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02.09.11

Links 9/2/2011: Android 2.4 to Ship, IBM/Oracle in Java Leadership

Posted in News Roundup at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Did Open Source Companies Miss Their Channel Opportunity?

    First, what went wrong? Let’s rewind to 2009, when Synnex and Red Hat launched the Open Source Channel Alliance (OSCA) and Tech Data launched the Open Tech effort. The situation looked so darn promising, especially as open source ERP, CRM and groupware companies worked to promote their wares through the OSCA and Open Tech.

  • Events

    • LCA: IP address exhaustion and the end of the open net

      Geoff Huston is the Chief Scientist at the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre. His frank linux.conf.au 2011 keynote took a rather different tack than Vint Cerf’s talk did the day before. According to Geoff, Vint is “a professional optimist.” Geoff was not even slightly optimistic; he sees a difficult period coming for the net; unless things happen impossibly quickly, the open net that we often take for granted may be gone forevermore.

    • Introduction to Forensics – A Report from Southwest Drupal Summit

      Kyle argued that the best first step is to immediately pull the plug on the box. Do not diagnose the situation and do not shut the machine down gracefully. We use journaling file systems for a reason and the machine will probably be rebuilt from scratch, so the danger of corrupted data from killing the power is small. Once the machine is off, you should image the compromised drive with something like ‘dd’ and make a copy of the image to do your work on to protect you from accidentally contaminating the evidence.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • IBM/Oracle To Share Java Leadership: More Bylaws to Read

      I know bylaws are boring, but let me show you just a couple of highlights that, to me, show that while Oracle and IBM will be sharing leadership, albeit not equally weighted, the community isn’t inside the real loop, not yet anyway. This is draft 7 of the bylaws, so it’s not carved in stone. That doesn’t happen until March 3, after which it gets voted on by “OpenJDK Community members for ratification via an appropriate democratic process”, according to Mark Reinhold, the OpenJDK Lead. So please allow me to point out some bugs.

    • Oracle Opposes Google’s Motion to Compel

      I’m thinking what Oracle will argue at the hearing is that all Androids of necessity do infringe and that Google is guilty of “active and willful” inducement, and so for that reason it doesn’t have to point to a specific instance of direct infringement. In any case, this is what it looks like the hearing will be about on the topic of requirements for Oracle to disclose specific acts. Everything will depend, I would say, on whether Google can demonstrate that some Android products are so different from the others that they can’t possibly infringe or that if they do infringe, they do so in such a variety of different ways that they can’t prepare a defense unless Oracle gives them a map with at least some X’s on it, or that the patents represent an insignificant part of the products even if they are infringing and Androids have lots of noninfringing uses, that Oracle is, in effect, trying to shut down the wheels of commerce. And the one weakness that really could matter is whether Gingerbread doesn’t turn out to be like the others. If that is what Oracle determines, then its entire argument falls, I think. Then the 7 Android products are representative of nothing except Oracle’s need to get specific about all seven, distinguished from Gingerbread. All means all, and if Gingerbread doesn’t infringe, there is no ‘all’ in this picture.

    • Oracle and IBM to share open-source Java leadership

      Oracle has agreed to share governance of the OpenJDK Java community with IBM, in a move that demonstrates considerable good will, according to one analyst.

      The company has created a series of bylaws outlining the way the governance will be structured, with Oracle appointing itself chairman and the OpenJDK lead, and IBM taking the role of vice chairman.

    • Oracle and Java: Mobile dev FAIL dooms Ellison’s future

      Nor is Java helped any by the political infighting that has plagued its development over the last few years. Sun had its share of detractors for its (mis)management of Java, but the ire reserved for Oracle’s manhandling of Java and its Java Community Process takes the criticism to a new level.

  • Government

    • European Patent: FSFE urges European Parliament to wait for legal advice

      Free Software Foundation Europe is asking the Members of the European Parliament to wait for legal advice before voting on a unitary patent for Europe. While a proposal is on the Parliament’s agenda for the coming week, a legal opinion by the European Court of Justice is expected later this month.

      “Software patents hurt innovation and are an unnecessary burden on European software developers,” says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. “Legislators need to take charge and make sure the patent system contributes to the public good. As the European Patent Organisation has acknowledged, this is a decision that cannot be left to bureaucrats and the judiciary.”

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Ghana- Of Port Corruption and the Use of Technology

    There’s a lot of talk in Ghana about the latest release by the nation’s most famous underground investigative reporter about massive corruption at the state port in Tema. Personally, I am not so much interested in the story as I am about why we allow such things to happen easily in this day and age.

    A cursory look at procedures at the harbor, and indeed in almost all spheres of our public institutions, one thing that stands out is how lagging behind we are in terms of automation. Shuffling papers about, moving from office to office, signature after signature, all means one thing- more human involvement.

  • Fiat Has Big Hopes for its Tiny Car

    Fifty-four years ago, Italy’s Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino produced a car the size of a large coffee table. It was three meters long, powered by a 479-cc engine and about as quick off the line as a riding lawnmower. It produced 13 horsepower, or roughly as much as a modern portable electric generator. America laughed — you could cram a 500 into the trunk of a ‘57 Cadillac, and crashing one was certain death — but the rest of the world just went ahead and bought the silly thing. Three-and-a-half million times.

  • Silvio Berlusconi threatens constitutional war over sex trial moves

    Silvio Berlusconi has raised the spectre of a full-scale constitutional showdown in Italy after prosecutors in Milan asked for him to be put on trial immediately, charged with sex-related offences.

    Italy’s prime minister accused them of breaking the law and going against parliament. Soon afterwards his chief ally, Umberto Bossi of the Northern League, said the indictment request marked the start of a “total war” between Italy’s judiciary and its legislature.

  • Open Letter To PC Makers: Ditch The Bloatware, Now!

    This is the final straw. This is the line in the sand. This is the year that companies have to wise up and realize that they’re destroying the experience of the very machines that they try to market so vigorously over their competitor’s products. We’re talking about bloatware, and it’s an issue that we simply cannot remain silent on any longer. It’s a very, very real problem, and it has been for years. But we always assumed that things would improve as the “fad” faded. Sadly, we assumed wrong. The fad hasn’t faded, and dare we say, things have become even less bearable over time.

  • Colorado Springs school bans kid who takes THC lozenges for neuro condition from attending because of “internal possession”
  • Will Governments Get To Veto New Web Domains Like .Gay?

    The non-profit organization that assigns IP addresses and related internet names, ICANN, will be rolling out a system offering new “top-level domains” over the course of 2011 and 2012. That means web sites could end in almost anything—from brand names like .coke or .ford to place names like .chicago or .nyc. And the Obama administration is pushing for giving the world’s governments veto powers over those new top-level domains which could create flash points over new domain names such as .gay. The proposal by the U.S. government, which comes as the Egyptian government was able to essentially shut off internet access for several days, has gotten some negative reaction.

  • Science

    • Now George W. Bush Wants to “Miseducate” Public School Principals

      The Bush/Obama plan of blaming teachers and principals for economic injustice will not improve education.

      As BuzzFlash has noted before, certainly there are public schoolteachers and principals who probably are not up to snuff. But we’ve also criticized the notion that public schools in poor urban and rural areas should miraculously be able to compensate for chronic conditions of communities with poverty and violence – and very few jobs.

      Because, as we’ve observed, there is not a national educational crisis. There is a problem with schools that are located in areas of limited economic means.

      Blaming principals and teachers in a war on public education in poor areas is a diversionary tactic from addressing the real problem: economic injustice and inequality.

    • Shuttle operator may propose commercial flights

      Starting as soon as 2013, after construction of a new external tank, the lead operator of NASA’s shuttle fleet proposes to fly twice a year with Atlantis and Endeavour at a cost of under $1.5 billion a year.

    • NASA’s Ares 1 to Be Reborn as the Liberty Commercial Launcher

      When President Barack Obama canceled the Constellation space exploration program, it was thought the Ares 1, the much-maligned planned rocket that would have launched the Orion into low Earth orbit, was dead and gone.

      However, it looks like ATK, the aerospace firm that manufactures solid rocket boosters for NASA, has entered into a joint venture with Astrium, the European firm that builds the Ariane V to build a commercial version of the Ares 1.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Environmental Causes of Cancer

      idea that most cancer is caused by environmental factors is becoming mainstream.

      A report by the President’s Cancer Panel, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now was published in April 2010 This latest annual report, for 2008–2009, was written by Suzanne H. Reuben for the cancer panel and published by the National Cancer Institute.

      The facts about cancer are dismal. As the report says, about 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives, and some 21 percent will die of it. In 2009 approximately 1.5 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed, and about 562,000 died of it.

    • China’s poor treated to fake rice made from plastic: report

      China’s history with food safety is a rocky one, but even in the annals of robbery and abuse, this will go down in infamy.

      Various reports in Singapore media have said that Chinese companies are mass producing fake rice made, in part, out of plastic, according to one online publication Very Vietnam.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egyptian Protests Expose Fraudulent U.S. “Spreading Democracy” Meme

      The Egyptian people have exposed the great myth that prevails in the sphere of United States’ foreign policy, namely that U.S. foreign policy elites are concerned with “spreading democracy.”

      That is because, as Hampshire College’s Michael Klare has written, since 1945, the United States has maintained a foreign policy that is centered around “blood and oil.” The foreign policy establishment often uses “democracy spreading” as a public relations platitude because it sounds much better than saying, “We went to war for oil.” But caring about democracy goes out the window when one truly scrutinizes U.S. foreign policy through a critical lens. Sourcewatch calls this phenomenon Big Oil, Big Lies.

    • Rumsfeld’s Memoir: Known and Unknown and Untrue

      In his new book, deftly titled Known and Unknown, former Defense Secreatry Donald Rumsfeld insists that he and the Bush-Cheney crew did not purposefully misrepresent the WMD case for the Iraq war: “The President did not lie. The Vice President did not lie. Tenet did not lie. Rice did not lie. I did not lie. The Congress did not lie. The far less dramatic truth is that we were wrong.” He does acknowledge that he made a “few misstatements,” referring specifically only to one: when he declared early in the war, “We know where they [the WMDs] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”

    • Nixon and Bob Haldeman on Donald Rumsfeld

      President Nixon and Bob Haldeman∇ discuss Donald Rumsfeld, observing admiringly that he’s “tough enough” and a “ruthless little bastard.”

    • Feds investigating Church of Scientology for human trafficking: report

      The FBI has reportedly launched a sweeping probe into the controversial Church of Scientology for allegedly being involved in human trafficking.

      The investigation includes the cult’s mysterious leader David Miscavige, a close friend of actor Tom Cruise who was also best man at his wedding.

      The allegations are that Miscavige allegedly doled out regular beatings to members, The New Yorker reported in its current issue, which hit newsstands this morning.

    • The Reagan Myth Continues to Grow

      Many people forget that Reagan was divisive for the country and won almost no support among African-Americans. Conservatives also fail to acknowledge that Reagan raised taxes throughout his presidency, including one tax hike that at the time was the biggest in American history. Reagan’s legacy is one of unprecedented federal budget deficits fueled by tax cuts made at the same time the federal budget grew due to massive increases in military spending.

    • Funny How None Of The Bills About Extending The Patriot Act Seem To Kill Off The Pieces So Regularly Abused

      We’ve already discussed how it appears that Congress is set to extend the Patriot Act with little debate yet again, despite the growing evidence of rather massive abuses of the law by law enforcement officials, with little to no evidence that the law has actually helped. As it stands now, in the Senate there are apparently three competing versions of the extension, and not a single proposal that would actually cut off the highly controversial sections that allow for spying on Americans with little to no oversight.

      The three Senate bills kick off with one from Senator Patrick Leahy, which would extend the various provisions until the end of 2013, but would also include a tiny bit more oversight.

    • Robot X-47B stealth bomber test flight
    • Surprise: House Did NOT Automatically Extend The Patriot Act

      Turns out the conventional wisdom was wrong. The House could not conjure up enough votes to pass the extension. While a majority did vote for it, the rules required a 2/3 vote to pass and supporters of the extension fell 13 votes short — getting 277 in favor and 148 against. You can check out the roll call for the 148 Reps who didn’t just roll over.

    • Trial begins in shooting that started as trash-talking

      “He was struggling,” DeLuca testified. “He kept saying, ‘I have a permit to carry.’ “

  • Cablegate

    • Brit Perspectives on the Way Forward in Afghanistan

      In October 1 and 2 meetings with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral Stavridis, and ISAF Commander General McChrystal, Prime Minister Brown, Foreign Secretary Miliband and other senior UK officials underscored HMG’s commitment to the allied mission in Afghanistan. They are eager for U.S. leadership to chart a clear course of future strategy in Afghanistan, including a desired end state, as soon as possible. In the British view, U.S. leadership is essential to keeping the coalition in place. Empowering the Afghan security forces to play a greater role is a top British priority. The British interlocutors stressed that continued willingness of the UK public to tolerate casualties depends upon the perception that the coalition has a strategy for success Afghanistan. They agreed that the fight against extremism in Pakistan is closely linked to the outcome in Afghanistan. In his meeting with McChrystal, Conservative Party leader David Cameron similarly stressed the importance of U.S. leadership and expressed support for continued, sustained effort.

    • U.S. Chamber Attacks FCIC as “Job-Killing” Wikileakers

      This is what the Chamber fears most of all, the FCIC’s planned release of those reckless, imprudent and downright ugly emails from the masters of the universe crowing about how well they do their jobs — fleecing America.

    • Times Editor Alarmed By Prospect of WikiLeaks Prosecution

      New York Times executive editor Bill Keller may not regard Julian Assange as a journalistic peer, but he made clear Thursday that he doesn’t think the WikiLeaks founder should face criminal prosecution in the United States.

      Keller joined his counterpart from Britain’s Guardian newspaper and a prominent Harvard Law School professor on a panel at Columbia University to discuss WikiLeaks, the secret-spilling website that has been publishing U.S. diplomatic cables and battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

      “It’s very hard to conceive of a prosecution of Julian Assange that wouldn’t stretch the law in a way that would be applicable to us,” said Keller. “Whatever one thinks of Julian Assange, certainly American journalists, and other journalists, should feel a sense of alarm at any legal action that tends to punish Assange for doing essentially what journalists do. That is to say, any use of the law to criminalize the publication of secrets.”

    • WikiLeaks: Suleiman told Israel he would ‘cleanse’ Sinai of arms runners to Gaza

      The news is more evidence of the close ties between Israel, the United States and Mr Suleiman, who is tipped to replace Hosni Mubarak as Egypt’s president.

      The close relationship has emerged from American diplomatic cables leaked to the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph.

    • WikiLeaks: Egyptian ‘torturers’ trained by FBI

      The US provided officers from the Egyptian secret police with training at the FBI, despite allegations that they routinely tortured detainees and suppressed political opposition.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • EU Parliament wants stricter rules for recycling electro-waste

      The European Parliament announced Thursday a proposal for stricter rules on regulating electronic waste, as it grapples with the problems its reliance on imported commodities presents to member economies.

      Millions of tons of electronic devices are discarded each year, and many contain one or more of the 14 elements the European Union has said are in critical supply. Those elements include magnesium, graphite, cobalt, gallium and germanium.

    • Scientists Found Chemical Dispersants Lingering in Gulf Long After Oil Flow Stopped

      Chemical compounds from the oil dispersants applied to the Gulf of Mexico didn’t break down as expected, according to a study released this week. Scientists found the compounds lingering for months in the deep waters of the Gulf, long after BP’s oil had stopped spewing.

      “The results indicate that an important component of the chemical dispersant injected into the oil in the deep ocean remained there, and resisted rapid biodegradation,” said scientist David Valentine of U.C. Santa Barbara, one of the investigators in the study.

    • Fracking Companies Injected 32M Gallons of Diesel, House Probe Finds

      Drilling service companies have injected at least 32 million gallons of diesel fuel underground as part of a controversial drilling technique, a Democratic congressional investigation has found.

    • New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US

      A new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude.

      Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day – more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.

    • The Kochs’ Climate Change Denial Media Machine

      A network of bloggers, pundits, think tanks and foundations get funding from the Kochs, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has received over $700,000, and the libertarian Cato Institute, which has received $13 million from the Kochs since 1998. The Manhattan Institute received $1.5 million, Americans for Prosperity has gotten $5.5 million, the Pacific Research Institute has gotten $1.2 million and the Federalist Society $2 million.

    • 7.5 million ha of Indonesian forest slated for clearing

      7.5 million hectares of natural forest will escape Indonesia’s planned moratorium on new forestry concessions, according to a new report from Greenomics Indonesia, an activist group.

      Under its billion dollar forest conservation partnership with Norway, Indonesia committed to establish a moratorium on new concessions in forest areas and peatlands beginning January 1, 2011. But Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has yet to sign the decree due to debate over the details of what types of forest will be exempted. Presently two versions of the decree are circulating. The one drafted by the country’s REDD+ Taskforce, chaired by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, is considerably stronger than one prepared by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Hatta Rajasa.

    • WikiLeaks cable: Saudi oil estimates may have been exaggerated

      Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves may have been grossly overestimated and its capacity to continue pumping at current capacity exaggerated, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable sent from the kingdom in 2007.

      The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks and published in the British newspaper The Guardian, cited the views of Sadad al-Husseini, who had been in charge of exploration and production at the Saudi state-owned company Aramco for 12 years until 2004.

    • Activist Communique: Save the Beaver Pond Forest

      With the rising of the morning sun on February 8, 2011, activists held what could be described as a ceremony of protection for the Beaver Pond Forest as they encircled the cutting machines that have been tearing into the South Marsh Highlands to protect the land from developers; and in turn, protecting we two-legged (humans) from having to commit such destruction.

    • Young Activist Faces 10 Years in Prison After Trying to Save Public Lands From Oil and Gas Companies

      On Friday, December 19, 2008, Tim DeChristopher participated in a public auction. As the Bush administration moved to auction off 77 parcels of federal land totaling 150,000 acres for oil and gas drilling, DeChristopher, a student at the University of Utah at the time, bid $1.7 million for 14 parcels totaling 22,000 acres of land, although he did not have the funds to pay for it.

  • Finance

    • Effort Afoot in Vermont to Abolish Corporate Personhood

      One year after the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations have the same rights as people, movements are underway around the U.S. to reverse the new protections granted by the country’s highest court. Vermont State Senator Virginia Lyons has introduced the country’s first anti-corporate personhood resolution which proposes amending the U.S. Constitution to specify that “corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States.”

    • Crack Down On Fraudclosure!
    • Fraudclosure: Will State AGs Step Up to Their Moment in History?

      Rumor has it that the 50-state attorneys general investigation into the Fraudclosure scandal is wrapping up. It’s time for a backbone check. Will the state attorneys general just ask the big banks and service providers to turn over a chunk of change from seemingly bottomless pockets? (This strategy was pursued by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) with little impact). Or will Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller take the lead in wrestling a real settlement out of the banks, so that families hammered by unemployment and underemployment can stay in their homes?

    • Elizabeth Warren 2.0
    • Banksters Back in the Black: JPMorgan Chase

      Earnings and bonus reports are rolling in and the big, bailed-out banks are back in the black. In 2010, total compensation and benefits at publicly traded Wall Street banks and securities firms hit a record of $135 billion — up almost six percent from 2009 according to the Wall Street Journal. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon may take home the biggest bonus check, an eye-popping $17 million.

    • Revealed: Banks to profit from Big Society

      In the latest attempt to save the floundering Big Society, David Cameron announced today that “the big society bank will be taking £200m from Britain’s banks to put into the voluntary sector.”

    • Biggest Scam in World History Exposed

      The greatest scam in history has been exposed — and has largely been ignored by the media. In fact, it’s still going on.

      The specifics of a secret taxpayer funded “backdoor bailout” organized by unelected bankers have been revealed. The data release revealed “emergency lending programs” that doled out $12.3 trillion in taxpayer money ($16 trillion according to Dr. Ron Paul) — and Congress didn’t know any of the details.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • India’s Biggest Press Scandal Censored by India’s Press Barons

      The year 2010 saw Indian journalists, their associations and unions hold more conferences and seminars on one professional issue than any other. And it wasn’t the Wage Board or the Radia tapes. Hundreds of journalists across the country attended these meetings. Dozens stood up and spoke of their own experiences of the subject. Of how it demoralized them and ruined their profession. Yet, the main topic of their discussion found no mention the next day in the very newspapers, magazines or channels they work for.

      Sometimes, the fact of the meeting being held, perhaps as an event attended by a High Court judge, was reported. But the subject discussed was not. In newspapers and channels choking with stories on corruption, this is the one you’re least likely to see. The media are their own worst censors when it comes to reporting on ‘Paid News.’

    • Taco Bell fights beef charges with ‘truth’ ads, may countersue

      Back in 2006, an E.coli outbreak at Taco Bells sickened dozens of people in six states. Then, in early 2007, a videotape of rats running rampant at a Taco Bell/KFC in New York City went viral. It took Taco Bell months to recover from this one-two image punch.

    • Anti-Abortion Groups Step Up Campaign Against Planned Parenthood

      “We were profoundly shocked when we viewed the videotape,” Phyllis Kinsler, chief executive of the agency’s central New Jersey branch, said in a statement. Ms. Kinsler said the tape “depicted an employee of one of our health centers behaving in a repugnant manner that is inconsistent with our standards of care and is completely unacceptable.”

      Stuart Schear, vice president for communications of the national federation, said in an interview on Wednesday that Planned Parenthood had “zero tolerance” for unethical behavior and that the behavior filmed in the video was “very isolated.”

    • Ad Change Underlines Influence of N.F.L.

      Unveiled by Toyota in November, the television commercial highlighted the carmaker’s decision to share crash research with scientists studying football concussions, and was an explicit reminder of football’s recent controversies regarding concussions.

      So explicit, it turns out, that the N.F.L. demanded that Toyota alter the 30 second commercial, and Toyota promptly did.

  • Censorship

    • Judge’s order bans jury pamphlets, sparking free-speech debate

      os-court-jury-pamphlet-ban-20110204

      A court order signed this week prohibits the distribution of pamphlets or leaflets meant to influence jurors outside the Orange and Osceola courthouses.

      The administrative order, signed by Chief Judge Belvin Perry on Monday, has sparked a fresh free-speech debate that could lead to legal challenges, questioning whether the order amounts to a “prior restraint” or a form of censorship.

    • ‘The King’s Speech’ Threatened With Legal Action Over ‘No Animals Harmed’ Claim (Updated)

      The King’s Speech may have a new speech impediment on its path to the Academy Awards.

      The American Humane Association has contacted producers of the film and is threatening legal action over the use of phrase, “No animals were harmed,” in the end credits.

      The public advocacy group has a trademark on this phrase and over the years, has leveraged its rights so as to be involved in film productions and certify that no “animal actors” get harmed or killed in studio films. The organization typically demands advanced copies of scripts and daily call sheets to review and also requires on-set access whenever animals are used.

      The AHA says it was never invited to monitor The King’s Speech, however, and so it demands that The Weinstein Co., which is distributing the highly-praised film, remove the assurance to movie-goers that no animals were harmed during the production.

  • Privacy

    • In Europe, a Right to Be Forgotten Trumps the Memory of the Internet

      A quarter-century after coming to the United States, Franz Werro still thinks like a European. The 54-year-old Georgetown law professor, born and raised in Switzerland, is troubled when ads in French automatically pop up on his American laptop. The computer assumes that’s what he wants. We live naked on the Internet, Werro knows, in a brave new world where our data lives forever. Google your name, and you’ll stumble onto drunken photos from college, a misguided quote given to a reporter five years ago, court records, ancient 1 a.m. blog comments, that outdated Friendster profile … the list goes on, a river of data creating a profile of who you are for anyone searching online: friend, merchant, or potential future employer. Werro’s American students rarely mind.

    • Facebook Faces Privacy Questions From Congressmen

      Two Congressmen have sent a letter to Facebook requesting information about plans to share users’ mobile phone and address information with developers.

  • Civil Rights

    • EFF, ACLU Challenge Feds’ WikiLeaks Twitter Probe

      Two civil liberties groups representing a former WikiLeaks associate have filed a motion challenging the government’s attempt to obtain her Twitter records, as well as the records of two others associated with the secret-spilling website. The groups also filed motions to unseal records in the case.

      The case involves Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament, as well as WikiLeaks’ U.S. representative Jacob Appelbaum, and Dutch businessman and activist Rop Gonggrijp. Jonsdottir and Gonggrijp helped WikiLeaks prepare a classified U.S. Army video that the site published last April.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • FCC Net Neutrality is a Regulatory ‘Trojan Horse,’ EFF Says

      The Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality decision opens the FCC to “boundless authority to regulate the internet for whatever it sees fit,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning.

      The civil rights group says the FCC’s action in December, which was based on shaky legal authority, creates a paradox of epic proportions. The EFF favors net neutrality but worries whether the means justify the ends.

      “We’re wholly in favor of net neutrality in practice, but a finding of ancillary jurisdiction here would give the FCC pretty much boundless authority to regulate the internet for whatever it sees fit. And that kind of unrestrained authority makes us nervous about follow-on initiatives like broadcast flags and indecency campaigns,” Abigail Phillips, an EFF staff attorney, wrote on the group’s blog Thursday.

      And the paradox grows.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog Copyright Claim: A Dog That Wouldn’t Hunt

      Today, balloon dogs everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief: SF’s Park Life store/gallery announced that artist Jeff Koons has dropped legal action against the sale of its balloon dog-shaped bookends.

      In a story that migrated from The Bay Citizen to the New York Times, eventually reaching the San Francisco Chronicle, the NY-based artist, famous for his appropriation of pop culture, was roundly mocked for sending a cease-and-desist to the Richmond District store and the Toronto manufacturer of the bookends.

    • The Justice Department and the RIAA/MPAA
    • Sarah Palin, daughter Bristol seek to register trademarks on their names
    • Copyrights

      • MPAA threatens to disconnect Google from the Internet

        Over the last few months, Google has received more than 100 copyright infringement warnings from MPAA-affiliated movies studios: most are directed at users of Google’s public Wi-Fi service but others are meant for Google employees. The MPAA is thus warning the search giant that it might get disconnected from the Internet.

        “Copyright infringement also violates your ISP’s terms of service and could lead to limitation or suspension of your Internet service. You should take immediate action to prevent your Internet account from being used for illegal activities,” the movie companies write in various letters, according to TorrentFreak. Although the copyright holders use strong language, these notices are nothing simply warnings, and typically do not lead to legal action.

      • Lessons from the Texas Downloading Dismissal – Why Due Process Matters

        Apparently out of the blue, a copyright lawsuit filed in federal court in Dallas by a German pornographer against 670 anonymous Internet users, who were charged with infringing the copyright in the film by making it available for download, has been dismissed. The back story holds lessons for judges confronted with demands to discover the identify of anonymous Internet users.

      • Music Publisher Discovers A Song In Its Catalog Has Been Heavily Sampled For Decades… Sues Everyone

        Rather than just suing those behind the Heavy’s song, Drive In has basically gone on a legal rampage. It sued pretty much everyone even loosely connected with the song. So, it sued the label… but also the ad agency that put together the ad, the NFL for having the commercial during the Super Bowl and CBS for airing the ad. Apparently that lawsuit was settled, which is too bad, as it seems like many of those parties could push back on the claims.

      • Homeland Security Tries And Fails To Explain Why Seized Domains Are Different From Google

        Moe then asks Hayes if he links to a site that has infringing content from his Public Radio blog, will ICE shut down the site. And Hayes makes a really weird remark that makes no sense, sayings that if Moe “gets advertising funds from a site that provides unauthorized content” then he might have to shut them down. But that’s something new. We’ve seen no assertions or evidence that the sites that have been take down received ads from the other sites that were hosting the content. Is Hayes totally making stuff up now? It sounds like Hayes doesn’t even understand what he’s talking about.

        Finally, Moe asks: if a site links and embeds to all the same content, but does not profit from it (i.e., does not have advertising), is it criminal? Hayes totally punts and says he’d have to check the law. Yes, really. So the guy is not an expert on the technology and admits he’s not an expert on the law in question. So what is he an expert in and why is he leading these questionable seizures?

        On a separate note, it’s nice to see that Homeland Security is willing to chat with the press again after telling us that it will not speak about these issues because it’s an “ongoing investigation before court.” Apparently, Homeland Security was also lying to me (though, we knew that already).

      • Star Wars Is A Remix
      • Meet Evan Stone, P2P pirate hunter

        Evan Stone is not the devil; indeed, the antipiracy lawyer sees himself on the side of the angels. But his crusade against the Satanic forces of BitTorrent has been, by his own admission, a pitched battle in which he is vastly outnumbered. He describes his work as “charging hell with a bucket of water.”

      • Righthaven Goes After Pajamas Media, Despite DMCA Agent & Strong Fair Use Case

        It’s been a little while since we covered what newspaper copyright troll Righthaven was up to, but Eric Goldman alerts us to one recent legal filing from the operation that raises some questions. Historically, Righthaven has been careful to avoid websites that have registered a DMCA agent, knowing that under the DMCA it’s supposed to issue a takedown notice before suing. However, this case, in going after the successful blog network Pajamas Media, appears to ignore the fact that Pajamas Media has registered.

      • In Praise Of Piracy

        Although it pains me to say this, it’s the pirates who are on the right side of history. Empires built on barbed wire inevitably collapse, and the sooner the better; while this one reigns, it perpetuates yesterday’s regimes, and squelches innovation and progress. Is piracy wrong? Yes, but that’s the wrong question. The right question is, which is worse: widespread piracy, or the endless and futile attempt to preserve DRM everywhere? So long live the pirates. Those jerks. Please don’t make me say it again.

      • MPAA sues Hotfile, battle for cloud begins

        File-hosting service Hotfile has made a business out of offering a stash box for people to store their pirated movies, the Motion Picture Association of America claims in its suit against Hotfile.

      • MPAA Files Surprisingly Weak Billion Dollar Lawsuit Against Hotfile

        Hotfile, one of a number of cyberlockers out there, has been in the news increasingly lately, as various entertainment industry firms have been attacking it as one of the more popular cyberlockers. It appears that the MPAA and its whole content protection staff finally decided to go beyond complaining and actually sue Hotfile, asking (of course) for the maximum $150,000 in statutory damages for each infringing file it found on Hotfile.

      • IP Czar Report Hits On All The Lobbyist Talking Points; Warns Of More Draconian Copyright Laws To Come

        We had serious questions from the beginning about Senator Patrick Leahy’s “ProIP” bill, which was pushed very strongly by the lobbying group, the US Chamber of Commerce, using widely debunked stats to claim that there needed to be an “IP Enforcement Coordinator” in the White House. Yet, as we explained, such a position makes absolutely no sense. Even “pro intellectual property” folks noted that the law was anything but “pro intellectual property.” Instead it was pro-legacy business structure. So giving a role in the White House to someone whose sole job is to protect legacy business models is the very definition of regulatory capture. And while the IP Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, has been kind enough to personally reach out to us multiple times since taking on the job, in the end she still sees her role to be protecting legacy industry jobs, rather than (as the Constitution requires) making sure that intellectual property promotes the progress.

      • Russian media combats false piracy prosecutions

        Some good news out of Samara. As we’ve reported previously, trumped-up piracy accusations have been frequently used in Russia to intimidate independent media. Sergei Kurt-Adzhiyev, a Russian editor, has spent years fighting piracy prosecutions against himself and his publications in the region. This week, he was declared not guilty. Russia’s Finance Ministry was ordered to pay him 450,000 rubles or $15,200 for the false charge of using pirated software.

      • Copyright in a Free (gratis) World

        The big idea: I’m spending 628% more time on copyrighted content that is being given away than content I’m paying for. Much of it is ad-supported, but much of that ad money never ends up in the pocket of the artist: most content creators on youtube, reddit, 9gag, devour, or blogs never profit off of their creations.

      • Digital Economy (UK)/ACS:OutLaw

        • ACS:Law Judgment Has Serious Implications for Digital Economy Act

          Yesterday, Judge Birss QC at the Patents County Court delivered his judgment in the copyright infringement hearing which featured ACS:Law, copyright troll client MediaCAT and 27 alleged file-sharers. While Birss was damning of the process from start to finish, some of key issues he raised could have serious implications for the UK’s Digital Economy Act.

          The battle against ACS:Law, MediaCAT and other companies previously involved in developing the so-called Speculative Invoicing model in the UK, has been fought on many fronts. A key group that has championed the rights of the innocent caught in the dragnet, and indeed introduced the term ‘Speculative Invoicing’ to the legal landscape, is BeingThreatened.com. This compact and highly resourceful team have worked tirelessly to protect innocent members of the public from the predatory tactics we have read so much about lately.

        • With ACS:Law And MediaCAT Shutting Down, What Does It Mean For US Copyright Group?

          It certainly looks like DGW has been a bit more careful with its strategy than ACS:Law (where it really seemed like Andrew Crossley got in way over his head), but it certainly should be a warning sign to all those law firms who think this sort of shakedown play is easy money.

        • ACS:Law and overstated proof

          Yesterday afternoon saw the latest twist in the protracted story of ACS:Law. They have been engaged in a campaign to intimidate and extort money from thousands of people with little evidence and even less proper due process. Last week, with their flimsy cases facing scrutiny in court, ACS:Law wound themselves up, disappearing in a puff of smoke like cartoon villains. But Judge Birss, of the Patents County Court, insisted that the cases must continue.

          And so the case drags on. But aside from one law firm’s nefarious practice, it offers us important lessons for the way copyright enforcement works. In particular there are implications for that flagship but very flawed legislation aimed at reducing file-sharing in the UK, the Digital Economy Act. It is important to say that these lessons have nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of copyright infringement. They have everything to do with basic principles of justice and due process. If you are accused of doing something wrong, you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise by sufficient evidence. You would expect there to be reasonable ways to defend yourself. Punishments should follow this kind of process.

        • ACS:Law told file-sharing case must continue by court

          Now a judge had criticised the firm for its methods.

          “I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court,” said Judge Colin Birss at the Patents County Court in London.

Clip of the Day

Debian 6 “Squeeze” First Look, Impressions and History Lesson


Credit: TinyOgg

Copyright and Patent Battles Against Linux Carry on (the Usual Suspects)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flying bricks

Summary: Allies of Microsoft are still throwing bricks at the unstoppable platform which gradually takes over everything

LINUX is constantly under attack because it is winning (just look at all the anti-Android litigation). At Techrights we emphasise this all the time. As Linux goes very mainstream everywhere, malicious proprietary software companies like Apple, Microsoft, and SCO are certain and determined to attack Linux. All three companies already sue companies which sell Linux. They sue using intellectual monopolies, which are the weakest form of competition (all the other forms — including technical merit — have failed for them). The situation at Nokia is serious, but it is not fatal. Now, let us look at litigation — not entryism — which poses a risk and constitutes a factor that can slow down Linux and Free software’s triumph. Regarding the SCO sale to UnXis, Groklaw keeps an eye on it (as do we) and there is now a formal objection to the UnXis plan:

Novell has, as expected, filed an objection to SCO’s proposed sale of assets to UnXis. It’s terse in mood, but unless the judge is asleep, it should do the job.

The first basis for the objection is that SCO doesn’t have the “necessary consents” from Novell “for the assumption and assignment of agreements with Novell”. As Novell tells the court, “Original APA Section 9.5(c) expressly prohibits its assignment by SCO without Novell’s consent.” And Novell won’t consent this time either, just like last time.

Crossing over to the realms of patents, DistroWatch is advertising Centrify and Linux.com too has been advertising (for money) this pusher of Microsoft APIs and software patents. Such Microsoft proponents that are close to Microsoft are dangerous for the same reason Likewise is dangerous and based on this new press release about Tuxera joining the Linux Foundation [1, 2], the number of Microsoft pushers who promote Microsoft patents is growing inside the Linux Foundation (Linux.com is now owned by the Linux Foundation too). As a quick recap, Tuxera tries to extract/pass Microsoft patent tax from Android and Linux, using proprietary file systems that nobody wants or needs. Centrify promotes Microsoft protocols too and it is keen on software patents. One need not be baffled by the Linux Foundation’s admission because it’s hard to embrace exceptionalism at this type of open consortium and many of its most powerful members (with IBM's clear dominance) are proponents of software patents. Despite the use of the term “Foundation”, the Free Software Foundation differs enormously from the Linux Foundation and certainly the Gates Foundation, which loves patents more than the former two. That having been said, the Linux Foundation does a lot more than it should to endorse software patents, even with the OIN. The so-called ‘ecosystem’ it promotes involves a lot of patented and proprietary software, so the policies embraced by the Linux Foundation are at times incompatible with Linux itself. Carlo Piana, a respected lawyer specialising in Free/open source software, explained this problem to me last night.

I agree, and act, but how to achieve that? The lobbying is intense in the opposite direction.

Piana does not fully agree with Red Hat's stance on the subject (like the OIN, its legal team speaks of “bad patents” rather than “software patents” as needing to be abolished). Piana rightly insists that "the *only* solution is abolition NOW". Meanwhile, Microsoft Florian keeps tweeting me a lot about the subject. Last night he was still messaging me, trying to daemonise Red Hat’s stance. He generally daemonises Red Hat, GNU/Linux, and its business model in his blog, removing any pretences that he cares for “Linux” or “FOSS”. He hates OIN with a passion because OIN is a big deterrent/problem to companies like Microsoft and Mandriva in fact has just announced joining the OIN:

Open Invention Network (OIN), the company formed to enable and protect Linux, today extended its community with the signing of Mandriva as a licensee. By becoming a licensee, Mandriva has joined the growing list of organizations that recognize the importance of leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.

Mandriva is located in a region where software patents are theoretically invalid; however, malicious monopolies and their lawyers try to change this. “Feel free to explain what the author got wrong,” wrote the FFII several hours ago about this new post about the “EU patent” (path for inserting software patents into Europe).

Keeping track of threats is not FUD, it’s vigilance. Linux will need a lot of vigilance as it enters phones and tablets, not just servers, routers, and several other non-desktop market segments that are actually expanding.

Microsoft’s President Elop is Allegedly Killing Linux Inside Nokia/Intel, Just When MeeGo Gets Android Compatibility (Updated)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 11:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Where are we on this Jihad [against Linux at Intel]?”

Bill Gates

Summary: The sociopaths from Microsoft seem to be harming Intel’s and Nokia’s main Linux push (MeeGo) by abolishing its development

THE SITUATION seems rather familiar. Big hardware companies are moving towards Linux and people from Microsoft soon intervene, trying to stifle further development of this kind. A few days ago we wrote about the Mono issue that the FSF recognises and explained how Microsoft/Novell put Mono inside everything Linux-powered, including MeeGo (which is planned for in-car systems, sub-notebooks, phones, and just about everything compact). A new interview which we linked to yesterday has Richard Stallman elaborating on Mono:

Question: Many see Mono with its patent issues as possibly a big problem for GNU/Linux and Free Software; do you think using, developing and contributing Free Software written in Mono is better or worse in the long run for a user’s freedom than using proprietary software?

Stallman: That’s a comparison between growing apples and eating oranges. Instead of responding in those artificial terms, I will explain the issues of C# and Mono.

Mono is a free implementation of C#. Programs can’t be “written in Mono”; they can be written in C#. If you have a program written in C#, it is better for you to run it using Mono (free software) than to run it using Microsoft .NET (proprietary software).

When you write a program, I recommend that you choose a language other than C#. If you write it in C#, then its use in the free world could be threatened by Microsoft’s patents. So write in some other language, and avoid the problem. This is true whether your program is meant for release as free software, or meant just for private use as private software. (If it is meant for release as proprietary software, you should refuse to participate regardless of the language used.)

MeeGo’s Mono problem is now the main issue right now. A lot has also been said about the role of Microsoft’s President, Mr. Elop, who is now the CEO of Nokia. See for example the following posts:

  1. If You Can’t Beat Them, Hijack Them (Microsoft Joins Nokia and It Already Shows)
  2. Linux Battle in Mobile Phones Becomes Primarily Legal, Not Technical, Due to Software Patents
  3. Taking Over Linux, by Proxy
  4. Microsoft Passes More of Its Executives to the MSBBC. What About Nokia?
  5. Microsoft President Quits, But is Nokia the Next Victim?
  6. Microsoft Insiders Galore: BBC, Nokia, Others Already Damaged by Microsoft Hires
  7. Linspire/Ballnux in Tablets; HP Possibly Experiments With Vista 7 in Slate After Abandoning It, Then Hiring From Microsoft
  8. New Article Says Nokia Might be Bought by Microsoft After Appointing Microsoft President as CEO
  9. Entryism Watch: Yahoo! Keeps Being Abducted by Microsoft Executives, HP Cancels Android Projects After CEO Appointment From SAP
  10. As Expected, Nokia and HP Betray Linux Under Microsoft-sympathetic New Leadership
  11. Head of Microsoft Romania Quits, Entryism Revisited
  12. Microsoft’s Favourite ‘Reporters’ Are Attacking Nokia, Pushing it Into Microsoft’s Arms
  13. Will Elop Choose the Future (Linux) or His Past (Microsoft) for Nokia?
  14. Analyst Wants Microsoft’s Elop (Now Nokia CEO) to Shoot Down Linux Programmes

According to yet another update, the ‘new Nokia’ (which is run by Elop) suddenly feels different about its crown jewels and its behaviour becomes suicidal. It sure seems like Yahooism (giving all traffic to the Google scraper called Bong [sic]). Will Elop adopt the rubbish Vista Phony 7 [sic] or will he carry on with the current direction, along with Intel? The former editor of Linux Today asks: “Nokia: Losing Faith in MeeGo?” Elop losing “faith”? Well, no. He has Microsoft “faith”. It’s a mindset system. The piece says:

Topping the rumor list: that Nokia may drop the MeeGo platform in favor of another operating system.

If true, this would be a huge blow to the MeeGo project, which has not enjoyed much progress in the mobile sector. Nokia contributed its Maemo platform to the MeeGo initiative, along with Intel’s Moblin operating system, so if effectively one-half of the founding team abandons MeeGo for another OS, that could spell the end for MeeGo’s future chances of success.

Fueling this rumor is Elop’s direct mention of MeeGo as one source of Nokia’s troubles.

“We have some brilliant sources of innovation inside Nokia, but we are not bringing it to market fast enough. We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market,” Elop’s memo read.

[...]

But if one of the project’s founders has lost faith in the platform, how can anyone else but their faith in MeeGo?

MeeGo is actually a wonderful, standards-based platform which could soon inherit all the applications from Android, so what’s the matter? MeeGo is a lot more compatible with desktop GNU/Linux than Android will ever be and hypePhone [sic] after Steve Jobs’ departure is starting to suffer from “fragmentation”, which is the term Apple and Microsoft used against Android. To quote the new allegations:

Today may be remembered as the day the iOS platform became fragmented like Android. The announcement today by Telenav that its GPS app has been released for the Verizon iPhone may carry unexpected ramifications for apps on the iOS line of products.

MeeGo can beat hypePhone and Android now that it can inherit all applications from Android and be a lot more free/open than both. Only a Linux-hostile CEO would conceivably depart from MeeGo now that there is a new announcement about the Android-to-MeeGo bridge (we posted links about it last night and today).

Meanwhile it turns out that Nokia is cancelling Linux/MeeGo phones while Wafaa says the netbook plans too are off:

Sound a bit morose? Well in a way it is. Basically by all accounts MeeGo is stopping all work on the Netbook UX. Yup, all our hard work is now almost for nothing :-(

Here is another article/post about it.

Well, that was fast. Nokia has reportedly killed the N9-00 MeeGo phone before most people even knew it existed.

It sure looks like our suspicion that Elop will ruin Linux at Nokia gradually becomes more substantiated. That’s how Microsoft’s sociopaths work: either they tilt the competitor towards Microsoft (e.g. Novell, Corel) or they simply take them out of business. Who benefits from such a behaviour? This is not capitalism, it’s entryism.

Update: A Microsoft booster says that “Former Nokia Exec Claims CEO’s “Burning Platform” Memo a Hoax,” but this may not change some of the other references above. Here is another sceptic.

GNU/Linux is Crushing Microsoft’s Business Model But New Problems Emerge From the Same People

Posted in Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 10:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gear

Summary: The sociopaths who made Microsoft the harmful, deceptive, and destructive entity it has become are finding new areas from which to spread malice, this time disguised by massive PR

IT IS still evident that many of Microsoft’s top rivals rely on Free software and GNU/Linux, as we noted last year. The paradigm of collaboration and sharing is winning and even a Microsoft co-founder dropped hints of that in a recent interview while the other company’s co-founder became an active patent troll (that would be Traul Allen versus abundance and the Internet, but Bill Gates too has a patent-hoarding operation). By extension, Gates is also indirectly a patent troll; he is financing those who are, looking for dividend of course. The new pet monopolies are served in foundation ‘flavour’ and their patent monopolies are often marketed at the expense of taxpayers all around the world. And meanwhile, on the face of it, Gates puts aside what he views as a bad asset (Microsoft), focusing as always on what he knows best: how to loot and take more money from the public using a form of tax or rent (if not Windows then pharmaceuticals and patented seeds for other people). Guess who pays for it? Taxpayers. Guess who’s investing in the benefactors? Gates of course. Here is the latest report (among many) about Gates further distancing himself from Microsoft while he becomes a major nuisance in other areas whose annual taxpayers-based budget is an order of magnitude higher than anything he ever hoarded (combined sum).

The moves follow a year in which Gates aggressively pared back his Microsoft holdings. SEC records reviewed by InformationWeek show that, in the past 12 months, Gates has sold off a whopping 90 million shares—reducing his holdings of Microsoft common stock by 13%. Over the past two years, Gates has cut his interest in the company he co-founded by about 22% through more than a dozen separate transactions.

[...]

Reports Tuesday indicate Ballmer is set to shake up Microsoft’s management ranks in a big way, following his recent decision to relieve Bob Muglia from his duties heading the company’s highly profitable Server & Tools division. Bloomberg says Ballmer’s next move could be to elevate engineering and product specialists to senior positions in an effort to return Microsoft to its software engineering roots. It would also reduce the perception (or reality) that Redmond has become nothing more than a giant marketing shell for a portfolio of disparate and outdated technologies.

The problem with Microsoft has always been a social one. It’s not a problem with corporations — be it free market or greed — it’s the problem with the sociopaths who happen to run some of them. Techrights is not at all against corporations, it is against abuse of power.

“He [Bill Gates] acted like a spoiled kid, which is what he was.”

Ed Roberts, Gates’ employer at MITS in the 1970′s (Atlanta Journal-Costitution, 04-27-97)

Links 9/2/2011: LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award, GNOME 2.91.6, Linux 2.6.38 RC4

Posted in News Roundup at 9:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 2010 LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Award Winners

    Server Distribution of the Year – Debian (29.35%)
    Desktop Distribution of the Year – Ubuntu (28.56%)
    Security/Forensic/Rescue Distribution of the Year – BackTrack (36.87%)
    Mobile Distribution of the Year – Android (76.82%)
    Database of the Year – MySQL (51.76%)
    NoSQL Database of the Year – Cassandra (27.40%)
    Office Suite of the Year – OpenOffice.org (55.74%)
    Browser of the Year – Firefox (55.52%)
    Desktop Environment of the Year – Gnome (45.06%)
    Window Manager of the Year – Compiz (26.43%)
    Messaging App of the Year – Pidgin (43.85%)
    Virtualization Product of the Year – VirtualBox (59.16%)
    Audio Media Player Application of the Year – Amarok (28.34%)
    Audio Authoring Application of the Year – Audacity (74.58%)
    Video Media Player Application of the Year – VLC (58.79%)
    Video Authoring Application of the Year – FFmpeg (26.70%)
    Multimedia Utility of the Year – GStreamer (31.95%)
    Graphics Application of the Year – GIMP (66.98%)
    Network Security Application of the Year – Wireshark (32.90%)
    Host Security Application of the Year – SELinux (38.46%)
    Network Monitoring Application of the Year – Nagios (61.76%)
    IDE/Web Development Editor of the Year – Eclipse (24.55%)
    Text Editor of the Year – vim (35.88%)
    File Manager of the Year – Nautilus (31.42%)
    Open Source Game of the Year – Battle for Wesnoth (22.70%)
    Programming Language of the Year – Python (26.56%)
    Revision Control System of the Year – git (50.56%)
    Backup Application of the Year – rsync (47.42%)
    Open Source CMS/Blogging platform – WordPress (45.18%)
    Configuration Management Tool of the Year – Puppet (46.67%)
    Open Source Web Framework of the Year – Django (33.33%)

  • Samsung’s Cool Cameras For Linux Users

    When you plug the camera or insert the memory stick into the PC running GNU/Linux operating systems like Ubuntu, it gives you the option to open it with Shotwell, a built-in image viewer. You can also edit your images using powerful software like GIMP.

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Virtualization

      LTSP is available in Debian GNU/Linux and several other distros.

      X has limitations in video throughput and security but it is the lowest cost solution where these issues are minor as in many libraries and computer labs.

    • Confessions of a Linux user
  • Server

    • U.S. commissions beefy IBM supercomputer

      The 10-petaflop performance far outstrips what is commonly thought of as today’s most powerful supercomputer, the recently built Tianjin National Supercomputer Center’s Tianhe-1A system, which benchmarked a performance of 2.67 petaflops for the last Top500 twice-annual ranking of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

  • Ballnux

    • Dual-screen Android phone offers multiple viewing modes

      Sprint and Kyocera Communications are readying the first dual-touchscreen Android smartphone. Equipped with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor running Android 2.2, the Kyocera Echo offers dual 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreens that can be combined to form a single 4.7-inch display, or can be split — with apps running either independently or in an “optimized” mode with complementary functions.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Debian Linux 6 and the Trinity Desktop

        One very good thing about the TrinityDE Kmail, trash compaction WORKS! For all the YEARS I have been using Kmail, I had to delete the /bob/Mail/trash file by hand, “touch trash” to recreate it, just because every time I would try “compact trash folder” Kmail would give the awful message, “for security reasons, compaction has been turned off for trash.”

        Several months of spam, attachments, family photographs and Debian-User mailing list digests can create multi-hundred-megabyte trash files. The fact that compacting the trash file has been enabled is the first new thing in TrinityDE that I am exceedingly happy about.

        Let’s hope that the continued development of TrinityDE, as shown by that seemingly small change, is on an evolutionary basis, rather than the revolutionary fervor that caused the need for TrinityDE to be founded in the first place.

      • Software Review: The KDE 4.6 Desktop Environment

        New for 4.6 is a window decoration called Oxygen-GTK, which is designed to make apps created using the GTK toolkit look better in the Qt-based KDE environment. Not something I’m likely to use, but a nice touch that a lot of folks have been waiting for.

      • What is Kamoso

        A lot of people has been asking me (or complaining) what is Kamoso and what we intend to do with it, so I’ve decided to use a blog post to explain it.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 2.91.6 released!
      • Gnome 3: tab scrolling, and some other remarks

        In general, things are shaping up nicely. I was pleasantly surprised that I had no 3D driver issues any more on either of my two laptops (using the free intel and radeon drivers). Some things are not ready for prime time, such as dconf-editor that doesn’t provide a search option and doesn’t wrap long description labels, thereby forcing the window width to ridiculous proportions (bug 641292).

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Sabayon Linux 5.5 SpinBase and CoreCDX Released
      • Sabayon Linux 5.5 CoreCDX and SpinBase Editions Released

        After the release of Sabayon Linux 5.5, the development team proudly announced today, February 8th, the immediate availability for download of the CoreCDX and SpinBase editions of their popular Sabayon Linux operating system.

        Sabayon Linux 5.5 SpinBase and CoreCDX editions are designed for Linux experts and advanced users that want to set up a home server or create their very own operating system, based on Sabayon.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Opens Call for Nominations for Fifth Annual Innovation Awards

        Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions, announced that nominations are open for its fifth annual Red Hat Innovation awards, which will be presented at the Red Hat Summit and JBoss World, taking place May 3-6, in Boston.

      • Nominations Open For Red Hat Certified Professional Of The Year Awards
      • Stocks Rumor Of The Day: LORL, RHT, JNPR and HTZ

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) shares have came off day’s low on Tuesday on rumors that the company could be an acquisition target. RHT calls are seeing interest following renewed M&A speculation. So far today 7.6K total calls have traded vs 220 total puts.

      • Options Brief: Red Hat, Inc. (RHT)

        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT) are higher on the session by 1.16%, trading at $44.62.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization Performance Leadership

        Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization made solid progress during 2010. We delivered Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 2.2 and the first release of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops. We announced that several enterprise clouds, such as IBM’s, would be built on our virtualization platform. And we announced a string of customer wins. Along with these advances came widespread acknowledgment from the press and analyst communities that Red Hat’s virtualization portfolio was becoming established as a potent force in the market. Now, keeping up the momentum, we’re kicking off 2011 with a pair of leading virtualization performance results.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” released

        The installation process for Debian GNU/Linux 6.0 has been improved in various ways, including easier selection of language and keyboard settings, and partitioning of logical volumes, RAID and encrypted systems. Support has also been added for the ext4 and Btrfs filesystems and — on the kFreeBSD architecture — the Zettabyte filesystem (ZFS). The installation system for Debian GNU/Linux is now available in 70 languages.

      • Upgrade Debian Lenny To Squeeze In A Few Simple Steps

        One rather old laptop and one server were the test objects for this howto. Both systems do not have any RAID devices and use a simple partition scheme from a default basic Lenny install. If your setup deviates much from this, it’s highly recommended to read all details of the Debian Release Notes before you continue. Be warned. All commands are run as root and Debian recommends to use apt-get for the Squeeze upgrade process.

      • Debian Is No Longer Just A Linux Distribution

        Did you know that Debian supports diverse hardware ranging from Intel 32-bit and 64-bit architecture, Motorola/IBM PowerPC, Sun/Oracle Sparc, MIPS (big-endian & little-endian), Intel Itanium, IBM S/390, and ARM EABI ? That is a total of 9 architectures.

      • Debian “Squeeze” makes key progress toward being a fully free distribution

        With last Saturday’s “Squeeze” release, Debian took an important step towards being a fully free distribution and ensuring freedom for its users.

        Most GNU/Linux distributions directly or virtually include proprietary software. To promote development and use of totally free distros, the FSF publishes precise criteria for GNU/Linux distributions to fully respect users’ freedom.

      • Debian Cleanup Tip #2: Get rid of obsolete packages

        Last week, we learned to remove useless configuration files. This week, we’re going to take care of obsolete packages.

      • 5 Key Things to Know About Debian 6.0 ‘Squeeze’

        Squeeze is the nickname of the latest Debian release (version 6.0). A new release of the well known and widely used Linux distro is a big deal. Ubuntu fans may be used to installing a new version what seems like every few minutes, but Debian moves to an altogether slower beat. Everything in a new release is thoroughly tried and tested, which explains why the last version — Debian 5.0 “Lenny” — debuted almost exactly two years ago.

      • CrunchBang 10 “Statler” r20110207

        Unless you have been living under a rock, you will almost certainly be aware that Debian 6 “Squeeze” was released over the weekend of the 5th & 6th of February ’11. This is great news for Debian and great news for CrunchBang.

        CrunchBang 10 “Statler” has been in development since early last year. The first alpha release came out in March ’10 and several development builds have followed whilst Debian Squeeze remained in testing. Now that Squeeze has migrated from testing to stable, CrunchBang Statler will also adopt the stable moniker.

      • Distribution Release: CrunchBang Linux 10 R20110207
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • You’re Invited: This Week’s Ubuntu Bug Day – LibreOffice and OpenOffice

          Robert Roth announces this week’s Ubuntu Bug Day on the ubuntu-devel-announce mailing list. If you are interested in helping “squash” some LibreOffice and OpenOffice bugs in Ubuntu then you are invited to help the Ubuntu BugSquad.

        • Next Ubuntu Developer Summit to be held in Budapest, Hungary

          Once every 6 months the Ubuntu developers meet at a summit to discuss and plan the upcoming release of Ubuntu. The Ubuntu Developer Summit hence attracts a large number of developers, enthusiasts and users every time it is conducted.

        • 5 New Features in Ubuntu 11.04

          On April 2011 , Canonical is going to release the latest avatar of Ubuntu , 11.04,codenamed ‘Natty Narwhal’ .Last release of ubuntu was ubuntu 10.10,codenamed ‘Maverick Meerkat’.There are lots of visible improvement in ubuntu 11.04 Alpha I.Lets see the new changes which are going to happen in ubuntu 11.04.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Amicable Antidisestablishmentarianism

            Ubuntu Studio Fun Fact #0:
            Ubuntu Studio shares the same repository as vanilla Ubuntu. Crazy, huh?

            Ubuntu Studio Fun Fact #1:
            The Ubuntu Studio developers don’t general code much. This means you don’t have to have mad coding skills to help with Ubuntu Studio development; generally I suggest that tenacity, inquisitiveness, and initiative will serve you well.

          • Lubuntu Screencast: Metapackages in detail

            In this screencast I show metapackages in more detail and explain the differences between them and normal packages.

          • Lubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 Released, Removes Cheese And Xarchive

            Lubuntu 11.04 alpha 2 was released today with a bit of a delay due to some issues with the hardware on the computer that generates the ISO.

            There aren’t major changes since alpha 1 except for two default packages which have been removed: Cheese is no longer in the default Lubuntu 11.04 install and Xarchive has been replaced with file-roller.

          • Pinguy OS 10.10.1 quick review – even more mainstream than Mint?

            Pros: Pinguy’s maker has scoured the open source world to find amazing apps and tweaks. It’s one of the sexiest and most functional desktops we’ve seen
            Cons: The desktop and application drop-downs are ultra busy, which risks confounding the less tech-savvy user. The ISO is well over 1GB

          • Review: Peppermint Ice Linux

            These days, if a desktop-focussed Linux distribution wants to stand out from the pack of Ubuntu-wannabes it either needs to be especially slick or offer something a little bit different to the norm. Peppermint Ice falls into the latter category: It’s a Debian-derived (via Ubuntu), lightweight Linux distro that’s designed for netbooks and has a strong focus on Web applications.

            Peppermint Ice’s main claim to fame is its use of a ‘site-specific browser’ (SSB), dubbed Ice, which is based on Google’s Chromium browser. Peppermint One, a fraternal distro from the same developers, uses Mozilla’s Prism (a project that, according Mozilla Labs’ projects page, is now not being actively developed). An SSB is a stripped-down browser that lets Web-based applications and services be treated in a somewhat similar fashion to a standard application: instead of navigating to a site using your browser, you can simply click on an icon on your desktop/applications menu/taskbar and an independent browser session is launched for that application (with none of the usual toolbars and menus you find in a normal browser session).

            [...]

            Kernel: 2.6.35-22-generic
            Window manager: Openbox
            Desktop: LXDE
            Based on: Ubuntu
            System requirements: i386 or derivative processor; 192MB RAM, 4GB hard drive space
            Package management: APT

          • Linux Mint 10 And My Experiment With Oracle VM VirtualBox

            My overall experience with Linux Mint 10 continues to be positive.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Smartphones ‘out sell’ PCs for first time

        Linux has taken off like crazy on smartphones in the form of Android.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Dalvik ported to MeeGo, promising instant Android app compatibility

          Myriad Group AG today announced a Dalvik virtual machine claimed to let Android apps run on non-Android platforms. Myriad posted a video showing “Myriad Alien Dalvik” running Android apps on a Nokia N900, and said the software will be available for MeeGo later this year.

        • Intels MWC ‘Media Alert’ Gives us Clues on MeeGo Activities.

          I’ve already posted about what I think will and won’t be part of Intels activity at Mobile World Congress next week and a recent ‘media alert’ sent to me by email confirms my thoughts that this is largely a software event for Intel. It’s all about completing the MeeGo stack from hardware to app store and that means:

          * Moorestown platform – Demonstrating MeeGo and battery life advances.
          * MeeGo 1.2 – Demonstrating multi-touch and other core components.
          * UI layers written in Qt – Compelling demonstrations (probably created by Wind River)
          * AppUp store (probably Beta) launch.

        • NewsFlow Moves to Dark Side with 1.1 Beta Release

          Taking a small break from coding TwimGo and adding some features to NewsFlow application. NewsFlow is a Google Reader client written in QML and JavaScript. It runs on Nokia N900 and Symbian^3 devices such as N8 or E7.

        • kojacker
        • Myriad Announce Alien Dalvik enabling Android Apps to Run on MeeGo / Maemo

          Myriad this morning announced ‘Alien Dalvik’ bringing Android applications to non-Android devices, allowing OEMs, operators and application stores to leverage the Android eco-system across a much wider range of mobile devices. Android applications run completely unmodified and with no loss of performance on non- Android platforms. This launch opens up the Android experience to new audiences as it enables them to deploy Android applications across multiple device operating systems, all without compromising performance which is made possible by a very tight integration of the Android runtime and the use of Myriad Dalvik Turbo technology. Myriad is a member of the Open Handset Alliance.

        • A TouchArea for QML

          For the last few weeks we have been working on a comfortable way to expose raw touch data to QML. The solution we came up with is called TouchArea and is a QML plugin that should be usable from Qt 4.7. The TouchArea is useful whenever you want to track touch points directly in QML, either by using property bindings or trough javascript event functions. This might for example be useful for touch input based games and for recognizing very basic custom gestures directly in javascript.

        • Linpus to Showcase MeeGo-Based Tablet Solution at MWC. Our Sneak Peek Video Now!

          Linpus, a company that has been working on Linux distributions for netbooks for a number of years under their ‘Linpus Lite’ brand have been invited to MWC to demonstrate their current offering in the MeeGo and Qt booths. The solution is targeted at manufacturers of netbooks and tablets based on MeeGo. Like MeeGo, the Linpus solution will be a ‘base’ on which to build on through contractual work by Linpus. We’ve seen a tablet UI before but this is more than that.

      • Android

        • Dalvik Spreads Android Apps

          The Dalvik virtual machine is being ported to other platforms other than Android/Linux. This makes it trivial for Android apps to run on GNU/Linux and to spread to x86 systems. I love it.

        • Dell Streak 7 needs Android 3, better battery, says review

          Dell’s seven-inch Dell Streak 7 tablet boasts a fairly affordable price, plus a powerful dual-core Tegra 2 processor that delivers zippy performance. However, it needs Android 3.0, better battery life, and an improved screen and camera to keep up with the fast-running competition, says this eWEEK review.

        • The Case for Android on Linux

          Like most office workers, my day is generally split up into two phases. The second phase, where I spend 90% of my time, is spent switching between the 3 or 4 primary applications I need to use to get my work done.

          For this kind of activity Linux (and indeed any GUI based OS created in the last decade) works well, because the focus of desktop operating systems is on allowing you simultaneously to run a small number of monolithic applications that perform a specific job.

        • INSIDE Secure Brings True NFC Hardware Independence to Google Android “Gingerbread”
    • Sub-notebooks

      • Netbooks all set to begin a new innings with Chrome OS

        The original netbook concept was that of sub 100 laptop running Linux providing quick access to web apps. The Linux based 7-inch Asus Eee PC was the first mainstream of that type, which shot to fame in 2007. Subsequently Intel and Microsoft intervened with tailored processors and trimmed-down Windows, which blurred the distinction between a notebook and a netbook. Although manufacturers have added more features, the netbook has gradually lost its meaning, size, function and price point, and is now losing its popularity as well.

    • Tablets

      • Preview of Linpus Linux OS for touchscreen tablets

        Linpus has been developing light-weight Linux-based operating systems for netbooks and tablets for the last few years. Now the company is getting ready to show off its latest tablet solution at Mobile World Congress, and Chippy from CarryPad has posted a preview video.

        The OS is based on MeeGo Linux, but this version has been optimized for touchscreen tablets, with a nice big on-screen keyboard, rather speedy screen rotation, and an Android-like home screen with support for animated desktop backgrounds, widgets, and easy access to an app launcher.

        The software is designed to play well with low power Intel Atom chips, and in the demo video you can see the OS boot in just 14 seconds on a tablet with an Atom processor.

      • Linpus Lite tablet-optimized Linux OS gets hands-on treatment (video)

        While tablet hardware is capable of running a full desktop OS, the experience often leaves something to be desired. Most desktop OSes are still designed to be used with a keyboard and mouse, and you’re not likely to attach either to a tablet while you’re riding a bus to work.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Ada Initiative launches
  • Ada Initiative Supports Women in Open Source, Counters Sexism

    Both Aurora and Gardiner have been active in FOSS women’s groups for over a decade. However, the catalyst for the Ada Initiative was the hostile responses to Noirin Shirley’s account of being sexually assaulted at ApacheCon in November 2010. The incident led to Aurora, Gardiner, and other members of the Geek Feminism blog to draft sample anti-harassment policies for conferences, and eventually to Aurora quitting her work as a full-time kernel developer at Red Hat to focus on the issues involved.

  • The Ada Initiative launch announcement

    The Ada Initiative is a new non-profit organization dedicated to increasing participation of women in open technology and culture, which includes open source software, Wikipedia and other open data, and open social media. Co-founders Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora have 10 years experience in open source software, open social media, and women in computing activism with groups like Geek Feminism, Systers, and LinuxChix.

  • Is Open Source Good For Security?

    I still regularly hear people asking about open source and security. The usual question goes along the lines of “surely if the source is out in the open bad guys can do bad things”. The implication is that keeping the source code secret aids security and having it public degrades security.

    Now, I’d not suggest that open source possesses some form of magic that always delivers more security – Alec Muffett recently debunked that idea here on CWUK. But I’ve two stories I watched unfold that support the assertion it can help make security better, in the context of a properly-functioning community.

    [...]

    The world of open source is full of cases where openness of information and process allow properly-functioning open-by-rule communities to address security issues fast. This is the real meaning of the idea that open source is good for security; no magic, just symbiosis.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Tries to Help News Media Figure Out the Web

        Newspapers and other traditional media outlets get a lot of flak for not being more forward-thinking when it comes to what they do on the web or on mobile devices. And it’s true that many are stuck in the past — happy to continue plastering their websites with content shoveled from their print or offline operations. But even those who would like to be more creative often don’t have the resources to do so, since they usually have few (if any) staff with the programming and technology chops. Now the Knight Foundation and the Mozilla Foundation have joined forces to try and give media outlets some help in that area, by creating a fellowship program that will “embed” data and web-oriented journalists and developers in newsrooms as a way of sparking some creativity.

      • Introducing Wiki Wednesdays

        The Mozilla Developer Network web site has a ton of documentation. A lot of it is really good. However, we have a significant number of articles that could use some help from the experts. To that end, we’re introducing Wiki Wednesday. Each Wednesday, we’ll post a very short list of articles that need technical help. The list will be posted here on the Hacks blog, as well as to the relevant Mozilla developer mailing lists.

      • Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta, now including “Do Not Track” capabilities

        The latest Firefox 4 Beta is now available to download and test. We’ve continued our work to improve performance and stability, while also implementing a “Do Not Track” privacy feature to provide more control over online behavioral tracking.

  • SaaS

    • The Internet kill switch idea is already hurting cloud computing

      Pending federal legislation called the Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, aka Senate bill 3480, would grant the president of the United States the power to cut Internet access in a declared emergency, including blocking the Web for as many as 30 days, through a new agency to be called the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications. This concept was introduced last year, and it returned to the forefront this week when the S.3480 bill passed in its committee on the same day Egypt’s Internet connection was shut down to curtail widespread government protests.

    • VMware preps link between public, private clouds

      Providing a vital link between internal and external clouds, VMware plans to release in March an adapter for moving virtual machines between a hosted service offering and an organization’s own internal systems, the company announced Tuesday.

    • The Diaspora that wasn’t, and the way into the walled gardens.

      Just about every person involved with Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (referred from here-on as FLOSS) recognizes the problems with Facebook: it’s a walled garden, sharing of personal information is opt-out (assuming you can find it), questionable practices regarding tracking for advertisements, questions of ownership of data, and so on. Even more folks recognize that Facebook is the 800lb gorilla in the room (What does an 800lb gorilla do? Anything it wants). What is less apparent is what the appropriate FLOSS response to Facebook should be.

      Diaspora is one of those responses. They’re not necessarily the only response (there are others) but I think it’s indicative of the wrong sort of response to this problem. The biggest problem with Diaspora today is it solves the wrong problem. Diaspora is essentially a clone of Facebook with all of the privacy controls brought to the forefront. While this is indeed one of the problems with Facebook, the solution in Diaspora is misguided in thinking this is the only problem with Facebook. If Facebook were to adopt Diaspora’s privacy controls, there would still be problems with Facebook. Diaspora’s approach is fundamentally flawed. Unfortunately, they have enough mindshare from their campaign to get started that folks may think this is the best that the FLOSS community can do. They may settle for what Diaspora offers. That is absolutely not what FLOSS should do.

      One thing that FLOSS gets right is open protocols. Identi.ca, for all of it’s warts as a community, gets that the problem with Twitter isn’t that we need to have access to the code (although that is one problem). The problem with Twitter is that it too is a walled garden. In order to communicate with anyone on Twitter, I must have an account on Twitter. Identi.ca (and the underlying software, Status.net) gets this right by allowing federation using OStatus. Federation via OStatus allows me to set up a Status.net instance wherever I choose, and allows me to follow folks on other Status.net instances. It’s a brilliant approach, and I hope it gains more momentum. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have enough momentum right now to make Twitter adopt it. And why should Twitter expend their energies to adopt OStatus? After all, they’re the ones with the larger community.

  • Databases

    • CouchOne and Membase merge as Couchbase

      NoSQL specialists CouchOne and Membase Inc have announced that they are merging to create a company that offes a more comprehensive range of NoSQL technology, named Couchbase. CouchOne’s expertise lies in CouchDB, the database created by CouchOne’s founder, Damien Katz. CouchDB is a widely deployed open source distributed/synchronising document database used by the BBC, CERN and Apple. Membase’s speciality is the distributed key-value memory cached database of the same name which offers high throughput for many web applications; it is used by companies such as AOL and Zynga.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Google open sources Contracts for Java

      Google has announced the open sourcing, under the LGPL, of Contracts for Java (cofoja), which implements a technique popularised by the Eiffel programming language. Design, or Programming, by Contract is a technique where the interfaces of software modules include contracts consisting of preconditions, postconditions and invariant expressions.

    • More ratings, please

      Given the interest in my earlier article about a scorecard for open source and my own rough-and-ready benchmark proposal, I’d be interested in seeing how well the benchmark works at rating a variety of open source projects. If you’re familiar enough with a project to be willing to have your name associated with rating it, please complete the table below in the same style as my own evaluation of OpenJDK.

    • Oracle and IBM to share open-source Java leadership

      Oracle has agreed to share governance of the OpenJDK Java community with IBM, in a move that demonstrates considerable good will, according to one analyst.

      The company has created a series of bylaws outlining the way the governance will be structured, with Oracle appointing itself chairman and the OpenJDK lead, and IBM taking the role of vice chairman.

  • CMS

    • Tesla Motors using Drupal

      Tesla went public last year; it is the first American automaker to go public since Ford Motor’s IPO more than 50 years ago.

  • Business

    • Competitive Benefits Drive Businesses to Open Source

      Vendors of proprietary software are fond of warning potential customers that open source software isn’t ready for business, typically citing subpar features or a higher total cost of ownership (TCO).

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Openwashing – Press Pass

        Having worked with many companies over the years on going open source (see our report “Going Open Source”), many of them are just not cognizant ahead of time of the missteps that can be made. There’s so much arm-chair lawyering in open source (trade mark, assigning IP, patents, etc.) that it’s easy to overlook or simply not realize how much legal-thinking going open source requires. And if you do something wrong there, then once someone wants to accuse you of not being “real open source,” they can go after that fine print. Of course, as Oracle’s recent trade mark based flap over Hudson shows, those fears can be real: just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you, as they say.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Interview with Richard Stallman (2011)

      Stallman: To qualify as a free distribution, Debian would have to remove the references to its nonfree and contrib sections from its free packages and from its servers. (Many contrib packages serve solely to help install nonfree programs distributed separately from Debian.)

  • Project Releases

    • VMware releases Zimbra 7

      VMware has released the Zimbra Collaboration Server 7.0, the email and groupware solution spun out of the Zimbra Collaboration Suite after VMware took over Zimbra from Yahoo a year ago. This is the first product in the Zimbra 7 family; customers can now also download beta versions of Zimbra Desktop 7 and Zimbra Appliance 7.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • New Hampshire Opens its State’s Legislative Data

        In the past few days, New Hampshire’s General Court, as the state legislature is officially known, started releasing data on legislation and legislators in nerd-friendly, “pipe-separated” files, uploaded daily. In non-geek speak, this means the data is presented in a way that any competent web developer can easily process for use in an application or a researcher can feed into a database system to explore.

Leftovers

  • Juror will appeal order to turn over Facebook posts

    A California attorney representing a juror required to divulge the contents of his Facebook account says he will file an appeal of the court order tomorrow.

    Ken Rosenfeld, a Sacramento criminal defense attorney, told CNET that forcing jurors to turn over private correspondence in the form of Facebook posts “would be catastrophic in terms of free speech, justice, and the jury system itself.”

  • HP accuses Cisco of diverting data center standard

    Networking rivals HP and Cisco have abandoned their common ground in data center switching, with HP accusing Cisco of diverting an IEEE standard and Cisco insisting that customers drove the change.

    At issue are two as-yet unratified standards in the IEEE for data center switching that were being defined in concert but are now diverging. IEEE 802.1Qbg and 802.1Qbh were intended to work closely together to enable physical switches to offload much of the network-intensive processing from virtual switches on blade servers and NICs. A year ago, Cisco and HP were driving the effort in a rare show of unity.

  • Rediscovering WWII’s female ‘computers’

    In all the interviews and conversations, it hadn’t come up. To the sisters, it was just a job they’d held a long time ago, when they were teens with a talent for numbers.

    To filmmaker LeAnn Erickson, it was history rediscovered.

    It was 2003 and Erickson was interviewing sisters Shirley Blumberg Melvin and Doris Blumberg Polsky for her documentary, “Neighbor Ladies,” about a woman-owned real estate agency that helped to peacefully integrate a Philadelphia neighborhood. The twins, long-retired by then, reluctantly mentioned a different sort of job they’d held during World War II: Female “computers.”

  • HuffPo Blogger Revolt!

    It’s not exactly upheaval, but there are rumblings at The Huffington Post. Now that HuffPo bloggers know how much the liberal’s Drudge Report is worth—$315 M.—and how much cash their boss Arianna Huffington made off its sale to AOL—~$100 M.

  • ReactOS – Open-Source Windows Clone Software To Seriously Look Forward To

    ReactOS is an effort to provide a Windows NT-like architecture that is compatible with existing drivers and applications. An easy way to look at it would be to say that it is a clone of the Windows OS (which is closed-source so it’s not possible to really clone it), when in reality, it’s an alternative to the Windows OS, with the difference that it’s a collaborative open-source project and it’s in its infancy. While the team behind ReactOS has been heavily developing this young operating system for over a decade, it is still in the alpha stage. However, there is a number of reasons that make ReactOS worth a look.

  • 5 Things I Love Most About MS Windows

    numero cinco – I love MS Windows because it has more users than Charlie Sheen has drunken girlfriends; which serves to paint a LARGE target on it rather than on my actual operating system (Linux). Hackers and spammers are wise. They use Linux on their own systems and target the operating system that gives them the biggest bang for the byte. Thanks to Microsoft for being my shield.

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Egypt Protests – Cellphone Radiation – Ken Nordine

      Cellphone Radiation – In our Middle Hour; a documentary called A Precautionary Tale.

      We’ve all seen them, those ubiquitous cell phone towers atop, office buildings schools, apartments.

      We know they emit a certain kind of radiation but are they dangerous?

      In an apartment in the west end of Toronto, tenants living with the towers began complaining about health problems.

      Were the towers to blame?

      Producer John Chipman in a special one-hour report looks at both sides of a heated and controversial subject.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt: End-Game

      Apparently possible foreign medical treatment may be involved in the end-game in Egypt, “What to do with Mubarak?”. The protestors want him out ASAP and medical treatment may be a good cover for exile. It is much less likely that a dictator can tweak the strings of power remotely. The end-game may morph into “What to do with the vice-president?”

      Apparently, much of the leadership of the current regime are filthy-rich and have domiciles around the world. They may all leave one night and Egypt could wake up to an Animal Farm situation. In spite of the protestors’ apparent lack of a leader/point-man, the regime could implode if the current leadership leaves. Most opinions are that the military can ensure stability while Egypt reorganizes itself.

    • Egypt: 2011-2-8

      #
      # 20 lawyers have drawn up charges claiming corruption/conversion of money by Mubarak’s buddies ($billions),
      # Mubarak has ordered a committee formed to revise the constitution he wrote,
      # the Google guy who started a page on Facebook that may have been the catalyst for a lot of the protests was freed,
      # the government has promised not to prosecute the millions of protestors, and
      # the numbers and kinds of protestors keeps growing.

    • US Patriot Act is unconstitutional

      The US Congress is moving to renew the USA PATRIOT Act, a controversial anti-terrorism law. The major provisions of the bill will expire soon, forcing the Congress to entertain the measure once again.

      The US Senate is in a hurry extend the extension of the Act, so much so many want to dismiss any discuss and debate on the topic. Similarly, the US House is set to vote at any time to extend the law’s provisions until December 8, 2011.

    • Brutal Beating Reveals Ongoing Reign of Terror in L.A. County Jails

      The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department today launched an internal investigation after Esther Lim, a jail monitor for the ACLU of Southern California, submitted a sworn statement in federal court yesterday recounting the details of a brutal beating she witnessed of an inmate in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. Twin Towers is one of the several facilities that make up the Los Angeles County jail system.

    • Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) Highlights

      During last Tuesday’s ‘Million Man March’ and Friday’s ‘Day of Departure’ rallies, the swirling clamour of car horns, famously characteristic of Liberation Square’s soundscape, fell silent, as human cries for freedom, change and justice floated through the air.

    • Will Cuba Be The Next Egypt?

      Developments in Egypt over the last two weeks brought Cuba to my mind. Why does a similar rebellion against five decades of repression there still appear to be a far-off dream? Part of the answer is in the relationship between the Castro brothers—Fidel and Raúl—and the generals. The rest is explained by the regime’s significantly more repressive model. In the art of dictatorship, Hosni Mubarak is a piker.

    • Cubans Are Neither Arabs Nor Muslims

      This isn’t to reject or alienate those who, from abroad, across the internet and social networks are calling for a people’s uprising or a general strike in Cuba. It’s a question of reality.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia cannot pump enough oil to keep a lid on prices

      The US fears that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude oil exporter, may not have enough reserves to prevent oil prices escalating, confidential cables from its embassy in Riyadh show.

      The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.

    • Dinner with Julian

      On Wednesday the 9th of February 2011 from 6.30pm GMT people from all around the world will commence dining with their friends in a unified effort to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of speech.

  • Finance

    • IMF raises spectre of civil wars as global inequalities worsen

      The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that “dangerous” imbalances have emerged that threaten to derail global recovery and stoke tensions that may ultimately set off civil wars in deeply unequal countries.

    • Donors pledge $120 million aid for Belarus opposition

      Poland — which has been accused by Lukashenko of trying to topple him — announced it was doubling its aid to groups including the independent media, earmarking some 10 million euros.

      The funds cover the operating costs of the Warsaw-based Belast TV, the only Belarussian-language station broadcasting in Belarus which is not controlled by the authorities there.

      US officials said Washington was increasing aid by a third to 15 million dollars, Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt announced seven million euros for independent Belarussian media, and Germany pledged 6.6 million euros.

      The Warsaw meeting came just days after the EU and United States slapped a new raft of sanctions — including a travel ban and asset freeze — on Lukashenko and 157 associates.

      Belarus has been defiant, with its foreign ministry on Tuesday calling the moves against its leaders “unjustified” and threatening to take reciprocal steps.

    • Corruption and Inequality Begin at Home

      The U.S. media seems to have found a new language for the economy. There’s been talk of “solidarity” and even “class war,” and a focus on corruption and inequality like we haven’t seen in who knows how long.

      The only problem? They’re talking about Egypt.

      “It’s quite clear that entire domains in the economy were dominated by a few people,” a British professor of Middle Eastern Studies told the New York Times Monday. The reporter notes “Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt has long functioned as a state where wealth bought political power and political power bought great wealth.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Journalist’s spoof exposes Romanian MPs’ greed

      More than a hundred Romanian parliamentarians responded to an SMS invitation from a fake businessman from the United Arab Emirates who proposed them “a deal”. Only later did they realise they had been fooled by a journalist.

      Daily newspaper ‘Romania Libera’, which set up the spoof, has published a full list of the greedy parliamentarians.

  • Privacy

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Don’t fear the foreign reaper

      When Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts, a U.S. private equity firm, thought about buying Bell Canada a few years ago, someone – I can’t remember who – criticized the deal by saying he didn’t want decisions about Canadian telecom made in Manhattan board rooms. That’s about as dumb an argument as I’ve ever heard because when it comes to telecom companies, we’re talking about the pipes – whether they’re wires or wireless – that stuff travels through. It’s like complaining about how the decisions regarding the computers we use or the televisions we watch are being made in California and Tokyo board rooms. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter who owns the pipes the stuff goes through. All that’s important is that we get the stuff, preferably faster and cheaper.

    • CRTC to review billing practices for wholesale Internet services

      The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) today launched, of its own initiative, a proceeding to review its decisions on billing practices that would have applied to the residential customers of Small Internet service providers (Small ISPs).

    • No Cap on UBB Reading: Lots of Coverage of Caps and Competition

      The current controversy over usage based billing, the CRTC, and Internet data caps has generated a wide range of commentary and articles over the past few days.

    • Internet usage debate, Part 2: $8B to keep pace

      The controversy around usage-based billing (UBB) continues to swirl, and at the centre are third-party wholesale Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who are driving the debate — and very often the myths as well.

    • Bell’s Sunny Broadband Claims

      The NetIndex report ranks Canada 36th in the world for residential speed. Moreover, the shift away from the OECD to the G20 has the effect of excluding many developed countries with faster and cheaper broadband than Canada (while bringing in large, developing world economies that unsurprisingly rank below Canada on these issues). While there is probably a report somewhere that validates the claim, the consensus is that Canada is not a leader.

    • Bell admits errors tracking clients’ Internet usage

      Bell Canada has admitted to problems tracking Internet use for some customers.

      This is embarrassing, given the company’s insistence on usage-based billing for its own clients and for other clients of other Internet service providers that rent its network.

  • DRM

    • Sony Lawyers Expand Dragnet, Targeting Anybody Posting PlayStation 3 Hack

      Sony is threatening to sue anybody posting or “distributing” the first full-fledged jailbreak code for the 4-year-old PlayStation 3 gaming console.

      What’s more, the company is demanding that a federal judge order Google to surrender the IP addresses and other identifying information (.pdf) of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video on a private YouTube page. The game maker is also demanding that Twitter provide the identities of a host of hackers who first unveiled a limited version of the hack in December.

    • Sony lawyers now targeting anyone who posts PlayStation 3 hack

      Sony is threatening to sue anybody posting or “distributing” the first full-fledged jailbreak code for the 4-year-old PlayStation 3 gaming console.

      What’s more, the company is demanding that a federal judge order Google to surrender the IP addresses and other identifying information (PDF) of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video on a private YouTube page. The game maker is also demanding that Twitter provide the identities of a host of hackers who first unveiled a limited version of the hack in December.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • EU trade deal could cost Canadian drug plans billions

      Generics cost roughly 25 to 50 per cent of the equivalent brand-name drug.

    • If You Don’t Offer Legit Versions, Is It That Big A Surprise That People Want Unauthorized Copies?

      Sage Freehaven points us to an amusing, but telling, customer service chat between a guy in the UK who wanted to buy the latest version of RosettaStone’s Vietnamese language program, and a RosettaStone customer service rep. The guy’s main concern is that it appears an older version is available in the UK, but he wants the newer version, which the company refuses to ship to the UK, even though it’s been out elsewhere for a long time. He then asks if the company will give a free upgrade when it finally launches the newer version in the UK, and the customer service rep has no idea.

    • Copyrights

      • White House will propose new digital copyright laws

        The Obama administration has drafted new proposals to curb Internet piracy and other forms of intellectual property infringement that it says it will send to the U.S. Congress “in the very near future.”

        It’s also applauding a controversial copyright treaty known as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, saying it will “aid right-holders and the U.S. government to combat infringement” once it enters into effect.

      • The Future of UK Copyright

        As you may have noticed, the topic of “IP” – “intellectual property” – seems increasingly to the fore these days. Actually, that’s not really a new trend: as this helpful ngram shows, there has been a really rapid uptake of the term since the 1980s. But promoting the supposed virtues and use of “IP” ever-more widely has turned into something of a bandwagon for politicians who want to be seen to be doing something, and for those who want to assert their intellectual monopolies more strongly.

        On the patent front, there is a simplistic assumption that more of them being filed and granted means more innovation, so by increasing the number of patents, innovation, too, will magically be boosted and everyone will be better-off (the EU is the latest to espouse this Innovation for Idiots approach.)

        But it’s not just patents where maximalists are pushing the “more is better” line. The term of copyright, too, has been extended again and again over the last few decades, even though there is no evidence that this massive withholding of content from the immediate public domain does anything to inspire greater production of new material (which is what copyright is supposed to encourage.)

      • Music Royalty Society Collects Money For Fake Artists, Bathroom Equipment and Food

        Music royalty outfits are experts at not only gathering funds from anyone who dares to play music in public, but also at generating adverse publicity. Known for pressurizing anyone from charities to the police, their activities are often viewed with disbelief. Now a Belgian TV show has had a closer look at one of them, and ended up paying royalties for a whole host of artists that don’t exist, bathroom equipment and chinese food.

        If you play music in public, sometimes even if you play it in relative privacy, music royalty societies want you to pay them money. It’s big business. The UK’s Performing Right Society (PRS) collects around £650 million every year and isn’t scared to flex its muscles when people aren’t paying. Got a business where staff listen to radio and a passing member of the public hears it? You owe them money. PRS have even taken the police to court for playing music in police stations.

      • Slammed By Judge, ACS:Law Not Allowed To Drop File-Sharing Cases

        Today, despite the apparent closure of both anti-piracy law firm ACS:Law and its copyright troll partner MediaCAT, the Patents Country Court began yet another hearing to announce how more than two dozen previously filed cases should be handled. Judge Birss QC slammed the scheme operated by the pair and denied them the opportunity to drop the cases.

        In a statement read out in the Patents County Court earlier this month, ACS:Law owner Andrew Crossley announced that he had quit the file-sharing claims business. Last week TorrentFreak discovered that he had completely closed down his business, along with his client MediaCAT who had also ceased trading. Nevertheless, the companies still have unfinished business – they can’t run away that easily.

      • Spotify To Launch in the US Soon, For Real This Time

        It feels like we’ve been hearing the same song and dance regarding Spotify’s US launch for months now. It’s always just over the horizon. An email sent to All Things D is at least tacit confirmation that a launch is imminent. The message was sent to the few Us users of Spotify test accounts to let them know they’re going to have to start paying up. The email also said that a US launch was coming “over the coming months”. Well, at least they didn’t say years.

      • ACTA

        • Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) Highlights

          ACTA is an international agreement hammered out by a handful of countries (led by the US, including Canada) that requires signatories to create civil and criminal law to give force and effect to ACTA.
          ACTA is intended as a global standard to ‘protect’ against intellectual property and counterfeit products, containing very specific discussion about digital information.

Clip of the Day

James Randi’s Challenge to Homeopathy Manufacturers and Retail Pharmacies


Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: February 8th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

New Zealand and Europe Should Both Actively Fight Against Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents, Red Hat at 2:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kiwi

Summary: The lobby for software patents is very much alive in New Zealand and Europe

WHEN it comes to software patents, the situation in Europe is similar to the problems encountered in New Zealand (“embedded” trick which is back to the headlines), caused in part by lobby/front group NZICT. It lobbies for the interests which are opposite to New Zealand's by trying to encourage acceptance of software monopolies, mostly those from the United States. This lobby group is preparing a webinar, sponsored by the likes of Microsoft and IBM (which sponsor NZICT). To quote:

NZICT is gearing up to host a free webinar on February 15th over the revision of software patents and IPONZ’s guidelines.

In March last year, the Commerce Committee recommended that computer programs should not be a patentable invention.

Citizens of New Zealand ought to challenge these events whose purpose is to stage a tilted debate in hope of subverting the country’s patent law, primarily by influencing IPONZ (Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand). They should learn from the trouble in Europe. “EU study advocates criminalisation of patent infringements,” writes the FFII today, “[b]ut the EU study fails to prove IP criminal measures are essential” (the companies want a deterrent as such).

The FFII adds: “Would we like to see Steve Jobs behind bars? Or Doctors Without Borders?” Watch this summary about the EU plot as of late:

A study commissioned by the European Commission advocates the abolition of the national prosecutor’s discretion whether to prosecute and how to charge the defendant. It also argues in favor of a European criminal court and for the criminalisation of patent infringements. This is the study that paves the way, or should have paved the way, for EU intellectual property criminal measures.
We observe that the study fails to prove EU criminal measures aimed at ensuring the enforcement of intellectual property rights are needed. Incidentally, this also indicates that the EU is not competent to ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement’s criminal measures. Futhermore, criminalisation of patent infringements is a very bad idea. In the software sector, there are so many patents, infringement is often unavoidable. It may also endanger access to life saving generic medicine.

Glyn Moody calls it the “criminalisation of patent infringements,” which he in turn labels “insane”.

A patent attorney from Europe reveals more odd behaviour from the EPO. It’s in his blog post whose pointers appear to have been broken. Well, maybe the EPO had a change of heart, who knows?

Today, the European Patent Office (EPO) has made available (@EPOorg on Twitter) a second edition of An overview of the national patent litigation systems in Europe available for download on-line. The text provides an overview of the national patent litigation systems across the European Patent Organisation’s 38 Contracting States and presents an at-a-glance description of the different national revocation, nullity and infringement procedures currently in place. The competent courts dealing with these matters at first instance and appeal are also depicted.

Another European lawyer, Carlo Piana, says one should “[r]ead (pdf) http://ur1.ca/35e4f if you still think that #swpats [software patents] promote innovation.”

With news that WebSafety “today announced that it now supports two new Android tablets for the company’s patent-pending software application,” it has become rather clear that the United States chooses to put software patents even in Linux-powered platforms. This leads to incompatibilities of all sorts and JDA reports “records in Q4″, reached in part using “trial against Oracle over software patents”. From the news:

JDA ended the quarter and the year with $171.6 million in cash, which it is clearly going to need more of if this ruling in the Texas courts regarding Dillard’s sticks. JDA boosted its reserve for this judgment from $5 million to $19 million, reflecting what it now thinks the likely settlement to be based on preliminary mediation talks with the store chain. The trial against Oracle over software patents starts in March. JDA expects both cases to burn about $10 million in 2011.

Welcome to Texas, where patent trolls roam. In relation to the i4i case, Red Hat sent filings in support of abolishing such American patents and here comes another statement from the company:

Red Hat, Inc., a provider of open source solutions, continued its efforts to improve the U.S. patent system and to challenge poor quality software patents.

Red Hat joined a group of companies in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court which explained that the burden of proof applied to invalidate patents impedes innovation and should be changed.

Software patents threaten Red Hat’s business, which is mostly based in the United States where software patent foster a large community of patent trolls. Europe and New Zealand should avoid descending upon the same chasm.

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