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IRC Proceedings: April 22nd, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 22/4/2011: Planning for GNOME 3.2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ubuntu Linux boosted by 10,000 seat PC win

    Canonical has taken the wraps off a morale-boosting deal that has seen German insurance giant LVM Versicherungen convert 10,000 PCs to use Ubuntu Linux across the company’s operations.


    The official release made no mention of the operating system being displaced but Techworld understands these were running older versions of Windows in recent years.

  • The Commodore 64 Lives Again

    The new iteration of the classic computer won’t run Windows (although the company claims you’ll be able to install it if you so choose). Instead, the Commodore 64 runs a version of the Linux operating system on an Intel processor, and boasts 2GB of memory and a modern Blu-ray or rewritable DVD optical drive.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • New Nvidia Linux Driver Supports Ubuntu 11.04

        On April 20th, Nvidia launched version 270.41.06 of its graphics driver, which brought initial support for Xorg Server 1.10 and support for the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system.

  • Applications

    • Glipper Gets Ubuntu AppIndicator Support
    • Mobile Media Converter, Cross-Platform Audio, Video Conversion Software

      You encounter so many different video and audio formats both on your computer and on the Internet that you often need a software to convert media to make it compatible with your preferred software or hardware media players. The sheer amount of formats available sometimes makes this a difficulty process, considering that you need to find software that supports all the formats on your computer.

    • Geany – A Great Lightweight Code Editor For Linux

      Surprisingly, Linux doesn’t offer that many good IDE’s (Integrated Development Environments). I believe this is because back in the day most Linux programmers took out good old Notepad (or gedit in this case), and started coding from that.

    • More Of The Best Linux Screenlets

      Many users are already familiar with the advantages that Screenlets can offer, so I decided to seek out which ones were essential to the productivity and aesthetics of any desktop. Screenlets are small community created Python applications that can add style and functionality to your Linux desktop. Screenlets are easy to use, easy to create, and there are hundreds available to download. After extensive testing I found this select bunch of Screenlets particularly useful, many are included by default. More information about Screenlets and coming updates can be found at the bottom of this post.

    • 6 of the Best Free Linux Web Caches

      Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) is considered to be the fundamental protocol of the web. This simple request/response protocol is used for distributed, collaborative, hypermedia information systems. The web consumes a large portion of internet traffic.

      With HTTP, a client makes a request for a resource to a server, and the server delivers messages with additional content such as images, style sheets and JavaScripts. HTTP dictates how these messages are displayed and transmitted, and how web servers and browsers should respond to various commands.

    • Audacious 2.5.0 Released With Option To Dock Plugins Into The GTK Interface, Configurable Columns, More [PPA]
    • Proprietary

      • Opera Browser: Strong Enough to Sing the Big Boys Off the Stage?

        Coke or Pepsi? Kirk or Picard? Betty or Veronica? The great battles of the marketplace tend to be duels, and few people gripe if you leave out RC, Sisko, or Cheryl Blossom. The “Browser Wars” are no different, with “IE vs. Firefox” having replaced “Netscape vs. IE” long ago, and other options are often forgotten. Opera has been one of the strongest alternate browsers for a long time, and it was my browser of choice prior to Firefox. Opera 11 (free) continues the Opera tradition of doing something different instead of a minor reskin of someone else’s codebase, and delivers a plethora of features that are actually designed to be usable, not to pad out a checklist.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Vi: An Introduction
      • Gnome 2. Anonymous browsing with Tor

        I wanted to experience the thrill of browsing anonymously, or to a navigation system that does not easily reveal the information on the connection you use. The choice of which software to use is gone on Tor, but only because it is the most famous. Personally, I proceeded to download the latest version of TOR available for my GNU/Linux directly from its site.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE 4.6.1

        A few weeks ago, I upgraded to KDE 4.6.1 in Fedora 14 from KDE 4.5. The first login after reboot dumped me into Gnome. What the heck was going on? Apparently, in GDM, the entry had changed from KDE4 to KDE Plasma Desktop. Once I logged in that way, I was able to see the new KDE. The biggest change I saw was that notifications looked much nicer. It’s hard to quantify in what way they looked nicer, but something they changed about the appearance is makes it more appealing to my eyes. Also, the way it animates really helps a lot. For example, when two of my contacts sign into IM networks at the same time, the second notification is smaller so that my desktop is not overwhelmed with notifications. If I mouse over the second one, it grows and the first one shrinks.

      • KWin and Plasma Active

        Plasma Active is an extremely awesome project and I am really looking forward to work on it and have my first own Plasma powered tablet. Of course KWin will be the Compositor and Window Manager in Plasma Active. And this is pretty awesome and very interesting for our future development.

      • Marble desktop globe adds map creation wizard

        The Marble development team has released version 1.1 of the KDE Education Project’s virtual globe application, which is similar to Google’s Earth application. According to the developers, the update is special as a number of the new features were developed as part of Google Code-in (GCI), leading the developers to decide to “get it out between the usual KDE application releases” – KDE 4.6 includes Marble 1.0 by default.

        Marble 1.1 features the addition of a new map creation wizard that supports three different kinds of map themes; maps made from one large source image, maps which are accessible from tile servers like OpenStreetMap, Google Maps or Ovi Maps, or those accessible via Web Map Service (WMS) servers. However, the developers consider the map creation wizard to be a “technical preview”, noting that it version 1.2 of Marble will improve its usability and include “additional features that could not be introduced in Marble 1.1 while keeping the library binary compatible at the same time.”

      • First ownCloud Sprint

        For four days, starting on Friday April 15th, about half a dozen souls gathered in the hive01 headquarters in Stuttgart. The goal of this very first ownCloud sprint was to discuss, plan and of course hack on the web services project.

        To kickoff we had a brainstorming session and discussion of the topics that were to be dealt with over the following days. We extensively debated fundamental things concerning the future directions of ownCloud.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome’s new makeover upsets traditional users

        It was a movement started by the KDE group around 3 years ago — radically redesigning how the Linux desktop looks. Since then, Ubuntu — the most popular flavor of Linux out there — latched on and announced it too will radically alter how the computer interface will look.

        Through all the retching changes, the ‘conservative’ linux user always had the predictable and most popular ‘skin’ of Linux — Gnome — to fall back on. It was the default on most flavors (distributions) of Linux — till this week.

      • Planning for GNOME 3.2 underway
  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Some screenshots of Mandriva 2011 Beta 2

        Ms. Susan Linton described her impressions on the second beta release of Mandriva 2011 here. There are some additional comments here. Can you guess what the common denominator is? :-P
        In my case, I don’t like the Rosa launcher, either. I’m also a bit sad because the netdrake seems to be gone, along with the desktop cube effect.
        However, I’d like to focus this entry on the new features…

    • Red Hat Family

      • [Luc de Louw] I got employed by Red Hat

        I’ll continue to work at Siemens IT Solutions and Services AG until approx. mid of June and start working at Red Hat at 1st of July.

      • Fedora

        • Sanity saver: Fedora 15 answers Ubuntu’s Unity

          The Fedora 15 beta from the Red-Hat sponsored Fedora Project has dropped squarely into a moment of uncertainty and upheaval for the Linux desktop.

          The planned new Unity interface for Ubuntu 11.04, that replaces GNOME, is rough start. And while GNOME 3 – Fedora’s new default desktop – is considerably more mature than Unity, it’s still a radical break with the past that’s already bringing out the dissenters.

          It’s enough to make even the most diehard of GNOME fans retreat to the stable, if somewhat foreign, world of KDE. But not Fedora. Fedora is bravely diving into the GNOME 3 waters, even serving as one of the GNOME 3 live demos. Indeed most users will likely get their first taste of GNOME 3 from Fedora, which looks to be the first major distro to ship a final release with GNOME 3.

    • Debian Family

      • Try 2 Non-Debian Grandchildren this Summer

        April is raining Ubuntu and its family and open source world seems over loaded on Debian distros, what with Canonical adopting a bi-annual release this month forwards. Debian and its derivatives appear to be the flavour of the month but there are far too many Linux distros that are apt for Summer.

        Let us look at three distros that are non-Debian Grandchildren. First is the Xange, a true blue blood Fedora with the elegance of KDE. Fusion Linux distro, which runs every application, meant for desktops without requiring new installations is a Fedora that retains its popularity rating for its high-compatibility capability. Third, fuddle around with the Fuduntu on your lappie or netbook and enjoy a summer of flashy, elegance and fuddly distros.

      • People behind Debian: Meike Reichle, member of Debian Women

        Meike Reichle is a Debian developer since 2008 but has been involved for longer than that, in particular in Debian Women. She’s a great speaker and shared her experience in a Debconf talk.

        She’s also part of the Debian publicity team and managed the live coverage of the last release on identi.ca. Enough introduction, learn more about her by reading the interview. My questions are in bold, the rest is by Meike.


        Debian press work is mainly about providing an official and coordinated point of contact to anyone wanting information from or about Debian. The press team answers all sorts of inquiries (the most popular one is is of course always the next release date) and makes sure all important events and developments within Debian receive the attention and recognition they deserve. Debian is a diverse project where every sort of contributor is free to voice his or her opinion in any way. We don’t have NDAs or prescribed terminology. That’s one of the things I love about Debian but also something that makes us difficult to handle for conventional media. They want official statements, in generally understandable terms, at appointed times. That’s what the press team takes care of. Almost all of the press work is done in the publicity team, which coordinates using IRC, Mail and SVN. The publicity team also publishes the Debian Project News, which are very popular among our users and developers. Press work is also an area of work that offers lots of possibilities for non-technical contribution. http://wiki.debian.org/Teams/Publicity lists a number of possibilities for contribution and, like most Debian Teams, we’d be more than grateful to get some more helping hands and happy to introduce interested newcomers to our work.

      • Special mention for Special purpose Debain-Med distro
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Canonical takes another step against the Community

          In a posting to the Sounder mailing list earlier today, Ubuntu Linux maker Canonical announced that the long running mailing list would be shuttered. The decision followed a recent heated political discussion on the list and a proposal to close the list the Community Council by Alan Pope.

          Even though the Sounder list might seem like an insignificant (and out of place) part of the community, I see this as yet another step that Canonical is taking against the very community that’s made Ubuntu so successful. With the debacle that is Ubuntu’s switch to Unity already polarizing users and driving many away and now the closing of a social list, it’s slowly becoming obvious that Canonical is taking a step away from the happy community project that could take over the desktop and taking one towards corporatism. The community, unless it tows the corporate line, doesn’t really matter to them anymore and that’s truly sad since it’s that very community that helped put the company where it is today.

        • Ubuntu is Shutting Down Off-Topic Mailing List
        • Ubuntu Natty in Virtualbox with Unity

          I have found myself explaining multiple times over the past few weeks how to get Ubuntu Natty with Unity working in Virtualbox virtual machines, there seems to be a common misconception that it doesn’t work (it does) and a common perception that it is not obvious how to do it (perfectly valid). So this is how. Firstly install a fairly new version of Oracle VirtualBox on your host operating system (I am using Ubuntu 10.10, I expect others including Windows would also work). The open source edition of Virtualbox might also work, but I am using the Oracle edition, not the OSE edition from the repositories.


          Set up a new virtual machine, give it say a gig of ram and 32MB video ram

        • Ubuntu 11.04 UI Takes Inspiration From Smartphones

          Canonical has released details of the new version of its Linux-based Ubuntu operating system which has taken design inspirations from tablet and smartphone interfaces and brings the new Unity interface to all platforms.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 is ready for release

          A big change in the server update is the addition of the Cactus distribution of OpenStack. The open-source cloud platform has been incorporated alongside Eucalyptus into the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC). The move, revealed alongside the release of OpenStack’s Bexar version in February, puts a rival to Eucalpytus into the heart of UEC.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Stick a Fork in Flock: Why it Failed

        You might think that Flock failed simply because the idea, or execution, wasn’t good enough. I’ve written about Flock a number of times since 2005, and it might be hard to remember now — but there was a time when a “social browser” seemed like it might be a good idea. Flock tried to simplify interacting with social tools like Flickr, del.icio.us, and WordPress. This was long before Facebook and Twitter, which helped speed Flock’s demise.

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • I like OpenOffice disinvestment spin

      I like the ReadWriteWeb spin a lot but of course Oracle disinvests. Apparently they also axed their upcoming Cloud Office offering. As a computer users I just want to use my word processor (with a nice interface) and LibreOffice suits me best. It all about choice after all. My colleague Charles-H. Schulz wrote on behalf of the document foundation:

      The development of TDF community and LibreOffice is going forward as planned, and we are always willing to include new members and partners. We will provide as many information as we can with the progress of the situation. We are currently making every possible effort to offer a smooth transition to the project.

    • Red Hat’s Ceylon language is an unneeded tempest in a teapot

      Red Hat can’t be serious. The leading Linux vendor can’t really be planning to develop a brand-new programming language and SDK to compete with Java — can it?

  • CMS

    • Drupal 8 Design Initiative

      Way back in September 2010 I launched the Design 4 Drupal Core (D4DC) project – the initial goal was to define a better process for adding new themes to Drupal core. This grew out of the Drupal 7 process which was essentially a code race between Bartik and Corolla. It was clear to me this process could be improved. In the commercial world we always select the design first (as opposed to an entire theme), so I started making the argument that any new core theme would have to be selected based on the design – then coded into theme.

  • Project Releases

    • Firewall Builder Version 4.2 Released

      With today’s release of Firewall Builder V4.2, NetCitadel continues to demonstrate its leadership in the firewall configuration management market.

      Unlike many firewall analysis applications that only allow users to view and analyze firewall rules, Firewall Builder actually generates configuration files that can be loaded onto the firewall using the built-in installer. Even the most complex firewall rules are simple to configure in Firewall Builder letting organizations focus on their security policies instead of searching for commands.

  • Government

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Death of The Document

      The document as we know it — static and one-sided — has disappeared.

      Documents today are no longer stand-still and no longer offer only one view. The old model doesn’t work for today’s social and always-connected business. Business communication has evolved to become more fluid, dynamic and collaborative and is now an integral part of business processes. And the concept of a document (whether that be text, spreadsheet, presentation or a hybrid approach) is still one of the critical outputs of many businesses.


  • Copyrights

    • IMSLP Under Attack

      Today, the registrar of our domain, a division of Go-Daddy, froze our domain name (imslp.org) due to a complaint issued by the Music Publisher’s Association of the UK, who made two assertions in their complaint:

Clip of the Day

IRC Numbers Explanation

Credit: TinyOgg

SCO’s Strategic Consultant Mike Anderer Foresaw Microsoft-Organised Patent Lawsuits Against Linux (Through Small Companies)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Patents, SCO at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer on patents

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

Summary: Important information about Bedrock, those who bolster their case, and what we know about Microsoft’s role in arming patent trolls, CIA coup d’état style

The poorer the patented ‘invention’ is, the more it will probably be worth (at lease once patented and never invalidated) because the more damage it can cause owing to breadth. The Linux Foundation and OIN recognised this when they defused attempts by Microsoft to pass around Linux-hostile patents, i.e. ammunition to disruptors (even that is not Microsoft’s innovation). And right now there is a ridiculous patent being used against Android. Who is behind it? A defunct entity known as Bedrock (more details in our IRC logs). There is a paywall standing in the way of this article/analysis which contains “EVIDENCE OF AN UNACCEPTED OFFER FROM INTELLECTUAL VENTURES TO BUY THE BEDROCK PATENT”.

Intellectual Ventures, created out of Microsoft money, is known to be using a lot of “satellite” companies to sue/extort companies on Intellectual Ventures’ behalf. Only rarely does Intellectual Ventures sue directly, but sometimes it does. It’s a proxy game and the victims struggle to validate the connections in the courtroom because when papers get exchanged as opposed to something physical, traces can vanish. We have covered several cases like this.

“Remember Microsoft trying to sell some of its patents that read on Linux, or so they claimed, to patent trolls? OIN played man in the middle on that one, but who is to say that was the only one?”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
“Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote a great article about the Bedrock v Google decision,” writes walterbyrd in IRC. “Idiotic Anti-Linux & Google Patent Decision. Red Hat has sued Bedrock to get the patent revoked for numerous reasons. Among others, they point out that Linux, which dates to 1991, predates the 1997 patent; that no one has ever used the patent; and that in any case Bedrock has no claims to the patent,” he quotes. Groklaw too is linking to SJVN (Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols) and adds: “If I might remind you, Mike Anderer told us years ago, back in 2004, that this was Microsoft’s plan, to see to it that FOSS companies got sued over and over again for patent infringement, until they gave out: “In a world where there are $500 million dollar patent infringement lawsuits imposed on OS companies (although this is not completely settled yet), how would somebody like Red Hat compete when 6 months ago they only had $80-$90 million in cash? At that point they could not even afford to settle a fraction of a single judgment without devastating their shareholders. I suspect Microsoft may have 50 or more of these lawsuits in the queue. All of them are not asking for hundreds of millions, but most would be large enough to ruin anything but the largest companies. Red Hat did recently raise several hundred million which certainly gives them more staying power. Ultimately, I do not think any company except a few of the largest companies can offer any reasonable insulation to their customers from these types of judgments. You would need a market cap of more than a couple billion to just survive in the OS space.” So that’s what he said. And 50 or more lawsuits lined up means using proxies, obviously. Remember Microsoft trying to sell some of its patents that read on Linux, or so they claimed, to patent trolls? OIN played man in the middle on that one, but who is to say that was the only one? That’s why it’s an antitrust issue, I’d say, using patents like this as an anticompetitive weapon. And if you want to know what is wrong with software patents, the damage they are doing, read the quotations from various business executives (like Andy Grove) in the footnotes to this article.”

Here is the link given to analysis of important news reports which are only in the Web Archive now (content ages and rots quite sadly, along with the crucial evidence). We reproduce this below in the interests of preservation:


S2 ‘mystery man’ Anderer speaks on MS, SCO, and licensing

Friday March 12, 2004 (05:30 PM GMT)

By: Chris Preimesberger

Mike Anderer was the author of the S2-to-SCO Group memo that comprises the “Halloween X” document that was released to the press by Eric Raymond last week. Anderer, the CEO of S2 and the middleman in the SCO Group’s $50 million PIPE transaction of last October 16 contacted us today, and while he is under a non-disclosure agreement and can’t say very much about the $50 million PIPE deal, what follows are some of the thoughts he can share.

I am certain people would like to know what is happening but I cannot talk to you without permission. I will tell you my background is integration and I am OS agnostic; the more there are the better. I will file close to 20 patents this year for companies in many spaces, including homeland security, anti-terrorism, several grid computing and virtual machine patents, and, ironically, I should have one issued in the expiring and disappearing e-mail arena. It was initiated 4-5 yrs ago.

I have helped many companies and individuals who run companies in the GNU/Linux, BSD, and Unix world as well as those in the Microsoft world. I admire the good parts and despair the bad parts.

Most of my time is currently spent on new technologies on several different platforms. Many of my companies and several of our offices have been merged into other companies, moved or sold as part of a technology deal, some even sold during the deepest parts of the downturn. I helped build the channels for most of the products that corporate America is currently using and some they will be using soon. In several cases, I am finally finding or developing ways to solve problems I have been working on for the last 20 years. The only way I can hide is to work so hard that it becomes close to impossible to track all the companies I have owned, bought, sold, rolled up, or sat on the board of. If you include the ones where I helped entrepreneurs and companies through tough times, or sat on non-profit boards, the list would be even tougher to follow.

Anybody who knows me or really analyzes what they found on the Web will find I don’t hide well. I also have a lot to say in most situations.

The following is simply my opinion. This is all I can really give you considering the NDA. As for the PIPE deal, I cannot comment at all, but I also would have nothing of interest to add beyond what has already been made public.

I would state that this licensing project represented only a small fraction of my time over the last year and has completely gone away in recent months. This was a job for me, and licensing IP has been an increasingly significant portion of my work.

Many thousands of licenses have been sold to Unix over the years. I cannot think of any major hardware or software company or even university that does not have a license directly or indirectly. If you see the world moving forward as a (GNU/Linux/BSD/Unix)/Windows world it does not take an MIT rocket scientist to think it would make sense for the largest software company in the world to increase their rights by taking another license (remember they did develop and own a portion of the code originally sold as MS Xenix). In fact I saw several postings on Slashdot hammering them for including what people saw as BSD property (with proper copyright attribution) in some of their products. It was also no secret that Microsoft licensed and even purchased companies in this arena over the last several years (look where Windows Services for Unix came from). They developed some pretty incredible functionality into things like SFU 3.5 (which I just got for free with a systems magazine). If you consider this licensing an indirect financing of SCO, then everybody (or at least the thousands of licensees) is responsible at some level. The licenses in some cases exceeded $100 million, so these were not even close to the largest ones. The hard part for me was finding somebody who was not already a big licensee.

Just as I see Microsoft developing stronger interoperability from their side, I see a huge community developing stronger connectivity from the GNU/Linux/BSD/Unix side. We will work from both sides and hopefully contribute to making things more functional for customers whatever they choose. The only really interesting point here is that people finally benefit from more stuff working together. It still takes work, but things are getting better in many areas.

I think one real issue, that people are skirting, is who will be the ultimate guarantor of IP-related issues in a world that is governed by the GPL and GPL-like licenses. I could easily see IBM, HP, Sun, and many of the other large hardware players solving this problem tomorrow by settling the dispute with SCO and maybe even taking the entire code base and donating it into the public domain. I know this is what I originally thought would happen, at least the settlement part. I am not certain what people who paid tens of millions for licenses would say if what they paid for was now free, but that is a different issue.

In a world where there are $500 million dollar patent infringement lawsuits imposed on OS companies (although this is not completely settled yet), how would somebody like Red Hat compete when 6 months ago they only had $80-$90 million in cash? At that point they could not even afford to settle a fraction of a single judgment without devastating their shareholders. I suspect Microsoft may have 50 or more of these lawsuits in the queue. All of them are not asking for hundreds of millions, but most would be large enough to ruin anything but the largest companies. Red Hat did recently raise several hundred million which certainly gives them more staying power. Ultimately, I do not think any company except a few of the largest companies can offer any reasonable insulation to their customers from these types of judgments. You would need a market cap of more than a couple billion to just survive in the OS space.

Since the GPL type license agreements push the liability to the users, who do you go after? I think this is a key problem. Nobody wants to be the ultimate guarantor for software that was free (or close to it). I think the dispute with SCO would have been settled a long time ago if everybody knew this was the last one. The problem is there will probably be hundreds or even thousands of these disputes in the future and the targets will be the companies with the deepest pockets. Even if the large vendors disclaim all responsibility initially, I do not think the customers will accept this from their vendors for very long. In the meantime, I don’t see anybody being in a hurry to write the first big check.

The world of software is changing. I think everybody sees that part on the product side, but the economic underpinnings are changing too. It used to be you included R&D and patent development costs into your license add your costs and a markup and you could make a living. We relied on cross-licensing, licensing, and innovation, and our ability to prevent other people from copying our work without permission. Now things are shifting, but I am not certain anybody has completely figured out this new model, and if you think it is just any one company that is concerned about this, you are wrong.

I do think things will work out, and the sooner the better. I believe the software industry is in an incredible renaissance and that means maybe there will be a lot more people out there making things better and a couple fewer people with enough spare time to flame under five separate handles, all registered as underage so they can exploit the better privacy laws we afford to children.

I do appreciate all the effort and help people have provided by digging up old sites and even stuff I had long forgotten about. I am still hoping people dig up some of the more positive projects I have been involved with. I have also had several long lost friends contact me. I think they thought I might need some support.

– Mike

Microsoft Florian (aka “FOSS[will be killed by]Patents”) is rubbing this in people’s faces (consider the headline, “Texas jury finds against Google in Linux patent case, determines damage award of $5,000,000″). ZDNet feeds Microsoft Florian’s drama and so does CNET, a sister site in some sense (ZDNet bloggers also played along with SCO's side). Florian keeps bragging about the number of lawsuits against Android and amplifies the magnitude of the threat to Android by repeating news like this. Harry McCracken, the Microsoft booster, does something similar to what Florian did some months ago, amplifying the perceived problem. Let’s not forget other Microsoft mouthpieces like Rob Enderle and Paul Thurrott with his anti-Android rhetoric (patent-related accusations and FUD). Meanwhile, the president of the FFII is told that “Google should really start to actively fight against #swpat it could donate a million to #ffii and #endsoftwarepatents.org each.” The messenger is right in this case and we wrote about it earlier this month. Google ought to know that just getting more patents won’t help it against trolls.

“Patent incumbent H.264 will soon lose its dominance as YouTube, the world’s biggest online video content creator, switches to WebM, the free and open source codec.”
Could Google work on research that proves ties to Microsoft and then initiate legal action for these mafia-like tactics (including the SCO and maybe Elliot saga)? Potential patent trolls whom we know Microsoft was trying to feed with anti-Linux patents are pretty solid evidence [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Microsoft never refuted this, it only tried deflection by announcing CodePlex news noise within hours. There is also MPEG-LA, which Microsoft is paying. Google does mitigate the issue by addressing that attack vector the way it should. From the news: “Patent incumbent H.264 will soon lose its dominance as YouTube, the world’s biggest online video content creator, switches to WebM, the free and open source codec.” OIN’s growth [1, 2, 3] is not enough to prevent MPEG-LA from acting like a mafia, bidding/searching for Google assassins and then getting exposed. Fortunately, the US Justice Department launched an investigation over this and I should probably mention, based on my private discussions with Microsoft Florian, that Florian has contacts inside MPEG-LA, which he keeps promoting. Yes, I can produce evidence to show this, but he probably won’t contest or challenge the claim for fear of more damage control.

Here is Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols explaining that Microsoft Florian is falsely amplifying the scare over patents and Android:

Now, I hate all software patents, but even if I didn’t, this patent is garbage. As I read it, I think I violated it myself back in the 80s. I mean, just read it, it’s a description of how to use hashing with a linked list. Come on! That might not be programming 101, but it’s not far from it!

Red Hat has sued Bedrock to get the patent revoked for numerous reasons. Among others, they point out that Linux, which dates to 1991, predates the 1997 patent; that no one has ever used the patent; and that in any case Bedrock has no claims to the patent. This case, however, has not been settled yet.

Yes, I know, I know, you’d think that case would have been settled first and then the matter of Red Hat’s customers would have been addressed, but that’s not how it works in the U.S. Verdict first and trial later to paraphrase Alice in Wonderland’s Red Queen.

Now some people, such as Florian Mueller, would have you think that “This patent infringement case has major implications for the IT industry in general and for Linux in particular.” The emphasis is his. I disagree.

I think this is an especially striking example of a bad patent decision by the EDTX. It only shows just how bad the U.S. patent system has become that such a ridiculous suit could ever be taken seriously never mind actually winning. Google should appeal this case and, unlike other recent software patent cases, such as Microsoft vs. i4i, I’d expect the anti-patent side to win.

It remains to be seen if Microsoft also plays a role in Apple’s lawsuits (see this nice new parody), but given motivations, it is unlikely that Apple needs Microsoft’s encouragement to sue Google’s Linux-based platform. It should be noted, however, as we noted last year, that very shortly after Apple sued Android Microsoft made a formal statement validating and endorsing Apple’s action, adding that there will be more of that. It was almost as though the pair had conspired.

Steven Lundberg Uses Gymnastics in Logic in Order to Sell Software Patents

Posted in Deception, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Surrender to software parents or people will die?

Steven Lundberg

Summary: Monopolies on algorithms are advocated by yet another attorney who taxes science using patent monopolies and the associated bureaucracy

Steven Lundberg, somewhat of a lobbyist for software patent policies who has a blog fully dedicated just for this purpose, is still at it. The firm he is in, Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner, apparently agrees with these actions of his because its name is put near it. Does that make him, Mr. Lundberg, a representative? “Here’s a Question for Opponents of Software Patents” says his new bit of deception (in the National Law Review), which goes like this: “Ok, here’s a question for the opponents of software patents: If software patents are such a drag on the software industry, why don’t the countries with weak or non-existent software patents, or at least countries with relatively few software patents, have the most innovative software industries? Perhaps they do, but I have never seen any stats supporting that proposition. It is well known and irrefutable that countries that had little or no protection for pharmaceuticals also had virtually no ethical (innovative) pharmaceutical companies. Is not the same true for software patents?”

“Microsoft and the rest of the US software industry had no patents when it was building its empire. So that answers your question right there.”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Due to matters of scarcity and the process which may be involved in stepping inside a patent, these two are not comparable. Moreover, it’s a disingenuous attempt to compare the question about software patents to a life or death situation/dilemma. Someone asked us to address the subject today and it is probably quite timely, especially because there are Mono thugs who falsely try to suggest that I endorse patents (they spread this lie today); people in academic settings who apply for patents or receive grants from pharmaceutical companies such as AstaZeneca (their role then typically becomes to push the grant giver’s agenda in peer-reviewed journals or corrupt publications like Elsevier’s, where bribe money buys placements, e.g. Merck’s, but that’s another subject) sometimes apply for patents, but I do not and I never will; to attribute to me the preferences of some other academics is absolutely ridiculous and unfair. It’s a gross generalisation. When universities amass monopolies or even funding from companies (I am funded by the ERC by the way, so no such conflict arises), then it’s another matter altogether. It’s really dodgy stuff sometimes and I rarely restrain my scepticism.

But let’s go to the subject matter (pun intended), which is patents on drug-making. We actually addressed this subject on numerous occasions before, especially around 2009 when we also shared videos that debunk these commonly-repeated myths (e.g. patents as life savers). A few hours ago I had a one-hour conversation with a fellow professor who had researched this field for decades and he too is cynical about it. Today he explained how the vast majority of the pharmaceutical companies’ output [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] is not effective or hardly effective but because they stick together like a cartel, they can carry on selling drugs and making massive profits which they then funnel into bonuses and a lot of marketing that affects perception, not effectiveness of treatments. It’s a sure way to make money, which is what they’re all about. Patents to them are often means for excluding competitors (e.g. generics) and hiking/elevating prices to the point where the customer can barely bear it. So these patents too have their room for doubt, as we explained very recently. There is still no justification for comparing these to software development, which someone can do while traveling on the train. It is the old trick of improper analogies to support one’s weak case. Groklaw responds to Lundberg by writing: “First, it’s a mistake to compare pharma with software. The development model is too different. Second, Microsoft and the rest of the US software industry had no patents when it was building its empire. So that answers your question right there. And as for being a drag, Gates himself said if there had been patents allowed on software when he was starting Microsoft, he would have failed. And even Justice Breyer in the Microsoft v. i4i oral argument indicated an awareness that there are problems from issued patents, so it’s too late to pretend that nothing bad happened from allowing patents on software. If you continue to deny reality, you will allow incumbents to destroy Linux and other FOSS software, which is a very foolish economic decision on your part, since it benefits only a convicted monopolist.”

One need not expect Steven Lundberg to be persuaded or to change his mind. He is in it for the money, not the science, but it is important to ensure he cannot bamboozle scientists into thinking he is on their side. Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner is not the voice of reason.

Groklaw Opposes Novell’s Membership in the Linux Foundation, Due to Microsoft Ties

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OIN, OpenSUSE, Patents at 5:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux Foundation

Summary: “Novell sold out the community,” explains the editor of Groklaw, who proceeds to warning about other vassals of Microsoft that infiltrate the Linux community to change its goals Kamikaze-style

Yesterday we wrote a couple of posts about Novell and the OIN [1, 2], noting quite rightly based on the evidence that Novell is betraying the OIN and turning its back on the GNU/Linux community by giving software patents to Microsoft.

For reasons we explained many times before (and provided supporting examples), Novell’s role in the Linux Foundation was also somewhat dubious. Novell was Microsoft’s bridge into the Linux Foundation (see the LF-Microsoft banner at the top, as we used it in this context a couple of years back).

“After Novell sold out the community, the Linux Foundation wants another Microsoft partner to join up and participate in groups working on legal topics?”
      –Pamela Jones
The Linux Foundation now opens its doors to a Yahoo! which is occupied by Microsoft folks and Groklaw is concerned. “After Novell sold out the community,” explains Pamela Jones, “the Linux Foundation wants another Microsoft partner to join up and participate in groups working on legal topics? I can’t imagine how anyone could imagine that would work out well. Why not just let Microsoft join, then, if they are going to get the news almost that fast, conceivably, anyway?”

Well, maybe put Elop in there too? That’s already done because Nokia is a Gold Member and the Microsoft executives-occupied VMware, for example, is a Silver Member. Still far from entryism, but still…

It was only yesterday that we wrote about Microsoft’s and Elop’s (a Microsoft mole inside Nokia) sense of urgency in sealing the deal, with the possibility causing problems to Android, using patents too. Here is what Tim wrote amid the signing and the profits slump:

To me, this early signing shows that its crunch time. Microsoft in my view has realized its now or never and it’s got to be quick. Do I think this will make any difference to the acceptance of WP7? – No. Do I think the WP7 will be Ballmers final stand? – Yes. Do I think that everything concerning the WP7 is too little too late? – Yes.

Nokia has already given hints that it may use patents. Maybe it will even sell some to Microsoft if it cannot sue Android directly (it would be frowned upon by the Linux Foundation, even though SCOracle and Google were not secured by common membership in the OIN, for example). Novell “changes patent sale terms” to enable Microsoft to receive its patents, reports AP (via BusinessWeek). There too one can sense urgency:

The Justice Department said CPTN has altered the patent deal in a number of ways. Microsoft will sell back to Attachmate all of the patents that it would have received. But it will keep a license to use those patents as well as the patents that the other companies are purchasing and any patents that Novell keeps. EMC will not receive 33 Novell patents and applications that are related to visualization software.

In addition, all of the Novell patents included in the CPTN deal will be subject to open-source licenses for the GNU and Linux operating systems. CPTN won’t have the right to limit which patents are available under the Linux license and neither CPTN nor its owners will attempt to influence or encourage Waltham, Mass.-based Novell or Attachmate to change which patents are available under the Linux license.

As legal people in Groklaw point out, comparing patents to matters of copyrights (GPL) hardly makes sense as that’s like mixing apples and oranges, then comparing them. Additionally, they refer to GPLv2 and not “or later” (GPLv3 contains language that addresses software patents). “I’m not sure what this means,” wrote Groklaw initially, “that the patents would be “subject to” the GPL. I’ll try to find out.” Groklaw also explains that AttachMSFT and Unxis are unlikely to make any case which jeopardises Linux because there is no copied code. To quote parts of the very interesting new article (“SCO’s nemesis announces her retirement”):

Unxis is holding a busted hand if it has dreams of threatening to sue Linux users over copyrights again. “As for any hopes people have about suing others with the copyrights that the court ruled SCO didn’t get, my analysis is that it won’t work. The court ruled that Novell didn’t transfer them,” PJ said.

Even Attachmate, which is buying Novell and therefore might end up with the AT&T Unix copyrights, will find it very difficult to sue Linux users over those copyrights, PJ thinks. “If you know the history of Unix, you know, as pointed out in the USL/BSDi case in New Jersey, that for a long time AT&T relied on trade secret, not copyright, protection. Back then you had to register your copyright or you lost out and had to rely on trade secret instead. And that is precisely what AT&T did.”

There is still no sign of commitment from AttachMSFT to OpenSUSE, which barely generates any news anymore, with few minor exceptions [1, 2]. What Novell truly left the Linux community with is Mono and Moonlight infestation which might take a very long time to clean up/wash away. Boycott Novell to defend Linux and GNU. Avoid Novell products like Mono.

Proprietary Software Increasingly Eliminates Freedom, Privacy, and Dignity

Posted in Apple, Vista, Windows at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apple’s latest blunder is its practice — either intentional or not — of eavesdropping on users, which leaves people’s entire travel history on any computer the “iDevices” synchronise with (even the police’s)

Apple, the anti-Linux aggressor (e.g. with software patents), is in hot water right now. In response to its ridiculously pathetic lawsuit against Samsung it is now being sued itself:

Samsung Electronics Co. said it sued Apple Inc. (AAPL) claiming patent infringement, a week after the iPhone maker filed a complaint in U.S. federal court alleging the South Korean company copied its products.

Samsung submitted complaints to courts in Seoul, Tokyo and Mannheim, Germany, alleging Apple infringed patents related to mobile-communications technologies, Suwon-based Samsung said in an e-mailed statement today. Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Apple, declined to comment and referred back to the company’s complaint filed last week.

However, the very latest blunder Apple found itself in has a lot to do with privacy, or lack thereof. Groklaw has assembled some links that include self-explanatory quotes:

  • Apple location tracker file: Congressman asks Steve Jobs to explain by May 12

    Following widespread attention drawn by a file embedded on Apple iPhones and iPads that keeps a detailed log of the devices’ location, Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) has sent Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs a letter asking him to explain the purpose of the file.

  • Michigan Police Deny Secretly Extracting Mobile Data During Traffic Stops

    The Michigan Police Force has denied the unlawful use of a device that can extract all your cell phone information, the same technology that is embedded in many of our cell phones.

    The data extraction devices (DED) are manufactured by CelleBrite and can quickly extract mobile data, such as contacts, photos, and deleted text messages, from your SD card. CelleBrite counts Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and other major carriers as customers; the technology is used to transfer data to a new phone when you upgrade.

  • Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops

    The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

    ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

  • MSP fights ACLU claims that devices are used to get personal information from cell phones during traffic stops

    Can police steal information from your cell phone? That’s the charge against the Michigan State Police by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.

    The ACLU says the MSP is dodging its requests to disclose information on data extraction devices.

    Police say they’re complying with the law and that the ACLU is stirring up controversy.

    The ACLU of Michigan says the Michigan State Police is withholding information about its data extraction devices that can store all the information on your cell phone.

    Mark Fancher, ACLU of Michigan Racial Justice Project staff attorney says, “The only thing that we have been asking is that they confirm for us by producing documents that demonstrates that they are complying with constitutional requirements.”

    The Michigan State Police says turning over all of the documents would cost more than half a million dollars.

  • Inquiries Grow Over Apple’s Data Collection Practices

    “If it’s true that this information is being collected, and it is being done without the approval and knowledge of the users, then it is definitely a violation of German privacy law,” Mr. Kranig said.

Separately, Groklaw posted a link to the following new item from Schneier, which ought to remind people of COFEE (Vista and other versions of Windows include surveillance bits):

  • Software as Evidence

    Increasingly, chains of evidence include software steps. It’s not just the RIAA suing people — and getting it wrong — based on automatic systems to detect and identify file sharers. It’s forensic programs used to collect and analyze data from computers and smart phones. It’s audit logs saved and stored by ISPs and websites. It’s location data from cell phones. It’s e-mails and IMs and comments posted to social networking sites. It’s tallies from digital voting machines. It’s images and meta-data from surveillance cameras. The list goes on and on. We in the security field know the risks associated with trusting digital data, but this evidence is routinely assumed by courts to be accurate.

Here again is the Jobs video that we posted last night. Listen to what he says about privacy at Apple. Considering how secretive the company is, privacy at Apple applies only to its members of staff. For everyone else, Apple is just Big Brother software. What we need now is a free (as in liberty) phone platform and independent carriers that do not log calls/locations using signal triangulation.

Steve Jobs on privacy, Steve Jobs at the D8 Conference (Video)

For context, see the “Privacy” links at the top. How foolish he must look now.

Credit: TinyOgg

comScore Miscounts Linux

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google at 4:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Another firm which tells people what to think of market share (and is paid by Microsoft) belittles Android

A report which gets quoted widely heralding the power of Apple is actually severely flawed and its source, ComScore, is one that we criticised before for spinning figures in favour of Microsoft after being paid by Microsoft several times. Such firms are choosing methods that decide what to count in order to get the required FUD — an endemic problem for sure and one that we remind readers to keep in mind. Neil Richards has just explained why this “comScore Report That Apple iOS Has Beaten Google Android Seems Flawed!” Here is part of his explanation:

I don’t understand this comparison as Android doesn’t even compete in the portable music player segment of iPod Touch. I also wonder if comScore took into account the ‘devices’ and not just the smartphones running on Android. I would very much like to know if comScore included Android-powered devices like Barnes & Nobel’s NOOK which hold a huge market share in the eBook segment.

In general, GNU/Linux market share figures (not just on the desktop) are a commonly abused area of statistics. Look at what Gartner is doing. One radical example are the flawed figures from IDC, which insists on counting revenue as “market share” rather than actually count boxes. Gartner and IDC too are both paid by Microsoft.

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics”

Benjamin Disraeli

Bill Gates Pays More Media Companies, Including Grupo Televisa

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 4:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Televisa building

Summary: Domination of media and public perception a greater concern when an entity masquerading as a charity buys the news

IT IS common practice for plutocrats to create an investment arm masquerading as a charity for exemptions from tax. Many rich families are doing it and the word “foundation” — like the Rockefeller or Gates Foundation — is a commonly used one. Such foundations are relying a great deal on controlling the press and changing public opinion in favour of the super-wealthy, spreading a perception of benevolence and dependence (nation upon the ruling class). Gates is probably becoming a leader (if not a monopolist) in that regard by spending a million dollars per day just buying praise from the press (not doing actual work, just advertising it). We wrote about this before and so have many others, who are clearly concerned about Gates’ acquisition of news sources. According to this new list of Gates’ portfolio, he is also investing in more media companies, not just giving them money to cover the ‘news’ the way he wants them to: [via Groklaw]

Which Stocks Are in Bill Gates’ Portfolio? Part 2


# Groupo Televisa S.A. (TV): This Mexico-based media company specializes in television broadcast and publishing both domestically and abroad. The company hit a 52-week high of $26.67 on January 4, 2011, and as of last trade, their stock price was at 23.95. Their trailing P/E is currently $2,998.75, and their forward P/E is $17.77.

Some of the following companies from part 2 of the list we have already covered before. For instance:

BP plc (BP): Coming up on the year anniversary of their massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP is still in a recovery period. At last trade, their stock was at $46.65, a considerable increase from its 52-week low of $26.75 in June of 2010. The company’s dividend yield is 3.70% and their forward P/E is $7.02. Gates isn’t the only major investor sticking with BP. Investment Underground’s look into T. Boone Pickens’ portfolio revealed he recently added to his shares of the company.

Monsanto’s patent monopolies are also in Gates’ financial interests:

Monsanto Company (MON): Monsanto provides agricultural products to farmers in the U.S. and abroad. The company recently entered into a deal with the Germany-based BASF to collaborate on a cropping system that will help with weed control and crop safety. Their current stock price is 71.23, and their dividend yield is 1.60%. Monsanto’s trailing P/E is $34.58, and their forward P/E is $21.19.

And lastly, the company which causes hunger (for profit):

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS): New York–based Goldman Sachs Group specializes in investment banking, securities and investment management. Their stock is currently at 157.81, and their forward dividend yield is 0.90%. Currently, Goldman Sachs’ trailing P/E is 11.98 and their forward P/E is 8.44.

The Gates Foundation’s main function is investment. It manages to do that without taxation which applies to most investors as long as the foundation can paint itself as “philanthropic” (which explains the publicist part of it). A lot of other foundations use the same trick and the same loophole and it is a problem which needs to be addressed. The world’s richest people just don’t pay tax and at the same time they bemoan the poor economy (which hasn’t treated them too badly) and advise on these matters ‘on behalf’ of the poor.

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