When Microsoft Says Patent Reform It Means Patent Deform

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Patents at 6:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pocket content

Summary: Microsoft is lobbying for changes in patent law, but not the sort of changes that can harm Microsoft’s abuses-filled monopoly

THE word “reform” implies change, but this change need not be a positive one (only by consensus). Laws are subjective and they change all the time to better adjust for someone’s interests, or simply work to the detriment of those whose role is seen as unethical or too competitive for those in power.

Microsoft has a message about “Patent Reform” — a message that’s already parroted by the ‘Microsoft press’, specifically the Microsoft booster Kurt Mackie (another example exists as other Microsoft boosters/blogs covered it without scrutiny).

Sadly, this is all that we could find in Google News. It’s just a PR routine and in response to Microsoft’s blog post, Stefano Maffulli wrote:

Microsoft advocates for higher fees to file patents: only the richest should be inventors? Typical

Microsoft’s lobby (from its two patent extortionists) arrives at an interesting time because Patrick Leahy et al. put forth the Patent Reform Act of 2011 [1, 2]. Microsoft wants to ensure that such a reform is only beneficial to Microsoft, not to the American public or the international community. Reuters has this new article about patent reform:

Senior U.S. lawmakers are once again planning to reform the patent system to try to eliminate huge damage awards, an issue ripe for legislation after recent court decisions challenged calculation methods.

What Microsoft wants is not the end of software patents or the end of its own patent extortion. It only wants the elements that harm Microsoft to be weakened, so authors who suggest that Microsoft rethinks its patent aggression is simply not paying close enough attention. Microsoft is a major part of the patent crisis (too much extortion and lawsuits), so the reform it craves would just weaken patent trolls but not monopolists.

Europe Enters the Patents Cold War

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sienna, Italy

Summary: With the exception of Italy (and Spain, although it is being blackmailed), Europe is taking the road to spurious patents that harm developers while benefiting lawyers and monopolists

COMMON sense says that developers should write code, not patent applications. But in a world where law school graduates clamour for jobs that cannot be so simple, can it? Based on yet another report — this time from patents sceptics — European policy-makers continue to fall for the illusion that more patents must be indicative of more “innovation”. To quote:

The European Union is failing to keep pace with key competitor nations and is in need of a radical new, greatly simplified, approach to research and innovation, the European Commission said on 1 February. And an element of what is needed is a European-wide patent.

Once again we find this excuse for a unitary system that can in due course endorse software patents, too. Fortunately, there is already a thorough rebuttal to this nonsense, going under the headline that says: “Europe Feels The Need To Catch Up To China And The US In The Self-Destructive Patent Race”

So, over in Europe, overreacting bureaucrats are about to make the same mistake. They’ve declared that the EU is “falling behind” in innovation (really, patents) and are urging a more streamlined patent system that would be European-wide. The idea, of course, is that with a EU-wide patent system, it becomes easier to get patents. Of course, that only helps innovation if patents actually lead to more innovation and, sadly, the evidence suggests otherwise.

EurActiv joined the propaganda and did mention Italy’s smart decision to resist and thereby cripple a European-wide patent concept. To quote:

Italy found itself isolated in December when eleven countries signed a letter requesting the European Commission to move forward on the patent issue without waiting for other countries. Another dozen said it was time to move forward using enhanced cooperation, leaving the door open for other countries to join at a later stage.

“There will likely be a short exchange of views on the issue,” said an EU source, “but only if Berlusconi brings it forward”.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi raised this issue in a letter sent on Friday (28 January) to European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

He asked for progress to be made on the patent issue but underlined that there should be an agreement “respecting the integrity of the internal market and involving all member states”.

The patent lawyer Falk Metzler is no friend of the FFII and he is a good friend of software patents based on his blog posts. He does not like the way FFII helps derail the European-wide patent and his contempt for the group generated some slightly hostile remarks in a mailing list. To quote just part of it:

That’s the moment in history when the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), which has become widely known for their emphatic resistance against the EU Software Patent Directive (COM (2002) 92) in 2002 to 2005, comes up with the idea that the EU Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) should be in charge of the coming EU patent rather than the more independent European Patent Office (EPO), since the FFII deeply suspects EPO “for granting of software patents without a prior legislative authorisation”.

The FFII was founded by his fellow countryman who fought to keep software patents away from Europe. In the next post we’ll show what happens in the US where no group like the FFII existed to stave off such destructive legal weapons.

Yahoo! Teaches World About Microsoft’s Disdain of Standards

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Standard at 2:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Headphones jack

Summary: Important lessons to learn from Vista Phony 7 [sic], which was built on top of a proprietary stack that causes trouble to application developers

IT HAS occurred to us that the news about Microsoft's poor blame games could be posed differently by emphasising that Microsoft still refuses to embrace Internet standards like everyone else does. The phantom data bug was caused by Microsoft’s “nonstandard IMAP implementation” as Michael Santo described it in relation to statements from Yahoo!:

It’s interesting that despite the original assertion by Microsoft that it was Yahoo! to blame, quite a few commenters at various sites pointed the finger at Microsoft, which appears to be correct.

One must remember that Microsoft first blamed an unnamed company (it was in the news for about a week in January) and then blamed Yahoo! (last week). As far as many people are aware, Microsoft is not to blame for it. That’s an example of the Microsoft spin machine in action. As for the platform in question, Carlo Piana wrote yesterday: “The more I see WP7 GUI the more I find it ugly as hell.”

Will Steve Ballmer be pressured to leave after this commercial disaster? Microsoft’s snubbing of standards has already harmed the already-poor reputation of WP7 (Vista Phony 7).

Elliott and AttachMSFT Got in Touch Before Elliott’s Bid for Novell

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Vulture fund Elliot had negotiated with Novell’s buyer long before it pushed Novell to sell

THERE are many warning signs when it comes to Novell’s sale. Too many things smell rather funny. One of those things is the CPTN agreement/arrangement [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. It is being contested by several parties and Simon Phipps wrote that “Additional Novell filing shows DoJ agrees with OSI & FSF and wants to investigate patent sale to CPTN (p4)” (there are not proper articles about it yet).

Here is the SEC filing. Carlo Piana wrote: “DoJ is not content with CPTN sale and took more time, asks more info from Novell.”
Groklaw wrote a detailed post about it and it includes the following interesting bit:

What are they? One is, what would Novell’s value be if the merger doesn’t happen but the patent deal does? The shareholders claim that a Jesse Cohn of Elliott “was in contact with the sponsors of Attachmate about a Novell deal as early as January 2010, and that his communications with Attachmate continued throughout the sales process Novell’s board of directors initiated soon after Elliott’s March 2010 offer.” Was he promised that Attachmate would give the Elliott folks a seat on the board or some “other arrangement that would give Elliott a greater role than just minority shareholder of Attachmate”? The shareholders also allege “that Elliott and Attachmate expect to receive significant synergies in the near term.” I’d certainly like to know what they know that we don’t.

I seems like Novell is being restructured in a way that benefits Microsoft’s camp and the links at the bottom hopefully complete the picture somewhat. Groklaw also wrote about SCO’s alleged new plan (Groklaw doesn’t buy it):

Right. SCO is “restructuring”.

Maybe for litigation.

Related posts:

“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”

LinuxToday Managing Editor

OpenSUSE is Just Tumbleweed Now

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New Mexico tumbleweed

Summary: OpenSUSE lacks developments apart from some minor news items

There is nothing going on at OpenSUSE these days. Some important packages may be made available for it and a few people make short reviews, but except for that, there’s just Weekly News and the occasional milestone. Then there are Novell’s PR people (using IBM to promote SUSE) and their kernel guy who writes about Tumbleweed [1, 2]:

Here’s a short note as to the status of some recent activity in the openSUSE:Tumbleweed repo…

That’s just about all there is to say about OpenSUSE, which we last wrote about in relation to difficulties. Zonker (Joe Brockmeier), the OpenSUSE community manager who left one year ago, has no regrets. In his blog he writes about the subject:

My last day with Novell was January 31st, 2010. Pretty much exactly two years after I started with the company (February 1st, 2008). I put in notice about two weeks before that, but had been considering quitting long before. I’m not going to go into a lot of backstory here, but the long and short of it was that after two years the job was not what I wanted to be doing. Some jobs you can do whether your heart is in them or not (I worked at a car seat factory for three and a half years, and I don’t think my heart was ever in that…), but community management is something that you need to be all-in for.


Right now, I’m really enjoying working for myself. This doesn’t mean I’d turn down a good job if the right one turned up — but I’m not actively looking. I’ve plenty of work on my plate and it’s all enjoyable.

And so one year later the project ends up like tumbleweed. Not many people care or notice its existence. Novell failed.

Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier, photo by jimgris

Links 4/2/2011: GNOME 3.0 Laptop Debate, Unified Packaging Arguments

Posted in News Roundup at 10:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Is the Linux Desktop Distribution war over?

      Linux is dominating servers and supercomputers, but as a desktop operating system it has not taken off yet for mainstream, non technically advanced, users. Not least because there is still very few if any hardware designed with the Linux desktop devices in mind.

      Counting desktop market share by browser user agent strings (the identifiers given by the browser to web servers) is difficult because Linux users are fragmented into many different desktops and browsers so many counts put a lot of Linux users into unknown. However, even where the count is sympathetic to Linux by trawling through the user agents manually, it does not increase that much. W3 Schools currently gives Linux 5%, the stats from Wikimedia’s own servers’ currently gives 2.28%.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • New Version Of VIA DRM TTM/GEM Patches

      Thanks to James Simmons, an independent developer in the open-source community, last month a patch was published that adds TTM/GEM memory management support to the VIA DRM Linux kernel driver. This was after VIA basically admitted defeat for their Linux / open-source strategy. Over the weekend the second version of this TTM/GEM patch was published by James.

    • Graphics Stack

      • An Initial Version Of LunarGLASS-LLVM For Mesa

        In October of last year there was a proposal by LunarG, a small consulting company focusing upon Gallium3D and Mesa that was formed by some of the original Tungsten Graphics crew, to create a common kernel and shader compiler stack. This stack would utilize LLVM (the Low-Level Virtual Machine) for optimizations This work was published as LunarGLASS and there is now a specification and initial implementation of it for Mesa.

      • A Major Open-Source ATI Linux Driver Update

        For the Radeon HD 5000/6000 and Fusion hardware there’s also open-source 3D support available that lives within the Mesa stack. Ideally you should be using the Gallium3D “R600g” driver for the best and fastest open-source ATI driver.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • digiKam Tricks 1.7 Released

        The digiKam Tricks book version 1.7 is now available at Amazon US and UK. Here is what’s new in this release…

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Use the Force!

        As you may know, a little ribellion is rampaging in GNOME. Some people (mostly “simple” users) are complaining against GNOME contributors (mostly developers and designers) about properties and preferences available on new Power panel in System Settings. Probably this will not be the only one change that will shock you. Do you want another example? Well, in GNOME 3.0 you’ll have to place an image file in ~/Pictures if you want to use it as background¹ or use Set as Background feature provided, for instance, by Image Viewer.

      • Cheese decoration design contest

        Think you can do better? Do you want your design to be chosen and seen by all Cheese users, bringing fame, fortune and complete bliss into your life?

      • Automatic suspend when closing the lid

        Without giving the user a visibile option to disable automatic suspend, with teaching users to really on this inherent unreliable feature (applications shall be permitted to inhibit suspend!), I really wonder if GNOME has put money aside to compensate users killing their notebooks with broken automatic suspend.

      • GNOME Shell Review – It’s Starting to Look Good Already

        GNOME is among the most widely used Linux desktop environments out there, if not *the* most widely used one. GNOME Shell is the latest incarnation of GNOME which is still undergoing heavy development. Months ago, we captured the evolution of GNOME Shell in detail and I think its time for another major GNOME Shell review.

      • New resize borders

        Part of my work at Canonical involves implementing new ways to make the existing user interface beautiful, usable and accessible at the same time. One of the things that has been done recently in the theme was to make the window border size quite small, so that you don’t have large visually distracting borders on your application.

      • GNOME 3.0 Laptop Change Frustrates Some Users

        On a GNOME 2.x desktop if you are a laptop owner you can control what happens when you close your laptop’s lid from the power management preferences whether to suspend the system or simply blank the screen. With GNOME 3.0, when you close your laptop’s lid, the system will suspend and there will be no user-interface for changing this policy. It’s a design decision for the GNOME 3.0 desktop.

      • Dell releases OpenManage 6.4 for Ubuntu

        In the spring of 2010, members of the Ubuntu development team worked with Dell to build and test OpenManage 6.3 for Ubuntu. Several of our engineers took several weeks working with Dell Linux engineers to build out a process for ensuring:
        - all of the dependencies were met,
        - helped get the Dell Linux team up to speed on the Ubuntu packaging policy,
        - provided assistance during the build process,
        - and reviewed the packages when they were built.
        This effort resulted in the release in late July 2010 of Dell OpenManage 6.3 for Ubuntu.

  • Distributions

    • A Single Packager to Rule Them All

      Second, the whole idea of a Linux app store is revolting. In what universe do the talking heads live? If it is indeed our own universe, they should all be fired. At first, you say to yourself that this is just for Linux n00bz and the casual market. This app store thing is not for those of us who have self respect and can make our own decisions regarding software. However, before long, most major distributions will be using this app store. Over time, developers will urge the talking heads to come up with a universal package management system. This will greatly reduce development costs and time to market. All in all, this sounds great. But at the point where we have a single package management system, why would I choose Ubuntu over Debian or Fedora? Why would I choose either of them over Mandriva? I get the same packages, the same security vulnerabilities, and the same kernel config. Why do I care?

    • A single fear to ruin them all

      We must fight consolidation!

      When industries consolidate, we, the consumer of these industries products loose out. The reduced competition in the market place causes inevitable rises in prices and eventually leads to monopoly situations. So, the theory goes, if in my gut I need to fight off consolidation, then I must be fair and fight any attempt to unify the code used for Linux/FreeDesktops.

      The problem with this sentiment is that it’s wrong. When an industry consolidates it’s combining production and reducing market sellers. When multiple system distributions opt to use the same package management software, they are adopting a standard. In fact for free and open source this is more a kin to another industry deciding to take up a mechanical free and industry agreed standard.

    • Reviews

      • Pardus 2011 Review

        Just a few weeks back the fabulous Turkish distro Pardus released its latest creation, Pardus 2011. It’s been quite a while since the last release went live (You may want to check out my review of Pardus 2009 HERE) and the list of upcoming features/enhancements was long and exciting, so I was eager to give Pardus 2011 a spin.


        Pardus 2011 is an interesting release with many great things about it. Given the terrific work that was put in place for Pardus 2009, I must admit I was expecting even better. I guess I was expecting tighter branding integration, more modern features in PISI and YALI and a more solid and consistent customization of the KDE desktop.

      • Crunchbang Statler Review

        A few Years ago, I was given an old amd 800mghz machine which was deemed to “slow” to run xp with service pack 3. I tried a few distro’s on it and had settled with Wolvix. But shortly after that, a new distro with a weird name,”#! crunchbang”, was introduced on distrowatch. This distro touted an unknown (to me) environment called Openbox. Openbox was supposed to be a lightweight system, and was based on Ubuntu -which i had used before. Like many others, I downloaded it sometime in Nov 2008. After about 10 minutes playing with the live CD, I just had to install it. Shortly thereafter I had this #! OS installed, with it’s plain interface and dark theme, but it ran beautifully! It was quick on my old machine, and everything “just worked!I remember finding a friendly Forum there, One that turned out to be one of the greatest community forums I have ever been a part of. I still remember My first post on the #! forums, nothing I installed would appear on the menu. I knew that this must be a problem, somehow overlooked by the developer, So I posted my concerns. I was answered by corenominal (AKA Phillip Newborough) himself. He explained to me how to enter new menu items by hand. Being answered by the developer himself, showed me from the start, just how special this Distro was. During the course of the next year, I leaned from him and many others, on that forum, what I now realize has totally destroyed my happy-go-lucky computer life, and started me down the road of endless tweaking and hacking of any system I use… thanks Guys!


        Build your own! Don’t know how do all this? Join the forums and theres a wealth of information there.

      • A Week with Pinguy – The Slick Ubuntu Remix

        It’s the usability changes that make Pinguy worth using.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Where’s My Mageia ISO?

        According to a new blog post, bootstrapping has been going on. As anyone who has ever built a Gentoo system knows, bootstrapping is building your new system so you can build your new system. In the case of Gentoo, users would download a pre-built build system, the package manager, and the Portage tree. Then one would use that to re-build each of packages needed to comprise the toolchain. Once GCC, make, and friends are built and installed anew, then one can begin building other packages such as the kernel, the X server, and so on.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) CEO & President James M Whitehurst sells 4,902 Shares

        CEO & President of Red Hat Inc. (RHT) James M Whitehurst sells 4,902 shares of RHT on 02/02/2011 at an average price of $42.5 a share.

        Red Hat Inc has a market cap of $8.11 billion; its shares were traded at around $42.58 with a P/E ratio of 74.7 and P/S ratio of 10.9. Red Hat Inc had an annual average earning growth of 22.7% over the past 5 years.

    • Debian Family

      • People behind Debian: Mike Hommey, Firefox/Iceweasel maintainer

        For as long as I have known Mike, he’s been maintaining one of the largest (and most widely used) package: Iceweasel, Debian’s default web browser. It’s effectively Mozilla’s Firefox although it has been renamed to avoid some rules enforced by Mozilla’s trademark policy. But we might see Firefox back in Debian… read on to know Mike’s plans.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Private cloud “in a box” from Dell

          It just got a lot easier, and faster, to get a cloud in the house. Simply buy a starting cloud from Dell, and add to it as you need it to grow. You’ll get a reference architecture of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud on Dell’s cloud-focused, dense PowerEdge C servers, fully supported, with professional services if you need to stretch it in your own unique direction and want a little help.

        • Linaro 11.05 Alpha-2 Released
        • UEC on Dell Servers is out – What a journey!

          So, for those of you whom have put their head in the soil for the last 24 hours, I have big news: UEC on Dell Servers, Standard Edition, is out! The press pick up on our PR has been great, which is in-line with the reports I have got from our attendance at Dell FRS last week.

          Anyway, it’s been a very interesting project where not only we have learned to work with Dell, but also with each other as this involved quite a few teams within Canonical: Platform, OEM, IS, ISD, Corporate Services, Marketing, Legal.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 Released
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 released
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 2, Released [Screenshots And Video]

          Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal alpha 2 has just been released and as usual, we’ll do a recap of all the new features since alpha 1.

        • Canonical joins the OpenStack community

          OpenStack today have made a number of announcements about the Bexar release of their cloud stack and we were delighted to be able to confirm its inclusion in the repositories for Ubuntu 11.04 as well as officially joining the community. We have been engaged with the OpenStack community informally for some time. Some Canonical alumni have been key to driving the OpenStack initiative over in Rackspace and there has been a very healthy dialogue between the two projects with strong attendance at UDS and at the OpenStack conferences by engineers in both camps.

        • Ubuntu’s Unity Interface: You Might Not Hate It After All

          I was unhappy — appalled, even — when I read in Fall 2010 that Ubuntu 11.04 would be ditching GNOME in favor of the Unity desktop environment. But after testing the development version of the next Ubuntu release, I have to admit I’m growing less skeptical of Unity’s prospects.

        • Unity: Makes me want to push the Ubuntu desktop. Once again!

          Well, I will make this one short: I have promoted GNU/Linux since 1997. Since Ubuntu came in the picture I am more and more confident about introducing people to the free software world and offering them a nice experience. The last years I have really just been very satisfied with what I have and not been so keen on promoting it beyond the people that really want to try it. Unity is changing that!

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Nokia takes its MeeGo theme code offline, likely preparing custom UI

          It has been almost a year since Intel and Nokia began converging their respective mobile Linux platforms to create the MeeGo project. The effort has attracted interest among hardware vendors, but hasn’t quite reached the stage where it is ready for mainstream consumer devices. A growing body of evidence suggests that the wait might soon be over.

          Nokia had hoped to deliver its first MeeGo-based product in the fourth quarter of 2010, but pushed back the launch into 2011. Nokia’s MeeGo debut device was originally expected to be the rumored N9 handset, but the subsequent flow of conflicting rumors and leaks has left little in the way of clarity, leaving broad speculation in their wake.

        • Introducing: Project Bretzn

          The following information is from Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen who i’ve met at the MeeGo Conference in Dublin where he mentioned the outline of this project. It is certainly good to see it in writing and in the flesh.

      • Android

        • The Android 3.0 Fragments API

          An important goal for Android 3.0 is to make it easier for developers to write applications that can scale across a variety of screen sizes…

        • Android expected to surge in Thailand

          According to True Corp assistant to the president and CEO, Papon Ratanachaikanont, Thailand had the largest amount of iPhones shipped to any country in Southeast Asia in December last year. This momentum, however, is likely to be disrupted due to the uprise of budget Android smartphones coming out this year.

        • Blogger Gets an Android App

          Blogger, the Google-owned blogging platform, announced today that it finally has an Android app. The funny part, of course, is that Android is Google’s smartphone platform and Blogger has had an iPhone app since September 2009.

        • Is there a line between what is and isn’t Android on Android-derived or compatible devices?

          Android’s open source nature has been a large factor of the mobile OS’s success. Although Google generally partners with a single vendor to create a point product for each Android release (Samsung’s Nexus S for the recent Gingerbread release or Motorola’s Xoom for the upcoming Honeycomb release), the company eventually release each Android version as open source for other manufacturers to implement (and potentially modify) as they see fit, often with input from various carriers that will sell the result handsets or tablets.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Publication of Fourth Issue – International Free and Open Source Software Law Review

    The Editorial Committee is delighted to announce issue four of the ‘International Free and Open Source Software Law Review’ (IFOSS L. Rev.) is now available. IFOSSL. Rev. is a peer-reviewed biannual legal review dedicated to analysis and debate around Free and Open Source Software legal issues.

  • Web Browsers

    • The 5 Browsers That Annoy Me The Least

      This is possibly going to change once Firefox 4 comes out of beta, because from what I’m seeing, it’s got a pile of stuff that needs to be fixed and tweaked right out of the box before it’s even close to usable in my opinion. Way more than the current version of Firefox has anyway.

    • Chrome

      • A dash of speed, 3D and apps

        WebGL is a new technology which brings hardware-accelerated 3D graphics to the browser. With WebGL in Chrome, you can experience rich 3D experiences right inside the browser with no need for additional software. Curious about the three-dimensional possibilities? Try out these demos to experience the power of WebGL in the latest stable version of Chrome.

      • AskUbuntu has Gone through the 10,000 Users Threshold

        Here some more statistics from askubuntu.com:

        # of questions: 7350
        # of answers: 16044
        # of comments: 25406
        # of votes: 72233
        # of badges: 15426
        # of users: 10005

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Prism goes Chromeless

        Back in 2007, Mozilla launched the Prism effort to create web applications that could run on the desktop. Essentially Prism offered users a way to run a browser loaded to a specific web application.

        After a couple of years of active development, Prism development stalled in February of 2010 and there have been no updates about the project or its releases — until now. Prism could run as an add-on for Firefox (but only 3.6.x and not 4), and as such Firefox 4 Beta users have been missing out on what I believe to be – a fantastic Mozilla technology.


        Chromeless is much more than what Prism was though – it offers the promise of a more optimized and customized browser that could potentially make a browser application much better.

      • New Android Firefox beta beats default browser in JS benchmark

        Mozilla has announced the availability of a new Firefox Mobile 4 beta release for Android and Maemo. The new version brings significant performance improvements, further reduces the browser’s installation footprint, and introduces experimental support for reflowing text after zooming.

        We tested the beta release with Android 2.2 on a Nexus One handset. The latest improvements make Firefox fully competitive on Google’s mobile operating system, offering an excellent user experience and a number of compelling advantages over the platform’s default Web browser.

      • Crowdsourcing Project: Thoughts & Proposals for the Open Web Library channel
      • Game On Winners: Level Up the Open Web

        The Mozilla Labs Game On open Web game development competition is Game Over- for now! The votes are in, the winners are chosen, and we’re fresh out of quarters.

  • Oracle/Java/LO

    • IcedTea Project Goes To The Web

      This is the first official release of IcedTea-Web (v1.0) provides the IcedTea NP plug-in and a Java Web Start implementation via the javaws binary, which is based upon NetX. There’s also a preview of the itweb-settings tool, which provides a graphical user-interface for controlling settings of NetX and the IcedTea web plug-in.

    • Oracle drafts OpenJDK bylaws

      Oracle has issued a set of draft bylaws that it hopes will guide the process of developing its preferred open-source version of the Java programming language, the OpenJDK.

      The goal of the governance document is to encourage “members to act in an open, transparent, and meritocratic manner,” the bylaws state. OpenJDK is the open-source implementation of the Java Platform, Standard Edition.

    • OpenOffice.org vs. LibreOffice

      Comparing the two releases, you have to conclude that, while LibreOffice developers were not too proud to borrow OpenOffice.org code, OpenOffice.org developers saw no reason to do likewise in return.

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.x Developer Snapshot (build DEV300m99) available

      DEV300 is the development codeline for upcoming OOo 3.x releases.

  • CMS

    • Drupal goes print: Drupal Watchdog

      I first met Jeremy Andrews through KernelTrap, a website that reports about everything that’s happening in the Linux kernel world. It has been one of my favorite web sites. Back in 2001, KernelTrap ran on PostNuke, but I managed to convince Jeremy to switch to Drupal. He learned so much about Drupal in the process, the he quit his day job and started his own Drupal business, Tag1 Consulting.

      Now Jeremy is launching Drupal Watchdog, the first print magazine dedicated to Drupal.

  • Education

    • CC News: $2 billion fund available for open education

      The U.S. Department of Labor and the Department of Education announced a new education fund that will grant $2 billion to create open educational resources (OER) materials for career training programs in community colleges. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program (TAACCCT) will invest $2 billion over the next four years into grants that will “provide community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs.” What’s more, the full program announcement (PDF) states that all the resources created using these funds must be released under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license. The first round of funding will be $500 million over the next year. Applications to the solicitation are now open, and will be due April 21, 2011. Read what our incoming CEO, Cathy Casserly, has to say at the full post.

  • Business

    • ECM vendor OpenText moves into BPM with Metastorm buy

      Enterprise content management vendor OpenText said Wednesday that it is purchasing business process management software provider Metastorm for $182 million.

      With OpenText’s technologies and larger infrastructure, Metastorm will be able to offer its customers a deeper range of functionality as well as a greater global sales reach, said Metastorm CEO Robert Farrell in a statement.

    • Semi-Open Source

      • How to Spot Openwashing

        Take NASA’s experience with Eucalyptus Systems as an example. NASA’s Chris Kemp told The Register that the space agency had concerns that Eucalyptus’s open source private cloud computing solution couldn’t scale to meet the agency’s needs. NASA engineers tried to contribute some new code to Eucalyptus to make it more scalable, but Eucalyptus rejected the contributions because they conflicted with code available in a closed source version it sold.

        The source code that NASA was using was available, fulfilling at least one definition of the term “open source.” But it wasn’t open for contributions from outside and Eucalyptus served as a gatekeeper for the product. Eucalyptus didn’t mislead customers – it was upfront about the existence of its proprietary offerings – but by some standards its product wasn’t open. Eucalyptus has recently made moves towards being a more open company.


    • Freedom to Read, Freedom to Write: Celebrating Document Freedom Day 2011

      Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) invites individuals, community groups and institutions to celebrate the Document Freedom Day (DFD) on March 30th. DFD is a global day to celebrate Open Standards and open document formats and its importance. Open Standards ensure the freedom to access your data, and the freedom to build Free Software to write and read data in specific formats.


  • The Coolest Locksmith Shop in New York City

    Chances are, you’ve noticed Greenwich Locksmiths in your travels through the West Village. It occupies a small storefront just south of Commerce Street on one of the stranger parcels of land in Manhattan…

  • Chained to their desks: prisoners will staff call centre within Indian jail

    For a man serving a life sentence for murder, Pradeep Deburma has a slightly unlikely dream: to work in a call centre like hundreds of thousands of other young ambitious Indians. Even more improbably, he has every chance of realising it while still behind bars.

  • Flickr wipes out wrong account–then reconstitutes it

    Flickr accidentally deleted a member’s account–comments, favorites, and thousands of photos–but now has given the photographer a 25-year Pro-level subscription and all his photos back.

  • Software bugs [Dilbert cartoon]
  • Entrepreneurs Who Create Value vs. Entrepreneurs Who Lock Up Value

    Lots of stock manipulation charges followed Vanderbilt around, and he almost lost his fortune to a competitor named Daniel Drew, in a fight over the Erie Railroad. The New York Times likened Vanderbilt to medieval robber barons, who as gatekeepers, or actually more of a protection racket, would charge merchants for being allowed to operate on their land without getting robbed and beaten. Robber barons didn’t do anything but charge for something they could do. Historian John Steele Gordon did some work trying to find references to medieval robber barons anytime before the 1850 reference to Vanderbilt, and came up empty. It fit a narrative, though, so the Times went with it, but there may never have been such a creature as a robber baron. With that reference, an expression was born that is still being used today.

  • Science

    • Charlie Sheen, the Lady of Loulan, and Alternative Pasts in the PRC today

      Given the sensitivities involved, it was kind of miraculous that China last year allowed the mummies to travel to the United States as part of a three-museum exhibition tour. For years, foreign researchers were strictly forbidden from taking even tissue samples from the mummies out of China, and the mummies remained closely guarded until Victor Mair smuggled some tissue out of China in the 1990s when an unnamed Chinese researcher slipped him a sample during one of Professor Mair’s visits to Urumqi. That was then, this is now and the mummies were exhibited (more or less) without incident in California and Texas.

      Now comes word that Chinese government representatives have requested that many of the artifacts, including the mummies, be pulled from the tour’s last stop at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The exact reasons are unclear, and attempts by the New York Times and AP to get a clarification from a Chinese Embassy in the midst of celebrating the Lunar New Year proved unsuccessful.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Amish raw milk black market

      Two people have died in the last 10 years from drinking unpasteurized milk. Twelve states have banned it. (By comparison, between two and twelve children die every year playing high school football. When will high school football be banned?)

    • Human BSE blood test moves a step closer

      Scientists believe they are a step nearer to developing a reliable blood test for variant CJD, the human form of BSE and say their prototype is 100,000 times more sensitive than any previous attempt.

      A team from the government-funded Medical Research Council(MRC) based at University College London, found the infectious prion agents associated with the disease in the blood of 15 of 21 samples from people known to have had vCJD and says it has detected infection in blood spiked with vCJD to within one part per 10m.

    • Will reading your doctor’s notes make you healthier?

      Dr. Delbanco suspects having access to these notes “will make patients more actively involved in their care, better educated about their illnesses, and better able to detect and prevent medical errors.”

    • Supermarkets force abattoirs to fit CCTV after secret film exposes abuse

      Footage captured by Animal Aid, which was revealed by the Guardian last year, included a sheep being thrown into a pen, another being carried in a wheelbarrow, a pig being kicked, another being hit in the face with a shackle hook, and animals being improperly stunned.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt street battles: How Cairo’s Tahrir Square turned into a war zone overnight

      Egypt’s Army was absent during hours of fighting Wednesday night in which the antigovernment protesters were able hold off attacks from supporters of President Hosni Mubarak.

    • Egypt: Al Jazeera video shows police running over protesters (warning: graphic content)

      In the Al Jazeera video clip embedded above, an Egyptian police vehicle runs over protesters in the street, and appears to crush at least one demonstrator to death.

    • Egypt: journalists targeted at Hilton hotel in Cairo

      After reporters claimed a Hilton property in Cairo was cooperating with Egyptian security forces to harass and detain journalists, the hotel chain today confirmed in a statement that it has asked correspondents to stop filming there.

      A number of western news staff have based their operations at the Ramses Hilton in Cairo, and according to reports circulating today, it was from this property that equipment belonging to BBC News reporters was seized.

    • Egypt: CNN’s Anderson Cooper beat up by pro-Mubarak thugs
    • Gangs Hunt Journalists and Rights Workers

      Journalists covering the revolt against President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt have found themselves the targets of widespread anger and suspicion in an apparently coordinated campaign that is intended to stifle the flow of news that could further undermine the government.

    • Egypt Protests: Anti-Mubarak vs Pro-Mubarak Riots
    • Calls for weekend protests in Syria

      Calls for protests in Syria are spreading on social media websites, following popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

      Organisers say protests will be staged in front of the parliament in the capital, Damascus, on Friday and Saturday, and at Syrian embassies across the world.

    • Algeria to lift emergency powers

      President says country’s 19-year state of emergency will be lifted in near future in apparent bid to stave off unrest.

    • Grabbing at straws in Cairo

      WikiLeaks seems to have rediscovered the news cycle, releasing seven cables from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo as the Egyptian government crackdown on protesters and journalists turned ugly Thursday.

    • Egypt: The viral vlog of Asmaa Mahfouz that helped spark an uprising

      26-year-old Asmaa Mahfouz of Egypt recorded this video on January 18th, uploaded it to YouTube, and shared it on her Facebook. Within days, the video went viral within Egypt and beyond.

    • Egypt: protests were safe space for women until they turned violent today
    • Police offered me money to join pro Mubarak Protests

      To be honest, I want to tell you something. I am unemployed, and I have a relative who works with the police who offered me money to join the pro-Mubarak protests. Frankly, I took the money and went and I know that they are all police men or those who are benefitting from the National Party, and who want the regime to stay in power. I want to let you in on the secret: they are giving money to police or to soldiers and asking them to demonstrate for Mubarak, and to bring anyone else they know so that it appears that Mubarak has lots of supporters.

    • Egypt uprising can be repeated here, warns Marina

      Urging Malaysians and leaders everywhere to take lessons from the events in Tunisia and Egypt, the daughter of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned that such explosion of anger could also be repeated in Malaysia.


      Marina said the unprecendented protests can be attributed to a rising educated population which does not commensurate creation of better jobs and income.

    • Inside the anti-kettling HQ

      Cairo, it wasn’t. But at about a quarter to four last Saturday afternoon, on a crowded backstreet in central London, something happened outside the Egyptian embassy that deserves at least a footnote in the annals of protest history. A crowd of students weren’t kettled.

      In the context of recent British protests, this was a near-miracle. At each of the previous four major student protests in London since the Millbank riot on 10 November, police have kettled – or, in their terminology, “contained” – thousands of protesters, preventing them from leaving an area for several hours, and often from accessing basic amenities such as food, water and toilets.

    • Sukey – peaceful protest App without any mobile phone network Communications Data or Traffic Data anonymity

      Some University College London students and others, have been trying out their Web 2.0 skillz by producing a smartphone App and Location Based Services web map called Sukey, in support of the student / anarchist protests, which are nominally about the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition Government financial cutbacks, due to the appalling state of the economy, which was ruined by the incompetence of the previous Labour government.

    • Game over: The chance for democracy in Egypt is lost

      While much of American media has termed the events unfolding in Egypt today as “clashes between pro-government and opposition groups,” this is not in fact what’s happening on the street. The so-called “pro-government” forces are actually Mubarak’s cleverly orchestrated goon squads dressed up as pro-Mubarak demonstrators to attack the protesters in Midan Tahrir, with the Army appearing to be a neutral force. The opposition, largely cognizant of the dirty game being played against it, nevertheless has had little choice but to call for protection against the regime’s thugs by the regime itself, i.e., the military. And so Mubarak begins to show us just how clever and experienced he truly is. The game is, thus, more or less over.


      The president and the military, have, in sum, outsmarted the opposition and, for that matter, the Obama administration. They skillfully retained the acceptability and even popularity of the Army, while instilling widespread fear and anxiety in the population and an accompanying longing for a return to normalcy. When it became clear last week that the Ministry of Interior’s crowd-control forces were adding to rather than containing the popular upsurge, they were suddenly and mysteriously removed from the street. Simultaneously, by releasing a symbolic few prisoners from jail; by having plainclothes Ministry of Interior thugs engage in some vandalism and looting (probably including that in the Egyptian National Museum); and by extensively portraying on government television an alleged widespread breakdown of law and order, the regime cleverly elicited the population’s desire for security. While some of that desire was filled by vigilante action, it remained clear that the military was looked to as the real protector of personal security and the nation as a whole. Army units in the streets were under clear orders to show their sympathy with the people.


      The Obama administration, having already thrown its weight behind the military, if not Mubarak personally, thereby facilitating the outcome just described, can be expected to redouble its already bad gamble. Fearing once again that the regime might be toppled, it will lean on the Europeans, the Saudis, and others to come to Egypt’s aid. The final nail will be driven into the coffin of the failed democratic transition in Egypt. It will be back to business as usual with a repressive, U.S.-backed military regime, only now the opposition will be much more radical and probably yet more Islamist. The historic opportunity to have a democratic Egypt led by those with whom the U.S., Europe, and even Israel could do business will have been lost, maybe forever. Uncle Sam will have to eat yet more humble pie, served up by the dictator who has just been insulting him.

    • Mubarak Reveals a Brutal Plan to Hold Power

      The Egyptian army, which had vowed not to use force against the protesters, stood by passively as thousands of pro-government thugs who were bused in bludgeoned their way into the peaceful anti-government crowd on Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Violent chaos and gunfire raged throughout Wednesday night, leaving hundreds wounded and at least four dead, according to local media reports.

    • The Song of the Nonaligned Nile

      The United States, whose hallowed creation myth styles America as the quintessential child of revolution, has for decades navigated the insupportable irony of denying others their own political parturition through the ideological conflation of freedom with stability. From Nicaragua to Iran, this deployment has served as a discursive validation for a host of violent counterinsurgency tactics ranging from outright political assassination and imperial warfare to the surreptitious funneling of funding and weapons to embedded confederates whose anitrevolutionary agendas serve American geopolitical interests at strategic moments.

    • Yemen next: 20,000 on streets in ‘day of rage’

      More than 20,000 Yemenis filled the streets of Sanaa on Thursday for a “day of rage” rally, demanding a change in government and saying President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s offer to step down in 2013 was not enough.

    • Iran intensifies rate of ‘rubber-stamp’ executions

      With international eyes locked on Egypt, Iran has dramatically stepped up the number of executions of dissidents and others — hanging 67 so far this year.

    • Bangladesh clerics arrested after girl whipped to death

      Police in Bangladesh have arrested four Islamic clerics after a teenage girl accused of having a relationship with a married man was whipped to death.

      The clerics were accused of ordering Mosammet Hena, 14, to receive 100 lashes in a fatwa, or religious edict, at a village in south-western Shariatpur district, the area’s police chief, AKM Shahidur Rahman, said. The area is 35 miles from the capital, Dhaka.

    • Robert Fisk: Blood and fear in Cairo’s streets as Mubarak’s men crack down on protests

      “President” Hosni Mubarak’s counter-revolution smashed into his opponents yesterday in a barrage of stones, cudgels, iron bars and clubs, an all-day battle in the very centre of the capital he claims to rule between tens of thousands of young men, both – and here lies the most dangerous of all weapons – brandishing in each other’s faces the banner of Egypt. It was vicious and ruthless and bloody and well planned, a final vindication of all Mubarak’s critics and a shameful indictment of the Obamas and Clintons who failed to denounce this faithful ally of America and Israel.

      The fighting around me in the square called Tahrir was so terrible that we could smell the blood. The men and women who are demanding the end of Mubarak’s 30-year dictatorship – and I saw young women in scarves and long skirts on their knees, breaking up the paving stones as rocks fell around them – fought back with an immense courage which later turned into a kind of terrible cruelty.

    • Vodafone: Egypt forced us to send text messages

      Egyptian authorities forced Vodafone to broadcast pro-government text messages during the protests that have rocked the country, the U.K.-based mobile company said Thursday.

      Micro-blogging site Twitter has been buzzing with screen grabs from Vodafone’s Egyptian customers showing text messages sent over the course of the demonstrations against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year-old regime.

    • New York Times Journalists Arrested In Egypt: Report

      Hadeel Al-Shalchi, a Middle East correspondent for the wire service, tweeted on Thursday that “2 visiting NYT journos been arrested.” Al-Shalchi then tweeted that the journalists have been taken into “protective custody” by the military.

    • Really Bad Week: Egypt Edition

      While the political earthquake rumbling through the Middle East began in Tunisia, when the people took to the streets in Egypt, unrest became a trend rather than an isolated event. In addition, Egypt’s unique role among states in the region — historically and due to the size of its population — amplified the importance of the demonstrations that have filled the streets of Cairo, Alexandria, and the rest of the country for this past week.


      Here are the 10 people (outside Egypt and Tunisia) most unsettled by the past week’s developments.

    • Rantings of a Sandmonkey: Egypt Right Now!

      Due to problems related to traffic and attacks (many from IPs in Saudi Arabia), the blog Rantings of a Sandmonkey (hosted on Freedom’s Zone server … an affiliate of Hyscience), one of Egypt” top bloggers and activists, has been temporarily suspended until the problems can be resolved (hopefully by this evening). Before Sandmonkey was suspended, his last post, dated Thursday, 3 February 2011, was posted below.

    • Everybody Loved Hosni

      For 30 years the world welcomed Egypt’s president — they shook his hand and looked the other way. But the time for photo ops is likely over.

    • Burma picks junta insider as president

      Burma’s new parliament has elected a notorious military man and former prime minister as its new president.

      Notorious army general Thein Sein was one of those who resigned from the military last year to participate in Burma’s landmark elections and to form a so-called civilian parliament.

    • Swedish television reporter missing in Egypt

      A Swedish television reporter was reported missing Thursday while on assignment in Egypt, Swedish public broadcaster SVT said.

      Bert Sundstrom, one of four SVT reporters covering the protests in Cairo, has not been heard from since mid-afternoon Thursday.


      Swedish diplomats in Cairo have not been able to establish Sundstrom’s whereabouts either.

    • Egypt protests: the view from the Middle East

      In an effort to provide the most comprehensive coverage of the seismic events in Egypt and the shockwaves they are sending through the region, the Guardian has teamed up with leading European newspapers Der Spiegel and Le Monde. In the coming days we will be exploring ways to share our reporting from the region, so that you can read dispatches from their highly respected correspondents alongside reports from our own team on the ground. Kicking off this collaboration here are a series of audio reports from correspondents for the three papers in Cairo, Sana’a, Tunis and Beirut.

    • We’ve compiled a list of all the journalist who have been in some way threatened, attacked or detained while reporting in Egypt…

      We’ve compiled a list of all the journalist who have been in some way threatened, attacked or detained while reporting in Egypt. When you put it all into one list, it is a rather large number in such a short period of time. (UPDATED – send us more stories if you get them)

    • Mubarak intensifies press attacks with assaults, detentions

      Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak unleashed an unprecedented and systematic attack on international media today as his supporters assaulted reporters in the streets while security forces began obstructing and detaining journalists covering the unrest that threatens to topple his government.

      “This is a dark day for Egypt and a dark day for journalism,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “The systematic and sustained attacks documented by CPJ leave no doubt that a government-orchestrated effort to target the media and suppress the news is well under way. With this turn of events, Egypt is seeking to create an information vacuum that puts it in the company of the world’s worst oppressors, countries such as Burma, Iran and Cuba.

    • Syria: Gang Attacks Peaceful Demonstrators; Police Look On

      Syria’s government should immediately cease its intimidation and harassment of demonstrators expressing solidarity with pro-democracy campaigners in Egypt, Human Rights Watch said today. With calls on Facebook and Twitter for large protests in Syria on February 4, 2011, Human Rights Watch urged Syria’s authorities to respect the right of Syrians to assemble peacefully.

    • “Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the tempestuous sea of liberty.” Thomas Jefferson

      It would only take to anounce prosecutions by international criminal court in The Hague, the freezing of foreign accounts from people within the government and from President Hosni Mubarak, some strong statements from the UN, a Security Council meating, whatever… So that Hosni Mubarak releases the pressure on peaceful demonstrators. It would only take tough talk from U.S. counterparts of the Egyptian army so that it finally takes action to protect the peacefull demostrators. You’re doing anything like that and meanwhile, people are dying, by stones, knives and swords or Molotov cocktails.

      It is not enough to claim you condemn “those who use or promote violence” without naming them. To say that the transition process should begin “immediately”. You must demand the immediate departure of Hosni Mubarak and his government. Chaos is a poor excuse that the example tunisia discredits. By your guilty inaction, you discourage people from politics. In the future we will all pay the price of your inaction. You first.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Dragonfly wings inspire micro wind turbine design

      THE way a dragonfly remains stable in flight is being mimicked to develop micro wind turbines that can withstand gale-force winds.

      Micro wind turbines have to work well in light winds but must avoid spinning too fast when a storm hits, otherwise their generator is overwhelmed. To get round this problem, large turbines use either specially designed blades that stall at high speeds or computerised systems that sense wind speed and adjust the angle of the blade in response. This technology is too expensive for use with micro-scale turbines, though, because they don’t produce enough electricity to offset the cost. That’s where dragonflies come in.

    • EU urged to overhaul fishing policy

      The commission is in the process of reviewing the CFP, with a view to introducing reforms in two years. The EU is the world’s fourth biggest producer of fish, both wild and farmed.

  • Finance

    • S.E.C. Hurt by Disarray in Its Books

      But what if the company were the S.E.C. itself?

      Since the commission began producing audited statements in 2004, the Government Accountability Office has faulted its reporting almost every year. Last November, the G.A.O. said that the commission’s books were in such disarray that it had failed at some of the agency’s most fundamental tasks: accurately tracking income from fines, filing fees and the return of ill-gotten profits.

      “A reasonable possibility exists that a material misstatement of S.E.C.’s financial statements would not be prevented, or detected and corrected on a timely basis,” the auditor concluded.

      The auditor did not accuse the S.E.C. of cooking its books, and the mistakes were corrected before its latest financial statements were completed. But the fact that basic accounting continually bedevils the agency responsible for guaranteeing the soundness of American financial markets could prove especially awkward just as the S.E.C. is saying it desperately needs money to increase its regulatory power.

    • Glenn Beck gold company on how to profit from Egypt unrest
    • Financial Crisis: The Greatest Hits

      On regulation: We do not accept the view that regulators lacked the power to protect the financial system. They had ample power in many arenas and they chose not to use it. To give just three examples: the Securities and Exchange Commission could have required more capital and halted risky practices at the big investment banks. It did not. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and other regulators could have clamped down on Citigroup’s excesses in the run-up to the crisis. They did not. Policy makers and regulators could have stopped the runaway mortgage securitization train. They did not.

    • Don’t Believe Goldman Sachs, The U.S. Economy Has Endured 3 ‘Lost Decades’

      But one problem with all this soothing talk: As millions of ordinary people can readily attest, we are already deep into a Lost Decade and then some. Rescuing ourselves from this era of diminished expectations is going to require far more than disseminating rosy projections about this year’s stock market while touting the innate power of American business. It demands a serious-minded plan to get people back to work so we can wean ourselves off the investment fantasies propagated by Goldman and its Wall Street cohorts.

      A brief consideration of reality comes in handy here. The U.S. economy slipped officially into recession in December 2007 and remained there until June of 2009, not for nothing earning the moniker “the Great Recession.” During those 19 brutal months, the economy lost a net 7.3 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the year and a half since, the economy has gained back a grand total of 72,000 jobs — not even half what most economists say we need in a single month just to absorb new entrants to the labor force.

    • Commons leader attacks MPs’ expenses watchdog as latest claims are published

      Sir George Young, the leader of the house of Commons, today delivered a devastating critique of the expenses watchdog as it published the latest tranche of claims, naming and shaming 125 MPs who had claims rejected.

      The list includes the ministers Ed Davey, Ed Vaizey Maria Miller and Peter Luff and Labour grandees, among them Jack Straw and Harriet Harman.

    • Ex-MP Jim Devine ‘requested receipt for no work’

      A former Labour MP accused of faking expenses asked a stationery company to confirm he had paid for orders when he never did so, a court has heard.

      Jim Devine allegedly requested that invoices be stamped to say money had been “received with thanks” before the orders were paid for.

  • Censorship

    • ISPs and Vaizey set to bump heads over default porn filter

      A meeting on Monday between Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey and representatives of UK ISPs could be a game-changing moment for the way in which we are all allowed to use the internet. At stake is the seemingly academic question of whether PCs should arrive with adult filters turned off – the current default – or on.

      Presently web users can go online and surf wherever they fancy, from flower-arranging to extreme dogging, with next to no distinction made between the two. The filters-on position would require individuals to take a conscious decision to access “adult” content.

    • Austria planning an internet kill-switch

      Austria is working on creating a big red button which will turn off both the internet and mobile networks. The idea is to keep the country safe should there be some sort of cyberwar within the borders of the EU, keeping Austria safe from nasty viruses and acts of sabotage.

      The Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria admitted to Futurezone.at it is working on the plans, while a bloke from private sector CERT.at denied anyone had such a thing in mind, ever.

  • Privacy

    • EU Commission proposes new directive on storing air passenger details

      Details of passengers on every flight within the European Union will be passed to destination countries under European Commission proposals published today.

      The Commission has proposed a Passenger Name Record (PNR) Directive ordering airlines to send the information it holds on its passengers to authorities in the destination country as a matter of course.

      The US, Canada and Australia already require PNR data to be sent to them before planes can land, but the Directive would for the first time force the sending of data for every internal EU flight.

    • As International Privacy Day is Celebrated, Governments Continue to Chip Away at Privacy Rights

      Last Friday, privacy advocates and government officials in countries across the world celebrated the 5th annual International Privacy Day — even as individual privacy is threatened by surveillance proposals and security breaches worldwide. This day commemorates the first legally binding international agreement on data protection – the Council of Europe’s Convention 108- which was opened for signature on January 28th, 1981. Last week’s celebration marked the 30th anniversary of Convention 108, which has served as a foundation for many countries’ national data protection laws. It is an opportunity to raise public awareness about privacy threats and to urge governments to protect citizen’s privacy rights.

    • ICO Deputy exposes Data Protection law wish list

      Last Friday, data protection day, was commemorated with a meeting organised by the Ministry of Justice in Whitehall. At that meeting, David Smith, the Deputy Information Commissioner (DIC), reviewed the Information Commissioner’s wish list of changes to data protection law. This blog reports on the content of that list.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Protecting your Internet traffic in volatile times

      We’re glad that the Internet Service Providers in Egypt are announcing their routes to the world and have rejoined the Internet. We are concerned because it is possible that traffic crossing the Egyptian border is being recorded and possibly saved for future use. Correctly using Tor to and from Egyptian destinations will keep your traffic anonymous.


      Thanks to some funding from Avaaz, we’ve also begun experimenting with ways to make Tor perform better on satellite and mesh networks.

    • UBB: Still Misunderstood

      Richard French thinks the problem is that the Government is overturning the regulator.

      The sad fact is that Mr.French would have a lot more credibility if he wasn’t parroting the oft cited bogus argument about “heavy users.”

      Like the CRTC, Richard French doesn’t understand the problem in getting expert advice from the special Interest Group the CRTC is supposed to be regulate.

    • Canada’s Internet rescued from weak and pathetic regulator

      Canadian Industry Minister Tony Clement has told the press that he will overturn the decision to allow “usage-based billing” with which the CRTC (Canada’s telcoms regulator) gifted the telcoms industry.

    • Greens Reject CRTC’s Usage-Based Billing Decision

      The Green Party of Canada urges the Minister of Industry to reverse the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) January 25th decision, and to fully review all related rulings. The CRTC’s decision abandoned Canadians in favour of big business by allowing large Canadian ISPs to charge gross overage fees. By limiting the pricing options of smaller ISPs using their network, the CRTC has effectively crippled small businesses who provide valuable Internet services to thousands of Canadians.

    • Read the CRTC chairman’s speech on Internet billing
    • Counterpoint: Net users will pay a lot more

      First, it is true that Bell, Telus, Rogers, etc., have invested billions in their infrastructure. Where did they get those billions? Well, in the case of the phone companies, they have enjoyed a monopoly in their markets for over 100 years and Canadian residents had no other option but to purchase telephony services from them. The same thing applies to the cable companies, but for a shorter period of time. You have to buy your cable from the incumbent provider. Therefore, these large dollars of investment came from Canadian consumers who had no choice. The Canadian government set out a policy, as did most forward-thinking countries, that required these incumbents to provide access to other companies to foster competition. These services were always supposed to be based on cost plus a reasonable markup.

    • Brazilian Telecom Authority Claims Sharing WiFi Is A Criminal Offense

      Marcos points us to a story coming out of Brazil, where a guy who had an internet connection with WiFi, and agreed to share that connection with two neighbors is now facing two to four years in jail (Google translation of the original).

    • Usage Based Billing Showdown

      Von Finckenstein also stated in committee that he would review the decision for 60 days, but may end up coming up with the same result. On the Government side of things, Industry Minister Tony Clement stated on CBC’s Power and Politics, that if the CRTC comes up with the same decision, that the CRTC would face a cabinet ready to overturn it. Clement also reacted to Von Finckenstein’s comments on regular internet users subsidizing “heavy users”. Clement stated those comments do not make sense towards government policy on market choice, and that the CRTC is in conflict with government policy on their decision. Clement was extremely strong in his words stating that new internet fee’s that were to kick in on this decision March 1st, 2011 will NOT happen. So the saga continues.

  • DRM

    • The louder you scream…

      An existing digital restriction comes back for a second attack. We have three ideas for action to take against the streaming media giants.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Full Affidavit On Latest Seizures Again Suggests Homeland Security Is Twisting The Law

        The biggest problem is that Homeland Security seems to suggest — without a hint of doubt — that merely linking to infringing content is criminal copyright infringement. That is a huge stretch. The affidavit appears to make it clear that it believes that these sites are guilty of direct criminal copyright infringement, rather than any sort of contributory copyright infringement. As we’ve discussed in the past, the courts have tended to say that embedding and linking can be contributory infringement, but not direct infringement. Homeland Security and ICE may be in for a bit of legal trouble trying to prove that embedding is direct infringement.

      • Homeland Security Domain Seizures Raise More Questions: Is Embedding A Video Criminal Infringement?

        Just as with last time Homeland Security’s Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) group seized a bunch of domain names, the deeper you look into what sites were targeted, the more questions are raised about how ICE seems to interpret the law in its own unique manner. Lots of people do this, but usually they’re not the federal government with the ability to simply seize property with no adversarial hearing and no concern for either due process or the First Amendment.

        For example, it appears that a bunch of the domains seized this week were focused on sports streaming. Of course, this all seemed to come down on Super Bowl week, so we’re almost surprised that ICE didn’t announce the seizures from the NFL’s headquarters, like they did at Disney’s headquarters last summer. Among the other sites seized (beyond the ones we mentioned yesterday) are Channelsurfing.net, Firstrow.net, Atdhe.net and Ilemi.com. At this point, we’ve now seen Homeland Security seize .com, .org and .net domain names.

      • Free Internet Porn Isn’t Unfair Competition To Pay Sites: Appeals Court

        Thus, Redtube.com has caused “many millions of dollars of damages to proprietors of adult entertainment websites,” including those of the plaintiff in this instance, one Kevin Cammarata of Los Angeles, California. This, he charged, was a violation of California’s Unfair Practices Act.

      • Internet Piracy Boosts Anime Sales, Study Concludes

        A prestigious economics think-tank of the Japanese Government has published a study which concludes that online piracy of anime shows actually increases sales of DVDs. The conclusion stands in sharp contrast with the entertainment industry’s claims that ‘illicit’ downloading is leading to billions of dollars in losses worldwide. It also puts the increased anti-piracy efforts of the anime industry in doubt.

      • iPad is a devil’s deal for publishers

        Apple’s approach to magazine and newspaper subscriptions and third-party e-book sales stink of the kind of practices that got Microsoft into trouble with trustbusters on two continents during the late 1990s and early 2000s. A year ago, publishers embraced iPad as the savior of their industry. Now iPad looks like a devil’s deal instead.

        Trouble started three days ago, when Sony said that Apple rejected its Reader software from the App Store in a policy change. Apple responded that there is no policy change. Oh? Well, if there is no overt policy change, it is effectively one of enforcement. Either way, the demands Apple is placing on publishers is too much, and arguably being made from a monopoly position. Essentially, the company wants sales to go through the App Store, which would compel the likes of Amazon and Sony to sell e-books indirectly through Apple and would prohibit magazine and newspaper publishers from offering existing subscribers the benefits of iPad editions without paying more.

      • ACTA

        • (Secret) US cables reveal: ACTA was far too secret

          US government cables published by WikiLeaks show us that it wasn’t just “the usual blogger-circles” (as the US Embassy in Sweden called them) complaining about the secrecy of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

          French digital rights group La Quadrature du Net has compiled a list of relevant WikiLeaks cables regarding ACTA. In one, a top intellectual property official in Italy told the US that “the level of confidentiality in these ACTA negotiations has been set at a higher level than is customary for non-security agreements.” He added that it was “impossible for member states to conduct necessary consultations with IPR stakeholders and legislatures under this level of confidentiality.”

      • Digital Economy (UK)

Clip of the Day

First Look at Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 2

Credit: TinyOgg

ES: La Reforma de Patentes de los EE.UU. Probablemente Siga Adelante y las Patentes de la UE se Puedan dar en unos Días Más

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 10:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: El tiempo se agota asi como leyes fundamentales que puedan pasar.

Ha habido un montón de hablar acerca de una reforma de las patentes recientemente. Hay la Ley de Reforma de Patentes de 2011 [1[http://techrights.org/2011/02/02/reform-vs-biden-mentality/], 2[http://techrights.org/2011/01/31/united-states-patent-reform/]], y Microsoft ha estado tratando de inclinar este tipo de reformas a su manera [1[http://techrights.org/2011/02/05/patentes-abusos-de-su-monopolio/]] tal que sólo los ricos pueden ser llamados “inventores” (los que poseen el MONOPOLIO de una idea). Otro informe sobre este tipo de reforma (las sugerencias varian[http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/108598/20110203/senate-panel-backs-patent-overhaul-bill.htm]) parece indicar que las cosas realmente va a cambiar: [vía[http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/02/04/1321215/Senate-Panel-Backs-Patent-Overhaul-Bill]]

El comité votó 15-0 para apoyar la legislación que daría a los jueces un papel importante en la determinación de la importancia de una patente en particular es para un producto, por lo que infringir las patentes de menores no daría lugar a daños enormes.

El proyecto de ley también da a las patentes para el primer inventor que lo registre, en lugar de los primeros en inventar, por lo que el proceso de solicitud de patentes sea más fácil para las empresas que solicitan patentes en varios países.

Mientras tanto, Europa también se está preparando para cometer el suicidio de patentes[http://techrights.org/2011/02/05/beneficiando-a-los-abogados-y-los-monopolios/] bajo el pretexto de que “patentes de la UE” significa una reforma que es positiva (aumento de sólo daños en la práctica). El presidente de la Fundación para una Infraestructura de Información Libre, FFII se pregunta hoy en día, “¿el acuerdo de patentes de la UE que se firmará el lunes?” ¿Por qué los Estados miembros, excepto España e Italia decidieron entrar en un pacto de suicidio? El peligro es que si Europa se enamore de este potencial preludio de acuerdo de libre comercio (importación de las patentes de software a través del Atlántico), por lo que lo mismo será a Sur América y al resto de Asia, no sólo de Corea[http://techrights.org/2010/12/04/blackmail-for-swpats/].

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

ES: Bill Gates Promueve los Monopolios de Patentes

Posted in Bill Gates, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bill Gates in Poland - Monsanto added in

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: El co-fundador de Microsoft continúa abusando del sistema mediante el fomento de los monopolios y aún más presionar a los gobiernos y las escuelas para que la gente siga sus instrucciones egoístas.

Los últimos dos años que hemos estado demostrando que la Fundación Gates[http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Gates_Foundation_Critique] es uno de los mayores cómplices en el mundo de las patentes, que son, por supuesto, una herramienta para mantener a los pobres más pobres y hacer que los ricos aún más ricos. Como resumen rápido de algunos puestos que cubre este tema, consideren lo siguiente:

* Bill Gates y Steve Jobs extorsionadores Con las patentes de software[http://techrights.org/2010/03/10/bill-gates-racketeering-revealed/]
* Informe: Bill Gates se convierte en un Troll de Patentes Como Nathan Myhrvold[http://techrights.org/2008/11/10/billg-searete-patent-crusade/]
* AGRA-Gates cabildeo de los monopolios sobre la vida[http://techrights.org/2011/01/10/monsanto-gmo-and-agra/]
* Fundación Gates Mantiene aumento de las inversiones de la PA, Super-Patente Troll Nathan Myhrvold se une a la fiesta[http://techrights.org/2010/06/21/myhrvold-and-gates-monopoly/]
* Impresionado por OpenOffice, Bill Gates utilizar las patentes de software contra ella[http://techrights.org/2009/02/10/bill-gates-patents-vs-free-office/]
* Wikileaks/Cablegate arroja mala luz sobre las inversiones de Bill Gates en Rogue Patentes[http://techrights.org/2010/12/20/pfizer-scandal/]
* Explicación de lo que las inversiones de Bill Gates en Patentes hacen al mundo en desarrollo[http://techrights.org/2009/11/25/monsanto-video/]
* Los tres principales secuestradores de patentes y Whitewashers: Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold, y Traul Allen[http://techrights.org/2010/09/28/trolling-then-reputation-laundering/]
* Benjamín Orndorff de Microsoft/Gates y Ellis Representan el Cartel CTPN Patentes[http://techrights.org/2011/01/19/hard-evidence-re-cptn/]
* Resumen: Bill Gates, Acacia, y otros Trolls de Patentes en los Titulares[]http://techrights.org/2010/02/04/bill-gates-acacia-sw-patents/
* Bill Gates inversionista de Mosanto encuentra camino para Contribuyentes al Fondo de sus Patentes (en formas de vida peligrosas)[http://techrights.org/2010/04/26/monsanto-boosted-by-gates/]
* Bill Gates Lleva sus inversiones de Patentes OMG/Experimentos a la India[http://techrights.org/2009/10/19/gmo-patent-investments/]
* Searete un Elemento de Intellectual Ventures, una firma de patentes de arrastre[http://techrights.org/2008/11/12/searete-under-intellectual-ventures/]
* ¿Cómo Gates Aprendío a Dejar de Preocuparse y Amar las Patentes Destructivas[http://techrights.org/2007/10/16/gates-on-linux-patents/]
* Bill Gates fue Regañado por los agricultores haitianos por su cabildeo por Monsanto e Inversiones[http://techrights.org/2010/06/14/bill-gates-and-haiti-gmo/]
* Bill Gates Vende Drogas en las Naciones Menos Desarrolladas (con fines de lucro)[http://techrights.org/2010/08/09/pharmaceutical-patents-and-profits/]
* Resumen Gates: Monsanto, la Colonización, los Lazos de Clinton, y el Control de la Educación[http://techrights.org/2010/03/17/rich-uncle-bill-explored/]
* Bill Gates y Melinda Instruyen a los Países en Los Que Invierten a alimentar los productos farmacéuticos que fabrica[http://techrights.org/2009/01/31/bm-foundry-closing-a-loop/]
* ¿Esta la Pyramid Plan de Myhrvold y Bill Gates derrumbandose?[http://techrights.org/2010/07/29/intellectual-ventures-reportedly-really-collapsing/]
* Con el monopolio de Microsoft en Check, Bill Gates Invierte para la Creación de Más Monopolios[http://techrights.org/2009/12/03/gates-creating-more-monopolies/]
* ¿Cómo la Fundación Gates privatiza África?[http://techrights.org/2009/09/20/privatization-africa/]
* Federico Kaufman acerca de Monsanto y la Fundación Gates, 100.000 indios para protestar en ayuno[http://techrights.org/2010/02/06/protesters-vs-gmo-and-monsanto/]
* Cine Viernes Negro: Lo que la Monsanto, Bill Gates hacen a los animales, agricultores, alimentos, y los sistemas de patentes[http://techrights.org/2009/11/27/monsanto-programme/]
* Monsanto Plantas sus mentiras en la NPR financiado por la Fundación Gates[http://techrights.org/2010/04/19/monsanto-puts-npr-lies/]
* La Fundación Gates, GlaxoSmithKline conectados indirectamente pago científicos a exagerar las necesidades de vacunas[http://techrights.org/2010/06/07/gsk-philanthrocapitalism/]

Los grupos de presión de Gates están haciendo un daño enorme no sólo a los Estados Unidos. Gente informada como Glyn Moody lo critican por ello. Muy pronto (al parecer días a partir de ahora) Gates añadir algunos secuaces más congresistas para cabildear en materia de patentes (tal vez las patentes de software) ya que en Twitter, el muy informado Jamie Love[http://techrights.org/2010/11/28/bill-melinda-evangelization/] escribió: “La próxima semana la Fundación Gates va contratar a un cabildero de los superiores derechos de propiedad intelectual de Microsoft , a trabajar para la Fundación.”

No podía llegar en mejor momento ahora que Microsoft está tratando de hacer que los sistemas de patentes más hostil hacia la competencia [1[http://techrights.org/2011/02/05/patentes-abusos-de-su-monopolio/] en medio de la Ley de Patentes de Reforma de 2011 [1[http://techrights.org/2011/02/02/reform-vs-biden-mentality/], 2[http://techrights.org/2011/01/31/united-states-patent-reform/], 3[http://techrights.org/2011/02/05/crucial-laws-alert/]]. Los grupos de presión son, por definición, los que distorsiona la mente de los políticos y nuestro IRC regular, “Hazzy”, escribió a su congresista hace unos días y recibió esta respuesta:

Estimado Sr. Bell:

Gracias por ponerse en contacto con mi oficina con respecto a los litigios de patentes de software.

Me parece la tendencia hacia el litigio sobre los derechos de propiedad de software a ser muy alarmante. Entiendo que la cifra que esta toma en el espíritu empresarial digital y el crecimiento. Se ha estimado que el costo de litigar estos asuntos supera los $ 11 millones de dólares.

También hay una necesidad de garantizar que las empresas, y especialmente las empresas extranjeras, no robar a otros de los frutos de su ingenio tecnológico. La promesa de una recompensa monetaria, el reconocimiento es a menudo lo que impulsa a muchos desarrolladores de software de aplicar sus mentes a los dispositivos técnicos que ayudan a hacer nuestra sociedad próspera. Creo que los incentivos importan, y NO TENGO PLANES PARA HACER CUMPLIR UN SISTEMA DE CODIGO ABIERTO que tiende a eliminar los incentivos de nuestro mercado. Espero sinceramente que una solución razonable se puede encontrar para resolver este dilema, y voy a estar monitoreando cualquier legislación relacionada que viene ante el Congreso.

Bill Hiuzenga
Miembro del Congreso

El Sr. Huizenga debe haber sido engrasado por algunos grupos de presión que dijeron mentiras en nombre de las empresas que los emplean para ello. Bill Gates ha sido uno de los super-grupos de presión desde hace varios años y para citar CIO.com: “¿Sabía usted que hay más de 34.750 grupos de presión registrada en Washington, DC, por sólo 435 representantes y 100 senadores? Hay más de 64 grupos de presión para cada congresista.”

Bill Huizenga puede haber sido sometido al ejército de los grupos de presión de Microsoft, la Fundación Gates, o la firma del padre de Bill Gates (Bill)[http://techrights.org/2009/05/21/list-microsoft-and-gates-lobbyists/]. Los proyectos de ley puede afectar a las facturas de patentes y vamos a ponernos al día con noticias Gates desde algún tiempo hace un par de meses (la última vez que escribimós en enero) para cubrir esta más bien con un montón de enlaces. Es la confianza ciega en las autoridades y la prensa corporativa lo que lleva a la gente a la decepción más profunda y sin profundizar en estas cuestiones, será difícil de entender por qué la sociedad se vuelve cada vez más hostil hacia las personas (véase el TSA, por ejemplo) y cada vez más amistosa hacia las corporaciones (que ahora los derechos de la demanda de privacidad, como si son personas con sentimientos). En una nueva pieza de OpenSource.com[http://opensource.com/education/11/1/critical-thinking-why-our-students-need-it-and-resources-teaching-it], Rebeca Fernández plantea una cuestión que plantea Techrights rutinariamente. El pensamiento crítico es una habilidad que “nuestros estudiantes necesitan … y recursos para la enseñanza de ella,” pero supongo que es el control de las escuelas ahora? Así es, es el Sr. Gates, que ha comprado este sistema[http://techrights.org/2011/01/07/marginalising-students-and-teachers/].

Nuestro sistema educativo, en todas sus formas, hace un trabajo pobre de fomentar el pensamiento crítico. Se trata de un problema real, porque los seres humanos se inclinan a adoptar ideologías en vez de información. No hay nada más molesto para la sociedad que las ideologías en conflicto-y simplemente no hay manera de encontrar un terreno medio con alguien que no puede de ellos que se trate.

Fernández dice que el sistema educativo de EE.UU. “hace un trabajo pobre de fomentar el pensamiento crítico”, pero esto es una característica para los que controlan este sistema. UNA POBLACION CREDULA ES MAS DOCIL Y PASIVA.

Si las personas no responden el ataque de los plutócratas a la sociedad, entonces la industria de relaciones públicas deciden por la gente cómo pensar y cómo sentirse. Además de Relaciones Públicas PR, el plutócrata de Bill Gates ya está comprando una gran cantidad de medios de prensa (TV, periódicos, blogs, etc). Se está matando a los periodistas de vigilancia. Aquellos a quienes se utiliza para proteger sufrirá. Ellos han robado su dignidad y aún adoran a la misma gente que les robaron. Todo comenzó con grupos de presión que se encontraron con la apatía y los TLC que se basaba en el secreto (cf ACTA). Lo que necesitamos es más proyectos como Wikileaks por este motivo precisamente.

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

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