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05.25.11

European Commission Should Also Fine Microsoft for Using Skype to Further Harm Interoperability

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Money rules the world

Summary: Microsoft already ruins interoperability between Skype and other software (which is based on Free/open source software) and this comes amidst important hearings and fines in Europe

Skype never used standard protocols, but there were at least some links one might call “interoperability” and there was cross-platform support, even if it was poor. Speaking for myself, Skype never worked for me as webcams that worked perfectly using SIP clients simply failed in Skype. The program was necessary because of the network effect, which meant that many people would not be contactable through any program other than Skype. Techrights prefers SIP and Free software.

Well, guess what? Microsoft already uses Skype to shaft GNU/Linux and Free software users on the face of it. “Microsoft kills Skype for Asterisk,” informed us one reader (in IRC). “Need to get the word out that SIP clients can talk to each other, not just to the same model.”

He adds that “people that were advocating FOSS skype clients have been shown that option is dead. SIP is the way forward for softphones” (I personally have a SIP phone connected to my hub at home).

“Just two short weeks after assuring us Skype was safe in their hands, Microsoft seems intent on cutting its link with Linux.”
      –Simon Phipps
Mr. Phipps from the OSI writes: Just two short weeks after assuring us Skype was safe in their hands, Microsoft seems intent on cutting its link with Linux.”

He continues: “Having suspended disbelief for as long as I could, my ability to take Microsoft at their word over Skype was shattered yesterday on hearing the announcement by Digium, sponsors of the widely-used Asterisk VoIP project, that they have been told they can no longer sell their Asterisk-Skype interaction module after July 26. That means it will become impossible for this VoIP PBX to connect to Skype.”

Will the OSI help complain like it did regarding CPTN? Maybe it ought to.

So anyway, why is this important? At this very moment Microsoft is under fire in Europe for stifling interoperability. This cannot help Microsoft’s case, can it? In fact, regarding the hearing which the FSFE mentioned and we wrote about yesterday, here is the summary from the FSFE. It is titled “FSFE in Samba case: Microsoft’s defiance backfired” and it says:

The problems date back to the Commission’s 2004 decision that Microsoft should release interoperability information. After that, the company played for time and waited three years to comply with the Commission’s demands. Explaining the significance of Samba for a competitive software market, Chamber President Forwood said: “Samba is the funnel through which the effects on the market will be produced.”

Microsoft contended that the information it had to provide was valuable and innovative, and originally sought to charge high prices for it. Tridgell demonstrated that the valuable information had already been revealed by Microsoft in research papers and other public fora. By contrast, the information that Samba team needed to interoperate with computers running Microsoft Windows was neither original nor innovative.

“Microsoft didn’t keep this information secret because it was valuable; the information was only valuable because it was kept secret,” Piana told the Court on behalf of FSFE. He said it let Microsoft preserve its dominant position, because no other software was able to talk to the company’s systems. “The company used these three years to further entrench its dominant position in the market.”

“Microsoft is acting like a gambler who doubled up on a losing bet, and now wants his money back,” said Nicholas Kahn, the representative of the European Commission. By waiting three years before complying with the Commission’s decision while the clock on the fine was ticking, Microsoft set the stakes very high – and finally lost.

“In this case, Europe’s competition regulators have shown their bite. We hope that the court will uphold the fine and make it clear that companies in Europe have to play by the rules,” said Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. “FSFE does many things to help foster the growth of Free Software. We’re proud to help make the case for Free Software in a forum such as this, where we believe we are providing a public service.”

There are also some news reports about it [1, 2]:

The world’s largest software company told judges at an appeal hearing today that the 2008 European Commission fine was “especially unfair” because the regulator failed to give it sufficient guidance to avoid the fine. The court should annul the “unnecessary, unlawful and totally disproportionate penalty,” Microsoft lawyer Jean-Francois Bellis told the court.

Microsoft is the only company in more than 50 years of EU competition policy to be penalized for failing to comply with an order. Today’s case is the last remnant of years of disputes with the commission that resulted in fines totaling 1.68 billion euros. Microsoft agreed to a settlement in 2009 in a bid to repair the company’s uneasy relationship with the EU regulator.

Groklaw thinks it is “[r]ather sad if a company’s goal is to establish it isn’t “as bad” as you thought. Here’s Microsoft’s appeal.” Well, Microsoft thinks it is above the law and it uses PR to try and brainwash the public and daemonise those who penalise for true crimes. It’s all propaganda, just like the current propaganda about Vista 8. As Renai LeMay put it, “it’s too soon, Microsoft”. To quote:

To most consumers, Windows 8 will likely look and feel pretty similar to Windows 7, which in turn looked much like Windows Vista.

Exactly. And this is why we call it Vista 8. Imaginary hardware features is all it has (or doesn't have). But going back to the original point, Microsoft is lying about interoperability. Microsoft is not playing nice, it is just trying to dodge fines.

Funding Behind Xamarin is Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza; Fresh Concerns About Attachmate

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Why the Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that bought Novell and let Microsoft have Novell’s patents is not giving up on Mono entirely

SO there is this company we call Trojarin, which despite apparent issues with trademarks and other monopolies, is hoping to keep Mono alive [1, 2, 3]. It recently turned out that part of the capital was from Miguel. No surprise there. Simon Phipps (OSI) writes: “I’d heard Miguel was looking for funding to do this…”

Well, it is interesting to note that AttachMSFT, despite its close relationship with Microsoft, decided to axe Mono and maybe to oust Miguel (unless he decided to leave of his own accord). Timothy Prickett Morgan explains that not many managers from Novell have remained, as we recently showed:

On the Novell front, Attachmate has moved the company’s headquarters from Boston, where it was relocated a decade ago after Novell acquired Cambridge Technology Partners, back to its stomping grounds of Provo, Utah. Bob Flynn, another long-time Attachmate exec who joined the company back in 1998 and who did 17 years before that managing large accounts at IBM, has been named president and general manager of the Novell unit. David Wilkes, who has been with Novell since 1991 and who spearheaded the development of the later releases of NetWare and the Open Enterprise Server hybrid, which runs NetWare services atop a SUSE Linux kernel, has been named vice president of engineering at Novell.

We previously wrote about the role of Brauckmann in SUSE. We quoted an article where he says that “Mono is part of the SUSE Linux business [...] So what you saw happening in the last few weeks is we were starting to adjust our investments in Mono to be better aligned with our business [...] Unfortunately that resulted in some layoffs.”

Groklaw quotes this and asks: “Does that even make sense?” It has also found this new article which shows AttachMSFT playing hardball: “Software vendor Attachmate has accused the Department of Defence of using its software outside agreed license terms by uploading it onto a shared network.”

Why should anyone trust AttachMSFT, whose CEO was arrested for slaying animals with firearms? As we explained yesterday, the future for OpenSUSE under AttachMSFT does not seem bright. Recently, OpenSUSE decided to add Unity as well. Enough said.

Bison killer
Report about the CEO of AttachMSFT. This has shades of Microsoft’s Joachim Kempin, who shot dead animals and got charged (the Microsoft-influenced MSNBC tried to cover that up)

ES: El Software es Matemáticas

Posted in Patents at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Block diagram
Diagrama de bloquesRepresentación del marco para la detección y clasificación de datos 3-D, tales como caras o los órganos internos, así como la evaluación comparativa

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: Personal análisis del por qué el software es una simbiosis de las matemáticas

Este artículo es un breve resumen de algo que he estado trabajando en (el código fuente será cargado en una fecha posterior cuando lo ponga en orden). La figura en la parte superior muestra al detalle nuestro marco actual, que básicamente representa un programa como un conjunto de cajas negras. Cada caja sólo realiza operaciones matemáticas con matrices volumétricas. Es, simplemente matemáticas. También se puede especificar con más precisión usando ecuaciones (sin necesidad de explicación mediante código o pseudo-código). En aras de la simplicidad, el diagrama de bloques contiene sólo los componentes básicos que se utilizan, independientemente del enfoque de pruebas. Los cargadores de archivos, por ejemplo, se muestran por separado. Trabajan muy bien y elegantemente pueden cargar conjuntos de datos basado en un selector de datos. Con la excepción de los conjuntos de prueba que son pequeños (restos de depuración), hay seis familias de los datos, algunos agrupados en pares, algunos agrupados por formación y destino, algunas nuestro laboratorio, los datos oficiales administrativos de forma aislada, otros para los datos FRGC (Gran Desafío de Reconocimiento de Caras) del NIST (Instituto Nacional de Normas y Tecnología)). También hay coincidencias correctas e incorrectas de forma aislada. Estos simplificar el trazado de las curvas ROC (Característica de Funcionamiento del Receptor) de una manera simplificada en gran medida. El objetivo del programa es poner a prueba nuevas métricas que se pueden utilizar para analizar cualquier cosa elástica como el tejido. Tiene usos en el análisis cardíaco, el cerebro, e incluso caras (he tratado con cada uno de estos tipos de datos). Para cuantiles grandes volúmenes de datos en 3-D, 70 GB de datos de cara se usan.

La parte de investigación sobre la nariz puede también ser tratada como un componente que proporciona la forma de orientación o segmentación (puede ser una cara o un órgano interno que queremos para modelar y realizar un diagnóstico en binario). Dependiendo de los conjuntos de datos, se utilizan diferentes métodos. Comúnmente, los datos FRGC son mejor interpretados por encontrar el punto más cercano, con excepción de ruido. Para los datos del laboratorio, , es preferible elegir el punto más cercano dentro de una región determinada (generalmente alrededor del centro, sin ponderación/puntuación basado en la ubicación a pesar de que también funcionaría). Esto también se puede usando IPC, como se describe más adelante (valores heredados de otra caja o módulo) o un enfoque Viola-Jones con la cara de plantillas para la formación, aunque estan sólo parcialmente implementadas hasta el momento. Esfera intersección con el plano, según Mian et al. (Con regulador independiente para radio), es otra opción existente, pero no parece superar a los métodos más simples, que trabajan la mayor parte del tiempo dado algunos límites razonables (por ejemplo, límites de esquivar la región del cabello).

Una vez identificada la punta de la nariz correctamente, estamos cosechando lo que queda para aislar las zonas rígidas. Es muy personalizable. Varios métodos de separación y los tipos límite como el círculo, elipsoide, y el rectángulo se han probado, en donde el círculo es el más comúnmente usado ya que funciona en conjunción con máscaras binarias. Estos vienen con muchos controles deslizantes y las medidas de uso en X e Y para estimar las distancias físicas reales y factorizar unidades de espacio en píxeles, por consiguiente. También hay un control deslizante para ajustar el manual adicional. Y aún así, todos ellos son matemáticas.

Hay algunos otros trozos de operación que son dignas de mención; dejado fuera el diagrama con el fin de reducir el desorden hay alisadores, removedores de agujeros, eliminadores de afloramiento, y el redondeo de los valores, los cuales son opcionales y dependen en gran medida los datos a mano y cómo debe ser tratados. Por ejemplo, los datos FRGC casi no requiere ningún suavizamiento. Los datos del laboratorio tiene las compensaciones que deben ser manejados de forma sistemática en función del número de la imagen. De hecho, ambos conjuntos de datos necesita una gran cantidad de ramas/bifurcación en el código como su manejo e incluso su tamaño varía (el programa está diseñado para manejar cualquier lado de la imagen con cualquier relación de aspecto, pero para que sub-regiones sean definidas utiliza absoluta y no relativa coordinadas entradas).

Entonces llegamos a la parte clave, que en realidad hace más que contribuir a las medidas de similitud. ICP (Puntos Iterativos Más Cercanos) es muy importante en el caso que la alineación inicial de la nariz se considera incorrecta o las caras inclinadas son. En la práctica, suponiendo que las caras son de carácter prospectivo y no inclinadas ni a los lados o el fondo de arriba, el ICP no debe cambiar mucho. Los métodos ya disponibles son el método Mian de principios de la IPC, el Mian método IPC más reciente, el Raviv método de IPC de principios de 2008, y el Raviv/Rosman método ICP de los últimos meses o años. El programa opcionalmente aplica la traducción y opcionalmente aplica la rotación también. En muchos casos esto no es necesario ya que la IPC apenas modifica algo sustancial.

La parte del modelo no está incluido en el diagrama, ya que hay muchas cosas diferentes se puede hacer con un modelo. PCA (Principal Componente Analysis), construcción de modelos, la evaluación del modelo, cargadores de archivo para modelos (cerca de 2 gigabytes para algunos), además de medidas más básicos sobre los que se aplica la evaluación, son básicamente, todo tipo de comparación que producen un valor para cada par, a continuación, proceder a el trazado de las curvas de ROC (en su mayoría automática siguiendo el diseño experimental).

Todo lo anterior es sólo matemáticas. Todo puede ser descrita mediante ecuaciones. Patentar tales cosas, sería reclamar un monopolio de las ecuaciones, lo que significa el monopolio cubre una amplia gama (incluso infinita) de las implementaciones. ¿Cómo puede alguien defender el argumento de que el software no es matemáticas? ¿O que, el software “innovativo” es de alguna manera la excepción? Si las ecuaciones ya son muchas patentadas, ¿cómo se supone que uno haga código “seguro”? ¿Cómo pueden los métodos existentes mejorar sin una violación?

Notas del Traductor:
Un par de links que podrán ayudar a nuestros lectores Hispanos a encontrar mayor información:
http://www.face-rec.org/algorithms/
http://www.nist.gov/index.html

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

Gates Monitor: January 2011 on Dubious Investments (Patents)

Posted in Bill Gates, Intellectual Monopoly at 4:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mortgage money

Summary: Articles and posts from around January, in particular ones that cover Gates’ patent-encumbered investments/lobbying

YESTERDAY we explained the purpose of these posts, which are an ongoing investigation of the activities of the Gates Foundation. It mortgages the future of many poor people whom it makes dependent on patents of Western enterprises. Today we share some news links from back in January (we may revisit January at a later stage again). The excerpts contain just key parts of the whole and hopefully they make it self explanatory.

Is Bill Gates a green hypocrite?

It’s a fairly surprising and — dare we say — hypocritical move for Gates, considering that he’s been a vocal champion of green energy in the past. He’s chairman of the board of alternative energy advocacy group American Energy Innovation Council, which includes business leaders like GE’s Jeffrey Immelt and Xerox’s Ursula Burns.

“The innovation that would be the most important for the world is a way of generating electricity that’s less than half as expensive as the way we do it today but has no bad environmental effects, and, in particular, emits no CO2,” Gates says (italics mine) in an AEIC video embedded below. I’ve reached out to the AEIC for comment, but haven’t heard back.

In fact, the AEIC’s recommendations includes a call for the U.S. to invest $16 billion a year in innovative energy research and development, even hinting that the U.S. spends too much money — $16 billion every 16 days — overseas for oil.

Gates is also an investor in cleantech venture capitalist Vinod Khosla’s green fund. He has backed biofuels company Sapphire Energy, nuclear plant designer TerraPower, low-emissions car motors startup EcoMotor, and Pacific Ethanol. And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters was designed as a green building, with a roof that doubles as a natural habitat for birds and is sustained via rainwater.

To plant or not to plant? The debate over GM seeds

The new maize trials will not be run directly by Monsanto, but will instead be conducted by a company called Africa Agricultural Technology Foundation, which receives its funding from Monsanto – and notably, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates, Monsanto, and Monopoly: Foundation Keeps Wealth in the Club

So, does the Gates Foundation try to end oil-based agriculture and pharmaceuticals and industrial food? No, of course not. Its goal has nothing to do with the betterment of humanity and the earth.

Take a look at the sources of talent Gates’ Foundation pulls from, and then compare that with where its greatest financial support goes. The financial interests of the people associated with the Foundation and the interests of the agencies and corporations it supports, whether directly or indirectly, coincide. The Foundation has placed huge investments in the places that will return profits to the people and corporations with which it’s associated.

Rather than trying to stop land-destroying agricultural practices, like McDonald’s destruction of productive agricultural and rainforest land for cattle and Monsanto’s health and soil destroying GMOs, they are either ignored or supported. The ability of small-scale farmers to continue to produce crops is being destroyed by these practices, so the welfare and way of life of masses of people is being destroyed. The Foundation’s response is to push the products that cause it. Vaccinations are being pushed on the world’s poorest children in Africa, rather than trying to promote genuine health through access to good food, water, and shelter—but this helps bring profits to Big Pharma, with whom the Gates Foundation has strong associations. All of these practices are profitable for the petroleum industry, and the Gates Foundation is a big holder in ExxonMobil.

The Gates Foundation supports some of the most destructive practices in the world and associates with some of the worst corporations. The future of the world—the environment, wildlife, and humans—is at risk from all of the Gates Foundation’s major financial associations. The Gates Foundation supports them, and ultimately stands to profit from them.

The Gates Foundation is intimately tied to the oil industry and the industries most intimately tied to it: pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, and the prepared food industry. To the detriment of the entire world, the Foundation promotes those industries in its so-called philanthropic activities. In the end, the primary beneficiaries of the Gates Foundation appear to be members of the Wealthiest People in the World Club.

Infected mosquitoes ready to deliver curse to dengue fever

MOSQUITOES bearing bacteria will be let loose around Cairns today as part of a trial to rid the area of the insects that carry dengue fever.

[...]

“The project took off when we received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,” said Professor O’Neill

Experts question PATH’s claims of success against malaria in Zambia

Here’s a good story from Sandi Doughton of the Seattle Times describing Campbell’s struggle to get this program launched. He’s had some help from the Gates Foundation, which has put $35 million into the effort.

Campbell said there’s no question Zambia has made a significant dent in malaria illness and mortality. Official estimates say they have cut child deaths from malaria by 20-30 percent, as reported in 2007 and 2008. Others say much the same thing, calling Zambia one of Africa’s best examples for the massive global effort to combat the parasitic disease by distributing millions of bed nets, spraying homes with insecticides and so on.

Too important to fail – the Gates Foundation takes on polio in India (see this from last year)

The failed polio eradication efforts in India twelve years ago have not been sufficiently analysed or explained. See the attached. Where is the potential failure in Bill’s cartoon?

Is the Gates Foundation gliding to ‘success’ on the coat-tails of past efforts? Or are they headed for their first serious failure? A failure that can be measured in lives lost and children crippled.

Pablo Eisenberg: Unintended Consequences of Giving Pledge’s Good Intentions

So for some of us it was surprising to note the enthusiastic and unquestioning response to the recent announcement that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett were launching an initiative to have billionaires around the world pledge to give more than 50% of their fortunes in their lifetimes to philanthropy. What a wonderful thing to do, crowed many foundation and charity leaders. It would spur an immediate outpouring of new resources to a financially starved nonprofit sector, they said, encouraging new commitments from their wealthy friends and admirers.

The media, which has always treated the Gates’, Buffett, Soros and other billionaire philanthropists with kid gloves, never thought to ask about what this new money would support, or how it would do so. The substance of the issue was lost on reporters and commentators who could only focus on the new dollars that might pour into nonprofit cash registers. They never questioned whether the prospective, phenomenal growth of mega foundations, some possibly larger than Gates, might be a dangerous development for American democracy. They never asked whether these new funds would be publicly accountable, or merely managed, as with the Gates Foundation, by two or three family members, without any public discussion or political process.

[...]

This is not the effect that either the Gateses or Buffett wanted for their well intended initiative. There is still time for them to repair some of the expected damage. They could strongly propose that their wealthy colleagues who take the pledge target a portion of their money — say a minimum of 25% to 50% — for disadvantaged groups and their nonprofit organizations. And they should publicly recognize that the failure to alter past patterns of giving by their “pledgees” will result in a civil society less vital and fair than it has been in the past.

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