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Windows — Just Like Microsoft — Does Not Play Nice With GNU/Linux

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 5:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A reminder of the sinister nature of Microsoft Corporation, the world’s biggest technology bully

Windows and Microsoft are not the same thing. One is a product and one is a company. But the latter controls the former and both are attacking Linux in different ways*. For instance, Microsoft launches lawsuits against Linux, whereas Windows uses technical sabotage to marginalise GNU/Linux, as in the MBR case we recently covered yet again (Microsoft wipes out access to GNU/Linux or gives no access to it).

Check out the following new post titled “Dual-boot woes”:

My laptop is dual-boot with Windows 7 and Linux. It’s a fairly straightforward setup (with only a few twists to support Dell’s “Instant ON” mode, which turned out to be useless because I don’t use Exchange.) My drive has several partitions: a “Dell Utility” partition, Windows 7, a Dell “Instant ON” partition, and Linux. I rarely boot into Windows these days – but when I do, it’s usually to attend a conference call that requires Silverlight. I never boot the “Dell Utility”, or the “Instant ON”.

I’ve tried the trick of telling BitLocker to accept the new system configuration. This doesn’t fix my problem. I’m still prompted to type in the key to boot Windows.

I’ve also tried booting into Windows, suspending BitLocker, then re-enabling BitLocker. This also doesn’t work. I can suspend/re-enable just fine, but it doesn’t solve my problem.

Oddly, TPM keeps disabling itself, I don’t know why. Is this part of normal TPM behavior when it detects a change in the configuration? Or is this a hardware fault on my laptop?

Frustrated, I did some research, and found lots of (albeit old) sources that discuss troubles in dual-boot with Windows/BitLocker and Linux. The description that makes the most sense to me is from this article on technet.com: Building a dual boot system with Windows Vista BitLocker protection with TPM support, by Cyril (“Voy”) Voisin. In it, Voy says:

[...] Therefore if you replace Windows Vista’s MBR by a MBR that is not TPM aware, it won’t hash the boot sector before executing it and a register in the TPM won’t be populated. Same with the boot sector. Therefore Bitlocker will simply refuse to be enabled.

Since I put GRUB on my MBR, I understand this to mean that a register within TPM isn’t getting set correctly, which may explain why I always need to type in that key to boot Windows.

Interestingly, Homer’s list of Microsoft’s bad behaviour was brushed up a bit earlier this week. He posted the following summary about the “new Microsoft”:

Oh yes, I forgot, Vole "reinvented" itself as Snow White, and is no
longer the evil witch that did all those nasty things to DR-DOS and
OS/2 Warp back in medieval times.

Well apart from those pesky Barnes and Noble people that they tried
to extort money from under the cloak of NDA, using bogus patents of
dubious provenance and undeclared prior art, of course.

And all those Taiwanese manufacturers they threatened if they would
not ship Vole's "tile" phone instead of Android, and making "deals"
with anyone else too small or weak to stand up to them.

And building spying technology into Skype, and admitting they would
violate EU data protection laws by handing over Europeans' personal
data to American spy agencies.

And launching a "Screw Google" campaign, complete with orchestrated
FUD supplied by Burson-Marsteller.

And another FUD campaign against OpenOffice.org, where they grabbed
a handful of old case studies, and spun it into something that made
it look like there was some kind of uprising against OpenOffice. In
fact the only genuine point they made was that Microsoft Office has
compatibility issues with everything else, including older versions
of itself.

And their Best Buy anti-Linux propaganda training brief, where they
tout the virtues of "regular Windows updates" on the one hand, then
criticise Ubuntu's "hundreds of updates per month" on the other, in
an attempt to make Microsoft customers' month-long wait for updates
seem like some kind of "advantage", but GNU/Linux's daily updates a

And their predatory acquisition of Nortel's patents, using a cartel
of Screw Googlers.

And their equally predatory (and clandestine) acquisition of Novell
using a cartel of vulture capitalists, primarily to get patents for
the purpose of attacking Free Software.

But yeah, apart from that, Microsoft is a totally reformed company.



Yes, the list is endless. I could have mentioned the MSBBC and Nokia,
for example, or the fact that Skype will no-doubt be locked-in to the
Windows platform eventually, or the "community" of traitors Microsoft
built up around Mono, fooled certain people into being "pragmatists",
then unceremoniously dumped them, along with its own community of Net
developers. Now one of the key players, the founder of Gnome, is more
interested in running a proprietary software company than helping the
Gnome community through a difficult transition.

None of that is exactly ancient history either.

Let us remember that Microsoft is still quite the villain, not just by characterisation.
* Microsoft is hardly alone anymore because it joined forces with Apple. Apple not properly supporting ODF and instead helping OOXML, joining Microsoft’s patent cartels, etc. They share similar problems because GNU/Linux is gaining in many areas while both proprietary operating systems suffers security issues. “Black Hat Apple may have built its most secure Mac operating system yet,” says The Register, “but a prominent security consultancy is advising enterprise clients to steer clear of adopting large numbers of the machines.” Enterprises are said to be increasingly deploying GNU/Linux. The “security” (e.g. “malware”) FUD has therefore gained ground recently, especially against Android. Apple and Microsoft proponents both use this FUD, along with the “not open” FUD and the patent FUD.

Apple is Killing Jobs, Killing Products

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 4:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Apple becomes a destructive company, not a productive company, as it seeks to ban products that exist in the market rather than compete fairly against them

APPLE is an abhorrent company with a powerful brand that it invested a lot to build. Apple is not truly an innovator in any area in particular; Apple merely assembles some bits it finds around itself and then integrates them. That’s what a lot of creation is really about.

Apple’s latest assault on Linux is a subject we wrote about early in the week. Basically, as part of the trend of “Using Patents to Stifle Competition”, “Apple Pulls a Fast One on Samsung” by having its Linux-powered product banned from Europe. Meanwhile, Steve Jobs’ close friend Larry Ellison carries on attacking those same products with patents and with copyrights, although Google seeks to throw out the latter weapon:

Google: Judge, Throw out the Copyright Claims of Oracle

This was my opinion from Day One. You cannot claim copyright on a language. Google’s developers write in Java and cross-compile to Dalvik, using Google’s stuff, not Oracle’s.

“Judge Slams Google for Inadequate Diligence” says one headline, but we mostly try to stick to Groklaw as a source. Microsoft has some lobbyists pressuring journalists to push its own cartel’s propaganda against Google, as recently confirmed in Germany (one of the leading anti-Android lobbyists is based in Germany).

“Microsoft has some lobbyists pressuring journalists to push its own cartel’s propaganda against Google, as recently confirmed in Germany (one of the leading anti-Android lobbyists is based in Germany).”Anyway, Apple has surely become an embargo company, whereas Microsoft mostly pressures for patent tax. “Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 banned in EU,” heralds The Australian and “Apple gets Samsung Galaxy Tab banned in E.U. with moronic ruling,” says ZDNet. “No rest for the patent extortionist company,” wrote one GNU/Linux advocate in response to this. To quote: “This decision has nothing to do with patents or copyrights. It has nothing to do with the lawsuits swirling around Android. This particular case was just about the design, the look of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and that’s it. Now, I want you to click on this PDF copy of (European] Community design no. 000181607-000. Now, take a long hard look at it. What do you see?

“I’ll tell you what I see, it’s a freaking tablet. Yes, it looks like an iPad. But, it looks just as much like every tablet that’s ever existed or ever will exist. It’s a tablet.

“Where have I seen this before? Why, I remember! I recall my distant cousin Nichelle Nichols, that’s Lieutenant Uhura of Star Trek to you, “using” a tablet on the Enterprise back in 1966. I’m not the only one to have noticed the Star Trek/Apple iPad connection. Back when Apple introduced the iPad, actor Brent Spinner, aka Commander Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation, tweeted, “Didn’t Captain Picard used to play with a pad like that in his ready room? STAR TREK STRIKES AGAIN!!!” Yes, yes he did.”

“I didn’t think it could get any stupider than the US Patent Office and its idiot patents. But apparently Europe one-ups the United States in pure stupidity,” the advocate responds angrily. “Apparently a single judge in a regional court in Germany can issue an injunction against a corporation for the whole EU without allowing the corporation to defend themselves, or even informing them that the action is about to take place. And all this over a “rectangular shaped tablet with rounded corners.” There must be five million examples of prior art here. How much is Apple investing in the bribing of judges and those who issue bogus “community designs?”

“Apple can go to hell.”

Apple still pretends to be a technology company while it fact it’s a marketing mobster, just like Microsoft. And to make matters worse, the British press says that “Apple sues Motorola in Europe over Xoom tablet” (so it just wants to ban all the competition). Well, the British press claims that the “Apple injunction startles Samsung” and the Australian press has the headline “Tablet wars: Apple seeks to destroy rival Galaxy”. Slashdot summarises as follows: “In a stunning and painful decision for Samsung, Apple got a German court to issue a preliminary injunction against the Galaxy Tab.”

Then they cite the pro-Microsoft lobbyist from Germany, the guy who attacks Android on a full-time basis (he is probably being briefed by Microsoft’s PR departments, which organise coordinated FUD), often by distorting or making up claims. Jan Wildeboer, who loves to expose this lobbyist, writes that “Apple stops Samsung from offering Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe”, noting:

German court grants injunction to Apple. German article here. Quite some more, but thy all paraphrase the original article that was sent out by dpa.

Apple, it is time to grow up and face competition the way you should. Not in courts. In the market. The Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a damn fine piece of hardware with a brilliant display, as far as I have seen.

Apple apologists love to portray Apple as a victim here, using cases like this one. But it’s a pathetic defence which helps show that advocacy of Apple has become like some kind of religion, where even atrocious, inexcusable, anticompetitive acts can someone be justified. As Google recently stated, Microsoft and Apple are banding togather to attack the Linux-based Android, assisted also by Oracle. As ECT puts it:

A top Google lawyer has publicly called out the company’s three biggest patent enemies — Oracle, Microsoft and Apple — accusing them of undertaking a “hostile, organized campaign against Android.” Hours later, though, Microsoft punched back with evidence that Google turned down Redmond’s offer to join together in securing patents Novell had put up for sale.

Apple is part of a patent cartel and it is a shameful aggressor. We need to explain to people why they should boycott Apple and expose it for the rogue operation it has become in recent years.

Latest Evidence That the USPTO is Morbidly Ill, Costing the Economy; Real Reform Likely

Posted in America, Patents at 4:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Patents drive up the prices of products and devalue the workers, especially those outside few monopolistic corporations; more people realise this and as the press gradually shows, there is room for a real reform annulling/voiding certain types of patents

THERE HAS BEEN a lot of backlash against patents recently (Techrights gave many examples), and not just software patents. ZDNet makes it seem like defeatism is the route to achieving something, at least based on their editors’ blog (Larry Dignan). Interestingly enough, some blogs in ZDNet recently started emulating — perhaps unintentionally — Techrights‘ “summary” format (same formatting, same structure therein). Here is the example of defeatism:

It’s fairly obvious that patents are the new tactical nukes in the technology industry. Companies want to grab patents largely to defend lawsuits than actually create anything. The companies with the most patents win.

Short of some cross industry disarmament policy—something that won’t happen—there will have to be some reform on the patent front.

It goes on to explaining that it’s a lost cause to fight back. Very disappointing, very ZDNet. Conversely, TechDirt comes out swinging with this post about patent trolls, which says ‘the court clearly noted the “non-practicing entity” part of the business in pointing out that, “As a non-practicing entity, Eon-Net was generally immune to counterclaims for patent infringement, antitrust, or unfair competition because it did not engage in business activities that would potentially give rise to those claims.”‘

TechDirt also has this new post about “Patent Troll To Settle For Nothing”:

Last summer we wrote about an absolutely ridiculous patent troll, named Gooseberry Natural Resources LLC, who holds a ridiculously broad patent (6,370,535) that it claimed covered the basic concept of generating a press release online, which it then used to sue a bunch of companies who had been in business since way before the patent was issued. At the beginning of this year, we noted that Gooseberry tried to expand the definition of what the patent covered, and sued a bunch of tech sites you probably read, including Fark, Reddit, Slashdot, TechCrunch and Digg. As we noted at the time, as with most patent trolls, Gooseberry was just a shell company, and the real owners of the patent were a secret. Tragically, even with the combined investigative power of those sites, no one was able to piece together who really owns that patent.

So progress is being made after all. “Google-Microsoft spat could be tiny step toward patent reform” says another headline:

The public row between Microsoft and Google continues, with both Microsoft and Google issuing new responses to one another over Google’s original accusation of patent bullying. The basic gist is this: Google says Microsoft’s invitation for Google to join the Novell patent consortium was a “false ‘gotcha!’” that would have put Android at a disadvantage, while Microsoft asserts that Google merely wanted to assert the same patents against others. Both parties say that the other has not directly addressed their core arguments.

Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer speaks of a “rather radical plan to limit/channel patent trolls” and it is “Time To Really Deal With The Broken Software Patent System,” alleges Brad Feld in his latest good article. He explains: “There have been two dynamite stories on NPR recently – the first on The American Life titled When Patents Attack! and one on Planet Money titled The Patent War. If you have an interest in this area, the two are well worth listening to.

“In the past week, the discussion exploded starting with a post from Google titled When patents attack Android. The word “patent” shows up in 20 of the Techmeme River articles from the last week. Martin Fowler, a software developer, had a well thought out article titled SoftwarePatent. And they kept coming.”

The FSF is trying to get an Ogg version of the show and TechDirt cites the same broadcast:

Politicians, Innovation & The Paradox Of Job Creation

There’s been a ton of talk from politicians lately about the importance of “creating jobs.” This comes from both major political parties, of course. We’ve seen the Democrats jump heavily on the jobs agenda and the Republicans have been hyping up their ability to create jobs as well. A few months ago, This American Life produced a fantastic episode on the hilariousness of politicians claiming that they’re going to “create” jobs, with a focus on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (one of the few stories about him that has nothing to do with unions).

This whole debate over software patents carries on in various circles and a solution that may include abolishment of software patents should not be considered far-fetched. That’s what a lot of the public wants and increasingly demands too, as awareness is increased.

Mark Cuban Calls for Abolishment of Software Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 3:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mark Cuban

Photo credit: James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media, Inc.

Summary: A billionaire calls for the end of CII patents, which helps show that people at all levels of society want those patents to just die

Mark Cuban is a controversial figure which we wrote about before, also in relation to patents. Whatever we may think of him as a businessman, he has just done something commendable by publicly calling for the end of software patents. To quote a portion.

1. End all software patents. Don’t make them shorter, eliminate them.

I have no problem with software being copyrightable just as it always has been. That is more than enough protection and keeps enough lawyers un-gainfully employed.

Cuban is a controversial person with high reputation, so the corporate media echoed his views and others paraphrased him by writing: “According to billionaire internet entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban, the chaos created by software and process patents has some very big negative effects: it’s costing the U.S. economy jobs and spurring a “Patent Arms Race” that will inevitably impact consumer prices. But he’s proposing a solution: eliminate the process patents that are used to ‘patent’ software.”

Let us hope that Mr. Cuban puts his money where his mouth is.

Links 10/8/2011: More Linux Tablets in Asia, Lies With Statistics

Posted in News Roundup at 3:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Vendor-led community projects? Don’t forget your hat

    Brian Proffitt asked an interesting question last week with regards to the OpenStack project: ‘can a commercial vendor lead a project as openly as a foundation?’

    It’s an interesting question, and one that is particularly prescient given the observed re-balancing of control and community.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Android testing platform mimics human UI interaction

        Wind River announced the Wind River UX Test Development Kit, an Eclipse-based Android software testing platform that aims to reproduce human interaction with user interfaces. Wind River also updated the related Wind River Framework for Automated Software Testing (FAST) for Android to version 1.6, adding a benchmarking index, and new configuration, monitoring, and testing tools.

      • Preview And Images: The Next Firefox UI
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


    • The Hurd

      GNU’s Hurd kernel is shaping up. It may never have much of a role on the desktop because Linux has such a lead and wide acceptance but, on servers, there is little to keep Hurd out. Virtual machines usually offer only a few virtual devices after all so Hurd does not need a lot of drivers to run in one. Many servers are virtual these days so Hurd might fly there. Real NICs are cheap and plentiful, too. A real server could just change NICs if need be. Hurd has glue-code to allow use of drivers from Linux. Depending on how well that works, Hurd may run nicely. If Debian is interested in it Hurd must be at least stomping its hooves.

    • GNU Xnee 3.10 (‘Heron’) released

      We are pleased to announce the availability of GNU Xnee 3.10

    • Caribou Week Who Is Paying Attention Anyway – We Need a New Maintainer

      After making a non-binding resolution to report my Caribou progress on a weekly basis, I flaked. Of course. But luckily Nohemi has picked up the slack and have kept you all up to date about the libcaribou powered GNOME Shell keyboard in her more binding GSoC reports. So no more architecture diagrams are needed, you all get the idea. But if you didn’t, let me make it clear: The goal of Caribou is to make it easy to implement new on screen keyboards where you would only need to provide the view, and libcaribou will be your model and controller.

    • [GNU Psychosynth] Master’s thesis and new release!

      As previous posts announce, latest developments were driven by my Master’s Thesis held in the University of Granada. Last week I defended it and now I am, officially, a software engineer :-) The document is written in English; it is the best description available of all the new core refactoring and an interesting read if you want to contribute to the project.

  • Project Releases

    • [Midor] Cleanup, Adblock speed-ups and crash dialog love

      Time for a major release. The leading motto is cleanup and as we jump to Midori 0.4.0 we increase minimum requirements to WebKitGTK+ 1.1.17 and Vala 0.10 (Vala used to be optional). This allows us to say goodbye to several portions of backwards-comaptibility code. Anybody who has some familiarity with the code knows Midori used to try very hard to run on older systems, some may say too hard. Midori 0.3.6 will remain available for anyone who can’t upgrade yet. This benefits users insofar as more time is available for new features instead of looking at old code.

    • PLplot Release 5.9.8

      This is a development release of PLplot. It represents the ongoing efforts of the community to improve the PLplot plotting package. Development releases in the 5.9.x series will be available every few months. The next full release will be 5.10.0.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Standards/Consortia

    • A Gentle Introduction to OpenCL

      Writing and running your first app with code executing on the CPU and the GPU

      OpenCL provides many benefits in the field of high-performance computing, and one of the most important is portability. OpenCL-coded routines, called kernels, can execute on GPUs and CPUs from such popular manufacturers as Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and IBM. New OpenCL-capable devices appear regularly, and efforts are underway to port OpenCL to embedded devices, digital signal processors, and field-programmable gate arrays.


  • Chomsky: Public Education Under Massive Corporate Assault — What’s Next?

    Right after that I happened to go to California, maybe the richest place in the world. I was giving talks at the universities there. In California, the main universities — Berkeley and UCLA — they’re essentially Ivy League private universities — colossal tuition, tens of thousands of dollars, huge endowment. General assumption is they are pretty soon going to be privatized, and the rest of the system will be, which was a very good system — best public system in the world — that’s probably going to be reduced to technical training or something like that. The privatization, of course, means privatization for the rich [and a] lower level of mostly technical training for the rest. And that is happening across the country. Next year, for the first time ever, the California system, which was a really great system, best anywhere, is getting more funding from tuition than from the state of California. And that is happening across the country. In most states, tuition covers more than half of the college budget. It’s also most of the public research universities. Pretty soon only the community colleges — you know, the lowest level of the system — will be state-financed in any serious sense. And even they’re under attack. And analysts generally agree, I’m quoting, “The era of affordable four-year public universities heavily subsidized by the state may be over.”

  • Science

    • Interview: Gaël Varoquaux

      I was fortunate enough to get Gaël Varoquaux to accept a written interview. He is a very, very busy man. He was recently heavily involved in SciPy 2011 where he gave a presentation entitled Python for Brain Mining: (Neuro)science with State of the Art Machine Learning and Data Visualization. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

  • Security

    • Three out of four rootkit infections are on Windows XP

      FREEMIUM antivirus vendor Avast warns that unpatched Windows XP machines continue to pose a serious threat to the internet ecosystem by harbouring three quarters of all rootkit infections.

      The company has an unique insight into the threat landscape thanks to over 130 million active Avast! antivirus installations worldwide that send it malware telemetry. According to a recent analysis performed by the firm’s researchers, 74 per cent of 630,000 rootkit samples found in the wild originated from Windows XP machines.

    • Lies and Statistics

      I prefer more openness in IT. That’s why I use Debian GNU/Linux, a cooperative product of the world working for us and not against us. Debian publishes all its known bugs and reports for the world to see so you can know the bugs that are out there before you install the software. A search using Google for “remote code execution” on bugs.debian.org reveals 157 hits for all open bugs, not just this year’s and for all the thousands of packages available. Using Debian’s index one can travel back in time to bug #50004 from 1999.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • detention: source

      Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose disappearance in April caused an international outcry, endured intense psychological pressure during 81 days in secretive detention and still faces the threat of prison for alleged subversion, a source familiar with the events told Reuters.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Obsolete Expertise and the US Economy’s Energy Problem

      If you came of age in the twenty years leading up to the millennium, it’s likely you will treat energy as a non-limiting input to the US economy. As a journalist, policy maker, or economist, you are far more likely to produce political explanations when faced with economic dilemmas. The Great Recession has offered the perfect occasion to witness the phenomenon, a financial crisis which specifically kicked off amidst 150 dollar oil in 2008. Instead of advising the President that the country faced debt-deflation, with a nasty overlay of high commodity costs, the White House economic team has drawn from the post-war playbook which holds that if you stimulate the economy generally then the system will magically reorganize itself. Well, that hasn’t happened and it’s not going to happen.

  • Finance

    • Revolving Door at S.E.C. Is Hurdle to Crisis Cleanup

      A senior lawyer for the Securities and Exchange Commission recently took center stage in a major case involving a controversial mortgage security sold by Goldman Sachs.

      There was just one slight twist in the legal proceedings. The S.E.C. lawyer was not the prosecutor taking the deposition. He was the witness.

    • Insight: Debt relief replaced with recession fear

      In a matter of days, investor relief that the United States avoided default has been replaced by fears Europe’s debt crisis is deepening and the world’s biggest economy may be slipping back into recession.

    • Goldman Sachs Model at Risk as Dodd-Frank Pares Trading in Dark
    • Goldman Sachs As Part of the “Predator State”
    • U.S. Subsidies to Systemically Dangerous Institutions Violate WTO Principles

      This article makes the policy case that U.S. subsidies to its systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) violate World Trade Organization (WTO) principles. The WTO describes its central mission as creating “a system of rules dedicated to open, fair and undistorted competition.” There is a broad consensus among economists that the systemically dangerous institutions (SDIs) receive large governmental subsidies that make “open, fair, and undistorted competition” impossible. To date, WTO is infamous for its hostility to efforts by nation states to regulate banks effectively. At best, the result is a classic example of the catastrophic damage cause by the “intended consequences” of the SDIs’ unholy war against regulation.

    • BOMBSHELL REPORT: Goldman Sachs Got Billions From Taxpayers Thru AIG For Its OWN Account, Crisis Panel Finds; Contradicting SWORN Testimony From Execs
    • Confessions Of A Wall St. Nihilist: Forget About Goldman Sachs, Our Entire Economy Is Built On Fraud

      There was a strange moment last week during President Obama’s speech at Cooper Union. There he was, groveling before a cast of Wall Street villains including Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein, begging them to “Look into your heart!” like John Turturro’s character in Miller’s Crossing…when out of the blue, the POTUS dropped this bombshell: “The only people who ought to fear the kind of oversight and transparency that we’re proposing are those whose conduct will fail this scrutiny.”

      The Big Secret, of course, is that every living creature within a 100-mile radius of Cooper Union would fail “this scrutiny”—or that scrutiny, or any scrutiny, period. Not just in a 100-mile radius, but wherever there are still signs of economic life beating in these 50 United States, the mere whiff of scrutiny would work like nerve gas on what’s left of the economy. Because in the 21st century, fraud is as American as baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet Volts—fraud’s all we got left, Doc. Scare off the fraud with Obama’s “scrutiny,” and the entire pyramid scheme collapses in a heap of smoldering savings accounts.

    • Why are the big banks getting off scot-free?

      For most citizens, one of the mysteries of life after the crisis is why such a massive act of looting has gone unpunished. We’ve had hearings, investigations, and numerous journalistic and academic post mortems. We’ve also had promises to put people in jail by prosecutors like Iowa’s attorney general Tom Miller walked back virtually as soon as they were made.

      Yet there is undeniable evidence of institutionalized fraud, such as widespread document fabrication in foreclosures (mentioned in the motion filed by New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman opposing the $8.5 billion Bank of America settlement with investors) and the embedding of impermissible charges (known as junk fees and pyramiding fees) in servicing software, so that someone who misses a mortgage payment or two is almost certain to see it escalate into a foreclosure. And these come on top of a long list of runup-to-the-crisis abuses, including mortgage bonds having more dodgy loans in them than they were supposed to, banks selling synthetic or largely synthetic collateralized debt obligations as being just the same as ones made of real bonds when the synthetics were created for the purpose of making bets against the subprime market and selling BBB risk at largely AAA prices, and of course, phony accounting at the banks themselves.

    • Total Employment in the US Falls Again

      Total employment in the United States fell in July by 38,000 people, from 139.334 to 139.296 million. This was a much smaller loss than the previous month. However, once again the average number of total employed for the current year is in decline. My forecast is that by next year, after revisions and the complete data, 2011′s average—currently at 139.55 million–will fall below 2010′s average of 139.07 million. | see: United States Total Employment in Millions (seasonally adjusted) 2001-2011.

  • Civil Rights

    • Private companies own your DNA – again

      Many scientists cheered last year when a federal judge ruled that human genes couldn’t be patented. The case involved Myriad Genetics, which holds the patent rights on two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, that are associated with increased risks for breast and ovarian cancer. Thanks to these patents, you can’t look these genes in your own body without paying a fee to Myriad. Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, that was the state of gene patents until last May, when judge Robert Sweet ruled that the Myriad’s patents were invalid.

IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 10/8/2011: Linux/Android Tablets Multiply, OpenGL 4.2 is Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 4:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Does Loving Linux Make Us Dislike Windows?

    Today I’m a full-time desktop Linux enthusiast, who is familiar with dozens of popular distributions. I’d consider myself very comfortable with Linux on the desktop. What’s interesting though, is the change in how I view Windows.

    These days, I avoid Windows as much as possible since I feel much more limited with it. Perhaps this is what Windows users trying Linux feel when stepping outside of their regular computing routine?

  • Samsung Remove Ubuntu Logo From Galaxy Ad [Updated with video]

    Seeing the Ubuntu logo sailing alongside hundreds of Android App icons in a TV spot for Samsung’s Galaxy S II was a strange, but not unwarranted, sight to begin with.

  • Answering readers and critics on Linux configuration anarchy
  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 159
  • Desktop

    • Seven Concerns on the Linux Desktop

      Instead, the major desktops seem to be responding to the pressures around them rather than taking charge of their direction. Some of these pressures are self-created, while others are historical or common to all modern desktops, free and proprietary alike. Some are barely articulated, although they operate no less powerfully for that.

      Whatever their origins, here are seven concerns that are shaping the Linux desktop today:

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: First release candidate for Linux 3.1

      Expected to be released in about two months, the next kernel version will offer optimised virtualisation, add bad block management components to the software RAID code and include an extended Nouveau driver for NVIDIA’s Fermi graphics chips. Several developers have been criticised for their clumsy use of Git in this development cycle.

      Linus Torvalds has issued the first release candidate of Linux 3.1, closing the merge window of this version, whose final release is expected in late September or early October, 17 days after the release of Linux 3.0. Therefore, the first phase in the Linux development cycle was three days longer than usual. This was caused by the diving holiday Torvalds is currently taking in Hawaii; he is providing an impression of his trip on Google Plus.

    • Linux 3.1-rc1 Kernel: A “Pretty Normal Release”
    • How to piss off a Linux kernel subsystem maintainer – part 6

      There’s nothing like waking up and receiving in your inbox, a few scant hours after the merge window has opened up again, a plea for why you haven’t already reviewed and applied all 117+ patches that the author sent to you a few weeks ago, back when they well knew you could not apply them due to the merge window being closed.

      Oh, and to top it all off, as the message was sent in HTML format, it didn’t hit the mailing lists, I was the only one who received it. Because of that, I figured it was better if I just ignored it as well, just like the vger.kernel.org filters did.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Ryan Gordon Criticizes Open-Source Drivers Again

        There’s just one and a half days left to the Humble Indie Bundle #3, but in less than two weeks the game offering has already grossed nearly $1.9M USD. Recently the developers behind these indie games had allowed the community to ask them questions on Reddit about their work. Ryan “Icculus” Gordon was one of the developers responding and he had provided some interesting comments.

      • Charlies Games original Bullet Candy comes to linux!

        As we retweeted via twitter on the day and as now other awesome sites have picked up, Charlies Games have ported over the original Bullet Candy to Linux.

        It will cost you a measly $1 + if you are feeling nice anything more you wish to donate.

      • Mesa GLSL-To-TGSI Is Merged To Master
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Open Source: Pondering the Linux GUI

      First we had the KDE 3.5 to KDE 4.0 debacle. A release numbering scheme by the KDE folk that differed from what is considered the norm ended up with alpha level code being pushed out in most major desktop distributions of Linux. Many people were so upset about radical and broken changes to KDE during this period they left KDE, swearing never to return. It does not matter if KDE is “okay” now. Some of these people will probably not return to KDE.

      Some of the disenchanted former KDE using folk moved to Gnome and liked what Gnome was at the time. These people got comfortable with Gnome 2.x and enjoyed the features it has. Now we have the strangeness that is Gnome 3. Once again, many people are not happy with the changes in Gnome 3. Especially upsetting to some is the loss of functionality they took for granted and an extreme change in the look and feel of Gnome.

    • Five Linux Desktops That Aren’t Unity or GNOME 3

      GNOME 3, however, has turned out to be just as controversial, and if any evidence were required, none other than the father of Linux himself–Linus Torvalds–recently provided it by condemning the desktop environment and switching to Xfce instead.

    • Linus Hates GNOME 3 and I Don’t

      My editor at LinuxPro, Joe Casad, asked me if I wanted to write an article covering the differences between GNOME 2 and GNOME 3, but I declined (I was already working on something else). The reason for his request was this piece by my colleague, Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols, where Steven that talks about Linus Torvalds’ intense dislike for GNOME 3. In the article, Linux suggests that a fork of GNOME 3 is in order.

    • Does Linus Run Linux Mint?

      Earlier he mentioned some of the other distributions he has used. In 2007 he told apcmag.com, “So right now I happen to run Fedora on my machines. Before Fedora had PowerPC support, I ran YDL for a while, and before that I had SuSE. Funnily enough, the only distributions I tend to refuse to touch are the “technical” ones, so I’ve never run Debian, because as far as I’m concerned, the whole and only point of a distribution is to make it easy to install.” He even took a swipe at Gentoo or LFS I think when he added, “so Debian or one of the “compile everything by hand” ones simply weren’t interesting to me.”

    • What Would Linus Do About GNOME 3? Why, Use Xfce
    • 9 Most Useful Compiz Plugins

      Last time we wrote about all the useless plugins in Compiz. This time, we won’t be bashing your favorite compositing window manager. Today, we’ll be listing the most useful plugins Compiz can boast of.

      So, without much ado, here’s a list of the most useful and popular Compiz plugins out there (in no particular order):

    • Desktop Summit 2011 Berlin, Aftermath

      I am sad to leave already, but tomorrow I’ll start my internship at the Mayflower office in Munich. I had a really good time in Berlin and enjoyed the talks at the Desktop Summit.

    • Keynotes and Sandals – Day Two at Desktop Summit 2011

      For the second full day at the Desktop Summit, the organizers played a little trick on us by starting talks at 9:00 a.m. Those who were awake enough after the dinners and chat of the previous night were treated to talks on Calligra (the KDE creativity and productivity suite), suggestions about blending the web and the desktop, color management and the build process for GNOME. Those who were still in bed will have to wait for the videos and slides to be posted online in the next few days.

      The hallways and courtyard were again busy with small, lively discussions. As the morning went on the attendance at talks increased noticeably. Sunday was also the day of the press conference, where key figures from GNOME, KDE and the cross-community organizing team met with the press to answer their questions about the event and the future of free software.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Control The Music Your Way With Amarok [Linux]
      • World domination

        KDE dominates the Desktop Summit, they even convinced the design shop opposite the venue to decorate with an big K. :D

      • Get the branding: Unofficial KDE abbreviations list

        Sometime last year I expressed my thoughts on the kde-promo mailing list that one of the reasons for lacking support of the KDE rebranding initiative from 2009 was the lack of official abbreviations – after all, “KDE 4.7” is easier to write than “KDE Plasma Desktop 4.7”. I got no responses but for the last months I didn’t really care a lot.

        After yesterday’s announcement of KDE Frameworks 5.0 I’ve seen talk about “KDE 5.0” on several web sites. But as anyone into KDE knows, there is no KDE5. Reading the mailing lists and other Planet KDE posts, it seems to me that the Plasma Workspaces won’t necessarily jump to the next major version once Frameworks 5.0 are released.

      • Keynotes and Sandals – Day Two at Desktop Summit 2011

        For the second full day at the Desktop Summit, the organizers played a little trick on us by starting talks at 9:00 a.m. Those who were awake enough after the dinners and chat of the previous night were treated to talks on Calligra (the KDE creativity and productivity suite), suggestions about blending the web and the desktop, color management and the build process for GNOME. Those who were still in bed will have to wait for the videos and slides to be posted online in the next few days.

        The hallways and courtyard were again busy with small, lively discussions. As the morning went on the attendance at talks increased noticeably. Sunday was also the day of the press conference, where key figures from GNOME, KDE and the cross-community organizing team met with the press to answer their questions about the event and the future of free software.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Five awesome new themes for your gnome shell

        The gnome shell extensions are getting more and more cool by the day. With high quality themes gnome shell really becomes the most pleasant Linux desktop to use. This is a list of five wonderful shell themes. You could use it on your gnome shell theme in ubuntu, fedora or any other distro.

      • Transparent voting: why I like the idea even though I think it would be useless

        Transparent voting is an idea that is ideally really useful but also completely useless in GNOME.

        Some people in GNOME have been asking for transparent votes. When the board votes, they would like to know who voted which way. I totally agree with them – it’s important to know how different board members think so that you can make educated choices. However, I also agree with the people that say that it would be totally useless.

      • GNOME Shell Multi-Touch Support State

        On the third day of the Berlin Desktop Summit there wasn’t any major announcements like the previous two days when we found out the KDE plans for Wayland, basic plans for KDE 5.0, and initial thoughts concerning GTK4. One of the talks that I attended on Monday that was of closest interest to that of Phoronix content is the work being done towards making a multi-touch GNOME Shell.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Distro: Tails – You Can Never Be Too Paranoid

      Tails takes the form of a bootable live image that can be used from a CD ROM, a USB stick or via a network boot. Once booted, it executes from RAM, taking care not to make use of a swap partition. The desktop is Gnome 2.0 and the applications are a fairly standard selection. The web browser is an old, but usable, version of Iceweasel 3.5 (Debian Firefox). There are other applications to handle graphics work, audio editing, media playback, text editing, instant messaging and a email client – basically, everything you need when you’re on the run from enemy agents. Extra software can be added via the Synaptic package manager which pulls directly from the Debian repositories. So far, so similar to most other live desktop distros. Security and limited footprint on the the host machine are the areas in which the distro differs from the run of the mill.

    • Reviews: Here’s looking at Linvo, kid

      Since I got into the Linvo trial to try out their atomic updates, I’d like to talk some more on the subject. Though I haven’t had a chance to install it yet there is another project out there with a surprisingly similar objective to Linvo. This other project is called NixOS. NixOS is a small distribution built on top of the Nix package manager, which is designed to make updates atomic and to insure the operating system is always in a usable state. As with Linvo’s stated goals, NixOS is said to support multiple users installing different versions of software. Nix also has a roll-back feature. The result is supposed to be a system without global program directories (/usr/bin, /usr/local/bin, etc), instead each version of each package gets its own directory. NixOS is a research project and isn’t targeted at home or business users. However, for people who are interested in trying out something different you can learn more from the project’s website.

    • The Six Best Linux Community Server Distributions

      One question we get a lot: What are the best community server distributions? That question isn’t as simple as it sounds. What makes a distro “the best”? Why community distributions, specifically? It’s not a simple question — but read on and we’ll point you to six distros that will help you reach a satisfying answer.

    • Browser Linux – An Extremely Lightweight & Fast OS For Older x86 Computers [Linux]

      Unless you’re a web developer or programmer, you most likely don’t really need a whole lot of applications aside from a web browser, perhaps a media player, file manager/viewer and text editor. Maybe that’s why a lot more people nowadays own smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks, etc, and can get away with not using their main computers or laptops for light web browsing. If you wish to have an equally lightweight operating system with just the tools you need but on your actual laptop, you can use Google Chrome OS or Jolicloud.

    • Tiny Linux distro gets dependency fetching and simpler USB install

      Team Tiny Core announced a new version of its small-footprint, in-memory Linux desktop distro. Tiny Core 3.8 includes faster shutdown, updates to the BusyBox tool collection, improved searching, and the ability to re-download non-installed extensions, among other enhancements.

    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo Releases 11.2 LiveDVD to Crickets

        Ah, Gentoo. Gentoo was once one of the most popular distributions going. But somewhere along the line it declined. It’s become a fringe distro that even with dedicated developers and loyal users can’t seem to get its mojo back. I used Gentoo for several years and perhaps the reasons I moved on might be the same others did as well.

        In 2002 Gentoo was sitting at number three on the Distrowatch Page Hit Ranking. It’s been falling down that list every year since. This year it’s at 18. Version 11.0 was released in March and I don’t think anyone reviewed it. The Rolling Programmer tried, but “hit a brick wall.” Regardless, I don’t think it’s not-so-ease-of-use that took Gentoo down. I lay the blame at Moore’s Law.

      • Installing Gentoo on a Notebook in 2011

        The first time I installed Gentoo, back in late 2004, I used an at-the-time brand-new Dell Inspiron (5150 if I recall) notebook as the victim. At that time, Gentoo was a new world to me, and a confusing one. It took me about a half-week’s worth of actual work to get it installed, but it happened, and it was one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve ever had with a PC.

        There was a problem, though. As Gentoo is hugely a do-it-yourself Linux distribution, there are many things that are just not done for you without your explicit consent. Things have become a little easier over the years, especially with the very informative guides and major improvements made to Gentoo’s own software, but even today it’s still an amazing challenge to get it installed onto a PC and configured correctly (the latter being the more difficult part).


        I am glad I decided to give Gentoo another shot on a notebook, and I can’t see me moving off it anytime soon.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat to Present a Cloud Technology Update via Live Webcast on August 10

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that members of the Red Hat executive team will host a press conference that will be broadcast live via webcast at 12pm ET on Wednesday, August 10.

      • Red Hat Extends Open Source Summer Teaching Program to the Academic Year

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the expansion of its Professors’ Open Source Summer Experience (POSSE) 2011 that took place in late July in Raleigh, NC. Now in it third year, POSSE is a higher education faculty program that immerses professors in the culture, tools and practices of open source communities. Due to the overwhelming success of this year’s summer weekend workshop, several POSSE activities are scheduled throughout the 2011-2012 North American school year.

      • Fedora

        • No Btrfs by default in Fedora 16


        • Feature preview of Fedora 16 installer

          Fedora 16 is more than two months away from final, stable release, but pre-Alpha installation ISO images have been floating around. News from the Fedora camp have already indicated that btrfs will be the default file system on Fedora 16, joining the ranks of MeeGo, the first (Linux) distribution to use btrfs as the default file system.

          With several articles already published about Fedora and btrfs (see the latest here), I downloaded a pre-Alpha image just to see what the new partitioning scheme will be on Anaconda, the Fedora system installation program, with btrfs. If btrfs is to be the default, a file system with a built-in volume management system, what will happen to LVM?

        • Monday in Fedora

          I suppose this is a sort of a test. I’m going to keep a little log of everything I do during the day related to Fedora. We’ll see how far I get.

        • Fedora 16 Alpha Release Candidate 2 (RC2) Available Now!

          As per the Fedora 16 schedule [1], Fedora 16 Alpha Release Candidate 2 (RC2) is now available for testing. Please see the following pages for download links and testing instructions. In general, official live images arrive a few hours after the install images: see the links below for updates. When they appear, the download directory should be the same as that for install images, except with the trailing “/Fedora/” replaced by “/Live/”.

        • Btrfs Switch Postponed To Fedora 17

          While it originally appeared that Fedora 16 would be the first major distribution (besides possibly counting MeeGo) to switch to Btrfs as the default Linux file-system, that’s not going to happen. Fedora 16 will continue defaulting to EXT4 and it will not be until Fedora 17 now that Btrfs will be the Fedora file-system default.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/kFreeBSD on production

        During the last few weeks I had to work through some of the limitations that were holding me back, such automated driver load and FUSE. I was lucky enough that other people filled the missing pieces I wanted, such as NFS client support and a GRUB bugfix that broke booting from Mirrored pools.


        If you have installed Debian GNU/kFreeBSD, was it meant for production or just a “toy machine”? If you considered using it on production, did it succeed at satisfying your needs, or did something hold you back? Leave your comment!

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Membership

            The Ubuntu project accepts many kinds of contributions from people all over the world. After time, many contributors develop a sense of belonging and ownership of the project. When someone has been with the project for a long time and have made significant contributions to the project, then they may apply for membership. When you become an Ubuntu member, you become an official part of the project. You become a representative. You get an @ubuntu.com email address, an Ubuntu cloak on Freenode. You even get to vote on who serves on the Ubuntu Community Council, the top-level community governance committee in Ubuntu. For people who are serious about Ubuntu, membership is a big deal. Many people consider Ubuntu membership one of their biggest achievements.

          • Canonical Working to Put Ubuntu on the ‘App Development Map’

            Ubuntu may be marketed as “Linux for human beings,” but Canonical is working hard to make it the open source platform of choice for app developers as well. And it’s now calling on those who fall into the latter category to offer feedback on how Ubuntu can better meet their needs. Read on for details.

            I’ve always interpreted Ubuntu’s “Linux for human beings” mantra to mean that the operating system was built first and foremost to be friendly for non-geeks. To a remarkable extent, Ubuntu has succeeded in that vein, distinguishing itself as the most popular and one of the simplest Linux distributions for desktop users.

          • [Screenshots and Video] First Look at All New Ubuntu Software Center Tech Preview

            Ubuntu Software Center is getting a complete makeover in its GTK3 avatar and first tech preview of this whole new look landed today in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

            Being just a tech preview as of now, the current Software Center is still there by default. However, the demo can be launched by running the command software-center-gtk3 from the terminal.

          • Is Canonical Weighing Other E-Mail Options with Thunderbird?

            Few people are as passionate about their e-mail clients as they are about, say, browsers or phones. But that certainly doesn’t mean all mail apps were created equal, as Canonical showed recently when it commissioned a comparison of the open source clients Thunderbird and Evolution. Here’s a look at some of the findings.

            The Thunderbird standalone e-mail client enjoys relatively wide popularity. Developed by Mozilla, it runs on pretty much every modern operating system out there, and has been around for nearly a decade.

          • Amazon issues with EBS affect Ubuntu images in the EU-WEST region
          • Top 5 Ubuntu Alternatives

            The following article will list five of the best alternative operating systems to the popular Ubuntu OS, personally selected by the author.

            We’ve written this article to help some of our readers in finding a good alternative to the current release of the Ubuntu operating system, because of the Unity interface.

            Personally, I use Ubuntu 11.04 everyday and I have no problem with it. When Unity was about to be born, I was like “no way I am using that,” but I got used to it, and I’ve even managed to customize it the way I like it.

          • Ubuntu: The desktop Linux with the cloud inside

            Things can get really confusing when you start working with cloud-computing but we can all agree that having cloud file-storage is a good thing. It’s just so much easier to keep files in a universal storage box in the sky than worrying about whether you put the right USB drive in your laptop bag when you left for work. At this time though only one mainstream desktop operating system comes with the cloud built-in: Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 3 Has Firefox 6 and Thunderbird 6
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Free app brings easy penetration testing to Android

          Zimperium will soon release a penetration-testing app called Android Network Toolkit (Anti), ready to sniff our Wi-Fi vulnerabilities for good or evil, says Forbes. The software was shown at the DefCon hacking conference in Las Vegas, following a Black Hat security conference that featured presentations on a new DARPA Cyber-Fast Track project, the Shady RAT cyber-attack, and Facebook facial-recognition tools.

        • HTC releases OpenSense SDK for tapping 3D, stylus features

          HTC released a software developer kit for its Sense UI skin for Android. The OpenSense SDK offers APIs that let developers harness the GUI’s look and feel, as well as a stereoscopic 3D display (available on the Evo 3D 4G smartphone) and a stylus pen (available with the HTC Flyer and Evo View 4G tablets).

        • Android ‘smartwatch’ acts as Bluetooth extension to smartphones

          Blue Sky has begun taking pre-orders for the “I’mWatch,” an Android 1.6-based gadget that offers a 1.5-inch screen and audio jack, interacting with smartphones via Bluetooth to display alerts. The device follows last week’s WIMM One wearable Android watch, as well as an Android-based watch platform from Motorola called the MotoActive that popped up recently on the web.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Motorola Xoom gets Android 3.1

        Motorola has released a UK Android 3.1 update for the Motorola Xoom, activating long-awaited features for early adopters.

        The patch brings users up to speed with Honeycomb’s improved multi-tasking, resizable home screen widgets and keyboard and mouse compatibility, as well as a host of support for other USB or Bluetooth devices.

      • Lenovo ThinkPad Tablets: A Closer Look From Inside Lenovo

        The wait is over. Here at Lenovo, we have introduced our new Android-based ThinkPad tablet — taking the brand full circle. You can read the press release here. It’s hard to believe that the first ThinkPad, introduced back in 1992, was a pen-based tablet, but it was. The iconic ThinkPad 700c ushered in the familiar notebook form factor later. I once wrote a blog that goes deeper into the ThinkPad tablet history lesson for those who are curious. Nearly 20 years later, could our new ThinkPad tablet be the weapon of choice for business success? I think so.

      • Seven-inch Sharp Galapagos tablet runs Android 3.2

        Sharp announced a seven-inch, 1024 x 600-pixel “Galapagos A01SH” tablet running Android 3.2 on an Nvidia Tegra 2 processor — and its FCC approval suggests it’s eventually destined for the U.S.. Meanwhile, the Toshiba Thrive “Honeycomb” tablet has received a sleep-and-resume bug fix, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 got a “magazine-like” TouchWiz UI update.

      • Pandigital launches $159 Android tablet with Cortex-A9 processor

        Just a few days after Pandigital began selling a $170 Nova and $180 Planet tablet at BestBuy and Amazon, respectively, it introduced a third seven-inch Android tablet called the Star, for $160. What’s more, the company disclosed that all three tablets include ARM Cortex-A9 processors, representing a price breakthrough for products based on the technology.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • OSCON Round-up

      Reading some stories recently, it would be easy to conclude that there was some sort of a decline in open source. I’ll not pretend to have new and objective data on the subject, but having just returned from OSCON in the USA I have to say rumours of the death of open source are premature.

    • Ohio LinuxFest Registration is Open for Business
    • ESC Boston features giveaways, tackles embedded security

      Keynotes and tracks were announced for the ESC (Embedded Systems Conference) Boston, set for Sept. 26-29, including keynotes on embedded security and medical devices. ESC Boston offers a Linux/Android track, featuring a session on Android’s Open Accessory Kit, as well as giveaways to “All Access” users of a BeagleBoard-xM board and a Texas Instruments programmable, wireless-enabled eZ430-Chronos sports watch.

  • Web Browsers

    • Google, Mozilla Team Up to Create a Smarter, Action-Based Web

      Google has announced a new set of APIs for its Chrome web browser, which are designed to connect applications and sites across the web. Web Intents, as Google is calling its new meta-website API, allows websites to pass data between each other — for example, to edit a photograph or share a URL with friends.

      Developers at Mozilla have been working on a similar framework for Firefox, and now Google says it will work with Mozilla to develop a single API that works in both web browsers.

    • Mozilla

      • The Mozilla Interview: Why Firefox Matters

        Mozilla’s Firefox experienced a pretty rapid turn of fortunes last year and is still dealing with the effects of a changing browser landscape today. The rise of Chrome, a more competitive Microsoft, an increasingly loyal Apple user base, the often-delayed release of Firefox 4, created a perfect storm against Mozilla that is affecting its market share and credibility. Johnathan Nightingale agreed to spend some time with us to talk about the current state of Firefox and its immediate future in a very competitive environment.

      • Firefox Extension for Anonymous Browsing Hits Version 1.0

        There are lots of valid reasons why many people around the globe want to be able to use the web and messaging systems anonymously, despite the fact that some people want to end Internet anonymity altogether. In many parts of the world, opressive government regulations threaten free speech, and worse, which has produced an extensive list of technologies that people around the world use to beat the Internet censors. Among these, Tor, from the Tor Project, is one of the most powerful and flexible open source solutions for online anonymity. Last summer, we covered one of these solutions, a Firefox extension called HTPPS Everywhere, which leverages Tor for browsing anonymity. Now, there is an official version 1.0 available.

      • Creating Firefox web apps that look like native apps
  • Databases

    • MariaDB Crash Course released

      I am happy to announce that the first MariaDB book is released!

      The book is called MariaDB Crash Course and is written by Ben Forta, who also wrote the MySQL Crash Course book.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice.org: Showdown for Best Open Source Office Suite

      With the release of a new version of LibreOffice this month, it’s a good time to look at the two major open source office suites, LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org, to see what advantages each offers, and which is a better bet for end users.

      Both products are suites of office applications, comprising word process, spreadsheet, presentation graphics, database, drawing, and math tools. Both also spring from the same code base. OpenOffice.org was created by a German company called Star Division, which Sun Microsystems bought in 1999. Originally the suite was called StarOffice, and it was popular in the European market as an alternative to Microsoft Office. After picking it up, Sun changed the name of the product to OpenOffice.org and released its code as open source. The product retained some popularity in the enterprise, partly because of its cross-platform capabilities and no-cost license.

    • TLWIR 12: Libreoffice 3.4.2, NASA, and the Asus X101
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Moto: From Dining To Open-Source Software

      Two months ago there was a mention of Moto on Phoronix as being a place for a wonderful (and tasty) high-tech dinner. At the time it was mentioned just for their use of interesting technologies to make wonderful dishes, and partnerships with NASA and other organizations to conduct food research. Come to find out, my favorite American restaurant is also entering the open-source software business. The restaurant is working on some interesting open-source code… In particular, they’re hoping to revolutionize restaurant management software with this project they have been working on, dubbed Moto Matrix.

    • Open Source Effort Will Deliver Low-Cost Wi-Fi for All

      One of the great things about open source software is that it doesn’t just bring a wealth of benefits to businesses. Rather, by making low-cost, high-quality software widely available to everyone, it also has the potential to change lives around the world.

    • A new way of measuring Openness, from Android to WebKit: The Open Governance Index

      [Much has been said about open source projects – and open source platforms are now powering an ever-increasing share of the mobile market. But what is “open” and how can you measure openness? As part of our new research report (free download), VisionMobile Research Partner Liz Laffan introduces the Open Governance Index – a new approach to measuring the “openness” of software projects, from Android to WebKit]

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenGL 4.2 Specification Published With GLSL 4.20

      The good news: Khronos has published version 4.2 of the OpenGL specification in conjunction with the GL Shading Language version 4.20 specification. The bad news? The open-source Linux graphics drivers are falling hopelessly behind in keeping up-to-date with the latest upstream OpenGL releases and what is supported by the proprietary drivers and those for other operating systems.

      The release of OpenGL 4.2 isn’t much of a surprise, it’s coming just around one year after the OpenGL 4.1 specification. The occasion for this release is the SIGGRAPH conference taking place this week in Vancouver, Canada. “The OpenGL 4.2 specification has been defined by the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) working group at Khronos, and includes the GLSL 4.20 update to the OpenGL Shading Language. The OpenGL 4.2 specification contains new features that extend functionality available to developers and enables increased application performance.”


  • Amazon, Microsoft Data Centers Go Down Without Much Fanfare

    It finally happened. We had a fairly significant cloud outage the other day and we didn’t have a lot of hand-wringing about the perils of cloud computing. Could it be that we have finally reached a point where we don’t have to defend the future of cloud computing each time a data center has problems, or is it just that everyone is on vacation in August and nobody was paying attention?

  • Microsoft gives BPOS customers credit note for latest crash

    This is the latest in a series of embarrassing cloud outages for Redmond after a summer of interruptions began in May, but differs from other incidents in that an “Act of God” was responsible for knocking out the service.

  • Security

  • Civil Rights

    • Secret Identities Online and Defamation

      The Internet has given rise to thousands of online chat forums, where participants can sound off on the issues of the day often shielded by the cloak of anonymity. Anonymous speech can be empowering — whistleblowers depend upon it to safeguard their identity and political participants in some countries face severe repercussions if they speak out publicly — but it also carries the danger of posts that cross the line into defamation without appropriate accountability.

      Striking the balance between protecting anonymous free speech on the one hand and applying defamation laws on the other sits at the heart of a new Ontario Superior Court decision released last week. The case involved postings about Phyllis Morris, the former mayor of Aurora.

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