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01.22.11

SCO, CPTN, and UNIX

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SCO, UNIX at 12:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CaPTaiN Microsoft

Portrait

Summary: Novell’s UNIX is moving to other hands and there is insufficient confidence that it will stay in safe hands

GROKLAW is down at the moment (has been down for a while), but it showed that SCO’s bankruptcy hearing had been delayed yet again (it happens all the time, repeatedly [1, 2, 3, 4]). It is becoming a source of comedy and ridicule working to the detriment of the legal system.

The SCO case has just proceeded as expected (covered a few days ago). Groklaw has some reports:

Our reporter at the oral argument in SCO’s appeal of its loss to Novell before the jury and before the judge in Utah District Court today has now filed his reports. It sounds from the reports like it went quite well for Novell, although we can’t be sure until the order issues, which could be months.

Would it amaze you if I told you that the report shows that SCO raised an entirely new argument today for the first time? That’s a no-no. Well, they are The Amazings. Also, SCO’s version of what the 10th Circuit ruling was after its first appeal is … well, read it for yourself, and you will see why the judges kept correcting SCO today.

Earlier today we found some articles which speak about Groklaw’s interpretation of SCO, Novell, Microsoft, and AttachMSFT [sic]. Groklaw opined that AttachMSFT may sell UNIX and/or the remainder of Novell’s patents to some entity which is hostile towards Linux. This relates to the patents passed by Novell to CPTN — a serious subject which was previously covered in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. It is a sort of cartel, but there are more such cartels which are strongly connected to Microsoft and help mimic in an aggressive fashion something like OIN (mind the new press release “OIN Licensing Strength Continues in Fourth Quarter as OIN Announces Expanded Effort on Licensing the Linux User Community”), where their goal is to attack companies and attack Linux, unlike the OIN which merely defends something.

Erika Morphy from ECT has this recent article about it, predating the FSF’s complaint which was announced at its site as follows:

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) and Free Software Foundation (FSF) have sent a joint position statement to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), urging it to scrutinize Novell’s proposal to sell patents to the newly-formed CPTN Holdings. Both organizations believe that CPTN Holdings may use these patents to attack free, libre, and open source (FLOSS) software. The full text of the statement follows.

Simon Phipps’ post was also aired in a Red hat site and the OSI’s announcement came from a Red Hat employee (both of them are in the OSI too). The main point to reiterate here is that CPTN may get more than it bargained for, depending on what AttachMSFT decides at a later date. UNIX too may be up for grabs, so something in this relationship needs to be derailed. Just about every single body/company with vested interests in Free/open source software wants CPTN to be starved or decommissioned. Coincidence?

Government Procurement Should Exclude Patents-riddled ‘Standards’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents, SUN at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Australian money

Summary: Patent tax not acceptable where public territories are concerned, but officials need to revise existing rules

Procurement issues have been covered by Simon Phipps for quite a few years, even back when he worked for Sun Microsystems. In his newest article he writes about the use of patents to discriminate against Free/open source software, starting with: [via]

All over the world, I encounter both governments and countries claiming they have a policy permitting or even favouring open source software. yet when you actually look at what they are doing, you find that there’s still a huge amount of proprietary software being procured.

A policy alone is not enough. To implement it, legacy procurement rules have to be changed, especially in government. Procurement rules evolve over time in the light of experience, and gradually accrete into a sizeable corpus that is inflexible by design. While these rules may provide both protection and value for procurement of products and services the enterprise has seen before, they typically discriminate against new approaches, which are the “friendly fire” casualties of unintended and unforeseen consequences. Legacy procurement rules stifle innovation.

One of the most common problems that legacy procurement rules cause is in the area of requiring indemnity for software. Procurement rules usually ask for substantial penalties to be associated with promises that the software doesn’t contain any misappropriated copyright, abuses no trademarks, and does not knowingly infringe any patents.

[...]

This is one of the key problems that needs to be fixed if you intend to move your enterprise to favour open source software. It’s not enough just to say you do; you’ll need to fix your procurement rules so open source software can get through your defences.

The point to be made here is also that patents (and copyrights) play a role in discriminating against Free/open source software, whether deliberately or not. It relates quite nicely to the atrocious news from Australia [1, 2, 3, 4], where Microsoft proprietary and patents-encumbered formats were chosen over ODF by a suit with Microsoft business history. Watch them trying to deny “Microsoft bias” when approached by an Australian journalist who is investigative and consistently in favour of software freedom:

AGIMO’s policy requires government agencies to support the Office Open XML file format/ECMA-376 standard promoted by Microsoft, which most alternative office suites cannot write documents in. The ODF Alliance, which is supporting a rival format, claimed last year the Office Open XML format was riddled with “Windows-platform dependencies” (PDF) and essentially tied users to Microsoft Office, and some organisations, such as the National Archives of Australia, have picked the ODF standard instead in the long-term.

However, AGIMO stated there was no software bias in the choice.

[...]

One of the common complaints of workers in large organisations is that they are unable to gain access to install applications on their desktop PCs, leading to a frustration at work as they may be unable to use the applications which they are used to, or prefer to do their work more efficiently. An example would be the way that many people use web browsers with heavily customised extensions.

Microsoft cronies in the Australian government are embarrassing the entire country, which is being watched by the entire world over this scandal.

“What on Earth is Happening to The Economist These Days?”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Patents at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Economist

Summary: The Economist steps close to the edge by repeatedly smearing Free software and anything which is associated with it

A PUBLICATION that lands in the hands of many suits is The Economist, which also magnifies Microsoft-funded books that belittle “open source” this month [1, 2, 3]. This is not exactly the exception; in fact, Tim and I did a special episode segment in TechBytes — one where we addressed an evidence-free attack on GNU/Linux, hosted by The Economist and making it look rather shameful. Perhaps the editorship no longer minds its reputation, given that it whitewashes some very bad people right now. Intellectual Ventures was accused by TechDirt of finding ways to produce a lot of PR and the latest platform for this PR seems to be The Economist. This ‘article’ (advertisement) is rather telling because it is an “unbelievably uncritical puff-piece on über-troll Myhrvold,” writes Glyn Moody on Friday, “what on earth is happening to the Economist these days?”

“Perhaps the editorship no longer minds its reputation, given that it whitewashes some very bad people right now.”For those who do not recall, Myhrvold is said to be attacking Linux already. He has past and present roots in Microsoft. In fact, he is also close to Bill Gates and his bank account which helped bankroll Intellectual Ventures, the world’s largest patent troll. Why on Earth is The Economist stooping as low as this?

In other news, an entity created by a former Microsoft manager/executive to produce proprietary software (with software patents) that exploits Free/open source software reports growth and we are not impressed. Even once these people leave Microsoft they continue to pose a threat to software freedom. It’s a mindset.

For more decent coverage on legal issues with emphasis on patents and a stern critique of Myhrvold, consider following Joe Mullin, who is generally a good writer on this subject but criminally under-subscribed. He currently writes about the infamous Twitter case which we mentioned the other day and he uses this to show the problems of the patent system in the US.

A new lawsuit against Twitter underscores an emerging trend in patent litigation: patent lawyers suing over their own “inventions.” Often, these lawyers aren’t spending weekends tinkering in their garages with products in the making; rather, the sole evidence of their inventive spark comes in the form of the hundreds of pages of legalese and paperwork filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Twitter was sued this week by a company called VS Technologies LLC, which appears to have been created for the purposes of filing the patent suit.

[...]

The central role of patent lawyers in suits like this raises questions about the health of the U.S. patent system. Patent lawyers are insiders in this system, and an increasing number of them aren’t satisfied just with being very-expensive service providers to patent owners. They’re seeing the millions made by so-called patent trolls and are eager to get into the game themselves. The patent office simply isn’t set up to say no to a persistent applicant, and the patent lawyers know that as well as anybody.

The old press is dying a painful death because it chooses to serve big business rather than serve the readers by sticking to facts. This is why we need blogs and we also need sites like Wikileaks to provide raw material.

“I Enjoy Crushing Bastards.” –Julian Assange

Links 22/1/2011: More Android Tablets, Tor 0.2.1.29 Released

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Hewlett-Packard releases HPLIP 3.11.1 with new features and support for more devices
    • Graphics Stack

      • Another Look At The Latest Nouveau Gallium3D Driver

        When checking out the latest Linux 2.6.38 kernel, libdrm, xf86-video-nouveau, and Mesa 7.11-devel all as of 17 January 2011, more graphics cards that I previously tested with Nouveau were back to functioning with the open-source kernel driver. In particular, the GeForce 9500GT, GeForce 9800GT, GeForce 9800GTX, and GeForce GT 220 were used for another mini test comparison of this days-old Nouveau code against the proprietary NVIDIA driver.

      • A Guide To How Graphics Cards Work

        This entry on the X.Org Wiki isn’t brand new, but for those that have yet to see it, there is a development guide to how graphics cards work on this Wiki page. There was just a trivial update to the guide today and I had then realized it hasn’t been mentioned before on Phoronix.

  • Applications

    • OpenShot 1.3.0 gets fancy upgrades

      OpenShot developers have been hard at work since November cooking up improvements & upgrades for this already awesome video editor.

      Starting early this week the guys over at OpenShot have been announcing new features to be included in the next release. This list is quite impressive already with still more to come.

    • RadioTray 0.6.3 Released With Ubuntu AppIndicator Support, Sleep Timer

      RadioTray is a minimalistic radio player stat runs in the notification area (system tray).

    • 3 Photo collage programs on Linux

      It happens every now and then you have a set of photos and you want to do with them a background image with a collage of them, or perhaps a mosaic, it’s possible in Linux?

      Sure there are Gimp and Picasa that among the many features that give even offer these options, but there are other programs, perhaps smaller and simpler to just make this work?

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Wine 1.3.12 Brings Initial DOSBox Integration

        Wine 1.3.11 wasn’t too interesting as the inaugural Wine development release of 2011, but Wine 1.3.12 has been released today and it carries a bit more weight, such as an initial stab at integrating DOSBox.

        The noteworthy changes to be found in today’s bi-weekly development snapshot, Wine 1.3.12, include support for multiple icon sizes in the Wine menu builder, improvements to the Wine help browser, initial stab at DOSBox integration, various MSI installer fixes, fixes to the Wine debugger, and various other bug-fixes throughout the Wine stack.

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Saline Linux Review

        This is my first attempt at reviewing a Linux distribution. I’m excited, and I hope you’ll find it useful. I would definitely appreciate any feedback! I’m a user, not a developer, so I’ll be approaching this from a not-too-technical angle, focusing on asthetics and usability. Here goes.

        I first became aware of Saline Linux when Anthony Nordquist posted a comment on one of my previous blog posts, Why I Use Linux. Toward the end of his comment he mentioned that he was working on a distribution of his own, and I said I would give it a try. I was excited to learn via Twitter that as of 1/16/2011, version 1.0 of Saline Linux is now available.

        [...]

        Saline Linux is built on Debian and features Xfce for its desktop environment.

      • Saline Operating System
      • New Linux Distribution Brings Goodies to Debian

        Saline OS 1.0 has been released. Saline is a new Linux distribution based on Debian Squeeze with the main purpose of bringing some of the things users’ might want that doesn’t fit in with Debian Open Source philosophy. It uses Xfce for the desktop, making it light weight enough for some older machines and netbooks while still bringing modern amenities.

    • New Releases

      • Jolinux 3
      • Clonezilla 1.2.6-59
      • MoLinux 6.2 (Edu)
      • Pardus 2011
      • Release: IPFire 2.9

        After the last maintainance release in november 2010, the developers are proud to release a new version 2.9. About 400 different changes were taken in this build and there were about one hundred testers that have installed at least one of the beta versions.

      • Calculate Linux 11.0 released

        The new version of the distribution Calculate Linux 11.0 has been released. All editions of distribution are available for download: Calculate Linux Desktop with desktop KDE (CLD), GNOME (CLDG) and XFCE (CLDX), Calculate Linux Scratch (CLS), Calculate Directory Server (CDS) and Calculate Scratch Server (CSS).

      • PelicanHPC GNU Linux

        10 January 2011. pelicanhpc-v2.3 is out. From this release forward, Debian Squeeze will be the base for PelicanHPC, until future notice. Also, PelicanHPC is henceforth available only in a 64 bit version. There are no major changes since version 2.2, apart from the newer versions of most packages. In particular, the kernel is now at 2.6.32, and Xfce is looking sharp at version 4.6.2. In the move from Lenny to Squeeze as the base, the ganglia monitoring system has stopped working, because the configuration files have not yet been updated. I would be happy to receive gmond.conf and gmetad.conf files that cause the installed version of ganglia to work properly on PelicanHPC. ksysguard still works well as a cluster monitor, though.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu – The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

          Canonical’s implementation of the XFCE Desktop works fine, and looks good. The problem is that it could look fantastic with a bit more work. I don’t know why Canonical made the original decision to concentrate on Gnome. In my opinion XFCE is far nicer.

        • Unity Gets A “Places Tile View”, More [Natty Updates]

          The Places Tile View is not yet fully functional: clicking the top items it opens Nautilus. Further more, the design looks unpolished with no effects and a rough design but this will surely change.

        • Unity update delivers the initial drop of a revamped Dash

          Just in, and an update to the Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha has brought with it the first iteration of what will soon blossom into Unity’s long-awaited Dash revamp.

        • Canonical’s Shuttleworth Explains Ubuntu-Dell Cloud Pitch

          Still, Canonical has faced its share of challenges over the past year. COO Matt Asay left the company in December 2010; Google Android and Apple iPad have largely stolen Ubuntu’s thunder on so-called Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs); and Google Chrome OS could emerge as an Ubuntu rival on netbook-type devices.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Software Center Has Ratings and Reviews

          Ubuntu Developer Diaries with Michael Vogt and Matthew Paul Thomas introducing new features under developing to Software Center For Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.

          Rating and Reviews are a great way to easily know users feedbacks, reviews, and rating about any application available on the software center before installing it, and you can publish your own reviews and ratings, also sharing your reviews and rating directly from Ubuntu Software Center to your twitter account and other social network using Gwibber client.

        • Ubuntu Developer Manual Encourages User Contribution
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Operating System

            Linux Mint is my recommended operating system (as well as my recommended GNU/Linux distribution).

            Linux Mint will provide an end user with a legitimately free, robust, stable, secure, full featured, easy to use, and up-to-date modern operating system.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • MeeGo Events 2011
        • UPDATE: Accelerometer-based Phone Control

          In my previous post, I whipped up the ability to hang-up calls when placing my N900 face down, well I got a few comments and requests about turning the loud speaker on when placed face up. So, with a little time to kill on a Wednesday evening, I cracked a cold Moosehead and added that in.

        • qutIM user interface on Nokia N900(Maemo 5)
        • Going back: Qtscape and the first port of Mozilla to Qt

          I recently came across an article reporting the rebirth of the Qt port for Firefox 4. When the journalist wrote about rebirth they were referring to work that some bloggers at Tech Freaks 4 You reported two years ago, but it rattled loose an old memory I had from when I first joined Trolltech (way back when digital watches were thought to be a pretty neat idea).

      • Android

        • Car Radio Powered by Android. Introduce Your Ride to Some Apps (video)

          Sure your car can go from 0 to 60 in less than four seconds, but can it play Angry Birds? French wireless specialist Parrot has developed a break-through in automotive accessories: the Android- powered car radio. Known as Asteroid, the system uses 3G, Bluetooth, and GPS to provide you with internet radio, hands-free calling, maps…and apps. With its Android OS Asteroid will be able to run a variety of smart phone applications, as well as some developed specifically for in-car use.

        • An Open Letter to Motorola

          What a rollercoaster you’ve put me through today Motorola, can I call you Moto? I’ve been a fan of your products since the MicroTac I had way back in the day and I said this then, and I still say it today, you seriously build some outstanding hardware. I’ve also had several variants of the Razr, which was a great phone (pretty obvious from the bajillions you sold back then, huh?) and innovative at the time. Then you hit some rough times. Your glory days had seemed to wind toward that corporate sunset, and you needed a way back into the hearts and minds of the people. A small green robot came by and offered his tiny robot hand to pull you out of the depths. The Droid was born. Now you did an amazing job with the original Droid, which is still one of the best devices I’ve owned running CyanogenMod 7 Nightlies, touting some nice specs for the time and offering the openness that really sets Android apart from its competitor in its walled garden. The Droid is still the number 1 Android device, at least as of Dec 2010, which says a lot toward its greatness.

        • Motorola Getting Nicer to Android ROM Devs and Rooters?

          After the infamous announcement by one of Motorola’s YouTube channel moderators that those wanting custom ROMs should “buy elsewhere”, it seems that Motorola’s PR department has taken control back: “We apologize for the feedback we provided regarding our bootloader policy. The response does not reflect the views of Motorola. We are working closely with our partners to offer a bootloader solution that will enable developers to use our devices as a development platform while still protecting our users’ interests. More detailed information will follow as we get closer to availability.”

        • Motorola ready to make sweet love to Android ROM devs and rooters?
        • HTC smartphone profits rise 160%

          HTC was the first smartphone maker to use Google’s Android operating system.

        • T-Mobile reveals Android-based 4G smartphone

          T-Mobile USA introduced its Samsung Galaxy S 4G, an Android 2.2-based smartphone the carrier says will offer peak download speeds of 21Mbps. While few other details were provided, the device will likely feature a 4.3-inch AMOLED (active matrix organic LED) screen and dual cameras, as do others in the Galaxy S line.

    • Tablets

      • Another Ubuntu-powered tablet appears

        GizChina have posted news of another new (albeit dual-booting) Ubuntu tablet.

        The tablet boasts a dual-core 1.6Ghz Atom CPU, 1GB Ram, a 16Gb SSD hard-drive and a 9.7″ screen, all tucked up inside an iPad-esque shell complete with iPad home button and iPod-style charger.

      • Toshiba teases Android Honeycomb tablet

        Even though it isn’t needed with the tablet version of the software, the Toshiba Android Honeycomb tablet will have the four standard Android buttons on the bezel. We haven’t been able to dive into the latest version of the little, green robot to know if these standard buttons are even needed anymore.

      • HTC planning three Android tablets, starting in 2Q

        HTC is planning three Android tablets under the “Flyer” moniker, starting with a tablet due in the second quarter, says a report. In other Android-related news, Acer has denied claims that it would either phase out netbooks or use “Sandy Bridge” processors in tablets — but now confirms two Android tablets are coming — and Google co-founder Larry Page is taking over as CEO.

      • Xoom wins huge pre-orders as Asus denies Eee Pad slippage

        Massive pre-orders show that demand is high for the Motorola Xoom Android 3.0 tablet, as well as the RIM PlayBook tablet, says an industry report. Meanwhile, Asus has denied rumors that its Eee Pad tablets will be delayed and won’t run Android 3.0, says another report, and LG’s G-Slate gains a sign-up page on T-Mobile.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can Linux Open-Xchange Replace Microsoft Exchange?

    From the experience I’ve had so far with OX administration, I’d give it a B, maybe a B-. It could be far easier to administer for a small business, but I suspect that much of the company’s focus is on their hosting provider business. I’d recommend strongly considering a hosted version of Open-Xchange if you have a smallish organization with limited tech support resources. If you have more time than money, though, the Server and Community Editions are there.

  • Is cloud computing opening up?

    We wondered recently about the impact of a cloud partnership between Red Hat and Eucalyptus Systems, which also works closely with Canonical for its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. In a recent discussion, Marten Mickos told me Eucalyptus Systems fully expects and supports Canonical’s moves toward another cloud framework, OpenStack. While Canonical’s strategy probably has as much to do with customer demand, particularly for cloud flexibility, as it does with responding to rivals’ moves and deals, I believe that both the Red Hat partnership with Eucalyptus Systems and Canonical’s support for multiple, open source cloud computing frameworks signal a more open cloud computing market that is evolving.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Amazon mooches from Tomcat as it bets on Java in the cloud

      The fact that Amazon.com selected the open source Apache Tomcat as the Java application server powering Amazon.com’s entry into the Java platform-as-a-service market came as little surprise to Java vendors and industry watchers. Amazon.com’s pricing strategy, on the other hand, will surely surprise some vendors and IT decision makers. Additionally, Amazon.com’s apparent lack of contributions to the Apache Tomcat project should be considered as you make your Java cloud-platform selection decisions.

    • Joyent Introduces Next Generation Cloud Operating System
    • Eucalyptus Claims: Fortune 100 Runs Our Private Cloud Software

      And, perhaps most notably, Eucalyptus Systems’s technologies and buzz drew open source management talent like former MySQL head Marten Mickos and Red Hat sales veteran Said Ziouani to sign onto the core executive team.

  • Databases

    • EnterpriseDB Announces Availability of SQL/Protect, PL/Secure and xDB Replication Server for Community PostgreSQL Users

      EnterpriseDB, the largest independent PostgreSQL open source database company, today announced the availability of three components, adding important security and replication technology for community PostgreSQL Server users — SQL/Protect, PL/Secure and xDB Replication Server. These add-on modules make PostgreSQL more secure and supply data integration capabilities between multiple PostgreSQL servers as well as between PostgreSQL and Oracle. Prior to today’s announcement, these three components were only made available to EnterpriseDB’s Postgres Plus customers.

    • Former Oracle® MySQL® Customers Drive SkySQL Sales to Seven Figures in Its First Twelve Weeks

      In this brief period, SkySQL, with employees in 13 countries, grew its global operations, expanded its sales force in the Americas and APAC regions, and increased its overall workforce. The company is now serving roughly 40 customers globally across various industries. Growth was particularly strong in Europe, where the company added customers such as internet-based financial information services provider, BörseGo; luxury goods manufacturer, Richemont; film/tv studio and distributor Canal+; and internet hosting provider, FHR, to its list of customers. This list includes a growing number of former Oracle MySQL customers that have made the switch to SkySQL.

  • Business

    • Why Nuxeo Dropped JCR
    • How MySQL solved their Sales & Marketing challenges

      An interview with Lesley Young, who was the VP of worldwide Sales for MySQL, and then head of sales for the MySQL division within Oracle. Few products are as well known as the ubiquitous MySQL database. The company behind the database was also one of the great success stories in the Open Source world, and ended being acquired by Sun (now Oracle) for approx. $1 billion. Making money in Open Source businesses is a lot harder than it may appear on the outside. Lesley tells the story of how she and Zack Urlocker, running marketing partnered to solve the sales and marketing challenges that the company faced when trying to monetize MySQL.

    • Pentaho Announces Record Growth, Adds 400 New Customers

      Pentaho Corporation, the open source business intelligence (BI) and data integration leader, today announced the most successful year in company history represented by 120 percent bookings growth, over 400 new customers and rapid expansion of the global partner network during 2010. This momentum has helped solidify Pentaho as the leading OSBI provider helping to address some of the most demanding needs for its thriving worldwide customer base.

    • Press Release: January 12, 2011

      n the past year, one in five Fortune 100 companies started up a Eucalyptus cloud deployment, as part of the more than more than 25,000 Eucalyptus deployments across government organizations, academic institutions and private enterprises worldwide. The past year was also marked by rapid expansion of the Eucalyptus partner ecosystem, with leading global companies including Dell, HP, Intel, and Red Hat collaborating with Eucalyptus for private cloud computing solutions.

    • WANdisco Completes Acquisition of Leading Subversion User Community SVNForum.org

      WANdisco, the makers of Enterprise Subversion with the most active core developers from the project on staff, today announced that it had completed the acquisition of SVNForum.org – the world’s largest Subversion user community with over 20,000 active members. At the same time the company has given the site a new lease of life with a distinctive new look and new features that make it easier to use.

    • Delivering on the promise

      The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) does not claim to be a perfect organization, but our model is definitely geared towards project sustainability, and makes most or all such events impossible by design.

      Let’s discuss a few concepts that promote and enable this project sustainability.

      Newcomers to the ASF sometimes complain about our “red tape”. People have to sign our CLA [1] before being granted commit access. Projects have to follow strict rules for voting and releasing software. Adding a committer also requires a specific process, which lasts at least 72 hours. None of this is really complicated once you’ve done it a few times, but it sometimes seems like extra overhead for people coming from smaller projects where everything just happens.

    • Reposting Mark Schonewille’s blog on how the GPL applies to MySQL use cases

      This is just a repost of the disappeared blog post. (The small print allows me to copy it verbatim.) There is no commentary from myself, except that what Mark wrote is the same I also heard Oracle say a year ago. That Oracle is being consistent on this point is very welcome and deserves to be kept available online.

    • CloudBees Introduces Worldwide Training for Hudson Continuous Integration Server

      Hudson is the most popular open source continuous integration server with 25,000 sites deployed.

    • OpenLogic Expands Support Around Open Source Data Integration With Talend Partnership

      OpenLogic, Inc., a provider of enterprise open source software support and governance solutions encompassing hundreds of open source packages, today announced a partnership with Talend, a global open source software leader.

      “Talend is a recognized market leader in open source software with more than ten million downloads,” said Vincent Pineau, general manager of Americas for Talend. “Our solutions are the most widely used and deployed open source data management and application integration solutions in the world. We are excited to see our community get more support options for these products, thanks to this partnership with OpenLogic.”

    • KnowledgeTree Signs Record Volume of New Customers in December
    • Convirture Brings Strong Momentum into 2011

      “The launch of ConVirt 2.0 Open Sourcein February really hit a chord with anyone looking for a better way to manage Linux virtualization,” said Arsalan Farooq, CEO of Convirture. “The new features, combined with our datacenter experience from versions 1.x drove an incredible amount of downloads and valuable contributions to the product, which provided a great launch pad for our Enterprise version later in the year.”

    • OpenERP Launches V6.0 of its OpenSource ERP Business Applications Suite; Gives Customers Choice Between On-Site Version and SaaS Platform
    • OpenERP Aims to Bring ERP to the SMB Masses

      OpenERP has launched a significant upgrade designed to appeal to small and mid-sized businesses both for its functionality and its pricing. OpenERP is “a good example of a company using open source to target a piece of the market that has been overlooked by some of the larger, more established vendors,” said 451 Group analyst Jay Lyman.

    • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache Pivot 2.0
  • Funding

    • Scala Team Wins ERC Grant

      The Scala research group at EPFL is excited to announce that they have won a 5 year European Research Grant of over 2.3 million Euros to tackle the “Popular Parallel Programming” challenge. This means that the Scala team will nearly double in size to pursue a truly promising way for industry to harness the parallel processing power of the ever increasing number of cores available on each chip.

  • Project Releases

    • Tor 0.2.1.29 is released (security patches)

      Tor 0.2.1.29 continues our recent code security audit work. The main fix resolves a remote heap overflow vulnerability that can allow remote code execution. Other fixes address a variety of assert and crash bugs, most of which we think are hard to exploit remotely.

    • Open source Wireshark sniffs new 1.4.3 network traffic

      If you’ve ever had to audit/capture network traffic, you’ve likely used the open source wireshark (formerly Ethereal) application.

      Wireshark is getting updated this week to version 1.4.3, providing some really interesting fixes. I personally use wireshark to audit network traffic and security, but apparently Wireshark itself had a trio of security flaws in it.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Make Your Music Go Viral on Facebook By Offering It For Free

      According to Dave Glassanos, founder of Disrupt.fm, the price of a song is about the equivalent of a Facebook update. That’s up for debate, but I will say that Glassanos’s Facebook-oriented startup is pretty cool.

    • Could you lead Wikimedia UK to success?

      Can you help lead the chapter to success in 2011 by standing for election as a board member? If so, you’re warmly invited to join us on Saturday 5th February from 5pm where you can find out more about what is involved in being a board member and have an opportunity to ask any questions and meet other interested people.

    • Green Energy Corp Launches Smart Grid Open Source Community

      Green Energy Corp, a software technology company that enables traditional and emerging power providers to move to the Smart Grid, today announced that it has launched the Total Grid open source community.

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Right to Research Coalition’s Nick Shockey: Open Education and Policy

        Nick Shockey is the Director of the Right to Research Coalition (R2RC) and the Director of Student Advocacy at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). The R2RC is an international alliance of 31 graduate and undergraduate student organizations, representing nearly 7 million students, that promotes an open scholarly publishing system based on the belief that no student should be denied access to the research they need for their education because their institution cannot afford the often high cost of scholarly journals. We spoke to Nick about similarities in the open access and open educational resources movements, the worldwide student movement in support of access to scholarly research, and the benefits of adopting Creative Commons tools for open access literature.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The HTML5 Logo Conversation

      The most unified criticism has centered around the FAQ’s original statement that the logo means “a broad set of open web technologies”, which some believe “muddies the waters” of the open web platform.

Leftovers

  • The Gospel of Steve Jobs
  • Barack Obama gives Hu Jintao the red carpet treatment
  • The Social Side of the Internet

    The internet is now deeply embedded in group and organizational life in America. A new national survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project has found that 75% of all American adults are active in some kind of voluntary group or organization and internet users are more likely than others to be active: 80% of internet users participate in groups, compared with 56% of non-internet users. Moreover, social media users are even more likely to be active: 82% of social network users and 85% of Twitter users are group participants.

  • Google shuffle: why Eric Schmidt had to be pushed from the top

    The move has clearly been planned for some time; in a blog post, Schmidt admitted the move had been planned “over the [Christmas] holidays”. Of course the trio – Schmidt, Page and his co-founder Sergey Brin – had figured out that if Schmidt had simply announced it on 2 January, all hell would have broken loose: the stock would have tanked, and everyone would have picked the financial results announced on Thursday night apart like vultures on a carcass.

  • Textbook Publishing in a Flat World

    According to the National Association of College Stores in a 2007 survey, the average cost of a new college textbook was $53. The founders of Flat World Knowledge, which launches with its first run of college textbooks this fall, consider that too high–so high, in fact, that they’ll be offering textbooks for free, at least in versions that can be read online.

    If the student wants to buy a printed copy of the textbook, it will be printed on demand by the company and provided in color for one price or black and white for a lesser price. For the student who prefers to listen to the book on an MP3 player, audio versions will be available too. Each format will have its own cost structure, but on average, it’ll tally up to about $30.

  • Deploying the British Granny Cloud to tutor poor Indian classrooms over Skype

    This BBC video-clip describes the latest ingenious project from Sugata Mitra, an Indian-born professor at Newcastle University.

  • Alex Roman’s astonishingly hyper-real CGI animation
  • “Wideband” Internet on way to Durham from Time Warner — just make sure your wallet’s set to “wideband,” too

    We may all be getting ready to “Marry Durham” come March, but Google hasn’t even shown a willingness to return our phone calls after that initial flirtation they made with municipalities nationwide for their fiber-optic program. (Or, for that matter, anyone’s calls — there’s no sign that the Big G has picked any community for a residential gigabit network.)

    Instead, we’ve been stuck in a relationship with Time Warner Cable that’s been pretty monogamous, though some Durhamites have tried to stray with mixed success.

  • Google and NetApp make top ten in best places to work

    Google may be trying to take over the world, but as long as you’re on-side it is still a brilliant place to work.

  • California Appeals Court Says Company Can Be Held Liable For Spam It Didn’t Write Or Know About

    In a ruling that Eric Goldman correctly refers to as “divorced from reality,” a California Appeals court has ruled that two advertising firms can be held liable for actions done by their affiliates (and sub-affiliates). In this case, these sub-affiliates sent out spam, advertising things on behalf of the defendants in the case. There were a few legal questions raised by the case, including yet another attempt to see if CAN SPAM really pre-empts state anti-spam laws, which are interesting, but which we won’t discuss right now. Instead, I wanted to focus on that one key issue of putting the blame on a company for what a third party does.

  • Botswana approves $3bn mine as Bushman water case gets underway

    Botswana’s government has green-lighted a massive $3bn mine in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve – in the middle of the Kalahari Bushmen’s appeal against the Botswana authorities’ refusal to allow them access to water there.

    Gem Diamonds announced today that its application to open a huge diamond mine near the Bushman community of Gope in the reserve has been approved. The company claims to have secured the consent of the Bushmen on whose lands the mine will be located.

  • Breastfeeding: Would you react negatively to a mother breastfeeding her child in public?

    More than 100 breastfeeding mothers staged a protest outside a store in Montreal Wednesday.

    The “nurse-in” was in front of the Orchestra baby clothing store in the Complexe Les Ailes shopping centre on Ste-Catherine Street. Two weeks ago, Montrealer Shannon Smith was asked to leave the shop because she was breastfeeding.

  • Science

    • How Art Made Me Fail a Science Course

      Being an artist, taking science courses is usually just a bit curious. Usually it only has slight ramifications. Like for graphing in 3D, the texts and teachers just used the below left axes. But I made my own, I thought more artistic axes, shown by the below right axes.

    • Google Donates 1 Million Euros To Mathematics Championship Organization

      Google is making a €1 million gift to the International Mathematical Olympiad organization, which has been organizing the annual World Championship Mathematics Competition for High School Students.

    • Is Parallel Programming Hard, And, If So, What Can You Do About It?

      This book is written in the hope that presenting the engineering discipline underlying successful parallel-programming projects will free a new generation of parallel hackers from the need to slowly and painstakingly reinvent old wheels, instead focusing their energy and creativity on new frontiers. Although the book is intended primarily for self-study, it is likely to be more generally useful.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Friday’s security advisories
    • Google’s Niels Provos battles malware on the Web

      During 2000 and 2001, Ph.D. student Niels Provos would occasionally drive from the University of Michigan across the border into Canada and spend the weekend working on an open-source cryptography project that would end up becoming one of the most widely used network security technologies ever: OpenSSH. He couldn’t work on it in his Ann Arbor office, or he would have run afoul of restrictive U.S. export regulations designed to keep strong crypto out of the hands of foreigners.

      Several years later, Provos moved his research papers and software related to steganography, which is the science of hiding secret messages, from servers at the U.S. university to a server in the Netherlands to avoid violating Michigan law. He was concerned (and so was the Electronic Frontier Foundation) that the law–which made it illegal to develop software that conceals “the existence or place of origin of any telecommunications service”–was so vague as to allow it to apply to his research. After the legislation was later watered down, he moved his stuff back to the states.

    • A Day of Reckoning is Coming

      Terry Sweeny is right. Hacker attacks won’t hurt your company brand. And claims that they do hurt security’s brand.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Perpetual War is Expensive! Jan 20 2011
    • Is CCTV creeping too far?

      For the last 25 years CCTV has proliferated into public spaces across the UK, but is it going too far to use cameras to give parking tickets and enforce bus lane rules?

      When most people think of CCTV being used in law enforcement they think of a string of high-profile crimes that have been solved or publicised with the help of footage.

    • G20 officer: ‘This ain’t Canada right now’

      A G20 incident caught on video that shows a York Regional Police officer telling a protester he is no longer in Canada and has no civil rights is under investigation.

      The video shows several activists standing outside of the G20 security perimeter at King St. W. and University Ave. on June 27 while their bags are searched by a group of police officers. The mood is pleasant until a young man in a black T-shirt and cap refuses to hand over his backpack.

    • 20 years after Gulf War, architects talk of lessons

      It has been two decades since a U.S.-led coalition expelled Saddam Hussein’s army from Kuwait — and global leaders are still grappling with the challenges of the new world heralded by the Persian Gulf War.

      “In the case of Desert Storm, I honestly believe history will say we got this one right,” former president George H.W. Bush said Thursday at Texas A&M University’s basketball arena as he opened a 20th-anniversary symposium on the war.

      Members of Bush’s war cabinet, including Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, discussed the legacy of the first major military conflict after the Cold War — as well as some of the lessons that have not been easy to apply in the years since.

    • Joe Lieberman Insists Iraq Was Developing WMDs Despite No Evidence

      During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) continued to insist that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction even though none were ever found after the invasion of Iraq.

      The senator, retiring his seat in 2012, also said that despite the enormous cost to the U.S. in blood, prestige and treasure he does not regret his vote for war and would do it all over again.

  • Cablegate

    • FDL Coverage of Bradley Manning’s Detention

      Private First Class Bradley E. Manning was arrested and charged with the unauthorized use and disclosure of U.S. diplomatic cables to Wikileaks. He has been held in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico since sometime in May 2010.

    • @exiledsurfer says: Why don’t You Just Blow Me.
    • Oliver North’s Pre-Trial Conditions For UCMJ Violations Dramatically Different Than Bradley Manning’s

      I will drive down to Quantico this weekend with Bradley Manning’s friend David House when David delivers petition signatures to the Commander of the Quantico brig. The petition urges an end to the inhumane treatment of Manning during his pre-trial confinement.

    • Article 138 Complaint

      Life for PFC Manning, however, is not much better now that he has been returned to POI watch. Like suicide risk, he is held in solitary confinement. For 23 hours per day, he will sit in his cell. The guards will check on him every five minutes by asking him if he is okay. PFC Manning will be required to respond in some affirmative manner. At night, if the guards cannot see him clearly, because he has a blanket over his head or is curled up towards the wall, they will wake him in order to ensure that he is okay. He will receive each of his meals in his cell. He will not be allowed to have a pillow or sheets. He will not be allowed to have any personal items in his cell. He will only be allowed to have one book or one magazine at any given time to read. The book or magazine will be taken away from him at the end of the day before he goes to sleep. He will be prevented from exercising in his cell. If he attempts to do push-ups, sit-ups, or any other form of exercise he will be forced to stop. He will receive one hour of exercise outside of his cell daily. The guards will take him to an empty room and allow him to walk. He will usually just walk in figure eights around the room until his hour is complete. When he goes to sleep, he will be required to strip down to his underwear and surrender his clothing to the guards.

    • Did WikiLeaks Use P2P to Collect Classified Data?

      For years we’ve heard reports of classified data inadvertently being available on P2P networks, and watched Congress hold hearing after hearing proclaiming the chances of a “cyber Pearl Harbor.”

      [...]

      WikiLeaks says the claims are “completely false in every regard,” but Tiversa has compiled a rather damning list of coincidences.

    • If Wikileaks Scraped P2P Networks for “Leaks,” Did it Break Federal Criminal Law?

      On Bloomberg.com today, Michael Riley reports that some of the documents hosted at Wikileaks may not be “leaks” at all, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, according to a computer security firm called Tiversa, “computers in Sweden” have been searching the files shared on p2p networks like Limewire for sensitive and confidential information, and the firm supposedly has proof that some of the documents found in this way have ended up on the Wikileaks site. These charges are denied as “completely false in every regard” by Wikileaks lawyer Mark Stephens.

      I have no idea whether these accusations are true, but I am interested to learn from the story that if they are true they might provide “an alternate path for prosecuting WikiLeaks,” most importantly because the reporter attributes this claim to me. Although I wasn’t misquoted in the article, I think what I said to the reporter is a few shades away from what he reported, so I wanted to clarify what I think about this.

      [...]

      But I restate my conclusion: I think a prosecution under the CFAA against someone for searching a p2p network should fail. The text and caselaw of the CFAA don’t support such a prosecution. Maybe it’s “not a slam dunk either way,” as I am quoted saying in the story, but for the lawyers defending against such a theory, it’s at worst an easy layup.

    • Breaking: Wikileaks cables cited by defense lawyers in French Guantanamo Trial

      Lawyers for ex-inmates of the Guantanamo prison camp used documents released by WikiLeaks to argue for their acquittal in a French terrorism trial Thursday.

      The lawyers for five Frenchmen, originally acquitted of the charges in a 2009 trial, argued that it was inappropriate for French investigators to have discussed the ex-inmates’ cases with American authorities after a new trial was ordered. Lawyer Dominique Many said it “shocked” him that investigators would discuss ongoing cases with the U.S. government.

    • Swedish PM: Assange extradition a judicial matter

      Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt insisted Thursday that his government will play no role in deciding whether WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, should be extradited to the U.S.

      Assange is in London, where he’s battling extradition to Sweden over sex-crime allegations.

    • Wikileaks Thriller Headed to Big Screen

      The production company behind the TV series Bones has announced a biopic on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. It will be a thriller—a “suspenseful drama with a global impact”. But who’s going to play Julian Assange?

    • Malware referencing Julian Assange

      While browsing through incoming malware samples, we noticed this one.

    • Three reasons why WikiLeaks is dangerous to corporations

      Public relations professionals in Germany say that trying to sit out the storm is no longer a strategy for success in a post-cablegate world.

    • Wikileaks: US embassy condemned eviction of Kalahari Bushmen

      The US Ambassador to Botswana strongly condemned the government’s forced eviction of the Kalahari Bushmen, according to secret US embassy cables released today.

      Ambassador Joseph Huggins told his bosses in Washington in 2005 that the Bushmen had been ‘dumped in economically absolutely unviable situations without forethought, and without follow-up support. The lack of imagination displayed… is breathtaking.’

      He concluded by saying, ‘The special tragedy of New Xade’s dependent population [i.e. the Bushmen in the relocation camp] is that it could have been avoided.’

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Global Warming Policy Foundation donor funding levels revealed

      A high-profile thinktank founded by the former chancellor Lord Lawson, which has been highly critical of climate scientists and action on global warming, appears to have attracted fewer than 100 members in its first year.

      Accounts filed with the Charities Commission and Companies House in the last week show for the first time the extent to which the secretive Global Warming Policy Foundation, founded in November 2009, is funded by anonymous donors, compared with income from membership fees. Its total income for the period up to 31 July 2010 was £503,302, of which only £8,168 came from membership contributions. The foundation charges a minimum annual membership fee of £100 .

    • China’s great disappearing lake

      Northern China’s largest body of freshwater is shrinking, but can it be saved? Huo Weiya travelled to Inner Mongolia to find out.

    • New Congress Wastes No Time Undoing Climate Progress

      In a document making its rounds among Republican lawmakers, Upton claims that the EPA has put a “chokehold” on businesses by regulating their emissions and pollution. The Hill obtained a copy of the document titled “Key Issues before the Committee on Energy and Commerce 112th Congress [PDF], which contains the following:

      “We believe it critical that the Obama administration ‘stop’ imposing its new global warming regulatory regime, which will undermine economic growth and U.S. competitiveness for no significant benefit…The EPA is regulating too much too fast without fully analyzing the feasibility and economic and job impacts of the new rules.”

      Upton and his colleagues are working to dismantle the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, which was granted to them by a Supreme Court ruling that stated that carbon was, in fact, a greenhouse gas. The energy industry was strongly opposed to this ruling, as it would hinder their ability to pollute without consequence, and reducing their emissions would take a small percentage off of their bottom line. And since Upton’s number one campaign donor is the energy industry, he’s not going to waste any time to grant their wishes.

    • Ask yourself these two Questions before buying your next hardware

      But then take a look at this video. Have you ever asked yourself where all those computers, printers and other things you disposed off ended up? Do you really need that computer with a bazillion gigs of memory and all that power?

      You might be safe from the pollution that the hardware and software companies induce through their very powerful marketing strategies, but for people like yours truly, we bear the full brunt of it.

      Next time you go out shopping for gadgets, ask yourself two questions: do you really need it, and what is the real price aside what’s displayed on the price tag.

    • Water in the Hole: Postcard From Australia

      As a follow up to last week’s post, China Lights, Global Floods, Australian Coal, I’ve helpfully received various emails, reports, and some photographs from friends and contacts in New Zealand and Australia. Below is a classic Before and After portrait of the Baralaba Mine, flooded by the Dawson River.

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin – a Step Toward Censorship-Resistant Digital Currency

      A few weeks ago, we mentioned a rather unusual technological endeavor to create an online currency. We received a few queries about this subject, so decided to provide a more thorough description of what digital currency is, how this system works, why it’s appealing and how it might fall short of user expectations.

      To understand digital currency, one must first note that money in the digital age has moved from a largely anonymous system to one increasingly laden with tracking, control and regulatory overhead. Our cold hard cash is now shepherded through a series of regulated financial institutions like banks, credit unions and lenders. Bitcoin, created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, is a peer-to-peer digital currency system that endeavors to re-establish both privacy and autonomy by avoiding the banking and government middlemen. The goal is to allow individuals and merchants to generate and exchange modern money directly. Once the Bitcoin software has been downloaded, a user can store Bitcoins and exchange them directly with other users or merchants — without the currency being verified by a third party such as a bank or government. It uses a unique system to prevent multiple-spending of each coin, which makes it an interesting development in the movement toward digital cash systems.

    • California And Janet Yellen Will Drive the Next Round of QE

      FED observers are quite aware of Vice-Chairman Yellen’s recent theoretical presentation, in which she asserted that quantitative easing would create 3 million jobs in America. Yellen marked this objective to the year 2012, which is now just a year away.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Opposition MPs claim Harper violated ‘spirit’ of Commons rules over using his Prime Minister’s Hill office in Tory ad, later referred to in fundraising letter

      Opposition MPs claim Prime Minister Stephen Harper has violated the spirit if not the letter of a Commons rule banning the use of House resources for election-related purposes by using his Prime Minister’s office on Parliament Hill as the setting for a television ad the Conservative party itself has linked to a possible snap election.

    • CPC AdWatch: Prime Ministerial Office Politics

      So, remember how the Conservative Party’s latest ad campaign — and, specifically, the spot filmed in the prime minister’s office — got me wondering whether it was against the rules that govern the use of parliamentary property for partisan purposes? Turns out that I may not have been entirely correct when I concluded that it likely was not — or, at the very least, wasn’t explicitly forbidden — since it was shot in his Hill office, and not his ministerial quarters across the street in Langevin.

  • Privacy

    • EFF obtains docs that reveal when authorities can get your data from social media companies

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation today posted analysis of documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act which show how various popular social media companies handle requests for user data from authorities. The issue became a focal point earlier this month when the US Department of Justice obtained a court order for records from Twitter on users affiliated with WikiLeaks.

    • Justices Uphold Background Checks

      Employees of government contractors, including scientists and engineers who work on government space programs, must submit to intrusive background checks if they want to keep their jobs, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Verizon sues FCC, says “net neutrality lite” rules illegal

      Verizon dropped a bomb on the FCC’s net neutrality plans today, asking a federal appeals court to “vacate, enjoin, and set aside” the signature accomplishment of FCC Chair Julius Genachowski.

    • Canadians lose out with internet metered billing

      Free and open access to the internet in Canada is under threat, according to New Democrat Digital Affairs Critic Charlie Angus. Angus, the MP for Timmins-James Bay, said the CRTC’s decision to allow usage-based Internet billing won’t just affect the so-called “bandwidth hogs” but also unfairly hit Canadian consumers in the pocket book.

    • Extra billing for internet use a ‘ripoff’: NDP

      The CRTC’s decision to allow internet service providers to charge their customers for downloading excessive amounts of data threatens “free and open access to the internet in Canada,” the NDP said Thursday.

    • UBB is a Non Partisan “Ripoff”

      Somehow I’m not surprised to see a Cable ISP like Shaw trying to fool their customers into thinking this forces them to raise the prices.

      The biggest problem with UBB is still that most Canadians consumers don’t understand it. And won’t even know about it until we get the bills.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A Key Myth That Drives Bad Policy: Stronger IP Laws Mean More Creativity

      Ars Technica has an article highlighting Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s “conservative tech policy goals,” which has a heavy focus on ramping up intellectual property laws and enforcement. Of course, I don’t see how that’s any different than the “liberal tech policy” these days. Of course, this reinforces the general point that intellectual property issues are not partisan, as both major parties seem to be beholden to the interests of those who abuse IP laws.

      [...]

      It’s really quite unfortunate that so many of our elected officials, no matter what their political party, seem to have fallen for the same fallacy, that seeks to turn the internet into the next version of television, rather than focusing on what the internet actually does well.

    • Copyrights

      • IRIS Distribution targets file sharing

        An odd campaign by IRIS Distribution, a record label representative, is targetting children with the slogan “I share everything but my music.” The image of adorable woodland creatures depicting an “i’m totally ignoring you” rabbit wearing headphones and a confused looking raccoon attempting to share a ball with his rude buddy attempts to get at the problem of digital file sharing.

      • IPRED review: alarm bells for those who care about the ‘Net

        The European Commission is consulting on blocking orders against websites, and on privacy rules which relate to graduated response / 3-strikes measures. Interested Internet users have just over 2 months left to respond.

      • File-Sharing Operators Hit With Big Fines, Jail Sentences

        A man and woman who operated a 50TB capacity file-sharing hub have been found guilty of copyright infringement offenses. Despite arguing that their 2,600 member system was set up merely for discussion, the pair now face paying damages to the IFPI of more than $1 million and suspended jail sentences totalling 7 months.

      • Piracy Horrors and The Music Industry’s Twisted Reality

        Once again the music industry has published a report featuring the desperate times record labels are facing, all because of file-sharing horrors. Each year the industry’s press releases and annual reports are ever more depressive, with their lobbyists citing horribly inaccurate research and utilizing twisted arguments to beg governments for help. Brace yourself.

      • Do You Prefer Copyright or the Right to Talk in Private?

        Five years ago, when I founded the Swedish and first Pirate Party, we set three pillars for our policy: shared culture, free knowledge, and fundamental privacy. These were themes that were heard as ideals in the respected activist circles. I had a gut feeling that they were connected somehow, but it would take another couple months for me to connect the dots between the right to fundamental liberty of privacy and the right to share culture.

        The connection was so obvious once you had made it, it’s still one of our best points:

        Today’s level of copyright can’t coexist with the right to communicate in private.

      • IFPI: Fighting music piracy is a government job

        It’s official: online piracy has only one real solution, and that solution will be taxpayer-funded.

      • Big Music 2011 report: Get The Kids!

        The yearly ‘reports’ from Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music’s IFPI used to be fun.

        Full of little lies, medium sized lies and Big Lies, statistics from outer space, smooth PR babble, and all the rest of it, they were ridiculous and fun to pull apart.

        They’re still ridiculous, but as it becomes more and more obvious they’re on their last legs and their efforts to stay alive in the 21st digital century become increasingly outrageous, the fun has worn off.

        [...]

        That’s the message buried in this year’s report, which features a section which should be deeply alarming to any parent, any teacher, any government department anywhere that’s concerned with the way in which our children are taught, and by whom.

        “Consumer education plays an important role in the music industry’s digital strategy”, admit Vivendi Universal (France), Sony (Japan), EMI (Britain), and Warner Music (US). Their “IFPI and its national affiliates are involved in dozens of public education programmes worldwide”, they say in the ‘report’, punching up “Four international consumer education programmes”.

        For “education” read “indoctrination”. And there’s zero genuine content: only corporate disinformation.

      • IFPI: 31% Decline in Global Music Sales

        Like all other music industry interest groups the IFPI suffers from the delusion that digital music is like physical music, and that two would be equal if “wasn’t for them meddlin’ kids” – aka illegal file-sharers. It says that in 2010 CD sales continued their sharp decline while digital music sales rose by a mere 6%, but what it doesn’t say is that people no longer want to own clunky, outdated CDs.

      • Big content to ICANN: make it easier for us to challenge domain suffixes

        A small battalion of music copyright trade associations have written to the global agency in charge of domains to express their displeasure with the group’s latest Draft Application Guidebook for generic Top-Level Domains (gLTDs). Those are the domain suffixes that we’ve all come to know and possibly love, such as .com, .org, and .info.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • Digital Economy Act Update

          Rights holders will pay 75%, with the remaining 25% borne by ISPs. This reflects the position announced last spring following an earlier consultation – so no surprises in the draft SI, then.

          With no sign of a draft of the main body of the Initial Obligations Code – the legislation which details how the copyright infringement warning scheme will run, appeals will be heard etc – some commentators are surprised that the government should choose now to put this lesser costs order before parliament.

Clip of the Day

GTK RecordMyDesktop


Credit: TinyOgg

As Expected, Microsoft Breeds Patent Cartels to Fight Against Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 4:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tower

Summary: Microsoft’s #1 competition is being attacked using the Achilles heel which is patent extortion, not just from Microsoft but also Microsoft offshoots

THE other day we wrote about Assistant Attorney General David Kris joining Microsoft's patent troll, which is also the largest patent troll in the world. It is already reportedly attacking Linux by taking payments from companies which use it. How convenient for Microsoft, eh? This news about an appointment from the government was actually more widespread than we expected and articles about this include:

TechDirt says that “Justice Department’s Top Terrorism Prosecutor Goes Patent Troll”. Mike Masnick argues that “his expertise was supposedly in national security law, and you could see how that could be put to good use in private practice, instead it appears that Kris has decided to go patent troll. He has joined uber patent troll, Intellectual Ventures as its new General Counsel… just as the company has finally started suing companies for not agreeing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to gain protection from its giant patent portfolio. While I certainly didn’t agree with Kris on many of his positions, pretty much everyone agreed that he was really smart and thoughtful on a lot of these subjects. It seems that having his talents go to the world’s biggest patent troll in an effort to disrupt innovation by putting a toll on it is a huge waste of talent that could have been put to productive, rather than destructive, use.”

Shouldn’t Kris have just called for the arrest of his new boss, who makes money from terrorising businesses? He chose money over ethics.

Meanwhile, other patent cartels are being formed by Microsoft, its two co-founders aside (both have firms that are also patent trolls). Written by Gareth Halfacree we have another article about CPTN, which was previously covered in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. It says:

The Open Source Initiative and the Free Software Foundations – two organisations fighting for the same cause, but traditionally in very different ways – have joined forces in an attempt to prevent Novell patents falling into Microsoft’s hands.

Novell, which ended months of speculation by announcing its acquisition by Attachmate in November of last year, made $450 million by selling 882 patents to a consortium known as CPTN – a group of technology companies including Apple, EMC, and Oracle, headed up by Microsoft.

Microsoft already engages in patent racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], so letting Microsoft have this cartel is not acceptable. It is worth adding that the European Commission’s response to this was not formal or surprising (OSI reported the issue not to the European Commission), but the liar Microsoft Florian decided to spin it and feed journalists with a story that defends CPTN (Microsoft Florian is a hypocrite, defending what Microsoft does with patents while criticising defensive bodies like OIN). Utter lobbying, utter nonsense.

“Uniloc Decision [in Microsoft case] Helps SAP Void $139 Million Patent Verdict,” alleges this new report from Law.com

The Federal Circuit’s decision last Tuesday in Uniloc v. Micosoft (for which we awarded Donald Dunner of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner Litigator of the Week honors) has already prompted one court to press the reset button in a major case.

On Thursday, Marshall, Tex., federal magistrate judge Charles Everingham vacated a $139 million jury award for Versata Software in its patent infringementcase against SAP. Citing Uniloc, Judge Everingham held that the lower court had erroneously admitted certain damages testimony and that the jury had relied on an invalid damage calculation model.

We most recently covered the Versata case and the Uniloc case just days ago.

In other news about software patents, watch this new press release (ITWire too posts such press releases now):

-The e-Zassi.com subscriber base continues to expand as the medical device industry recognizes the actionable benefits of how the patent pending software platform is addressing the challenges of technology transfer.

If medical devices too will suffer from software patents, more people will die. I’ve had discussions with colleagues of mine about it. How about this new story?

Improved computer server connections earn patent for Cy-Fair-area man

[...]

A technology to help computers more easily find servers on networks has earned a U.S. patent for a Cy-Fair-area man.

More software patents on basic functionality. Where does it end really? Can Google help end this madness for its own sake too? It was not long ago that Google did step in this direction and Groklaw reported this.

It’s SCO Tactics All Over Again: Microsoft Florian Caught Lying

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents, SCO at 3:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows Phone 7 Series

Summary: Microsoft’s hope of boosting Vista Phony 7 [sic] still relies on lies regarding Android and many lawsuits; Microsoft Florian plays an instrumental role, even if he just keeps lying

ANOTHER week, another attack on GNU/Linux, courtesy of course of Microsoft Florian, who is trying to be another Enderle/O’Gara (attacking Android like these people attack Linux). Those big lies and unbacked allegations carry on flying, such as the claims he made for TurboHercules (that’s how he started the anti-Linux lobbying a year ago) before it turned out that TurboHercules is partly owned by Microsoft. For the uninitiated, Microsoft Florian’s strategy involves flooding forums with repeated messages (he denied comments in his blog after people had exposed him right there in his own platform) and he is mass-mailing journalists with bits he wants inserted into articles, attributed to him of course. Journalists will need learn to ignore mobbyists (Florian personalises his messages slightly, so they can’t see it’s mass-mailed), especially ones who do not deny a connection to Microsoft and have a proven history of being paid to lobby. Microsoft Florian himself would not deny this. He is an experienced lobbyist and his shameless tactics (like abusing mail and schmoozing journalists) are well documented in Techrights.

Florian has just been caught lying again, but the mainstream press does not appear to have caught up with it yet. One forum that Microsoft Florian regularly trolls (inserting anti-Linux tripe to a pro-Linux forum is considered Internet trolling) is right now slamming Microsoft Florian while linking to this report, which says:

A close look at the actual files and accompanying documentation, however, suggest that it’s not a simple case of copy and paste. The infringing files are found in a compressed archive in a third-party component supplied by SONiVOX, a member of Google’s Open Handset Alliance (OHA). SONiVOX, which was previously called Sonic, develops an Embedded Audio Synthesis (EAS) framework and accompanying Java API wrappers which it markets as audioINSIDE.

“More proof Florian Mueller is a paid Microsoft troll,” called it one reader of ours (IRC logs to appear shortly) and “Florian in fact copied this research,” alleges another. There is a more in the IRC logs (I was away the entire time it was discussed, recording TechBytes and then sleeping).

“I had deja vu reading FM’s “analysis”,” wrote one reader, “because I have seen it before. This what Florian does is just vague FUD. It can be proven or disproven. It is just to FUD people… To make manufacturers think about WP7″.

There is also pathetic damage control from people who hate Linux and attack it while pretending not to. Those anti-FOSS minions try to imply that everyone who disagrees with Microsoft Florian is yours truly, even though I never had any account in Reddit. That’s libel. As gnufreex put it, “Microsoft cronies at Reddit are telling me that I am you :-) … In fact, they say that to everyone who points out Florian Mueller lied about Android”

Here is one of the key analyses that disprove all that FUD from Microsoft Florian:

Sometimes the sheer wrongness of what is posted on the web leaves us speechless. Especially when it’s picked up and repeated as gospel by otherwise reputable sites like Engadget. “Google copied Oracle’s Java code, pasted in a new license, and shipped it,” they reported this morning.

Sorry, but that just isn’t true.

[...]

Sadly, while sensational articles like Engadget’s and Mueller’s will get splashed all over the web and lavished with thousands of views and hundreds of comments, the boring truth will rate no such attention.

Exactly.

“Copied code not in Android source after all,” says the headline from Android Central.

The other 37 files exist as well, but are inside a zip file in an area of the source tree used for one particular audio chipset. These files look like they were uploaded by mistake, and also aren’t used to build Android or ship with any Android devices. These will probably just be deleted from the tree, as they don’t do anything.

One more anti-Android story proven false and put out to pasture. Let’s get ready for the next one, because everyone wants to see some of those beautiful, green Android dollars. [ZDNet]

“If I were Google,” wrote gnufreex, “I would be suing Florian Mueller for libel. He clearly tries to create FUD so device manufacturers dump Android for WP7″

He also linked to this FUD from Microsoft Nick, alleging that the “article is veeeery incorrect… Schmidt left from Novell for Google in 2001. That is before Novell bought SUSE and Ximian. And yet, that article claims that it was Schmidt who started those.”

All these attacks on Google often turn out to be connected to Microsoft. Is anybody shocked?

Microsoft Entryism May Explain Australian OOXML Decision

Posted in Australia, Microsoft, Open XML at 2:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keyboard side

Summary: Man behind decision favouring Microsoft lock-in (OOXML) has history working with Microsoft in Australia; he hits the escape button now that he’s exposed

IN IRC logs which we shall post tomorrow it came up — via an Australia reader — that government entryism may provide a simpler explanation (however partial) for the bizarre decision made in Australia, regarding document formats [1, 2, 3].

Brett Winterford, who carried water for OOXML after Microsoft had given him free trips abroad [1, 2], has this update regarding the situation. He says that “a select few of AGIMO’s choices rang alarm bells – no more so that the choice of the ECMA376 version of Microsoft’s OOXML as a standard word processing format.

“The iTnews report highlighting this part of the policy has attracted international attention.

“AGIMO first assistant secretary John Sheridan was surprised by the reaction. He said the draft of the policy document had been produced on AGIMO’s blog in July 2010 – missed by the staff at iTnews – and had subsequently received zero submissions.”

This does not say anything about John Sheridan, who is now “First Assistant Secretary Agency Services at Australian Government Information Management Office”. Brandon shows us his LinkedIn page and says “this explains the OOXML in Australia” as between August 2008 and December 2008 (5 months) Sheridan was “ICT Coordinated Procurement Contracting Arrangements (Microsoft Volume Sourcing Agreement)” (that was right after ISO had rubber-stamped OOXML).

The Australian government did nothing to ensure people were informed until a report came from an investigative journalist. Sheridan does some damage control now and Brandon concludes by saying: “if you don’t want OOXML in Australia now is your chance”

As regular readers may know, we gave many examples of people who work in governments while having vested interests that promote Microsoft. Here is one recent example. Those who have followed the OOXML corruption train since 2006 will know that the above is the norm rather than the exception and as a preview of an exposé to come we’ll just show the following screenshot (of a man who is AstroTurfing under pseudonyms and then hides, once exposed). There will be an article about that soon.

Microsoft's Jessie Anderson at LinkedIn

ES: No Hay FUD* Como un FUD Antiguo

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 1:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Por el Dr. Glyn Moody

(ODF | PDF | Publicado 14:11, 20 11 de enero en: CWUK

El Economista ha estado escribiendo artículos mal informados sobre el código abierto desde hace años – he analizado [http://opendotdotdot.blogspot.com/2006/03/economistical-with-truth.html] un ejemplo particularmente atroz en el 2006. Así que es difícil decir si los defectos en esta reseña de un libro nuevo [http://www.economist.com/node/17899970?fsrc=scn/tw/te/ar/linus] se han reducido a la antipatía, o si son inherentes al título que describe, “El Código Mezclado”. En lo que respecta a este último aspecto, la siguiente información no inspira confianza:

Por su tono académico, es improbable que el libro vaya a volar de las estanterías, incluso en zonas con una gran cantidad de piratas informáticos (que está seguro de que se ofendieron por el hecho de que los autores recibieron dinero de Microsoft para su investigación, de hecho el archi-enemigo de el movimiento de código abierto, -a pesar de que aseguran a los lectores que los fondos llegaron sin condiciones).

Como yo no he leído el libro – y prefiero no pagar £ 25.95 para el dudoso placer de descubrir dónde vienen los errores – Voy a limitarme a hacer frente a los argumentos expuestos en la revisión economista en lugar de preocuparme sobre dónde su origen.

En primer lugar, tenemos lo siguiente:

Los desarrolladores de código abierto, por ejemplo, se cree ampliamente que todo son voluntarios que aman escribir software. Si bien esto puede haber sido cierto en los primeros días de la informática, la motivación y los antecedentes de los programadores actuales es mucho más variada. Muchos de ellos trabajan para empresas que desarrollan tanto código abierto y software propietario y los combinan en todo tipo de modelos de negocio. Casi el 40% de las empresas encuestadas pertenecen a esta categoría.

Bueno, no, en realidad: esto ha sido evidente por años. Cualquier persona que todavía cree que este material se está escribiendo en los dormitorios no ha estado prestando atención claramente.

Esto también viene a ser bastante meh-digna:

La encuesta también indica que los dos mundos de software son mucho más “mezclados” que a sus respectivos campeones les gustaría. Más de una cuarta parte de las empresas felizmente mezcla y combina ambos tipos, en particular en los países más pobres.

Lo que significa que la gente no arranca cada pieza de software propietario en su negocio para sustituirla por completo con código abierto, pero tienden a utilizar una combinación de ambos? Bueno, ¿Quién lo hubiera pensado? En realidad, más en serio, creo que esa cifra de “más de un cuarto” subestima seriamente la práctica, que me imagino que es mucho más cercano al 100% en estos días. Si se trata de una figura auto-reportada es probablemente más un indicio de que muchos CTOs no saben realmente lo que está pasando en sus departamentos de Tecnología Informática IT (que ha sido así por mucho muchos años cuando se trata de código abierto.)

Pero mi principal preocupación aquí es con la siguiente sección:

“Sin embargo, la constatación que los defensores de código abierto que menos le gusta es que los programas libres no son siempre más barato. Para estar seguro, el costo inicial del software propietario es más alta (aunque los programas de código abierto no son siempre gratis). Pero las empresas que utilizan este tipo de programas gastan más en cosas como aprender a utilizarlos y hacerlos trabajar con otro software.”

Sí, es una vieja variante que Miedo Incertidumbre y Duda FUD de edad que el software libre no es realmente libre (oh Dios mío, ¿verdad?) Es lo mismo que Microsoft trató de hacernos creer hace unos diez años y luego abandonó cuando se dio cuenta de que nadie dijo que era cuando se tiene en cuenta todos los factores como el pago de los salarios. Pero dejemos esto de lado también, que no es novedad para nadie, veamos la idea central de esta encarnación actual de ese Miedo Incertidumbre y Duda FUD:

“Las empresas que utilizan este tipo de programas gastan más en cosas como aprender a utilizarlos y hacerlos trabajar con otro software”

Asi que ocurre lo mismo con la primera parte significa que aprender a usar una nueva pieza de software de código abierto es inherentemente más difícil que aprender a usar una nueva pieza de software propietario? Yo no he visto una sola pieza de la investigación que sugiera esto. Lo que he visto ampliamente documentado es que las personas que actualmente utilizan Microsoft Office, por ejemplo, les resulta más difícil aprender a usar OpenOffice, por ejemplo, que seguir utilizando Microsoft Office. ¿Lo cuál es, por supuesto, un pedazo de sabiduría firmemente ubicada en el corazón mismo de la Tierra de los Sangrantes.

Por lo tanto, pasando rápidamente de la esperanza de que puede haber una cuestión de fondo aquí, tenemos la segunda afirmación: “que las empresas gastan más en hacer trabajar el código abierto con el “software”. Pero espera, ¿qué podría ser, a que “otros programas” se refieren? Ya que no es de código abierto (porque es “otro”, no el de código abierto) es claramente software propietario, de modo que el problema se reduce a hacer trabajar los programas de código abierto con el software propietario. ¿Y por qué podría ser eso?

Bueno, podría ser porque el software cerrado es, por definición, CERRADO, con los fabricantes que son generalmente inútiles cuando se trata de proporcionar información que pueda ayudar a otros a trabajar con sus productos (porque quieren mantener a sus super-duper “secretos”, en secreto). En otras palabras, el problema no radica en código abierto pero con el software de código cerrado, lo que lo hace innecesariamente difícil de convivir en las aplicaciones de otros proveedores (sea usando código abierto o no).

De hecho, es este problema – la dificultad de utilizar otro software, posiblemente abierto con aplicaciones propietarias – que es una de las razones claves por las que las empresas quieren migrar al código abierto, para evitar este tipo de LOCK-IN* para romper el círculo vicioso. Pero decir que el código abierto es más caro debido a los problemas causados por el software propietario que está tratando de reemplazar es rico de verdad. Lo correcto sería decir que el software propietario tiene costos ocultos que se manifiestan cuando las compañías tratan de utilizar un nuevo software, por ejemplo, el código abierto. En otras palabras, es al revés.

Para ser justos, en el artículo de El Economista se menciona la solución a este problema:

“los gobiernos deben asegurarse de que las dos formas de software COMPITAN en igualdad de condiciones y puedan mezclarse eficientemente. Una forma de hacerlo sería promover estándares abiertos para garantizar que los titulares de propiedad no abusen de una posición dominante.”

Lo que – o el libro – no tienen en cuenta es que esto es precisamente lo que las empresas de software propietario han estado luchando desesperadamente para evitar. La batalla por la definición de estándares abiertos en el Marco Europeo de Interoperabilidad 2.0 [http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/open-enterprise/2010/12/european-interoperability-framework-v2---the-great-defeat/index.htm] es sólo el ejemplo más reciente.

En otras palabras, una vez más son los titulares de código cerrado el problema aquí, tratando de inclinar el campo de juego a su favor, y para asegurarse de que todavía hay costos asociados con hacer que el código abierto trabaje con sus ofertas de código cerrado por insistiendo en los derechos de licencia u otras condiciones (¿asi cómo puede ser eso un estándar “abierto”?)

Estas dificultades deben ser vistos como otra razón de peso para preferir el software libre y verdaderos estándares abiertos que permiten el uso de la principal software de licencia libre, la GNU Licencia Pública General GPL. Esto aseguraría los proveedores verdaderamente COMPITAN en igualdad de condiciones, no sesgados por un bloqueo en los enfoques de propiedad patentada. Las soluciones de código abierto obligan a los vendedores de software propietario a reducir sus márgenes hasta el hueso si quieren competir en estos términos completamente justos, y los clientes se benefician de este proceso de selección darwiniana.
___
* FUD – Miedo Incertidumbre y Duda
* Lock-in – Tiene no directa traduccion al Español. -Consideremoslo un Anglicanismo del finales del siglo XX y principios del XXI- Sonaría muy tonto e incomprensible algo como “candado”, pero mucho mas claro como “PRISION”. -Esta palabra viene a significar literalmente la forzosa sumisión a formatos electrónicos que hacen muy difícil escaparse de ellos. -Por ejemplo una persona u organización que ha usado Microsoft Office durante mucho tiempo. Cuando sale una nueva versión es FORZADO a PAGAR por ella por que Microsoft SIEMPRE ha creado y creará incompatibilidades artificiales, y echarle la culpa a la competencia. -Lease los Comes vs Microsoft para ver como esto ha sido, es, y será una de sus tácticas para crear dependencia en sus productos. Por ello viene a ser un instrumento de dominación. El Colonialismo Digital, del que debemos romper cadenas AHORA para bienestar nuestro y de las fúturas generaciones.

Many thanks to Eduardo Landaveri of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

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