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08.25.11

Links – Wikileaks Betrayed, Germany’s East Texas, Spying

Posted in Site News at 8:10 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • GIMP is Gimped

    There is good news for long-time GIMP users, the latest version of GIMP (v2.7.3) is out at it brings with it the most needed feature, single window mode.

    The new splash, with the gimp fox in a cage and a black leather wearing goat, better matches my feelings. Thankfully, the new interface is not a default setting.

  • A Tipping Point

    Until now, the USA has been the power in IT. They bought the most of everything so they could tell the OEMs what to make. July, 2011 changed that. China bought more PCs than USA.

    Microsoft’s influence will decline no matter how friendly they have been with Communist China. Not only is the US business low margin, it’s now second rate. Microsoft’s US retail strangulation will now only be able to make the US market suck rather than the world market.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fukushima slows it’s spew but 80,000 people living near Fukushima face permanent eviction.

      Last week the company estimated that leaks from all three reactors had dropped significantly over the past month. … signs of progress at the plant have been tempered by widespread contamination of soil, trees, roads and farmland. … radiation accumulated over one year at 22 of 50 tested sites inside the exclusion zone would easily exceed 100 millisieverts, five times higher than the safe level advised by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

  • Anti-Trust

    • Troll Town, Why Apple Went To Dusseldorf

      Patent-holding plaintiffs won 63% of all infringement cases in Dusseldorf between 2006 and 2009, according to recent research by the Global IP Project, a series of studies initiated by the law firm Finnegan. That’s well above the global average of 35%. According to ManagingIP.com, about 60% of patent litigation in Germany’s 12 district courts takes place in Dusseldorf, and cases here often set precedents for when patent-holders sue in other parts of the world, on the same complaint.

      How embarrassing for everyone involved, especially Apple which mostly lost. Dusseldorf is not as bad as East Texas where 80% of software patent holders hit the judicial extortion jackpot but no software patent should been granted, ever. PJ adds, “In short, it is where you go to win because the court tips in your direction even when it probably shouldn’t.”

    • Bringing an Unloaded Knife to a Gunfight

      That’s what Oracle has done in its suit against Google. Google asked for re-examination of the patents and the patents are falling like flies. Two more patents have been rejected on the grounds that they were obvious. So far 92% of the claims in the patents that have been examined have been rejected.

  • Censorship

    • One student was suspended and another expelled from Saint Andrews, Scotland, and convicted of a of a racist breach of the peace for insulting a fellow student and a flag.

      Donnachie needs to learn that he does no good for the cause of peace by being crude. However, what he said about Israel is simple truth. Israel has committed acts which perfectly fit the usual definition of terrorism: for instance, the bombing of civilians in Gaza with the aim of making them drop their support for Hamas. Violence against civilians for a political purpose. There is no reason to believe that the Israeli student Reitblat is personally a terrorist, so Donnachie owes him an apology for that. However, to punish mere insult as a crime violates the basic human right of freedom of speech.

      The racist policies of Israel and the continued humanitarian crisis in Gaza may remind people of another nationalist state that ran concentration camps. Reaction to the symbols of that oppression might be similar. Polite but forceful expressions of disgust make a difference.

  • Privacy

    • One judge gets it.

      Does the government violate the Constitution when it obtains location data without meeting the Fourth Amendment’s “probable cause” standard? Some courts have found that it does not. But in a 22-page opinion, Judge Garaufis analyzed and rejected these other courts’ arguments, holding that law enforcement needs a warrant to obtain months of location data. “The fiction that the vast majority of the American population consents to warrantless government access to the records of a significant share of their movements by ‘choosing’ to carry a cell phone must be rejected,” he wrote. “In light of drastic developments in technology, the Fourth Amendment doctrine must evolve to preserve cell-phone user’s reasonable expectation of privacy in cumulative cell-site-location records.”

    • Comscore, a company that often lies for Microsoft about gnu/linux and search engine market share, has privacy problems now. ComScore’s Main Web Tracking Tool Hit With Privacy Lawsuit

      A new lawsuit alleges that the company’s primary strategy for getting that data—composing a “panel” of more than 2 million users who install comScore software on their computers—is a serious violation of those users’ privacy. … comScore gets people to sign up for its software by offering sweepstakes enrollments and prizes, as well as free computer games. … the company’s disclosures aren’t good enough. For instance, the suit alleges that comScore software scans PDF and word-processing files on the computers of those who use it; and that it even scans files of other computers via local networks.

      Population bias much? You would have to be both a Windows user and/or as dumb as a post to sign up for comScore. No wonder they always report that less than 1% of desktops are gnu/linux. I wonder when someone will sue Microsoft using Cutt’s proof that Windows is spyware. Lawyers specializing in this sort of thing need to get to the root of the problem.

  • Civil Rights

    • Profit Motive Underlies Outbreak of Immigration Bills

      Thanks to the release of over 800 pieces of “model legislation” by the Center for Media and Democracy, we can now pinpoint the source of the outbreak [of anti-immigrant bills] to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) … for-profit corporations operate about half of all immigrant detention facilities … Immigration bonding can be even more profitable than regular bail bonding … An immigrant contesting their deportation can wait up to a year for a hearing [without a criminal record]

    • Anti-immigrant laws have left more than a billion dollars in food to rot in the field as labor flees. Alabama takes a special place as the worst in the country.

      Concerned parents are afraid to register their children in schools. Many Hispanics are worried to drive, out of a fear that they will be stopped. By involving the police in immigration enforcement, Hispanic activists say crimes will go unreported as people will not come forward in case their immigration status is checked.

      The rich and powerful in Alabama have given themselves an exploitation exemption and won’t be criminals if their household staff is undocumented.

    • Since 9/11, Koch Industries has fought against tougher government rules on chemical plants

      Koch is a leader in efforts to oppose counter-terrorism proposals that would require that petrochemical firms use less hazardous practices and chemicals. … [his industrial group] owns 56 facilities using hazardous chemicals that put 4.8 million Americans who live nearby at risk. … Koch argues that tough restrictions on petrochemicals aren’t necessary because there hasn’t been a terrorist attack here since 9/11

      Remember that while explaining your shampoo, handing over your computer and stepping into an x-ray at the airport. You can also think about the place your communications have in Total Information Awareness programs.

    • The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots—or leading them?

      Ever since 9/11, counterterrorism has been the FBI’s No. 1 priority, consuming the lion’s share of its budget—$3.3 billion, compared to $2.6 billion for organized crime … the bureau now maintains a roster of 15,000 spies—many of them tasked … with infiltrating Muslim communities in the United States. [there are three nonofficial for every official informant] … The main domestic threat, as the FBI sees it, is a lone wolf. … Federal law enforcement went from a focus on fighting crime to preventing crime … they can go into houses of worship without probable cause

      They are chasing ghosts and entrapping incompetents who would pose no problem otherwise using people facing criminal charges.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Google: Just In Case

      The weak cannot grant peace. Only the strong can. … In a sense, the better Google can enforce exclusivity if it wants to, the more open it may be able to become.

      This is a wonderful description of “defensive patents” that explains everything that’s wrong with software patents. Courts should provide justice, not some kind of money wasting contest. No one should need permission to share software because governments should not grant monopolies on the ideas needed to implement software as if methods and math were inventions. Such chest thumping rhetoric conceals cowardice and apathy when it comes to demanding a just world.

Despite Malicious Lobbying and Legal Attacks, Linux and Android Are Winning

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Soccer lobbyist Florian Müller still pretends to be an IP expert, deceives journalists, gets exposed

Microsoft lobbyist

Summary: The campaign to misinform journalists (and thus the public) is not working as Steve Jobs quits his position and Android continues to gain very rapidly

WHAT the mobile war (and we include tablets in this category) has at stake is perhaps the future of computing as the battle for the client end (nodes) affects what happens in the back room, as the OIN’s CEO has stressed in my conversation with him last night. This is why Microsoft and Apple have been so focused on attacking Android and have paid a little less attention to GNU/Linux as of late. “Android Leads All Mobile Platforms with 61% Share” says a headline that was found this morning, so the sense of urgency at Microsoft and Apple is easy to understand. This is becoming a FOSS world where platforms are not proprietary anymore (applications are another matter). Apple and Microsoft are both attacking Linux and FOSS-based platforms, driving them away (even neutralising Nokia in the process, before MeeGo is ever truly launched) and we do, to a certain extent, depend on Google’s ability to defend itself in court, with or without the OIN. “When Silicon Valley fights, patents are the deadliest weapon” says this headline from CNN in an article that notes: “Apple, for instance, recently found itself on the losing end of a patent-related legal fight with Nokia. After almost two years of wrangling, Apple agreed in June to end the battle with a one-time payment of more than $600 million to the Finnish mobile giant. Apple will also pay Nokia royalties for each iPhone sold.”

“Now that Apple is pushing for a ban of Android devices, solutions to the problem are being sought not just inside Google (plus Motorola) and Samsung.”This is of course opening the door to Android extortion, as we argued before. They are trying to normalise and to validate the smartphones thicket, which they keep making thicker and thicker (e.g. with the Novell and Nortel patent acquisitions).

Now that Apple is pushing for a ban of Android devices, solutions to the problem are being sought not just inside Google (plus Motorola) and Samsung. The Economist has this new article which says: “Kent Walker, one of Google’s senior lawyers, grouses at being forced to spend a lot of money defending the company against frivolous lawsuits by rivals. Others counter that as computing goes mobile, it favours information-technology firms that have invested in research for years and that Google was naive—or idealistic—to broaden its IT business without having a stack of patents. There is a retort to that, too: that incumbents can use patents as barriers to entry, which is why America’s antitrust regulators are showing interest in them. In April the Department of Justice demanded changes to Novell’s patent sale to protect open-source software.

“Nowadays, innovations in IT usually rely on many small improvements involving numerous technologies, which means it is not always clear precisely which inventions a patent covers. The open secret is that everyone infringes everyone else’s patents in some way. This creates an incentive for firms to build up their patent portfolios to strengthen their position in negotiations, leading to what some liken to an arms race. The legal tussles usually end in cross-licensing deals, in which small sums of money change hands. This is considered preferable to a mutually destructive exchange of endless lawsuits.

“The patent battle has become more contentious than ever. One reason is the mobile phone has provided a new platform of computing that firms want to dominate. Also, such a backlog of applications built up at America’s patent office (now more than 1m, with a waiting time of around three years) that standards slipped. Dubious patents were granted, helped in part by court rulings that allowed patents to stand on some software and “business methods” that many thought no one could lay claim to. In Europe and Japan, where patentability standards are higher, this is less of a problem.”

“Reuters is WRONG. Case is NOT decided. Journalists, start THINKING instead of quoting!”
      –Jan Wildeboer
The president of the FFII has meanwhile found another ludicrous patent that somehow made its way through the ever-more-laughable USPTO. He also quotes Reuters as saying that “Samsung gets boost from Dutch court, Jobs resignation” (sadly, Reuters had been fooled by a lobbyist in another article where it failed badly like the BBC, but we won’t feed that article with a URL).

One of the more prominent people to expose the lobbyist right now is his former boss, Jan Wildeboer. Quoting some of his latest tweets, we have:

“Ofcourse @fosspatents claims Samsung is on the looser side. What else? Yesterday he was like so right with that ;-) </sarcasm>

“Reuters is WRONG. Case is NOT decided. Journalists, start THINKING instead of quoting! #ApplevSamsung

“Most disappointing is that the press cannot betrusted. They quoted Reuters #fail over and over. #Applevssamsung

“Oooh. Apple wants to add competitive argument in Düsseldorf, judge not happy. Apple losing? #ApplevsSamsung cc @neeliekroeseu

“Another BOOM via @andreasudo BREAKING: wow! Samsung says it has compiled 27 (!) examples of distorted pictures in Apples …”

“OMG! Apple accuses Samsung that pix on their webiste are enhanced to make stuff look better. They woudl NEVER do that, right?

Why do journalists still print what this soccer lobbyist is claiming? Because he knows how to lobby themoif course, he is an experienced lobbyist with credentials as a lobbyist. The matter of fact is, Apple has mostly failed to block Android and almost all the Android phones that sell in big quantities are from Asian companies. That’s the growth area and the target OEM base. Apple is now coming to grips with the fact that manufacturers like Samsung don’t depends on Apple anymore. Apple is losing market share and the attacks on Samsung are said to be leading to supply shortages (Apple needs Samsung for production, but it made Samsung angry). On the same day that Apple pretty much loses in Europe, its CEO, Steve Jobs, is quitting, having said or at least insinuated quite famously that when he no longer manages Apple well enough he will leave. So it’s self-explanatory, right?

Meanwhile in Asia, one of the larger manufacturers of Android phones is collecting a huge number of patents. Quoting Reuters again (despite it being deceived by a lobbyist these days):

China’s telecom giants are building up a war-chest of patents to help give them an edge in the legal battles raging between the world’s smartphone makers, aided by Beijing’s push to transform the country from workshop to innovator.

Mike Masnick is meanwhile kind enough to let us know that “Debate On Software Patents Fails To Convince Silicon Valley That Patents Increase Innovation”. Excellent news which starts as follows:

Yesterday, I went to the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley for a lunchtime debate on software patents. It was one of those things where an official “motion” was put forth, and then people voted before and after to see if the debate changed anyone’s mind. In this case, the motion was simple: “software patents encourage innovation.” Arguing for the motion was Bob Zeidman, a consultant/writer who sells software for… analyzing intellectual property. Arguing against the motion was Edward Lee, a Berkeley CS professor. The audience, as is (unfortunately) typical at the Computer History Museum definitely skewed “older.” I ended up at a table with some guys who worked at IBM many decades ago. There were also a fair number of patent lawyers in attendance.

There’s this view outside of Silicon Valley that folks here love patents, but in my experience, most people don’t seem to like patents at all. They get in the way of actually innovating — as we’ve shown time and time again — and the thing that Silicon Valley folks like more than just about anything else is building something cool. The idea that someone else can sue you for building something cool just seems incomprehensible.

Before the debate, the vote was already against the motion: 64 people voted for the motion (35.7%). 89 people voted against (49.7%). Another 26 didn’t vote at all.

We appear to be moving into a more civilised IT world where platforms are open source (arguably Free Software too) and patents are passé. Don’t let lobbyists get on your nerves (or your mind). Their job is to change perception, not to tell the truth.

Microsoft: From Glitch to Leech

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 10:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft blue ribbon

Summary: Having failed on technical merit and lost despite anti-competitive tactics, Microsoft is now adamant about destroying the winner (Linux or android) from the inside

MICROSOFT is not winning. It is definitely losing, but it sure tries hard to ensure that its competition too is losing. Several years ago Microsoft started infiltrating the Open Source community. “Shared Source” did not take (people were not gullible enough), so they tried CodePlex, but people still knew it was just s shell of Microsoft. So Microsoft renamed it a bit, using the more obscure name “Outercurve” (which many people do not associate with Microsoft because they don't know any better). Using this fake shell that promotes proprietary Microsoft software under an “open” flavour, it is still openwashing everything with PR fluff, using paid press releases that no journalist seems to even pay attention to anymore (based on what we could gather anyway).

“Microsoft is a company on the steep decline (Windows sales have declined for several consecutive quarters since 2009) and the company is now turning into a leech that feeds on GNU/Linux and FOSS for its survival.”Several years ago Microsoft also infiltrated Linux and OpenOffice.org development through Novell, putting Hyper-V and OOXML in those two products, respectively. This was part of Novell’s obligation to Microsoft, as clearly stated in their 2006 patent deal, which was sort of renewed when the Attachmate-owned SUSE signed a document without even consulting the SUSE community and then pocketed more Microsoft money (with strings attached). As we pointed out some days ago (a criminally under-covered story), Microsoft has just found itself another 'Novell' in China and its boosters are ecstatic. The point of it is to tax the use of GNU/Linux and control the way it is being used, through the hypervisor at the very least. This new mostly covered by pro-Microsoft writers (all except one that we found, namely LinuxDevices). Why are GNU/Linux sites ignoring all the reports and not rebutting the sheer spin? This is terrible news and we need to shed light on it.

Microsoft is a company on the steep decline (Windows sales have declined for several consecutive quarters since 2009) and the company is now turning into a leech that feeds on GNU/Linux and FOSS for its survival. My cohost Tim put it well last night when he argued that Microsoft has “fear of the future”, which seems to revolve around servers and mobile devices for accessing those servers. To quote:

When looking at a diverse range of technology topics, it’s very rare that I will write a rebuttal post (of sorts). Its even rarer that the post which forms the foundation of the article is from Microsoft themselves. In Redmond “The land of make-believe” it seems that Microsoft wants to tell us how things are and of course the desktop is not dead, that is of course because its vital to Microsoft that the Desktop PC stuffed with Windows continues on.

The question for today will be “What will be the future form factor of choice for the mainstream home user?”.

Think of the average users in your experience, the mainstream, the following masses. With those people it’s all Facebook, Twitter, Farmville and YouTube. Perhaps the very user Microsoft has ensnared with Windows is now to assist in the downfall because of lack of need in respect of the more “traditional” form factors.

Those who perceive themselves as belonging to the GNU/Linux community or even fair competition proponents like yours truly need to counter Microsoft’s attack on both. Apple too is participating in this attack on operating system as a commodity. It’s a class war. So Apple too has become an integral part of the problem, however it hardly infiltrates the GNU/Linux community in the same way Microsoft does (we do have few Apple agitators in our IRC channels). People need to openly talk about these serious issues. They need to name those who conspire against them or sell the community out.

IRC Proceedings: August 24th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: August 23th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 26/8/2011: Official 20th Anniversary of Linux, Blankfein (Goldman Sachs CEO) Allegedly Might Face Prison

Posted in News Roundup at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • More Windows 7 corruption and repair woes

      In comparison, GNU/Linux has similar repair software that is used by booting the repair DVD for the distribution. It scans the installed packages and repairs as necessary. Since the Linux boot sequence is far less complex than Windows, the kernel can at least boot and get the user to a command prompt (in case X11 can’t start), allowing for further troubleshooting of log files. Fortunately, I haven’t needed to run a repair like this for GNU/Linux in a long long time. Corruption and repairs just aren’t needed like they are in Windows. But, I’m guessing the latest GNU/Linux repair DVDs are very efficient at fixing issues, if any do come up.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finnish City of Kankaanpaa Cuts Project Hardware Costs by 50 Percent with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization

        In 2008, the city’s information and communications technology (ICT) department faced several IT-related challenges. The management and configuration of individual desktops at several locations in and around the city, including diverse places such as public libraries and schools became very difficult to manage. In addition, there were numerous mission-critical solutions running on physical servers in its datacenter that presented a constant risk of downtime, which could directly impact business continuity. Lastly, the effect of running IT services on a limited number of physical servers increased complexity when deploying new applications, services or during hardware migration projects, which the city found to be both time consuming and expensive.

      • Telstra cloud certified Red Hat Enterprise Linux ready

        elstra has received Red Hat Enterprise Linux certification providing certainty to Australian organisations moving into Telstra’s cloud computing environment.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SilverStone DC01: An Entry Into The Linux NAS Market
    • $25 PC alpha board successfully runs Linux

      Late last month we reported that the $25 PC had gone into alpha production. That meant the spec of the board had been finalized by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and they wanted hardware to start testing. Now they have an alpha board to play with.

      The alpha board is significantly larger than the final product will be, but as testament to just how small this thing is even scaled up, the alpha version is about the size of 3 credit cards. The final version will be credit-card sized.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Bringing an Unloaded Knife to a Gunfight

          The court in the Netherlands has thrown out Apple’s charges of infringement of a design patent againts Samsung only asking Samsung to change a swipe-scroll feature to clear them for importation. Apple lost huge points for fudging pictures and claiming the shape of a tablet was their idea.

        • Samsung v Apple in NL: Happy selling, Samsung!
        • HTC Bliss Handled in The Wild
        • Millennial Media: Android Leads All Mobile Platforms with 61% Share

          The latest Millennial Media ‘Mobile Mix’ has landed today and it shows Android continuing its dominance over all other mobile platforms. According to their ad network metrics, Android has grown 15% month-over-month and now has a 61% share of overall smartphone impressions. Apple comes in at a distant second place with 21% of the market, down six points from the month before. For whatever reason, the dip was considerably bigger than the previous few months which only saw slight 1% declines. Coming in third, RIM and their BlackBerry platform also dipped a point to 14% of the pie.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • General Electric’s Jim Cramer Heads to Midwest to Cheerlead for Fracking

      Today, CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer’s “Invest in America” series will take the show to a seemingly unlikely locale. The crew will head to a place many would consider the middle of nowhere — the state of North Dakota.

    • Plain Talk: Gore deplores BS skewing climate debate

      It has been nearly two years now since Wendell Potter, the former public relations expert for two of the nation’s largest health insurers, wrote the book “Deadly Spin,” exposing the misleading advertising campaigns and dirty tricks that insurance companies have used to try to scuttle meaningful health care reform.

      In the book Potter, who is now a senior fellow at the Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy, revealed that the health insurance industry has been using many of the same tactics and, indeed, some of the same people who successfully fought off tobacco regulation for decades. Tobacco interests used doctors and other medical “experts” to discredit the research that found tobacco causes cancer and numerous other diseases in not just smokers, but people around them.

  • Finance

    • Cameron and Osborne did the Swiss tax deal to support tax evasion – there’s no other explanation

      The UK – Swiss tax deal does not meet with my approval, as some will have noticed. The deal is outlined here. My objections are littered through the blogs preceding this one.
      But let’s stand back for a moment and consider why the UK have done this deal – uniquely (because it seems unlikely that the supposedly similar German one will get parliamentary approval and so will not happen).

    • Under Fire, Goldman Sachs CEO Hires Top-Notch Attorney

      Goldman Sachs’ shares nosedived nearly 5% after it confirmed that its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein, has hired Reid Weingarten, a high-profile Washington, D.C., defense attorney to defend the embattled executive in connection with the Department of Justice’s inquiry into Blankfein and other firm officials.

      The Justice probe is looking into findings in a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which alleges Goldman Sachs (GS) executives misled Congress and investors about its mortgage-backed securities deals.

    • Could Blankfein Face Prison?

      The Goldman Sachs CEO didn’t get a big-time criminal-defense lawyer because he’s worried about an SEC wrist slap—there’s a real possibility of doing time, says former Goldman managing director Nomi Prins.

    • Job Creation and America’s Future

      Right at the beginning the report hits us in the face with a few statistics highlighted in big text that succinctly capture the job picture in 2011: US jobs have declined by 7 million since December 2007; 20% of men are not working today, up from 7% in 1970; there has been a 23% drop in new business creation since 2007; the jobless recovery is projected to last 60 months; 10% of Americans move annually, down from 20% in 1985.

    • Revealed: Former Goldman Sachs VP Turned Issa Staffer Supervised Scheduling Of Elizabeth Warren Incident (Think Progress)

      Last week, ThinkProgress revealed that Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) hired Peter Haller, a former Goldman Sachs vice president, as one of his top aides. Haller, who adopted his mother’s maiden name in 2008 and had escaped public scrutiny until now, coordinated an Oversight Committee letter to regulators demanding that they justify new Dodd-Frank rules impacting investment banks like his old employer, Goldman Sachs. After publication of our story, the Project on Government Oversight discovered more of Haller’s Oversight Committee letters, again on issues directly related to Goldman Sachs.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Plastic Bag Manufacturers Edit California Textbooks

      The American Chemistry Council (ACC), a lobbying group representing plastic bag manufacturers, successfully convinced the California Department of Education to rewrite its environmental textbooks and teachers’ guides to include positive statements about plastic grocery bags.

    • Profit Motive Underlies Outbreak of Immigration Bills

      July 29 marked the one-year anniversary of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, a year that has seen similar anti-immigrant bills emerge across the country. Thanks to the release of over 800 pieces of “model legislation” by the Center for Media and Democracy, we can now pinpoint the source of the outbreak to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a bill factory for legislation that benefits the bottom line of its corporate members. While it has been reported that more immigrants behind bars means more income for ALEC member Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), less discussed has been how immigrant detention benefits commercial bail-bond agencies, an industry represented in ALEC through the American Bail Coalition.

Steve’s Duopoly Against Linux

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung, SLES/SLED, Windows at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs
Original photo by Matthew Yohe, modified by Boycott Novell

Steve Ballmer

Summary: The patent assault on GNU/Linux and Android carries on, although one of the chief players, Steve Jobs, is calling it quits amid struggles to block the competition (e.g. tablets with Linux)

“Apple plus Microsoft equals 100% of the desktop computer market. And so, whatever Apple and Microsoft agree to do, it’s a standard,” said Steve Jobs over a decade ago (see the video). Those two companies, Apple and Microsoft, are now collaborating (colluding) in their attacks on Linux. Might the Cook-led Apple be any different? We doubt it, but we can only hope. The MSBBC and pro-Microsoft lobbyists are pushing a distorted version of the story about Apple versus Samsung. For Apple, the decision was somewhat of a defeat, coming to light on the very same day that Steve Jobs decided to step down from his embargo company. If anyone needs proof that Apple is merely a marketing/branding company, it’s the reaction from investors to this man’s departure. Incidentally, since Samsung is on the receiving end of Apple’s thuggish behaviour, it is worth noting that in last night’s phone conversation that I had with OIN’s CEO (we spoke for almost an hour and a half, touching various issues) it turned out that Samsung (and possibly LG) is not paying Microsoft for Linux per se, so a small correction (error caused by Microsoft disinformation) ought to be made. While LG and Samsung are, according to Microsoft, paying Microsoft for Linux, it turns out that Microsoft just grossly exaggerated this for FUD purposes. The patent deals from 2007 were just for FAT patents. We wonder how many more of those “Linux” deals (e.g. Brother) are just phony extortions over some unwanted and arcane file system. In any case, Samsung and LG are not the sellouts Microsoft would have us believe they are. The interesting thing is, Android was beating iPhone around the time of iPhone 3. It seems likely that Android will beat iPad around the release of iPad 3, as well. No wonder Apple is so frantic and aggressive. The antitrust folks should really pay more attention to Apple’s reaction, possibly constituting a cartel.

Looking more closely at Samsung’s case, the prior art argument was being used properly [1, 2]. “Watch them wind around when confronted with truth,” writes Jan Wildeboer separately, regarding this response to Stallman's piece about the "unitary patent". Wildeboer, whose origin country helps a quick interpretation of the Apple-Samsung ruling, has also been trying to counter the FUD which came from pro-Microsoft lobbyist Florian Müller. This lobbyist pushed his FUD into some news sites. Some pro-patents sites are always looking for damning material that helps validate software patents too [1, 2, 3] while a Microsoft apologist continues to daemonise the Google-Motorola deal (this time using China), even a week after it all happened. Apple’s and Microsoft’s crusade for “Linux tax” is intended to make those new open source-based platforms that are so disruptive to them “uneconomic”, to use the word OIN’s CEO repeated a lot. Over in China, where intellectual monopolies are hardly respected, Microsoft is already infiltrating Linux to put Microsoft tax on it, as we explained twice this week. Quoting Sam Dean:

Microsoft will be involved with the deployment of NeoKylin Linux…

Yes, it’s just like another Novell, i.e. the ‘Microsoft Linux’ which Microsoft makes money from at the expense of Debian, Red Hat, and others. This is a point that OIN’s CEO and I seemed to have no disagreements on. Moreover, as he pointed out, there is clearly an attempt by what he labelled “duopolists” and “monopolists” to just remove competitors from the market. Android is their current target, but GNU/Linux on the server is another. We really must fight back on both fronts. One way is to challenge Android FUD and another is to antagonise Novell-like deals.

In Russia, Microsoft Polices the Police

Posted in Microsoft at 4:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cyber image

Summary: Microsoft turns state police into a section of its own workforce

LAST YEAR we saw Russian dissidents arrested after Microsoft software has been used as an excuse [1, 2]. Microsoft did a lot of PR to distance itself from the truth, but Cablegate’s latest disclosure may return to haunt the abusive monopolist. As one interpreter put it, “Microsoft conducts regional training programs & has trained over 1200 Russian police officers” and the diplomatic cable says:

¶9. (SBU) Representatives from Microsoft and the Baltic Law firm (representing the Business Software Alliance) provided case studies of best practices for working with Russian law enforcement on IPR. With 30 IP lawyers in 27 regions across Russia, Microsoft works closely with both federal and regional law enforcement on IPR protection. In 2007, Microsoft brought over 1500 cases to the MVD for investigation. Microsoft also conducts regional training programs and has trained over 1200 Russian police officers and investigators. Baltic Law also backed-up the MVD’s argument that enforcement of IPR only works when rights holders take initiative, by citing an example of a case in which Baltic Law reported to the local MVD in Novosibirisk that a Russian company was using illegal software. The investigation led to a court decision in Baltic Law’s favor and damages paid to the BSA member.

Here is a wiki page for those who are not yet familiar with the BSA.

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