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04.18.11

Microsoft’s Choice: Patent-Trolling to Death or Real Patent Reform

Posted in America, Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: The US patent system preys on Canadians as Microsoft’s infringement goes to SCOTUS and RIM wants a patent shield shortly after Microsoft’s patent troll, Nathan Myhrvold (the company’s extortion arm), put a tax on every BlackBerry; Apple too goes trigger-happy against Linux, having given investment money to this same patent troll

Microsoft should just defect to the side which works to abolish software patents and if not, then shareholders of Microsoft should start criticising the company’s strategy. As things stand at the moment, Microsoft is bombarded with patent lawsuits and Groklaw explains why Free software cares about the i4i case which we last mentioned this morning (it goes beyond the Canadian media due to escalation to SCOTUS, which got the lawyers [1, 2] and the MSBBC paying closer attention). To quote Groklaw:

Today is the day scheduled for oral argument before the US Supreme Court in the appeal of the i4i v. Microsoft patent litigation. The appeal is focused on an issue that matters to FOSS a great deal. EFF, Public Knowledge, and the Apache Foundation have filed an amicus brief [PDF] that explains to the court why it matters so much and with such particularity to the FOSS community. I’ve done it as text for you.

I’ll let them explain the details, but the big picture is that US patent law, largely due to the Federal Circuit’s broadening of plaintiffs’ rights, is hard on defendants and harder still on FOSS defendants, because FOSS uses a development model that doesn’t match the patent law as currently interpreted by the Federal Circuit.

The issue before the US Supreme Court is this, in plain English: how hard should it be to prove that a patent that the USPTO has issued is invalid? How about if you have evidence that the USPTO examiner never looked at? Should juries assume that the USPTO got it right? I smile just writing that. With FOSS software, it’s almost impossible for an examiner to find prior art, unless it’s been patented, which it almost never is, given the restrictions on what examiners can search through. And you may be surprised when you read what the courts require as proof. I am pretty sure that after you read this brief, you’ll see how unbalanced the current system is, how it disadvantages FOSS defendants, and hopefully you’ll notice some things you can do to help balance out the playing field. I hope the court sees the unfairness too, and I hope they care.

The bottom line for me remains that software and patents need to get a divorce. But anything that we or the courts or Congress can do to ameliorate the strange and damaging tilt toward patent plaintiffs to the detriment of defendants is to the good. The law is supposed to be fair to both plaintiffs and defendants, but with patent law, it absolutely isn’t, as the brief will show you. The damage being done to innovation is enormous already, and with Microsoft on a march to rape and pillage FOSS and force the community — most especially Android — to pay royalties for patents that could be invalidated in a more fair system but which it can use as anticompetitive weapons unless something is done to shortcircuit their strategy, this case is vitally important.

As Mr. Arthur put it, “Microsoft seeks to weaken software patent rules at US Supreme Court”:

A software patent case in which Microsoft was accused of wilfully infringing a patent on XML – and forced to suspend sales of Word and Office – reaches the US Supreme Court on Monday afternoon UK time and could have a wide-ranging effect on future litigation.

How long can Microsoft pretend that software patents which are asserted against Microsoft are invalid whereas those which is uses to extort others are valid? In some cases, as in the VirnetX case for example, Microsoft must pay a lot of money to a company which according to this new report “does not currently have any sources of revenue from operations.”

It is a patent troll. When Microsoft quits areas like mobile (due to failure), Microsoft’s mobile division too will become a patent troll. Microsoft is currently busy trying to extort all sellers of Android/Linux, so Google, in turn, is competing to inherit the patent portfolio which currently ‘belongs’ to Nortel. There is competition over it, reportedly from RIM [1, 2, 3, 4], which is the latest victim to be massively extorted by the world's largest patent troll, Microsoft's very own patent troll, Intellectual Ventures (it also extorted Android, at least at Samsung and HTC).

Here is a new pinion piece by Doug Lichtman (at the New York Times). It implies rather than states that the patent office has been subverted by leeches like Intellectual Ventures. To quote: [via Groklaw]

ON Monday the Supreme Court will consider whether to fundamentally alter the way American patent law is litigated. Specifically, in the context of an otherwise unremarkable patent dispute, the Court has promised to decide the degree to which juries should be allowed to question whether a patent should have been issued at all.

It’s a critical issue: the current approach, under which juries are explicitly discouraged from questioning a patent’s validity, all too often means that dubious patents are nevertheless enforced. That inhibits innovation, the very thing that patent law is supposed to encourage.

[...]

These problems could in theory be fixed with more money. But resources aren’t the only issue. The extent and quality of Patent Office review is also limited by the fact that the process is not adversarial. Indeed, the only parties involved in Patent Office review are the applicant and the applicant’s lawyers — people with an obvious incentive to see the application move forward. Contrast that with litigation, where patent plaintiffs have to square off against very motivated patent defendants.

The last bit there is important. it validates calls to abolish the patent office or reboot it such that it actually serves the public and not the lobbyists of Bill Gates and his buddy Nathan Myhrvold. Microsoft does not want software patents to go away because people up there at the top of Microsoft are still cashing in, at the expense of everyone else. That’s what patents are for, they are simply a monopolist’s dream. Apple is no better in that regard, e.g. with its latest anti-Linux patent lawsuit. Boycott Apple, the expensive imitators.

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve Jobs

Klaus-Heiner Lehne Blasted for Conflict of Interest, Florian Müller Shares His Interests

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Klaus-Heiner Lehne
Klaus-Heiner Lehne / Source: Europa.eu

Summary: Another source names MEP Lehne for his inexcusable monetary interests in an area on which he lobbies and affects legislation (patents)

MR. Lehne is one of those controversial figures among the FFII crowd; he is one who lobbies aggressively for laws that harm Europe and benefit his own monetary interests. It’s that type of people who should never have entered parliament and the president of the FFII found a Twitterer quoting the following new report:

Lessons from the #EU cash-for-influence scandal: block MEPs from taking second jobs with conflicts of interest http://bit.ly/hZlqJb

Here is the article at hand. It starts with:

The cash-for-influence scandal has unleashed, perhaps for the first time ever, a broad debate about the relations between MEPs and industry lobbyists. It has also sparked an important process of drafting stricter ethics and transparency rules for the European Parliament. A working group of ten MEPs led by Parliament President Buzek meets for the first time this week, with the task to present detailed proposals before the summer break. In the wake of the cash-for-influence scandal it is hard to find any MEPs that openly question the need for stricter rules. But it is a public secret that there is a significant number of MEPs that oppose effective rules. There’s reason to fear that at least some of the MEPs in the new working group might belong to this category of low-profile opponents to change.

It was also a year ago that we gave examples of such pro-patents MEPs who also work for legal firms that benefit from patents. As the president of the FFII put it (quoting the above):

Klaus Heiner Lehne is working 1 day/week for Taylor Wessing, active in EU lobbying and pushing for software patents http://ur1.ca/3vtvf

And from the article: “There are at the moment no rules to stop MEPs having other jobs – and many MEPs do. Influential conservative MEP Klaus Heiner Lehne, to mention one example, is a partner at law firm Taylor Wessing, where he continues to work one day per week. Taylor Wessing is active in EU lobbying, on issues ranging from software patents to private equity regulation.” Microsoft Florian already jumps to his defence. How revealing.

ES: La Elección de Microsoft: Trolling por Patentes Hasta La Muerte, o Reforma Real de Patentes

Posted in America, Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 4:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: El sistema de patente de los EE.UU hace presas de los canadienses cuando Microsoft va a SCOTUS (Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos) por su infracción de patentes y RIM quiere un escudo de patentes poco después de que Nathan Myhrvold el troll de patentes de Microsoft, (brazo que la compañía utiliza para la extorsión), pone un impuesto a todos los BlackBerry, Apple también va disparando fácilmente contra Linux, después de haber dado dinero de inversión a este mismo troll de patentes.

Microsoft debe decidirse para que bando trabajar, para abolir las patentes de software y si no, entonces los accionistas de Microsoft deberían empezar a criticar la estrategia de la compañía. Como están las cosas en este momento, Microsoft es bombardeado con demandas de patentes[http://techrights.org/2009/10/31/microsoft-10-q-legal-secrets/] y Groklaw explica por qué le importa al Software Free/Libre[http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20110417223700208] acerca del caso i4i[http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/I4i_vs_Microsoft] que la última vez que lo mencionamos esta mañana[http://techrights.org/2011/04/18/ooxml-patent-complications/] (que va más allá de los medios de comunicación canadienses debido a la escalada a SCOTUS (Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos), que tiene los abogados [1[http://www.patentlyo.com/patent/2011/04/microsoft-v-i4i-oral-argument-monday-april-18.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+PatentlyO+%28Dennis+Crouch%27s+Patently-O%29], 2[http://www.scotusblog.com/2011/04/court-takes-up-standard-of-patent-validity/]] y la MSBBC prestando atención[http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/maggieshiels/2011/04/microsoft_supreme_court_showdown.html]). Para citar Groklaw:

Hoy es el día fijado para el argumento oral ante la Corte Suprema de los EE.UU. en el recurso de casación de i4i versus Microsoft litigio de patentes. El recurso se centra en un tema que importa a muchísimo al FOSS (Software Libre y Abierto). La EFF Fundación Electrónica de la Frontera, Public Knowledge, y la Fundación Apache han presentado un amicus breve [PDF] que explica al tribunal por qué es tan importante y con la particularidad como a la comunidad de software libre. Lo he hecho como texto para usted.

Voy a dejar que les expliquen los detalles, pero el panorama general es que la ley de patentes EE.UU., en gran parte debido al Circuito Federal de ampliación de los derechos de los demandantes, es difícil para los acusados y aún más difícil a los acusados de software libre, por que el software libre utiliza un modelo de desarrollo que no coincide con el Derecho de patentes en la actualidad interpretado por el Circuito Federal.

La cuestión ante la Corte Suprema de los EE.UU. es esta, en simple lenguaje: ¿Cúan difícil es demostrar que una patente que la USPTO ha emitido no es válida? ¿Qué tal si usted tiene pruebas de que el examinador de la USPTO (Oficina de Patentes y Marcas de los Estados Unidos) nunca miró? ¿Deben los jurados suponer que la USPTO ha hecho lo correcto? Sonrío sólo por escrito. Con el Software Free/Libre, es casi imposible que un examinador pueda encontrar previas técnica, a menos que ha sido patentado, que casi nunca lo es, dadas las restricciones en lo que los examinadores deben examinar a través de. Y usted puede estar sorprendido al leer lo que los tribunales requieren como prueba. Estoy bastante segura de que después de leer este informe, verá qué desequilibrado es el sistema actual, la forma desventajosa en que los acusados Software Free/Libre están, y espero que te darás cuenta de algunas cosas que usted puede hacer para ayudar a equilibrar el terreno de juego. Espero que el tribunal consideré la injusticia también, y espero que les importe.

La conclusión para mí es que las patentes y el software necesitan obtener un divorcio. Pero cualquier cosa que nosotros o los tribunales o el Congreso puedan hacer para mejorar la inclinación extrañas y dañinas hacia los demandantes de patentes en detrimento de los acusados esta bien. Se supone que la ley es justa para ambos demandantes y demandados, pero la ley de patentes absolutamente no lo es, como el escrito te lo mostrará. El daño que está haciendo a la innovación ya es enorme, y con Microsoft en marcha de violación y pillaje contra el Software Free/Libre y forzar a la comunidad – sobre todo a la de Android – para pagar regalías por las patentes que podrían ser invalidadas en un sistema más justo, pero que -Microsoft- puede utilizar como armas contrarias a la competencia a menos que se haga algo para causar un cortocircuito a su estrategia, este caso es de vital importancia.

Como el Sr. Arthur dijo[http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/2011/apr/18/microsoft-i4i-software-patent-us-supreme-court], “Microsoft busca debilitar las normas de patentes de software en la Corte Suprema de los EE.UU.”:

Un caso de patentes de software en el que Microsoft fue acusado de infringir deliberadamente una patente en XML – y lo obligó a suspender las ventas de Word y Office – llega a la Corte Suprema de los EE.UU. en la tarde del Lunes tiempo España, y podría tener un efecto de amplio alcance sobre futuros litigios.

¿Por cuánto tiempo puede Microsoft pretender que las patentes de software que se hacen valer en contra de Microsoft no son válidos mientras que las que ellos utilizan para extorsionar a los demás son válidas? En algunos casos, como en el caso VirnetX[http://techrights.org/2010/12/04/scotus-swpats-i4i/] por ejemplo, Microsoft tiene que pagar mucho dinero a una empresa que, según este nuevo informe[http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/business/ci_17871202] “no tiene actualmente ninguna fuente de ingresos de las operaciones.”

Es un troll de patentes. Cuando Microsoft cierra áreas como la telefonía móvil (debido a sus fallas), la división móvil de Microsoft también se convertirá en un troll de patentes. Microsoft está ocupado tratando de extorsionar a todos los vendedores de Android/Linux, por lo que Google, a su vez, está compitiendo para heredar la cartera de patentes que en la actualidad ‘pertenece’ a Nortel. Hay una competencia sobre ella, según los informes de RIM [1[http://www.techeye.net/business/rim-competes-with-google-in-nortel-patent-buyout], 2[http://www.eweekeurope.co.uk/news/rim-may-bid-against-google-for-nortel-patents-26933], 3[http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-15/rim-said-weighing-bid-to-top-google-offer-for-nortel-patents-1-.html], 4[http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2011/04/17/rim-wants-to-outbid-google-apple-and-nokia-for-nor.aspx]], que es la última víctima de ser masivamente extorsionado por troll más grande del mundo de patentes, el propio Microsoft troll de patentes[http://techrights.org/2011/04/02/patent-trolls-vs-rim/], Intellectual Ventures[http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Intellectual_Ventures] (que también extorsionó a Android, por lo menos en Samsung y HTC).

Aquí es una pieza nueva del piñón de Doug Lichtman[http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/16/opinion/16Lichtman.html?_r=1] (en el New York Times). Implica más bien que afirma que la oficina de patentes ha sido subvertida por sanguijuelas como Intellectual Ventures. Para citar a: [a través de Groklaw]

El lunes la Corte Suprema de Justicia estudiará la posibilidad de alterar fundamentalmente la manera en que se litiga el derecho de patentes estadounidenses. En concreto, en el marco de un litigio de patentes de otro modo sin complicaciones, el Tribunal de Justicia se ha comprometido a decidir el grado en que a los jurados deben permitirse la pregunta de si una patente debería haberse expedido en absoluto.

Es una cuestión fundamental: el enfoque actual, en que los jurados están explícitamente desalentados a cuestionar la validez de una patente, demasiado a menudo significa que las patentes son dudosas, sin embargo forzadas. Que inhibe la innovación, la misma cosa que la ley de patentes que se supone que alentar.

[...]

Estos problemas podrían, en teoría, se arreglan con más dinero. Pero los recursos no son el único problema. El alcance y la calidad de las patentes en revisión por la Oficina también está limitada por el hecho de que el proceso no es contradictorio. De hecho, las únicas partes que participan en la revisión de patentes de la oficina son el demandante y los abogados del demandante – personas con un incentivo evidente para ver cómo se apruebe su aplicación. Compárese eso con el pleito, donde los demandantes de patentes que se enfrentarán contra los acusados de patentes muy motivados.

Lo último es realmente importante. ya que valida las llamadas a la abolición de la oficina de patentes o reiniciarla de modo que en realidad sirva al público y no a los grupos de presión de Bill Gates y su compadre Nathan Myhrvold[http://techrights.org/2011/04/04/bill-gates-exposed/]. Microsoft no quiere que las patentes de software se vayan del todo porque la gente allá arriba en la parte superior de Microsoft siguen cobrando, a costa de los demás. Eso es lo que las patentes simplemente son, el sueño de un monopolista. Apple no es mejor en ese sentido, por ejemplo, con su última demanda de patentes contra Linux[http://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/991086-apple-sues-samsung-electronics-over-galaxy-phone-tab/page__pid__593906982#entry593906982]. Boicotemos Apple, sus caros imitadores.

“Siempre hemos sido descarados robando grandes ideas.” -Steve Jobs

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

ES: Klaus-Heiner Devastador Conflicto de Interés, Florian Müller Comparte Sus Intereses

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 4:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Klaus-Heiner Lehne
Klaus-Heiner Lehne / Source: Europa.eu

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: Otra fuente nombre al eurodiputado Lehne por sus inexcusable intereses monetarios en una área en la que él mismo cabildea liderando grupos de presión y afectando a la legislación (patentes).

MR. Lehne es una de las figuras polémicas entre la multitud FFII (Fundación para una Infraestructura de Información Libre), él esta liderando grupos de presión agresivos por leyes que perjudican a Europa y benefician a sus propios intereses monetarios. Es este tipo de personas que nunca debería haber entrado en el parlamento (votantes europeos -¿escuchan?) y el presidente de la FFII ha encontrado un Twitter citando el siguiente nuevo informe[http://twitter.com/olivierhoedeman/status/59896456303226880]:

Lecciones del #UE escándalo de dinero en efectivo a cambio de influencia: los diputados del bloque de eurodipudados toman un segundo empleo con conflictos de intereses http://bit.ly/hZlqJb

Aquí está el artículo en cuestión[http://www.neurope.eu/articles/105931.php]. Comienza con:

El dinero por el escándalo de influencias ha desatado, tal vez por primera vez, un amplio debate sobre las relaciones entre los eurodiputados (MEP’s) y los lobbyists -cabilderos- de la industria. También ha provocado un importante proceso de elaboración de más estrictas normas de ética y transparencia para el Parlamento Europeo. Un grupo de trabajo de diez diputados encabezados por el presidente del Parlamento Buzek se reúne por primera vez esta semana, con la tarea de presentar propuestas detalladas antes de las vacaciones de verano. A raíz del dinero por el escándalo de influencia es difícil encontrar los diputados que cuestionan abiertamente la necesidad de normas más estrictas. Pero es un secreto a voces que hay un número importante de eurodiputados que se oponen a normas eficaces. No hay razón para temer que al menos algunos de estos diputados en el nuevo grupo de trabajo podrían pertenecer a esta categoría de oponentes de bajo perfil para cambiar.

También fue hace un año que dimos ejemplos de los euro diputados a favor de las patentes que también trabajan para empresas legales que se benefician de estas patentes[http://techrights.org/2010/04/27/klaus-heiner-lehne-and-swpats/]. Como el presidente de la FFII lo puso [http://twitter.com/zoobab/statuses/59907715115393024] (citando lo anterior):

Klaus Heiner Lehne está trabajando un día por semana para Taylor Wessing, activo en el cabildeo de la UE y ejerciendo presión para las patentes de software http://ur1.ca/3vtvf

Y desde el artículo: “Hay en este momento no hay reglas para impedir a los miembros de parlamento europeo que tengan otros trabajos – y muchos eurodiputados lo tienen actualmente. Para citar un ejemplo el influyente diputado conservador Klaus Heiner Lehne, , es socio de la firma de abogados Taylor Wessing, donde continúa trabajando un día a la semana. Taylor Wessing está activo en el cabildeo de la UE, sobre cuestiones que van desde las patentes de software a la regulación de capital privado.” ¿Qué sinverguenza? No es inesperado que el caradura de Microsoft Florian ya salte en su defensa.

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

Microsoft Shows Why Servers Run GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 4:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”

Steve Ballmer (September 2008)

Summary: Another black eye for Microsoft, courtesy of white-hat hackers; Windows gets punctured on the server side just like on the desktop side

MANY of the world’s servers, Web servers in particular, run GNU/Linux. Many of them are not being counted because Microsoft-funded trackers like IDC’s only count revenue, not real market share. CentOS never gets counted even though it is claimed to be the most widely used operating system for servers, at least among the GNU/Linux bunch (it runs Techrights too).

Here we have a reminder from the news, teaching anyone who is still sitting on the fence why Microsoft on servers is a dangerous gamble: [via]

Whitehats pierce giant hole in Microsoft security shield

In late December, Microsoft researchers responding to publicly posted attack code that exploited a vulnerability in the FTP service of IIS told users it wasn’t much of a threat because the worst it probably could do was crash the application.

Meanwhile, in some of the latest MSBBC articles, they fail to mention that the security problems they write about only affect Microsoft Windows. Here is one new example and another that says: “Alexander Gostev, of Kaspersky Labs, told Moscow Echo radio the attack was coming from thousands of infected computers from China, the US and Western Europe.” Well, “infected Windows” is what it ought to say, not “infected computers” as the computers themselves have nothing to do with the defective code that’s electronically or magnetically on disk.

Thank you, Microsoft, for continuing to show why GNU/Linux is the better choice.

Links 18/4/2011: X.Org Server 1.10.1, Wind River Backing Android, Trinity KDE Reviewed, Lucas Rocha Moves on

Posted in News Roundup at 4:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Alas, Groklaw, We Hardly Knew Ye

    Here in the world of technology, it’s an everyday occurrence to see new companies and organizations spring up out of nowhere and begin to play an active role.

    What’s far less common, however, is to see one disappear — particularly one that has been an extremely productive and well-respected part of the community for years upon years.

    That, however, is essentially what happened a week ago, if a blog post over at Groklaw is anything to go by.

  • Server

    • 1 billion computing core-hours for researchers to tackle huge scientific challenges

      Computing is an invaluable resource for advancement of scientific breakthroughs. Today we’re announcing an academic research grant program called Google Exacycle for Visiting Faculty, which provides 1 billion hours of computational core capacity to researchers. That’s orders of magnitude larger than the computational resources most scientists normally have access to.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • In the beginning: Linux circa 1991

      It was also to Linux’s advantage that its license, the Gnu General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) made it possible both to share the efforts of many programmers without letting their work disappear into proprietary projects. That, as I see it, was one of the problems with the BSD Unix family–FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, etc.–and its BSD License.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.10.1 Released

        Jeremy Huddleston has tagged the first point release in the X.Org Server 1.10 series.

        X.Org Server 1.10 was released in late February after RandR 1.4 was pulled from the release. X Server point releases don’t add in any new features, however, but just correct outstanding bugs.

        The xorg-server 1.10.1 release has bug-fixes for XQuartz, X Input, XKB, and various other areas, but no single change jumps out as being too prominent.

      • Apple Mac OS X 10.7 Lion DP2 Battles Ubuntu 10.10

        When running the Warsow game at 1920 x 1080, its frame-rate is slightly up from the first Lion developer preview and Mac OS X 10.6.6, while the NVIDIA blob on Ubuntu 10.10 was the slowest of the bunch. Of course, if using the open-source Nouveau driver on Gallium3D its performance would even be worse for Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Trinity KDE – An alternative to KDE4, Gnome 3?

        Trinity KDE is mostly nostalgia. While KDE3 had its merits, with the latest version of KDE4, it’s really hard to argue against the technological and ergonomic advancement introduced into the desktop environment.

      • KDE Commit Digest for 10 April 2011
      • Plasma Active: A Box of Crayons

        One of the results of the UX sprint in Berlin which I’m really happy with is that it helped me frame some of the bigger ideas behind in my mind behind Plasma Active, and make it digestable for someone who hasn’t spent a lot of time yet thinking about it, and digesting these ideas.

      • Marble 1.1 released

        The Marble Team has just released Marble 1.1. This release is special! With many new features being developed during Google Code-in, the Marble Team decided to get it out between the usual KDE application releases. The new version provides several new features and improvements…

    • GNOME Desktop

      • [Lucas Rocha] Leaving GNOME Release Team

        This is the team that set the general plan for the GNOME 3 release and I feel very proud of having been part of it. I especially remember a couple of very long conversations with my evil twin about GNOME 3 and the team discussions during our meetings at GUADEC and FOSDEM…

        Leaving the release team means that I now have no official roles in GNOME anymore. I’ve left a few other positions recently—among others that I haven’t really announced. This is actually an explicit decision of mine to gradually free some of my (rare) spare time for other personal projects. You probably know one of them. But there’s probably more coming, stay tuned!

      • Privacy settings are coming to Zeitgeist

        Writing on his blog, Zeitgeist developer Stefano Candori has shown off the beginnings of a feature addition to the semantic-tracking engine which allows users to specify what Zeitgeist can log – and what it shouldn’t.

  • Distributions

    • Visit My GNU/Linux (& BSD) Logo Zoo and See How Many Distros You can Name!

      Some people think that GNU/Linux is only one Operating System. Others think that “Linux” is the only UNIX Operating System derivative but BSD must not be forgotten. Both GNU/Linux and BSD include a lot of different OSs in their respective families. While Linux has Tux (a penguin) as its mascot, BSD has Daemon (a little devil). Interestingly, many of the OSs in both families are identified by logos representing animals. Thus, I made this little zoo with the logos of as many distros as I could find to illustrate the great variety of Operating Systems available to choose.

    • Reviews: Puppy Linux 5.2.5 – taking a bite out of bloat

      After a full week of usage, I can’t say that Puppy Linux 5.2.5 Lucid is quite ready to compete with industrial-strength distros such as Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora or openSUSE. It does come very close and I was able to get most of my work done, but the collection of PET packages is still insufficient to meet my heavy demands. The addition of the Ubuntu repository is potentially a solution, but the package collection is far from complete, and the issue of “dependency hell” is a source of frustration.

      Furthermore, the wisdom of running as root continues to haunt Puppy. In this era of online shopping and online banking, users expect ironclad security, and it should not require command-line hacks to get it. Discussion of this issue often gets heated, even rabid, turning into an all-consuming flamefest at times. I wish people wouldn’t get so emotional about it, but it is what it is. I don’t expect the raging debate to end any time soon.

      On the other hand, perhaps I’m barking up the wrong tree. Is Puppy meant to be blockbuster OS, built to withstand attacks like a server farm? Or is it just a lightweight fun OS that we can use to revive old hardware, or run from a USB stick when we need portability? A lot of people like Puppy – it’s in the top 10 of the DistroWatch page-hit ranking. I enjoy Puppy too, and it’s what I run exclusively on my netbook. Maybe the only thing wrong with Puppy is that users’ expectations tend to exceed the developer’s intentions.

    • Red Hat Family

      • The state sees Red and likes it

        I confess that when I read some weeks back about the state’s giving Raleigh-based Red Hat almost $17 million in incentives not to move, I was predictably agitated. After all, for over 15 years as a judge, candidate and lawyer, I have criticized and opposed this type of corporate welfare. My change of heart when it comes to Red Hat has nothing to do with our governor’s donning a red fedora set at a jaunty angle to announce the giveaway. Nor do I own any Red Hat stock. It’s really all about the fact that local businesses have finally figured out how the game is played.

      • Fedora

        • Top Five Fedora Derivatives

          One of the other “big names” in the Linux world is Red Hat’s community driven Fedora. Beyond Fedora itself, there are also a small number of derivatives out there based off of this Yum+RPM powered distribution. The following is a round up of some of the better ones.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project Leader Election 2011 Results

        The winner of the election is Stefano Zacchiroli.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Sorry Mate, But I Can’t Use Ubuntu Anymore: Goodbye Meerkat

          I liked Meerkat, in fact I loved it. But, its existence in my life has reduced to a couple of DVDs which are laying in some dark corners of the drawers of my office desk. They will never be put in CD drives again, they will never be used to install anything again. They might remain there as memories or be thrown in trash to be taken care by Brussels waste management department.

        • Unity vs GNOME 3 – Ubuntu 11.04

          This blog posting is strictly my opinion of the two interfaces in Ubuntu 11.04.

          I tried both of these interfaces when that I upgraded to Ubuntu 11.04 Beta 2. Unity did not stay installed very long. This interface has matured to a stable state however the interface did not appeal to me. Unity is plagued with overly large icons and lots of blandly bright colors. It’s like the screen was designed by Crayola and not Canonical.

        • The Bizarre Cathedral – 97
        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Wind River opens Android development center

          In yet another sign Intel is moving quickly into Android, its embedded Linux software subsidiary Wind River launched a new mobile technology development center in Stockholm focused on Android. Meanwhile, the Intel-backed MeeGo project appears to be gaining some new life for its handset development, with LG Electronics, ZTE, and China Mobile filling the gap left by Nokia, says an industry report.

          Wind River’s addition of an engineering team in Stockholm, Sweden, represents its “concentrated effort to grow its Android expertise for a wider range of Android-based devices including tablets, media phones and other device classes,” says the

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-Source Web-Sites, Memories Of The Past

    The forum discussion surrounding TransGaming’s GameTree Linux and Cedega Technology continues, with some Linux gamers regretting that they ever even supported TransGaming. One user also brings up the past from when — back in 2000~2001 — TransGaming had pledged to open up their code-base once they reached 20,000 subscribers. They believed in an open-source philosophy at that time, but they never ended up opening up their code once hitting that milestone. Even though Cedega as we know it is now dead, this former fork of the X11-licensed Wine is still closed.

  • The Folly of Business Use of Non-Free Software

    With FLOSS, the licence usually costs $0 so business running on FLOSS could save all of that $12billion and it would only take a small effort to migrate to FLOSS. Business has made mistakes along the way by not migrating sooner and buying licences instead of making their own software but it is never too late and $12billion annually saved forever will pay the total cost of migration in a few months or years, leaving all of eternity to spend the money on other things that bring value.

  • Open source programming tools on the rise

    The reason is clear: Open source licenses are designed to allow users to revise, fix, and extend their code. The barber or cop may not be familiar enough with code to contribute, but programmers sure know how to fiddle with their tools.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • AES encryption for OpenOffice.org

      The ODF 1.2 specification allows for stronger encryption algorithms, and Blowfish is declared as the legacy encryption algorithm.

      The new version of the standard allows the encryption algorithms listed in §5.2 of xmlenc-core.

    • LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 1 Available, Oracle Unchains OpenOffice

      April 15 brought some interesting developments in the office suite front. Oracle’s press release announcing its intention of halting commercial interest in OpenOffice.org came hours before The Document Foundation announced the release of LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 1.

      [...]

      LibreOffice 3.4 Beta 1 received lots of bug fixes and a few new additions. Some include:

      + added navigation buttons to writer
      + Replaced unhide text button by icon buttons
      + Mouse wheel scrolls whole slides
      + Updated slide sorter icons
      + allow ‘select as you type’ aka ‘quick selection’
      + new ‘animated images’ for Throbber controls
      + enable human icon theme

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • C-SPAN Radio’s Historic Supreme Court Oral Argument: Lotus Development Corporation v. Borland International, Inc. (1996)

    The Supreme Court took up a case involving ownership of computer technology in this 1996 case.

    Lotus Development Corporation copyrighted a computer spreadsheet program called “Lotus 1-2-3.” Borland International, a competing software company, released a similar program called “Quattro,” that contained a program called “key reader.”

  • Youth engagement will make the Digital Agenda a reality

    On Tuesday I held an exciting meeting with a dozen high-flying young Europeans involved in science, start ups, government and civil society, whose insights are can really help us with the Digital Agenda.

    I was very impressed with their clear views and with what they’ve achieved using technology in their careers.

  • Science

    • Scientists teleport Schrodinger’s cat

      Researchers from Australia and Japan have successfully teleported wave packets of light, potentially revolutionising quantum communications and computing.

  • Security

    • Former Internet Vigilante Gets Two Years For DDoS Attack

      A computer programmer who once volunteered for Perverted Justice, the producers of “To Catch a Predator,” was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for launching a botnet that attacked the organization’s web site.

  • Censorship

    • YouTube: Fair Use is Why Conan Can Make Fun of Rebecca Black

      Yesterday, YouTube redesigned its copyright help center to help educate its users about the ins and outs of copyright law. Copyright law can be complicated and, in light of that, the site now sends offenders to the YouTube Copyright School where they can watch explanatory cartoons in an experience that our own Audrey Watters isn’t too sure arrives at education.

      If you agree, then you might want to get in on YouTube’s next effort – a Q&A with legal experts it will be holding on the video site at the beginning of May.

      Fair use, YouTube explains, “is a legal term that grants creators an exception to the strict copyright that the original content owner controls — in layman’s terms, it’s the idea that as long as the use is ‘fair,’ someone can reference part of someone else’s work for parody, scholarly reasons, or more.”

  • Privacy

    • Facebook looks to cash in on user data

      Julee Morrison has been obsessed with Bon Jovi since she was a teenager.

      So when paid ads for fan sites started popping up on the 41-year-old Salt Lake City blogger’s Facebook page, she was thrilled. She described herself as a “clicking fool,” perusing videos and photos of the New Jersey rockers.

      Then it dawned on Morrison why all those Bon Jovi ads appeared every time she logged on to the social networking site.

      “Facebook is reading my profile, my interests, the people and pages I am ‘friends’ with, and targeting me,” Morrison said. “It’s brilliant social media but it’s absolutely creepy.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Terence Corcoran: CanCon, the Opera

      The professional shakedown artists otherwise known as Canada’s cultural industries — telecoms, broadcasters, TV networks, filmmakers — are gearing up for another operatic hit on Canadians. They want the Internet controlled through new rules and new charges that would expand their existing protection racket that now funnels billions into their hands and limits the freedom of Canadians.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The iPod tax is an expensive gamble

        In theory, those engaged online would be the most concerned by an iPod tax. It’s an unproven theory since I can’t say for sure the folks contributing to election chatter on Twitter are also the most likely to have iPods or be affected by the controversial (and possibly non-existent) iPod tax. However, since it’ll make this post more interesting, I’m going to make the assumption Tweeters are also most likely to be worked up into a frenzy (cue ass-u-me jokes now). Let’s call this campaign a safe bet with an expectation of a good ROI.

Clip of the Day

HTC Sensation Promo Video


Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: April 17th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Microsoft Helps Acknowledge Windows Vista Was a Disaster, Vista Phony 7 (WP7) is Next

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 2:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cemetery

Summary: As Windows sales continue to decline Microsoft pulls the plug (in some sense) on Vista and advocacy of the latest phones platform comes to a halt

“Vista” is a disallowed term in Microsoft’s marketing department, probably just like the KIN (and this is why we overuse the term). These are total embarrassments and Microsoft is now promoting Vista 7 and Vista Phony 7 instead. But there are clues in this news about Windows Vista support, suggesting of course that even Microsoft gives up on the operating system: [via]

SOFTWARE FLOGGER Microsoft has let slip that Windows Vista users won’t be able to run its upcoming Internet Explorer 10 (IE10) web browser.

This is what customers get for complying with Microsoft’s requests to upgrade to Vista, the best operating system ever (if Microsoft’s marketers are to be believed). What a total embarrassment. They lied. E-mails which were unsealed later on revealed that even Microsoft managers knew Vista was a disaster, well before it was released. But they deceived the public repeatedly and harmed customers. So now they need to purchase (and pay for) the bugfix version of Vista, called Vista 7. And what about Vista Phony 7? Those who bought Windows Mobile not too long ago or even developed for it are totally screwed. Microsoft abandons them just like KIN users and Tim explains that even the Microsoft “diehards” cannot defend Vista Phony 7:

There’s no real news on the Windows Phone 7 front, however WP7 does have particular interest with me. After the Kin debacle the “successes” of the Windows Phone 7 and the strategy with which Microsoft is trying to market it make for fascinating viewing. Just like the Kin, we are seeing plenty of attempts by “advocates” to champion the device, but we all know how the Kin turned out, don’t we?

I am still trying desperately to find anyone I know in my circle of friends who actually has one of these devices, but so far the quest has been akin (no pun intended) to that of looking for the Holy Grail.

Some of Microsoft’s marketers insisted that KIN, just like Vista, was just so wonderful. They lies through their teeth. It remains to be seen just how many of the other products also turn out to be a total disaster. Windows sales, for example, keep declining, which means that Vista 7 is not exactly a success. Far from it. Maybe it was a marketing success as we pointed out in last night's show/episode of TechBytes. And speaking of which, Tim is collecting questions to help remove FUD about Techrights and yours truly. It was his idea to do this and he wrote:

I extend the offer to anyone, if you don’t want to post the questions here, then please feel free to email or use any of my contact points. I will let this offer run for about 2 weeks before putting them to him on an audiocast which will hopefully be hosted at a neutral venue.

Over the weekend and just before that, Techrights came under dozens of verbal attacks — including lies — all coming from .NET and Microsoft boosters. This helps us realise that we’re on the right topic and that we are effective.

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