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11.12.10

Links 11/11/2010: The Linux 2.6.37 FS Benchmarks, MPlayer Turns Ten

Posted in News Roundup at 10:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Does the Operating System Still Matter? Part 4

    We also perceive the shift quantitatively. In October of 2009, “opensolaris vs linux” was the #1 incoming query to RedMonk properties; “linux vs opensolaris” was #7. In October of this year, “opensolaris vs linux” is #13; “linux vs opensolaris” is not in the Top 100.

    The simplest explanation for this might be the decline and acquisition of Sun, and the subsequent deemphasis by new owner Oracle to the Solaris brand generally and OpenSolaris specifically. But for this to be true, we should have expected to see commensurate gains to other operating system related terminology, be that Windows, Linux or combinations of both.

  • Deep Thoughts on Being a Geek

    It was a blog post by Jeff Hoogland that started the ball rolling. Entitled “I am a Linux geek and proud of it,” the post chronicles the story of a misbehaving netbook that led to Hoogland’s realization.

    Hoogland fixed the netbook’s problem without too much trouble, causing him to observe, “Something that at one point would have taken me hours to figure out (and odds are would have required a few forum posts) I had resolved in minutes.”

    Few of us today look like the classic stereotype of the Unix geek, Hoogland concludes. Rather, “Linux users come in all shapes and sizes.”

  • Desktop

    • Why I love Ubuntu

      This is such a huge benefit of Ubuntu (and Linux in general), it is for this very reason that I now do all my college assignments at home, simply because I get them all done way faster. I find it so much faster to multi-task on Ubuntu, although this is limited somewhat because I have a very old computer (Pentium 4 from 2003), but Ubuntu solves this by not frustrating me, it doesn’t throw error dialogs at me, it doesn’t waste precious CPU cycles telling me that there is a serious problem, it just quietly works through it and return’s to normal.

    • ZaReason CEO Keynotes at FOSDEM

      Cathy Malmrose, the CEO of independent Linux vendor ZaReason, Inc., is a keynote speaker at the upcoming FOSDEM conference in Brussels on Feb. 5-6, 2011. FOSDEM bills itself as “the biggest free and non-commercial event organized by and for the community.”

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Link Tech Show #375 11 10 10 [Ogg]
    • Podcast Season 2 Episode 21

      In this episode: Ubuntu may ditch the X Window system for Wayland, Fedora 14 has been released and Nokia takes Symbian back from the Symbian Foundation. Share our fortnight’s discoveries and hear whether we think Qt and KDE should merge APIs.

  • Kernel Space

    • New course will teach developers to make Linux device drivers

      Training and consulting company LinuxCertified has announced a new course that will help developers learn how to create device drivers for the Linux operating system.

      Linux is an open-source operating system that is available for free. Although it trails in popularity behind its commercial competitors, such as Microsoft Windows, Linux has become increasingly widespread.

    • Linux Kernels, Blog-o-Frenzy And Why You Should Care

      Fall is in the air in New England and I am still sifting through the thousands of product announcements from Oracle OpenWorld 2010 (held in September). One of the questions I keep being asked by solution providers is “What does this new Oracle Linux Kernel mean to me?” Knowing how astute the VAR Guy’s readers are, I jumped at the chance to share my thoughts on this exciting announcement.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Linux 2.6.37 Kernel With EXT4 & Btrfs

        Now that the Linux 2.6.37 kernel merge window is closed and this next major release is in the middle of its development cycle, we have new benchmarks to publish looking at the file-system performance of Btrfs and EXT4 compared to earlier releases. The Linux file-system performance is under constant evolution as shown by our five years of Linux kernel benchmarks and more recent file-system-focused articles such as looking at EXT4 and Btrfs regressions in Linux 2.6.36, solid-state drive Linux benchmarks, and even ZFS-FUSE benchmarks, among other similar articles.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Latinoware: first day

        Ok, let’s stop talking about Paraguay. This first day we had all KDE lectures, tomorrow we are going to have Sandro’s mini-course (Desktop and Mobile Developing with Qt 4.7) and in the (almost) last event of the last day my mini-course about programming with DBus (next Friday).

  • Distributions

    • Evaluating desktop Linux systems mini review

      My favorite every day distribution, aptosid, very much a hobbyist distribution, not anywhere near as simple as SimplyMEPIS or PCLinuxOS to manage for beginners, but praised by veterans, aptosid, once called sidux, and evolved from another KNOPPIX inspired distribution, Kanotix, has been described as Debian Sid on mood stabilizers and steroids.

    • Distro Developers Need Dollars!

      Every little bit helps so if you can let a few ads load in your browser, and even click a few you are interested in then you might be able to help support your favorite distros without even having to make a donation.

    • Some interesting stats about gentoo portage tree

      There is interesting question: How old are ebuilds in tree? (in term when they were touched last time)

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6: Why to Upgrade – Why to Hold Off

        We lease all of our hardware, which poses some interesting problems in itself, but also gave us a three or four year cycle for upgrading the operating system and software stack. In the past few years, we have transitioned to virtual machines, and gained a bit of hardware independence. Now the hardware can come and go, and we can run the same operating system image without the need, or opportunity, to upgrade the operating system.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 14 review

          Enjoy more images from Fedora 14.

        • Fedora 15 Has A Release Schedule, But Will It Be Met?

          The Fedora Engineering Steering Committee (FESCo) has approved the release schedule for Fedora 15, the next release of this community Red Hat Linux operating system that was recently codenamed Lovelock.

          If this Fedora 15 release schedule is met, the official Lovelock release will come on the 10th of May. The alpha release is slated for the first of March and the beta release is penciled in for 5 April. Other important milestones include the feature freeze being on 8 February (and that’s also the point at which Fedora 15 will be branched from Rawhide) and the release candidate on 26 April.

          Of course, this is just the expected release schedule, which may very well slip judging by past Fedora releases. Fedora 14 was going to ship on time as a new feature based upon their poor track record of sticking to their release schedule due to engineering/technical delays, but that didn’t happen. Will Fedora 15 ship on time? We will see. Regardless, Fedora 15 should make it out in May of 2011.

        • Enhanced Fedora Fusion Linux 14 Mere Weeks Away

          One of the main complaints with Fedora is the lack of proprietary drivers and multimedia support. That’s where Fusion comes in. Fusion Linux aims to ship all the best software that will make for a superior desktop experience. The upcoming version, based on the new Fedora 14, is estimated to be about two or three weeks away, but early testers can try the release candidate announced today.

        • Insight into Insight.

          One of the Fedora related things I’m still involved with is Fedora Insight, a Drupal instance I and a few others are trying to learn and launch. We want the capability to pass on interesting tidbits from the Planet, Fedora Weekly News, and even original media in a simple way.

          And we love Drupal, especially because it’s packaged in Fedora and EPEL, and because of its very practical and compatible approaches to licensing (GPL!). However, we could use some help with our work.

        • Fedora bars SQLNinja hack tool

          Fedora Project leaders have banned a popular penetration-testing tool from their repository out of concern it could saddle the organization with legal burdens.

          The move came on Monday in a unanimous vote by the Fedora Project’s board of directors rejecting a request that SQLNinja be added to the archive of open-source applications. It came even as a long list of other hacker tools are included in the bundle and was harshly criticized by some security watchers.

          “It seems incredibly short sighted to reject software based on perceived legal usage,” said Jacob Appelbaum, a full-time programmer for the Tor Project. “They have decided to become judges of likely usage based on their own experience. That is a path of madness.”

    • Debian Family

      • People behind Debian: Joey Hess of debhelper fame

        I decided recently to publish interviews from Debian contributors and I picked Joey Hess as my first target. He’s one of the few who have heavily influenced Debian by creating software that have become building blocks of the project, like the debian-installer (Joey uses the shorthand d-i to refer to it).

        My questions are in bold, the rest is by Joey (except for the additional information that I inserted in italics).

      • Re: Squeeze Artwork: selection of default theme
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Give Ubuntu Unity a Try (Install it in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick)

          Unity is the official Ubuntu Netbook Edition’s new interface and is supposed to replace Gnome as the default environment for the forthcoming Ubuntu releases. Don’t worry, Gnome spin off would continue to be available for all Gnome lovers.

        • 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.

          For those with itchy fingers and brave hearts ‘Unity Compiz’ (‘Compinity’ anyone?) will be available for installation via a PPA tomorrow according to Ubuntu Desktop Experience lead njpatel.

        • PPA!
        • Back to the future

          Looking forward, I’ll be thinking about the longer term direction for the Ubuntu platform. The platform is the layer of Ubuntu which makes everything else possible: it’s how we weave together products like Desktop Edition and Server Edition, and it’s what developers target when they write applications. Behind the user interfaces and applications, there is a rich platform of tools and services which link it all together. It’s in this aspect of Ubuntu that I’ll be investing my time in research, experimentation and imagination. This includes considering how we package and distribute software, how we adapt to technological shifts, and highlighting opportunities to cooperate with other open source projects.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • MeeGo 1.1 vs Ubuntu Netbook Edition: Comparative Review

          In late 2007 ASUS released the Eee PC, a tiny little laptop that sparked a whole new wave of innovation in the computer world.

          It was the first in the family of ultra mobile computing devices that now comprises a wide range of netbooks from all major manufacturers and even paved the way for a more widespread acceptance of the tablet form-factor.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Cloud OS crowd readies own-brand netbook

        Jolicloud, the company that offers a cloud-centric Linux distro for netbooks, is getting into the hardware business.

      • Jolibook netbook announced by Jolicloud

        According to the makers of Jolicloud, the popular cloud-based netbook distro, something big is about to happen in the world of little computers. Introducing the Jolibook – the ‘Fast, Fun & Connected’ Jolicloud 1.1-powered netbook…

        “Designed for people who live in the cloud, it’s running the new Jolicloud 1.1 and comes pre-loaded with Chromium, Facebook, Spotify, VLC, Skype, and a bunch of cool apps that are one click away,” reads the teaser card sent out to press this morning.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 Beta 7: Moving Toward Completion, Updated Extensions On Deck

        The open source arena is currently loaded with good battles to watch, with both operating systems of various stripes and applications fighting fiercely for dominance, but my favorite open source battle of all is the one going on between open source browsers. Although the majority of users still use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, its market share has tumbled from where it was a few years ago. We’ve made the point many times that Firefox and Google Chrome are setting the innovation bar for browsers. That’s why it’s exciting to see Mozilla arrive at Beta 7 of Firefox 4, which you can download now or which you’ll be automatically updated to if you’re testing the betas, and which is loaded with challenges to Google’s fast-growing Chrome browser.

      • Why can’t I access Gmail in Firefox?

        This is a well-known problem caused by a Firefox add-on called Integrated Gmail. Google recently changed the way in which Gmail works (something it does all the time) and this caused the add-on to malfunction and behave in the way you describe.

      • Your guide to Firefox 4 and its shiny new features

        Firefox 4, with the release of Beta 7, is as good as finished. From now until its release in early 2011, no new features will be added, no significant changes will be made — Beta 7 is, for all intents and purposes, Firefox 4.

      • Blazing fast Firefox 4 beta 7 impresses

        We benchmarked beta 7 on an Ubuntu desktop computer with a six-core Intel i7 980X processor. It blazed through the SunSpider test in a mere 208ms. On the same computer, Chromium 6 took 224ms. Mozilla’s efforts to improve JavaScript performance are clearly paying off. The beta also opens and closes nearly as fast as Chrome and offers smoother scrolling and tab switching than the previous version.

        Users who want to try out the beta themselves can download it from Mozilla’s website. For additional details, you can refer to the official release notes. The final release is expected to arrive next year.

      • Mozilla releases Firefox social networking extension

        WEB BROWSER OUTFIT Mozilla has released F1, an extension that allows users to share content through social networks.

        The extension aims to do away with the numerous “share” buttons that have popped up all over the web with webmasters trying to tap into the advertising potential of various social networks. The service, which is still being expanded, currently supports Facebook, Twitter and Gmail services, all of which use the Oauth protocol for authentication.

  • Databases

    • Is MySQL open core?

      [L]ong before the Nazi comparison it is inevitable that someone will ask “is MySQL open core?”.

  • Oracle

    • Apple Joins OpenJDK To Open Source Mac OS X Java Technology

      Apple just announced that it is joining Oracle’s OpenJDK project to open source Mac OS X. OpenJDK is a free and open source implementation of the Java programming language.

      According to the release, Apple will “contribute most of the key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X, including a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client.” OpenJDK will open source Apple’s Java technology to developers.

Clip of the Day

Jim Whitehurst on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6


Does Microsoft Really Have List of Patents GNU/Linux Supposedly Infringes?

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spreadsheet

Summary: Motorola is countersuing Microsoft and possibly wakes up the IBM patent beast, whose OIN pool grows larger; the chances seem slim when it comes to Microsoft in the mobile arena, so patent extortion moves forward

IN A HUGE debate which goes back to 2007, software freedom proponents confronted Microsoft after empty allegations that Linux was violating over 200 unnamed Microsoft patents. Microsoft explained that paperwork was the reason for lack of specifics, but to everyone else it seemed clearer that Microsoft was just ‘pulling a SCO’ by making empty allegations which it refused to back with evidence. This is a violation of the law in some places. Veiled threats, if tolerated as a phenomenon, can be exceptionally harmful.

Microsoft’s latest lawsuit against Linux (or a company selling Linux) picked the wrong target.

Motorola is now blasting Microsoft in response to Microsoft’s two patent-related attacks, which resulted from no provocation at all (Microsoft uses patents offensively, not defensively). Here are the details:

Motorola has countersued Microsoft, alleging infringement of sixteen patents by Microsoft’s PC and server software, Windows mobile software, and Xbox products.

On Wednesday, with a press release, Motorola said that its subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, filed suit against Microsoft in the US District Courts for the Southern District of Florida and the Western District of Wisconsin.

Yesterday in our IRC channels we talked some more about Microsoft’s foolish decision to take on Motorola. Oiaohm quietly pointed out that if one goes through IBM and Motorola press releases “You will see they work with each other closely.”

“Attacking Motorola is an indirect attack on IBM,” explained Oiaohm, “[s]omething I can expect the idiots in MS legal department of [overlooking.]”

“Yes, I know,” I replied, referring to their chips. Motorola and IBM probably share processor research, amongst other things.

“And a lot more,” Oiaohm expounded, mentioning a “joint anti patent aggression agreement.” As a reminder, IBM is the last company whose nest Microsoft would want shaken up. IBM is the dominant party behind the OIN, which has just grown a lot bigger with the parent company of SourceForce. Yes, Geeknet is joining:

Geeknet and Open Invention Network (OIN) today announced the signing of Geeknet as an OIN licensee. OIN’s mission is to enable and protect Linux. By becoming a licensee, Geeknet, the online network for the global geek community through sites such as SourceForge and Slashdot, has joined the growing list of companies that recognize the importance of participating in a substantial community of Linux supporters and leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.

That’s from the new press release.

One press release of Motorola and IBM says: “IBM and Motorola are joining forces to accelerate the technology that will help automakers bring a variety of wireless and Web-based services to drivers and passengers worldwide. Announcing their strategic relationship today, the two companies will work together to provide the end-to-end resources that will help automakers offer next generation products and services to their customers.

“Motorola and IBM plan to combine their technologies, products and services for a joint approach to the auto manufacturers. By leveraging each other’s expertise and industry leadership, the two companies will establish an integrated approach to help auto manufacturers get the next generation of telematics products to market quickly and meet the growing customer demand for enhanced, in-vehicle communication/information/entertainment systems.”

“I want MS to push stupidly forwards,” wrote Oiaohm, “[a]nd trigger the Motorola-IBM agreement.”

An important observation worth making is that Microsoft is getting more vague or narrow wrt patents over time. First they alleged that SUSE GNU/Linux was violating patents (2006), with LG it was just Linux (2007), with Samsung it was Linux-related software (2007), and later it was just FAT (TomTom in 2009 and Motorola in 2010). The recent settlement deal which mentions OS patents vaguely says something about portfolio and does not mention Linux at all (2009, Salesforce).

“[T]he patent legal struggle could even lead to the iPhone being banned from sale in the US”
      –Benjamin Henrion, FFII
Over the past 4 years (since we started this site) Microsoft has been focusing on the use of software patents to stifle competition. It has also been using mobbyists to give the illusion of support from the public and/or from the industry at large. It’s just AstroTurfing and they still take Microsoft’s side, as expected (no hyperlinks needed).

Yesterday we wrote about Microsoft's struggle in the mobile market (it is failing yet again) and Charles Arthur, who last week wrote an article criticising software patents in the UK, says that “billions at stake in the smartphone patent wars,” which ought to explain all the aggression.

Billions of dollars are at stake for companies including Apple, Google, BlackBerry maker RIM, Nokia and Microsoft. The legal struggle could even lead to the iPhone being banned from sale in the US – if Nokia gets its way in one dispute that has gone to the International Trade Commission (ITC).

“More of this,” writes Benjamin Henrion from the FFII regarding the article above, “the patent legal struggle could even lead to the iPhone being banned from sale in the US” (whilst Oracle is suing to harm Android much to Apple’s convenience [1, 2, 3]).

Vista Phony 7 [sic] cannot really compete in this space, so Microsoft is looking for other ways of making money from it. Under the “Microsoft Death Watch” series Wayne carries on with the investigation that now comes to down to phones:

And here we have John Gruber saying that an insider told him that Microsoft only managed to sell 503 KIN phones. Business Insider also covered the sales numbers, with a lot of speculation on how many really sold, and coming up with numbers from 500 to 10,000, but suspecting that it was probably less than 1000. Microsoft of course, isn’t talking.

The exact number doesn’t matter. What matters is that the product didn’t sell well, and the phone Accessory Ecosystem got burned badly.

What lesson did the Accessory Ecosystem learn?

Simple. It’s more profitable to build accessories for IPhones and other Apple products than it is to build them for Microsoft phones.

Which makes me wonder how well the new Windows 7 phones are being supported with accessories? Not very well. A quick check on the website of a local Big Box retailer gives me a strong impression that the only accessories available for Windows 7 Phones are those that fit other phones (SD Cards, Bluetooth Headsets).

So what we have is a feedback loop. Since the last phone didn’t sell well, and the accessory makers got burned, they aren’t supporting the current phones, which means that sales of the current phones will suffer, because you can’t buy the accessories that you want.

We’ll end this post with the Identi.ca rant of John Drinkwater. The “lawsuit from Microsoft aimed at Motorola is maddening hypocrisy. Claims that Motorola is seeking royalties based on retail price of products (Xbox, Win7, WinPh7) rather than based on price of component software and hardware that actually relates to the patents,” he writes.

It is “exactly what Microsoft has been shaking HTC, Samsung, Motorola (et al) down for wrt Android, royalties around Free software,” John adds. “This is Microsoft showing what it does if you don’t ‘licence patents and pay fees’ around Android.” John tagged it #mafia #protectionracket and #motorola. On numerous occasions we have explained why it’s racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Microsoft recently paid ACCESS/Acacia [1, 2, 3] and it will be interesting to see if ACCESS/Acacia attacks Linux and Android vendors in months to come. Acacia already has, reaching a settlement at best [1, 2, 3].

“It seems unfortunate if we do this work and get our partners to do the work and the results is that Linux works great without having to do the work. [...] maybe we could patent something related to this.”

Bill Gates

Microsoft XPS/Metro Appears to be Dead

Posted in Microsoft, XPS at 6:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Computing by night

Summary: All signs indicate that Metro is just history, so XPS is no PS (PostScript) or PDF

A FEW years ago people started worrying about XPS, which was supposed to be Microsoft’s proprietary ‘PDF killer’. We opened a whole new category for XPS, only to be accommodated with 8 items as time went on, the last one going over a year back. What’s happening with XPS/Metro then? Despite looking closely at Microsoft news over the past year (close to 1,000 headlines/week) we found nothing about it. Google News currently yields nothing. It’s quite likely that it died faster than Silver Lie, but Microsoft never arranged a funeral or declared the death officially, e.g. with an announcement or a quick blog post.

IBM’s Rob Weir Argues TalkStandards.com is Fronting for Microsoft, Steve Mutkoski (Microsoft) to Lobby for Patented Standards at Transformational Government Workshop

Posted in Deception, IBM, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Patents, RAND, Red Hat, Standard at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scale series

Summary: As OpenOffice.org gets more independent and increasingly liberated (as LibreOffice), Microsoft is working to spread more pseudo-standards like OOXML

The Document Foundation has some announcement to make and Charles Schulz writes:

The Document Foundation has started the rewrite of OpenOffice Yes We Can!

Microsoft would love to eliminate OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice (even though it runs on Windows) and one way to harm OpenOffice.org is to use proprietary and patented ‘standards’ like OOXML. Software patents are the main thing which Microsoft has got left as rescuer of falling cash cows.

Occasionally we find Microsoft setting up Web sites that serve its agenda and sometimes Microsoft uses front groups like ACT to set up such Web sites (we gave examples before). It is part of the company’s reality distortion field, selling people the false impression that in Europe, for instance, there is demand for software patents. This is a textbook example of AstroTurfing. Now, we do not know if TalkStandards (TalkStandards.com) is indirectly Microsoft’s creation (Microsoft put writers there), but it has many pro-software patents writers posting over there so it’s like a stacked panel. They are RAND lobbyists, which we most recently wrote about in [1, 2, 3], in addition to many prior occasions.

Even Rob Weir from IBM is now giving his opinion about TalkStandards.com:

For a couple of years I’ve been trying to find a good way to share and discuss news, articles, blog posts, etc., about open standards. I’m not very pleased with the results.

[...]

Now, I suppose I could just give up and go over to TalkStandards.com and be instructed on open standards by the European counsel for the Business Software Alliance and read commentary by other members of the Microsoft claque. But if you know me, you know that won’t happen.

Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer warns that “MSFT [is] explaining Open Standards in Washington DC. Should be fun to hear how they define Open Standards” (the page he links to is this one).

Watch the part which says “Steve Mutkoski, Microsoft”. For those who do not know, this man co-authored the Microsoft Open Specification Promise ("MOSP") which is utterly useless, e.g. for OOXML. Earlier this year we wrote that he was harming software freedom yet again because, based on LWN, “Steve Mutkoski of Microsoft [...] asserted that patented standards are entirely compatible with most open source licenses” (oh, this humour of mobbyists is the same, but they actually say it like they mean it).

In conclusion, Microsoft is still working to normalise software patents inside protocols and/or “standards”. Projects like Mono help this agenda.

Time for Congressional Action to Abolish Software Patents

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 3:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Obama Portrait from 2006

Summary: Congress should be given a compelling motive for review of software patents now that the Obama administration speaks out against patents on genetics

IN A RARE STEP, the Obama administration expressed its opposition to gene patents last month, as we last noted just days ago. Perhaps it is time to do the same by reassessing software patents from a high-authority point of view which has not any vested interests in patenting. That is a suggestion we made last week.

The 271 Patent Blog (by Peter Zura) has this interesting new post quoting: “The Court, per Justice Douglas, concluded the short opinion with a discussion of the then-raging debate on patenting computer programs. It quoted the Presidential Commission recommendation against patenting computer programs. It noted that “extending” the patent laws to cover “these programs” was a matter not for the courts but for Congress . . . Congressional action was not forthcoming. In the 38 years since Benson, Congress has not directly addressed patent eligible subject matter.”

And another recent one from the same blog has the title “Unbridled “Optimization” Term in Software Patent Claim Leads to Finding of Indefiniteness” [via Falk Metzler]. It says:

DRT sued defendants on patents directed to computer-implemented methods for retrieving information stored in databases without the need for human analysis of the source data. One of the claims in the patent recited a driver that automatically obtains information about the data structure of a data source “wherein said information about the data structure leads to optimization of a new database in which information from said first database is to be stored.”

Can anyone not see how ridiculous software patents have become? Even optimisation of code is now becoming a monopoly which is based on or can be reduced/abstracted to mathematical notions rather than implementation (copyright law already covers the latter).

EU Plan to Potentially Welcome Software Patents is Finally Defeated

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vincent Van Quickenborne

Summary: A proposal which would have opened a door to expansion of bad patent laws is now scrapped, but politicians will carry on trying other routes to make their lobbyists happy

CONTRARY to common belief, software patents are still a problem in Europe. The president of the FFII, Benjamin, is probably the best person to ask about that. He lives in Belgium, where many of the lobbyists — including Microsoft’s — roam. This includes lobbyists whose recent role was to pass something that’s called “EU Patent” (and other such terms/words, usually euphemisms). It’s the latest sheep clothing for one heck of a wolfish law.

Benjamin rarely expresses personal opinions in Twitter (he links to articles of interest instead), but here he is confessing:

As a Belgian citizen, I feel ashamed of the Belgian Presidency unable to defend language diversity in patent matters.

Benjamin must be referring to Vincent Van Quickenborne when talking about the Belgian presidency. Vincent has recently been one of the leading “useful idiots” of patents lawyers and other patents-lusting entities like Microsoft [1, 2, 3, 4]. Fortunately, however, Benjamin wins this round in Belgium as the EU patent get scrapped and Vincent starts pointing fingers:

Brussels – Efforts to break a 10-year deadlock on the creation of a single European Union patent foundered Wednesday, as the bloc’s presidency declared it impossible to get all 27 EU members on board.

‘We have left no stone unturned, and although we have made progress, we have fallen short of unanimity by the smallest margin,’ Belgian Industry Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne said.

The EU presidency representative spoke after six-and-a-half-hours of inconclusive talks in Brussels.

Vincent Van Quickenborne is the person who is quoted the most in articles about this subject. EU Council Press put it succinctly like this:

“@VincentVQ: We’ve left no stone unturned. (…but) we’ve fallen short of unanimity by just a small margin” http://bit.ly/aobks6

The above links to a video which Free software users cannot even view. Well done, europa.eu. Thanks for being so inclusive.

The president of the FFII (Benjamin) proceeds to arguing that:

The patent establishment will try again to get an EU patent, but this time I will make sure we request a new software directive. Stay tuned!

Yes, they have been doing this over and over again for years. Other “useful idiots” (Vincent does not seem so malicious, he is just misguided or heavily lobbied) include Barnier [1, 2, 3] and McCreevy.

Benjamin then writes to Vincent:

Don’t blame Italy, they were just defending fundamental rights. Language discrimination is forbidden by the ECHR, patent law incl

Spain too helped block this:

Italy and Spain block EU-wide patent talks

Italy and Spain dug in their heels Wednesday (10 November), tripping up negotiations to create a single patent to protect the design of products sold in the European Union.

Our gratitude goes to Italy and Spain.

After those secret/private meetings in Europe people who were involved in pro-EU Patent agenda should be shamed of themselves. They may think that they help Europe, but they are doing the exact opposite while serving foreign nations whose lobbyists they must be made deluded by. The main pseudo-’selling point’ behind the EU Patent is language, but as Benjamin puts it:

Language discrimination is forbidden by the ECHR, patent included. Lisbon treaty is not even consistent within itself.

People should write their patents (if they really must) in their own language, not write to satisfy the USPTO, which wants English, obviously. Standardising on English is fine for many things, but in this case it is also a facilitator of colonisation (through patent monopolies).

In summary, opposers of software patents can celebrate for another month of two before the same people who have pushed for software patents in Europe for years (e.g. Microsoft pressure group ACT) try again, possibly with new gullible/corruptible politicians. Here is the response of a patent guy, Axel H. Horns [1, 2], as well something from the FFII Eurobot:

Proposal for a Council Regulation on the translation arrangements for the European Union patent – Political orientation http://bit.ly/9SIrwU

Those translations are a bridge to control by any country whose language is chosen as default one. It probably would never be Germany of France, whose economies are some of Europe’s largest. Heck, it probably would not even be a European country at all (English no longer belongs just to the English).

Mono is for Microsoft and Microsoft F# Loves Miguel de Icaza

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 1:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Love heart

Summary: Another way of using Mono to make Microsoft stronger is found and Miguel de Icaza brags about it

ANYONE still doubting that Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza really works for Microsoft should check out his latest blog post, which Phoronix summarises as follows:

In this blog post by Miguel he shares that F# support will now be distributed by Mono for Linux and Mac OS X. There will also likely be F# support for Google’s Android and the Nintendo Wii too, which are other platforms supported by Mono, and that there may possibly be F# support for other Mono platform targets like the Apple iPhone and Sony PlayStation 3.

He spreads Microsoft to other platforms and ignores the bad consequences. It is valuable to his career as a Microsoft booster and he gets Microsoft interviews this way.

“In summer of 1997, he [Miguel de Icaza] was interviewed by Microsoft for a job in the Internet Explorer Unix team (to work on a SPARC port), but lacked the university degree required to obtain a work H-1B visa.”Wikipedia

Security Problems in iOS and Windows

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 1:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Utah State Prison Wasatch Facility with Apple

Summary: Ways in which proprietary operating systems (even with excessive restrictions) get exploited and therefore cannot be kept under control by their users

SOFTWARE that contains code which cannot be audited is less likely to be secure. Many security folks agree on this point. Well, rather than use Linux as Apple engineers were about to do (Steve Jobs reportedly vetoed), Apple chose to pick code it need not contribute back to when building iOS, one of the world’s most restrictive platforms. Just because iOS is as locked down as a nail on a coffin does not make it secure, either. Appleʼs iOS dials calls without warning, researcher asserts” and an original post says:

I feel the risk posed by how URL Schemes are handled in iOS is significant because it allows external sources to launch applications without user interaction and perform registered transactions. Third party developers, including developers who create custom applications for enterprise use, need to realize their URL handlers can be invoked by a user landing upon a malicious website and not assume that the user authorized it. Apple also needs to step up and allow the registration of URL Schemes that can instruct Safari to throw an authorization request prior to yanking the user away into the application.

Apple has not managed to make the platform secure by expelling everything from it (except the list of “apps” that Apple approves). Kevin Lynch has just alleged that Apple is lying about its reasons for blocking Adobe Trash (Flash):

Last week, critics hammered Adobe over a report showing that Flash drained the new MacBook Air’s battery life by several hours. It’s not the first time Adobe has been in fisticuffs with Apple: the companies have been duking it out ever since Steve Jobs began ridiculing Flash and touting its alleged-killer, HTML5. Today, in an interview with Fast Company, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch answered critics who might say HTML5 is somehow more efficient than Flash.

Irrespective of whether Apple is lying or not, Adobe Trash needs to go away. It’s a sore spot and it does not belong on the Web. But the point to be made here is that Safari is not secure, with or without Trash. Apple just cannot really use “security” as an excuse for blocking potentially millions of applications (or “apps” as Apple likes to call them, as if “applications” is too big a word for its clients to memorise).

Over at Microsoft’s side of things, “Stuxnet attack unleashes a torrent of SCADA hacks”:

Intelligence agencies and private cybersecurity companies worldwide are scrambling to reinforce online defenses against a tsunami of malware directed at online industrial control systems in the wake of a successful attack on Iran’s uranium enrichment plants by the Stuxnet worm.

Demand for experienced Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition software experts in the IT security marketplace now has reached record levels, according to various sources.

The sophistication and apparent effectiveness of the Stuxnet worm served as a reminder that national intelligence agencies can deploy formidable attacks when they focus their energies on a single target and do so knowing that their assaults probably will be traced back to their source.

More links about Stuxnet can be found in the links below.

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

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