Today’s News is PR

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 7:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[A]fter analysing a five-day working week in the media, across 10 hard-copy papers, ACIJ and Crikey found that nearly 55% of stories analysed were driven by some form of public relations. The Daily Telegraph came out on top of the league ladder with 70% of stories analysed triggered by public relations. The Sydney Morning Herald gets the wooden spoon with (only) 42% PR-driven stories for that week.”

“Over half your news is spin”

Summary: How sources of information get perturbed by sources of power and why it matters

NEWS filters are nowadays as necessary as spam filters. A lot of news is fake and a lot of it is just trying to sell something. My uncle who is also a Ph.D. told me this month that when he was recently brought to the radio to explain a subject in which he is an expert he was gently asked to promote a particular product he does not believe in; the radio station actually had a hidden agenda to push, but he declined. That’s how radio gets some of its revenue and people who do not cooperate with it are likely not to be invited to future shows. It’s sad, but it is also true and it’s merely anecdotal. When this is done in a high-quantity, retail-type fashion with entire companies mastering and developing an expertise in such manipulation, then they get called advertising agencies, PR firms, and other such euphemisms. They truly believe they do the right thing by “promoting small businesses”, “informing the public”, “driving the industry”, and other such excuses. Some would justify fake reviews in more or less the same way. At another level, news pushes political agenda and think-tanks are sometimes formed to put some names on a predetermined document. It is, in essence, a case of opinion for sale. Privileged audiences are sold for corporations to confuse, scare, or fill with artificial wants and desires; it is for consumers (passive) or for citizens to behave as someone else wishes for them to behave. The more successful strategists are able to create vast political movements like the Tea Party and then label it “grassroots” when in fact it is all funded and coordinated by those who merely gather a voluntary mob for themselves, usually to harm those very same people’s interests; they help enrich their exploiters.

For people who are aware of the vast amount of false signals surrounding them, it is easy to be demoralised at times. It is not a failure to block out noise that can prove rather depressing; sometimes it is the concern for others whose critical skills are too weak to carry out a signal selection process. That leads to peer-imposed pressure for compliance, which increases as the intervention of the so-called “PR industry” increases. This industry is vastly greater than journalism, estimated to be dealing with a turnover of over one trillion dollars per year in the US alone, depending on what qualifies as PR. In this vortex of dishonesty people are inclined to do irrational things and misinterpret just about everything, unless popular movements somehow manage to overcome mercenaries, controversial laws, and propaganda.

While this whole writeup may seem misplaced, it is actually very relevant to Techrights because educating the wider public — not just dyed-in-the-wool Free software supporters — is not easy when there are walls that act as boundaries of “allowed” thinking. For example, go ahead and explain to the ordinary person that cellular phones are nowadays used for surveillance, all E-mails are being scanned, and the world’s richest (and publicly “charming”) people are finding new ways to keep the public under control, sometimes misdirecting the perception of danger and threat to those who are poorest, and not by their own choosing, either. The role of Free software in this picture is akin to that of a leveler — where the software producer basically cannot elevate one above another. The user has as much control over the software (but not the network, at least not yet) as anybody else and therefore the user can enjoy access to the same knowledge others used to keep sheltered. The idea of software freedom is just one piece of a bigger puzzle and one whose solution can improve the lives of many, usually at the expense of very few who capitalise on disparity. In addition to software freedom (in the computer code sense), technology has other aspects of it which Techrights addresses; among them there are net neutrality, censorship, DRM, open access, transparency, collaboration, weakening of monopolies like copyrights and patents, even trademarks to a degree. A lot of these issues eventually affect access to virtual, non-physical resources, mostly information. These naturally exist in abundance, but those who want to increase their own power impose limitations; they create self-serving scarcities and it remains the task of everybody else to undo these artificial restrictions or unneeded limitations, otherwise class war (the main type of war in this world, which can be spun as something else to create phantom enemies, e.g. narcotics) will never really be grasped and truly end. A class war is not fought with equipment of conventional war; it is best fought with information, which can sway one side onto another. Egypt is a good example of this.

With the decline of classified ads and other vital sources of revenue newspapers used to enjoy, journalism is truly dying, but its hollow shell is quickly being filled by PR personnel, to whom the void establishments — with some reputation and distribution left — provide opportunities to exploit. Deception pays a lot more than truth; changing people’s perception is something powerful people are willing to pay for and nowadays a lot of the “news” is just like that. There is a new example of it which involves a fear-mongering firm. Watch this firm injecting self-promotion into IDG, which is commonly done there. The Apple hype machine is another useful example where a company is changing perceptions and turning a gadget into a status symbol, even when it’s a piece of deficient, overpriced hardware. Gone are the days of genuine and investigative journalism, which is why so many people turn to sources like Wikileaks. Raw material can truly embarrass those whose coverage is entirely contradictory to truth.

“Beyond the ‘Public Relations’” is a post we wrote a while back in order to shed some light on the role of Bernays et al. A century ago it was quite acceptable to openly engage in engineering of people’s minds in order for them to accept unjust wars and defend aggression. Before the term “PR” was coined it was called “propaganda”. Only later it became a very negative word, which suffered from a connotation not with colonialism but even with Nazi methodologies of turning indifferent populations into consenting followers.

One organisation which gained notoriety for supporting Western power games is the BBC. There are many examples of articles on the subject and they can easily be found on the Web, too. Microsoft UK took control of many positions of power at the BBC, including BBC World Service as we covered at the time it happened. Objectiveness is compromised this way. In addition to that, there is major news right now about “BBC World Service to sign funding deal with US state department”. This suggests that if the BBC continues to be used as tool of foreign policy-setting/US agenda-pushing, then payments will help validate long-held suspicions (it is a shame that British taxpayers too must pay for this). To quote this report from today:

The BBC World Service is to receive a “significant” sum of money from the US government to help combat the blocking of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China.

In what the BBC said is the first deal of its kind, an agreement is expected to be signed later this month that will see US state department money – understood to be a low six-figure sum – given to the World Service to invest in developing anti-jamming technology and software.

The reporter happens to work for The Guardian, which is funded by Bill Gates to worship and spin what he does as part of his investments. Then again, there is almost no big channel/publication which the Gates Foundation has not already bribed to ensure agreement. In fact, the latest bit of spin (from several days ago) again stresses that this tax evader, Gates, who forces people to pay him a tax on every new PC, is in fact a giver, whose ‘example’ everyone must follow. Satire is dead when it is said so seriously. It’s PR. Similarly, Microsoft can now point the finger at some bogus claims that it is the “most ethical” in the world; yes, a think-tank like Alexis de Tocqueville claims so. This one particular think-tank, Ethisphere Institute, is studied and its nature explained by one of the few investigative journalists who still exist. Sam Varghese writes:

Surprise! Microsoft, big Oz banks among most ethical


If that wasn’t enough to tickle one’s nerve of risibility, the good folk at Ethisphere have selected three of the four big Australian banks – Westpac, ANZ and NAB – as being among the most ethical as well.

“About Microsoft,” he adds, “one does not need to say much apart from observing that if it is among the most ethical, then the word ethics has certainly been redefined.”

“The people who run the institute haven’t responded to a query as to how many companies among the 110 selected this year have donated money to its noble cause,” it concludes.

Who paid for this information to be generated? It’s not as though it is some known ladder and the people attending/participating in this think-tank are not just doing it “for fun”. It’s just not what think-tanks do. To Microsoft, ridiculous output such as the above would be very handy and probably worth many millions of dollars. Imagine being able to tell customers that rather than being the industry’s longtime bully you are the “most ethical” out there. Other companies that use such think-tank tactics range from oil companies to tobacco companies. They use think-tanks to distort information and control perceptions. It’s all about information (and contrariwise, disinformation), which is now delivered predominantly using electronic means.

Some time ago Yahoo! Mail started to reject my outgoing E-mails, which is probably just an unfortunate coincidence, but how about this new rant from LWN? It says:

The wise folks at Hotmail have decided to start blocking email from LWN’s server; they also have not really bothered to inform people of how to get themselves unblocked. As a result, anybody who has subscribed to an LWN mailing list from a Hotmail account has been unsubscribed. It must be said that we were surprised by just how many of those there were. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience.

How pleasant. Those who control routes of information can misuse this power. If technology gets centralised (in private hands), it is a recipe for trouble. LWN is still one of the best sources for Linux news; the rest is dominated by large corporations such as Comcast, GE, and Universal. Who would ever sponsor news about software freedom?

New Cracks in the US Patent System

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 6:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-authored with G. Forbes

Floral frame

Summary: A debate which the patent lawyers frame as revolving around innovation is in fact just a risk to people’s lives and a driver of cartels

THERE is plenty of evidence to support the allegation that the USPTO is a defender of monopolists rather than a catalyst of innovation it pretends to be. Monopolists lack an incentive to innovate since this may disrupt their dominance or production pipeline. The New York Times is currently presenting this sob story from billionaires who profit from patents suits in life-or-death situations. It conveniently omits the real consequences of granting and encouraging drug patent monopolies. “$10 drug now $1500 after FDA grants monopoly” says this headline about a new observation that we covered in TechBytes a week ago.

Even the director of the USPTO is admitting that the assumed correlation between patents and innovation may be illusionary. A new article illustrates:

David Kappos, director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, says the United States needs new ways to measure innovation and also to give fast-track status to green technologies.

First, Kappos says his office is looking at new ways of measuring innovation. After all, open-source software, which explicitly rejects traditional intellectual property rights, powers large parts of the technology industry, such as the Android mobile operating system. Additionally, corporations often take out huge pre-emptive patents to prevent competition from forming.

As we stated a few days ago, the US claims to be addressing the problem with the patent system. However, since reducing the backlog (possibly by speeding up the approval process) is the wrong path to take, there is no indication of what can actually be done to abolish bad patents, such as the ones described here:

“For the next 45 days, Webvention is willing to license the ’294 patent for a one-time, fully paid-up licensing fee of $80,000.00 for a non-exclusive, company-wide right to use Webvention technology,” the company wrote to one of its targets.

The Federal Trade Commission has a new report titled “The Evolving IP Marketplace,” that ponders how to deal with these troublesome entities, based on a series of patent conferences that the agency held. And the vague language often associated with patents (like the above) is identified as a big part of the problem.

It is increasingly evident that patents are being used as an architect for cartels, which in turn use thickets and perceived threats (at times litigation) to block competition. This is just one more sign that patents are a tool for monopolies to squash smaller competitors. To a certain degree, there is a similar unbalanced situation in relation to copyright laws. They too can be abused, warping “copyright enforcement” into a glorified censorship weapon. “Copyright Bullying is in the DNA” is a short new example of the impact of this issue from Glyn Moody. He continues to emphasise the message that copyright is not encouraging new creative works. As he sarcastically puts it:

Yeah, we really need Draconian copyright laws to protect (dead) artists from this kind of evil infringement.

We shall revisit this later.

Links 20/3/2011: ext4, ZFS for Linux, and Gentoo 11.0

Posted in News Roundup at 2:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Clickety clack, Linux won’t bite back.

    It seems to be human nature to fear the unknown. Sure there are a lot of brave souls who love to go out in to the unkown and learn new things. To those we are greatfull. Without those types of people we would not have the technological toys that are so much fun to play with.

    The average human is different. We seem to get stuck in a rut. We wake up, go through our morning rituals, hopefully go to work, then come home, play a bit and off to bed. Only to repeat this same cycle for as long as our health allows. We are fine with that, in fact we are downright comfortable with it. We are happy and secure in the little comfort zone we have carved out for ourselves in this big bad old world.

  • Desktop

    • Growing Linux Users

      There are two things that can be associated to new Linux users and that is tragic and magic. And as to what part an individual would experience depends on a lot of factors. The first factor would be the ease of use, certainly Linux would be a user friendly application but since you are not used to it, the first experience on Linux would really be difficult. If the new user will tend to see things so complex to understand, he will surely forget about the idea and carry on with using his old operating system.

    • HeliOS is on the Move…

      They were impressed enough to offer us an extremely generous deal on a 2200 square foot building for our use.


      This is a huge step in the evolution of The HeliOS Project. We will be able to impact entire neighborhoods and area’s, not households in one’s and two’s. We will finally have some autonomy and freedom in our operation, and as always, it will be the Free Software and Linux Communities that makes it happen.

    • Windows Vs. Linux: The Breakdown

      The graphical user interface (GUI) is certainly one of the most sought-after features of any operating system. A typical Ubuntu setup can have one of the three major Linux GUIs, including XFCE, KDE, and the most popular, Gnome.

    • Windows Users: Here Is Why You Need A Linux Live CD

      In my experience Windows tends to have a habit of going wrong when you least expect, and at crucial moments. If you dread that sinking feeling as your system screws the pooch on startup, maybe it’s time to make a Linux live CD.

      There are plenty of reasons the average Windows user may want to create a Linux live CD or USB stick before it’s too late. A USB-based distribution will be speedier (you’ll need Unetbootin) or you can simply burn a CD/DVD with something like ImgBurn.

  • Kernel Space

    • Tim Burke: ext4 Is Not Going Anywhere Any Time Soon

      To add some details that they did not mention in either summary, we also have a lot of new code in the NFS client in 2.6.38 that will be the building blocks for parallel NFS (a way to make clustered NFS servers much higher performance).

    • ZFS for Linux 0.7.0 released

      The ZFS for Linux FUSE (File-systems in User Space) driver has been updated to version 0.7.0, nine months after it’s last release (0.6.9). New features in the version include updates to pool version 23 of the Sun code and the incorporation of all of Sun’s bug fixes, robust rollback handling, improved init scripts, bash completion and a more reliable zpool export and destroy.

    • PingWin Software Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that PingWin Software is its newest member.

      PingWin Software is a leading systems integrator in Russia and is focused on Linux and open source software integration. PingWin Software is the first Russian company to join The Linux Foundation.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Webconverger: Linux for Libraries?

      In conclusion, Webconverger is limited, but useful precisely because of its limits. For an initial investment in time and money than can be counted in minutes and cents, those who deploy Webconverger will reap the benefit of never having to even think about the software on their machines, while knowing that their users’ security and privacy are ensured.

    • Minty Freshness: New LMDE Theme Based On Orta, Created By SkiesOfAzel

      It appears that SkiesOfAzel, the Orta theme developer was contacted by a LMDE (Linux Mint Debian Edition) developer to create a similar theme for LMDE and the initial result can already be tested (not just on LMDE – you can use it on any Linux distribution obviously). If you thought Orta is amazing,

    • Linux: Awesome is Awesome!

      I decided to give Awesome a try. Awesome is a tiling window manager like xmonad. I’ve been using it for about a month, and I like it a lot.

      It integrates with GNOME much better than dwm. Most users of dwm don’t use GNOME, but I do. Its default settings are a lot nicer than xmonad’s. When I use xmonad, I spend all my time futzing with my .xmonad.hs, but I haven’t had to tweak Awesome at all the whole time I’ve used it. For instance, Awesome comes with a ton of layouts built in.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Join KDE for Google Summer of Code 2011

        For the 7th year in a row KDE has been accepted as a mentoring organisation for Google Summer of Code. We are delighted to be able to work with great students throughout the summer again. To find out more about the program visit the GSoC website and pay special attention to the FAQ and timeline.

      • It’s not an address book

        It began about ten years ago, when I rewrote the KDE address book library. I implemented a nice API, vCard parsing, and a representation of something I called an Addressee back then, a contact, the data belonging to a person or any other entity, closely modelled after the fields of vCard, which is a fine standard for storing and exchanging address book data.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 6 March 2011
      • Project Neon is back!

        So, without further ado: Project Neon is back with much more stuff in stock. Those of you who have been around KDE for a while might remember the old one developed by everyone’s favourite (or NOT) apachelogger which offered daily builds of Amarok. Well, that one kind of died but new Project Neon Team managed to revive it with new features. Thanks to ingenious Launchpad Source Builds feature we set up nightly builds of the KDE Software Compilation trunk and we are currently working on getting Amarok there too.

      • Design Decisions #1

        I want to thank who ever it was that made the decision to NOT force KDE to develop a composited desktop with a fall-back to a totally different looking un-compositied desktop in the event the computer has a driver failure/poor videocard. (Edit: I know kde has compositing, but those are effects and the overall design of kde looks basically the same whether you have the compositing on or off).

        I say this in light of the development work on Unity and Gnome3. Which falls back to gnome2 when 3d acceleration is not available. Why?

      • On switching to KDE/Xfce

        Unlike with the panel, in GNOME 3, I can no longer choose to have the clock where I want it, remove some of the unnecessary icons, or even add weather applets and information to the screen. At the same time, I am supposed to believe everything is now an “Activity” with a single menu button being used to drive everything I do, rather than various shortcuts and icons around the screen. I can’t even have desktop icons or launch a terminal via the right click menu (which now doesn’t exist in the default setup). I’m also not at all fond of the effects, or the new window manager. In fact, where GNOME 2.x did almost everything I wanted, it seems that GNOME 3 does the opposite. Where it used to be about productivity, it’s now about appearance and effects, at the cost of more experienced users.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • gnome tweak tool – A GUI to customize advanced GNOME 3 options

        gnome-tweak-tool is a GUI to customize advanced settings beautify desktop environment in coming Gnome 3.

      • Understanding Gnome 3 – Without the min, max buttons

        While you are waiting for the Gnome 3 impatiently for the April 2011 release, you could attempt peaking at new shell. Those who have had a go at it come away excited at the substantial changes. The desktop design is spanking new and definitely appealing. New intuitive messaging, without have to switch, that allows you to reply are some of the distinctive and immediately identifiable changes. GNOME3 is essentially the next generation shell and several legacies of the GNOME 2 have disappeared because there is no room for them in the new shell design.

      • What will the new GNOME desktops mean for other Linux desktops?

        It’s almost time. Soon a new paradigm of GNOME is going to drop onto the desktops of suspecting (and unsuspecting) users. When this does there is going to be reaction. As with any major change to the computer industry, users are going to have both negative and positive reactions. Some will go so far as to switch distributions to avoid this change. Some users, on the other hand, will seek solace elsewhere. What exactly does that mean to the landscape of Linux? Let’s don our speculation caps and take a look.

      • GNOME-KDE wars are back again

        There have been two recent instances where Canonical has acted in a way that has displeased GNOME – one was when it decided to use its own interface, Unity, for the next version of Ubuntu, instead of the forthcoming GNOME 3 shell.

      • Faenza 0.9 Released – Brings More Polish, New “Darkest” Theme & Lots More

        Faenza icon theme is arguably *the* most beautiful icon theme for GNOME and also has support for the widest range of applications in Ubuntu GNOME. Faenza 0.9 was released a day ago and it brings in a number of major upgrades including a new “darkest” theme and many other openly visible as well as subtle changes.

      • GNOME marketing contract: week 2
      • In response to “the libappindicator story”

        It’s fine for you to state Canonical did not follow the process, but to not link to a doc or provide a post showing the process as approved by either GNOME or the team within GNOME responsible for this particular area, it’s quite frankly irresponsible.

      • Use Getting Things GNOME to get things done

        One of the most fundamentally life-altering books that I have ever read was Getting Things Done by David Allen. This book is inspiring, eye-opening, and has allowed me to work more efficiently than I ever had before reading it. The GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology has quite literally changed the way that I work and approach tasks.

        I’ve played with a number of GTD-inspired applications on the Mac with varying degrees of success. Currently my app of choice on the Mac is OmniFocus, which is a great application. Unfortunately, it does not run on Linux and I do like to keep work and home-related tasks separate, so while I use a Mac for the home stuff, I use Linux for work. That meant I needed a good GTD app for Linux.

  • Distributions

    • Exotic Linux distros: A walk on the wild side

      Linux seems to offer a distribution for every occasion. Among these obscurer flavours are a few that you may not have encountered, but could be just what you need, says Jack Wallen.

    • Continued Adventures in Distro Remixing

      I’ve been making a personal Fedora remix for a while now… since Fedora 10. While that might sound hard, thanks to Fedora’s livecd-tools package and their livecd-creator script, it is really quite easy. I even made a screencast about it. I recently started making a remix of Scientific Linux 6.0 and wanted to share.

      As you may recall, I prefer Fedora on my personal desktops but on servers I prefer Red Hat Enterprise Linux or a RHEL clone. There are actually a few clones to pick from and I’ve been using CentOS for a number of years. One thing I like about CentOS is that one of its goals is to stay as true to RHEL as possible by attempting to be 100% binary compatible with it, bugs and all. Unfortunately the CentOS developers have gotten somewhat backlogged with the onslaught of RHEL releases over the last few months (6.0, 5.6, and 4.9) and have taken a lot of criticism for release delays as well as falling behind on security updates in the process.

    • Had A Gnuff?

      Yesterday a reader dropped me a link to Gnuffy, which is an offshoot of Arch Linux started about three years ago. Looking over what has been accomplished with it thus far, I was very impressed with their ideas on expanding Arch (many already implemented), and given a few new ideas of my own.

      At this point Gnuffy appears to consist of a package manager called Spaceman and some user repositories. Gnuffy can use any of Arch Linux’s repos in addition to its own, and can use the standard PKGBUILDs in addition to its own improved version of PKGBUILD, which includes some Gentoo-style USE flags and other enhancements. Packages on Gnuffy’s repos are GPG signed with the key of the packager, and Spaceman checks signatures. Nice work! It was a bit like suddenly being transported into the future of Arch.

    • Linux From Scratch 6.8 is released! Step-by-step instructions on how to build your own Linux-based OS from scratch

      It also includes editorial work on the explanatory material throughout the book, improving both the clarity and accuracy of the text.

    • Puppy Linux — could it replace Debian on my oldest hardware?

      I’ve run Puppy Linux before. Many times. I started with Puppy 2.13 and still remember that release very, very fondly.

      I have half an entry (not yet published) on the Lenny to Squeeze upgrade for my Compaq Armada 7770dmt laptop — a 1999 throwback with Pentium II MMX at 233 MHz, 144 MB of RAM and a 3 GB hard drive. I’ve written dozens of articles about this laptop, and I’ve run everything from OpenBSD and TinyCore to Slackware and Debian Lenny and now Squeeze on it.

    • Puppy in 2011 on a laptop in 1999 — I’m sticking with Debian
    • Gentoo 11.0 Screenshots
    • Top Linux Distros For Every Level User

      In this article, I’ll highlight some of the top Linux distributions for advanced users as well as some great ones for those who are intermediate and newer users. In each case, I’ll include distributions for those wanting to learn more about using Linux effectively.

    • Reviews

      • Tiny Core 3.5 review – a blend of the brilliant and the infuriating

        Tiny Core is a light and modular Linux distribution. Its main purpose is to allow the easy construction of simple but powerful appliance-like desktops. Michael Reed tests the latest release…

      • Pardus 2011 – Best KDE4 around, but could be better

        Pardus is easily one of the lesser known bigger surprise Linux distributions. Developed in Turkey, it does not strike you as a top choice for your desktop, does it? But it is a top-notch distribution with a handful of clever tricks that make it a great candidate for daily use. I was mightily impressed with the 2009 version, which is why I’m testing this year’s release.

      • A peek at Bodhi Linux 0.1.6

        I can’t deny Bodhi brings something new to the table; the desktop it provides is certainly different. Judging from the number of downloads the project has experienced thus far it must be appealing to quite a lot of people. However, I didn’t find anything to recommend the distro. It is, in my opinion, mostly glitter and little substance.

    • New Releases

      • Trisquel 4.5 Slaine Release Candidate is ready

        The release candidate images for the 4.5 release of Trisquel, “Slaine”
        are ready for testing. Note that this images will become the final
        release if no bugs are found. Minor bugs would be fixed via updates.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat teams with RIT to help deaf children

        Raleigh-based Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) is sponsoring open source workshops at the Rochester Institute of Technology this summer that have the potential of improving technology for deaf and hard of hearing children.

        Three RIT students who are alumni of the Professors’ Open Source Summer Experience workshops have developed an open source prototype video chat package to produce smooth sign language video for One Laptop Per Child’s XO laptops.

      • Fedora

        • Playing With Fire, Fedora 15 and Gnome 3

          There are concern among users that Gnome 3 or Unity is a wrong decision; that it needs a learning curve and not many users are ready or willing to do so. I disagree. The fact is people like status-quo; they don’t like changes. But that’s not how world works. Not changing for sake of user’s reluctance also keeps technologies from evolving.

        • My Wife Loves Gnome 3

          I downloaded and installed Fedora 15 alpha (Gnome 3) after reading this review. I was looking forward to this opportunity as I knew that sooner or later it will be ‘between the Devil and the deep blue sea’. I will have to choose from between Unity and Gnome Shell 3. Or, I will resist the change and migrate to a distro which will continue to invest on Gnome 2? I believe I will go with Unity or Gnome 3. It’s not fair to not embrace newer technologies. The incident that I am going to share with you strengthened my trust in Gnome 3.

    • Debian Family

      • Updated Debian 6.0: 6.0.1 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the first update of its stable distribution Debian 6.0 (codename “squeeze”). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustment to serious problems.

      • Ubuntu Linux aims to give back with Debian Dex

        About five years ago, the Debian Common Core Alliance (DCCA) got started as an effort to help encourage collaboration among Debian derivatives. The DCCA failed.

      • Debian Project News – March 14th, 2011
      • Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”: What’s New?

        Debian 6 was in many ways an important and path-breaking release of Debian, but is it really relevant today? Debian as a desktop system isn’t really something you’d like to use—it’s too old. Debian for servers? Well, it does the job extremely well, but Ubuntu Server, while providing LTS releases every 2 years (which coincides with Debian’s new release cycle), has better support from applications, built-in support for EC2 clouds, and commercial support from Canonical (with stuff like Landscape, which even Red Hat cannot boast of).

        Moreover, day by day, Debian is getting more purist in its approach. For a server OS, it beats me why SELinux or AppArmor wasn’t included, and the fact remains that even if I use it as a desktop, it still needs a bit of tinkering around with configuration files in /etc to fully realise the potential of the system. Although yes, porting in Software Center from Ubuntu was a very nice touch, and it does make managing repositories and installing software a lot easier.

        There’s only one thing I can say about Debian 6: it may have released just yesterday, but it was outdated 6 months ago. So unless you have a reason for using Debian, both on the server front and desktop front, I’d recommend Ubuntu. On the other hand, if you do have that reason for using Debian, go ahead and upgrade, because you will be blown away by the amount of polish that has gone into this release. Debian 6 is indeed a worthy upgrade to Debian 5, but not really from other distros.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Gallery: Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 3

          Ubuntu Linux 11.04 now uses the “Unity” user interface, which features a prominent “Task Bar” on the left hand side that acts as both a task manager in addition to a common application launcher. Shown on the desktop is LibreOffice Writer, the word processing program that comes with the new LibreOffice productivity suite which replaces OpenOffice 3 in previous versions of Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu Will Run On Tablets With Better Multi-touch Support

          So, what is going on at Canonical when it comes to the multi-touch devices? It appears a lot is going on behind the scene. Future versions of Ubuntu will have better support for mult-touch devices and if vendors like it they might start putting Ubuntu on tablets.

          Chase Douglas of Canonical has written in his blog post, “One of my key goals for Ubuntu 11.04 has been to introduce full multitouch support through X.org. In technical terms, this means adding touch support to the XInput protocol. You may see others refer to multitouch in X.org as simply XInput 2.1. We hatched our plan back at UDS-N to push hard on developing the XInput 2.1 protocol and implementing it as best as possible in 11.04. The idea was that Ubuntu would be a test bed for the protocol before it is adopted by X.org upstream.”

        • Canonical pares Ubuntu down to 2 editions

          Canonical, the commercial entity behind the Ubuntu distribution of Debian Linux, is going to make it easier for people to consume its operating system.

          Gerry Carr, director of platform marketing at Canonical, says in a blog post that beginning with the “Natty Narwhal” release in April, the company is going back to the way it did things ahead of its server launch, with a single release for any kind of PC. That new release will be called simply Ubuntu 11.04, and the server edition will be called Ubuntu Server 11.04.

        • Ubuntu: Really a Cloud Operating System?

          It’s no secret that Canonical’s been pushing Ubuntu’s cloud-centric features hard in recent months. We’ve written frequently here about new tools, like cloud-init, that give Ubuntu a leg up vis-à-vis other distributions in the cloud niche, as well as development trends that place the cloud at the center of the longterm vision for Ubuntu Server Edition.

        • Beyond Natty: The next version of Ubuntu Linux

          Well, we dodged a bullet. Instead of Octopoid Octopus, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu Linux and its parent company Canonical, has chosen Oneiric Ocelot for Ubuntu’s November 2011 version name.

          Unless you’re a film maven, your first question is probably: “What’s Oneiric!?” I know it as a film criticism term for dream sequences in a movie. Or as Shuttleworth explained, “Oneiric means “dreamy”, and the combination with Ocelot reminds me of the way innovation happens: part daydream, part discipline.” I’ll buy that. But, let’s get down to brass tacks: What does this mean? What can we expect from this version?

        • Canonical intelligently reinvents the scrollbar for Ubuntu

          Such a lack of scrollbars gave the design team at Canonical an idea. Could they remove the permanent scrollbars at the edge of windows in Ubuntu to free up more space for content while still allowing them to work with a cursor? The answer was a definite yes, and the re-design is now being experimented with.

          The two videos included here give you a good idea of how the experimental scrollbars, called overlay scrollbars, work. They are effectively the same as before functionality wise, but invisible until your cursor enters the area of the screen you would normally expect to find them. At that point a scrollbar appears as an overlay and you can click and drag to scroll around.

        • Ubuntu Linux 11.04: A whale of changes for Canonical’s user base

          I recently had a chance to take a look at the Alpha 3 release of Ubuntu 11.04, the latest version of Canonical’s Linux desktop OS that is due in April. 11.04 is considered to be a major release for Ubuntu because it represents a significant departure from the default GNOME UI to the new Unity UI.

        • 15 Very New and Unique Ubuntu Wallpapers

          It has been really long since we featured any new collection of wallpapers for Ubuntu or Linux. Article featuring Ubuntu/Linux wallpaper packs was the last in this particular category and even that was several months ago. So here is it once again, a nice and simple collection of 15 Ubuntu branded wallpapers from across the web. Enjoy!

        • Ubuntu Netbook Remix is dead. Long Live Ubuntu

          The Netbook Remix was a personal favorite of mine, as it made it easy for me to point my netbook friends at it, as an easy replacement for whatever OS was installed by default on their device.

        • Ubuntu using Windows key(Super key) to Launch Gnome Main Menu

          If you’d like Super key as keyboard shortcut to launch Gnome Main menu in Ubuntu, follow this simple tutorial.

        • Six Conceptual Unity behaviour mock-ups
        • Flavours and Variants

          • Ultimate Edition 2.9 has been released!

            Ultimate Edition 2.9 has been released! according to the announcement, this release was built off Ultimate Edition 2.8 which is built off Ubuntu 10.10 ‘Maverick Meerkat’. All updates fully updated / upgraded, old kernels purged, new initrd and vmlinuz rebuilt. Ultimate Edition 2.9, as with all odd release numbers, was built with KDE users in mind. Ultimate Edition 2.9 has KDE, GNOME, Openbox and Xfce environments, user selectable at login. A crisp new theme (121 to choose from) and tons of new software. LXDE was broken at time of build on the 32-bit side, so it did not make the cut.

          • 10 Ubuntu re-spins I’d like to see

            In the Linux-verse, a re-spin is basically a new distribution that has been “spun off” from another distribution. We’ve already seen the likes of this with just about every major distribution. Ubuntu is one of the distributions that has enjoyed a number of good re-spins. Based on what is going down with the current releases of Ubuntu, this favorite distribution of new users will be in need of a few newer re-spins.

            With that in mind, I thought it would be a fun exercise to come up with a few re-spins of my own that would combine various bits and pieces (and a few philosophies) from other operating systems or developers. Some of these distributions would be quite possible, whereas some may not. I’ll leave it up to you which of them should actually happen.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Puppet, DevOps key to data center surge, says Constant Contact

    Email marketing firm Constant Contact said it selected Puppet Labs’ Puppet configuration management and automation framework to help scale its environment from a couple hundred servers to several thousand in under two years time.

    If all goes as planned, that trend will continue unabated, as the company grows and adds new applications like a Cassandra distributed database cluster.

  • Open source systems management: Hits and misses

    With open source technology now in the mainstream, IT shops now have plenty of options for systems management. But IT administrators — even those with open source skills — agree that these tools have some significant drawbacks.

  • The Quality of FOSS Blogs
  • 6 More of the Best Free Linux Blog Software

    Weblog software (also known as blog software) is a type of application which is designed to help users effortlessly create and maintain weblogs.

  • Events

    • Texas Linux Fest – It’s on Bay-bee….

      This year, TXLF will be held at the spacious and opulent Downtown Hilton hotel. I’ve been in aircraft hangers that were not as big as the speaking halls and let’s face it…it’s the Hilton. I believe current numbers are already surpassing last year’s attendance.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Rackspace, Dell push OpenStack cloud OS

      Rackspace will help enterprises build private clouds using the OpenStack cloud operating system, the company announced Tuesday. Meanwhile, Dell is seeking enterprises and service providers for proof-of-concept OpenStack trials with its Dell PowerEdge C family of servers.

    • S3TC For Mesa Is Talked About Some More

      Discussions surrounding S3TC Texture Compression support for mainline Mesa (right now it’s an external library) is becoming an increasingly common occurrence. Newer games and OpenGL applications depend upon S3TC support and open-source developers are unable to provide “out of the box” support due to patent concerns.

      There was a hopeful discussion about S3TC and floating point support for Mesa a little more than a week ago, but that discussion died before anything materialized in Mesa Git. The push there was for mainlining the S3TC and OpenGL floating point support but to not build it by default if not using the hidden –enable-patented option.

  • Databases

    • Couchbase Unleashes Open Source NoSQL Database

      What happens when you bring together two open source database technologies? In the case of vendors Membase and CouchOne, you end up with a new company called Couchbase and a new product called the Couchbase Server.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Beautiful Looking LibreOffice Splash Screen, A Must Try!

      As you all should know by now, LibreOffice is already the new default office suite for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. You can even install latest LibreOffice in Ubuntu Maverick, Lucid easily via LibreOffice PPA by following the instructions here. Now, here is a very good looking and very creative LibreOffice splash screen that demands your attention.

    • 6 of the Best Free Linux Office Software

      The risk was deemed so serious that many developers decided to form the Document Foundation in September 2010 to manage and develop a fork called LibreOffice. There have already been a number of significant features added to the OpenOffice.org codebase in recent months. However, it is likely that there will be a significant delay before the corporate world readily embraces LibreOffice, in part because of concerns about the Document Foundation itself. Nevertheless, their fork is a comprehensive desktop productivity suite with a number of significant features not found in OpenOffice.org.

    • Oracle kills Sun.com after starvation diet
    • Gosling: Oracle’s self-interest requires good Java stewardship

      Although Java founder James Gosling left Oracle last year after a short, dissatisfying experience with the company following its acquisition of Sun Microsystems, he nonetheless sees Oracle as having no choice but to do a good job in its stewardship of Java.

      In discussions Wednesday morning at the TheServerSide Java Symposium in Las Vegas, Gosling stressed that a large faction of Oracle’s business is based on Java. For example, Oracle Fusion Middleware, including the WebLogic application server, is based on enterprise Java. “It’s in their own self interest to not be aggressively stupid,” said Gosling, who was a prominent Sun engineer and has been called the father of Java.

  • Business

    • Is it really a business vs. open source world?

      It seems like there’s no such thing as a non-controversial Linux distribution anymore.

      Look at the news and the blogosphere, and lately it seems like every major distro company’s in some kind of hot water with various elements of the community.

    • Semi-Open Source

      • The Slur “Open Core”: Toward More Diligent Analysis

        Later — shortly after I pointed out Mark Shuttleworth’s fascination with and leanings towards this practice — I realized that it was better to use the preexisting, tried-and-true term for the practice: “proprietary relicensing”. I’ve been pretty consistent in avoiding the term “Open Core” since then. I called on Shuttleworth to adopt the FSF’s recommendations to show Canonical, Ltd. isn’t seeking proprietary relicensing and left the whole thing at that. (Shuttleworth, of course, has refused to even respond, BTW.)

  • Funding

    • Packt Publishing Believes in Open Source, Donates Over $300K to Projects

      Packt today announced that its donations to open source projects have surpassed the $300,000 mark. Following its first donation to the phpMyAdmin project in April 2004, the company has gone on to provide sustained support for over 70 different open source projects.

    • Open source news publishing platform gets $975,000 grant

      The Knight Foundation has given a $975,000 grant to The Texas Tribune and The Bay Citizen, both non-profit news organisations, to develop a free and open source publishing platform for other online news organisations. Online local news is a growing sector in the United States and the Foundation wants to enable local news organisations to engage with readers more and manage content easily while being able to raise revenue. The Knight Foundation is dedicated to funding local news and journalism in the digital age.

  • BSD


    • When Freedom Rings

      I was both surprised and pleased with the community response to the announcement for GNU Free Call. Rather unfortunately our hosting for the wiki, Ibiblio, was down, as they were doing a large move on Tuesday. Even more amusing, Haakon’s email provider also decided to do some relocation this week.

    • Volunteer to help the new Savannah maintainer

      Sylvain Beucler, who was instrumental in modernizing and maintaining Savannah for the last seven years, has decided to step down and look for new challenges. Many, many, thanks to Sylvain and best wishes.

  • Project Releases

    • A Group Of FFmpeg Developers Just Forked As Libav

      Following a number of internal disputes among FFmpeg developers in recent weeks, a group of these developers have stepped away from the project and have forked off of the FFmpeg code-base to create a new project called the “libav” project.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • GCC 4.6 Release Candidate Comes w/o P1 Regressions

      The GNU developers responsible for GCC have eliminated all of the P1 regressions (their most serious class of regressions in this open-source compiler) in the GNU Compiler Collection 4.6.0 code-base, so they have went ahead and tagged the first release candidate.

      Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek issued a new status report on the progress of GCC 4.6. The P1 regression count is now at zero, after the last four bugs were corrected in the past week. There have also been seven P2 regressions fixed, but three new regressions of P3 status discovered.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Has the Battle for the Digital Car Been Won?

      This week a new consortium was launched that may signal who will finally own the last great, unclaimed consumer computing platform – the automobile. The new organization is the Car Connectivity Consortium, and the winner is . . . well, we’ll come back to that a little later. Suffice it to say for now that the fifteen year battle to control the digital future of the automobile could be at an end, and that its resolution may tell us something about the future of the digital desktop as well.


  • Crowd-Sourcing System Requirements For Free Software

    Over the weekend into OpenBenchmarking.org I pushed the OpenBenchmarking.org Performance Classification Index (OPCI) feature. Read that blog post for all of the features, but it comes down to now indexing the most commonly tested hardware and classifying the performance of all test results into low, mid, and high-end segments. So you can easily see a list of overall — for all tests hosted by OpenBenchmarking.org — a list of the rated processors, graphics cards, motherboards, and disks that are self-hosting. The OpenBenchmarking.org Performance Classification Index was then resolved down to the test profile level to be able to answer questions like what is the best graphics card for this game?

  • Oracle accused of stifling HP TPC benchmark

    Oracle has been accused of stifling the publication of an HP/Oracle DBMS benchmark that indicates its own SPARC SuperCluster world-record benchmark system cost almost 60 per cent more per transaction than a similar test on an HP Proliant system.

    The record TPC-C benchmark result is held by a $30.53m, 108 processor, SPARC Supercluster, which achieved 30,249,688 transactions per minute (TPM) at a cost of $1.01/TPM.

  • Jury: Blogger Johnny Northside must pay $60,000 to fired community leader

    Though blogger John (Johnny Northside) Hoff told the truth when he linked ex-community leader Jerry Moore to a high-profile mortgage fraud, the scathing blog post that got Moore fired justifies $60,000 in damages, a Hennepin County jury decided Friday.

  • Hardware

    • Replacing DVD, a Hollywood cliffhanger

      UltraViolet (UV) is the name of new technology standards expected to debut this summer that Hollywood hopes will help reignite the public’s interest in collecting movies and cauterize the bleeding in their home-video divisions. UV was created by a consortium that includes all the big film studios–with the exception of Disney–and numerous movie-sector allies, such as Microsoft, Nokia, Sony, Comcast and Netflix. UV managers said in January that the technology will ensure consumers will be able to play their movies and TV shows on a wide range of devices and services.

  • Security

    • Arbor Networks Researchers Find U.S.-Based DDoS Botnet
    • Why Pwn2Own doesn’t target Linux

      “Linux is not an operating system that has widespread use with any one particular distribution, flavor or configuration,” Portnoy said.

    • Is Linux Antivirus Software Worth It?

      Some friends who are in the computer business took exception to my position on anti-virus (AV) software, saying “for Linux, we don’t clog up our computers with anti-virus software.” And that remark deserves some elaboration.

      Windows is such a booby-trap for malware of all kinds, that Windows AV software works in the “always-active” mode. Emails are scanned the moment they arrive. If you insert a storage device or download a file, that gets scanned. This requires a big chunk of the AV software to be permanently loaded in memory, and continuously running, so yes, it does “clog up” your computer to some extent, making it run slower. But you need this continuous vigilance to keep your Windows PC safe.

    • Social media passwords off limits, Simons says

      A politician running to lead the B.C. New Democrats says he is refusing to comply with a requirement of leadership hopefuls to hand over the passwords to their social media accounts.

      Nicholas Simons, an NDP MLA who’s hoping to run in the leadership race, says he’s left that information off his nomination package.

    • Google to enforce SSL encryption on developer APIs

      Google will soon require the use of SSL encryption with three of its developer-facing APIs.

      Beginning September 15, Google will require all developers to use SSL connections for all requests through its Google Documents List, Google Spreadsheet, and Google Sites APIs. In other words, these APIs will only accept requests via HTTPS. If you make a request to an old HTTP address, such as http://docs.google.com/feeds/default/private/full, it will no longer work. You must use https://docs.google.com/feeds/default/private/full.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • US military brig officials order whistle-blowing suspect to sleep naked

      United States soldier Bradley Manning, accused of leaking US state secrets to WikiLeaks and detained under restrictive conditions at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia since July 2010, was ordered Wednesday to sleep stripped of all clothing. According to his attorney, this condition was imposed because Manning made a “sarcastic quip” about the harsh conditions of his confinement.

    • Administration Forces PJ Crowley Out Of The State Dept. After He Admits That Manning Is Being Mistreated

      When President Obama was campaigning and elected, one of the things he frequently talked about was how he was influenced by Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, Team of Rivals, and how President Lincoln brought together may dissenting voices into his cabinet. There were, clearly, political reasons for doing so, but part of the benefit was that it allowed voices of dissent to be heard. However, in practice, it’s appearing that President Obama has no real interest in allowing the same thing to occur in his administration, and that’s really unfortunate.

    • Suspect in MLK bomb tied to racist movement

      Federal agents today arrested an ex-soldier with ties to the white supremacist movement and charged him with planting the backpack bomb along the planned route of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in downtown Spokane.

    • Defamation Lawsuit Against NYT by Informant in Plot to Bomb 2008 RNC May Have a Chance

      A former FBI informant who helped foil a bomb plot at the 2008 Republican National Convention has sued the New York Times for libel and defamation.

      A Times story from February 22 claimed that Brandon Darby had “encouraged” others to bomb the RNC, when in fact he had been essential to law enforcement efforts that disrupted the plot.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Japan Radiation Levels (In English)

      While media around the world continue to present the Fukushima nuclear crisis as an Armageddon moment for Japan and the world, Japanese media is going out and taking measurements of radiation levels all around the Kanto region. Because I have not been able to find this type of information easily in English I have translated a radiation map of Japan into English and created a clear overview for you here.

    • Let There Be Light

      The response from an Energy Department official nicely illustrated the paternalistic, know-it-all attitude Paul was criticizing. “I’m pro-choice on bulbs,” insisted Kathleen Hogan, the deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency. “My view is, what you want is lighting.” And the government, in its infinite wisdom, will tell you what kind of lighting is best for you.

  • Finance

    • Wisconsin protests—now with farmers (and tractors)

      Tens of thousands of people were in Madison, Wisconsin, again this weekend, continuing to protest Governor Scott Walkers attempt to do away with collective bargaining for some state employees. We’re at Day 18 now, if you’re keeping track.

    • Wis. defeat could help launch counterattack on GOP

      With the labor movement suffering an epic defeat in Wisconsin and perhaps other states, union leaders plan to use the setback to fire up working people nationwide and mount a major counterattack against Republicans at the ballot box in 2012.Wis. defeat could help launch counterattack on GOP

    • Tiny Cuts, Big Complaints

      Republicans and Democrats squabble over crumbs as the layer cake of debt keeps rising.

    • Oil Price Shocks and the Recession of 2011?

      Oil prices surged to near $107 per barrel yesterday and regular gasoline is going for $3.51 per gallon. Last March oil sold for around $80 per barrel and gas cost about $2.79 per gallon. The uprisings throughout the Middle East are in part responsible for the recent uptick in prices. For example, the fighting in Libya has reduced global oil production by about one million barrels per day. On the other hand, members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are boosting their output by a similar amount to make up for the shortfall. Democrats in Congress are calling upon President Barack Obama to damp down prices by selling off oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

    • Michigan Republicans create “financial martial law”; appointees to replace elected local officials

      Republican Michigan governor Rick Snyder, along with the state’s Republican house and senate, have passed a controversial bill that allows the governor to dissolve the elected governments of Michigan’s towns and cities, replacing them with unaccountable “emergency financial managers” who can eliminate services, merge or eliminate school boards, and lay off or renegotiate unionized public employees without recourse. Republican senator Jack Brandenburg — who supported the measure — calls it “financial martial law.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Glenn Beck’s syndicator runs a astroturf-on-demand call-in service for radio programs

      Premiere On Call, a division of the Clear Channel subsidiary that distributes Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck, is a service that hires actors to call into radio shows and read a script that purports to be a true story presented by the public.

    • Fox DMCA Takedowns Order Google to Remove Fox DMCA Takedowns

      Sending DMCA takedown notices in bulk has become increasingly fashionable during recent years but thanks to the database at Chilling Effects, we are able to see who is sending what to whom. As concerns mount over the amount of checking carried out before items are taken down, it appears that Fox has managed to get Google to delist DMCA complaints on Chilling Effects, which were originally sent by Fox themselves and submitted to Chilling Effects by Google.

      The Chilling Effects web archive was founded in 2001 as a response to the usually secretive practice of sending so-called ‘takedown notices’ to have content removed from the web. This, according to the activists involved, was having a ‘chilling effect’ on free speech.

    • Hatchet Job: The Video Hit Piece that Made Both NPR and Its Critics Look Bad

      In the video, NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller and a colleague met with two members of a fictional Muslim group dangling a $5 million donation. Prodded by the “donors,” Schiller said liberals “might be more educated” than conservatives, described Republicans as “anti-intellectual” and said the GOP had been “hijacked” by the “racist” Tea Party.

  • Censorship

    • French Court Tosses Ridiculous Criminal Complaint By Israeli Against An American Over Book Review By A German

      Last year, we wrote about a horrendous lawsuit brought by an Israeli author/law professor, Karin Calvo-Goller, who had written a book on The Trial Proceedings of the International Criminal Court. Another law professor, Thomas Weigand, in Germany, reviewed the book for Global Law Books, and didn’t think the book lived up to its potential. I’ve read plenty of book reviews, and while this one is negative, it’s hardly a scathing book review. Weigand just didn’t think the book was all that good. It happens. Move on.

      But Calvo-Goller did not move on. She claimed that the review was libelous, and contacted the editor of the journal — an American named Joseph Weiler — who responded quite reasonably to Calvo-Goller, pointing out that the review wasn’t that bad and that he did not believe the review was libelous (and explained in detail why not), and then offered Calvo-Goller the right to write a response that he would publish as well. He also pointed out that her reputation would likely take a much larger hit from trying to suppress a negative book review, than from the review itself.

    • SF Plastic Surgeon Files Defamation Claim Against Negative Reviewers Across The Country To Avoid SLAPP

      Paul Alan Levy points us to the news of how a San Francisco-based plastic surgeon, Usha Rajagopal, has sued some people who wrote negative reviews of her work for defamation. However, he notes, despite the fact that she’s in California and the reviews she’s upset about appeared on Google — a California-based company, she filed her suit in Virginia. Levy suggests that this was done to avoid California’s anti-SLAPP statute, which would have allowed for immediate dismissal and the possibility of attorney’s fees being awarded for the filing.

    • Photographers Respond to Lady Gaga’s New Copyright Demands

      Lady Gaga is now demanding that photographers surrender the copyright of photos taken at her concerts – and photographers are incensed.

      Washington, D.C. website TBD.com made this practice public on Friday when they published the release form given to their photographer Jay Westcott. In addition to standard release restrictions regarding the use of images shot at her concerts, the document states that any photos taken at the show become the property of Lady Gaga. This an especially bold demand as the government has established that copyright exists the moment when a work is created, which in this case is the moment when a photographer clicks their shutter button.

    • Bill Spooner sues AP writer over tweet

      An NBA referee has sued The Associated Press and one of its sports writers over a Twitter message suggesting he intentionally made a bad call to make up for a previous bad call that went against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

      In a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Minneapolis, veteran NBA referee William Spooner claimed AP sports writer Jon Krawczynski defamed him in the Twitter message, sent while he was covering the Jan. 24 Rockets-Timberwolves game.

    • French Constitutional Council Validates Internet Censorship

      Judges held that article 4 of the bill, which allows the executive branch to censor the Net under the pretext of fighting child pornography, is not contrary to the Constitution. In doing so, the constitutional court has failed to protect fundamental freedoms on the Internet, and in particular freedom of expression. Hopes lie now in European institutions, which are the only ones with the power to prohibit or at least supervise administrative website blocking and its inherent risks of abuse.

    • Bev Stayart Loses Yet Again In Her Quixotic Quest To Blame Search Engines For Search Results She Doesn’t Like

      We’ve covered Beverly “Bev” Stayart a few times — and even been legally threatened by Stayart and her lawyer (also named Stayart). As you may recall, Stayart sued Yahoo/Overture after doing a search on her name, and seeing a suggestion that included “levitra” and “cialis.” Stayart took offense to such terms being associated with her name. She tried a few different questionable legal theories including “privacy rights” and that because the search engine made the suggestions, the search engines have liability for impermissably selling her name. It had also kicked off with a trademark claim over her name, despite the lack of any trademark in her name. The threat against us was because she didn’t like some of our comments, which necessitated us having our lawyer explain Section 230 to her as well, after which we never heard from Stayart again. However, after losing in her lawsuit against Yahoo, she sued Google over the same “levitra” connection. Oh, and she appealed and lost her original loss against Yahoo.

  • Privacy

    • Noprivacyville

      I heard a report on NPR about an auto insurance company giving drivers the options of putting GPS tracking devices on their vehicles to lower insurance rates by as much as 30%. The idea is that, for example, the device could confirm to the insurance company that the car wasn’t being used in high risk situations, such as commute traffic. Safe driving situations would be rewarded with lower rates.

    • Judge Won’t Stop WikiLeaks Twitter-Records Request

      The U.S. government is getting closer to getting data from Twitter about various associates of WikiLeaks.

      The people whose Twitter records were being requested had moved to throw out the government’s request for data, but a judge denied that motion Friday, ruling that the associates don’t have standing to challenge it.

      The judge also denied a request to unseal the government’s application for the Twitter order.

    • US government wants a privacy bill of rights

      Sources quoted by the Wall Street Journal said that the US assistant secretary of commerce, Lawrence Strickling, is going to bring up the Obama administration’s legislative initiative at the Senate Commerce Committee.

      The US administration is expected to push for a privacy bill of rights as it wants to give the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) more powers. Back in December, The INQUIRER reported that the FTC called for a “Do Not Track” mechanism to be installed in consumers’ web browsers.

    • Court Refuses to Set Aside Order Requiring Disclosure of Twitter Users’ IP Addresses

      A federal magistrate judge refused to vacate a previously issued order granting the government’s request to reveal information regarding various Twitter accounts for people allegedly associated with Wikileaks.

  • Civil Rights

    • Man With 4th Amendment Written on Chest Sues Over Airport Arrest

      A 21-year-old Virginia man who wrote an abbreviated version of the Fourth Amendment on his body and stripped to his shorts at an airport security screening area is demanding $250,000 in damages for being detained on a disorderly conduct charge.

      Aaron Tobey claims in a civil rights lawsuit (.pdf) that in December he was handcuffed and held for about 90 minutes by the Transportation Security Administration at the Richmond International Airport after he began removing his clothing to display on his chest a magic-marker protest of airport security measures.

      “Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,” his chest and gut read.

    • Judges focus on technicality, not constitutionality of TSA scanners

      A federal appeals court on Thursday appeared unlikely to block the use and ongoing deployment of the so-called “nude” airport body scanners, which the government maintains are necessary to protect the airways from terrorists.

      Still, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which hears challenges to Department of Homeland Security policies, did not indicate during an hour-long oral argument here whether it agreed with allegations that the machines are an unconstitutional privacy invasion, ineffective, and unhealthy. Instead, the three-judge panel, which did not indicate when it would rule, appeared stuck in the procedural muck, and spent little time on those bread-and-butter issues.

    • TSA to retest airport body scanners for radiation

      The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner that emits ionizing radiation — 247 machines at 38 airports — after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

    • Court Unlikely to Halt ‘Nude’ Airport Body Scanners

      A federal appeals court on Thursday appeared unlikely it would block the use and ongoing deployment of the so-called “nude” airport body scanners, which the government maintains are necessary to protect the airways from terrorists.

    • Manning’s Father Condemns Treatment of Imprisoned Son

      The father of suspected WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning says the military has crossed a line in its treatment of his son and called the conditions under which he was being imprisoned “shocking.”

      Brian Manning broke his silence to a PBS Frontline correspondent this week after the U.S. Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Virginia, where his 23-year-old son is being held, stripped the soldier of his clothing and forced him to stand at attention in the nude and sleep naked. Manning’s defense attorney has called the brig’s move “inexcusable” and “degrading treatment.”

    • ACLU Protests Manning’s Treatment in Letter to Pentagon

      The American Civil Liberties Union calls the treatment of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning unconstitutional and “gratuitously harsh.” The remarks came in a letter sent Wednesday to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

      “The Supreme Court has long held that the government violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment whenever it ‘unnecessarily and wantonly inflicts pain,’ the ACLU’s letter read. “No legitimate purpose is served by keeping Private Manning stripped naked; in prolonged isolated confinement and utter idleness; subjected to sleep deprivation through repeated physical inspections throughout the night; deprived of any meaningful opportunity to exercise, even in his cell; and stripped of his reading glasses so that he cannot read. Absent any evident justification, such treatment is clearly forbidden by our Constitution.”

    • Police just rubber-stamping US data slurp

      Members of the European Parliament have condemned the first six months of data sharing with US terror spooks as an abject failure of data protection.

      The SWIFT agreement gives US authorities access to Europeans’ banking information, but MEPs were told that in the first six months of operation data requests were so abstract it was impossible to tell if they complied with data protection rules or not.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • House subcommittee votes to kill net neutrality

      A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee has voted in favor of a resolution to throw out the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s recently adopted net neutrality rules.

      The communications subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 15-8 along party lines for a resolution of disapproval that would overturn the FCC’s rules. Those rules would prohibit broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic.

    • Obama admin calls for more ICANN accountability

      The Obama administration today called for improvements in the mechanisms used to oversee Internet domain names, saying changes are needed to make the process more “accountable” and “transparent.”

      Larry Strickling, a Commerce Department assistant secretary, said that the California nonprofit group created in 1998 to oversee these functions–the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN–”needs” to do more to explain the reasoning for its decisions and to heed the advice of national governments.

  • DRM/SCOny

    • Sony wins subpoena for PS3 hacker’s PayPal records

      Tuesday’s order by US Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero said the information subject to Sony’s subpoena “shall be provided on an Attorneys’ Eyes Only basis” and is limited to information relating to whether Hotz has enough ties to Northern California to be sued in federal court in that district. Hotz, who goes by the hacking moniker GeoHot, is a resident of New Jersey, and has argued that the court lacks the authority to try him.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Massive Research Report On ‘Piracy’ In Emerging Economies Released; Debunks Entire Foundation Of US Foreign IP Policy

      Joe Karaganis, from the Social Science Research Council was kind enough to reach out to me last week and send me an advance copy of the (somewhat epic) report that SSRC just released this week, exploring “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies.” It’s a rather massive 440 pages of research into a variety of issues having to do with infringement, specifically focused on emerging markets. While it was nice of Karaganis to send it to me, I was a bit disappointed to find out that they’re not releasing the report for free (for most). Instead, it’s released under a “Consumer’s Dilemma” license, where they want people in developed countries to pay $8 for the report, but will offer it for free to those in less developed countries (though, it looks like Canadians can get it for free).

    • George Lucas’ Lawsuit Over Stormtrooper Costumes Goes to U.K. Supreme Court

      The ‘Star Wars’ creator argues prop designer Andrew Ainsworth doesn’t have the rights to sell the replica suits.

    • Lawmakers tell Biden to push Russia on antipiracy

      If Russia wants to prove the country is a good trade partner, then the country must be more aggressive in fighting online piracy. That’s the message a group of U.S. congressmen wants Vice President Joe Biden to send during his visit to Moscow this week.

    • And I Thought Rupert Murdoch Thought Copying Stories From Other Publications Was ‘Stealing’

      Of course, around that time, we highlighted the fact that Murdoch, himself, owned a whole bunch of aggregators, many of which acted much worse than the sites — such as Google — that Murdoch was complaining about.

      However, over the weekend there was a nice example of how one of Murdoch’s publications clearly copied a story from another publication and did not give any credit for it whatsoever. We noted earlier how Broadband Reports broke the story of AT&T deciding to put in place metered billing. Broadband Reports got a tip with a leaked email showing the new rules, and got confirmation from AT&T. Nearly every other report on the story credited Broadband Reports with breaking the story. However, when the WSJ (via Dow Jones Newswire) wrote the story, by reporter Roger Cheng, there is no mention whatsoever of Broadband Reports breaking the story.

    • Administration’s New IP Enforcement Recommendations Will Only Serve To Make IP Less Respected

      But, really, the bigger question is what does this have to do with enforcement? I’m fine with Espinel going beyond just focusing on enforcement, if she’s going to look for ways to actually help IP live up to its Constitutional mandate of promoting the progress. But this recommendation seems completely out of place in a document focused entirely on enforcement with this one non-enforcement issue tossed in at the end.

      The thing is, every time the government ratchets up IP laws in ways that don’t match with the way most people view the world, the less respected those laws become. Rather than actually increasing enforcement, these moves decrease respect for those laws.

    • Questionable ‘Piracy’ Study Found; Details Show It’s Even More Ridiculous Than Expected

      Thanks to G Thompson for pointing us to where the BSA has stashed a copy of that mysterious “piracy” research report we were just talking about, which was apparently written by someone named Emilio Ferrer. It’s embedded below, and it’s even more ridiculous than we had initially expected. First, the entire thing is based on the massively and completely debunked TERA report from last year, that used such outrageous assumptions as to not even pass the most basic sniff test. The researchers here appear to have made no attempt to determine the accuracy of the TERA report, nor to respond to any of the debunked points.

    • Trademarks

      • Which Does More Damage To Your Reputation: A Non-Competitor Using A Similar Name, Or Filing A Lawsuit That Pisses Off Many Potential Clients?

        Judith Lindenau points us to the news that a guy named Daniel Rothamel, who is apparently a well-known, well-respected blogger in the real estate world, is facing a questionable trademark infringement lawsuit because he blogs under the name the Real Estate Zebra. The company suing him, the Lones Group, claims to publish a blog and newsletter under the names The Zebra Blog and The Zebra Report. So, they’re claiming infringement, because there can apparently be only one zebra in the real estate world. It’s worth pointing out here that the Lones Group apparently is not actually in the real estate business itself, but provides marketing services to real estate agents.

      • Lady Gaga takes on Baby Gaga in breast milk ice-cream battle

        The planet’s most flamboyantly dressed pop star is threatening legal action against British manufacturers of the world’s most bizarrely flavoured ice-cream.

        Lady Gaga has told a store in Covent Garden, central London, to stop selling its latest brand, Baby Gaga – ice-cream made from human breast milk, blended with vanilla pods and lemon.

        The US singer, whose last entanglement with foodstuffs involved wearing a dress stitched together from raw meat to an awards ceremony, appears unaware that the product she complained about disappeared off the company’s shelves last week.

        The day after it went on sale inspectors from Westminster council’s food standards department confiscated the remaining scoops of Baby Gaga to check whether it met hygiene requirements.

      • Breaking: Zynga files for trademark on the word “Ville” in Europe

        On March 1, 2011, Zynga filed for a trademark on the word: ville. The trademark was filed with the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM), the official trade marks and designs office of the European Union.

        Zynga’s trademark representative is Rouse, a specialist in international IP business whose client list ranges from Honeywell and BP to Christian Dior and Starbucks Coffee.

      • Finally: Clear Ruling That Realizes That Just Buying Ads On Trademarked Keywords Is Not Infringing

        For the better part of a decade, there have been a ton of lawsuits about keyword advertising, and whether or not it’s a trademark violation to buy an advertisement on a competitor’s trademark. All along, we’ve argued that this is not, at all, a trademark violation. The main purpose of trademark law, of course, is to prevent consumer confusion — and advertising a competing product when people are looking for one brand is not a trademark violation. Just think of supermarkets where they have those little coupon dispensing machines that pop out competitor’s coupons all the time. Keyword advertising is basically the same thing. Tragically, despite a large number of these cases, the courts have really skirted the issue. Some of the cases have blamed Google, but thankfully there have been a growing number of cases that have ruled Google clearly has no liability here as a third party. But the company buying the ads? Well, we’ve been waiting for a clear ruling… and we’re getting closer.

      • Bath & Body Works Sues Summit Over Twilight Toiletries

        Bath & Body Works is suing Twilight distributor Summit Entertainment, hoping to get a declaratory judgment that its “Twilight Woods” line of lotions, shower gels and other products doesn’t infringe the trademark on the hit vampire film franchise.

      • Utahn in dispute with Pac-10 over Pac12 website

        There’s an unexpected Utah connection in the online battle for the website Pac12.com.

      • Why Redskins Insider lost its name

        Maybe you’ve wondered why the Redskins Insider Live videocast became the Football Insider Live videocast. Or why the Redskins Insider blog became The Insider blog. Or why the Redskins Insider twitter feed became the Insider twitter feed.

    • Copyrights

      • Liberal MP Dan McTeague: Repeat Copyright Infringer?

        Liberal MP Dan McTeague has responded to my recent post on his linkages with CRIA in a 2,200 word “rebuttal.” The McTeague post confirms that his earlier letter to the editor came directly from content supplied by CRIA and adopts the contradictory position that when CRIA launches a lawsuit, it is only an unproven claim that should not have an impact on copyright reform, but when isoHunt files a lawsuit it demonstrates that there is a “legislative holiday” in Canada that demands immediate action.

        The McTeague post provided the opportunity to take a closer look at his website, which reveals what may be widespread copyright infringement. Since the introduction of Bill C-32, McTeague has posted dozens of full-text articles from mainstream media organizations on his website, at times without attribution. In addition to the articles, McTeague has also reposted many photographs associated with the articles. While it is possible that McTeague has fully licensed the reproduction and posting of each article and photograph, this seems unlikely since the licences offered by many organizations do not even permit this form of reproduction. No other Liberal MP appears to have established a similar practice.

      • Girl Talk As Fair Use Martyr

        We saw today on the Creative Generalist blog a post about a film entitled Rip! A Remix Manifesto. The film, according to the Open Source Cinema Web site, is “an open source documentary about copyright and remix culture. Created over a period of six years, the film features the collaborative remix work of hundreds of people who have contributed to this website, helping to create the world’s first open source documentary.”

      • Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Important Copyright Case: Will Review First Amendment vs. Copyright Issue

        Eldred and Kahle, both ended up in losses, but they did get the court to establish some boundaries for when and how the US could retroactively change copyright law. As a very quick review, Eldred argued that the ongoing extension of copyright violated the “limited” part of the copyright clause in the Constitution.

      • 111-111-1111

        The blog garnered a small audience on Tumblr and a following in the newsroom of The Times. When it came to the attention of the company’s Senior Counsel, he asked that I remove all copyrighted New York Times content. This request effectively ended Ten Ones.

      • Congresswoman: Websites Mistakenly Seized By ICE Should Sue Government

        Speaking at a Silicon Valley legal conference this morning, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose) said that the recent website shutdown by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement COICA are way out of line, and an abuse of due process. In particular, she pointed out a recent episode during which, while pursuing a handful of websites allegedly connected to child pornography, ICE agents accidentally shut down more than 80,000 unrelated websites and tarnished them with child porn-related accusations.

      • RIAA Not Happy With Rep. Lofgren Calling Out ICE For Web Censorship

        We’ve covered how Rep. Zoe Lofgren is one of the only Representatives in Congress (along with Senator Wyden on the other side of the Capitol building), who appears to actually be concerned that Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) group is seizing web domains on questionable authority, without due process, and likely in violation of basic First Amendment rights against prior restraint. Of course, even with just one Congressional Rep. speaking out about this, apparently the RIAA wishes to stomp out any dissent. Yesterday, they sent Rep. Lofgren an unsolicited letter in response to her comments. You can see the full letter embedded below, but let’s go through a few of the “highlights.”

      • Silicon Valley Congresswoman: Web seizures trample due process (and break the law)

        At 9:30pm PST on February 11, US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized the domain mooo.com. They ordered the domain name’s registrar to redirect all traffic headed for mooo.com to a government IP address, one which displayed a single stark warning that the domain name had been seized for involvement with child pornography.

        But the mooo.com domain name was shared between 84,000 sites; every one suddenly displayed the child pornography warning. The mistake was soon corrected, but the free domain name provider running mooo.com warned users that removal of the banner from their sites might “take as long as 3 days.”

        One outraged user took to his blog to tell ICE to “get out of my Internet. You’d get no argument from me that there are truly distasteful and illegal things on the Internet. That’s true of any society. But there are also proper ways to deal with these problems. Pulling a total domain, sweeping up innocent people along the way, feeling that you don’t have to comply with due process of law and indicating that you don’t give a damn is wrong. It’s not as wrong as child pornography or counterfeiting, but it’s still wrong… That’s to say nothing of any damage done to my name or reputation.”

      • More Reasons Why Homeland Security Seizing Domain Names Is Unconstitutional

        We’ve raised a number of reasons as to why the federal government’s domain name seizures (via Homeland Security’s Immigrations and Customs Enforcement group) are almost certainly not Constitutional. And while we’ve run these arguments by a number of well respected Constitutional lawyers who are extremely interested in these issues (and may be getting involved in various ways), some in our comments have insisted that our points could be ignored because we are not lawyers. And while I’ve asked some of the lawyers I regularly speak to if they would write blog posts commenting on these issues, many are quite busy trying to actually do something about these issues, and that seems a bit more important.

      • CCIA: copyright wiretaps are Hollywood’s “PATRIOT Act”

        CCIA: copyright wiretaps are Hollywood’s “PATRIOT Act”
        Yesterday’s White House wish list of new intellectual property laws focused on things like counterfeit medicines, but it also included proposals to extend wiretaps into copyright cases and to ensure that illegal streaming video is a felony. A DC trade group representing companies like AMD, Facebook, Oracle, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft today objected loudly to the plan, saying that legitimate concerns about counterfeiting have been “hijacked to create draconian proposals to alleviate the content industry of the burden of protecting its own interest using its own extensive resources.”

      • Coming soon: Pirated movies in 3D

        IN AN effort to keep audiences flocking to the cinemas to see the latest movies, studios and theatres are gambling on the 3D movie experience.

      • Music Publishers Settle With Limewire; Afraid To Have To Prove They Actually Owned Copyrights In Question

        We were a bit surprised last summer when the major music publishers piled on to the bandwagon and sued Limewire. After all, the major record labels (who own most of the major publishers anyway) were already involved in a lawsuit with Limewire and had won a pretty complete victory over the file sharing system.

      • Judge eviscerates P2P lawyer: “I accepted you at your word”

        As a lawyer, you know it’s going to be bad when a federal judge summons you to his courtroom at nine in the morning to talk about your “ill-considered lawsuit” that has “abused the litigation system in more than one way.”

        Federal judge Milton Shadur, who keeps a “Now, 3 for 10¢… Federal Judge!” sign beside him in his 23rd floor Chicago courtroom, summoned file-sharing lawyer John Steele to court this morning with those words. At issue was Steele’s representation of CP Productions, an Arizona porn producer suing 300 anonymous individuals for illegally sharing a film called (ahem) Cowgirl Creampie.

      • Feds Really Do Seem To Think That Linking To Infringing Content Can Be A Jailable Offense

        Last week we covered the somewhat surprising arrest of Brian McCarthy, the operator of Channelsurfing.net, on charges of criminal copyright infringement. As we noted at the time, this seemed like a pretty questionable charge. I could potentially see a civil charge against him using the court-created concept of “inducing” infringement (a concept that Congress rejected…), but there is no inducement standard in criminal infringement. It’s possible that the feds could go with an aiding and abetting charge, but that requires a much higher standard, and it’s not clear that the feds have enough to make such a claim really stick. At the time, we didn’t have the complaint, but the folks at DemandProgress have obtained a copy of the complaint, which we’ve also embedded below.

      • US Congress will decide if video streaming is a felony

        According to Espinel, the current law makes it unclear whether streaming copyrighted works is subject to felony penalties, meaning prison time, because the penalty is “predicated on the defendant either illegally reproducing or distributing the copyrighted work”. The question lies in the legal definition of “distribution”, as streaming isn’t the transfer of complete files.

      • Google Found Guilty Of Copyright Infringement In France For Not Magically Blocking Infringing Movie

        The latest in confused secondary liability rulings comes from France, where Google has lost a lawsuit and been fined for copyright infringement, because of links and an uploaded video of a movie from producers Mondovino.

      • Righthaven Really Pushing Its Luck: Sues Canadian Newspaper For Misattributing Photo

        For a while Righthaven and its corporate owners/partners at the Las Vegas Review Journal positioned Righthaven as being about big newspapers standing up to the grubby internet folks posting copies of newspaper articles on blogs and forums. In fact, it kept trying to get other big media operations to sign up — with the only other paper to sign on so far being the Denver Post. Since then, Righthaven has gone a bit ballistic in suing all sorts of websites for posting a particular photo from the Denver Post (of a TSA patdown) that had gone viral. Rather than recognizing the positive benefits of the image going viral, Righthaven and the Denver Post has just seen it as a way to do a short-term money grab by suing everyone they can — of course, without any notice or takedown requests.

      • 99 Cent Books

        I am having trouble convincing myself why digital books will not cost 99 cents within 5 years. All books, on average. Just as the price of music does not in general change on the length or quality.

      • Netflix spooks Hollywood more than ever

        Hollywood film executives want you to know that they are not at war with Netflix or the Internet.

      • Even WIPO Realizing That Copyright Law May Have Gone Too Far

        Of course, WIPO certainly hasn’t gone too far away from its traditional position, but it has been showing more and more signs of moving away from copyright maximalism. TechnoLlama points us to a recent keynote speech given by Dr. Francis Gurry, the Director General of WIPO, on the issue of “future directions in copyright law.”

      • An Internet Levy is a Terrible Idea

        The notion that all Internet users should somehow pay the old copyright monopoly structures a monthly fee, to compensate them for file sharing, has popped up again. It does from time to time. It’s a terrible idea, and for several good reasons. It fails to meet basic quality standards for lawmaking. But the most elusive and strongest reason is that it’s a last-ditch attempt to maintain the old power structures where a small pseudonobility were the only ones allowed to create culture.

      • NYTimes: When We Do It, It’s Journalism, When HuffPo Does It, It’s ‘Piracy’

        The latest sad example of this overvaluing of one’s own work and talking down about someone else’s work comes from the NY Times’ Executive Editor Bill Keller (also a driving force behind the NYT’s plan for a paywall). In a weird and somewhat rambling discussion, which eventually gets around to the future of news, Keller decides to attack the Huffington Post as a bunch of sniveling copyists, compared to his high minded version of journalism…

      • Sean Parker, Music Mogul? Facebook Billionaire Mulling Warner Music Bid

        Sean Parker helped create Napster, which kicked off the long and steep decline of the big music labels. Soon he might own part of one.

        The digital entrepreneur is considering putting his money into a consortium bidding on Warner Music Group, which put itself on the block earlier this year. Sources tell me that Parker isn’t part of the formal bid, but is aligned with a group led by investors Ron Burkle and Doug Teitelbaum.

      • Report: Piracy a “global pricing problem” with only one solution

        A major new report from a consortium of academic researchers concludes that media piracy can’t be stopped through “three strikes” Internet disconnections, Web censorship, more police powers, higher statutory damages, or tougher criminal penalties. That’s because the piracy of movies, music, video games, and software is “better described as a global pricing problem.” And the only way to solve it is by changing the price.

      • Cutting prices is the only way to stop piracy

        The only way to stop piracy is to cut prices. That’s the verdict of a major new academic study that reckons copyright theft won’t be halted by ‘three strikes’ broadband disconnections, increasing censorship or draconian new laws brought in under the anti-counterfeiting treaty ACTA.

        The Media Piracy Project, published last week by the Social Science Research Council, reports that illegal copying of movies, music, video games and software is “better described as a global pricing problem” – and the only way to tackle it is for copyright holders to charge consumers less money for their wares.

      • White House wants new copyright law crackdown

        The White House today proposed sweeping revisions to U.S. copyright law, including making “illegal streaming” of audio or video a federal felony and allowing FBI agents to wiretap suspected infringers.

        In a 20-page white paper (PDF), the Obama administration called on the U.S. Congress to fix “deficiencies that could hinder enforcement” of intellectual property laws.

      • New Music Locker Startup Looks More Like Sucker’s Bet To Transfer Cash From Investors To Music Labels

        A few weeks ago, at the Digital Music Forum East event, right before I went on stage to interview Gary Shapiro from CEA, there was a presentation from a new music startup I’d never heard of, called Beyond Oblivion. The presentation (which is embedded below) was interesting, if incredibly vague. It looks like they’re trying to create a music locker of sorts, but to avoid the various legal woes of other such music lockers by throwing a ton of cash at the labels. It’s basically “don’t sue us” money. Literally, the company has promised to pay $500 million to labels.

      • Starve Copyright ‘Parasites,’ Official Urges

        The most effective way to target foreign Websites that illegally stream copyrighted material may be to cut off their funding, Maria Pallante, acting register of copyrights, told a House subcommittee Monday.

        “The parasites who operate so-called rogue websites build businesses on piracy, counterfeiting and other unlawful activity, in part based on the expectation of weak enforcement,” Pallante told the House Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subcommittee.

      • Jon Bon Jovi slams Steve Jobs for ‘killing’ music

        Jon Bon Jovi has taken aim at Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, accusing him of “killing” the music industry with iTunes.

        The rocker is saddened that the “magical” experience of buying records in a store is disappearing, brick-and-mortars stores being eroded in part due to iTunes’ success.

      • Inauspicious Start For Chris Dodd At MPAA; Starts Off With ‘Infringement No Different Than Theft’ Claim

        No surprise, really, but former Senator Chris “I won’t become a lobbyist” Dodd has begun his new tenure as a lobbyist for the MPAA on an inauspicious note — by falsely claiming that infringement is no different than “looting.”

      • Associated Press sues retailers over iconic Obama image

        The Associated Press has sued several retailers including Urban Outfitters for the unauthorised use of the Hope image created by artist Shepard Fairey.

        Artist Fairey used an AP photo without permission to create the image, and was sued by the news agency for violating copyright. That case was settled.

      • 8-Track Piracy Is Killing The Music Business…. In 1976

        It really is amusing at times to go back and look at the historical moral panics by the recording industry over the “threats” of piracy. It’s the same story every year, from the player piano (killing live music!) to the tape recorder (home taping is killing music!) to the MP3 player (illegal!). Sometimes such stories get lost to history, but Boing Boing has an amusing image from a 1976 record album sleeve, where the cover is devoted to telling people to fight the scourge of 8-track piracy.

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu Games: IConquerU

Credit: TinyOgg

ES: Microsoft Ama el Código Abierto

Posted in Microsoft, OIN at 3:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Por Andrew C. Oliver

Original en: http://www.opensource.org/blog/…

(ODF | PDF | [cref English/original])

De alguna manera me perdí eso de los amores de Microsoft hacia Open Source – Código Abierto[http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/082310-microsoft-open-source.html]. Hay una razón por qué me la perdí. Cuando Microsoft no está amenazando demandar a la gente por el uso/distribución del código Abierto está ocupado con la creación de consorcios semi-secretos para obstaculizar el uso de Código Abierto[http://en.swpat.org/wiki/CPTN_Holdings_LLC]. Microsoft ama el “abrazar” a el código Abierto. Este “IT Mezclado” e “interoperabilidad” (unidireccional); es francamente un trabajo tonto. Ojalá Microsoft fuese sincero pero sus acciones hablan más ruidosamente que sus palabras. Microsoft “ama” a el código Abierto de la manera que “amó[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embrace,_extend_and_extinguish]” Java.

Cuando hablo a la gente de Microsoft acerca de todo su mal comportamiento, es cierta otra parte de Microsoft que si la ignoramos eventualmente veremos la luz. Eso parece como una mala estrategia de nuestros “buenos amigos”. Si Microsoft ama sinceramente al Código Abierto, es hora de una estrategia corporativa. Hagamos esto simple:

* ¿Cómo sobre una promesa de la patente similar pero mejor que la promesa de patentes de Red Hat[http://www.redhat.com/legal/patent_policy.html]? Vaya un paso más al futuro y amplíelo a todas las licencias de código abierto[http://opensource.org/licenses/index.html].

* ¿Qué acerca de invitar al Open Invention Network OSI[http://www.openinventionnetwork.com/] para que se una a la CPTN? Eso haría cada uno más cómodo creer que es un consorcio defensivo y no un esquema para destruir a el código abierto.

* ¿Qué acerca de un cambio del tono del mensaje de la comercialización a “desarrollo cooperativo”, en vez de el de la “interoperabilidad”?

Microsoft, quisiera ver este amor como algo más que un esquema de comercialización gaseoso. ¡Demuéstrenos el amor!

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License[http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/]. | Terms of Service[http://www.opensource.org/ToS]

Translation produced by Eduardo Landaveri, the esteemed administrator of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

ES: La OSI Todavía se Distancia a Sí Misma de Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, OSI at 3:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Road sign

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: La Iniciativa de Open Source OSI, intenta recuperar su legitimidad y también explica que Microsoft está muy lejos de ser un amigo de Open Source.

Los DIARIOS posts han contenido ya noticias sobre una reforma prevista en la OSI, que es la organización detrás de la marca de fábrica de Open Source. La OSI ha sido siempre renuente ser influenciada por Microsoft, que intentó manterla a corta distancia[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arm%27s_length_principle]. Hay un blogger en la OSI que se atreve de vez en cuando a decir la verdad sobre la relación de Microsoft con Open Source y aquí esta lo suyo sobre el amor de Microsoft hacia Open Source[http://www.opensource.org/blog/MicrosoftLovesOpenSource.html]:

Cuando hablo a la gente de Microsoft acerca de todo su mal comportamiento, es cierta otra parte de Microsoft que si la ignoramos eventualmente veremos la luz. Eso parece como una mala estrategia de nuestros “buenos amigos”. Si Microsoft ama sinceramente al Código Abierto, es hora de una estrategia corporativa. Hagamos esto simple:

* ¿Cómo sobre una promesa de la patente similar pero mejor que la promesa de patentes de Red Hat? Vaya un paso más al futuro y amplíelo a todas las licencias de código abierto.

* ¿Qué acerca de invitar a la OSI para que se una a la CPTN? Eso haría cada uno más cómodo creer que es un consorcio defensivo y no un esquema para destruir a el código abierto.

* ¿Qué acerca de un cambio del tono del mensaje de la comercialización a “desarrollo cooperativo”, en vez de el de la “interoperabilidad”?

Microsoft, quisiera ver este amor como algo más que un esquema de comercialización gaseoso. ¡Demuéstrenos el amor!

La fuente de este enteramente deshonesto “Microsoft Ama a Open Source” FUD de es el escritor de IDG – un troll de presión del Subnet de Microsoft que hace algunos días puso a Stallman y Stalin en el mismo título (entonces ligado a “Microsoft ama a Open Source” dentro de la misma entrevista con Stallman). Los que fingen ese Microsoft pueden ser campeón de chantajes y ética al mismo tiempo no están claramente interesados en la naturaleza verdadera; hacen Relaciones Públicas PR.

Notas de traducción:
Hoy Lunes 29 de Marzo, Microsoft demandó a Barnes & Noble y FoxConn por el uso de Adroide on su lector Nook[http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct2=us%2F0_0_s_4_0_t&usg=AFQjCNEzYOo4yhEtRoc2eXvXm9XtYSaTZQ&did=2bccaf5d3e51893e&cid=8797676060261&ei=HgSITeHKMIL8lQTn4Id3&rt=SECTION&vm=STANDARD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cultofmac.com%2Fmicrosoft-sues-barnes-noble-foxconn-over-nook-patent-infringement%2F87503]. Barnes & Noble tuvo el coraje de negarse a firmar un acuerdos sobre patentes que involucran a GNU/Linux como lo hicieron: Linspire, Xandros, TurboLinux, Acer, HTC, Amazon entre otros que ahora están pagando por GNU/Linux. Microsoft está imponiendo un GNU/Linux Tax que no le corresponde. Esperemos que Barnes & Noble no se doblegue ante este burdo chantaje y no pague por protección a estos modernos gangsters.

Este es el amor de Microsoft hacia Open Source. Los países Latino Americanos debemos cerrar filas en contra de Microsoft que sólo busca la entrega del futuro de las nuevas generaciones con el uso de sus supuestos “estándares” y tecnologías que sólo buscan sofocar las empresas latino americanas y del Tercer Mundo con su objetivo de Colonialismo Digital. Miremos a Brasil y la India para el bienestar de nuestras futuras generaciones.

Si, Microsoft no ha cambiado busca la destrucción del código abierto y de todo aquello que vaya en contra de sus intereses, eso esta es su ADN por tanto seamos precavidos y miremos todo lo que venga de ellos y su prensa comprada con escepticismo.

Eduardo Landaveri translates the latter new part into English as follows:

“I added to the end Notes of translation: Today Monday 29 of March, Microsoft demanded to Barnes & Noble and FoxConn for the use of Android on its Nook reader. Barnes & Noble had the courage to refuse to sign agreements on patents that involve GNU/Linux, like others did: Linspire, Xandros, TurboLinux, Acer, HTC, Amazon among others that now are paying for GNU/Linux. Microsoft is imposing a GNU/Linux Tax that does not correspond to them. Let us hope that Barnes & Noble will not give in to this coarse blackmail and won’t not pay for protection to these modern gangsters.

“This it is the love of Microsoft towards Open Source. The Latin American countries must close up against Microsoft that only looks for subjugating the future of the new generations with the use of its supposed “standards” and technologies that they only look for to choke the Latin Americana and Third World companies with its goal of Digital Colonialism. We must look upon Brazil and India for the well-being of our future generations.

“Yes, Microsoft has not changed. It only looks for the destruction of the open source and of everything what it goes against his interests, this is its DNA therefore we must be cautious every time we read everything what comes from them and its bribed press & treat it with skepticism.”

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

Microsoft Wants Credit for Handling Some of the Mess Which It Itself Created, Wants No Mention in Negative Context

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security at 3:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft deserves no credit

Stocking for business

Summary: Criticism of computer security coverage which simply omits Microsoft’s role when its software causes a lot of damage but gives Microsoft a positive mention when the same damage is addressed by Microsoft

SECURITY news is distorted for many of the reasons we have covered here before. Glyn Moody recently commented on the MSBBC's failure to name Microsoft or Windows when only Microsoft Windows and other Microsoft products are affected by security problems. Now he writes about “moving beyond the Microsoft monoculture”, which is a similar type of rant that says:

One reason that I no longer look at press releases is because nearly all of them in the field of computing make one, huge, annoying assumption: that the entire world uses Microsoft products. This means that the vast majority of press releases are not just irrelevant to my needs, but positively insulting to my worldview.

And there is a particular circle of journalistic hell reserved for PR companies that send out press releases about the very latest terrifying, deadly, apocalyptic virus that I simply *must* know about. Because these too assume that everyone is using Microsoft products, and therefore don’t even bother mentioning the rather relevant fact that it is generally *only* those benighted souls still staggering through the Microsoft miasma that are affected.

That omission is not some minor detail, because it blurs the distinction between malware and Windows malware. As a result, it leads non-technical users to assume that malware is a universal and unavoidable fact of computing life, and that you just have to accept that your machine will be trashed every so often, and your bank details stolen once in a while, and that you will always have to fork out what is literally protection money to one of the anti-virus companies for constant updates to their software (unless you know about free software apps like ClamWin, of course.)

“Sorry, we don’t sell flash drives anymore” is another new example of what happens when people simply assume that all computers run Windows. To quote the concluding words:

I have a question. What will vendors do once that viruses become more common in, say, memory cards? Of course those will not be perceived as OS problems, either. Are those storage devices going to be banned as well? No wonder why Microsoft could come up with the stupid idea of banning infected computers from the Web…

From the same blog we now have: “Emergency at the University: A PC problem or an OS that is defective?”

On Jan 20th, 2011, I posted an entry on my office network and, jokingly, put up a picture in which viruses were pawning the Windows computers. Well, that picture became prophetic: while the Windows 7 machine gradually collapsed, the XP one became a zombie that got the entire University Internet service in trouble for a whole week. However, my Mandriva box emerged pristine, completely unscathed. This is the account of what happened.

Jeff Hoogland too wrote about the subject some days ago, noting that people who use GNU/Linux have none of the same problems Windows users experience:

I sometimes forget in addition to Windows itself being costly, most people get conned into spending further money on “protection” software.

But the more interesting comment comes from this new blog post which covers an issue we talked about in last night's TechBytes episode. To quote:

Yes, yes. I saw the news. Microsoft disabled a botnet and now applauds itself for carving away 39 percent of the world’s spam.

I’m going to go out on a limb though. I say: If they hadn’t come up with such a long string of sub-par operating systems, thereby inventing both the opportunity to process huge volumes of spam, and the niche markets for anti-spam and security software … well, we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place.

PandaLabs reports that “Creation of New Malware Increases by 26 Percent to Reach More than 73,000 Samples Every Day” and needless to say, they are not talking about GNU/Linux.

It is essential that people start naming that OS and call out Windows when it is clearly Microsoft’s fault. Information of this kind should be made explicit, not vaguely implied.

OSI Still Distances Itself From Microsoft

Posted in Free/Libre Software, OSI at 2:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Road sign

Summary: The Open Source Initiative seeks to regain legitimacy and it also explains that Microsoft is far from a friend of Open Source

THE DAILY links have already contained news about a planned reform at the OSI, which is the organisation behind the Open Source brand. The OSI has always been reluctant to be intruded by Microsoft, which it tried to keep at arm’s length. There is one blogger at the OSI who occasionally dares to say the truth about Microsoft’s relationship with Open Source and here is his latest about “Microsoft Loves Open Source”:

When I speak to folks at Microsoft all bad behavior is “some other part of Microsoft” that if we just ignore will eventually see the light. That seems like a bad strategy from our “good friends”. If Microsoft sincerely loves open source, it is time for a corporate strategy. Let’s make this simple:

* How about a “Patent Promise” similar but better than Red Hat’s Patent Promise? Go one step further and extend it to all open source licenses.
* How about inviting the Open Invention Network to join CPTN? That would make everyone more comfortable that it is a defensive consortium and not a scheme to crush open source.
* How about changing the tone of the marketing message to “cooperative development” instead of “interoperability”?

Microsoft, I’d like to see this love as more than a cheesy marketing scheme. Show us the love!

The source of this wholly dishonest “Microsoft Loves Open Source” FUD is the Microsoft Subnet writer from IDG — a booster who some days ago put Stallman and Stalin in the same headline (then linked to “Microsoft Loves Open Source” within the same interview with Stallman). Those who pretend that Microsoft can be champion of racketeering and “ethics” at the same time are clearly not interested in the true nature; they do PR.

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