UK Drama: MSBBC Blames Google — Not Microsoft — for London Stock Exchange Site Malware, Sabotage Still Suspected

Posted in Deception, Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers, Windows at 2:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

London Stock Exchange by Kaihsu Tai

Summary: The London Stock Exchange is besieged not just by mysterious errors but also disinformation

THERE IS something funny going on at the London Stock Exchange, which was Microsoft’s principal poster child before the London Stock Exchange dumped Microsoft for GNU/Linux. The Microsoft UK-occupied BBC (or MSBBC for short) has odd new coverage; “yet more high school tech journalism from the BBC malware story without mentioning the M or W words,” wrote Gordon about it and “funnily enough for a Windows story, Google get a few name drops, while Windows does not; any Microsofties employed by #BBC? That explains it [...] amazing how Google are the bad guys for not being alert enough to spot malware, while Microsoft don’t get a mention for leaving the holes”

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols clarifies that “London Stock Exchange Woes not Linux’s Fault” and he adds that:

Google, which does a good job of finding and marking dodgy sites, marked the LSE site as having malware problems over the weekend. Users of Web browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that use Google’s Safe Browsing API (Application Programming Interface) were warned off the LSE site. Users of Internet Explorer, which doesn’t use this API, could have still visited the site without any warning.

Since the problem was uncovered, the LSE has removed the advertiser and its infected links. Google now reports the site as being safe for browsing.

There is another reported issue, which we have read about in the papers for months. Groklaw suspects vandalism (maybe Micromoles), but there is no evidence of such a thing, at least not yet. In any event, more stock markets have recently moved to GNU/Linux, just like the London Stock Exchange. These markets offer super-lucrative contracts and reputation, so Microsoft cannot afford to lose this one. It was also a poster child that it spent a lot of money promoting as a Windows ‘success story’.

Whatever happens in the London Stock Exchange, this world is changing fairly fast and even Microsoft’s ‘wonder girl’ who became a Windows ‘expert’ at a very young age is now turning to Red Hat. From the new article: “And she’s all of 10 right now, all set to turn 11 this May! M Lavinashree is, however, rather matter of fact about her accomplishments. “I scored 178.1 out of 200 in my test at Red Hat. It was simple as I was preparing for it for the last four years. My family encouraged me to go on,” says the Class VI student of Lakshmi School, Veerapanchan, Madurai, who completed the entire Red Hat Certified Programme requirements on June 30 last year via a Prometric examination.”

The future is GNU/Linux. Even children are starting to grow up with it, e.g. on Android phones.

Red Hat is Not Transparent Enough

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Patents, Red Hat at 2:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Transparent floor

Summary: Red Hat does some dubious things and then dodges hard questions about those things

RED HAT has a fairly new Web site, OpenSource.com (it calls this a “community service”). Therein it promotes openness, transparency, etc. But Red Hat does not always walk like it talks and there is room for improvement.

To name some recent examples, Red Hat employees dodge questions about their software patents or indemnification policy, as well as questions about the Acacia settlement [1, 2, 3]. It’s like the official policy is to never say a word about it. Now there are reasonably substantiated claims that “Red Hat [has] “obfuscated” kernel source” and when Red Hat seniors are asked about this, “no comment” is their official answer (coming from several directions, including the lawyers).

Red Hat enjoys the fruit of grassroots advocacy; the least it can do is reciprocate by stopping with all those unnecessary secrets.

Novell’s (Microsoft-Funded) Anti-Ubuntu Propaganda

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Ubuntu at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad Novell

Summary: Novell employees still use the Novell-developed, Mono-based, Microsoft patents-infringing Banshee to smear Ubuntu

FROM the company which brought us Mono and Moonlight comes a sneaky attack on Canonical, which we last mentioned this morning. Canonical has been selling music for profit for quite a while now and things got complicated when Canonical started dabbling in Novell-copyrighted software with patent liabilities. Following the lead of Miguel de Icaza et al. comes another bigwig from Novell (a disclosure would be nice) taking a shot at Canonical and pretending to be a victim (“Canonical, you’re breaking my heart” is the title). The staff at Novell (Microsoft-funded) uses this patents-loaded Trojan horse (Banshee) to ruin Ubuntu’s reputation. They are portraying this as poor developers (Mono proponents) fighting the ‘giant’ which is Canonical when in fact Novell is a lot bigger, it gets money from Microsoft to promote Microsoft agenda, and the developers are paid by Novell to write Banshee. They are naming GNOME for sentimental blackmail, pretending that Canonical ‘steals’ money from GNOME. These people breed hate.

“They are naming GNOME for sentimental blackmail, pretending that Canonical ‘steals’ money from GNOME.”In some sense, Banshee is interfering with Canonical’s older multimedia-playing program (RhythmBox), which did not cause much controversy (neither because of referrals nor Mono-type complications). In my many conversations with Jono Bacon about this I warned him even a year ago that relying on Novell software is a bad idea not just because of Mono; he politely declined to do something about it. Inaction is sometimes suicidal, but again, Ubuntu is not the culprit here, it is just being characterised this way by Novell’s PR charade. It is them who hurt the community while trying to accuse their critics — yours truly included — of hurting the community. We just don’t have the PR power of Novell and neither does Canonical. Canonical should have never touched Banshee/Novell in the first place. It’s a case of asking for trouble when entering the Microsoft camp; however, lobbying from Novell is similar to Microsoft’s. If you decline their push (e.g. of Mono), then they label/call you a “hater”, or something along those lines. This is how Microsoft manages to get into many panels and events of its opposition. They use “hate” as a persuasion tool. Ubuntu and Canonical should know better that excessive tolerance of those whose interests are opposite to yours can be destructive.

In other news, LibreOffice is coming to OpenSUSE 11.4 and even though some lesser-known distributions have already come with LibreOffice, Sean claims OpenSUSE to be a first:

The first complete major Linux distribution to integrate LibreOffice instead of OpenOffice.org is….

openSUSE 11.4

The Novell led openSUSE Linux distribution is out this week with RC2 of openSUSE 11.4 and in my view it will be among the first big Linux distros that has moved to LibreOffice in a generally available release.

Certainly other distros have LibreOffice in their repositories now, but just circumstances of release timing make openSUSE 11.4 the first. Ubuntu’s Natty and Fedora 15 will both likely include LibreOffice as well, but both of those release are still months away from general availability. LibreOffice itself just hit general availability at the end of January.

Sean ignores ‘smaller’ distros as though they do not count or even exist. Novell is not really the first here; The Novell/Go-OO people may have played a role in pushing OOXML into LibreOffice [1, 2, 3, 4], so what credit does SUSE/Novell really deserve? People treat them with suspicion; so should Canonical. Novell is funded by Microsoft and this funding comes with strings (obligations). Who knows… maybe Steve Ballmer will pat Ron Hovsepian on the shoulder for making Ubuntu look malicious, LibreOffice controversial due to OOXML exporters, and OOXML a ‘real standard’ that everyone can implement. Novell works for money and it knows where the money comes from; it’s the Microsoft funnel and its own proprietary software, not Free software.

Microsoft Kills the Company of Android’s Founder as Number of Dead Products Grows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Hardware, Microsoft at 1:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Andy Rubin, photo by Yoichiro Akiyama (Tokyo, Japan)

Summary: Microsoft pretty much axes the creation of Andy Rubin (which it paid hundreds of millions for), but Rubin throws down the gauntlet from Google’s side

Dead Microsoft products multiply as SideKick joins the likes of KIN, as expected. Microsoft just bought and killed Danger, which Android's father fled from.

“Sidekick service to be shut off May 31″ says one headline and others refer specifically to T-Mobile [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22]. SideKick will no doubt become an item of memorabilia, just not a very valuable one (as it was never popular). There are not many users left anyway and “[e]nd of era for Danger” call it Microsoft boosters. Next one in the pipeline (Windows Mobile, Danger, KIN) is Vista Phony 7, which judging by the number of sales so far is facing a similar destiny. Microsoft cannot compete with new products anymore; it has no network effect potential.

Links 1/3/2011: Mandriva 2011 Second Alpha, Red Hat “Obfuscates” Linux Code

Posted in News Roundup at 11:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Linux-based Anti-virus rescue CDs – and the alternatives!

      And that’s it. Please, let me repeat the main message of this article once again: You do not need anti-virus software, honestly. But you should have a Linux live CD handy. Any one will do, since they all pack the mighty toolbox that you can use to fix your operating system, regardless of what caused the mess. Security wise, you should aim for a whitelisting approaching, with a strategy that spans pinpoint tactical solutions relevant only for specific operating systems and go with a generic formula that always works.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Pearls before swine..

      I know that comes as a big shock to everybody, since geeks in general are seen as the crème de la crème of society, and the common perception is that we live the life of rock-stars and party all night with all the other glamorous people.

      Not so.

      I sit in my office (which used to be in the basement, now it’s a room above the garage), usually in my ratty bathrobe, reading and writing email all day. And a lot of wasting time while waiting for people to answer or just report problems. I go to bed at ten, and wake up at seven to get the kids to school. And then it all repeats.

      So not glamorous. When I actually write code (which is usually in the mail reader these days – mostly telling people “do it like this” rather than actually writing real code), that’s about the most exciting part of the day.

    • Graphics Stack

      • ATI R600 Gallium3D Driver Does Instanced Drawing

        Instanced drawing support is not new to Mesa in general but last month there was instanced-draw support merged into Mesa for the GL_ARB_draw_instanced and GL_ARB_instanced_arrays support as part of the (slow) OpenGL 3.0 support upbringing. With the commits over the weekend, Christian König implements instanced drawing support in the R600g driver.

      • An Open-Source Intel GMA 500 Driver Appears

        If you’re an owner of a netbook or other hardware containing an Intel Poulsbo / GMA 500, the Linux 2.6.39 kernel should be rather exciting. Entering the Linux kernel’s staging tree is an initial open-source driver for this notorious Intel graphics processor derived from Imagination Technologies’ PowerVR SGX graphics core.

        Intel’s Alan Cox has pushed forward an Intel GMA 500 DRM driver for mainline kernel inclusion that already has been pushed into the staging-next tree. It’s been a few days since the actual patch/driver was proposed, but for some reason it slipped under my radar until now when it was mentioned in the forums.

      • NVIDIA CUDA 4.0 Tool-Kit Released

        NVIDIA has announced the release of the CUDA 4.0 Tool-Kit this morning, which continues to be fully supported under Linux. NVIDIA’s Compute Unified Device Architecture 4.0 focuses upon GPUDirect 2.0 Technology, Unified Virtual Addressing, and Thrust C++ Template Performance Primitive Libraries.

        GPUDirect 2.0 is geared to provide peer-to-peer communication between multiple GPUs in a single server/workstation, Unified Virtual Addressing provides a single memory address space for system memory and GPU memory, and the Thrust C++ Template Performance Libraries ramp-up the GPGPU computing performance via an open-source C++ library with parallel sorting abilities that are 5~100x faster than the Standard Template Library or Intel’s Threaded Building Blocks.

      • Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Is Using X.Org Server 1.9

        Jeremy keeps pushing out new X.Org Server 1.9 stable updates to bring XQuartz fixes for Apple and various other bug-fixes for users of the xorg-server under Mac OS X, Linux, and other operating systems. With the Mac OS X 10.7 developer preview that Apple began seeding to developers last week, X.Org Server 1.9 can in fact be found.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Fluxbox 1.3.1 on Fedora 14, 13 or 12

      If you’re looking for Fluxbox 1.3.1 on Fedora 14, then you’re in luck. I’ve gone through the .spec and cleaned it up a bit, along with a version bump, and have built the 1.3.1 packages in SUSE Build Service under my home directory.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • [GNOME Shell] Re: The logic behind remove “Restart” and hide “Power Off” in User menu.
      • Why I Think Gnome 3 Is a Dead End

        In short because it’s cat-dog. What I mean is – what is the new gnome target audience? To me it seems like it tries to satisfy everyone which obviously cannot work. Let’s look at the potential users who might want to use it.


        Still from the design it seems like these people were thought of as well when making gnome shell. But that’s the problem. It stopped halfway. It tries to be both for power users and newbies and ends up neither. Sorry, but I really can’t see a way to satisfy both camps and that’s why I think gnome 3 is bound to fail. And it’s going to drag Fedora 15 down with it (being the default DE). But only time will show whether I’m right or wrong.

      • GNOME Shell vs. Ubuntu Unity: Which desktop wins?

        Both GNOME Shell and Ubuntu Unity are looming on the horizon. Both of these desktop replacements will incite a lot of reactions from users — some good, some bad.But when it all boils down, one of these two takes on the desktop will rise above the other. Which one? I’m going to compare the two and offer up a conclusion on the future of both GNOME Shell and Ubuntu Unity.

      • My new favorite GNOME Patch

        For those of us without a disability, understanding the challenge users may experience when trying to use a computer can be a foreign concept. (Or at least it is for me.)

        Browsing Reddit, of all places, this weekend I came across this story of a user with ALS who created a patch for Eye of GNOME. The patch contributor’s son added a comment to the bug report (and a link to a picture) that is a must read. Go read it. Now.

  • Distributions

    • Hanthana Linux for all ~

      Hanthana Linux is an easy to use operating system in a environment with less or no internet facility. A lot of applications to be used to aid in school curriculum are included. Applications to study periodic table, planetary behaviour and astronomy as well as to generate 2D and 3D graphs, to solve equations are there in Hanthana Linux. Nevertheless, educational games, applications to design and simulate circuits, GNUoctave which is an alternative to MathLab for statistics and wine in case to run a .exe file and many more comes by default.

    • Reviews

      • Frugalware 1.4 Nexon

        Frugalware is not as well known as other distros like Ubuntu, etc. So I’ve included some background information below to get you up to speed if this is the first time you’ve heard of Frugalware. Yes, we do get some folks here on DLR coming from other platforms that sometimes aren’t familiar with various distros. So I like to include a bit of background links & information to help give them an overview of what the distro is all about. If you’re a Frugalware veteran you can skip down to the What’s New section of this page.

    • Arch

      • Arch’s Dirty Little Not-So-Secret

        A reader of my blog recently made a comment about Arch’s lack of package signing, and this got me looking into the issue more carefully. What I found has left me deeply concerned with a number of aspects of Arch.

        Most distributions, even Windows, sign their packages so that when the computer downloads and installs them, it can check the signature to make sure the package is authentic – it hasn’t been tampered with on the server, or anywhere between the server and the local system. This mechanism has been around for many years and works well – the tools to implement it are available and simple to use. Yet for some reason I can’t understand, Arch Linux has never had package signing. Arch packages are simple tarballs – they can be opened, modified, and retarred, and the updating system has no way to detect this. This tampering can take place on one of the many mirrors that host Arch packages, yet it can also take place elsewhere – in network proxies and misdirection, in intranet caches, and on local systems. Package signing gives admins a way to verify that the packages they’re using to update their system are authentic, regardless of how those packages have been delivered or stored, or who has access to the data.

      • Mirror Mirror
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s “obfuscated” kernel source
      • Red Hat’s “obfuscated” kernel source

        I tracked down and interrogated several Red Hat engineers on this issue, and while they were very reticent to speak about it, I discovered the following things:

        - It is not about Centos.

        - The primary motivation was to make it harder for Oracle Enterprise Linux to repackage the work that Red Hat do.

        - The kernel tarball inside the srpm is created from a git tree that is only accessible to Red Hat engineers.

        - This change to the way that kernels are dealt with inside Red Hat has angered and frustrated engineers who work on the product. Employees of the company are Not Happy.

        - The orders to do this, to make it harder to rebuild the kernel with and without patches, and to make it harder to extract specific patches from the Red Hat kernel came from the top. This is with the knowledge of, and by the order of, the CEO: Jim Whitehurst.

        - There is a web interface (somewhere!) that is available that will allow you to specifically omit specific patches and download a new kernel. This is a clunky web front end to the git tree.

        - An Oracle engineer I interviewed on this matter greeted this news with in-credulousness, and quickly got out his notebook so he could provide me with links to the various public git trees that oracle maintains of their kernels, and showed me where I could download them from.

      • Red Hat Announces Extended Lifecycle Support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4

        Today, Red Hat announced the availability of Extended Lifecycle Support (ELS) for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, in line with the one-year notification of the end-of-life of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, which is scheduled to occur on February 29, 2012. ELS, an optional Add-On for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, extends an existing Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription for an additional three years over its standard seven year life-cycle. As a result, subscription customers have a choice of purchasing ELS to extend their use of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, or to upgrade to a more recent Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 or 6 version.

      • Fedora

        • Btrfs May Be The Default File-System For Fedora 16

          This news is a few days old, but not many people seem to have caught it while I was busy finishing up Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 and OpenBenchmarking.org: Btrfs may be the default file-system in Fedora 16.

          Brought up on the Fedora development list are the plans for Btrfs in Fedora, which provides a target of Fedora 16 when EXT4 will be replaced by Btrfs as the default Linux file-system on new installations.

        • Internationalization and localization Test Week this week!

          After the highly successful Graphics Test Week last week (thanks to everyone who came out! A full recap will be posted soon), it’s another Test Week this week: this time for internationalization and localization. This is a hugely important area (the majority of Fedora users pick something other than English with a US keyboard layout) which we don’t always test very comprehensively, so I’d like to say a huge ‘thanks!’ to Rui He, Igor Soares, and Aman Alam for their hard work in putting together these events.

    • Debian Family

      • MP3 files in Debian

        A lot of new users move from Ubuntu to another Debian based distro to limit the ammount of change they experience. But often can be a bit daunted by the challenges that Ubuntu made easy for them. One such is music files in MP3 format.

      • Debian Project News – February 28th, 2011
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 10.04.2 released

          The second maintenance update of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS has been released.

          Ubuntu 10.04 LTS will be supported with routine maintenance updates until April 2013 on desktops and April 2015 on servers.

        • Legally open, socially closed

          By releasing Banshee under the terms of the MIT license (as was pointed out to me in the comments), it’s developers have given Canonical and anybody else the legal ability to change it however they want. Canonical would have been legally within their rights to keep 100% of all Amazon sales commission. I haven’t seen anybody arguing otherwise, even the detractors of the decision make it clear that the problem is not a legal one, but a moral and ethical one. Discussions about the legal (copyright/trademark/etc) options and implications I’m going to leave for other posts. I mention this only to get it out of the way so we can focus entirely on the moral question.

        • Legally open, socially closed: part 2
        • Faster ‘help’ browser lands in Ubuntu 11.04

          So you accidentally hit the F1 key and wince. Why? You know what’s coming.

          For the next few minutes your hard drive will churn and your patience will burn as GNOME’s built-in ‘Help’ browser loads on your screen like a 100KB .jpg arriving piecemeal through a 52k modem.

        • Ubuntu Developer Week kicks off today

          Today is a very special day. I’m sure that if you live in the Northern hemisphere you can feel it already: Spring is right around the corner. In addition to that it’s one of the most awesome weeks of the release cycle: It’s Ubuntu Developer Week!

        • Ubuntu Mascots Wallpaper
        • Jono Bacon Defends Ubuntu: An Insider’s Perspective

          “I want to do everything I can to bring free software to everybody,” Bacon says. “And that’s why I’m passionate about Ubuntu. Canonical as a company is incredibly committed to that goal. But you know what? With the best intentions in the world, people make mistakes.”

          Bacon suggests that there is currently a “natural tension” in FOSS between those who want the configurability and full set of options that is part of the traditional philosophy and those who emphasize usability.

          He personally favors focusing on usability first on the grounds that it “is additive and the other isn’t. If you take Ubuntu and design it around end-users, so it’s really simple, really easy, and there’s no unnecessary clutter — if you make some opinionated decisions, which we’ve always done — it’s easier to then build configurability on top of that. Giving my Mom and Dad an incredibly configurable distribution for Linux enthusiasts and trying to make that easier is harder. So that’s why I think the approach we’ve taken Ubuntu is a good one.”

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Infibeam Launches Pi2, EBook Reader With Wi-Fi Connectivity and Touchscreen

      # OS: Linux2.6.28

    • Further adventures in mobile Linux

      I picked up a couple of cheap Linux devices at the weekend. First of all, a $99 Android tablet from CVS, made by Craig. It’s a generic RK2818 device and of course it’s lacking any kind of GPL offer in the documentation. As far as I know the only company that’s released any Rockchip source so far has been Archos, and even then they haven’t released the tools you need to actually build an image – they seem to be floating around the internet anyway.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

      • Android

        • Google Nexus S with Android 2.3 (‘Gingerbread’): the 60-day internment review

          Pros: excellent functionality in operating system; press-and-hold (“long press”) adds contextual elements; very good integration with Google services; future-proofed if NFC becomes effective.
          Cons: keyboard can be extremely frustrating; Market still lacks apps from many big organisations; lack of markings on phone makes it hard to figure out which way you’ve got it up.

          Basically, Gingerbread is arguably the best smartphone operating system you can get at the moment – if you can live with the keyboard. (If we had a more subtle star system, I’d give it 9/10.)

        • Further evidence that RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook will support Android apps

          A few days ago, Andrew reported that Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook tablet might be able to run Android apps when it’s released. Anonymous sources claimed RIM was working on a virtual machine that would enable this, and later the developer ShopSavvy discovered something curious in its logs: a series of old BlackBerry devices had been running the company’s Android app.

        • Turn your Android Into a Keyboard and Mouse for Your Playstation 3 or PC

          Another reason we all love technology, thanks to some clever development by XDA member berserker_devel, you can now use your rooted Android device as a keyboard or mouse on your Playstation 3.

        • Android Likely to Crush Nokia-Microsoft, Analyst Says

          With the rise of Android, the number of handset OEMs with significant smartphone market share increased in 2010. This competitive landscape is forcing handset OEMs to consider their device and portfolio strategies carefully as they jockey for position.

          Senior Analyst Michael Morgan elaborates: “Motorola has pinned its entire turnaround strategy on Android. As competitors flood the Android ecosystem, Motorola wants to become known as the OEM that brings Android devices to business.

        • Android phone to replace shop till

          Alcatel-Lucent has demonstrated Google’s Nexus S being used to accept a Near Field Communications (NFC) payment, showing that NFC can do more than replace a customer’s wallet.

          Mobile phones are going to replace physical wallets, but for taking payments, merchants still use expensive readers bought (or hired) from the banks. Alcatel-Lucent reckons that becomes unnecessary as its software will use a standard Android handset to enable Near Field Communications transactions.

        • Android Fragmentation is so last year. Processor fragmentation is the real issue [OPINION]

          Everyone discussing Android OS fragmentation should take a seat. You’ve have had more than a year to discuss the differences among Donuts and Froyo ad nauseam. The new source of headache for developers and end users will not be whether a device is running Android 2.2. It will be whether that device runs the right processor.

          MadFinger Games today released Samurai II: Vengeance, an excellent adventure game in which players slash their way through multiple levels of blood and bad guys. I played it briefly at Mobile World Congress, and that will probably be the only time I get to play Samurai II until I purchase a new device. According to its Android Market listing, Samurai II: Vengeance “is optimized for use on NVIDIA Tegra based Android devices only.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Contribute FOSS with Summer internship at IIT Bombay – FOSSEE project

    The FOSSEE textbook companion project is part of the FOSSEE project at IIT Bombay. This project is handled by the following professors at IIT Bombay…

  • Support Free and Open Source Software Community as a candidate for the Prince of Asturias Awards 2011 in the International Cooperation category

    Prince of Asturias Foundation has invited CENATIC to nominate a candidate for the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award. During the last weeks CENATIC Foundation has been evaluating potential candidates, intending to find the one with the biggest chances of winning the award, which would, at the same time, represent the interests of all the agents of the Free and Open Source Software sector in Spain.

  • Events

    • FSFE at ODF Plugfest and Pirate Party Conference

      On Wednesday night I travelled from Manchester to London to attend the ODF Plugfest event, located in nearby Maidenhead the following day. Just before catching the train from Manchester Picadilly, I collected a new 2m tall self-supporting FSFE banner, for use at the booth that I would be running a few days later at the Pirate Party Conference.

      I stayed with British FSFE team member Chris Woolfrey in his London flat, and on Thursday morning I took the train to Maidenhead, and headed to the town hall, where the ODF Plugfest was being hosted. During the day there were several talks on various technical aspects of Open Document Format, including new solutions in KOffice to old interoperability problems between desktop ODF editors.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Who Did The Most For X.Org Server 1.10? Oracle?

      Oracle’s (former Sun engineer) Alan Coopersmith led with the most change-sets, sign-offs, and reviews. Overall this put Oracle in first place for the most change-set contributions by employer, even beating out Red Hat, Nokia, and Intel.

      There were 70 employers involved during this process. When it came to the most changes lines overall, coming in first was actually Matthew Dew, who has been working on cleaning up and organizing the X documentation.

    • Sun’s Scott McNealy Recalls Triumphs, Near Misses

      The former Sun Microsystems CEO recollects brilliant innovations, hiring Bill Joy, and almost acquiring Apple, but talks little about missteps in a conversation with former Sun president Ed Zander at Silicon Valley’s Churchill Club.

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.4 Alpha Release (build DEV300m101) available

      OpenOffice.org 3.4 Alpha Release is available for download as Developer Snapshot OOo-Dev DEV300m101.

      If you find issues within this build please file them to OpenOffice.org’s bug tracking system BugZilla.

  • Healthcare

    • The Real Fight for Government Control is Open Source

      In the contracting model that dominates the boom town of modern Washington created by the Bush Administration (the Iraq War was almost all done by contract, and the Administration’s “privatization” efforts mainly involved contracting) this doesn’t compute. If you do switch to open source (and some contractors have) the savings are all the contractors’, both now and later.

      For government to get the most value from open source, it has to hire its own programmers whose time can be spent capturing that value on behalf of their employer, namely you and me.

      This is not necessarily a partisan issue. The Conservative government of the U.K. is pushing open source heavily, to the delight of the industry.

      But it’s moving ahead slowly, and there is little indication the government has accepted the move’s implications. They seem to think it relates to standards and interoperability.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • No matter what you call it, a rat is still a rat…

        In the past few months, as success of open source in several markets has sunk in, a number of players in those markets have started to behave very badly.

        I am not talking about the old, everyday proprietary vendor FUD – that’s an old story, and has become painfully cliché by now. FUD has been part of the software game for a long time, but it has certainly lost a lot of efficiency against open source – only the most laggard still dare to call open source “trialware for non-strategic projects”. Maybe the numerous deals they’ve lost in the past 18 months to enterprise open source vendors have forced everyone else to revise their position…?

        I am actually talking about several categories of rats:

        * those who have adopted “faux-pen source” strategies (from the French “faux” which means fake, and “open source”, which means… great!) after attacking open source
        * those who continue to attack open source for their own benefit
        * and – how could we forget? – those who walk away from open source

        In the first category (faux-pen source), you find the “rats” who have spent years claiming that “free stuff” provides no value and is a mere copy of traditional software. They mocked users of open source software who were “getting what they paid for”. Now, all of a sudden, “free” is the new great thing, and they’ve jumped on the bandwagon and released free versions of their own.

  • Government

    • Lend some code to your local representative

      There was a bit of news coming out the European Parliament recently that could be easily overlooked. MEP Indrek Tarand (of Estonia no less), along with some non-MEP partners, started the European Parliament Free Software User Group (EPFSUG).

      With goals like “assist people in using Free Software in the European Parliament” and planned sessions like “making your laptop free” it’s largely internal focused and not geared toward policy making. The acronym doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, in English at least, and the website leaves much to be desired, but there’s still something interesting here.

    • Zaragoza: ‘Spain’s public sector major driver open source desktop’

      Spain’s public administrations are an important driver for the advance of open source software on desktop computers. That is one of the conclusions of a desktop migration guide published by the IT department of the city of Zaragoza.

      Many Spanish public administrations have already adopted a free and open source desktop system, the report notes, listing implementations done by the administrations of Extremadura, Andalucía, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluña, Zaragoza, Valenciana and Madrid. Most of the larger city administrations are interested in this type of software, the IT department writes, based on research by Cenatic, the national resource centre for open source.

    • True Open Standards; Open Source Next?

      That stark contrast between the watered-down version adopted at the European level, and the real openness now being promulgated in the UK is one reason why this is an important move. It shows that despite the European Commission’s pusillanimity in the face of lobbyists, national bodies are setting higher standards because they understand that anything less would be pointless if openness is the aim.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • “Like,” “share,” and “recommend”: How the warring verbs of social media will influence the news’ future

      But I’m less interested in the details of the implementation than the verbs: sharing (tonally neutral, but explicitly social) has clearly lost to liking (with its ring of a personal endorsement).

      There’s actually a third verb, “Recommend.” Unlike “Share,” it’s not its own separate action within FacebookWorld; it’s just “Like” renamed, with a less forceful endorsement. But it lives deep in the shadow of “Like” everywhere — except on traditional news sites, which have tended to stay far away from “Like.” I just did a quick scan of some of the web’s most popular news sites to see what metaphor they use to integrate with Facebook on their story pages.

    • Open Data

      • U.S. Public Sector Information as an Engine of Growth

        Vollmer ends with an uplifting Carl-Malamudism that underscores the positive, economic externalities. “Public data is “the raw material of innovation, creating a wealth of business opportunities that drive our economy forward. Government information is a form of infrastructure no less important to our modern life than our roads, electrical grid, or water systems.”

    • Open Access/Content

      • BMJOpen launched

        BMJ Open – BMJ’s new online-only, open access journal – has been launched. The journal will publish “all research study types, from study protocols to phase I trials to meta-analyses, including small or potentially low-impact studies”.

        In a move to promote greater transparency in the peer review process, all published articles include the reviewers reports, responses from the author and (where necessary) a further commentary by the reviewers. All reviewer reports include details of who has undertaken the review (name, affiliation, and contact details.)

  • Programming

    • Mentoring Organization Applications Now Being Accepted for Google Summer of Code!

      Interested in finding bright, enthusiastic new contributors to your open source project? Apply to be a mentoring organization in our Google Summer of Code program. We are now accepting applications from open source projects interested in acting as mentoring organizations.

      Now in its 7th year, Google Summer of Code is a program designed to pair university students from around the world with mentors at open source projects in such varied fields as academia, language translations, content management systems, games, and operating systems. Since 2005, over 4,500 students from 85 countries have completed the Google Summer of Code program with the support of over 300 mentoring organizations. Students earn a stipend for their work during the program, allowing students to gain exposure to real-world software development and an opportunity for employment in areas related to their academic pursuits, thus “flipping bits, not burgers” during their school break. In return, mentoring organizations have the opportunity to identify and attract new developers to their projects and these students often continue their work with the organizations after Google Summer of Code concludes.


  • Mallick: We’ve found Gadhafi’s replacement — Charlie Sheen

    He’s a strange piece of famous, a mottled cheese, a hyper-haired man given to making jaw-dropping statements while people nod sycophantically and stare at the phalanx of tall beautiful salaried women who surround him under the palm trees. And the things he says! “I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time — and this includes naps — I’m an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordnance to the ground.”

    Frankly, I’m amazed they let him speak to the UN Security Council with those military threats and that level of ludicrous bombast, I think the Israelis were quite right to object. Not to mention the costuming … What? I’m sorry, I’m being told that wasn’t a quote from Moammar Gadhafi. That was Charlie Sheen giving the radio interview that finally got him fired Thursday.

    Well, six of one, half a dozen of the other, I’ll check the transcript.

  • Emergent Religions

    Emergent religions are primarily reflections of society. They are a collective attempt to understand and make meaning. In places like China where there is currently a vacuum of meaning — no scriptures, no constitution, just the little red book of Mao, and rampant Darwinian pressure to make money — it should be no surprise that vehicles of something larger to believe in will appear. In Russia, a belief in science mixes with a resident mysticism producing new religions. In Africa, the dire lack of health care summons all kinds of new faith healing churches. And in the west, the need to make sense of technology and our own mutating human identity will breed new religions.

  • IT graduates not ‘well-trained, ready-to-go’

    There is a disconnect between students getting high-tech degrees and what employers are looking for in those graduates.

    Employers agree that colleges and universities need to provide their students with the essential skills required to run IT departments, yet only 8% of hiring managers would rate IT graduates hired as “well-trained, ready-to-go,” according to a survey of 376 organizations that are members of the IBM user group Share and Database Trends and Applications subscribers.

  • London’s “King of the Looky-lous” top Baidu charts

    Paul offered his personal statement during a one-on-one interview: “I’m here, this is me. I am sorry I don’t have a suit, and I am not slender. I am always the one being neglected simply because I’m overweight. Maybe I have something great to say about a particular matter, but the microphone is always passed to those beside me. The more I am neglected, the harder I will try to make others notice me. I want to change the media’s belief that ugly fat people like me are an eyesore to the viewers!”

  • McLuhan on the future of newspapers

    Despite finding much of McLuhan absurd, this leapt out at me last night:

    The classified ads (and stock-market quotations) are the bedrock of the press. Should an alternative source of easy access to such diverse daily information be found, the press will fold.

    Is this a case of even a blind pig finding an occasional acorn? Or of prescience bordering on genius?

  • Canadian developer to RIM: ‘I concede defeat.’
  • Olympic Logo Is ‘Racist’, Claims Iran
  • Anti-gay Christian couple lose foster care case

    A Pentecostal Christian couple have lost their high court claim that they were discriminated against by a local authority because they insisted on their right to tell young foster children that homosexuality is morally wrong.

  • Suffer the Little Children

    The state legislature of Oregon is debating a real step forward for human rights for their constituents: removing the special legal protection that shields faith healing parents from charges of homicide after the preventable death of their children. There is widespread support from the public, state prosecutors, and legislators for House Bill 2721. Clackamas County District Attorney, John Foote, said the measure will “make it easier to hold parents accountable who don’t protect their children.”

    According to the Oregonian, Oregon “is the only state that provides immunity from prosecution for murder by neglect and first-degree manslaughter to those who provide care or treatment to minors ‘solely by spiritual means pursuant to (their) religious beliefs.’” This is likely because any measure designed to protect children has, in the past, faced serious opposition from groups that encourage faith healing like Christian Scientists. This article of faith has caused dozens of preventable deaths in the last twenty years in the state of Oregon alone, and in a Pediatrics article, “Child fatalities from religion motivated medical neglect,” authors Asser and Swan found 172 U.S. deaths of children when medical care was withheld on religious grounds.

  • Science

    • Biology Nobelist: Natural selection will destroy us

      The cost of our success is the exhaustion of natural resources, leading to energy crises, climate change, pollution and the destruction of our habitat. If you exhaust natural resources there will be nothing left for your children. If we continue in the same direction, humankind is headed for some frightful ordeals, if not extinction.

    • No proof of P=NP after all (yet?)

      Vladimir Romanov has conceded that his published “proof” of P=NP is flawed and requires further work.

    • Planet Earth valued at $4,800 trillion

      Such is the state of global capitalism, TechEye can confirm that everything has its price.

      This time it’s not a marketing exec who would have undoubtedly recieved both barrels from the late Bill Hicks, it is astrophysicist Greg Laughlin who reckons he’s worked out the monetary value of the earth itself.

      The price for our blue planet? Laughlin’s recommended retail comes in at an impressive £3,000 ($4,800) trillion, dwarfing even Manchester City’s 2011 wage bill.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto Shifts All Liability For Damages Caused By Its GM Crops to Farmers, Now and For Perpetuity

      I’ll say it bluntly and blanketedly: I can’t stand Monsanto, even separate from my disdain for GM crops–they are a perfect example of the worst excesses of opaque corporate shenanigans that, alongside outright political dictatorship and oppression, are direct threats to true democracy.

      Here’s the source of that brief rant: As TruthOut highlighted earlier in the week, the Monsanto Technology Stewardship Agreement (the name itself is Orwellian in it’s use of language to obscure and not illuminate) indemnifies Monsanto against “any and all losses, injury or damages resulting from the use or handling of seed (including claims based in contract, negligence, product liability, strict liability, tort, or otherwise)…in no event shall Monsanto or any seller be liable for any incidental, consequential, special, or punitive damages.”

      Which would be bad enough, but even if you terminate your contract with Monsanto, “Grower’s responsibilities and the other terms herein shall survive.”

      If a Monsanto GM Crop Causes Damage, Monsanto Off the Hook

  • Security

    • Monday’s security advisories
    • Vodafone’s UK network taken down by a break-in (update: some services restored)

      No further details have been provided, though work is naturally underway to repair the damage done and we’re assured customers’ private data has remained so. We can’t imagine quite such a service disruption being caused by a random act of vandalism or burglary, perhaps a disgruntled employee felt the need to vent his or her frustrations in grand style? Or has O2 gone gangster on the competition?

    • Anonymous vs HBGary

      In cyberspace, the balance of power is on the side of the attacker. Attacking a network is much easier than defending a network. That may change eventually — there might someday be the cyberspace equivalent of trench warfare, where the defender has the natural advantage — but not anytime soon.

    • That Soldier Wooing You Over Facebook Probably Isn’t Real

      Is a handsome young soldier currently professing his love to you on Facebook? He might be real! But probably, he’s not. Especially if he’s asking you to send him money. The AP reports that the fake-Facebook-soldier (or whatever the snappy conman name is) is “becoming an all-too-common ruse,” in one case costing a victim $25,000.

    • British Airways IT worker found guilty of plotting terror attack

      An IT expert for British Airways has been found guilty of using his position to plan a terrorist attack on behalf of the Yemen-based radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, according to news reports.

      Rajib Karim, 31, of Newcastle, used his job as a software engineer for the UK airline to aid attacks being planned by Awlaki, who is accused of having links to the to the attempted shoe-bombing of a plane over Detroit on Christmas 2009. The plot came to light after experts from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command spent nine months cracking 300 encrypted emails found on Karim’s hard drive.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • U.S. silent as Iraqi regime cracks down

      We saw it with Yemen, and now we’re seeing it again with Iraq: The Obama administration is conspicuously quiet when friendly Middle East regimes use ugly tactics — including violence and imprisoning peaceful demonstrators — to quell growing protest movements in their countries.

      That’s in marked contrast to the administration’s tough stand when similar tactics are employed by unfriendly governments like the one in Iran. In a statement yesterday, the White House “strongly condemn[ed] the Iranian government’s organized intimidation campaign and arrests of political figures, human rights defenders, political activists, student leaders, journalists and bloggers.”

    • Report calls for in-depth public inquiry into ‘shocking’ abuses at G20 summit

      A full-scale public inquiry is needed in light of the widespread and violent trampling of civil rights by police at last summer’s $1-billion G20 summit in Toronto, a new report concludes.

      The call for an inquiry is among recommendations in the report – by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and National Union of Public and General Employees – which is aimed at holding governments accountable and avoiding a recurrence.

    • G20 Report: Whose peace breached?
    • Qaddafi’s Private Jet Just Dropped Someone Off In Minsk

      Muammar el-Qaddafi’s private Dassault Falcon jet 5A-DCN dropped someone off in Minsk on Friday, according to reports in Haaretz and Malta Today.

      It is believed to have been someone in Qaddafi’s family. That person could be his daughter Aisha, who was denied entry to Malta last week, according to Al Jazeera.

      Qaddafi is friendly with Belarus’s Alexander Lukashenko.

    • U.S. continues Bush policy of opposing ICC prosecutions

      It has been widely documented that many of the worst atrocities on behalf of Libyan leader Moammar Gadaffi have been committed by foreign mercenaries from countries such as Algeria, Ethiopia and Tunisia. Despite that, the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions Resolution aimed at Libya, which was just enacted last week, includes a strange clause that specifically forbids international war crimes prosecutions against mercenaries from nations which are not signatories to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which protects many of the mercenaries Gadaffi is using.

    • ICE detainee passes away at Lock Haven Hospital

      A Chinese national in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since Feb. 14 passed away on Feb. 23 at the Lock Haven Hospital in Lock Haven, Pa., of an apparent suicide.

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks Goes After The Saudi Royal Family

      Wikileaks just released a motherload of info on the taboo subject of Saudi Arabian royal rents.

      The 1996 cable — entitled “Saudi Royal Wealth: Where do they get all that money?” — describes legal and illegal ways that royals grab money, according to Reuters.

    • “If law fails, CIA will assassinate Assange”
    • “If law fails, CIA will assassinate Assange”
    • How US choppers ended up in Colombian money-laundering hands

      To get a sense of just how interconnected the formal and illicit dimensions of international political economy are, take a peek at this brief cable from the U.S. Embassy in Bogota published by WikiLeaks Sunday.

      The cable details then-Ambassador William Woods’ hunt for two missing helicopters that had originally been sold to the Israeli military by the United States government, but had somehow ended up in the hands of multimillionaire Enilse Lopez, a businesswoman who was suspected of close ties to Colombian paramilitaries.

    • Julian Assange and Raymond A. Davis

      America wants them both – who should be released?

      The US desperately wants to extradite both Julian Assange and Raymond A. Davis but for different reasons.

    • The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Monday, Day 93

      2:05 New Chomsky interview. Asked about whether U.S. knew truth about Tunisia, he replies: “In the case of Tunisia, which is kind of an interesting case, Tunisia was held as (the) very beacon of democracy and progress in the region. Some of the articles that appear kind of embarrassing to read now. But they knew. In fact one of the interesting WikiLeaks disclosures was series of cables by the American ambassador in Tunisia who said, very straight out, look this is a police state, there is no freedom of speech or association, the public is extremely angry at the corruption of the ruling family. So they knew but the … doctrine prevailed. It was quiet so everything was fine.” 9h/t Kevin Gosztola)

      2:00 Thanks to all for helping make my e-book The Age of WIkiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate become the top-selling book on this subject (even topping the big boys at NYT and Guardian –and Daniel Domsheit-Berg, too) at Amazon. Print edition here. Hailed by Dan Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, and more.

      12:45 New summary with links on Wikileaks cables impact from OpEdNews.

      12:15 Chris Hedges in new Truthout piece focuses on antiwar demos coming up in March, but also mentions protest to support Bradley Manning on March 20 — and the importance of earlier WikiLeaks docs on Iraq and Afghan torture and civilian casualties.

    • Musyoka: Lies, Lovers, and Mercenaries in Kenya’s Politics

      Summary: Kenyan auditor Peter Odhiambo exposed
      billions of shillings of tax evasion and money laundering at
      his former employer, Charterhouse Bank, by a group of major
      companies partly owned by notorious businessman John Mwau and
      MP William Kabogo. On July 20, Odhiambo briefed Emboffs on
      the details of the scam, and explained he had experienced
      death threats and a frightening attempt by some policemen to
      serve him with a bogus warrant. Because the people
      implicated in the scandal are dangerous and appear to have
      bought influence and protection from the GOK, Odhiambo
      requested refuge in the U.S. Refugee Officer is prepared to
      write an Embassy referral for Odhiambo to DHS for processing
      his application for refugee status, and DHS is willing to
      interview him.


      President Kibaki publicly stands firm behind
      the Kenyan Police raid on the Standard Media Group.
      Meanwhile, Standard journalists and others privately say the
      raids were prompted by a State House belief that the paper
      possesses documents implicating the President’s family in
      grand-scale corruption, possibly including narcotics
      trafficking. First Lady Lucy Kibaki has reportedly
      personally threatened to “burn down the Standard” unless the
      information on her is relinquished. Even as the government
      ridicules claims of “foreign mercenaries” in the country,
      political opponents and journalists believe unofficial Second
      Wife Mary Wambui is behind the foreigners — and the cocaine
      trafficking. Opposition leaders say they are being
      blackmailed to keep quiet; shocked by the steps already
      taken, they privately fear a cornered government will move to
      arrest them, with or without charges. And they worry about
      the possible use of lethal force.

    • 10NAIROBI181, Chinese Engagement in Kenya

      China’s engagement in Kenya continues to grow exponentially. China enjoys a large trade surplus with Kenya; exports increased by more than 25 percent a year from 2004 to 2008. The China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) is drilling for oil in the Isiolo region. China may be a potential partner in the development of the new mega-port at Lamu. In addition, China is heavily involved in various infrastructure projects across Kenya primarily with roads. China is also providing weapons to the GOK in support of its Somalia policies and increasing their involvement with the Kenyan National Security and Intelligence Service (NSIS) by providing telecommunications and computer equipment. Recently, China signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement with the GOK providing new development grants. To date, China and the U.S. do not collaborate on development projects in Kenya.


      Embassy is seeking a security advisory opinion under
      Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act,
      Proclamation 7750, suspending the entry into the United
      States of Aaron Gitonga Ringera and members of his family.
      Ringera was born in Meru, Kenya on June 20, 1950. Post
      strongly believes Mr. Ringera has engaged in and benefited
      from public corruption in his capacity as Director/Chief
      Executive of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) for
      the last five years by interference with judicial and other
      public processes, and that this corruption has had a serious
      adverse impact on U.S. national interest in the stability of
      democratic institutions in Kenya, U.S. foreign assistance
      goals and the international economic activities of U.S.
      businesses. Ringera travels frequently to the U.S. He is
      expected shortly to apply for a U.S. visa. The following
      provides information requested in ref a, paragraphs 26-28.

    • Julian Assange: At the Forefront of 21st Century Journalism

      If there were ever a doubt about whether the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is a journalist, recent events erase all those doubts and put him at the forefront of a movement to democratize journalism and empower people.

      The U.S. Department of Justice is still trying to find a way to prosecute Assange and others associated with WikiLeaks. A key to their prosecution is claiming he is not a journalist, but that weak premise has been made laughable by recent events.

      The list of WikiLeaks revelations has become astounding . During the North African and Middle East revolts WikiLeaks published documents that provided people with critical information. The traditional media has relied on WikiLeaks publications and is now also emulating WikiLeaks.

    • Equitorial Guinea ruler’s son ‘ordered superyacht’

      The son of Equatorial Guinea ruler Teodoro Obiang Nguema has commissioned plans to build one of the world’s most expensive yachts, a rights group claimed on Monday.

      President Obiang’s son Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, known as Teodorin, has commissioned plans for a yacht costing 288 million euros ($400 million), said Global Witness, which works to break the links between resource exploitation and bad governance.

    • What US cables reveal about France and the Ben Ali regime

      “Tunisia is not a dictatorship.” That was the analysis made in August 2007 by the then-French ambassador to Tunis, Serge Degallaix. Revealed by WikiLeaks in a series of cables published here by Mediapart, it succinctly sums up France’s position towards the regime of now-deposed ruler.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Vancouver Island Bald Eagles Are “Falling From the Sky”

      It was one thing when starlings, robins, and turtledoves were falling dead from the sky in places like Kentucky, Italy, and Arkansas. Those places are far from the Pacific Northwest, and the birds are just common species that no one cares about anyway. Well, now bizarre bird deaths have finally made their way to the PNW, and it’s eagles that are falling from the sky. That’s right, bald freaking eagles.

      The Vancouver Sun reports that Maj Birch, manager of the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society in Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, is currently caring for seven injured eagles that were starving and fell out of the sky. Several others didn’t make it.

    • Coal Is Cheap – Because We Pay $345 Billion Of Their Annual Costs

      Earlier today, we looked at the constantly rising price of dirty energy: both direct costs (extraction from the ground, transport, etc.) and the externalities, that is, costs or opportunities shifted to other sectors of the economy.

      The classic example of a negative externality (a cost shifted to another part of the economy) is pollution. If a chemical company forgoes proper disposal of its waste, and dumps it into a reservoir, they’re abdicating their responsibility to pay for that pollution, and shunting the cost on to the folks downstream.

    • The Great Climate Change Conspiracy

      Gotta love it. There’s so much money in Climate Science, that every climate scientist in the world is willing to lie about it. In fact they are not only willing to lie, they are willing to try and mess up scientists from other disciplines so that they can keep on enjoying the gravy train…

      It’s rather scary actually listening to the True Believers who know the truth about Climate Change. According to them we’ll never run out of oil. Oil is a renewable resource! Yes, isn’t it wonderful? Curiously none of them are capable of telling us exactly how it’s going to become renewable.

      Let’s take a look at some of the points that have been made:

      Lots of scientists don’t believe in Climate Change either – while this is true, the scientists who don’t believe in it aren’t Climate experts. When I pointed out that most of the scientists who disagreed with Climate Change were actually mathematicians, I was accused of hating mathematicians.

    • The Cove director sends dolphin slaughter DVDs to whole fishing town

      The director of The Cove, an Oscar-winning film about the annual slaughter of dolphins in Taiji on Japan’s Pacific coast, has sent free DVDs of the movie to the town’s residents.

      Louie Psihoyos said he was concerned that the film had not been given enough exposure in Japan, particularly among the 3,500 residents of Taiji.

      The American director said Japanese-language copies of the movie, which last year won the Oscar for best documentary, had been delivered to every household in Taiji over the weekend with the help of a local ocean conservation group.

    • If climate scientists are in it for the money, they’re doing it wrong

      You can’t make a bundle pushing the consensus

      So, are there big bucks to be had in climate science? Since it doesn’t have a lot of commercial appeal, most of the people working in the area, and the vast majority of those publishing the scientific literature, work in academic departments or at government agencies. Penn State, home of noted climatologists Richard Alley and Michael Mann, has a strong geosciences department and, conveniently, makes the department’s salary information available. It’s easy to check, and find that the average tenured professor earned about $120,000 last year, and a new hire a bit less than $70,000.

    • Republicans recycle an old idea: the foam plastic coffee cup

      A bit like the Republican party, they are white, seemingly indestructible and bad for the environment. But after an absence of four years, foam plastic coffee cups have made a comeback in the basement coffee shop of the United States Congress building after Republicans began reversing a series of in-house green initiatives undertaken by Democrats.

      The about-turn was announced by a press aide to John Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives, who tweeted on Monday morning: “The new majority – plasticware is back”.

  • Anonymous/Wisconsin/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Anonymous Joins The Wisconsin Protests By Taking Out Americans For Prosperity

      The cyber protest group Anonymous has joined the protesters of Wisconsin and Americans all across this country in the battle against what they described as the “Koch brothers attempt usurp democracy.” The opening salvo in Anon’s OpWisconsin occurred today when the Koch brothers funded Americans for Prosperity was knocked offline in an attempt to take a small slice of the Internet back from the liberty stealing propagandists.

      In a press release Anonymous put the Koch brothers on notice, “It has come to our attention that the brothers, David and Charles Koch–the billionaire owners of Koch Industries–have long attempted to usurp American Democracy. Their actions to undermine the legitimate political process in Wisconsin are the final straw. Starting today we fight back.”

    • ‘Anonymous’ targets the brothers Koch, claiming attempts ‘to usurp American Democracy’

      The decentralized protest group “Anonymous” has a new target: no, it’s not a middle eastern dictator, a major bank or even a bit player in the military-industrial complex.

      It’s none other than tea party financiers Charles and David Koch, who were being targeted, an open letter stated, for their attempts “to usurp American Democracy.”

    • Anonymous versus Fox News’ Dan Gainor

      That’s Anon News in what a post on the site describes as a “Twitter Bitch-fight with FoxNews.com Columnist Dan Gainor”.

      Anon News is fast becoming a distribution and media centre for Anonymous and “THE FOLLOWING IS A TRUE STORY, AND TOOK PLACE ON THE EVENING OF FEBRUARY 27″, says an Anon who’d engaged in a lengthy ‘discussion’ with Fux’s Gainor.

    • Making the world go around

      Now it’s become clear the explosions of citizen anger first manifested in Tunisia following a determined Anonymous campaign aren’t just examples of temporary “student unrest”.

      They’re the new paradigm in which people around the world take control of their lives, reversing the way things used to be when those who were supposed to serve us served only themselves.

    • Anonymous makes a laughing stock of HBGary

      Following a failed attempt at mediation on IRC, Anonymous published both the alleged identities of its leading figures and HBGary’s entire email archive online. And whilst the allegedly explosive data on Anonymous proved to be almost entirely without substance, the email archive painted a very detailed picture of the US security company’s leading figures and their business dealings. Whilst it’s worth bearing in mind that these emails could have been ‘interfered with’, plausibility checks offer no indication that this is the case.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Newspaper does not have to identify anonymous commenters, rules High Court

      The Daily Mail does not have to identify the people behind two anonymously posted comments on its website because to do so would breach their rights to privacy, the High Court has said.

      The subject of a news story had demanded information from the Daily Mail that would help her to identify the two commenters so that she could sue them for defamation, but the Court said that identification of those people would be disproportionate.

    • Europe’s highest court to rule on Google privacy battle in Spain

      Europe’s highest court looks set to decide whether Google should remove links to articles in newspapers, including El País, from its online search engine following a Spanish demand about invasion of privacy.

      Google was ordered to remove almost 100 online articles from its search results by Spain’s data protection authority earlier this year. The articles, some of which appeared in official gazettes, were subject to privacy complaints by their subjects.

  • Civil Rights

    • When does life mean life?

      Three convicted murderers are challenging their sentences in the European Court of Human Rights. They claim that the rare “whole life” tariffs which have been imposed in their cases is contrary to their human rights.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • The Right to Information in Brazil– Censorship, Fines for Sharing Wi-Fi

      Following up on several other related posts, two recent news items give us reason to wonder about freedom of information in Brazil. First, Brazil’s telecommunications regulator, ANATEL, confiscated the computer equipment of three young people and fined them $3000R (about $2000US) for sharing an internet signal among their three dwellings in an effort to save money. Second, news has surfaced that in the first half of last year, Brazil asked Google to remove more news articles from the internet than any other country in the world, a total of 398, of which 177 requests involved a Judicial order [postscript: this was misinformed news-- based on false reports by the Committee to Protect Journalists, please see correction, next post.]. Brazil’s efforts to censure information were more intense than Libya’s, which came in second.

  • DRM

    • Geohot: We Built Your PS3. We Built This World.
    • Limits on library e-books stir controversy

      Some librarians are “appalled” by a new HarperCollins policy that would allow library e-books to circulate only 26 times before their license expires. Others, however, note that some major publishers don’t allow their e-books to circulate in libraries at all.

    • The eBook User’s Bill of Rights

      Every eBook user should have the following rights:

      * the right to use eBooks under guidelines that favor access over proprietary limitations
      * the right to access eBooks on any technological platform, including the hardware and software the user chooses
      * the right to annotate, quote passages, print, and share eBook content within the spirit of fair use and copyright
      * the right of the first-sale doctrine extended to digital content, allowing the eBook owner the right to retain, archive, share, and re-sell purchased eBooks

    • The Debate Over Copyright Gets Loud At Digital Music Forum

      Not surprisingly, there was a fair amount of disagreement on some of the issues, with Bengloff doing the usual song and dance about “piracy” destroying the music industry. Julie Samuels, correctly, pointed out that Bengloff was being misleading, and it was the recording industry that was having trouble adapting, not the music industry. Bengloff insisted this wasn’t true, and insisted (contrary to every single study we’ve seen) that every other aspect of the music business was in massive decline. Petricone then responded by bringing things around to a key point: copyright law was designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to act as an incentive to create content. And, if you look at the market today, you’d have to be delusional to say that the market is having any problem in that area whatsoever. More music is being created today than ever before. More people are spending more money on music and music related goods than ever before. There’s a massive variety of music available today. Basically, the content space is absolutely thriving. So, arguing that there’s a problem in the market seems misguided.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Major Second Life Content Theft Lawsuit Against Linden Settled With Promise of Better Protection, Says Ex-Plaintiff

      A major lawsuit against Linden Lab filed by its own users in late 2009 has been settled. That news was recently announced by one of the plaintiffs, virtual adult entertainment impresario Stroker Serpentine, during the taping of Metaverse TV’s “Grumpy Old Avatars” show. The lawsuit alleged that the company was allowing and enabling content theft of the plaintiff’s material by other Residents. Last week, however, Mr. Serpentine (Kevin Alderman IRL) said the dispute had been resolved out of court:

      “We settled the lawsuit with Linden Lab,” he told the “Grumpy” hosts, “we settled amicably, and reasonably, and we’re anticipating a concerted effort on Linden’s behalf going forward towards content protection and the rights of content creators and at least being aware of the fact that there is a lot of content theft going on out there.”

    • Female Artists of Second Life: Stanford Libraries and Lynn Hershman Want Your Art!
    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Google looking to launch YouTube movie service in UK

        Google is actively looking to begin an unlimited streaming subscription service, one that will rival Netflix and Amazon, and may launch it first in the UK.

      • Righthaven defendant threatens to seek settlement refunds

        A South Carolina woman sued by Las Vegas copyright enforcer Righthaven LLC escalated her counter-attack on Sunday, arguing Righthaven should refund hundreds of thousands of dollars it has obtained in dozens of lawsuit settlements worldwide since May.

        Attorneys for the woman, Dana Eiser, based their refund claim on charges that Righthaven in its lawsuits regularly threatens to seize the website domain names of defendants — and that this demand is improper and is used to coerce defendants into settling.

      • Sustainable Models for Creativity in the Digital Age

        We can no longer put off re-thinking the economic structures that have been producing, financing and funding culture up until now. Many of the old models have become anachronistic and detrimental to civil society. The aim of this document is to promote innovative strategies to defend and extend the sphere in which human creativity and knowledge can prosper freely and sustainably.

      • Piracy is the Future of TV: commercial TV sucks relative to illicit services

        “Piracy is the Future of Television” is Abigail De Kosnik’s Convergence Culture Consortium paper on the many ways in which piracy is preferable to buying legitimate online TV options. None of these advantages are related to price — it may be hard to compete with free, but it’s impossible to compete with free when you offer something worse than the free option. De Kosnik finishes the paper with a series of incredibly sensible recommendations for producing a commercial marketplace that’s as good or better than the illicit one.

      • Securing a right doesn’t mean granting a monopoly

        Such an assumption of power was unconstitutional.

        Securing a right does not require annulling another right, as Thomas Paine makes clear.

        1. Abolish copyright.
        2. Secure the author’s exclusive right to their writings, for a time limited to that of their natural lifespan.

        Securing a right does not require the grant of a monopoly.

      • Hollywood Gone Mad: Complaining That Oscar Nominated Films Downloaded More

        The article also highlights, as we’ve discussed at great lengths, how the producer, Nicolas Chartier of Voltage Films, of last year’s Oscar winner for best picture, Hurt Locker chose to sue 5,000 fans of his film for unauthorized downloading. Of course, it leaves out the part where he also called someone a “moron” and a “thief” for explaining to him, quite politely, why such a strategy might backfire. The reporter asks Chartier about the backlash, and he suggests that nobody knows who produces what films, so he doesn’t care if he gets a bad reputation: “I don’t think anyone is waking up saying, ‘Let’s boycott movies made by Voltage.’” Apparently Chartier doesn’t use the internet much. There are, in fact, efforts by people to get everyone to boycott Voltage films because of his actions.

      • Falling off the edge of a flat world?

        This blog challenges an attempt by entertainment industry stakeholders to discredit the Andersen-Frenz report (2007): The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study for Industry Canada.

        Findings from the report have been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and used as expert evidence in two British landmark court-cases dealing with P2P filesharing (Oink’s Pink Palace and one other). It also plays a central role in the debate on copyright reforms internationally.

      • The Impact of Music Downloads and P2P File-Sharing on the Purchase of Music: A Study for Industry Canada

        Industry Canada undertook a music file sharing study during 2006-07 to measure the extent to which music downloads over peer-to-peer file sharing networks, for which the sound recording industry receives no remuneration, affect music purchasing activity in Canada.

      • 70% of the Public Finds Piracy Socially Acceptable

        A recent study on moral standards and whether some law breaking is socially acceptable has revealed an interesting stance on file-sharing among the public. Of those questioned in the study, 70% said that downloading illicit material from the Internet is acceptable. Three out four, however, felt it was completely unacceptable to then sell that product for profit.

      • ACTA

        • Dutch trade minister: ACTA not superior to European or national law

          Will ACTA be binding on the US, EU, France, Romania, the Netherlands and Singapore? Confusion over whether the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) is binding is mounting. On 1 December 2010, Dutch Trade Minister Verhagen said in a parliamentary commission meeting: “It has never come up to implement ACTA in the Netherlands. It so happens that ACTA is not superior to European or national law.”

          This is a remarkable statement. It is in direct conflict with an EU Commission’s answer to a European Parliament question. It is also in conflict with the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which was ratified by the Netherlands. The minister misinformed parliament.

          A group of prominent European academics state that ACTA will directly or indirectly require additional action on the EU level. ACTA goes beyond current EU law. ACTA is legislation by the back door.

Clip of the Day

Muammar Gaddafi – Zenga Zenga Song – Noy Alooshe Remix + Download

Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: February 28th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

GNU/Linux and Free Software Shave Microsoft’s Margins

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Office Suites, Windows at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Windows and Office margins are eroding, which puts Microsoft’s cash cows in jeopardy

A reader of ours (in IRC) has just posted a couple of links from financial news sites. While these sites tend to take Microsoft’s claims at face value even when the numbers don’t add up, the latter story says that “Windows has 75% PC market share” and also speaks about the erosion of margins, which competition with GNU/Linux inevitably leads to:

Microsoft OS’ operating margins have declined from around 79% in 2007 to around 66% in 2010, and we expect it to continue to decline to around 59% by the end of Trefis forecast period. The margins have declined as average OS license pricing has suffered given the company’s expansion into emerging markets and due to lower priced netbooks for which Microsoft sells a cheaper OS license. We expect these trends to continue in the future in addition to the growth in mobile devices like smartphones and tablets which could also weigh on margins in the future.


Microsoft Office operating margins have declined from around 67% in 2007 to around 61% in 2010, and these could continue to decline to around 54% by the end of Trefis forecast period. Last year, Microsoft released Office web apps, a cloud-based software, to compete with Google Apps, and we discussed some of the challenges in for this product in a note entitled Microsoft’s Stock Could Lose $2 if Office Margins Decline to Google App Levels.

Just as we mentioned earlier today, there is this tendency to ignore the real competition which is Free software. Google Apps is not Microsoft’s #1 problem and the estimate of office suites market share in the article above is incorrect based on surveys that exist. But it’s the trend we care about and it confirms what we occasionally write about.

SCO is Selling Its Assets, But What About Novell?

Posted in Antitrust, Novell, SCO, SLES/SLED at 3:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Darl McBrideWikipedia on Darl McBride: “From 1988 to 1996, McBride was a manager at Novell, where he managed the business relationship with Novell KK (Japan) and later was promoted to vice president and general manager of Novell’s Embedded Systems Division (NEST).”

Summary: Novell’s sale is/was expected to be finalised this month and SCO intends to sell assets to a SCO-related shell called unXis

TECHRIGHTS is currently researching the status of Novell’s sale, which is supposed to be just days away (barring ongoing investigations).

Groklaw says that SCO’s “Bankruptcy Hearing on Selling Assets to unXis Set for March 2 at 2 PM”:

SCO claims that there is a hearing scheduled for March 2nd at 2 PM in the US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. This is the big one, the hearing to decide if SCO can sell off its assets to the same folks they couldn’t sell to last time when the court wondered if the deal showed good faith.

It is possible that Novell will sell SUSE shortly after this hearing, but we just don’t know yet what the USDOJ can do to further delay that. Meike Chabowski from Novell is promoting SUSE right now while Novell’s PR team keeps pushing proprietary software like Novell Sentinel Healthcare Solution Pack (some PR relates to SUSE only indirectly [1, 2]). OpenSUSE is generally very quiet (with exceptions [1, 2] that mostly relate to OpenSUSE 11.4 and coverage from Alastair Otter).

In general, Novell is becoming more like SCO. Not many people care about it and those who do have little or no respect for it. In an imminent post we’ll explain what happens to Novell/CPTN/AttachMSFT in light of investigations. Novell is becoming a huge liability to the FOSS world, as the previous post helped show. Going back many years ago, SCO also used to contribute to Linux, just like Novell.

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