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09.13.11

Links 13/9/2011: Android Gains Tablets Market Share, Goldman Sachs Under Fire

Posted in News Roundup at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Russian President Medvedev asked to fund Windows clone

    A free, open-source Windows “clone” – ReactOS – that has been in development for over a decade has caught the eye of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

    A student at a Russian high school the president visited recently gave Mr Medvedev a brief overview of the project – and asked him for 1m euros.

    The system’s developers say it runs all Windows programs, but is much faster than its Microsoft equivalent.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Reporter Claims TSA Agent Would Speed People Through Security For $10

      Phil Mushnick at the NYPost has an article telling about his own recent experience flying out of Newark, in which a TSA agent appeared to let people cut to the front of the security line for a “tip” of around $10. The actual amount wasn’t entirely clear, other than that she got quite upset — publicly — when only given $5. Basically, she walked around offering people a wheelchair, which she would use to bring them to the front of the line, the whole time letting them know that she expected something in return.

  • Cablegate

    • No retribution for WikiLeaks outing Chinese sources

      Being outed as a “source” for American diplomats is not such a big deal after all, perhaps, even in China.

      Two weeks after WikiLeaks posted unredacted versions of a quarter of a million U.S. diplomatic cables, revealing the names of American embassies’ local contacts around the world, there are no signs of repercussions for Chinese sources, according to people who have themselves been “outed.”

  • Finance

  • Copyrights

    • Hotfile Sues Warner Bros. For Copyright Fraud and Abuse

      The Florida-based file-hosting service Hotfile has sued Warner Bros. for fraud and abuse. Hotfile accuses the movie studio of systematically abusing its anti-piracy tool by taking down hundreds of titles they don’t hold the copyrights to, including open source software. Among other things, Hotfile is looking for damages to compensate the company for the losses t

Global Patent System

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Patents at 10:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NAFTA approach applied to patent systems internationally

NAFTA logo

Summary: Trans-Atlantic negotiations are potentially being used to override local patent laws and assimilate them to US patent law (which permits software patents)

A quick and convenient way to subvert a country’s rule of law is an invasion (political), a takeover (commercial), or negotiation that excludes the public (corruption). Such is the case with some of the opaque treaties we have seen being agreed upon, e.g. in Korea. Old old people in Korea understand the value of independence.

A global patent systems which Microsoft so publicly craves enables a company to tax or to block imports of rival products internationally. The “Trilateral Patent Offices” are defined by Wikipedia as follows:

The Trilateral Patent Offices, or simply the Trilateral Offices, are the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In 1983, these patent offices set up a programme of co-operation in an effort to “improve efficiency of the global patent system”

In New Zealand, people have been fighting hard against attempts from American multinationals to legalise software patents. One of the better journalists in Australia’s IT news sites speaks of a treaty being cooked:

The US is pushing for the acceptance of a wide-ranging treaty, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement; a round of negotiations has just ended in Chicago. The next round is due in Peru later this month.

All negotiations are held in secret and no government has gone on the record about what is being negotiated for fear of displeasing the US.

The New Zealand software patents bill is likely to contradict portions of the proposed IP regime of the TPPA and in this context the delay to pass the bill into law becomes understandable.

Appalling.

According to Benjamin Henrion, “China granting software patents page 255, undefined technical character, reference to law of nature http://t.co/EdWxTTm” (see what we wrote during the weekend about Japan's role).

Henrion also notes that the EPO is up to no good because of the unification theme:

EPO pushing for a central patent court and the non-EU patent: http://t.co/5i6SZjX

We recently showed some Wikileaks cables [1, 2, 3, 4] that help verify what Henrion has been saying about the EU Patent, so this post from the EPO is quite worrying. They are trying to imitate the USPTO.

On 8 September 2011, the US Senate passed a patent reform bill known as the America Invents Act. It makes some of the biggest changes to US patent law seen in the last 60 years; for one thing, it enshrines the switch from “first-to-invent” to “first-to-file”. The bill should be signed into law by President Obama this week and enter into force over the coming months. Considering the magnitude of the changes, I can well imagine the difficulties that must have faced the bill’s proponents during its passage, even if it was adopted by a large majority in the end.

In the late 18th century, the Americans set up the world’s first modern patent system – an achievement of which they can be very proud. It has been continuously improved over the years, but a gap had opened up as the world’s other patent systems evolved. That is why the US authorities have been trying to reform it, especially during the last 15 years. There may have been a variety of different reasons behind this move, but certainly one of the main ones was the need to adapt the national framework to new global economic conditions, in order to foster the country’s innovative capacity and thereby stimulate its economy. Indeed, this reform was expressly mentioned in President Obama’s recent speech on the American Jobs Act.

American Jobs Act. Got to love the name, eh? Those “Acts” typically have the completely opposite effect from what they name may suggest (Patriot, Protect IP, and so on). The bottom line is through gradual assimilation the EPO may make itself more attractive ‘merger’ target (these are not companies) for the USPTO. Cablegate teaches us it’s not far fetched at all.

Google and Commentators Weaken the Popularity of Software Patents, Apple Already Gets Blowback

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 10:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tricky - Blowback

Summary: The public and even Google make some noise over the absurdity of software patents; Apple gets sued by Samsung after it had sued Samsung over Android

Yesterday we published several articles about the excessive intrusion of patents into the smartphones arena. Ars Technica has a similar article about how the fight for smartphones domination became a patent fight.

In the last few weeks, the smartphone industry appeared to produce more lawsuits than phones. Apple briefly managed to stop the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in all of Europe, and is now going after the whole Galaxy line. Back Stateside, Google first complained that Microsoft and Apple were using “bogus patents” to target Android, then spent $12 billion for Motorola and its patent arsenal. These are big, high-stakes fights—and the last company left standing may walk away with control over nothing less than the smartphone market itself.

Incidentally, The Guardian too wrote about it on the same day, claiming that “Lawsuits highlight smartphone ecosystem’s prosperity” (the headline) and as a little bit of background it wrote:

First, a word on the general topic of patents. Feast your eyes on this Wikipedia article and you’ll see that patents, those erstwhile royal decrees, have been around for a long time. In theory, they’re supposed to foster innovation by granting the inventor a monopoly on an original process. In reality, things get complicated. Byzantine patent law has created lifetime employment opportunities for those who are expert in the Talmudic parsing of what is actually, legally patentable.

Back in the tangible, “real-world” days, you could invent a new process to temper steel that would result in taller, safer buildings. In patenting your idea, you’d earn a bit for yourself and encourage others to raise the bar.

More publications explain to their readers the subject of patents from a sceptical point of view. This is progress.

In other news, Google seems to be pushing a bit against software patents. “Fascinating,” calls it Alan Lord. “New claim by Google could essentially render s/w patents irrelevant”. Here is the article in question:

Google urged a federal judge to dismiss a patent-infringement case alleging that it copied Oracle’s Java code, arguing that the code installed on Android devices came from foreign device makers.

It is “undisputed” that Google makes Android software available to foreign manufacturers through download only, Google attorney Robert Van Nest noted. He claims that “downloading the software necessarily requires the foreign manufacturer to copy it.” The copy loaded onto the foreign-made device is not supplied by the United States.

“Google claims that copied code is not patent infringement,” claims someone called “Air VPN” in a Twitter tweet regarding this article.

Perhaps something good might eventually come out from this case, which the Microsoft booster claims to have escalated to CEOs and Groklaw keeps tracking closely [1, 2], insisting that Oracle is unlikely to win. It is worth noting that Samsung has begun showing its teeth. The anti-Linux patent cartels won’t have a day field. “Samsung Slaps Apple With Patent Lawsuit in France” says the headline from Mashable, providing context by writing:”After numerous patent lawsuits from Apple, Samsung has responded with another lawsuit of its own — this time in France.”

When HTC sued the thuggish Apple, Apple and Microsoft proponents/spinners pretended it came out of nowhere. They sought to portray the Motorola deal as a prelude to aggression.

Timothy B. Lee adds fuel to the fire by issuing another call (in Forbes) to squash patents on abstract ideas (including software algorithms). To quote:

So I’m extremely excited that three of the nation’s leading libertarian think tanks—Cato, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation—have submitted an amicus brief in the case of Mayo v. Prometheus. As far as I know, this is the first time any of these think tanks has filed an patent-related amicus brief with the Supreme Court, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m listed as a co-author on the Cato site, but the brief was actually written for us by the brilliant Christina Mulligan at Yale’s Information Society Project. We benefitted from the able leadership of Ilya Shapiro, who supervises Cato’s amicus program.

Christina did a superb job of explaining how the Federal Circuit’s decisions from the 1990s contradict earlier decisions from the Supreme Court itself. And she also marshals the growing body of empirical evidence that the Federal Court’s experiment with allowing patents on abstract ideas has done serious economic damage. Because the Federal Circuit’s experiment with expanding patentable subject matter started with software and business method patents, the brief focuses pretty heavily on those two categories of patents.

This comes amid a lot of opposition to software patents and even to the latest 'reform', which the patent lawyers community rallies around. Joe McKendrick’s summary about it states that:

Proposed new patent-reform law may merely speed up tangled system; one observer suggests doing away with software patents altogether.

It is not just software patents, but eliminating software patents would be a good start. As another sign of hope being defensible, the abusively-used patents of Rambus [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] seem to have been sunk for good. Reuters writes:

Two patents that chip designer Rambus (RMBS.O) used to win patent lawsuits against Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ.N) and others have been declared invalid by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to legal documents.

Why were they granted in the first place? This system is dysfunctional and irreparable.

Intel Likes Its Own Software Patents, Doesn’t Want Others to Have Any

Posted in Hardware, Patents at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Classic example of how monopolists view patenting

Samuel Johnson by Joshua Reynolds

Summary: The monopolistic company whose grossly-inflated prices and extortion of rivals depend on patents says that it is wrong for others to have them

THERE IS THIS article which we have found linked in some places after it was published yesterday, under the headline “Intel to Universities: No Patents, Please, Just Open Source”. Our wiki has a page that explains some of Intel’s crimes, so Intel/x86 apologists can get up to scratch.

“Intel wishes to see R&D with no strings attached to it (so that Intel can take it) and at the same time it wants to harm rivals using its own patent monopolies.”“But wait,” says the article, “there’s A Catch: the company has made it a condition that in order to receive the millions, your university must open source any resulting software and inventions that come out of this research funding. Yes, open source. Your university cannot stake claim to any patents. There will be no intellectual property clauses, no negotiations, no… nonsense.”

Really? Well, other than Intel’s openwashing of its image, there is a problem here because Intel is a hypocrite. We must not forget that Intel is lobbying for software patents even outside the US and the company has a huge number of patents it uses anti-competitively. Intel wishes to see R&D with no strings attached to it (so that Intel can take it) and at the same time it wants to harm rivals using its own patent monopolies. How is that reasonable or even commendable?

Links 13/9/2011: 2011 Gentoo Screenshot Contest, All XOs Run GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • TLWIR 16: Hydrogen, Recording Music and Red Hat’s Day
  • How to Hire the Linux Talent You Need

    More than 30 Linux-specific IT and developer jobs were posted to the Linux Foundation’s Jobs Board in a single week recently, while more than 11,000 Linux-related jobs can now be found on tech jobs site Dice.com. Demand for Linux experience, moreover, is growing at a rate of 31 percent year over year on Dice, compared with just 20 percent year on year for job postings overall.

  • Desktop

    • Linux, a second class system?

      I have seen a influx lately of people who use Ubuntu or have talked about their plans to use it. Whenever I hear this I will ask them why they want to use Ubuntu so I can know what people’s motives actually are for using Ubuntu. Often the response i hear is not a response I particularity like. It is usually to the effect of “well my windows system is getting a little old so I think I’ll breathe new life into my old laptop with Linux. Linux to them is the thing that makes their old windows laptop last a few more years. though this is true what I find happening is people will after these couple years are up, buy a new laptop and do the same cycle all over again; use Windows until their system gets a little sluggish or breaks then install Linux on to it. My friends, I do not see this as always good for Linux and the community behind it. The user who install Linux on their system to breathe new life into it is going to get new life but not realize that Linux is great for more then just that.

    • Linux Is Dead…and My Students See Dead Linux!

      Right…Linux is dead. So dead that nowadays I seem to encounter more people who know about it. True, they are not counted by millions, but this shows that the hegemony of Windows is not as solid as it used to be.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Second beta of GNOME 3.2

        The GNOME project has published version 3.1.91, the second beta version of GNOME 3.2. In just under two weeks, GNOME release candidate 3.1.92 is to follow. According to the roadmap, GNOME 3.2 is to be published on 28 September, but the developers are currently a few days behind.

  • Distributions

    • Russian Linux: Simply Works!

      What is Simply Linux? This is distribution which is based on the core of Alt Linux. I wrote about Alt Linux couple of times, so you may wish to have a look at those posts. Alt Linux is commercial product which is marketed in Russia for use in schools and government organisation.

    • Tails: One more distro for the privacy-conscious

      A couple of weeks ago I posted some information about the Department of Defense releasing its Lightweight Portable Security (LPS) Linux distribution aimed at giving remote workers a more secure way to access government networks– but also available to the public for anyone’s use who wants a little extra security.

    • New Releases

      • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 164

        Summary:
        · Announced Distro: ArchBang 2011.09
        · Announced Distro: VortexBox 1.10
        · Announced Distro: Bodhi Linux 1.2.0
        · In Other News: Linux kernel sources moved to GitHub and KDE Software Compilation 4.7.1
        · Review of the Week: Tab Mix Plus 0.3.8.6
        · Video Clip of the Week: KDE SC 4.7
        · Distributions Updated Last Week: Zorin OS 3.1, AriOS 3.0.1, BrowserLinux 501, and more…
        · Development Releases: Unity Linux 2011 Alpha 2, Elastix 2.2.0 RC2 and ZeroShell 1.0 Beta 15

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Does Linux Community Need Corruption?

        So, ex-Minister invested his money into Mandriva. At the same time he started new Russian company ROSA Laboratories. And same fund NGI also acquired another Russian company PingWin.
        If you look at sites of ROSA Labs (English version using Google Translate) and PingWin (English), it is easy to notice, they are located at the same address in Moscow: number 14 at Presnensky Val. Do you need any more proofs of their affiliation?
        Now let’s come back to Mandriva. Recent release of this Operating System, called Mandriva 2011 Hydrogen, was very revolutionary, if not say more. Mandriva dumped all the Desktop Environments, except for KDE. Distribution itself grew in size more than twice. And even KDE itself was reworked significantly with help of… surprise-surprise: ROSA Labs. As a result, we got monster operating system with oversized distribution, slow performance and very arguable interface. Reading all the reviews of Mandriva 2011, I have found no one where reviewer would be absolutely happy with new release.

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • CentOS 6 is finally deployed in my production setup!

        Believe it or not, I have finally included CentOS in my home production setup. After many years of unbroken hegemony of openSUSE and Ubuntu, the balance has been shattered. It is not so much a testimony of failure of either of the two, more sort of a great success that CentOS has reaped.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 gets thumbs up from SAP, Amazon

        Red Hat has reached two significant milestones in its effort to establish its latest enterprise Linux as the ideal platform for cloud computing and running mission critical applications.

        On Tuesday, the leading Linux provider will announce that its 10-month-old Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 has been certified by SAP.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Lightweight Bodhi 1.2 distro offers Enlightenment for the Linux masses

          Ubuntu derivative Bodhi Linux was released in a version 1.2 that moves up to Linux 3.0. Bodhi Linux 1.2 advances to a fresh new version of the lightweight Enlightenment 17 window manager and version 0.4 of the lightweight Midori web browser, and features improved documentation and a variety of new desktop themes, says the project.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Is the opposition still unified against Ubuntu Unity?

            On May 10, 2010, Mark Shuttleworth stood in front of developers, programmers and fans of Ubuntu Linux at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in La Hulpe, Belgium and announced that Natty Narwhal, Ubuntu 11.04, was going to ship with the Unity Interface rather than Gnome. It was a surprise, and a startling one at that. The Gnome Shell was a staple of Ubuntu; if you wanted something other than Gnome, well, there was KuBuntu (with KDE), Lubuntu (using LXDE), or other distributions. Gnome came with Ubuntu; it was how things were. To veer off that path sounded like a betrayal to some, and the beginning of the end for others.

          • Is Ubuntu Driving Users Away?
          • Ubuntu Security Engineer Kees Cook To Join Google

            Kees Cook, an Ubuntu Security Engineer, has resigned from Canonical after a 5 years long stint. Kees will join Google’s ChomeOS team.

          • Canonical Seeks Independent Developers for Ubuntu Linux

            Are you an app developer with an “itch to scratch,” or an independent programmer eager for more exposure to the open source channel? If so, the Canonical team is building a site just for you, to help you integrate your work into Ubuntu. Here’s a look at what the company has done so far.

            The developer portal of the Ubuntu website, developer.ubuntu.com, has been around for a while now, but Canonical employees David Planella and John Oxton made its expansion and design the focus of a recent session during Ubuntu App Developer Week. The proceedings of their discussion reveal some important insights into Canonical’s plan for engaging new developers and expanding Ubuntu’s application profile.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Inside Linux Mint

              Linux Mint’s meteoric rise to the top of the distro charts can be attributed to its perfect mix of usability and functionality. But if you think it’s just another Ubuntu-skinned distro, you’re very wrong.

              Unlike most popular Linux distros, Mint is the brainchild of just one man – Clement Lefebvre – yet it has managed to invigorate the community. It’s no surprise, then, that it looks to its legions of users for advice.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Teaching technology in the future – Raspberry Pi

      So how can we take advantage of that trend towards discovery and learning, and combine it with small cheap electronics, to really make a difference? Well, you may have heard of the Raspberry Pi Foundation – it has had a fair amount of coverage in the UK anyway, with the promise of a new low-cost computing platform which could theoretically replicate the success of the BBC-sponsored, Acorn-built, BBC Microcomputers from the 1980s (and backed by one of the most successful computer games authors of that era). Those BBC Micro systems were rolled out across schools all over the UK, and pretty much anyone in the 30-40 age bracket will have learned to write some kind of BBC BASIC or LOGO code at some point in their education, and have looked at fractals and played a variety of classic 8-bit games. My first home computer was an Acorn Electron, an affordable beige “keyboard box” that could be plugged straight into a home TV in 1984, with games and programs loaded off a (then) common cassette player.

    • SkyNET Copter Wrecks Wi-Fi Networks In Its Free Time

      As of now, it’s just a prototype. It’s built on the company’s AR Drone quadrocopter core, and it’s modified with a Linux computer, 3G card, GPS module and two Wi-Fi cards.

    • This Cheap Air Drone Can Break Into Your Computer and Own It

      The SkyNET drone is a modified $300 Parrot quadcopter with a Linux computer, 3G card, a GPS unit and two Wi-Fi cards. This is how it works:

    • Phones

      • HTC mulling purchase of operating system: report

        After the global PC heavyweight Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) announced on Aug. 18 a plan to spin off its PC business and stop sales of its TouchPad tablet that uses the WebOS operating system, a slew of manufacturers like HTC and Samsung reportedly have been trying to acquire the WebOS platform to expand their mobile market reach.

      • Android

        • Fast processor, 4G push Droid Bionic to the top, says review

          The Android 2.3.4-powered Droid Bionic by Motorola is the company’s fastest smartphone yet, and it runs on Verizon’s LTE network, the fastest 4G service in the U.S. Although one pays dearly for the Bionic’s blazing speed, both in price and in poor battery life, the Bionic will more than compensate for those seeking top performance, says this review.

        • Intel to offer Android 2.x on Atom E6xx in January
        • Echostar Set Top Box runs on Android 2.3

          The Echostar IP Set Top Box HDX-200 seen at the IBC 2011 Amsterdam is an Android 2.3 operated device & runs Linux kernel 2.6.34.

        • 7 beautiful CyanogenMod 7 themes

          If you own a rooted Android phone most probably you will have heard about CyanogenMod. CyanogenMod is a free, community built distribution of Android 2.3.x which greatly extends the capabilities of your phone. In other words it’s a custom ROM for your mobile phone. Among its many features is its ability to use custom themes on your phone simply by installing APKs and using the T-Mobile theme engine. Here I will show you 7 beautiful themes for CM7.

        • Top Free Android Finance Apps
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • 0% of XOs run Windows

        A stray comment today about Windows not working on ARM machines, by someone who thought all OLPC laptops had moved away from Linux, reminded me to reaffirm something:
        Every XO we have ever made shipped from the factory with Linux. The 2M+ XOs running Linux is one of the largest deployments of Linux in the classroom anywhere in the world, and the largest in primary schools.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why we still love open source

    It’s easy to make the argument that open source ain’t what it used to be. In the essay accompanying this year’s Bossie (Best of Open Source Software) Awards, InfoWorld contributing editor Peter Wayner nails it: Aggressive patent and copyright enforcement are inflicting damage on real openness and community-driven software development. And in desperate pursuit of revenue, both independent ISVs and big software players can make it hard to distinguish between demo versions and open source distributions.

  • The Covenant – A New Approach to Open Source Cooperation

    How can a company profit from their product while being fair to their Open Source development partners? After decades of corporate participation in Open Source, this question is still debated. HPCC Systems is taking a new approach.

  • Web Browsers

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Drupal: is an open-source star on the edge?

      For some, Drupal is a powerful content management system; for others, it’s a development framework.

      With more than 2m downloads and high-profile users like MTV UK, Estee Lauder, Fox News, and The Economist, however, there’s no disputing the fact that Drupal is a great example of a successful open source project.

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK Government: Open Standards Must be RF, not FRAND

      So there we have it: the UK government officially recognises that open standards must be RF, as specified in the Procurement Policy Note, not FRAND, because the latter “ may present some difficulties for the open source software development model in terms of patents and royalties,” which is absolutely spot on.

  • Open Access/Content

    • A barrier-free world with open-access publishing

      The International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS), based on the Technopark campus here, is poised to take its first step into open-access publishing. The centre is set to release the Journal of Free Software and Free Knowledge on Monday, representing the next stage in the free software movement.

      Talking to The Hindu, Satish Babu, director, ICFOSS, said open-access publication provided an answer to the problems posed by copyright restrictions in the conventional method of publishing.

  • Programming

    • Introducing CoffeeScript

      It’s great that JavaScript has improved in many ways. At the same time, the language contains many legacy issues—not in terms of capabilities, but in terms of the syntax and grammar. You can do great things with JavaScript, but it’s easy to write code that has unexpected side effects, whose variables don’t have the scope you expect, or whose functions operate just differently enough from your intention to cause problems.

Leftovers

  • M$: Hotmail is Trash

    I have been saying that for about a decade. Now M$ agrees and will revamp Hotmail.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Through the Toxic Mirror: Vietnamese and Americans Continue to Suffer Effects of Agent Orange

      Fred Wilcox is a writing professor at Ithaca College and a long-time peace activist. In 1983, his book Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange broke the story of the suffering of American veterans of the Vietnam War due to poisoning by Agent Orange used as a defoliant. On September 13, Seven Stories Press will release his latest book, Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam, which chronicles the effects of chemical warfare on the Vietnamese people. On the same day, Seven Stories will also release a new edition of Waiting for an Army to Die.

    • A Decade After the 9/11 Attacks, Americans Live in an Era of Endless War

      To grasp its sweep, it helps to visit Fort Campbell, Ky., where the Army will soon open a $31 million complex for wounded troops and those whose bodies are breaking down after a decade of deployments.

  • Cablegate

    • 2011-09-11 Bulgarian Ambassador in Washington – Trusted Informant of USA

      A secret diplomatic cable [08SOFIA185], released by Wikileaks and dated March 27, 2008, reveals that Bulgarian Ambassador in Washington, DC, now serving a second term there, Elena Poptodorova and then Deputy Defense Minister, Sonya Yankulova, have informed American Ambassador in Sofia John Beyrle about plans to increase the Bulgarian contingent in Kandahar by fifty rangers, months before the official decision of the Bulgarian cabinet.

      The cable is also shading light on the steady pressure exerted by US officials on the Government of Bulgaria to expand its Afghan contribution with new contingent.

    • Narco elite vs oligarchy: Guatemala votes

      As candidates square-off in Guatemala’s presidential election, a broader political battle is transpiring away from the campaign signs and populist rhetoric: the old oligarchy is fighting to maintain its privileged position against an increasingly powerful “narco elite”.

      The old elite, or oligarchs, usually come from a feudal-style landowning class linked to coffee exports, cattle ranching and some heavy industry, such as cement production. The new narcos deal in cocaine, marijuana and assassinations.

    • More Lies from M$

      Sad that they relied on taxpayers money to sell products. Sad that one of the richest corporations in the world did not have the confidence to compete on price/performance.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CNN Sustains Tea Party Myth

      CNN Online has published a story titled an “angry electorate helps sustain tea party,” ignoring the clear evidence the “movement” is only sustained by thinly-veiled religious zeal and wealthy funders like the Koch brothers.

  • Privacy

    • Google+, Real Names, and Groklaw’s Pamela Jones

      In the meantime, though PJ, who’s a very private person, was subjected to death threats, invasion of her privacy by junkyard journalists, and even claims that she wasn’t a real person at all. There really is a PJ. I’ve met her, and as it happens her “real name” is Pamela Jones.

      Just because she has a real name though and she’s a well-known online legal expert and journalist, doesn’t mean that she wants Google, or anyone else, drawing a direct line from “PJ” the paralegal and analyst/reporter and the Pamela Jones who lives at X address in Y City. So what does she think of Google’s instance of making those connections from online to real-world identities?

      In our conversation, Jones said, “I was going to join up with Google+ until I read about the ‘real name’ policy. I use my real name, actually, but if I have to send a license or some other proof to establish it, it’s no different, to me, than a government ID card.”

  • Civil Rights

    • How problematic is the Public Data Corporation?

      Jonathan Raper from open data company Placr argued that the PDC is a massive step backwards for the direction we thought data policy was moving under this government (US style marginal cost + tax funding model). This is going to stop on its tracks opening up other key core data areas, such as Companies House. It is not just the impact of the datasets involved in the current deal for the PDC but the general policy u-turn.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright term extension is a cultural disaster

        This morning we heard that term extension in sound recordings has gone through the EU Council. Term extension is a cultural disaster. It means that it will be harder to publish older works, and many will remain out of print. Research showed that around 90% of the cash windfall from copyright levies will fall into the hands of record labels.

        Despite the rhetoric, small artists will gain very little from this, while our cultural heritage takes a massive blow by denying us full access to these recordings for another generation.

      • The Orphan Wars

        Just when I thought that the Google Books case might be tailing off towards an anticlimactic, unresolved ending — bam! The Authors Guild today filed suit against the HathiTrust, the library partnership holding many of the scans received from Google. You have to say this for authors: they sure know how to time a plot twist for maximum dramatic impact. I’ll give a quick summary of the important facts about the lawsuit, and then a few thoughts about what it means.

      • Accused Of Copyright Infringement For Reprinting Images Produced In 630 A.D.

        Over the years, we’ve heard tons of stories of professional printers refusing to print certain images because they’re concerned about being accused of copyright infringement. This tends to create a huge nuisance for people who have a legitimate right to have things printed, but it gets absolutely, positively ridiculous when it involves material that is quite obviously in the public domain.

Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Is the opposition still unified against Ubuntu Unity?

    On May 10, 2010, Mark Shuttleworth stood in front of developers, programmers and fans of Ubuntu Linux at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in La Hulpe, Belgium and announced that Natty Narwhal, Ubuntu 11.04, was going to ship with the Unity Interface rather than Gnome. It was a surprise, and a startling one at that. The Gnome Shell was a staple of Ubuntu; if you wanted something other than Gnome, well, there was KuBuntu (with KDE), Lubuntu (using LXDE), or other distributions. Gnome came with Ubuntu; it was how things were. To veer off that path sounded like a betrayal to some, and the beginning of the end for others.

  • Is Ubuntu Driving Users Away?
  • Ubuntu Security Engineer Kees Cook To Join Google

    Kees Cook, an Ubuntu Security Engineer, has resigned from Canonical after a 5 years long stint. Kees will join Google’s ChomeOS team.

  • Canonical Seeks Independent Developers for Ubuntu Linux

    Are you an app developer with an “itch to scratch,” or an independent programmer eager for more exposure to the open source channel? If so, the Canonical team is building a site just for you, to help you integrate your work into Ubuntu. Here’s a look at what the company has done so far.

    The developer portal of the Ubuntu website, developer.ubuntu.com, has been around for a while now, but Canonical employees David Planella and John Oxton made its expansion and design the focus of a recent session during Ubuntu App Developer Week. The proceedings of their discussion reveal some important insights into Canonical’s plan for engaging new developers and expanding Ubuntu’s application profile.

  • Flavours and Variants

    • Inside Linux Mint

      Linux Mint’s meteoric rise to the top of the distro charts can be attributed to its perfect mix of usability and functionality. But if you think it’s just another Ubuntu-skinned distro, you’re very wrong.

      Unlike most popular Linux distros, Mint is the brainchild of just one man – Clement Lefebvre – yet it has managed to invigorate the community. It’s no surprise, then, that it looks to its legions of users for advice.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Teaching technology in the future – Raspberry Pi

      So how can we take advantage of that trend towards discovery and learning, and combine it with small cheap electronics, to really make a difference? Well, you may have heard of the Raspberry Pi Foundation – it has had a fair amount of coverage in the UK anyway, with the promise of a new low-cost computing platform which could theoretically replicate the success of the BBC-sponsored, Acorn-built, BBC Microcomputers from the 1980s (and backed by one of the most successful computer games authors of that era). Those BBC Micro systems were rolled out across schools all over the UK, and pretty much anyone in the 30-40 age bracket will have learned to write some kind of BBC BASIC or LOGO code at some point in their education, and have looked at fractals and played a variety of classic 8-bit games. My first home computer was an Acorn Electron, an affordable beige “keyboard box” that could be plugged straight into a home TV in 1984, with games and programs loaded off a (then) common cassette player.

    • SkyNET Copter Wrecks Wi-Fi Networks In Its Free Time

      As of now, it’s just a prototype. It’s built on the company’s AR Drone quadrocopter core, and it’s modified with a Linux computer, 3G card, GPS module and two Wi-Fi cards.

    • This Cheap Air Drone Can Break Into Your Computer and Own It

      The SkyNET drone is a modified $300 Parrot quadcopter with a Linux computer, 3G card, a GPS unit and two Wi-Fi cards. This is how it works:

    • Phones

      • HTC mulling purchase of operating system: report

        After the global PC heavyweight Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) announced on Aug. 18 a plan to spin off its PC business and stop sales of its TouchPad tablet that uses the WebOS operating system, a slew of manufacturers like HTC and Samsung reportedly have been trying to acquire the WebOS platform to expand their mobile market reach.

      • Android

        • Fast processor, 4G push Droid Bionic to the top, says review

          The Android 2.3.4-powered Droid Bionic by Motorola is the company’s fastest smartphone yet, and it runs on Verizon’s LTE network, the fastest 4G service in the U.S. Although one pays dearly for the Bionic’s blazing speed, both in price and in poor battery life, the Bionic will more than compensate for those seeking top performance, says this review.

        • Intel to offer Android 2.x on Atom E6xx in January
        • Echostar Set Top Box runs on Android 2.3

          The Echostar IP Set Top Box HDX-200 seen at the IBC 2011 Amsterdam is an Android 2.3 operated device & runs Linux kernel 2.6.34.

        • 7 beautiful CyanogenMod 7 themes

          If you own a rooted Android phone most probably you will have heard about CyanogenMod. CyanogenMod is a free, community built distribution of Android 2.3.x which greatly extends the capabilities of your phone. In other words it’s a custom ROM for your mobile phone. Among its many features is its ability to use custom themes on your phone simply by installing APKs and using the T-Mobile theme engine. Here I will show you 7 beautiful themes for CM7.

        • Top Free Android Finance Apps
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • 0% of XOs run Windows

        A stray comment today about Windows not working on ARM machines, by someone who thought all OLPC laptops had moved away from Linux, reminded me to reaffirm something:
        Every XO we have ever made shipped from the factory with Linux. The 2M+ XOs running Linux is one of the largest deployments of Linux in the classroom anywhere in the world, and the largest in primary schools.

  • Free Software/Open Source

    • Why we still love open source

      It’s easy to make the argument that open source ain’t what it used to be. In the essay accompanying this year’s Bossie (Best of Open Source Software) Awards, InfoWorld contributing editor Peter Wayner nails it: Aggressive patent and copyright enforcement are inflicting damage on real openness and community-driven software development. And in desperate pursuit of revenue, both independent ISVs and big software players can make it hard to distinguish between demo versions and open source distributions.

    • The Covenant – A New Approach to Open Source Cooperation

      How can a company profit from their product while being fair to their Open Source development partners? After decades of corporate participation in Open Source, this question is still debated. HPCC Systems is taking a new approach.

    • Web Browsers

    • Databases

    • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • CMS

      • Drupal: is an open-source star on the edge?

        For some, Drupal is a powerful content management system; for others, it’s a development framework.

        With more than 2m downloads and high-profile users like MTV UK, Estee Lauder, Fox News, and The Economist, however, there’s no disputing the fact that Drupal is a great example of a successful open source project.

    • Public Services/Government

      • UK Government: Open Standards Must be RF, not FRAND

        So there we have it: the UK government officially recognises that open standards must be RF, as specified in the Procurement Policy Note, not FRAND, because the latter “ may present some difficulties for the open source software development model in terms of patents and royalties,” which is absolutely spot on.

    • Open Access/Content

      • A barrier-free world with open-access publishing

        The International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS), based on the Technopark campus here, is poised to take its first step into open-access publishing. The centre is set to release the Journal of Free Software and Free Knowledge on Monday, representing the next stage in the free software movement.

        Talking to The Hindu, Satish Babu, director, ICFOSS, said open-access publication provided an answer to the problems posed by copyright restrictions in the conventional method of publishing.

    • Programming

      • Introducing CoffeeScript

        It’s great that JavaScript has improved in many ways. At the same time, the language contains many legacy issues—not in terms of capabilities, but in terms of the syntax and grammar. You can do great things with JavaScript, but it’s easy to write code that has unexpected side effects, whose variables don’t have the scope you expect, or whose functions operate just differently enough from your intention to cause problems.

    Leftovers

    • M$: Hotmail is Trash

      I have been saying that for about a decade. Now M$ agrees and will revamp Hotmail.

    • Defence/Police/Aggression

      • Through the Toxic Mirror: Vietnamese and Americans Continue to Suffer Effects of Agent Orange

        Fred Wilcox is a writing professor at Ithaca College and a long-time peace activist. In 1983, his book Waiting for an Army to Die: The Tragedy of Agent Orange broke the story of the suffering of American veterans of the Vietnam War due to poisoning by Agent Orange used as a defoliant. On September 13, Seven Stories Press will release his latest book, Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam, which chronicles the effects of chemical warfare on the Vietnamese people. On the same day, Seven Stories will also release a new edition of Waiting for an Army to Die.

      • A Decade After the 9/11 Attacks, Americans Live in an Era of Endless War

        To grasp its sweep, it helps to visit Fort Campbell, Ky., where the Army will soon open a $31 million complex for wounded troops and those whose bodies are breaking down after a decade of deployments.

    • Cablegate

      • 2011-09-11 Bulgarian Ambassador in Washington – Trusted Informant of USA

        A secret diplomatic cable [08SOFIA185], released by Wikileaks and dated March 27, 2008, reveals that Bulgarian Ambassador in Washington, DC, now serving a second term there, Elena Poptodorova and then Deputy Defense Minister, Sonya Yankulova, have informed American Ambassador in Sofia John Beyrle about plans to increase the Bulgarian contingent in Kandahar by fifty rangers, months before the official decision of the Bulgarian cabinet.

        The cable is also shading light on the steady pressure exerted by US officials on the Government of Bulgaria to expand its Afghan contribution with new contingent.

      • Narco elite vs oligarchy: Guatemala votes

        As candidates square-off in Guatemala’s presidential election, a broader political battle is transpiring away from the campaign signs and populist rhetoric: the old oligarchy is fighting to maintain its privileged position against an increasingly powerful “narco elite”.

        The old elite, or oligarchs, usually come from a feudal-style landowning class linked to coffee exports, cattle ranching and some heavy industry, such as cement production. The new narcos deal in cocaine, marijuana and assassinations.

      • More Lies from M$

        Sad that they relied on taxpayers money to sell products. Sad that one of the richest corporations in the world did not have the confidence to compete on price/performance.

    • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Finance

    • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

      • CNN Sustains Tea Party Myth

        CNN Online has published a story titled an “angry electorate helps sustain tea party,” ignoring the clear evidence the “movement” is only sustained by thinly-veiled religious zeal and wealthy funders like the Koch brothers.

    • Privacy

      • Google+, Real Names, and Groklaw’s Pamela Jones

        In the meantime, though PJ, who’s a very private person, was subjected to death threats, invasion of her privacy by junkyard journalists, and even claims that she wasn’t a real person at all. There really is a PJ. I’ve met her, and as it happens her “real name” is Pamela Jones.

        Just because she has a real name though and she’s a well-known online legal expert and journalist, doesn’t mean that she wants Google, or anyone else, drawing a direct line from “PJ” the paralegal and analyst/reporter and the Pamela Jones who lives at X address in Y City. So what does she think of Google’s instance of making those connections from online to real-world identities?

        In our conversation, Jones said, “I was going to join up with Google+ until I read about the ‘real name’ policy. I use my real name, actually, but if I have to send a license or some other proof to establish it, it’s no different, to me, than a government ID card.”

    • Civil Rights

      • How problematic is the Public Data Corporation?

        Jonathan Raper from open data company Placr argued that the PDC is a massive step backwards for the direction we thought data policy was moving under this government (US style marginal cost + tax funding model). This is going to stop on its tracks opening up other key core data areas, such as Companies House. It is not just the impact of the datasets involved in the current deal for the PDC but the general policy u-turn.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright term extension is a cultural disaster

          This morning we heard that term extension in sound recordings has gone through the EU Council. Term extension is a cultural disaster. It means that it will be harder to publish older works, and many will remain out of print. Research showed that around 90% of the cash windfall from copyright levies will fall into the hands of record labels.

          Despite the rhetoric, small artists will gain very little from this, while our cultural heritage takes a massive blow by denying us full access to these recordings for another generation.

        • The Orphan Wars

          Just when I thought that the Google Books case might be tailing off towards an anticlimactic, unresolved ending — bam! The Authors Guild today filed suit against the HathiTrust, the library partnership holding many of the scans received from Google. You have to say this for authors: they sure know how to time a plot twist for maximum dramatic impact. I’ll give a quick summary of the important facts about the lawsuit, and then a few thoughts about what it means.

        • Accused Of Copyright Infringement For Reprinting Images Produced In 630 A.D.

          Over the years, we’ve heard tons of stories of professional printers refusing to print certain images because they’re concerned about being accused of copyright infringement. This tends to create a huge nuisance for people who have a legitimate right to have things printed, but it gets absolutely, positively ridiculous when it involves material that is quite obviously in the public domain.

    Secrecy Around the Gates Foundation and Its Monopolistic Behaviour Come Under Fire

    Posted in Bill Gates at 3:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    Smoking man

    Summary: Distrust and suspicion lead to protest, which only make the Gates Foundation more secretive

    A University of Washington Professor Emeritus, Phil Bereano, says: “As citizens of the US and Seattle,we give the [Gates] Foundation many benefits – tax breaks, closing off streets for this campus – and we are entitled to know exactly what it is doing in its efforts to change the world.”

    The context of this remark is a critique of Gates’ special relationship with Monsanto, which is presented in text/Web form here. To quote:

    Seattle, WA – On the public opening day of the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle, local activists called attention to the negative aspects of the Foundation’s agricultural development efforts in Africa. Although farmers, activists, and civil society organizations throughout Africa and the US have pointed to fundamental problems with the programs of the Foundation and its subsidiary, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Foundation has been non-responsive to these concerns.

    The majority of the projects funded by Gates promote high-tech industrial agricultural methods and market-driven development – privatizing seed, lobbying for genetically modified crops, increasing farmer debt alongside corporate profits, and encouraging land consolidation. The Foundation’s “theory of change” acknowledges that this approach will ultimately push many small-scale African farmers off of their land, driving them into the cities to swell the numbers of unemployed and marginalized – but seems unperturbed by such consequences. Thus, the agricultural development agenda on the continent is being determined from Seattle instead of locally, and control over African food systems is being transferred from farmers to transnational corporations.

    [...]

    Unfortunately, the Foundation’s outdated approach remains to be harmonized with the growing body of scientific literature in support of agroecological farming. Instead, as observed by Kenyan farmer and director of the Grow Biointensive Agricultural Center of Kenya (G-BIACK), Samuel Nderitu, “The technologies that are promoted by the Gates Foundation in Africa are not farmer-friendly or environmentally friendly. Some of them have not been tested fully to determine their effects on the environment and consumers. African farmers are seeking food sovereignty, not imposed unhealthy foods and GMOs!”

    These and other concerns being raised by the communities who will be most affected by the Gates Foundation’s work have yet to be meaningfully addressed. Most recently, a petition with over 1500 signatures and a sign-on letter to the Foundation, co-authored by AGRA Watch and La Via Campesina North America and endorsed by over 100 organizations, academics, and scientists from around the world, have been similarly ignored. This lack of engagement calls into question the Foundation’s claims of transparency and accountability. “As citizens of the US and Seattle,” notes University of Washington Professor Emeritus Phil Bereano, “we give the Foundation many benefits – tax breaks, closing off streets for this campus – and we are entitled to know exactly what it is doing in its efforts to change the world. Great wealth brings great responsibilities, as Bill Gates Senior has often noted.”

    Tough reality for the Gates Foundation. Farmers are not as gullible as the foundation needs them to be. Even in its home ground, Seattle, there is growing opposition to this foundation which keeps its real agenda quite secret.

    The issue of secrecy is further explored in this new article which says:

    On Tuesday, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation hosted its annual meeting, an event employees call “Home Week” as more than 100 workers travel to Seattle from their offices abroad.

    Despite its prominence as the world’s largest private philanthropy, the Gates Foundation declined to disclose any details about what was said or discussed during its annual meeting, held at Seattle’s McCaw Hall that is a short walk from its new campus headquarters.

    In response to a request for comment, Gates Foundation Press Secretary Chris Williams replied: “As it is every year, the annual employee meeting is an internal meeting.”

    The silence is noteworthy because on Thursday, Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates said the new headquarters campus was an example of how the foundation was trying to improve its transparency.

    Yet the Gates Foundation advertises itself as transparent a lot of the time. Talk is cheap, actions are not. What do they have to hide if their #1 goal is public good as it wishes people to believe?

    Tom Paulson, an excellent journalist, wrote about “Seattle’s week of private meetings on global health”. Quoting some of the more relevant bits:

    This week, several “invitation-only” meetings will be held in Seattle featuring hundreds of leading experts in global health from around the world.

    They all revolve around the Pacific Health Summit, which starts Wednesday.

    One of those confabs orbiting the summit is the Global Health Research Congress, which starts today.

    Launched in Seattle last year with backing from the Gates Foundation, the Congress’ stated aim is to help scientists inform and complement policy discussions at the Pacific Health Summit — which also gets Gates money and is difficult to summarize as its intended purpose has “evolved” over time. More on that below.

    As Gates Keepers points out, “Coca Cola is a sponsor of the meeting and the Gates Foundation own shares in Coke.”

    We wrote about this commercial relationship before. They are still pushing their own line of work, suppressing others’ in the process, which is inevitable. Quoting another article from the same journalist:

    Thailand’s Condom King comes to Seattle

    [...]
    I talked to Mechai before he spoke to ask what he told the Gates Foundation.

    “I told them they’re getting dull, that they need to start thinking outside the box,” he said. Mechai said he spoke personally with Bill Gates Sr. to challenge one of the philanthropy’s working assumptions — that reducing child mortality will work to reduce birth rates.

    Techrights is pleased to see that people use their critical skills and stop absorbing multi-million-dollar PR, which plants a deceiving picture in the press.

    Even Gates-funded Sites Turn Against the Gates Foundation for Its Selfish Lobbying

    Posted in America, Bill Gates at 1:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    Dog barks

    Summary: Signs of growing awareness of Bill Gates’ agenda and why it is wrong to rob the public’s voice using fake grassroots (AstroTurf)

    THE growing impact of foundations is troubling because these entities are used as vehicles of lobbying, run predominantly by rich white males. Pablo Eisenberg has this critical piece which he starts as follows: “In recent years the United States has developed into an increasingly pronounced class society. We see it in the growing inequality of income and wealth; we witness it in the expansion of corporate power and influence at a time when blue-collar job status is on the decline; and we view it in the daily depiction of our lives on our television screens.

    “Nowhere are class divisions more visible than in the most elite of American institutions, the philanthropic foundations. The last vestige of royalty in America, their boards are composed almost entirely of wealthy and highly paid people who increasingly determine our country’s economy, public policies, values, and social practices. With few exceptions, they exclude the diverse faces that make up today’s America.

    “The last vestige of royalty in America, their boards are composed almost entirely of wealthy and highly paid people who increasingly determine our country’s economy, public policies, values, and social practices. With few exceptions, they exclude the diverse faces that make up today’s America.”
          –Pablo Eisenberg
    “Teachers, ministers, community leaders, social workers, small-business owners, blue-collar workers, union representatives, youth workers, and disabled people are rarely found on foundation boards. That is the case both with foundations started by one person or family and the community funds that raise and distribute money in one region.”

    Today we’ll tackle the education bit because there is nothing more troubling than plutocrats taking over the minds of children through teachers that the public is forced to pay for. This one recent post claims that:

    The Gates, Walton, and Broad Foundations have bought up all the time and energy they can from academics, teachers, and policy people whose time and energies can be bought to pursue the one best curriculum and one best test for the nation’s schoolchildren. One nation, under Gates, with liberty and justice for corporations.

    In various parts of the country, checks are being distributed to state governments to fund special classes this summer to get administrators and teachers trained in the latest corporate scam to come along: national standards, national curriculum, and a national test. Begun from a Business Roundtable effort called the American Diploma Project to shape the American high school curriculum state by state, the new effort at nationalizing K-12 schooling (paid for by ED, Gates, and Broad) makes the ADP seem like child’s play in comparison.

    This teachers’ blog that we keep an eye on says:

    Interesting how Teach for America has gone over like a stink bomb in West Seattle. I suppose Gates will now start throwing more money at West Seattle by way of the League of Education Voters (LEV), et al and we’ll start hearing ads about the wonders of TFA, Inc. on KUOW soon as we did with the Broad Foundation and now with the Gates Foundation.

    In a later post it says that “Gates, CPPS and the League of Education voters have begun to seep into those minority communities where charter schools reign in other regions of the country. See the e-mail below from Kelly Munn of the Gates backed League of Education Voters.”

    We wrote about Gates-funded almost a year ago and the New York Times recently gave the names of other such front groups that the Gates Foundation is using to drive 'reform'

    Quoting further from the same blog:

    For example, the Gates funded Seattle Foundation provided money to pay for the expense to have TFA, Inc. in our district for the first year even though the majority of teachers and parents did not want to have TFA, Inc. in Seattle.

    TFA is also mentioned here:

    It has never been clear why TFA should be brought to the Puget Sound area in the first place. There is no teacher shortage here. In fact, the Seattle School District recently announced it would lay off 30 teachers this year. Have low-income parents or those with special needs children (both targeted communities for Seattle’s TFAers) been demanding short-term, fast-tracked young temps in their kids’ classrooms? No. Or are major ed reform funders like the Gates Foundation, and others who would like to bring privatization to Seattle’s public schools, trying to create a spigot of young, impressionable, non-union teaching staff for future charter schools?

    The evident problem with the Gates Foundation’s AstroTurfing has become so clear that even the Gates-funded NPR decided to address the subject and, despite trying to belittle Dr. Diane Ravitch by quoting Gates’ minions, NPR (a Gates Foundation grant recipient) does a decent job explains the problem to a wide audience. To quote a portion:

    “I have no doubt that the movement Bill Gates has launched has created enormous hostility toward teachers,” says Diane Ravitch, who has been studying American education for 40 years.

    The New York University professor has emerged as the most outspoken critic of the foundation’s approach.

    “It’s like all accountability for educational failure is suddenly plopped on the heads of teachers, and this is wrong,” she says.

    Moreover, Ravitch contends that when the foundation supports think tanks, academics and others who agree with its point of view, it drowns out other voices. Referring to Bill Gates, she says, one man shouldn’t have so much power.

    [...]

    Like most foundations, the Gates organization works with partners and grantees — thousands of them — who do the heavy lifting on the ground. And having strong relationships with them is critical.

    But in an independent survey last year, many partners said the foundation didn’t understand their goals, was inconsistent in its communications and often unresponsive.

    Raikes says those things have prevented the foundation from reaching its full potential.

    Thursday night Melinda Gates talked about the need for honest feedback from partners; Raikes talks about it too. And both say they hope the new headquarters’ design, with its many informal meeting spaces and wide-open architecture, will lead to more collaboration and a richer exchange of ideas.

    NPR is among the organizations that receive money from the Gates Foundation.

    At least they added a disclosure, unlike most those who receive Gates money to push his agenda under the guise of ‘journalism’.

    Bill Gates Piggybacks Vaccination Revolution For Fame and Profit (Patents)

    Posted in Bill Gates, Patents at 1:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

    Pyramids

    Summary: Critical writings about how Gates buys the publications and lobbies the right politicians in the area in order to claim wins against easily-cured diseases to be his own

    AS WE gradually catch up with news that has been missed, we find out that Bill Gates is still monopolising new areas outside of IT. These relate to technology and patents, even if not directly to computing.

    “How many of the vaccine related deaths will he attribute to Gates Foundation funding? If things don’t go well, how many ‘opportunity cost’ lives lost will he attribute to Gates Foundation funding?”
          –Gates Keepers
    Gates Keepers claims that, as noted here before, Bill Gates keeps taking credit for what he did not invent, just publicised under his own brand. The vaccine lobbying is led by large for-profit companies that he works with while also investing his money in them. It is easier for them to use Gates as a front figure as he might arouse less suspicion than when they try it themselves. It’s like celebrity endorsements.

    “It appears that one of the chairs of the Gates Foundation,” alleges Gates Keepers, “is planning to use the metric of ‘lives saved’ as his bottom line. He needs to face the issue of attribution. If Gates Foundation funds are just the catalyst for increased immunisation, how many of the saved lives will he attribute to Gates Foundation funding? How many of the vaccine related deaths will he attribute to Gates Foundation funding? If things don’t go well, how many ‘opportunity cost’ lives lost will he attribute to Gates Foundation funding?”

    Gates Keepers also points out that “One issue of the journal “Health Affairs” has been bought by the Gates Foundation.” Looking at the journal’s Web site we find:

    Immunizing the world’s children against infectious diseases has dramatically cut childhood death and suffering in recent decades. In 2010, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates called for a new “Decade of Vaccines” to vault the progress dramatically forward.

    The June 2011 issue of Health Affairs, sponsored by the Gates Foundation, examines the strategies that will be needed to achieve the goal.

    As we showed before, this practice is not so unusual and even the Lancet is a victim of it [1, 2, 3] . It is polluted by articles bought by Gates to promote his own interests, which stifles completion and promotes monopoly in direction.

    We previously wrote about how Harper was lobbied by Gates in order to donate taxpayers’ money for patents Gates invests in and it is clear that Gates is starting to pressure more and more governments to give public money to his companies/monopolies, even based on pro-Gates sites that write:

    Led by a $1-billion pledge from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, private donors and governments on Monday committed $4.3-billion to efforts to immunize millions more children against preventable diseases, according to CNN.

    Are governments now “led” by Gates? That just sounds corrupt. As Gates Keepers puts it: “The first line in this article needs to be backed up. How did the pledge from the Gates Foundation ‘lead’ the commitment? Was it the first donation? Was it the biggest? Did governments only pledge because the Foundation did? Did the Foundation lead governments? Do foundations lead governments? The Chronicle of Philanthropy should explain how the Foundation ‘led’ these governments into making commitments.”

    Well, since Bill Gates spends about $400,000,000 per year on PR alone, he gets to control how the stories are told. He does, after all, sponsor a lot of the reporting in this are. Does that not trouble anyone?

    Going back to the Harper-Gates deal, “HIV project with Bill Gates flops,” says a report from Canada, raising some valid questions:

    The prime minister won headlines across Canada when he announced the project on Feb. 20, 2007, a smiling Bill Gates at his side.

    “Through today’s initiative, Canada, in partnership with the Gates Foundation, will provide the resources needed to help realize an HIV-AIDS vaccine, which could one day spare millions of people from this horrific disease,” Harper said.

    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $28 million to the five-year project to pay for its keystone: a pilot manufacturing facility for trial batches of HIV vaccine.

    As one investigative journalist points out:

    The media/advocacy campaign (much of it paid for or supported by the Gates Foundation) is aimed at pushing out the value of vaccination in advance of a big meeting in London next week aimed at expanding a global project on immunization in poor countries.

    See my earlier post on this initiative, GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, The biggest success story in global health you’ve never heard of. It’s also the Gates Foundation’s biggest project.

    [...]

    SIDE NOTE: It is also potentially problematic for one organization, the Gates Foundation, to be exerting so much singular influence over a fundamental component of public health. It may be well-intentioned, but the Seattle philanthropy is funding so many different aspects of immunization worldwide — GAVI, vaccine research, scholarly analysis (Health Affairs, for example, got a grant from Gates) as well as media — there is the risk of distorting the story line or drowning out alternative views. I, for one, welcome the Gates Foundation’s advocacy of (and amazingly generous funding for) immunization. But there is a risk with influence so profound.

    In summary, by controlling the press Gates is able to control where public money goes to (which patents and companies) and furthermore he takes credit for something which he neither invented nor funded in full. It is a good example of reputation laundering that piggybacks the work of others.

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