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03.03.11

Links 3/3/2011: Linux 2.6.38 RC7 and 2.6.32.30

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Full migration to Linux

      These users now use Evolution as your mail client and OpenOffice as office suite, all running on Linux Fedora 14, and with some benefits own Linux networks…

  • Ballnux

    • HTC Magic / T-Mobile G1 gets Honeycomb port, Android past and future fused together (video)

      The original gangster of Android, T-Mobile’s G1, just refuses to quietly fade into the annals of history. Even in spite of its long overdue end of retail life last summer, the handset continues to see support from grassroots modders and tweakers, with the latest project being the most ambitious of them all: an Android Honeycomb port. A pair of xda members have succeeded in splicing Android’s most senior hardware with its very latest software and the results are available to see on video after the break. As usual with these builds, half of the phone’s functions have still to be enabled and the UI lag seems like it’ll be a permanent feature whatever happens, but still — it’s Honeycomb on the G1!

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.38-rc7
    • A New, Unique Linux Hardware Blog

      If you’re a Linux enthusiast and/or a computer hardware enthusiast, a new blog has launched this morning that definitely should be of interest to you.

      This new blog focuses upon benchmarks, performance testing, new hardware launches, computing trends, Linux software performance, etc. It’s the OpenBenchmarking.org blog. But before wondering if it’s just a Phoronix blog or something else mundane, it is not. In fact, it’s based upon community content and test results. The blog’s content, in fact, is mostly auto-generated.

    • Yocto Project Aligns Technology with OpenEmbedded and Gains Corporate Collaborators

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that the Yocto Project will align with the OpenEmbedded community to advance embedded Linux. The Linux Foundation today is also announcing a variety of new companies that are participating in these embedded Linux efforts.

      The Yocto Project is merging technology with the OpenEmbedded community and extending governance to include OpenEmbedded representatives. In addition, the projects are planning to share a common OpenEmbedded Core consisting of software build recipes and core Linux components, preventing fragmentation and reinforcing the OpenEmbedded methodology as an open standard for embedded Linux build systems.

    • Stable kernel 2.6.32.30
    • Linux 2.6.32.30
    • Glamorous pictures?

      The event last weekend was a “no cameras” event, and while we’ll have pictures, I don’t have them yet.

      And I think I’ll keep them private when we get them – no need to embarrass the beautiful people any more than we already did.

      So to make up for that, here’s a glamorous shot from about seventeen years ago that maddog (on the left) found the other day. It’s from DECUS, New Orleans, 1994.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Mesa S3TC External Library Hits Version 1.0.0

        For those that use libtxc_dxtn, the external S3TC library to Mesa to provide S3 Texture Compression support, version 1.0.0 is now available.

      • Intel Is Readying The xf86-video-intel 2.15 Driver

        With it nearing the end of the quarter, Intel’s OSTC team working on their Linux graphics driver stack is readying their quarterly driver update. Along with the Linux 2.6.38 kernel and Mesa 7.11 as some of the key components to make up this quarter’s Linux package, the xf86-video-intel 2.15.0 X.Org driver will also be released. In preparing for this milestone, Chris Wilson has released the first development snapshot of this DDX driver.

      • Mesa 7.10.1, Mesa 7.9.2 Stable Releases

        While there are already lots of exciting work within Mesa’s Git master repository for Mesa 7.11 within core and classic Mesa along with the Gallium3D area, for those users sticking to stable releases, Intel’s Ian Romanick has announced the releases of Mesa 7.9.2 and 7.10.1.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Call for Participation

      The Desktop Summit 2011 is a joint conference organised by the GNOME and KDE communities in Berlin, Germany from the 6th August 2011 to the 12th August 2011. Held annually in cities around Europe, GUADEC and Akademy are the world’s largest gatherings of those involved with the free desktop or mobile user interfaces. Developers, artists, translators, community organisers, users, and representatives from government, education, and businesses and anyone else who shares an interest are welcome. GNOME and KDE are Free Software communities that drive the user interfaces of many Linux-powered devices, ranging from smartphones to laptops, or personal media centers. This year, for the second time, both communities have decided to organise a single, joint conference expecting over a thousand participants, covering both projects as well as related technologies.

    • Zeitgeist proceedings for GNOME 3.0, Unity and KDE

      Currently the Zeitgeist team is back from a short hiatus after the successful hackfest, leading to a release of Zeitgeist and all the belonging modules as part of the 0.8 cycle on the 15th of March.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Fitts Is An Interesting “Big Buttons” Metacity Theme

        Fitts is a new Metacity theme created by albyrock87 (Alberto) who’s also behind the cool new Avant Window Navigator Lucido style and also a Synapse developer. The theme is based on a mockup by rAX and is designed to use big buttons so they are easy to click.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Follow Mageia calendar and stay tuned!

        Mageia now provides a calendar so that you can follow everything happening in the project. For now, we’ll use Google Calendar as it was fast to set up but later we will switch to a self-hosted calendar.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Upstart 1.0 “This is a fertile land, and we will thrive” released

          The trouble with a “1.0″ release is that the temptation is for that version to be the one with all the features you want when your users want it to be stable. This is a 1.0 release of the latter kind, based on the 0.6.x code that was shipped in both the most recent Ubuntu LTS and RedHat Enterprise Linux releases. If you’re running Upstart anywhere right now, it’s highly recommended that you update to this version, there shouldn’t be any surprises!

        • Upstart 1.0 released
        • Ayatana overlay scrollbars: something truly Natty

          A wit said of Google Wave “if your project depends on reinventing scrollbars, you are doing something wrong.” But occasionally, just occasionally, one gets to do exactly that.

          Under the Ayatana banner, we’ve been on a mission to make the desktop have less chrome and more content. The goal is to help people immerse themselves in their stuff, without being burdened with large amounts of widgetry which isn’t relevant to the thing they are trying to concentrate on. And when it comes to widgetry, there are few things left which take up more space than scrollbars.

        • Unity To Get Overlay Scrollbars!
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Linux Mint 11 “Katya” to use GNOME 3

            Linux Mint Founder and lead developer Clement Lefebvre has announced that the next major release of his Ubuntu-based Linux distribution will feature the GNOME 3.0 desktop environment, which is expected to be finalised on the 6th of April. According to Lefebvre, unlike Canonical’s Ubuntu, Linux Mint 11, code named “Katya”, will not use Unity, instead opting for GNOME 3 “using a traditional desktop layout” without the GNOME Shell.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Widelands for MeeGo Tablet

          This is Widelands patched for touchscreen friendly UI.
          It’s running on Lenovo Ideapad with MeeGo 1.1.90 and Cordia on top.

          I originally made the touchscreen Widelands wersion for Maemo 5 and as you can see it runs just fine on MeeGo.

        • [MeeGo-dev] tablet release…

          Hi everyone… I know there are a lot of questions about the open sourcing of the meego tablet pre-alpha that was shown couple of weeks ago… I just want to let you know that we are planning on open sourcing the tablet UX code in the next few weeks. This was planned to go open source at the same time we showed it, but given few complications, we had to delay this a bit…

        • Nokia strategy for MeeGo after Microsoft partnership

          MeeGoExperts has an overview of MeeGo-tablet 1.2 UX: The MeeGo Tablet User Interface (UI) is different to most tablet manufacturers as it does not have a wall of icons or widgets, but alternatively has a series of panes. Each Pane can be assigned a particular category such as Photos / Video / Music or Twitter. We can see these also being used for additional business functionality such as Email and Calendar as well as other social networking clients.

        • Come and get em, More updates to MeeGo 1.1 and 1.0

          The MeeGo team have released two MeeGo Software updates, including the 3rd update for MeeGo v1.1 Core, Netbook, and In-Vehicle and also the 7th update for MeeGo v1.0 Core and Netbook.

        • How Much Will MeeGo Cost Nokia: Can It Afford Not to Pay?

          Nokia’s new strategy to use Microsoft’s software is both plan A and B for the Finnish handset maker, but plan C may stand for “costly.” The company is reportedly paying out bonuses to keep developing its MeeGo platform. Today’s Mobile Business Briefing blog says salary increases and bonuses are going to developers and engineers in the MeeGo area in order to maintain progress on the first MeeGo handset, dubbed the N950. Although Nokia has announced plans to use Windows Phone 7 on future smartphones, the company officially committed to delivering at least one MeeGo product this year.

        • Initial work on porting GNUstep over N900
        • Meego qtdemos tegra2
        • QmlBook
      • Android

        • 5 Incredible Android Tablets Showcased at Mobile World Congress 2011

          Mobile World Congress 2011 was quite literally overwhelmed by the sheer number of new Android OS based devices. Among the devices, the ones who completely stole the limelight were the Tablets. Almost all major hardware manufacturer has a Tablet in the pipeline and most of them are running open source Android OS. Here we are going to feature some of the best and most promising Android based Tablets unveiled at Mobile World Congress 2011.

        • Android developers form ‘union’ to protest Google policies

          A group of Android developers have formed the Android Developers Union, a movement that intends to protest Google’s Android Market policies.

          The group has made seven demands and claims that its members will, if demands are not met, move to other platforms and attempt to dissuade fellow developers from working with the Android platform. Among the Android Developers Union’s demands are a renegotiation of the 32% Google cut on applications sold through the store, more payment options and public bug tracking.

        • Google TV to get Android Market access “shortly”

          W00t! A platform-specific version of the popular Android Market is expected to arrive on Google TV sometime in the very near future.

          
”It will happen shortly,” Logitech VP Ashish Arora confirmed during a OTTCon keynote speech.

        • Android Marketplace coming to Google TV soon, what apps would you want?

          With the news about Android tablets coming these days, it might have been easy to forget that Google TV still exists, and it turns out GTV is about to get a big boost. At the Over-the-Top TV Conference (OTTCon) in San Jose yesterday, Ashish Arora,?the VP and general manager of Logitech’s Digital Home Group (of which GTV is part), was asked about the Android Market on GTV.?He didn’t give an exact time frame, but he said that the Android Market would “definitely” be on GTV this year, and that it would likely happen in the “very short term”.

        • Google kills 21 Trojan apps in the Android Market that were stealing data

          We’ve heard various reports of malevolent apps in the Market over the last couple of years, but the malware in question has rarely posed any real threat and few users have been affected. This particular piece of malicious code, however, seems to have been unusually cunning and insidious.

          Apparently, someone stole 21 well-received apps, infused them with root exploits and then republished the applications in the Market under different names. In just four days, the hijacked apps were downloaded between 50 000 – 200 000 times.

        • The unofficial list of Honeycomb optimized applications [from the forums]

          After unboxing your Motorola Xoom last week, and playing around with all the Honeycomb goodness that it brought to your life, the time to find some fun apps has come, and we want to help you out.

        • ZeptoLab’s popular puzzle game Cut the Rope is coming soon to Android

          Cut the Rope is an addictive puzzle game with cutesy graphics and sound effects in the same vein as Angry Birds. By slashing ropes and coming up with clever ways to use the game’s physics engine, you need to avoid various enemies and obstacles in order to bring the candy to a creature called “Om Nom.” Just like Angry Birds, the game also lets you collect stars.

        • Japan Phone Makers See Opportunity in Android

          Japanese mobile phones are a gadget lover’s dream. They double as credit cards. They can display digital TV broadcasts. Some are even fitted with solar cells.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • The Humanitarian FOSS Symposium 2011
    • Join us at the Reader Round Table!

      Can you get to Bath, south-west England by 7pm on Wednesday 30th March? Do you want to chat about Linux and free software with other Linux fans in a nice pub? Let us know. We’re planning to organise a Linux Format reader (and TuxRadar podcast listener) get-together where we chew over big topics in the Linux world, and put the results in our magazine.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Add-ons Review Update – Week of 2011/03/01
      • Announcing Add-on SDK 1.0b3

        The Jetpack team is pleased to announce the release of Add-on SDK 1.0b3. This version, the third in the series of beta releases of Mozilla’s downloadable software development kit for building Firefox add-ons, includes better documentation, new features, and a bunch of bug fixes.

      • Thunderbird 3.1.8 Update is Now Available
      • Firefox 3.6.14 and 3.5.17 security updates now available

        Firefox 3.6.14 and Firefox 3.5.17 are now available as free downloads for Windows, Mac, and Linux from http://firefox.com. As always, we recommend that users keep up to date with the latest stability and support versions of Firefox, and encourage all our users to upgrade to the very latest version, Firefox 3.6.14.

      • Test add-on features, Hackasaurus, Build a virtual park, Game on spotlight and more…

        In this issue…

        * Test add-ons related features this Friday
        * Firefox for mobile now with more power
        * Help us build a Virtual Park
        * Mozilla Game on spotlight: Far7
        * Hackasaurus in Long Beach!
        * Next MDN Doc Sprint: April 1-2
        * Meet Mozillian Karsten Düsterloh
        * Software updates
        * Upcoming events
        * Community calendar
        * About about:mozilla

      • Is Mozilla Open-By-Rule?

        Host to the Firefox browser and the Thunderbird mail client among many other projects, the Mozilla Foundation is one of the largest and most significant open source projects. Long-term contributor and employee Gervase Markham has kindly provided the data for an open-by-rule scorecard for Mozilla.

      • Firefox and Thunderbird security updates
      • Knowledge Base Days – Preparing for Firefox 4
      • Firefox 4 RC expected to ship roughly on March 9

        Mozilla is planning to spin the first release candidate for Firefox 4 this Friday and the code is aimed to be released to beta testers as early as next Wednesday, March 9, developers said during a call today.

      • Mozilla’s Comments in Response to the FTC’s Inquiry on Privacy

        Last week Mozilla submitted comments to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in response to their request for comment on a proposal describing a new framework for protecting consumer privacy in both online and offline environments. The FTC sought input on a broad range of of issues from online privacy protections for children to the blending of distinctions between PII and non-PII. More than 400 comments were submitted from a wide array of interests including individuals, consumer groups, advocacy coalitions, advertisers, social networks and all kinds of service providers. You can see the complete list here. It’s worth reading a few of these to get a sense of the discourse (i.e. Future of Privacy Forum, Facebook, CDT, and US Chamber of Commerce)

      • Wiki Wednesday: March 2, 2011
      • Updated Skype Toolbar Extension Available

        On January 20th, 2011, the Skype Toolbar extension was added to Firefox’s add-on blocklist for causing Firefox to crash and imparting a significant performance hit on DOM manipulation. We’ve been in contact with Skype since that time, and have provided information to identify the crashes our users are seeing, along with suggested methods to reduce the performance impacts of their extension.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Government

    • Open Source by Any Other Name…

      Now, in a 100-page report, those two paragraphs might seem to be rather thin gruel, but actually I’m not too worried by this apparently perfunctory dismissal of open source and its virtues. Because it turns out that the entire report is essentially an espousal of precisely those virtues, albeit without fully admitting that fact.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Launching the Open Genealogy Alliance

      Open Rights Group has co-founded the Open Genealogy Alliance in order to start looking at an alternative future for the sector based on open data, open standards and innovation through collaboration across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

    • Videoing council meetings redux: progress on two fronts

      Tonight, hyperlocal bloggers (and in fact any ordinary members of the public) got two great boosts in their access to council meetings, and their ability to report on them.

    • Open Data

      • Introducing FigShare: a new way to share open scientific data

        FigShare is being developed with the great work done by the Open Knowledge Foundation in mind. Ongoing converstaions with them about their CKAN project mean that we are all pulling in the same direction, and all data stored witin FigShare will be listed on a new CKAN science group.

      • Open Government Data in Slovakia

        When we started to build a data catalogue of all possible flows of public finances to the private sphere in 2003, we had no idea it would be a perfect fit with the open data movement’s efforts. As former journalists, we simply saw the great advantage of having all kinds of public data (freely accessible thanks to the freedom of information act) brought together in a searchable database format. After years of FOIA requests and litigation, Fair-Play Alliance now offers the most comprehensive catalogue in Slovakia. We track flows of public money (subsidies, tenders, EU funding, grants, tax pardons, political sponsorship etc), as well as information on people in the public domain (e.g. elected officials, management of state institutions or state controlled companies, advisors in politics).

    • Open Access/Content

      • Project Gutenberg adds their 40,000th free eBook!

        Project Gutenberg, the granddaddy of all eBook libraries, announced today they have put number 40,000 of internally produced free eBooks online as of March 1st.

        This raises their grand total to 100,000, as they receive a number of eBooks from other producers worldwide. These figures even subtract 15,000 for various duplications.

      • State of the Art: Public Access to Publicly Funded Educational Materials

        In the U.S. and around the world, there’s been increasing interest from policymakers in exploring the benefits of publicly funded open educational resources (OER). OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.

  • Programming

    • RStudio: An Open Source and Cross-Platform IDE for R

      RStudio a is free and open source IDE for R programmers. It’s available for Linux, OSX and Windows – and you can run it from the Web. It’s built with HTML and JavaScript and looks pretty slick. You can find it on Github here.

      According to the RStudio blog, the team plans to monetize the product by selling services such as support, training, consulting and hosting.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Launches HTML5 Chinese Interest Group

      W3C has launched the HTML5 Chinese Interest Group, whose mission is to facilitate focused discussion in Chinese of the HTML5 specification and of specifications closely related to HTML5, to gather comments and questions in Chinese about those specifications, to collect information about specific use cases in Chinese speaking region for technologies defined in those specifications, and to report the results of its activities as a group back to the HTML Working Group, as well as to other relevant groups and to the W3C membership and community. Learn more in the charter (available in Chinese as well), join the Interest Group, and learn more about the W3C HTML Activity.

    • Beyond HTML5 – Peer-to-peer conversational video

      We’ve in a previous blog post shown you our work on conversational voice and video using “beyond HTML5″ solutions. In that work we used websockets and a media relay to route streams between peers. Now we’d like to show you how we have extended this to use peer-to-peer streaming.

      Peer-to-peer streaming means that voice/video frames are streamed directly between peers, without any server in between. The effect is lower latency and more efficient network utilization. Up until now, however, web browsers have lacked the capability to communicate peer-to-peer. Instead, communication has traditionally relied on a shared relay server in the network.

Leftovers

  • The Very Rich Indie Writer

    Amanda Hocking is 26* years old. She has 9 self-published books to her name, and sells 100,000+ copies of those ebooks per month. She has never been traditionally published. This is her blog. And it’s no stretch to say – at $3 per book1/70% per sale for the Kindle store – that she makes a lot of money from her monthly book sales. (Perhaps more importantly: a publisher on the private Reading2.0 mailing list has said, to effect: there is no traditional publisher in the world right now that can offer Amanda Hocking terms that are better than what she’s currently getting, right now on the Kindle store, all on her own.)

  • How can news sites cross the language barrier and appeal to foreign readers?

    In August 2010, the Audit Bureau of Circulation published figures from the first half of the year. While there were several magazines that managed to hold steady with circulation, the industry as a whole saw a 2.3% drop. One magazine that has consistently bucked this trend is The Economist. While other news weeklies like Time and Newsweek have shed swaths of readers over the last few years, The Economist’s sales have nearly doubled in the last decade. There are no-doubt multiple reasons for this widespread appeal, but I’d posit that the magazine has benefited greatly from the fact that it is one of the only publications that deals with a scarcity in news.

    In their pre-Internet heyday, general newsweeklies like Time and Newsweek were able to provide an overview of the previous week’s national news. The average news consumer in Portland, Oregon didn’t have ready access to news in Virginia, for instance, and so these publications produced a quick spread of the nation’s domestic affairs. These days, of course, a consumer from Portland can easily follow a link to a story in the Richmond Times Dispatch, a story that would provide much more comprehensive coverage of Virginia affairs than Time or Newsweek ever could. As Om Malik detailed recently at Gigaom, the internet is creating an unbundling of content, where a publication’s content is only as good as its most visited article. With this new media ecosystem, the Newsweeks and Times of the world have to compete with every other US-based publication, driving down their worth.

  • BBC Multimedia Journalism Head Clifton Redundant

    BBC News Online is to lose one of its most experienced journalism executives, when Pete Clifton is made redundant next month.

  • Recap: A Practically Radical webcast with Bill Taylor and Polly LaBarre

    Bill Taylor, the co-founder and editor of Fast Company magazine, joined us for today’s edition of our Open Your World Forum series to talk about his new book, Practically Radical. Bill was joined by Polly LaBarre, the co-author of his earlier book, Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. Polly was also a part of the original Fast Company team and served as senior editor for nearly a decade. Like Mavericks, Practically Radical is already a Wall Street Journal bestseller.

    “Bill undertook a multi-year journey doing what he does best, which is exploring and scouring the world for the organizations and individuals that are setting the stage for the future,” Polly said. He sought the answers for companies and leaders who are looking to change their organizations in a meaningful way. How do you lead your industry, and how do you conduct yourself as a leader?

  • How did Google lose, and find, all those e-mails?

    Tens of thousands of Google e-mail users got a shock early this week: All of their e-mails and contacts disappeared.

    Google said Monday night that it was in the process of restoring all of these messages, however. “We’re very sorry,” the company said in a blog post.

    The burning question here is, how did Google lose all of these e-mails, and how was the company able to get them all back, if they in fact were lost?

  • Science

    • Giving children the power to be scientists

      Children who are taught how to think and act like scientists develop a clearer understanding of the subject, a study has shown.

      The research project led by The University of Nottingham and The Open University has shown that school children who took the lead in investigating science topics of interest to them gained an understanding of good scientific practice.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Mexican Drug Lord Officially Thanks American Lawmakers For Keeping Drugs Illegal

      Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera reported head of the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico, ranked 701st on Forbes’ yearly report of the wealthiest men alive, and worth an estimated $1 billion, today officially thanked United States politicians for making sure that drugs remain illegal. According to one of his closest confidants, he said, “I couldn’t have gotten so stinking rich without George Bush, George Bush Jr., Ronald Reagan, even El Presidente Obama, none of them have the cajones to stand up to all the big money that wants to keep this stuff illegal. From the bottom of my heart, I want to say, Gracias amigos, I owe my whole empire to you.”

    • Dear Rep. Franklin: I Submit My Used Tampons as Evidence

      I applaud your efforts to support the rights of zygote citizens of Georgia by criminalizing miscarriages and investigating every instance of fetal death as a potential crime. The bill you are trying to pass is clear that the Georgia State Assembly knows that life begins at the moment of conception, and that any fertilized egg that dies is a human death that we should all grieve. I couldn’t agree more, and I would like to help.

      As I’m sure you know, more than 50% of fertilized eggs –Georgia citizens! — naturally don’t implant, and are flushed out of the body during menstruation. I am personally concerned that my own murdering woman-body may have flushed out some human beings, and I may have flushed them down the toilet without knowing that I was disposing of Georgia citizens in such an undignified way. This must be remedied. I would like to be sure that I am not killing any more Georgia citizens — and that if I am, they are able to receive a proper funeral and not a burial at sea, and that our state police can dedicate valuable time and resources to investigating their deaths.

    • Don’t swallow this pill

      Are the European Union and its multinational pharmaceutical companies now pressuring the Indian prime minister’s office? In recent months, as negotiators from India and Europe have been thrashing out the details of a free trade agreement to be signed within months, people living with HIV have been hitting the streets. From New Delhi to Nairobi and Brussels to Bangkok, they have been protesting against the very real threat posed to India’s ability to supply life-saving generic medicines to people across the developing world.

      Publicly, both sides have assured that the trade deal will not harm access to the affordable generic medicines, and have reiterated, as if by rote, the primacy of people’s health over economic interests. But the Indian press now reports that the PMO, under pressure to conclude the deal, has asked the concerned government department to reconsider intellectual property (IP) provisions it had earlier rejected.

    • Glaxo Gets Its Day in Court

      Yesterday, lawyers for GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) made opening statements in its lawsuit against competitor Abbott Labs (NYSE: ABT). Glaxo and its co-plaintiffs, Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) and CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS), have alleged damages of $1.5 billion and are seeking triple damages of $4.5 billion in the case.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt: Stop Military Trials of Civilians

      Egyptian military authorities should stop using military tribunals to prosecute civilians, Human Rights Watch said today. The military should also halt detentions of peaceful demonstrators and end violence by soldiers against protesters and detainees, Human Rights Watch said.

    • Arabs may impose Libya no-fly zone

      The Arab League has said it may impose a “no fly” zone on Libya in co-ordination with the African Union if fighting continues in Libya.

      Wednesday’s Arab League ministers’ meeting in Cairo rejected any direct outside military intervention in Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi is trying to put down a revolt threatening his four decades in power. They reiterated their condemnation of his use of force.

    • U.S.-led coalition admits it killed 9 Afghan boys in error

      Troops in attack helicopters that belong to the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan mistakenly killed nine boys Tuesday with machine-gun and rocket fire as they collected firewood, thinking that the children were Taliban insurgents, the international forces acknowledged Wednesday.

      U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, who heads the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, ordered all field commanders and helicopter crew members to study their orders again on when coalition aircraft can open fire on people on the ground.

    • How The Great Game emptied the Pentagon

      In April 2009, The Great Game opened at the Tricycle theatre in London, and last year we revived the production and took it on a US tour. Before leaving for America, General Sir David Richards, then head of the British army, hosted a day-long performance for the British military. Taking to the stage, he said that, had he seen these plays before going to Afghanistan in 2005, they “would have made me a much better commander”.

      He told me he would do his best to ensure that people from the Pentagon saw it. We opened in Washington in September, and the production was warmly welcomed, but our fortnight’s run was ignored by the Pentagon and Capitol Hill – until a few days before its end, when a congresswoman was asked by General Petraeus, in Kabul, to send him a tape of the plays. Then, on the last Saturday performance, General “Mick” Nicholson came. He was incredibly enthusiastic and asked to meet the cast. He was about to be posted to Kabul as head of operations for Petraeus, and thought it vital that more people from the Pentagon saw the plays.

    • Plan to cut police pay slammed by federation

      Home Secretary Theresa May’s warning that police officers face cuts to their pay and conditions undermines the independence of a review and will attack officers’ morale, the Police Federation said today.

      Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the organisation which represents rank-and-file officers in England and Wales, said it was clear the Home Secretary undervalues the work of the police, despite her claims to the contrary.

      “Officers will see straight through that,” he said.

    • Qaddafi Military Spending Below Sweden, Leaves Authority Gap

      In a region with a history of rulers who strengthened their armies to keep a grip on power, Muammar Qaddafi has been doing the opposite.

      Qaddafi spent an average 1.2 percent of gross domestic product on the military in the three years through 2008, the lowest in the Middle East and North Africa and also less than Sweden or Denmark, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute or Sipri, which tracks defense spending. Before it was split by an uprising that started last month, Libya’s army had 50,000 men, half of them draftees, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

    • Plagiarism: The Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V boom

      A German minister has resigned after copying huge chunks of his doctoral thesis, while the London School of Economics is probing whether Colonel Gaddafi’s son lifted chunks and used a ghost writer for his own. So is plagiarism out of control?

    • Nine Afghan Boys Collecting Firewood Killed by NATO Helicopters

      Nine boys collecting firewood to heat their homes in the eastern Afghanistan mountains were killed by NATO helicopter gunners who mistook them for insurgents, according to a statement on Wednesday by NATO, which apologized for the mistake.

    • WikiLeaks Trying To Make It Appear Like U.S. Troops Are Intentionally Murdering Iraqi Civilians
    • Calls to punish those behind Standard Group raid

      Renewed calls to have those behind the infamous Standard Group raid of March 2006 brought to account were made as the media house marked the fifth anniversary of the attack.

      Five years ago, heavily armed and hooded mercenaries hired by individuals in Government attacked the Group’s premises in Nairobi, burned newspapers, and confiscated KTN equipment that are still under police custody.

      Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara, Senior Counsel Paul Muite, and Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Hassan Omar, who were among special guests, called for an end to impunity and action against those named in a report, which Parliament adopted last November.

  • Cablegate

    • Bradley Manning Charged with “Aiding the Enemy”

      Both MSNBC and Marc Ambinder are reporting that the government is issuing new charges against Bradley Manning. Now that the government’s case against Julian Assange is falling apart, the Pentagon is ratcheting up the pressure on Manning by charging him with “aiding the enemy.”

    • Manning faces new charges, possible death penalty

      Following an intensive seven-month investigation, the Army on Wednesday filed 22 additional charges against Pfc. Bradley Manning, accused of illegally downloading tens of thousands of classified U.S. military and State Department documents that were then publicly released by WikiLeaks, military officials tell NBC News.

    • The Syrian regime could be the next Middle Eastern domino to fall

      With the Tunisian and Egyptian regimes gone and street protests roiling cities from Algiers to Tehran, many people are now wondering which domino might fall next. Syria, whose secular, militarized dictatorship most closely resembles the fallen regimes of Tunisia and Egypt, may not be next in line, but appears nonetheless to be approaching a tipping point.

      Of course, the old “domino theory” in international relations was only a crude way of emphasizing that different parts of any region are linked to each other. For today’s Arab world, a better metaphor might be a chessboard, from which the removal of even a pawn inevitably alters the relationships among all the other pieces.

    • WikiLeaks cables expose Peruvian politicians’ subservience to Washington

      Two weeks ago, El Comercio, Peru’s most influential newspaper, began publishing secret cables from the US embassy in Lima released by of WikiLeaks. What has been released so far reveals the degree of submission and dependency on US imperialism by all the major political parties of the Peruvian bourgeoisie.

      The day after El Comercio made public its possession of 4,000 pages of WikiLeaks cables, Washington’s ambassador to Peru, Rose Likins, visited the director of the newspaper Francisco Miró Quesada, to express “her concern over the publication of the embassy documents, which are labeled as classified by the US Department of State,” said El Comercio. “It is uncomfortable,” added ambassador Likins, “to be in this situation.”

      Miró Quesada assured the ambassador that his intention was not to dig into US internal affairs and that the newspaper “would not put in danger the honor or the integrity of people who could feel threatened,” reported El Comercio.

    • Confinement Conditions Persist

      Despite a change in command at the Quantico Brig, PFC Manning remains in maximum custody and under prevention of injury watch. On January 19, 2011, the defense filed an Article 138 complaint with the Quantico base commander, Colonel Daniel Choike.

    • Laws ‘aimed to limit’ Chinese investments

      The embassy report on MrColmer’s remarks, titled “New Foreign Investment guidelines target China” and classified “sensitive”, is among US embassy cables leaked to WikiLeaks and provided to the Herald.

    • DreamWorks lines up WikiLeaks film based on Guardian book

      Steven Spielberg’s Hollywood studio looks set to oversee WikiLeaks: the Movie after securing the screen rights to WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, the book by Guardian journalists David Leigh and Luke Harding.

      Reportedly conceived as an investigative thriller in the mould of All the President’s Men, the film will be backed by DreamWorks – the studio founded in 1994 by Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen.

      Leigh and Harding’s book charts Julian Assange’s life and times, from his itinerant childhood through to the creation of the WikiLeaks website in 2006. It also provides the inside story of Assange’s explosive partnership with the Guardian and the release, last December, of more than 250,000 secret diplomatic cables.

    • Exclusive – WikiLeaks: How the Cola war was won in Libya

      An unpublished U.S. diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks tells the previously undisclosed story of how an American corporate powerhouse — the $35-billion (21 billion pounds) Coca-Cola Co.(KO.N) — got caught up in a fierce fraternal dispute between two of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s sons.

      The contretemps among the freres Gaddafi over a local bottling plant escalated into a heavily armed confrontation resembling a Hollywood gangster film, as a classified 2006 U.S. cable put it.

    • Inhumane Treatment of WikiLeaks Soldier Bradley Manning

      The US army private, 23, has been held for 23 hours a day in a sparsely furnished solitary cell and deprived of a pillow, sheets, and personal possessions since July 2010.

      Amnesty International last week wrote to the US Defence secretary, Robert Gates, calling for the restrictions on Bradley Manning to be reviewed. In the same week, the soldier suffered several days of increased restrictions by being temporarily categorized as a ‘suicide risk’.

    • 5 environmental revelations from WikiLeaks

      How the Dalai Lama feels about climate change and Canada’s inferiority complex are just a few of the issues to come to light through classified diplomatic documents.

    • WE LOOK UNCOORDINATED”: SWEDES “EMBARRASSED” BY EU BEHAVIOR AT AHMADINEJAD SPEECH
    • WikiLeaks: ‘Kibaki unwilling to act on graft’

      One of President Kibaki’s most trusted aides told the US ambassador that the President had lots of information about Cabinet-level corruption but was reluctant to act.

      [...]

      The information on the State House visit is contained in one of thousands of cables leaked by whistleblower website, Wikileaks.

    • The Spy Who Hated Wikileaks (LOVE POLICE EXCLUSIVE)
    • Bradley Manning could face death: For what?

      The U.S. Army yesterday announced that it has filed 22 additional charges against Bradley Manning, the Private accused of being the source for hundreds of thousands of documents (as well as this still-striking video) published over the last year by WikiLeaks. Most of the charges add little to the ones already filed, but the most serious new charge is for “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense under Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although military prosecutors stated that they intend to seek life imprisonment rather than the death penalty for this alleged crime, the military tribunal is still empowered to sentence Manning to death if convicted.

    • Viewing cable 08NAIROBI2671, DRUG TRAFFICKING ON THE RISE IN KENYA
    • Article 104 Offense

      “Enemy” includes (not only) organized opposing forces in time of war, (but also any other hostile body that our forces may be opposing) (such as a rebellious mob or a band of renegades) (and includes civilians as well as members of military organizations). (“Enemy” is not restricted to the enemy government or its armed forces. All the citizens of one belligerent are enemies of the government and the citizens of the other.)

    • ‘Alfonso Cano’ will never negotiate: WikiLeaks

      An ex-FARC commander said in 2006 that “Alfonso Cano,” now the supreme leader of the guerrilla group, would never negotiate, but that “Ivan Marquez” wanted peace, according to a WikiLeaks cable released by Colombian newspaper El Espectador.

      In the diplomatic cable dated June 21, 2006, former FARC commander alias “Nicolas” said, “Mono was pragmatic only because he doesn’t believe in negotiation; he’s a man of action. Cano would never negotiate, for the opposite reason, that he’s too political … Ivan Marquez would be disposed to peace. He said that after 40 years of fighting it’s time to end it but without betraying Marxist principles … The Army should get Cano and Mono, to allow Marquez to breathe and lead.”

    • Alleged WikiLeaker could face death penalty

      Manning’s counsel has a blog post up today with a copy of the statute that could put Manning away for life. Article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, “Aiding the Enemy-Giving Intelligence to the Enemy,” prohibits giving to the enemy, where “intelligence” is defined as information that is “true, at least in part.”

    • Birgitta Jonsdottir Interview on Wikileaks

      Icelander Birgitta Jonsdottir – poet, author, activist, and member of parliament – has now broken with WikiLeaks, but she is continuing to devote herself to making her country a haven for information, a Switzerland of the bytes. In the meantime, the American judicial authorities are trying to reach Julian Assange through her Twitter details.

      Last week, Birgitta Jonsdottir was in our country for a while at Deburen’s invitation in order to take part in an evening of debate on the state of the media today, partly organized by the Pascal Decroos Fund and the Investigative Journalists’ Association. We met with her at the Vooruit (arts center) in Ghent. She immediately wrong-footed us: Instead of the eccentric Goth about whom we had read, we were welcomed by an elegant person with a captivating laugh. She talked in a soft voice but with a very great deal of passion about the importance of freedom of information. Although her “Movement” is not a real party and she surfed to parliament in 2009 on a wave of popular anger about the banking crisis, she has turned out to be a born politician who knows what she wants and how she is to achieve it.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • U.S. Approves First Deepwater Drilling Permit In Gulf Of Mexico Since BP Oil Spill

      The U.S. has approved the first deepwater drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico since BP’s massive oil spill.

      The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement announced Monday that it issued a permit to Noble Energy Inc. to continue work on its Santiago well about 70 miles southeast of Venice, La. Drilling will resume nearly one year after BP’s blowout created the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

    • Federal researchers declare eastern cougar extinct

      U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirms there are no breeding populations of the big cats left in the eastern U.S.

    • Federal government to cut environmental spending

      The Harper government is projecting some major cuts over the next year to several of its environmental initiatives, including climate change and clean air, according to newly released federal estimates.

      The numbers, released Tuesday by the Treasury Board Secretariat, show a 59 per cent cut in global-warming and air-pollution spending as part of more than $1.6 billion in annual, governmentwide reductions to environmental services across the different federal departments. The shift is the equivalent to a 14 per cent reduction in spending that also includes a $222-million or 20 per cent reduction in spending at Environment Canada.

    • African lions under threat from a growing predator: the American hunter

      American hunters are emerging as a strong and growing threat to the survival of African lions, with demand for trophy rugs and necklaces driving the animals towards extinction, a coalition of wildlife organisations has said.

      Demand for hunting trophies, such as lion skin rugs, and a thriving trade in animal parts in the US and across the globe have raised the threat levels for African lions, which are already under assault because of conflicts with local villagers and shrinking habitat.

    • What Are Species Worth? Putting a Price on Biodiversity

      We live in what is paradoxically a great age of discovery and also of mass extinction. Astonishing new species turn up daily, as new roads and new technologies penetrate formerly remote habitats. And species also vanish forever, at what scientists estimate to be 100 to 1,000 times the normal rate of extinction.

      Over the past few years, as I was working on a book about the history of species discovery, I often found myself coming back to a fundamental question: Why do species matter? That is, why should ordinary people care if scientists discover one species or pronounce the demise of another?

    • Bicycle master plan is expected to be approved by the L.A. City Council

      It’s been a long ride, but bicycle riders’ push for for new routes and services is paying off. The plan calls for 1,680 miles of interconnected bikeways.

    • Queensland Reconstruction Authority

      Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has established the Queensland Reconstruction Authority to develop, implement and manage a statewide plan for rebuilding and reconnecting communities affected by the flooding and cyclones.

    • Saving Ethiopia’s “Church Forests”

      There are some 35,000 church forests in Ethiopia, ranging in size from a few acres to 300 hectares. Some churches and their forests may date back to the fourth century, and all are remnants of Ethiopia’s historic Afromontane forests. To their followers, they are a sacred symbol of the garden of Eden — to be loved and cared for, but not worshipped.

    • Rare leopard caught on candid camera
  • Finance

    • The scandal no one talks about: Income inequality

      Some figures to consider: The bottom 80 percent of American households have lost ground in share of income since 1979. The top one percent, meanwhile, has seen its slice of the pie increase more than 120 percent. What these shifts translate to is this: The top 10 percent of Americans earn nearly three-quarters of all income in the country, leaving the poor with whatever is left. Stephen Colbert views this as the beginnings of a major problem, because disparity leads to revolution. The solution: All the rich people should start their own country.

    • Bernard Madoff, the financiers’ fall guy

      Don’t shoot the messenger is usually a good rule to live by. But it is hard when it comes to Bernie Madoff, the former billionaire serving a 150-year jail term for running history’s biggest Ponzi scheme.

      Yet, in recent jailhouse interviews, Madoff has given a valuable insight into causes of the Great Recession, whose awful impact has blighted millions of lives across America and around the world. No one can deny Madoff’s activities were an appalling fraud, but, he insists, what about the involvement of everyone else in the global financial system.

    • ECM Publishers: Sen. Franken offers three ideas to help cut government spending

      OpEd piece by Sen. Al Franken – It’s easy to agree that we should cut government spending. It’s harder to agree on what government spending we should cut.

      We can’t just say, “Let’s cut $500 billion” or make vague promises about “increasing efficiency.” Serious budget proposals should be clear about exactly what we’d be cutting, saving, and sacrificing.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Rupert Murdoch BSkyB takeover gets government go ahead

      Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has been given government approval for its controversial takeover of BSkyB.

    • Rupert Murdoch BSkyB takeover gets government go-ahead

      Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has been given government approval for its controversial bid to take over BSkyB.

      The green light follows News Corp’s offer to spin off Sky News as an independent company.

    • Chris Dodd shows how Washington works

      Over the last two years — particularly during the debate over the financial reform bill — Sen. Chris Dodd served on multiple occasions as chief spokesman for, and defender of, the interests of Wall Street and corporate America. That led to widespread speculation that the five-term Connecticut Senator, who announced that he would not seek re-election in 2010 in the wake of allegations of improper benefits from Countrywide Financial, was positioning himself for a lucrative post-Senate lobbying job — i.e., peddling the influence and contacts he compiled over five decades in “public service.”

    • Customer service on Twitter

      Great, right? A company that gets the joke and participates meaningfully in an actual conversation with a full awareness of the context.

      Here’s how not to do it, courtesy of United Airlines. Mena Trott, a co-founder of Six Apart, had her flight to NYC randomly cancelled on Monday night by “a robot”.

    • Conflicting horse race numbers fuel raging debate over reliability of political polls

      A battery of conflicting federal horse race numbers is pouring fuel on a raging debate over the reliability of political polls.

  • Privacy

    • Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T, Inc.

      Corporations do not have a right of personal privacy for purposes of Exemption 7(C) of the Freedom of Information Act, which protects from disclosure law enforcement records whose disclosure “could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

    • Supreme Court Case Could Jeopardize Medical Record Privacy

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked the U.S. Supreme Court Tuesday to focus on the privacy issues at stake in a battle over the sale and data mining of medical records, urging justices to reverse a ruling that could jeopardize patient privacy.

    • Facebook will soon share users’ phone numbers and addresses with 3rd parties

      It’s been a while since we’ve had an uproar over Facebook’s handling of its users personal information, so we suppose the time is ripe.

      So cue the online outrage: Facebook announced today in a letter to Congress that the social-media platform is moving forward with plans to give third parties access to user information, such as phone numbers and home addresses.

    • Almost half the UK is now on Facebook

      Joanna Shields, VP EMEA at Facebook, stated today that the popular social network now has 30 million UK users, equating to almost half of the UK population.

    • Sequencing A Child’s DNA — And Convincing An Insurance Company To Pay

      Geneticist Elizabeth Worthey worked on the first-ever treatment of a patient based on DNA sequencing, helping doctors decide to give a bone marrow transplant to a 6-year-old boy who had suffered through more than a hundred operations. Now Worthey, an assistant professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, is part of a team working to comb through the sequences of five more children.

  • Civil Rights

    • Documents Reveal TSA Research Proposal To Body-Scan Pedestrians, Train Passengers

      Updated with the TSA’s response below, which denies implementing airport-style scans in mass transit.

      Giving Transportation Security Administration agents a peek under your clothes may soon be a practice that goes well beyond airport checkpoints. Newly uncovered documents show that as early as 2006, the Department of Homeland Security has been planning pilot programs to deploy mobile scanning units that can be set up at public events and in train stations, along with mobile x-ray vans capable of scanning pedestrians on city streets.

    • Passing Through

      In 2003 Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, published an article on the once-sleepy subject of telecommunications policy. In it, he coined the term “net neutrality” to capture the idea that network operators—the Comcasts and Verizons of the world—should not be in the business of regulating the information traffic that passes through their networks. The term took hold, and the article launched Wu to cyber-rock-star status.

    • 10 Women Who Secretly Control the Internet
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • ISPs must advertise average broadband speeds, not ‘up to’ speeds, says Ofcom

      ISPs should be forced to advertise the typical speeds available on internet access packages and not the theoretical maximum currently advertised, telecoms regulator Ofcom has said. They should also not be allowed to cap ‘unlimited’ services.

      Advertising regulators should change the rules so that the speeds available to customers in the middle of the range of actual available speeds is advertised at least as prominently as ‘up to’ speeds, it has said.

    • House Panel Delays Net Neutrality Vote

      A House panel postponed a vote Tuesday to nix the Federal Communication Commission’s controversial “net neutrality” rules. The repeal effort would still go forward, but after another hearing, said Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

      Conservatives seek to block the FCC’s December ruling, which prevents Internet providers from giving preference to certain types of content. Verizon Communications Inc. sued in federal appeals court to block the rules. Other Internet content companies say the rules keep the Internet fair.

  • DRM

    • Australia Considers New Digital Lock Exceptions

      Australia’s Attorney General has said he is looking into establishing new digital lock exceptions under that country’s copyright law.

    • Europe confirms raids on ebook publishers

      European officials were accompanied by local competition regulators. The UK’s Office of Fair Trading started investigating ebook pricing last month.

      The Commission said the raids were just a first step and not necessarily evidence of guilt.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Michel Barnier tells the European Blind Union the EU does not support a treaty for persons with disabilities

      KEI comment: According to Barnier’s logic, the EU should not be pursuing any new treaties on any copyright issue or intellectual property issues. Why then, is the EU pressing for a WIPO treaty for broadcasting organizations, or the ACTA agreement? Why did the EU press for the 1996 WIPO WCT and WPPT digital copyright treaties, and then not sign them for many years? Why does the EU press for binding IP chapters in trade agreements with Canada, India and other countries, which only involve at best a single country outside of the EU?

      A Joint Recommendation would be an “authoritative interpretation of the Berne Convention,” but not of the TRIPS agreement, and it would be authoritative only in the areas where it actually says something. If you enter into a negotiation on something that requires everyone to agree, strategically, you end up with something that may be very weak, or even harmful to consumers — given the capture of some national delegations by publishers.

    • Trademarks

      • If App Store’s Trademark Is Generic, So Is Windows’

        Toe, The writes “In response to Microsoft’s attempt to dismiss Apple’s ‘App Store’ trademark application, Apple references Microsoft’s claim to the Windows trademark. ‘Having itself faced a decades-long genericness challenge to its claimed WINDOWS mark, Microsoft should be well aware that the focus in evaluating genericness is on the mark as a whole and requires a fact-intensive assessment of the primary significance of the term to a substantial majority of the relevant public.’”

    • Copyrights

      • Is Bing doing a better job than Google on torrents?

        Late last year, Google announced it would be blocking autocomplete on searches for “torrents” They did this in a rather blunt way, blocking any attempt to use the word in an autocomplete, regardless of the likely copyright status of the content searched for.

        We argued that this would create a subtle but important discrimination against legal torrent distribution, by making it a bit harder and less suggestive that you might try searching for, say a “Linux torrent” or a “Yes Men Save the world torrent”. After all, if the Yes Men want you to find their film on torrent, why should they and you be pushed back?

      • News Flash: Your Music Is Not Your Product

        I’m tired of having the same conversation over and over again.

        The conversation about how we should go about dealing with “thieves” and “pirates” “stealing” our “product” like so many shoplifters. I’m just gonna say it.

        It’s absurd.

        Music is not, and never was, a product.

        When a label executive tells you that they are “not in the business of selling discs”, (or vinyl, tape, t-shirts, etc.) and that they are actually “selling music,” they are, at best, fooling themselves, or at worst, lying to your face. Moving plastic, vinyl, paper and/or any other tangible good they can dream up is exactly what the recording industry has been about since it was established.

      • An Important Dent In The Copyright Monopoly

        Yesterday, the Legal Affairs Committee in the European Parliament voted unanimously to introduce an exception to the copyright monopoly to benefit the public at large. This is an important dent in the monopoly’s sanctity.

        Christian Engström, Member of European Parliament for the Pirate Party (and also a member of the Legal Affairs Committee), explains the win on his blog. In short, blind people today are banned from sharing Braille books across borders — they must be individually translated into Braille in each country, which would be a waste of resources if it were done, which it isn’t. Instead, the disabled are subjected to a so-called book famine where the culture and knowledge simply isn’t available to them.

      • Ubisoft Uses ‘Copyright’ Claim To Block Americans From Seeing Its Own Ad For Ridiculous ‘Adult’ Wii Game

        Jay points us to the news that Ubisoft is offering up a new video game for the Wii, in Europe only, called “We Dare,” which appears to be a ridiculously awkwardness-inducing game designed to try to make people engage in sexually suggestive activities with one another. Since the game is only being offered in Europe, the advertisement for the game, which the company placed on its own YouTube account, is blocked for viewing in the US — though, ridiculously, it says this is so for “copyright” reasons.

      • Anti-Piracy Outfit Suffers Huge DDoS Attack, Blames Usenet Users

        Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN has been subjected to a major DDoS attack which has taken its website offline. The Hollywood-backed group has been making a number of enemies with its actions in The Netherlands so the range of culprits is quite large. Nevertheless, BREIN chief Tim Kuik says he thinks he knows who is behind it.

        When it’s your job to go around disrupting various communities on the Internet, it’s perhaps inevitable that, rightly or wrongly, you’ll become somewhat of a hate figure among some. Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, with chief Tim Kuik at the controls, is understandably unpopular within files-sharing circles. That position can have its consequences.

      • Senator Franken Defends Censoring The Internet Because He Doesn’t Think Hollywood Should Have To Change Biz Models?

        This is pretty disappointing, on any number of levels. First of all, his repeated use of the technically and legally incorrect words “stealing” and “theft” are troubling. Second, his repeating the totally debunked claims that this is somehow costing “tens of billions of dollars.” The GAO has already debunked those numbers as having little to no basis, and it’s disappointing that Franken would repeat them. But the key point is that yes, of course it changes the entire business model for the industry. But that’s what new technologies do. They change the business models for legacy companies and it’s not our government’s job to protect those legacy companies and their business models, even if our elected officials used to work for those companies.

      • Balanced Copyright Facebook Group – Persona Management Software Example?

        It’s always interesting watching the comments on the Balanced Copyright Facebook group. Like Trained seals the members spew forth ‘Good news’ and ‘Finally they are taking action’ for every ‘Pro-IP’ action reported, and his ‘How terrible’ and ‘No wonder Canada is a pariah’ for every post saying negative things about Canada.

        Curiously none of them appear to have ever done any research at all on the subject, and when pressed for details, they get upset.

        That is, of the few that actually seem to be human. When Anonymous raided HBGary, some of the emails that they released talked about ‘Persona Management Software‘, and based on an evaluation of the posts in the Balanced Copyright group, I’m beginning to wonder if most of the ‘people’ who are responding aren’t really bots.

        For example most posts made by the Group itself are liked by a lot of people. Liking something on Facebook requires just clicking on a button. It would be fairly simple to get a bot to do that, and to get the bot to vary the number of likes, so that it doesn’t look too suspicious.

        There are also a lot of weird comments, where it looks like the commenter hasn’t read the thread at all. Admittedly busy people often don’t bother to read an entire thread. But when comment 10 appears to apply comment 2, and ignores comments 5, 6, and 8, all of which commented on the same angle to the original post, you have to start wondering.

        When you look at the number of people who are commenting, and making sense (based on the original post and the earlier comments in the thread) there can’t be more than 4 or 5 real people who are actually taking part.

Clip of the Day

OpenACTA – Antonio Martínez Velázquez #GTACTA


Credit: TinyOgg

Microsoft is Still Fueling Anti-Linux ‘IP’ Wars Using Other Companies (SCO, Novell, Maybe Nokia)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SCO at 2:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[Microsoft's] Mr. Emerson and I discussed a variety of investment structures wherein Microsoft would ‘backstop,’ or guarantee in some way, BayStar’s investment…. Microsoft assured me that it would in some way guarantee BayStar’s investment in SCO.”

Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO

Summary: News about Novell and SCO suggests that even federal regulators are beginning to wake up and acknowledge that Microsoft engages in rogue games

NOVELL is a dead duck. If it gets sold, it’s all over. If it doesn’t get sold, it will go down the drain because customers already escape in droves (we have given many examples). Except a few minor projects (not Mono and Moonlight), the only project of value for FOSS inside Novell is OpenSUSE, which sort of continues the tradition of S.u.S.E. in Germany. There is not much news about OpenSUSE anymore (many members left), but the little that exists (e.g. [1, 2]) is from SUSE sites. As for SLE*, it’s about serving proprietary software from the likes of IBM. That’s what they advertise anyway.

The point to get across here is that the FOSS community need not shed a tear for Novell. The main ‘contribution’ of Novell to GNU/Linux has been Microsoft patent tax and FUD. Together with Microsoft, Novell has ‘innovated’ the notion of paying Microsoft for patents that do not exist or were never named (so that they can be averted). Fortunately, Microsoft booster Eric Savitz says that Microsoft may not be permitted to get Novell’s patents (after formal complaints from the FSF and OSI):

Some of the patents apparently relate to Novell’s Linux business, which would be of interest to all of the participants in the deal. Microsoft, which leads the group, has refused to discuss why it formed a coalition to acquire the patents, rather than simply buying them outright on its own. (It certainly isn’t about having enough cash.)

For some background on this, see [1, 2]. Here is a leading report whose headline says “Justice eyes Microsoft-Novell patent deal” and body says:

Microsoft’s attempt to gain a stronger position in the Linux market might be coming to an end, The Post has learned.

The Justice Department is giving a Microsoft-led group’s $450 million purchase of 882 patents from Novell a “pretty serious review,” a source close to the situation who is not working for or against the deal said yesterday.

“They could possibly nix the sale,” the source added.

Novell in November reached simultaneous deals to sell the patents to a group including Microsoft, Apple, EMC and Oracle and the rest of Novell to Attachmate in a deal totaling $2.2 billion. The Attachmate deal is contingent on the patent sale.

The US DOJ should see what a Microsoft mole has done to Nokia [1, 2, 3, 4]. As gnufreex points out in IRC, “not even microfans can defend Elop” and he links to this new audiocast from Mary-Jo Foley and Gavin Clarke. It says:

Stephen Elop’s decision to make Windows Phone the Nokia smartphone operating system of choice could be rationalized, even defended, right up until the point where Microsoft’s new phone platform bricked Samsung Omina 7 phones.

Suddenly, and without any real explanation, Windows Phone 7 couldn’t be updated on 10 per cent of phones. Imagine if a Windows Update wouldn’t update 10 per cent of the Windows PCs out there.

Nokia was killed by intrusion. It could probably find a far better way to carry on, without serving Microsoft. The same goes for SCO, which according to court documentation was given money by Microsoft and also given money by an entity approached by Microsoft. In essence, just like in Nokia’s case, money was paid by Microsoft for a company to turn hostile towards Linux (it remains to be seen if Elop will ‘pull a SCO’ using Nokia patents) and Groklaw has some new details in an article which starts innocently by stating: “A consultant hired by SCO in 2004 to compare UNIX and Linux, with the thought he could be used as an expert at trial, says that, after days and days, his comparison tool found “very little correlation”. When he told that to SCO, it paid him and he never heard from SCO again.”

So it was fabricated, eh? “This new information,” explains Pamela Jones, “appears in a new book to be published in April and now available as a “Rough Cuts” version on the Safari online book service. The book is titled “Software IP Detective,” by Bob Zeidman, and in Chapter 26, he tells us this anecdote.”"

But more curious was the update from Jones, who links to this news report and puts that in context:

Do you remember Baystar? It invested in SCO briefly, because Microsoft would be happy if they did, as Larry Goldfarb testified was his motivation. Here’s the latest on Larry Goldfarb from the San Francisco Chronicle:

The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Marin County hedge fund manager and philanthropist Lawrence “Larry” Goldfarb with secretly diverting $12 million in investor money to other uses including an investment in a San Francisco record company and charitable contributions.

Goldfarb runs Baystar Capital Management, a Larkspur firm that manages private investment funds including Baystar Capital II. The SEC alleges that since at least 2006, he and his firm have been misusing the proceeds from that fund’s highly profitable “side pocket” investments….

He and Baystar Capital Management settled the SEC charges without admitting or denying guilt. They agreed to pay about $14 million in disgorgement and interest to investors. Goldfarb also agreed to pay a $130,000 penalty and not associate with an investment advisor or broker for five years.

An update to the article says that he and his company “have entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney” whereby Goldfarb admitted to one count of wire fraud and that $12 million in investor funds were transferred to two entities he owns which invested in — among other things — Marin real estate and OM Records. “The U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco will not charge him if he complies with the terms of the agreement, which include paying $12.1 million in restitution to BayStar investors and a three-year ban from the investment industry.”

One has to watch those pure financial animals, y’all.

Maybe it is just a vehicle of money to drive other people’s interest via unknown shells, a bit like Elliot. As a reminder, Elliott and AttachMSFT got in touch before Elliott's bid for Novell. That’s just fishy.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, BayStar, key investor in SCO approached by Microsoft

Microsoft Hires Many Liars to Defame Free Software These Days

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 2:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Annual report by Microsoft

Summary: The Microsoft ‘Lies Machine’ is working in overdrive as Free software gains a better status in the public sector

MICROSOFT resorts to miserable measures not just by putting PR as 'news' but also by bribing academics (as always) and sending out attack dogs to push agenda from seemingly ‘independent’ directions. Last month we wrote about Josh Lerner’s and Mark Schankerman’s Microsoft-funded propaganda for Microsoft lobbyists such as the BSA [1, 2, 3] (they need something ‘academic’ to push their ridiculous claims with and sometimes IDC gives it to them). There is a new blog post from this pair, which contains the Microsoft-funded Microsoft talking points. We don’t want to quote from it (it basically insists that proprietary software is a necessity). There is only one comment and it comes from:

Joel
Consultant
Open Solutions Consulting

Too bad Joel did not mention the most important thing. They just ‘forget’ to mention Microsoft’s funding of this tripe.

TechDirt is very much accustomed to debunking BSA lies and regarding the latest from the BSA it says that “BSA Claims Open Standards Will Increase Costs” and rebuts as follows: “The Business Software Alliance (BSA), an organization that has never shied away from pushing as much FUD as possible to protect its main backers (proprietary software companies like Microsoft and Adobe), is at it again. Just a few months ago it sent a letter to European politicians that didn’t even pass the laugh test, making claims like “royalty free” software meant that it was “non-commercial.” Its latest is to warn the UK government what a grave mistake it would be to support open standards and royalty free software, bizarrely claiming this would “increase e-government costs.” Yes, by using open standards and royalty free software, the BSA insists costs will go up.”

The BSA is not trying to say the truth; it’s just a front group. The BSA often relies on Microsoft-funded ‘studies’ (either from academia or from IDC, which belongs to IDG).

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

IDG is Again Advertising and Whitewashing Microsoft in Articles About ‘Open Source’

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 1:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IDG on open source

Summary: Microsoft agenda is served through systematic deception and talking points which are injected by Microsoft employees (poached from an open source background)

IS IT PROVOCATION or is it simply PR? After the Microsoft “loves open source” nonsense [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] Jon Brodkin from IDG (Network World) strikes again. He linked to the “loves open source” nonsense in the articles too, probably for some provocation or needless mind control. They do that a lot in Network World, embedding incorrect statements in articles that can only be corrected in rational readers’ comments. For the uninitiated, the Fox News/News Corp. of technology seems to be IDG (paid by Microsoft through IDC) because it controls a lot of publications that cover technology. It has a lot of influence to sell and it sure sells influence by taking steps such as creating a “Microsoft Subnet” and stuffing it — along with other so-called ‘subnets’ — with Microsoft sympathisers. One of them writes about Windows Live Mesh and points out that GNU/Linux is excluded. “On March 31,” she writes, “Microsoft will stop supporting the beta version of Live Mesh. Users of the file synching service must manually upgrade to the full production Windows Live Mesh service or lose the data stored in their folders. This cloud service synchs files between multiple Windows machines and Macs, but because it doesn’t support Linux, other services like Dropbox still have an edge.”

“Microsoft employee defends Microsoft? No way!”Yes, Microsoft sure loves open source, eh? It does not support a single open source platform, even on the Web which is supposed to foster open standards (Microsoft is also banning Free software in its phones). Anyway, in IDG’s Microsoft section/s there is new poison and it comes in pairs. The Microsoft PR campaign now involves its employee, Gianugo Rabellino, who Brodkin says “takes on the hardest job at Microsoft” (we have heard the same thing about Hilf and Ramji). “A few months ago,” says Brodkin ,”Gianugo Rabellino traded his Linux and Mac PCs for a Windows 7 laptop, left the open source company he founded and moved to Redmond for a new job with Microsoft. His goal: improve Microsoft’s credibility within open source circles.”

Bollocks.

His goal was to become rich. He only accepted this job because Microsoft is poaching (or at least trying) open source luminaries like Simon Phipps. His departure from “Linux and Mac PCs for a Windows 7 laptop” was just part of the deal. He sold out. There are mostly reasonable comments in the article and more in LWN (even a reference to Techrights). The whole thing is a whitewash and Dr. Glyn Moody responded to it with: “so, about those software patents MS claims OSS infringes…”

By the same author there is a second piece which got little attention. It’s still from the same source, which is a full-time Microsoft employee. To quote: ‘”Rabellino says his main focus right now “is to enable PHP to shine on our platforms,” including Windows Azure.”‘

Microsoft employee defends Microsoft? No way!

Satipera writes: ‘Rabellino “This company (Microsoft) has changed” What nonsense. If MS could kill #FLOSS today it would.’

Of course it would, but it is trying to invade it to cause harm, just like in Nokia. More remarks about these whitewash pieces from Jon Brodkin can be found in Tuesday’s IRC logs (specifically here onwards) and some of yesterday’s. To quote bits and pieces from yesterday morning (including the complete quote from Groklaw), “page two is all Microsoft talking points, ass covering and propaganda.” Pamela Jones wrote: “Of course, Microsoft wants developers to write for Windows instead of for Linux. But why in the world would a community person want to help them do it? Other than money. Because the end result will not be FOSS, with the F as in freedom.” We’re adding logs below (mostly quoting one longtime reader).


twitter I’m having a look this finally.  http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/030111-microsoft-rabellino.html Mar 02 05:36
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Open source expert takes on the hardest job at Microsoft .::. Size~: 129.16 KB Mar 02 05:36
twitter While this “Apache guy” and “Hard core Debian-ista” might not be able to talk for the free software world, we can be sure that he and Network World are talking for Microsoft and I like some of the things I’m reading. Mar 02 05:38
twitter For instance, the company finally admits, “Developers nowadays are mostly to be found in the open source world. We need to go where they are,” Mar 02 05:39
twitter This has been apparent for about ten years but Microsoft has steadfastly denied it, arguing that no one could possibly make a living off the hobby OS and slinging other insults that we all remember. Mar 02 05:40
twitter The company is also keen to avoid “theoretical” discussions and talk about “specifics” like how to make Windows less dismal by wasting developer time porting free software there.   Mar 02 05:42
twitter Ick, they brag about having an unnamed “insider” someone that, “has inside knowledge about how to connect with [free software] people even if their contact information is not publicly available. He knows all the backchannels.”  I’m guessing this is more the result of Microsoft’s careful monitoring and infiltration efforts than it is a real person but it’s really creepy either way. Mar 02 05:45
twitter barf, page two is all Microsoft talking points, ass covering and propaganda.  No one following free software can read this kind of drek without feeling ill…. why am I wasting my time on it?  To see what else slips out of the obviously prostrate company. Mar 02 05:48
[...]
twitter he he, his friends were all polite about his move to Microsoft as we might expect from free software people but not Microsoft themselves or fauxpen source exploiters. Mar 02 05:52
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[schestowitz/@schestowitz] 2011-03-01 French, English and US Special Forces Enter Libya to Reinforce Uprising #Libya #Feb17 http://ur1.ca/3dbzg Mar 02 05:54
twitter LOL, “We’re living in a mixed IT environment. If you want to develop something that has an impact, you cannot discount the community. Microsoft has a huge community of developers, and has always been about developers. Developers … ” He must have missed Steve Ballmer’s “Advertisers, Advertisers, Advertisers” speech where Microsoft dismissed their own community.   Mar 02 05:54
schestowitz Hi, twitter Mar 02 05:54
twitter hi Mar 02 05:54
schestowitz Hold on, lemmie read.. Mar 02 05:54
TechrightsBot-tr Title: 2011-03-01 French, English and US Special Forces Enter Libya to Reinforce Uprising #Libya #Feb17 | WL Central .::. Size~: 210.66 KB Mar 02 05:54
twitter I’m getting tired of the article, it’s mostly a puff piece. I went there because PJ laughed at it. Mar 02 05:55
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[schestowitz/@schestowitz] The #Nouveau Driver Is Moving Along Slowly But Surely http://ur1.ca/3dbzx #linux Mar 02 05:55
TechrightsBot-tr Title: [Phoronix] The Nouveau Driver Is Moving Along Slowly But Surely .::. Size~: 17.58 KB Mar 02 05:55
schestowitz It’s 2 Mar 02 05:56
schestowitz Joe Mar 02 05:56
schestowitz Posted two whitewash piece Mar 02 05:56
schestowitz Posted two whitewash pieces Mar 02 05:56
schestowitz http://www.networkworld.com/news/2011/030111-microsoft-php-opensource.html?hpg1=bn Mar 02 05:57
TechrightsBot-tr Title: PHP user group lauds Microsoft’s open source contributions .::. Size~: 126.46 KB Mar 02 05:57
schestowitz It’s the same “Microsoft subnet” fluff Mar 02 05:57
twitter PJ nails it.  ”Of course, Microsoft wants developers to write for Windows instead of for Linux. But why in the world would a community person want to help them do it? Other than money. Because the end result will not be FOSS, with the F as in freedom.” Mar 02 05:57
twitter What I liked was the admission that the developers are all in the free software world now. Mar 02 05:58
twitter That’s really the reason Windows sucks so bad, Microsoft drove everyone off. Mar 02 05:58
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[schestowitz/@schestowitz] ♺ @@johnsu01 The February issue of the Free Software Supporter is out, and should be landing in your mailbox shortly. Mar 02 05:59
twitter It was always a bad deal but they decided to make it absolutely unbearable for Vista.   Mar 02 05:59
twitter No developers, no work, game over. Mar 02 05:59
twitter I think nouveau is in squeeze.  Have not tried it yet but I have a desktop with nvidia and should give it a whirl.  The nv driver had always been “good enough” for my purposes.   Mar 02 06:00
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[carlopiana/@carlopiana] RT @giammi @carlopiana Also interesting – neither Salk nor Sabin patented their polio vaccines; they donated the rights as gifts to huma … Mar 02 06:00
twitter Intel had me enjoying composite, but I turn it off for the extra speed boost. Mar 02 06:01
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[schestowitz/@schestowitz] ♺ @themadhatter RT @rmcla_ca: VIDEO: “Protests and Civil Liberties” re: #G8 #G20 and Vancouver #Olympics [...] http://bit.ly/fJ0qnE Mar 02 06:02
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Sheldon Chumir Foundation :: Protests and Civil Liberties: Experiences in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver .::. Size~: 18.79 KB Mar 02 06:02
twitter more funnies -> “”When asked if Rabellino might urge Microsoft to build Windows computers that aren’t plagued by constant updates and can start up and shut down as fast as a Linux machine, Rabellino says, “You know, it’s something we should work on.” Mar 02 06:02
twitter beat badly in tech, abandoned by developers, who is Microsoft fooling? Mar 02 06:03
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[carlopiana/@carlopiana] ♻ @gbraad prediction: “I think you wanna make a phone call. Can I help you?” – #Clippy on the new #NokMsft phone <LOL Mar 02 06:04
-TRIdentica/#techrights-[schestowitz/@schestowitz] ♺ @themadhatter RT @oliviachow: My questions in Parl re Inquiry on #G20 and gov’s response: http://bit.ly/g6O5RU #hw #fb Mar 02 06:04
TechrightsBot-tr Title: Olivia Chow, MP – Olivia Chow in Question Period: Call a public inquiry now .::. Size~: 18.57 KB Mar 02 06:04
twitter Gross, he does the patent gangster thing.  ”These licenses offer more patent protection than the more commonly used open source licenses, Rabellino indicates. …  It’s really about being pragmatic, it’s not about what license to choose based on an idealistic approach. I see a lot of good stuff in Microsoft licenses when it comes to patent language. There is an advantage there. Why choose one license versus another? Do you want to protect Mar 02 06:05
twitter I should probably stop reading Mar 02 06:05

IRC Proceedings: March 2nd, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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