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09.09.11

Links 9/9/2011: NASA and Linux, Samsung Not Buying MeeGo

Posted in News Roundup at 7:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle v. Google – Google’s Expert Report and a Jury Issue

      In our article from September 2nd on the Oracle/Google copyright issues, we included a number of declarations, including that of Prof. Owen Astrachan of Duke University. There were two exhibits identified in the Astrachan declaration, but neither of the exhibits were available at that time. Now Exhibit 3, Astrachan’s Rebuttal Expert Report 391 [PDF] is available in redacted form, and we have reproduced it below.

    • How Open is Oracle?

      Oracle’s history with Sun’s open source projects is one that did not start out well. The openSolaris project was killed off, Apache has left the executive committee of the Java Community Process and multiple projects have been forked including OpenOffice (with LibreOffice), Hudson (with Jenkins) and MySQL (with MariaDB). Oracle has also launched legal action against Google over Java in Android.

  • BSD

    • The New Installer Of FreeBSD 9.0

      FreeBSD 9.0 Beta 2 was officially released yesterday, about one month’s late, but it comes with several new features. One of the new features to FreeBSD 9.0 is a new installer (pc-sysinstall) for this BSD operating system, which the developers have requested that it be put through its paces.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • UniPro: Open Source Bioinformatics Business with UGENE

      Unipro: Unipro is a small company with about 60-70 software engineers. The company expertise is focused on the following areas: compilers and low-level optimizations development, virtual machines development, quality testing, parallel and cloud-based computing.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google adds offline support to Docs

      Google Docs is a popular tool for collaboration and web-based document creation: boasting compatibility with common file types including Microsoft Office and the Open Document Format, a generous helping of free storage space, and easy to use web-based tools, it’s proving a tempting move for those unwilling to shell out for the latest iteration of Microsoft’s offering.

Leftovers

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • “Fraud As a Business Model”

      There were many factors that contributed to our recent financial bubble: deregulation, cheap money from the Fed, failure to enforce remaining regulations, crony capitalism, hubris, speculation, leverage, and fraud among other problems. While fraud wasn’t the only issue, it was and is a significant contributor to the credit bubble. Restraining fraud is a necessary but not sufficient condition for a sound financial system. Congressional investigations in recent years have put ample evidence of fraud in the public domain.

    • Goldman Sachs: More Than A Travesty Of A Mockery Of A Sham

      Goldman Sachs isn’t the only bank to rip-off its clients and America. But because it is the best at what it does it is the most profitable bank in the world, for now.

      Regular, old everyday trading is the key to Goldman’s success.What does that mean? I’m not talking about Goldman’s “big short” and how it bet massively against the subprime mortgage market while simultaneously selling huge quantities of designed-to-fail mortgage securities to its own customers.

  • Privacy

    • No, technology is not going to destroy your privacy in the future
    • Hurt Locker File Sharing Suits Come North: Federal Court Orders ISPs to Disclose Subscriber Info

      File sharing lawsuits involving the movie the Hurt Locker have been big news in the United States for months as tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed. It now appears that the lawsuits are coming to Canada as the Federal Court of Canada has paved the way for the identification of subscribers at Bell Canada, Cogeco, and Videotron who are alleged to have copied the movie. Late last month the court ordered the three ISPs to disclose the names and addresses of subscribers linked to IP addresses alleged to have copied the movie. The ISPs were given two weeks to respond and are entitled to be reimbursed for their expenses. In reaching its decision, the court cited the BMG Canada v. Doe case, the last major Canadian case involving peer-to-peer file sharing lawsuits. That case opened the door to further lawsuits, though it established some privacy safeguards. In this instance, the court cited PIPEDA as evidence that the personal information can be disclosed as well as federal court rules for the legitimacy of the claim and the necessity of acquiring the information for the lawsuit to proceed. There is no indication that the ISPs challenged the order or that there was an opportunity for a public interest intervention as was the case in the earlier CRIA lawsuits.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canada to U.S.: please blacklist us!

        Hyper-vigilant Internet Law Prof Michael Geist seems to be the first to have combed through the latest batch of WikiLeaks diplomatic cables, searching for any document containing the words “Canada” and “copyright.”

      • Long-awaited copyright bill returns, but top court to wade in too

        Heritage Minister James Moore says he’s hoping for long-languishing amendments to the Copyright Act to pass by Christmas, but the Supreme Court of Canada could wind up forcing more tinkering with the law.

        Canada’s top court said Thursday it will rule on five separate intellectual property cases together as a bundle, and what it decides could directly impact the Act or at least its interpretation.

Journals of Record Complain About Bill Gates’ Lobbying and AstroTurfing in the Education Arena

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 3:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A Microsoft-saddled education system and an increasingly-privatised infrastructure is being promoted by the Gates Foundation while top publications do take notice

THE WORLD’S most publicised monopolist, Bill Gates, has spent billions just marketing himself, alleged donations aside. Clearly his PR efforts have not been sufficient because the corporate press still steps ‘out of line’ sometimes. It publishes articles that expose Gates’ real agenda, despite fear of backlash and retaliation. Two of the arguably most highly regarded journals of record in the United States are the New York Times and Washington Post (a de facto pairing). Both have published critical piece about Gates despite his regular visits to those publishers. Those who wish to believe that Techrights presents a biased/fringe point of view ought to pay close attention to the way corporate press catches up with blogs and slowly comes to accept that the bloggers were right all along. First of all, the biasing of Harvard studies (to suit the agenda of the Gates Foundation) is a subject finally being addressed by Valerie Strauss, who writes:

Why would the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s richest foundation, hand over a $500,000 grant to Harvard, the world’s wealthiest university?

It turns out that Harvard, in July, was given a $500,000 grant fromGates, which has its financial tentacles deep in the education world and beyond, to do the following, according to the foundation’s Web site:

[...]

Who knew Harvard, with a $27 billion-plus endowment, needed Gates money for this?

Descartes imagined “Cogito ergo sum” without a Gates grant, but these days, even re-imagining comes under the Gates umbrella of largesse.

It is fair to wonder if educational institutions that take Gates money feel obliged to consider the education positions of Bill Gates.

Gates supports modern reform efforts that unfortunately apply business principles to the public education system, which is not a business but rather a civic institution, the most important one in the country.

[...]

About a decade ago, Gates decided that small schools were the answer to the high school dropout problem, so from 2000-2009 he poured in about $2 billion to help reform high schools and improve graduation rates of minority students — with most of the money going to create small schools out of large drop-out factories.

When standardized test scores didn’t go up, Gates pulled out his money and declared the effort pretty much a failure. It wasn’t entirely, but he moved on, now, to teacher assessment as the answer to troubled schools. Teacher assessment systems in many districts are in dire need of reform, but not the kind that is dominated by standardized test scores.

Do we really want experimenting philanthropists to have a role driving education policy?

One last thing:

Next time the Gates foundation decides to hand over big bucks for re-imagining, please note: For a tenth of what you gave Harvard, the education reporting team at The Post will re-imagine anything you want.

There is a lot more in that article. This author has, in general, been doing good investigative work for over a year. The paper she contributes to has wide circulation among politicians so we hope that she continues to reaffirm our position as she does. They recently got rid of Melinda Gates, so it ought to be easier to speak freely and speak truth.

The complaints from Strauss are further amplified by Ravitch, as usual. Both ladies do a good job speaking for teachers rather than corporations. Here is a good post from around the same time:

Diane Ravitch on Corporatization of Public Education

[...]

Perhaps it was the agreement between the Gates Foundation and the Pearson Foundation to write the nation’s curriculum. When did we vote to hand over American education to them? Why would we outsource the nation’s curriculum to a for-profit publishing and test-making corporation based in London? Does Bill Gates get to write the national curriculum because he is the richest man in America? We know that his foundation is investing heavily in promoting the Common Core standards. Now his foundation will write a K-12 curriculum that will promote online learning and video gaming. That’s good for the tech sector, but is it good for our nation’s schools?

Oh, and one more outrage: The Gates Foundation and the Eli Broad Foundation, both of which maintain the pretense of being Democrats and/or liberals, have given millions to former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s foundation, which i s promoting vouchers, charters, online learning, test-based accountability, and the whole panoply of corporate reform strategies intended to weaken public education and remove teachers’ job protections.

New York TimesIf Bill Gates can control this system, he then controls a budget of half a trillion dollars per year and also gets to decide what children’s minds get filled with. Scary thought, no?

Here is the AstroTurf roundup from the New York Times:

They described themselves simply as local teachers who favored school reform — one sympathetic state representative, Mary Ann Sullivan, said, “They seemed like genuine, real people versus the teachers’ union lobbyists.” They were, but they were also recruits in a national organization, Teach Plus, financed significantly by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

For years, Bill Gates focused his education philanthropy on overhauling large schools and opening small ones. His new strategy is more ambitious: overhauling the nation’s education policies. To that end, the foundation is financing educators to pose alternatives to union orthodoxies on issues like the seniority system and the use of student test scores to evaluate teachers.

In some cases, Mr. Gates is creating entirely new advocacy groups. The foundation is also paying Harvard-trained data specialists to work inside school districts, not only to crunch numbers but also to change practices. It is bankrolling many of the Washington analysts who interpret education issues for journalists and giving grants to some media organizations.

[...]

Mr. Hess, a frequent blogger on education whose institute received $500,000 from the Gates foundation in 2009 “to influence the national education debates,” acknowledged that he and others sometimes felt constrained. “As researchers, we have a reasonable self-preservation instinct,” he said. “There can be an exquisite carefulness about how we’re going to say anything that could reflect badly on a foundation.”

[...]

The foundation paid a New York philanthropic advisory firm $3.5 million “to mount and support public education and advocacy campaigns.” It also paid a string of universities to support pieces of the Gates agenda. Harvard, for instance, got $3.5 million to place “strategic data fellows” who could act as “entrepreneurial change agents” in school districts in Boston, Los Angeles and elsewhere. The foundation has given to the two national teachers’ unions — as well to groups whose mission seems to be to criticize them.

“It’s easier to name which groups Gates doesn’t support than to list all of those they do, because it’s just so overwhelming,” noted Ken Libby, a graduate student who has pored over the foundation’s tax filings as part of his academic work.

An early example of the increased emphasis on advocacy came in 2008, when Mr. Gates teamed with Eli Broad for a campaign aimed at focusing the presidential candidates on issues like teacher quality and education standards. The Gates Foundation spent $16 million on the effort.

Mr. Gates later acknowledged that it achieved little, but in the years since, the foundation has helped leverage sweeping changes. Its latest annual report, for instance, highlights its role — often overlooked — in the development and promotion of the common core academic standards that some 45 states have adopted in recent months.

Well, a lot more examples are included in this article, but to keep compliant with fair use, we’ll end it there. It is encouraging to see the press waking up.

Super Lobbyist Bill Gates Tells the Entire World What Patents to License

Posted in Bill Gates at 2:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Needle

Summary: The vaccination advocacy from Gates is being criticised for being short-sighted and selfish/self-serving

ONE need not shout and curse to be called a bully. Many manipulative people can wear a sweater and speak calmly, still achieving pretty much the same goals and coercing others to follow their own selfish agenda. Those who do not agree will be left to rot on the wayside. It is easier to achieve this while hiding behind an entity proclaiming to be an NGO or a charity, whose main role is actually investment in stocks at Wall Street.

Unfortunately, money means almost everything in research because if one cannot obtain sponsorship/grants, then his/her line of research is being suppressed. The same goes for advertising in trade journals and old press.

“Unfortunately, money means almost everything in research because if one cannot obtain sponsorship/grants, then his/her line of research is being suppressed.”So today we consider this report from an independent blogger who used to be a journalist (and thus coerced by Gates et al. to sing their praises). He writes about Gates pressuring all states all around the world to do as he wishes regarding patents, having brought people from patent giants that sell those patent-’protected’ drugs (taxpayers pay for those drugs, not Gates, who is there to claim credit). For the uninitiated, Gates liaised with some pharmaceutical giants whose heads joined his foundation. He then put his investment money in those companies and funded some universities to produce the propaganda they require (assigned to Gates’ ‘charity’ rather than the big pharmaceutical companies that profit along with Gates but arouse too much suspicion and draw flak). To quote the report: ‘”That was a sobering realization for me,” said Bill Gates, speaking today to the World Health Assembly and representatives of 193 member states. [...] All 193 member states, you must make vaccines a central focus of your health systems, to ensure that all your children have access to existing vaccines now—and to new ones as they become available.’

Yes, Gates and the companies he invests his money in are pushing aside other people with other ideas just because these competing ‘idealists’ don’t have illegally-earned fortunes like Gates. As pointed out by Gates Keepers:

Mr Kenny points out that most of the public health benefits and deaths averted from immunisation have already taken place. As vaccine preventable diseases continue to decrease, the Gates Foundation will step up to take the credit and ride to glory on the downslope.

It is rather troubling that this whole reputation laundering operation truly works because it increases Gates’ wealth and status at the same time. Here is some new Smithsonian propaganda (where the former head of the foundation now works). It’s all just part of the attempt to project/portray the world’s top villain as some kind of hero. Will the press ever catch up and manage to teach the public about those tricks? Or can Bill Gates’ PR budget always be one step ahead? This PR budget is still standing at about 400 million dollars per year (not charity, just PR or “advocacy” as Gates prefers to call it). People’s health is at stake and as we’ll show in the next post, children’s (mis)education too.

Related posts:

Cablegate: Importing the USPTO Into Europe, Using the ‘EU Patent’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cablegate

Summary: Very detailed cable about Europe presents a picture of the threat of the EU Patent, among many other things

THE founder of the FSF was chided by some European patent lawyers after he had repeated what the FFII tells us all the time (since 2008 or thereabouts). The EU Patent or whatever the politicians choose to call it (the name keeps changing, which makes it a moving target) would help bring USPTO patents — software patents include — into Europe.

The following Cablegate cable from 2009 says:

“¶39. Patents: It is not yet possible to file for a single EU-wide patent that would be administered and enforced in all EU member states. The most effective way to secure a patent across a range of EU national markets is to use the services of the European Patent Office (EPO). EPO offers a one-stop-shop that enables right holders to obtain various national patents using a single application. However, these national patents have to be validated, maintained and litigated separately in each Member State. Although the European Commission proposed a regulation in 2000 (COM 412) on the institutional framework regarding the establishment of a community patent, the Council has repeatedly failed to reach agreement on the dossier. The main outstanding issues relate to the translation of patent claims and litigation options. The Union has so far also failed to set up a streamlined system for the resolution of patent disputes. The Council rejected a Commission request for a mandate to negotiate an EU patent litigation agreement in December 2006.”

In other words, it is about litigation and they want to make litigation easier, with increased damages too. How does that help Europeans? Who does that make richer? On it goes:

“¶40. In March 2007, the Commission released a Communication (COM 2007/165) restating the Commission position that it would not abandon the Community patent and European Patent Litigation Agreement (EPLA) proposals. In September, 2008, the EPO and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) launched the Patent Prosecution Highway, a joint trial initiative that leverages fast-track patent examination procedures already available in both offices to allow applicants to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently. This will permit each office to exploit the work previously done by the other office and reduce duplication. In addition, the two offices, along with the patent offices of Japan, Korea, and China announced a joint agreement (IP5) in November to move forward on work sharing and to undertake a number of projects to harmonize the environment for work sharing and eliminate unnecessary duplication of work.”

This means that this whole ‘globalisation’ of patent monopolies systems would result in broadening the reach of patents and increasing their number, too. As we saw in the so-called 'trade agreement' with Korea , this also means spreading software patents to the whole world. Below we put the cable in its raw form.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apple Adopts ‘Lunatic Dictator’ Approach

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 2:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple Cult engages in battle

Vladimir Putin with Muammar Gaddafi
Credit: www.kremlin.ru

Summary: Apple tries to reign the industry by intimidation and retaliation tactics which are intended to scare anyone who behaves ‘out of line’, for instance by competing or gaining intelligence on Apple

“Apple Employees Accompany Police In Search For Missing Prototype,” noted Kari Laine on Thursday, the 8th of September. He linked to an article from Murdoch’s press (WSJ).

Quoting another version of the story (from Ars Technica): “Those same Apple investigators—one of which was later identified as retired San Jose Police sergeant Anthony Colon—offered money for the device and even made veiled threats about contacting the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) when the search turned up nothing. “One of the officers is like, ‘Is everyone in this house an American citizen?’ They said we were all going to get into trouble,’” Calderón said.”

“Those same Apple investigators [...] made veiled threats about contacting the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) when the search turned up nothing.”
      –Ars Technica
Amazing.

In a later post from Laine he uses the title “Is Apple engaging in innovation by intimidation?” This one is even more shocking. Quoting Beta News: “So the next day, my father went to see him; only this time with Luca Brasi — and within an hour, he signed a release, for a certified check for $1,000…Luca Brasi held a gun to his head and my father assured him that either his brains, or his signature, would be on the contract”

Nice people, eh? Christine Hall already makes fun of Apple for it.

“Apple innovates in Japan” was the third post from Laine that night (yesterday night). It is a sarcastic title because it’s actually about Apple trying to block sales of the main rival in Japan. We are talking about the Linux-powered Android, which Apple has engaged in embargo war against [1, 2]. Apple did not innovate this strategy as Microsoft did it first, multiple times too [1, 2, 3].

“Luca Brasi held a gun to his head and my father assured him that either his brains, or his signature, would be on the contract”
      –Beta News
It is getting hard to sincerely stick up to Apple and it also looks like the company’s new CEO, who started threatening rivals even years ago [1, 2], put Apple on the road to becoming the next Microsoft in the bad sense of the analogy (market abuses and aggression). We’ve already seen some calls for a CEO swap, even this morning (coming from Mac users).

Yesterday we wrote about Apple's other attacks on Android and also two of Microsoft's. Those two companies now work in tandem against Linux and Linux sites take notice, not just general news sites. Quoting the latter: “Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has already inked lucrative licensing details with General Dynamics Corp. (GD) (owners of Itronix, a maker of rugged tablets) [source]; Velocity Micro, Inc. [source]; Onkyo Corp. [source] (JSD:6628); and HTC Corp. (SEO:066570) [source]. It’s pressuring Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO:005930) into a similar licensing deal. Reportedly it wants up to $15 per device sold.

“So what do all these companies have in common? They all use Google Inc.’s (GOOG) Android operating system and all are afraid that Microsoft may make good on its threat to sue them if they don’t pay licensing fees.”

Microsoft has already sued several times and it typically turns out to involve something like FAT or an application-specific functionality, which elimination of software patents ought to make unpatentable. Let’s try to eliminate the problem at the root, which is corruptible officials that let laws be subverted for lobbyists’ clients. In the coming days we’ll share some leaked cables about patents.

Prior Art-based and Abolishment-based Methods of Stopping Software Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 2:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

United around common goals

Hands in union

Summary: Another look at two complementary approaches that help defend Free software, one being deterrence based on the latter being reform-driven

THE patents landscape is being filled up with all sorts of extortion rackets that operate rather quietly. We previously mentioned several of these, including RPX which according to LWN the OIN keeps and eye on. To quote a very detailed article which is finally accessible to non-subscribers:

There are several defensive patent pools that have spent “billions to acquire patents”. These include RPX, which has 100 members, and AlliedSecurityTrust (AST), which has 22 members, as well as OIN itself. OIN is a “very peculiar company” in that has six members but is “tasked with protecting the community”. OIN and its members know that the community is “where new innovation is coming from”, Bergelt said, and those innovations can be used to build billion dollar companies.

[...]

There is work to be done on mobilizing the open source software community to help fight these patents, he said. There is a “tremendous amount of prior art” that has not been identified, so OIN and others have been working on “structures” where developers can document their ideas in ways that can be used by the patent office. One of those is the “defensive publication”, which is like a “patent without claims”. OIN has spent “tens of thousands of dollars” to try to educate developers on how to defensively publish their ideas. In addition, there are opportunities for the community to identify existing prior art that can limit the claims or possibly invalidate patents that are in the examination process.

We generally choose appeasement with the OIN, despite some disagreements. United we stand stronger and we also have been engaging in correspondence with Groklaw. Tens of thousands of dollars could also be spent trying to eliminate software patents altogether, so the above approach leaves us somewhat sceptical. This is the goal of Techrights and several other sites of its kind, including Groklaw which has this new article on why software is reducible to mathematics. Quoting the introduction:

This article is a follow up on my previous article 1+1 (pat. pending)—Mathematics, Software and Free Speech. My original intent was to write a shorter and simpler explanation of the software is mathematics argument which would be accessible to laymen. This proved to be a too ambitious goal. This is about mathematics, software, computers and patents. This topic is inherently technical. I settled on the next best thing. I tried to assume as little knowledge of mathematics, computers and software as possible and still explain things properly. There are professions like journalists in the trade press and lawyers practicing in software related fields of the law whose members know more about computing than the ordinary folks but don’t have the programming skills of Linus Torvalds. These people are the target audience.

The argument is based on the explanation of how software, hardware and data combine to implement functionality. When we have a complete picture of how functionality happens we can see clearly the parts played by the mathematical concepts of computation and algorithm. Once we have this knowledge it becomes clear in which sense and why software is mathematics.

The editor of Groklaw advocates two paths towards elimination of software patents, the latter of which is more conformist and to a certain extent aligns with the OIN’s work. Perhaps a little bit of both would be best, at least for the time being as software patents exist in the US.

By the way, do not pay too much attention to this new parody of a patent ‘reform’ which has just been passed:

The Senate gave final approval to the first major overhaul of the nation’s patent law in more than a half century Thursday, sending the America Invents Act to President Barack Obama for his signature

America Invents Act… like Patriot Act, it’s just a buzzword. We should all still demand a patent reform… a real patent reform.

Cablegate Plan

Posted in Site News at 1:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Books and map

Summary: Our plan for the coming week and why we’ve covered a lot of Microsoft over the past week

FOR THOSE who wonder why we mostly focus on Microsoft, this is a preference of convenience, as taking one topic at the time enables a more organised and consistent coverage, addressing one topic at the time, however thoroughly. We refer to it as “Cablegate” and not “Wikileaks” because Wikileaks is the key publisher; it is not, however, the actual source of the information. Cablegate is treated by us not as borderline illegal but as a matter of public interest; it’s taxpayers who paid for all those cables to be written and affect their lives profoundly. They have the right to know what those whom they fund are doing behind closed doors. There are many mirrors out there with exactly the same material; we’re not quite the exception, but we focus on subjects that we understand better and can help our future posts about new events.

As always, those who wish to help us research cables are advised to join us at the IRC channels, which also support anonymity. Journalists tend to prefer to mail us with enquiries, but then they miss the collective of brains we have here in this Web site. Thanks to some increased publicity we’ve received more than our average quarter of a million hits per day (excepting Varnish) and the site has new subscribers. Public interest keeps us strong and motivated.

Links 9/9/2011: Bodhi Linux 1.2.0, VortexBox 1.10

Posted in News Roundup at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Longene: The Linux Kernel With Windows Support

    This morning after providing benchmarks of FreeBSD with Linux binary compatibility for gaming, which allows unaltered 32-bit Linux binaries to be executed seamlessly with the FreeBSD kernel (and in a rather fast manner), I was reminded on Twitter about another interesting project: Longene. Longene is a “Linux Unified Kernel” that attempts to implement Microsoft Windows APIs within the Linux kernel. In other words, Windows binary compatibility for the Linux kernel, including for Windows device drivers.

  • Desktop

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Two More Developers Join The Chicago Linux Panel

        Next Tuesday during XDC2011 Chicago at the Illinois Institute of Technology I am hosting a panel about contributing to Linux and open-source projects, in particular, X.Org, Mesa, and the Linux kernel, but the information should be largely relevant to any free software project. This discussion panel is largely targeted towards university students and others that aren’t yet contributing to upstream projects, with most of the panel participants having begun their Linux contributions prior to graduating from university and then most of them being poached by major open-source companies.

      • X.Org Smooth Scrolling Prepped For Merging

        One of the features part of the new X Input extension to be included in X.Org Server 1.12 is smooth scrolling support.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Eight Complaints About the Linux Desktop
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • King of KDistros

        Well, done at last! After some time gathering opinions from readers and quite some more time testing each one of the contenders, I have finished my comparison of the best of the best in KDE distros.

      • Phonon-Xine is dead. Long live Phonon-GStreamer.
      • Moving on

        So amid the upheaval of desktop environments, we have a precedent to look at with KDE having gone through this before. Fortunately for GNOME, KDE’s experience serves as a cautionary tale. KDE seems to have ridden out the rough spots after their release of version 4, though there are some that are just not going to be happy with anything other than their KDE 3.x, and they aren’t shy about saying so.

  • Distributions

    • Which Linux Distro Leads the Pack?

      “Debian is No. 1? Why am I not surprised,” said Roberto Lim, a lawyer and blogger on Mobile Raptor. “Sometimes I really feel like the Linux community, which used to be about innovation and building the best next thing, has lost touch with society and are in danger of becoming irrelevant.” The real No. 1 distro is Ubuntu, Lim asserted: “It is the only one with a shot at becoming more than a niche in a niche market.”

    • New Releases

      • Bodhi Linux 1.2.0
      • VortexBox 1.10 released

        It’s been a while since we released a new version of VortexBox and there are a lot of small fixes and tweaks in this new version. There is the usually updates such as a new Kernel and SqueezeBox server 7.6.1. There are also a lot of small updates such as increased UPnP player support. VortexBox now supports the latest Samsung TVs and the BeoSound 5 from Bang & Olufsen.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Needs Artists

        Let’s face it. Mageia’s default look for version 1 wasn’t bad. The Ia Ora windec is attractive enough and the backgrounds and splash screens weren’t bad. But “not bad” isn’t beautiful. Attractive isn’t gorgeous. We users want gorgeous.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat starts marketing Centennial Campus space

        Red Hat Red Hat Latest from The Business Journals TBJ unveils 2011 Best Places to Work in the Triangle Red Hat to move HQ to Progress Energy building Triangle stocks drop along with market Follow this company ’s sublease arrangement at Progress Energy Progress Energy Latest from The Business Journals Duke Energy listed in Dow Jones Sustainability World IndexS.C. advocate supports Duke, Progress mergerDuke Energy, Progress Energy reach merger deal with S.C. advocate Follow this company ’s Two Progress Plaza tower in downtown Raleigh isn’t even official yet, but the technology company is wasting no time trying to find a new tenant for the space it’ll be vacating on N.C. State University N.C. State University Latest from The Business Journals Suddenly, Centennial Campus has space to rentVa. Tech football is top money maker in ACCTBJ Flash: Barkley, Shaq shine at Jimmy V gala Follow this company ’s Centennial Campus.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • _____[fill in the blank]: “Want me to wipe for you too?”
          • How Useful Is Ubuntu Menu?
          • How Ubuntu One Saved Me In The US

            I had the data sitting right next to me but I couldn’t access it. Lesson learned, if you don’t bring the right key you won’t be able to open the right door. So all my stories that I was working on were locked inside that shiny rectangular box made by Seagate with its cable sitting across the ocean in Belgium.

            Was there a solution late at night when I was stuck in Williamsburg with no option to go out and find a Best Buy when dark clouds were looming overhead, throwing thunderbolts at us and rain was pouring? There was. The solution was in the cloud itself.

            I recalled that before starting off for the trip I had dragged the story folder to my Ubuntu One folder, just in case. My Ubuntu One account is always synced. So there was a possibility that I may be able to access those files.

            I turned on my tablet, logged into my Ubuntu One account and there it was – the folder with all those files. I tried to open the file I was working on. Damn, QuickOffice doesn’t support ISO approved .odt format. I had an inferior (.doc) version of the same file and started working on it. The story was ready in less than half an hour.

          • How To Upgrade From Ubuntu 11.04 To Ubuntu 11.10 Beta
          • Unity Linux | You did not die !

            I wrote a post about Unity Linux ” Why Should I use Unity Linux ? ” back in April 2010 when this distribution was in its prime trying to stand upon its feet . I will not go into the history of the inception of this project because everybody knows about it .

            Things were exciting and promising and the Unity team was in high spirits willing to contribute as much as they could to this new distribution .This project was backed up by good team members pouring in from various former PCLinuxOS derived sister distributions . Many good projects came to surface with remasters based upon Unity Linux core . Two well known were HUMANity (e17) and Synergy (KDE4).

          • Ubuntu Development Update
          • Some Great Alternatives to the Ubuntu Unity Launcher

            We’ve already ranted about the little annoyances of Ubuntu Unity in our earlier article. Though there are many things that are just plain wrong about Unity at this moment, one bad feature that sticks out like a sore thumb is the elusive launcher.

          • A new release process for Ubuntu?

            The Ubuntu release process is well known, and its developers talk regularly about the cadence of it. A new release of Ubuntu comes out every six months, and each release follows a predictable pattern. I’ve stolen the following image from OMG! Ubuntu’s recent series about Ubuntu Development.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Try Bodhi Linux for Beauty and Customizability

              Scarcely a day goes by without an update being released for one Linux distribution or another, but today saw the launch of one I think is worth some attention.

            • Bodhi Linux 1.2.0 Released

              20,000 forum posts and over 100,000 downloads later the Bodhi team and I are proud to announce our second point release – Bodhi 1.2.0 Current Bodhi users can easily update their system to this latest release.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Samsung Setting up to Go with MeeGo OS

      Samsung is seemingly intending to purchase Nokia and Intel’s MeeGo operating system after the news arrived that Samsung decided that it was not purchasing Hewlett Packard’s webOS.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Amazon Renews Call for Android Developers

          Just weeks before their much-anticipated Android-based tablet, Amazon has renewed their call for developers. To sweeten the pot a bit, the online retail behemoth is giving a one-time $50 promo code, good for use on specific Amazon Web Service. AWS offers Android developers a number of helpful tools in the form of data storage, mobile-to-mobile communication, and flexible database options.

        • A Google Android and Java history lesson

          Recently, some people were shocked-shocked I tell you-to discover that Google had looked at Java to help create Android’s Dalvik and that Google kept its Android source code to itself and its closest partners until the final product was released to the public. Oh please. There’s nothing new here. It’s always been that way and everyone who knows anything about Android’s history already knew that.

          First, there’s the accusation that Android used Java code in creating its Dalvik virtual machine (VM). This is news? When Android first came out, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz, then Java’s owner, greeted the news of Android’s birth with “heartfelt congratulations.”

        • Android port for HP TouchPad making progress

          After the recent fire sale of the HP TouchPad tablet, hackers and modders quickly began work on porting Google’s open source Android mobile operating system to the device and they are making progress. The developers at Team-Touchdroid have already succeeded in replacing WebOS, which is the tablet’s default OS, with version 2.3.5 of Android.

        • Motorola Announces Android Powered DROID BIONIC

          Motorola has announced DROID BIONIC, the first Verizon Wireless smartphone to combine 4G LTE with the power of dual-core 1 GHz processors, 1 GB of RAM and a stunning 4.3-inch qHD display – all in a sleek form factor that makes it the thinnest 4G LTE smartphone from Verizon Wireless.

          Customers can expect to fly across the Web on the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network with download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in 4G LTE mobile broadband coverage areas.

        • Sony Ericsson Nozomi Rumored to Come with Ice Cream Sandwich, 720p Display, Dual-core Processor

          Earlier reports told of an upcoming Sony Ericsson Nozomi, said to come with a 1.5-GHz single-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and to be released before yearend. Recent buzz at the IT68 forums, however, reveal rumors of more powerful specs than initially reported for the Sony Ericsson Nozomi and a release date slated for first quarter of next year.

        • Amazon Cloud SDKs for Android, IOS Exit Beta Testing

          The company wants make it easier for developers to build mobile applications that take advantage of its cloud-based services. Previously, developers had to do more of the work themselves, according to Amazon.

          Using the SDKs developers can make API (application programming interface) requests directly from a mobile application to Amazon’s Web Services. Developers can integrate their applications with a long list of services, including Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Simple Storage Service (S3), the SimpleDB database and send messages using Simple Notification Service (SNS) and Simple Queue Service (SQS).

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • NVIDIA CEO: quad-core tablets to launch this year

        NVIDIA’s chief executive officer and president Jen-Hsun Huang confirmed that the company’s quad-core processor, currently codenamed “Kal-El,” will be available in tablets by the end of this year. “We’re the only people seriously on the dance floor with Qualcomm,” Huang told Forbes in a recent interview. “We’re really the only two active players.” Earlier this year, NVIDIA said it expected to ship quad-core tablets and smartphones in 2011, but Huang suggested to Forbes that smartphones may not hit the market until 2012. Read on for more.

        [...]

        Huang also noted that NVIDIA currently has 50% of the Android smartphone market and 70% of the Android tablet market.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Bossie Awards for best open source software in 2011

    InfoWorld has presented its 2011 Bossie (Best Open Software Source) Awards. Prizes were awarded in the four categories of enterprise open source applications, desktop and mobile software, data centre and cloud solutions, and developer tools.

  • BT software engineer tells how the telco is using open source

    “One reason why culturally eventually open source will be an excellent fit for BT is that old-school engineering idea that ‘I’ll stake my life on this project because I understand the risks myself because I have the necessary professional background to do so’,” he says. BT is, after all, a company that for many years built everything itself.

  • Open source software – Competitiveness through collaboration

    On the 5th of September 2011, the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA) hosted the third Government of Malta Open Source End User Group (MOSEUG) meeting. The theme, was ‘OSS – Competitiveness through Collaboration’ and the meeting focused on:

  • Morality and Legality of Open Source Code Forking
  • How to build a sustainable nonprofit the open source way
  • BSA secret agenda: open source saves the world

    Assuming that everything the BSA says is right, then it’s as plausible to blame unbearable temptation as it is ignorance. If you could obtain something that was worth a year’s wages at the click of a mouse, and you knew you’d not cost anyone a penny, what would you do?

    Quite. So while it’s perfectly in order for the BSA to wish for more money for its members, and good luck to them all in that, it’s highly unlikely that its proposed solution will in fact liberate that $59 billion — the GDP of Croatia.

    With perfect holiness and inescapable enforcement, in a world with no illicit copying at all, what would happen is that most of the world wouldn’t have most of those copies of the BSA membership’s products.

    Would that bar them from the benefits of IT, and all the necessary economic and social tools needed to be a productive, happy part of the global digital community? Fortunately not.

    A logical conclusion of the BSA’s arguments is that the free and open source software (Foss) model would step in to provide legal alternatives. Of course, for some software such as Adobe’s top-end creative products there is no Foss equivalent; the paid-for market is small enough and the lock-in so significant that there’s not been much point.

    Once the world cannot get what it cannot pay for, though, the motivation to make top-notch Foss products will be much higher, and we can reasonably expect them to appear. Indeed, we can expect the new wave of software to become so good that it will be functionally competitive with the full-price Western option – and competition, as we all know, promotes a healthy, honest market. Something we know the BSA is entirely in favour of.

    Thus, the real message of the BSA’s survey is to actively, even aggressively, promote the development of Foss within the developing world, to create far more competition that will help reduce prices worldwide, and to encourage a truly diverse and equitable digital world for everyone.

  • 4 More Things You Didn’t Know VLC Could Do
  • Three Top Open Source Bug Tracking Apps
  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Michael Hart (1947 – 2011): Prophet of Abundance

        What makes his death particularly tragic is that his name is probably only vaguely known, even to people familiar with the areas he devoted his life to: free etexts and the public domain. In part, that was because he modest, content with only the barest recognition of his huge achievements. It was also because he was so far ahead of his times that there was an unfortunate disconnect between him and the later generation that built on his trailblazing early work.

  • Programming

    • Book Review: HTML5 Media

      I understand that O’Reilly is publishing a series of hardcopy and ebooks that sport a rather modest page count in order to get the material to market very quickly. Shelley Powers’ HTML5 Media is one of them. Please keep in mind this book isn’t intended to teach you everything you want to know about HTML5 but rather, to show web developers how to insert HTML5 media elements into web pages using the new video and audio elements.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dining on Deceit: PR Stunt Backfires for ConAgra

      Hidden cameras captured what was supposed to be the bloggers’ delighted reaction to the meal and dessert of Razzleberry Pie (another frozen Marie Callender’s specialty). But the stunt backfired after bloggers found out the truth. One wrote, “Our entire meal was a SHAM! … We were unwilling participants in a bait-and-switch for Marie Callender’s new frozen three cheese lasagna and there were cameras watching our reactions.”

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Wealthy Wisconsin Heir Speaks at Koch Brothers Meeting

      Leaked audio from the Koch brothers’ donor meeting in Vail, Colorado, in June reveals, among other things, the connections between the Kochs and a wealthy Wisconsin funder who spent hundreds of thousands that helped elect Ron Johnson as well as Scott Walker and support various right-wing causes.

      An anonymous source released the tapes to blogger Brad Friedman, who published the audio and transcript at Mother Jones and BradBlog. Fred Young, the heir of the Young Radiator fortune in Racine, Wisconsin, addressed the crowd of Koch invitees and introduced Fox News personality Andrew Napolitano.

    • Cantor Introduces ALEC’s Agenda to the House

      Among the regulations targeted by Cantor are the new maximum achievable control technology “MACT” standards, known as the “boiler MACT rules” for utility plants. Analysts at the Center for Progressive Reform estimated that these rules “would annually prevent up to nearly 6,600 premature deaths, more than 4,000 non-fatal heart attacks, more than 1,600 cases of acute bronchitis, and more than 313,000 missed work and school days.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Yet Another Pro-Keystone XL Pipeline Front Group Set Up In Nebraska

      Last week, lobbyists in Washington, DC announced the creation of yet another front group in Nebraska to support the approval of the controversial Keystone XL, a pipeline running through the Midwest from tar sands mining sites in Canada to refineries in Texas. Given its central location underneath the proposed expansion route for the Keystone XL, Nebraska has become a flash point in the debate over approval of the plan.

      To counteract the broad opposition to the pipeline, oil lobbyists have paid special attention to Nebraska.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • BC Court Rules Rogers’ Zoocasa Real Estate Site Infringed Copyright, Breached Terms of Use

        The B.C. Supreme Court has issued a lengthy ruling against Rogers Communications and its real estate search site, Zoocasa. The case originates from Century 21′s objections to Zoocasa’s scraping of its real estate listings and incorporating them into its own site. Zoocasa scraped the full listings for several months starting in August 2008, but in November 2008 switched to “truncated” descriptions that provide only basic information. In August 2009, Zoocasa began “framing” other sites, but it stopped that practice in December 2009. Zoocasa stopped indexing Century 21 listings in 2010.

      • EU Officially Seizes The Public Domain, Retroactively Extends Copyright

        As was unfortunately expected, despite no evidence that this made any economic sense at all, the member states of the EU have agreed to retroactively extend copyright another 20 years, at which point you can expect it to be extended again (thanks to jtdeboe for sending this over). This is nothing short of governments and the entertainment industry seizing works from the public domain. As we’ve said before, the purpose of copyright law is to incent the creation of new works. If existing copyright law was enough to incentivize the creation at the time, then there’s simply no reason to retroactively extend the law.

      • Don’t Try To Create An Illustrated Version Of A David Bowie Song… Or The Copyright Police Will Come After You

        Except, as that started to get attention, Kolb was threatened with an infringement claim. Of course, the Star fails Jouranlism 101, in that it never actually names the party who holds the copyright or who threatened the illustrator. One might come away from the article believing it’s David Bowie, but I’m guessing it was someone else. In fact, I reached out to Kolb to find out who sent the takedown, and he said that

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