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08.27.11

Amplifying Techrights

Posted in Site News at 7:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microphone

Summary: Misguided individuals think that writing about Techrights would cause harm to Techrights

Over the years there have been several Web sites created purely for the purpose of attacking Techright (or Boycott Novell) and its editors. The people who ran those anti-Techright Web sites, consistently Linux-hostile individuals, were very tactless because their sites only brought more attention to Techright. In many ways, they advertised the site rather than cause damage. So our general position remains the same; if people wish to dedicate their lives just to smearing poor ol’ Techrights, they add credibility to the site and validate its impact. Sooner or later, those who run these sites lose interest because they realise that what they do serves the very opposite purpose of what they originally intended (anti-Groklaw Web sites were also short-lived). It’s a well known fact. The Huff & Puff, for instance, amplifies Fox.

Funded by Gates, the Seattle Times Anonymously Lobbies for Gates Foundation Agenda

Posted in Bill Gates at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ship in Seattle

Summary: Super-rich people like Bill Gates still drive policy (and newspapers too) in Seattle

THE mischievous Gates Foundation shows no signs of stopping its corporate lobbying for those seeking to privatise seeds, life, and education. It’s all about profit disguised as charity and journalists are pawns in this battle. They are being paralysed by a massive budget that constitutes a form of retaliation against those who speak truth.

As we discovered last week, the Seattle Times is funded by the Gates Foundation, which helps explain why it chooses to praise the Gates Foundation and a few months ago a teacher from Seattle wrote that politicians “should hang tough against the bullying anonymous editorial writers of the Seattle Times, and the giant wallets of the Gates Foundation and Broad Foundation whose merit pay, anti-seniority, union-bashing, and kid-harming policies do not belong in our state laws.”

The teacher has amassed a lot of evidence about Gates’ astroturf in education, adding: “Arguably it takes more courage to stand up against the slings and arrows of anonymous newspaper editorial writers or the clout and influence of billionaires like Gates and Broad and their posse.” More on that in our next post.

Astroturf Alert: “Vibrant Schools Tacoma Coalition” and “Alliance for Education” Directly and Indirectly Funded by Bill Gates to Lobby for Privatisation (Profit!)

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seattle at night

Summary: By astroturfing and busting unions, Gates and fellow plutocrats are perturbing and controlling the public education system, warn Seattle teachers

Teach for America, Inc. (TFA) and other such Gates-funded lobbying groups are hard to keep track of. They flood the news with Gates-funded propaganda and there is one blog which we know researches the issue and identifies some of Gates’ front groups. Here is another one. To quote: “Further revealing its corporate, anti-union bias, “Vibrant Schools’” membership includes Stand for Children (an Oregon-based, national corporate ed reform, political lobbying enterprise, funded by Gates and others) and the League of Education Voters (a Gates-funded, pro-corporate ed reform group).”

But wait. There’s more. Like this one from back in May:

League of Education Voters, also Gates and Broad backed pushing the corporate reform agenda of privatization of our schools.

Stand for Children, ditto but a national organization.

[...]

Included on the list of people involved in the selection of this new Communications Director were “External Organizations”, Kimberly Mitchell with the GATES Foundation, Sara Morris with the Alliance for Education and George Griffin, past chair, Alliance for Education board.

I can understand damage control in the wake of our former Broad-trained superintendent’s poor performance and involvement in scandals, but a Strategies 360 veteran taking the lead, and an expensive one at that? And it took 39 folks to decide on the proper candidate including the Gates Foundation and the Gates backed Alliance for Education? What’s at stake for these folks besides the control factor over our school district? Gates doesn’t do anything regarding education unless it’s part of his specific agenda of charter schools and merit pay based on student performance.

[...]

The Seattle Foundation received $1M in funding last year from the Gates Foundation. No doubt CCER would be up for funding with the passing of this levy. The sponsors of CCER include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the League of Education Voters.

[...]

It’s now starting to make sense why it was so important to hire a Strategies 360 veteran to prop up the image of Seattle Public Schools. There is a lot at stake here for Bill Gates and other corporate interests. It is to be education reform their way and we are to pay for it.

[...]

They just keep promoting each other in this vicious circle brought to you by Bill Gates & Co.

Furthermore there’s this to point out:

All the celebrity names of corporate ed reform are collaborating in this pile-on: Arne Duncan, Michael Bloomberg, Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush, Bill Gates and his foundation’s “ed reform” grantees. The Eli Broad-trained school superintendents are indoctrinated with this cut-throat corporation uber alles mindset. New Mayor Rahm Emanuel is squawking the same anti-labor dogma in Chicago (Emanuel backs crackdown on teachers, Chicago Sun-Times). And one of the key targets is teachers.

[...]

Today we have a Democratic president whose education policies target unions and workers. After all it’s Obama’s ed reforms, spearheaded by his basketball buddy and former Chicago School District “CEO” Arne Duncan, powered by the endless wallets of billionaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad, that have taken aim at teachers, unions, seniority, job security, professionalism and teacher pay relentlessly these past few years. This assault has taken the form of promoting privately run, publicly funded charter schools, which are predominately non-union, handing out taxpayer favors of $50 million to enterprises like Teach for America, Inc., which sends fresh college grads with a scant five weeks’ training to do one of the most important jobs in our society, thus effectively deprofessionalizing the teaching profession. These “reformers” are pushing for “alternative certifications” of teachers, no longer rewarding teachers with advanced degrees for their dedication and scholarship, and tethering teacher evaluations to standardized test scores, a discredited policy that stifles both teaching and learning.

[...]

Even here in Washington, stealthy attempts to allow “alternately credentialed” teachers, eliminating seniority or weakening collective bargaining rights have slipped into numerous “ed reform” bills (for example, HB 1443 –since renamed HB 2111 or HB 1546) – supported, I am sorry to say, by the feckless or misleading PTA leadership (not the members themselves, who are largely unaware of what’s going on in Olympia in their name), and organizations with names like “League of Education Voters” which is truly only in league with the Gates Foundation which funds it, along with its privatizing agenda.

[...]

Which leads us to another uncomfortable word: plutocracy. Who elected Eli Broad and Bill Gates to dictate our nation’s education policy? No one. Yet, right now, national education policy is being dictated by those with the most money.

Notice TFA being there. It’s like Gates’ front groups are everywhere and one teacher notes that his cronies too are already in key positions. Quoting a later post: “Another facet of this story is the reported role of new Executive Director Brianna “Bree” Dusseault in the summary dismissal of Floe. She is one of former Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s hires from last year. She came from the New Orleans Charter Middle School where she was principal for two years. She taught for a few years before that. Her husband, a former Teach for America, Inc. trainee, teaches in a middle school here. Dusseault is also affiliated with the Center on Reinventing Public Education, where she has written papers on charter school management. (The Gates Foundation has funded a study of charter school management by CRPE.) She is also a former resident of the Gates-funded New Leaders for New Schools, an enterprise that trains principals.”

Teachers are very concerned about this, but their voice is being robbed by Gates, who created an astroturf of huge proportions, pretending to be several grassroots movements. Microsoft uses similar tactics to steal the voice of small businesses.

US State Department Attacks Free Software on Microsoft’s Behalf (Updated)

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Secretary of State

Summary: In Thailand as well as other parts of Asia, the American politicians help Microsoft battle against the adoption of Free/libre software that offers benefits to Asian nations

SEVERAL months ago we showed that the US State Department was helping Microsoft attack GNU/Linux and Free software adoption in Vietnam. This is part of Microsoft’s influence in Asia through diplomatic affairs. It’s a corruption of the system. Previously we wrote about what Microsoft had done in Thailand under the following posts:

As a quick reminder, Bill Gates is very close to the Clintons. He even absorbs some of their staff (e.g. to write his speeches) and according to this leaked cable from the Wikileaks Web site, “State Dept brings US IT companies to Thailand to criticize OpenSource…”

Quoting the relevant parts:

——————————————— ————–
IPR: Concern Over Open Source Software and Data Protection
——————————————— ————–

¶9. (SBU) Microsoft-Thailand’s Corporate Affairs Director identified software copyrights as a big issue. On the one hand, he praised the Thai government (RTG) for strengthening its IPR enforcement and education efforts, and said Microsoft was “very pleased” that Thailand’s software piracy rate has decreased by two percent a year since 2006. On the other hand, he expressed concern over the RTG’s Creative Economy policy of promoting the “open source” software model over the “commercial source” model as a means to curb piracy. (Note: this is an issue for IT

CHIANG MAI 00000018 003.2 OF 003

companies worldwide, and not unique to Thailand).

¶10. (SBU) The Business Software Alliance (BSA) Director for Software Policy-Asia also urged the RTG not to favor open source over commercial source. He argued that (1) the open source model has been shown to have an insignificant impact on reducing software piracy; and (2) by focusing on an open source policy, the RTG signals the market to stunt the development of commercial source software, which in turn undermines Thailand’s ability to fully service market needs.

¶11. (SBU) The BSA rep also emphasized the importance of having a strong data protection regime that is aligned with the international regime. He said Thailand’s current low global ranking in legal/regulatory environment is a disincentive to foreign investors. Passage of a date protection law would improve the country’s standing. While recent efforts to introduce such a bill in Parliament are encouraging, the current draft needs improvement. The BSA rep recommended the RTG participate in APEC’s data privacy working group in order to learn more about international best practices and develop its draft legislation accordingly – a path the Philippines recently followed with good results.

We also uncovered what they had done in the Philippines (in the links above), but more recently we saw even worse things [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Update: After writing this post we looked for some more examples based on leaks from the past week. There’s a whole load of them. To quote some dents I made:

[12:27] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “Klyuchnikov briefed on Microsoft’s and BSA’s ongoing IPR outreach campaign in the regions” http://ur1.ca/4z3pa #bsa #ukraine #lobbying

[12:29] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] In #spain – Microsoft’s own propaganda (own ‘studies’) cited to exaggerate the ‘threat’ of ‘piracy’ http://ur1.ca/4z3pe politicians misled.

[12:29] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] In #egypt too – #Microsoft coopts the government for protection http://ur1.ca/4z3pk

[12:31] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “Microsoft estimated that the GOE conducts 150 raids a month against software pirates.” http://ur1.ca/4z3pm attacking own users in #egypt

[12:31] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “Microsoft Egypt described its relations with Egyptian enforcement authorities as “fruitful and long-term”” http://ur1.ca/4z3px

[12:36] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “Microsoft was hoping to reengage with the government soon.” http://ur1.ca/4z3qd #ukraine

[12:37] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “Microsoft has noted improved cooperation with the GOT” (Government of #tunis ) http://ur1.ca/4z3r2

[12:41] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] “representatives form the U.S. Embassy, Microsoft.. organized Trainings of Trainers on Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential” http://ur1.ca/4z3r6

[12:42] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] Who needs marketers and lobbyists when taxpayers fund them? #microsoft #statedept

[12:44] [Notice] -TRIdentica to #techrights- [schestowitz/@schestowitz] It’s great, isn’t it? US taxpayers are forced to give portion of their wage to people who go around the world lobbying for Microsoft profit.

IRC Proceedings: August 26th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:52 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 25th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 27/8/2011: Telstra and Finnish City Choose Red Hat

Posted in News Roundup at 5:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Microsoft’s 800-pound gorilla

    As Brian points out in his article, Linux is not really out of the picture when it comes to affecting Microsoft’s bottom line. Google’s ChromeOS is Linux and . . . um, there something I’m forgetting about how Linux is trouncing Microsoft in an area where Microsoft can’t get a foothold. Wait, it’ll come to me.

    Oh yeah: Android. Based on Linux, Android is cleaning everyone’s clock in the mobile realm, including Apple, and is light years ahead of Microsoft in a category where Microsoft has yet to leave the proverbial runway. Need I say more?

    So Microsoft can put a red line through Linux and FOSS and tell the SEC that Linux no longer matters, while Windows partisans pop their corks and chalk up another one for their side. Meanwhile, back on the planet Earth, the reality is much different.

  • Linux a threat to Microsoft? No way!

    Over the years, Microsoft has made numerous attempts to thwart the growth of Linux and the open source culture in general and now after about 20 years of intense battle, Redmond has emerged victorious. How can Linux ever be a threat to Microsoft? Their Windows Operating System runs more than 90% of the desktops worldwide and Linux just 1-2%. Not even close. And so what if 100% of the top 10 supercomputers in the world are running Linux? They still have more than 90% desktop users. And what if that blasted Android runs half of the phones worldwide? They still have 90% destktop share, they’re still no 1. Hey and don’t start bragging about the 60% market share Linux has on the server front. They’re still the kings of the desktop; still ruling the world. From NASA to Wall Street, from Facebook to Google, Linux is everywhere, but Microsoft, they’re still obsessed about their desktop dominance. Time to wake up little puppy.

  • Desktop

    • Desktop Revolution: Stage 1: Notifications Bar

      I have a lot of ideas about how the Linux desktop can be improved, perhaps revolutionized, and these ideas all come from running up against walls repeatedly. I’m going to write the best ones down, the ones I will eventually turn into an open-source project (years down the road, mind you) if no one else does.

      The Linux tech world has come up with numerous solutions for notifications, and I use as many as possible to satisfy my needs. Chrome has TweetDeck, Linux has libnotify, or notify-osd if you’re using Ubuntu, and all operating systems have an icon “tray.” They all serve similar purposes: they want to give you information about what’s going on right now, and that’s incredibly useful.

    • A Windows User’s Guide to Getting Started with Linux

      There are countless Windows users who have never once tried using Linux, and in many cases, they are unaware of the benefits they can get from either switching to Linux entirely, or using both operating systems (as I do). The Linux community doesn’t tend to focus its evangelism on winning Windows users over, either. However, there are a number of free resources available for Windows users who want to take the Windows plunge. In this post, you’ll find several of them worth looking into.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Wrap Up – Desktop Summit 2011 Berlin
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome 3 Extensions for Traditionalists

        Shortly after Fedora 15 was GA’d, I decided to take the plunge and give Gnome 3 a try. Gnome 3 is, in my humble opinion, such a drastic change from the traditional desktop environment that I have had a very difficult time adjusting to how different it is. Call me old fashioned, but I like a few icons on my desktop, a fixed dock for shortcuts to my favorite applications, and a minimize button. My first Gnome 3 experience on my laptop, which I use for testing new releases, was a failure. Therefore, when it came time to upgrade my main desktop at work, I chose to once again attempt a conversion to KDE 4.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Telstra Cloud Gets Red Hat

        The fledgling cloud service has just received ‘Red Hat Enterprise’ Linux certification, offering “certainty” to users moving into cloud environments.

      • Telstra cloud certified by Red Hat
      • Telstra adds Red Hat to cloud offering
      • Finnish city’s Red Hat virtualisation roll-out illustrates open source in local government

        Local government IT directors in the UK can learn a lesson in open source deployment from the City of Kankaanpää, the main centre for trade, education and the commercial heart of Northern Satakunta, Finland.

        To simplify and centralise the management of desktops, Netorek, a Red Hat Advanced Partner, deployed Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation for Desktops, which allows the city’s IT department to deploy, configure and run Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Windows desktops in public institutions throughout the city. To virtualise the city’s server environment, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualisation for Servers has been implemented in the city’s datacentre.

      • Fedora

        • A Look Through Fedora 16 Alpha

          Fedora 16 Alpha was released earlier this week while the final release is not due until early November. If you have not yet tried out this latest Fedora development release, in this Phoronix article is a brief look through the Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu eyes ARM servers

            In the constant battle for performance and lower power consumption some OS makers are preparing for ARM-based server clusters

          • Ubuntu 11.10′s Default Wallpaper

            Today’s updates for the upcoming Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) operating system added a new default wallpaper to the existing ones.

            With this morning’s updates, the current development release of the upcoming Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) operating system got a new default wallpaper.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Dream Studio 11.04 Official Release

              DickMacInnis.com is proud to announce the official release of Dream Studio 11.04. This exciting new version of Dream Studio (http://dream.dickmacinnis.com) has all the features that have made past releases one of the most successful multimedia software packages out there, including: multi-user, pulseaudio-integrated realtime audio via JACK, for use with programs like Ardour; the renowned Cinelerra video editor, a full graphic and web design suite; photography tools; and hundreds of assorted audio and video effects, fonts, and utilities for everything from multimedia file conversion to simple office work and web browsing. Not only that, but this latest version of Dream Studio also included hundreds of bug fixes and the following new features:

            • Ultimate Edition 2.6.3

              Why Ultimate Edition 2.6.3 the 2.6 series is based on Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 a Long Term Support (LTS).

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 Free and Open Source Software Downloads

    Here are 5 free and open source software downloads to consider for your computer.

  • Open source storage users break free of vendor lock-in

    Open source storage: It’s an idea that makes so much sense. After all, the storage systems most of us buy simply comprise a bunch of disks with proprietary controller software on top. Such disk systems cost people the largest chunk of their storage spending, and a proprietary system locks them into their vendor’s roadmap and support structure.

  • The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

    At the start of the summer, you may recall Project Harmony causing a certain amount of controversy on the subject of contributor agreements in open source communities. My position on them was and is that they are a rarely needed and exceptional tool that should be avoided unless essential, because of their negative effects on the dynamics of open source communities.

    [...]

    I can understand why an old-fashioned corporation trying to come to terms with open source in the early stages of the road to freedom might think they need a contributor agreement. But it’s churlish and contrarian to start a new business today that relies for its revenue on the artificial scarcity of yesterday. There are plenty of scarcities to monetise – cloud infrastructure, operations skill, stack integration, jurisdictional differences and many more – without the need to try to apply a gateway to open source software. The requirement for a contributor agreement in order to create an artificial scarcity is the genetic marker for a desire for control. In the meshed society that the internet is creating, that’s a sign of damage that needs working around.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla WebAPI: Champion of open source freedom

        Who cares if Google isn’t necessarily the patron saint of openness? However much Google may depend upon open source, due to the advantageous development economics it fosters – as recently highlighted by Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst – is Google somehow wrong to disproportionately benefit from open source even as it churns out closed products and services based thereon?

        It’s not as if Google is alone. Facebook, for example, is no different, and some argue it’s using mountains of open source code to create a Compuserve-esque Internet experience that some feel fundamentally threatens the freedom of the web.

        Open source, the great enabler of serious lock-in?

      • Version numbers in Firefox aren’t going anywhere
      • Speed Dial Coming In Firefox 9

        Speed Dial is a feature first introduced by Opera almost four years. It is basically a grid of the top websites you visit. From my experience, this is a very convenient way to get to my favorite websites after firing up the browser. This feature has been adopted by Google Chrome as well. Recently, Opera added more features to its Speed Dial by introducing Live Speed Dial.

      • Mozilla Won’t Jettison Firefox Version Numbers
      • Open source key to faster Firefox releases: Mozilla founder

        “(Open source) has been helpful for us as we accelerate our development,” the Ottawa native says, pointing out features like translation are done by volunteers. Firefox 7 was just released in beta form this month; the 11-year-old browser also had versions 4, 5 and 6 released in 2011.

  • SaaS

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • What’s New in Oracle VM 3?

      Oracle VM 3 doesn’t quite have the same name recognition as its primary competitor, VMware vSphere. It’s an enterprise-focused virtualization solution that comprises Oracle VM Server for x86 and Oracle VM Manager. Oracle’s VM Server for x86 is a bare-metal virtualization solution. VM Manager provides the centralized management environment for configuring and managing the server, network, and storage infrastructure using browser-based tools.

    • Oracle Unveils Oracle VM 3.0
  • Funding

    • Giving Dreamfish a Grant

      Grant will also take the reins of FOSS promotion as well. He says he’d like to facilitate connections with OLPC too, and connecting with FOSS groups in Nairobi as well.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Top 10 Announcements to Expect from HP CEO Leo Apotheker
  • Science

  • Security

  • Civil Rights

    • Dangerous Cybercrime Treaty Pushes Surveillance and Secrecy Worldwide

      As part of an emerging international trend to try to ‘civilize the Internet’, one of the world’s worst Internet law treaties–the highly controversial Council of Europe (CoE) Convention on Cybercrime–is back on the agenda. Canada and Australia are using the Treaty to introduce new invasive, online surveillance laws, many of which go far beyond the Convention’s intended levels of intrusiveness. Negotiated over a decade ago, only 31 of its 47 signatories have ratified it. Many considered the Treaty to be dormant but in recent years a number of countries have been modeling national laws based on the flawed Treaty. Moreover, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom are amongst those who have ratified within the last year. However, among non-European countries, only the U.S. has ratified the Treaty to date, making Canada and Australia’s efforts unique. The Treaty has not been harmless, and both Australia and Canada are fast-tracking legislation (Australia’s lower house approved a cybercrime bill last night) that will enable them to ratify the Treaty, at great cost to the civil liberties of their citizens.

    • Update on the Home Secretary’s social media ‘riot summit’

      Following the meeting, the Home Office said in a statement that ”the discussions looked at how law enforcement and the networks can build on the existing relationships and cooperation to crack down on the networks being used for criminal behaviour.’ It looked like the Home Office were backing away from suggestions that they are seeking powers to cut off access to communications networks.

      The absence of any talk about blocking access to social networks is of course a victory. In principle giving the state greater powers to prevent people using the means to communicate with each other is worrying. And in practice, there’s little evidence that simply cutting access would have prevented some of the unrest.

  • DRM

    • Spotify is Defective by Design

      The music streaming service Spotify uses Digital Restrictions Management (DRM); push back by saying NO to Spotify’s invitations.

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