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04.04.11

TechBytes Episode 37: Escaping the Soaps

Posted in TechBytes at 6:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechBytes

Direct download as Ogg (1:39:18, 30.4 MB) | Direct download as MP3 (45.5 MB)

Summary: With two tracks and about a dozen discussion areas, the three of us convene again

THIS evening’s episode moved between many subjects including some which we wanted to cover yesterday but lacked the time to address. Show notes will be up soon.

RSS 64x64The show ends with “Open War” and also “You Are Goodbye” by Holly Conlan (from SXSW 2009 Showcasing Artists). We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

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Our past shows:

November 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 1: Brandon from Fedora TechBytes Episode 1: Apple, Microsoft, Bundling, and Fedora 14 (With Special Guest Brandon Lozza) 1/11/2010
Episode 2: No guests TechBytes Episode 2: Ubuntu’s One Way, Silverlight Goes Dark, and GNU Octave Discovered 7/11/2010
Episode 3: No guests TechBytes Episode 3: Games, Wayland, Xfce, Restrictive Application Stores, and Office Suites 8/11/2010
Episode 4: No guests TechBytes Episode 4: Fedora 14 Impressions, MPAA et al. Payday, and Emma Lee’s Magic 9/11/2010
Episode 5: No guests TechBytes Episode 5: Windows Loses to Linux in Phones, GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share Estimations, and Much More 12/11/2010
Episode 6: No guests TechBytes Episode 6: KINect a Cheapo Gadget, Sharing Perceptually Criminalised, Fedora and Fusion 14 in Review 13/11/2010
Episode 7: No guests TechBytes Episode 7: FUD From The Economist, New Releases, and Linux Eureka Moment at Netflix 14/11/2010
Episode 8: Gordon Sinclair on Linux Mint TechBytes Episode 8: Linux Mint Special With Gordon Sinclair (ThistleWeb) 15/11/2010
Episode 9: Gordon Sinclair returns TechBytes Episode 9: The Potentially Permanent Return of ThistleWeb 17/11/2010
Episode 10: Special show format TechBytes Episode 10: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux 19/11/2010
Episode 11: Part 2 of special show TechBytes Episode 11: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux – Part II 21/11/2010
Episode 12: Novell special TechBytes Episode 12: Novell Sold for Microsoft Gains 23/11/2010
Episode 13: No guests TechBytes Episode 13: Copyfight, Wikileaks, and Other Chat 28/11/2010
Episode 14: Patents special TechBytes Episode 14: Software Patents in Phones, Android, and in General 29/11/2010
Episode 15: No guests TechBytes Episode 15: Google Chrome OS, Windows Refund, and Side Topics Like Wikileaks 30/11/2010

December 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 16: No guests TechBytes Episode 16: Bribes for Reviews, GNU/Linux News, and Wikileaks Opinions 3/12/2010
Episode 17: No guests TechBytes Episode 17: Chrome OS Imminent, Wikileaks Spreads to Mirrors, ‘Open’ Microsoft 5/12/2010
Episode 18: No guests TechBytes Episode 18: Chrome OS, Sharing, Freedom, and Wikileaks 11/12/2010
Episode 19: No guests TechBytes Episode 19: GNU/Linux Market Share on Desktop at 4%, Microsoft Declining, and ChromeOS is Coming 16/12/2010
Episode 20: No guests TechBytes Episode 20: GNU/Linux Gamers Pay More for Games, Other Discussions 18/12/2010
Episode 21: No guests TechBytes Episode 21: Copyright Abuses, Agitators and Trolls, Starting a New Site 20/12/2010
Episode 22: No special guests TechBytes Episode 22: Freedom Debate and Picks of the Year 27/12/2010

January 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 23: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 23: Failuresfest and 2011 Predictions 2/1/2011
Episode 24: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 24: Android, Microsoft’s President Departure, and Privacy 10/1/2011
Episode 25: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 25: Mono, Ubuntu, Android, and More 14/1/2011
Episode 26: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 26: £98 GNU/Linux Computer, Stuxnet’s Government Roots, and More 18/1/2011
Episode 27: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 27: Linux Phones, Pardus, Trusting One’s Government-funded Distribution, and Much More 22/1/2011
Episode 28: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 28: The Weekend After Microsoft’s Results and LCA 30/1/2011
Episode 29: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 29: KDE, Other Desktop Environments, and Programming 31/1/2011

February 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 30: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 30: Microsoft at FOSDEM, Debian Release, and Anonymous 7/2/2011
Episode 31: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 31: Nokiasoft and Computer Games 13/2/2011
Episode 32: Tim and Roy TechBytes Episode 32: Desktop Environments, Computer Games, Android and Ubuntu as the ‘New Linux’, Copyright Mentality 22/2/2011

March 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 33: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 33: Patent ‘Thieves’ and News That Deceives 6/3/2011
Episode 34: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 34: Done on a Dongle 13/3/2011
Episode 35: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 35: You Can’t Please Some People 19/3/2011

April 2011

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 36: Tim, Gordon, and Roy TechBytes Episode 36: “Come to Take Me Away” 3/4/2011

Links 4/4/2011: Hercules Does Linux, More Fedora 16 Details Surface

Posted in News Roundup at 2:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • reboot? – this is linux!

    Just had a scary few minutes, this morning I was unable to logon the home mailserver (running mandriva 2010.1) across the local network – the process connected, opened up a terminal window and just hung, never getting to a prompt! Sunday lunch over, I tried opening up a term when sitting at the machine with the problems and there too, no xterm! Fortunately I was already logged in and had root (admin) access.

  • Problems Linux Enthusiasts Refuse to Address

    I like to think of myself as a relatively long time Linux enthusiast. In fact, I feel like a fish out of water when asked to work on a Windows box or with a Mac.

    Like most of you, I can certainly make the adjustment for a day, but I always come away feeling a little stranger from the experience. Guess this happens when you’re bound to a single way of doing things for an extended period of time.

    Now let’s flip the coin for a moment. Despite the many successes seen from the desktop Linux camp over the years, there are some areas that continue to be left largely unchecked. Rather than automatically painting my findings with a negative brush, instead let’s examine each issue closely.

  • 5 Reasons why Linux is the Future of Technology

    From embeded spaces to mobile phones to desktops and servers, there’s not a single one of those except it’s being overtaken by the gradual but consistent revolution called Linux. Here’s why

    [...]

    As I’ve stated a number of times, Africa, a massive market of about 1 billion people, is still mostly untapped and under-served. Symbian used to be the platform of choice of you wanted to use a smartphone. However, I’m increasingly seeing a gradual shift to the two platforms: iPhone and Android, especially among my contemporaries in school.

    All it’ll take for Android to excel here is for a handset maker to achieve the right balance between reasonable price and the right hardware capable of running Andoid at reasonable speeds. I personally tick Samsung to achieve this feat.

    Then in terms of desktops, again I was fairly surprised the first time I walked into our school’s computer lab and found out that half the computers are powered by Ubuntu 10.04. To say the popularity of Linux is soaring here in Africa is an understatement.

  • Hercules launches new 10-inch Linux and A8 eCafe netbooks

    The netbook was flying high in the darkest days of the recession over the last few years as consumers that needed or wanted a new computer flocked to the cheap machines rather than full on notebooks. As the economy improved, the market moved back to notebooks that are more powerful and with the advent of the tablet, many that would have bought a netbook opted for a tablet like the iPad instead.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • KWin Now Supports Suspended Compositing

        KDE’s KWin compositing window manager now supports suspended compositing that can be toggled by applications to provide a cleaner solution for stopping for removing the OpenGL context created by the KDE window manager and blocking the effects system so that directed full-screen applications and games should work better, especially with less than stellar graphics drivers.

        KWin/KDE has already supported un-redirecting of full-screen windows in a composited environment, but up to this point the OpenGL context from KWin has still been maintained as well as the window manager’s effects system. Thus while the performance may be improved in some instances (for the drivers that are faster without compositing), for other configurations this can still be an issue due to multiple OpenGL contexts and the resources of the effects system running.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • From Russia with source (Calculate Linux 11.3)

      The Calculate distribution certainly made some strong impressions on me during the week I was using it, most of them good. Generally, the things that turned me off were in relation to software management. The emerge tool, while reliable, was slow to work out dependencies. The login bug I ran into on my laptop was an unpleasant surprise, as was finding that choosing Intel drivers for my Intel video card would cause X to crash. On the other hand, Calculate comes with a lot of pre-installed software without much overlap in functionality, letting me perform most tasks while avoiding extra trips to the repositories. Performance was good and this is one of the few distros to detect and use all of my hardware out of the box. Furthermore, I liked having all the multimedia codecs available on the default install.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • KNOPPIX 6.5, CeBIT 2011
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Desktop Fun: Ubuntu Wallpaper Collection Series 2
        • Ubuntu ‘Unity’ Desktop Environment First Impressions

          When Canonical announced last fall that Ubuntu 11.04 would be released with a home-brewed desktop environment called “Unity”, I found myself almost immediately excited. As Ubuntu came equipped with GNOME as its primary desktop environment since the distro’s inception, the idea that Canonical would be pushing it aside for something it was creating was rather shocking.

          While it may not seem like a big deal on the surface, Canonical’s choice to move over to a different default desktop environment is impressive. What it says to me is that the company is confident that it can create a desktop environment “better” than GNOME, and as I’ve never been a big fan of it, the idea of another full-fledged alternative desktop environment was appealing.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • 4 Lessons Which Bodhi Linux Taught Me

            Ubuntu is not the oldest distributive on the Linux landscape. Moreover, it is not standalone one, and it is based on Debian. But Ubuntu and its derivatives became the most used Linux in the world, bringing Linux to the level when non-geek users can get benefits of this OS.
            I have mentioned already that Ubuntu has huge number of derivatives. The Wikipedia page contains impressive list of them, but even that list is not full.

            [...]

            Lesson 4. Small size does not mean pocket size.
            Even though size of Bodhi Linux is comparable to SLAX, I would not consider it to be pocket OS. Basically, because SLAX is self-contained within same size while Bodhi is very limited in functionality.

          • Poking at Pinguy 10.10.1

            Earlier this week, the Ubuntu 11.04 beta was released. I was looking forward to trying out the Unity interface, as regular readers know; I’m apprehensive about it but I want to give it a fair chance. So I downloaded and installed it. This was supposed to be a review of it. But the installer threw an error right at the end, and though it seemed to have finished, the resulting system was unbootable.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Move over, Dr. Soong: Girls can build Android (apps) too

          In Google’s New York offices, a group of high school girls are learning to develop Android apps and start their own businesses thanks to the first East Coast Technovation Challenge. The 12-week program pairs high school girls from New York public schools with volunteer mentors to introduce them to high-tech entrepreneurship. Participants learn the basics of programming, design a user interface, develop a prototype app and business model, and cap it off with a presentation to a panel of judges and venture capitalists.The winning team’s concept will be developed by pros with input from the girls and released in the Android Marketplace.

        • Xperia X10 to get Gingerbread Update

          In a sudden change of heart, Sony Ericsson has decided to listen to the pleas of thousands of Xperia X10 owners and provide them with the Android Gingerbread that they have been yearning for. The update will be pushed to their phones by end of Q2/start of Q3 this year and will be the latest 2.3.3 update. The software will be similar to what Sony Ericsson will be offering on their newer Android phones, the Xperia Arc, Neo, Pro and Play, except for those features for which there is no hardware support on the X10, such as HDMI-out.

        • Amazon.com lets you play with an Android virtual machine, try apps before you buy them

          When Amazon’s Appstore rolled out last week, we glossed over one detail that merely seemed neat. Today, we’re inclined to say that Test Drive may be the most significant part of Amazon’s announcement that day. Basically, Test Drive allows US customers to take apps for a spin at Amazon.com, with all the comfort that their tried-and-true desktop web browser brings — but rather than sit you down with a Flash-based mockup of the app, Amazon is giving you a taste of bona fide cloud computing with an Android virtual machine.

        • The Freight Train That Is Android

          Yesterday, after the market closed, Research in Motion, the makers of the Blackberry device, announced that they would be lowering their current quarter earnings due to lower average sales prices. In a separate announcement, the company proffered that their new tablet will support Android apps, yet the CEO also made it clear that he believes the world is overly focused on the criticality of having a large numbers of applications on your platform. They also suggested that the guidance issue is temporary, and relates mainly to a product cycle not a systematic change in the industry.

          [...]

          One might yearn to suggest that there is a market unjust here that should be investigated by some government entity, but let us not forget that the consumer is not harmed here – in fact far from it. The consumer is getting great software at the cheapest price possible. Free. The consumer might be harmed if this activity were prevented. And as we just suggested above, the market is finally driving towards software pricing that represents “perfect competition.”

        • Oh Noes — teh Angry Birds GPL’d! Google’s Alleged GPL Violations in Android

          Two commentators, Florian Mueller and Edward Naughton, have recently claimed that Google is violating the copyleft obligation of the General Public License in distributing the Android mobile operating system used in millions of smartphones all over the world. Android consists of a combination of the underlying Linux kernel, licensed under GPLv2, wrapped with a C library known as Bionic, and topped off with an application framework. Google has released Bionic under the permissive BSD license. Naughton’s and Mueller’s thesis is that Google’s Bionic library is a derivative work of the Linux kernel due to the amount and type of code Bionic lifts from the kernel, and therefore is required to be licensed under GPLv2. If Bionic is required to be licensed under GPLv2, that means Android applications would also have to be licensed under GPLv2 in source code form, they claim. Google would lose control of the entire platform, the argument goes, and Android as a viable and profitable ecosystem would collapse.

    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • LyX Devs Release First 2.0 Release Candidates

    Considering that they’ve been working on it for about two years now, the LyX 2.0 release candidates are starting to appear relatively quickly (RC2 at time of writing). Considering that the file format is now fairly fixed and should now be forwards compatible with all later versions, this might be a good time for LyX die hards to check out 2.0, if they haven’t already.

  • How to get a career in open source

    Many people are absolutely enthralled by Linux and open source, and what could be better than taking your hobby and making it your career? Is it really possible that you could be paid to do something that you love?

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

    • Where meritocracy fails

      Robert wrote about patches and rejection today, and quoted me from some tweets I made about meritocracy. I think Robert made some good points in his post, and I’m going to make some suggestions about patch review.

      But first, I want to address my irritation about meritocracy…

  • Government

    • White House releases IT Dashboard as open source code

      The White House has released the software code for its IT Dashboard and TechStat toolkit. The initiative was coordinated through Civic Commons, a code-sharing project incubated within Code for America that helps governments share technology for the public good, with support from OpenPlans. Civic Commons staff worked with REI Systems, the contractor that originally built the IT Dashboard for the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to prepare the code for release under an open source license. That work included a security audit, documentation, and a licensing review of the software’s components.

    • UK ICT strategy offers “level playing field” to FOSS again

      The UK Government’s Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude MP, has unveiled the coalition’s ICT (Information and communications technology) strategy. The new strategy includes plans to “create a level playing field for open source software”. Though this is a position previous administrations had aspired to, now the plan is backed up with “compulsory open standards,” a new “streamlined procurement” regime, a cross-public “Applications Store” and an aggressive schedule for implementation of goals, from within six months to two years.

      The drive for open standards means that recent procurement guidance that defined open standards as royalty free will have a far reaching effect on how open source solutions can compete. The strategy recognises this saying that, “Where appropriate, government will procure open source solutions. When used in conjunction with compulsory open standards, open source presents significant opportunities for the design and delivery of interoperable solutions.” By using open standards for interoperability and security, the government hopes to be able to reuse more solutions within the different organisations which make up the government. Within six months, the administration aims to have created processes for managing open data standards.

  • Licensing

    • Whatever You Do, Just Don’t Steal From Goldman Sachs

      He was found guilty of stealing a proprietary computer program from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. He stole it on his last day of work. He tried to cover his tracks, encrypting the file transfer, deleting the program he used to steal it. Prosecutors said Mr. Aleynikov had been stealing code for the two years he worked at Goldman as a programmer.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ODF 1.2 is finished!

      By OASIS processes, a specification must first be approved by the committee that developed it to be voted by the entire OASIS. In addition to the approved specification at the TC level, it is also necessary to have at least three statements of companies that the standard is being used by them in a interoperable way.

Leftovers

  • Groupon Is Becoming A Lawsuit Magnet

    The suit, filed last week by a company called San Francisco Comprehensive Tours, alleges the ads Groupon buys through Google’s AdWords program are misleading. S.F. Comprehensive Tours bids on terms like “San Francisco Tours” and “Napa Tours” through Google’s AdWords program, and has been doing so since 2005. Advertisers in AdWords are given the most favorable positions via an “instant auction” process that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) created. And while money counts—as the lawsuit notes—it isn’t the only factor.

  • Airing for H-P Letter

    A Delaware judge late Thursday ordered that the letter that led to former Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Mark Hurd’s August resignation be unsealed.

    A lawyer for Mr. Hurd, Amy Wintersheimer, said in a statement that she planned to appeal the decision, meaning that the letter won’t be made public anytime soon.

  • Google Apps Slammed by Advocacy Group for the Blind

    The National Federation of the Blind claims that Google Apps lacks required features for blind people and wants the U.S. government to investigate whether schools that adopt the e-mail and collaboration suite run afoul of civil rights laws.

  • Science

    • Researcher Overcomes Legal Setback Over ‘Cloud Cracking Suite’

      German researcher Thomas Roth got a phone call with some unsettling news the evening before he was to release a new hacking tool in his presentation at Black Hat DC: he had been served with an injunction for allegedly breaking anti-hacker laws in his country and law enforcement would be raiding his apartment back in Germany.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Cablegate

    • Jemima Khan to guest-edit the New Statesman

      Jemima Khan, writer and campaigner, said: “I am very grateful to Jason for inviting me to guest-edit this week’s issue of the New Statesman. I am a huge fan of the magazine. My task was to bring in new writers – a daunting one, as New Statesman regulars include some of my favourite writers, such as my fellow WikiLeaks supporter John Pilger, my favourite Question Time panellist, Mehdi Hasan, and the philosopher John Gray. I had great fun working with the NS team and enlisting the help of writers who express my own thoughts but with more eloquence, clarity or wit.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Almost Doubles Blankfein Pay Package to $19 Million for 2010

      The total includes $5.4 million in cash, $12.6 million in restricted stock, a $600,000 salary and about $464,000 in other benefits, the New York-based firm’s proxy statement showed. Blankfein’s $9.8 million pay for 2009 included $9 million in restricted stock plus salary and other compensation.

    • Barclays, Citigroup Said to Be Subpoenaed in Libor Probe

      Barclays Plc (BARC) and Citigroup Inc. (C) are among banks subpoenaed by U.S. regulators investigating whether some firms manipulated the setting of the London interbank offered rate, two people with knowledge of the probes said.

      Germany’s WestLB AG and London-based Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) are among the 16 banks on the panel that set Libor that have been contacted by regulators requesting information, said two people who declined to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak on the matter. Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the biggest U.S. bank by assets, also received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice, the Financial Times reported yesterday.

  • Censorship

    • Google Accuses Chinese of Blocking Gmail Service

      Google has accused the Chinese government of disrupting Gmail in the country, making it difficult in the last few weeks for users here to gain access to the company’s popular e-mail service.

      Google said that it was not having any technical problems with Google’s main Web site or Gmail service in China.

      “There is no issue on our side; we have checked extensively,” Google said in a statement released Sunday. “This is a government blockage, carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail.”

  • Privacy

  • DRM

    • “Fleeing”? Sabotaged hard drives? Hotz’s lawyer responds to Sony

      It was reported yesterday that George Hotz “fled” the country in order to escape… a civil case? Sony claimed that the infamous hacker had sabotaged evidence in the case and was using his location outside the US as an excuse to not comply with the court’s orders. Ars caught up with Stewart Kellar, one of Hotz’ lawyers, who rejected both accusations. Hotz is in South America on a trip he had planned before the lawsuit was filed, and Sony has been given all the components it needs to access his hard drive.

    • GeoHot still stoked about cracking Sony’s Xperia Play

      Yes, the talented PS3 hacker known as GeoHot is currently vacationing in South America. However, contrary to what Sony wants you to believe, Hotz is just simply enjoying spring break.

      As TG Daily reported yesterday evening, a very paranoid Sony accused GeoHot of attempting to ditch an ongoing lawsuit by flying off to enjoy some sun.

    • SCEA Files Motion to Dismiss Class Action Again, More Discovery Disputes, Plus a Revealing Transcript Surfaces – Update

      There’s news from the class action litigation, In re Sony PS3 ‘Other OS’ Litigation, where the plaintiffs are suing Sony Computer Entertainment America for removing OtherOS from Playstation 3s. SCEA has filed another motion to dismiss [PDF] the class action case, once again saying that the plaintiffs’ newly filed First Amended Complaint is insufficient to state a claim. The original complaint’s claims, except for one, were dismissed, with the judge giving the plaintiffs a chance to refile. Now that they have, SCEA says this refiled complaint should be tossed out also. There will be a hearing on all this on May 12th.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pandora CEO: The Complexity Of International Copyright Law Is A Big Problem

        When Pandora filed papers with the SEC earlier this year indicating its plans for an IPO, the company disclosed a variety of risks to investors. That included the fact that copyright royalties eat up half its revenue, and the difficulty the company has had in its attempts to strike deals in other countries. Pandora abandoned its bid to expand to the U.K. in 2008. Speaking at the NARM music law conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy elaborated on how he sees international copyright issues and the evolving relationship between online music companies and record labels.

      • Death To The Shiny Disc: Time To Go All-Digital

        Back at Warners I was in a meeting about “reintroducing” a band to the market, which basically means the last record was a stiff so we needed to “reboot” them. Not dissimilar to what Hollywood does to franchises.

        A lot of ideas were floated around: vinyl singles, etc. My statement was “death to the shiny disc!” Basically, eliminate all physical, and go completely digital. Nothing was to be gained by putting out low margin product. This was four years ago. As you can imagine, that statement was met with some glares. I was pulled aside later and advised that the shiny disk still paid for my shiny servers. I didn’t use that catch phrase again.

      • Celebrated ‘Appropriation Artist’ to Appeal Copyright Infringement Ruling

        All of the strum and drang of the Shepard Fairey Obama Hope case — in which the street artist admitted to manipulating evidence in the Associated Press’s suit claiming he used an AP photo without permission — obscured the truly fascinating question at the heart of the dispute: What is fair use for an artist whose work involves the manipulation of images created by someone else? That question will now get a full airing in a copyright appeal by the painter and photographer Richard Prince, who this week hired Boies, Schiller & Flexner to work on his appeal of last Friday’s devastating infringement ruling that orders him to surrender all work in which Prince makes unauthorized use of photographs from the book “Yes, Rasta.”

      • Righthaven loses second fair use ruling over copyright lawsuits

        An Oregon nonprofit did not infringe on copyrights when it posted without authorization an entire Las Vegas Review-Journal story on its website, a judge ruled Friday.

        U.S. District Judge James Mahan said during a hearing he planned to dismiss, on fair use grounds, a copyright infringement lawsuit filed against the Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO), in Portland, Ore.

        The lawsuit was filed last year by Righthaven LLC of Las Vegas, the Review-Journal’s copyright enforcement partner that also enforces copyrights for the Denver Post.

      • Did file-sharing cause recording industry collapse? Economists say no

        For the last decade, the movie and music industries have engaged in a relentless struggle against Internet file sharing. One prominent theater of this global conflict has been the UK, which last year saw the passage of the Digital Economy Act. The law, if fully implemented, could allow Internet Service Providers to disconnect “persistent infringers” of the UK’s copyright rules from the ‘Net.

        The zeal with which Hollywood and the recording industry have pursued this ISP-as-cop approach around the world has prompted some ISPs to cry foul. “The notion of disconnection without judicial oversight violates the presumption of innocence,” warned the Australian DSL service iiNet in a recent position piece . “As the penalty for possibly minor economic loss (at the individual infringer level) removal of Internet access is, therefore, both inappropriate and disproportionate.”

      • Judge administers another beatdown to P2P lawyer, severs cases

        Multiple federal judges in Chicago have absolutely ripped the tactics of the state’s only attorney filing mass P2P file-sharing lawsuits in recent weeks. Now, two new rulings directly contradict a ruling from Judge Beryl Howell, an RIAA lobbyist-turned-federal-judge in Washington, DC, who said that mass subpoenas against alleged file-swappers were proper.

        Last week, Judge Blanche Manning of the Northern District of Illinois “severed” two of the P2P suits filed by local attorney John Steele, cutting them down from 1,800 combined defendants to just two. The judge, acting sua sponte (of her own accord, without ruling on a motion), told Steele that he must file a separate lawsuit against every anonymous target of his litigation, not try to combine hundreds of people into a single case.

Clip of the Day

Galaxy Tab running Honeycomb (Android 3.0)


Credit: TinyOgg

Microsoft Staff Dislikes the CEO of Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 2:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: New numbers suggest that Steve Ballmer is the worst technology CEO, based on the opinion of his own employees

The co-founder of Microsoft dislikes the other co-founder, as we noted this afternoon. But what happens when the entire staff dislikes the CEO, Steve Ballmer? Glyn Moody calls this “incredible” and it seems as though Ballmer’s wing(wo)man, Bartz, is also doing pretty badly. Microsoft’s booster Preston Gralla asks, “[h]ow long can he last” — meaning — when will Ballmer get fired?

For the last two years, Glassdoor.com has regularly surveyed employees of a dozen major tech companies and asks them to rate their CEOs. It just announced the latest year’s rankings, and the news couldn’t be worse for Ballmer. His approval rating is down in the dumps, at 40%. The next worst CEO rating is well above his, eBay’s John Donahoe at 46%.

It’s official. Microsoft is in a state of unrest wrt management-ordinary workers relationships. Maybe Microsoft will just send more of its workers from the West to teach (somewhere in Asia) how their job is done, then announce layoffs, then announce hiring in Asia a year later. It’s not just Microsoft’s trick for cutting costs but also convenient means of getting more obedient staff which will revere the management “from America” and feel ever so thankful.

Software Patent Supporters Among ‘Us’

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Black Duck, Microsoft, Hadapt, and Red Hat talk about products and/or patents which relate to them

AFTER this previous post, the pro-patents crowd (the lawyers who confront us over these issues) suggested we focus more attention on the company Walker Digital. To quote the relevant parts:

The first lot, for Automatically Captured Images contained only a set of patent applications and foreign patents, yet the bidding petered out at $7,000,000. Bidding for a lot described as a Single Use Transaction Code stopped at $3,000,000. The last two lots, for Driving Directions with Visual Cues and a Certified Audio Vault reached $6,000,000 and $4,500,000, respectively. Altogether, that’s $20.5 M in exchange for the freedom for one company each to practice and manufacture the technology described in these patents. Generally, when good technology is adopted by one company, it gets copied by others, so it’s entirely likely that substantial additional value exists, not just for these patents, but Walker Digital as a whole.

But how did the covenants end up being sent to auction in the first place? Earlier this year, Walker Digital announced the hiring of a consulting firm to help create value out of its substantial patent portfolio

Black Duck, the pretending-to-be-a-Free-software-company founded by a Microsoft manager, has bought Olliance Group, the group which organises the "Open Source Think Tank". At the same, Black Duck is now accepting money from Microsoft and its close friend, Accenture. With this, proprietary software zealots can influence the “Open Source Think Tank”, and effectively speak on behalf of their competition.

The Open Source Think Tank is the most unique invitation-only event of its kind, bringing together many of the world’s top thought leaders in a challenge to solve real world situations. The event is focused on the evolution and practical implications of open source and cloud computing.

It’s invitation-only, eh? Was Microsoft invited to an “Open Source Think” or does it get automatic admission by simply paying? This whole event is organised by a familiar entity.

Black Duck in reality promotes proprietary software covered by software patents. It is yet another firm that does not see the big picture and realise the hindrance to innovation by software patents. Like the Tea Party, these closed-minded firms play a game where the bigger players (Microsoft, Apple) have the advantage and exploit the smaller players without consequence or guilt. Unfortunately, there is an increasing number of misguided software companies with a patent strategy that is not progressively oriented around immediate abolition. “Our patent-pending Adaptive Query Execution™ capability is unlike any other offering in the market,” drones Justin Borgman, co-founder of Hadapt Inc. Next there will be a patent on using the equation “y=mx+b” with cloud (Internet) spreadsheet programs (that is, if one does not exist already).

Meanwhile, even Red Hat has not proven immune to the software patent bug. It’s legal team has produced harmful statements in a recent post; they spout praise and endorsement over the “strength” of Red Hat’s patent portfolio while still maintaining that the company is a fighter for patent reform:

The ranking of Red Hat’s patent portfolio as the 50th strongest in IT represents a jump of 16 spots from The Patent Board’s previous ranking on November 5, 2010.

[...]

At the same time, Red Hat continues to fight for software patent reform.

Red Hat has made itself open for accusations of hypocrisy. This is the last thing it needs at this point, especially in the light of the source code obfuscation controversy we discussed earlier. Red Hat needs to do what is right and stand up and firmly for its beliefs and the Free software community and software it originates from and depends upon. It can not continue to act like a “wishy-washy” politician if it seeks long-term viability.

How Microsoft Derails Standards-and-Software-Freedom-Favouring Public Policy

Posted in Microsoft at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The modus operandi of Microsoft whenever a public policy is made that may exclude Microsoft’s standards-hostile, user-disrespecting, and overly-expensive software

Microsoft’s business model depends on restrictive proprietary software coupled with non-interoperable formats to produce a vendor lock-in relationship with its customers. It is no wonder then why Microsoft is trying to sabotage policy that encourages Free software and open standards. Microsoft’s main ammunition in this attack is lying. This translates into numerous, often dirty and immoral tactics. Statements along the lines of “‘excluding proprietary’ is ‘removing choice’” (Microsoft has the BSA lobby with this lie in numerous instances) are fabricated and policies are removed altogether by implanting cronies who reverse predecessors’ ideas (see Peter Quinn's story). In recent years, it is common for Microsoft to pretend that it too is open source (a familiar tactic in recent years), and fakers and even professors have been bribed to say that it is practical to use a mixture of both Free and proprietary. In the past, Microsoft only went for the full lobby of pushing proprietary only.

Microsoft Co-founder Traul Allen Says Bill Gates is a Bully

Posted in Bill Gates, Patents at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

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

Summary: Even the closest friends of Bill Gates cannot stand the guy, whose antisocial behaviour they help reveal to the world

ONE day in the near future we hope to properly research the subject we once covered quite a lot (especially in 2009 and 2010). Quietly but surely and very steadily, Mr. Gates is taking control of more aspects of everybody’s life, from schools to food. He monopolises and controls those in all sorts of ways which we explained before and our criticism is backed by some voices from academia (professors), politicians, and free thinkers. It’s not hard to see what’s going on and a person who grew up with Mr. Gates, working closely with him since they were adolescents, is the co-founder of Microsoft, who is now known as Traul Allen because he is a patent troll of global proportions (he sues the whole world as Groklaw likes to cast it).

One point that we mentioned last week is Allen’s convictions and allegations against Gates, which we already knew about (Cringely wrote about it at least half a decade ago, Allen now concurs and puts it in a book).

Preston Gralla, a Microsoft booster (he sells books about Microsoft products), says that Allen “paints Microsoft’s Gates as an ogre”. To put it one way:

Paul Allen’s memoir about his founding and helping run Microsoft paints Bill Gates as an unprincipled shark, conniving to get Allen to give up a sizable percentage of the ownership of Microsoft, and constantly bullying employees. Can Allen be believed? And if so, does Gates’ later life as a philanthropist make up for his youthful behavior?

People who worked for Gates shared similar stories, some of which say that Gates really bullied them and used the “F” word spuriously. Groklaw laughs with the above in mind, adding: “Final answers: yes and then no. Personally, I view Gates’ philanthropy as kind of in the same category as Macbeth’s handwashing.”

“Personally, I view Gates’ philanthropy as kind of in the same category as Macbeth’s handwashing.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Gates is still bullying everyone who does not agree with him, sometimes causing his opponents to be fired or not funded by anyone. This characterises people who are underqualified and use the mistreatment of others to hide their vulnerabilities and boost their own ego (people who do this typically lack confidence and lash out to make themselves feel better, at the expense of others). Remember: Gates never even graduated from college (not properly anyway, honorary doesn’t count). How come they treat him like economist extraordinaire? Possession of illegally-earned money is not the same as managing economies, but they allow him to enter the White House uninvited, regardless, and then lobby on issues of international financing. It’s insane. That has a lot to do with the way he markets himself, iconifying one’s image by emphasising false correlation between wealth and wisdom, rather than ruthlessness and familiarity with ways of breaking the law, then getting away with it (Gates’ father). Regarding the marketing of one’s character, we suggest people take a look at this wiki page, which we have not had time to extend since the start of the year. Well, the short version is that to start the whole thing, Gates bought a lot of the press (about a million dollars per day are spent on just this sort of deception by Gates), turning what may look like news and sound like news into public relations (PR) for himself, which in turn gives him a lot of wiggling room while he gets richer and more powerful, primarily by promoting patents (monopoly assurers) he invests in as well as lobbies for and convinces country leaders to pump public money into. This is a multi-faceted issue that we covered here many times (but not enough times, due to lack of time). It’s disturbing, but a lot of people turn a blind eye to it or believe the PR. It’s easier to just trust what’s heard a lot of times.

Interestingly enough, Groklaw has dug up some old information a couple of weeks ago and it stated regarding the story of Ed Roberts (Microsoft was dancing on his grave last year): “They may wax lyrical now, but Wikipedia includes this illuminating detail, referencing Stephen Manes’ book Gates, fleshing out my theory that partnering with Microsoft can lead to bad things — after Roberts gave them their big opportunity, this is what happened: “Roberts refused to sub-license BASIC to other companies; this led to arbitration in 1977 between MITS and the new ‘Micro-Soft’. The arbitrator agreed with Microsoft and allowed them to license the 8080 BASIC to other companies. Roberts was disappointed with this ruling. Since both Allen and Gates had been employees of MITS and he paid for the computer time, Roberts felt it was his software.””

Separately, Gates and his buddy Nathan Myhrvold, whom he funded to amass patents and now attack Linux/RIM/other rivals, are mentioned again in the context of Intellectual Ventures (IV). The people at IV extort and also lobby for the sick patent law which exists — one that makes both of them (Gates and Myhrvold) a lot of money in their post-Microsoft days. It was only some months ago (about a year or more) when he was claimed to have spent about a million dollars just lobbying to change the patent laws and/or manufacture fake ‘studies’ to defend patent-trolling. Now, check this out:

Union Opposition To Patent Reform Legislation Funded By Intellectual Ventures

Pat Choate, noted political economist, filed a breach of contract lawsuit earlier this week against Intellectual Ventures, a patent aggregator, owner of approximately 30,000 patents, and plaintiff in numerous patent infringement lawsuits. According to a copy of the complaint obtained by GametimeIP.com, Choate was hired by IV to orchestrate opposition to the patent reform legislation in the 2005-08 time frame and beyond while “hid[ing IV] in the crowd” since its high-profile investors, like Bill Gates, supported patent reform.

Also revealed is IV’s connection to the surprising labor union opposition to patent reform. According to a 2007 PC World story, “the AFL-CIO, the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE), and the United Steelworkers — have sent letters to lawmakers saying they oppose two current patent reform bills.”

[...]

However, IV’s tune changed in 2009 when the damages provisions were modified, and IV actually held fund-raising events for patent reform booster Patrick Leahy. According to the Choate’s complaint, about $500,000 worth of his contract with IV has gone unpaid (possibly relating to IV’s change of heart) despite the fact that he was in the middle of a 25 month contract.

The author of this is actually a patents booster who is looking to work in litigation. He too has joined together the dots and decided to name Gates as a major financier of this whole mess.

So, will anyone be willing to contradict Gates’ partner in crime (they both started with sabotage) and still insist that Gates is a wonderful person? Don’t worry, tomorrow’s newspapers will be filled with glowing PR (masquerading as “news”) about Gates, who spends about a million dollars on this PR every single day. He has a lot to hide and money can buy public opinion these days.

” In my case, I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating systems.”

Bill Gates

Groklaw and Opera’s Haavard on Hypocrisy From Microsoft

Posted in Antitrust, Google, Microsoft at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Opinion page of newspaper

Summary: Monopoly abuser Microsoft Corporation complains about Google “abuses” just a year after Microsoft was punished yet again for monopoly abuse

THE previous post may somehow seem too hostile towards Google. But it’s not, it was just an opinion constructed in the form of advice. Techrights is concerned about Google, but it realises that it is nothing like Microsoft has ever been and the managers at Google are not sociopaths for all we know. Mr. Brin, for example, is known as a modest guy who likes technology, not a manipulative law school dropout.

Last night we caught up with Groklaw for the first time in a month and based on News Picks, Pamela Jones sure seems to like Google. She even says so. Two issues that we covered in last night's show is that Google does not force people to use its products and Microsoft is now using lobbying and regulators to cause trouble and penalise Google. Regarding this follow-up article from the same source (New York Times) Jones wrote:

You know what I think this all means? I think it means Microsoft still doesn’t understand why it got into antitrust hot water, still accepts no responsibility. I understood that better when I read the Paul Allen excerpt from his book in Vanity Fair. The upper management are portrayed as ethically empty. Microsoft now seems to think that all it takes is a competitor to complain, and you end up like it did. That leaves out a powerful factor, which is that Microsoft really did abuse its monopoly position and it did harm to the market, to security, to customers, to competitors in ways that are disturbing to the rest of us. And no one had to use partners and subsidiaries to make it look like it was doing bad things. They really did them, and that is why they ended up in antitrust hot water. So this laughable conspiracy to try to hold Google’s feet to the fire will not end the way it does in Microsoft’s dreams, I don’t think. Because Google isn’t Microsoft. They live on different planets. And that will make all the difference. PS. Google and Android won. Microsoft with this filing waves the white flag.

Well stated. Then, Groklaw also cited:

  • Microsoft files antitrust complaint against Google… again!

    This happened around the time when Opera, Google, Mozilla and others decided to ask the EC to look into Microsoft’s own anti-competitive practices in the browser market.

  • The Microsoft-Google feud comes to D.C.

    One tech lobbyist told POLITICO, for example, that Microsoft has centered some of its Beltway strategy on “pushing folks to investigate Google” long before it filed its antitrust complaint in Brussels — but that it’s not clear whether Google has the stomach to return fire.

    “It appears Google is willing to defend itself from accusations that are untrue or unfounded, … but it’s not within their company culture to organize a campaign to cause trouble for Microsoft,” the source said.

Eventually came a whole article on the subject and Jones highlighted the report “Do Not Anger the Alpha Android”, commenting as follows:

What a coincidence. A Microsoft partner, Facebook, complaining about Google the very same day that Microsoft files an antitrust complaint. Is life not full of unbelievable coincidences? PS. I truly do hope Google watches their stuff like a hawk, given Facebook’s track record on privacy. And does Facebook have quality control standards on what outside companies can do with apps for Facebook, for example? I mean, come on.

And as for quality control, it’s real. I have an acquaintance I finally got to get an Android phone, and wouldn’t you know it, it couldn’t play Angry Birds. She happened to get one that wasn’t using the latest and greatest, and she was so mad about it she was going to drop the phone. It was possible to finally slide it on sideways, so to speak, and get it to run, and now she loves the phone, but quality control and consistency are hardly unnatural business concerns. Some of the stuff companies are putting out there bring the brand down, and that isn’t Google’s fault. And frankly the flood of complaining about Google looks to me like a coordinated campaign. There. I said it. I think reporters should research that and write about it next. I’ll bet you hit pay dirt.

Groklaw too acknowledges that there is a special relationship between Facebook and Microsoft (which owns part of Facebook, the company). For those who do not know the history of Facebook’s founder, be sure to read about it. He too is an unethical sociopath (now using so-called ‘charity’ to hide the truth and create a moral shield). A lot of people know nothing about it, but they ought to. And companies are actually run by really powerful people, with character, mood swings, ego, and penis envy.

Advice to Google: Stop Organising Patent Offices

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Windows at 8:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sergey Brin

Photo by Joi Ito

Summary: Criticism of Google’s organisation of patents and their translations which help legitimatise patent monopolies, taking them even further

AS noted in last night's show, Microsoft is trying to portray Google as an “IP” villain pretty much in the same way that SCO tried to portray IBM and individual people like Linus Torvalds as “thieves”. This is deliberate. But the point worth making is that Google — unlike IBM for example — is rather ambivalent on the subject. Google, unlike IBM, has not had a century as a massive company (during which to amass patents) and at times it seems like Google is prepared to abolish software patents if it can [1, 2]. On other occasions it contradicts itself, sometimes there seem to be inner conflicts between Google lawyers and engineers, and Google generally uses its expertise as knowledge arranger to catalogue patents-related information, thereby validating these increasingly-dubious systems. Over the past couple of years we gave examples on about three occasions.

Google will be better off without a system which favours long-established companies, which not only grew in size but also grew their paper-based monopoly in terms of size (filing for patents, i.e. protectionism). Well, see this new Vista Phony 7 cartoon which says it all really. Basically, that phone platform is dead in the water and this morning I saw a TV advert for it; all they do now is desperately market it using “Office” and “Xbox”. Pathetic. That’s why Microsoft is trying to extort Android from several different directions. And speaking of which, Kodak seems to be ‘pulling a Microsoft’ too (now that it doesn’t manage to make worthwhile products): “Shares of Eastman Kodak Co (EK.N) soared 16 percent in premarket trading after a trade panel in the United States last week agreed to review a case that could lead to the struggling photography company receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.”

Windows Phone branding — like lipstick on the analogue photography pig — won’t change the reality. But anyway, the point worth making is that the worst thing Google could do at this stage is legitimise the very same system which threatens its Linux-based platform. Google is doing damaging things for perceived self benefit again (sucking up to the EPO), perhaps not realising that those patent translation it provides could be seen as unifying the system and serving towards the centralised court, whose power could elevate software patents all across Europe (it is a crucial matter and timing counts). What Google should ideally do is just snub the EPO and let it run dry, or realistically sink in its own multi-lingual mess. Instead, Google is helping an arcane system, trying to make PR out of it. Not good. Not evil, either.

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