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12.31.10

IRC Proceedings: December 30th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

12.30.10

Links 30/12/2010: PlayStation 3 Cracked for Linux, 2011 Looks Great for Android

Posted in News Roundup at 6:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • How You Know When It’s Time to Switch to Linux

    It’s no longer fun waiting to see when Microsoft will fix bugs, or what new features it will come out with. You’re ready to start driving changes like that yourself.

  • The Real Future of Linux and FOSS (Is Not Shiny Toys)

    I do not like this word consumer. I prefer customer. The definition of customer is much more interesting than consumer: “1. a person who purchases goods or services from another; buyer; patron. 2. Informal. a person one has to deal with: a tough customer; a cool customer.”

    A customer is courted, a consumer is herded. A customer must be won over, a consumer is told what to do. A customer negotiates and bargains, a consumer accepts whatever is dumped on them.

    What does this have to do with Linux

    What does this have to do with Linux and FOSS? Everything. FOSS users have strong rights. We can do whatever we want with FOSS code for personal use. Actually that is true of everything, since trying to place limits on personal use of anything requires unwarranted invasions into our private business. But that is exactly what is happening.

    We can open up FOSS code, tear it apart, mix and match, and install it all over the place. You know, just like normal possessions. In my life I have repaired and customized vehicles, modified furniture, modified my homes, messed with appliance guts, made lawnmowers into go-karts, made super-powered electric razors that buzzed really loud and went really fast until they fried out, and done strange and wondrous things to bicycle parts (art!). That is normal.

  • PlayStation 3 code signing cracked

    The hackers uncovered the hack in order to run Linux or PS3 consoles, irrespective on the version of firmware the games console was running.

  • Linuxy Hopes, Dreams and Resolutions for 2011

    Continuing to advocate “for all things Open Source or built with Open Source” is on Slashdot blogger yagu’s 2011 to-do list — “and I resolve to call out any and all reaping the benefits of Open Source who don’t give back.” Also, “I resolve to be respectful and humble in regards to everything Microsoft,” he asserted sincerely before adding, “I always like to pick at least one resolution I can break early.”

  • My 2011 Linux Resolutions
  • Desktop

    • The Tax

      Shame on Dell for making a simple purchase complex. Give the customers what they want. Give them choice. Don’t promise choice but make them struggle to get it.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • IBM

    • Mostly obvious predictions for open source in 2011, or are they?

      Here’s a list of these types of questions and my guesses at answers:

      * Will ChromeOS from Google be an interesting player, will it merge with Android, and will it replace Windows on hundreds of millions of desktops? Yes / maybe / no.
      * Will Android devices surpass those from Apple? Perhaps, but only in aggregate volume.
      * Will one emerge that will clobber the iPad in market share? No way.
      * Will some flavor of Windows be more significant than Android on tablets? No.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.37 (Part 5) – Drivers

      Support for fast USB 3.0 storage devices with USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP), an audio loopback driver plus extensions to support Apple’s Magic Trackpad are only some of the advances that improve the hardware support of the forthcoming Linux kernel version 2.6.37; final release is expected in January.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Interesting Tale Of AMD’s FirePro Drivers

        Earlier this week we published our annual look at AMD’s Catalyst driver releases from the past year. Not only did the Catalyst Linux driver this year picked up a couple new features, its driver performance had improved slightly over the past twelve months. In building up some initial test data for OpenBenchmarking.org we decided not only to do these tests on the latest consumer-grade graphics card this year, but expand it to cover the workstation performance too and to go back nearly two years in time. These results for an AMD FirePro V8700 graphics card with the monthly driver updates going back to Catalyst 9.2 are quite interesting. AMD announced twice this year optimizations to their FirePro driver software, but in reality these “optimizations” were largely unsustainable and not optimizations as much as they were attempting to address driver regressions from the past.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • More Enlightenment FAQ

      While the Enlightenment desktop is fantastic, there is no doubting that in all it’s grace and glory it is a bit different from other desktop environments. While I know there are some people (such as myself) that like to just muck their way through things on their own, I also know that others like a bit of a guide to follow along with. A couple of months ago I made a post detailing the answers to some common questions those new to the Enlightenment desktop have. Today I would like to address a few more such questions and give a few tips I have picked up over the years.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Improving Gnome…

        I’ve mentioned in previous posts (The non-operating system operating system and My Personal Gnome) that I’m not too worried about the underlying operating system (although I do prefer it to be a Debian derivative – currently I’m using Mint 8.0) but I do like the tools that I’m used to that come with the Gnome desktop.

        Here, I’d like to take a look at what I don’t like or, more specifically,

      • Kick off for GNOME:Ayatana Project

        This has been one of the guidelines in my life for quite some time… It started as a curiosity a long time ago with Notify OSD and evolved to full project in openSUSE. It is important to acknowledge at this point the motivation provided by the openSUSE GNOME Team from which I’ve been getting plenty of guidance and help, namely from Vincent Untz (vuntz) and Dominique Leuenberger (Dimstar). Thanks to them, we have now a GNOME:Ayatana Project on OBS (openSUSE Build Service), currently being populated with the support libraries for Ayatana’s Unity and Indicators.

  • Distributions

    • Spotlight on Linux: VectorLinux 6.0

      Development is slower than many other distributions, but that means a long life span. This can be either good or bad depending upon your point of view. The latest stable release is the various 6.0 editions, but 7.0 is on its way. Don’t wait for it though. Developers are cautious and 7.0 is unlikely to go gold much before fall of 2011. Finally, don’t let all the versions confuse you. You can go and grab any of them really and then install about anything you need from repositories.

    • Gentoo: A critical look at the QA process

      The QA team has said that there is some sort of “policy” on masking packages that break reverse dependencies. I’ll subscribe that that policy for the sake of not breaking users machines on purpose, however, let’s take a look at the current case study: poppler-0.16

    • Dependency-confessions from a Slacker

      Because of the large proportion of my AntiX-install and the inconsistency of packages that grew over time I decided that it was necessary to start a fresh install. This time I chose PClinuxOS (the LXDE-version). In reviews it was considered absolutely userfriendly. Within twenty minutes the install was completed. What a dissappointment. Everything worked out of the box. My printer, my scanner, it all functioned allmost immediately. Nothing to do for me. No puzzles to solve, nothing to tinker. What a turnoff. But a comfort to my wife and children though, because here they had an OS that their daddy would leave well enough alone.

    • Salix OS 13.1.2 “LXDE” introduces tool to easily install from source

      A few days ago I mentioned Salix OS, a Slackware-based distribution, as one of my top five distributions of 2010. Even at the end of the year they are still keeping up the momentum and have released the last remaining version of 13.1.2, this time with the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE). Salix now has images for four different desktops: the standard XFCE, LXDE, KDE4 and since recently Fluxbox. Like the other, the LXDE release is now available for x86_64 as well. Seperate live images are currently available for all but the Fluxbox version.

    • 6 Alternative Ubuntu Desktops Worth Trying

      You may have also heard that the next Ubuntu version–Natty Narwhal, version 11.04–will use the 3D-enabled Unity desktop by default instead, along with the Wayland graphics system.

      Unity is still based on GNOME, so it won’t affect the use of any GNOME-based applications, Canonical says. It will also still be possible to reinstall GNOME, if you really want it.

    • Reviews

      • In-Depth Chakra “Ashoc” 0.3.0 Review and Impressions

        This is guest blogger Prashanth Venkataram, and I write and manage the blog Das U-Blog by Prashanth, where I post reviews of Linux distributions and software as well as my thoughts about the current state of science, technology, and people’s freedoms (especially with regard to technology).

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15 “LoveLock” To Get MySQL 5.5 & PostGreSQL 9

          Fedora has always kept it’s promise of bringing cutting-edge computer technology to it’s users. It has now been confirmed that Fedora 15, codenamed LoveLock will ship two database packages: MySQL 5.5 and PostGreSQL 9. Fedora 15 Lovelock will have a couple of other advanced features too like Wayland & Systemd about which we have already told you earlier.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu and the Apple point of view

        There was a presentation by Gaurav Paliwal on Debian vs Ubuntu and why you should pick Debian over Ubuntu. I’ve been associated with Ubuntu for a very long time now. I started using Ubuntu when it was a nascent project (in 2006) and I was a passionate (severe and extremist would also do here) evangelist of the system. Ubuntu was doing something that no distribution had ever done before. It was bringing Linux to the masses. I was a part of those “masses” too. I supported them and I was proud to be a tiny part of the movement.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • A slightly less open Ubuntu recovery mode

          Ubuntu recovery mode is a basic boot configuration for repairing a broken system. In this mode it skips most configuration files and daemons in order to achieve a functioning root prompt. For the security-conscious administrator this itself is a problem.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Pinguy OS 10.10.1

            The download is simple enough, from the Pinguy OS page on Sourceforge. With all of the extras that they have added to Ubuntu, this is strictly a LiveDVD distribution, they haven’t attempted to shoehorn it into a CD image. But, how to turn that LiveDVD image into a LiveUSB stick?

          • Linux Mint Debian Edition review

            Linux Mint Debian Edition, or LMDE, is the edition of Linux Mint based on Debian Testing. The latest release was made available for download on December 24, 2010. LMDE was announced as an alternate edition of Linux Mint in first week of September 2010. A review of that release was focused on the installation program. This article presents a more detailed review of this distribution.

          • Ubuntu Remixes: 4 Of The Best Alternatives to Ubuntu

            Our recent article entitled Ubuntu As Intended drew in a fair amount of discussion about the base software and configuration in the default Ubuntu install. Some readers pointed out a few alternatives that aim to take the standard Ubuntu desktop and give it more polish than the original. Some of these projects just include a few extra packages, some replace the standard software suite, and others are complete makeovers. Today we aim to sift through a few of the more popular Ubuntu variants to find the best ones of the bunch, and see what they can offer.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Can Ubuntu revive the netbook segment?

        Netbooks still matter in education, especially K12. They’re cheap (almost to the point of being disposable) and fit well into small hands. They can often last through a school day and generally give students lots of what they need with few of the bells and whistles they don’t. With all the talk of tablets, netbooks remain the easiest, cheapest way to get kids connected to the Internet and taking advantage of ubiquitous computer access at home and at school.

        That being said, netbooks aren’t sexy or inspiring. Give the average teacher a choice between netbooks for his or her students and iPads all around and, chances are, the iPads are going to win out, even if the teacher can’t describe the relative merits of either platform. It’s not that the iPads are a bad idea for students, by the way. It’s simply that there are times when netbooks (or full-sized laptops, for that matter) will lend themselves better to classroom use than iPads. Like when a student needs to type. Or use a Flash application.

    • Tablets

      • The Kno Textbook Tablet Preview

        Furthermore, the operating system of the Kno is Ubuntu Linux with a Webkit-based interface. This means that all apps for the Kno are written in HTML, CSS, and Javascript.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Reality Check: Open Source Milestones in 2010
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Open Source, The Cloud and Channel Partners: A Reality Check

      During a mid-2010 meeting I had with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, he predicted open source combined with cloud computing would allow Red Hat to thrive within small businesses. Whitehurst certainly didn’t go out on a limb. Plenty of open source companies — everyone from Canonical to Zmanda — are making cloud computing moves. But will those moves pay dividends to VARs, managed services providers (MSPs) and other types of channel partners?

  • Oracle

    • Oracle wins the 2010 Open Source Enemies Prize

      The year 2010 has seen a number of enemies of open source software making waves. After thinking about it long and hard — about five minutes or so — I have determined the proper winner of the 2010 Open Source Enemies Prize, though some other contenders deserve a Dishonorable Mention.

  • BSD

    • Trying PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1

      After reading PC-BSD 8.2-BETA1 Available for Testing last week I decided to give the latest version of PC-BSD a try on my ESXi server. I failed earlier to get the installation to succeed using PC-BSD 8.1, but I had no real issues with the new BETA1 based on FreeBSD 8.2 PRERELEASE. (PC-BSD will publish their final 8.2 version when the main FreeBSD project publishes 8.2 RELEASE.)

    • Linux Out, FreeBSD In

      Update 12/23: It turns out Linux programmers aren’t the only ones who find the RealTek 8139 chips frustrating. While perusing the FreeBSD code for the 8139 driver, I found a comment at the top of a source file to the effect that the 8139 “brings new meaning to the term ‘low-end.’” Ouch.

    • PC-BSD 8.2 Beta1 is released! Screenshots Tour

      The first beta release of PC-BSD 8.2 is released, a user-friendly desktop operating system based on FreeBSD. The Version 8.2 contains a number of enhancements and improvements.

  • Project Releases

  • Standards/Consortia

    • If you are building an API for your product how much time should you spend researching existing open standards ?

      So how much time should you spend looking at existing standards? What would it be worth to you if there was a free specification that solved your problem, but was already designed, tested, was cleared of known patent clams, and which made your product more interoperable with other products? On the other hand, if you don’t look at existing standards, then what position does it put you in compared to a competitor who does implement an open standard?

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Republican betrayal of 9/11 responders

      Recently, though, perhaps the most unconscionable act was the blatant obstructionism Republican Senators engaged in recently: they threatened to deny healthcare to 9/11 first responders who are now suffering illnesses resulting from toxic exposures at Ground Zero. Reflecting the party’s flawed moral character, every single Senate Republican followed through on their threat to block the bill until Democrats agreed to extend Bush-era tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Firms’ lobbying push comes amid rancor on TSA use of airport full-body scanners

      The companies that build futuristic airport scanners take a more old-fashioned approach when it comes to pushing their business interests in Washington: hiring dozens of former lawmakers, congressional aides and federal employees as their lobbyists.

    • Morgan Tsvangirai faces possible Zimbabwe treason charge

      Zimbabwe is to investigate bringing treason charges against the prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, and other individuals over confidential talks with US diplomats revealed by WikiLeaks.

      Johannes Tomana, the attorney general, said he would appoint a commission of five lawyers to examine whether recent disclosures in leaked US embassy cables amount to a breach of the constitution. A cable dated 24 December 2009 suggested Tsvangirai privately insisted sanctions “must be kept in place”.

    • Iranian government stirs up antisemitism with invented massacre
    • The TSA’s state-mandated molestation

      As an American – that is, someone considered lucky to get seven consecutive days off work – the only way I could possibly travel such distance is to fly. But flying includes the legal obligation I submit to having my genitalia groped by some TSA thug wearing the same latex gloves already shoved down nine dozen other strangers’ underwear. There’s only two ways an American flyer can reliably avoid this: be rich enough to buy your own plane, or a high-ranking congressman or other VIP exempt from the indignities they inflict upon ordinary citizens.

    • Briton goes on trial in Iraq charged with killing two colleagues

      Danny Fitzsimons, 29, from Middleton, Manchester, is charged with shooting dead another Briton, Paul McGuigan, and an Australian, Darren Hoare, in August 2009 and wounding an Iraqi guard while fleeing.

    • Tunisian president vows to punish rioters after worst unrest in a decade

      Tunisia’s leader, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, has threatened a crackdown against violent protests over graduate unemployment following some of the country’s worst unrest in a decade.

    • Detained journalist questions right to freedom of speech for Palestinians

      An independent West Bank journalist detained for five days by Palestinian security forces after broadcasting a news item relating to frictions within the ruling Fatah party has questioned the extent to which freedom of speech is permitted by the Palestinian Authority.

    • Beatings and intimidation in the West Bank

      On Friday, I was detained by Border Police officers in Nabi Saleh along with another Israeli. We were handcuffed behind our backs, thrown to the ground and beaten. The other Israeli was beaten much worse than I. His head was smashed against the ground and he was kicked repeatedly in the stomach. All of this happened in front ofa Palestinian Btselem photographer who captured the whole thing on video. After the beating, we were then detained and held in a Jerusalem prison for thirty hours. This story is only unique because it happened to Jews.

    • Curfewed Night by Basharat Peer
    • Billions Down the Drain in Useless US Afghan Aid
  • Cablegate

    • Assange vows to release all files in case of death or incarceration

      In the interview, Assange reportedly said that 2,000 websites are prepared to flood the Internet with information if it is deemed necessary. Right now, that information is under strong password protection.

      Assange noted that the safeguard showed his group was acting responsibly.

  • Finance

    • Totally Busted: The Truth About Goldman’s Bailout by the Fed

      Thanks to these spectacularly large taxpayer-funded bailouts, Goldman was able to continue “doing God’s Work” – as CEO Lloyd Blankfein infamously remarked – like the work of producing billion-dollar trading profits without ever suffering a single day of losses.

      Thanks to the Fed’s massive, undisclosed assistance, Goldman Sachs managed to project an image of financial well-being, even while accessing tens of billions of dollars of direct assistance from the Federal Reserve.

      By repaying its TARP loan, for example, Goldman wriggled out from under the nettlesome compensation limits imposed by TARP, while also conveying an image of financial strength. But this “strength” was illusory. Goldman repaid the TARP loans with funds it procured days earlier from the Federal Reserve. Then, over the ensuing months, Goldman recapitalized its balance sheet by selling tens of billions of dollars of mortgage-backed securities to the Fed.

      And the public never knew anything about these activities until two weeks ago, when the Fed was forced to reveal them….

      Secret bailouts do not merely benefit recipients; they also deceive investors into mistaking fantasy for fact. Such deceptions often punish honest investors, like the honest investors who sold short the shares of insolvent financial institutions early in 2009.

    • Goldman Sachs is a Bank: “The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One”

      If Goldman Sachs was insolvent in 2008 (and we know that they were borrowing massively from the Fed which suggests insolvency), then it should have been shut down rather than bailed out by the taxpayer. Goldman Sachs is right now pretending that recovery has occurred but the rules were gimmicked to the banks’ advantage so that mainly finance has recovered. In spite of the mortgage crisis, not a single arrest, indictment or conviction has been made!

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Dying for data: the Indian activist killed for asking too many questions

      Shashidhar Mishra was always a curious man. Neighbours in the scruffy industrial town of Baroni, in the northern Indian state of Bihar, called him “kabri lal” or “the news man” because he was always so well informed.

      Late every evening, the 35-year-old street hawker would sit down with his files and scribble notes. In February, the father of four was killed outside his home after a day’s work selling pens, sweets and snacks in Baroni’s bazaar.

      The killing was swift and professional. The street lights went out, two men on motorbikes drew up and there were muffled shots. Mishra, an enthusiastic RTI activist, as those who systematically use India’s right to information law to uncover wrongdoing and official incompetence are known, became the latest in the country’s growing list of RTI martyrs.

    • Israeli activist imprisoned for protest against Gaza blockade

      Human rights activists condemned the prison term, saying it was an unusually harsh punishment for a charge that usually results in a non-custodial sentence.

      Pollak, 28, is one of the founders of a leftwing Israeli group called Anarchists against the Wall, which demonstrates with Palestinian activists in the occupied territories.

    • Iran arrests family of Kurdish activist due to be executed

      Iran has arrested the family of a Kurdish student whose execution, scheduled to take place on Boxing Day, was delayed because of protests outside the prison in which he has been held for three years.

    • US suspects top officials behind activist’s murder

      State Department cables revealed to the Herald by WikiLeaks, show that senior police briefed the embassy about the investigation into Munir’s murder, which has dogged the country’s President, Susilo Bambang Yudiyono.

    • Mikhail Khodorkovsky: Russia’s political prisoner

      Vladimir Putin said, earlier this month, that a thief must be in jail. After his president, Dmitry Medvedev, said no official had the right to comment before a verdict had been reached, Putin said he was referring to the first conviction of the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, not the second, which took place yesterday. Even if we discount the flagrant breach of due process that Putin’s comment constituted – it is only one of a lengthy list – his words rang hollow. As everyone who lives there knows, thieves in Russia don’t exclusively belong in a jail. They belong in government. They are in and around the Kremlin. Every official, high and low, steals. Whether you end up in jail, in government or owning a chunk of Cyprus, London or Nice, stems ultimately from a political calculation. Get the politics right and you stay a very wealthy man, whether you have stolen assets or not.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Beyond Wikileaks: How to get legal access to ACTA documents

          You can request legal access to ACTA related documents from the Council. Either documents are available through the register or for the confidential ones just fill out a form with your address and mention the requested document numbers. The Council will either enable public access to the documents and sent you a pdf or deny your request and state reasons for that or they sent you a crippled, a redacted version. If your request is refused you can file a confirmatory application and when that is denied again, you can go to court or complain at the EU ombudsman. In the case of ACTA the confidentiality at the Council was so rigid. Many first applications were rejected which is quite unusual.

        • Did the EU Commission secretly initial ACTA?

          According to European Parliament sources, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has already been initialed. That would be amazing: normally the initialling of a trade agreement is a PR moment. Take for instance the EU – Korea free trade agreement: “EU Trade Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon have today initialled a free trade agreement (…) Speaking following the initialling in Brussels, Commissioner Ashton said (…)”. The initialling of a trade agreement signifies the closing of negotiations with a stable legal text. Negotiators sign with their initials.

Clip of the Day

Console Hacking 2010


Credit: TinyOgg

New (Sub)Site for TechBytes and SIP

Posted in Site News at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SIP Communicator

Summary: TechBytes is getting a new home and another attempt to strictly use SIP will be made

WITH HELP FROM OUR KIND Web host, yesterday we set up http://techbytes.techrights.org/, which is the new address of TechBytes (for the time being it only redirects to a Wiki section). There are several addresses for TechBytes, residing in different domains. It has been two months since Tim and I started the show and our audience grew steadily. We also became a group of 3 hosts rather than just 2 and torrents were made available of the show (thanks to Gordon), which Tim/OpenBytes stores in another mirror. As the show is freely shareable, it has neither a single home nor a platform. Feel free to host and to share it. This month we did not have much time to do a lot of shows (15 shows in November) because of commitments to our daytime jobs. The large quantity of recordings (over 20 hours in total last month) also came at the expense of Techrights blog posts, but that’s okay. A few days ago we struggled to record also because Tim suffered from [43583 Skype problems]. Yes, after trying Ekiga for a while way back in October we failed to find a recording utility, so we temporarily used Skype and watched the show expand. As we discovered at the time, recording under SIP with Ekiga is not possible (with a GUI at least) and from the command line it may require some hacks that work with ALSA but not Pulseaudio. Built-in support is said to work in SIP Communicator, but it does not work yet with my Webcam, which does work well in Ekiga. We’ll try to move the whole shebang to SIP somehow. Having Skype as a fallback for guests who require it is wonderful either way. For future guests who use Skype we do have recording software on GNU/Linux, so fallback will exist. Freedom always requires some compromises to be achieved.

Proprietary Software + Windows = VoIP System Down for Everyone

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 6:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Polycom IP telephone

Summary: Skype collapses due to a bug in the Windows version of this program, giving more reasons to give Ekiga a try at least as a contingency

“Skype outage blamed on bug in Windows version,” says The Guardian. For those who do not know, Skype suffered major issues last week and this is not the first time that Windows (e.g. Windows Update) causes Skype to collapse for everyone, no matter the platform they are on:

A bug in the Windows version of the Skype internet telephony software used by half of all users caused the entire service to crash for roughly 24 hours on 22 and 23 December, its chief information officer says.

In a blogpost, Lars Rabbe says that the problem began on the Wednesday at about 1600 GMT when some servers used for offline instant messaging overloaded, and began delaying their response to Skype users.

That delay had a domino effect on a particular Windows version of Skype used by half of its global userbase, causing them to crash. That in turn meant that the entire network, which relies on “peer-to-peer” connections between users’ PCs to route its internet voice and data traffic, began to fall apart.

Windows users too are encouraged to use Ekiga, which is Free software so bugs are harder to overlook. VoIP should not rely solely on this monoculture that’s proprietary.

Links 30/12/2010: Linux 2.6.37-RC8, Interview with Chris DiBona

Posted in News Roundup at 5:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 2010′s Top Five Linux and Open-Source Stories

    Sure, unlike me, you’re probably not reading this on a Linux desktop–Mint 10 for those who care about such things–but do you use Google, Facebook or Twitter? If so, you’re using Linux. That Android phone in your pocket? Linux. DVRs, network attached storage (NAS), trade stocks? Linux, Linux, Linux.

  • Cuba sets to migrate to free, open-source software

    Cuba has set a strategic goal in 2011 to migrate most of its computers to open-source software, a move designed to strengthen the country’s technological security and sovereignty.

    Once the migration is fully implemented on the ground, the Cuban Nova Linux will be the operating system used in 90 percent of all working places, and Microsoft Office will be replaced by Open Office in all government institutions, Vice Minister of Information and Telecommunications Boris Moreno told Xinhua Tuesday.

  • Is Open Source a Failure?

    I agree with him that “The Year of the Linux Desktop” is a myth that will never materialize (at least it won’t be called “Linux desktop”), but “niche OS” is a bunch of bologna. It ignores the fact that most of the world’s servers are run by this niche OS, but it also ignores the fact that people choose to use software for reasons other than how successful it is in a highly anticompetitive market. People use GNU/Linux not just because it’s easier to use, more featureful and more reliable than Microsoft Windows (if you disagree then you haven’t tried GNU/Linux lately), they use it because of the freedom it allows them. Everything else (ease-of-use, features, stability) just comes along for the ride. (not to mention that his argument about Google needing device drivers is BS, too; he obviously forgot what ChromeOS is supposed to do; I’ve never had trouble with keyboards and mice, as those are most of the time controlled by the BIOS; duh)

  • Google

    • Geek Time with Chris DiBona

      The end of the year is always a great time to take a moment and look back at the developments of the past twelve months. Two members of the Google Open Source Programs Office, Chris DiBona and Jeremy Allison, sat down together for a review of open source accomplishments in 2010, and the conversation is shared with you here. Chris is the Open Source Programs Manager at Google, which means he directs Google’s open source compliance, releasing, and outreach efforts. He reveals lots of insights into Google’s approach towards open source and the influence of open source on technology and business.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.37-rc8 Kernel Ends Out The Year

      For those hoping Linux 2.6.37-rc7 was the last release candidate of the Linux 2.6.37 kernel before going gold, it’s not. Linus this evening decided to go ahead and make a Linux 2.6.37-rc8 release.

      Linux 2.6.37-rc8 was tagged in Git two hours ago and we’ve been waiting for an official announcement but so far nothing has come down. Though unless there ends up being some severe last minute issues, it would be quite surprising if a Linux 2.6.37-rc9 emerges in the coming days.

    • Linux 2.6.37-rc8

      Another week, another -rc. This should be the last for the 37 series, so I still expect the merge window to open early January when people are hopefully back to working order after having eaten (and drunk) too much.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The 3Dfx KMS Developer Now Working On VIA TTM

        With VIA not really doing anything for open-source and Linux as all of their efforts seemed to have stalled, the small open-source development community centered around VIA has become quite fragmented as we have talked about multiple times now. There’s multiple X.Org drivers for VIA, with not a single one clearly dominating or being feature-complete and well maintained, while other areas like the DRM/KMS and Mesa/Gallium3D support are just in shambles.

      • The Fourth Version Of X.Org Multi-Touch Support

        Earlier this month we reported that the X.Org multi-touch work was nearing completion and now this work is getting even more readied for X.Org Server 1.11 once its merge window opens in February. Daniel Stone has today put out a fourth version of these X patches that provide proper multi-touch support to Linux and other operating systems running X.Org.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Season of KDE 2010

        Season of KDE (SoK) allows KDE to help support students and worthwhile projects who didn’t manage to get one of the limited places in the Google Summer of Code program. Each SoK student works on their chosen project with a mentor from KDE with experience in that area to help and guide them.

        [...]

        Please enjoy the gifts from KDE and Google commemorating your contributions. They will be sent to you soon.

      • Beta of the Qt Creator Buildservice Plugin released (Project Bretzn)

        The plugin lets you perform all the actions required to get data sent to the various build services and publishing sites, by contacting the server part, which then distributes the information to the appropriate places. The implementation of this also prompted ammending the Attica library with new features. As some will already know, Attica is the full featured implementation of a OCS client library built by KDE which is now officially included in the MeeGo platform as well.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • GIMP 2.8 Is Struggling To Make It Out The Door

    Martin is one of the core GIMP developers but this past spring after coming up with this release schedule he ended up becoming too busy with other work to contribute to GIMP on a daily basis, which left this free software project with less than three dedicated developers. That ended up being a significant setback for the GIMP project and has now pushed back the GIMP 2.8 release by at least a month or more.

  • Web Browsers

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Will Cleantech Open to Open Source?

      The software world has turned this process on its head, at least with respect to certain types of fundamental technology. Open source software has come to play a significant role in the infrastructure of the Internet and open source programs such as Linux, Apache and BIND are commonly used tools in the Internet and business systems. (for a good background article, see Kennedy, A Primer on Open Source Legal Issues.) Leading software companies with proprietary technology portfolios, such as IBM, Novell, and Oracle have learned to work with open source programs and even to profit from them. See Koenig, Open Source Business Strategies. Not to mention the successful enterprises founded with the goal of supporting, integrating and maintaining open source platforms (Red Hat, Progeny, 10X Software).

    • Open Data

Leftovers

  • Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die
  • 2011: A Brave New Dystopia

    The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”

    [...]

    The façade is crumbling. And as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

  • Media Industry Predictions for 2011

    If we have learned anything about the Internet economy it is that it moves faster than most organisations ability to adapt. Our internal view at Briefing Media, is that the coming thing is curation. It is a topic that has been bubbling under for a year or two and has begun to be more mainstream in 2010, with a couple of conference events and some interesting online debate from many quarters on both sides of the Atlantic. The premise of curation (it is not aggregation), is that some kinds of content are more valuable and useful if they are organised and contextualised. The very essence of curation is that although technology plays a part, human editing is vital. That’s why we spend a lot of time improving our taxonomy, making it unique to our community needs.

  • Adsense, no sense at all – what it’s like being sacked by a computer…

    On Monday the 13th of December – two weeks before Christmas – I was sacked by a Google algorithm.

    It sent an email to me and summarily killed my main source of income. No humans were involved in this process at all. It was, literally, the most inhumane letting go I have ever experienced.

    As well as ‘letting me go’ the Google Algorithm also confiscated all my earned income October 31st to December 13th. Tough indeed – and no human has ever done that to me; they have always paid me for work done.

    Then twio days before Christmas I got a letter from my bank saying that the check for October – worth £1,700 had been stopped.
    That is £3,700 gone from my family fiancés in the two weeks before Chisitmas.

    Welcome to the world of Google. Kafka would be proud of Google, whilst Orwell would be perfectly unsurprised.

  • Delicious In Purgatory

    On December 16 Yahoo accidentally told the world they were shutting down popular bookmarking site Delicious. They fired most or all of the Delicious staff. Then they untold that story, saying they intended to sell it off and that the press got it all wrong.

    Ok great. So how’s that sale process going?

  • Sarah Palin: Americans Have “God-Given Right” to Be Fat?

    Americans don’t usually get fitness advice from Sarah Palin, but last week the mother of five lashed out at Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program to help curb childhood obesity by helping kids eat well and stay active.

    “Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat,” Palin said on Laura Ingraham’s national radio show.

  • Asia

    • Japan – One of the Top Pirates in Somalia

      Japan just poached the impoverished country’s top-level Internet domain, the so called Top Level Country Code (TLCC) dot SO (.so), at a time when the state of the embattled nation is at an all-time low.

      “Governed” only for the sake of whitewashing the dealings of their UN-, US- and EU-masters by a Transitional Federal Government, which rules over two roads, a villa and the air-and seaport with he help of mercenary troops from US- and EU-paid African nations assembled in the African Union (AU), Somalia continues to be pillaged again and again by the UN, the U.S., the EU, the AU and other robber-baron-conglomerates. Under the oversight of a pseudo-governmental parliament, whose members were chain-selected by the UN, who is playing on the one hand the role of an overlord towards the Somalis and on the other the stir-up holder for the interests of the most powerful UN member states like U.S., France and the UK, the robbery continues even in cyberspace.

      Japan – now closing shoulders with the U.S. in the emerging power-games with China and Russia – has a particular role and uses that window to fill their own pockets.

    • China counts £130bn cost of economic growth

      China’s economic growth is inflicting more than a trillion yuan’s worth of damage on its environment each year, according to a government report that increases pressure on planners to slow the breakneck speed of development.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Paper That Finally Changed The Law on Drugs

      The case for the end of the war on drugs has never been stronger than it is today. The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs published a paper in The Lancet last month demonstrating the clear scientific evidence that stands to oppose UK government drugs policy. This follows a recent paper directly calling for an end to the “War on Drugs” in the British Medical Journal. Two former UK Government drugs tzars have now come out publicly in opposition to the war on drugs.

    • Panel challenges Gulf seafood safety all-clear

      A New Orleans law firm is challenging government assurances that Gulf Coast seafood is safe to eat in the wake of the BP oil spill, saying it poses “a significant danger to public health.”

      It’s a high-stakes tug-of-war that will almost certainly end up in the courts, with two armies of scientists arguing over technical findings that could have real-world impact for seafood consumers and producers.

  • Twitter

    • General FAIL: The Military’s Worst Tweeters
    • Evan Williams: The Challenges of a Web of Infinite Info

      Evan Williams and I have known each other for a long time. From a struggling entrepreneur who started Blogger, to a successful founder who got liberal funding for his podcasting start-up Odeo, to the accidental launch of Twitter — to me, he has been pretty much the same person. He prefers to stay out of the limelight, leaving (most if not all the media duties) to his co-founder Biz Stone. And even in crowds he is quiet.

    • How Newark Mayor Cory Booker Made All Politics Super Local With Twitter Following The Blizzard

      I’m getting a similar feeling after reading about Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s use of Twitter in response to the big blizzard that hit the northeast this past weekend. He’s been tweeting up a storm, as he travels around Newark helping to plow streets and dig out cars and help people in trouble. As you look down the thread, he’s specifically responding to different people calling out for help — either sending people to help or showing up himself, such as the case of the woman who was stuck in her home and needed diapers, which the mayor brought himself.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • MP backs G20 outlay

      The Beacon Herald kicks off a series of year-end interviews with local political leaders with Perth- Wellington MP Gary Schellenberger. Wednesday, Perth-Wellington MPP and provincial Environment Minister John Wilkinson.

      Perth-Wellington’s MP is backing the government all the way on its controversial pension reform plan and on its stand that spending close to $1 billion on security for a weekend G20 summit in Toronto was justified.

    • DATA: Don’t get too excited about speed camera data just yet

      One of the most frustrating and bizarre Freedom of Information request standoffs could be about to come to an end after the Government said more data about speed cameras must be released.

    • Police demand new powers to stop and search terror suspects

      Police have asked the government for a new counter-terrorism power to stop and search people without having to suspect them of involvement in crime, the Guardian has learned.

      Senior officers have told the government the new law is needed to better protect the public against attempted attacks on large numbers of people, and are hopeful they can win ministers’ backing.

    • Kettling – an attack on the right to protest

      As night fell, and the House of Commons moved towards its vote on tripling student fees, the police in full riot gear closed in on the protestors in Parliament Square on 10 December. They began to corral them towards Westminster Bridge having formed a ‘kettle’ to contain them. They then trapped them onto the bridge which the demonstrators thought was being used as an exit – and a long cold walk – away from Whitehall. Once they had captured them there the police were ordered to squeeze the ‘kettle’ and crush the demonstrators so that they could barely breathe. This was indeed an operation of gross police brutality.

    • World much stupider than returning soldier remembered [TSA]

      The eminent minds at TSA saw fit to confiscate an armed soldier’s nail clippers because he might use them to take over the plane. At this point I would like to point out that he was not armed with nail clippers, he was armed with an assault rifle – which was apparently acceptable because it didn’t have bullets.

  • Cablegate

    • 2010: The Year We Lost Free Use of Our Money

      I’m really concerned with the public complacency about the recent blocking of donations to Wikileaks by the biggest bank in the US: Bank of America, one of the leading credit card companies: Mastercard and the largest online payment provider: PayPal.

    • FBI Raids Web Hosts Over Wikileaks Advocates’ Operation Payback

      The FBI has reportedly raided a Texas web host and worked with international authorities to search servers in pursuit of the anonymous leaders of the group Anonymous, who blocked the website of PayPal earlier this month in retribution to the company’s decision to stop its customers from making donations to Wikileaks. That according to an affidavit posted in part by the legal watchdog website The Smoking Gun today.

      “These coordinated attacks, investigators allege,” writes The Smoking Gun, “amount to felony violations of a federal law covering the ‘unauthorized and knowing transmission of code or commands resulting in intentional damage to a protected computer system.’” How several hours of inaccessibility constituted damage to the system was not described in the part of the affidavit posted online.

    • Conspiracy Theories Linking Israel to WikiLeaks Circulate on the Internet

      Although the theory that Israel orchestrated the WikiLeaks’ affair is circulating on a relatively small number of Web sites, it has gained traction with those catering to the far right and the left, as well as on some Arab and Islamic sites, and others dedicated to spreading “anti-Zionist” messages like Islam Times and Hezbollah’s Al-Manar Web site.

    • A killing in Dubai

      On Thursday, Julian Assange told reporters that WikiLeaks would be releasing State Department cables concerning the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January, and he has made good on the promise with a couple of short dispatches from the U.S. embassy in Abu Dhabi. They don’t offer any more insight into the still-unsolved killing, but they do paint a picture of the diplomatic conundrum the incident posed for the United Emirates and the United States.

    • The curious case of Glenn Greenwald vs. Wired magazine

      Four days later, Poulsen and Zetter published a new article on Manning, as well as an incomplete transcript of Lamo and Manning’s chats, which had begun on May 21 and continued for a few days. “The excerpts represent about 25 percent of the logs,” they wrote. “Portions of the chats that discuss deeply personal information about Manning or that reveal apparently sensitive military information are not included.”

    • Putting the Record Straight on the Lamo-Manning Chat Logs

      Armchair critics, apparently unhappy that Manning was arrested, have eagerly second-guessed our motives, dreamed up imaginary conflicts and pounded the table for more information: Why would Manning open himself up to a complete stranger and discuss alleged crimes that could send him to prison for decades? How is it possible that Wired.com just happened to have a connection with the one random individual Manning picked out to confide in, only to send him down for it?

    • Wired’s refusal to release or comment on the Manning chat logs

      …Wired, with no justification, continues to conceal this evidence and, worse, refuses even to comment on its content, thus blinding journalists and others trying to find out what really happened here, while enabling gross distortions of the truth by Poulsen’s long-time confidant and source, the government informant Adrian Lamo.

    • Greenwald vs. Wired in 1000 words or thereabouts

      The Washington Post also received yet another version of these mysteriously never-quite-identical logs. But no-one cares about that, because discussing journalism with the Washington Post would be like discussing metaphysics with a melting knob of butter.

    • The Unlikely Story of Adrian Lamo, Bradley Manning, Wired Magazine and the Federal Government

      I’ve now gone through just about everything I can find of various accounts of what transpired between Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo, Wired and the federal government. (A data base of all the relevant media can be found here.)

      And having reviewed all the material, I cannot tell you how implausible I find the cover story to be (Wired 6/6/2010, CJR 6/18 2010). Furthermore, I cannot believe that anyone of any journalistic standing has not seriously questioned it before going into print using Lamo as a source.

    • Haikuleaks: “Cable is Poetry”

      HaikuLeaks searches through the Wikileaks “Cablegate” data for haikus. I’m not sure if it’s fully automated, or human-generated—seems too perfect to be computerized. Either way, genius.

    • My Parents Were Executed Under the Unconstitutional Espionage Act — Here’s Why We Must Fight to Protect Julian Assange

      It appears obvious that the Espionage Act is unconstitutional because it does exactly what the Constitution prohibits. It is, in other words, an effort to make an end run around the Treason Clause of the Constitution. Not surprisingly, however, as we’ve seen in times of political stress, the Supreme Court upheld its validity in a 5-4 decision. Although later decisions seemed to criticize and limit its scope, the Espionage Act of 1917 has never been declared unconstitutional. To this day, with a few notable exceptions that include my parents’ case, it has been a dormant sword of Damocles, awaiting the right political moment and an authoritarian Supreme Court to spring to life and slash at dissenters.

      It is no accident that Julian Assange may face a “conspiracy” charge just as my parents did. All that is required of the prosecution to prove a conspiracy is to present evidence that two or more people got together and took one act in furtherance of an illegal plan. It could be a phone call or a conversation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Supported by Tea Party polluters, incoming GOP energy chair Upton flips on threat of global warming

      In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, incoming energy chair Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) joined Americans For Prosperity (AFP) president Tim Phillips — a global warming denier who pushes the dumbest denier myth — to support the lawsuits by global warming polluters against climate rules. One of the companies leading the charge against the Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding is Koch Industries, the private pollution giant whose billionaire owners have been directing the Tea Party movement through its AFP front group.

    • Science is self-correcting: Lessons from the arsenic controversy

      Recent attention to NASA’s announcement of ‘arsenic-based life’ has provided a very public window into how science and scientists operate. Debate surrounds the announcement of any controversial scientific finding. In the case of arseno-DNA, the discussion that is playing out on the blogs is very similar to the process that usually plays out in conferences and seminars. This discussion is a core process by which science works.

  • Finance

    • The 10 Greediest People of the Year
    • Obama to Name His Top Economist in January

      Among the first announcements President Barack Obama will make upon returning from his Hawaiian Vacation is his choice for top economic adviser, a decision that could si

    • Where are the jobs? For many companies, overseas

      Actually, many American companies are – just maybe not in your town. They’re hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.

    • Obama administration steps up monitoring of banks that miss TARP payments

      The Obama administration has begun monitoring the high-level board meetings of nearly 20 banks that received emergency taxpayer assistance but repeatedly failed to pay the required dividends, according to Treasury Department officials and documents. And it may soon install new directors on some of their boards.

    • After holiday spree, doubts about economy linger

      Holiday spending surged this year, but Americans still have their doubts about the economy.

      With unemployment high and home prices falling in the nation’s largest cities, consumer confidence took an unexpected turn for the worse in December.

    • Michigan Town Is Left Pleading for Bankruptcy

      Leaders of this city met for more than seven hours on a Saturday not long ago, searching for something to cut from a budget that has already been cut, over and over.

    • Obama & Wall St.: Still Venus & Mars

      On the mental list of slights and outrages that just about every major figure on Wall Street is believed to keep on President Barack Obama, add this one: When he met recently with a group of CEOs at Blair House, there was no representative from any of the six biggest banks in America.

    • Retail Sales Rebound, Beating Forecasts

      Shoppers spent more money this holiday season than even before the recession, according to preliminary retail data released on Monday.

    • New Voters May Sway Fed Actions

      As the Federal Reserve debates whether to scale back, continue or expand its $600 billion effort to nurse the economic recovery, four men will have a newly prominent role in influencing the central bank’s path.

    • Baby boomers near 65 with retirements in jeopardy

      Through a combination of procrastination and bad timing, many baby boomers are facing a personal finance disaster just as they’re hoping to retire. Starting in January, more than 10,000 baby boomers a day will turn 65, a pattern that will continue for the next 19 years.

      The boomers, who in their youth revolutionized everything from music to race relations, are set to redefine retirement. But a generation that made its mark in the tumultuous 1960s now faces a crisis as it hits its own mid-60s.

    • Alternate Unemployment Charts

      The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • China’s MIIT Declares Most VoIP Services, Including Skype, Illegal

      China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) recently issued a circular declaring that VOIP services other than those offered by State-owned giants China Telecom and China Unicom are illegal.

    • Spanish Web Censorship Supporter Calls Opponents Dictators, Cowards and Likens Them to Terrorists

      There are very few times we see someone who supports restricting copyright laws that are so direct, but Alejandro Sanz probably should win an award for most direct and honest opinion (and maybe rather asinine as well) of those who don’t agree with his point of view on matters. Still, it appears to be quite a good indicator of just how tense the debate over Spanish web censorship has become. Maybe the defeat of the web censorship bill has only served to infuriate foreign interests as well as those who side with them.

      The Sinde Law, a law that would allow the Spanish government to censor any website they deem to contain pirated material, was defeated in a government vote shortly after Wikileaks revealed that such laws were brought forth due to, what some would argue, foreign (US) interference. In spite of the law being defeated once it was brought to a vote, the minister responsible for the law vowed to pass the law anyway, regardless of any difficulty she may have passing it after it was defeated once already.

    • Binayak Sen Judgment/ Shiv Viswanathan’s Letter to the PM

      The point I wish to make is simple. We do not have to agree with Binayak Sen, anymore than we have to agree with Mahaswta Devi or Arundhati Roy or Baba Amte. But these have been voices of conscience. These are people who have care and healed, given a voice to the voiceless. They represent the essential goodness of our society. They are Indians and outstanding Indians and no nation state can negate that. I admit that such people are not easy people. They irritate, they agonize over things we take for granted or ignore. They take the ethical to the very core of our lives. Let us be clear. It is not Sen’s ideology that threatens us. It is his ethics, his sense of goodness. We have arrested him because we have arrested that very sense of justice in ourselves.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MDY v. Blizzard Opinion

      Though there was an interesting tortious interference decision in the appeal, I’m going to focus on the two copyright issues that were decided by the Ninth Circuit, one involving a claim that users of MDY’s Glider program breached World of Warcraft (WoW)’s software license and the other claiming that users of MDY’s Glider program violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)’s prohibitions on circumventing technological protection measures that limit access to copyrighted works. This second claim focused on the operation of Blizzard’s Warden program, which monitors a player’s computer to see if it is running any unauthorized software.

    • 2010 Trend Watch Update: Fair Use of Trademarks

      We’re watching this one closely, as it may set important precedent for political fair use. And the Chamber of Commerce continue to pursue their trumped-up trademark claims against the Yes Men, in retaliation for a Fall 2009 press conference in which the activists put out a press release and held a spoof news conference on Monday, claiming that the Chamber of Commerce had reversed its position and would stop lobbying against a climate bill currently in the Senate. We’re looking forward to a court decision affirming the legality of the Yes Men’s actions in early 2011.

    • The DMCA Re-Fanged: Courts Now At Odds Over Copyright Protection for Software Security Devices

      The Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it unlawful to circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected by copyright, and to traffic in devices designed to accomplish that end.

      In last month’s IP Update, we expressed wonderment at the reasoning of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in MGE UPS Systems Inc. v. GE Consumer and Industrial Inc. In that case, the court was unable to find a violation of the DMCA where software had been modified without authorization so that it would not check for the presence of an external hardware device that the software vendor distributed only to authorized users of the software.

    • ‘Spinning’ Trademarked; Gyms Being Threatened For Holding Spinning Classes Sans License

      If you’ve been to a gym lately, you’ve probably seen how “spinning” classes have become quite popular these days. When I first heard of them, I couldn’t figure out why they called them “spinning,” rather than just “stationary bike” classes, but now I know: apparently “spinning” is a trademarked term, held by a company called Mad Dogg Athletics, and the company is gaining a reputation for trying to enforce that trademark around the globe. If you look at the USPTO, the company appears to have a ton of different trademarks on “spinning,” covering not just exercise classes, but also sports drinks, lotions and creams, nutritional supplements and computer software. It looks like the original spinning trademark was filed for back in 1992 — so it’s entirely possible that this company really did come up with the term and popularize it.

    • “Against Intellectual Property” in ePub
    • Copyrights

      • The Well-Pilfered Clavier

        A new study by a German economic historian hints at an answer. In his two-volume History and Nature of Copyright, Eckhard Höffner compares and contrasts the industrial-age economic histories of Britain (which provided copyright protection beginning with the 1710 Statute of Anne) and the 39 German states (where a uniform copyright code was impossible to enforce across a loose federation).

        Höffner’s discovery: German writers produced more books and made more money than their English counterparts. Through the middle of the 19th century, the German book market produced and sold roughly five times as many books as the British. The advantage was interrupted only by the Napoleonic occupation, and it did not end permanently until after 1848, when Germany began to enforce consistent copyright rules.

      • Kindergartens told to pay up before singing

        A group representing German musicians found itself accused of Scrooge-like meanness on Tuesday after pressing kindergartens to pay up for singing songs that are protected by copyright.

      • Kindergartens ordered to pay copyright for songs

        A tightening of copyright rules means kindergartens now have to pay fees to Germany’s music licensing agency, GEMA, to use songs that they reproduce and perform. The organization has begun notifying creches and other daycare facilities that if they reproduce music to be sung or performed, they must pay for a license.

      • Hadopi Sends 100,000 Warning Emails To Suspected Pirates

        Hadopi, the French authority with responsibility for issuing warnings to illicit file-sharers, has just announced that so far it has sent out 100,000 email warnings. While the figure is far below the 50-70,000 reports filed by the entertainment industry every day, around 15% of warning recipients have responded by email, some with confessions, some with confusion.

      • FilmOn Founder Plans to Sue CBS, CNET for Distributing Piracy Software

        FilmOn founder Alki David charges CNET, a subsidiary of CBS, with the distribution of “illegal software” that allows users to circumvent DRM technology in violation of the Copyright Act as well as other software that lets users illegally stream and download copyrighted material. Countersuit is in response to claims by CBS and other TV broadcasters that FilmOn illegally retransmits copyrighted programming.

      • Court Rejects Agence France-Presse’s Attempt to Claim License to Haiti Earthquake Photos Through Twitter/Twitpic Terms of Service — AFP v. Morel

        The Southern District of New York issued an order denying AFP’s request to dismiss photographer Daniel Morel’s copyright claims, rejecting AFP’s argument that uploading pictures to Twitter/Twitpic granted third parties (including AFP) a broad license to exploit this content. The result is not surprising from a legal standpoint, but should allow photographers (and others who upload content into Twitter’s ecosystem) to breathe a sigh of relief.

      • Piracy Isn’t The Problem, A Bad Business Model Is The Problem

        And this is where I think some of the confusion often comes in in these discussions. No one (well, I’m sure there are a few, but they’re a minority) denies that there is value in the works created. The question is where is that value captured. Many content creators feel that it should be captured in you paying up before you’ve consumed their work for the first time. Many content consumers don’t like that bargain. And so they seek out something else. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t value created when someone experiences the music or the film. It’s that value that Barnard was discussing in the emotional impact of the work. The trick then is not to worry about getting paid for every copy or every download, but to set up all sorts of opportunities for people to support you as a content creator. Now, this can come in all sorts of formats. Fan-funding has become popular these days, via platforms like Kickstarter, and that can work for some artists. Others are doing creative things like selling related tangible goods that are made more valuable due to their connection to music or movies (Amanda Palmer selling off special ukuleles). Others are selling their experience (Kevin Smith is offering a wonderful 10-week “film school” discussing how he made his latest film). Others are selling a wide variety of things (Nina Paley’s long list of ways in which she makes money from her film, Sita Sings the Blues).

      • ACTA

Clip of the Day

Chris DiBona interviewed by Jeremy Allison – PART 1


Chris DiBona interviewed by Jeremy Allison – PART 2


Chris DiBona interviewed by Jeremy Allison – PART 3


Chris DiBona interviewed by Jeremy Allison – PART 4


Chris DiBona interviewed by Jeremy Allison – PART 5


Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: December 29th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

12.29.10

Exploring Novell’s Passing of Software Patents to Microsoft – Now Reported to The Competition Authorities

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell on floor

Summary: Novell’s assistance to Microsoft with a patent sale is reported to the German Federal Cartel Office as Groklaw seemingly expresses deep regrets

NOVELL has been called “community rat” by Groklaw and even the mobbyists are noting this. It is depressing to some that Novell did what it did, but it is not surprising to us. If anything, this justifies what we did to weaken Novell over the years, thus limiting the inevitable damage. Some people like Gary Richmond at Free Software Magazine opine that Microsoft may have been behind pushing Novell to sell, and even to sell its patents separately to Microsoft’s consortium (a nice trick by which to avoid antitrust scrutiny as we explained at the time).

Did Microsoft fund this purchase? They have big pockets, pockets big enough to pay the fines imposed in anti-trust cases (although it perhaps should be added that some of the money may be coming from Elliot Associates LP, a hedge fund and major shareholder in Novell). If Microsoft is the financial backer though in this deal it would make sense not to make a direct purchase but to use Attachmate as a proxy to disguise the fact—issues about intellectual property notwithstanding. I wonder if that is the reason companies like Red Hat and Google didn’t step in to buy Novell, especially Google. 2.2 billion is a lot of money but to Google that’s the kind of small change that gets lost down the back of their office sofa and isn’t even worth looking for.

Speaking of Google and their mantra of “do no evil”, is that merely a passive aspiration or should it include or be extended to an imperative “prevent evil from happening”? In other words, should Google have stepped in as a spoil tactic to thwart Microsoft, if only to block them in the same way that a large retail chain will buy up land, not to develop it itself but to prevent their rivals from getting it?

[...]

The free software community has been through this sort of stuff before and eventually saw off SCO and its ilk, so I’m not too concerned at this deal. Yet, you don’t have to be paranoid to be unsettled by any deal that smells of Microsoft. Their track record does not inspire confidence. Don’t listen to what they say. Look at what they do and remind yourself that Microsoft is a money machine and little less. It fits perfectly the description someone made of Goldman Sachs (you know, the ones who helped to bring you the sub-prime crisis):

A great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money

In the light of previous legal fracas, FOSS has developed resources to deal with many eventualities and this is just another one in the seemingly endless battle with patent licenses and necrotic, proprietary behemoths like Microsoft. Still, we’ll all be watching events unfold with a wary eye.

STOP PRESS

Just as I was about to wrap up this article and put it to bed, other wary legal eyes have been poring over the fine detail of the deal. The most important point to emerge from a legal analysis by Andrew Updegrove is that it involves cross licensing all the patents and patent applications—not just the 882 and if the the Attachmate deal fails but the CPTN one goes through this apparently would mean that Novell could only continue in business if it licensed all of its licenses to CPTN. That might not lead to a rerun of the SCO farce but it gives Microsoft royalties leverage.

Tiemann from Red Hat (and OSI) writes: [see LWN discussion]

OSI asks German Federal Cartel Office to investigate CPTN transaction

[...]

The fact that Microsoft was leading the takeover of Novell’s patents was itself alarming to the open source community, but when it was revealed that Microsoft had recruited Oracle, Apple, and EMC to be co-owners of the patents, the OSI Board felt compelled to request that competition authorities take a closer look at the proposed transaction. We found that the German Federal Cartel Office was open to receive comments from the public about this transaction during the month of December, and so we drafted and sent a letter (see attached), outlining our concerns and requesting that they investigate this transaction thoroughly. We have received an acknowledgement of receipt by the department in charge, and we stand ready to offer any additional assistance that may be required by investigators should they ask for such help.

Groklaw’s editor is meanwhile demoralised as we noted some days ago [1, 2, 3]. It realised that it had probably helped Novell in vain and Carla Schroder motivates Pamela Jones to carry on:

Dear PJ: Please Don’t Quit Groklaw

[...]

The biggest reason for PJ to continue with Groklaw is because the truth matters. The outcome of Novell vs. SCO had consequences larger than either company, and Groklaw helped the truth to prevail. Groklaw shed light into a lot of dark mucky corners, and exposed a huge number of outright lies. Did Darl McBride ever utter a word about the case that wasn’t nonsense? Would he have had more credibility without Groklaw tirelessly poking holes in every one of his whoppers? Would we have known he was little more than cannon fodder, the public buffoon face for the real movers and shakers behind the lawsuits?

There have been a number of news stories recently, in typical thoughtless herdbeast fashion, about the decline of Microsoft and how open source has won. Sorry, but it’s not so. Microsoft never stopped with their dirty tricks, and the fundamental, necessary concepts of freedom, software freedom, transparency, privacy, open standards, and truth are under attack on more fronts than ever. Never ever forget that for the predators of big business it’s always about money and power. Always. Never forget that for these, short-term interests always trump long-term, and that rationalizations trump rationality. Never underestimate how cheaply some people will sell out for. Never underestimate the power of justifications and willful blindness for the most heinous actions. Never forget that some people would rather lie even when the truth benefits them more. And never make the mistake of assuming that businesspeople are smart just because they run big businesses. Pushy and amoral are enough to take an ambitious person far.

We need Groklaw, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Free Software Foundation, and the Software Freedom Conservancy, and the Standards Blog, and Open Invention Network, and all of the many related groups that look out for our interests. They’re more important than ever not only as activists, but as news publishers. The news industry has taken a terrible beating and we have only a tiny remnant of a truly independent tech news press. Which was never very large to begin with.

A lot of people do not know this, but Jones pondered quitting before. We are glad she didn’t. Groklaw is a valuable asset to the Free software community and judging by inactivity that characterised Jones’ absence some years ago (Peter/Mathfox took over temporarily and he is no longer around), without Jones there is no Groklaw, at least not as a site that actively delivers new analytical articles.

Inkululeko Technologies — Once Funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation — Has Gone Rogue

Posted in Africa, Free/Libre Software, Ubuntu, Vista, Windows at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Sangari sells antagonism to freedom, delivering to schools exactly the opposite of what Mark Shuttleworth had in mind when he supported Inkululeko Technologies, which now redirects to Sangari

“I found something fishy,” wrote to us a person who goes by the name SA dude, “Inkululeko Technologies, a company in South Africa that originated from the Shuttleworth tuxLabs linux-schools project’s site now redirects to a Sangari Worldwide website, a seller of closed source education software such as “how to use windows vista”" (we have looked at the sites to verify these claims).

Earlier in the year we transcribed a South African podcast where Microsoft’s dirty tricks in this nation were revisited and explained. We have already done a lot to show how Microsoft derailed GNU/Linux migrations in South African schools. To give some more links of relevance:

For background about the tuXlab project:

The tuXlab project was initiated by the Shuttleworth Foundation in 2002 aiming to open up new opportunities and to encourage sharing of information and resources in the education sector. Between 2004 and 2006, after the success of the pilot, tuXlabs were rolled out to more than a 100 Western Cape schools.

The Foundation encourages successful pilot projects to become self-sustainable and leave the Foundation stable. The tuXlab programme was identified as one such project. Inkululeko Technologies was formed in June 2006 and the tuXlab team moved to this new entity. Inkululeko became responsible for the day-to-day operational management of the tuXlab programme, including the sustainability of the tuXlab programme as a model. The Foundation exited from its direct involvement in the tuXlab programme at this point. Against this background the Shuttleworth Foundation commissioned a report on the state of tuXlabs.

Just look what happened after intervention from proprietary giants that want to indoctrinate children at taxpayers’ expense, with schoolteachers as their training staff whom they need not pay for. What an appalling sight.

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