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Links 26/5/2011: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7, Linux Mint 11 “Katya”

Posted in News Roundup at 8:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • In depth: Raspberry Pi, the computer on a stick

    Raspberry Pi, the computer on a stick Tiny £15 computer aims to inspire UK kids. Developing world e

    Raspberry Pi is a tiny ARM-based single board computer that enables a TV to run Linux and scripting languages such as Python.

    Designed by Cambridge business men and academics to engage children with computer science and thereby improve the skills pool from which they draw employees and undergraduates, it is causing a stir in the developing world.

    “In 1996, the average skill set of someone entering university was a couple of machine code languages and some hardware hacking experience. Now if we have someone that has written a web page we are lucky,” former University of Cambridge lecture Dr Eben Upton told Electronics Weekly.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • IBM, HP demonstrate fidelity problem with ‘open’ virtualization; KVM? Really?

      May 19, 2011, 12:00 AM — IBM, HP, Intel and a host of smallish Linux vendors have launched a brave new group called the Open Virtualization Alliance dedicated to creating an open standard in server virtualization for the enterprise.

      The OVA seems to be made up of two main groups, neither one of which is really interested in the purpose for which OVA was ostensibly formed.

      The first is Red Hat, Novell and Eucalyptus Systems – Linux vendors transparently hoping a big consortium will help expand the Linux-specific virtualization market enough to make them popular again.

    • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7 adds OpenSCAP

      With all the excitement his past week around Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.1 last week, it’s important to remember that most RHEL users are still likely on RHEL 5.

      RHEL 5 debuted in March of 2007 and has been updated with 6 incremental updates over the last four years. The last major update, RHEL 5.6 came out in January of 2011.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Why it’s time for Linux 3.0
    • Graphics Stack

      • Northern Islands & Fermi Busted On Open-Source

        Even with the likely release of the Linux 3.0 kernel, open-source graphics drivers continue to be a big problem for the Linux desktop. While they have improved a lot in recent years, for many Linux users they can cause horrific headaches. Recently it was mentioned on Phoronix that Intel Sandy Bridge is in bad shape for Ubuntu 11.04 and that it even broke upstream in Linux 2.6.39, but Intel’s far from being the only driver experiencing a choppy boat ride.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KAlarm – A Handy App that Gets Little Attention

        There are a few applications that are so handy as to be almost indispensable and yet seem to get very little attention. Some applications are written of time and time again. But I’ve seen very little on KAlarm. Perhaps it’s because KOrganizer Reminder Daemon is integrated into KDE PIM and seems rather full-featured. But whatever the reason, I personally use KAlarm for my reminders.

        I use KAlarm quite a bit because I don’t have a hard-fast 9 to 5 schedule. So when I make an appointment it can be difficult to remember. That’s where KAlarm comes in.

      • In Search Of Enterprise Organizations Utilizing KDE

        Does your business or non-profit use KDE Software somewhere through the technology chain? We are currently looking for for-profit and non-profit companies that utilize KDE in any capacity in order to start to compile a list of who these organizations are, as well as to provide a web portal where resources and information can be aggregated and shared and successes and challenges brought to light.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15 LXDE Screenshots

          Download Fedora 15 here. I am a new fan of the LXDE environment and had to try Fedora’s version. Earlier this month, Lubuntu was officially recognized as part of the Ubuntu family and slated for an official Canonical release come verison 11.10. The only real annoyance with LXDE is that the left and right mouse button settings do not seem to keep when you switch back and forth. Otherwise, I love the low system utilization and the lack of programs installed. But, there are just enough to get the job done without any fluff. What do you think?

        • Good times with Fedora Linux upgrades

          Fedora is a unique Linux distribution in that every 6 months a new version is released. And for those that are not aware, Fedora is sponsored by Red Hat, and is basically the beta or cutting edge version that is versions ahead of the more stable and established Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). Think of Fedora as the testing grounds for RHEL.

          I’ve used Fedora for years, basically because I’ve used Red Hat Linux since the late 1990′s, and I’ve always loved the fact that Red Hat stands behind its products. And Fedora is no exception. But, upgrading entire system every 6 months seems extreme when used on an everyday PC. Or is it?

        • Fedora 15 & GNOME 3.0 First Impressions

          After I posted our news item of Fedora 15′s release, I got restless. I had to install it. It’s been a long time since I last used the distro for something other than a quick test, so I figure I’m long overdue for a return. And because I haven’t given GNOME 3.0 a single test since its release, how could I pass up killing two birds with one stone?

          The last time I installed a Fedora release, there was no GUI installer, so to see one here was a nice surprise. For the most part, those experienced with Linux will have no problem with the installation process, while those not too familiar with it might spend a little more time perusing the options. If there was one minor niggle I could mention, it’d be the network configuration. Whether wireless or wired, it’s not intuitive to setup, and until you proceed to the software portion of the installer, you won’t even know if a connection is active.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian announces Chinese Mirror

        The Debian project is proud to announce the availability of a new primary mirror in mainland China. The new mirror, ftp.cn.debian.org, will significantly reduce network latency to the Debian software repositories and help to raise Debian’s profile in China, and is accessible via IPv6 as well as via IPv4. Besides Debian’s package archive, the mirror also offers Debian’s CD and DVD images as well as the backports archive, and for users of Debian’s oldstable release (“Lenny”), the Debian volatile archive.

      • Debian 6.0: Fat, Fatter, Slim

        A few days ago I mentioned Conky, the desktop system resource monitor. I’d been meaning to install this for some time, and did so after my upgrade to Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”. And I was immediately alarmed to see that with only my web browser and email client open, I was using over 450 MB of RAM!

        Now, partly this is due to my preferred web browser, Opera. Once upon a time Opera was lean and mean, but after my recent upgrade to Opera 11, I’ve noticed it’s become quite the memory hog, typically using between 100 and 200 MB of RAM. But still, that didn’t explain it all.

      • Has Debian 6 ended my distro-hopping madness?

        With the release of Fedora 15 and all the surrounding talk concerning Gnome (S)hell, I thought now would be a good time to remind myself of what I would miss if I were to switch to Gnome 3.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Ambiance Theme for Gnome Shell

            Half-left has designed a new theme for Gnome Shell based on the Default Ambiance theme in Ubuntu. The theme looks great and if you use Gnome 3 PPA in Ubuntu 11.04, it would nicely integrate with your desktop.

          • Ubuntu – Beginner’s First Choice!

            Most of the computer users are interested in Linux, but still they are little bit worry about the complication process of Linux. However, now the time has been changed and the Linux has come a long way. Now, the beginners can jump to Linux and test the power of Linux quickly and safely.

            There are several varieties of Linux application programs available for users, but one of the most popular distributions is Ubuntu Linux. It is also the beginner’s first choice because it’s made to be easy and intuitive to use. The user can get Ubuntu for any computer.

            There are several versions of Ubuntu available but the Ubuntu Netbook Remix is the best version for an absolute beginner. The user can use ubuntu with a desktop or notebook computer.

            The Ubuntu Netbook Remix is the new version ubuntu Linux. By choosing this version of ubuntu the programmers don’t have to anxious about adding in the configuration thousand of different hardware combination. That means you get a well-organized and splendid little operating system that will perfectly fit your netbook.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Puppy Linux “Wary” updated

              The Puppy Linux development team has released version 5.1.2 of their independent Linux distribution code-named “Wary”. In a post on his blog, Puppy Linux founder Barry Kauler says that, in hindsight, he should have labeled the release as version 5.2 due to the number of changes it includes. However, it’s worth noting that a 5.2.x branch already exists which is based on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS “Lucid Lynx” binary packages.

              Built using the Woof build system, Puppy Linux 5.1.2 is based on the 2.6.32-40 Linux kernel and is primarily a bug fix release; updates have also been made to the included software. Package updates include version 1.7.0 of the Pmusic music player, version 0.6 of the Wcpufreq frequency scaling tool, Pburn 3.3.4, and Precord 6.1.3. While not included by default, a PET package is available for Firefox 4.0.1.

            • Linux Mint 11 “Katya” released!

              The team is proud to announce the release of Linux Mint 11 “Katya”.

            • Eagerly Awaited, Linux Mint 11 (Katya) Released

              Executive Summary: Linux Mint is considered to be one of the best distributions for a lot of good reasons, and this new release reinforces that reputation.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linaro starts working with ARM Cortex A15 chips

      LINUX SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Linaro is starting work on developing code optimised for ARM’s Cortex A15 processor.

      Linaro, which will celebrate its first anniversary at Computex, has already begun working on developing kernel modules and toolchains for the ARM Cortex A15 system-on-chip (SoC). Stephen Doel, COO of Linaro told The INQUIRER that the Cortex A15 offers a clean slate for Linaro to work on, adding that he wants the chip to have “the best open source support when the system-on-chip comes out”.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Defending against Firefox extensions that may spy on you

        Arguably the best thing about Firefox, the thousands of available extensions, is a double edged sword.

        Like most Firefox users I have a handful of extensions that I could not live without. Its what keeps me using the browser despite the many advantages of Google’s Chrome.

      • Do Not Track — Now on Firefox Mobile!
      • Firefox Version Number Degraded To “Implementation Detail”

        Why reinvent the wheel, if it is working perfectly? Mozilla is closely following Google’s lead these days and is now also telling its users that they should not worry about version numbers anymore.

        There has been some confusion about Mozilla’s most recent Firefox 5.0 beta release, which reports itself as version 5.0 while the official version number of the software is 5.0b2. Mozilla justified the version number with the fact that the current betas are “much closer” to being a traditional release candidate, which explains the “final” version number.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle v. Google – A judge grounded in the real world

      In response to the disagreements between Oracle and Google on how best to proceed (number of claims Oracle should be permitted to assert at trial and whether a stay should be issued pending reexamination of the asserted patents; See, Oracle v. Google – Sweating the details) the judge has decided to hold both issues open until the pre-trial conference, the trial presently being set for October 2011. Basically, the judge is saying: “You don’t deserve any more time for this trial than any other plaintiff, and my court is awfully busy. If you insist on making this a long and difficult trial, then don’t expect me to schedule it any time soon or before the reexamination is complete.” So this largely throws the issue back to Oracle – either Oracle simplifies the case (and thus shortens the time for trial) by its own accord, or the court will wait for the USPTO to simplify the case through the reexamination process.

  • Healthcare

    • Europe issues alert over “more or less potentially harmful” cell phone radiation

      The global movement for governments to err on the side of electro-magnetic caution got a huge boost this month. The Council of Europe has issued a new draft resolution and report on device radiation safety that urges its 47 member nations to adopt a “precautionary principle” when it comes to cell phone safety. Such a principle would apparently include banning all mobile phones, DECT phones, WiFi and WLAN systems from classrooms as a measure to protect children.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Microsoft kills Skype for Asterisk. Slashdot submitter says,

    “I’ve been using Skype for Asterisk (Digium’s native Skype client for their PBX software) since it was in beta 2 years ago. Today, I received an email from Digium stating that Skype (read: Microsoft) has decided to end the agreement that made the integration possible, and Digium will stop selling the module on July 26th. Support for us existing users will be there for the next 2 years, with Skype’s option to renew at that time, but I’ll believe that when I see it. So much for Microsoft’s promise not to screw over the existing Skype user base.”

  • Pogson laughs at Vista 8 release date

    the new exciting stuff is no longer vapourware but real Linux systems advertised everywhere and sold everywhere. The release of “8″ could well be in 2013. Certainly M$ will miss another Christmas season where these small cheap (sort of) computers will be shipped in the hundreds of millions.

  • Microsoft in ‘final’ antitrust fray with Brussels

    The court is unlikely to reach its decision for months, and could possibly take as a long as a year.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • War crimes fugitive Mladic arrested in Serbia

      Gen. Ratko Mladic, the ruthless Bosnian Serb leader charged with orchestrating Europe’s worst massacre of civilians since World War II, was arrested at a relative’s home in a tiny Serbian village on Thursday after a 16-year hunt for the architect of what a war-crimes judge called “scenes from hell.”

      Mladic’s dawn arrest removed the most important barrier to the Western-leaning Serbian government’s efforts to join the European Union, and rehabilitate the country’s image as a pariah state that sheltered the men responsible for the worst atrocities of the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks Probe Ramps Up One Year After Bradley Manning’s Arrest

      A year after Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was arrested on suspicion of leaking classified info to WikiLeaks, the government is shifting its probe of the whistle-blowing organization into higher gear.

      Two weeks ago, a grand jury meeting in a courtroom in the Eastern District Court of Virginia heard testimony for at least two days from at least three people subpoenaed by federal prosecutors, several sources tell The Huffington Post. The jury has been convened to consider whether to approve the prosecution of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. A subpoena delivered to a Manning associate in the Boston area says that prosecutors are investigating “possible violations of federal criminal law involving, but not necessarily limited to, conspiracy to communicate or transmit national defence information in violation of” the Espionage Act, as first reported by Salon’s Glenn Greenwald.

      And the Army’s court-martial case against Manning is gearing up for the military equivalent of a grand jury to decide if a court-martial trial against the 23-year-old soldier should proceed. Adrian Lamo, the ex-hacker who turned in Manning, is going to meet the chief prosecutor on the case on June 2 and 3, reports Wired.com. During several online chats with Lamo last May, Manning claimed that he was responsible for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WkiLeaks, including the “Collateral Murder” video of an Apache helicopter attack on Iraqi civilians and the State Department diplomatic cables that rocked the foreign policy establishment and helped inspire the recent unrest in the Mideast.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fukushima May Become Graveyard for Radioactive Waste From Crippled Plant

      Japan’s atomic energy specialists are discussing a plan to make the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant a storage site for radioactive waste from the crippled station run by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

      The Atomic Energy Society of Japan is studying the proposal, which would cost tens of billions of dollars, Muneo Morokuzu, a professor of energy and environmental public policy at the University of Tokyo, said in an interview yesterday. The society makes policy recommendations to the government.

  • Finance

    • Lawmakers Concerned About Ex-IMF Director’s ‘Golden Parachute’

      The former head of the International Monetary Fund accused of sexually assaulting a New York hotel maid will receive a $250,000 severance payment — paid in part courtesy of the American taxpayer — unless U.S. lawmakers can stop the “golden parachute” from landing in the French politician’s bank account.

      The IMF claims it has no discretion in the matter of Dominique Strauss-Khan, who was already pulling down nearly $500,000 as managing director when he resigned after being arrested in New York. The one-time severance, along with a much smaller annual pension, was part of his contract.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Ads Implant False Memories

      My episodic memory stinks. All my birthday parties are a blur of cake and presents. I’m notorious within my family for confusing the events of my own childhood with those of my siblings. I’m like the anti-Proust.

      And yet, I have this one cinematic memory from high-school. I’m sitting at a Friday night football game (which, somewhat mysteriously, has come to resemble the Texas set of Friday Night Lights), watching the North Hollywood Huskies lose yet another game. I’m up in the last row of the bleachers with a bunch of friends, laughing, gossiping, dishing on AP tests. You know, the usual banter of freaks and geeks. But here is the crucial detail: In my autobiographical memory, we are all drinking from those slender glass bottles of Coca-Cola (the vintage kind), enjoying our swigs of sugary caffeine. Although I can’t remember much else about the night, I can vividly remember those sodas: the feel of the drink, the tang of the cola, the constant need to suppress burps.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Big Brother likes Non Free Automotive computing. The supposed benefits of the technology are fictional as long as only the rich and powerful have understanding and control of these systems.

      The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will later this year propose a requirement that all new vehicles contain an event data recorder, known more commonly as a “black box.”

    • Franken Asks Apple, Google to Require App Privacy Policy

      Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) pinged Apple and Google Wednesday with a letter requesting that the two companies require apps distributed via their online marketplaces have “a clear, understandable privacy policy.”

      In the letter addressed to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google CEO Larry Page, Franken writes that such a requirement “would not resolve most of the privacy concerns in the mobile market.

  • Civil Rights

    • How Close Are We to a Nano-based Surveillance State?

      In the span of just three years, we have seen drone surveillance become openly operational on American soil.

      In 2007, Texas reporters first filmed a predator drone test being conducted by the local police department in tandem with Homeland Security. And in 2009, it was revealed that an operation was underway to use predator drones inland over major cities, far from “border control” functions. This year it has been announced that not only will drone operations fly over the Mexican border, but the United States and Canada are partnering to cover 900 miles of the northern border as well.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Google buys cell phone company for patents [2, 3]
    • Copyrights

      • Blacklists, ahoy! PROTECT IP Act sails on to Senate floor

        The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning unanimously approved the PROTECT IP Act by a voice vote after a brief markup; the hugely controversial Internet blacklisting bill now moves to the Senate floor with minimal changes, and may—or may not—soon come to a vote.

        The bill builds on last year’s proposed COICA legislation, which would have given the government power to go to court and get a website’s domain name blocked from American DNS servers. Credit card companies and advertising networks would be forbidden to do business with such sites. The bill was also passed unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) put a hold on the bill when it came to the floor.

        The new version tightens up its definition of infringing sites, but adds things like a “private right of action” for companies who want to cripple sites without waiting for the government to get involved. Search engines are also prohibited from linking to blocked sites.

        Major rightsholders are particularly thrilled. The MPAA and the cable lobby both expressed enthusiastic support, and the US Chamber of Commerce said in a statement, “Rogue sites and their operators contribute nothing to the US economy. They do not innovate, they do not pay taxes, they do not follow safety standards, and they do not follow the law. Today’s vote serves as a wakeup call to those who illicitly profit at the expense of American businesses and consumers—the US will not tolerate your careless, reckless, malicious behavior.”

Clip of the Day

Instalación paso a paso Linux Mint 11 Katya

Credit: TinyOgg

As Mono Runs Out of Money Developers Avoid It

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 8:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-authored with G. Forbes

Mono is all about the money

Summary: Monetary losses make Mono less appealing to developers; Mono’s future is uncertain enough to deter some people

A while ago in our IRC channels, G. Forbes stated that BZFlag developers were considering using Mono for future releases. After further investigation it turned out that this idea had come just days before AttachMSFT laid off the entire Mono team. To quote this page from the BZFlag forums, “C# was a serious suggestion. With the help of Mono, we could use a single set of binaries across Windows, OSX, Linux, and whatever else supports Mono. We could write a lightweight launcher application for each supported operating system and have that handle downloading the latest version automatically and starting it.”

Mr. Forbes told us today that, based on follow-up research, BZFlag has given up on the idea. A more recent message on the forum enquired, “Will it be built using .NET/Mono? Because considering the current situation surrounding uncertain future Mono development, as well as the looming patents issue, I wouldn’t think it would be a wise decision.” The answer, provided by a developer, is “No”.

While we are discussing Mono, we ought to clarify about our Fedora-Mono article from yesterday. When we said “removing Mono”, we meant “removing it from the default installation”. By comparison, Debian does include Mono in the default installation. Someone from the Fedora community has asked us to clarify this. As an aside, another member of the Fedora community has just recommended a Mono-based application, Sparkleshare [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]

Relying on anything Mono right now is risky because Mono has no financial security, with funding provided only from Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza and another as-yet unnamed party. It is also proudly headed by someone who used to work for Microsoft. Moreover, Novell’s patent deal with Microsoft expires within months, which enhances the magnitude of the patent threat.

IRC Proceedings: May 26th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

US Government (and Allies) Uses Microsoft Windows to Attack Other Nations

Posted in Site News at 7:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-authored with G. Forbes

Proprietary software is technological warfare

Manbool temple

Summary: A faint Stuxnet admission helps show that the use of Windows is not guaranteed to respect national security of nations other than the United States

“Senior Defense Official Caught Hedging on U.S. Involvement in Stuxnet” is the sort of report we are always hoping for. It further exposes not only distressing government involvement with regards to technology but also reinforces the very real dangers of Windows and by relation other proprietary Microsoft software. Wired has covered this special report:

In “CodeWars: America’s Cyber Threat,” correspondent Melissa Lee asks Lynn outright: “Was the U.S. involved in any way in the development of Stuxnet?”

Lynn’s response is long enough that an inattentive viewer might not notice that it doesn’t answer the question.

“The challenges of Stuxnet, as I said, what it shows you is the difficulty of any, any attribution and it’s something that we’re still looking at, it’s hard to get into any kind of comment on that until we’ve finished our examination,” Lynn replies.

“But sir, I’m not asking you if you think another country was involved,” Lee presses. “I’m asking you if the U.S. was involved. If the Department of Defense was involved.”

“And this is not something that we’re going to be able to answer at this point,” Lynn finally says.

For background, also see:

  1. Ralph Langner Says Windows Malware Possibly Designed to Derail Iran’s Nuclear Programme
  2. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  3. Who Needs Windows Back Doors When It’s So Insecure?
  4. Windows Insecurity Becomes a Political Issue
  5. Windows, Stuxnet, and Public Stoning
  6. Stuxnet Grows Beyond Siemens-Windows Infections
  7. Has BP Already Abandoned Windows?
  8. Reports: Apple to Charge for (Security) Updates
  9. Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
  10. New Flaw in Windows Facilitates More DDOS Attacks
  11. Siemens is Bad for Industry, Partly Due to Microsoft
  12. Microsoft Security Issues in The British Press, Vista and Vista 7 No Panacea
  13. Microsoft’s Negligence in Patching (Worst Amongst All Companies) to Blame for Stuxnet
  14. Microsoft Software: a Darwin Test for Incompetence
  15. Bad September for Microsoft Security, Symantec Buyout Rumours
  16. Microsoft Claims Credit for Failing in Security
  17. Many Windows Servers Being Abandoned; Minnesota Goes the Opposite Direction by Giving Microsoft Its Data
  18. Windows Users Still Under Attack From Stuxnet, Halo, and Zeus
  19. Security Propaganda From Microsoft: Villains Become Heroes
  20. Security Problems in iOS and Windows
  21. Eye on Security: BBC Propaganda, Rootkits, and Stuxnet in Iran’s Nuclear Facilities
  22. Eye on Security: ClamAV Says Windows is a Virus, Microsoft Compromises Mac OS X, and Stuxnet Runs Wild
  23. Windows Kernel Vulnerability for Thanksgiving, Insecurity Used for Surveillance Again
  24. Cablegate Reveals Government Requesting Access to Microsoft Data, Kill Switches
  25. Use Microsoft Windows, Get Assassinated
  26. Iran Shows the Downside of Using Proprietary Software
  27. Whitewashing Inherent Windows Flaws
  28. Politically-motivated Proprietary Software
  29. When Windows Kills

Remember that the NSA, which also provided Microsoft-friendly Web statistics a few months back, recommends Vista 7 [1, 2, 3], secretly because the back doors are ‘free’, as in free of charge, with all editions. It will probably recommend Vista 8 as well. Unfortunately for Microsoft and the NSA, Windows is losing its foothold. Cringely writes about the falling usage in “Steve Ballmer’s Nightmare”:

Ballmer confirmed back in January that the next major version of Windows would have a version for power-sipping ARM processors, which are mainly installed in smart phones and tablet computers. He reinforced this idea more recently by explicitly saying Windows 8 would run on all the hardware platforms Microsoft currently supports right down to phones, calling the next version of Windows Microsoft’s “riskiest yet. ”

Ballmer is correct: Windows 8 is make-or-break for Microsoft.

Envision a world where everyone used programs with source code that could be audited. It certainly would make Microsoft’s and some of the NSA’s deceptions nearly impossible to say the least.

In today’s news we find that “North Korea [is going] to have its own laptops” and “the laptops could be running on “Red Star”, an operating system based on Linux developed by the North Koreans.”

Phasing Out OpenSUSE

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, Red Hat at 7:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-authored with G. Forbes


Summary: OpenSUSE is fading away as AttachMSFT is phased in

THE formerly vibrant Planet SUSE is usually very quiet these days, save for a few fun events here and there. Recently though, there have been a large amount of blurbs from Greece that have suddenly rushed in, such as this one. Thomas Thym has attempted to reassure everyone that “Strategy is alive”. There are even some releases of OpenSUSE flavours/derivatives, such as a medical one. There is also an announcement for SUSE appliances for Fog Computing. This, however, does not relate directly to OpenSUSE per se.

As we have explained in recent posts, OpenSUSE has not received much assurance of a continued existence, unlike SUSE [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Jos Poortvliet, who has headed the project’s community following the departure of Zonker, carries on the cheerleading. Nevertheless, his attempts at morale boosting can only go so far. Based on this announcement from Jos, “OpenSUSE Build Service” is no more because the Linux Foundation has taken charge; the “OpenSUSE” part (Novell/AttachMSFT trademark) will be dropped:

“The openSUSE Build Service Team has decided to rename its cutting-edge packaging- and distribution build technology to Open Build Service,” Poortvliet explains. “The new name, while maintaining the well-known OBS acronym, signals its open and cross-distribution nature.”

It is a good time to review what OpenSUSE actually is anymore. The basic recipe is YaST from SUSE and all sorts of customisations applied to default desktop environments. Outside of that, there is also some kernel development from Greg Kroah-Hartman (who had an important role in OpenSUSE), but this portion of Novell is pretty much irrelevant to SUSE itself. Kroah-Hartman himself acts as mentor for Linux projects rather than a SUSE developer:

I’m a Google Summer of Code mentor for a project to port Linux to a specific system on a chip that happens to be in a number of older game platforms. Here’s one of these devices. I’m going to be in Taipei and Tokyo over the next few weeks, and it would be great if I could pick up one of these myself to help in the debugging effort of this project. Does anyone know of anywhere in either of those cities I might be able to get this device?

Incidentally, Sean Kerner has this new article titled “New Linux Kernel, New RHEL and New Boss for SUSE Linux”. Kroah-Hartman’s work will get applied to RHEL, among many other distributions, as well. Sean suggests some scepticism towards SUSE’s future in Free software:

The new SUSE Linux business also apparently remains fully committed to open source as well as the continuity of its existing projects.

This is not true based on the actions and inactions taken by AttachMSFT thus far. No commitment was expressed by laying off the Mono developers, and AttachMSFT has not proclaimed any commitment to “OpenSUSE” as a project. AttachMSFT is determined to remain a proprietary software company by all indications.

Suggestions for Site Change

Posted in Site News at 7:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A reader’s suggestion regarding the improvement of Techrights and its community’s operation

Some days ago we reached out for advice and for suggestions from loyal readers. One piece of feedback that we received was exceptionally good and we asked for permission to share it. “Suggestions for Techrights,” the message was titled and it contains this very detailed attachment [PDF] that we encourage people to read and give us feedback on. Should we implement the suggested changes? And if not, why not? Please take a moment to read it.

Adding to the above we have:

Grüß Gott Herr Schestowitz,

Yes, indeed, please do share what you would find of value for your readers/colleagues, as the idea was just that, to get them involved, by focusing upon the purpose of your website to be “applied” and put into action. Das Eisen schmieden, solange es heiß ist!

Some additional thoughts…


“The great moral question of the twenty-first century is this: if all knowing, all culture, all art, all useful information can be costlessly given to everyone at the same price that it is given to anyone; if everyone can have everything, anywhere, all the time, why is it ever moral to exclude anyone?”

Fate is for those too weak to determine their own destiny, right?

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams!

What is freedom to do everything if you have the ability to do nothing?

shortsightedness: The support of public policies that are mutually exclusive, or contrary to the country’s long-term interests!

Liberty is the prevention of control by others, while Freedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men, right?

Intellectual freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access of all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored.

Freedom of the mind requires not only, or not even especially, the absence of legal constraints but the presence of alternative thoughts. The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity, but the one that removes awareness of other possibilities.

Great souls have wills; feeble ones have only wishes and little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortunes; but great minds rise above them!

Now is the best time to intelligently apply tomorrows future today!

The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving. Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

Alles Gute,

Prinz Kröte

We are always happy to receive such encouraging feedback. Please, dear readers, tell us what you think about Kröte’s PDF. We have been distributing site duties recently, in order to increase and improve output.

Microsoft Failed in the Hardware Business

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 6:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-authored with G. Forbes


Summary: The Xbox exodus continues and Microsoft cannot get it right in hardware

While Microsoft has many obviously problematic areas, it is notably hardware that has consistently been trouble for this software monopolist. Some of the most glaring examples of Microsoft’s hardware ineptness have been the Xbox, Zune, and KIN. All of these treasures have brought failures, both in sales as well as in build quality. We have written many posts on this subject and have elaborated on the resulting losses to Microsoft (we had mentioned Microsoft's debt earlier today too) and its customers. Microsoft is currently leaning on Nokia to help make up for this enormous deficit. Ultimately, it is a strategic error for a very glaring reason; Vista Phony 7 is an unappealing and mediocre platform, one that sources claim has been adopted by a mere 1.6 million users. Plus, this unproductive manoeuvrer by Microsoft will also likely result in the mutual crippling, if not killing, of Nokia as well; this possibility has also been covered by Techrights.

Speaking of crippling, yet another major Microsoft employee is quitting. This time, it is a key member of the Xbox team, the last of the of original founders of the project in fact:

Otto Berkes, one of the primary founders of the original Xbox, has left Microsoft after 18 years at the company.

His departure marks the end of an era at Microsoft. The company continues to struggle to create new businesses that were as successful as the Xbox, which is now generating billions of dollars in revenue for Microsoft.

Berkes resigned yesterday. He started in 1993 at Microsoft as the lead programmer on the Windows graphics team. In 1998, he teamed up with Microsoft tech evangelist Ted Hase to create a Windows gaming machine. They were joined by Seamus Blackley and Kevin Bachus. All have since departed, as have other early advocates of the Xbox such as Ed Fries, Cameron Ferroni, J Allard and Robbie Bach. Berkes’ story was one of many I wrote about in my first book, Opening the Xbox.

We have been closely documenting the Xbox staff exodus. This latest departure provides yet one more sign that the Xbox has failed, contrary to all the hype. This is consistent when the real sales figures are examined; the losses worldwide eclipse any sales "success" in North America.

Europe Has Judges Weigh in on Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Importing failed systems?

Supreme Court under construction

Summary: The issue of software patentability is brought up again, despite the fact that Europeans (not European patent lawyers) have already decided that they do not want software parents

THE debate about software patents in Europe has been intense recently. Replying to a former MEP who is a lot more sane than the peanut gallery, the FFII stresses that “Software patents can indeed be used to stifle access for the blind to international copyrighted works, also DRM,” adding that according to a patents booster:

Judges debate and fail to agree on diagnostic methods, business methods and computer software patentability at IPO Brussels conference

This is not something which we expected. Was this announced? Was it on the agenda? Why are they even faced with these issues? Europe does not want and does not need software patents, which continue to plague the United States and cause issues there — issues that are well understood and thoroughly documented, even today. More patents bring more business to patent lawyers and judges, but they harm developers and customers everywhere. Monopoly does not encourage progress, it only hinders it.

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