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10.21.10

IRC Proceedings: October 21st, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 21/10/2010: Launchpad Conflict, FossAlliance Debut

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Intel broaches fresh barrel-o-Linux

    Intel is not just a chip maker, but also a peddler of Linux and VxWorks operating systems for embedded devices thanks to its $884m acquisition last year of Wind River. This week, the semiconductor giant’s Wind River subsidiary rolled out Wind River Linux, which has a Linux kernel that is so fresh that the heat from Linus Torvald’s fingertips can still be felt on its bits.

    Well, almost. Wind River Linux 4 is based on the Linux 2.6.34+ kernel, which is a variant of the kernel created by Wind River that sits between the 2.6.34 kernel that came out in May and the 2.6.35 kernel that Torvalds approved in August. Wind River Linux 4 runs on x86/x64 chips from Intel as well as ARM, Power, and MIPS processors and supports the GNU GCC 4.4 compiler set and GDB 7 source-level debugger and the EGLIBC 2.11 compiler, which is a variant of the above-mentioned GNU C that has been tuned for embedded system and which offers better support for cross-platform compiling.

  • The Ever-changing Face of Dell.com

    I think this is a huge improvement in variety of products and search. It pays to advertise and to do so without annoying the customers.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • What’s new in Linux 2.6.36

      The new kernel version is notable because it hasn’t grown in size – yet it contains hundreds of advancements which will be obvious to end users, who don’t often notice changes in their Linux distribution’s kernel.

      After 80 days of development Linus Torvalds has released Linux version 2.6.36. It got the name “Flesh-Eating Bats with Fangs” with the eight pre-release; Torvalds was inspired by a bat that recently found its way into his house. The new Linux kernel is no larger than its immediate predecessor – a rarity, as over the past few years the kernel sources have grown by several hundred thousand lines of code with every new version released in the main development branch.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Dark Themes for OpenBox

      Funny how time seems to just fly by. Below is a list of themes for OpenBox that I created nearly a year ago and I’ve been meaning to post them on Box-Look.org all this time. The one called “Studio-2″ is the theme that I primarily use on a daily basis, and “Sage” comes in as my second favorite. The other themes are not ones that I use much (if ever…), but perhaps someone might like them.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Here’s The First GNOME 3.0 Development Release

        Back in 2008 it was decided GNOME 2.32 would turn into GNOME 3.0, but earlier this year it was changed to delay GNOME 3.0 to March of 2011 while letting GNOME 2.32 live on. With GNOME 2.32 having arrived last month, it’s now time to get all excited for GNOME 3.0 and this morning the first development release of this desktop has arrived.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Eclipse Fedora Packager: Call for Testers and Contributors
        • Fedora 14 Reflects Evolution of Leading-Edge Open Source

          The stated mission of the Fedora Project is to advance the state of free software. To meet this challenge, Fedora incubates open source technology projects in which anyone in the community can participate. To support this participation, Fedora offers a feature process to alert contributors to new technology, connect them to community test days where they can try out the feature and report issues, and track progress of the technology into the latest release.

    • Debian Family

      • what can Debian learn from its competitors
      • Work Towards The Debian 3.0 Quilt Source Format

        For quite a while now there has been work towards bettering the Debian source package format, in particular with more effective handling of Debian packaging files, and this resulted in a new source format coming about: 3.0 Quilt.

        This new system integrates a patch system into dpkg-source, which ended up being based upon Quilt. Besides the 3.0 Quilt format there is also a 3.0 Native format being worked on that is more similar to the original 1.0 source package format.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • The Performance Impact Of Ubuntu’s Wubi Windows Installer

          Installing Ubuntu via the Windows Wubi installer sure is convenient if you are just thinking about toying with an Ubuntu Linux desktop for the first time, but if you plan to use this Linux desktop on a routine basis or the file-system performance and integrity is of any importance to you, the best path is to just perform an Ubuntu installation to a true disk partition. The disk performance via this disk image on the NTFS file-system was not affected in all benchmarks, like with IOzone, but when it came to running Gzip compression or PostMark there certainly was a slowdown. With SQLite, PostgreSQL, and FS-Mark the Wubi setup was dramatically faster, which does raise concerns over data integrity with some operations likely being carried out a-synchronously or batched. The state of our Wubi installation was also rather ideal with the testing having been done on a clean Microsoft Windows 7 installation where the NTFS file-system was not fragmented, which would further slow down the Ubuntu Wubi-ized installation.

        • Looking forward to UDS for Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty)

          For some time now, we’ve been gearing up to begin development on Ubuntu 11.04. While some folks have been putting the finishing touches on the 10.10 release, and bootstrapping the infrastructure for 11.04, others have been meeting with Canonical stakeholders, coordinating community brainstorm sessions, and otherwise collecting information about what our priorities should be in the next cycle.

        • Blessed Unity: Ars reviews Ubuntu 10.10

          Ubuntu 10.10 is an incremental improvement that continues to bring Ubuntu into alignment with Canonical’s long-term design vision. The new Unity environment is a particularly striking manifestation of that vision, though it still lacks the maturity it needs in order to make it a truly compelling environment for day-to-day use.

          The solid enhancements to the Software Center and the installation process reflect the efficacy of Canonical’s ongoing efforts to bring competitive usability to the Linux desktop. The Software Center is particularly impressive, and it sets a new standard for usability in package management tools. It’s one of the clear differentiators that sets Ubuntu apart from some of the alternatives.

        • On Launchpad and Mission Control
        • Launchpad…gate?

          Lion is where the interesting part lies, in that one of the new features is named ‘launchpad’ or ‘the launchpad’. Now what does this mean for Launchpad, the web application by Canonical? I don’t know…probably nothing. What I have seen is a lot of people commenting on what Canonical may or may not do.

        • An Ubuntu 10.10 upgrade double-whammy

          Having already previewed the Ubuntu 10.10 beta with good results on more than one system, I felt safe upgrading my primary desktop system from v10.04 to v10.10 once the new version went gold. To my astonishment, neither my keyboard, mouse, nor display were functioning following the upgrade.

        • The secrets to success with Ubuntu OS

          Ubuntu is an impressive operating system and can be incredibly rewarding once you’re comfortable using it. People keep asking me for suggestions on how to get started with this OS so I’ve decided to write up my suggestions, which will hopefully ease a few more people towards adoption.

        • One week, three distributions (Day 4: Ubuntu 10.10)

          This release of Ubuntu is a solid one and deserves much praise. While I could give or take on some of the default included software, but then again who couldn’t, I do think that this release has an overall polish that simply hasn’t been as strong in previous releases. This is what Ubuntu 10.04 should have been from the start and makes me look forward to what is still yet to come.

        • 5 Tools And Tips For A Sexier Ubuntu Interface

          Linux is probably the most customizable of all mainstream operating systems. There’s an incredible amount of options, tools, themes and steps you can take to make the time you spend in the company of your PC more aesthetically pleasing.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • F-Droid Repository Alpha

          Following on from the earlier post (read first if you don’t know what this is about), you can now try an alpha release of the software. There’s a lot of planned functionality still missing, but it’s fully functional and useful.

        • Winamp for Android is here, and it rocks

          Winamp is an immensely popular and widespread Windows music player that was released by Justin Frankel in 1997. It was one of the first great MP3 players for Microsoft’s OS, and I’ve personally used it devotedly ever since its release. Yesterday, Winamp dropped an official Android app in the Market – and it’s good. In fact, after trying the mobile version for a while, I’m pretty sure Winamp will be my only music player for Android, as well as for my desktop.

        • Winamp for Android: Now in Beta
    • Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • FossAlliance is born: More than expertise, better than a network

    In the midst of the announcements and the media storm surrounding the Document Foundation, I forgot to elaborate on a quite different type of news : The birth of FossAlliance. What’s FossAlliance ?
    FossAlliance is a strategic partnership between several consultancies and practitioners in the fields of Free & Open Source Software and Open Standards. This alliance allows each of our customers to benefit from the range of expertise of the entire network, and not just the one from one company.

  • FossAlliance is landing!
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Bringing another Chrome release to you, right on time

      Not long ago, we mentioned that we’d be releasing a new stable version of Google Chrome approximately every six weeks to get bug fixes, improvements, and new features in the hands of our users quickly in the spirit of speedy innovation. With that in mind, we’re happy to bring you a new stable version of Google Chrome today.

  • Oracle/LibreOffice

    • Oracle kicks LibreOffice supporters out of OpenOffice

      Of course, this is all a piece of Oracle’s “my way or the highway” approach to all the open-source programs it inherited from Sun. Oracle may support open source in general, but it’s doing a lousy job of doing what’s best for the its own open-source programs.

    • Libre Office Talk in the University of Limerick
    • Oracle, OpenOffice.org, LibreOffice

      There has been a lot of commentary in recent days about the OpenOffice.org community council decision to ask people who have aligned themselves with The Document Foundation (TDF) to resign their seats on the council. So, of course, what we need is a little bit more commentary.

      First, when reading the minutes, it’s worth noting that this was not a voted decision. At 21:50, Louis Suarez-Potts proposed “that the TDF members of the CC consider the points those of us who have not joined TDF have made about conflict of interest and confusion [and] resign their offices, so as to remove the apparent conflict of interest their current representational roles produce”. He then proposed a deadline of Tuesday “to deal with this” – by emergency meeting of the council. So there was no decision to expel anyone, Louis made a proposal which did not obtain a consensus decision. That said, reading the minutes, there is clear alignment between supporters of TDF on one side and the rest of the council on the other side. And “the rest of the council” is Louis Suarez-Potts, Andreas Bartel, Eike Rathke, Juergen Schmidt, Matthias Huetsch and Martin Hollmichel on behalf of Stefan Taxhet – all Oracle employees.

  • Government

    • Liberals To Launch Major Open Government Policy Initiative

      The open government/open data commitment is particularly noteworthy since it will apparently include a direction to all federal departments and agencies to adopt an open government principle where the default position is to provide information to the public. The plans for access to information would also be enormously helpful, including restoring the CAIRS database and following the recent UK lead by making all documents released under ATI available online.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Why Transiki?

        What is the basic idea? Well, transit data is in 1,000 weird proprietary formats held by 1,000 different organizations with about 1,000 different attitudes to opening it up. And that’s very boring. So above that there exists a tier of companies who’ll harmonize it and sell it to you along with stacks of software for doing interesting things with it. Like route across it.

        And as you’ve seen, the data is imperfect (like maps), badly licensed (like maps) and you’re not able to change it (like maps).

        Google made at least some headway here by throwing out GTFS, a format for them to suck in your transit data. It’s kind of a funny format, but that’s a side issue. Like MapMaker, Google’s copy of openstreetmap, Google transit is essentially closed in all meaningful senses. You can’t pull the data out, you can’t build your own services. It doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to have multiple companies building stacks out there each slurping up, harmonizing and then serving out all that data.

Leftovers

  • Media

    • Virginia school AP History class bans curiousity, independent study, Internet

      That was not all. Students could not use anything they found on the Internet. They were not permitted even to discuss their assignments with friends, classmates, neighbors, parents, relatives or siblings.

    • Federal scientists go public in face of restrictive media rules

      The union that represents federal government scientists has created a website – PublicScience.ca – to give a voice to the work of its members.

      The move comes weeks after it was revealed that new restrictive rules have been placed on scientists at the Natural Resources department requiring them to clear a number of hoops, including approval from the minister’s director of communications, before they may speak with the press about their work.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Bill Clinton ‘lost vital White House nuclear codes’

      For several months during Bill Clinton’s administration, a former top military officer says the White House lost the card with a set of numbers for opening the briefcase containing the codes for a nuclear attack.

    • Is it time to take Anonymous seriously?

      Anyone who has ever heard me speak about Internet regulation will know of my barely contained scepticism with regards to Barlow’s Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace, and all that it represents. In fact, the Declaration speaks of a more innocent time in Internet history, and it is usually considered to be one of the best-known examples of cyber-libertarianism.

    • Every email and website to be stored

      It will allow security services and the police to spy on the activities of every Briton who uses a phone or the internet.

      Moves to make every communications provider store details for at least a year will be unveiled later this year sparking fresh fears over a return of the surveillance state.

    • Eight Epic Failures of Regulating Cryptography

      As noted in late September, the FBI is on a charm offensive, seeking to ease its ability to spy on Americans by expanding the reach of the Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act (CALEA).

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • New study puts the ‘hell’ in Hell and High Water

      Must-read NCAR analysis warns we risk multiple, devastating global droughts even on moderate emissions path

    • 8 Most Overlooked Endangered Species Candidates

      Think of endangered species, and you probably think of Florida panthers or blue whales or California golden condors — big, charismatic animals that easily move the heart.

      But endangered species can be small, odd and unappealing, too. These animals are no less special; they’re still one-of-a kind works of evolutionary art, sculpted over millions of years.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Resumption of the crypto wars?

      The Telegraph and Guardian reported yesterday that the government plans to install deep packet inspection kit at ISPs, a move considered and then apparently rejected by the previous government (our Database State report last year found their Interception Modernisation Programme to be almost certainly illegal). An article in the New York Times on comparable FBI/NSA proposals makes you wonder whether policy is being coordinated between Britain and America.

    • Facebook Should Give Up on Privacy

      After watching Facebook make so many missteps when it comes to privacy over the past couple of years, including how some leading game developers passed along user data to marketers, I’ve come to the conclusion it should just throw in the towel.

      Forget about tweaking privacy settings so they’re easier to control, manipulate, configure or understand. Forget about having to worry if new services make more personal data public so that search engines can discover it so Facebook can serve up more pages to display more ads. Forget privacy settings altogether.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Amazon app store for Android welcomes DRM

      In 2007, Amazon announced their music store. It would, they promised, deliver DRM-free music to U.S. Amazon users. And they did just that. With much fanfare, they rolled out Amazon MP3, touting music downloads for any device. On their website, they explain what’s special about their music sales. “DRM-free means that the MP3 files you purchase from Amazon.com do not contain any software that will restrict your use of the file.”

    • Born digital

      Another issue is ensuring that the data is stored in a format that makes it available in centuries to come. Ancient manuscripts are still readable. But much digital media from the past is readable only on a handful of fragile and antique machines, if at all. The IIPC has set a single format, making it more likely that future historians will be able to find a machine to read the data. But a single solution cannot capture all content. Web publishers increasingly serve up content-rich pages based on complex data sets. Audio and video programmes based on proprietary formats such as Windows Media Player are another challenge. What happens if Microsoft is bankrupt and forgotten in 2210?

    • Net Neutrality – Comments to the FCC

      The FCC recently asked for additional comments in its ongoing proceeding regarding Open Internet Principles. In particular, the FCC sought specific input on whether the openness principles should apply to both wireline and wireless networks.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Rise Of A New Intellectual Property Category, Ripe For Trolling: Publicity Rights

      Recently, we’ve been highlighting more and more publicity rights lawsuits, because they’re becoming quite popular these days. Eriq Gardner has an excellent, long and detailed article all about publicity rights, going over the history of it: which involved some common law/case law rulings, and now (more and more) is being driven by state laws (which are often pushed and passed by the industries who are cashing in on these claims). Basically, these are a form of “intellectual property rights” on almost any aspect of a person — their likeness, appearance, voice, mannerisms, gestures, etc. — used for “commercial use,” (which we’ve noted recently is such an ambiguous term these days).

    • What’s in a Name?

      Few people know more than Indiana attorney Jonathan Faber about the actual worth of being famous these days. He’s certainly been committed to the field work. He’s played guitar in the living room of rock ’n’ roll legend Chuck Berry, dodged paparazzi to meet with representatives of Princess Diana’s estate, and given a presentation to an audience of four- and five-star generals after the U.S. military received an inquiry about putting the image of Gen. George S. Patton in a commercial.

      Faber, whose office is in Shelbyville, outside of Indianapolis, has been involved in making licensing deals on behalf of celebrity clients and their estates that have paved the way to many of the most memorable advertisements in recent years.

      He did the licensing work that led to a Lipton Iced Tea commercial featuring an animated Reggie Jackson, a Johns Hopkins spot with a reanimated Ella Fitzgerald (through existing footage and digital alteration) performing with a modern-day jazz band, and a Chevrolet Silverado commercial featuring Rosa Parks.

      He has also stepped in when celebrity images are used without permission. Faber used to send out a legal warning when someone used images of Marilyn Monroe or James Dean without the permission of their estates. On occasion, he’s also asked to testify as an expert witness in cases where a defendant, usually a company, has used a celebrity in some manner—often in a promotional campaign—and the plaintiff is attempting to collect damages. Faber will give the jury a dollar figure.

    • Sarkozy Exports Repressive Internet

      Sarkozy is “pirating” an international conference on online freedom of expression organized by French minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Kouchner. Sarkozy is trying to use the conference as a showcase to promote the French repressive schemes and to avoid turning it into a strong statement that online freedom of expression is a condition of democracy. This instrumentalisation of French diplomacy is a coarse attempt to export approaches detrimental to fundamental freedoms, thus despising both republican values and French constitutional jurisprudence2.

    • Understanding IP: An Interview with Stephan Kinsella

      Mises said something I’ve always loved. (Everyone focuses on a few of his statements that other people don’t see, because he has so many great aphorisms and things.) He pointed out that in his view economics is purely deductive reasoning from a priori categories. Plus, then you explicitly introduce certain assumptions to make it interesting. [See my post Mises: Keep It Interesting.] “Interesting” was something I always focused on. So, in other words, we could talk hypothetically about a barter society forever, but it won’t get us that far. So let’s introduce the assumption that there is money in society. It’s not a priori that there is money, but there could be money and, if there is, then certain things follow from it.

      I think that likewise in libertarian theory certain things become interesting at a certain point. In the past, as you mentioned in your talk yesterday here at the Supporters’ Summit, it was not as easy as it is now to replicate information. There was sort of a tie in previous times between a good that was produced, like a book, and the information in it. The information in the book was in the physical copy of the book, so you could easily find a way to sell that. Now, with information being so easy to copy —

      And, of course, as Cory Doctorow mentions in one of his articles and speeches, do we think we are going to get to a point where it is going to get harder to copy and to spread information? No, it’s only going to get easier.

      These things have made people confront the issue of the morality and the politics of sharing information.

    • Copyrights

      • Jammie Thomas’ third P2P trial looms; RIAA complains about cost

        The recording industry has deep pockets, but even RIAA largesse has its limits. Case in point: the Jammie Thomas-Rasset peer-to-peer trial in Minnesota, the first of the file-sharing cases to make it all the way to a verdict. In two weeks, Thomas-Rasset will have an extraordinary third trial, and the recording industry is sick of the expenses it’s ringing up to prosecute someone who (let’s face it) is just never going to cough up much money.

      • Why I am not ashamed of Emmanuel Nimley

        And then he did a silly thing. Something he shouldn’t have done, but was easy to do with a gadget he already had in his pocket. After paying for a cinema ticket and taking his seat in the auditorium, Emmanuel Nimley held up his mobile phone and videoed the movie.

      • ACTA

        • De Gucht 2nd Plenary intervention on ACTA

          Observations

          1. Border control: A known distraction, the issue of individual border searches plays a minor role in the criticism of ACTA. Instead of answering the questions of MEPs De Gucht focusses on border searches. Contrary to what he claims MEPs didn’t express particular interest in the issue.
          2. Does not require: The statement is deceptive. While ACTA does not require the contracting parties to enact these mesaures it leaves them the opportunity to opt-out and recognises the right of other parties to carry out such border searches. Read the agreed text. There are different options how to word an exclusion of border searches and the contracting parties chose the worst variant: “Parties may exclude from the application of this Section small quantities of goods of a non-commercial nature contained in travelers’ personal luggage.”
          3. The provisions far go beyond the current EU regime. In the case of penal sanctions there is no existing EU acquis and the Commission recently pulled her proposal for an Criminal IPR Enforcement directive due to lack of consensus from EU member states.
          4. As indicated above there are other, more common ways to word an exclusion e.g. by not making such cases subject to the agreement.
          5. Of course that is not true. The most obvious violation of the acquis is the inclusion of penal sanctions.
          6. De Gucht disputes the obvious, that despite at least four requests from the plenary the Commission was unwilling to adhere to Art 15 TFUE openness requirements, and it did hide between an confidentiality agreement with third nations (for which no parliament approval was sought) and the “international relations” exemption of Art 4 1049/2001/EC
          7. The ombudsman answered to a complaint by the FFII.
          8. De Gucht defends his lack of transparency by arrogance without any merits.
          9. In other words, the final version of ACTA is no final text.
          10. With the Art 207 procedure (formerly 133 procedure) the Council formally authorises negotiations but even the authorisation text is prepared by the Commission. The Art 207 is a procedure for international trade agreements (tariffs&quota), not international legislation.
          11. De Gucht misinforms Parliament about the Acquis. His statement “The acquis communautaire is about substantive law and we are not changing that” is blatantly false. The Acquis comprises adopted EU level substantive and enforcement laws.
          12. Improvement of “legal standards” is no objective of trade agreement. The formal objective underlying the WTO TRIPs precedent was not to improve international legal standards but reduce regulatory, non-tarriff trade barriers.
          13. The Commissioner does not tell the truth. For instance there is no Acquis for penal sanctions and such penal sanctions, for which the EU has formal competence, would be adopted according to the “ordinary legislative” process.
          14. The Commissioner refers to existing EU laws which differ from the ACTA negotiation results.
          15. It is not upon a Commissioner to criticize Parliament. The wording “nebulous liberty” demonstrates the degree of arrogance and hypocrisy. The MEP Schaake asked de Gucht for an “impact assessment” on fundamental rights.

Clip of the Day

Pandora – Quick Overview


Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: October 20th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 11:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Enter the IRC channels now

Apple Copies GNU/Linux (Poorly), Then Spreads FUD About It, Receives More Backlash

Posted in Apple, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Office Suites at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve Jobs, Apple

Summary: A quick walk-through covering Apple news as it relates to Free software and to Android (Linux-based)

YESTERDAY we wrote about Apple's latest attack on Android, where Steve Job was claiming that it is not open (whatever he meant by open).

“The first thing most of us think about when we hear the word ‘open’ is Windows,” Steve Jobs is quoted as saying. (hat tip: Jan Wildeboer]

He keeps redefining or distorting the meaning of “open” to suit his own agenda. That’s fitting, right?

Apple keeps blocking certain applications (including Free software) from being installed on hardware it sells. That’s truly open, eh? Here is a pro-Apple site talking about “guidelines for Mac App Store”:

Apple has posted the Review Guidelines for what will soon be the omnipresent Mac App Store, and many developers aren’t happy with what they’re seeing. Like the iOS App Store, Apple will control the gates and review each application before it’s posted. 70% of the profits will go to the developers, and 30% will presumably pay for chairs in which Steve Jobs and the rest of his executive team will sit to watch the iOS App Store money roll in.

“Apple OSX ‘invents’ Apt” claims this blogger at sight of this “Mac App Store” (which ideally should not be necessary, assuming people need not go through Apple for permission to do things with hardware they bought to allegedly own).

At today’s Apple conference, one of the big roll-outs is Apple’s new Mac Store.

Basically, its a way to use aptitude on OSX, for paid apps.

Debian has had apt and aptitude for a long time, with or without graphical frontends, allowing users to search for, install, and update software to their Debian OS. Other GNU/Linux Operating Systems have had their own package managers for a number of years now as well.

We keep hearing about Free(dom) software applications being blocked, but there are some conflicting examples, with some that suggest Apple will shoot down GPL-licensed software and some showing otherwise. We recently remarked on Apple's GPL disdain and Foxconn's violations of human decency/rights (which Apple seems to have no real problems with). Is this the new scandal we've been hearing about?

Is Apple’s suicide factory outsourcing to even cheaper Chinese peasants?

[...]

By contrast, according to Forbes, Mr. Gou has a net worth of $5.5 billion. Steve Jobs has a net worth of $6.1 billion

It’s a typical move towards cheaper and cheaper labour to improve margins. So much for the company which charges so much for computers. The New York Times asks this week, “Will Apple’s Culture Hurt the iPhone?”

The article says that “Americans now are buying more Android phones than iPhones. If that trend continues, analysts say that in little more than a year, Android will have erased the iPhone’s once enormous lead in the high end of the smartphone market.”

“As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story.”
      –Jim Balsillie, RIM
Yes, this is why Apple is increasingly afraid and aggressive towards Android. Even RIM has taken heat from poor Mr. Jobs (we posted the video yesterday, as Ogg), who faces this strongly-worded rebuttal from Jim Balsillie: “For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7-inch tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience. We also know that while Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash. We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple. And by the way, RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 – 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter. Apple’s preference to compare its September-ending quarter with RIM’s August-ending quarter doesn’t tell the whole story because it doesn’t take into account that industry demand in September is typically stronger than summer months, nor does it explain why Apple only shipped 8.4 million devices in its prior quarter and whether Apple’s Q4 results were padded by unfulfilled Q3 customer demand and channel orders. As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story.”

Apple has opened a can of worms and this has turned into somewhat of a PR disaster, with headlines going as far as this from the mainstream press (news.com.au): “Seven inches is enough, RIM tells Jobs”

More people are beginning to realise that there is nothing of much substance underneath Apple’s heavy marketing with a flavour of arrogance. Microsoft is in many ways the same, but its marketing has been less successful. The Apple-like propaganda/attacks are failing (see this new cartoon about better cash cow marketing from Microsoft) and BPOS is now being called “Big POS” (big piece of s***thing) because it’s too poor [1, 2, 3] to substitute the cash cow, Microsoft Office. Generally speaking, both Apple and Microsoft do things which are indicative of weakness right now. Free software is jeopardising their cash cows.

Murdoch’s Rag Hires a Microsoft Advertiser/Booster as CNET Loses Several

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Marketing, Microsoft at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Wall Street Journal

Summary: Microsoft’s/CNET’s Ina Fried goes to All Things D, CNET’s Elinor Mills talks about PCs (Microsoft Windows actually) infected with malware

INA FRIED was mentioned here many times before. We don’t insult Ina, but we objectively state that it’s like CNET’s de facto PR agent for Microsoft, who also emits a lot of obvious spin (deception and alternation of perceptions). It’s as though most of the material from Fried comes ghostwritten from Microsoft’s PR. Fried is an untouchable Microsoft booster who proudly uses a sexual difference (see how prominently it gets advertised in a technical site) as a shield against criticism or a weapon for daemonising critics (if anyone dares to bring it up). Well, Fried is now moving to Murdoch’s rag. Whether it’s a demotion or promotion may depend on one’s perspective, but just like Rosoff’s departure and move from CNET to Silicon Alley Insider, it is merely a relocation of a Microsoft booster. “As most people know, she has been at CNET for the past 10 years, most recently covering Microsoft as a senior writer,” says Kara, who works for Murdoch and in many ways helped Microsoft take over Yahoo! with her shallow coverage (neglecting to comment on the abusive nature of what was happening). “Beyond breaking all kinds of stories on the Microsoft beat,” adds Kara, “Ina has closely followed Bill Gates in his shift from software titan to global philanthropist, interviewing him frequently and tagging along on his college speaking tour earlier this year. (Last week she published separate interviews with Gates and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on the same day.)”

“It’s Microsoft’s PR people who groom Fried and brief Fried, who is being used merely as Microsoft’s mouth in the press.”Fried is not breaking any stories. It’s Microsoft’s PR people who groom Fried and brief Fried, who is being used merely as Microsoft’s mouth in the press. So, even more Microsoft bias is coming to All Things D then. The Gates Foundation routinely uses Fried for advertisement, so there too go a load of puff pieces.

It is bogus ‘journalism’ like Fried’s which contributes to the death of newspapers and causes damage to society. What people expect to be honest reporting actually turns out to be coordinated PR which gets orchestrated behind the scenes to deceive people and help some very rich people get even richer. Then again, that’s what Murdoch does, so Fried will be a good fit there.

The only upside of this news is that CNET has just lost another Microsoft booster (at least second one this month, including Rosoff). But let’s not ignore some of the latest from CNET’s Elinor Mills, who usually describes Windows problems as just “PC” or computer problems but sometimes tries to do a little more to indicate that it's just a Windows problem which she focuses on. It’s especially about computer viruses and malware. It makes Windows not just a lot harder but potentially very expensive too. To quote Mills:

Getting tech help to clean up an infection can wind up costing as much as several hundred dollars for a complicated job.

Carla, the editor of Linux Today sarcastically labeled it “Windows is Easier” and wrote:

I see these articles all the time. And yet people still think Windows is good and easy.

Those who think that the press is spontaneous and independent should learn more about Microsoft’s PR agencies and how they operate.

“After sixteen months spent seeding the trade press, it was time to think of the end users. For this, Waggener Edstrom leaked exclusive Windows 95 puff stories to all of the important newspapers and publications. The PR firm fed the New York Times a story with a marketing twist, the Wall Street Journal received a more technical angle, and People magazine got an exclusive revealing that NBC’s Friends sitcom stars Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry would be doing a twenty-five-minute video, educating people on the wonders of Windows 95.”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s Pam Edstrom

Narendra Sisodiya Takes on AICTE for Support of Foreign Software Monopolies

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 9:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

AICTE
The very front page of the AICTE Web site is a glowing example of its problems

Summary: AICTE is promoting the training and advancement of products rather than teaching of methods; it gets a challenge from the population

LAST WEEK WE WROTE about India’s AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) betraying the Indian people (their Web site is loaded with Adobe™ Flash/Trash all over the page). Narendra Sisodiya, a software freedom proponent from India, has just posted this response. He wrote:

I have prepared RTI to fight with AICTE for their support on vendor based education

It is an Adobe™ PDF unfortunately, so here it is as plain text (below). The main problem is that AICTE has become Microsoft’s tool and a lock-in enabler. A response will hopefully be posted online. When companies deal with proprietary software vendors it’s one thing; when taxpayers-funded departments do this they must be transparent and they must make the best decision on the taxpayers’ behalf. Microsoft indoctrination is never the best decision, but it’s an easy and irresponsible decision. There is someone to be held accountable.


Form of application for seeking information

I.D. No._______.
(For official use)

To ,
Dr. D. V. Derle
Director & CPIO
All India Council for Technical Education
7th Floor, Chanderlok Building
Janpath, New Delhi- 110 001

1. Name of the Applicant

Narendra Sisodiya

Address
Society for Knowledge Commons
B-130, Lower Ground Floor, Shivalik, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi – 110 017

2 Information sought:

a) Copy of the agreement signed on 15 October 2010 between All India Council for Technical Education and Microsoft to deliver free access to development software and design software for institutions, students and faculty in India under DreamSpark program
Ref 1 – http://www.aicte-india.org/bfreedownloadsms.html

b) Copy of the agreement signed on 15 October 2010 between All India Council for Technical Education and Autodesk to deliver free access to development software and design software for institutions, students and faculty in India

Ref 2 – http://www.aicte-india.org/bfreedownloadsadesk.html

3 I state that the information sought does not fall within the restrictions contained in Section 8 and 9 of the Act and to the best of my knowledge it pertains to your office.

4 A fee of Rs.10/- has been deposited with the Competent Authority vide Indian Postal Order No. — 88E 461219 — drawn in favour of Member Secretary, AICTE

Place: New Delhi

Date: 21/10/2010

Signature of Applicant

E-mail address, narendra@narendrasisodiya.com
Tel. No.(Office) 011-26693563
Mob : 9312166995
Postal Address B-130, Lower Ground Floor, Shivalik, Malviya Nagar, New Delhi – 110 017

Free Software Proponents Expose the Microsoft-Funded (F)RAND Lobbyists and Their Lies, Microsoft to Lobby Directly in SOSOCON 2010

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SOSOCON 2010

Summary: Microsoft’s lobbying for the exclusion or at least marginalisation of software freedom in Europe is intensifying as Microsoft adds its own weight to proxies like ACT, BSA, and campaigners (liars) for hire

THE MANY RAND-RELATED FSFE VS. BSA posts that we already have probably cover the key issues [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and it has been a success story for the FSFE, whose advocacy of software freedom (not any particular corporation) has reached the press and had other Microsoft pressure groups like ACT exposed for all to see. As The H put it: “The Association for Competitive Technology (ACT), whose head Jonathan Zuck has been calling for software patents for years in Europe, and CompTIA have apparently been working to considerably weaken the EU’s plans with proposals for specific wordings. For instance, one passage would stipulate that the growth of open source software should not be especially fostered. Furthermore, lobbyists have attempted to put the focus on “mixed solutions with open and proprietary code” and have FRAND licenses declared compatible with open software.”

The mobbyists have nothing left to do but call the FSFE “lobbyist”. That’s just how a lobbyist is trying to justify his/her own side — accuse others of one’s own behaviour, even if it’s utterly baseless. Anyway, much to the regret of mobbyists, OIN has just grown yet again (blackPanther OS is joining as a member). The patent battle may gradually be won by Free software thanks to formats and software like WebM/VP8 and it’s driving companies like Microsoft just nuts. Things are getting better for Free software, not worse. Microsoft very much relies on poisoning everything with RAND, which is inherently incompatible with Free software.

In order for Microsoft to continue to lie about the GPL and RAND, for example, lobbyists or paid campaigners (or mobbyists) may not suffice. As The H put it, “lobbyists have attempted to put the focus on “mixed solutions with open and proprietary code” and have FRAND licenses declared compatible with open software..”

“[S]o that’ll include RAND sentiments with ‘promises’ to licence patents to ‘conforming implementations’?”
      –John Drinkwater
In Identi.ca, Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer says that “Microsoft will explain Open Standards and Interoperability in the Open Source track of #sosocon http://is.gd/g9z2D #notkidding”

This was RT’ed even more rudely, e.g.: “rt @jwildeboer Micro$oft will explain Open Standards/Interoperability in Open Source track of #sosocon ⇒ MICRO$OFT ?!? ⇐ http://ur1.ca/24m8n”

Yes, here is the page (in German). John Drinkwater tells Wildeboer: “so that’ll include RAND sentiments with ‘promises’ to licence patents to ‘conforming implementations’? #blergh”

Wildeboer responds with: “Yes, that is most likely. Maybe I should attend the session and ask questions ;-)”

Glyn Moody has also just published “A (Final) Few Words on FRAND Licensing”

The issue of Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing has cropped up quite a few times in these pages. The last time I wrote about the subject was just last week, when I noted that the Business Software Alliance was worried that the imminent European Interoperability Framework (EIF) might actually require truly open standards, and so was pushing for FRAND instead.

[...]

First, note the clever blurring of the distinction between “royalty-free” and “patent-free”. No one is talking about patent-free, since that’s plainly not possible with a benighted patent system that gives patents for trivial and obvious ideas at the drop of a digital hat. What is being discussed is “royalty-free” (strictly speaking, restriction-free, because there are other ways in which restrictions can be placed on the use of technologies for which patents are claimed.)

As for the idea that no one will ever contribute to a standard that requires RF (royalty/restriction free) licensing, the experience of the World Wide Web Consortium contradicts that, as I’ve pointed out before.

That’s just a sample of the BSA approach, and how it doesn’t stand up to detailed analysis. If you want more of the latter, the FSFE have carried out a full fisking, complete with detailed references, so I won’t duplicate their work here.

People ought to avoid the spurious “F” in FRAND, which makes it sound like “friend”. The “fair” does not add anything to “reasonable” and FRAND is neither “fair” nor “reasonable”. It’s monopolistic by its nature, but it uses euphemisms.

US Patent Colonisation: EPO Promotes Machine Translation, New Zealand Still Resistant

Posted in America, Europe at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World Map patents

Summary: An update about ongoing attempts to spread USPTO-inspired software patents across the Atlantic and beyond the Pacific

“Machine translation adds value to patent information” is the title of this new item from the EPO blog. The following may relate to plans of a European patent (or ‘Community’ patent), which would also facilitate and offer room for software patents in Europe with the same machine transformation tests that already exist in the United States:

The EPO President said that accessing and understanding these patents is a key issue for innovators, particularly in view of the growing importance of the question of language of patents. “We need to profit from the opportunities today’s technology provides,” he said, “and put machine translation solutions into place that allow technically qualified people to read patent documents, regardless of their geographical and technical origin.” More than 700 000 machine translations have been requested for documents on esp@cenet since January 2010.

New Zealand has already suffered because of rules that allow combination with “machine” (or device) to patent software and NZOSS is the latest to respond to this recent event.

On the day before the Software Patent Debate Igor and I got some bad news. The lawyer who had said he would be able to present for the Pro Patent position would be unable to attend the debate. We needed to find someone credible, someone knowledgeable, someone who could put on a show. And we needed someone at almost the last minute. Despite impossible odds Igor thought of the perfect person; Brett Roberts, former Platform Manager, strategist and my long time and good natured protagonist. Thanks to the magic of modern communications in short order we had secured Brett as our debating opponent.

New Zealand should watch out. The US lobby is always working to spread US-style laws to all countries (e.g. DMCA, ACTA) because it gives leverage. Software patents are no exception. The patent holders at hand are largely US-based companies (because the USPTO is where such patents can be granted) and they wish to validate/enforce their patent monopolies in more continents.

Microsoft magnitude

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