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09.26.11

Microsoft Lied to US House of Representatives

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

John Boehner

Summary: Geeks show that Microsoft’s products do not behave as Microsoft is claiming when subjected to class action lawsuits

“M

icrosoft’s Vision of Phones is Orwellian” is what we argued (with proof) earlier this month. This is not news because we wrote about this before, but the proof is becoming ever more detailed with posts like this one, contradicting Microsoft by stating that “Windows Phone DOES transmit location information without user consent”. To quote: “Statements made by Microsoft to the US House of Representatives prove to be at odds with how its Windows Phone OS actually works. [...] Enter Rafael Rivera, one of the programmer behind the Windows Phone jailbreaking tool ChevronWP. After initially being skeptical about the lawsuit, Rivera decided to test the Windows Phone camera app to see what information, if any, it sent to Microsoft when the phone was reset to the ‘out-of-box’ experience. [...] What Rivera discovered was that the app sent several packets to Microsoft, one to agps.location.live.net and several to Microsoft’s Location Inference (codenamed Orion) service hosted at inference.location.live.net. The information transmitted included:

* OS Version
* Device Information
* Wireless access points in the vicinity of the handset, including MAC addresses and power levels
* Various GUID-based identifiers

But it gets worse….”

The source of the claims is actually pro-Microsoft, which doesn’t help Microsoft at all.

Microsoft’s Mobile Plan: Patents, Not Products

Posted in Apple, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Horsemen

Summary: How news reports serve as a reminder of Microsoft’s real strategy which is abrasive and non-productive, especially in the area where it commands just 1% market share (whereas Linux has nearly a majority)

TECHRIGHTS had been expecting the patent troll MOSAID to be used against Linux long before this became very apparent [1, 2] and even an antitrust concern. Microsoft-friendly news sites keep whitewashing patent trolls by painting as “trolls” practising companies that are aggressors and not really trolls, but they are not truly fooling anyone (not even Motley Fool). The public in general is against patent trolls because these are a massive toll [1, 2, 3].

“The public in general is against patent trolls because these are a massive toll.”According to several reports (e.g. [1, 2]), Microsoft will not only use MOSAID (through Nokia) to tax Android if it can; Microsoft itself keeps patenting smartphone ideas even if Microsoft hardly sells any smartphones at all. A lot of design-related patents which apply to tablets and phones were in fact conceptualised, implemented and even sold well beforehand by others (just not patented). But the patent system, being as defective-by-design as it is (run by patent maximalists for patent maximalists) will carry on ushering such madness.

Novell’s role in what Microsoft has been doing is particularity relevant to us and we shall cover some Novell news shortly. In the news we are reminded of how Novell relates to the attack on Android:

The CPTN Holdings consortium has reared its head once again – initially formed as a patent holding company led by Microsoft, which acquired patents from Novell, CPTN’s members are now believed to include Apple, Oracle and EMC, which Google accuses of an orchestrated and hostile attack on the Android operating system waged through “bogus patents”.

Also from the news, titled “Are patents all that great in IT,” we see that the author mentioned Novell for its role: “That raises a question: Every so often a vendor will boast about how many patents it owns, and indeed patents are the reason Google acquired Motorola, and Apple, Sony and others collaborated to outbid Google for Novell patents. Those are all public knowledge, and the nature of technology is that an R&D budget can look into a patent, and at some point, improve on it.”

“A lot of deception is being spread by Microsoft folks disguised as ‘reporters’.”Another new article says: “Meanwhile, Apple, Microsoft, EMC and Oracle are seeking regulatory approval to buy about 800 wireless-technology patents from Attachmate for $450 million, which the latter now owns as a result of its acquisition of Novell. Microsoft has said Google rejected an invitation to join the consortium in acquiring these patents.”

That’s what Microsoft said, but it’s shameless spin. What we saw with CPTN is the passage of monopoly power to a cartel of Android foes. Google oughtn’t have any interest in joining, as it explained at the time. Microsoft’s booster Matt Rosoff is currently trying to give Google antitrust problems using his appointment as a ‘journalist’. Rob Enderle too has been given a spot at Forbes Blogs. Watch the AstroTurf war. A lot of deception is being spread by Microsoft folks disguised as ‘reporters’.

Apple Reduces Patent Claims as Verizon et al. Strike Back, Calling for Embargo on iPad and iPhone

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 10:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chicago cityscape

Summary: The “Apple”-branded hypePad and hypePhone are at risk of being banned as more and more companies roar to defend Android from the Cupertino-based bully

TWO days ago we wrote about Apple getting some blowback after it had sued Android through manufacturers rather than through Google. Apple is a patent aggressor and sometimes the only way to deal with an aggressor is to fight back. Android is winning, so Apple does the only thing it has got left: playing silly.

Reports in multiple languages suggest that Verizon is now helping the fight against Apple as it “goes to bat for Samsung in patent war with Apple”:

Well, it was really only a matter of time before third parties stuck their nose in the ongoing battle between Apple and Samsung. For most of this time others have stood on the sidelines, occasionally shouting moral support. But, no one has rolled up their sleeves and put up their dukes for either party — that is, until now. Verizon has requested permission to file a brief with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, asking it to deny Apple’s request for a nation-wide injunction against the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge and Galaxy Tab 10.1.

There are already 21 actions involving just this one pair of companies, with Samsung now seeking a ban on Apple-branded products even in Europe, as expected last week. Meanwhile, “Apple has reduced the number of patent claims it will pursue against Samsung in Australia to four following negotiations with the rival tablet maker,” writes James Hutchinson. Is Apple running away? Let us hope so.

There is also a talk about software patent auctions and LTE’s wireless patents, which might be something that the Microsoft/Apple cartel would pursue in order to subvert competition. This is all they have left in the face of strong competition from Linux (new market statistics still show Android rising sharply).

Obama Can Determine If Software Patents Go Away or Go Global

Posted in America, Patents at 10:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coburn and Obama discuss S. 2590

Summary: Why the patent reform (or lack thereof) is a matter of international importance amid Wikileaks revelations

THE PATENT SYSTEM penalises software developers who do not play by its rules and waste money (and time) on paperwork instead of code. The “[p]atent system is patently uneven,” even according to Microsoft apologists who inevitably realise that patents are not beneficial to software developers. They already have copyrights and that ought to be more than enough.

“The global patent system has been debated behind closed doors and colonialist nations have been working hard, e.g. using lists of shame and sanctions, to pressure every nation to move into the fold.”According to selected Cablegate cables that we have amassed (many more to come at a later date), the fake reform we saw at the USPTO is very much in alignment with the plan to just tweak everything internationally so as to make fusion easier when the time comes for globalisation of the patent offices (led by the trilateral members). The global patent system has been debated behind closed doors and colonialist nations have been working hard, e.g. using lists of shame and sanctions, to pressure every nation to move into the fold. According to IP Watch, an investigative Web site sceptical of intellectual monopolies, the “US Patent Law [Is] Seen Opening Door To Global Harmonisation At WIPO”:

Just a week after US patent reform was signed into law, the Symposium of Intellectual Property Authorities opened with an air of celebration on 22 September at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). During the opening session, several keynote speakers congratulated United States Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos for the long-awaited legislation helping to harmonise the American patent process with the rest of the world.

This is just colonialism. It is a mechanism for asserting that whatever the developing world (euphemism for under-developed) achieves is the ‘property’ of the developed world. And as the President of the FFII puts it:

US patent reform to drive WIPO substantive harmonisation, and software patents at the global level?

This subject may be grossly under-covered, but we are really at the crossroad where software patents can either fall (there is a petition for Obama right now) or go universal. Here is an update regarding the petition:

At this moment, on the White House’s official website for petitioning the government, the only thing as popular as legalizing marijuana and separating church from state is a petition to “Direct the Patent Office to Cease Issuing Software Patents.”

There are lots of good reasons to end the practice of patenting software, including the fact that software patents are primarily a vehicle for transferring wealth from the innovators who create it to patent trolls whose sole “product” is litigation. (Software patents are also sometimes used by big companies to take their rivals down a peg or two, in what seems like an effort to pile up so many cross-licensing fees that they all cancel each other out.)

We really need “Change” in patent law. The ‘reform’ everyone talks about isn’t it. As Gamasutra put it the other day, “don’t expect “patent trolls” who plague the video game industry to go hiding under the bridge just yet, or other burdens on innovation and ingenuity to vanish into thin air.”

The reform needs to go much further and the court system too needs to improve its clarity following decisions like this one, leading to allegations that “Appeals Court Arbitrarily Deciding What Is And What’s Not Patentable” (according to Masnick).

“There is a very strong push to make a global patent system — a push that Cablegate/Wikileaks make very visible.”Quoting further from the article:”As James Bessen has said repeatedly, a working patent system would lead to clear boundaries. A broken patent system is one with ridiculously vague boundaries, because all that does is increase litigation. The Supreme Court really should have made a clear ruling in Bilski. Instead, in many ways, the confusion and uncertainty is making the system worse, and just encouraging greater litigation.”

What is happening right now is troubling because the ‘patent’ courts — not just the patent system — are being further perturbed to the point where Europe is debating a centralised court for patent matters. It is that sort of move which can establish a no-escape policy for developers who are alleged to have infringed something by some company across the Pacific or the Atlantic. The reform in the US (or lack thereof) affects each and every one of us who buys or develops software products. There is a very strong push to make a global patent system — a push that Cablegate/Wikileaks make very visible.

American (US) citizens: please sign this petition in President Obama’s Drupal/Linux-powered site. 5,000 signatures were required to reach the milestone and get his attention, but there are already more than 10,000. This also helps generate press coverage and revive the debate.

Links 26/9/2011: IPCop 2.0.0, Asus Eee PC With MeeGo

Posted in News Roundup at 6:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Facebook’s Flashcache For The Linux Kernel

      Facebook has made many open-source contributions over the years from their high-performance PHP-To-C++ compiler, to parts of their infrastructure, to some of their development tools. One of their open-source projects they made public last year for increasing their database performance was Flashcache. Flashcache is a kernel module that provides a block cache for Linux with various caching modes.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • REVIEW: Sabayon 6 (Xfce) and a look at my migration away from Gnome.

      It’s no secret that Gnome 3 (and Gnome-shell) are not being well received by everyone. Canonical is going with its Unity and for many other Gnome users, the future is Gnome-shell.

      KDE is/was never an option for me, I simply don’t like it. Over the last few years I’ve tried to get on with KDE, but found myself time and again going back to Gnome after only a very short period of time. Maybe that’s because when I migrated fully to a Linux desktop, I mostly used Gnome and have now become indoctrinated in working with it. Series 2 offered everything I wanted, it was simple, clean and familiar, however with its move to 3 series I find that it no longer has a place in my heart. Without repeating views which I’ve stated many times in the past, I will merely say that Gnome-Shell to me feels as if it should be on a smart phone, not a desktop form factor. My personal comfort zone in desktop computing is not having a “cushion” between myself and the OS (Gnome-shell). People may disagree, people may like Gnome-Shell. I do not.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME’s Sandler: Is there a killer in the code?

        Is there a killer in the software code running millions of medical devices? GNOME Executive Director Karen Sandler, formerly of the Software Freedom Law Center, has been fighting to get this software opened up for inspection and review since she received her own implanted defibrillator in 2008. The FDA and Supreme Court have been no help. She recently shared her journey at OSCON 2011.

      • The Gnome 3 Meteor: Ready for impact

        It’s been a long time since a desktop environment has caused so much controversy in the FOSS universe. How long? It is really hard to say, since the last time I can recall any kind of user backlash and retreat was over half a decade ago when the KDE project announced KDE 4.0. Alot of people relate the release of KDE 4 to the release of Gnome 3, drawing all sorts of wild parallels; but I say that these 2 releases could not be any more different. Now this article is not about KDE, but at the same time, a clear line in the sand must be drawn in order to explain what Gnome 3 really is.

  • Distributions

    • Who cares about users and distributions anyway?

      As distribution developer, some of our most important tasks are

      * making packages work together nicely
      * and selecting “stable” package version sets for a broader audience

    • New Releases

      • IPCop 2.0.0
      • IPCop’s VPN and firewall Linux updated

        The newly released IPCop 2.0 Linux firewall distribution updates the kernel to version 2.6.32, adds hardware support for Cobalt, Sparc and PPC systems and includes a new installer that assists users with such tasks as setting up a network. The developers have also revised the user interface: for example, the system menu has a new scheduler for time-based actions, the web proxy menu includes more advanced settings, and the DHCP server menu has been simplified.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Millennial: Android Mobile Ad Impressions Up 48 Percent, iOS Remains Flat

        Mobile ad network Millennial Media, is releasing its monthly report which gives a view into how each OS, device and manufacturer is performing on one of the largest remaining independent ad networks in the world. In August, Millennial actually combined connected devices and smartphones when breaking out the OS impression share. That’s significant because iOS and Android share can include tablets into factoring presence on the network. And last month, Android was in the top spot with a 54% share, while iOS was in second with a 28% share. Rim followed with 13% share.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Grows Earnings by Upselling

        Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is continuing to grow its revenues even in the midst of the current macroeconomic climate. Red Hat is growing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they’re growing the number of deals worth more than $1 million.

      • Go RedHat!

        Those who say you cannot make money from FLOSS are ignoring RedHat which exceeded expectations handsomely. Investors are loving them.

      • ClearOS Enterprise 6.1.0 Beta 1 Released

        The ClearOS Enterprise 6.1.0 beta 1 release is here! This release will kickstart the process of creating a stable base system: installer, RPM packages, users, groups, system tools, LDAP, network, firewall, framework, and Marketplace. At the same time, we will start rolling out more apps like Web Proxy and Web Access Control found in this beta 1 release.

      • Red Hat Virtualization Alliance grows to 200 members
    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Samsung to open source Bada next year. Will they use Meego to do it?

        Companies that do have their own successful proprietary platforms are no it usually too eager to start giving them away in hopes that outside developers will make it better in exchange. Companies who’s platforms do fail to take off or get into trouble, on the other hand, sometime do try to turn to the open source community for help. Sometimes these efforts work and result in a successful product (e.g. Netscape Navigator turned Firefox), sometimes they end in disaster – e.g. Nokia’s Symbian experiment. However, even in Netscape case – it wasn’t the actual open sourced code, but the community created in the process that built Firefox browser from scratch, without much help from Netscape. And it took years of stale browser competition for Firefox to emerge, while Netscape’s corporate owner reaped very few benefits from open sourcing.

      • Android

        • High-end Korean phones feature Android 2.3, cool cameras

          Two high-end Android 2.3 smartphones were unveiled in Korea by HTC and LG this week. The HTC Raider 4G features a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, a 4.5-inch IPS (in-plane switching) display, 4G LTE, and an eight-megapixel camera with a 28mm lens attachment, while the LG Optimus Q2 sports a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, a slide-out keyboard, and a four-inch IPS display with 700-nit brightness.

        • Android, at a glance

          Java SDK is, perhaps, one of the most important advantages of Android which provides various powerful functions of Java programming language. However, many developers complain about Android’s fast development pace that they have difficulties to catch up. But if we think more positively, this fast-paced transformation seems to have materialized Android to consolidate itself as the most popular mobile platform. On top of that this popularity has led to many patent suits with Microsoft, thus pressuring many carrier providers to inevitably pay patent fees who initially used the technology thinking it was free. Also Oracle’s patent suit against Google citing that Java cannot be used on mobile devices just because Android uses Java. For above reasons and more, the future path of Android might not seem as smooth as before, but we can’t say it will be gloomy either. I hope all these issues will be settled down, and Android will continue to prosper.

        • Calls for the ABC to shed Apple fixation

          Android smartphones now outsell Apple products in Australia, according to research firm Kantar WorldPanel. It says Android had 42.9per cent of the market last month compared with Apple’s 37.2per cent.

          Open Source Industry Australia, a body that promotes free and public-domain software, urged the ABC yesterday to get over its Apple fixation.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Asus Eee PC X101 MeeGo netbook: First impressions of a $200 laptop

        The Asus Eee PC X101 is the thinnest, lightest, and cheapest member of the Eee PC netbook family. The mini-laptop weighs just two pounds, measures less than 0.7 inches thick, and sells for about $200.

      • ASUS Eee Pad Slider Lands in USA and Canada

        ase this amazing piece of hardware, then you can get it from NewEgg, Amazon and B&H. NewEgg is offering the tablet in both the 16GB and 32GB version but with only one color choice: brown. The ASUS main site shows that the Eee Pad also comes in white, but for some reason, it’s not available on NewEgg. You can also check out the deals from Amazon and B&H. For all you Canadian residents, Amazon.ca is offering the tablet in both 16GB and 32GB flavors, but like NewEgg, the tablet is only available in brown.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Catalyst IT wins South China Morning Post contract

    Wellington open source software firm Catalyst IT has won a seven-figure contract to develop the news website and supporting systems for the South China Morning Post.

  • Sonatype Introduces Open-Source Governance Solution

    Sonatype delivers Sonatype Insight, a new solution for governing the use of open-source software in enterprise systems development.

  • Events

    • Software Freedom Day Organized at SMVDU by OSUM CLUB

      Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University (SMVDU) today celebrated the event of ‘Software Freedom Day’ (SFD) in their university campus. The event was organized by OSUM (Open Source University Meet-Up) club of SMVDU. The event was sponsored by AGMATEL INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED and AMTRAK TECHNOLOGIES. Software Freedom Day is a worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

    • 2011 Open Source Awards launched
  • SaaS

    • Puppet Enterprise 2.0 automates cloud, on-premise deployment

      Puppet Labs is moving forward new provisioning, orchestration and automation capabilities designed to advance the platform’s stellar reputation in the management arena.

      Puppet Enterprise 2.0, which debuted this week and ships October 21, is the first major upgrade of a company’s commercially supported version of Puppet that counts Google, Twitter, Apple, NYSE, Match.com, Red Hat and Citrix among its 250 enterprise customers.

    • A Wise User Judges Each Internet Usage Scenario Carefully

      If the term “Cloud Computing” has any meaning, it can only be a certain attitude towards computing: an attitude of not thinking carefully about what a proposed scenario entails or what risks it implies.

    • Open source cloud-builder respawn: Eucalyptus 3.0 looms

      Marten Mickos and Eucalyptus have pumped new life into their build-your-own–cloud platform, revamping its approach to open source while adding new code designed to protect users from catastrophic failures.

  • Databases

    • Open Core MySQL

      By truncating software freedom before distribution, the supplier ensures you can’t use the software without restriction or benefit from the freedom of others to do so. In other words, while there may be some open source software in its origins, it’s not open source software you are receiving.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Britain’s got Talend for open source

      Open source software vendor Talend has cited the growth of its partner network as proof that the channel’s appetite for non-proprietary products is growing.

      The vendor, which specialises in open source data integration products, claims to have doubled the size of its UK channel over the past 12 months and now has more than 50 partners signed up.

  • Project Releases

    • Smooth lighting

      The code can be optimized, but should give you a clear understanding on how to make smooth OpenGL lighting. And you can admire the stunning results with a mere basic material and one lamp!

  • Public Services/Government

    • Will the public sector ever be an open house?

      The minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, vowed in March that he would “create a level playing field for open source software” as part of his strategy to slash the government’s £20bn annual bill for IT equipment.

      A recent BBC Freedom of Information request hinted at just how far the government has to go before open-source technologies are widely adopted by various government departments. Although some are using open source for server management and workspace IT, proprietary vendors such as IBM and Microsoft still rule the roost.

    • Sleman to Use Open Source Computer System

      The Sleman government will use a free open source operation system in its office computers

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • E.U. Sets 2013 Deadline for Open Source Public Data Mining Portal

        Sticking with her original deadline announced last year, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes told a European interoperability standards forum yesterday that a public portal for access to government and public data from across the continent is on track to go online in Spring 2012. Following that, the next stage in Comm. Kroes’ agenda includes an ambitious project to launch a community-built, crowd-sourced public data platform for all of Europe.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Student group pushes open source textbooks at UC Irvine

        Mr. $200 Textbook — the rival of cash-strapped college students — and Textbook Rebel –a Spongebob Squarepants lookalike – helped gather students to sign a petition that urges professors, publishers and college decision makers to consider inexpensive textbooks or free e-books over conventional, high-priced textbooks.

    • Open Hardware

      • ARM-ed to the Teeth, Arduino Hardware Grows Up

        Makers and motherboard-modders rejoice! One of the most popular open-source computing hardware companies recently debuted new hardware offerings for gadget geeks, including a beefier project board that will allow makers and hobbyists to create more complicated embedded computing projects.

        Arduino announced three new products at Maker Faire NYC this weekend: The Arduino Due, which features a souped up ARM-based microcontroller, the Arduino Leonardo and the self-explanatory Arduino Wi-Fi.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Walgreens’ “Million Hearts” HealthWashing Ploy

      The chain’s press release about the Initiative says heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death, respectively. What Walgreens doesn’t say is that while it searches for ways to prevent heart disease, the chain also continues to sell one of the nation’s leading causes of heart disease and stroke: cigarettes. Not only that, but when the city of San Francisco passed an ordinance in 2008 banning pharmacies from selling cigarettes (based on the logic that as health-promoting businesses, pharmacies should not promote smoking) Walgreens fought the measure.

  • Security

    • Making the EU cyber-safe

      The Internet is already essential infrastructure – where we make financial transactions, share personal data and get access to important information. It is part of our economic and social framework – and becoming all the more so. That’s a good thing. But it also means that the risks and impacts of cyber-attacks grow ever more. So what do we do when the system is under threat?

  • Finance

    • Occupy Wall Street Protesters Kettled and Pepper-Sprayed by NYPD [Video]

      This sort of First Amendment violation should be a cause for concern for every American, whatever the political persuasion. This is a country where gamblers can now pillage the wealth from the lower classes and dodge prison sentences, while those who see a wrong and try to stop it are corralled, pepper-sprayed and hauled off to jail for attempting to petition their government—their government—for a redress of grievances.

      Why don’t some of these blue-collar policemen do something for their own people and haul some Wall Street bankers and hedge fund managers off to jail for a change?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Health Care Front Group Provides New Clothes for GOP Medicare Privatization Plan

      Last week, the insurance industry and its allies began what I predict will be a massive campaign to sell the public and policymakers on the idea of moving forward with the Ryan plan — albeit with a few tweaks and new a new sales pitch to make it seem more consumer-friendly.

      An outfit called the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) announced in a press release a scheme that could be called Ryan-lite, but don’t be fooled: the plan would — to use a favorite industry term — take us down the “slippery slope” toward a complete corporate takeover of the Medicare program. (Insurers and their allies for years have warned Americans that enacting sweeping health care reforms they don’t like would lead us down the slippery slope toward socialism.)

  • Civil Rights

    • RespectMyNet: Name and Shame Operators’ Attempts to Control the Net

      Civil society groups launched today an online platform to help citizens track Internet access restrictions imposed by telecom companies. This platform, RespectMyNet.eu, will present EU lawmakers with the evidence they keep denying: there is an urgent need to legislate against Net Neutrality violations, which harm fundamental freedoms as well as innovation and competition.

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