will be to match the application developer communities which have grown up around Google’s Android platform and Apple’s app store.

        All future releases of the LiMo mobile Linux platform will support the WAC runtime, which will allow developers to distribute their applications across multiple WAC compliant stores.

      • Android

        • Caveat emptor: Custom Android handsets all the rage in Germany?

          This isn’t the first customizable phone we’ve laid our eyes on, and we’ve always been a fan of the concept — even if the execution sometimes leaves a lot to be desired. Apparently there’s a small startup residing in Germany called Synapse that will sell you a custom Android 2.2 handset, complete with 4-inch multitouch touchscreen, with prices starting around €434 ($600).

        • Why ‘Fragmentation’ Isn’t a Problem for Android or Linux

          “Fragmentation,” as I suggest above, is simply a derogatory term for “choice,” something not only valued but expected in most product categories. It’s a well-known fact that one-size-fits-all rarely fits anyone well; multiple competing choices, by contrast, offer consumers a way to get something that’s as close to what they want as possible.

          Of course, specific choices don’t tend to survive if nobody wants them–that, too, is part of a competitive marketplace. If there isn’t demand for them, individual choices will disappear.

          Now, Android phones are not as different as Jobs made out–most of the differences, rather, are fairly superficial. But why would it ever be a problem that there are numerous Android phones available? There’s clearly a small segment of consumers who like Apple’s restrictive “walled garden” approach, but I can’t imagine any kind of majority will ever prefer the iPhone’s one-size-fits-all model in the mobile world any more than they have the Mac on the desktop.

          It’s a similar situation when it comes to Linux. Yes, there are many competing distributions, but again, that can only be a good thing for users because it means they can get what they want. I’ll agree it might be something of a marketing and branding challenge for Linux, but it’s certainly not a problem for users.

    • Tablets

      • Awesome Ubuntu Multitouch Demo in Dell Tablet

        Ubuntu uTouch multitouch support was one the most striking inclusion into the just released Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. We had demo videos showcasing Ubuntu’s new found multitouch capabilities before. But following is the best I have seen so far. Watch this beautiful Ubuntu 10.10 multitouch demo in an unknown Dell tablet.

      • The Quiet Rise of Linux Tablets

        And even “traditional” Linux interfaces are getting into the mix. Last Thursday, Canonical’s Gerry Carr was pretty excited about the new multi-touch gesture library the Unity team has developed for Ubuntu Netbook Edition. There’s a nice one-minute video on Carr’s blog entry that highlights these early features of Unity.

        Of course, this is just one Linux distro–and a smaller flavor of that distro to boot, so is that enough to get excited about?

        The pragmatist in me says not really, since Linux interface developers experiment with cool new stuff all of the time.

      • Android 3.0 due to start hitting tablets in December ahead of January launch

        A holiday tradition? Making things out of gingerbread, and Google is doing its part to keep that practice alive according to a report stating Android 3.0 Gingerbread is set to hit some tablets this December.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 Open Source Social Networking Projects

    Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn have taken off. They are now among the top sites visited among the entire World Wide Web. As you might have guessed, the open source community has some involvement in the social networking space.

  • Open source moves into the enterprise at NZ organisations

    There was a time when open source software was almost inseparable from the image of altruistic, community-loving developers, coding away in command line interfaces in a darkened room. But those days are long gone. Sleek open source applications have made their way into the enterprise and sometimes give the proprietary giants a run for their money. In this feature, three local organisations share their open source stories.

  • The choice engine is an Italian job

    For any enterprise, the decision to depend on an open source project is a serious commitment of resources. You don’t want to get halfway down the road and find you have taken a wrong turn. I did that on the way to lunch and it took a $14 cab ride to find my way back. For a scaled enterprise, the loss can be millions.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Open Web Applications

        In the architecture we propose, applications are part of the web. Directories and stores can provide ratings, reviews, approval processes, and proof-of-purchase services, but applications can also be self-published by developers.

      • New releases of Firefox and Thunderbird
      • Firefox 3.6.11 and 3.5.14 security updates now available

        Firefox 3.6.11 and Firefox 3.5.14 are now available as free downloads for Windows, Mac, and Linux from http://firefox.com. As always, we recommend that users keep up to date with the latest stability and support versions of Firefox, and encourage all our users to upgrade to the very latest version, Firefox 3.6.11.

      • Mozilla preempts Google with ‘open’ web app store prototype

        Free whitepaper – Trying to keep smartphones off your network?

        Mozilla has released a prototype for what it calls an “open web app ecosystem,” a browser-agnostic answer to Google’s upcoming Chrome Web App Store.

        The open source outfit proposes a store that works with any “modern” desktop or mobile browser, offering both free and for-pay apps based on standard web technologies.

  • SaaS

    • US Government app store in action

      Cloud storage, virtual machines and web hosting should soon be available to US government agencies via the Government Services Agency’s recently opened apps.gov site.

      The US government’s cloud service, officially launched last month, allowed federal agencies to buy cloud computing services direct from the GSA.

      All social media apps, which included WordPress, Yammer, Bing and Google Analytics, were free.

  • Oracle

    • Oracle’s OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 RC1 Makes It Out

      As mentioned in the 3.3.0 RC1 release notes, this development milestone of OpenOffice.org incorporates several fixes and other features. Among the improvements to be found with OpenOffice.org 3.3 include an improved extension manager, spreadsheet improvements, initial integration with the Renaissance Project, printing restructuring, and improved Calc spreadsheet performance.

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 1 (build OOO330m11) available

      OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 1 is now available on the download website.

    • Oracle issues first OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 release candidate

      Two months after the first beta arrived, the OpenOffice.org developers have issued the first release candidate (RC1) of OpenOffice.org 3.3.0, the next release of the Oracle owned open source office suite. According to the OpenOffice.org Wiki, the RC1 development version will be followed by a second release candidate and a quality assurance (QA) build prior to the final product release. Dates for the RC2, QA and Final version have yet to be confirmed.

  • Semi-Open Source

    • Does “Open Core” Actually Differ from Proprietary Relicensing?

      That practice is one that RMS’ himself began calling “barely legitimate” in the early 2000s. RMS specifically and carefully coined his own term for it: selling exceptions to the GPL. This practice is a form of proprietary relicensing that never permits the seller to create their own proprietary fork of the code and always releases all improvements done by the sole proprietary licensee itself to the general public. If this practice is barely legitimate, it stands to reason that anything that goes even just a little bit further crosses the line into illegitimacy.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Pledge for funding to the Gnash project to get AVM2 support

      The Gnash project is the most promising solution for a Free Software Flash implementation. It has done great so far, but there is still far to go, and recently its funding has dried up. I believe AVM2 support in Gnash is vital to the continued progress of the project, as more and more sites show up with AVM2 flash files.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • First-Sale Doctrine Under Fire
    Email This Entry

    A notice of filing an amicus brief from the EFF reminded me that I had also meant to blog about Vernor v Autodesk, another crucial case that has received far too little mass-media press attention.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Lawsuits Say Pharma Illegally Paid Doctors to Push Their Drugs

      Drug companies say the millions of dollars they pay physicians for speaking and consulting justly compensates them for the laudable work of educating their colleagues.

      But a series of lawsuits brought by former employees of those companies allege the money often was used for illegal purposes — financially rewarding doctors for prescribing their brand-name medications.

  • Security

    • I’ll come back to it soon though

      A vulnerability in the library loader of the GNU C library can be exploited to obtain root privileges under Linux and other systems. Attackers could exploit the hole, for instance, to gain full control of a system by escalating their privileges after breaking into a web server with restricted access rights. Various distributors are already working on updates.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble… G8/G20

      Over and over again, the peaceful protests against the G8/G20 summit were met with over-reaction and unmerited violence by the authorities. I assume the well paid security forces were operating on the theory that the best defense is a strong offense.

      If you smash opposition mercilessly beneath your jackboots, perhaps protesters can be frightened away.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Stop Republicans from impeaching President Obama

      If Republicans control the House of Representatives after the November elections, writes Jonathan Chait of The New Republic, they will impeach Barack Hussein Obama, as many on the right call our president.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Stop Republicans from impeaching President Obama

      Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, citing lapses in compliance with surveillance orders, are pushing to overhaul a federal law that requires phone and broadband carriers to ensure that their networks can be wiretapped, federal officials say.

    • Popular Facebook apps found to be collecting, selling user info

      If you use Facebook but don’t want your personal information leaked all over the Web, you had better make sure you don’t use any of Facebook’s most popular apps. According to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, “tens of millions” of apps on Facebook transmit varying amounts of identifying information to their own personal ad servers, even in cases when users’ profiles were set to completely private.

      On the most benign level, many Facebook apps gather a user’s Facebook ID if that user installs the app on his or her profile. The ID itself doesn’t necessarily give anyone access to a user’s protected profile, though if the person in question has a public profile, then all of that information could be (and undoubtedly is being) scraped.

    • 4 EFF Pioneer Awards Winners for 2010 Announced – I am one of them

      The Electric Frontier Foundation has announced four winners of their EFF Pioneer Awards for 2010. I am a winner this year.

      When I heard the news, I got goosebumps. Previous winners of the EFF Pioneer Awards include Tim Berners-Lee, Linus and Richard Stallman. This is a day I’ll remember. I never ever thought this was something that would happen. I feel the acknowledgment for me and our body of work here on Groklaw, and it feels very good. Thank you, EFF.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • True to type

      Such protection is complicated, and requires an infrastructure and agreements that often prevent use across systems. It also has precious little effect in deterring piracy. DRM may actually push potential buyers into pirates’ arms because out of a desire for simplicity and portability rather than out of an unwillingness to pay.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Stonewalling Stonehenge

      These are mainly rights managed. Rights managed images are essentially designed for a specific and time limited usage, and they’re more controlled and controllable than RF images.

    • Copyrights

      • Filmmaker Schools Pirates On Correct Way To Rip His DVD

        Most days the news surrounding torrent sites, the scene and piracy is dominated by lawsuits, busts and other negative stories. But every now and then there is a ray of light that brightens the day. Today we bring you the story of a filmmaker who didn’t complain when he saw that his film was being pirated. Instead he helped a scene release group to improve the ripped copy of his DVD.

      • Your time is up, publishers. Book piracy is about to arrive on a massive scale

        But why would the average person not pirate eBooks? Like Cory Doctorow says, it’s not going to become any harder to type in ‘Toy Story 3 bittorrent’ in the future – and ‘Twilight ePub’ is even easier to type, and much faster to download to boot.

Clip of the Day

Dan Bull – Death of ACTA


Credit: TinyOgg

Mobbyists and Lobbyists (Notably BSA) Marginalise Free Software in Europe Using Lies About RAND

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents, RAND, Standard at 11:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BSA

Summary: The lobby for software patents inside standards that everyone must implement is growing in Europe and those who are behind it are also tied to Microsoft

ACT, the Microsoft pressure group which fakes the voice of European SMEs, is getting some backup from other lobbyists who push Microsoft’s interests in Europe, especially when it comes to software patents.

Using “SMEs” as an example or excuse, now it’s Dewar who is promoting a back door to software patents in Europe: [via FFII]

“There are a whole host of policies in the flagship which will favour SMEs. On intellectual property, for example, the EU patent would dramatically reduce the cost of patenting in Europe, which would particularly benefit SMEs. But in addition, the commission will make proposals for a European knowledge market for patents and licensing.

“The EU patent plus the European market place for IPs would allow SMEs both to patent more of their inventions, and also to trade and exchange them on equal terms with larger companies,” Dewar told the meeting.

She went on, “This is particularly critical in sectors such as semi-conductors and telecoms where companies need to bundle together many existing technologies and therefore require access rights to a range of IPRs.

Dewar probably means well, but she needs to understand what Vincent Van Quickenborne ought to understand too [1, 2, 3]. The unifications they crave provide an opening through which software patents can reach Europe. It’s no coincidence that Microsoft’s lobbying blog and lobbying group ACT both lobby for it. This would be bad for software freedom.

Generally speaking, a lot of disinformation agents of Microsoft appear to be multiplying. The very GNU/Linux-hostile Jeff Gould is back to his old routine after a couple of years away. Microsoft Florian is back too and having already spread disinformation about RAND over a months ago he is doing it again. LWN should reconsider its policy because it has been giving a platform for this mobbyist to spread lies and now it is feeding Gould as well, despite a consistent record of attacks on GNU/Linux.

The Gerson Lehrman Group’s site is carrying this missive from Jeff Gould giving a rather wild-eyed analyst view of Oracle’s enterprise kernel update.

The mobbyists have begun more transparently adopting the same tactics and party line as the Business Software Alliance (BSA). Glyn Moody says that the “US Attorney General parrots BSA’s nonsense about software piracy…”

The BSA is deceiving for living, not just bullying businesses. Well, that’s how politics works, too. The software landscape may be no exception after all.

Carlo Piana writes: “I’m disturbed by claims that RAND is compatible with FS. It is NOT, by&large, it’s against Freedom # 2.”

FSFE says: “exactly. We (FSFE) are rebutting BSA wanting all RAND acceptable. Not arguing “#swpats MIGHT be compatible w/ FOSS””

“I’m disturbed by claims that RAND is compatible with FS.”
      –Carlo Piana
Andrew Katz, a lawyer, has already put the kibosh on the mobbyists’ lies about RAND. He writes: “my personal view is that RAND is against all freedom in spirit, and against some licences in word (e.g. GPL)”

Piana adds: “in other words, yes, if you imply open standards as in FSFE def. (incl. no running royalties forever)”

This won’t stop Microsoft Florian, for example, from lying. He is still pushing the same line as BSA and ACT, Microsoft’s front groups on these issues; the difference is that he pretends to be pro-FOSS (which he is not) and against software patents, but he is pushing the BSA’s party line. Some ‘reporters’, only/mostly in ZDNet on the face of it, are still willing to chew the falsehoods from lobbyists and mobbyists. It’s just sad. Regarding the BSA-FSFE altercations [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] David Meyer writes: “Lobbyists clash over open standards in Europe” (it makes it sound like FSFE is a lobbying group).

In its letter to the Commission (PDF), dated 7 October, the BSA called for “an express endorsement of technologies made available on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms”, rather than the preference for open specifications that apparently exists in the draft EIF revision.

The BSA said a tilt towards open specs would “undermine the innovativeness of European standards”, adding that the recommendation suggested that such standards should be “free of intellectual property rights”. The organisation also pointed to many technologies that are licensed on FRAND terms, such as Wi-Fi, GSM and MPEG.

The FSFE sent its own letter to the Commission on Friday, saying the BSA’s letter showed “a gross misconception of standards, their role and their working”.

“Business Software Alliance pressuring the European Commission to remove support for Open Standards,” says this tweet which refers to the FEFE’s ongoing struggle to restore or promote software freedom in Europe. In a new post titled “Battling the Hydra” (by Karsten Gerloff) there are some updates on the subject and Dana Blankenhorn is still acting as Microsoft Florian’s sidekick. In a new post titled “How open source advocates beat themselves” (Summary says “Calling someone else “IBM Stu” or “Microsoft Dave” is what gives vendors their power over open source”) Blankenhorn seems to dismiss FSFE as just a lobbyist (Microsoft Florian loves throwing blows at FSFE/FFII, claiming them to be IBM lobbyists). To quote part of this awful post which looks like it was ghostwritten by or written in the spirit of Microsoft Florian:

But there was a time, long before ZDNet, when I did some consulting. A company I worked for had contracts with some very big vendors indeed, under strict non disclosure agreements (NDAs).

I learned a lot from those contacts, about the decision-making process within those clients. Did it make me their lapdog? Not at all.

My point is that the assumption of corruption in others does grave damage to the cause. The use of rumors — calling someone else “IBM Stu” or “Microsoft Dave” — is what gives vendors their power over open source.

Not surprisingly it soon turns out that Blankenhorn and Microsoft Florian have just met. “Pretty crazy” called it someone who told us about it via mail. “Has FOSS lost the battle against patents” is the post under which Blankenhorn reveals his affinity for Microsoft Florian.

It’s Florian Mueller (right), and he wrote it on his FOSSPatents blog last week, shortly after I met with him in Munich.

Well, at least he no longer pretends to be pro-FOSS. And the “Linux and Open Source” blog at ZDNet has become somewhat of a platform for Microsoft Florian to spout out his inaccuracies and lies. What a shameful situation. The FFII has meanwhile responded to the acts of the BSA; it labels it “espionage” and says: “Like a thief returning the product: BSA sent the Commissioners a letter commenting on unreleased official drafts.”

In summary, Microsoft’s lobby for software patents in Europe (mostly through RAND) is gaining steam and those who are behind it are in Microsoft’s pocket, as expected.

New Zealand Has a Software Patents Debate, Canada Wrestles With Business Method Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Half penny coins

Summary: News about patents from New Zealand and from Canada

Software patents are a hot issue in New Zealand and it’s not over yet. “The Software Patent Debate was held on the 15th of October 2010,” wrote the person who uploaded talks from Peter Harrison, Mitchell Cooper, Igor Portugal, Brett Roberts, Peter Harrison, Ben Milsom, Mitchell Cooper, and Igor Portugal. Some people are in favour of software patents, others are against them, but as we showed earlier this year, developers in New Zealand overwhelmingly oppose software patents, whereas those in favour are usually lawyers and multinationals.

New Zealand has really been adhesive and effective as a small nation whose developers stood up against outside and internal threats like monopolies on maths. The same type of popular resistance has not yet been visible in Canada, where Amazon is causing problems [1, 2]. “One-Click” Not a Business Method,” claims one legal site. I will possibly be on Canadian television to discuss this issue soon.

Head of Microsoft Romania Quits, Entryism Revisited

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Romania

Summary: Exodus continues at Microsoft and as head of the Symbian Foundation leaves we reconsider the role of Elop at Nokia

IT was only earlier this month that we wrote about Călin Tatomir, whose role with Microsoft (MD/head in Romania) had him associated with some controversial behavior such as whatever we covered in:

Well, Răzvan Sandu has just told us that “Călin Tatomir resigns as CEO of Microsoft Romania” and a translation of the report in Romanian can be found here. Tatomir’s departure comes amid many other high-level departures including Ozzie's. Maybe the CEO of Microsoft will also leave soon. Some people seem to be very much in favour of it.

As always, departure of Microsoft bigwigs leads to increased risk of entryism (their absorption along with influence inside other companies). Let’s consider what happened in Nokia after Microsoft’s president Elop had been made its CEO. We wrote about this subject in:

Shortly after the departure of Ari the MeeGo manager (he was their top Linux guy) comes this departure of the head of the Symbian Foundation:

It’s not just the OEM partners that are abandoning Symbian; its executive staff is jumping ship too.

The Symbian Foundation announced that Executive Director Lee M. Williams is stepping down, effective immediately. Symbian Foundation CFO Tim Holbrow has been appointed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors to take his place.

Before joining the Foundation, Williams led the S60 Software organization in Nokia’s Device unit. He was appointed to lead the Foundation in October 2008.

[...]

Nokia proper has had several high-profile leadership changes over the past three months, including the recent departure of Ari Jaaksi, the head of Nokia’s MeeGo division. That came just one month after Stephen Elop became Nokia’s new CEO and Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia’s head of mobile solutions, resigned.

Let’s hope that Nokia will keep its strong Qt and Linux (MeeGo) focus. It’s worrying that some rumours suggest experimentation with Vista Phone 7 [sic] at Nokia just shortly after the joining of a new CEO from Microsoft.

IRC Proceedings: October 19th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: October 18th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: October 17th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Bruce Schneier: “Keeping Control of Your Source Code Didn’t Magically Make Windows Secure”

Posted in Security, Windows at 12:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier photo by sfllaw

Summary: Harsh words about Windows security from a security guru but promotion from the MSBBC

India’s “Grand Secret OS” (developed with involvement of the Indian government) has just led Bruce Schneier to making this statement which reminds us that transparency — not control — may be the key to making software more secure.

The only way to protect it is to design and implement it securely. Keeping control of your source code didn’t magically make Windows secure, and it won’t make this Indian OS secure.

Recall some of the latest (published this month) Microsoft security propaganda from the MSBBC [1, 2, 3]. “Who does Maggie Shiels work for? MS or the BBC It’s getting harder to tell,” argues our valued regular ThistleWeb, who respond to this latest advertisement from Maggie Shiels. She has been doing this for a while (pretending or neglecting to state that zombie PCS are a Windows issue). ThistleWeb adds, regarding this same article: “prepare for a new wave of malware, all powered by the infected MS cloud, instead of regular powered MS desktops”

Well, here is another new report about such issues:

A recently discovered category of malware — advanced evasion techniques — can sneak through most intrusion-prevention systems to deliver even well-known exploits such as Sasser and Conficker to targeted machines without leaving a trace of how they got there, researchers say.

When will the world’s governments realise that secure platforms are produced by collaboration rather than secrecy? And when will the BBC cease to be the second home of Microsoft UK? It has become embarrassing for a network which taxpayers are forced to fund.

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