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11.11.10

IRC Proceedings: November 11th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 11/11/2010: Qt 4.7.1 Released, Firefox 4 Much Faster

Posted in News Roundup at 6:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • From stability comes stagnation.

    In summary, the pond is a stable and stagnant ecosystem. It doesn’t change or renew and if you were to drink from it you would become ill. If you were to bathe in it you would end up dirtier than before. The waterfall is a dynamic and constantly changing system. It is continuously renewing itself and as a consequence, it and anything in that system is cleaned and the dirt washed away.

    [...]

    This is one of the reasons I like Linux so much. Linux is a dynamic, constantly changing operating system ecosystem. Flotsam and jetsam does not have a chance to hang around for very long and is eventually washed away by better solutions. I think this is the reason why Linux has evolved far faster than any proprietary operating system I know of.

  • Desktop

    • Reasons Why I Love My Desktop

      Gwibber is an awesome micro-blogging tool. It provides simple and quick access to see all of my accounts together, helps me see a standard set of searches that I care about, and lets me tweet once and have the message go to all of my accounts.

    • Web 0.1 (or, How to Stop Worrying and Keep All Your Data)

      I just wish setting things up this way wasn’t so arcane; I gradually threw all these bits together over several years and I’m sure many of you reading this have similar stuff with your own personal twists set up for your systems, but it is something you need a bit of enthusiasm and technical knowledge to do. It may be inevitable that for most people the only way to get this effect is to rely on some company to do the server end in exchange for access to all your data, but it’s a bit of a shame, really. It’d be nice if we’d somehow managed to make these kinds of setup more accessible. I think it might be interesting if Firefox Sync really takes off, and the Weave protocols prove to be robust enough to handle other types of data from non-Mozilla applications; that could be a really interesting space for app developers to play around in, with a really big potential user base. And it’s a system that’s done right, with privacy built in right from the start and a good commitment to interoperability and the ability to run entirely independent from Mozilla’s own implementation.

    • Minimalist computing – thinning the herd (having nothing whatsoever to do with the Hurd)

      I’ve gotten rid of a great deal of hardware over the past year and then some. I don’t have any desktop systems left in my computer herd.

      We’ve just set up our home office in the home-office space we built more than 7 years ago (another topic, another time, another blog), and I elected to bring my Compaq Armada 7700dmt — circa 1999 — back here for the time being.

      Even though my long-gone white box known as This Old PC was more powerful (333 MHz Pentium II, 256 MB RAM, 10 GB hard drive) than the Compaq, known as The $15 Laptop (233 MHz Pentium II, 144 MB RAM, 3 GB hard drive), I really like the Compaq, a marvel of laptop design and engineering for its technologically ancient time.

  • Server

    • The Economics of Servers Could Soon Change

      Marvell said today that it has built a chip designed for servers that uses the same architecture as chips inside cell phones. The chip’s four 1.6 GHz processors aren’t notable for their performance compared to today’s server chips, which use the x86 architecture used by Intel and AMD. However, the power savings will likely be significant compared with an x86-based chip.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • FLOSS Weekly 141: Membase

      Membase is a distributed key-value database management system, optimized for storing data behind interactive web applications.

      Guest: James Phillips for Membase.

    • the_source Episode 12 “Mini” Released

      This is a mini episode from East Bay Mini Maker Faire. I take a look at a couple of exhibits from this years rainy event in Oakland, CA. I talk to a few guys who went all out to build the ultimate gaming chair. Then I learn how to decorate eggs the geeky way.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux open source drivers for Xbox Kinect released

      It didn’t take long for the hacking community to come up with open source drivers for the Kinect … no Xbox required!

      Adafruit offered a $3,000 bounty for open source Kinect drivers, and it’s been won by a clever hacker called Hector Martin (@marcan42). The open source driver supports the RGB camera output and depth camera.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Good old habits: notifications again

        Chani recently blogged about the last progress of the activities management: in the Plasma Desktop workspace 4.6 finally the advantages are starting to be exposed to the user. In brief: can virtual desktops stop and start applications on demand when they switch? can an application be on 2 out of 5 vd? can a vd be stopped and when recreated be restored exactly as it was? (wallpaper, desktop widgets, running applications etc) can the user remove a non empty, non last virtual desktop? Can an application behave in a way that is specific for a certain desktop, like showing only work related contacts?

      • KSnapshot gets social

        When I blogged about the freehand region capture feature I added to KSnapshot a couple of weeks ago, it caught me by surprise that post quickly turned into a wishlist for KSnapshot. I didn’t expect people missed anything in our good old KSnapshot after so many years of development.

      • Open Ballot: should KDE and Qt libraries merge?

        TuxRadar

        “Let’s merge Qt and the KDE development platform. Let’s put all KDE libraries, support libraries, and platform modules into Qt.” So says Cornelius Schumacher, long-time KDE coder and the current president of KDE e.V. Such a bold move would be a “massive effort and require huge changes”, he says – and the community would have plenty to talk about as well. See here for the full story, and then let us know what you think for our next podcast. Is this a good move to simplify the Linux desktop stack and eliminate redundancy, or are the projects simply far too separate and distinct?

      • Kubuntu Todo

        UDS in Florida is over, we flew home and left the sun behind. The main outcome from the conference is a long Kubuntu Todo list.

        In the packaging section we naturally want the latest bits of KDE and Qt. We’d like to try raster in Qt. We’re going to try gtk-oxygen theme. Scott is going to look at automatic bulids on his ARM machines. GStreamer will be investigated. We’ll be looking at whether it makes sense to packaging Owncloud and Plasma Media Centre. Then there’s Project Neon, a top secret relaunch of the project to make daily builds of Qt and KDE.

      • Reviewed: Chakra 0.3 beta 3 (Ashoc) KDE 4.5.3 Preview

        There are many “unknown” linux derivatives nowadays, most of which are not original creations, but rather are unofficial customizations of existing base distributions like ARCH, Slackware, etc. Chakra GNU/Linux is one of these, quoted from their site, “Chakra is a free, user-friendly and extremely powerful GNU/Linux distribution born from Arch Linux, based on a half-rolling release model focused on KDE software, and so targeted at any KDE lover. Its repositories are full of binary packages for KDE, Qt and CLI applications, and there is also a bundle system for other applications.”

        [...]

        Pros:

        * Beautiful and easy-to-use Tribe installer
        * Exquisite and full-featured KDE 4.5.3 Desktop
        * Stable even for a beta
        * Half-rolling-release philosophy translates into a pretty stable system
        * “Bundle” apps are a cool concept and reinforce Chakra’s commitment to a pure KDE experience (gtkfree)

        Cons:

        * It’s unfinished in some areas (Shaman)
        * Some problems with some video drivers (ATI/nVidia 96xx)

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Clonezilla 1.2.6-40 Is Available for Download

        Steven Shiau announced earlier today, November 9th, the immediate availability of a new stable release of his system-cloning Linux distribution, Clonezilla 1.2.6-40. The new version is powered by Linux kernel 2.6.32-27, and it introduces a couple of important bugfixes, as well as many enhancements and changes.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS Releases a Slew of Quarterly Updates

        PCLinuxOS is a rolling release distribution, which means users can usually update through the package management rather than perform a fresh install every six months. But a few times a year developers release Quarterly Updates for new users or machines. Recently it was that time again when several varieties of PCLOS saw new releases.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Introducing the Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA) Certification

        Following yesterday’s release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, we are pleased to announce a new certification, Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA). The RHCSA certification allows system administrators to validate their ability to perform the key tasks required of Red Hat Enterprise Linux system administrators in today’s IT environments. The new RHCSA credential will replace the Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) certification. Coverage of the RHCSA exam will be similar to RHCT, but with the addition of some key skills identified in an in-depth survey of Red Hat certified professionals. RHCSA certifications will be issued retroactively to individuals who have earned RHCT on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5. With the launch of Red Hat Certified System Administrator (RHCSA), Red Hat will be offering a certification with a title that is more aligned to usage in the marketplace and reflective of system administration skills.

      • Linux Curriculum Redesigned to Better Align with Today’s IT Needs

        With the launch of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 yesterday, Red Hat Training has made exciting changes to its Linux curriculum. First, we restructured our Linux curriculum to provide four clear, role-based learning paths to align with our evolving customers’ profiles. Second, following a deep technical survey of Red Hat credential holders, we worked with the Red Hat Certification team to restructure our Linux administration courses and certifications. The sequence of administration tasks we teach map to the contemporary job roles of Linux administrators and senior Linux administrators. Third, we substantially changed our teaching approach by instilling a facilitative and interactive learning methodology designed to actively engage course participants in the learning process. We believe that less lecture and more participation equals better understanding and retention. With these changes to Red Hat Training, our curriculum is better aligned with today’s IT roles and responsibilities, and offers a much more interactive learning experience.

      • For Red Hat’s Matthew Szulik a ‘very humbling honor’

        The honors have come in droves to Matthew Szulik for more than a decade. Perhaps the most precious came Wednesday night as the North Carolina Technology Association presented him with its Outstanding Achievement award.

        “It was very surprising – and very humbling,” said Szulik, who retired as chairman of Raleigh-based Red Hat earlier this year at the age of 53.

        “To be honored with an award given to other leaders such as former Gov. Jim Hunt and Jim Goodmon [CEO of Capitol Broadcasting] is hard to imagine.”

      • Red Hat’s Fedora 14 Boasts Updated Development Tools, New Virtualization Technology

        Fedora 14, the latest release of Red Hat’s fast-moving, community-supported Linux distribution, hit the Internet earlier this month bearing its typical crop of updated open-source software applications, with a particular focus on updated developer tools, such as the latest versions of the Eclipse and Netbeans Integrated Development Environments.

      • Fedora

        • Wacom Bamboo on Fedora 14

          Just a quick update to my earlier article on getting the Wacom Bamboo CTL-460 working in Fedora: I have tested the tablet with F14 now and while it’s still not automatically detected, at least the udev rules part of the procedure I detailed earlier is now obsolete.

        • #fedora-design Meeting
    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMepis 11.0 on Its Way!

        It looks as though 11.0 is going to break the 700 MB CD barrier, propelling it into the DVD-zone. Current alphas are 801 MB, but rumors are floating around that SimplyMepis will now include lots more software goodies since that barrier is down. On the other hand, further speculation is that “lite” for CDROM and USB versions may also be released. We’ll have to wait and see.

        It’s been said that “Warren’s alpha’s are like other folk’s betas, betas like RCs, etc, etc” but several posts to the MepisLovers forum indicate there are hardware issues. Several people, like yours truly, are experiencing boot showstoppers while a others are having graphic issues.

        While 11.0 is definitely on its way, it appears many users will have to wait until the next release to see what’s new. Stay tuned.

      • Security Scanner for Debian and Ubuntu Linux Servers – Buck-security

        Buck-Security is a security scanner for Debian and Ubuntu Linux. It runs a couple of important checks and helps you to harden your Linux system. This enables you to quickly overview the security status of your Linux system.

      • Debian activities

        Most of my recent Debian work has been the usual pkg-telepathy stuff (mainly in experimental while we’re frozen), and hacking on the Quake III engine.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Why should I ever bother filing another bug?

          I was in a serious state of anxiety. Here I was, pouring my heart into this damn thing. And not just coworkers at Canonical, but our immense community contributors, pouring our heart and souls into this release, and to be slapped in the face with failure, ouch! What was he upset about? Some stupid work around he applied 2 years ago to get his stupid Broadcom wireless card working. And on an upgrade it broke.

          As it ends up we’ve reached a new level of what people expect.

          My “linux geek correct” answer would have been “Hey bro, you have a broadcom card, it’s a saving throw; each distro release has different set of variables”. If you’re lucky you roll a natural 20 on a certain release of a distro — and if you’re lucky an upgrade is totally easy. I don’t even know what to say to the people to who own these realtek cards. People are still recommending “ndiswrapper” for these cards. That’s basically “Hey, I can’t fix your problem, so here’s a work around”. That’s not sustainable.

        • Help Improve Ubuntu on ‘Bug Day’ Tomorrow

          Tomorrow, there’s a global online event planned in which anyone can donate a little bit of their time to improving Ubuntu. It’s called Ubuntu Bug Day, and it’s a great opportunity for users and fans to get involved and contribute to the operating system–no training or experience required.

        • Spread Ubuntu site gets slick new look, domain

          The site is a firm favourite of mine – not only does it offer up CD wallets, posters, presentations and other Ubuntu-orientated goodies (many of which we’ve featured here on OMG! Ubuntu!) but it also allows you to submit your marketing materials too.

        • Compiz-based Unity coming to PPA tomorrow

          And so it begins! The Compiz-backed version of Unity – to be the default Ubuntu 11.04 desktop – has arrived on Launchpad.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Lubuntu: Light(er)weight Ubuntu-based Distro

            If you don’t need a standardised, easy to install solution, you could build something similar to what Lubuntu offers, and lighter still, by beginning with a Debian netinstall and then adding LXDE and any other components that you need.

            In many ways, Lubuntu is a example of what’s so great about Linux as it offers yet another balance of options and compromises by positioning itself between the genuinely light weight distributions and the full, mainstream solutions based on KDE and Gnome.

            If you’ve ever wanted to install Ubuntu but wished that it was a bit less resource heavy, Lubuntu might be for you. Although the website claims that it is usable on machines with 256MB and sub 1 GHz processors, it’s clearly going to work best on machines with a CPU that’s a little bit above that level and closer to 512MB of RAM. However, this is an important niche as there are many machines of that speed lying around and in need of a well featured, secure operating system.

            The other target is netbooks. Here too, Lubuntu may well be a valid choice for people who could just about run a more standard distribution but want to get out from underneath the escalating memory footprint and CPU drag of KDE and Gnome and enjoy some extra speed and battery life.

            In both usage cases, Lubuntu could well see some of these machines saying a final farewell to Windows XP.

          • Linux Mint: No to Unity, no to Gnome-Shell

            When Mark Shuttleworth announced that future versions of Ubuntu will use Unity by default on the desktop many users of Linux Mint, a highly polished Ubuntu-derived distribution, were left wondering what it would use.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Qt Mobility 1.1.0 Released

          We are very pleased to announce the release of Qt Mobility 1.1.0. We are especially proud of this release because of the latest announcement on Nokia’s strategy with Qt and Qt Quick as a primary development framework. QML bindings included in this Qt Mobility release is very well aligned with this strategy and will give you a competitive edge in developing stunning applications.

        • Qt 4.7.1 Released

          You can download source and binary packages for this release from the Qt Download Page. Alternatively, you can grab the source directly from the public git repository, where the “v4.7.1″ tag matches the content of the released packages. The Qt 4.7 documentation has also been updated.

      • Android

        • Five features Google needs to deliver in Android 2.3

          Android 2.3, codenamed Gingerbread, is expected to materialize this month. Little is known about Gingerbread’s features, however, because Google develops the operating system behind closed doors and doesn’t publish a roadmap. This has fueled a lot of speculation among Android enthusiasts.

          Google has hinted that 2.3 could bring a user interface refresh that will reduce the need for handset makers to broadly deviate from the standard user experience. Various leaks have suggested that the platform is being overhauled to boost its suitability for tablet devices. Google’s new WebM multimedia format, which uses the VP8 codec, will likely be supported out of the box. It’s also possible that Gingerbread will include some of the music library streaming and synchronization features that the search giant demonstrated this year at the Google I/O conference.

        • Android Update Latest – Edition 365
    • Tablets

      • Kno, a Linux-based Tablet Computer/Digital Textbook for Students

        We have already featured here several tablet computers. Some are designed for the enterprise such as the Cisco Cius and the Avaya, while others are made as multi-purpose tablets like the Shogo. A unique tablet computer that is especially created for students has been recently introduced. Its name is Kno.

        The Kno is a Linux-based tablet PC that can function as an electronic textbook, eBook reader, notebook, and web browser among others. It will be available in two form factors: the cheaper single-screen model with 14-inch touchscreen; the more expensive clamshell dual-screen model with two 14-inch touch-sensitive screens.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Which came first, the customer or the community?

    Sounds like a simple chicken versus egg problem, isn’t it? But in fact, this is a very deep question. How you answer reveals the “soul” of your business.

  • Aerodynamic Elephants and Free Software Without Freedom

    Whether the writers are newcomers with a keep grasp of the obvious or more experienced users with particular grievances, the tone of these articles always seem to resemble a manifesto’s. They demand that free software add support immediately for certain types of hardware, such as smart phones or wireless cards. They insist that the community create — apparently in a process resembling immaculate conception — software such as an exact PhotoShop or MS Exchange. They call on the community to make things just work, to become less geeky and less political, and to develop a more relaxed attitude about using proprietary software

  • Events

    • Open Source Ohio: Bringing FOSS and Business Together

      What happens when you bring together open source projects with businesses and non-profits? A whole lotta awesome, that’s what. One man is making it his mission to do just that. Meet Mark Wyatt of Ardent Technologies. As a former coder, turned software architect, turned executive, Mark has spent the last 20 years bridging the gap between t-shirts and suits (and not in the Don Johnson way). He’s one of the rare people that can translate geekspeak to execspeak and vice versa.

    • PyPy Joins the Software Freedom Conservancy

      Today, the Software Freedom Conservancy welcomes PyPy as its newest member. PyPy joins twenty-two other Conservancy members, who receive the benefit of aggregated non-profit status available to all Conservancy member projects.

    • FOSS.IN/2010: Final List of Selected Talks & Mini-Confs

      This is the second list of selected main session talks for FOSS.IN/2010. Unless there are cancellations, this will be the final list.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Fasten Your Seatbelts – Firefox 4 Beta adds new JavaScript power and faster graphics

        A new release of Firefox 4 Beta is now ready for you to download and test! This release boosts performance in some important ways: it adds the JägerMonkey just-in-time (JIT) JavaScript compiler; adds more support for hardware-accelerated graphics, as well as hardware acceleration for Windows XP and Mac OS X; and enables 3D capabilities, without the need for plug-ins, with WebGL.

      • Mozilla Firefox: a look at six years of better browsing

        Today marks the 6th birthday of the popular Mozilla Firefox internet browser. Taken up from the source code of the Netscape browser, Firefox powers on through today to serve more than 400 million (and 45% of The PC Report’s readers) in performing just what it’s built for.

      • Firefox 4 – Mozilla versus the world

        When you think of a giant lizard-monster stomping through a major metropolitan area, you tend to think of Godzilla. Or maybe Rodan. What you probably don’t think about is a non-profit corporation that helps millions around the world gain access to the information they need in their day-to-day lives…

      • Firefox 4 Beta 7 Released, Feature Complete

        The Mozilla team seems to be back on track with the release of the seventh beta of the upcoming web browser Firefox 4. The release marks a milestone in the development as this is the first feature complete release of version 4 of the Internet browser. What does it mean? That the developers won’t add new features to the browser. All they do from this point in development on is test, test and test to fix bugs and get the browser ready for a prime time release in the beginning of 2011.

      • Firefox 4 gets much, much faster

        One of the major components essential for the future of Firefox just landed in the beta build of the browser, and it gives the open-source browser the page-rendering speed boost that it had been lacking.

  • Oracle

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 4 (build OOO330m14) available

      OpenOffice.org 3.3.0 Release Candidate 4 is now available on the download website.

    • What If You Threw a Proprietary Software Party and Nobody Came?

      Let’s not forget that Java, like the Linux kernel, has moved along over the years thanks to contributions and community participation from many deep-pocketed organizations, including Google and the Apache Software Foundation. Now, Oracle is suing Google over aspects of Java, which we’ve already dubbed “the anti-open move of the year.” Under Oracle, questions swirl around the future of Java in ways that they never did under Sun, and, because of the many open source projects that Oracle acquired along with Sun, Oracle’s ability to shake openness in general goes well beyond Java.

      We’ve also noted that as Oracle has taken over stewardship of OpenOffice, many developers have resigned and the project is forking. How many lawsuits, threats and adjustments of major financial contributions is it going to take before Oracle adjusts its policies toward openness?

    • JCP is Salvageable

      In the wake of Doug Lea leaving the JCP, I just want to say that I think the JCP is salvageable. This idea the JCP is an unworkable entity is plain and utter myth. A myth propagated by those that want to see it fail (i.e. SpringSource) or those that want to create their own, and controlled, specification efforts (IBM), or those that are more interested in doing their own thing than collaborating with others (i.e. Google and SpringSource). Don’t believe me? Well, let’s discuss it a little more.

  • Education

    • Open source in higher education – why not?

      There are a few holes in this idea, and it certainly would not be easy to orchestrate. Nonetheless, if University X teamed with RedHat or IBM to finance a few project liaisons to act as go betweens for a single CS elective course that was basically Open Source participation 301, imagine what the press could be like for the involved parties. What percentage of CS students who participate in that course would land desirable positions? How many bugs could the University’s elective course-taking CS body claim to have resolved? How much time/money would those students effectively end up putting toward the projects in which they participate? Letters for your CS major home page detailing, “Open Source participation 301 really put me above my competition, I had a choice of jobs after only a handful of interviews…”. Higher profile businesses start recruiting more from University X, because they know the students who took OSP 301 are intimately familiar with an open source technology on which they rely. Tech businesses recruit because they know that students who worked on open source project Q during their OSP 301 course are experienced with a particular bug tracker, wiki, vcs, etc. that the business uses in their workflow. RedHat/IBM offer press releases, “Just donated $80,000 to open source project Q and University X to support collaborative education/open source learning and programming efforts.”

      Who loses here? I realize that the projects/companies I relayed might be out of reach, but the I would think the right pitch could spark interest from a Mozilla project, PostgreSQL, LibreOffice, and countless others.

      Opensource, Colleges/Universities, CS majors – Can we make something like this happen? Why not?

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Digital Mars Is Wanting To Merge D Into GCC

      Walter Bright of Digital Mars has brought up with the GCC list what steps need to be traveled so that GDC, the GNU D Compiler, can be merged into GCC. Right now the GNU Compiler Collection doesn’t have support for the D programming language, but that may soon change if this merge by Digital Mars is successful.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • It’s the Document, stupid!

      Today the Document Foundation has issued a press release that marks the beginning of something exciting; but it’s likely that not a lot of people will understand what’s being explained through the multiple layers of buzz and general statements that were made. Here’s the statement:

      “”The Document Foundation is about documents and the associated software is pivotal to create, exchange, modify, share and print documents”, says Thorsten Behrens, a software developer and a member of TDF Steering Committee. “LibreOffice 3.3 is the first flavour of this long term strategy, but the journey has just begun, and the enormous advantages of our developer-embracing environment are not yet fully reflected in the upcoming software release”.

      LibreOffice 3.3 is based on OOo 3.3, with code optimisations and many new features, which are going to offer a first preview of the new development directions for 2011 and beyond. TDF founders foresee a completely different future for the office suite paradigm, which – in the actual format – is over 20 years old, to be based on the document (where the software is a layer for the creation or the presentation of the contents).

Leftovers

  • Google News spammer has new site, same trick

    Last week, after CNET pointed out that a company called 70 Holdings Inc. was spamming Google News under the moniker of Red Label News, Google pulled that content from its site. However, over the weekend 70 Holdings popped back up using one of the 44 domains it owns to once again flood Google News with the same type of nearly empty stories tied to search-friendly keywords and advertising.

  • Job killing you? Anxious mob bosses seek psychotherapy

    The mafia boss was having a dreadful time dealing with loss. But he wasn’t struggling with the loss of lives, or even the loss of his freedom.

    “Doc, it’s my hair,” the mobster from the ‘ndrangheta crime syndicate confessed to his psychiatrist in jail. “I’m afraid of losing my hair.

    [...]

    “If you’re a mafioso, and you’re anxious, you’re not trustworthy and you have to be eliminated,” said Lo Verso. “A mafioso is paranoid about everything” — trusting the mafia code of silence (“omerta”) more than the medical code of patient confidentiality.

  • BBC iPlayer to charge users following international rollout

    Although the BBC Trust has yet to release any official statement on the move, BBC Worldwide head Smith declared the plans in an interview with the Telegraph stating: “Not only will that mean international fans of, for example, Doctor Who can get their fix legitimately, but it has the potential of opening up a new revenue stream for the entire UK production industry.”

  • Strange ICANN times ahead: commercial interests seek to infiltrate non-commercial ones.

    Democracy is hard to achieve and harder to maintain, especially when dealing with bodies that, in its name, seek to infiltrate and distort egalitarian processes. This is exactly the case with the Not-for-Profit Organisations Constituency (NPOC), which recently submitted to the ICANN Board a Notice of Intent to form a new constituency existing within the scope, mandate and mission of ICANN’s Non-Commercial Stakeholder Group (NCSG). According to NPOC’s statement “membership is open to any not-for-profit organization/NGO with missions such as: philanthropic, humanitarian, educations, academic and professional development, religious, community associations, promotion of the arts, public interest policy advocacy, health-related services and social inclusion”. This new constituency does not require that such organizations are commercial or non-commercial in nature or whether they are meant to serve commercial or non-commercial interests. So, what does a constituency that fails to distinguish between commercial and non-commercial interests want within a purely non-commercial group?

  • Hardware

    • AMD teases Bobcat Fusion APUs again, delivers Atom-busting performance (video)

      A quick refresher: Bobcat is AMD’s low-power Accelerated Processing Unit that can handle both computational and graphical duties, Ontario and Zacate are the chips built upon that core, and Brazos is the overall platform that they’ll be doing their work on. Clear enough? We hope so. AMD has finally allowed a few tech pubs to get their hands on Brazos-based systems and, along with feedback about their experience, the guys have come back with some added spec notes. There’ll be two initial Zacate options, the dual-core E-350 running at 1.6GHz or the single-core E-240 clocked at 1.5GHz, while Ontario will offer 1GHz dual-core and 1.2GHz single-core variants.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • TSA agents singled Meg McLain out for special treatment. They yelled at her, cuffed her to a chair, ripped up her ticket and cal…
    • When ‘kiddie porn’ charges go wrong

      The grim-looking mugshots on the right are of Sergio Diaz-Palomino and Alma Vasquez whose family photos “morphed into an immigration nightmare” when a Walgreens worker “flagged pictures of their naked son”, said ABC News.

      Sergio was consequently accused of sexual exploitation, the mildest of the horrifying charges later laid against him.

      The accusations were dropped but the two were found to have entered the US illegally, enmeshing them in the “nightmare” cited in the intro.

    • Waterboarding is torture, Downing Street confirms

      Waterboarding, which was banned by President Barack Obama, helped foil attacks on Heathrow airport, Canary Wharf and a number of US targets around the world, according to Bush.

      In Decision Points, published today, Bush insists the practice – which simulates drowning – is not torture, describing it instead as one of a number of “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

      But Downing Street confirmed the British government still shared Obama’s opinion that waterboarding constitutes torture. “It comes under that definition in our view,” a No 10 spokeswoman said.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • French export drive threatens to crush Europe’s eels

      Tiny, slimy – and pricey. This is the glass eel, the baby of the critically endangered European eel. As market prices hit a record $2800 per kilogramme, France has blocked an agreement to stop European exports, crippling efforts to restock Europe’s increasingly eel-less rivers.

    • Alaskan Bird Deformities Are Puzzling, Creepy

      About one in 16 crows and black-capped chickadees suffer from a condition called avian keratin disorder, which causes their beaks to become morbidly elongated and crossed.

      Rates of the debilitating disorder are 10 times higher than usual. That’s higher than has ever been recorded in any wild-bird population, and most of this rise happened over the last decade. Dozens of other bird species are afflicted. Nobody knows why, but it’s probably not a good sign.

    • Energy Committee Chairman Candidate Says God Promised no More Catastrophic Climate Change after Noah

      Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who will seek the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship maintains that we do not have to worry about climate change because God promised in the Bible not to destroy the world again after Noah’s flood.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • There Are Ever More Ways to Browse With No Name

      There are countless reasons why many people around the globe want to be able to use the web and messaging systems anonymously. In many parts of the world, opressive government regulations threaten free speech, and worse, which has produced an extensive list of technologies that people around the world use to beat the Internet censors. Browsing anonymously is a moving target, with ever more easy-to-use software available that can erase your tracks. Of course, especially if you live in a society where violating Internet usage policies can land you in jail or worse, any attempt to stay anonymous should be approached with extreme caution. Here is an updated collection of resources on some of the tools that are available from the open source community for this purpose.

    • YouTube caught in the middle of China-Japan dispute

      YouTube has found itself in the middle of a heated controversy between Japan and China thanks to a leaked video that shows a Chinese fishing boat crashing into a Japanese coast guard vessel. Google has now apparently turned over its records pertaining to the user who uploaded the video to Japanese prosecutors, who cited breaches of local laws by the anonymous video uploader.

    • How China turns its enemies into heroes

      The media are abuzz today with stories on how China is trying to create an international boycott of the Nobel Prize awards in Oslo. Not surprisingly, it’s blocking Chinese activists who it believes may be leaving to attend the ceremonies, and it’s trying to strong-arm other countries from participating.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Responses to the Consultation on net neutrality, September 2010

      The following public and private bodies and individuals submitted comments in response to the Consultation on the open internet and net neutrality. The corresponding contributions can be accessed by using the links.

      Omitted from the list are those who requested confidentiality. Furthermore, the name of the respondent has been omitted when requested or not provided.

    • Why don’t Americans want broadband?

      Hard as it might be for Webheads to believe, a significant fraction of the US population doesn’t use the Internet at home. In fact, 23 percent of all US households report that no one in the home uses the Internet anywhere. Why not? A detailed new study (PDF) from the Department of Commerce reminds us: many people don’t see the need for this “Internet” thing at all.

      Commerce parsed a big batch of US Census Data, most recently from late 2009, on US Internet use, and found that in general, it has exploded. Between 2001 and 2009, broadband usage in the US increased sevenfold, but a significant number of people just don’t see the need.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Keynote
    • Economics and the limits to growth

      The first and second laws of thermodynamics should also be called the first and second laws of economics. Why? Because without them there would be no scarcity, and without scarcity, no economics. Consider the first law: if we could create useful energy and matter as we needed it, as well as destroy waste matter and energy as it got in our way, we would have superabundant sources and sinks, no depletion, no pollution, more of everything we want without having to find a place for stuff we don’t want. The first law rules out this direct abolition of scarcity. But consider the second law: even without creation and destruction of matter-energy, we might indirectly abolish scarcity if only we could use the same matter-energy over and over again for the same purposes — perfect recycling. But the second law rules that out. And if one thinks that time is the ultimate scarce resource, well, the entropy law is time’s irreversible arrow in the physical world. So it is that scarcity and economics have deep roots in the physical world, as well as deep psychic roots in our wants and desires.

    • Monsanto’s Fall: The End of GMO Seed Industry?

      As recently as late December, Monsanto was named “company of the year” by Forbes magazine. Last week, the company earned a different accolade from Jim Cramer, the television stock market commentator. “This may be the worst stock of 2010,” he proclaimed.

      On Tuesday, Forbes publicly lamented its decision to deem Monsanto “company of the year.” The headline was cutting: “Forbes was wrong about Monsanto. Really wrong.” How did Monsanto go from Wall Street hero to Wall Street doormat?

      According to The Times’ Pollack, Monsanto’s troubles are two-fold: 1) the patent on Roundup, Monsanto’s market-dominating herbicide, has run out, exposing the company to competition from cheap Chinese imports; and 2) its target audience — large-scale commodity farmers in the south and Midwest– are turning against its core offerings in genetically modified corn, soy, and cotton seed traits.

    • Copyrights

      • In Search of A Compromise on Copyright

        Last week marked the return of the copyright debate to the House of Commons as Bill C-32 entered second reading. Six months after its introduction, it became immediately apparent that all three opposition parties will be seeking changes to the bill in return for their support.

      • 3D printing becomes the new copyright battleground

        The Public Knowledge think tank has issued a white paper warning that the open source community faces new intellectual property challenges with the growth of 3D printing.

        3D printing uses technology based around thermal inkjet printers to build 3D objects, laying down a strip of molecules at a time. It is likely to be vital to future motherboard manufacturing, and could have much wider uses.

      • Q&A: Dr Adrian Bowyer and open source 3D printing

        Just as computer inkjet printing revolutionised colour document production in the office and home, 3D printing is set to revolutionise how we create and use everyday objects.

        Applying printing technology to the manufacture of actual 3D objects has been possible for some years, but only on large industrial machinery which was expensive to purchase and run.

      • I’m Going To Forecast The Death Of The American Recording And Video Industries

        Their next door neighbors, Britain, have now decided to take the same course. Curiously as has been noted in many places, all of the spending cuts affect the poor and the middle class. The Toffs make out just fine, thank you very much.

        And now the Americans want to do the same thing. And will do the same thing. And will suffer the same fallout. Massive unemployment, massive underemployment. The entire audience that the RIAA/MPAA companies depend upon for their sales will be in the poorhouse, and unable to afford to buy entertainment. After all, food and housing come first. You can survive without entertainment. Life is more fun with it, but life is impossible without eating.

        Possibly this is the reason that the Entertainment Distributors have been so interested in pushing ACTA, in the hope that they’ll be able to increase their sales outside of the United States. Of course the other countries are interested in pushing their creative industries too, so that may not work.

      • Barcelona Events Wrap-up

        Since we last blogged about CC in Barcelona, we’ve been very productive. Two weeks worth of open events have yielded several talks around open educational resources (OER) search, discovery, and policy at Open Ed, recommendations and tools for greater open content reuse at the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival, and a 12 month plan for the future of the Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU).

      • Meet our board members: Jimmy Wales

        Meet Creative Commons board member Jimmy Wales. You probably know him best as the founder of Wikipedia. Here, he talks to us about the importance of Creative Commons, why fundraising is hard, and his crazy travel schedule.

      • Creative Commons Communities Shine in Middle East

        CC communities throughout the Arab World displayed their rich culture and commitment to openness this past week in Lebanon and Qatar, showcasing creative works, inter-regional collaboration, and a focused dedication on legal and copyright issues in the region. Following the Digitally Open conference in Doha and a regional meeting including members of CC’s communities in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Qatar, Syria and UAE, Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig and CC CEO Joichi Ito visited Beirut for the official launch of the Creative Commons Lebanon project.

      • WordPress Blocks Blog Following DMCA Takedown ‘Comment’

        A non-commercial blog which specializes in reporting on Amazon Kindle related news was taken down by WordPress after it linked to site hosting an unauthorized copy of a book. Although this is a legal act under Spanish law, WordPress blocked the site following a complaint from an anti-piracy group who said the blog owner had ignored them, but when one learns how they made that complaint, it’s no surprise he did.

      • 4chan Attack Brings Down MPAA Website

        4chan and movie piracy are closely linked: Many of the anarchic message board’s users frequent sites like the Pirate Bay to download movies they can watch alone in their parents’ basement. Now, 4chan is attacking the champions of anti-piracy efforts.

        The Motion Picture Association of America’s website has been down since this morning, felled by a malicious flood of traffic co-ordinated by 4chan. (A similar attack brought down Gawker briefly this summer.) The assault appears to be in retaliation for the CEO of an Indian tech firm boasting that his company launches similar attacks on movie pirating websites like The Pirate Bay at the behest of film studios. That company’s website was quickly brought down, as the panicked CEO tried to backtrack from his comments.

      • Handicapping the horse-race for Canada’s new copyright bill

        In a fascinating interview with TVOntario’s Search Engine podcast, Michael Geist describes and predicts the likely outcome of the years and years of wrangling over Canada’s new copyright bill, C-61 C-32, which includes a sweeping DRM clause that makes it illegal to modify your own equipment, even if you’re not otherwise breaking copyright law, making it one of the most radical DRM laws in the world. Michael sees reason to hope for a more moderate C-32 in its final form — I hope he’s right.

      • Audio Podcast #66: The End of the Copyfight?

        Bill C-32 will be our new copyright law – Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa, explains what that means for our digital rights.

      • Belgian Court Rules That Violating Creative Commons License Subjects You To Copyright Infringement Charge

        There hasn’t been too much case law around the legitimacy of Creative Commons licenses, and some have questioned whether or not they’re really legitimate. I’ll admit that I do have some questions about certain aspects of CC licenses, but over in Belgium a court has pretty clearly claimed that Creative Commons licenses are perfectly legitimate. The case involved a band that had released its music under a CC attribution-non-commercial-no derivatives license. However, a theater apparently used the music (in a modified form) as part of an ad for its upcoming season, and the ad played on national radio.

      • Belgian Court recognises CC licences

        This is an extremely interesting ruling for various reasons. Firstly, it helps to eliminate the typical FUD that tries to undermine Creative Commons as licences that are not valid because they lack case law.

      • ACTA

        • Act on ACTA

          GUE/NGL and I are preparing a draft resolution along with MEPs from other political groups. You are most welcome to comment on the content of the draft here: https://actamotion.co-ment.com/text/GEyBvVpfwDj/view/

        • Latest ACTA leaks: EU boasts of ‘innovative’ Internet enforcement

          How close were we to getting an ISP liability regime in ACTA? New leaked documents reveal more about what went on and how the EU and US are trying to sort out their differences.

          A raft of EU documents discussing changes to the ACTA (Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement) emerged unexpectedly in the public domain yesterday. The documents, which appear to originate from within the ACTA team in DG Trade, signal that the the US and EU are close to sorting out their differences, with the EU ‘winning’ on some matters.

Clip of the Day

Inkscape Tutorial by heathenx: Convex Icon


Credit: TinyOgg

Mono Advocacy is Deluded, Avoids the Facts and Personally Attacks Critics Instead

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono: is it a science, or is it a faith?

Sheep says mono

Summary: The Mono proponents have yet again turned to “ad hominem” mode because the simple facts about Mono-associated risk cannot be refuted

TECHRIGHTS’ “Boycott Novell” initiative has warned about Mono patents since 2006 (weeks after Novell and Microsoft signed their patent deal). At the time, not many people dared to slam Mono (the FSF did not do so until 2009), but over the years more evidence was gathered to show that Mono is indeed a problem. Now there is more of a consensus and general agreement about it although the approach taken to alleviate/mitigate the issue varies somewhat. Techrights has been relatively polite about it.

Guy Van Sanden (at “nocturn”, posting from Belgium) got flamed by Mono proponents after he had criticised Mono. For his recent posts about Mono, which we covered at the time [1, 2, 3, 4], he received personal abuse from the bullies [1, 2] and liars. It’s almost as though Mono is a religious cult akin to Scientology. I have personally seen and over the years experienced what one goes though for criticising Mono (being called the “c” word and talked to with the “f” word, even assaulted with libel). No other topic seems to invoke quite as much resentment as from the group of Mono proponents, who often tend to trust (sometimes love) Microsoft as well. Van Sanden has just posted some instructions for removal of Mono from one’s system. Innocent enough, right?

Following my post “Get the facts on mono” from yesterday, I thought it would be nice to post a refresher about how to remove mono from Ubuntu and more importantly, prevent it from being reinstalled (for example by installing a package if you are not aware it was built on mono).

Here is the “Get the facts on mono” post which he refers to. Notice the number of comments and flames. The concise argument he made goes like this:

The debate surrounding the replacement of Rhythmbox with Banshee in Ubuntu 11.04 brings back many of the concerns about F-Spot, Tomboy and gBrainy: the mono patent trap.

But a lot of time has past since the original discussions and in that time, some things became very clear.

* Microsoft does hold patents on the .NET technology that mono is based on
* They made a community promise not to sue FOSS projects implementing the ECMA submitted parts of .NET
* The community promise is not a binding patent grant
* Mono implements a lot more than the ECMA parts, De Icaza’s promise to seperate mono into safe and non-safe parts was never fulfilled
* There is no promise on the non-ECMA parts
* Software like F-Spot and Tomboy are therefor using parts based on non-free bits of .NET

So, why is including MP3 support and DeCSS problematic but do we digg a hole by using patented technologies from one of the biggest patent trolls on the planet???

I don’t think any of this is malicious, but it does feel naive and misguided to me…

Jason from The Source has defended the arguments above by adding supporting evidence in a useful, precise, and easy-to-follow way. Jason claims that “Mono Criticism” is being falsely characterised as intolerance or “Uninformed Hatred” as he puts it:

Mono Apologists must rely on uninformed acceptance of their points, because one can not simultaneously be informed and make the arguments that Team Apologista does. The best honest argument Team Apologista can make is something along the lines of: “Mono may have issues, but so do a lot of projects, and we don’t think ours rise to a level of serious concern.”

That argument is fair, truthful, and – unfortunately – not very convincing. That is why Team Apologista must resort to misrepresenting the FSF, or trying to silence critics, or trotting out one logical fallacy after another, or resorting to personal attacks.

In the last version of Ubuntu, Canonical decreased its dependence on Mono, so we assumed that the problem was being addressed. But Banshee is possibly to be included in the next version of Ubuntu, as we noted in some of the following posts:

Banshee is a Novell product. It uses parts of the Mono project which the MCP does not cover (by design) and while it’s probably fine for SLED users to use for another one year and one month, all other users of Banshee would be sensitive to Microsoft lawsuits (and Microsoft is specifically suing over Microsoft APIs in Linux, as stressed in the previous post).

David Siegel, a Canonical employee, currently works on the controversial Unity, which is based on Vala (discussed in our pilot episode of the TechBytes show). Vala is quite similar to Mono but with an escape route from complete dependency on it. Anyway, Siegel is better known to people because of GNOME Do, which gets another facelift or extension:

A trusted source, one wishing to remain anonymous, sent in the following screenshot to the OMG! Inbox along the assurance that what you see below ‘is not a mockup but rather work in progress.’

This post from OMG!Ubuntu (occasional promoter of Mono [1, 2, 3, 4]) contains very few details, in fact almost none at all except the picture. It’s an issue because we have come across a Ubuntu proponent who dislikes Mono and reads/links to OMG!Ubuntu over at at Identi.ca. This reader of OMG!Ubuntu is now praising GNOME Do, probably because he — like many others in his position — simply does not know that GNOME Do is based on Mono. Getting those people to recommend such Mono applications is like getting angry, exploited people to lobby for the same billionaires who are exploiting them (and that’s what the Tea Party managed to achieve in the US).

Microsoft’s Future Goes Dark as Stock Dumped, Vista Phony 7 [sic] Fails, and Microsoft Sues Linux Rivals Instead

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 5:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer on patents

Summary: Microsoft litigation against Linux (not just via proxies like SCO and maybe Acacia) is chosen as a principal route by this company that cannot compete and whose biggest investors are bailing out

JUDGING by Microsoft’s behaviour alone (never mind the layoffs, dead products, departing managers, etc.), Microsoft is in serious trouble. It’s SCO’s successor. Its market presence with Windows and Office is the only thing which really keeps it going for the time being (same with few of SCO’s remaining deployments), and that too is an eroding market where Microsoft relies on chasing poor people (whom it labels “pirates”).

“BlackRock cuts Microsoft stake below 5 percent,” alerts Reuters.

BlackRock (BLK.N), one of the biggest holders of Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) shares, has cut its stake in the software company below 5 percent, according to a regulatory filing on Tuesday.

As another headline put it (all caps), “BLACKROCK AND STEVE BALLMER ARE SELLING MICROSOFT SHARES, SHOULD YOU? (BLK,MSFT)”

BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), which is one of Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) largest shareholders, cut its stake to below 5%, just days after Steve Ballmer sold 50 million shares of the company.

Chips B. Malroy gave us those two links along with some insights last night, quoting the above as saying: “At the end of last quarter, BlackRock’s major units held about 470 million Microsoft shares, according to Thomson Reuters data, about 5.5 percent of the company.”

“Just like the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer,” argues Malroy, “BlackRock has no expectations of MS stock rising. In fact, this next link maybe the reason for all the selling.”

“Just like the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, BlackRock has no expectations of MS stock rising.”
      –Chips B. Malroy
To put some of these recent developments in context, Ballmer will possibly lose his job if he does not manage to keep up and catch up with the mobile market. He joked about it about a month ago and last week we started urging for people to share sales figures of Vista Phony 7 [sic], where Silverlight came to die. Just as we wrote some days ago, they refused to give numbers, which was indicative of failure because they always brag when they can.

Well, we finally have some numbers regarding Vista Phony 7 [sic] sales. It’s looking pretty ugly. The Inquirer‘s headline says that “Microsoft is failing to shift many Windows Phone 7 handsets” (just as The Inquirer claims to have predicted).

Over here in Blighty, Microsoft and mobile operators have been cagey about releasing sales figures, making vague statements about “strong demand” that did nothing to quell speculations that WP7 hasn’t got off to a rousing start. The 40,000 handsets that Microsoft apparently has sold in the US in the first 24 hours are a sign that even after the Vole spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing, punters are simply not buying into the hype.

“Market researchers claim that the Vole’s WP7 handset partners have managed to flog only 40,000 WP7 smartphones during the first 24 hours on sale in the US,” Malroy quotes it as saying. He adds: “So is the WP7 to become the “next of Kin?” Or rather, the next Kin.”

One of the original reports with the number can be found here (“Microsoft Sells 40K Windows 7 Phones”). It says that:

The anemic sales number does not include the 89,000 Microsoft employees that will be given free Windows 7 phones.

Vista Phony 7 [sic] is doing pretty poorly and “Microsoft reps declined to comment,” according to the article. Anything they say would help verify the embarrassing reports. To put things in perspective, Google (Android’s nearly sole maintainer) activates 5 times more Linux phones than Microsoft does upon hyped-up product launch. How many units per day ship with Vista Phony 7 [sic] after this launch? Could it be less than 10,000 a day? That’s quite likely. The few people who bought “KIN” (just 503 people according to Gruber) are sometimes getting rid of them on eBay. Is Vista Phony 7 [sic] too going the way of the dodo (“KIN”) within years? Microsoft made a big bet on it by giving it to all of its employees (for internal use, so Silverlight may now be required for internal use too). One has to remember that Vista Phony 7 [sic] users are Microsoft employees a lot of the time. Microsoft seems to have also made some deal with Dell. Few other companies would adopt such an immature product because, as IDG helps show, a platform being “Windows”-labeled is not expected to be secure, either.

Many businesses will not be able to support Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system, which began shipping in the United States today. Like the competing Google Android, Windows Phone 7 does not support on-device encryption to protect data stored on it. Many businesses require such encryption to be able to access corporate data through EAS (Exchange ActiveSync) policies and automatically block connections from devices that don’t support device-level encryption.

Users will get the error code 85010013 when trying to sync their email on a Windows Phone 7 device, rather than an English description of the problem. Microsoft’s support forum confirms the lack of on-device encryption support.

So, just like Swiss cheese, Windows would not be what it is without lots of holes. The ‘secure’ Wi-Fi is simply flawed in Vista Phony 7 [sic]:

A flaw possibly linked to Windows Phone 7 itself may be preventing devices from connecting to secure Wi-Fi points, new owners have discovered since launch. Those trying to reach a locked network are told they “couldn’t reach the Wi-Fi network” even when using a known good password. The issue doesn’t appear confined to one device and has affected at least the Dell Venue Pro and HTC HD7, BGR has heard.

This makes Vista Phony 7 [sic] unsuitable for many business-oriented uses. What’s left for it to go after? Any niche at all? Probably not.

“Microsoft employees can meanwhile use yuppie-Nuremberg defense to justify extorting the competition.”Microsoft has a Plan B however. If it cannot make something which works, then it wishes to make money from other companies’ products (which do work). Continuing its tradition of extortion (Horacio and his thugs can just sue more), Microsoft recently initiated two lawsuits against Motorola. Microsoft tries to make this company along with other companies surrender and pay Microsoft for Linux without even a challenge. It’s racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Some would conveniently try to label Microsoft a “patent troll”, but as long as Microsoft delivers a mobile platform — no matter how useless it is — Microsoft can’t be called “patent troll” due to these cases of aggression while extorting Android phone makers. Microsoft employees can meanwhile use yuppie-Nuremberg defense to justify extorting the competition. There’s no good excuse for such a behaviour.

“While it might be too early to tell if WP7 is the complete failure like Kin was,” argues Malroy, “the rumors coming out seem to support this. Could this be why Steve Ballmer and BlackRock are selling shares off? After all, Steve Ballmer already knows the WP7 sales figures from Europe, which he is not sharing with the world. But he is dumping stock. As WP7 maybe starting to fail in a big way, Microsoft turns to more legal action. And Motorola countersues MS:”

The lawsuit comes just a day after Microsoft filed its second lawsuit against Motorola in recent months. Last month, Microsoft took aim at Motorola for the alleged infringement of nine patents in Motorola handsets that use Google’s Android mobile software. On Tuesday, Microsoft filed suit against Motorola over licensing terms for technology Microsoft uses in its Xbox game machines.

Motorola Mobility filed the current lawsuit in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of Florida and the Western District of Wisconsin, it said in a statement Wednesday. The patents are related to a number of technologies, including digital video coding, e-mail technology including in Exchange, Messenger and Outlook, and Windows Live instant messaging software. Motorola also directly attacked the Xbox patents in question in the recent Microsoft case, which are related to video coding and Wi-Fi technology.

“Since WP7 cannot compete with Android based on Linux kernel,” says Malroy, “MS sues companies that use Android like Motorola. Clear sign of the coming end for Microsoft when a company is desperate and cannot compete. This lawsuit is most likely MS attempting to apply more pressure on MS to settle on using Android and pay MS. Which resulted in Motorola counter suits. Motorola is not going away quietly. Is this all that Ballmer and Microsoft have, lawsuits because they cannot compete and turn out products that sell without monopoly power?”

Wayne Borean’s ongoing roundup called “Microsoft Death Watch” is now accumulating evidence from Business Insider and it includes the news about Vista Phony 7 [sic]:

So if Microsoft only sold 40,000 phones on the first day, it’s quite possible that Windows Phone 7 is going to be a flop. There are also rumors of stores that sold out however. Whether this is because of limited stock, or because of higher interest in some areas, we don’t know. A final rumor was that there have been shortages of touch screens, and that this may have affected launch stock.

So to summarise, as long as Vista Phony 7 [sic] is around, Microsoft cannot be called a “patent troll”, but it’s clear that litigation against rivals is Microsoft’s plan for the future. It’s all about software patents and the only ones which are named correspond or refer to FAT, which should give Mono a clue. Microsoft APIs are an Achilles heel and ActiveSync too is an example. We’ll expand on Mono in the next post.

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

Mark Shuttleworth

The Original SCO Keeps Delaying Bankruptcy Hearings

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 3:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux wins

Summary: Microsoft’s little helper, SCO, refuses to die just yet as it’s playing the legal system

Was SCO’s bankruptcy in 2007 a fake one? Some say that SCO uses it as a strategic tool with which to buy more time to attack Linux and increase uncertainty. SCO is repeatedly delaying bankruptcy hearings and even the latest one gets cancelled again and again. Groklaw is not especially surprised anymore:

Well, knock me over with a feather. I surely didn’t expect this. SCO’s hearing in bankruptcy court in Delaware set for November 8 has been cancelled/postponed.

Groklaw has some other posts about the case [1, 2, 3], which carries on because SCO manages to scrape funds off mysterious places (whilst decreasing staff size).

Acacia Slanders GNU/Linux

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 3:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The patent troll “seems to be trying to do Microsoft a favor by painting Linux vendors as… well… thieves,” argues Groklaw, which parsed the court proceedings of IP Innovation vs Red Hat and Novell

THE PATENT troll known as Acacia operates under an even larger umbrella (“IP Innovation”) and it is operated by some former Microsoft staff, having been paid by Microsoft in recent years (on several occasions in fact). In some ways, Acacia is like another SCO and we’ve just found an interesting observation from Groklaw, which went through a lot of filings:

The plaintiffs’ opening statement, by Arthur A. Gasey of the firm Niro Scavone Haller & Niro, offended me, as he made remarks that were pejorative about Linux, seeming to imply that Open Source software is pirated. And I was puzzled why he would mention Windows, when there is no established connection between Microsoft and these plaintiffs. But he does. For example, here’s a brief whiff…

[...]

The jury ruled otherwise, but did you get the feeling that this guy misunderstands Linux? And that he seems to be trying to do Microsoft a favor by painting Linux vendors as… well… thieves? He is stressing how significant it is to have 4 desktops, because they get more money if the feature they claim is infringed is the reason you want the product. Of course, that is the last thing you need in a server, and most of Red Hat and Novell’s money comes from servers, so it sort of makes no sense, his little speech.

A lot more interesting stuff is in there. Thanks to Pamela Jones for all the good work she has done on this post. Acacia helps show the distortion of the patent system, where non-practicing entities and monopolies (along with their lawyers) take all the money and power, thus leaving the market with a lot less value.

Patents diagram

Facebook is Now Officially a Patent Bully

Posted in Patents at 2:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Incredible Hulk and Facebook

Summary: Facebook’s aggression — including lawsuits against far smaller rivals — carries on despite Facebook’s growth

Facebook, which is partly owned by Microsoft and in many different ways empowers Microsoft’s monopoly, keeps showing why it’s a malicious company* (e.g. using information without permission as Facebook’s nearly entire business model** is based on feeding nosy people). As we demonstrated in previous posts, in recent years Facebook has been collecting software patents and it’s indicative of paranoia among companies that are about to collapse. We wrote many posts which were warning about Facebook’s practices but especially its patents and the relationship between the founder and the world’s latest patent troll. As the old saying goes, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” A lot of people give a badly-behaving company a lot of power it oughtn’t have.

Facebook was seen bullying with trademarks a few weeks ago and given the increasing scale of Facebook (and increasing growth), it ought to worry. For a growing company to also be a bully is a sign of infinite arrogance and now we find that Facebook is also attacking rivals using patents (so we know that the portfolio is not for “defensive” purposes):

Facebook Inc., the world’s biggest social-networking website, accused the owner of the Boston Phoenix newspaper and WFNX radio station of infringing two patents related to ways to manage information online.

Facebook filed the complaint today in federal court in Boston against Phoenix Media/Communications Group Inc. and its People2People Group, Tele-Publishing and FNX Broadcasting units. The allegations were made in response to a patent-infringement lawsuit Tele-Publishing filed last year against Palo Alto, California-based Facebook.

Why would people want to give personal data to such a repulsive company that also censors? We recommend Identi.ca and GNU Social until Diaspora makes its case.
____
* It’s really quite apt that they are connected to Microsoft, as Facebook is one of the least ethical companies out there (since its early days), especially among those who rose to power in recent years.

** That tends to change over time, with elements like games contributing through other avenues.

IRC Proceedings: November 10th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

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