Microsoft’s Partner Tuxera Tries to Add Patent Tax to Android Through Linux, Intel Plays Along With MeeGo

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Patents at 5:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Penguins in South Africa

Summary: Android and MeeGo the latest targets of ‘Microsoft tax’ through clone file systems that Tuxera is pushing

The company known as Tuxera signed a deal with Microsoft and then started selling patent licences (fines) to Linux users. Not so long ago it started doing this to Android users too (with exFAT) and now it is doing this with FAT32. From the press release:

Tuxera Inc., the leading provider of Windows-compatible file systems for Android, Linux, Mac and other platforms, announced today the release of a complete, GPL-compliant FAT32 replacement package for Android and Linux. The package combines Tuxera’s high-performance, proprietary FAT, FAT32, exFAT and NTFS drivers into easy-to-deploy modules that work with all Android and Linux kernel versions.

Even Intel gets involved in this by joining an alliance that “Integrates NTFS, exFAT, FAT32 and HFS+ Into Intel® AtomTM Solutions, MeeGo Linux”. To quote the press release:

Tuxera, the leading provider of Windows and Mac compatible file systems for Android, Linux and other platforms, announced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that it has joined Intel Embedded Alliance. Tuxera supports Intel’s latest consumer electronics hardware and software initiatives providing the market-leading Tuxera File System Suite including NTFS, exFAT, FAT32 and HFS+ solutions to all Intel customers.

What Tuxera does here helps Microsoft at the expense of Linux and Android. It pushes Microsoft APIs and patents where these are not needed. It is similar to what Likewise — with indirect Microsoft roots — has been doing (see our Likewise wiki page>) and currently the company boasts 90,000 customers, which means a big win for Microsoft.

“What Tuxera does here helps Microsoft at the expense of Linux and Android.”Regarding the above news, one reader asked sarcastically: “Why does Microsoft hate your software freedom? Because Microsoft can’t survive if you have it.

“Tuxera should be taken with a grain of salt because they were one of the first companies to license exFAT from Microsoft. The bit about forbidding GPL distribution was worth noting for me.

“It’s just another case of Microsoft stomping on code they don’t own. A company might have made the mistake of licensing Microsoft for one thing. That should not prevent them from ever making a free software friendly device again.”

Why is Intel getting involved in it? These are patent traps and MeeGo does not need Windows file systems. Speaking of patents, Intel is being forced to pay NVIDIA $1.5 billion for patents [1, 2] and Tessera gets to collect money from some rival chipmakers, also because of patents

A federal appeals court on Tuesday granted Tessera an important victory in its chip patent dispute with Qualcomm, Spansion, Freescale Semiconductor, ATI Technologies and STMicroelectronics.


The court’s decision serves to uphold both the ITC’s finding of infringement as well as its order that the five companies can’t import any devices containing the chips. In its ruling, the court noted that the import ban will not disrupt a supply of the chips to the U.S. because Tessera has licensed its technology to a number of other companies.

There is danger that, on the software side, Intel and Nokia (now headed by a former Microsoft president) will lead itself into Microsoft’s ‘Linux tax’ traps.

Microsoft Co-founder — Like Microsoft and Intellectual Ventures — Helps Add Patent Tax to Linux

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 4:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hand on keyboard

Summary: Our extensive coverage (primarily with links) about the refiled Traul Allen [sic] lawsuit, which this time mentions the Linux-powered Android as a target

THE PREVIOUS two posts covered patent troll Intellectual Ventures [1, 2]. In the latter part we showed allegation that Microsoft’s former CTO had begun extorting Linux using software patents and we deliberately separate this from Traul Allen’s similar action. Allen is Microsoft’s co-founder and the ‘Microsoft press’ makes it clear that Facebook, which is a patent abuser-aggressor, is among those hit. We last mentioned Facebook in relation to the Goldman Sachs ‘bubble machine’ and Groklaw‘s response to it was: “Surprise. The SEC announces an investigation of the Goldman Sachs workaround (“We’re only one shareholder, really, just privately sharing with our best friends a little bit”) and presto, chango, Facebook suddenly is talking going public.”

“Haven’t we seen this type of scam before? Harming society for the sake of some stocks and patents while claiming to do ‘charity’?”Anyway, Facebook’s inclusion in Allen’s list is a subject we touched on before and it is better to concentrates on Allen’s impact on Free software. The Seattle press is pretty useless for unbiased information because he is worshipped there just like the Gates Foundation. Money tilts coverage. Here is an example of Allen buying the hearts of Washington State (example from end of November) with another report here and a new (to us) disclosure that he wants “to run his own private investment office.”

Haven’t we seen this type of scam before? Harming society for the sake of some stocks and patents while claiming to do ‘charity’? We saw that coming.

As usual, the Seattle Weekly stands out of from crowd by taking a bolder step and generalising a little. The title is “Paul Allen Still Determined to Sue the Internet” and it is critical:

Microsoft co-founder and 400-foot yacht-owner Paul Allen is determined to sue the pants off the internet. Well, maybe not the entire internet, per se, but rather a bevy of the biggest companies around that use it.

Allen’s lawsuit was originally filed in August, after his platoon of lawyers poured over his patents and came up with a way to argue that he practically invented the internet in his Interval Licensing lab in Palo Alto that’s been closed now for 10 years.

Groklaw generalises by saying that Allen sues the whole world and Robert Pogson has his own take too:

There should be a law against trolling like this. I remember using software that does this kind of stuff in the 1970s before the web was around. Even a table of contents or an index could be said to infringe. This is so vague it should also be chucked. Perhaps they will tweak the court’s interest with a third amended complaint or add a few hundred other software patent claims.

Here are responses from LWN. It’s pretty much as expected and Microsoft Florian posts more anti-Android rhetoric in Twitter (he claims to be using Android but links to inflammatory/Google-hostile news of this type). Jan Wildeboer, who used to know Florian personally, interprets this as follows:

So now [Florian] claims Android could be killed by MSFT/Allen patents. Why am I not surprised? I guess Google should pay FRAND to MSFT?

Jan Wildeboer points to this old page about Microsoft Florian and stresses: “This is what [Florian] had to say on FRAND some years ago” (by the way, Wildeboer posts primarily in Identi.ca and like many of us he also passes output to Twitter where more people reside, including Microsoft Florian).

Basically, the Microsoft boosters keep painting this mostly as problem to Android, perhaps because they want to scare phone makers*. What Allen is doing makes sense on the one hand, but it is also odd because on the other hand “Kiha Raises $20 Million From Paul Allen To Build A Mobile Assistant” and it targets Android:

Seattle-based Kiha Software, which has raised $20 million from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen, launched Aro Mobile, a product in beta for Android devices that it supposed to make your phone smarter, and link together email, SMS, calendar and contacts to make your phone into a virtual assistant.

Microsoft has been very aggressive against Android recently it is now being daemonised further, says a Forbes blogger. There is an attempt to put Bong [sic] on Linux-based Android phones across all U.S. operators [1, 2, 3,, 4], which works well as a Trojan horse. Microsoft cannot stop Android anymore, so it is trying to make Android subservient and profitable for Microsoft.

Google is now under fire and Google’s Android (or Linux) too, by association. One article headline says that Google Fights Back in Patent Suit vs. Microsoft Co-Founder:

Google said Interval failed to identify how Google has infringed on his patents, the underlying technology at issue, and the products or services offered by Google that are alleged to infringe.

When it had just been published in the news (before the new year) Groklaw wrote: “It’s not on PACER yet, so likely one of the parties provided it to the journalist, which as I’ve mentioned in the past is a common event. What is interesting is that the complaint attacks Android directly, surprise, surprise: “54. Defendant Google has infringed and continues to infringe at least claims 1, 3, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13, and 15 of the ’314 patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271 by making, using, selling, distributing, and encouraging customers to use devices containing the Android Operating System and associated software such as Text Messaging, Google Talk, Google Voice, and Calendar, and by making and using the hardware and software that operate the Android and Android Market infrastructure. Google’s infringement of the ’314 patent that relates to Android results from substantially the same activities as its infringement of the ’652 patent, described above in ¶ 44.””

“As a reminder, Microsoft has already attempted to feed patent trolls with Linux-oriented patents.”This can add to Microsoft patent tax and yet seem to be totally independent from Microsoft. As a reminder, Microsoft has already attempted to feed patent trolls with Linux-oriented patents. Luckily, it got caught and stopped by the OIN [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

This whole situation got a lot of people upset and to cite just one example, John C. Dvorak published “Software Patents Have Got to Go!” (also see “Software Patents: Good Idea or Got to Go?”):

All the brouhaha with Paul Allen suing, well, everyone makes it even clearer that software and process patents need to go.

If you haven’t noticed, Paul Allen has sued Apple, Yahoo, Google and other websites over some patents he holds that preclude just about anyone from doing anything modern via a website or browser. I find the brouhaha highly amusing, and it brings up a number of questionable situations.

In addition, see articles such as “Paul Allen refiles to sue the world”; “Paul Allen revises patent suit against 11 tech firms”; “Paul Allen revises patent suit, targets Android, Apple iTunes”; “Paul Allen Refiles Patent Case VS Apple, Google, Etc.”; “Paul Allen amends lawsuit against Facebook, Apple and others” and “Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen re-files patent suit against Apple” .

“The scratching patent is small beer. He is working on a breathing patent, it never happened until his birth.”
As a joke, our reader Satipera wrote: “Paul Allen says he was the first person to scratch his bollocks , and if you think you did it before him see you in court. #swpats #humour”

Agent Smith replied with: “Oh, Oh, now he wants to earn money just for scratching his bollocks and nothing more… Why need to work, when he can sue ?”

To which Satipera responded as follows: “The scratching patent is small beer. He is working on a breathing patent, it never happened until his birth. #swpats #humour”

He also posted a link to “Patent Troll Alert: Paul Allen Tries Again to Scam the World”. [hat tip: Satipera]

Let us be very specific here: A patent has become nothing more than a rubber stamp passing the whole thing over to the courts to figure out what might be true and then collect money from somebody. In other words, today’s Patent Law is a litigation make-work program to protect the welfare of the legal profession and the courts.

That last statement nicely leads into future posts we’ll make very shortly about the system which enables all this abuse.
* It is hard to tell what happens privately, but Microsoft mobbyists appear to have already ‘briefed’ (by mass-mailing) journalists for anti-Linux tilt. Some of the FUD-spreading mobbyists spin this Interval suit (simply revised, same targets) as someone legitimately attacking Linux for infringement (because it is mentioned briefly, further down in “¶ 44″ and “¶ 54″).

Microsoft’s Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures Is Reportedly Extorting Linux Now

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

World’s leading ‘intellectual’ vulture…

Black vulture

Summary: Microsoft’s former CTO Mr. Myhrvold is making money from Android, based on some news

THE previous post spoke about the increasing clout of Intellectual Ventures, which is an unprecedented patent extortions operation created with funds from Apple, Microsoft, and Bill Gates’ own bank account. This is some nasty operation intended to turn back time and fight against progress. Watch what even SAP is being subjected to right now:

Intellectual Ventures, a firm that claims to own more than 30,000 patents and to have earned almost $2 billion in licensing fees, said it reached a licensing accord with software maker SAP AG.

SAP uses SUSE in many of its operations, so it already pays Microsoft for GNU/Linux. It doesn’t say what exactly SAP pays Myhrvold for. It doesn’t really matter because Intellectual Ventures is just a large-scale extortion racket. It hoovers up money and sues those who don’t/can’t pay up. It’s by far the largest patent troll in the world and it complements similar campaigns from the likes of Microsoft, which is “Going to Go After the Chinese Government” based on this recent report that relates to a recent batch. The extortion plan is all they have left now that the world moved towards mobility and Windows is nowhere prominent. To quote the article:

Steve Ballmer wants everyone who ships devices running Android to pay Microsoft a licensing fee. Soon that could include companies with close ties to the Chinese government.

Well, don’t miss the picture of Gates, who runs a very large organisation that lobbies for patents and calls itself the Gates Foundation (inside it there are some managers who came from industries whose patents they sell to governments so that taxpayers pay for the patents).

One has got to appreciate the insightful posts from TechDirt, whose take on the Chinese situation is as follows:

China’s Patent Strategy Isn’t About Innovation; It’s An Economic Weapon Against Foreign Companies

John Bennett points us to an article in the NY Times that claims to be about how China is gearing up to be an innovation powerhouse rather than just known for “copying.” Of course, the actual focus of the article is about how China is trying to get a lot more patents. In fact, we covered this very issue back in October, highlighting how China has set an “innovation policy” that appears much more focused on getting more patents, rather than increasing innovation. There are, of course, some people who still think that the number of patents is a proxy for innovation, but this claim has been debunked so many times, it’s just kind of cute when people still bring it up.

So, could it be that thanks to sustained US pressure on China to “crack down” on infringement, that China has suddenly come to believe that patents equal innovation? Last month, just before some diplomatic meetings between the US and China over trade issues, US officials did their usual misleading grandstanding about how China doesn’t do enough to “protect” US intellectual property. And, in response, Chinese officials did their usual song-and-dance about how they’re really serious about intellectual property now, and we should stop worrying.

Of course, as we’ve pointed out, China seems to be much more aggressive with intellectual property lately, but not in the way the US wants. That is, it’s been using patent and copyright laws to make life more difficult for foreign companies, specifically US companies. And, in reading through the details of that NY Times article above, it looks like they’re planning to do more of the same.

Mike Masnick puts it very nicely and in recent days we showed some articles that help confirm it. In copyright too China is adopting this sort of strategy so that it can have leverage over the West when payday comes (the West has debt to China). But back we go to Intellectual Ventures, which little by little is destroying the American industry by turning it into a virtual economy done on paper and motored by intimidation/lawsuits. The Chinese must be laughing their behinds off watching how the USPTO helps once-productive industries just self-nuke.

Intellectual Ventures is just one example that shows us how Microsoft breeds major patent trolls. We made this point some months ago and the observation is now echoed by news sites. This one example asks: “What’s With These Microsoft Patent Trolls?”

Paul Allen and Nathan Myhrvold: what’s with these ex-Microsofties now turned Patent Trolls? Was there something in the water at Microsoft or what?

I’m reading lately about Allen’s efforts to bring to bear a portfolio of patents filed by Interval Research, a company he founded once upon a time. Myhrvold has a whole company apparently devoted to Trolling, called “Intellectual Ventures.”

I don’t get it. You have two ostensibly technical guys. Both are wealthy beyond most people’s wildest dreams. What is the thinking that causes a man in that position with those credentials and experience to decide to be a patent troll? They can’t possibly need the money. It can’t possibly escape them that a large part of the technical world abhors what patent trolls do, so they’re not doing it to polish their reputations or leave a legacy. There is a certain irony that Microsoft has always had a reputation for copying others rather than innovating and now ex-Microsofties are doing this.

Several years ago we showed Myhrvold’s interview with Charlie Rose, where he mentioned Linux and expressed disdain (that was after he had ‘moved on’ from Microsoft). Techrights theorises that Microsoft finds other forms and sources of Linux tax and as we shall show in later posts, they are now attacking Android simultaneously, piling on liabilities that Microsoft alone cannot impose. Traul Allen, for example, mimics some of Intellectual Ventures’ ways (both are actively suing) and based on a news report, both are targeting Android at this moment. We shall deal with Traul Allen separately, in a later post. The latter has already started suing, but when it comes to Android it seems to be signing deals before litigation. See Myhrvold’s funny photo in Murdoch’s press. How fitting.

“It is becoming fashionable and Myhrvold merely joins Microsoft’s patent feast on companies far greater (in size) than Microsoft itself.”As a little reminder, Android distributors near China are already being targeted by Myhrvold [1, 2]. It is becoming fashionable and Myhrvold merely joins Microsoft’s patent feast on companies far greater (in size) than Microsoft itself. SCOny [sic] too appears to have joined this game by suing LG over alleged patent violations in its phones while Microsoft and LG grow even closer (see our wiki page about LG). Microsoft was extremely busy doing legal extortion last year, which is a milestone to be noted to the cheering of its biggest boosters.

Korean giants LG and Samsung (see the Samsung wiki page) are paying Microsoft for Linux while both are generally faithful to Microsoft, even if Vista Phony 7 [sic] is something they can hardly use. Such companies are using Android phone designs to pretend to support Windows too. It keeps the monopolist more calm in the short term and HP is on the same boat (worn out by Windows but still persisting to a lesser degree).

Several weeks ago we showed reports about Intellectual Venture and Asian companies that sell Linux. Some authors were calling it a pact (and some still do [1, 2, 3]), but here is one that said they signed more than just a deal. It alleged that it was actually anti-Linux extortion from Myhrvold.

Android Tax Being Paid by Samsung, HTC


While Android is a free and open-source operating system developed by Google, its use may not be so free as HTC and Samsung, manufacturers who use Android in part of their smartphone portfolio, are now paying a price to use Android as an OS by licensing technology from a company called Intellectual Ventures.

Can Korean competition authorities intervene to find the justification? This seems like racketeering (disguised as an amicable deal) and Korea has history dealing with such abuses (like cartels). With American FTAs on its doorstep pushing to legalise software patents in Korea, the Korean people ought to rise up and protest. HTC’s jurisdiction is Taiwan (China), so the Chinese people too should do something about it.

Justice Department’s National Security Chief Becomes a ‘Patent Terrorist’ for Microsoft’s Nathan Myhrvold

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 10:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“What we’re seeing though now can be loosely described as patent terrorism, where people are using their patent horde as a threat”

James Eagleton, systems product manager for Sun Microsystems (about Microsoft)

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: The world’s largest patent troll gains government connections

In our many posts about Intellectual Ventures we showed that it lobbied the government while destroying the country’s main remaining industry (bar arms perhaps). Well, now we know that Intellectual Ventures will have more connections inside the government, having just hired avid Kris:

The assistant attorney general who has overseen some of the most significant terrorism investigations since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks is leaving the Justice Department.

Assistant Attorney General David Kris will become general counsel at a company founded by the retired chief strategist and top technology officer at Microsoft Corp., Nathan Myhrvold.

This was mentioned in Groklaw 3 days ago and a reader told us last night that Groklaw also noticed David Farber’s passing of Stan Hanks’s words: “What Paul Allen is doing pales in comparison to what Nathan Myhrvold is doing — or rather, scaling up to do — with Intellectual Ventures. I’m under NDA from a recent job interview there or I’d say more, but let’s just leave it at you owe it to yourself to read his web site in its entirety, and contemplate what a concerted effort to fully prosecute infringement and/or licensing deals against a portfolio of over 30,000 patents would look like, in addition to the fresh patents filed by his “think tank”….

“Massively cool stuff going on there, but it can go from cool to scary in a big hurry.”

Yes, even patent lawyers have begun complaining about Intellectual Ventures, including the site of Patent WatchTroll. Another booster of this abuse of patents is the Gates Foundation, which occasionally helps sell licenses to patents of Intellectual Ventures. There should be federal investigations into these sorts of activities.

Links 17/1/2011: MeeGo/Maemo Apps, Unigine Engine Comes to Android

Posted in News Roundup at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Will The Free Software Desktop Ever Make It?

        In something not too far off from where he said the Linux desktop will be dead if Keith Packard got his way in merging graphics drivers back into the X Server, his new blog post is entitled “This way, the free software desktop is never going to make it.”

  • Applications

    • Weather Indicator Lives On, Gets A New PPA

      Weather Indicator is an Ubuntu appindicator that displays the current weather. Its development stopped a while back and the PPA was removed but Vadim Rutkovsky brought Weather Indicator back to life – for the past two weeks he’s been fixing bugs for the old Weather Indicator and also, he has created a new PPA for easy installation.

    • The weather indicator project revives; what might have been

      The indicator-weather project has kicked back into life this week – meaning none of us need to go without ‘weather-info-at-a-glance’ on our desktop panel come Ubuntu 11.04.

    • Proprietary

      • WebM Decoder in Flash using Alchemy

        Ralph Hauwert has been posting on twitter about work he’s done on getting WebM decoding to work in Flash by compiling the libvpx source code using Adobe’s Alchemy technology.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Simple, Easy To Use Facebook Batch Uploader For Ubuntu: Starry Hope Uploader

        Starry Hope Uploader is a simple, easy to use Facebook batch uploader. To use it, all you have to do is drag and drop some photos to the uploader drag-n-drop area, select the album (or create a new one) and click “upload”. In the preferences window you’ll also find an option to upload high resolution photos. For now, these are all the features but expect more in future releases!

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Muon Suite 1.1.0 released

        After six months of development, I’m proud to announce the release of the Muon Suite, version 1.1.0. The main focus of this release has been to add additional package management utilities to help further round out the package management experience. More specifically, Muon Suite 1.1.0 introduces the Muon Update Notifier, Update Manager, and Software Center.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Orta Window Applets Theme

        Window Applets is a package that comes with two Gnome panel applets: Window Title and Window Buttons which are controls for windows that are placed on the Panel instead of the window. They provide a clever way to increase vertical screen space. See THIS screenshot to understand what this is about.

  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • So Canonical ported Unity to Qt…

          To me it seems very weird, though. All that replacing and porting over and over again (UNR port to EFL, later a rewrite of UNR as Unity for Clutter/Mutter, then porting Unity from Vala/Mutter to C++/Compiz and now from Clutter to Qt with whatever window manager) makes me wonder if there are people in charge at Canonical who don’t change their mind every few months…

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Is Prepping For Mesa 7.10, X Server 1.10

          The Ubuntu X developers are getting ready to push the Mesa 7.10 graphics library and X.Org Server 1.10 into the Natty Narwhal repository for Ubuntu 11.04. Due to API/ABI breakage, this also results in new driver builds going into Natty, and for a period of time at least where the ATI Catalyst driver will no longer be compatible with the xorg-server (though the NVIDIA binary driver should properly support Linux 2.6.37 and xorg-server 1.10 right now).

        • Firmware Test Suite for Ubuntu 11.04

          Most of the key features for Ubuntu 11.04 are now in the Firmware Test Suite, so now seems an appropriate time to mention them.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Tablets

      • A Tablet Conundrum

        Microsoft makes much of its money by selling software licences in bulk; specifically most of its profits are generated by software sales, with a large proportion of that being OS licences in massive quantities. But in the current tablet market there seems little opportunity for charging for an OS. Apple’s pricing certainly has a premium, but that is accounted for by the brand; the Android tablet market is highly competitive on both price and design innovation, as will be the desktop Linux tablet market, while RIM will sell to RIM users with, maybe, a slight premium based on their unique proposition.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Tomcat 7 finalized

    The volunteer developers behind Apache Tomcat have released version 7.0.6 of the open-source Java servlet container.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • The Next Major Version of Firefox is Ready to Test

        The latest Firefox 4 Beta is available to test the cool features and improvements in the next version of Firefox. As we continue to refine features and performance in Firefox 4 Beta, this release includes faster start-up time, bookmarking and makes complex animations smoother.

        Firefox 4 Beta is built for the way people use the Web today, offering more control over the browsing experience. It introduces a fresh new look and features like App Tabs and Panorama to make it easier and more efficient to navigate the Web. Firefox 4 Beta also includes performance enhancements to make everything faster from start-up time to page-load speed and the performance of Web applications and games. Firefox Sync is integrated into the browser with Firefox 4 Beta, giving you access to your Awesome Bar history, bookmarks, open tabs and passwords across computers and smartphones.

      • Firefox Developers Have Issues With Linux GPU Drivers Too

        Mozilla Firefox 4.0 will feature GPU hardware acceleration using OpenGL (or Direct2D/Direct3D under Microsoft Windows) acceleration for WebGL content and even HTML5. This support is there for Windows and Mac OS X, but for Firefox 4.0 the Linux support has been disabled and WebGL is also blacklisted for most drivers. Why? It’s the problematic GPU drivers, of course.

      • [Canonical] Application menu support update for Thunderbird

        Due to the work done on Firefox support, it wasn’t long before Thunderbird would follow…

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.0 Surpasses 30 Million Downloads

      WordPress 3.0, the most recent self-hosted version of the world’s most popular blogging platform WordPress has surpassed 30 million downloads today, crossing the barrier earlier this morning.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • A Decade of Thanks!

      People throughout the world are gathering at more than 450 events in 120 countries to celebrate Wikipedia’s 10th birthday. I’m amazed and thrilled and humbled by the significant support Wikipedia has in every corner of the world. When I started Wikipedia a decade ago, I never imagined that everyday people in places like Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Bolivia, Ethiopia and Algeria would come together to celebrate Wikipedia in such an extraordinary way.

    • Wikimedia India Chapter takes shape

      Wikimedia India Chapter, an independent organisation that will support and promote Wikimedia, a collaborative project of Wikipedia, the world’s free online encyclopaedia, has been formally established here.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Happy 25th birthday, IETF

      The Internet’s leading standards body – the Internet Engineering Task Force – turns 25 on Jan. 16.

    • More about the Chrome HTML Video Codec Change

      There has been a lot of discussion regarding this week’s announcement of upcoming changes to HTML video codec support in Chrome. The future of web video is an important topic, we welcome the debate, and want to address some of the questions raised.

    • Video Wars


  • Europe’s Babel, America’s Moral Divide

    The Wall Street Journal dislikes Europe as much because of what it accomplishes as for its inefficiencies. America mumbles about improving infrastructure, Europe invests in it massively and redevelops infrastructure to transcend (and remove as sources of discord) national and regional boundaries. America turns to off-shore drilling to ensure energy security, Europe turns to energy efficiency. America talks about being a land of opportunity, Europe ensures equal access to education, housing, and health, the real basis for meritocracy. The US bails out banks, Europe bails out entire countries so as not to abandon the security of multi-national community.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • GM chickens created that could prevent the spread of bird flu [patented chicken?]

      Scientists have produced genetically modified chickens that appear to prevent the spread of avian influenza. Though the chickens can themselves become infected with flu viruses such as H5N1, say the researchers, they cannot pass on the virus to any other birds with which they come into contact.

  • Security

    • Montra TeK: The most famous hackers in history

      The news about computer attacks are becoming more frequent and the threat of cyberwar hover over the claims of various countries, among which include Iran and South Korea, who recently complained about these practices.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Local talk radio host Bob Durgin pulls no punches in wake of Arizona shootings

      “God, I hate the liberal media,” Durgin said Monday during his highly rated afternoon show on WHP580. “It’s like, if you don’t follow Obama and believe in Obama’s policies, then you are a potential terrorist.”

      In talking about The New York Times, often seen as queen of the left by conservatives, Durgin added, “Somebody ought to burn that paper down. Just go to New York and blow that sucker right out of the water.”

    • Mary Fallin Suffers Constitution Oath Fail At Swearing-In Ceremony

      Mary Fallin was sworn in Monday as Oklahoma’s first female governor, but in reciting the oath of office she really didn’t promise to “support, obey and defend the Constitution.”

      At an outdoors ceremony in bone-chilling and teeth-chattering cold, Fallin told Oklahoma Chief Justice Steven W. Taylor that she would “support, obey and offend” the U.S. and state constitutions.

    • DHS cancels virtual border fence

      Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on Friday her department is canceling a $3 billion program to erect a problem-plagued, high-tech, virtual fence along the U.S. border with Mexico.

    • Residents Allege Police Violations

      Some residents tell 9NEWS NOW that the increased police patrols following the murder spike in Prince George’s County has led to some questionable activity.

      “The yanked me out of the car, put a knee on my back, and checked my rectum several times,” said a 20 year old man who did not want to use his name.

      Police said cavity searches are never allowed in public and with 16 officers present, as alleged, it is “very unlikely” an officer violated that policy. Still, police encourage the young man to file a complaint with the civilian oversight panel. A spokesperson told 9NEWS NOW police are “committed to constitutional policing.”

    • Sacked teacher falsely accused of groping girls

      A TEACHER falsely accused of groping four schoolgirls has fought a seven-year battle to clear his name after being subjected to what he calls a “witch-hunt”.

      Science teacher Robert King, 45, was acquitted of sexually assaulting four girls by a jury – but was still sacked by Handsworth Grange Community Sports College and has been effectively barred from teaching ever since.

    • Leaderless and Under Pressure, Firearms Agency Keeps Gun Tracing Records Secret

      Following the mass shooting in Arizona, elected officials have put forth new proposals to curb violence by preventing guns from falling into the wrong hands. One of those proposals called on Congress to at last approve a director for the federal agency responsible for regulating the gun industry and cracking down on gun crime.

      The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives—better known as the ATF—has gone without a permanent director for four years. The Obama administration, while stating its commitment to doing “all that we can” to stop the flow of U.S. weapons to Mexican drug cartels, waited more than a year and half to even nominate a director—and when a nominee was named, the National Rifle Association was quick to oppose the nomination. The administration re-nominated Andrew Traver last week.

    • Arizona shooting victim blames Palin, others
    • What the “right to bear arms” really means
  • Cablegate

    • How The Press Attacks WikiLeaks, Julian Assange
    • Do We Have Ahmadinejad All Wrong?

      Is it possible that Iran’s blustering president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, long thought to be a leading force behind some of Iran’s most hard-line and repressive policies, is actually a reformer whose attempts to liberalize, secularize, and even “Persianize” Iran have been repeatedly stymied by the country’s more conservative factions? That is the surprising impression one gets reading the latest WikiLeaks revelations, which portray Ahmadinejad as open to making concessions on Iran’s nuclear program and far more accommodating to Iranians’ demands for greater freedoms than anyone would have thought. Two episodes in particular deserve special scrutiny not only for what they reveal about Ahmadinejad but for the light they shed on the question of who really calls the shots in Iran.

    • What’s Happening in Tunisia Explained
    • Not Twitter, Not WikiLeaks: A Human Revolution

      Beginning this afternoon, shortly after (former) president Ben Ali fled Tunisia, I started getting calls about the effect of social media on the Tunisian uprising. I answered a few questions, mostly deferring reporters to friends in Tunisia for their side of the story, and then settled in for the night…only to find rantings and ravings about Tunisia’s “Twitter revolution” and “WikiLeaks revolution” blowing up the airwaves.

    • Tunisia, Twitter, Aristotle, Social Media and Final and Efficient Causes

      A debate has been raging on the role social media—especially Facebook and Twitter— played in the apparently successful uprising in Tunisia. Most of the discussion seems to be centered around the use of the term “Twitter Revolution.”

      Ethan Zuckerman responds that “the Internet can take some credit for toppling Tunisia’s government, but not all of it.” When you read Ethan Zuckerman’s great piece –and he is, along with Jillian C. York—among the few people participating in this debate who were in touch with Tunisian dissidents on the ground not just through this crisis but over the years, it becomes clear that being able to disseminate information using social media was key in multiple respects…

    • ‘First Wikileaks Revolution’: Tunisia descends into anarchy as president flees after cables reveal country’s corruption

      Events in Tunisia have led to it being called the ‘First Wikileaks Revolution’.

      Although there has long been opposition to the corrupt rule of President Ben Ali, protests gathered pace when US embassy cables were published by Wikileaks.

    • Tunisia and WikiLeaks

      Raise your hand if, before the street protests started, you had focussed very much—or at all—on what the WikiLeaks cables had to say about Tunisia. Does any one person know enough about all of the countries mentioned in the cables to say for sure how significant they are? Unless someone does, it is rash to keep talking about how they add texture but “no great revelations.”

    • Wikileaks disclosures play key role in Ben Ali’s outing

      First of all I would like to say that I am sorry for the repression and the people who have died in Tunisia but excited about the unexpected overthrow of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali by its own people.

    • Secrecy is the problem, not leakers

      Ukrainian activists cover their mouths with US flags during a rally in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in front of the Swedish embassy to Ukraine in Kiev on December 22 2010.


      In some ways WikiLeaks is a traditional investigative news operation. It gets its information from a source and the journalists decide what they will publish. It needs a platform, an audience and revenue just like any other newsroom. It can also be sued, censored or attacked. But because it is trying to operate online outside of normal national jurisdictions it is harder to hold to account. It can use mirror sites and multiple servers to avoid physical restraint.

    • Death Threat Domain Names: Registrar Says Killjulianassange.com Will Not Be Removed

      BoingBoing has a quick post up today claiming that “Registering death threats as domain names is the hot new thing in psychopathic anti-Wikileaks action!”

      According to vivantleakers.org — a new site created to track “cyber-bullying domain names of wikileaks associates” — multiple death-threat domain names have been registered going after Wikileaks director Julian Assange. Killjulianassange.com and julianassangemustdie.com are recently registered examples, although they have no content on them at this time.

      Go Daddy, the site which registered both killjulianassange.com and julianassangemustdie.com said there is nothing that can be done about either site while they are contentless. Go Daddy registers a domain name every .8 seconds — any domain name can be registered and there is no human intervention.

    • Treasury Dept. Won’t Put Wikileaks On Terrorist List; Tells Rep. King It Doesn’t Meet The Criteria

      Following the request by Rep. Peter King that the Treasury Department list Wikileaks and Julian Assange on various terrorist/organized crime lists, which would prohibit US companies from dealing with them, the Treasury Department has, quite reasonably, said it will not do that.

    • Miss America 2011: “Wikileaks was actually based on espionage.”

      But I bet she could locate South Africa and The Iraq and the Asian Countries on a map. Anyway, I demand video and a remix, STAT.

    • Wikileaks Protest San Francisco 1/15/11

      Scenes from the January 15 event in San Francisco titled “A Media Intervention for Wikileaks” (http://goo.gl/lh8RM). The speaker is conscientious objector Justin Kauker.

    • January 15, 2011 Global Freedom of Information Rallies

      Istanbul, Turkey:Wonderful video of Anonymous in Istanbul.

      Sydney, Australia: More than a thousand in attendance. Here are some Photos. In addition, there is a video of the Pirate Party’s own Rodney Serkowski speaking: Video. (Stick around for the written message from Phillip Adams–you won’t regret it!)

      Our own JLo, who was on the scene, has now covered the Sydney protest, and provided a gallery of photographs from the event.

      Vancouver, Canada: The number of protesters was much lower than in Sydney, but rest assured that their passion made up for their numbers. Read about it!

    • Libya’s Gaddaffi pained by Tunisian revolt, blames WikiLeaks

      Libyan President Moammar Gaddaffi said he was pained by events in Tunisia surrounding the overthrow of former president Zine al-Abedine ben Ali, Libyan television reported Sunday.

    • Qaddafi’s View of the Internet in Tunisia
    • WikiLeaks Contributes $15,000 to Bradley Manning’s Defense

      WikiLeaks has finally made good on a months-old pledge to contribute financially to the defense of 23-year-old Bradley Manning, according to a group raising money for the imprisoned Army private suspected of providing WikiLeaks its most important U.S. releases.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Sweden cries wolf – and faces European court

      The European Commission is preparing an infringement procedure against Sweden, after it allowed a cull of 20 wolves by 6,747 hunters on Saturday (15 January), in defiance of a request by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik.

    • BP and Russia in Arctic oil deal

      BP has signed a joint venture with Russian energy firm Rosneft to exploit potentially huge deposits of oil and gas in Russia’s Arctic shelf.

      The “strategic global alliance” will see the firms exchange expertise in exploring the region.

      As part of the deal Rosneft will take 5% of BP’s shares in exchange for approximately 9.5% of Rosneft’s shares.

    • BP Targets One of the World’s Last Unspoilt Wildernesses

      The Arctic is to become the “new environmental battleground”, campaigners warned yesterday after BP announced plans to drill in one of the last great unspoilt wildernesses on earth.

      Greenpeace and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have vowed to confront BP’s American boss, Bob Dudley, over the agreement with the Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft to explore the Kara Sea, north of Siberia. The British energy firm was branded the world’s “environmental villain number one” by Friends of the Earth (FoE) yesterday in response to its move to exploit potential oil reserves in the remote waters.

    • False Prophets And The Green Dragon

      In the United States there is, and has been for a while, a movement to close the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The Agency does add some costs to businesses. However it lowers costs to the general population.

      Consider Tetra-Ethyl Lead. Banning it’s use in gasoline caused extra costs to the oil companies, COSTS THAT THEY PASSED ALONG TO THEIR CUSTOMERS. In other words, they recouped the costs. At the same time removal of Tetra-Ethyl Lead from gasoline, caused a drop in environmental lead poisoning, especially in communities along highways.

      One of the symptoms of Tetra-Ethyl Lead poisoning is a lack of judgement caused by neurological impairment. About five years after the ban of the use of Tetra-Ethyl Lead in gasoline fuel, there was an apparently unconnected drop in crime rates. The drop continued until about 25 years after the ban came into place, at which point the crime rate leveled out, at a new, far lower level.

    • Angry Progressive Coalition to Protest Billionaire Gathering Hosted by Koch Brothers, Major Tea Party Funders

      Increasingly, Democrats, liberals and progressives are coming to understand that the Koch brothers, a secretive right-wing billionaire family that pours limitless money into virtually every destructive anti-democratic initiative affecting tens of millions of Americans, are “Public Enemy Number One.”

    • Fearing high gas prices, Sean Hannity proposes re-invading Iraq and Kuwait to “take all their oil”

      Friday’s Hannity on Fox News featured a discussion by the Great American Panel about high gas prices, which host Sean Hannity claimed are “now gonna go up to three, four, five dollars a gallon again.” The panel ruefully noted that Arab sheiks possess great amounts of oil, and pointed out a recent statement by Kuwait’s oil minister that he believes the market can withstand $100-per-barrel oil. After noting that Kuwait is a country that “would not exist [but] for us,” Hannity angrily offered his remedy…

  • Finance

    • Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer plans to hand over offshore banking secrets of the rich and famous to WikiLeaks

      The offshore bank account details of 2,000 “high net worth individuals” and corporations – detailing massive potential tax evasion – will be handed over to the WikiLeaks organisation in London tomorrow by the most important and boldest whistleblower in Swiss banking history, Rudolf Elmer, two days before he goes on trial in his native Switzerland.
      British and American individuals and companies are among the offshore clients whose details will be contained on CDs presented to WikiLeaks at the Frontline Club in London. Those involved include, Elmer tells the Observer, “approximately 40 politicians”.

    • Swiss Whistleblower Rudolf Elmer Plans to Hand Over Offshore Banking Secrets of the Rich and Famous to WikiLeaks

      Elmer, who after his press conference will return to Switzerland from exile in Mauritius to face trial, is a former chief operating officer in the Cayman Islands and employee of the powerful Julius Baer bank, which accuses him of stealing the information.fd

    • Chinese tycoons trawl UK antiques market for treasures

      When Bainbridges, a firm of auctioneers in West Ruislip, Middlesex, made international headlines last year for the £53m sale of an imperial Qianlong vase to an anonymous Chinese buyer, many assumed that it was an isolated – albeit glorious – coup for Britain’s suburban art market.

      But that wasn’t the end of the story. Chinese art collectors are now buying antiques in UK auction houses at an unprecedented rate, transforming trade across the country as millionaires trawl low-profile stocks for stunning treasures. Regional sellers, who used to strive to reach an annual turnover of a few million pounds and hardly ever sold anything for more than £1m, have never seen anything like it, as single items go under the hammer for as much as auction houses once made in a whole year. Ivan Macquisten, editor of the industry weekly Antiques Trade Gazette, told the Observer the “staggering amounts of money” were a “phenomenon”.

    • Bill Daley and associates are already Plotting the course for a Second Bailout

      Incoming Obama chief of staff Bill Daley was formerly a board member for Third Way, a pro-Too Big To Fail think tank that exists solely to perpetuate the corporate-welfare guzzling policies that landed America in this horrible recession, so you know that the group’s ideas will carry weight in the Obama White House.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Today’s Award for the Silliest Theory of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

      …goes to the arguments made by Sony’s lawyers in a complaint and motion for a TRO in a recently-filed civil case: Sony Sues PS3 Hackers. The argument: You’re guilty of felony computer hacking crimes if you access your own computer in a way that violates a contractual restriction found in the fine print of the licensing restriction of the product imposed by the manufacturer.

    • French ISP Throttles Direct Download Website Megaupload

      In what might be the first of many, French Internet Service Provider Orange has been caught throttling traffic to one of the world’s biggest direct download websites, Megaupload.

      The site, which also operates Megavideo, states that Orange, which is owned by France Telecom, is preventing its users from accessing its downloading and video streaming service freely and says that it can prove it.

    • Dealing with Bittorrent traffic shaping/blocking by your ISP

      So, here’s a guide several people have been asking me to write. Let’s just put a big fat disclaimer above it first: I’m just writing this because I think all internet traffic should be considered equal, and I find it downright wrong for an ISP to prioritize certain connections or deny access to an arbitrary number of sites because they can be used for copyright infringement. Take care of our internet roads and crossings, and leave it to the end user’s responsability to pick the destinations.

    • A tangled web

      These details are important, but the noise about them only makes the omission more startling: the failure in America to tackle the underlying lack of competition in the provision of internet access

    • There are no bandwidth hogs

      There has been an ongoing effort made to convince consumers that bandwidth consumption is expensive.

    • HOWTO break Kindle book DRM

      Most of the Kindle owners I know love their gadgets, but I always wonder how they’ll feel about them if they decide to switch devices and can’t bring their books — dozens? hundreds? thousands? — with them because of Amazon’s use of DRM.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Barry Sookman Puts Foot In Mouth Again – Doesn’t Read Articles He Links To

        Tonight I’m picking on my old friend Barry Sookman again. Yes, I’m being sarcastic. Barry doesn’t like me, because I catch his mistakes, and it appears that he thinks that I shouldn’t do that. Hell, I wouldn’t do that, if he didn’t screw up so often.

        And now he’s done it again. I was nice. When I caught the mistake, I posted a note telling him about it. Now, 24 hours later, he hasn’t done anything to fix the problem. He hasn’t even sent me a note saying he was going to look into the issue.

        So I’m going to tell the world about it. Barry won’t be happy, but since when have I ever cared about whether Barry is happy?

        Spooftimes is one of the funniest sites on the internet. With a site name like Spooftimes and article titles like Local man in war of attrition over toilet roll with flatmate even a lawyer with no sense of humor should be able to tell that anything posted there isn’t serious. But not Barry. In his Computer and Internet Law Updates for 2011-01-13 column, Barry included one of their spoofs as true.

      • Irony Alert: NYC’s Anti-Piracy Propaganda Campaign Using ‘Free’ YouTube

        A few weeks back, we wrote about the anti-piracy propaganda campaign that NYC has been running, paid for by taxpayer dollars, which spreads typical MPAA FUD, and concludes with the line: “There’s no such thing as a free movie.” However, in looking over the campaign, I just realized that the videos are hosted on YouTube… for free. In other words, while NYC and its Hollywood friends are claiming that if you get something for free, it must be illegal, they’re making use of free online services themselves. Without YouTube, they’d have to pay for the hosting, bandwidth, streaming software, etc. themselves. But this way, they get it for free.

      • Police Arrest 18 Alleged Movie, Music and Software Uploaders

        This week, Japanese police have been carrying out raids all over the country against individuals alleged to have uploaded copyright works to the Internet. In total, 18 people were arrested for sharing movies, anime, music, games and software.

      • Anti-Piracy Outfit Unplugs Warez Topsite ‘Swan’

        Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN managed to pull one of the largest warez scene topsites offline yesterday. The servers of Swan, formerly known as ATS, were unplugged by their hosting provider WorldStream. The provider acted based on evidence provided by BREIN, and also handed over the servers to this private outfit. The police were not involved in the takedown, but instead it was the result of information allegedly provided to BREIN by a rogue member.

      • Paying Users To Report Fake Torrents is Illegal, Anti-Piracy Outfit Claims

        TorLock, a torrent site that claims to be virtually free of ‘fake torrents’, is offering $1 to users for every fake file that they can find. The offer was put in place by the site’s owner since he’s confident that the site’s collection of 140,738 torrents is as clean as it gets. However, the Indian anti-piracy outfit Aiplex Software is determined to put an end to the offer, claiming it is highly illegal.

      • Scan to notify illegal sharers

        Beginning Tuesday, computers accessing the Internet in residence halls will automatically be scanned for file-sharing programs.

        The Network Access Control service will scan for file sharing programs such as BitTorrent and LimeWire. If the service detects a file-sharing program, a pop-up message will notify him of the dangers of illegal sharing and ways to securely use the program.

      • P2P Lawsuits Gone Wild

        Thousands of file sharers have been sued in recent months for downloading movies like The Hurt Locker and Avatar XXX. U.S. rights holders model these lawsuits after similar litigation in Germany, where P2P piracy has led to hundreds of thousands of cases in recent years. The goal of this type of persecution isn’t so much to stop piracy, but to profit from it — and new statistics from Germany show that the strategy could be working, with P2P litigation becoming a multimillion dollar business.

Clip of the Day

Motorola Droid X: Unboxing and First Boot

Credit: TinyOgg

Streaming/Downloading Episodes Via TechBytes Subdomain, New Site to Launch Soon

Posted in Site News at 9:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Music babylon

Summary: Debugging download timeouts in TechBytes and Gordon’s site for the audiocast

Since late 2009 we have delivered cached versions of pages using Varnish. This helped cope with high server loads, but it also took time to adjust and create workarounds for unforeseen trouble caused by excessive caching (e.g. new comments not appearing, Wiki page views not being counted, editing anomalies at the admin panel). Since we began TechBytes we have learned that some people are having download difficulties, especially over slow connections. Thanks to some debugging from a listener, we now know what caused the problem and also a way to resolve it*, using the techbytes.techrights.org subsite, which will be used for streaming/downloading of large episode files.

To make a long story short and not delve into technical details, starting an imminent episode the linked files will be located in a separate (sub)domain, which ought to resolve the issue some people have experienced. There ought to be another show/episode of TechBytes tonight and also many posts about software patents here in Techrights. Gordon will soon unveil the new site he has been working on.
* A Varnish session will basically time out after 10 minutes or so without the option of resuming.

Identi.ca Helps Determine Who Cares About Software Freedom

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 9:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Commonalities among those who push dubious self-copyrighted code rather than Free software without copyright assignment

I have received no response from Jono Bacon regarding the Open Respect suggestion, which has me assume inaction regarding the young man who uses a “Ubuntu” cloak while trolling Techrights in its IRC channels, promoting Mono, and bashing Identi.ca as a lot of Mono boosters do (notice that almost none of them are in Identi.ca, they only/mostly use Twitter, which is telling). As a side note, see the comments from Canonical employees who explain why they don’t use Identi.ca either, leaving much of the action to Fedora people. As the thoughtful person who wrote this blog post claims:

I manage a number of communities, trust me, I understand that it’s really great to make good friends on closed networks. I get it. But that doesn’t mean that we need be quite so mean spirited about people who make friends on other more FOSS friendly networks. It’s just as extreme as those who want to force everyone to use only FOSS by martyrdom.

Don’t be a stranger, Canonical. Novell too is hardly at Identi.ca and it says a lot about their attitude towards software freedom. Is it surprising at all that Canonical — unlike Fedora — helps Novell spread Mono? One reader suggested using the following picture, which is tongue-in-cheeky.

Reed warbler Cuckoo

IRC Proceedings: January 16th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




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