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04.05.11

Links /4/2011: Mourning Mozilla Messaging, Celebrating Simple Java API for ODF

Posted in News Roundup at 6:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux’s Own ‘Canterbury’ Tale: Laughing, Wishing and Hoping
  • Server

    • Penguin Computing overclocks Opterons for Wall Street

      Linux server specialist Penguin Computing has jumped into the overclocked server fray with a new Altus server aimed at clock-hungry high frequency stock trading applications.

      At the HPC on Wall Street Conference in New York City this week, Penguin Computing is showing off its Altus 1750 server, which is built using Advanced Micro Devices’ “Lisbon” Opteron 4100 processors and its homegrown chipsets. The 1U rack-mounted server has three things that companies running high frequency trading systems want: density, low power consumption, and relatively high clock speeds.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Live video stream for 20th Anniversary of Linux

      This week sees the start of the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, which also includes the Android Builders Summit. Held from April 6 – 8 in San Francisco, this invitation-only summit is a gathering of core kernel developers and end users.

      The Linux Foundation suggests that Linux is growing well out of adolescence in the commercial world — and says that it will have ‘working group’ announcements that detail the formation of a new group to address more sophisticated enterprise requirements.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Hot-Replace Server For Wayland Is Proposed

        While proposals for this year’s Google Summer of Code is quickly coming to an end, there’s been a last minute proposal for the Wayland Display Server. This proposal is to work on a hot-replace server.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Browswers Part 2: Rekonq

        The Good
        -Appears to have “Download them All” built-in if you enable the KGet settings in the preferences
        -Integrates perfectly with KDE
        -When you start up a new tab and then click on “recently closed tabs” the list of tabs has thumbnails of the sites. I think this is great because it helps you quickly find the site you’re looking for.

      • of rockstars, unicorns and Isaac Newton

        A question that has bugged me for some time, is how we can bring our creations into the hands of more users”, and how we can show the world that a truely open and community developed system can bring great value to more people. How can we overcome the technical barriers that hold back so many people from benefitting from our hard work, all the genius, love and creativity we put into software. Since my first contact with Free software, Linux openSUSE and KDE, we have done some very solid work. We have technically caught up with Microsoft, and are delivering a product that is up to par in many aspects, and better in many more ways. While we have booked immense successes, we have not reached the goal of making the Linux desktop ubiquitous in the desktop market. In a world of iPhones and Android, we even see closed development models based on similar technology as ours being a big success, market-wise, but failing to deliver the full Freedom of a community-driven development model to end users.

      • Making KDEPIM less annoying
      • KDE Remote Desktop Sharing – Stand On the RFB Protocol!

        KDE Desktop Sharing is also known as the KRFB that is a service stand on the RFB protocol. It is permits the users to share their system with other system of the user.

        The process is also helping the users to show their desktop as an administrator to solve their problem. In this regard, the users can get full control to access their desktop. KDE Desktop Sharing is well-matched with all regular RFB and VNC the users.

      • Nice Things To Do With Nepomuk – Part One

        The other day I needed to find a website. The only thing I could remember was that Vishesh gave me the link in IRC a few days back. So I had to grep through thousands of lines of IRC log which, quite frankly, sucks. Nepomuk should handle this. So what do we have to do to achieve that?

      • Graesslin Has Compositing Dreams, But is it Yours?

        There are times when one might want to disable compositing. Graesslin’s example is in the case of saving battery life. Other’s might be when starting a 3D game or other heavy applications, watching movies, or with older or lower resource machines. For these examples, KWin’s usual method of unredirecting, or disabling composite on a per application basis while the actual effects engine is still running in the background, might be ineffective, counter-productive, or unsupported in a given application. While Alt+Shift+F12 can turn it off, most users don’t know of it or want the hassle of knowing when to use it. So, Graesslin thinks something else should be done.

      • digiKam Tricks 3.0 Released

        This is a major release of the digiKam Tricks book, featuring a completely revised and updated content that reflects changes in the upcoming version 2.0 of the digiKam photo management application.

      • Nice Things To Do With Nepomuk – Part Two

        Let us now take a look at the data we created. For this we will fire up NepSak aka. Nepomukshell and use a bit of SPARQL for testing and debugging purposes (remember: when implementing stuff try to keep to the query API instead of coding your own SPARQL queries).

      • Another one bytes the dust

        I’ve just pushed a change to kdepim 4.4 which removes this annoying dialog in a few annoying cases.

      • KDE, what next?

        14 years ago, the KDE community was born with a very bold vision: give to everybody a cool, attractive, easy to use desktop environment, now we are a worldwide community with hundreds of members, we provide a very strong foundation with the kdelibs framework, many apps, the Plasma Desktop workspace and the Plasma Netbook workspace.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Totem in GNOME 3.0, plans for 3.2

        Totem for GNOME 3 is available in the GNOME FTP servers. And now onto GNOME 3.2.

        There’s a couple of major UI changes planned for Totem 3.2, with designs from the GNOME Design team (and Hylke in particular). These include the removal of the status bar, better fullscreen controls, more contrast when playing movies, etc.

      • Cheese in The Board

        I spent a few spare hours during this week to finally implement webcam support on The Board‘s photo elements. I still need to polish the design a bit but it’s pretty nice already!

  • Distributions

    • Slackware 13.37: Linux for the fun of it

      In short, Slackware users are those who want to tinker with their system and don’t find it intimidating — or are willing to face intimidation to learn more about their systems. The users range from hobbyists to one who claims to manage more than 150 Slackware servers across the state. Which isn’t to suggest that Slackware is likely to be a big choice on behalf of business. The Slackware site lists a few companies that offer Slackware support but it doesn’t seem too many organizations are clamoring for it. I contacted Steuben Technologies and Adjuvo Consulting. William Schaub of Steuben Technologies says he’s received only one serious call for Slackware support and says “My guess is either there isn’t a lot of people running Slackware in production or (and this is more likely) that most people running Slackware on their servers have all the help in house that they need.”

      The Slackware community may be smaller than those of major Linux distributions, but it’s also largely free of politics and drama (Volkerding’s health scare excepted). The distribution is driven by Volkerding, but it’s not a one-man show. The changelog is full of acknowledgments from Volkerding to Robby Workman, Eric Hameleers, and many others.

      You could look at Slackware and say that it’s out of date, a throwback to the days when Linux was the domain of the “l33t” and little more than a hobbyist OS. Another way to look at it is that Slackware is for users who miss the simpler days of Linux and still want to tinker with their systems.

    • Red Hat Family

      • CentOS 5.6 release imminent

        Yes, we have heard it a few times before, but this time it is true. CentOS 5.6 is being seeded to mirrors and work has started to bring the Release Notes up to speed. Already 82 days after RHEL 5.6.

      • Fedora

        • Quick look at Fedora-inspired Fusion Linux 14 – Mini Review

          Round-up: Fusion Linux is slightly buggy, but a good choice for home users who want everything out of the box and do not want the hassle of adding extra repositories to get codecs and then install them. If Windows gaming on Linux is your thing, this distribution could work for you. If you’re not fussy about disk space and the mix of libraries thrown your way in Fusion, or you are already using Mint and are looking to move or just try out a Fedora base, this could also be interesting. And for advanced users, don’t forget, you can customize the kickstart file from the start as it is availabl

    • Debian Family

      • 120 Megabits/s

        That’s the current load on a Debian mirror in the Netherlands. There are hundreds of Debian mirrors. The last update for Squeeze, the latest release Debian GNU/Linux, was March 19 so much of this traffic will be new installations. Let’s estimate how many installations of Debian GNU/Linux are happening…

      • Debian wheezy: lots of fixes, new stuff
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • ShipIt comes to an end

          That’s not to say there won’t be CDs. We are going to make large numbers of CDs available to the Ubuntu Local Communities (LoCos) through a shipIt-lite program. We are asking the LoCos, who are much better placed than Canonical in many ways, to find creative ways to get CDs to those that need them. And of course, every single person reading this who has a CD is a potential distributor – it is after all free to copy, modify and redistribute. We will also continue to make the packs available through the store which are sold more or less at cost price (plus shipping).

        • Ubuntu 11.04: i686 vs. i686 PAE vs. x86_64

          At the end of 2009 I published benchmarks comparing Ubuntu’s 32-bit, 32-bit PAE, and 64-bit Linux kernels. Those tests were carried out to show the performance impact of using 32-bit with PAE (Physical Address Extension) support, which on the plus side allows up to 64GB of system memory to be addressable from 32-bit machines, but is still significantly slower than a 64-bit kernel and user-space. In this article the tests have been carried out on modern hardware and with the latest Ubuntu 11.04 packages to see how the three kernel variants are performing in 2011.

        • Narwhal: Not Really Classic Yet

          Then we have the file menus, they’re not in the windows like they were in Classic Ubuntu. They’re somewhere else. This is a major headache and retooling for something that’s supposed to be following the style of the classic desktop.

        • Is Ubuntu 11.04 Beta the Beginning of the End?

          Canonical recently announced the release of Ubuntu 11.04 Beta into the wild, and it has some wondering about the future of the free operating system.

          Ubuntu has experienced a very good run. Since it emerged in 2004 as a derivative of the popular Debian GNU/Linux operating system, Ubuntu has made consistent strides to be unique and more than just another Linux distribution. Not only has its popularity as the most widely-used Linux flavor soared, its brand recognition has broken into mainstream tech media and helped develop a more user-friendly image for the free and open source operating system.

        • Video Demonstraton of a Few Things I Like in Unity
        • Ubuntu Natty Beta 1 Review + Screenshots Tour

          The appindicators, global menu, the compiz effects and the Ubuntu Software Center have definitely make Ubuntu Natty a much better version than its predecessor. However, when it comes to the Unity interface, it is really a hate or love affair. Even though I appreciate the work put in by Canonical, but until it becomes more customizable and doesn’t break my productivity flow, I still prefer the Ubuntu Classic interface.

        • Verdict Is?: Ubuntu 11.04 beta arrives

          My first impression with the 11.04 desktop was surprisingly positive. I was very much prepared to be underwhelmed, but found quite the opposite to be the case. The Unity desktop ran smooth and was very efficient. After playing with the desktop for a while it becomes quite clear the ultimate goal is that of touch screens. But even being touch-screen-centric, the desktop still works well under the current norm of mouse and keyboard.

        • The new Ubuntu Desktop: Unity

          When Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu announced that the next version of the popular Linux, Ubuntu 11.04, would use Unity, instead of GNOME as its default desktop interface he shocked the Linux desktop community. Now, with the release of the Ubuntu 11.04 beta, we can get a real look at Unity.

          Before going into that though, let me answer the question of why Ubuntu has decided to move from pure GNOME to the GNOME-based Unity. As Shuttleworth explained to the Ubuntu developers, “Lots of people are already committed to Unity–the community, desktop users, developers, and platform and hardware vendors.” In particular, he noted, “Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) favor Unity. They’re happy to ship it.”

        • Natty In The Final Stretch: A Retrospective

          This is a personal post and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of my employer, Canonical.

        • Why being an approved loco team doesn’t actually matter a jot

          I am a firm believer being a LoCo is just as much about being friends with your team mates as installing Ubuntu on numerous machines or explaining what OSS/FOSS is all about. At the end of the day we are a community and sometimes that means doing casual non Ubuntu events, these can be added to the LoCo Directory (LD) also. Not every event has to always be about Ubuntu.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Two Linux-based NAS devices reach market

      Qnap Systems announced a four-drive, rackmountable network attached storage (NAS) “TS-412U” server supporting up to 12TB and aimed at the SMB and workgroup markets. In other Linux-based NAS news, Buffalo Systems started shipping its home-focused Pogoplug-based Cloudstor NAS device, which offers free cloud based-storage in addition to up to 2TB local capacity.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google cracks down on Android ‘fragmentation’

          Google has told mobile manufacturers and providers they will have to go through its head honcho to make any changes to the Android mobile operating system.

          The Silicon Valley giant has laid down the law to prevent Android becoming more fragmented. Any changes will now have to be approved by the company’s head of mobile, Andy Rubin, according to a report in Business Week.

        • Rooting a Nook Color: Is it Worth It?

          The Color Nook is a nice little piece of hardware for the price. The screen is crisp and clear, and it’s a great size for carrying around for reading books and light Web browsing. But you can do all that right out of the box — what about when you’ve rooted the Nook?

          I decided to go the “Auto Nooter” option to root the Nook so I could install third-party applications, rather than installing a different Android release. The procedure to root the Nook is simple enough. It looks much more complicated on paper (so to speak) than it actually is. So if you’re finding the long list of steps intimidating, don’t worry — it’s a piece of cake. You can root your Nook in about 20 minutes, as long as you have a MicroSD card big enough handy.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Linux OS Hercules eCafe Netbook Does 13 Hours Per Charge

        The Hercules brand isn’t exactly a household name, but it is better known for the line of speakers than “real” computer equipment. Even so, they’re already onto the next generation of computing with two new eCAFE netbooks.

        The EX HD eCAFE netbook is the one that boasts a “real world” battery life of “at least” 13 hours. That should be more than enough to keep you Skyping and Twittering all day long. The Slim HD eCAFE netbook, on the other hand, has a claim to fame with its less than one-inch profile.

    • Tablets

      • Who will win the Tablet OS war?

        The question I have been asking myself over the past month is a very simple one, and one which I would guess is being asked by many of the companies making the growing range of of tablet PC devices and the operating systems that drive them: which factors will decide which companies come out on top in the long run and can we learn anything from the history of the PC?

        In the PC world it was the relentless pursuit of global domination by Microsoft that ensured that Windows ended up as the de-facto desktop operating system for almost the entire globe. There were a couple of other factors in play and of those, the ability of Windows to run on hardware built by multiple manufacturers was probably the most important of the lot.

Free Software/Open Source

  • NASDAQ in open source tech battle with £7bn NYSE bid

    NASDAQ has placed its Linux-based IT systems at the front of an $11.3 billion (£7 billion) effort to thwart a merger between the New York Stock Exchange and Deutsche Borse.

    The high-tech stock market is teaming up with InterContinentalExchange in an attempt to acquire NYSE Euronext from under the nose of Deutsche Borse, which only last month announced it was the approved bidder for the exchange.

  • Open source FusionDirectory forked from GOsa project

    The GOsa open source infrastructure management project has been forked with version 1.0 of FusionDirectory being released today.

    In February some GOsa developers decided to fork the project in order to provide better documentation; develop “the most powerful and universal” tool for IT management; and provide “more flexibility for development tools”.

  • Freedom through a clear governance model

    A while back, Mark Webb of the Met Office Hadley Centre for climate change described in a guest post, how his Cloud model project COSP introduced a governance model, based on one of our templates. This was a result of few informal chats over beers and his exploration of OSS Watch public resources. Mark also described some of the immediate benefits they experienced.

  • Decision criteria for open source and proprietary software

    The selection of operating systems was once one of the major decisions IT managers had to face when considering their options for service delivery, be it for servers or desktops. Until a decade or so ago, such choices were limited to choosing one from a range of proprietary operating systems supplied by vendors. But the past 10 years have witnessed a new option take hold in the form of open source operating systems. What drives the selection process when choosing between open source software and operating systems supplied by a vendor?

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Dissolves Messaging Unit

        Back in 2008, Mozilla announced the formation of Mozilla Messaging.

        It was supposed to be an effort that was going to propel Mozilla’s Thunderbird email client to the same level of adoption and interest as Firefox.

        It failed.

        Three years later, Thunderbird and Mozilla Messaging have not lived up to the initial hope of Mozilla Messaging. I don’t think that Mozilla Messaging ever achieved the market adoption they hoped for and I don’t think they ever figured out a revenue model either.

      • How To Use Firefox 4′s “Awesome Bar” To Make Search Faster

        Getting used to your new Firefox 4 web browser? If so, you might have seen some improvements in the Location Bar.

        The updated features make browsing the web a cinch, so it’s no wonder why more and more Internet junkies are calling it the Awesome Bar.

      • Firefox 4 Tips and Tricks
  • SaaS

    • How Many Open Source Projects Does It Take To Build A Cloud?

      For Linux vendor Red Hat (NYSE:RHT), the cloud isn’t about any one particular project, it’s about a combination of multiple open source projects.

      At the core of Red Hat’s cloud strategy is its Cloud Foundations effort which extends Red Hat’s infrastructure offerings for the cloud.

      “Cloud Foundations was named that for a reason,” Scott Crenshaw, VP and GM of the Cloud Business Unit at Red Hat told InternetNews.com. “The evolution to improving IT infrastructure is a continuous process and you’re never really done.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice/Symphony

    • Legacy should never be a burden

      While it’s clear we were and are the continuation of the OpenOffice project judging both by the numbers of contributors who have switched from OpenOffice.org to LibreOffice and by our manifesto itself, we also gained quite a few brand new people. I have the feeling that at least for some of them, they do not identify well with the notion that we are continuing some other project but would rather think of LibreOffice as something brand new (irrelevant of any technological arguments).

    • Using the Symphony office suite

      Discover a program similar to Microsoft Office, which you can download for free and includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools

  • Education

    • I’m loving open source in schools

      It’s spring and I have fallen back in love with Open Source Software…

      I know, I know, I have been on and off this bike more times than I care to remember. My associates have warned me saying that’s it’s just another tease and I should stick with sensible software… but this time I am sure it’s the real thing.

      We met many years ago but somehow things just kept fizzling out; was it the odd pet names we used?… like Moodle, Gimp and Puppy, I don’t know, but I at least I never caught anything nasty apart from a brush with the karambas and some painful widgets.

  • Business

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Free Call – the freedom to call out when you really need to

      Making phone calls for free is one of the things made possible by the Internet that is more useful to all people, regardless of how much they like or dislike computers. Computer-based free phone calls make possible to stay in contact with relatives living thousands of kilometers away or to set up phone conferences without any special telephone equipment or contract.

      Regardless of costs and of which software is used, computer based telephony seems also great for hearing impaired people. As software phone user said: “for the first time in years, I’m actually enjoying talking to others using a (computer) phone.

  • Government

    • Government Procurement: Great Expectations for FOSS

      This year has seen an increasing focus on the use by free and open source software (“FOSS”) by governments with recent announcements by the UK, the Australian Federal Government and NASA. FOSS projects and companies need to be aware of these efforts because of the scope of the opportunity to transform government and provide less expensive software infrastructure to government. Governments are also a very large market for software. Yet governments continue to be hampered by their habits of using proprietary software as demonstrated by the recent decision by an administrative court in Lille, France. http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.com/blog/?p=584 .

  • Licensing

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • The Geek&Poke Tip For A Good Marriage
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Nuns ask Goldman Sachs bosses whether they’re really worth $69.5m

      Goldman Sachs is facing a call from four leading orders of catholic nuns to review whether the pay awarded to chief executive Lloyd Blankfein and other top executives is excessive.

    • Duration of Unemployment, Unemployment by Education, Employment Diffusion Indexes

      Unfortunately the “27 weeks or more” category increased slightly in March to 6.122 million workers (about 4% of the labor force). This remains extremely high, and long term unemployment remains a serious problem.

    • Gauging the Pain of the Middle Class

      LIKE everyone else, government officials want to look good. That often leads them to enact policies that promote favorable movements in the indexes by which they are judged. But when those indexes are imperfect, bad choices often result. And that’s nowhere more evident than in economic policy.

    • The Bank Run We Knew So Little About

      That Aug. 20, Commerzbank of Germany borrowed $350 million at the Fed’s discount window. Two days later, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and the Wachovia Corporation each received $500 million. As collateral for all these loans, the banks put up a total of $213 billion in asset-backed securities, commercial loans and residential mortgages, including second liens.

    • Obama: Shift from imported oil, new jobs will come

      President Barack Obama says shifting the U.S. away from imported oil and toward cleaner forms of energy will add momentum to a trend that has led to 1.8 million new jobs in the past 13 months.

    • Follow the Money: From MERS to Fraudclosure

      Understand this precisely: This was not a case of slipshod handling, of sloppy paperwork, or bad management. This was a willful decision to break the law in order to save expenses and be more profitable.

    • Judge: Bad Securitization = No Standing to Foreclose

      In other words, if you screw up the process of securitizing mortgages by failing to assign the loan note (and/or physically keep track of it), you lose the right to subsequently foreclose in the event of a default.

    • Blankfein Reaps $19 Million as Cash Bonuses Return at Goldman
    • Giving Paul Ryan credit

      In general, seniors vote Republicans and poor people don’t. So the easy play for Paul Ryan was clear: limit the entitlement-reform portion of his budget to slashing Medicaid. Then he could say he was taking a first step on entitlements without enraging the GOP’s core supporters.

      He didn’t do that. Ryan — and the GOP — are proposing to privatize Medicare. They’re proposing to save money by giving seniors less than their now-private Medicare will cost. They’re endorsing a plan that is the single least popular option for balancing the budget — below raising the retirement age, cutting defense spending or raising taxes on the rich.

    • It’s Time for Representative Ryan to Man Up

      Outside of Washington, people have a different conception of bravery. After all, over the last three decades the policies crafted in Washington have led to the most massive upward redistribution in the history of the world. The richest 1 percent of the population has seen is share of national income increase by close to 10 percentage points. This comes to $1.5 trillion a year, or as Representative Ryan might say, $90 trillion over the next 75 years. That’s almost $300,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

    • Citi to start clearing smaller checks first

      Citibank will soon start clearing customer checks in a way that minimizes the potential for multiple overdraft charges.

      In an internal memo sent Monday, the bank said it will process checks starting with the smallest amounts first as of July 25. Most large banks process larger checks first, a practice consumer advocates say increases the potential for multiple overdraft violations on checking accounts.

      Customers are being notified of the change in statements this week.

  • Privacy

    • Data retention rejected by Czechs

      Data retention has been rejected as unconstitutional in the Czech republic. The EU Directive, pushed forward by the UK, creates an obligation to store everyone’s traffic data, such as who you email or call on your phone, for possible use in criminal investigations.

    • Freedom Bill: Protecting our privacy?

      The Protection of Freedom Bill introduces a number of measures to help protect our fundamental right to privacy, particularly creating new Commissioners to deal with biometrics and CCTV, but did not seek to address many of the long-standing complaints about current protections.

    • Lohan threatens to sue over surveillance tape

      Just imagine you’re a celebrity and any retail store you walk into might sell security camera footage of your beautiful mug? Doesn’t sound too appealing, does it?

      Well, that pretty much sums up the feelings of one Lindsay Lohan, who is mulling a lawsuit against Kamofie & Co. after surveillance footage of her allegedly absconding with a necklace has been released into the wild.

  • Civil Rights

    • US IP Czar Proposes Limits on Civil Rights and Liberties to Protect Big Content

      The White House’s IP czar Victoria Espinel is calling on Congress to further expand and toughen U.S. intellectual property law, which is already among the most sweeping and strictest in the world. Copyright regulation has grown into a massive and complicated bureaucratic system, which has lost sight of it purpose and limits. The capture of this Administration and key members of Congress by the powerful special interests called Big Content continues to grow as demonstrated by this report, which fails to address the need for a balanced reform approach.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

  • DRM

    • Halifax libraries won’t pay rising e-book costs

      The manager of acquisitions for Halifax Public Libraries says she is not buying new e-book licenses from HarperCollins after the publisher increased the price of digital editions.

      HarperCollins used to offer unlimited lending on each e-book license but since the beginning of March the company has changed the policy. It now requires libraries to repurchase licenses after a limited number of uses.

    • Anonymous hacks Sony PS3 sites

      Several Sony PlayStation sites are unavailable this morning thanks to what looks like a distributed denial of service attack launched by Anonymous.

      The hacktivists have left the Scientologists alone in order to harass the console-makers because of Sony’s action against two lads for jailbreaking PS3s.

      [...]

      In a strangely self-important and sanctimonious message, the hackers said:

      Congratulations, Sony.

      You have now received the undivided attention of Anonymous. Your recent legal action against our fellow hackers, GeoHot and Graf_Chokolo, has not alarmed us, it has been deemed wholly unforgivable….

      Now you will experience the wrath of Anonymous.

      You saw a hornets’ nest, and stuck your penises in it.

      You must face the consequences of your actions.

      Anonymous style.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Wars – Starving The Enemy

        Which is why artist after artist is abandoning the Record Labels and the Publishers to go it alone. It’s sad to see these companies in trouble. But it was inevitable.

        And this has those companies terrified. This is why they are screaming for Bill C-32 to be passed in Canada. It’s the companies that want it, not the artists. My guess is that they hope to use it as a springboard for further legislation, which would halt or slow the migration of the artists towards the better option.

      • ‘My Works Are Like My Children’
      • US Copyright Group Drops Cases Against Alleged Hurt Locker Pirates

        Thousands of accused BitTorrent downloaders – including those of The Hurt Locker – can breathe a sigh of relief as their cases have been dropped. In what can be described as a major victory for those targeted, the complicated nature of these mass-lawsuits has forced the copyright holders to dump nearly all the defendants and rethink their strategy. Slowly, it appears that the US Copyright Group’s campaign to turn piracy into profit is crumbling.

      • Music Industry Destroys Another Powerful Free Download Tool

        If you know how, it is possible within just a few mouse clicks to have free access to one of the world’s largest resources of free music. Millions of tracks are available for free streaming but, with a few tweaks and the right software, they can be easily downloaded. The industry, seemingly powerless to do anything about the powerful source of the music, prefers to destroy the toolmakers – by fair means or foul.

      • Author Of Ridiculous ‘Piracy’ Report Defends Conclusions, Ignores Questions About Methodology

        But all of this ignores the main point: that the basic methodology he used for any of those calculations wasn’t sound. People aren’t complaining about the results. They’re complaining about the methodology itself. And he doesn’t seem to get that at all because he doesn’t defend it at all.

Clip of the Day

Einstein vs Stephen Hawking -Epic Rap Battles of History #7


Credit: TinyOgg

Microsoft’s Refined Plan of Using Novell to Attack Competitors

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 4:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The Linux-hostile strategy at Microsoft evolves to get around regulators and further the patent agenda; Novell’s acquisition delayed until exactly one week from now

Microsoft remains a top patent threat simply because it is doing anything which deserves this label. It is not a scapegoat. Linux foes like Microsoft Florian seem to be part of the PR campaign which paints Google — not Microsoft — as the patent problem. Here is one recent rebuttal to Florian’s latest lies and distortions:

I’ve been sitting back watching the newest Florian Müller psycho babble play out. It always plays to the same formula. Florian Müller raises the alarm. The people who actually know what they are talking about explain why Florian is wrong. Again.

Let’s face it. Either Florian isn’t all that bright, or someone is paying him to make his statements. No one could be this consistently, stupidly, wrong. It’s just not possible. People learn. Learning is the basis of human existence.

[...]

The next day, Florian Müller starts off a blog post with the sentence Intellectual property issues continue to cloud Google’s mobile operating system. Do you see a pattern here folks?

[...]

He’s not a programmer. He’s not a lawyer. Just how does he have the skills to reach a conclusion? Is he even thinking?

In light of news like this (which we mentioned earlier) the inflammatory FUD machine of Florian is once again trying to incite people against Google, which has no history of patent aggression. The article says:

Hopeful of dissuading further patent lawsuits against its Android partners, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) went public Monday with its intention to bid on a patent library held by bankrupt telecom company Nortel and said it had been selected to open the bidding with a $900 million offer.

Tell the FUD machine that Google is at least not using patents offensively, at least so far. Microsoft Nick (the Microsoft booster Nicholas Kolakowski) joins the voices which predict trouble for Android (and therefore interest in Vista Phony 7, which is ridiculous). Microsoft’s partners at Ziff Davis [1, 2, 3] even put this stuff from Microsoft Nick in a Linux site while the scrupulous Sys-Con [1, 2, 3, 4] still makes room for SCO defender Maureen O’Gara [1, 2] (also a Microsoft booster/story ‘planter’ , who is still pushing the same agenda as she is boosting SCO, too). They are are eager to see Novell’s patents coming to Microsoft’s own extortions portfolio. There is reportedly some Microsoft-AttachMSFT interaction around patents and Microsoft booster Gavin Clark has this to say:

The Microsoft-led consortium of tech companies trying to hoover up nearly 1,000 of Novell’s patents is back in business.

CPTN Holdings re-registered with German authorities on Wednesday, according to the website of the German Federal Cartel Office. Plans to create CPTN as a German entity were withdrawn in December 2010.

CPTN is buying 882 of Novell’s patents in a deal with soon-to-be Novell-owner Attachmate. Apple, EMC, and Oracle are also members of CPTN, but it’s helmed by Redmond.

Everyone which we found covering this has some special relationship with Microsoft. That includes Microsoft Florian, who got access to inside information whose publication was beneficial to Microsoft. On a public level, Novell has this to say about CPTN (from its SEC filing):

The merger contemplated by the merger agreement remains subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain closing conditions, including the closing of the sale of certain identified issued patents and patent applications to CPTN Holdings LLC (“CPTN”) pursuant to a Patent Purchase Agreement, dated as of November 21, 2010. Under the Patent Purchase Agreement, one of the conditions to closing of the patent sale to CPTN remains the expiration of applicable waiting periods under the competition laws in Germany and the United States.

With respect to Germany, on December 30, 2010, the CPTN consortium had voluntarily withdrawn its filed notification in order to provide the Federal Cartel Office (the “FCO”) with more time to review the proposed patent sale. On March 23, 2011, the CPTN consortium, following discussions with the FCO, re-filed the notification. The re-filing starts a new one month review period under the German Act against Restraints of Competition in the version of 15 July 2005, as amended, during which the FCO could clear the transaction at any time.

In the United States, the Company previously reported that, on March 4, 2011, each of the Company and CPTN certified as to its substantial compliance with the second request for information from the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) and that each of the Company and CPTN has agreed to provide the DOJ with additional time to review the patent sale and not to close the patent sale prior to April 12, 2011.

The Company remains committed to working with the DOJ and FCO as they conduct their respective reviews of the patent sale. The patent sale remains subject to the satisfaction or waiver of other closing conditions as set forth in the Patent Purchase Agreement.

This may soon be addressed according to other reports, e.g. [1, 2] from the news, including one report from the 11th of March (following an earlier report) that says: “Novell said yesterday the Department of Justice needs more time to investigate its sale of Linux patents to Microsoft.”

Maureen O’Gara and others name April 12th as the day to look forward to (or not to look forward to). The Microsoft camp would love to see Microsoft putting its hands on those thousand patents (or almost a thousand patents) for the purpose of patent manipulation. Novell has patents which relate to UNIX. Since Microsoft mostly sues companies which use Linux these days, what does that say about Novell’s decision to give Microsoft patents?

Ron Hovsepian begs Ballmer

Bill Gates is Lobbying in Europe, Microsoft Lobbying Group Wants Software Patents in New Zealand

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, Law at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s lobbyists roam the world, still looking for new legal mechanisms that promote monopolies, by design

Microsoft’s #1 lobbyist (Gates) is lobbying in Europe again, according to a leading FFII figure. As we explained before, he does not seek to accomplish only what he — along with his million-dollar-per-day PR operation — claims to be doing.

In Europe, like in New Zealand, there is a major public debate right now about software patents (in both places the “embedded” trick gets used) and we all know Mr. Gates’ views on the subject; he promotes the interests of large pharmaceutical monopolies (whom he invests in and takes as top tier staff), amongst other entities which depend on patents for dominance through obscenely and unnaturally high prices.

Over in New Zealand, a Microsoft-backed lobbying group brought back the debate about software patents, so the ever-insightful Anthony Doesburg relies on Jeffrey Matsuura who according to Doesburg states that politicians who are inclined to pass another law each time new technology tests existing legislation should resist the temptation. To quote with more context:

Politicians who are inclined to pass another law each time new technology tests existing legislation should resist the temptation.

That’s the view of Jeffrey Matsuura, an American lawyer with decades of experience of technology-related issues who is studying New Zealand’s legislative response to technological change.

Once he is familiar with our methods, he’ll compare us with the United States, Canada and other countries and try to draw up a manual of best practice.

So far, from his temporary vantage point in the University of Otago’s Centre for Law and Policy in Emerging Technologies, he approves of what he sees.

“I believe New Zealand has been willing to be a little more careful about enacting laws and regulations aimed specifically at new technologies or applications. I think that’s a better way to err.

There was never a reason to introduce even the proposition of software patents in New Zealand, but when lobbyists from Microsoft throw their weight around looking to become richer and more powerful, it’s clear that the law is always subjected to distortion by a few, for benefit of the few. Gates, for example, loves monopolies. Back in 2008 (at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle) Bill Gates defended the pharmaceutical cartel (patents-dependent) and then started attacking the GNU General Public License (GPL). “I think if you invent drugs, you should be able to charge for them,” he said in defence of patents abusers (implying that GPL is against making money and that patent abusers deserve to be defended). Is this the type of minds they allow into Strassbourg? The bully which even Gates' friend warns about? The man who broke the law repeatedly?

Lobbying should be prevented; failing prevention, vigilance is essential.

Microsoft’s GUI Suicide

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paper clip

Summary: Innovator of Clippy and Talking Dog shatters the “familiarity” myth to pieces

IN last night's show we talked about Vista 8 — the imaginary operating system which has fake ‘leaks’ promoting its existence. The main ‘feature’ about it, as marketed by Microsoft, is that it has radical UI changes. This is counter-productive to Microsoft’s monoculture as it creates a sort of ‘fragmentation’ among users of different versions of Windows. As Mr. Pogson outs it, Windows “Becomes More Like the Bazaar”:

This shows that the world of that other OS is becoming more like GNU/Linux and FLOSS in that suppliers sometimes produce a product that users don’t love like doing away with desktops, icons or whatever in the interests of “efficiency”. Re-learning a UI for the sake of change is not efficient for users and there are many thousands of users for every developer. That’s a lot of inefficiency. It does provoke making real choices by customers and that’s good. The monopoly continues to weaken.

Back in the days, Microsoft tried to absorb users of mobile phones by mimicking its Windows desktop environment and putting that on phones This is no longer the case, so familiarity with Windows no longer counts as a strength of Vista Phony 7 and Radu Georgescu, the CEO of GECAD (big Romanian IT group according to a reader), is openly blasting Vista Phony 7 right now. From the automated translation:

How do well to human cheek, I said not to use only the iPhone and Android, but to give him a chance and MS. Conclusion: Never ever. Not even once.

We had a lot more to say on the subject in last night's show. Microsoft may be better off just giving up on Vista Phony 7. What’s the future of Microsoft then? Licensing “ribbon” patents?

More Bogus Benchmarks From Microsoft

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 2:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lie: MS SQL Oracle fake compare

Summary: Microsoft is up to no good again, this time with Internet Explorer 9 ‘benchmarks’

THE previous post contained an example of Microsoft’s fake GNU/Linux benchmarks — a subject we wrote a lot about over the years. Microsoft nearly got sued for it and benchmark fraud also surrounded Internet Explorer 9. Microsoft just doesn’t know how to make the case that Internet Explorer 9 performs better than the rivals (which it does not). According to this, Microsoft’s “lab tests” (or labs Microsoft pays to generate some lies) are being “used as advertising”. To quote:

Instead of producing less bloatware to run on PCs or using software that runs on ARM, they orchestrated a test of the effect of several browsers on power consumption. When I look at the report it is obvious they did not monitor power consumption with real users using the systems in real scenarios but several specific benchmarks of peak power consumption in specific situation. In the real world browsers idle…

Here I am with 15 tabs open in Chrome:
load average: 0.00, 0.05, 0.07
Cpu(s):5.6%
and lots more going on.

So, the lab tests are irrelevant for real world situations. They might be relevant for video but not for reading and looking at pictures or typing.

Tests can be constructed to show just about anything, selling the false claim of one thing being “better” than another. Microsoft has done this many times, so it is the boy who cried “Wolf” really. In other news about Internet Explorer 9, it has a privacy hole. To quote The Register: “A hole has been spotted in Internet Explorer 9′s do-not-track technology, and Microsoft says it’s a feature not a bug.

“In response to a US government call for greater protection of consumers’ privacy online, Microsoft added a Tracking Protection Lists (TPLs) feature to IE9. Netizens can use one or more lists to prevent certain ad networks and websites from tracking their behavior online. But when an IE9 user downloads multiple TPLs and a site’s blocked on one list but allowed on another, IE9 will allow the site, letting it to track the user’s activities.”

So here we are in 2011 and Microsoft still pretends privacy does not matter. Is anybody surprised by this given that Microsoft promotes surveillance?

When All Else Fails, They Use Patents Against Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 2:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mallet

Summary: Microsoft increases level of aggression, Google responds (although hypocritically), and Intellectual Monopoly (IP) gets called “The Biggest Legal Danger for Open Source”

Microsoft’s gradual decline into the world’s largest patent troll has been a long time in the making. Patent extortion is just the latest development in Microsoft’s bullying behaviour. Before patents, it was biased studies (e.g. Windows Server vs Linux). This was coupled with vague illegality accusations against GNU/Linux, such as on the grounds of “copyright infringement”. Microsoft used proxies for these attacks back then too, be it SCO or “experts” that try to make baseless accusations about the relationship between MINIX and Linux (all of which were denounced by the author of MINIX). Of course, if Microsoft had been a forward-thinking company, the resort to dirty tactics may never had happened. Microsoft had an early start to compete (or even collaborate) with Free software on merits and value alone. Instead they blew the time away because they did not take Linux seriously and they couldn’t see above the enticement of profit and to be the monopoly in the market. Glyn Moody has posted a fantastic piece which nicely chronicles Microsoft’s negative transformation into a FUD-spewing machine:

Things probably began to change with the infamous 1999 Mindcraft benchmarks, which Microsoft paid for. They seemed to show that Windows NT was faster than GNU/Linux as both a file and web server, although the fact that the tests were conducted in Microsoft’s labs naturally caused people in the free software world to cry foul. In the end, the tests were re-run under fairer conditions, and they did indeed show that Microsoft’s product was faster.

That was soon fixed – by running these tests and exposing weaknesses in the free software that was used, Microsoft had effectively submitted a rather important bug report. But the more interesting aspect was the fact that Microsoft had paid for the tests at all: you don’t go to all the expense of proving you are better than someone unless you perceive them to be a threat. By publishing the results of the Mindcraft tests, Microsoft had effectively admitted officially that free software was a competitor – a big shift from its previous position.

Thereafter, Microsoft began exploring ways of undermining this increasingly worrisome upstart with a variety of FUD. Indeed, it went through so many different stories about why free software was bound to fail/couldn’t be trusted/was no good that five years ago I felt compelled to write a “Brief History of Microsoft FUD” in an attempt to keep track.

Microsoft’s approach included the “It’s not very nice” insults – Ballmer’s infamous “communism/cancer” comparisons; the “It’s not very cheap” TCO studies; and culminated in the “It’s not legal” argument. Actually, there were two phases to the latter. “It’s not legal 1.0” was essentially SCO – and we all know how that fizzled out.

[...]

Judging by recent events, it’s seems the dinosaurs are back with a vengeance. Here’s Exhibit A, courtesy of Horacio Gutierrez, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel:

As you may have seen, Microsoft today filed legal actions against Barnes & Noble, Inc., Foxconn International Holdings Ltd., and Inventec Corporation in both the U.S. International Trade Commission and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Today’s actions focus on the patent infringement by the Nook e-reader and the Nook Color tablet, both of which run the Android operating system.

He then goes on to make two interesting comments:

Together with the patents already asserted in the course of our litigation against Motorola, today’s actions bring to 25 the total number of Microsoft patents in litigation for infringement by Android smartphones, tablets and other devices. Microsoft is not a company that pursues litigation lightly. In fact, this is only our seventh proactive patent infringement suit in our 36-year history. But we simply cannot ignore infringement of this scope and scale.

So, by Gutierrez’s own words, Microsoft does not pursue litigation “lightly”, and yet it has chosen to attack a number of companies that have in common only the fact that they are making and selling products running Android. Clearly there is something bigger going on here.

So Microsoft is seriously suing companies for allegedly infringing its patents on *selecting text* and a superimposed download bar? Give me a break; these have to be some of the most trivial patents that Microsoft has applied for, and to the USPTO’s shame, been granted.

[...]

These are no great Einsteinian insights into the underlying fabric of space-time – or industrial applications therof; they are things that you or I would *instinctively* think of. No patent incentive was needed to bring these forth. The fact that Microsoft has been forced to use such risible patents shows that it simply wants to “persuade” companies through the potential inconvenience of a long, expensive trial, just enough to make paying some royalties slightly more attractive. This is intellectual monopoly bullying at its worst.

[...]

This latest trend to devise and deploy legal strategies against open source seems to me to represent an admission on Microsoft’s part that it can no longer compete on technology. Instead, the dinosaurs have decided that it’s time to play really dirty – and nothing is dirtier than enforcing bad monopolies using worse laws.

Dr. Moody rightly alleges that Microsoft’s supply of ideas has run dry; consequently, the has-been corporation is using vague patent attacks instead. Groklaw made this same argument some days ago, also in relation to the "antitrust" whining against Google. Whether it is on the grounds of patent, copyright, or antitrust violations, Microsoft’s first attacks on Google/Linux have been consistently via proxies. Only after failing the proxy strategy will Microsoft itself enter the scene and perform the same tactics directly. This crooked methods should provide more than enough incentive for Google to take a clear and firm stance for software patent abolishment.

Unfortunately, it seems that Google suffers the same conflicting dual-nature as Red Hat does (cite: red hat article). Earlier today, we wrote about Google's decision to help organise and translate patents. Now, according to this new item from Slashdot, “Google Reaffirms Stance Against Software Patents”. It states that “Google has again publicly affirmed its stance against software patents during an announcement over a potential defensive acquisition. These days, when Microsoft, Apple, and others are abusing software patents, it’s nice to see one large company calling them junk.”

Here is what the Official Google Blog has to say on this issue:

It’s for these reasons that Google has long argued in favor of real patent reform, which we believe will benefit users and the U.S. economy as a whole.

[...]

But as things stand today, one of a company’s best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services. Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories.

There was quick and early reaction to Google’s hypocrisy:

#sadness is… a world where those (who claim to be) against software patents acquire more of them

Google seems to acknowledge the conflict of interests created by its illogical position but do nothing to address it. Instead, they make refuse to make the necessary short-term progressive decisions that would drive change for the better. They excuse this unwillingness to change by alluding that change will happen in the long-term. This is the same two-dimensional thinking that creating the dying, hulking bully that Microsoft is today.

We have written about this subject numerous times before [1, 2, 3] and have compared Google’s approach to that of the aforementioned Red Hat. Companies like these are still treating ideas like physical property and/or assets that can be passed around like shares, increasing the barriers around competition along the way.

Perhaps it is just the patent lawyers who are pushing this backwards strategy on to the corporate cultures of these respective companies; it is difficult to know for sure. What we do know, however, is that while Google claims to be against software patents it is also trying to buy about 6,000. It seems that Google takes a page from the Stephen Harper book of blatant contradictions. From the news:

Internet giant Google has revealed that in a bid to steer clear of the explosion in patent litigation lately, it has made a “stalking horse” bid for Nortel’s patent portfolio in the company’s bankruptcy auction.

The internet giant is believed to be bidding US$900m for some 6,000 valuable patents.

What’s sad is that Google’s purchase is nearly as bad as what Microsoft is doing with CPTN and Novell patents (cite) and other patent-hoarding operations. Microsoft’s tactics however happen to predatory target Linux, and really all Free software in general. A real “Linux company”, which is what Google or Red Hat position themselves to be, should campaign strongly to abolish the software patents they vilify and claim to be antithetical to.

On a similar subject, Brian Proffitt is currently criticizing another type of thought monopoly, calling it potentially “The Biggest Legal Danger for Open Source”. To quote his piece:

“FUD is the obvious intention of those who have instigated the various legal troubles on open source practitioners. Fear specifically: ramp it up to intimidation, and you’ve got a potential licensing revenue channel on your hands.

“Such troubles, from the scores of software patents that are used to “protect” intellectual property, are obvious.

“But no less troublesome, I believe, is the issue of copyright and copyright assignments.

“Lately, commercial vendors in open source space have caught flak for the nature of the copyright assignments used when developers contribute code to a project the vendor manages.

“Copyright assignments basically work like this: I, a hypothetical developer, create some semi-brilliant code and want to contribute it to Project X, which is overseen and used by Company X. Company X, recognizing the semi-brilliance of my code, wants to use it in their latest distribution, so they ask me to sign away the copyrights of my code over to them. This is so that when they release my code as part of the greater whole distribution, they can have full legal control over the code–even though they will still work with me and give me credit.

“Under most circumstances, this seems rather fair. After all, I want my code to be in Distro X, and it makes sense that Company X doesn’t want the nightmare of working with a bazillion different copyrights.

“But sometimes copyright assignment can be confusingly Machievllian, even in open source land.”

Bear this in mind when talking about Canonical and SCO (which is a former contributor to Linux). There is no basis for comparison though, because Proffitt’s concern assumes ill-intentions or even malice from within the developers’ base of GNU/Linux. That is why at Techrights we consider patents — not copyright assignment — to be “The Biggest Legal Danger for Open Source”. Whereas copyright is about exact implementation and distribution of copies, patents are a lot more vague and they can be granted without taking prior art into consideration. All that is needed is just prior patents.

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