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Links 23/8/2011: GIMP 2.7.3 Released, Ubuntu Joins VMware

Posted in News Roundup at 2:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How open source is transforming the publishing industry

    Many of you already know I am not only a writer of a technical nature, but a writer of fiction. In fact, the second in my I Zombie trilogy will hit the shelves next month. I have been working hard to produce a catalog of ebooks and paperbacks for the last three years. During that time I have discovered something that seems to be slipping through the cracks of the majority of computer-type pundits — open source is one of the major players in the new world publishing order.

  • How open source is transforming the publishing industry

    With the growth of social networking, blogging and the Web in general, personal privacy is becoming harder and harder to find.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has argued that privacy is no longer “a social norm.” And former Google CEO Eric Schmidt once famously opined, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • CMS

    • Drupal Open App Standard Initiative Launched

      Two leading players have announced the Drupal Open App Standard Initiative in an effort to help create an improved user experience within the Drupal content management system and to help spur the development of the Drupal economy.

      Phase2 Technology, based in Alexandria, VA, and SubHub, based in Cardiff, United Kingdom, have been collaborating on the initiative to achieve interoperability for Drupal apps and thus make it possible for any developer to write an app that would then be deployable across multiple app market implementations.

  • Licensing

    • New GPL licence touted as saviour of Linux, Android

      The Free Software Foundation reckons its new version of the General Public Licence removes the problems bedevilling version two, but not everyone is convinced the problem even exists.

      The FSF reckons that Linux developers need to move quickly to GPLv3 if they’re to avoid Android (and similar Linux-based platforms) getting tied up in legal battles, despite the fact that many are claiming such battles are no more than figments in the eyes of publicity-hungry bloggers.

      At issue is the clause in version two of the GPL which states that anyone breaching the restrictions irrevocably surrenders their rights under the licence. As just about every Android licensee has, at some point, failed to provide source code (or written notice of source code provision), then (the argument goes) they are all in breach of the GPLv2 and thus open to copyright suits from every Linux developer.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Open hardware, or open source hardware?

        Bruce Perens (co-founder of the Open Source Initiative) has been opining about the difference between open source hardware and open hardware. People have compared the debate to the difference between open source software and free software, and are concerned that it might become as divisive. I’m not so sure. I think they are two different things, and they can co-exist peacefully.

  • Programming


  • Rare Strong Earthquake Hits Colorado

    The largest natural earthquake in Colorado in more than a century struck Monday night in the state’s southeast corner, but there had been no reports of damage or injuries.

    The quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 5.3 and centered about nine miles from the city of Trinidad, hit at 11:46 p.m. local time. It was felt as far away as Greeley, about 350 miles north, and into Kansas and New Mexico, said Julie Dutton, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.

  • Earthquake rocks Washington area

    The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake was 3.7 miles deep. Shaking was felt at the White House and all over the East Coast, as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C. Parts of the Pentagon, White House and Capitol were evacuated. The quake was in Mineral, Va., in Louisa County.

  • Justice Prosser Back in the Spotlight

    Embattled Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser is in the spotlight once again, this time for a conflict-of-interest in a pending case involving Koch-funded Tea Party groups.

  • Science

    • Top scientists advise recent graduates to seek work abroad

      Science graduates should scale back their hopes of finding work in the UK and cast their net wider, according to two of the UK’s most influential scientists.

      Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Prof Keith Campbell said decreasing levels of funding for British research meant would-be scientists should think globally when hunting for employment.

      The pair made their comments on Sunday at an Edinburgh International Book Festival debate on the future of science.

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Can the Middle Class Be Saved?

      IN OCTOBER 2005, three Citigroup analysts released a report describing the pattern of growth in the U.S. economy. To really understand the future of the economy and the stock market, they wrote, you first needed to recognize that there was “no such animal as the U.S. consumer,” and that concepts such as “average” consumer debt and “average” consumer spending were highly misleading.

    • Insurers Deliberately Confuse Policyholders and Dump the Sick

      A couple of years ago, when Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia asked me to testify about little-known health insurance industry practices at a hearing of his Senate Commerce Committee, I initially was reluctant. I knew that if I was completely honest, my life would change forever.

      What he was asking me to do was to disclose practices that have contributed to the growing number of Americans without insurance, the even faster growing number of us who are underinsured, and the phenomenal increase in insurance industry profits over the years, even as the ranks of those without coverage swelled.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

Europe Under Threat From Software Patents Through the Back Door, Warns FSF Founder

Posted in Apple, Europe, Patents, Samsung at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stallman lectures

Summary: Richard Stallman further validates the FFII’s warning that Europe is besieged by the same forces who sought to legalise software patents in the whole EU just over half a decade ago

LAST year we warned that Amazon was trying to flush its software patents down the EPO's throat. Benjamin Henrion warns that “Amazon one-click patentable in Europe, EPO says add a computer and it will become patentable,” based on this blog post:

Amazon’s so called “One-Click Patent” is one of the most controversially discussed software inventions ever. The term, which nowadays is used as a cipher for a prototypical business method patent, was originally coined for US 5,960,411 titled “method and system for placing a purchase order via a communications network” (filed 12 Sep 2007, granted 28 Sep 1999; pdf), which has been enforced against competitor Barnes & Noble and licensed to Apple.

The respective teaching enables easy Internet shopping in that a customer visits a website, enters address and payment information and is associated with an identifier stored in a “cookie” in his client computer. A server is then able to recognize the client by the cookie and to retrieve purchasing information related to the customer, who thus can buy an item with a “single click”.

Europe is in a limbo and even hours ago people complained about it:

Read this patent GRANTED in Europe t.co/aaGAtfa then read this t.co/BxK8stq for more crappy #swpats

Richard Stallman has emerged from his more political commentary and contributed this article which warns about the “unitary patent” — the latest among many euphemisms used to silently push a pro-software patents agenda. To quote Stallman:

Just as the US software industry is experiencing the long-anticipated all-out software patent wars, the European Union has a plan to follow the same course. When the Hargreaves report urged the UK to avoid software patents, the UK government had already approved a plan that is likely to impose them.

Software patents are dangerous to software developers because they impose monopolies on software ideas. It is not feasible or safe to develop non-trivial software if you must thread a maze of patents. (See Patent absurdity, Guardian, 20 June 2005.)

Every program combines many ideas; a large program implements thousands of them. Google recently estimated there might be 250,000 patented ideas in a smartphone. I find that figure plausible, because in 2004 I estimated that the GNU/Linux operating system implemented around 100,000 actually patented ideas. (Linux, the kernel, had been found by Dan Ravicher to contain 283 such ideas, and was estimated to be 25% of the whole system at the time.)


The volunteer activists drifted away, thinking the battle won, but the corporate lobbyists for software patents were paid to stay on the job. Now they have contrived another sneaky method: the “unitary patent” system proposed for the EU. Under this system, if the European Patent Office issues a patent, it will automatically be valid in every participating country, which in this case means all of the EU except for Spain and Italy.

European patent lawyers are obviously unhappy about Stallman’s article. As Stallman warns about lobbying those aim is to get software patents approved in Europe, European patent lawyers label his allegation a “conspiracy theory” — a term whose usage we explained before.

This cheapening of Stallman’s views (which reached a lot of people through The Guardian, plus the “Slashdot effect”) actually comes from the group which is typically polite, German patent people like Falk Metzler (here is his latest agenda-pushing) and Axel H. Horns, who gets into an argument (after calling Stallman’s argument “conspiracy theory) with the FFII. He, along with pro-Microsoft lobbyist (Florian Müller), writes pro-software patents rhetoric and adds in relation to the “unitary patent” that:

On July 10, 2010, I had reported on the planned Organisation of work on the patent reform under the Polish Presidency. Now, as we still are within the summer recess period where nothing appears to move forward there might be a little stretch of time to contemplate as to how things might move on during next fall.

There is a recent precedent of successful adoption of enhanced co-operation in the EU: As we can learn from Wikipedia, with the rise in cross border divorce in the EU, common rules were put forward to settle the issue of where trans-national couples can divorce in the EU. However Sweden was blocking the new rules, fearing the loss of its liberal divorce law (divorce law differs strongly, with Nordic liberalism being in contrast to more conservative countries such as Malta which – until recently – did not even allow it). In order to allow those willing states to proceed without Sweden, in July 2008 nine countries put forward a proposal to use enhanced co-operation. At a meeting of the justice ministers on July 25, 2008, the nine states decided to formally seek the measure of enhanced cooperation; eight states formally requested it from the European Commission on 28 July 2008.

This is an interesting analysis (the author is typically informative), but why potray a so-called ‘unity’ patent as a good thing like peace-making? It’s not. All it does is, it increases damages in European industries and raises the frequency/impact of litigation, which helps the likes of the author, not real producers.

To give a very recent example of the toxic effects of US monopolies inside Europe, consider the Apple embargogate [1, 2, 3] , which fortunately turned out to be just an Apple scam that ended badly for Apple. To quote:

Apple faces a turnover of the Samsung injunction and iPad 3 may be delayed with screen supply problems

It was a black Wednesday for Apple. Samsung managed to overturn the European Union ban on sales of its flagship tablet, an action prosecuted by Apple, and the iPad 3 launch was “put back” because of technical problems.

Added to the news that if Google’s bid for Motorola Mobile goes through, Apple will lose some of its patents litigation power because of its reliance on Motorola technologies, it is probably not a good time to be in the Cupertino company’s boardroom.

Here is more about Apple lying to the court using fake 'evidence' to impose an EU-wise embargo of Linux-based products from Samsung. It is theorised that Samsung might buy WebOS from HP, but based on hirings, Samsung will stay with Android/Bada and distribute that without qualm all around Europe, although quite likely with a Microsoft tax. Samsung is one of the top patentors in Europe.

SUSE/Novell/Attachmate: a Microsoft Dependency Inside GNU/Linux Machines

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Servers, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation, Windows at 11:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bill Gates and SUSE

Summary: More examples of the way Microsoft uses SUSE developers to put its Trojan horses inside the competition so as to grow from the inside

SEVERAL years ago and even last year we showed how Microsoft was using Novell as a back door for entering the HPC market, which is overwhelmingly dominated by GNU/Linux. Now, watch how Microsoft is using Novell’s implant for Microsoft (inside Linux) to create an unnecessary dependency on proprietary software. The whole Hyper-V nonsense that Greg K-H has been helping Microsoft advance is finding its way in a Linux-oriented market, leading to Microsoft partnerships and a drift away from software freedom. Novell has been nothing but trouble and SUSE is likely to be equally troublesome. Putting aside Microsoft’s and Novell’s Windows harmony (new YouTube videos), there is clearly some sort of attempt to embed Microsoft (and Microsoft tax) inside GNU/Linux. The question remains then, why would anybody choose SUSE over another distribution? And why would anyone attend the OpenSUSE events rather than broader scope events such as the recent one in Berlin? SUSE — like Novell — is like Microsoft inside the GNU/Linux world. It’s only serving itself. Boycott Novell and SUSE.

Pressure on Authors and Journals/Journalists to Push Bill Gates’ Agenda

Posted in Bill Gates, Patents at 11:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Lancet cover

Summary: GlaxoSmithKline, with staff in top positions at the Gates Foundation, continues to get favours from the Gates Foundation; the Lancet’s editor complains about the Gates Foundation

WE are beginning to regain a footing when it comes to tracking the Gates Foundation, even if some of our posts are a little belated (they get cited a lot nonetheless). Today’s post is also a little out of date, going several months back but covering what has not yet been covered.

Gates has a real business plan, one that may be more beneficial to him than today’s declining Microsoft. He probably wonders, “how can I claim to feed/cure/educate and make money from the crisis du jour?” Patents and other artificial scarcities perhaps, ”donating’ what monopolists took away. In his overly privileged mind, everything must be dealt with like a business venture. He calls it “gentle capitalism”, others call it philanthrocapitalism. It’s the shrewd way for the super-rich to keep their level of power over society while at the same time being portrayed as the necessary rail on which society strides forward. It’s all PR, it’s nonsense, it’s a distraction.

“God, there is no way around it. I must somehow accept that I have to learn to love the Gates Foundation. (On alternate days only.)”
      –Lancet editor
The business model of Bill Gates is not hard to see. Consider how the Gates-backed initiative for GlaxoSmithKline relates to its chief, Tachi, who actually came from GlaxoSmithKline (only very recently did he leave). Read this blog: “Take for instance the launch of a new pneumoccal vaccine among children in Africa. Considering the number of childhood deaths attributable to pneumonia in this part of the world, the effort has an initial air of nobility. Many lives will be saved, many illnesses avoided. But if one looks more closely, serious ethical problems seem to emerge. There are two multinational pharmaceutical companies involved in the campaign — GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer/Wyeth — who have agreed to sell 30 million doses every year for ten years at $10.30 per child vaccinated. These companies also stand to each gain $225 million in subsidies through their involvement in this scheme. Doctors Without Borders worries that this price for vaccination is very high for many countries, and that the lock on the market exercised by GSK and Pfizer/Wyeth will strongly discourage local companies from developing cheaper generic equivalents. The companies are establishing their brand under favorable circumstances to themselves; after that, all bets are off.”

Guess who was in charge of Gates’ ‘health’ patents program? A man from GlaxoSmithKline. A lot of this stuff is rigged and scepticism of the pharmaceutical cartel is mostly with merit (putting aside some of the scare-mongering against vaccination). In recent years we showed how Gates even ‘infiltrated’ the Lancet [1, 2, 3], which is a well-respected publication in this field. Watch what the editor of the Lancet said recently: “God, there is no way around it. I must somehow accept that I have to learn to love the Gates Foundation. (On alternate days only.)”


Other publications, such as those who seek ratings/sales rather than accuracy, help the whitewashing of the Gates agenda, based on this post which says: “In the meantime, if anyone has a connection to Melinda Gates, have her give me a call (We’ve been unsuccessful). Since she has been listed as one of the top women in life sciences for her work with the Gates Foundation, I think she would make a great cover feature.”

Why? Because she is rich she would know better than actual female scientists? It’s that same misconception that if one is more wealthy, he or she must therefore be smarter and more worthy of quoting. We wrote about this fallacy before. Status by association is not genuine status; it’s helping some dangerous people without background in the said area legitimise their clueless, self-serving agenda.

Amid Motorola Patents Sale, More Calls to Abolish Patents and More Microsoft Brainwash

Posted in Google at 10:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Google is the patent villain that threatens the world, says the Microsoft crowd

Earth as abstract

Summary: Patents increasingly being recognised for what they really are, however Microsoft spinners try to give an illusion of balance


mong Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.’s more than 17,000 patents, a group of 18 may prove most useful in Google Inc. (GOOG)’s effort to fend off litigation targeting the Android mobile platform,” writes Brian Womack, citing concerns that are echoed by some Linux sites, claiming:

A Bloomberg report had identified a group of 18 of those patents that could be particularly helpful in countering Apple’s many Android lawsuits. The circa-1994 patents are said to cover location services, antenna designs, email transmission, touchscreen motions, software-application management, and 3G wireless technologies.

“That’s the back-of-the-envelope math from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who calculated the success Google could have if it acquires Motorola and transitions Android from an open-source model to a proprietary model,” the Linux site notes. But why would it be suggested that Google might do this? “Take a look at this naughty piece of FUD,” wrote to us a loyal reader, quoting Microsoft MVP and Linux basher Jason Hiner and those who boost his FUD over at Forbes. It’s just amazing how much spin and deception were produced by this Motorola move.

Well, there is no denying that “Cellphone Patent Disputes Piling Up” (as Murdoch’s paper now puts it) and the latest infographic says it all really. An infographic that is up to date can be found in several reports that argue for patent reform — a real reform. The barbedwire strung around smartphones makes a rethink imperative. it does everything but encourage innovation. It promotes litigation at the expense of implementation and as we stressed many times before, lawyers are taking away jobs from programmers — a point which is even being made by a Microsoft booster.

The Guardian, which has just published a Stallman article on the subject of software patents (to be dealt with in a later post), finally publishes a piece against software patents. To quote:

Most people understand the origins and rationale of ordinary industrial patents. They give, say, a pharmaceutical company which has spent a fortune developing a new drug a window to profit from its investment before the rest of the world can make cheaper versions. But software patents, though legally similar, are very different in practice. Google’s $12.5bn purchase of Motorola’s mobile phone activities last week caused a stir in the business and technology worlds alike, because the reason for it was not to acquire Motorola’s phones but its portfolio of up to 17,000 “software patents”, which have become the gold dust of the digital age.

L. Gordon Crovitz makes a similar point even in Murdoch’s press when he claims that:

The costs of our broken patent system are often abstract, but this month Google put a price tag on the problem: $12.5 billion. That’s what Google paid for Motorola’s U.S. smartphone business and its 17,000 patents. This is $12.5 billion that one of America’s most creative companies will not use to innovate, fund research or hire anyone beside patent lawyers.

The patent lawyers must love all of this and one of their favourite blogs looks closely at the question the USPTO was originally created to handle and address, “[d]o Patents Disclose Useful Information?” This was the point of the USPTO back in the days — to encourage/incentivise publication (in exchange for a limited-time monopoly). Quoting Patently-O:

In her recent article Do Patents Disclose Useful Information?, Lisa Larrimore Ouellette tackles this issue head-on, offering empirical support for the position that patents do convey useful information. Ouellette, herself a former nanotech scientist, provides the results of a survey conducted of nanotechnology researchers that suggests that, at least in that industry, researchers look to patents for their technical teachings, and that they believe that patents provide useful information that is not available elsewhere – with one notable exception, the problem of reproducibility. Based on these findings, Ouellete argues that we do not grant patents because of disclosure; rather, we require disclosure because we grant patents.

That is a reversal, is it not? It further validates that the USPTO has lost its way.

It ought to be noted that Microsoft’s legal attacks on Android (through Motorola) are resuming these days. From Microsoft-friendly sources:

The Microsoft-Motorola case is one in the larger arena of software patents. Some have been settled, but many are still outstanding. Last month, HTC lost a preliminary ruling from an ITC judge. The phone maker was sued by Apple, which claimed 10 of their patents were infringed upon.

Watch what the Microsoft booster of the Washington Post writes without quite criticising Microsoft for its aggression.

Part of the brainwash from Microsoft circles is that this is a battle between two ferocious giants rather than a shameless attack from Microsoft, the loser in the mobile space, using dubious patents that never ought to have been granted. Watch out carefully for disinformation. There is a lot of it these days. It piggybacks big news about an expensive acquisition.

“Graham’s notion that if you are against software patents you must be against ALL patents” is the false dichotomy noted right now by the President of the FFII. It is another form is popular brainwash that we see all the time, even from Apple apologists. The article in question states:

The Valley is loving the patent discussion right now. For every meme, it seems there is a matching “here’s-how-patents-relate-to-that” meme. Just because a thing is popular doesn’t make it right, and thankfully, most commentators on the patent issue seem to agree that it hurting innovation much more than it’s helping it. It hurts innovation in many ways, but it’s worth going back over at least some of them here.

The Cost of Patents to Innovation are now Tangible and Large

We’re seeing this measured almost daily. Scoble is working through the math for WebOS even today when he values the WebOS patents at circa $3 billion for 2000, or $1.5 million apiece. That doesn’t seem too far afield if we look at patents in a way similar to how VC’s have to look at their portfolios. In other words, many will be worthless, but a few will be quite valuable indeed and will more than make up for all the rest. We don’t have to spend very long looking at the billions raised by Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures to realize that many astute financial minds really do look at it that way. In recent years, it’s been a good bet that financial engineering to produce wealth was really inflating a bubble of one kind or another that would destroy a tremendous amount of wealth for the general public. Why would we be surprised to learn that patents are just another way to play the same Ponzi scheme?

Yes, and that last statement sums it up in a strongly-worded fashion.

Links 23/8/2011: Linux 3.1 RC3, Scientific Linux 6.1 Reviews

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Non-Windows Operating Systems for the Beginner

    Windows is by far the most commonly used operating system, with over 95% market share. Most computer users have used Windows operating systems exclusively throughout their lives, and may know very little about alternatives.
    The next biggest operating system is Apple’s OS X. One of the main differences between Windows and Apple is that Windows can be put and run on just about any computer, while the Apple operating system can only be run on Apple hardware. This means if you want to switch to the Apple OS, you have to buy an Apple computer.
    The second most popular alternative to Windows is Linux. Linux is a free, open source operating system which can run on any system. It is redistributed in a number of different forms, the most common being the Ubuntu distribution. Linux has a comparatively small user base, and it has traditionally been considered difficult to use, however it has gotten better over time, and is fairly easy to install. Linux is supported by a large developer community, and it isn’t hard to find help when you need it.

  • Using Linux to Improve Energy Efficiency and Productivity

    There’s been a long-standing belief that office automation is just too expensive to bother with. From possible higher hardware costs, all the way down to software licenses that are targeting large enterprise customers at high rates. The barrier to entry feels too high, thanks in part to costly price points within the automation industry.

    On the do it yourself (DIY) front, going with a Linux-based solution is not only affordable, it’s downright practical. Because there’s no stipulation stating that one must hire an outside firm to set up office space automation, the choice of installing in-house or outsourcing the task is left to the decision makers.

    This allows for near complete freedom to carry out a self-installation via an existing IT team, thus keeping control of the entire situation under one roof. And one place that I think is a no-brainer place to start is wasted energy usage.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 161
  • Linux Desktop Flamewars: Is the News Media Too Negative?

    Is the tech press too focused on negativity, to the detriment of the FOSS community? I don’t know how he does it, but Bruce Byfield writes calm, thoughtful, lengthy articles that somehow ignite mad passions and flamefests. In his latest piece he discusses some of KDE4 developer Aaron Seigo’s thoughts that the tech press presents an unbalanced, negative perspective, and sparks yet another round of heated discussions. So what’s going on here?

  • Linux Journal Readers’ Choice Awards
  • Desktop

    • The sad state of the Linux Desktop

      Some days ago it was reported that Microsoft declared it considers Linux on the desktop no longer a threat for its business. Now I usually wouldn’t care that much what Microsoft is saying, but in this case, I think, they’re very right – and thererfore I wonder why this hasn’t raised any discussions in the free software community (at least I haven’t seen one – if it has and I missed it, please provide links in the comments). So I’d like to make a start.

  • Server

    • Linux and the financial crisis

      The financial industry is out-innovating regulators, experts and common investors. For years, the financial industry hired the best hackers it could find. They have a sizable share of the most creative and smart engineers on the planet. And Linux is one of their favorite tools. It is not difficult to understand: you can literally rewrite, or help rewrite, the Linux kernel. Today, Wall Street runs on Linux and it thrives thanks to its elite programmers.

    • Microsoft, CS2C take joint aim at Chinese cloud market

      We’ve all heard of Microsoft; China Standard Software Co (CS2C), not so much. The Shanghai-based company focuses on Linux and related software under the NeoShine, NeoKylin and NeoLite brands.

      An agreement between the two companies is aimed at the joint development and marketing of mixed-source software for China’s cloud market, using Hyper-V Open Cloud and NeoKylin Linux Server.

  • Kernel Space

    • LinuxCon: Open Source is an Ecosystem, not a Zero Sum Game

      Linux and open source development is not a zero sum game. This was the explicit message from Ubuntu Technical Architect Allison Randal’s keynote speech at LinuxCon, but the sentiment had been articulated in a number of ways all week long from everyone here. The processes by which a company makes great open source software improve the world for everyone.

    • Intel Thunderbolt Support Under Linux

      Earlier this year Apple introduced Thunderbolt ports on their new systems while more hardware vendors will be offering these next-generation high-speed connections on their systems going forward, particularly when the Ivy Bridge hardware is rolled out. Thunderbolt, which was developed under the Light Peak codename, can transfer data at 20 Gbit/s and offers much potential, but how’s the Linux support?

    • The dawn of Linux: “it’s just a hobby, it won’t be big and professional”

      As we are celebrating 20 years of Linux this week, it seems only fitting to highlight a few milestones in the life of what has come to be (for many people) a very important piece of software development.

      This link will take you to some collected notes, which dig right back to the dawn of Linux history on the 31st of July 1992 when Linus Torvalds was discussing his ideas on an open newsgroup.

    • Linux 3.1 Kernel Draws More Power With Another Regression

      If you were hoping that the Linux 3.1 kernel would fix the big power regression problem that’s caused by PCI Express Active State Power Management (ASPM) being disabled on more systems since the release of the Linux 2.6.38 kernel, you’re not in luck. There has not been any active work in this area. Making things worse though for mobile Linux users interested in a long lasting battery is another new regression in the Linux 3.1 kernel. Affected systems can easily see a 30% increase in power consumption simply when comparing the Linux 3.0 kernel to the current code being assembled for Linux 3.1. For an Intel Sandy Bridge notebook, the power consumption is up by 76% just over the course of this year from Linux kernel regressions.

    • Announcement: RapidDisk (rxdsk) 1.1b Stable release
    • Linux 3.1-rc3
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • I’ve got some good news and some bad news

      Recently, I wrote an article about the lack of acceptance of GNOME 3. I received a private email from Aaron Seigo of KDE in which he took me to task, politely, thoughtfully, and with his usual thoroughness, for focusing on negative news. Since I often debate this issue with myself, with Seigo’s permission, I’m summarizing the discussion here.

      Seigo begins by asking, “Is it useful to spend time concentrating on the negatives in FOSS when we have not only a tremendous number of positive events occurring but many detractors who are willing to do the negativity thing for us? Why do we reward failure and negative reactions with press coverage when thriving and positive efforts struggle for valuable attention?”

      According to Seigo, the major stories of the past year include such items as users being disappointed in Unity and GNOME 3, the danger in Project Harmony’s copyright assignment templates, the need for anti-harassment policies at conferences, and Android’s patent issues.

    • Desktop Summit 2011

      I realize nearly ten days after the end of a conference is a bit late to blog about it. However, I needed some time to recover my usual workflow, having attended two conferences almost back-to-back, OSCON 2011 and Desktop Summit. (The strain of the back-to-back conferences, BTW, made it impossible for me to attend Linux Con North America 2011, although I’ll be at Linux Con Europe. I hope next year’s summer conference schedule is not so tight.)

      This was my first Desktop Summit, as I was unable to attend the first one in Grand Canaria two years ago. I must admit, while it might be a bit controversial to say so, that I felt the conference was still like two co-located conferences rather than one conference. I got a chance to speak to my KDE colleagues about various things, but I ended up mostly attending GNOME talks and therefore felt more like I was at GUADEC than at a Desktop Summit for most of the time.

    • My quest for a tiling window manager

      I’ve never used a tiling window manager before, but lately I’ve been doing more and more with the command line, and I’ve been using vim-only for almost a year now, so it seems like a natural next step.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Join KDE Italia at CoNAsSL 2011

        KDE Italia, the Italian community backing the KDE Italia website and the KDE Italia forum, is pleased to invite you to CoNAsSL 2011, an end-of-summer event aimed at gathering all the Italian associations involved in Free Software. The event will take place on 9, 10 and 11 of September, in a beautiful location: the Tuscan seaside! People attending will be hosted at the same place where the talks and workshops will be held: the “Baia dei Gabbiani” campsite in Scarlino, a town near Follonica (Grosseto).

    • GNOME Desktop

      • String freeze for GNOME 3.2 in 2 weeks

        This is a reminder to developers that we’ll enter string freeze in about 2 weeks. Note that although the development release version 3.1.90 is postponed by a week, that should not affect the dates of the string freeze. There are many bugs with the “string” keyword that will benefit from attention. Another interesting keyword is “i18n”. Please review these for your modules. Let’s do the best we can for GNOME 3.2!

      • Why I joined GNOME – fixing the clocks
      • GNOME3 and AMD – in a nearby future…

        A long time has gone since I posted the (in)famous bug regarding graphical corruption on GNOME3 seen only by ATI users who use the proprietary case. After long hours of frustration I’ve decided to jump into Intel chipsets which work very nicelly out of the box and leave ATI behind, but new developments suggest that ATI/AMD has fixed the bug and it’s under internal testing, so it seems that within one or two releases this bug will be fixed.

      • Gnome users are revolting II

        I currently have Debian Squeeze installed on my computer, and Fedora 15 on a Live USB, and I’m booting into both from time to time. This gives me a good idea of how Gnome 3 in Fedora compares to Gnome 2 in Debian in terms of ease and pleasure of use as a desktop environment.

  • Distributions

    • FirstImpressions of Puppy Linux Lucid 5.2.8

      I really enjoy using Linux a lot. My adventures with Linux started over ten years ago. I am far from being a Linux expert, but I am getting to the point now where I am pretty comfortable tackling challenges, experimenting with configurations, and using the command line. My Linux journey started with Ubuntu. But quickly I started to feel like Ubuntu was becoming the Microsoft of Linux. It’s very commercialized and extremely popular. Using Ubuntu no longer gave me that “I am unique and cool feeling because I use Linux and most everyone else doesn’t.”

    • Best Linux Distributions for Kids and Young at Heart

      Linux has been a versatile operating system catering the needs of people from all walks of life. Unlike Windows and Mac, which only target the general consumers, Linux offer various specialized distributions for engineers, doctors, religious people, and even kids. Yes, kids. Linux, thanks to its openness, has allowed many developers to create distributions made especially for kids of different age groups. These distributions aren’t made to teach C++ programming for kids. Instead, they are normal, easy to use distros with user interfaces specially designed for the young ones. Many of them come with games and educational software preinstalled, so that children can learn as well as have fun.

    • BackTrack 5 – A Linux Distribution Engineered for Penetration Testing

      Linux, which is a very versatile operating environment, caters for an array of different needs of different users. One such specific usage of Linux is in the area of computer security and penetration testing. Among the digital forensic tools available for Linux, BackTrack is well known as an all-in-one platform that offers security professionals all the tools that they may need to carry out various security related tasks.

    • BackTrack 5.0 updated with new tools
    • New Releases

      • Zorin 3.1
      • IPCop 1.9.20
      • Swift Linux version 0.1.2
      • News: 2011.08.19 installation media

        time for a much needed update to the Arch installation media, as the last release (2010.05) is not only quite outdated, but now yields broken installations if you do a netinstall (because the old installer is not aware of the changed kernel/initramfs filename in our new Linux 3.0 packages).

        What has changed in this period of more than a year?

    • Red Hat Family

      • Big Blue Tweaks Red Hat Deal for Power Systems

        IBM has updated a special Linux promotion it announced last year for Red Hat and SUSE Linux variants running on Power Systems machines.

      • Amavisd and SELinux

        A friend of mine recently ran into an issue with a Centos 6 box when trying to start amavisd. He knew it was SELinux related because the log had the following message in it

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server 5.7 review

        RHEL 5.7 is a release that hasn’t a lot to be excited about, which, to be fair, is normal for an update of an enterprise Linux distribution. Koen Vervloesem sees what’s under the hood…

      • Scientific Linux 6.1 Carbon review – Almost there

        Scientific Linux deserves a lot of praise and credit. I think it was the first desktop-oriented RHEL spin that truly offered what normal people need without too much extra fuss. The 5.4 release was truly phenomenal in a time when neither RHEL nor CentOS would mound NTFS partitions without tweaks. Since, version 6.0 has been released, bringing new goods to the table, alongside some early-rushed glitches, which persist into the service pack.

        Overall, Scientific Linux works well – it’s fast and stable and modern and can easily be turned into a beautiful and fully functional desktop with everything you need. But it does all of this with a fairly high margin of risk. Users can so very easily make mistakes and ruin their systems. The repository management must not be given to users. It must be centralized. Printing and a weak default collection of programs in the live CD version, that’s another pair of faults. Nothing major, but perfection is won by tiny, tiny details.

      • First look at Scientific Linux 6.1

        The big thing that sells me on Scientific Linux (and other Red Hat Enterprise Linux clones) is the collection of administration tools. Both the text and GUI programs for managing system services, user accounts and the firewall are top notch. And Scientific Linux will be supported for several years (probably another five or six), making this a good distribution for home users who just want to install the operating system and forget about it. Despite a few problems early on, I came to enjoy Scientific Linux with its clean desktop and snappy performance. It’s a good desktop distro for people who want to avoid the cutting edge and rapid upgrade cycles.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation 3.0 Beta Unleashed

        One of the top-most open source solution providers in the world Red Hat Inc. has unveiled the beta version of the Red Hat Virtualisation 3.0, the company announced.

        With this new offering, the company has finally stepped into the process of delivering what it claims to be the “next generation version of the company’s end to end virtualisation solution.

      • Red Hat Looks Good Approaching Value Levels
      • Fedora

        • MP3 in Fedora 15

          I’ve been using a Fedora 15 Live USB to test Gnome 3, and also looking at how easy Fedora 15 is to do everyday task. Probably one of my most common everyday tasks on Linux is listening to MP3s and watching rips of TV shows and films. I was able to do this on Fedora 15 without much trouble, by following a series of notifications and advice links. Today I came across a review of Fedora 15 where the author (a person with lot more IT experience than me) has gone down the same road as me but somehow failed to reach the end.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition Updates Released

          Well, it didn’t take nearly as long as I thought that it would. Hot on the heels of my post about Mint Debian and updates, new base release ISO images for both the Gnome and Xfce desktops were made available at the end of last week. I find the fact that they were released together to be particularly encouraging, because it appears that the Xfce distribution is being treated as an equal to the Gnome distribution, rather than as a poor step-child, the way some other distributions do it. As I suspect Xfce will be getting more interest in the near future because of the uncertainty and unhappiness about Gnome 3, this is good news.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu tweaks Unity UI, adds ARM for servers

            Ubuntu’s controversial UI Unity is set for a few tweaks in the next version of the open-source operating system, as well as ARM support for the server edition.

            Mark Shuttleworth, founder of developer Canonical, unveiled a screenshot of the “Dash” in the next version, Ubuntu 11.10 – nicknamed Oneiric Ocelot.

          • Ubuntu Software Center Overhaul in Full Swing

            Ubuntu Software Center is seeing its second round of upgrades, this time changes are even more dramatic. Good to see Canonical putting so much thrust on Software Center which has the potential to become Ubuntu’s major money spinner in the near future.

          • Ubuntu App Developer Week 2011: 5th – 9th September
          • Ubuntu Linux bets on the ARM server

            In today’s data center, millions of instructions per second (MIPS) and gigabyte per second (GBPS) throughput are well and good, but being green (having a low power consumption) is becoming just as important. That’s why Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, is betting that in the long run, ARM processors will play an important role in tomorrow’s servers and datacenters.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • First Impressions of Linux Mint 11 Katya

              All in all, this is a very elegant, classy, and distinguished operating system. It’s very stable, very functional, and has all of the Ubuntu structure and backbone that you have come to expect and depend on with Ubuntu. Only difference is that everything is enhanced and restructured in a way that I feel very comfortable with instantly. As I mentioned before, if you have been enjoy Ubuntu but would like a change, Linux Mint 11 is definitely the way to go.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wind River’s fully integrated graphics software stack on Linux platform for processors
    • Embedded Linux test software focuses on high-risk segments

      Wind River announced a new version of its Linux-ready, embedded device test automation software. Wind River Test Management 4.0 can now identify high-risk segments in production code, as well as focus testing solely on changes made between builds, among other new features, says the company.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Canalys: Android shipments balloon 379% in Q2, iOS now No. 2 smartphone platform

          While Apple owns the largest share of handset shipments and profits among the world’s top smartphone vendors, Android is still the No. 1 smartphone operating system on the planet by a wide margin. Market research firm Canalys on Monday released its second-quarter smartphone figures, reaffirming impressive growth across the global smartphone industry. The firm says the worldwide smartphone market grew 73% year-over-year to more than 107.7 million units shipped last quarter, and Android lead the market in 35 of the 56 countries Canalys tracks. According to the firm’s estimates, Android shipments in the second quarter ballooned 379% over the same quarter last year to 51.9 million units. This impressive growth helped Android gain 48% of global smartphone shipments in the quarter. With 20.3 million iOS smartphones shipped in the June quarter, Apple’s mobile OS topped Symbian to steal the No. 2 spot with a 19% share of the global market. BlackBerry shipments grew 11% in Q2 though RIM’s global share slid, and Microsoft, still waiting for Nokia to launch its first batch of Windows Phones, shipped fewer than 1.5 million devices last quarter to take just 1% of the market — down 52% year-over-year. Canalys also notes that Apple was the top smartphone vendor in the second quarter, while Samsung grew 421% year-over-year to take the No. 2 spot with 17 million smartphones shipped. Canalys’ full press release follows below.

        • CyanogenMod development slows, but will continue

          Following the news that Steve Kondik, the founder of CyanogenMod, had been hired by Samsung, there had been some uncertainty regarding the future of the popular custom ROM for Android smartphones. To clarify matters, a blog posting has appeared on the CyanogenMod web site stating that rumours that “CyanogenMod’s core philosophy is changing, that we’ve been sold, or that we’ve given up” are all completely untrue. It states that Kondik, aka “Cyanogen”, is not leaving the project, which will continue.

        • The Plight of the Android App Wallflowers

          With just a handful of popular Android apps dominating users’ attention, what’s a developer to do? It’s all about discovery, says Nielsen’s Don Kellogg. “How can you make it easy for people to find your app? How can you ignite positive word of mouth? How can app stores and other aggregators improve the consumer experience to make it easier for consumers to discover a broader range of quality apps?”

    • HP/Tablets

      • HP drops webOS: What lies ahead?
      • HP TouchPads sell out across the US

        HP’s TouchPad tablet has enjoyed a weekend of bumper sales, with stock proving scarce at retailers across the US – thanks, it must be said, to a discount which has seen the device drop to under $100.

        The TouchPad was HP’s flagship tablet device, based on the webOS platform it acquired when it took over PDA pioneer Palm back in 2002. Designed to compete head-on with the likes of the iPad, it represented a similar approach to Research in Motion’s PlayBook, in that it was designed as a companion device to HP’s webOS-based smartphones.

      • 5 things you can do with your new HP TouchPad

        You’ve just bought an HP TouchPad for $99. You have successfully clicked on the Buy Now button faster than the frenzied, fire sale horde, and you slept soundly last night in the knowledge that a juicy piece of high-technology was winging its way to your door.

        In all honesty, though, you’re probably not even sure why you bought the HP TouchPad — it was simply a matter of behavioral economics. The TouchPad was $500, and now it’s $99 — how can that not be a good deal? Heck, this was the tablet that was heralded as the best non-Apple tablet — $99 must be a good deal.

      • Ubuntu Linux and Android Could Give HP’s TouchPad New Life

        HP’s ill-fated TouchPad may be a hot commodity now that it’s being offered at fire-sale prices, but those lucky enough to get their hands on one could soon find themselves with more choices than they ever imagined.

      • How to install Ubuntu Linux on an HP TouchPad
      • ‘It’s Alive!’ Says HP Exec of WebOS

        HP may be out of the tablet hardware business but, it’s holding on to its software presence in the market. “The WebOS is not dead,” declares Stephen Dewitt, senior vice president of Palm, which is owned by HP.

      • A Big Round of Face-Palms For HP

        The Linux-oriented blogosphere reacted swiftly to HP’s news that it’s cutting webOS devices and mulling the sale of its PC division. A brief sound-bite sampler: “No competent management left,” “HP blinked,” “What were they thinking?” “Now it’s simply too late,” and “It’ll be sad to see them go.” Suffice it to say, then, this was not a popular decision among Linux lovers.

      • HP’s WebOS licensing ship has sailed, blogs say

        While HP’s official company line continues to be that WebOS will live on, industry watchers say the OS will quickly fade away as a tech history footnote. Find out more

      • $99 TouchPad a hit, as Ubuntu and Android ports emerge

        Sales of the “discontinued” HP TouchPad have been brisk after its price was cut to as little as $99, and hackers are working overtime to port Ubuntu and Android to the WebOS-based tablet. Meanwhile, analysts speculate on who might acquire HP’s WebOS operations, which include a 2,000-plus patent portfolio that one analyst says could recoup the cost of HP’s Palm acquisition.

      • Practically Giving Away the HP TouchPad, Still Too Expensive

        Those of you who may have paid more needn’t worry. HP has offered to give full refunds if you choose, or just return the balance of what you paid minus the current retail price. This is a classy move on HP’s part, removing the bitter taste many of their customers likely had after hearing the devices were being discontinued.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • You Make a Difference


      In a town known for excess, we were impressed by the goodwill shown to EFF and beyond. Cheers to everyone who got chopped by Mohawk-Con to benefit charity (we hope you chose us!), thanks to the DEF CON Scavenger Hunt for including EFF, and much respect to those who joined the Be the Match bone marrow donor registry.

    • Clay Shirky Says Good Collaboration is Structured Fighting

      Companies and projects focusing on large-scale collaboration might want to start thinking about collaboration in a new way. Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody closed out the second day of LinuxCon North America 2011 with a contrarian look at collaboration. While many treat collaboration as a “love fest” or harmonious interaction, Shirky put forward the idea that productive methods of fighting are the most successful, particularly in open source.

      Shirky, who also teaches at New York University, started talking about his “favorite bug report ever.” The bug report, for Firefox (#330884), was a corner case where Firefox would show any user what sites that should never save passwords even if selected by another user.

    • A Look at Oregon State University’s Open Source Lab

      One of the key themes at LinuxCon North America 2011 is the ubiquity of Linux. Many people use Linux in many ways, often totally unaware that they’re depending on Linux. Likewise, those of us in the open source community depend heavily on Oregon State University’s Open Source Labs (OSUOSL), but may not even realize just how much. Thanks to one of the final talks at LinuxCon by Lance Albertson, it’s much clearer now just how important OSUOSL is.

    • Lessons from LinuxCon North America 2011

      Every conference, at least the good ones, has a theme to tease out and lessons to learn. LinuxCon North America 2011 was one of the best, and having the good fortune to be in Vancouver, BC last week for LinuxCon, I learned quite a bit.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Limpag: WordPress rides the open source juggernaut

      EIGHT years after it was started by a 19-year-old college freshman as a blogging software, WordPress now powers 14.7 percent of the world’s top one million websites.

      It is used in 55 million websites.

    • WordPress powers 14.7 per cent of the top million web sites

      According to WordPress founder and lead developer Matt Mullenweg, 14.7 per cent of the top million web sites in the world are now powered by the open source blogging and publishing platform, up from just 8.5 per cent a year ago. The project’s latest data also shows that 22 out of every 100 new active domains in the United States are running WordPress.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Cabinet Office shuns open-source in IT-tracking deal

      The Cabinet Office and its IT underlings have exhaustively championed the need for more OSS across government since the ConDem Coalition was cobbled together in May 2010. Nonetheless Francis Maude’s department has just snubbed open source players by awarding a contract to a proprietary software provider to help establish how much money the government spends on technology.

      Readers need only cast their minds back to a damning report published by the public administration select committee (PASC) last month that lambasted over-reliance on big IT firms in Whitehall over many years.

  • Programming

    • JetBrains releases Meta Programming System 2.0

      JetBrains’ Meta Programming System (MPS) offers a development environment that implements the Language-Oriented Programming (LOP) paradigm. Instead of using a given programming language to solve a problem, developers initially design a custom, domain-specific language that ideally allows them to implement the required functionality in a better way.


  • Spending Money: VMWare
  • Spending Money: EAGLE CAD

    Some time back I reported on one of my peculiar needs: electronic circuit design. There are a few open-source packages available, such as KiCad, which I have experimented with. But unfortunately, it’s not (yet) what I would call “industrial grade.”

    Enter EAGLE. This was recommended to me a few years ago, but until recently I didn’t have occasion to try it out. EAGLE has four things going for it.

    First, it’s available for Linux. I don’t need to run it in Windows emulation mode.

  • That Other OS as a Legacy App

    All this talk of the “PC” being obsolete is a bit off-base. A PC is a computer that is suitable for use by an individual. That cuts out main-frames but includes just about every other type of computer in mass production: desktops, notebooks, netbooks, tablets, smart phones and various smart thingies embedded in various gadgets and appliances. Ordinary folks can even use main-frames remotely if they are running some web application. The PC is here to stay but it won’t be staying in the legacy formats.

    The “desktop” intended to cover a good portion of a desk or to hold up a monitor is dead for consumers although some foolishly locked-in businesses may still feel that’s what a PC looks like. The rest of us will use thin clients that bolt on to the back of a monitor or reside inside it. We don’t generally need “drives” or expansion slots in our PCs so why pay for them and have them take up space? We don’t need to use 100W gadgets near where we work when 10W or less can do the job. PCs will be like light-bulbs. Smaller and cheaper to own and operate is better.

  • A Decade of Haiku
  • Security

  • Finance

    • Goldman CEO hires prominent defense lawyer

      Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein has hired high-profile Washington defense attorney Reid Weingarten, according to a government source, as the Justice Department continues to investigate the bank.

    • Video: The Bankers as the Enemy of Humanity

      This video is stunning, in that it is an articulate and well done rant that will resonate with many readers. The fact that it appeared on Karl Denninger’s site (hat tip reader Scott, Denninger’s been very critical of the TBTF banks) is an indication that the level of frustration with the major banks’ refusal to take responsibility for wrecking the global economy and their efforts to preserve their ability to loot is moving to a new level.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Mixed Messages at the ALEC Annual Meeting

      In the midst of corporations voting with with state politicians on corporate wishlists to rewrite the law, some messages at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Annual Meeting in New Orleans got a little mixed up. Here are two examples.

    • Morello Returns to Union Town

      Op-ed. Throughout the winter protests against Governor Scott Walker’s labor-bashing agenda, the halls of the Wisconsin Capitol were alive with the sounds of steel drums, cowbells, and daily sing-a-longs. Eventually, a muse would emerge to channel Madison’s musical energy into a powerful new protest song.

      With lyrics like, “When they put the governor on trial, I will be in the front row” and “…the kids locked in the capital are fighting till the end,” Tom Morello’s “Union Town” became the de facto anthem for the thousands of protesters fighting the Walker agenda, who heard it almost every morning on local radio stations. On September 5th, the Rage Against the Machine frontman and labor rights advocate, will return to Madison with Tim Mcilrath of Rise Against and Wayne Kramer of Detroit’s MC5 as part of their recurring Justice Tour, with all profits from their show benefitting nonprofit media center The Nation Institute.

    • Brownskins and Greenbacks: ALEC, the For-Profit Prison Industry and Arizona’s SB 1070

      “Beside my brothers and my sisters, I’ll proudly take a stand. When liberty’s in jeopardy, I’ll always do what’s right. I’m out here on the frontline, sleep in peace tonight. American soldier, I’m an American soldier…”

      So goes the ringtone on Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce’s phone—as performed by Toby “’cause we put a boot up your ass, it’s the American way” Keith. Seconds into any conversation with Pearce on the issue of illegal immigration, you’ll find the song fits. Pearce is—in his mind—the “American soldier.” What’s more, just as he sees himself a soldier, Pearce envisions his home to be none less than the front in a war which threatens the very fiber of the nation.

    • “Legislative Laundry”–Investigative Report on the Mechanics of the ALEC Scholarship Fund

      “You and a guest are cordially invited to join Arizona Lobbyists for dinners while in Washington, DC for ALEC. We have 3 dinners planned for your enjoyment and hope you will be able to join us… We will be gathering in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt, ½ hour before our reservations to organize and accompany you to the venues by taxis…”

      “Wednesday December 1, 2010: Old Ebbit Grill – reservation for 6:30pm…Thurs. December 2, 2010: The Source by Wolfgang Puck – reservation for 7:30pm (you will be able to enjoy the holiday gala at the Hyatt scheduled for 6:00pm before we meet in the lobby for dinner)… Fri. December 3, 2010: Smith & Wollensky – reservation for 6:30pm.”

      – Invite sent to Arizona ALEC member lawmakers for the annual ALEC States and Nation Policy Summit, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, D.C., December 1-3, 2010.

  • Privacy

    • Critics label cybercrime bill ‘invasion of privacy’

      A CONTROVERSIAL bill that extends the powers of Australia’s police and security agencies to retain emails, text messages and other data used in alleged cyber crimes has encountered a roadblock, with a committee recommending significant changes.

  • Copyrights

    • ACTA

      • European Parliament ACTA study

        Act on ACTA refers to a European Parliament Trade Committee commissioned study on ACTA (pdf). The study highlights problematic aspects of ACTA and makes recommendations (see below). According to the study, “unconditional consent would be an inappropriate response”, and “There does not therefore appear to be any immediate benefit from ACTA for EU citizens”. The study confirms ACTA goes beyond current EU legislation. It recommends asking the European Court of Justice an opinion on ACTA.

Gates Monitor: March-April 2011 on Education

Posted in Bill Gates at 3:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Bill Gates’ lobbying for disruption of public education, as covered by the Seattle Education blog earlier this year

Teach for America, STEM Washington and Bill Gates

We were told that there would be a “private donor” who would pay that expense. I rolled my eyes when I heard that coming out of our former supe’s mouth. I knew that I had two guesses, either the Gates Foundation or the Broad Foundation would be picking up the tab, at least for the first year and we would be stuck with the bill the next year if either one of them got bored with their notion of education reform.

Now we have found out that STEM Washington will be footing the initial bill of $475,000 to bring Teach for America recruits to Federal Way and Seattle. I decided to follow the money on this one. It was a short trip. Bill Gates provided STEM Washington with a grant for $10M this year. Can money buy a little influence?

The True Legacy of Seattle’s Fired (Broad Academy) Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson

Maybe the Broad Foundation is trying to salvage its investment. After all, it got one of its trainees placed as school superintendent in Seattle, which does not have a faltering school system (Broad’s usual target), but is the backyard of fellow corporate ed reformer Bill Gates. Perhaps Broad thought Goodloe-Johnson would be part of a one-two punch in a Broad-Gates conquest of Seattle’s public schools. Broad is apparently reluctant to erase Seattle from its national map of “Fellows.”


Teachers Overwhelmingly Vote “No Confidence” in Goodloe-Johnson. Perhaps buoyed by the anti-teacher fervor of her benefactors, Eli Broad and Bill Gates, Goodloe-Johnson developed a poisonous relationship with teachers, in no small part because of her repeated attempts to bypass state labor laws and her bad faith contract negotiation efforts. (She nearly scuttled the teacher contract negotiations last summer by suddenly springing an unacceptable “SERVE” proposal on the table.)

Seattle School District hires staffer from Strategies 360 – the political marketing firm that misused private student contact info to push ed reform agenda

A SIMPLE PETITION (to Bill Gates) (follow the links)

stop experimenting on our kids, their schools and their teachers.

Parents and Teachers, Is This What We Want in Our State?

We’ve been playing whack-a-mole in Seattle and in Olympia with much of this coming up during the legislative session as well as through pressure applied by Gates, the PTA (of all organizations), the Alliance for Education and the League of Education Voters locally on our school board members, the mayor and I am sure our interim superintendent, to approve much of what was passed in Florida.

NYC Schools Chancellor Cathie Black is out — bad few weeks for corporate ed reformers (Rhee, Sheffield, also in the news)

The PTA, “Ed Reform”, Don Nielson and Bill 1443

That was the first shot fired over the bow by the Gates and Broad funded ed reform movement in our state and the Gates funded PTA, LEV and Alliance for Education ran with it by creating the Community Values Statement.

How to tell if your School District is infected by the Broad Virus

Stand for Children appears in town and claims to be grassroots. (It is actually based in Portland, Ore., and is funded by the Gates Foundation.) It may invite superintendent to be keynote speaker at a political fundraising event. It will likely lobby your state government for corporate ed reform laws.

Grants appear from the Broad and Gates foundations in support of the superintendent, and her/his “Strategic Plan.”

The Gates Foundation gives your district grants for technical things related to STEM and/or teacher “effectiveness” or studies on charter schools.

Local newspaper fails to report on much of this.

Local newspaper never mentions the words “Broad Foundation.”

Broad and Gates Foundations give money to local public radio stations which in turn become strangely silent about the presence and influence of the Broad and Gates Foundation in your school district.

The Change of Our Blog Title to Seattle Education

State legislators around the county have been approached by Gates and Broad as well as other wealthy privateers who want nothing more than to make what money they can off of our children. It happened in our state but thankfully we were able to fend off the worst of it. Other states have not been as fortunate, particularly Michigan and Illinois.

Eli Broad’s Last Hurrah in Detroit?

Billionaires like Eli Broad seem to be willing to go to any length at this point to usurp their power over others when it comes to transforming public school systems into what they think is best for the rest of us.


With his Broad graduates failing, one after the other, it’s just a matter of time before it all crumbles. Unfortunately by then, between Arne Duncan, Eli Broad and Bill Gates, billions of dollars and much goodwill will have been wasted and we will be back to where we were three years ago just a little bit wiser, far more organized and with a clear shared vision of what our schools should look like.

Susan’s Choice: Will Seattle’s new interim school superintendent lead the district in the right direction? Or will it be business as usual behind a more friendly facade?

Enfield is also associated with “Hurricane” Vicki Philips (a phrase coined by the Willamette Week in 2007, and not meant as a compliment), who once headed the Portland School District where she imposed a whirlwind of controversial top-down ed reform change, and is now with the Gates Foundation, a major purveyor and financier of corporate-driven ed reforms. Enfield followed Phillips from Philadelphia to Portland and now both are in the same city again. Is Enfield a blind follower of corporate ed reform and its privatizing, standardizing, high-stakes testing agenda? Or is she her own person with her own vision for what comprises good education practices and priorities? Or at least practices that are grounded in sound research?


Strategies 360. How many people does it take to hire one communications staffer in the Seattle Public School District? Apparently 30. The hiring of Lesley Rogers, a staffer from the controversial political marketing and communication firm Strategies 360, to head communications for the school district is not a good sign as far as regaining community trust. The fact that the district enlisted the input of 30 people to conduct this “national search” for what should have been a fairly straightforward hiring decision conducted by its own HR department demonstrates not only bad judgment but a waste of time and resources. Why was the job of communication director elevated to such importance so that a “national search” was (allegedly) conducted? It is also not reassuring to see who was included in this committee — outside interests who have no business influencing the district’s hiring choices, like the Gates Foundation’s Kimberly Mitchell, and Sara Morris and George Griffin of the Alliance for Education or outside consulting firm Education First.


Alliance for Education’s unelected influence. Interim Superintendent Enfield has to decide if she is going to be independent of the Alliance for Education and its Gates and Broad-funded corporate ed reform agenda, or merely its puppet. Hiring someone from the Alliance’s favorite political marketing firm, and allowing the Alliance to sponsor her first public meet and greet sessions indicates that the Alliance remains one of the behind the scenes, unelected forces in the Seattle Public School District. This is not a good sign for transparency or democracy.

Education Push Polls: 9 Fake Questions Versus 9 Real Questions

Seattle, remember that push poll that the Broad and Gates backed Alliance for Education did last year just before contract negotiations began between our Broad-trained superintendent and the teachers’ union? There were several interesting comments made about it on the Save Seattle Schools blog last year.

IRC Proceedings: August 22nd, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




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