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10.20.11

Links – Deranged noises and damage from a Dying Microsoft. Corruption all around.

Posted in Site News at 10:44 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

Links 20/10/2011: Kororaa 15.1 is Out, Ubuntu 12.04 in Preparation

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • GNU/Linux Inside stickers are back and better than ever!

    We are proud to reintroduce our popular GNU/Linux Inside stickers. The new sticker features the same artwork as the classic GNU/Linux Inside sticker but is now on a much more durable sticker backing, perfect for putting on your phone or laptop. The stickers are 1-inch in diameter, and made of heavy duty aluminum.

  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Install Mplayer and Multimedia Codecs (libdvdcss2,w32codecs,w64codecs) on ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric)
      • Use httperf for Server Benchmarking
      • Detecting Malicious Traffic in HTTP Headers
      • Unattended SSH with Smartcard

        I have several backup servers that run the excellent rsnapshot software, which uses Secure Shell (SSH) for remote access. The SSH private key of the backup server can be a weak link in the overall security. To see how it can be a problem, consider if someone breaks into your backup server and manages to copy your SSH private key, they will now have the ability to login to all machines that you take backups off (and that should be all of your machines, right?).

      • Building a powerful & affordable firewall with Linux

        It’s no doubt that one of the leaders for network equipment is Cisco Systems. Newer Cisco devices are starting to use what Cisco calls its “IOS-XE” operating system, which is a customized flavor of GNU/Linux. Yes, GNU/Linux, which should not come as any surprise as GNU/Linux is used on countless high level appliances and security devices. In fact, there are hardly any appliances or security devices that run Windows for the operating system. Why? Because GNU/Linux is highly scalable, powerful, reliable, and a better overall solution than Windows.

        I have always been a huge fan of using GNU/Linux for building my own firewall boxes. First, old machines like Pentium II or Pentium III boxes are perfect for this. These boxes will easily run even the latest version of GNU/Linux. The Linux kernel itself has many functions built in for network routing, traffic shaping, bridging, virtual IP addresses, and just about anything else that a firewall needs to support. And the fact that Cisco now leverages the Linux kernel for its appliances tells me that even Cisco agrees.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon 7 GNOME 3 review

        Sabayon is a Linux distribution described by its developers as “… a bleeding edge operating system that is both stable and reliable.” It is based on Gentoo, a source-based (Linux) distribution. The latest edition, Sabayon 7, was released just last week (October 10 2011 to be exact). Sabayon has support for all the known free desktop environments, but this release, as is customary, includes 32- and 64-bit installation images for GNOME 3, the K Desktop Environment, and Xfce only.

      • Sabayon 7 Core, SpinBase, ServerBase and OpenVZ Released

        Fabio Erculiani proudly announced last evening, October 18th, the immediate availability for download of the Sabayon Linux 7 CoreCDX, SpinBase, ServerBase and OpenVZ editions.

        Sabayon Linux 7 CoreCDX, ServerBase and SpinBase editions are designed for Linux experts and advanced users that want to set up a home server or create their very own operating system, based on Sabayon.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Kororaa 15.1 (Squirt) released

          The second release of Kororaa 15 (codename “Squirt”) has been released. Version 15.1 is available for download, in 32 and 64 bit with KDE 4.6 and GNOME 3.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Turns 7 Years Old, First Ubuntu Was Released Today

            Ubuntu has made some major wins this year as Indian Judiciary system switches to Ubuntu from RHEL. One of the reasons could be Ubuntu’s ease of use and focus on desktop users as compared to RHEL. Ubuntu also made a major win by being selected by Amazon and HP for their servers. 2011 may bring the much needed profitability to Canonical, the company which has been funding Ubuntu for all these years.

          • Ubuntu 12.04 – Precise Pangolin planning prepared

            The Ubuntu Developer Summit 2011 is approaching and, as is customary, Mark Shuttleworth has laid out his objectives and themes for the fourth Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) release, Ubuntu 12.04, recently named Precise Pangolin. The two foremost issues on Shuttleworth’s mind are the fact that 12.04 is an LTS release and Ubuntu’s presence in the cloud; he is also aware of what Ubuntu owes to the work of other developers.

          • Gnome 3 Can Be Hacked By Home Users On Ubuntu 11.10

            Let’s get one thing clear, Gnome 3 is here to stay no matter what Linus Torvalds thinks. Yes, it will continue to improve and add more features as the time passes by. Same will happen to Canonical’s Unity. It is the future. You can either hold onto the past and refuse to embrace newer technologies, or take the road to innovation. I never had issues with Unity or Gnome 3 shell, I had issues with bugs in Ubuntu 11.10, which stopped me from doing important work. I do trust the developers of Canonical (and they have some of the best developers in the world) to fix those bugs.

            When I look at Windows 8 or Apple Mac, I feel lucky. While Windows users will be stuck with Windows 8′ Metro UI, we have couple of options. If you don’t like Gnome 3 Shell, you can go to Unity or XFCE or LXDE or KDE.

          • Ubuntu 11.10 and the Oddly Oneiric ‘Countdown’

            “I just got to look at the countdown and….wow is that REALLY dumb!” said slashdot blogger hairyfeet. “Did they learn anything from those moronic house parties MSFT had? If you want to generate buzz that sure isn’t the way to do it. Is there ANY non Ubuntu user that would be impressed?”

          • Flavours and Variants

            • The Perfect Desktop – Kubuntu 11.10

              This tutorial shows how you can set up a Kubuntu 11.10 desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge. Kubuntu 11.10 is derived from Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) and uses the KDE desktop instead of the GNOME desktop.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • 3 Free Apps to get the most out of your NFC-enabled Android
        • Android 4.0 upgrades will soon be available

          According to Google’s Andy Rubin, you will now be able to upgrade your current Android OS to the latest Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0 by November.

        • Andy Rubin: Android 4.0 to be open sourced by year end

          Speaking at this week’s AsiaD conference in Hong Kong, Andy Rubin, Google Senior VP of Mobile and the man in charge of Android development, confirmed that the source code for the next major update to Android, version 4.0, will be available as open source “a couple of weeks” after the recently announced Galaxy Nexus smartphone ships next month.

          Code-named “Ice Cream Sandwich” (ICS), Android 4.0 was first revealed yesterday (19 October) alongside the new Nexus device, at a joint Google and Samsung event. The new version of the mobile operating system includes features from both the current phone version, 2.3.x “Gingerbread”, and the tablet version, 3.x “Honeycomb”. While it will reportedly work on both large- and small-screen devices, it was only demonstrated on the Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

        • Android 4.0 Source Code To Be Released Soon

          Google was criticized for holding back the source code of Honeycomb. There was a valid reason behind that move. Google wanted to bring an end to the fragmentation in the Android market. Releasing the Honeycomb code meant giving it to OEMs to put it on their devices, which would further increase the fragmentation.

          Google clearly stated that Honeycomb was a quick-fix for tablets and it was working on the next version of Android which will run on all Android devices – it was dubbed IceCream Sandwich. Google made it clear that it will release the source code of IceCream as soon as it is available.

        • The Android source is back online

          The Android source repository has been offline since the kernel.org compromise; it has now returned on a new site. Services like Gerritt will take a little longer still. “To reiterate, these servers contain only the ‘gingerbread’ and ‘master’ branches from the old AOSP servers. We plan to release the source for the recently-announced Ice Cream Sandwich soon, once it’s available on devices.”

        • Google Serves Up Ice Cream Sandwich With a Nexus on the Side

          Ice Cream Sandwich is a redesign of the Android OS. It has a highly visual interface, a facial-recognition feature and home-screen folders.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Unattended SSH with Smartcard

        I am in Toronto right now, spending a week with Mobile folks. It has been about 6 weeks since I started working on a mobile extension, and the list of dirty tricks we employing to get things done is growing. Some of these hacks are there because there is no alternative, and some are there because I just didn’t figure out the right way to do it.

  • SaaS

    • SGI to sell Cloudera software and services

      Linux server specialist SGI is moving further into the big-data market: it has signed a partnership agreement with Cloudera Inc., the provider of Apache Hadoop-based data management. Under the terms of the agreement, SGI will distribute Cloudera software pre-installed on SGI Hadoop Clusters.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Interview: Jesper Schmidt Hansen, author of GNU Octave Beginner’s Guide

      This week’s FLOSS4Science interview is with Jesper Schmidt Hansen, nanofluidics scientist and author of the GNU Octave Beginner’s Guide, one of the few books on GNU Octave besides the official GNU Octave manuals. Remember that you can leave comments or questions at the end of the post. Enjoy the interview!

      F4S: Hello Jesper. Please, give us a brief introduction about yourself.

      Jesper: I currently hold a position at Roskilde University, Denmark, where I investigate fundamental phenomena in nanofluidics. I have been a postdoctoral fellow at Swinburne University, Australia, and at Pierre et Marie Curie, France. Before my academic career I did a Ph.D. in soft condensed matter.

    • GNU/Linux Inside stickers are back and better than ever!
    • gnutls 3.0.4
  • Project Releases

    • Rapid7 announces Community Edition of Metasploit

      US security company Rapid7 has announced the launch of a Community Edition of the popular Metasploit exploit framework. According to Rapid7 Chief Security Officer and Metasploit Creator HD Moore, “The best way to tackle the increasing information security challenge is to share knowledge between practitioners, open source projects and commercial vendors.”

Leftovers

  • You Must Be Dumb To Use Windows Phones: Steve Ballmer

    HUMOR: Steve Ballmer, the chair-throwing CEO of Microsoft, yesterday said that you need to be a computer scientist to use Android. He said that Windows Mobile is the best selling mobile platform in the world and even the dumbest person on the planet can use the Windows Phone. “You don’t have to be smart to use Windows phones,” said Mr Ballmer.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Major Loophole Remains in Net Neutrality Resolution

      Negotiations on a weak Net neutrality resolution are coming to an end at the EU Parliament, with the vote taking place tomorrow. After much reluctance, the conservative (EPP) group has finally agreed to endorse a call for a timely assessment of further regulation on Net neutrality. However, the text still includes a major loophole allowing operators to implement Internet access restrictions on the pretext of managing congestion.

    • Net Neutrality Resolution Adopted in EU Parliament

      The “Industry” Committee of the EU Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution on Net neutrality. Through this vote asking the European Commission to promptly assess the need for further legislative action, the Parliament is taking a strong stance in favour of Net neutrality. Pressure now increases on EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who may soon be forced to break away with her failed “wait and see” approach and take action.

  • ACTA

    • Negotiator’s notes on ACTA
    • ACTA discussion heats up

      Meanwhile there is still some struggle about the delivery of the Europarl legal opinions, and it seems unclear to observers what DEVE would do. This week there was a dinner meeting of the Kangeroo Group. Velasco-Martins of the Commission claimed they could properly respond to any criticism and asked member states to be more specific. Given the track record of the Commission in the case, the legal loopholes and a missing criminal acquis their chuzpe is astonishing. The Commission largly builds its confidence that the Treaty is legally permissable on the TRIPS agreement which was concluded by Member States prior to all the relevant EU Treaties reforms, and with a competence reservation by the Union.

Novell’s Case Against Microsoft Unrelated to ‘Microvell’ and ‘AttachMSFT’

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Courtroom, Microsoft, Novell at 1:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s all about Noorda’s Novell, not Ballmer’s and Hovsepian’s ‘new’ Novell

Ray Noorda
Ray Noorda, who died three weeks before Novell became partly Microsoft controlled

Summary: Clarifications about the Novell vs. Microsoft case and what it’s really all about (or who it really involves)

A FEW days ago we wrote about antitrust cases and about Novell's case against Microsoft in particular. It is not about today’s Novell, but about Noorda’s Novell. Noorda died almost exactly 5 years ago, leaving a legacy that teaches what a corrupt company Microsoft really is (we have some court exhibits in our wiki). It’s about a different Novell that existed long ago and was run under completely different reign/leadership. The Novell of the past 5 years was run jointly by Microsoft and now by Attachmate, which is a top partner of Microsoft (apropos, watch some Novell-related videos from Attachmate’s BrainShare [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and some about Groupwise, such as this new one).

SUSE has been decoupled from Novell and it is doing its own rituals, pretending that SUSE itself is not in Microsoft’s pockets (even though it is, especially since July) and it’s no wonder that there are delays. The project has been suffering delays for quite some time and even frequency of releases got lowered a couple of years ago. It is not looking too good. OpenSUSE only matters for marketing purposes. It makes Microsoft's GNU/Linux distribution be portrayed as "open" and "community-driven". But moving on a bit, it seems as though Mr. Gates will have to leave his PR/lobbying/investment operations for a day or two to explain/justify his crime to the courts. As Pogson puts it: “Remembering the past should help us avoid a repetition. We shall see whether or not the message was learned. It seems the old “partners” of M$ are continuing to go along. It will take the new power houses of Google and Android/Linux to finish the battle between good and evil in IT.” He also wrote about “harassing customers” of Android, which is something we addressed the other day.

A lot of the coverage of the case against Microsoft comes from Pamela Jones, who is very familiar with this case. So aside from the continued focus on the Oracle vs. Google case and analysis of patent trolls from Professor Webbink (who already highlighted the connection to Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft’s patent troll), Groklaw covers the Novell case in two parts (so far). Pogson remarks on Gates’ role while Jones writes:

Today was the first day of the trial in Novell v. Microsoft, the antitrust trial over WordPerfect and Quattro Pro. Novell won the right to this trial on appeal. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed Judge J. Frederick Motz’s ruling [PDF] on summary judgment in favor of Microsoft, basically on a technicality, and so it’s back to Utah they had to go, but with Judge Motz, who is a judge in US District Court in Maryland, where the case had been transferred from Utah, commuting to Utah to stay in charge of the case.

The case matters, because normally Microsoft settles antitrust litigation either before they go to trial or early in the trial, and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened again.

Our own Chris Brown attended for us today. He says that mainly today was about picking the jury. They sat 12 jurors, out of 45 prospective jurors, just in case. In Utah, where this trial is happening, the judge explained, you only need 6 jurors for civil trials, but things happen, and rather than run out of jurors, they picked double the amount, and he says the judge said all of them would participate if they all make it to the end of the trial. They were then released until the morning, 8:30 AM promptly, and the lawyers then argued about whether the Findings of Fact from the US government’s antitrust trial against Microsoft should be called Findings of Fact or just Findings.

This trial will be interesting to watch, but it is not related to the same Novell we were boycotting, the Novell which was a Microsoft ally rather than a foe. The ‘old Novell’ died just weeks after Noorda had died. The ‘new’ Novell needs to die because it is actively helping Microsoft promote Linux tax, promote .NET, promote OOXML, and so on. It ought to be noted that Novell's role in the SCO case also predates Ballmer’s and Hovsepian’s leadership at Novell.

“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”

LinuxToday Managing Editor

Patents Roundup: Apple Crybaby, SCOTUS Failure, and OpenSim Concerns

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Patents at 1:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Obama petition

Summary: A leftover of news about software patents and their impact on society, competition, and 99% of the population

Apple is afraid of Linux. It will not say this out loud, but Linux-based platforms such as Android are hurting hypePhone sales and it is not looking too good for Apple in the long term (it has already lost the "Jobs" brand, which does not help either). Apple is so nervous that it has been pushing for embargoes since last year and the US agents support the US company, obviously (can it get any more biased than that?). Apple has been having a harder time against Samsung. To quote this new article:

Software patents are one of the most egregious misuses of patent protection that exist. There was a time when the patent office would reject patents for 3rd Grade math or simple sorting algorithms, but no longer. For the last couple of decades, anyone could code an obvious calculation method for a spreadsheet program and then patent that code. With that patent in hand, you could not only sell a crappy spreadsheet program, but you could also sue all the other spreadsheet program developers who used your patented code for a simple, obvious calculation. Yay, more litigation!

Bloomberg’s latest IP brainwashing (bundling patent monopolies with “IP”) mentioned both the HTC and Samsung cases. Any shallow report that we find, like this new report for example, does not really delve into the heart of the situation and the legality/ethics of what Apple is doing. The SCOTUS too is quite a lost cause (we already explained why [1, 2]) when it comes to business method and software-implemented idea as “patents”. To quote Law.com:

Following the Supreme Court’s rejection of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s “machine-or-transformation” test as the sole test for determining patent eligibility in Bilski v. Kappos, the Federal Circuit has crafted a standard for determining the patentability of business method inventions. Two recent Federal Circuit decisions — Research Corporation Technologies Inc. v. Microsoft and Cybersource Corporation v. Retail Decisions — provide guidance as to the evolving contours of this standard.

Here is some more shallow coverage which names patents as “intellectual property” and something about Microsoft partners in a software patents case. In the midst of all those monopolies small companies are hurt and OpenSim scrambles to find ways of protecting against litigation. From this one new report:

OpenSim developers are discussing ways to combat damaging patent litigation, including changing the OpenSim license to deter potential patent trolls.

The Overte Foundation, which holds the OpenSim licenses, recently released a contributors’ license agreement for its developers. One possible anti-troll protection measure would be to change the agreement so that if someone sues an OpenSim developer for a patent violation, they will lose the right to use the OpenSim code.

OpenSim core developer Crista Lopes, inventor of the hypergrid and treasurer of the Overte Foundation, said that the foundation’s legal counsel will be looking over the suggestion.

“We all share the loathing for patent trolls,” she told Hypergrid Business, adding that the foundation has been studying what other open source projects are doing in this area.

Who benefits from software patents and how can their existence ever be defended by the 99% of the population? It’s time to throw them all out. Only corruption keeps them in tact given the will of voters. Just because ~1% of the population (patent lawyers and CEOs) want them does not mean they should exist.

The Microsoft Spin Machine Makes Racketeering Seem Acceptable

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 12:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: How Microsoft along with its boosters, lobbyists and corrupt officials have brought us to a state where racketeering against Linux has no invocation of the RICO Act, despite the triviality of obvious offences

LAST night we argued that Android is en route and assured to win over the majority of phone users. The only thing that Microsoft and Apple can do about it would have to involve some kind of sabotage, either legal or technical (or both). MPEG-LA has already gotten the wrath of the government; maybe it did not have enough crooked politicians in its pocket (including a president who issues a press release mourning an aggressive CEO)

There are reports right now about BBB (Bad Boy Ballmer) talking trash about Android and as one headline put it, “Ballmer slams Android as ‘cheap,’ doomed, as Android lengthens its lead by two big steps”.

“It takes unbelievable spin to somehow justify this, so Microsoft has a little PR offensive going for that angle.”Microsoft’s current strategy is to make Android more expensive by means of extortion, as last we mentioned just a few days ago. Or as Geek.com puts it, “Microsoft now earning royalties for every Kindle Fire sold?”

It takes unbelievable spin to somehow justify this, so Microsoft has a little PR offensive going for that angle. “Microsoft has already scored two big time Android IP licensing deals, one with HTC and the other more recently with Samsung,” says one report. “The boys in Redmond have now secured one more epic deal, this time with Taiwan’s Quanta Computer Inc. Wait, who?”

This affects eBook readers with Linux. There is a Microsoft-friendly troll which is also trying to add ‘royalties’ to this Linux device, so it is just part of the overall strategy. With the addition of ludicrous Apple patents they are trying to impose sanctions against the spread of Android (we will deal with Apple separately later). By adhering to euphemisms such as “protect”, “assert”, “IP”, “license”, and “royalty” they are managing to get away with violations of the RICO Act — so far. When Microsoft and Apple “get into bed together you have to start wondering what’s going on,” said a Senior Vice President from Google a few months back.

“By adhering to euphemisms such as “protect”, “assert”, “IP”, “license”, and “royalty” they are managing to get away with violations of the RICO Act — so far.”It is no secret that the system is broken, so Microsoft and Apple often just exploit it, but when it comes to extortion or SLAPP, there are laws against that. It also ought to be pointed out that current laws are the fruits of lobbying from large corporations such as Microsoft. We still see software patents in press releases of all sorts (including phrases like “software patent licensing”) because they managed to normalise the idea that ideas should be monopolised, even if they cannot be applied physically. But going back to Microsoft, watch this new report from Global Post. The headings say it all:

Nokia workers ask, is chief executive a Microsoft mole?

Engineers accuse CEO Stephen Elop of destroying the company so Microsoft can buy it cheap.

Microsoft is trying to take control of everything in Nokia and then use its patents to attack Linux [1, 2], at Nokia’s own expense and risk (just like SCO). Regulators said they would look into such abuses, but we have not heard anything back from them in quite a while.

Another thing regulators ought to look into are lobbyists/’spammers’ like Microsoft Florian, who is trying to distort public opinions by all means legally available to him (without giving disclosures though, only claiming vacuously in this site last year that he was complying with transparency regulations). SPAM regulations are not violated by him because he personalises the messages a slight bit before mass-mailing journalists with the intent of injecting his nonsense into respectable sites (even a 1% success rate would count as something given the high volume of mail he sends like this). It was obvious all along to us, but it is only now that many journalists can see it for themselves. It is a shame that some of them did not listen to our warnings last year. A long time ago we wrote about him promoting RAND (even a year ago) and we provided extensive evidence that it was his interest, he was not against software patents at all.

“Microsoft is trying to take control of everything in Nokia and then use its patents to attack Linux, at Nokia’s own expense and risk (just like SCO).”Microsoft Florian is one of those lobbyists who pretend to be the opposite of what they really are because it gives more impact to their deception. They do this in anticipation of contracts if not in order to help existing clients. These are well known techniques, e.g. hiring the person when the job is done or in progress, which makes it less suspicious. Well, in some sector it is known as “revolving doors” (“do this while in government, later we’ll give you a super high-paying job”). To quote Microsoft, “[y]ou want to infiltrate those. Again, there’s two categories. There’s those that are controlled by vendors; like MSJ; we control that. And there’s those that are independent. [...] So that’s how you use journals that we control. The ones that third parties control, like the WinTech Journal, you want to infiltrate.” You can read the full PDF/presentation from Microsoft's chief evangelist. That’s just how the company works. We gave many examples over the years.

There are journalists who are now exposing Microsoft Florian in standalone articles. It is about time. To quote one:

Is Patent Expert/Blogger Florian Mueller Getting Too Cozy With Microsoft?

On his popular FOSS Patents blog, Mueller summarizes in plain English the legal wrangling surrounding disputes like Apple’s effort to snuff out Samsung. A self-styled intellectual-property expert, his quick quotes have made him popular with blogs and major news outlets alike.

On Friday, the 9To5 Google blog pointed to a post in which a Google software engineer noted that Mueller had disclosed that he received money from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) for a new study. The engineer also described Mueller as “anti-Google” and pointed out that he is a patent analyst not a lawyer.

So what should we make of Mr. Mueller? The engineer’s assessment is fair in one sense but unfair in another. Let’s start with the latter. As a former practicing lawyer, I don’t believe one needs a law degree to understand or report on law. In Mueller’s case, he is able to parse and summarize tricky judgments more effectively than many of his credentialed counterparts and does not make any obvious mistakes. He is very smart and his blog provides an excellent way to keep up with the tic-toc of global software patent litigation. As for the Microsoft-funded study, it seems a worthy enough initiative (a review of FRAND patents) and Mueller has the qualifications to undertake it.

[...]

The relationship between Mueller and Microsoft is noteworthy for another reason: Microsoft’s history of using proxies to attack Google. Prior to hearings on the Google Books Settlement, for instance, Microsoft paid a professor and former employee to run a project summarizing objections to the settlement.And the Wall Street Journal (NSDQ: NWS) reported that Microsoft lawyers were behind the efforts of an obscure Ohio company to bring an antitrust action against Google.

Mueller may have perfectly good reasons to consistently zing Android—he’s far from the only pundit that has consistently strong views about a particular company. But given his financial relationship with that company’s archenemy—and the fact that Microsoft has a history of “hiring” outside experts to attack the competition—it’s hard to regard him as a disinterested party. The time has come for Mueller to amend the conflict of interest disclaimer on his blog and for the media to cease citing him as an impartial authority.

He is already spinning it in the comments, realising the damage this is doing to his lobbying abilities. Watch this article with an image Microsoft’s Brad Smith (in French) for more relevant material and also see how Microsoft’s lead racketeer (a crime really, but not when the company controls parts of the government) praises Florian, whom he is paying (and Florian brags to me about it, claiming that now I “have the transparency you hoped for, you’re still not happy”). The racketeer from Microsoft says “walking encyclopedia”, meaning “lobbyist in our side”, “Microsoft apologist”, “external staff”. As for Florian, he is pretending to be transparent when in fact he just had no choice because people had already found evidence, based on private communication (I cannot name the person who told this me, but I already knew Microsoft was in it, yet Florian chose to make it seem like he beat us to it and was “transparent”). Oh, the lying! It’s like the crook who “turns himself in to the police” after the police vans already surround his house, armed and prepared to storm in. Regarding the order of the payments from Microsoft, it is not unusual to see Microsoft booster lobbying with the expectation of a reward later. The President of the FFII quotes a comment that says:

About Florian Mueller: “i can’t read his posts, they make me want to throw things” ur1.ca/5favv

Well, his ‘analysis’ is never factual. It’s just spin, lobbying, distortion of the truth, and influence (or spam) for sale. There is no honour in that. But there is an audience of Apple fanatics and Microsoft extortionists, who will happily promote that nonsense, no matter the inaccuracy.

The Importance of Identifying and Recognising Friends of Microsoft

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft at 11:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Converse

Summary: Why it matters who’s on whose side, especially when one side infiltrates the other

OVER time we have been flagging and providing supportive evidence about allies and friends of Microsoft — people and groups whom people might call “independent” when in fact those come from Microsoft or work with Microsoft. We have not updated our credibility ranks for years, but having said that, those ranks upset some people who are listed. They don’t want their biases to be up on display. We still stress the importance of knowing who is who and where one’s wallet is. Consider for example Bott and his latest insult to GNU/Linux users who worry about Microsoft’s anticompetitive abuses [1, 2, 3, 4]. Some people who do not understand his relationship with Microsoft are citing him, mistaking his message for something genuine and objective. Microsoft sometimes hires “journalists” who spent their time in papers promoting Microsoft, almost as though Microsoft gives them the rewards (wages) once they are done. And then we have companies like Centrify putting their stuff inside Ubuntu without anyone calling foul. We explained what Centrify is doing before. It is similar to Likewise, which one reader tells us has infiltrated Ubuntu Forums. These are former Microsoft people, just like many of those who are associated with Mono and even Xamarin (its CEO is a former Microsoft employee and funding comes from a Microsoft MVP). Understanding who is a friend of Microsoft is very essential for the protection of software freedom. In a later post we are going to show what Microsoft Florian is doing (he is still afraid of Techrights‘ explanations of who is really is) and in Diaspora there are some more examples of friends of Microsoft doing their thing in the name of “FOSS”, especially in IDG. It’s either controlled opposition or fake journalism (like Rupert Murdoch’s).

“As discussed in our PR meeting this morning. David & I have spoken with Maureen O’Gara (based on go ahead from BrianV) and planted the story. She has agreed to not attribute the story to us….

“[...] Inform Maureen O’ Gara (Senior Editor Client Server News/LinuxGram) or John Markoff (NYT) of announcement on Aug 28, 2000. Owner dougmil (Approval received from BrianV to proceed)

“Contact Eric Raymond, Tim O’Reilly or Bruce Perrins to solicit support for this going against the objectives of the Open Source movement. Owner: dougmil [Doug Miller]. Note that I will not be doing this. Maureen O’Gara said she was going to call them so it looks better coming from her.”

(From Microsoft’s smoking guns)

Links 20/10/2011: Linux 3.1 RC 10, Gnome Pie 0.2

Posted in News Roundup at 6:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Management of UEFI secure booting

    The FSF have released a statement on UEFI secure boot. It explains the fundamental issue here, which isn’t something as simple as “will OEMs let me install Linux”. It’s “Does the end user have the ability to manage their own keys”.

    Secure boot is a valuable feature. It does neatly deal with the growing threat of pre-OS malware. There is an incentive for it to be supported under Linux. I discussed the technical aspects of implementing support for it here – it’s not a huge deal of work, and it is being worked on. So let’s not worry about that side of things. The problem is with the keys.

    Secure boot is implemented in a straightforward way. Each section of a PE-COFF file is added together and a hash taken[1]. This hash is signed with the private half of a signing key and embedded into the binary. When you attempt to execute a file under UEFI, the firmware attempts to decrypt the embedded hash. This requires that the firmware have a either a copy of the public half of the signing key in its key database, or for there to be a chain of trust from the signing key to a key in its key database. Once it has the decrypted hash, it generates its own hash of the binary and compares them. If they match, the binary is executed.

    What happens if it doesn’t match? Per the UEFI specification, the firmware can then prompt the user and ask if they want to execute it anyway. If the user accepts then the hash of the binary is remembered[4] and can continue to be executed in future. This is similar to what you get when you visit a self-signed https site, or when you connect to an ssh server for the first time – the user must explicitly state that they trust the software that is being booted.

  • Operating system Linux deters computer viruses

    In our Facebook Story of the Day viewers wanted to know about a computer operating system called Linux. Linux is an alternative operating system such as the popular Windows system or the iOS for Macs.

  • Desktop

    • Vodafone brings ARM and Ubuntu together for South African Webbook

      If you don’t know what Ubuntu is by now, we’re not sure what tech blog you’re reading — ’cause it sure isn’t this one. Ok, so finding a computer with the world’s most popular Linux distro preloaded on it isn’t exactly easy (there aren’t any lurking in your local Best Buy, that’s for sure). But, tracking down a machine running the Ocelot in South Africa will be getting a bit simpler. The country’s Vodafone affiliate, Vodacom, launched the Webbook — a 10-inch laptop running Ubuntu 11.10 on a Cortex A8-based Freescale i.MX51 processor (likely 800MHz). Inside is also 512MB of RAM and 4GB of flash storage, enough for basic browsing.

    • Canonical, Vodafone bring ARM-based Ubuntu netbook to South Africa
    • Wyse Introduces Industry’s Fastest Desktop and Mobile Thin Clients

      The Z50 is Wyse’s premier Linux-based alternative to a high-end desktop PC that provides unparalleled flexibility, performance and user experience but with the security, maintenance and management benefits of a thin client. The Wyse Z50 delivers a richer HD multimedia user experience and greater support of all popular VDI protocols, including Citrix HDX, Microsoft RDP7 and VMware PCoIP. The Wyse Z50 has multiple connectivity and peripheral options, and is Energy Star 5.0 Compliant, consuming a fraction of the energy needed by a PC, at only 15 watts.

  • Server/Storage

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.1-rc10
    • Shaping the Future of Linux: Clarissa Womack

      At the tender age of ten, she decided that she wanted to become a computer programmer and, indeed, she has never wavered from that path. While other kids were just playing computer games, Clarissa was reading computer magazines in an effort to learn everything she could about how computers work. In the computer magazines that she read, there weren’t many pages devoted to Linux, but everything that was written was positive—and this is what sparked her interest and kept it burning throughout her formative years. By the time she graduated from high school, Clarissa had already helped assemble home computers, had dabbled in multimedia and HTML, had programmed in Pascal/Delphi and was a member of the local LUG: the Home Unix Machine Brisbane User Group, otherwise known as HUMBUG.

    • Kernel comment: Untapped power saving potential

      Recent Linux kernels, and distributions based on them, don’t make use of some of the power-saving features offered by modern computers because they can cause problems on some systems. The distributions tend to just ignore such difficulties – but it is they who are best placed to remedy them.

    • Kernel Debugging At OSI Days November 2011
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • The Little Desktop That Could

      LXDE has been an option for some time now on most distros, but for new-to-intermediate users like me it is easiest to use if it is presented as the master desktop of an entire integral system. I got started in Linux with Ubuntu (9.04) and apart from general distro-hopping I’ve mostly stayed with it. I don’t claim it’s the best, it’s just what I’m most familiar with. My ticket to escape from the Unity desktop came when a reasonably stable release of Lubuntu tackled the 11.04 version of its parent Ubuntu. Here was a distro that even I could shape the way I liked it.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Happy 15th to the folk at the KDE project

        I first encountered KDE when it was in version 1.1 when a friend in India told me of a distribution which was the same as Red Hat – I was playing around with 5.2 at the time which was using the FVWM window manager – but had KDE instead. This distro was then known as Mandrake; today we know it as Mandriva.

        Instead of using Mandrake, I downloaded KDE 1.1 and installed it on Red Hat; it was very nice and light years ahead of all the other DEs with which I had been playing around. Applications like KMail were nicely designed; kppp was really useful because at that time everyone was on a 56k internet connection. Additionally, for a GNU/Linux beginner, kppp was much more user-friendly than tools like minicom.

        Over the years, KDE has added a huge number of applications; the one that stands out for me is k3b, the CD/DVD burning application that is quite simply the best of its kind even when one compares other platforms. I have never been able to find an application for this task as good as k3b, no matter whether it be on Windows, the Mac or GNU/Linux.

      • Easy Favorites in KDE!

        Having recently switched to KDE, I found one major annoyance. That is not to say that KDE is perfect save for this one thing, but it was pretty glaring to me none the less. Favorites.

        I started “pinning” applications to my “favorites” section in the KDE launcher and it didn’t take long to fill it up. In Windows 7, this is not a big deal because the launcher will just get longer to accommodate the content. Not the case with KDE. I set out to find a way to make the KDE launcher longer, to fit my most commonly used applications, but came up short and instead devised this clever way to launch apps without the aid of any 3rd party widgets.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • It’s Easy To Guess What Angers GNOME Users

        The 2011 GNOME User Survey, an end-user survey that was assembled by independent GNOME users and hosted on Phoronix, began less than 24 hours ago and we’re already approaching 2,000 submissions. There’s still one month to go, and from these submission so far when simply dumping the comments it amounts to about 148 pages. However, it’s not hard to guess what most of these comments are about when it comes to the GNOME desktop.

      • Gnome Pie 0.2 Released
  • Distributions

    • At Home With AV Linux

      My studio computer collection includes two custom-built desktop machines and a Hewlett-Packard G60 laptop. As described in my previous article, the primary desktop box has been running an old but rock-steady 64 Studio 2.1 that has recently been replaced by a shiny new 64-bit Arch system. The secondary desktop machine and the laptop are both running the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 10.04. However, while I like and enjoy using Ubuntu I hardly require two identical installations of the same Linux distribution, so I decided to replace one of them with AV Linux.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva 2011.0 – Supreme start, unhappy ending

        Mandriva 2011.0 test was one hell of a first date. But as we got to know each other, as brief as the affair was, issues rose, many and great. Even in a single day of fiddling with the distribution, I countered some 29 problems, including some pretty big showstoppers. Now, no matter how great the system is, no matter how beautiful, with problems like a broken package management and a crippled 3D experience, the end result is disappointing.

        It’s as if Mandriva 2011.0 has two personalities – one slick, modern, smooth, polished, and beautiful, the other ugly, buggy, uncoordinated. Really weird. Now, it’s exactly this type of small issues that separates champions from the rest. Personally, I found the lot of smaller bugs more annoying and troubling the lack of proper 3D acceleration, for example. If I were to power up this distro on a new machine with an Nvidia card, I have no doubt things would have worked out fine. But the rest of the issues would remain.

        I must admit that this year’s release is a big, big drop in quality from the previous edition, especially considering my extremely high expectations. From utterly good to just average is a huge drop. In the same breath, the Mandriva team exercised the most unique and intriguing visual transformation of the KDE desktop yet, so perhaps there’s hope, if they can sort out all the little things. We’ll see what gives next year. At the moment, Mandriva 2011.0, if you get the package manager to work, deserves something like six out of ten points. Dedoimedo out.

    • Gentoo Family

      • openSUSE Delayed, Ubuntu Birthday, Sabayon Releases

        Sabayon Core is the minimal foundation for the Sabayon desktop systems. Core is appropriate for servers, home theaters, customized desktops, and more. There are several “spins” to choose from depending upon your specific needs. For example, CoreCDX comes with Fluxbox while the Spin and Server -Bases do not have an X server included. But they all come with Linux 3.0, btrfs support, encrypted filesystem support, and, of course, Entropy.

        Customized Sabayon spin “Forensics” has ditched KDE and GNOME for Xfce. Sabayon Forensics “is geared for Law Enforcement to gain access to a suspects computer to scan and retrieve any and all information.” This is the first release with Xfce, but weekly updates will be released. See the announcement for more information on that.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Expands Cloud Ecosystem through Partnership with Virtustream

        Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, and Virtustream Inc., a leading provider of cloud software solutions and services, today announced that Virtustream has joined Red Hat’s cloud ecosystem as a Premier Certified Cloud Provider. With this, Virtustream has added support for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization to its xStream cloud platform and now offers Red Hat Enterprise Linux on-demand to customers. Virtustream can now offer its customers a more scalable and flexible cloud infrastructure through enhanced support within a unified private and multi-tenanted enterprise cloud, and Red Hat customers can also now easily deploy on xStream.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Users Play Waiting Game, Gnome 3 Cometh

        If you are a Debian (stable) user, then you are undoubtedly used to one of the most rock-solid experiences available in the FOSS community. That of course comes at the expense of having the latest and greatest at your fingertips. Debian users can now rejoice between ice ages as Gnome 3 is finally coming to the unstable branch! That means you only have 400 years to go until it is available in stable. Let the waiting game commence.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Enough Ubuntu, YET?
          • Social Networking in Ubuntu 11.10

            Today I hosted an Ubuntu Open Week session on social networking in Ubuntu 11.10. I decided to convert my notes from the session into a blog post, enjoy!

            Ubuntu includes a social networking desktop service, Gwibber. Gwibber isn’t new to Ubuntu, it has been included for quite a while now. The intent isn’t just to provide a twitter or facebook client, but it is to provide a means for you to interact with your favorite social networks.

          • A Quick Peek Inside Ubuntu And The Ubuntu Unity Shell
          • What about creating The Ubuntu Administrator’s Handbook?
          • What is new in Ubuntu 11.10 compared to Ubuntu 11.04?

            Have you tried out Ubuntu 11.10 yet? Install it using our downloadable guide on How to install Ubuntu 11.10. Let us now compare the most prominent changes in appearance of the dash, launcher and various applications in Ubuntu 11.04 and Ubuntu 11.10.

          • Happy Birthday, Ubuntu!
          • Ubuntu 11.10 on ARM

            I have been using Ubuntu 11.10 on ARM now for a couple of days and I have to say: It Rocks! Ubuntu has had a long history of supporting ARM Systems on a Chip (SoC) since 2008, but Ubuntu 11.10 is a significant milestone.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 237
          • Adventures in Ubuntu 11.10 Live

            The newest release of Ubuntu Operating System, Ubuntu 11.10, was released 5 days ago.
            Stir is settled down, and it is a time for me to try new flavour of African Humanity.

          • Ubuntu 11.10 review

            It’s October, and that can only mean one thing: the twice-yearly Ubuntu update is out! We’re now up to 11.10 (year and month, geddit?), which seems worlds away from 4.10 with it’s GNOME 2 desktop. Whilst I don’t use it as my primary OS any more, I have a soft spot for Ubuntu, as it got me (and, no doubt, countless others) into Linux. And even though it’s based on Debian, it provides the base for numerous other distros. So, like it or not, it’s a pretty big deal in the Linux world at the moment.

          • A Unity workaround

            Before I continue, allow me an aside. My philosophy about this whole desktop environment thing is simple. The desktop on my computer should resemble my desktop in real life. On my desk are a lot of things, some important and some not, and none of it is in any particular order. My desk is not limited to a certain number of items neatly tucked on one side; it has things all over it that are immediately accessible when I need them.

          • Introducing Ubuntu 11.10 on ARM
          • Ideas for Ubuntu Unity
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Which Ubuntu Variant is Right For You?

              With the release of Ubuntu 11.10, the Unity desktop is starting to mature. But what if Unity’s just not for you, but you still want the convenience of Ubuntu’s large community and Debian-based technology?

              You might start by exploring one of Ubuntu’s official variants.

              According to Distrowatch, Ubuntu is the basis for seventy-seven distributions. However, Ubuntu’s official variants are in a category of their own.

            • Linux Mint Will Soon Get a GNOME 3 Edition

              Now that Ubuntu Linux has chosen Unity as its default desktop environment, Linux Mint stands out as perhaps the most user-friendly distribution offering a non-Unity default alternative, as I’ve noted before.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Linux-Based Tizen Mobile OS Could Appeal Overseas

        Tizen project developers will need to build “an appealing user experience that seduces consumers to buy Tizen handsets instead of the popular iPhone or Android-enabled devices,” said analyst Francisco Jeronimo. Widespread industry support also would be required for Tizen to grab market share at the expense of the current mobile OS leaders.

      • Android

        • Android 4.0′s Five Best New Features for Users

          Silly name aside, Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), is perhaps the most important Android release to date. With this release, Google has brought its tablet Android fork, 3.x, back into sync with its smartphone trunk, 2.x. In addition, all of ICS will soon, as I understand it, be made open source.

          What that means for you is that independent software vendors (ISV)s can stop wasting time in developing two different versions of programs and focus their energies on making the best possible Android applications. Since, at the end of the day, the success of any operating system is all about its applications, this bodes well for Android.

        • Android 4.0 unveiled with new unified UI, face recognition

          Google announced Android 4.0 (“Ice Cream Sandwich”), a version of the mobile operating system that for the first time is optimized for both smartphones and tablets. Unveiled with a preliminary software development kit — and due to appear first on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus — it sports a revamped user interface, a faster browser, an improved camera interface, plus facial recognition and text-to-speech features.

        • Galaxy Nexus boasts Android 4.0, 1280 x 720 resolution
        • Google: Motorola buy won’t put us into hardware business

          When Google announced plans in August to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, some assumed the company would start actively involving itself in handset development.

        • New Google Nexus Promo, Better Than Live Event
        • Samsung’s Galaxy S/S II Android Juggernaut Rolls With 30 Million Sold
        • If Android “Feels Wrong” then I don’t want to be right

          Case in point, I brought my last device, the original 2009 Motorola Droid, from its final 2.2 “Froyo” update to the latest 2.3.5 Gingerbread courtesy of the CyanogenMOD community.

          This is an activity fully endorsed and encouraged by Google due to the OS’s Open Source nature — not once have I seen a rooted, custom-ROMed device denied access to the Android Market.

          Conversely, while a large “Jailbreaking” community exists for iOS for customizing and adding functionality in an underground manner, custom iOS builds just do not exist openly — they would be considered to be pirated software, like Hackintoshes.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Players cut 7-inch tablet PC prices to compete for market share

        Tablet PC players have recently started to drop their tablet PC prices to attract consumers, especially 7-inch models as the machines can easily attract first-time buyers with their smaller size and US$100-150 cheaper prices compared to 10-inch models, according to sources from tablet PC vendors.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Cassandra Reaches 1.0: What’s Next?

    This post is part of our ReadWriteCloud channel, which is dedicated to covering virtualization and cloud computing. The channel is sponsored by Intel and VMware. Read the case study about how Intel Xeon processors and VMware deliver unprecedented reliability in the face of RAM errors.

  • “Open Source Is Good For Both Experts And Beginners”

    Aseem Jakhar, open security researcher and OSI Days speaker, talks about his passion for open source solutions and his upcoming project Jugaad that would be a one-shop-stop to learn about *nix malwares function, in an interview with LFY.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • ownCloud 2: Your Personal Cloud Server

      ownCloud is a free software alternative to some proprietary web services and it currently includes file management (with built-in file sharing), music streaming, calendar, contacts and more – all running on your computer or server..

    • Exclusive Interview With The Creator Of ownCloud

      Cloud Computing seems to be starting to become a necessary evil. Even if leaders like Richard M. Stallman warns about the dangers of cloud computing, users are lured by offerings like iClouds. How can an Open Source user who wants complete control over her computing, which includes data as well, take advantage of the cloud yet not lose anything in the process? The answer is ownCloud — a private cloud computing solution. We interviewed Frank Karlitschek, project founder of ownCloud.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice expands users and reach

      LibreOffice, the project forked from OpenOffice.org, is moving into the modern era with developers working on versions that run in Web browsers and on iOS and Android devices.

      The Document Foundation announced the moves today at the LibreOffice Conference, but the work isn’t available yet for ordinary folks to try.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Creativity trumps money in open source politics

      Creativity trumps financial power. The best ads do play on our fears. What good does it do to have an enormous financial advantage if the best TV ad of the cycle cost nothing? When the work of some anonymous schmoe trumps the work of highly-paid campaign consultants, why depend on them?

    • Free Software Foundation urges OEMs to say no to mandatory Windows 8 UEFI cage

      If you buy Microsoft’s explanation for the company requiring a version of UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) on PCs that can run Windows 8, it’s there to protect users from next-generation malware. If you think that’s the only reason for the UEFI to be in there, I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. The UEFI requirement is also there to block Linux and other alternative operating systems from booting on Windows 8 PCs. In response to this open-source operating system threat, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) has started a petition to urge original equipment manufacturers (OEM)s to give people a way to easily opt out of Microsoft’s Windows 8 UEFI cage.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Cape Verde’s Big Win

      Two years after that, I heard first-hand the reports of that and other projects based on open source software. The job is not easy, and there are definitely challenges, but Cape Verde has fully embraced the concept of democratic participation, and they have built a architecture of open government and open systems based on open source software. It is an exciting validation of Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus hypothesis, which is that when technology can lower the barriers to participation, more people become more positively engaged and more productive. Cape Verde has done this, not alone by any means, but with partners like Brazil, who are themselves true leaders in open source and open government.

  • Programming

    • Zend Debuts PHPcloud

      PHP was the core language of the 1.0 era of the web, bringing scripting to the emerging Internet. PHP vendor Zend now wants PHP to be the language for the cloud and today announced a new service to do just that.

    • The importance of Google Dart

Leftovers

  • ICANN takes control of Internet Time Keeping

    What happened was David Olson, the volunteer who had run the public domain Time Zone and Daylight Saving Time Database was sued by–I’m not making this up–an astrology software company called AstroLab for, they claimed, using data from their ACS Atlas program.

  • Microsoft uses Google maps, Bing doesn’t cut it
  • Security

    • How Hackers Can Benefit IT Security
    • IcedTea 2.0 and security fixes
    • Free Metasploit Community Edition released

      Metasploit Community combines the open source Metasploit Framework with a basic version of the robust commercial user interface available in Metasploit Pro to provide an entry-level response to the evolving threat landscape.

    • Nice Try, Bozo

      I just got another one of those telephone calls. This time I was prepared for it. What follows in not an exact transcript, but a shortened version.

      “Hello sir, I’m calling to inform you that your computer has a virus. We can fix your computer.”
      “You’ve seen a virus? On my computer?”
      “Yes sir.”
      “Is that a Windows virus?”
      “Yes sir.”
      “And you’re seeing it right now on my computer?”
      “Yes sir. We’re from the Windows company.”
      “You’re from Microsoft?”
      “We provide Windows support sir.”

    • W32.Duqu: The Precursor to the Next Stuxnet

      On October 14, 2011, a research lab with strong international connections alerted us to a sample that appeared to be very similar to Stuxnet. They named the threat “Duqu” [dyü-kyü] because it creates files with the file name prefix “~DQ”. The research lab provided us with samples recovered from computer systems located in Europe, as well as a detailed report with their initial findings, including analysis comparing the threat to Stuxnet, which we were able to confirm. Parts of Duqu are nearly identical to Stuxnet, but with a completely different purpose.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Bill to abolish long-gun registry could come this week

      The Harper government is poised to introduce contentious legislation as early as Thursday to abolish the long-gun registry.

      The legislation is bound to once again spark sharp political debate over whether the registry is a much-needed tool for police to keep Canadian communities safe, or whether it has become a costly intrusion into the lives of law-abiding gun-owners.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Failure to Grow: Global Oil Supply

      Using the latest data through June, from EIA Washington, global production of crude oil is currently averaging 73.856 mbpd in 2011. The loss of Libyan production has been offset this year by increased production from Saudi Arabia. (It remains unclear how sustainable Saudi production can be, currently at 9.840 mbpd. Saudi production has been highly variable this year, with month to month swings as much as 1 mbpd). Meanwhile, declining production from Mexico, the North Sea, continues to weigh.

  • Finance

    • William K. Black: “Enforce the Laws for the 99″
    • Goldman Sachs’s exceptionalism takes another knock

      The exceptionalism of Goldman Sachs took another knock this week. For a brief period on Wednesday, shares of the Wall Street firm traded at a bigger discount to book value — or assets minus liabilities — than those of megabank rival JPMorgan. This rarely happens and suggests that investors fear the bank’s franchise, both as a trader of securities and financial adviser to corporations and governments, is somehow damaged.

  • Privacy

  • Copyrights

    • Can’t look now: finding film online

      Last week YouTube announced the opening of its movie rental service. This could be great news for film lovers, offering easy access to the films they want to watch. Exactly how useful this is to consumers depends somewhat on how many films are available through the service.

      The availability of legal content online has featured heavily in discussions about the digital economy, most recently in the ongoing roundtables, hosted by the Minister Ed Vaizey MP, about new website blocking powers over sites involved in copyright infringement. The question is whether consumers’ demand for films, music and other goods is being satisfied.

      ORG, and others such as Consumer Focus, believe that more attention needs to be paid to how well the markets for films and music are serving consumers before we assume that certain kinds of enforcement measures are necessary and proportionate. We want to see thriving and innovative cultural markets that help creators and consumers get the best out of new technology.

      In this context, and against the backdrop of the recent injunction won by the film industry that requires BT to block the website Newzbin2, we decided to have a look at the availability of films online. We looked at how many of the recent best-sellers and catalogues of critically acclaimed films, including the top 50 British films, consumers can legally buy or rent online. We searched five content providers, and looked at rental and purchasing prices, and compared them with DVD availability and prices.

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