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12.02.10

Sales of Vista Phony 7 [sic] Pathetic Compared to Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Hardware, Marketing, Microsoft at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vintage French dial phone

Summary: Microsoft’s mobile platform is so far behind the competition that even half a billion spent on marketing can’t kick-start it

DID anyone not see this coming? Despite spending extraordinary amounts of money ‘injecting’ positive coverage into media and billboards, the monopolists still cannot compete in the mobile space, which is why it turned to patent lawsuits instead.

To give some anecdotal numbers (Microsoft is too embarrassed to disclose, confirm, or deny), Android phones sell at about 15 times the speed that Microsoft-based phones (all combined) can sell even shortly after a hyped up launch. But it’s not just the phone business though. Microsoft is said to have spent a similar amount of money marketing the KINect. A month after its release only about 5% of Xbox 360 buyers bought it. That’s horrible, no matter how Microsoft chooses to spin it. So, despite Microsoft spending hundreds of millions of dollars advertising these hardware products, none of selling too well. Microsoft’s mobile crisis is years old.

Gadgetsteria.com goes with the headline: “Windows Phone 7 Another Flop? Amazon Puts Samsung Focus on Fire Sale.”

Windows Phone 7 was supposed to be Microsoft’s grand re-entry into the smartphone market. After languishing with Windows Mobile for several years too long, it seemed that Redmond had finally gotten their “groove” back. And then there was the Kin hiccup. It never really did make too much sense — the Kin. It was targeting teens and “preparing them” for their later years with more advanced smartphones. The biggest problems however, were rather ugly hardware and bundling said hardware with fairly expensive data plans — money that tweens and teens typically don’t have. Is Microsoft on track for another Kin flop, except this time with Windows Phone 7?

OpenBytes says:

What I think Microsoft is missing here are users. Considering developing for WP7? Who exactly will use your product? It’s very nice (for some) to be able to use VB to develop apps I’m sure, but rather pointless if you can’t get a user base for your software. Consider the recent news that Android outsells WP7 15-1 and as a developer tell me which platform is the more desirable?

Microsoft still remains tight-lipped about its sales for the WP7, but then we saw that before didn’t we? with the Kin disaster.

“Facebook figures suggest WinPho 7 user base still small,” reports The Register:

Some interesting statistical jiggery-pokery hints that Windows Phone 7 isn’t proving popular.

Microsoft makes a big deal out of the new smartphone OS’ social networking support, so website WMPoweruser visited All Facebook to try and glean some usage data.

“Windows Phone 7 outsold by Android 15:1 in UK suggests retailer” say many other Web sites [1, 2, 3] based on anecdotes in a Microsoft-friendly market.

With Microsoft still refusing to provide Windows Phone 7 sales figures, retailers are stepping in with their own anecdotal evidence about the new smartphone platform’s market success – or lack of it.

[...]
They also sourced some anecdotal feedback from other UK retailers, who reported that WP7 phones “are not selling” while demand for HTC, BlackBerry and iPhone remains strong.

Don’t miss this old news from April:

Microsoft has launched a website dedicated celebrating phones and their use for music, gaming and photography.

OpenBytes has done some fantastic job uncovering Microsoft Web sites which pretend to be grassroots fans of Vista Phone 7 [sic]. Those who read he fine prints would realise it’s just AstroTurfing (run by Microsoft).

Wikileaks Reveals Microsoft Involvement in US Security Policy

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Wikileaks and Microsoft discussed, especially in the context of security

OUR daily links this week have been filled with reports about Wikileaks. That site’s fate is important to us because we too host material from close to 10,000 confidential Microsoft documents. It’s not about whether Wikileaks is “irresponsible” or not; it is about freedom of information and freedom of speech.

One new Wikileaks leak caught our attention because it speaks about the Iraq war (invasion in some people’s eyes) and it says that “Karim Ramadan (Microsoft) praised the historic role of USAID in Egypt” (we have mentioned USAID in relation to the Gates Foundation as USAID is accommodated by former Gates Foundation staff [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]).

“Those leaks just provide some more evidence to back the obvious.”This post is not about foreign policy or about USAID, but the point to be made is that Microsoft is involved in politics, even quite directly. Those leaks just provide some more evidence to back the obvious. Wikileaks is merely a messenger/host as the material is raw. And speaking of which, Julian Assange is the author/co-author of surfraw (Free software and Debian/GNU assist transparency and affect politics).

How far will the world go with so much sensitive information available to everyone (bar censorship, e.g. in China)? Amazon has been pressured by US politicians to kick Wikileaks out, Google is slowly indexing the latest leaks (that’s how we found the Microsoft mention), and as for Microsoft… well, based on search at this moment it only indexed 46 pages from cablegate.wikileaks.org whereas Google did well over a thousand. Does anyone take Bong [sic] seriously at all? Microsoft only gets users by paying for them and it comes at a cost of like $3 billions in losses online per year. Having indirectly ensured that even fast boot Linux software like Express Gate depends on Windows, the company is now signing a deal with SplashTop to put Bong [sic] search/toolbar in it, as Phoronix helps reveal:

It was precisely one month ago I was wondering what happened to SplashTop and found the company that we jump-started by our first-in-the-world coverage was still pushing out their instant-on Linux OS to various OEM vendors but they have lost their roots of using the Linux environment embedded on a motherboard’s flash chip to instead being nestled away on the user’s hard drive, which defeats much of its uniqueness and benefits (not to mention it was hacked by Phoronix readers). SplashTop, which was formerly named DeviceVM before the company took up the same name as their premiere product, also started pushing out Apple iPad applications in recent months. Today the company is announcing another set of peculiar changes to their instant-on Linux OS.

[...]

Today’s SplashTop announcements can be read on their blog. There’s also the SplashTop beta page for installing the beta version of their Bing+Chromium-ified SplashTop OS, but it must be installed via Microsoft Windows.

Fortunately the world is heading towards Linux on a large proportion of newly-sold PCs (even if just in the form of fast-booting OS). Schneier believes that software monoculture (monopoly) contributes to the reality where one in two Windows PCs is estimated to be a zombie PC. As Schneier explains right now:

The basic problem with a monoculture is that it’s all vulnerable to the same attack. The Irish Potato Famine of 1845–9 is perhaps the most famous monoculture-related disaster. The Irish planted only one variety of potato, and the genetically identical potatoes succumbed to a rot caused by Phytophthora infestans. Compare that with the diversity of potatoes traditionally grown in South America, each one adapted to the particular soil and climate of its home, and you can see the security value in heterogeneity.

Similar risks exist in networked computer systems. If everyone is using the same operating system or the same applications software or the same networking protocol, and a security vulnerability is discovered in that OS or software or protocol, a single exploit can affect everyone. This is the problem of large-scale Internet worms: many have affected millions of computers on the Internet.

Can Schneier name that “same operating system” or would that have him risk the label “Microsoft hater” [1, 2, 3]? In any event, now that Microsoft’s Charney lobbies to change security legislation [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12], the above leak is worth remembering.

Bruce Schneier
Bruce Schneier photo by sfllaw

Bad Decision Made at Canonical Regarding Media Player

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 6:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Music Player Mistakes in Ubuntu

Training room

Summary: Insertion of Mono-based software like Banshee endangers Ubuntu as it makes the parent company more reliant on Microsoft and more sensitive to Microsoft extortion

“In the upcoming version of Ubuntu (11.04 Natty Narwhal), Banshee will be replacing Rhythmbox as the default music player,” says this new post. It is hopefully not true. It was not final at the time we last wrote about it and this candidate Mono trap was mentioned for its approach towards Ubuntu in previous posts, including:

Canonical would make a massive mistake by picking a project which is maintained by AttachMSFT (assuming it keeps the project alive at all). The project is also known to be using libraries which are clearly excluded from the MCP, which means that Microsoft reserves the right to sue. Over at Miguel de Icaza’s Web log it is made clearer this week that he drifts further away from GNU/Linux and Free software [1, 2] and instead boosts Microsoft software like Mono and Moonlight. Will he even stick around at AttachMSFT, which is supposed to be his new employer? The Moonlight project is still delusional enough to run after a project that Microsoft has just axed, only to pretend to be compensating developers whom it stabbed in the back as Microsoft’s booster Gavin Clarke reports:

Microsoft has promised a keynote from the chief geek synonymous with Silverlight, vice president for the .Net developer platform Scott Guthrie, who’ll talk about what’s in the next version. There will be training in Microsoft’s media player from program manager Tim Heuer, among others, and there will be schwag — ‘cos Microsoft knows how we lurve schwag.

Yes, it’s all here: practical advice, vision to keep us on the rails, and freebies. It’s perfect. Almost too perfect — as if Microsoft is trying too hard, like that absent parent who walked out on the kids and who now shows up at Christmas loaded with presents.

Speaking of Christmas presents, in the next post we’ll show that Microsoft fails to sell much gear this season. The company is declining quite rapidly and the worst one can do is rely on its software. So why again is Ubuntu adopting Banshee despite Novell’s death and the continued demise of Microsoft?

Links 2/12/2010: Red Hat Climbs 6.28%, Linux Mint 10 Receives High Marks

Posted in News Roundup at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Five tips for easy Linux application installation

    Most people don’t realize how easy it is to install applications on modern releases of the Linux operating system. As the package managers have evolved into powerful, user-friendly tools, the task of installation has become equally user-friendly. Even so, some users encounter traps that seem to trip them up at every attempt. How can you avoid these traps and be one of those Linux users happily installing application after application? With these five tips, that’s how.

  • Desktop

    • French mini-PC upgrades to Intel Atom

      Linutop released a new version of its small, fanless Linutop 3 PC, moving up from a 1GHz Via C7 CPU to a 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 while dropping to under 16 Watts of power consumption. The Linutop 3 ships with 1GB or 2GB of RAM, 2GB of flash, gigabit Ethernet and serial ports, six USB 2.0 ports, and dual SATA ports.

  • Server

    • Ubuntu-based ARM server runs on 80 Watts

      ZT Systems announced what it says is the first commercially available ARM-based development platform for the server market. The Ubuntu Linux-based R1801e 1U rackmount server employs SSD (solid state disk) storage and eight ARM Cortex-A9-based computer-on-modules (COMs), providing 16 600MHz cores while using less than 80 Watts, the company says.

    • Microsoft’s dropped feature is Linux’s gain

      Companies usually spend time and money developing new and interesting features to drive upgrades, but Microsoft is taking a different approach with the “Vail” release of Windows Home Server (WHS): It’s dropping the popular Drive Extender feature that lets users “pool” hard drives to increase storage. In response HP is kicking WHS to the curb and using WebOS for its MediaSmart systems.

      One of the reasons I’m such a fan of Linux, and FOSS in general, is that no one company is in charge of product direction for the platform. If a Linux vendor or project decides to drop a feature or turn off support for something (for example, Red Hat dropping Xen support) other vendors can pick it up or continue to offer support.

    • SuperComputing 2010: Faster, Denser Storage Technologies
  • Ballnux

    • Dual-core Android phones from LG and Samsung break cover

      More photos have been posted of an “LG Star,” rumored to be the first Android smartphone to offer a dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. Meanwhile, a more imminent LG Androider called the LU3000 has been tipped in South Korea, and the FCC has posted details on two Samsung Android phones, one of which appears to be the rumored Nexus S.

    • Linux fast-boot technology touted for four-second Atom boot

      Lineo Solutions announced Warp for Atom, a new version of its Linux fast-boot technology claimed to boot in 4.06 seconds on an Intel Atom Z530-based single board computer (SBC). Meanwhile, MPC Data released a YouTube video of a Renesas SH7724-optimized version of its SwiftBoot Linux fast boot technology, claimed to boot up in just a second.

  • Kernel Space

    • Is Linux Kernel Development Slowing Down?

      According to the 2010, ‘Who Writes Linux’ report, the number of code commits to the recent 2.6.35 kernel was 18 percent lower than the 2.6.30 kernel which was released in 2009. There are a number of reasons why kernel code commits have slowed over the past year, including new processes for staging code.

    • Linux Kernel Servers Get New Heavy Lifting Machines

      Kernel.org is the central hub which runs the infrastructure that the Linux Kernel community uses to develop and maintain a core piece of the operating system. The infrastructure is getting some massive muscle power with two new “heavy lifting machines” and two new backend machines to round out kernel.org’s infrastructure of 12 boxes running worldwide.

    • Well-Funded Businesses Are Driving Linux Forward
    • Graphics Stack

      • Supporting Old Hardware In X Gets Brought Up Again

        It’s long been a topic of what parts of X.Org should be killed with fire. There’s plenty of dated and obscure X.Org and Mesa drivers around for hardware that hasn’t even been manufactured in years and are rarely used. At XDS Toulose and on other occasions it’s been decided not to do a massive purge of all these legacy graphics drivers for Linux. Old hardware support by the X Server has once again been brought up, but this time it’s about monitors.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Oracle’s Reply to Google’s Answer with Counterclaims

        FOSDEM is one of the largest gatherings of Free Software contributors in the world and happens each February in Brussels. We are now inviting proposals for talks on KDE, KDE software and general desktop topics to take place in the Cross Desktop devroom. This is a unique opportunity to show the novel ideas of KDE to a wide audience of developers.

      • I joined the game …and you can, too!

        Some months ago I joined the Game. “Join the Game” is the campaign from the KDE community to make it possible to everyone to support the KDE project. Although I contribute to KDE already (e.g. promotion) I had the impression that I still take more than I could give back. To show my love and to support the vision and the values behind KDE I decided to become a financial sponsor, too.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Impressive New Look Evolution Mockups

        In Linux, a lot of design makeover starts with a mockup. We have already experienced it first hand with the clever redesign of Nautilus called Nautilus Elementary. The following Evolution mockups are so impressive that I really hope someday these changes will be implemented in Evolution partially at least.

    • Xfce

      • Also not a joke: XFCE on 39Mb

        Not Debian this time — although Debian could probably put up a fight when compared to this. No, this time it’s Alpine Linux, which you may or may not have heard of. Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • MUGs : Mandriva User Groups

        We will give them a free license for our server product – Mandriva Enterprise Server – for each MUGs in the world. We know that it is a small gift, but we offer it to you all as a token of our gratitude for everything you have been doing.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Compiz vs Ubuntu Classic Desktop

          I am running the development version of Ubuntu (the Natty Narwhal). I’ve tried the Unity desktop (and will continue to do so) but for reasons I won’t go into here, I need to use the Ubuntu Classic Desktop for now.

        • Myth Busted #1: Ubuntu Hackers are Canonical Employees

          People assume that Canonical guys and gals are the only ones who work on Ubuntu. When people talk about the direction in which Ubuntu is going, people talk about the direction that Canonical takes Ubuntu in.

        • Livin’ La Vida Canonical Ain’t Easy

          Linux is free as in beer. Yeah, and speech too, but I’m concentrating on the beer right now. The same is true for Ubuntu’s brand of Linux. You can download a free beer, er, I mean a free ISO image of the latest Ubuntu from the Ubuntu servers, burn that ISO, and install it on as many PCs as you want. You can then hand that CD to a friend and let them do the same. I’ve done this countless times over the years. I’ve also paid for Linux many times over the years and frankly, I don’t object to doing that when I think paying a little here and there supports the companies that support and promote Linux and other free and open source software.

        • Ubuntu Manual Officially Recognized By Canonical [Updated]

          For those unfamiliar, the Ubuntu Manual was started by Benjamin Humphrey to provide users with a comprehensive guide minus the technical jargon often found in books and forums. The team quickly progressed and released the manual for Ubuntu 10.04. The manual covers nearly every daily task an Ubuntu user will encounter: web browsing, music, scanning documents, managing photos, troubleshooting, finding help, and more. The guide also provides clear screen shots, making it easy to follow for people of all levels of computer expertise.

        • Is there room for an Ubuntu powered smart-phone?

          Canonical had experimented and discarded the idea of a mobile device centric version of its popular desktop OS Ubuntu. However, a closer look at the current smart-phone OS market makes me believe there is room for the company to revisit the idea of a mobile version of the OS, this time, targeted at smart-phones and not the ambiguous MID.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 10 Julia – A Perfect 10!

            I’m proud to say that Linux Mint is the best autumn release, and possibly the best release of 2010. It’s on par with Ubuntu in terms of good looks and stability, but then it builds on this foundation and becomes even better. The default choice of programs is superior. The Software Manager is a blast. You get the best system menu and the prettiest icons on the market.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Fast-boot OS offered in free browser-only version

      Splashtop Inc. (formerly DeviceVM) released the first downloadable version of its Linux-based Splashtop instant-on companion operating system for Windows, and also signed a deal with Microsoft to make Bing the default search engine on all Splashtop products. Based on the Google Chromium browser, Splashtop OS (beta) is billed as a lightweight, web-centric OS optimized for notebooks and netbooks.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • China market: Many smartphones at below US$100 to be available in 2011

          Qualcomm has the competitive advantage of being able to most quickly update IC designs to Android versions due to its close cooperation with Google, whereas MediaTek gains the upper hand in terms of cooperation with China-based handset designers and vendors, the sources indicated.

    • Tablets

      • Coby ships cheap Android tablet, amidst negative reviews for others

        Coby Electronics announced a seven-inch Coby Kyros Tablet MID7015 Android tablet for $250, and Linsay’s seven-inch Tablet A-1A tablet is selling on Amazon.com for approximately $200. Meanwhile, a rash of negative reviews of low-cost Android tablets has led pundits to worry that the tablets’ bad reputation could stifle more compelling Android competitors due in 2011.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Capgemini Puts Its Trust In Open Source
  • Capgemini Enters into Open Source Alliance

    Capgemini positions Open Source as a brand next to Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and IBM and is offering a Total Open Source Stack.

  • Progress Report: LibreOffice Beta 3

    The progress made by the LibreOffice folks so far is impressive, at least when it comes to attracting contributors. The third beta was released on November 18th, and seems to have impressive momentum. The release notes list 118 contributors who’ve helped with the development just between beta 2 and beta 3. How’s it looking so far? Don’t expect miracles, but it’s shaping up nicely.

    If you’ve installed beta 2, remove it before installing beta 3. I installed on Ubuntu 10.10, which was pretty easy — just download the tarball with all the Debian packages and uncompress it. Then go to the DEBS directory and run sudo dpkg -i *deb. After that, go to the desktop-integration directory and install the single Debian package (libreoffice3.3-debian-menus_3.3-2_all.deb) there. That package isn’t strictly necessary, but it provides menu integration. You probably want that.

  • A Bushel of Open Resources for Web Developers
  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • Oracle’s Reply to Google’s Answer with Counterclaims

      Oracle has now filed its Reply to Google’s Answer with Counterclaims to Oracle’s Amended Complaint.

      And now that I’ve read all three documents, I think I’ve finally understood what it’s about, at least the big picture. It’s an intriguing case. Standard wisdom would indicate that Google would settle, pay up, and move on. From that viewpoint, Google’s filing would be mostly positioning for settlement purposes.

      But nothing in patent law is normal right now, so if Google is interested in getting these patents tossed overboard in a way that could have broader implications for software patents, they might decide to go all the way with this. After all, they have alleged that each of Oracle’s patents is invalid “because one or more claims are directed to abstract ideas or other non-statutory subject matter”, and frankly the first thing I noticed with the patents was that they didn’t seem to be tied to a specific machine, so depending on how the US Supreme Court defines its terms after Bilski, this case could be the one to get that firmed up. Google has a strong record of winning patent infringement cases, so they know what they are doing.

    • All That Java Jive

      How many times have you run into problems with Java? Chances are very good that most of you have. If you perform a Google search using the words “Linux” and “Java,” you’ll have an all-day scavenger hunt on your hands. Searching for answers to installing Java, making it work and surviving the aftermath could use up whatever energy you’ve gleaned from actual cups of java. If you install the correct package, you need never fret again. You’ll learn to love Java again. You might even sing about it.

  • Project Releases

    • Moodle 2 Released

      Martin Dougiamas, founder of Moodle, has announced the release of Moodle 2.0, which is now available for download.

      Dougiamas writes in his post, “I know it’s taken a long time, it’s been a rough and rocky road. A huge thank you must go out to all the developers, testers, supporters, teachers, trainers, administrators, artists, friends, researchers and students who have contributed to this release. Special thanks to our Moodle Partners for providing most of the funding.”

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Russia wins World Cup bid in parrot-sickening travesty

    The 2018 World Cup has been awarded to Russia.

  • U.S. General Services Administration is going Google

    GSA’s decision to switch to Google Apps resulted from a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process that took place over the past six months, during which the agency evaluated multiple proposals for replacing their existing on-premises email system. GSA selected Google partner Unisys as the prime contractor to migrate all employees in 17 locations around the world to an integrated, flexible and robust email and collaboration service in 2011.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • ‘Hacktivist’ Claims Credit for WikiLeaks Attack

      A self-proclaimed “hacktivist” said Tuesday he’s the computer expert who knocked rogue Web site WikiLeaks offline for several hours through a distributed denial of service attack.

      The hacker, who calls himself The Jester and goes by the name th3j35t3r on Twitter, said he was motivated to take down WikiLeaks for patriotic reasons. He also said his other targets include Web sites used by Al Qaeda and other terrorists groups for recruiting purposes.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Wants To Spill Your Corporate Secrets

      In a rare interview, Assange tells Forbes that the release of Pentagon and State Department documents are just the beginning. His next target: big business.

    • Goldman Fails to Vacate $20.1 Million Bayou Award

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. failed to vacate a $20.1 million award an arbitration panel had granted Bayou Group LLC creditors who sued Goldman for failing to detect Bayou funds for which it did transfers were a fraud.

    • Observations In Progress On The Fed Data Dump (In Which We Learn That Merrill Pledged Up To 77% Of A Fed Loan With Equity Collateral)

      Keep in mind this is very raw data and will need far more processing before conclusions can be

    • Goldman Sachs Bailed Out to the Tune of $590 Billion!

      What exactly does it mean when the Fed bails out a number of American corporations, including Goldman Sachs (for $590 Billion), and does not ask them to help reform the financial system or to keep a lid on humongous executive bonuses? In fact, Goldman Sachs sent many lobbyists to Congress to make sure that the financial reform would not be too onerous for them (and succeeded)! Something is rotten in the State of Denmark that won’t be made fresh soon.

    • Fannie, Freddie say mortgage servicers triggered foreclosure crisis

      Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac defended their role in the foreclosure crisis in prepared testimony to Congress on Wednesday, while at least one federal regulator said the mortgage giants had contributed to the problem.

    • Couple Accused of Trading Insider Tips

      The federal government’s crackdown against what it considers illegal insider trading advanced on Tuesday with one arrest and a lawsuit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission against a husband and wife formerly employed by the consulting firm Deloitte Tax.

    • Report cites SEC time pressures in BofA case

      Securities and Exchange Commission attorneys wanted to bring a case swiftly against Bank of America for allegedly misleading shareholders when it acquired Merrill Lynch, and as a result omitted significant violations from their initial charges, according to an agency watchdog report released Tuesday.

      The report by the office of SEC Inspector General David Kotz also found that the agency sought a relatively small penalty against Bank of America, $33 million, after investigators initially “relied substantially on case precedent” to arrive at the figure.

    • States See a Rebound in Tax Receipts

      According to preliminary tax collection data compiled by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, 48 early reporting states collected 3.9 percent more in taxes, in nominal terms, from July through September 2010 than in the same period in 2009. Still, don’t get too excited: tax collections were 7 percent below the same period two years ago, which means the pain that many states have been feeling is not likely to recede yet.

    • Two-year low for layoffs hints at hiring pickup

      November marked a two-year low for the number of people applying for initial unemployment benefits, suggesting that the tight job market may be easing at last.

    • Who Pays for Big Government?

      Progressives hope that the federal government will raise revenue mainly, if not exclusively, by levying taxes on wealthy Americans. But a comparison of France and the United States suggests that raising tax revenue will ultimately involve increasing tax rates on the poor much more than they would be increased on the wealthy.

    • ECB extends special crisis measures

      The European Central Bank stepped up efforts to contain the continent’s government debt crisis, as bank president Jean-Claude Trichet announced it would prolong measures to provide ready cash to banks and steady the financial system.

      Markets were initially disappointed Thursday when Trichet did not say the bank would go even further and increase its purchases of government bonds. The euro sagged almost a cent during his news conference.

    • Delaying Vote, Debt Panel Splits on Taxes and Spending

      The chairmen of President Obama’s debt-reduction commission have been unable to win support from any of the panel’s elected officials for their proposed spending cuts and tax increases, underscoring the reluctance of both parties to risk short-term political backlash in pursuit of the nation’s long-term fiscal health.

    • Report: States face more financial stress

      Legislatures around the country may have to make more spending cuts over the next couple of years because of dwindling help from the federal government and a slow recovery in tax revenue, according to a new report.

      States will spend about $43 billion in economic stimulus funds during the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. After that, they’ll probably have to get by with less federal funding.

    • Fed aid in financial crisis went beyond U.S. banks to industry, foreign firms

      The financial crisis stretched even farther across the economy than many had realized, as new disclosures show the Federal Reserve rushed trillions of dollars in emergency aid not just to Wall Street but also to motorcycle makers, telecom firms and foreign-owned banks in 2008 and 2009.

    • Foreclosures made up 25 pct of US home sales in 3Q

      The worst summer for home sales in decades also put a chill on foreclosure sales, even as the average discounts on the distressed properties got bigger compared with other types of homes.

    • Deficit panel’s painful budget draws challenges

      Both Democrats and Republicans seem willing to extend most of the tax cuts. But Democrats want to let cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire, citing damage to the federal deficit from lost revenue as a main argument.

    • Fed Documents Breadth of Emergency Measures
    • Poverty Soars in California

      In September the state of California hit a new high in food stamp benefits, crossing the 6 billion dollar mark on an annualized basis. Over the past year in California alone the total number recipients of the federal SNAP program (supplemental nutritional assistance program) rose by 16.3%. In many of the big counties of California however, food stamp usage rose even faster.

      [...]

      The State of California is running hard now to take as much federal assistance for which it qualifies. In addition to food stamp benefits now annualized at six billion dollars, the state continues to borrow funds from Washington to pay its own portion of unemployment benefits.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Glasgow pioneers free Intellectual Property for industry

      In a first for the UK, the University of Glasgow is to offer Intellectual Property – including ground-breaking medical and scientific research – to business and entrepreneurs free of charge.

      Speeding up and simplifying IP transfer, the move will revolutionise the relationship between academic research and commercial enterprise and make Glasgow the most libertarian University in the UK for IP access.

    • Copyrights

      • Why is homeland security enforcing the nation against music downloads?
      • The Background Dope on DHS Recent Seizure of Domains

        As has been reported, it looks like ICE, which is the principal investigative arm of DHS, has begun seizing domains under the pretext of IP infringement. But it’s actually not ICE who is executing the mechanics of the seizures. It’s a private company, immixGroup IT Solutions. Here is what is going down.

      • Copyright Enforcement Tail Wags Internet Dog, Cont’d; or, What the Hell Ever Happened to Due Process?

        Some of you may recall that a month ago or so, I posted a comment here about a bill making its way through the Senate, the Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act (“COICA”), that would allow US courts to “seize” domain names belonging to US or foreign websites simply upon a charge, by the Attorney General, that the site was “primarily devoted” to infringing activities. I was the author of a law professors’ “Letter in Opposition” to the bill, which garnered around 50 co-signatories, based largely on the grounds that these seizures would represent “prior restraints on speech” under the First Amendment, and were blatantly unconstitutional.

      • Trademark Insanity

        Trademark suits can often be rather silly and highlight the high legal costs of maintaining sanity. This week-end’s press gives us two nice examples.

Clip of the Day

Harper advisor calls for assassination of Wikileaks director


Credit: TinyOgg

Links 2/12/2010: Nokia and Intel Linux Updates, GCC vs LLVM Measurements

Posted in News Roundup at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kernel Space

    • Our Annual Kernel Development Report: New (and Old) Faces
    • Our Annual Kernel Development Report: New (and Old) Faces
    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 7.10 Is Coming In One Month

        While we anticipated Mesa 7.10 being a late Q4’2010 or very early Q1’2011 release, today that’s now been formalized with Intel’s Ian Romanick once again stepping up to the plate to manage this next Mesa 3D release. Ian’s proposal calls for Mesa 7.10 to be branched on 8 December and then for the final release to be out around or on the 7th of January. In traditional Mesa fashion, a Mesa 7.9.1 bug-fix release will also come around that time.

      • Supporting Old Hardware In X Gets Brought Up Again

        It’s long been a topic of what parts of X.Org should be killed with fire. There’s plenty of dated and obscure X.Org and Mesa drivers around for hardware that hasn’t even been manufactured in years and are rarely used. At XDS Toulose and on other occasions it’s been decided not to do a massive purge of all these legacy graphics drivers for Linux. Old hardware support by the X Server has once again been brought up, but this time it’s about monitors.

  • Applications

    • Zeitgeist Extension For Chrome To Use With Synapse [.crx]

      http://www.webupd8.org/2010/12/zeitgeist-extension-for-chrome-to-use.html

    • Proprietary

      • Adobe Flash Player 10.2 Beta Brings Better Performance For Video Playback

        Adobe Flash Player 10.2 beta was released today with preliminary support for Stage Video which is supposed to reduce the performance impact while playing back video content across all platforms. The new version also brings enhanced text rendering, and two popular requests from the community: a native custom mouse cursors API and support for full screen playback with multiple monitors.

      • Adobe Flash 10.2 Brings Linux Video Acceleration

        Yesterday afternoon the Adobe developers came out to release their first Adobe Flash Player 10.2 Beta for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms. This Flash Player releases introduces “Stage Video”, which is their new API and method for accelerating Flash video content across all platforms, including Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Ryzom Game Gets A Native Linux Client

        Back in May we reported that Ryzom was released as free software, with Ryzom being a massively multi-player online science-fantasy role playing game developed by a French game studio. Six months after putting the code out there, Winch Gate Properties Ltd is announcing the official release of their native Linux client for the Ryzom game.

      • Linux Game Publishing Is Still M.I.A.

        It’s now two months since Linux Game Publishing went offline due to a failure of their only web server and full service has still not been restored. Last week their service was partially restored with the LGP DRM system going back online along with some of their other web-sites, but the main Linux Game Publishing web-site is still down with no update since the 23rd of November.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat snaps up Makara

        As El Reg reported back in September, Makara was shopping itself to various potential suitors, and today Linux, virtualization, and middleware juggernaut Red Hat snapped up the startup to pad out its platform as a service products to better compete against Microsoft, VMware, and others.

        [...]

        Crenshaw did not tip the company’s cards on when this future integrated product based on Makara and JBoss technologies would be delivered.

      • The Destiny of RPM Fusion

        Several days ago, Chen Lei, aka supercyper, told me that Thorsten Leemhuis (thl) has entirely left RPM Fusion. Thl will spent more time in his other jobs. Supercyper is so worried about that. He said RPM Fusion will die if thl no longer works for RPM Fusion.

      • It May Be a CentOS Christmas

        For the CentOS developers and users, Christmas Day may bring more than the usual presents under the tree.

        If past experience holds, it should take the CentOS development and QA teams about 45 days from the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 to get CentOS 6 ready for release… which puts the projected release date on December 25.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • 10 Breathtaking Mobile Phone Concepts You Need to See
      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Nokia and Intel seek to shape mobile Linux

          Mobile Linux has had a difficult road to the mainstream and remains highly fragmented. The

          most famous Linux-based mobile OS, Android, officially doesn’t even qualify as Linux any more. This seems to have given Intel and Nokia the opportunity to present themselves as the guardians of Linux for mobile devices. However unlikely this scenario may seem, given past history, their mutual platform MeeGo has its credentials firmly intact, and is hosted by the Linux Foundation, which fosters development of the open source platform. Now Intel and Nokia are taking even more of the high ground, as both have entered the top five contributors to the Linux OS kernel for the past year.

        • Nokia, Samsung Increasing Support for Linux Kernel Development

          With the growing popularity of Google’s Linux-based Android operating system for smartphones and other mobile devices and the excitement surrounding Intel’s and Nokia’s joint MeeGo project for tablets, Linux is becoming a key player in the mobile market. All top smartphone makers, excluding Nokia and Apple, have at least one Android phone in their product lineup. Nokia is expected to rollout a slew of MeeGo devices in 2011.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Symbian Foundation to Shut Down Websites

    The Symbian Foundation announces website closures starting mid-December 2010.

    Recently the Symbian Foundation announced Nokia’s commitment to making the Symbian platform available under an alternative direct and open model. As a result of the Symbian Foundation licensing transition, there will be a reduction in daily operations and staff numbers.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • After A Four Year Run, Firefox Is No Longer The Top Browser On TechCrunch — Chrome Is

        It has finally happened. It took a little longer than anticipated, but Chrome has now passed Firefox as the browser most often used to visit TechCrunch. For the month of November, Chrome is number one for the first time, edging out Firefox 27.80 percent to 27.67 percent.

        Back in early September, on Chrome’s second birthday, we noted that Google’s browser had been making huge gains over the past couple of years and was only about 3 percent away from passing longtime leader (again, in terms of browsing traffic to TechCrunch) Firefox. The quickly progressing Firefox 4 beta likely slowed Chrome’s march to the top a bit, but it couldn’t fully hold it back. Now the question is: can Chrome hang on?

      • Open Web Apps – An Update
  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC & LLVM Clang Performance On The Intel Atom

      A few weeks ago there were benchmarks of GCC, LLVM-GCC, DragonEgg, and Clang. In this compiler performance comparison the releases of GCC 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, and a 4.6 development snapshot were benchmarked. On the LLVM side there was LLVM-GCC 4.2, DragonEgg with GCC 4.5 and LLVM 2.8, and then Clang with LLVM 2.8. This combination of eight open-source compilers were tested on three distinct Intel and AMD systems (even a 12-thread Core i7 Gulftown), but all of which were 64-bit capable and contained relatively high-end processors from their respective series. To complement this earlier article, available now are some new GCC/LLVM benchmarks but this time an older Intel Atom CPU was used to look at the 32-bit compiler performance on a slower, low-power netbook.

  • Project Releases

    • Arm Release 1.4.0

      After over a year it’s about time that I announced an arm release so here it is! What’s new since August of 2009, you ask? Lots. The project has been under very active development, continuing to add usability improvements to make relay operation nicer and less error prone. If you’re really curious what I’ve been up to this last year then it’s all available in the change log.

    • VLC With Phonon Back-End Is Now Ready For Use

      There’s long been a desire by KDE users to have a Phonon back-end for the VLC media player (there’s 4 year old bug reports on the matter) and just now there is finally a Phonon-VLC release that is considered “stable enough for day to day use.” Phonon-VLC is a version of VLC that uses the Phonon back-end from KDE4 as it’s back-end. This multimedia API was originally provided by KDE libraries and then integrated into Qt is abstracted and can then target a particular multimedia back-end like GStreamer or Xine.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Can rapid prototying work for your creative project?

      The open source community has a phrase for the principle of rapid prototyping: “Release early, release often.” The theory is sound: Don’t wait until a project is perfect to share it. Instead, keep producing work so more people can experience it, react to it, find bugs, and improve it.

      But does the principle also work in a creative environment? Ideas are fragile. Their merit is judged not just on the idea, but the quality of the execution. Often they need to be protected just to get that far. All it takes is one naysayer to sweep the legs out from under your idea.

Leftovers

  • UF student Zachary Garcia Googles himself, finds he’s accused of murder

    Florida student is relieved to know deputies aren’t searching for him…but he’s still in shock that the Polk County Sheriff’s Office erroneously released his photo in connection to a September murder.

    Investigators originally released a driver’s license photo of Zachary Garcia — spelled with an “A” — but it was Zachery Garcia — spelled with an “E” — who was charged in connection with the crime.

  • Convicted Murderer Posts Prison Party Pics on Facebook

    Oklahoma’s FOX 23 News found out about “Jus N Walk” and his Facebook page, which, sadly, no longer contains the photographs of Walker taking bong rips, drinking hooch and licking shanks. He likes fantasy novels, the movie Natural Born Killers, and, according to FOX 23, adheres to white power ideology. Watch the news report above.

  • Google’s Book Store Is Coming Soon [REPORT]

    Google Editions, the Internet giant’s book store business promised for last summer, is set to launch before the end of 2010, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • The Gary McKinnon solution?

    One of the latest disclosure by Wikileaks that is doing the round today is the news that Gordon Brown personally appealed to the US Ambassador to resolve the Gary McKinnon case and allow him to face justice in the UK. By all account the US gave him a flat refusal.

    The conspiracy theorists are suggesting it seems that this appeal by Brown took place around the same time as Scotland were pissing off the yanks by letting the Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi free because he only had a few months to live (still alive I think). In other words, the yanks took the “fuck you” approach as payback.

  • Cisco to acquire LineSider for cloud tech

    Muscling up on cloud technologies, Cisco is in the process of acquiring network management software vendor LineSider Technologies, the company announced Wednesday.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • WikiLeaks: A Reminder Of The Pentagon Papers

      The Pentagon Papers were a secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam. The New York Times published the papers in defiance of the Nixon administration, and was investigated by the White House. Attorney Floyd Abrams, who defended the newspaper in the Pentagon Papers case, talks to Renee Montagne about the laws that apply to WikiLeaks.

    • Wikileaks Cablegate Roundup

      I’ve been dealing with a family illness, but couldn’t let the Wikileaks Cablegate incident pass without comment. In between hospital visits, I’ve been jotting down links related to the historic leak.

      It’s a stunning experiment of forced transparency, prying open government against its will without much care or concern about the ramifications. Wikileaks is the Pirate Bay of journalism — an unstoppable force disrupting whole industries because they can.

      To help make sense of my own opinions about it, I rounded up some of the more interesting responses and visualizations. Enjoy.

    • Interpol issues “Red Notice” for arrest of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange over “sex crime”

      Kevin Poulsen at Wired News: “The international police organization Interpol has issued a Red Notice for the arrest of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, in connection with a sex crime investigation in Sweden.”

    • Citizen Control TV – How free do you feel?
    • An Interview With WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

      Admire him or revile him, WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is the prophet of a coming age of involuntary transparency, the leader of an organization devoted to divulging the world’s secrets using technology unimagined a generation ago. Over the last year his information insurgency has dumped 76,000 secret Afghan war documents and another trove of 392,000 files from the Iraq war into the public domain–the largest classified military security breaches in history. Sunday, WikiLeaks made the first of 250,000 classified U.S. State Department cables public, offering an unprecedented view of how America’s top diplomats view enemies and friends alike.

    • Terrorists Defined as ‘All Who Oppose Us’

      I think there actually is something talismanic about designating Assange a terrorist–politically talismanic. I think we’re getting close to a point where “terrorist” indicates a certain view of your enemies, as opposed to a statement of tactics. I have mixed feelings about the Wikileaks dump, mostly because I don’t really see any great scandals, atrocities, or cover-ups being exposed. Assange oeuvre is mostly hacker, and occasionally, accidentally humanitarian.

    • Flanagan regrets WikiLeaks assassination remark

      Tom Flanagan, a former senior adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, says he regrets his “glib” comment calling for the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      “It was a thoughtless, glib remark about a serious subject,” Flanagan said Wednesday on the CBC’s Power & Politics with Evan Solomon.

    • Law Review: Has Assange of Wikileaks actually committed a crime?
    • WikiLeaks website, pummeled by attacks, loses home
    • WikiLeaks and Latin America: Same Old Imperious US Diplomats

      As more and more documents become available from Wikileaks, the public has gotten a novel and close up view of U.S. diplomats and their operations abroad. I was particularly interested to review heretofore secret documents dealing with Latin America, a region which has absorbed the attention of Washington officials in recent years. While it’s certainly no secret that the Bush administration, not to mention the later Obama White House, have both sought to isolate the so-called “Pink Tide” of leftist regimes in South America, the Wikileaks documents give us some interesting insight into the mindset of U.S. diplomats as they carry out their day to day work.

    • Who Will Be TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year?

      He is a new kind of whistle-blower: one made for the digital age. Those before him (like Daniel Ellsberg) were limited in the ways they could go public with their information. But in founding WikiLeaks.org, Julian Assange gave himself the freedom to publish virtually anything he wants, whether it’s the true nature of Iraqi prisoner abuse, the double role Pakistan plays in Afghanistan or the personal e-mails of Sarah Palin.

    • Sarah Palin says: target WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange like the Taliban

      Sarah Palin, who is widely tipped as a possible Republican candidate for president in 2012, has said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be hunted down in the way armed forces are targeting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

    • Wikileaks ‘ousted’ from Amazon

      Update: U.S. politicians told Amazon to remove Wikileaks

    • Unspeakable: Tom Flanagan and #WikiLeaks

      Once a nation honored for our commitment to peacekeeping, today Canada’s international reputation is in tatters thanks to Tom Flanagan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • US extends oil drilling ban in Gulf of Mexico

      President Barack Obama’s administration is to maintain a ban on off-shore oil and gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Atlantic coast.

      The decision reverses a plan to open up new areas announced by Mr Obama in the spring, just before the BP oil spill.

      Wednesday’s move sparked protests from oil firms and their allies in Congress.

    • Climate Science 1956: A Blast from the Past
  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why Europeans Think We’re Insane

      It wasn’t until I left America that I started to realize how badly the American plutocrat owned media lies to the American people through its disinformation campaign.

      Well today for a span of at least this one Daily Kos diary, you will get to see what the American plutocrat owned media never wants you to see, and that is how Europe in particular and the world in general has come to see America as a country in decline, whose people are so badly misinformed by the media, they actually don’t realize that America is the only major industrialized nation in the world that by right of law does not offer universal medical access, paid sick leave, paid maternity leave and paid annual leave. It just seems almost impossible to get that word out to the American people. Even diaries on that subject at the Kos top out at just over 2,000 views.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Facebook’s ‘Like This’ button is tracking you

      A researcher from a Dutch university is warning that Facebook’s ‘Like This’ button is watching your every move.

      Arnold Roosendaal, who is a doctoral candidate at the Tilburg University for Law, Technology and Society, warns that Facebook is tracking and tracing everyone, whether they use the social networking site or not.

    • Web age certificates law forces German blogs offline

      In Germany, a few blogs and websites have already decided to throw in the towel before a law comes into effect from January 1, 2011. The so-called Jugendmedienschutz-Staatsvertrag (JMStV) will task anyone operating a .de domain with adding an age certificate to his or her website – imagine having to add a BBFC certificate on your blog.

      Sounds like a dumb idea, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it is set to become reality due to politicians ratifying the law in the parliaments of Germany’s 16 federal states.

    • How YouPorn Checks What Other Porn Sites Youve Visited and Ad Networks Test The Quality of Their Data

      YouPorn is one of the most popular sites on the Web, with an Alexa ranking of 61. Those who visit the homemade-porn featuring site — essentially, a YouTube for porn enthusiasts — are subject to scrutiny, though, of the Web tracking variety. When a visitor surfs into the YouPorn homepage, a script running on the website checks to see what other porn sites that person has been to.

      [...]

      So I checked in with Interclick. Interclick explained that it deployed the script on websites around the Web over a limited period, from March to October, to test the quality of data sets it had purchased. “Interclick purchases anonymous audience data from several vendors for the purpose of targeting advertising campaigns. Consequently, it has a number of quality control measures in place to understand the quality and effectiveness of this data. The code observed in the paper was a quality measure being tested,” said Interclick in a statement to me.

    • Race Is On to ‘Fingerprint’ Phones, PCs

      He’s off to a good start. So far, Mr. Norris’s start-up company, BlueCava Inc., has identified 200 million devices. By the end of next year, BlueCava says it expects to have cataloged one billion of the world’s estimated 10 billion devices.

      Advertisers no longer want to just buy ads. They want to buy access to specific people. So, Mr. Norris is building a “credit bureau for devices” in which every computer or cellphone will have a “reputation” based on its user’s online behavior, shopping habits and demographics. He plans to sell this information to advertisers willing to pay top dollar for granular data about people’s interests and activities.

      Device fingerprinting is a powerful emerging tool in this trade. It’s “the next generation of online advertising,” Mr. Norris says.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • FCC chairman to propose plan for net neutrality

      The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission plans to announce Wednesday a controversial proposal that would prohibit Internet providers from favoring or discriminating against any traffic that goes over their networks.

      He would do so, however, without resorting to the more drastic step of changing the way the FCC regulates broadband providers, a move that would have more clearly asserted the government’s authority over Internet access.

    • The Internet Distributed Open Name System project
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • There’s An Entire Conference About Trying To ‘Protect’ Content?

      It’s been sort of amusing over the past few years to watch the entertainment and media worlds focus increasingly on the idea that they need to “protect” content in some way, as if (a) that’s possible or (b) desirable. It is neither. At this point, it should be clear that there is no realistic way to “protect” content. The debunking of DRM has gone on for many years, and I don’t think we need to contribute any further to that discussion. But, more importantly, even if it were possible, I would argue that it is not a good idea. The opportunities for smart business models going forward are in enabling people to do more with your content. That is, it’s in using the content to create greater and greater value — and then setting up business models that allow you to capture some of that increased value.

    • Copyrights

      • Hurt Locker Producers Demand Sanctions Against Lawyer Offering DIY Legal Kits

        We’ve discussed in great detail the efforts by Voltage Pictures, the producers of the movie Hurt Locker to sue thousands of people for sharing the movie. Well, “sue” should be used loosely, as the effort, coordinated by US Copyright Group (really DC law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver), is really about demanding people pay up to avoid getting sued. We also wrote about a lawyer, Graham Syfert, who was offering (for sale) a DIY legal kit for individuals on the receiving end of such a lawsuit, who couldn’t afford a lawyer. Apparently a bunch of folks have used those legal forms to make pro se filings — and apparently some of them are working. The motions to quash have gone nowhere, but motions to dismiss are apparently getting some traction, and USCG and Voltage are not at all happy about it.

      • Theft! A History of Music—Part 2: Copyright jams

        “What’s happening?” Jenkins continued. “This level of granularity–licensing two or three notes–IP rights are being applied down to the atomic level of culture. Tiny fragments of music come loaded with demands for payment and copyright protection.”

        Despite the assertion that creativity is unaffected, these rulings have changed the music that we create and the way that it sounds.

        Will it in any way give us more art, more creativity? Because after all, that’s the purpose of copyright, which is defined in US law as “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” It doesn’t seem so.

        Would jazz, blues, rock, or soul have developed the same way under this legal regime? Probably not.

      • Torrent users sue US Copyright Group for fraud and extortion

        Dmitriy Shirokov is suing a Washington law firm that sent threatening letters to thousands of alleged movie downloaders, accusing the firm of fraud and extortion. He filed the 96-page lawsuit, which argues that lawyers at Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver made a business of threatening people with expensive litigation and fines unless they pay “settlement offers” of $1,500 to $2,500, in the US District Court of Massachusetts.

      • ACTA

        • European Parliament: Who is For and Who is Against ACTA?

          After last week’s rejection of the joint resolution on the anti-Counterfeiting Tade Agreement (ACTA) by the European Parliament, and the adoption of a bad, pro-ACTA resolution tabled by the conservative EPP group, La Quadrature has analyzed the results of the vote. The results show an overall polarized poll, with the bulk of the political groups who tabled the resolution voting in favor (S&D, ALDE, Greens/EFA, EUL/NGL), while the Conservatives rejected it (EPP and ECR). But details show that some MEPs did not follow their group’s position. The overall picture gives a clear view of who to convince in order to obtain a full rejection of ACTA during the upcoming consent vote.

Clip of the Day

Pentagon Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Upcoming Iraq War Wikileaks Docs (Part 1 of 2)


Credit: TinyOgg

TurboHercules Confirmed to be Funded by Microsoft to Attack GNU/Linux/IBM

Posted in Google, IBM, Microsoft at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TurboHercules

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO

Summary: Google and IBM antitrust actions are both linked to a campaign funded by Microsoft

THIS MORNING we wrote about Microsoft manufacturing antitrust cases against Google. At one stage Microsoft even admitted this. In some cases, companies that Microsoft uses as proxies adopt an “attack first, get the money later” approach. This means that if/when they attack, the outside observer may not yet know about a payment which was promised by Microsoft implicitly or explicitly. Only much later such a payment might be revealed, so the press coverage which comes at the time of antitrust complaints does not account for that. Quite a loophole, eh?

This is classic Microsoft and it has been done repeatedly before (it’s like SCO versus IBM). Racketeering, financial corruption and deception appear to be among Microsoft’s top ‘qualities’. Lobbying is part of it and Microsoft Florian is getting ever more exposed now that it turns out that TurboHercules — whose case against IBM Florian has been boosting so much — is paid by Microsoft (thanks to gnufreex for the pointer).

Microsoft has pumped an undisclosed sum into TurboHercules, a French outfit that seeks to undercut IBM’s mainframe business.

The cash infusion, which happened last week, comes hot on the heels of Microsoft’s orchestration of a $450m purchase of 882 patents from Novell as part of Attachmate’s acquisition of that software maker.

TurboHercules is co-headquartered in Paris, France, and Seattle, Washington. Presumably, it’s in Paris to gain the protection of its EU antitrust regulator and in Seattle to, well, be close to Microsoft.

[...]

The US Department of Justice opened up an investigation into IBM’s business practices regarding the mainframe a few weeks after TurboHercules launched, and TurboHercules filed a complaint with the European antitrust regulators in March of this year. In July, the EC opened up a formal probe into IBM’s mainframe business in the wake of the company’s eating of Platform Solutions, a provider of clone mainframes that settled its lawsuits with Big Blue in July 2008 and then agreed to be acquired by IBM for an undisclosed sum.

Microsoft and a bunch of private equity firms kicked $37m into Platform Solutions back in November 2007 to foster its growth and help it pay for its legal battles with Big Blue.

The explanation of the investment from Microsoft is much the same for TurboHercules as it was for Platform Solutions.

Well, one mustn’t forget Neon and T3, which is also partly owned by Microsoft (although it turned out to be the case only after it had attacked IBM mainframes running only GNU/Linux).

Here is the coverage put together by Joab Jackson and a colleague from IDG. He says that Microsoft invests “quietly” in TurboHercules, which speaks volumes:

Continuing its low-key crusade for greater mainframe openness (or less IBM dominance of that market), Microsoft has invested an undisclosed amount of money in mainframe emulator provider TurboHercules, said the Paris company.

[...]

Another company that has received Microsoft funding, T3, has also filed an antitrust complaint against IBM in Europe. And Microsoft is a member of the Computer and Communications Industry Association trade group, which helped spark a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust probe into IBM’s mainframe market dominance last year.

[...]

Microsoft also declined to comment on the investment beyond offering a written statement: “Microsoft shares TurboHercules’ belief that there needs to be greater openness and choice for customers in the mainframe market. Customers tell us that they want greater interoperability between the mainframe and other platforms, including systems that run Windows Server. For that reason, we continue to invest in companies like TurboHercules to develop new solutions for our mutual customers.”

Microsoft issued an identical statement, down to the exact wording, to describe its investment in T3, while denying involvement in T3′s legal complaint against IBM.

Typical Microsoft. And some people still wonder, why is Microsoft being singled out as a malicious company?

IRC Proceedings: December 1st, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Amidst Its Moves to Software Freedom Italy Falls Under Microsoft Siege

Posted in Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Taxi - Italy colours

Summary: Microsoft is still preying on the young where the ‘threat’ of software freedom is identified

Microsoft has openly admitted (sometimes a little less openly) that it preys on young people and young businesses because it tries to establish an effective lock-in earlier on. In the case of schools it is worse than in the case of businesses because schools are usually funded by the parents or funded by the government, which is in turn funded by taxpayers (also parents). This means that all citizens are required to subsidise Microsoft indoctrination which targets children.

In the UK, an agency called BECTA used to sign secret Microsoft deals to pass British taxpayers’ money to Microsoft. What for? For compulsory Microsoft indoctrination (Windows, Office, and more) of every British child. BECTA has been abolished but not before it “agree[d to] £400m ICT framework” (that’s more than half a billion dollars):

More than 20 suppliers have been included in a services framework agreement set up by the soon to be abolished education ICT agency.

Becta has divided the framework into two lots. The first covers network technologies, which will incorporate infrastructure services and mobile connectivity services, and the second covers ICT integration services.

Those suppliers in turn supply money to Microsoft UK.

“Microsoft seems to be ‘pulling an EDGI’ and corruptible politicians like Nichi Vendola are helping.”The situation in UK is not much different than the situation elsewhere in Europe. A Romanian reader of ours wrote in Identi.ca earlier this week: “Romanian State’s Authority for Communications buys #proprietary #software for 1,8 mil. € xhttp://tinyurl.com/3xensla

Cassidy wrote this article which shows how Microsoft is also preying on startups, using BizSpark [1, 2]. “But programs like Start Up Central and BizSpark,” he wrote, “are also a sign that startups cannot be ignored by even the biggest players.” Of course they cannot, it’s about lock-in.

What bothers us the most right now is what goes on in Italy (EN|ES), which moved to Free software more quickly than its neighbours in the EU. Microsoft seems to be ‘pulling an EDGI’ and corruptible politicians like Nichi Vendola are helping. Glyn Moody explains “why Puglia’s deal with Microsoft will lead to lock-in” in this new post which states:

will Microsoft and representatives of the Puglia administration work together to discuss the latest developments in mobile, on the desktop, or data centres, and come to the conclusion: “you know, what would really be best for Puglia would be replacing all these expensive Microsoft Office systems by free LibreOffice; replacing handsets with low-cost Android smartphones; and adopting open stack solutions in the cloud”? Or might they just possibly decide: “let’s just keep Microsoft Office on the desktop, buy a few thousands Windows Mobile 7 phones (they’re so pretty!), and use Windows Azure, and Microsoft’ll look after all the details”?

[...]

are we to imagine that Microsoft will diligently provide a nicely balanced selection of PCs running Windows, some Apple Macintoshes, and PCs running GNU/Linux? Will it send along specialists in open source? Will it provide examples of all the leading free software packages to be used in the joint competency centre? Or will it simply fill the place to the gunwales with Windows-based, proprietary software, and staff it with Windows engineers?

The point is the “deal” with Microsoft is simply an invitation for Microsoft to colonise everywhere it can. And to be fair, there’s not much else it can do: it has little deep knowledge of free software, so it would be unreasonable to expect it to explore or promote it. But it is precisely for that reason that this agreement is completely useless; it can produce one result, and one result only: recommendations to use Microsoft products at every level, either explicitly or implicitly.

Italians should become active here if they want to impede the emptying of Italy’s coffers. If Microsoft is allowed access to the administration (the Italian government moved to GNU/Linux in places), it will become quite the money Hoover and the burden will contribute towards what we already see in Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal.

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