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Posted in Site News at 8:57 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • Impressive demonstration of HTML5
  • Hardware

  • Finance

    • Social networking tools turned on transnational companies show that OWS is right about the blindingly obvious concentration of power.

      From Orbis 2007, a database listing 37 million companies and investors worldwide, they pulled out all 43,060 TNCs and the share ownerships linking them. … [this revealed] a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships … they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world’s large blue chip and manufacturing firms – the “real” economy – representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues. … it tracked back to a “super-entity” of 147 even more tightly knit companies – all of their ownership was held by other members of the super-entity – that controlled 40 per cent of the total wealth in the network. “In effect, less than 1 per cent of the companies were able to control 40 per cent of the entire network,” says Glattfelder. Most were financial institutions. The top 20 included Barclays Bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co, and The Goldman Sachs Group.

      The article’s authors think that 147 owners is enough for everyone. The paper is here. People with Adobe Trash can play with the NNDB Mapper.

    • Iceland’s shining example

      The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. … Today, that country is recovering from its financial collapse in ways just the opposite of those generally considered unavoidable, as confirmed yesterday by the new head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde to Fareed Zakaria. The people of Greece have been told that the privatization of their public sector is the only solution. And those of Italy, Spain and Portugal are facing the same threat.

  • Anti-Trust

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • American Spectator Editor Admits to Being Agent Provocateur at D.C. Museum

      An editor for the magazine American Spectator infiltrated the Occupy Wall Street protests to discredit the movement. He created a violent confrontation at the National Air and Space Museum that got dozens of innocent people pepper sprayed and the museum shut down, then bragged about it on Facebook and in his magazine. It’s not apparent that the started to brag before or after Open News recognized his photograph from scenes of his intended riot.

    • PROTECT IP Renamed E-PARASITES Act; Would Create The Great Firewall Of America

      If you thought Protect IP could not get worse, you were wrong. New anti-circumvention laws, DMCA style, attempt to end the ability to route around damage.

  • Privacy

    • Transparency? [US] Government says no can do on medical record breaches

      OCR claims all of the records I’ve requested are “the subject of an open investigation” and so, since a FOIA provision “permits the withholding of open investigatory records . . . when disclosure could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings,” he’s denying my FOIA request in its entirety.

      The breaches requested only cover accidents and cracking. Routine sell outs and the access non free software grants companies like Microsoft are larger concerns not considered by the author.

    • Skype on hypePhone flaw hands out address books.

      Skype also makes it easier to track people online, even if you are not logged in. Both of these are Register stories and should be taken with a grain of salt, but all non free software exposes users to privacy violation by the software’s owners and the owners often sell people to interested third parties.

    • The Sins of Flash

      That’s right — code on a remote computer somewhere decides whether or not random web sites can spy on you. If someone changes that code, accidentally or deliberately, your own computer has just been turned into a bug, without any need for them to attack your machine. … No wonder the NSA’s Mac OS X Security Configuration guide says to disable the camera and microphone functions, by physically removing the devices if necessary.

      Only free software will respect your privacy and freedom.

  • Civil Rights

  • Trademarks

    • Apple sues small cafe owner for Apple Child logo

      To make sure there’s no confusion, the cafe should provide stickers to cover all Apple laptop logos and have an expert on hand to pave over OSX with free software. Covering should be mandatory.

  • Copyrights

    • US Senators introduce a bill to criminalize common violations of copyright and set the penalty as 5 years in jail.

      The article worries about popular music sharing, but the penalty would apply equally to more serious works such as journal articles.

    • How much more expensive paywalled journals really are.

      … the money that Elsevier alone takes out of academia – not its turnover but its profits, which are given to shareholders who have nothing to do with scholarly work – is enough to fund every research article in every field in the world as open access at PLoS ONE’s rate. … closed access means people die.

    • ACTA

      • TPP to maximize drug prices in developing world

        it even argues for blatant price fixing to avoid market pricing when governments are buying. That is, this section — which is being pushed by the USTR — basically takes the big pharmaceutical’s position that foreign governments should not be allowed to bargain for discounts on drugs to keep their own citizens healthy. It mandates, instead, that governments have to buy at a much higher fixed prices, and actually is even more pro-big pharma than the previous administration, which sought to make it easier for developing nations to access necessary drugs.

Links 26/10/2011: Linux 3.2 Kernel Plans, Linux 3.0.8 Out, New Kernel Announced

Posted in Microsoft at 1:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Are Windows PCs already falling to smartphones and tablets?

    When I look into my technology crystal ball, I see people moving from desktops to smartphones and tablets. I’m not the only one who sees a post-PC world coming. What I didn’t expect was to find proof that desktop Windows was already a dead technology walking.

    Over at ZDNet’s sister site, CNet, they recently reported on 15-years of Download.com. I expected this to be little more than a nice historical walk down a popular site’s past. Well, it is that, but it’s also contains lots of bad news for Windows users.

    You see, in 1996, when Download.com was founded, 89.5% of its downloads were Windows programs. Would you care to guess what the percentage of Windows downloads are in 2011? It’s a mere 28%.


    Today, 67.5% of Download.com’s downloads are mobile applications. Think about that. Even with Apple’s App Store and Android’s Market getting the vast majority of mobile downloads since they’re built into iPhones, iPads and Android devices, people are still downloading more than twice as many mobile apps than they are Windows programs from Download.com.

  • Desktop

    • Cuba

      Besides the obvious impact of the US embargo on IT in Cuba, one can see that the government was acutely aware of this situation when they decided to move everything to FLOSS. This year, all PCs made at the Chinese-Cuban factory in Cuba will have both that other OS and Nova GNU/Linux. The desktop monopoly is dying quickly in Cuba although access to computers is still severely restricted by economics. If there ever was a country that needs GNU/Linux and thin clients, Cuba is it.

    • Shopping in Romania

      I found a link to a retail establishment in Romania. The score:

      * PCs with that other OS: 136
      * PCs with GNU/Linux: 42
      * PCs with FreeDOS: 140
      * PCs with MacOS: 6

      You can argue that with such a high proportion of FreeDOS that many intend to buy those machines to install a copy of that other OS illegally but schools and businesses often install by copying legally and we know only a very small proportion of humanity has the inclination to install an OS so I am betting the distribution of the FreeDOS machines is something like the split between that other OS and GNU/Linux, about 3:1. According to Trends.Google.com, linux:windows was 2:3 in 2004 and 1:9 in 2011. I guess it pays to advertise.

  • Server

    • Riverbed lets loose Stingray virty appliances

      After dabbling with hardware appliances a few years back, Zeus went all-virtual, shipping Traffic Manager in an x86-based VM container that could ride atop ESXi, Xen, Hyper-V, and KVM hypervisors. One change with the Stingray Traffic Manager 8.0 release is that Riverbed is allowing customers to install the tool on a bare-metal Linux server instead of a virtual machine, allowing it to eat all the capacity on an x86 server if that is what customers want. Note: If you want to run Traffic Manager on Hyper-V, you have to run it atop a Linux guest OS.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • The Staging Merge For Linux 3.2 Kernel Is Huge

      Linus Torvalds was worried that the Linux 3.2 kernel might be of a worrying size due to the belated release of Linux 3.1. Merge requests are now starting to come in for the Linux 3.2 kernel and the staging merge alone touches several hundred thousand lines of code.

      Greg Kroah-Hartman sent in the “big staging merge for 3.2″ this morning to Linus. Greg writes, “there’s a lot of patches in here, and the overall diff is quite impressive.” There’s some 103,718 lines of new code, but there is 230,262 lines of code that were removed from the tree. So while there is still lots of new code, it’s actually a net decrease in the total number of lines of code.

    • Linux 3.0.8
    • Download Linux Kernel 3.1 Now!
    • Linux Foundation announces long-term support kernel tree for CE vendors
    • New Linux Kernel Tree For Consumer Electronics Announced

      The new project, the Long Term Support Initiative (LTSI), provides for both an annual release of a Linux kernel suitable for supporting the lifespan of consumer electronics products and regular updates of those releases for two years.

    • Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, reorganizes

      The Linux Foundation is rocking out in Prague this week and they’ve got some interesting news to share. In addition to adding five new European members and the one year anniversary of the Foundation’s Yocto Project, they’re announcing their “Long Term Support Initiative” to foster a stable kernel release suitable for use in consumer electronic devices. It aims to provide “both an annual release of a Linux kernel suitable for supporting the lifespan of consumer electronics products and regular updates of those releases for two years.” The list of companies involved in the LTSI is a list of household CE names: Hitachi, LG Electronics, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics, Sony, Toshiba.

    • Graphics Stack

      • UDS-P: Automated Testing, Benchmarking, Wayland

        There’s less than a week until the Ubuntu Developer Summit begins for Ubuntu 12.04 (codenamed the Precise Pangolin). The schedule for the event in Orlando, Florida is beginning to get filled up so here’s some of what you can expect to see discussed for this next Ubuntu release due out in April.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KWin meets QML

        Two years ago I started to re-implement the Window Switching capabilities of the KDE Plasma workspaces (also known as Alt+Tab or TabBox). The old implementation was based on a QWidget with custom painting which of course had some drawbacks. The new TabBox evolved into a framework around Qt’s Model-View concept to design your own window switcher.

        Before I started to work on that area I did evaluate the existing Window Switching capabilities of the various desktop shells (both free software and proprietary solutions) and I noticed that all of them have drawbacks. None is the solution where I would say: that’s the perfect switcher.

      • My talk about 15 years of KDE at Latinoware

        It was a great pleasure to participate in the Latinoware presenting a talk on the anniversary of KDE! That was my first time in Latinoware and started with a great responsibility to talk about the history of our community. This was the fourth Forum of KDE Brazil at Latinoware and we had a special program during the event, plus a stand where we can sell our promotional materials and give information about KDE for visitors.

      • KDE 4: Leader of the Semantic Pack

        Semantic computing is the future of computing, and KDE4 has the only working implementation of a semantic desktop. If you want an example of where Linux and FOSS are taking the lead, this is a great one.

      • Qt DevDays Munich: Talking To The Trolls

        With co-located events in the German city of Munich this October and a subsequent U.S. event to be held in San Francisco in early November, the company that was Trolltech (which then became Nokia Qt) held its DevDays event to a focused and enthused audience.

        Mario Argenti, SVP of Nokia developer experience and market, kicked off the proceedings and alluded to a turbulent last 12 months during which time the company has witnessed much change in both itself and in the industry at large. The last year has of course seen the addition of the Qt Quick (Qt User Interface Creation Kit), a high-level user interface technology for UI designers and developers with scripting language skills.

      • Plasma Active on NVidia Tegra 2

        In a cooperative effort, the Mer team and the basysKom integrators have succeeded in booting a Plasma Active image on NVidia Tegra 2 devices, opening the door bringing Plasma Active to a wider range of hardware. The image is based on Mer, a successor to the MeeGo operating system.

        The Plasma Active, Mer and basysKom teams have been working together on this new hardware platform, with the project led by Martin Brook (vgrade on IRC). Last weekend, they successfully booted a non-optimized version of Plasma Active on two devices powered by NVidia’s Tegra 2 (TAB-TEG-10-1-4GB-3G, Advent Vega). Tegra 2 is a powerful platform for mobile hardware, featuring a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU and Ultra Low Power (ULP) GeForce GPU with 8-core GeForce GPU with 4 cores dedicated to running pixel shaders and 4 cores dedicated to running vertex shaders. The powerful, yet energy-efficient graphics make it very interesting hardware for running Plasma Active.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 16th October 2011
    • GNOME Desktop

      • Power to the people

        The design of the configuration options was actually resolved last cycle. The status part of the design remained unfinished, however. That power status part was the tricky bit, since it had to represent power information for both the actual device which GNOME is running on and any connected devices which might have their own power status. Last week, after many iterations, I finally came up with what seems to be a nice solution.

      • Five Pretty Awesome GNOME Shell Themes

        One of the great things about GNOME Shell is that it’s comprehensibly themeable – from the top panel and applet menus to the awesome on-screen keyboard.

      • 4 Beautiful GNOME 3.2 Themes

        Evolve is a new, simplistic GNOME 3 theme created by the Ambiance Blue author. The theme is compatible with the latest GTK 3.2 and uses the Adwaita engine for the GTK3 theme and Murrine for the GTK2 theme:

      • What People Are Saying About GNOME [Part 1]

        Due to the plethora of data being collected, the comments provided by these desktop users is going to be put out a chunk at a time, as it’s unlikely by the time the survey ends towards late November you’ll want to sit down and read what will likely be 10,000+ comments about the GNOME desktop. So to begin in a more manageable way, coming out today are the first thousand comments collected from this 2011 GNOME survey (for anyone that requests it, at the end will also be a PDF with all of the comments). These are just the responses to the “If you could change three things in GNOME, what would they be?” and “Do you have any comments or suggestions for the GNOME team?” questions. Any submission where the response was only a single word (e.g. just saying Scheiße) was ignored from printing. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to participate in the 2011 GNOME User Survey.

      • Linux Desktop Faceoff: GNOME 3 vs Ubuntu Unity

        The popular Linux distribution Ubuntu recently finalized its move to the new Unity interface, while other Linux distributions are moving to the new GNOME 3 shell. Both interfaces are remarkably different than the Linux environments you’re used to, but remarkably similar to one another. So which one is better for you? We delve down and uncover the differences between each.

      • Evolve is a Lightweight and Minimal GTK3 Theme, Supports Unity

        Evolve is a lightweight and minimal GTK3 theme by Satya and is based on Adwaita theme engine. The theme works well with Gnome Shell 3.2 as well latest Unity in Ubuntu 11.10 as it comes with support for its own custom window controls for maximized windows.

  • Distributions

    • If Linux was a car (Hater’s edition)

      To start off, there are literally hundreds of different kinds of cars, and they’re all different. How do car makers expect a non-expert to be able to select one? Most manufacturers even make different “models” of their car, so it’s not enough to just say you want a Ford, now you have to decide which Ford you want. I don’t know ahead of time whether I’m going to want to move furniture, go off-roading or cruise the Autobahn, why should I have to pick one? Why can’t they just make one car that does everything?

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Gentoo Family

      • Adventures with Sabayon Linux

        Despite having issues using Sabayon Linux on a USB stick with persistent storage (unable to install packages), I was so impressed by its speed that I decided to go ahead and install it. Surprisingly I have found that most of the software I use is already included, including Gnome Tweak Tool. So far I have just had to make a few adjustments:

        * Banshee for my music player
        * SMPlayer for my movie player
        * Gnome Shell extensions
        * Parcellite clipboard manager since the GPaste extension is not readily available (more on this later)
        * Htop process manager

        That’s all I can think of.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • State of Debian GNU/Linux

        I think this example shows the strength of Debian GNU/Linux. Even though the next release is many months away and there are more than 1K bugs known, the system is still usable. I will stick with Squeeze in production systems but in the virtual world, Wheezy is taking shape quite nicely. This whole process took only an hour including downloading 1200 packages. It was quite easy with no critical decisions on my part except to read some notes and accept defaults.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Is the popularity of GNU/Linux actually decreasing??

            Ubuntu 11.10 has been released and with the way things seem to be going we can start expecting 200 million Ubuntu users in 4 years. Still, Is all this just an illusion? Like they say. “Its way too good to be true”, Is the popularity of Linux in reality actually decreasing?

          • Ubuntu 11.10: A Review of the Oneiric Ocelot

            As always, this release was given its codename by Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder. ‘Oneiric’ means ‘dreamy’ and in his blog, Shuttleworth writes at length about choosing a suitable alliterative adjective to describe the ocelot, a small wild leopard. He even quotes from T S Eliot’s famous poem on ‘The Naming of Cats’. He finally settles on ‘Oneiric Ocelot’ because it seems to capture how innovation happens — ‘part daydream, part discipline’. This release is cosmetically pleasing, and gives developers even more options to create efficient interfaces that are aesthetically delightful also.

          • Is This The New Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin Icon Theme?

            Canonical announced a while back that a new icon theme will be created for Ubuntu, but they didn’t give any further details. An user has posted on a Brazilian Ubuntu forum a link to a company called Yellowicon that has some cool Ubuntu icons in its portfolio. The page doesn’t mention if these are the new official Ubuntu icons or not, but Canonical shows up on the Yellowicon clients list.

          • Judging Ubuntu: Failures and Successes

            October 20th marked the seventh anniversary of the Ubuntu distribution. Anniversaries are times for reflection, so I’ve been thinking of how Ubuntu has succeeded and how it has failed in the last seven years.

            To hear those involved with Ubuntu, the distro’s history consists of nothing but triumph. Community manager Jono Bacon marked the anniversary with a blog entry full of nothing except praise and enthusiasm.

            Founder and dictator Mark Shuttleworth did not refer specifically to the occasion, but he did blog that Ubuntu “is the #1 OS for cloud computing,” and that the next release “will be the preferred desktop for many of the world’s biggest Linux desktop deployments.”

          • Is This the World We Created?

            Ubuntu (the project) is collaborative. We all make it what it is. Many of you know that, but I still encounter people on a daily basis both online and off who have not realized this (yet). I often hear gripes about Ubuntu not being this or that, but I don’t hear enough constructive discussion and “creation” of the Ubuntu we want.

            Let’s change that. Ubuntu is what we make it. Do you want to live in a world where you have no say in your technology? (Redmond and Cupertino come to mind. I’ve been to both, and they’re *not* fun.)

          • Ubuntu 11.10 review

            Canonical releases a new Ubuntu distribution every six months, each one coming with an alliterative zoological codename and a version number that reflects the year and month of release. The last update – Ubuntu 11.04, released in April and dubbed the Natty Narwhal – ditched the familiar Gnome desktop in favour of Canonical’s own Unity interface, previously seen only on netbooks. It was a controversial decision, but one that undeniably gave the friendly Linux distribution a character of its own.

            This new edition, dubbed the Oneiric Ocelot (it means “dreamy”), is much less adventurous. It brings no new features to speak of, just a clutch of interface refinements, more like a service pack than a new version

          • Ubuntu 11.10 laptop test drive

            I recently received a “review” Dell Vostros laptop from Canonical with Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) installed. The idea was that I, as an illustrious member of the tech press, could see for myself how smoothly the Ubuntu Unity desktop operates. And, it worked!

            I quickly figured out the Unity interface and installed Chrome as my browser, installed VLC Media Player, logged into my Hulu account and watched some of my shows, (which I mostly listen to) while simultaneously monitoring Facebook, Gmail, and reading various news sites. It worked well, had a little bit of lag, but nothing overwhelming, and I knew I was asking it to do a lot. The Ubuntu Software Center (now on version 5) was my favorite part. It was as easy as the marketplace on my Droid to just find the software I wanted to install and get it done.

          • United for Unity alternatives

            I love Brussels sprouts, and I’m blessed with the ability to eat fields of them in one sitting. Some people hate them to the point of legislating against them.

            Some people crave eggplant. I would rather eat dirt and will only eat eggplant at gunpoint, which of course makes for some interesting dinners at my household. But I digress . . . .

            Having said this, allow me a Captain Obvious moment to say that folks have different tastes, likes and dislikes, which in the final analysis boils down to a subjective smorgasbord of opinion rather than any resemblance to objective fist-bearing, knuckle-bashing fact.

          • Faenza 1.1 Adds Many New Icons, Better Integrated With Ubuntu Unity

            Faenza Icons Theme is kind of an household name among Linux folks. It definitely is one of the best looking icon themes for Ubuntu. Faenza Icons Theme 1.1 brings in a number of new brilliant looking icons and is also better integrated with Ubuntu Oneiric’s new Unity UI.

          • Ubuntu members come from Europe and US and want more representation

            Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has released the results of the survey among Ubuntu members that he launched in early October. According to the survey, almost half of the contributors who officially work on the development and translation of Ubuntu, or provide support and community support, live in Europe. A further third live in the US, followed by South America.

          • Canonical Bringing New Digital Media Offerings to Ubuntu
          • Canonical, Ubuntu Linux’s parent company, reorganizes

            Ubuntu is a popular Linux with users, but it hasn’t made as many in-roads in the business market as it would like. To address that Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, CEO Jane Silber has announced a major company reorganization.

            Silber wrote, “Canonical has grown dramatically over the last several years. This growth is driven by increasing demand for our services and products by end users, businesses and partners, and by investment to deliver our part of the future of free software. As Ubuntu’s position in the marketplace and as the leading free software platform has matured, we have needed change the way we align our teams internally. The purpose of these changes is to ensure greater efficiency for us, for the customers we serve and for the partners with whom we go to market.”

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Puppy Linux 5.3 “Slacko” based on Slackware 13.37

              The Puppy Linux developers have announced the release of version 5.3 of their independent Linux distribution, a new edition code-named “Slacko”. According to Puppy Linux founder Barry Kauler, Slacko Puppy (coordinated by Mick Amadio) is to be the project’s “new flagship Puppy Linux” and is the recommended “‘first stop’ for all newcomers”.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 60 New Open Source Apps You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

    As open source software continues to grow in popularity, particularly with enterprises, the number of new open source projects started each year continues to climb. By some estimates the amount of open source code available nearly doubles every year.

  • Open Source: You Know, For Kids!

    A few years ago, when I was working as a print magazine editor, a young girl approached my booth at LinuxFest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington. She was probably 12- or 13-years old, and she gave me some of the best feedback I’d ever had on our products.

  • GitHub open sources Hubot chat robot

    GitHub has released Hubot, the company’s chat room robot, as open source. The developers at the project hosting service say that the first version of the Hubot was used to help automate their company chat. However, over the past year it got “bigger and messier”, so the team “decided to rewrite him from scratch, open source him, and share him with everyone”.

  • Credit Union Australia goes open source for web site

    Credit Union Australia (CUA) has outsourced the development and hosting of its new web site to open source specialists Squiz in the first of a series of initiatives aimed at achieving a more agile approach to IT.

    Under the multi-year deal, Squiz will host the credit union’s online banking web site and provide 24×7 monitoring and support.

    Newly-appointed credit union CIO, David Gee, told iTnews that the hosting deal with Squiz is the organisation’s first step into appealing to a new customer segment and lowering IT costs.

  • An Open Source Approach to IT Automation

    An open source tool for automating the management of IT systems that is fairly well known in Europe is now coming to the U.S.

    CFEngine today announced that in addition to releasing a version 3.0 upgrade, called CFEngine 3 Nova, that adds native support for Windows systems alongside Linux and UNIX, the company is moving its headquarters to Palo Alto, Calif.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 15 is out with a bunch of new features

        The world’s fastest growing browser, Google Chrome has just been updated to version 15. The most conspicuous change in this update is the redesigned New Tab page which we covered while it was in beta. Also coinciding with this release is the launch of a completely overhauled Web store which looks quite similar to the new Android marketplace. Here’s more about the changes in detail.

      • Google explains overhaul to Chrome Web Store

        Google has explained the process behind the redesign of its Chrome Web Store, hoping the changes make it easier to download the latest apps to your browser.

        The Chrome Web Store is a key part of Google’s strategy going forward, and vital to the success of its Chromebook project.

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • Neo Launches NoSQL Graph Database

      NoSQL type databases have become increasingly popular over the last several years as a way to deliver better scalability and performance. There are a number of different types of NoSQL databases, including a graph database structure, which is what open source startup Neo Technology is all about.

      Neo Technology is the lead commercial sponsor behind the open source Neo4j NoSQL database. This week the company is launching its Spring Data Neo4j 2.0 release, bringing the database to the popular Spring Java framework. The company has also just completed raising $10.6 million in Series A funding.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Offers NoSQL Database For Big Data Push

      Oracle continues its big data push after making its NoSQL database available for download

    • Oracle v. Google – Google Loses Lindholm Email Battle

      While the email included at least one attorney among its email addressees, the content of the email itself was addressed to a non-attorney. The email doesn’t address itself to legal advice and it never mentions the threat of or actual litigation.

      So now Google will have to face this email as it is presented into evidence. The email by itself is likely not conclusive of willful infringement, but it will open the avenue for Oracle to explore just how early Google may have anticipated either a patent or copyright issue with respect to Java. Of course, whether willfulness ever comes into play is subject to underlying proof of actual infringement, but the existence of this email certainly makes the path a bit bumpy if Oracle is able to prove infringement.

      Google also filed a supplemental brief in support of its motion to strike portions of the Cockburn damages report. (549 [PDF; Text]). Unfortunately, so much of the brief has been redacted it is difficult to really appreciate the full support that may exist for Google’s arguments. However, Google does make some cogent arguments.

  • CMS

    • Alfresco expands APAC footprint

      Open source ECM company Alfresco has announced an increased drive into the Asia-Pacific marketplace with increased local staff numbers on the back of 13 new customers in the past 12 months.

      Alfresco has also appointed three new partners and moved to new premises in North Ryde. The company claims revenue growth is ahead of industry averages with global headcount increasing 20% in the second quarter and more than 2000 enterprise customers in over 40 countries.

      Barry Costin, Sales Director for Alfresco APAC, said, “Working with business partners is still our primary route to market and recruiting new partners to provide geographic coverage and address specific vertical requirements in Australia and New Zealand is a big focus.

  • Education

    • New computers, new mindset

      They were part of the launch of “TexOS, the Texas Open Source Project,” a two-man nonprofit operation that hopes to provide not only a computer to a needy child but also a whole new mindset.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 8.2 review

      My usual testing laptop is currently tied up with another distro, so I shall be using a 10-year-old Tiny desktop for this review. Intel Pentium 4 2GHz processor, 512MB RAM, 20GB HDD, nVidia GeForce FX5200 graphics.

  • Project Releases

  • Programming


  • Security

    • Cryptoboffin: Secure boot a boon for spooks’ spyware

      as warned that the latest so-called Trusted Computing proposals may restrict the market for anti-virus and security software.

      Cambridge University Professor Ross Anderson warns that the secure boot features in the UEFI firmware specification – understood to be required on certified Windows 8 machines – might even make it easier to smuggle state-sponsored trojans onto victims’ machines.

  • Finance

    • What Would Happen if Goldman Sachs Disappeared?

      Do we really? If Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Deutsche Bank, Crédit Lyonnais and five or six of their peers ceased to exist tonight, what would happen? Would their absence change the number of factories, hospitals, farms, biotech research labs, oil wells, or gold mines? Would there be fewer houses or cars? Would computers get slower or TVs lower-def? No. The world of tomorrow morning would have exactly the same amount of real wealth and productive capacity as it does today. The main thing it wouldn’t have is a lot of arcane financial instruments that don’t produce anything edible, and a hundred thousand or so bankers making inordinate amounts of money moving this paper around. To the extent that those bankers would have to take jobs making real things, the post-Goldman world would arguably be richer and more productive.

    • Goldman Sachs v. Occupy Wall Street: A Greg Palast Investigation
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wisconsin Democrats Allege Governor Walker Used Taxpayer Dollars for Campaign Website

      With Walker facing an “imminent recall,” the website consists of “propaganda” and “cherry-picked facts” designed to help Walker’s reelection, said Wisconsin Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate on a Tuesday conference call. Tate says the law is clear “that state resources are not to be used for political gain.”

      He alleged the site bears a strong resemblance to Walker’s campaign website, and seems to echo a call by Wisconsin Republican Party Chair Brad Courtney to spin the “successes” of Walker’s budget repairs.

      Tate also criticized Walker for apparently hiring a new employee to build the website and promote Walker’s policies. “Walker has cut 1,032 jobs, but added a new position in his office,” he said, “hiring a former newscaster tasked with documenting the successes of Walker’s policies.” On October 1, Walker announced the hiring of veteran television newscaster Julie Lund as Deputy Communications Director. Visitors to the “Reforms and Results” website are asked to contact Lund if they “have a story to share about how the Governor’s reforms are getting results.”

Patents Roundup: Patent Lawyers, USPTO ‘Thieves’, Apple, and Microsoft

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A bootleg video recording

Summary: A variety of this week’s news about patents, including some from Apple and Microsoft

MORE people are becoming aware of the problems with software patents, which nonetheless percolate into new statements, press releases, and other items that we find in the news. The reputation of patents seems to have declined and facilitators of the patent system are becoming somewhat of a laughing stock.

We particularly liked this new example from Blackboard, which for PR purposes claims to be embracing Open Content that is easy to do when one’s code is proprietary and patents encumbered. To quote:

Blackboard.com, which offers “learning management systems,” became a big deal at a time when many schools were still learning how to put teaching in the cloud. Critics called for a boycott of Blackboard in 2006 after it used a flimsy software patent to sue a rival, and raised fears that it would sue universities that were using their own teaching software tools rather than Blackboard’s products. The controversy abated in 2009, however, when a court found that the patent claims were invalid.

Many software patents are invalid in principle (prior art and triviality), but it costs a lot of money for a defendant to challenge them because the process and the system are broken, favouring the claimant (in court) and the applicant (in the patent monopolies office). Look no further than this article from a Mac site. It ridicules Apple’s own patents, which given the site’s bias is saying a lot. To quote the diversion (blaming the system rather than Apple):

Slide to Unlock? Patented


It’s a bit silly, really, but blame it on the patent system. Be that as it may, nobody now gets to use the popular ‘Slide to Unlock’ without infringing on Apple’s patent unless a court rules it is invalid or prior art. Here’s a video of the 2004-5 Neonode N1m, showing a similar Slide to Unlock that existed before the iPhone (4 minutes in):

We’ve all seen it before. There are more complicated examples which are actually physical and go centuries/millenia back. How could Apple have been granted a monopoly on this? It is an insult to Apple and to the USPTO. Any little kid could independently come up with the same “idea”. A lot of Apple’s patents are artsy and outright ridiculous.

Richard Hillesley has a good new article with a dramatic headline and it goes like this:

All patents are theft

If necessity is the mother of invention, patents are its delinquent offspring, providing stumbling blocks to innovation and progress, inhibiting the free exchange of ideas, and restricting our knowledge of how things work…

Patents are of course a restriction and a monopoly. They do not in any way help professionals move science and technology forward.

Over at Muktware there is this new piece about Microsoft’s self-defeating fight against Linux/Android:

Microsoft is fast earning the reputation of being a troll instead of an innovator in the mobile space. The company dominated the desktop segment purely on the basis of anti-competitive business practices where they forced all competitors out of the market thus creating a monopoly. That monopoly is collapsing as OS is becoming more and more redundant in the era of Web and mobile computing.

Microsoft’s Windows Phone is a massive failure. Instead of pulling up socks and creating better products the company has resorted to the same old anti-competitive business practices which it used for selling its ‘stolen’, as Steve Jobs said, Windows OS.

“Stolen” and “theft” are propaganda terms in this context. But they can be embraced like the word “piracy” (as in Pirate Party and The Pirate Bay) to challenge and ridicule those who initiated or perpetuated the propaganda, including Steve Jobs.

“We are not on a path to win against Linux”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft's Platform Group Vice President

Former Microsoft Employee Who Pressured for Action Against Microsoft Meets Passive Government

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 9:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft tax dodge

Summary: Microsoft’s public looting continues uninterrupted due to government complicity or apathy (e.g. former Microsoft executives in government positions)

THERE IS a large-scale world-wide movement which seeks restoration of financial sanity. In 2009 and 2010 we quite routinely cited a former employee of Microsoft who campaigned against Microsoft’s tax dodge, which was further assisted by cronies it had inside the government (former Microsoft executives). Unsurprisingly, the government took no action to rectify this. It had already gotten occupied by friends of Microsoft and we have more evidence and examples of this, which sadly enough Bill Gates-funded newspapers do not cover.

This Microsoft-employee-turned-justice-seeker has not blogged in, which leads us to assume that he gave up even trying to address such injustices. Mr. Pogson is still pressuring for change this week, but he is located in Canada.

I can see why the US tax-men need to audit M$ but I don’t see why they are apparently so many years behind. Has the darling of capitalists been getting a free ride at ordinary tax-payers’ expense? The quarterly report lists tax contingencies at $7billion+.

Al Capone was an organized criminal, who, in spite of diverse criminal activity even murder was eventually brought to justice by the tax-men. Wouldn’t it be sweet if that is eventually M$’s downfall? Paying their fair share for the operation of the government that protected M$ from competition would be some form of justice although just a drop in the bucket of their ill-gotten gains. It would be better if some of their leadership did jail-time for tax evasion.

Microsoft’s avoidance of tax affects not only US citizens. Microsoft does the same thing in Europe and it was found guilty of doing this in India. This means that us the public need to make up what the thugs at Microsoft refuse to pay (and get away with it because of their connections in politics). Until people speak about these issues on a daily basis Microsoft will thrive in public ignorance and keep pillaging and plundering. We do not cover it as often as we used to because there is not much news going on there. The injustices carry on and there is no sign of anything being on the verge of reform. Wikileaks has got material on this too. Microsoft is good at collecting tax (e.g. Windows bundling, Office lock-in, Android extortion) but not at paying any.

Balsam Professional is Based on Microsoft Linux

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 9:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Type casting

Black keyboard

Summary: A word of caution about a rebranded OpenSUSE

WE very rarely see anything derived from SUSE. In fact, the only major derivative we were aware of simply dumped SUSE several years back.

SUSE has always been somewhat of an island/leaf, unlike for example Debian or Ubuntu. The OpenSUSE repository is likely to only ever serve OpenSUSE users because truthfully, the only desktop based on OpenSUSE these days is “OpenSUSE Box” and this too is apparently being renamed now (we do not know if there were trademark threats). To quote a new press release: “Balsam Professional 12.1, the latest incarnation of open-slx’s Linux distribution specifically targeting home and small business users, will be available on November 11, 2011. The box product previously known as „openSUSE Box“ or „openSUSE Retail Edition“ gained new and unique features triggering the current rebrand. A first for a full-scale end user distribution available in retail, Balsam Professional 12.1 supports multiple device classes with a common base system: conventional desktops and notebooks, and additionally, featuring Plasma Active ONE, now also touch controlled tablet pcs, hybrid netbooks and in future other mobile devices. Users receive with their Balsam Professional 12.1 purchase 90 day installation support by phone, e-mail or chat free of charge and can join the friendly open-slx community platform to socialize with fellow users and the open-slx team.”

Why was it renamed? Did Novell or Attachmate use the trademark to shake down rivals? Or was it totally voluntary? In any event, this release will be the first to be based on Microsoft’s Linux (SUSE is funded by Microsoft now), which warrants a warning label. There is absolutely no reason to choose SUSE these days, not even for YaST, whose main improvements seem to be some new themes and easily replaceable fluff. To quote:

FACTORY contains the new style already.

Except for the Microsoft influence, the only unique thing about SUSE is style-related and branding (with trademark restrictions). Based on this new report, there will be noting unique in OpenSUSE 12.1, except the Linux version which is more recent because of the time of release. OpenSUSE derivatives too should be avoided, no matter their names. Those who control development simply cannot be trusted.

“We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft’s Platform Group Vice President

Gates on SUSE

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