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12.04.10

Links 4/12/2010: Unity in Fedora, Raphaël Hertzog Says Success of Ubuntu Mostly Beneficial to Debian

Posted in News Roundup at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • U.S. Air Force Creates Powerful Supercomputer Out Of PS3s

    The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has connected 1,760 PlayStation 3 systems together to create what the organization is calling the fastest interactive computer in the entire Defense Department.

  • The Move To Linux – Encrypted Disk Issues

    One of the standards that has become normal in the US federal sector is the requirement that all mobile devices, such as laptops, have encrypted drives. This was a direct result of a number of laptop thefts earlier in the decade that resulted in the supposed leaking of personal information. As a former federal contractor, I watched a number of successful and not so successful methodologies implemented and deployed. Some resulted in real data protection and some resulted in wonderful bricks. In some cases on a regular (read daily) basis.

  • [rant] How do I do that?

    Two steps to fix this problem:

    * 1). Every project should have architects who set direction and whose opinion counts as gospel on decisions that will impact user experience. They can veto the silly wheel re-invention exercises. People who don’t like that can go hack on Linux From Scratch in their basement.
    * 2). Every project should work with independent industry bodies to standardize the moment some new feature comes along. So that there is one “Linux way” to do it, and not ten different but similar ways to do the same thing.

  • Where to get linux
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Announces Individual Membership Drive

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced a new individual membership drive and promotion that makes members eligible to win free Linux.com Store T-shirts, hats, mugs and more.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Holiday Improvements To The Unigine Engine

        Last week Unigine launched a game development competition where they will be granting a free Unigine Engine licensee to the development team that proposes the best original Linux game using their engine. This competition is still going on for a few more days so get your submissions soon [we are hoping to be able to share some of the submissions with you at some point]. While this competition may still be going on, the Russian developers behind Unigine continue working on the advanced, multi-platform game engine this holiday.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Out of the darkness comes Enlightenment

      Although KDE is my work horse, every day, desktop environment, I enjoy testing different environments from time to time. Enlightenment is one environment that I had wanted to try for a while. I remember seeing some beautiful Enlightenment screen shots about 10 years ago. However, at the time, installing it was not an easy task. And frankly, KDE fulfilled all my needs on a DE. However, my admiration for Enlightenment has never really gone away. So, I was glad when I heard that PCLinuxOS had a release sporting this DE. Knowing how easy it is to install and maintain a PCLinuxOS desktop, I thought this may be the time to finally give Enlightenment a try. And I was right.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE’s Mobile Team Meets for First Sprint

        KDAB’s Berlin office hosted the first Mobile Sprint for KDE contributors between the 18th and the 21st of November. The objective of the Sprint was to connect various KDE teams whose work in some way involves mobile platforms, so they could share experiences and work on improvements for all mobile projects.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat top corporate kernel contributor

        Red Hat continues to hold its lead as the main corporate contributor to the development of the Linux kernel, according to the annual Linux Foundation report on kernel development which has just been released.

        The report (PDF) shows that Red Hat contributed 23,356 changes to the kernel since the release of version 2.6.12 on June 17, 2005, amounting to 12.4 percent of the total. The kernel is now at version 2.6.35.

        Version 2.6.12 is the point at which the use of the version control system git was initiated to manage development of the kernel.

      • Red Hat employees remember to share their success

        It’s the best of times for Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), which is rolling for a billion dollar revenue year with profits at record highs and stock trading at a 52-week high of $47.74 on Friday.

        Yet it’s also a time for reflection as the choice of the Hatters’ annual charitable donation amplified at the company’s annual Christmas get-together.

        Employees voted again this year for the company to donate to charity rather that put on a Christmas bash. They chose that the corporate donation to be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation.

      • Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: Latest Enterprise Linux OS from Red Hat Shines in Server Room Roles

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux has long been a trusty go-to operating system option for most server roles, if not in its official Red Hat branded form, then in one of its respun incarnations, such as the fee-free CentOS or the Oracle rebrand Unbreakable Linux. Based on my tests of RHEL 6, I expect this new release to continue in that tradition—the new release performed as solidly as ever, and benefits from a support term that’s been lengthened from seven to 10 years.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Moving to Unity Too!

          Despite all the negative reaction to Ubuntu’s move to Unity, is it possible that another popular distribution is going to walk in its footsteps? Do they want to experience the backlash and exodus of users? Do they want to be subjected to a barrage of criticism? Well, no, not really. But Adam Williamson is working on making some Fedora packages for those that might want to test and run it.

        • Fuduntu gets a face lift

          I have been hard at work, improving the look and feel of Fuduntu Linux. Tonights updates bring much needed improvement to the desktop and panel icons.

    • Debian Family

      • Interview with Debian Developer Raphaël Hertzog: is Ubuntu beneficial for Debian?

        What’s the biggest problem of Linux?

        I’m always annoyed when some new hardware doesn’t work. It’s painful to have to google around to find out a solution. Sometimes you need a newer kernel, sometimes you need to build custom modules for your kernel, sometimes you need a firmware for a driver that you already have, sometimes you need a newer version of Xorg, etc.

        I wish all hardware manufacturers could get their drivers merged in Linux before their hardware hit the shelves of shops.

        Do you think the success of Ubuntu is beneficial for Debian or the opposite?

        I think it’s mostly beneficial.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Event matching in Upstart

          A little while ago I was asked to solve a problem that somebody was having with Upstart, and I realised that people weren’t understanding how things were actually working and were just muddling along when doing event matching in jobs. This is unfortunate, because it hides some of Upstart’s true power, so I thought it high time I actually explained this.

        • Myth Busted #3: Unity is “Lock-in”

          The development page on Launchpad shows that the code is GPLv3 and LGPLv3. If we check out the branches, you can see that there are a ton of active forks. 47 at the time of this writing.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Why I prefer Julia over Ubuntu Maverick

            Ubuntu lovers, don’t get me wrong : I’m a big fun of ubuntu. In fact, I always encourage people to use ubuntu and I install it for them.
            However, with every new box I install ubuntu on, I find myself compelled to further enhance the fresh installation with new features. I know, ubuntu is great out of the box, it has great hardware detection capabilities, and is loaded with software that covers the needs of a casual user. Yet, default functionalities are not enough to turn a Windows-7-addicted into the ubuntu lover I want him to become. In fact, ubuntu new-comers get shocked by the new interface gnome offers, and frustrated when they find no flash support for their browsing. Hence, in order to fill that gap, I find myself downloading, installing and configuring new features, like compiz for visual effects, closed-source codecs for medias, system upgrades for more stability, a more friendly theme, etc…

          • Kubuntu 11.04 Sneak Peek [UDS Cookie]

            At every Ubuntu Developer Summit, the Ubuntu project comes together and tries to find new and exiting ways of breaking their own systems.

            So it also happened about a month ago in Orlando, FL. But let me focus on the Kubuntu bits and pieces, since Ubuntu is way to big a project to summarize all the awesomeness in one (sensibly long) blog post.

          • Linux for the Holidays

            Wait, what’s this! Existing members and non-members can also enter the drawing by mailing their name and email address to The Linux Foundation headquarters. The address and official rules for the drawing are available at the Linux Foundation website. Yea!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Mentor Graphics acquires GNU toolchain leader CodeSourcery

      Embedded software vendor Mentor Graphics, which supports Linux, Android, and Nucleus OS, has acquired “certain assets” of GNU-based toolchain vendor CodeSourcery, Inc., including Sourcery G++ and Sourcery VSIPL++. The deal essentially amounts to an acquisition of CodeSourcery, as the appointment of its CEO Mark Mitchell as director of embedded tools at Mentor demonstrates.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-Source Firm Decries Software Abuse

    An open-source software company claims a website violates its trademark and uses it to distribute a media-player program riddled with “potentially malicious” spyware. Geeknet and VideoLAN, creator of the VLC Media Player, claim Tightrope Interactive violated the VLC trademark, which VideoLAN has used since 1998.

  • Four Reasons To Pay Extra For Software Freedom
  • Corporate IT Needs to Embrace the Spirit of Open Source

    In an intra-business setting, we all work for the same company, right? Why shouldn’t any and all code be freely available? Why should you have to write a new widget because your application doesn’t have one yet? And if that widget API does exist from some other team, great. But why not also make its source code available?

  • December Project of the Month: Snor

    As we wave goodbye to what’s left of 2010, we also wrap up our months-long look at projects that have been with us for 10 years or more. The final project we’re highlighting this year is Snort, an open source network intrusion prevention and detection system (IDS/IPS) developed by Sourcefire.

  • May the Source be with You

    This fully-featured suite of office programs comes with all the features you’d expect from the best of its kind, at a fraction of the cost. No, wait – it’s free! For the cost of a few minutes of screen time, you can get a word processor, spreadsheet, drawing, painting and database program. Most will read and write files from the most popular commercial software. The database doesn’t read Access files, but for most users, that won’t be a problem. If you send files to friends or professors who are still using Office, be careful – Microsoft won’t read OpenOffice.org format. Save it as a .doc file first. OpenOffice.org is available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Meet the Newest (and Cutest) Mozillians

        On June 14, 2010, two female firefox (a.k.a red panda) cubs were born at the Knoxville Zoo in Tennessee, and as of today, they’ve officially joined the Mozilla community. To meet our newest (and cutest) Mozillians, visit www.firefoxlive.org. For the next few months you’ll be able to watch these baby firefoxes play, live and grow via a 24 hour live video stream.

  • Oracle

    • From the Editors: Oracle is making friends

      Winning over IBM was a huge coup for Oracle, especially when you consider the fact that IBM is the one company that competes most obliquely with Oracle in hardware, database and software markets. And being able to keep Red Hat signed onto the project was another big win for Oracle: The company takes Red Hat’s Linux as CentOS and rebrands it with its own kernel version and logos.

      And yet, both IBM and Red Hat are dedicated to the OpenJDK. Combine this with the news from Nov. 12 that Apple will also be joining the OpenJDK, and you’ve got quite an alliance of Java stakeholders all working on a single, unified Java.

  • Government

    • PT: Parliamentarians propose to make open standards mandatory

      Two left-wing political parties in the Portuguese parliament want to make the use of open standards mandatory for public administrations. Next week Friday, the parliament will discuss two motions, filed by the Left Bloc, with sixteen of the 230 seats in the parliament, and the Portuguese Communist Party, which has thirteen seats.

  • Licensing

    • SAP Oracle Support Verdict Gives Companies Another Reason to Use Open Source

      With the announcement of $1.3B in damages awarded to Oracle in the lawsuit against SAP , Oracle has made abundantly clear that they intend to do everything they can to lock customers in to their expensive and highly profitable maintenance and support fees. Of course TomorrowNow made it ridiculously easy for Oracle by stealing Oracle’s IP, but Oracle seems likely to go after other third-party support providers as well.

    • Nook Color GPL update

      Barnes and Noble posted the source code to the Nook Color here, which is a much faster turnaround than last time so some sort of progress has definitely been made.

Leftovers

  • Parliament misses opportunity for wider involvement in Citizen’s Initiatives

    Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs committee today approved its report on the draft regulation to set up a European Citizen’s Initiative, as foreseen in the Lisbon Treaty. The change will enable any physical person to address the European Commission with a subject for legislative action as long as it falls within the competences of the Treaties.

  • China senior official urges lawyers to promote social justice

    [JURIST] A top Chinese official on Monday called on the country’s lawyers to promote law enforcement and social justice [Xinhua report] and encouraged lawyers, prosecutors and government officials to build a community of support and respect. During a meeting attended by members of the country’s law firms and bar associations, Zhou Yongkang [BBC profile], a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Republic of China [official website], urged Chinese lawyers to take on more pro bono cases and resolve conflicts in order to promote social well-being. Zhou also encouraged the country’s courts to hire more lawyers to act as both judges and prosecutors.

  • Judge admits he violated rights

    A chancery judge has admitted he violated the rights of a Tupelo lawyer by having him jailed for not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in his courtroom, the state judicial watchdog group says.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • When it comes to Assange rape case, the Swedes are making it up as they go along

      For three months Assange had been waiting in vain to hear whether media statements by and for the two female “victims” that there was no fear or violence were going to be embellished so the charges might be carried forward due to greater seriousness. Such statements would stop a rape charge in any Western country dead in its tracks. Rape is a crime of violence, duress or deception. You can rape someone by deluding them into thinking you are someone else or by drugging them or by reason of their young age but essentially it’s a crime of violence.

      The women here are near to and over 30 and have international experience, some of it working in Swedish government embassies. There is no suggestion of drugs nor identity concealment. Far from it. Both women boasted of their celebrity connection to Assange after the events that they would now see him destroyed for.

    • Why Amazon Caved, and What It Means for the Rest of Us

      Amazon Web Services dropped WikiLeaks material from its servers on Tuesday, a move that is widely assumed to be a direct response to pressure from the Senate Homeland Security Committee. A statement from Amazon disputed that, stating that they kicked WikiLeaks off for violating the terms of service: “For example, our terms of service state that ‘you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.’”

  • Finance

    • Feds Raid 3 Hedge Funds Linked to Trading Probe

      The FBI raided three hedge funds Monday in what one of the targets called a wide-ranging probe of insider trading in the financial industry.

      Bureau employees searched the New York offices of Level Global Investors LP, and the Stamford, Conn. headquarters of Diamondback Capital Management LLC, a law enforcement official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss an ongoing case.

    • Insider Trading: An Arrest and A Green Light on Wiretaps

      Many folks will not be having much of a holiday this week with the feds stepping things up in what could be one of the most far-reaching insider trading cases ever.

      Earlier Wednesday, they made the first of what could be many more arrests. An employee at a California “expert network” firm was taken into custody before a scheduled trip to Taiwan on Sunday. Here’s the WSJ’s ongoing coverage of the arrest and what it means. Read here, here, here, here and here for LawBlog stories on what’s happened so far in the investigation.

    • Trading Inquiry Widens to Big Firms

      Federal authorities, intensifying an insider-trading investigation, are demanding trading and other information from some of the nation’s most powerful investment firms.

      Hedge-fund giants SAC Capital Advisors and Citadel LLC, big mutual-fund company Janus Capital Group Inc. and Wellington Management Co., one of the nation’s biggest institutional-investment firms, have received subpoenas from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office seeking trading, communications and other data as part of a broad criminal investigation, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Madoff trustee seeks more than $8 bln from big banks

      The trustee overseeing the liquidation of Bernard Madoff’s investment empire is suing two of the world’s biggest banks to try to get more than $8 billion for victims of the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

    • Securities Class Actions Mostly Punish Shareholders, Study Finds

      It’s a belief many law-school graduates cling to fiercely, in the face of all contrary evidence: That the tort system is a mechanism for discovering the truth, disciplining wrongdoers, and compensating victims for their losses.

      A new study in the Financial Analysts Journal casts serious doubt on the premise, at least when it comes to shareholder class actions. In most cases, the authors found, the litigation mainly serves to punish shareholders who have already suffered from a downturn in their stock. Only suits targeting illegal insider trading, and to a lesser extent, accounting fraud were associated with subsequent higher long-term returns.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • US Has Lost All Moral High Ground On Internet Censorship

      We’ve pointed out in the past the rather bizarre dichotomy of US politicians (including the President) speaking out against internet censorship in other countries, while at the very same time supporting policies that censor websites in the US. Of course, the US censorship isn’t about political speech, but about copyright issues. However, that doesn’t make it any less censorship.

    • Canadian Courts Set High Bar for Privacy Damage Awards

      When privacy violations occur, the first reaction for many victims is to search for a way to stop the offending conduct. The second response may be to invoke the law by filing a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Hundreds of complaints are filed every year and most are resolved with an explanation for what occurred, a change in corporate policy, or occasionally a formal apology. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that a growing number of complainants have been left unsatisfied with this outcome, however, and are turning to the courts for damage awards.

    • New Obama Orders on Transparency, FOIA Requests

      Just in case new OMB director Peter R. Orszag needs any suggestions, the Sunlight Foundation — a group dedicated to improving government transparency — has several.

    • Are Hash Values Unique Digital Fingerprints?

      Suppose we’re in trial circa 1999. We offer a key document marked as Defendants’ 123. Our opponent looks it over. “Objection,” she cries. “That document is not Defendants’ 123; this is Defendants’ 123.” And then she produces a different document.

    • FTC Staff Calls for Do-Not-Track Option, Web Controls

      The U.S. Federal Trade Commission called for a do-not-track option for online browsing and pressed advertisers to make their data practices clearer for consumers, in staff recommendations on privacy.

    • FTC Suggests Do-Not-Track Privacy Setting for Web Use

      First came Do-Not-Call. Now, the Federal Trade Commission is focusing on Do-Not-Track.

      In a 79-page report issued today, the agency suggested a new framework for consumer privacy in the commercial world, including a way for people to choose whether to allow companies to collect data about their online searching and browsing.

      “Many of us on the Commission believe that it’s time for a Do-Not-Track mechanism with respect to third party ads,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz in a call with reporters. “A Do-Not-Track browser setting would serve as an easy, one-stop shop for consumers to express their choices, rather than on a company-by-company or industry-by-industry basis. Microsoft, Google, Mozilla and Apple have already experimented with this, by the way, as has a coalition of companies.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Clip of the Day

Sony Vaio PCG-F350 with Puppy Linux


Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: December 3rd, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Microsoft Lobbyists Are Still Duping EU Politicians for Software Patents to be Legalised

Posted in Deception, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 12:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ACT logo

Summary: Microsoft and its front group ACT are still trying to break a long-established tradition of denying software patents in Europe, at least on paper

EARLIER today we wrote about VirnetX trying to expand its abusive patents to Europe (having made a mess in the United States with a US patent). Here is another company which wants its patent monopoly to be granted in Europe. As the president of the FFII put it:

ChatRoulette is patentable? The technology, which is patent pending in the US and the EU http://ur1.ca/2g60j

Microsoft too would love to legitimise software patents in Europe before/if it declares patent war on Linux. In case Microsoft decides to sue massively, it needs to prepare the ground, i.e. change the law overseas (in Germany, for example, Microsoft got its FAT patent endorsed quite recently). It’s not easy to distort the law without some front groups which pretend to represent the interests of Europe and the interests of small businesses. That’s what ACT is for and right now we find it lobbying harder to please its paymaster, Microsoft. Morgan Reed, the current Executive Director of ACT, posts some propaganda in the Huff&Puff (which accepts many pieces of fraud/quacks/junk). In it, ACT talks about TiVo, which is a patent aggressor [1, 2, 3, 4]. ACT is trying to promote software patents while giving sob stories, pretending that these come from SMBs. It is a lie. ACT arranges AstroTurf campaigns and another new example of it comes from Vincent van Quickenborne [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], the gullible politician who is serving the interests of American multinationals while pretending to serve Belgium. Here he is showing his lack of understanding by citing Mr. Sax from ACT [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]:

Minister@VincentVQ mentioned in the US Senate. Read the story of Belgian entrepreneur MikeSax http://www.scribd.com/doc/44590348 (p.3) #cool

The president of the FFII (also from Belgium) already tells Vincent that he is being bamboozled by Microsoft lobbyists:

Mike Sax is on the payroll of Microsoft and ACT. They are promoting software patents wherever they can.

Later comes this remarks:

Mike Sax for software patents in the name of “small companies”, ACT is a Microsoft proxy, swpats are “Protectionism 2.0″ http://ur1.ca/2hsog

For those who do not know or cannot remember, Vincent has been a key cheerleader of what would possibly become an open door to software patents in Europe. Either he does not understand what he is doing (deceived by lobbyists) or he is knowingly being malicious by harming European software developers.

Watch Microsoft’s propaganda site (MSBBC) as it advertises this abominable push for a patent system which would likely accept software patents in due course:

A group of EU countries plans to strike a deal soon on a simplified and cheaper European patent system – a goal that has eluded the EU for a decade.

The European Commission has thrown its weight behind the move, admitting that there is no unanimity on the issue among the 27 member states.

MSBBC is not news. It’s like the Fox ‘news’ of Microsoft and other corporations like GE. On the face of it, Google too joins this party by offering translations that bridge and thus facilitate USPTO invasion into Europe. “Google signs deal with European Patent Office to translate patents” says this article, but Google really ought to stop helping the broken US patent system, which it seems to be exploiting for ad revenue and other selfish interests, including an accumulation of software monopolies (patents).

Looking at the UK, Out-law.com has this curious article titled “Inventor only entitled to share of employer’s actual patent earnings” and other publications reveal a misguided move in the UK. Glyn Moody writes about it:

Orborne introduces “patent box” – http://bit.ly/fFeFqm hmm, I’d prefer a “patent coffin”… #patents #uk

Is the UK-IPO wilfully borrowing the mistakes of the USPTO? “Patent tax break could drive technology innovation” says another headline from the British press. Is UK-IPO trying to become even worse than it already is? It sure seems like the USPTO stands a chance of repairing some parts of it. As the former president of the FFII, Pieter Hintjens, put it the other day: “Gotta love it. MSFT bankrolls pro-swpat lobbyists for years in Europe, now goes to SCOTUS cause a patent is aimed at Word.” We wrote about this earlier.

Then there is the RAND lobby (largely Microsoft driven and funded [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]), which appears to have already messed about with Neelie Kroes’ head. As the current president of the FFII put it:

Kroes against FLOSS: “can be implemented by all 3rd parties under fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory conditions” http://ur1.ca/2hrmw

Needless to say, Kroes was lobbied heavily by Microsoft and its front group ACT. And that’s the unfortunate outcome.

Large US Corporations Push for Software Patents Through South Korean FTA

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Signs in Korean

Summary: A ‘free’ trade agreement (FTA) is being used to blackmail Korea into accepting the unacceptable, namely software patents

IT was only recently that the president of the FFII spotted a subscribers-only article and wrote:

US coalition asks for software patents in South Korea FTA, cites China and India TRIPS interpretation against swpats http://ur1.ca/2htvk

Thankfully we have some text from the article and with fair use doctrine we are able to give a flavour of it. “The article is copyrighted,” wrote an anonymous reader to us, “but maybe you could cite relevant parts of it,” said this reader, who had access to the text. They are “[p]ushing software patents through free trade agreements,” wrote a person who interpreted this article and here is the overall analysis:

According to the article below, a business coalition paper on IP issues is asking USTR to use TPP to:

-”replicate the IPR provisions of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, especially when it comes to patents and copyrights.

-go “beyond the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). For instance, it states that the TPP should outlaw camcording in theaters, despite the fact that the ACTA made it optional for countries to have criminal penalties for camcording.

-reject the “May 2007 compromise on patent provisions struck between the Bush administration and House Democrats, which weakened patent protections in FTAs that the U.S. had negotiated with developing countries.”

-include pharmaceutical chapter targeting the reimbursement policies of the Pharmaceutical Management Agency of New Zealand (PHARMAC)

-”demand that all TPP countries fully implement the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), something that New Zealand and Vietnam have not yet done”

To quote fragments from article “Inside U.S. Trade” (12/03/2010):

A confidential draft paper by a business coalition to advise the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on the intellectual property negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks shows that U.S. companies are fighting back against European Union efforts to protect geographical indications (GIs) in other countries.

Here come patents:

In provisions other than GIs, the paper largely urges the U.S. to replicate the IPR provisions of the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, especially when it comes to patents and copyrights.

More on patents:

The Korea FTA was not affected by the IPR provisions of the May 2007 compromise, meaning that it contains what U.S. industry groups consider to be the highest level of protection to date. The paper does not delve into any specifics on patent linkage, data exclusivity and patent term extensions, which are the areas covered by the 2007 compromise.

Look who’s behind it:

This seemingly cautious approach by the business coalition differs from that of the Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), both coalition members,
which have publicly called on USTR not to repeat the 2007 compromise on IPR in the TPP negotiations.

The coalition paper was written by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), sources said.

Here come software patents:

The paper asks USTR to go beyond the Korea FTA in terms of computer implemented inventions, which are essentially patents on software.

This is how Microsoft extorts Samsung and LG (Korean companies), pulling money out of them for the use of Android.

Here’s TRIPS:

While the Korea FTA requires parties to uphold the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the problem with TRIPS is that many signatories, including China and India,
interpret it to mean that they do not have to provide patent protection for computer implemented inventions, according to the coalition paper.

More on TRIPS in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and here’s the next bunch of paragraphs:

“Thus, the language of the TPP agreement needs to be strengthened to specifically require providing patent protection for computer implemented inventions,” the paper argues.

The issue of computer implemented inventions touches on a larger debate on the scope of patent protection, one source said.

Patents clearly apply for new physical inventions or even a new process for performing a task. However, patents are generally not granted for formulas or algorithms, because that would be patenting knowledge itself, and would impede scientific progress, this source explained.

Outrageous. Recall who’s behind this. It’s not Koreans. On it goes, elucidating the US role in it:

While the U.S. currently grants software patents, some argue that these patents are essentially just the algorithm or formula itself, although written in computer code. If these software patents were all enforced, it could have the perverse effect of crippling the ability of different companies to innovate by devising new software, critics argue.

While companies currently amass these software patents, they do so largely for defensive reasons. Under this strategy, if a first company holding many software patents is challenged by another for infringement, it can look to try to find a case when that challenging company is also infringing a patent held by the first company, this source said.

This is untrue. Microsoft uses software patents offensively, e.g. against Linux and Android. They are just making up excuses for legalising software patents (calling them “defensive”, as if there is something about software which makes the already-granted patents inherently different).

What this amounts to is a sort of extortion and it helps show the US role in writing Korea’s law. Here is evidence of the continued attempts to impose US-style copyrights (the ‘Mickey Mouse’ law) on the whole world:

The draft also urges USTR to demand that all TPP countries fully implement the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT), something that New Zealand and Vietnam have not yet done, another source pointed out.

Wikileaks has just unearthed another scandal. It’s just that, as Wikileaks helps show, Spain’s proposed copyright law was written by the United States. We wrote about it this morning while mentioning Amazon as one of the companies which set/write the laws in other countries like Canada (still wrestling against crazy copyright deform). Wikileaks has some ACTA-related leaks (cables) coming, so it is clear why US diplomats fight tooth and nail to take the site and its mirrors down (see the latest news below). Even France is now trying to ban the site, possibly because it turns out that Hadopi came from the United States. Sarko is being shown for the traitor he has been.

Some other posts about Korea:

Latest Wikileaks news:

  • France moves to ban WikiLeaks from using French servers

    Industry Minister Eric Besson wrote a letter to business and technology leaders on Friday calling for ways to ban WikiLeaks from using servers in France, local media reported.

  • WikiLeaks : la loi Hadopi intéresse au plus haut point Washington
  • Wikileaks.org blocked, but mirror sites proliferating: here’s a partial index of indexes

    In response to the “killing” of Wikileaks.org by the US, countless mirror sites are springing up all over the world. It’s impossible to authoritatively catalog them all—too many mirrors, and too fluid of a situation. But here are some active indexes, which appear to be dynamically updating as new mirrors pop up.

    • wikileaks.ch
    • wikileaks.de
    • wikileaks.fi
    • wikileaks.nl
    • Wikileaks.info

  • WikiLeaks’ Assange to fight any extradition: lawyer

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will fight any bid to extradite him to Sweden over sexual misconduct allegations, and suspects foreign powers are influencing the authorities, his Swedish lawyer said on Friday.

  • NSW Supreme Court solicitor: Letter to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

    Dear Prime Minister
    From the Sydney Morning Herald I note you made a comment of “illegal” on the matter of Mr Assange in relation to the ongoing leaks of US diplomatic cables.

    Previously your colleague and Attorney General the Honourable McClelland announced an investigation of possible criminality by Mr Assange.

    As a lawyer and citizen I find this most disturbing, particularly so when a brief perusal of the Commonwealth Criminal Code shows that liability arises under the Espionage provisions, for example, only when it is the Commonwealth’s “secrets” that are disclosed and that there must be intent to damage the Commonwealth.

  • No job if you link to WikiLeaks, warns Columbia

    From The Arabist comes yet another warning of the career dangers of a fondness for WikiLeaks in the form of an email sent to students of their School of International and Public Affairs…

  • Ron Paul: ‘What we need is more WikiLeaks’

    Popular Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul is no stranger to breaking with his party, but in a recent television appearance the libertarian-leaning Rep. went even further than any member of Congress in defending whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

  • Recap: WikiLeaks faces more heat in the wake of cablegate

    It’s been a long week for the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. Problems started to mount after Amazon and EveryDNS forced them to shuffle their hosting. While this was happening, they also had to face political posturing and arrest warrants. The truth can be a dangerous and wonderful thing.

Patent Bullies Watch: Jay Walker, Wi-Lan, Intel-Nvidia

Posted in Patents at 10:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jay Walker
Photo by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

Summary: A look at some of the industry’s agitators, who are using patents to impede progress rather than actually develop

Priceline Founder Jay Walker Now Files Patent Suits For A Living

We haven’t heard much from Jay Walker since he left the name-your-own-price travel website Priceline.com in 2000, after its stock slid from $162 to next to nothing in the dot-com bust. Now Walker Digital, the company he founded and still runs, has sued Facebook, claiming that he invented the concept of privacy-protected “friending” that underpins the social network. It’s the fourth patent suit Walker has filed in a bit over a year, and his boldest claim yet.

Walker began diving into the patent-litigation world about a year ago, when he sued Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Dell and HP (NYSE: HPQ), saying that Microsoft Word infringes another of his patents, which covers searching the internet without closing the word-processor. He then sued Capital One, claiming the credit-card issuer violated two of his patents that cover “customizable credit accounts.” That lawsuit has already been thrown out by a Virginia judge, but Walker is appealing.

Wi-Lan Just Keeps On Suing; Says Cable Modems Infringe Its Patents Too (Wi-Lan is a “technology licensing firm”)

Wi-Lan really is the patent troll that just keeps on suing. You may recall that the company — which once was an operating company that totally failed in the market, because it was unable to execute — has since become one of the nastier patent trolls out there, suing everyone it possibly can. Years back, it claimed that it had patents that covered the basics behind WiFi. After that, it claimed patents on mobile broadband offerings, like WiMax. It’s also sued over patents on mobile devices and near-field Bluetooth technology.

Wi-Lan sues Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter

Technology licensing firm Wi-Lan Inc said it has initiated a patent infringement litigation against Comcast Corp, Time Warner Cable Inc, and Charter Communications in a U.S. federal court.

Intel and Nvidia will settle a patent case

Microsoft-funded ‘Satellites’ With Software Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 10:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Earth in hand

Summary: Companies that are associated with (also paid by) Microsoft use software patents to cause damage in the Free software world

WE ALREADY know for a fact (based on press releases) that Microsoft has been paying Acacia on a few occasions. Bruce Perens once wrote that Microsoft’s “license payment to SCO is simply a good-looking way to pass along a bribe” and days ago we saw Microsoft paying TurboHercules as well. IBM calls such companies "satellite proxies". As Larry Goldfarb (a key investor in SCO) once put it: “Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Last month there was a lot of discussion about the unknown, namely Red Hat's NDA with Acacia, which we last mentioned a week ago (EN | ES). Sam Varghese says that Red Hat keeps dodging the issue, which also helps feed Microsoft mobbyists like Florian Müller. That’s just what Microsoft wants.

The query was simple: “Would Red Hat like to comment on Perens’ allegations? Would the company like to make the terms of the deal available to iTWire? Or do I accept Perens’ allegations as holding substance?”

It took two weeks of waiting but when a response arrived, it was meaningless.

“”Red Hat routinely addresses attempts to impede the innovative forces of open source via allegations of patent infringement,” ran the reply, routed through its PR company in Australia

“We can confirm that Red Hat, Inc and Software Tree LLC have settled patent litigation that was pending in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas (Civil Action No. 6:09-cv-00097-LED).”

The Microsoft-funded Blackboard, which is a software patents agitator, is giving up, but it has done enough to spread FUD about Free software like Moodle. To quote the only article we found about this latest development:

Blackboard Inc.’s protracted legal fight to retain the software patent it used to successfully sue course-management rival Desire2Learn is over. It lost.

The USPTO keeps granting software monopolies this week and they are celebrated with press releases [1, 2, 3], one of which reveals another pool of patents that sounds like more trouble: “Tippr said the patent license is separate from its white label group buying platform, and is aimed at patent licensing and protection to independent software developer, deal site, or publishers. The firm said that “no one else in the industry has a more comprehensive patent portfolio.”

Patent pools are essentially private clubs corresponding to a particular area in the industry; only companies which are well established in the areas are allowed into this club, assuming they were granted enough monopolies (patents). Those without patents will need to pay admission fees to the rest of the members of this club. There is a word to describe what goes in here. It’s called a “cartel”.

The Supreme Court Gets Another Chance to Kill Software Patents in the United States

Posted in Law, Microsoft, Patents at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

John Paul Stevens, SCOTUS photo - portrait

Summary: North American patents on software are at stake again, but Microsoft is unlikely to let them burst into flames

JOHN PAUL STEVENS (ABOVE) RETIRED after ruling along with his colleagues in the Bilski case. An opportunity to kill software patents was essentially lost (depending on whose interpretation of the case is embraced.)

The law in the United States matters a lot at least as a precedence, for reasons that Wikileaks helps show this month (more on that later). We’ll cover software patents in Europe in a subsequent post because there is a lot of ugly stuff going on there, notably cronyism and lobbying from Microsoft. This post too is going to focus on Microsoft because VirnetX, which Microsoft paid a lot of money [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15], “Receives European Security Patent” based on this new press release. This must be a software patent and VirnetX is a known patent troll/parasite/agitator. Europe needs to get rid of such an abomination, which first thrives in the United States and then tries to wrap its tentacles around companies overseas.

The patentability of software patents is pushed into the Supreme Court again, as some expected (we wrote about it several times this year). Joe Mullin, one of the better writers in this area, says that “Microsoft’s Supreme Court Case May Have Huge Benefits For Patent Defendants” and it’s important to remember the context.

The high court announced today that it will hear a patent challenge by Microsoft, which is seeking to overturn a big loss to i4i, a small Canadian company. After a jury trial in East Texas, i4i won $200 million and an injunction that required Microsoft to disable the XML editing function in its ubiquitous Microsoft Word program.

“Supreme Court Will Review The Standard For Patent Infringement: Could Raise The Bar,” argues Mike Masnick and here is the corresponding Slashdot discussion which could cite just about any among many articles like [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Associated Press clarifies that SCOTUS is about “to review patent judgment against Microsoft”, so it’s not as though Microsoft is trying to fix the patent system. It’s just acting selfishly, so support from the EFF [via] is no indication of Microsoft being “good” or anything like that. Those who are familiar with the i4i case would know about trial misconduct from Microsoft and deliberate infringement which followed a form of spying from within i4i. Microsoft’s behaviour towards i4i has been despicable and the only reason it’s pursued this far is that Microsoft Word is at risk of being banned in north America. Microsoft cannot afford a ban on its #1 cash cow. Here is how Bloomberg puts it:

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider making some patents more vulnerable to legal challenge, agreeing to hear Microsoft Corp.’s appeal in a case that forced changes in the company’s Word software and may cost it $300 million.

Under the assumption that SCOTUS can invalidate all/many software patents here, Glyn Moody says he is “Rooting for Microsoft”. To quote him: “Although I’d prefer the entire system to be swept away at a stroke, I think that is somewhat unlikely, so I may have to settle for progressive improvements. And given the general inability of politicians to free themselves from the well-paid lobbyists in this area, the most promising avenue for change is probably that the companies most affected by software patents should do something about it through the courts.”

Katherine Noyes from IDG is the lady who covered it for PCWorld. How will Elena Kagan (below) rule/vote on the subject? Nobody knows for sure yet. Perhaps women will show that they can assess the economic impact of patents better than men can. Ginsburg had not been as involved as her male colleagues the last time around and then she retired (her husband died around the very same time the Bilski decision arrived). Laws are not absolute; they are theoretically made by people (or corporations in most cases) to fit society’s needs, so taking modernisation into consideration, laws must evolve over time. Will the United States come into alignment with the rest of the world by eliminating software patents or can it still afford to use diplomatic blackmail to assimilate others (more on that later)?

Elena Kagan

With IBM Funding, Microsoft Software Patents Are Targeted by Peer To Patent

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Morning beach

Summary: IBM uses voluntary peer review to annotate software patents

EVERY NOW and then we receive mail from Peer To Patent, which is an initiative whose method we disagree with because it helps legitimise software patents rather than just abolish the whole lot. Peer To Patent has come back to life recently, owing to IBM’s financial support [1, 2] (IBM is part of the problem, not the real solution to it). That said, IBM does strive to defend Linux from Microsoft et al. and OIN is just one example of that. Based on the latest message from Peer To Patent, they might be trying to force re-examination (and invalidation) of the following patents, mostly Microsoft’s:

New Technologies on Peer To Patent

With just over a month into the third pilot program, Peer To Patent is moving into technologies outside of computer software and business methods. A major aspect of this third iteration of Peer To Patent is to test its efficacy in various fields. For the first time, Voice/Speech Recognition and Organic Compounds patent applications have been added to the Peer To Patent application list. This is our opportunity to improve patent quality in a multitude of technologies! Please take this chance to participate by tagging these applications, contributing to discussions, submitting prior art, or even sharing research tips.

Class 704- Data Processing

Transcription, archiving and threading of voice communications (Microsoft)

Maximum entropy model with continuous features (Microsoft)

Feature compensation approach to robust speech recognition (Microsoft)

Adaptive pattern learning for bilingual data mining (Microsoft)

Class 544- Organic Compounds

Method of preparing cyclic carbonates, cyclic carbamates, cyclic ureas, cyclic thiocarbonates, cyclic thiocarbamates and cyclic dithiocarbonates (IBM)

We thank you for all of your support!

Your Peer To Patent Team

www.peertopatent.org

The approach taken here can help further validate the patents above. Surely there’s a better way than Peer To Patent’s and OIN’s. As Carlo Piana put it, “the *only* solution is abolition NOW” (more on the situation in Europe later).

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