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05.08.11

Links 8/5/2011: SimplyMEPIS in the Headlines

Posted in News Roundup at 8:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Why Not Linux?

    I am always amazed that Linux isn’t more popular. It is a free operating system, is more reliable than Windows, and has many of the advantages of Macintosh. To be sure, Linux used to be more difficult to install and use than the other “big two” operating systems, but that is no longer true. Anyone who has used a recent version of Ubuntu Linux or any of several other versions of Linux will attest that those Linux distributions are now even easier to use than Windows, especially when installing new programs. Installation is a breeze. For instance, Ubuntu Linux does a better job of discovering my networking and sound boards than does Windows. Ubuntu Linux is significantly faster and easier to install than Windows; it even asks fewer technical questions during the installation process.

    Not only is Linux faster, but it is also impervious to viruses and most other forms of “malware” that plague Windows computers. If you have ever dealt with a Windows virus, you already know why Linux is better. Linux users don’t even install anti-virus software as they have no need for such protection.

  • No Linux support? An offer I can refuse

    Now, as I pay my bills online, paying one or two bills does not represent any benefit to me if it’s the same amount anyway. There is a major consideration for switching, nevertheless. This issue is support: The government agency sent a technician to help my mother once. Given the fact that this unsuspecting techie did not chicken away when he saw that my mother uses Pardus GNU/Linux and solved the problem to the best of his abilities, I decided to ask a question to the overly friendly representative on the line to assess the real service that they were offering me.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • 2.6.39 kernel will drop 686 flavour
    • Client Side Decorations For Wayland

      Besides OpenWF support in Wayland being talked about and on the roadmap, another item that’s been hotly discussed the past couple of days is about client side decoration support for the Wayland Display Server.

    • Graphics Stack

      • There’s An X.Org Driver For Nested X Servers

        Announced just hours ago on the X.Org development mailing list is recent work to create the xf86-video-nested driver. As implied by the name of the driver and the title of this news post, this is an X.Org video driver designed to run nested X.Org servers. In other words, X.Org on top of X.Org.

      • Speeding Up The Linux Kernel With Your GPU

        Sponsored in part by NVIDIA, at the University of Utah they are exploring speeding up the Linux kernel by using GPU acceleration. Rather than just allowing user-space applications to utilize the immense power offered by modern graphics processors, they are looking to speed up parts of the Linux kernel by running it directly on the GPU.

        From the project page: “The idea behind KGPU is to treat the GPU as a computing co-processor for the operating system, enabling data-parallel computation inside the Linux kernel. This allows us to use SIMD (or SIMT in CUDA) style code to accelerate Linux kernel functionality, and to bring new functionality formerly considered too compute intensive into the kernel. Simply put, KGPU enables vector computing for the kernel.”

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Dark, light and Openbox

      I have suffered an inordinate number of real-world issues over the last week or so, which is why I am doing such a poor job of keeping this page updated.

      I apologize for that. But in the little free time I have, I have not been idle. Here are two distros that both focus on lightweight desktop arrangements with Openbox.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 1st May 2011
      • On Stability

        KWin has been known as a rock-solid window manager in the KDE 3.5 times. I was wondering how the situation is nowadays with focus no longer on window managing but on compositing. Currently we are experiencing a major problem in combination of Intel/Mesa drivers with either fullscreen flash videos or OpenGL screensavers. Since the release of Kubuntu Natty we receive two to three new duplicates each day. In case you are experiencing this issue: do not report! Neither to us, nor to Mesa nor to (K)Ubuntu. It is a known issue and Upstream is working on a fix! As a workaround, do not use Flash to watch Youtube videos and do not use OpenGL screensavers. The issue is the most often reported bug against KWin of all time, now.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Virtual Box OS Distribution

      Using virtual Box from Oracle or any other Virtualization Software we can run one operating system inside another Operating System. For example, my computer runs on Debian Stable and I have Virtual Box in it. So I log into Debian and run the virtual Box program and install in it other operating systems, in virtual Disk Drives created by virtual box.

      This is fine, but to have more fun somebody should configure a linux, or opensolaris, or bsd distribution that opens directly into a Virtual Box Graphical User Interface. Just like the ChromeOS opens directly into the Chrome Browser, in a similar manner the Virtual Box Distribution should have Virtual Box running on top of the linux (or BSD or solaris) kernel.

    • New Releases

      • Xange 2011.06
      • Última versión estable: Canaima 3.0
      • Alpine 2.2.0 released

        The Alpine Linux project is pleased to announce immediate availability of version 2.2 of its Alpine Linux operating system.

        This release introduces several new features:

        * A new Linux kernel branch based on 2.6.38 with all of the Alpine patches either rebased or included in upstream Linux sources.
        * New support for the x86_64 architecture. Alpine 2.2 is able to efficiently take advantage of modern x86 processors supporting all available general purpose registers

      • PelicanHPC 2.4

        03 May 2011. v2.4 is available on the download page (see below). This version adds support to run better as a Virtualbox guest. Octave is at v3.4.0, added dsh, updated tutorial, general sync to Debian. Serious users should read the pelican_config file, which is in /home/user after booting up.

      • Clonezilla 1.2.8-37
      • VortexBox 1.9 released

        We are pleased to announce the release of VortexBox 1.9. This release adds updated versions of many of that packages that make VortexBox work so well. This version includes a new kernel for better hardware support. The DVD ripping package has also been improved and of course we added the latest version of SqueezeBox Server (7.5.4).

      • Scientific Linux release 4.9 has been released for i386 and x86_64.

        Scientific Linux 4.9 has been released. We want to thank all those who have contributed time helping us build and test this release. Scientific Linux 4.9 contains almost 2 years of security and bug fixes. There are no new features or packages, but it is a nice stable release.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat OpenShift Express & The Leafy Miracle

        Red Hat made a lot of awesome announcements this week at The Red Hat Summit, one of which being OpenShift.

        I had the opportunity to play with the internal beta for a little while now, and I must say that as a developer I am extremely impressed with the service. Just being able to git push my code into to the cloud drastically simplifies large-scale software deployment, and makes it so I don’t even have to leave my development environment.

      • Videos: Red Hat Summit 2011

        Red Hat held their annual Red Hat Summit and JBoss World conferences in Boston from May 3-6, 2011. I’ve yet to be able to attend a Red Hat Summit but I do search the web for information and videos from it.

        Red Hat announced a number of new developments including OpenShift (Platform as a Service) and CloudForms (Infrastructure as a Service). Basically Red Hat continues to sponsor development on a large number of open source projects and bundles them together into more comprehensive solutions. I haven’t yet done enough reading to speak intelligently about either of those… but give me some time… although they do seem primarily oriented towards the “enterprisey” folks.

      • The Tale of Red Hat’s Name!

        Version Three!

        While Marc wore a red hat in his university he became known by it. If any of his mate encountered problems in computer they used to ask Marc for help. The people who did not know him asked “Who is Marc?” and they received replies “The one in red hat!”. Therefore red hats become synonymous with technical expertise!

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMEPIS

        • Review: SimplyMEPIS 11.0

          Yesterday, the MEPIS developers released SimplyMEPIS 11.0, a year after the release of SimplyMEPIS 8.5, which I have reviewed before. (I went back and read that review and had a pretty good laugh at how short and shallow it was. Please feel free to do the same. That said, if you feel like doing the same at this review, please explain why in the comments.) In that review, I liked that it included many codecs and useful programs out-of-the-box along with the MEPIS tools, which were basically the Linux Mint tools before Linux Mint existed. I didn’t like that Synaptic Package Manager refused to work.

          [...]

          And finally, I’ve also seen comments on reviews of software that didn’t work complaining that I didn’t talk about the nuts-and-bolts of the software or show pictures or stuff like that. If I review a piece of software that works, I post pictures of my time with that software to prove that I really did use it. If I don’t post pictures, that means the software didn’t work for whatever reason. It’s as simple as that. So from now on, if I review software that doesn’t work and you want to see pictures or read release notes, go to the software’s website, because I’m not going to post pictures here. If you want to know whether the software might work for a newbie or whether it might work on your computer’s hardware, then do come here; having used Linux for two years, I’m not a novice anymore per se, but because I’ve stuck with the newbie-friendly Linux Mint through those two years, I’m still only epsilon above novice level, so when I do reviews, it’s still from the perspective of the newbie, not from the perspective of the experienced pro.

        • SimplyMEPIS 11.0 Screen Shots – MEPIS website
        • SimplyMEPIS 11 Final Released

          As the release announcement says, “Making it your own is simple, too”. The KDE desktop and SimplyMEPIS itself are easily and extensively configurable, and whether you prefer the standard KDE desktop or the KDE Netbook desktop, a few tweaks like this can make it just right for you to use. Because MEPIS is derived from Debian, the repositories contain a vast array of applications, utilities and other software. It all adds up to a really excellent distribution.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 8 Really Useful Ubuntu Unity Quicklists

            One of the useful features in Unity (Ubuntu Natty) is the adding of quicklists to the application icons in the launcher. For example, you can right click on the Google Chrome icon and access the option to open an incognito window, or right click the Gmail icon and select “Compose New Email” option. For those who came from the Windows background, this is very similar to the Windows 7′s taskbar jumplist.

          • All the Icons on Unity Launcher will be Movable in Oneiric, Including Lenses
          • Ubuntu 11.04: Great Promise, Quirky Execution

            It has been my experience for a number of years now for a new Ubuntu release to show lots of promise, and then disappoint. It always looks and feels great, but try and push it across a few delicate limits and it will show its real quirky face, and sometimes it doesn’t even need a push.

          • Bye, bye Ubuntu Ready – Hello Ubuntu Friendly!

            Instead of just removing Ubuntu Ready, we would like to start a non-commercial new hardware validation programme, created by Canonical, and with co-ordination with the rest of the community. This new programme is called Ubuntu Friendly (although the name might change).

          • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly About Unity

            We’ve talked about Natty and its features in our previous article (see: Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’: To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade?); however, we didn’t touch upon Unity much. Unity, the brainchild of the Canonical team was an out-of-the-blue decision which surprised and even shocked many users and developers alike. The shocking part of it was the decision to part ways with the GNOME desktop, which had been part of Ubuntu for so many years. The move has left many GNOME loyalists changing clans. However, there are also many users who have welcomed the changes. One reason why Unity works is because it brings something completely fresh to the user as opposed to the traditional GNOME desktop, which was getting too old-school to compete with Windows, Mac and even KDE4. Unity also relies heavily on the trusted Compiz window decorator, thus making the switch relatively smoother as compared to the one with GNOME 3 and Mutter. Furthermore, the GNOME 2.x series was a desktop that had not gone any major visual changes for years, and thus it failed to keep up with many of the modern desktop usability standards. For example, GNOME 2.x included two panels, one at the bottom and one at the top which consumed a lot of space. Also, the menus were too outdated when likened to modern desktops like Windows 7 and KDE4. Furthermore, the tray, the menubar, and indicator applets made the panels look way too crowded and tacky.

          • Thoughts on Ubuntu and Unity

            I have been giving a lot of thought to Unity and Ubuntu 11.04. I have to admit that I was, at first, very hostile toward the changes implemented in this latest release of the most popular Linux distribution.

          • Ubuntu CTO Matt Zimmerman leaving. Good Luck and thanks for all the fish.
          • My Week with Ubuntu Natty Narwhal

            So here’s the end of my little rant. For anyone out there interested in trying Linux for the first time I would still heartily recommend Linux Mint, or if you really want lots of apps and bells and whistles pre-installed, Pinguy OS is quite groovy, too.

            If you’ve been around the block with Linux a bit, also try Bodhi Linux with the Enlightenment window manager. It’s light, gorgeous and configurable to the nth degree. And in my opinion, makes Unity look old and crude in comparison.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Kubuntu 11.04 review

              Final Thoughts: Given the lukewarm reception to Ubuntu’s Unity desktop environment, Kubuntu presents an option that you might want to explore. It is still the same Ubuntu, but with a different and better desktop environment. If Kubuntu does not appeal to you, try Chakra, another KDE-based distribution that was just reviewed here.

            • Will Linux Mint outdo the popularity of Ubuntu?

              It is raining new releases this month as a result of the domino effect caused by the release of Ubuntu 11.04. The latest in line is Linux Mint. Team Mint has always managed to come up with a distro that improved the strengths of Ubuntu many fold while remaining true to the original one. However this time the scene is completely different. The team had recently announced the release of Linux Mint 11, codenamed Katya. Although, its usual to give a feminine name to each Mint release, this one seems to have a meaning. Katya which means “pure” In Russian seems to hint subtly that the Mint team is upto something.

            • Sabily 11.04 Is Based on Ubuntu 11.04, Has Unity

              The Sabily developers proudly announced the immediate availability for download of the new and improved Sabily 11.04 operating system.

              Dubbed Al-Badr, Sabily 11.04 is now based on the recently released Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system and features the new Unity desktop interface. The release includes lots of new applications and various system improvements.

            • Sabily 11.04 released!

              The Sabily team is proud to announce the release of the new version of Sabily 11.04, codename “Badr”.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • $25 computer is barely larger than the average USB stick

        The Raspberry Pi is one tiny computer that’s actually functional enough for modern use. It doesn’t get any more barebones than a little circuit board with a 700MHz ARM 11 processor, a USB port, an HDMI port and an install of Ubuntu Linux.

        Designed by game developer David Braben and his friends, the Raspberry Pi’s basic structure was created to encourage schoolchildren to hack and mod it to unlock its true potential. On the stock Raspberry Pi, all one needs to do is plug in a display through the HDMI port and a keyboard through the USB and it’s good to go — getting online requires another adapter.

      • Phones

        • Sony Encourages Linux On Their Phones

          neokushan writes “Sony has been in the news a lot lately — from the PSN downtime and the identity theft issue that came with it, to the numerous court cases launched to try and quell the PS3 hacking scene. It may come as a surprise to many, then, that Sony’s mobile smartphone division has taken an almost polar-opposite approach — they’re actively encouraging developers to create, modify and install customized Linux kernels into their latest lineup of phones, including the Xperia Play, the device that was once known as the ‘PlayStation Phone.’”

Free Software/Open Source

  • GOEPEL electronic supports open source Initiative

    During Technology Days UK GOEPEL electronic announces the accession to the open source initiative goJTAG. The networking founded by various universities and the Company Testonica Lab pursues the goal to provide the industry JTAG/Boundary Scan tools and knowledge based on an independent and non-commercial platform, sustainably accelerating the wide adoption of standardized IEEE 1194.x test methods. The centre piece of GOEPEL electronic’s engagement is the provision of free hardware and respective reference designs.

    goJTAG is the first university-driven open-source project aiming at providing a full package for a JTAG/Boundary Scan newcomer including training materials, slides and exercises. The software includes a simulation component that fully reveals every single bit movement along the scan chains with a single TCK precision. The user can directly step-wise control TAP states and observe system’s reaction in a real time as an on-screen simulation. Using PicoTAP controller, all actions can be synchronized on the hardware attached. Such a fine-grain illustration of JTAG test principles has never been possible so far.

  • Cassidy: Lotus founder Mitch Kapor sets his sights on fixing education

    Kapor is a tech icon, for starting Lotus, for cofounding the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for being the first chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, which supports Firefox and other open source projects. He’s a San Francisco-based venture capitalist now and he’s done well for himself.

    But he has always had a wide progressive advocacy streak. Born in Brooklyn, he worked as a rock disc jockey, taught Transcendental Meditation and worked as a mental health counselor before making his name in the tech field.

  • The case for developer driven open source governance

    Disregarding the developer community in developing an open source governance policy is just bad policy. Many times developers are well versed in the issues relating to open source governance: legal risks, IP leakage, security vulnerabilities, etc.

  • Open Source`s Greatest Hits
  • Events

    • LinuxFest Northwest 2011 Report

      The end of April… is LinuxFest Northwest time. This was my 5th year attending and it was their 11th annual conference. As usual, I took my camcorder along and recorded all of the presentations I attended. Oddly no one from the BozemanLUG nor the BillingsLUG were able / interested in going with me so I was all by myself.

  • Web Browsers

    • PhotoFloat — A Web 2.0 Photo Gallery Done Right via Static JSON & Dynamic Javascript

      I don’t really like database driven photo management software, and prefer instead to manage my photos in a good old no-nonsense directory structure. For this reason, I was particularly attracted to Zenphoto as a means of getting my photos online, as it works on directory structures. Unfortunately, Zenphoto is horrible; it’s riddled with bugs, inconstant, a cluttered architecture, and most of all, it’s extremely slow. Every time it runs, it re-scans directories and makes a bazillion SQL calls. The viewer interface is also outdated and clunky, having a different html page for each photo. So I went back to the drawing board and considered how to make things better.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 — a major update

        Mozilla Firefox 4 was released out of beta on March 22 and is a significant update from Firefox 3.6 as it is, apparently, the company’s attempt to stay ahead of the competition that’s nipping at its heels and gain ground on Internet Explorer.

      • Mozilla Firefox 4 Review: A powerful browser in the making

        What’s the big deal about web browsers anyway? They’re only here to make life easier for internet users, right? But those who spend eons of time rambling through the virtual world seem to care a lot judging by comments posted across the web about some browser or the other. We might venture to say that Internet Explorer has always been the most used web browser by default due to the fact that it’s been coming with Microsoft’s Windows OS since forever through a large part of the PC revolution time zone. But there were always going to be cult favorites and when Firefox seemed to rise like a ‘Phoenix’ from the ashes, a lot of people started checking it out. Firefox is the second-in-command when it comes down to browser market share wars at present. Our fresh review of Mozilla Firefox 4 for Windows should give you a better idea of what makes the browser tick for the large number of users who resort in order to access the web.

  • SaaS

  • Healthcare

  • Funding

    • Crypto Currency

      The Internet has left plenty of dead and maimed paper-based institutions in its wake. If Gavin Andresen and his underground cadre of cypherpunks have their way, another archaic slice of pulped tree may be next: the dollar.

      Bitcoin is a grassroots nonprofit project that seeks to fashion a new currency out of little more than cryptography, networking and open-source software, and Andresen is the closest thing the project has to a director. Bitcoin is not, he explains, just a new way to digitally spend dollars, pounds and yen. That’s been tried before. Remember Beenz and Flooz?

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 8 – Released.

      The release of FreeNAS 8 includes major architectural optimizations, a django-driven user interface, and ZFS – lending us some useful features like thin provisioning, periodic snapshots, LDAP and Active Directory authorization along with the most popular platform sharing protocols.

    • FreeNAS 8.1 Roadmap

      In the last 48 hours FreeNAS was downloaded ~43,000 times. That is like 890 downloads an hour, every hour. With stats like that it is no wonder how we’ve gotten so much feedback from the community!

      According to “the cloud” the community needs UPnP, iTunes, DAAP, RSYNC, and Bit Torrent support before they can use FreeNAS 8. This is on our Roadmap for 8.1…

    • PCBSD 20110502
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Introducing Stuffed Baby Gnu
    • FSF announces publication of two new books by Richard Stallman

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has just released in tandem the second edition of its president and founder Richard Stallman’s selected essays, Free Software, Free Society, and his semi-autobiography, Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman and the Free Software Revolution.

    • Righting Wrongs by Re-writing Ebooks

      One key property of printed books is that it is very hard to modify them. Digital books, by contrast, are trivially easy to re-write – provided they are released under a licence that permits that.

      One early enlightened example of a book that does allow such modification is Free as in Freedom, a biography of Richard Stallman that came out around the same time as Rebel Code.

      Although Free as in Freedom was based on extensive interviews with him, Stallman was not entirely happy with certain aspects of it; he has therefore taken advantage of the GNU Free Documentation Licence it was published under in order to offer his own gloss on the text and facts [.pdf]:

      I have aimed to make this edition combine the advantages of my knowledge and Williams’ interviews and outside viewpoint. The reader can judge to what extent I have achieved this.

      I read the published text of the English edition for the first time in 2009 when I was asked to assist in making a French translation of Free as in Freedom. It called for more than small changes. Many facts needed correction, but deeper changes were also needed.

      The first edition overdramatized many events by projecting spurious emotions into them.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Facebook’s HipHop Can Now Build Grimstad

      Announced to the public last year by Facebook was HipHop, an open-source project that transforms PHP code into highly-optimized C++ and then uses the GCC C++ compiler to produce a native system binary. Facebook’s original numbers showed that by using this transformer/compiler on their servers the CPU usage went down by about 50% and they were able to supply around 70% more traffic on existing resources since the PHP code is no longer being dynamically interpreted. Here’s a look at Facebook’s HipHop during some of our first tests.

    • Perl and Python float on open source VMware cloud

      PHP might dominate the web LAMP stack, but ActiveState is taking steps to fluff the two other dynamic languages that put the “P” in LAMP: Python and Perl.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • This Could be Big: Decentralized Web Standard Under Development by W3C

      It just so happens that something like that may now be under development in the most official of venues. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced today the formation of a new Web Real-Time Communications Working Group to define client-side APIs to enable Real-Time Communications in Web browsers, without the need for server-side implementation. The Group is chaired by engineers from Google and Ericsson. It sounds like Opera Unite to me (see video below), but democratized across all browsers. It sounds like it could be a very big deal.

Leftovers

  • Adobe Faces Antitrust Monopoly Class Action

    Adobe Systems bought Macromedia to remove its competitor FreeHand from the professional graphic illustration market, and to force users to switch to Adobe’s more expensive, and inferior, Illustrator software, graphic designers say in a federal antitrust class action.

    The class claims Adobe “has engaged in unlawful, willful acquisition and maintenance of monopoly power in the market for professional vector graphic illustration software.”

    Vector graphic illustration software uses mathematical formulas plotted by the graphic designer.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Are Health Insurers Writing Health Reform Regulations?

      One of the reasons I wanted to return to journalism after a long career as an insurance company PR man was to keep an eye on the implementation of the new health reform law. Many journalists who covered the reform debate have moved on, and some consider the writing of regulations to implement the legislation boring and of little interest to the public.

      But insurance company lobbyists know the media are not paying much attention. And so they are able to influence what the regulations actually look like — and how the law will be enforced — with little scrutiny, much less awareness.

    • Tobacco Companies Secretly Added Appetite Suppressants to Cigarettes

      A recent study of tobacco industry documents reveals that cigarette makers added appetite-suppressing substances to cigarettes and strategized on how to enhance the appetite-suppressing and weight-reducing effects of smoking.

  • Security

    • Sony issue apology after personal details of 100m customers stolen
    • Sony President Apologizes for Breach, Offers Free Identity Theft Protection
    • Sony and “friends” Or transparent damage limitation open letter style?

      The Sony hack has been very well documented and probably one of the few times when I have seen “average users” taking an interest in tech issues. True, this interest may have been merely selfish, but as a testament to the popularity of the PS3 I have had numerous “non-tech” folks engage me in conversation about their lack of PSN access and its ramifications.

      I’ve said on numerous occasions that I think Sony products are excellent and to that, I stand by my view completely, however I am very quick to jump on the shortcomings of others and it would be nothing short of hypocritical should I not do the same for Sony in light of this attack.

      Recently Howard Stringer (Chairman, Chief Executive and President of Sony Corp) posted an open letter on the Playstation blog, giving one of those “update with no update” type responses to the millions of customers who by now are probably very irate at having no PSN for a considerable time.

    • The PSN hack and open source

      I’m one of the people who has recently (perhaps in an excess of caution) cancelled their credit card because of the security breach of the Sony Playstation Network. Now you might wonder what this has to do with open source, but bear with me. Back in 2004 I went to a conference in The Hague about open source in the secondary software sector (meaning industrial sectors where software was a part of their product but not the core offering). One of the companies there was Sony Computer Entertainment. The presenter explained that Sony was a very open source friendly company, and that within the development division in Japan Linux desktops were the norm. The presenter also pointed to the Linux installation kit that Sony had released for their then-current games console the Playstation 2 (PS2), and advised us to look out for more Linux-related tie-ins in future games consoles. True to their word, two years later the Playstation 3 launched with the facility to install Linux in the basic model. True, you could not access most of the consoles advanced hardware via this ‘Other OS’ option, but it was a nice gesture, and generally appreciated by the open source community.

    • Critical hole in the Exim Mail server closed

      A missing format specification in a logging function of the free Mail Transfer Agent Exim has been identified by the developers as offering an attacker a chance to execute arbitrary code on the server. The particular line of code wrote a string directly to the logfile. An attacker could exploit this by adding particular formatting instructions into the DKIM information string in an incoming email which would allow them to inject their own code and run it with the rights of the mail server. Although no exploit is known to exist, the developers believe that an experienced attacker would not find an exploit hard to construct.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Pensioner arrested for feeding pigeons

      Neighbours had complained that the birds were blighting their lives, as hundreds flocked to feed from Monica and Janet McIntosh’s garden in High Harrington, Cumbria.

      The residents claimed they were unable to go outside and that the sky would

    • Drivers to be fined for littering even if they didn’t do it

      Ministers are considering a change in the law that would see motorists issued with £80 fixed penalty notices for littering – whether they are responsible for it or not.

      The change would be inserted into the Localism Bill which is currently progressing through Parliament.

    • Protests in Benton Harbor follow Martial Law Enforcement

      The stripping of all power of the local government in Benton Harbor, Michigan has brought the national spotlight to the tiny town on the shores of Lake Michigan. The first city to be declared in a “financial emergency” by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, CMD reported that Emergency Financial Manager (EFM) Joseph Harris was assigned to the city back in 2010 by then-Governor Jennifer Granholm. But it wasn’t until March of this year that Harris essentially disbanded the local government and boards.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Don’t Be Duped by the Sewage Sludge Industry’s “Compost”

      That company calls its Kellogg brand “quality organics” and deceptively labels bags sold at the garden store as “garden soil” made from “compost” — with no mention which are made from industrial and human waste that contains tens of thousands of contaminants. That’s why federal law bars the use of sewage sludge-based products in organic gardens.

    • “I Never Promised You an Organic Garden”

      She asserted that her organization never claimed the gardens were organic. Then, in the next week, EMA removed the word “organic” from its webpage about its school garden program … but left it in on some pages. (See screenshots here.) EMA referred to the gardens as “organic” in a fundraising form, leading donors to believe they are contributing to organic school gardens. Ironically, in 2003, EMA gave an award to King of the Hill for its episode titled “I Never Promised You an Organic Garden.” Talk about foreshadowing.

  • Finance

    • Blue Cross, Blue Shield Getting Richer, Like Corporate Insurers

      I’ve written frequently in recent weeks about the eye-popping profits the big, publicly-traded health companies have been reporting. Last year — as the number of Americans without health insurance grew to nearly 51 million — the five largest for-profit insurers (Aetna, CIGNA, Humana, UnitedHealth and WellPoint) had combined profits of $11.7 billion.

    • Big Bank Backlash: From Coast to Coast People are Moving their Money

      As the economy continues to sputter and new unemployment claims surge to an eight-month high, it hasn’t escaped the notice of people on Main Street that the folks on Wall Street are back in the black.

      According to Fortune magazine, profits of the 500 largest U.S. corporations have surged 81 percent this past year. Fortune’s editors write, “We’ve rarely seen such a stark gulf between the fortunes of the 500 and those of ordinary Americans.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 60 Plus Association Ads Mislead Public About GOP Budget Plan

      Association, a front group that FireDogLake reported in 2009 is “almost fully funded by the pharmaceutical industry,” started running 60-second radio ads in 30 Congressional districts thanking Republicans for voting for House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which would phase out the current Medicare program completely for those under 55 years of age.

    • Deep pockets behind school choice

      Students First grabbed headlines in 2010 when its political action committee, largely bankrolled by a trio of ideologically driven wealthy Philadelphia-area businessmen — Jeffrey Yass, Joel Greenberg and Arthur Dantchik — poured millions of dollars into the gubernatorial campaign of state Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia. Williams made school choice the cornerstone of his failed bid for the Democratic nomination.

      Williams is a co-author, with Senate Education Committee Chairman Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin, of the vouchers bill now before the Senate.

    • Blackwater (Xe) Hires John Ashcroft as an Ethics Adviser

      Xe, the private security firm formerly known as Blackwater, has hired former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft as an ethics adviser.

    • Another Big Business Win in the U.S. Supreme Court

      Because the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires arbitration agreements be enforced according to their terms, Justice Scalia wrote, state laws that strike down contractual class action bans are preempted. Even though California’s Discover Bank rule applied equally to all contracts, the Court held it did not fall under the FAA exemption permitting non-enforcement “upon such grounds that exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.” Additionally, the Court’s majority held that it not only is impermissible for states to prohibit bans on class action lawsuits, states also cannot prohibit bans on class action arbitrations.

    • Skin Care Company Tries to Get “Newsvertising”

      A skin care company that claims to have a cure for acne, psoriasis, folliculitis and other disorders is contacting Virginia media outlets and offering to pay them $100 for each person who sees the company’s press release and signs up to get treatment. The company asks editors to “consider running our press release as a win-win project.”

  • Censorship

    • AT&T’s broadband data caps start today

      Starting today, AT&T will begin restricting more than 16 million broadband users based on the amount of data they use a month. The number-two carrier’s entry into the broadband cap club means that a majority of American broadband users will now be subject to limits on how much they can do online or risk extra charges as ugly as video store late fees.

      The new limits—150 GB for DSL subscribers and 250 Gigabytes for UVerse users (a mix of fiber and DSL)—come as users are increasingly turning to online video such as Hulu and Netflix on-demand streaming service instead of paying for cable.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Tattoo Artist Claims Copyright Over Mike Tyson’s Tattoo – Sues Warner Bros.

      The Plant Patent Act of 1930 was the first step towards creating property rights for biological innovation: it introduced patent rights for asexually-propagated plants. This paper uses data on plant patents and registrations of new varieties to examine whether the Act encouraged innovation. Nearly half of all plant patents between 1931 and 1970 were for roses. Large commercial nurseries, which began to build mass hybridization programs in the 1940s, accounted for most of these patents, suggesting that the new intellectual property rights may have helped to encourage the development of a commercial rose breeding industry. Data on registrations of newly-created roses, however, yield no evidence of an increase in innovation: less than 20 percent of new roses were patented, European breeders continued to create most new roses, and there was no increase in the number of new varieties per year after 1931.

    • The Rate and Direction of Invention in the British Industrial Revolution: Incentives and Institutions

      During the Industrial Revolution technological progress and innovation became the main drivers of economic growth. But why was Britain the technological leader? We argue that one hitherto little recognized British advantage was the supply of highly skilled, mechanically able craftsmen who were able to adapt, implement, improve, and tweak new technologies and who provided the micro inventions necessary to make macro inventions highly productive and remunerative. Using a sample of 759 of these mechanics and engineers, we study the incentives and institutions that facilitated the high rate of inventive activity during the Industrial Revolution. First, apprenticeship was the dominant form of skill formation. Formal education played only a minor role. Second, many skilled workmen relied on secrecy and first-mover advantages to reap the benefits of their innovations. Over 40 percent of the sample here never took out a patent. Third, skilled workmen in Britain often published their work and engaged in debates over contemporary technological and social questions. In short, they were affected by the Enlightenment culture. Finally, patterns differ for the textile sector; therefore, any inferences from textiles about the whole economy are likely to be misleading.

    • Copyrights

      • Mike Tyson’s Tattooer Sues Warner Bros.

        The tattoo artist who did Mike Tyson’s face claims Warner Bros. “pirated” his work to advertise its movie, “The Hangover 2.” S. Victor Whitmill wants a federal judge to bar Warner Bros. from using the tattoo in its promotions, and damages for copyright infringement.
        Whitmill says he created and applied the tattoo to the upper left side of Tyson’s face on Feb. 10, 2003.

      • LimeWire and Labels Face Off Over Damages

        Attorneys offered competing explanations of how major record labels view file-sharing software as opening arguments kicked off the damages trial against former LimeWire CEO Mark Gorton on Wednesday.

        Industry insiders paint the phenomenon in biblical terms of “Thou shalt not steal.” An attorney for the labels said LimeWire’s operations invited “the biggest theft of music in the history of the world.”

        But Gorton’s defense attorney Joseph Baio claims that, behind closed doors, label execs spoke candidly about how peer-to-peer downloading could benefit their businesses, if they only adapted to changing times and technologies.

Clip of the Day

Unity Without Unity – Ubuntu 10.10


Credit: TinyOgg

Signal Versus Noise

Posted in Site News at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Signal:

Sadler, Battle of Waterloo

Gossip/noise:

William and Kate wedding

Summary: Why Techrights looks at the issues and not the gossip, despite the popularity of the latter

Back in the days of massive growth, some time around 2009, Techrights posted a lot of site news — news which is different in nature from real news that matters. The reason was, the site came under many attacks (not just DDOS) and these attacks needed to be documented and explained for the benefit of others who came under similar attacks. The downside of such posts is that they reduce the signal of the site and therefore they serve those who sought to disrupt the site, In 2010 we posted at a very good pace and covered a lot of areas that needed to be covered.

At this point, having covered so many areas, themes, and different types of spin, there is a good gathering of detailed posts (clustered together) to rebut a lot of the false claims made repeatedly by proprietary software giants. There is usually a link or even a dozen that can be attached to bits of news that are hostile towards GNU/Linux. In order to reduce repetition, we no longer cover some important issues that are somewhat of a deja vu. Instead, sometimes these are added to Daily Links. Concision has its merits*.

In many similar debates, either in IT or totally outside of it, the same situation occurs. Basically, people whose advocacy involves a certain message (or set of related messages) sooner or later realise that there is a lot or repetition and most ground has already been covered. It can be addressed by citation. In fact, even repetition of complete sentences might do. Longtime followers get bored by this however.

Earlier this year we covered a lot of Microsoft news. That was in January. It was a bit of an experiment really, an attempt to see how much Microsoft news there really is if it’s accumulated from a 2.5 months timespan. It was concluded from this two-week experiment that we will be better off covering just new types of stories and not seek more evidence justifying what was already demonstrated thoroughly over the years, it is simply not the ideal use of time.

In order to increase the signal in this site and also to decrease noise (off-topic discussions for example) which embodies repetition we are going to concentrate on the patent issue and also address other threats to software freedom, whoever the offender or victim may be. Despite the shift to multimedia (more audio and video soon). the number of pageviews increased a lot recently, which is an encouraging sign. The IRC channels too have been thriving, ensuring the long-term operation of the site (not just in maintenance mode). We are pleased to have people like Gordon on board. He helps edit some posts, We also have translators.

Wish us luck as we go back to signal. Have a great weekend, everyone!
____
* Uniqueness too. Other sites might prefer to just print every word from Torvalds’ mouth and merely repeat claims that were made in other articles. Here we are willing to acknowledge that software patents, for example, do not receive the backlash they deserve in the corporate press (which belongs to copyright maximalists and thus the same interests/status quo).

Microsoft Has Neutered LinuxTag 2011 (Again)

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

LinuxTag 2011

Summary: The company which is suing and extorting Linux is a participating “Partner” of LinuxTag, just like in previous years

AFTER the deal with Novell Microsoft began paying not only FOSS conferences (usually with Novell as its entry ticket) but also Linux conferences, which has the effect we explained in the context of previous LinuxTag events [1, 2, 3]. Here is the page from which the above screenshot was extracted. We have pretty much covered the issue (Microsoft funding LinuxTag) on a handful of occasions before, so we need not elaborate again. To put it concisely, what we observe here is that Microsoft is still a major “Partner”, buying itself some talks to repel the pro-Linux crowd, thereby helping to distort reality and remove from the event any resistance to attendance by the company which is suing Linux from many directions and lobbying for software patents in Europe.

What were LinuxTag organisers thinking? This actually came to my attention this morning because a reader mailed me, urging me to attend. Basically, I usually attend conferences about my professional field (computer vision) and conferences that are funded by Microsoft are better off not endorsed. Moreover, when Novell invited me to attend Novell conferences (knowing damn well that I was running a site against Novell) I did not see the point. That latter point is still being distorted by Mono maniacs, who claim that I am afraid of attending conferences. They do this to promote the notion of pathological paranoia, which does not exist. Thankfully, the Mono maniacs will need to find something new to obsess over.

Novell by Any Other Name

Posted in Courtroom, Microsoft, Novell, SCO at 11:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stone textures

Summary: TSG is SCO’s new name and Novell falls under the wing of AttachMSFT

HERE at Techrights we have been keeping track of SCO since the very beginning of the site. There is a lot of overlap between Novell and SCO, not just because of their legal battle. But a lesser known or insufficiently explored aspect of the comparison is their relationship to Microsoft. Both companies used to contribute to Linux before turning rogue and their reputations declined very rapidly as a result. It did not really require sites like Groklaw (which ends next week) to make it happen, but such sites did produce evidence and analysis that fueled other sites. In this age of the Internet and the World Wide Web, one site always builds upon the work of others, usually within hours or days. So by showing refutations of the allegations from SCO the company’s critics soon made it a laughing stock and no amount of PR or AstroTurfing could counter that.

There are parallels in Novell’s case. Novell worked hard on marketing the goods and promoting the perception that it was a good “open source” citizen whilst at the same time fulfilling its commitments to Microsoft. Part of Novell’s PR was attacking me personally. I disrupted their reality distortion field. Even now there is this new event that we mentioned last month for the confusing role it serves. It is called the 2011 Future of Open Source Forum and it is influenced by friends of Microsoft and Novell, which will participate despite the fact that Novell is not an open source company, it only pretends to be one, probably for karma.

Groklaw continues to cover Novell’s legal cases, but it probably remains for others to do as the site will cease posting new material. Who is going to gather PDFs from the cases and present them in HTML form? What about public discussion about the court proceedings? If nobody else does it, maybe Techrights Legal will (we need volunteers, so please contact us if you can lend a hand). Now that another round in the Novell vs. Microsoft case is expected, it is clear that nothing is truly over or resolved. What will these cases be renamed? The TSG vs. AttachMSFT case? Yes, SCO is nymshifting again:

Formerly known as. Like they’re a rock star. The et al references SCO Operations, Inc., now to be known as TSG Operations, Inc., which doesn’t make a lot of sense, if you think deeply, but then, this is SCO. I assume that this is because SCO sold the trade name to unXis, and unXis will be selling the software products. I say I assume, because SCO’s filing [PDF] with the court was an APA with many things left blank, including, as far as a quick check indicates, who gets the name SCO. Then again, does anyone want it? Here’s a question. What about the headers on the documents in SCO v. IBM or SCO v. Novell? I mean, exactly who is who going forward? Is anyone going forward? That’s the real question.

The odd thing is, Novell is now Attachmate’s property, so that is changed, and SCO sold its software assets to unXis, but it retained the prior litigation, so that changed, and the lenders appear to be no longer in harmony with SCO or each other, so that’s a change, and so who exactly is SCO nowadays? If SCO is TSG, who is SCO? Nobody? Or is unXis going to call itself unXiSCO like the domain name?

Maybe nobody wants to be called SCO. Maybe it’s like a mobster entering the witness protection program.

Blackwater did the same.

Eulogy for Novell

Posted in Antitrust, Boycott Novell, Microsoft, Novell at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The stone of a memorial

Summary: A look back at the “good Novell” and the “bad Novell”

The company called Novell used to be one of the leaders against — not with — Microsoft. Not only did Novell take Microsoft to battle over antitrust abuses but it also provided alternatives to some of Microsoft’s pillars of lock-in. Back in 2005 Novell was one of my favourite companies. It advertised “Linux’, it manages the release of S.u.S.E., and it fought against SCO at a crucial time. But that was the old Novell. Sooner or later it became clear that Novell was having serious difficulties and the same COO who had complained about Microsoft’s abuses suddenly became the company’s CEO and then shook Steve Ballmer’s hand. Novell did what some professionals do to advance their career by stepping out of the crowd. Novell decided that its alliance with Microsoft would somehow be perceived as a selling point and not the opposite; but boy, were they wrong!

The signing of the Microsoft deal came at a time when Novell had a leading GNU/Linux distribution, even on desktops. There was fierce competition back then. But Novell’s impatience, particularly among the executives and their short-term goals (they work from quarter to quarter, so long hauls are unaccounted for) led a money-grabbing move. In the short term, Microsoft’s cash injections paid off (for both parties). But the damage they did was enormous. To this date, Novell is not seen as a GNU/Linux champion. It is seen as a defector, a betraying company. And that is how it dies — without respect. Ximian dies along with Novell, for the most part.

Microsoft Infiltrator Wants Canonical to Foster Mono as Canonical CTO (Who Opposed Mono) Leaves

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 10:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

Monkey mania

Summary: Mono is not being adopted by Microsoft, but Microsoft staff encourages Canonical to take Mono forward while Ubuntu appears to be having an internal rift

Mono has been dumped, but Microsoft does not want it to die, for obvious reasons. Microsoft would rather see some other companies adopting Mono. If Microsoft had become the sole developer of Mono (it only contributes to part of Mono), it would hamper litigation efforts against Mono users (see quote at the top regarding internal communications within Microsoft).

The shameless Stephen Walli, a Microsoft employee who even in his temporary absence from Microsoft was pushing Microsoft agenda inside the FOSS world [1, 2, 3], misuses his position in IDG’s pseudo-open source blog (IDG is one of the main pushers of the spin that Microsoft is pro-open source). Rather than bring Mono into Microsoft’s repositories [1, 2] he suggests that Canonical should spend its money (and effort) advancing the use of C# and Microsoft APIs. To quote the relevant part:

A more interesting future for Mono, and one that would give it a fresh start would be for Canonical to step in and grab the initiative. Canonical remains the rising star of the Linux world. They have Mono experience. It would help drive a standardized cross-platform application development message for both Ubuntu servers and Ubuntu platform-in-the-cloud. The strength of the Canonical desktop adds additional interesting edges for cross-platform app dev messaging.

Microsoft would love it if Canonical became Novell 2.0 and signed a patent deal. But Mark Shuttleworth reportedly rejected a Novell-like deal after he was approached by Microsoft. There are still reasons for concern [1, 2]. Mono is better off dead and projects based on it replaced in future releases of Ubuntu (Banshee for starters, as it is definitely ripe for attracting a Microsoft lawsuit and it is own by the now-dead Novell). Mono is often coming from OpenSUSE, where Mono applications like Banshee are typically used first. Red Hat wants nothing to do with Mono. It’s rather funny that all Novell can do is copy Microsoft and also ‘SUSEwash’ other companies’ products. Here is a new article about Novell’s ripoff of Red Hat software (not the only example):

Novell’s new Spacewalk-based SUSE Manager 1.2 deserves points for its support of both SUSE and Red Hat enterprise Linux flavors, says this eWEEK review. But, author Jason Brooks adds, while the server management tool makes sense for users coming from a Linux perspective, it suffers from some configuration hiccups, due in part to the challenge of integrating two different distributions.

At this point, Canonical needs people who can resist Mono lobbying. One such person was the company’s CTO, who opposes Mono not for ideological reasons alone. Sadly though, shortly after Neil Levine, the Fog Computing chief at Canonical, actually left, so did this clever CTO, who had come from Debian. Yes, Matt Zimmerman is leaving Canonical [1, 2, 3, 4]. As one article put it, he decided to go back to a more freedom-oriented place. To use his own words, “the time is right for me to move on from this role, where I enjoy so much support from my colleagues, and take a risk on something new.”

Well, he will step down in June. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols wrote: “He seems to have every faith that Ubuntu will continue to do well in the future.”

A reader has just alerted us about “Mono trolls and astroturfers over on Ubuntu” (many incorrect claims there) in light of the monocalypse and the end of Novell*, which the company’s PR department spins as a “merger” (all it can do is advertise). As one reporter put it:

Despite this assurance, the statement suggested the possibility that the Mono project, which makes an open source Microsoft .NET clone called Mono and a Silverlight clone called Moonlight, might be sharply reduced or shut down entirely.

Good riddance. We celebrate the end of the project’s funding, not the layoffs. Nobody deserves layoffs except parts of Novell’s greedy management, which is responsible for arranging the suicidal deal with Microsoft in the first place. The management got many bonuses since then, whereas workers beneath received pink slips. How is that “fair”?
____
* It is actually fascinating to see how different groups perceive the end of Novell and how OpenSUSE stays positive, with future events planned [1, 2] and a symbolic announcement regarding power outage at exactly the right time. They are burying bad news about the layoffs by writing about volunteers. To quote: “A big kudos to all our ambassadors who are working very hard to let the world know about openSUSE! They have been organizing events, speaking to people and writing about the awesomeness of openSUSE Project. Below are a few events that were openSUSE boosted in the last few days by our ambassadors. We probably still missed some as it can be hard to track everything that’s going on!” An OpenSUSE community which is totally independent from Novell/AttachMSFT is necessary right now. We’re not there yet.

Microsoft’s Mole at Nokia Harmed People and Harmed Free Software, Microsoft Moles at Juniper Put Internet Users at Risk

Posted in Free/Libre Software, KDE, Microsoft at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Working hard

Summary: People are losing their jobs and computer users are left vulnerable to attacks because of Microsoft

A few days ago we explained that just like Richard Belluzzo, Microsoft's Elop is at Nokia just to give Microsoft the company's car keys. Despite all the spin, Nokia is letting itself be acquired by Microsoft at almost no cost and this is bound to harm European workers for the most part. That’s what Microsoft does, and it does it very effectively.

The FSFE’s founder, Georg Greve, is one whose business depends on some Nokia-owned work that it offloaded or neglected (for the time being Qt will live). He writes:

Elop to leave Nokia in 2012? That must be some kind of record for most damage done to major business in shortest time. http://is.gd/7yRqjU

This has really hurt KDE/Qt, as we predicted even back when Nokia got Trolltech. This latest corruption by a Microsoft mole is bound to damage the Finnish economy and to anybody who says that Microsoft creates job or adds something to the economy, look no further than Nokia to see the very opposite. Microsoft has put many companies and many people/families out of a job just so that its billionaires can become richer (from the destruction of others). The question is, which will be Microsoft’s next victim? We already saw Yahoo! and Novell (and countless others before that, e.g. Corel) totally exploited and left naked by Microsoft. A few years ago we showed that Microsoft had begun Juniper entryism as well. It put many executives in there, including the CEO’s position. Now, watch this report titled “Microsoft and Juniper warned of dangerous IPv6 hole”. It says:

Security experts are urging Microsoft and Juniper to patch a year old IPv6 vulnerability so dangerous it can freeze any Windows machine on a LAN in a matter of minutes.

Microsoft has downplayed the risk because the hole requires a physical connection to the wired LAN. Juniper says it has delayed a patch because the hole only affects a small number of its products, and it wants the IETF to fix the protocol instead.

As Mr. Pogson points out:

This is yet another example of M$ caring about licensing fees and not service. Use GNU/Linux. The problem has already been fixed in Linux.

As companies keep leaving Windows and are also leaving the #1 cash cow of the monopoly (Office), expect Microsoft to cut corners, distort the market (e.g. antitrust complaints by proxy, patent litigation by proxy), attack competitors, change laws by lobbying, and bribe for lucrative contracts (like in the case of OOXML). Office sales declined and so have Windows sales. When will Microsoft repay its debt? Right now it is passing all the costs and the risk to other companies such as Nokia. This has got to stop.

How Red Hat Gets Extorted by Microsoft and Its Patent Trolls

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat at 4:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat headquarters

Summary: Why Red Hat is already harmed by Microsoft’s software patents strategy, which is a scheme that distorts the market where GNU/Linux is gradually winning everything

A FEW days ago we explained that Red Hat was still being extorted by patent trolls with links going back to Microsoft. Over at TechDirt, Mike Masnick explains that Red Hat should not pay those patent trolls. “I certainly understand the reasoning,” he writes. “And I definitely understand the short-term cost-benefit analysis. If you can pay off the patent holder for less than it’ll take to fight the case, even if you win, that seems like a good deal. Except… in the long run, this may be penny-wise and pound-foolish, because as you build up the reputation as a company who will fold as long as the settlement demands are under a certain level, then all you do is encourage more trolling behavior, leading to more new lawsuits with more patent holders demanding a handout.

“Again, I can certainly understand the basic reasoning for settling, and can’t really begrudge any company that decides to settle to avoid a lawsuit, but it is a little disappointing that this just perpetuates the problem.”

Over at TechEye, an author has this to say:

His view is that software patents shouldn’t even exist because they impede innovation. Whitehurst also thinks that the court system is not properly equipped to handle patent disputes.

Whitehurst said that most of the patent trolling happens in courts in the Eastern District of Texas, generally with a jury that has not completed college and are not technologically savvy enough to work out if a patent is valid or not.

After all, this a part of the US where opposable thumbs are considered innovation and its residents are being asked to understand stuff that a PHD can’t get, he implied.

Most of the patent suits filed against Red Hat relate to middleware, which is esoteric at the best of times. Whitehurst said.

Another method for extorting Red Hat comes more directly from Microsoft, which is receiving patent payments from some of Red Hat’s large customers. For instance, Amazon pays Microsoft for Red Hat, which in turn happily flaunts its relationship with Red Hat these days in Red Hat’s event. This whole strategy is working out for Microsoft and Microsoft Florian is currently playing the role of shameless fan for anti-Linux and anti-Android cases like Oracle’s. He is leaning on journalists to warp their coverage of these issues and normalise Microsoft’s racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], as though it is only fair and just. Florian is a very good liar and he spends a lot of time distorting reality (or spinning) in sites such as LWN, which are learning to treat him like a troll.

“Another method for extorting Red Hat comes more directly from Microsoft, which is receiving patent payments from some of Red Hat’s large customers.”LWN warns about “victory for the trolls” in reference to one who previously worked for (and was paid by) Microsoft and now attacks Linux with software patents. People tend to forget that the world’s largest patent troll came from Microsoft and was funded by Microsoft. We are talking about abominations like Intellectual Ventures, which is sort of imitated based on this essay from a former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. He writes about “Facebook for Patents”, which is his term for referring to this: “In what is akin to a “Facebook for Patents” — a company named Article One Partners, which received the Silicon Alley Tech Startup of the Year prize, offers compensation to researchers from 176 countries to strengthen patents, reduce the risk of infringement assertions by competitors, and improve patent quality.”

They strive to “strengthen patents,” eh? We’ve heard it all before. This whole piece from the Huff & Puff is patent propaganda.

“#BPAI decision involving the definition of GPU in #patent claim,” writes Rachael Vaughn, who links to Karen G. Hazzah’s report which she titled “BPAI criticizes Applicant’s claim term definition because the definition gave examples”

Takeaway: The Applicant in Ex parte Brunner offered evidence of the meaning of “graphics processing unit,” in the form of an IEEE article “GPU Computing.” The BPAI found that the article did not provide a definition of the term, and instead described examples of GPUs. The Board adopted the Examiner’s broader interpretation of GPU: “any processing unit that carries out graphical operations, such as outputting display data to a display device.”

The solution to this is to push for elimination of all software patents, be they related to hardware or not (that’s the loophole for spreading software patents in the EU and NZ). There is no room for monopolies on mathematics as this devastates science and technology as a whole.

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