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11.28.11

Links 28/11/2011: Linux 3.2 RC3, VectorLinux 7.0

Posted in News Roundup at 4:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • A Visit to Brazil

    I was checking out DuckDuckGo search engine and used its setting to prefer .br and found VivaOLinux. It is a GNU/Linux-friendly site and I did not find any trolls in my brief visit. How refreshing. It’s in the top 10K sites in Netcraft stats. Compare that with DesktopLinux.com in USA which just scrapes by to get in the top million sites.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Review: Thumbs-Up On Oracle Database Appliance

      If you thought the past 10 years had brought forth an explosion of data — particularly when it comes to SMBs — just wait for the next 10. With mobile devices becoming incredibly powerful data collection devices, and with social media, new use patterns and more powerful processing, database technologies would appear to face a ton of challenges.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Top 5 Linux Distributions

      As a Linux user, I am sure, you will be interested to know which is the most popular Linux distribution. Till recently, if you go by Distrowatch stats, Ubuntu ruled the roost as the most popular Linux distribution. However, after Ubuntu team made a switch to the Unity interface, its popularity has declined considerably.

    • Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: 10 Custom Linux Distros That Ease IT Administrators` Workload
    • New Releases

      • Download CRUX 2.7.1 With Linux Kernel 2.6.39.4
      • Parted Magic update brings fixes for multi-boot CD issues

        A new version of Parted Magic, simply labelled “2011_11_24″, has been released. According to the release announcement post on the project’s News page, the update to the open source, multi-platform partitioning tool includes the 3.1.2 Linux kernel and brings “some major changes that might cause some issues with the Multi-Boot-CD crowd”.

      • VectorLinux 7.0 Standard Gold

        The final release of VectorLinux 7.0 (code name ‘GG’) is now available. This release is the result of nearly two years of blood sweet and tears since the very successful release of VectorLinux 6.0. With the enthusiasm of a small group of packagers, our repository now hosts over a thousand up to date packages. VectorLinux is the fastest Linux desktop in it’s class bar none. We have exceeded our original goals of VectorLinux 7 and produced a beautiful, full featured stable desktop that is fun, fast and efficient.

      • VectorLinux 7.0 goes gold after two years

        The developers of the compact VectorLinux distribution have announced that, nearly two years after the release of version 6.0, they have released version 7.0 of their operating system. Described as “the fastest Linux desktop in its class bar none” by its developers, VectorLinux 7.0, code-named “GG”, sports a desktop based on Xfce-4.8, with an option to use FluxBox as an alternative desktop.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 2 Alpha 1 released for testing

        The Mageia project has announced the release of a first alpha of version 2.0 of its Mandriva Linux community fork. According to the Development Planning schedule, the first milestone will be followed by two more alpha releases, two betas and a release candidate; the final version is expected to arrive on 3 May 2012.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • fslinux_build: Debian Custom Build Script
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu penguins build Linux TV challenge

            Open-sourcers are taking Ubuntu Linux in the direction of Google TV and Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

            A list of priorities for something called Ubuntu TV have been thrashed out by Ubuntu developers with the blessing of Mark Shuttleworth. The Ubuntu daddy has corralled the points here.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 12 screenshot preview
            • The Perfect Desktop – Linux Mint 12 (Lisa)
            • DistroWatch: Ubuntu Drops, Linux Mint Still On Top
            • CrunchBang Linux 10 R20111125 Available for Download
            • CrunchBang 10 update goes exclusively OpenBox

              Developer Philip Newborough has announced the release of an updated image of CrunchBang 10 “Statler” R20101205, a Linux distribution based on Debian Squeeze; CrunchBang 10 was originally released in March 2011.

              This release has some new additions but mainly focuses on the removal and cleaning up of the distribution. Previously, “Statler” was available with either the lightweight Openbox window manager or XFCE. But Newborough says that he wants to concentrate on giving “the best out-of-the-box Openbox experience possible” and, to that end, has retired the Xfce version as “there are plenty of brilliant Xfce based distributions available”.

            • Linux Mint 12: A Great desktop Linux stays Great

              Installing Mint is a snap. All you need do is download the ISO, burn it to a CD, DVD, or USB stick and then re-boot your computer with it and follow the instructions. On my PCs, the entire process took about half-an-hour. One nice thing about Mint, and other Linux distros, is that they’ll work well on old PCs with as little as 512MBs of RAM. For most people though I’d recommend running Mint on a system with at least 1GB of memory.

              You cannot though do an in-place update of Mint 11. That’s by design. Mint’s developers feel that if you just upgrade an already existing Linux, you’re likely to carry forward potential problems or out of date software. So, you’ll need to back up and restore your home directories and files. I did this by backing them up to an attached USB drive. It’s a trifle annoying, but it’s not really a big deal.

            • Linux Mint 12 Review: The Best Gnome 3 Shell Implementation

              LinuxMint team has dropped the bomb with the release of version 12, which offers a unique Gnome experience. Linux Mint is also enjoying its new limelight with esteemed #1 spot on Distrowatch. However, the journey was not that smooth for the team.

              Earlier this year when Ubuntu switched to Gnome 3 and came with Unity as the default shell, Clement Lefebvre told me that they won’t switch to Gnome 3 or Unity. The statement was applauded by the LinuxMint users. However, we did understand that it was a huge technological challenge for the LinuxMint to not adopt Gnome 3.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New ARM Dev Toolkit for Android Addresses Platform ‘Hodgepodge’

      This morning, ARM is taking a significant step toward ironing out Android’s multiple versioning issues that Linus Torvalds himself called a “hodgepodge” earlier this year. It’s releasing suites of developers’ tools, including a free community edition, of its ARM Developers Studio (DS-5), this time including a graphical debugger that it says will eliminate the need for devs to use a clunky, command-line debugger for tuning native code.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet review [Video]

        If you’re looking for a low-priced tablet this year, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet is one you’ll want to consider.

        At $249, the Nook Tablet is a bit more expensive than the Amazon Kindle Fire, the Nook Color and the Kobo Vox, each of which are selling at about $200. But, the Nook Tablet is a better piece of hardware than its $200 rivals and the extra dough wouldn’t be spent in vain.

      • Get an Acer Iconia 10-inch tablet for $229.99

        And come on: $229.99?! That’s only $30 more than you’d pay for a 7-inch Kindle Fire. And it’s $20 less than the Nook Tablet. If you’re in the market for a 10-inch slate, this is without question the deal to beat.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Devs tempted to hit the source at appMobi’s free bar

    Mobile developers with an AJAX leaning can now get free access to the source for appMobi’s development toolkit, allowing them to incorporate bits of appMobi tech into their own apps.

  • Science prize goes to an open source project

    The monthly Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) from Science magazine has this month been awarded to an open source project. The winner, Open Source Physics, is a web site that provides tools and resources for interactive computer-based modelling; it is intended to help teach students at all levels the principles of computational physics.

  • Crashing Google Wave Finds New Life in Open Source

    Google recently announced it will shut down Google Wave, the company’s web app for real-time collaboration, in April 2012.

    Google had previously all but abandoned Wave, ceasing new development over a year ago, but soon all traces of Wave will be removed from the web. Wave will become read-only in January 2012, meaning users will no longer be able to create new waves. After that Google Wave users have until April 30 to export their content before the service shuts down completely.

  • Why free software is not a job killer

    At first, this seems a little bit odd. As much as I love and enjoy using FLOSS and value it for its steadiness and security, I also understand that I must also devote some time to maintaining it, just like any proprietary system. What’s funny about my particular situation is that because I don’t use Windows that often, I actually spend more time maintaining security updates on my Linux machines than I do my Windows client. But when you only use a PC an hour a week or so, versus near-24/7 uptime, you get that. If I were using my Windows computer more often, I know the maintenance time would be much higher.

    And that’s just the client machines I have. I’ve done enough systems administration to know that there are almost as many tasks in administering FLOSS software as proprietary. Sure, there’s a lot less time spent looking for viruses on a Linux machine, but I still have to manage user accounts, provision machines, etc.

  • Events

    • CeBIT 2012: Call for projects

      Open source projects can now apply for free booth space at next year’s CeBIT trade show, which will take place from 6 to 10 March 2012 on the world’s largest fairground in Hannover, Germany. For the fourth year in a row, open source will have a presence at the event, with various organisations and projects from around the world represented in Hall 2.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Time up for Oracle’s HTML5 killer?

      Sun Microsystems in 2007 announced a re-imagining of GUI platform Swing with JavaFX. Swing, Sun said, had reached an architectural dead-end and need a reboot to compete on modern, Rich Internet Application (RIA) platforms.

  • CMS

    • The Big 3 continue to dominate the Open Source CMS race

      “WordPress turned in another strong year, clearly outpacing both Joomla! and Drupal,” notes lead analyst Ric Shreves. “Looking beyond the Big 3 we find a considerable amount of movement in the market, with several smaller systems turning in solid performances this year. Concrete5, in particular, had a very strong year.”

  • Healthcare

    • Summa Health System Launches New Site with Jahia

      Jahia, provider of Java-based open source CMS solutions, announced today that Summa Health System (summahealth.org) has re-launched its website using Jahia, chosen based on its interoperability with a wide range of content repositories, making Jahia the de facto “online digital hub” for Summa Health’s content.

  • Business/Other

  • Project Releases

    • Node.js 0.6.3 integrates NPM

      The Node.js developers have announced the release of version 0.6.3 of the JavaScript-based, event-driven, application framework. A new feature in the release is the addition of NPM, Node Package Manager, to the Node.js distribution. NPM was independently developed to offer Node users a simple way of packaging and distributing libraries of code and has become the de facto standard for Node.js packaging.

    • Version 1.0 of YaCy distributed search engine released

      After more than 5 years of development, the YaCy developers have released version 1.0 of their open source, decentralised search engine. The GPL-licensed YaCy peer-to-peer search engine is designed as an alternative to search services, such as those provided Google, that are centrally managed by one company.

      Like file sharing peers, all search engine peers will contribute search results and use the results contributed by others. An important advantage, say the developers, is that YaCy content cannot be censored. Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe described the project as a “vital building block” for the “future world of distributed, peer-to-peer systems”.

  • Public Services/Government

    • UkGovcamp: walk a mile in our sandals and realise some serious savings
    • Open source: Is the government doing enough?

      Open source is currently in use across several government departments, with Drupal powering the Cabinet Office website and some DirectGov services, Transport for London’s Oystercard using an open source infrastructure, and the Department of Health using open source to work with EU partners.

      In addition, some departments are creating their own open source technologies, such as the Department for the Climate Change, which has created FoxOpen. However, most of the technology used by government remains proprietary, with the Department for Work and Pensions, for example, still using comprehensive proprietary products from single vendors such as IBM.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Will HTML5 kill mobile apps?

      By forcing Web developers, and ultimately Adobe, out of the Flash business, Apple made HTML5 apps better. That’s good for Safari users, but it’s also good for users on other Web platforms, like Android. If there’s a truly good universal platform for online apps, it stands to reason that the smart developer will build apps for it, since this way the app will be available to the largest number of users. Right?

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • Secret Fed Loans Undisclosed to Congress Gave Banks $13 Billion in Income

      $7.77 Trillion

      The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Will Paradis Fail To Can Canadian Spam?

      Last year, a Quebec court upheld the largest spam damage award in the world, ordering Adam Guerbuez, a Montreal-based email marketer, to pay Facebook $873 million dollars for sending millions of spam messages to users of the popular social network. Two months later, the Conservative government passed long overdue anti-spam legislation that finally established strict rules for electronic marketing and safeguards against the installation of unwanted software programs on personal computers, all backed by tough multi-million dollar penalties.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Koha trademark: top lawyer says Trust has stronger case

        A leading ICT lawyer in New Zealand says the Horowhenua Library Trust, which is getting ready to lodge an objection to the registration of the Koha trademark for software by an American defence contractor, has a stronger case than its opponent.

        Rick Shera, a partner at Lowndes Jordan Barristers and Solicitors in Auckland, and the first lawyer to have qualified as a New Zealand Computer Society Information Technology Certified Professional, was commenting on the case of the Koha project, an integrated library system.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright coming to the Supreme Court of Canada

        The copyright bar and the Supreme Court are gearing up for two big days of copyright appeals. The five appeals are being heard back to back on December 6 and 7, 2011.

        Earlier today the Court circulated the draft schedule for the arguments. It lists all the parties, the interveners, the lawyers involved, and the order in which the cases are going to be heard. It is going to be a very interesting two days for copyright in Canada.

Attachmate Does Not Promote Novell Products

Posted in Novell at 9:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Attachment

Summary: Following layoffs and a quiet period of transition there are no signs of Attachmate doing something substantial with Novell’s products

Attachmate was seen mentioning some products recently. This is rare. It also spoke about jobs in Australia [1, 2, 3], but there is no indication that this has anything to do with Novell products. Attachmate laid off almost 1,000 Novell employees.

In general, Attachmate only seems to speak about releases of its own products, e.g.:

Attachmate Corporation offers the second release of its next-generation product for the X Server market. Attachmate Reflection Suite for X 2011 R2 lets Windows users securely access text- and graphics-based applications on Unix and Linux systems, as well as applications on IBM System z and System i. The software’s inclusion of the latest X Server technologies, next-generation terminal emulation software, and a secure file transfer client in a single deployment package lets enterprises seamlessly meet their host access needs during a Windows 7 migration.

Windows, that’s right. There is more about this sort of stuff here. What about Novell’s products? As this new article explains: “Questions remain what Attachmate will do with the IDM products it acquired through Novell. That leaves IBM, Hitachi and CA as the major IDM players. Additionally, CA is now an authentication player in another sparsely populated segment. Since Symantec bought VeriSigns’ certificates business, the market has coalesced around RSA, Symantec and CA.”

The words from Attachmate regarding Novell are hardly reassuring. To quote:

By returning its umbrella companies to their roots, the Attachmate Group hopes to reinvigorate its business strengths, according to the keynote addresses at the organisation’s Powerful Connection event in Sydney.

Very vague and no commitment expressed for Novell as a whole. There are some other talks from the company, but they hardly mention anything about Novell (the “N” word) [1, 2, 3]. To quote one article:

Speaking at Attachmate’s A Powerful Connection conference in Sydney, Gallo said more than 70 per cent of company fraud in Australia is committed by staff members.

When all the stuff from Attachmate is about its old staff and products (e.g. this announcement), then Novell is clearly doomed with the products it created. We provided more examples of this before. Not much has changed except some lip service at Brainshare.

More Novell Staff is Leaving as Novell Products Get Ditched by Customers

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

Novell logo bitten

Summary: A news roundup of the Novell that crumbles rapidly, with evidence backing the claim

FROM the ashes of Novell came some talented people who are not obligated to serve Microsoft’s vassal anymore.

One former Novell employee made the news for the following story that says:

Nufer, a laid-off employee at Novell, decided to add a competitive element to the puzzle with a game called Tangram Fury. Using two large triangles, one medium right triangle, two small right triangles, a square and a parallelogram, players race to recreate images from a deck of cards.

Twitter is now expanding in Europe and a first employee in Dublin has Novell background. To quote: “Twitter, which is locating its international operations in Dublin, has appointed Laurence O’Brien as financial controller for its EMEA operations, Siliconrepublic.com has learned. O’Brien previously worked for enterprise software player Novell and Dublin tech start-up Prime Carrier.”

This was also covered here and here. The latter says:

Twitter, which is locating its international operations in Dublin, has appointed Laurence O’Brien as financial controller for its EMEA operations, Siliconrepublic.com has learned. O’Brien previously worked for enterprise software player Novell and Dublin tech start-up Prime Carrier.

Former executives from Novell also find themselves moving. One new example involves Michelle Duffy:

Ms Duffy has been successful in building strategic relationships with various channel partners prior to joining Acronis, working for companies such as Dimension Data, Citrix (through itX Group), M86 Security and Novell.

Another source says that “Disaster recovery and data protection provider Acronis has appointed experienced partner manager Michelle Duffy to the role of ANZ channels business development manager.”

Another man who worked for Novell goes Savi (not savvy). “Before joining Novell, Juliano held senior executive positions with Symbol Technologies, IBM, and several global advertising agencies, including Ogilvy & Mather.”

And the last one says about Nussbickel that: “He brings more than 10 years of finance leadership and C-level experience with him, having worked as (regional) CFO with various high-tech and software multinational enterprises, among them Oracle and SuSE Linux AG (today part of Novell).”

Novell is no more though. It is a historical entity. And finally: “Avaya’s big bet on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) technology will define its future, said Avaya President and CEO Kevin Kennedy, who on Tuesday argued that customer embrace of SIP in this decade is a story playing out much like how the growth of TCP/IP boxed out proprietary networking protocols like AppleTalk and Novell IPX in the 1990s. ”

That is all the remains of Novell’s glory.

Moving on to another example of moves away from Novell:

Bradford also has been senior vice president and general counsel of Novell Inc.

The general trend seems clear. Novell’s executives were made redundant and even lower-level staff found other occupations. Novell’s old products are generally being dropped in favour of products from Google, IBM, and Microsoft in the case of mail. Amid migrations we see this news about “Google is paying for the LAPD to keep using Novell Groupwise.”

That won’t last for long. Here is an example of more defections away from Groupwise or rejections of it. In the article “Students frustrated with new email” it says that “The committee entertained options from Gmail, Novell Canada, Lotus, and Landisk, but eventually decided to switch to Microsoft.”

Novell is mentioned in Campus Technology in the following context:

The organization also added Novell’s Compliance Management Platform, which includes a number of security products, including Novell Sentinel for security and event monitoring; and Identity Manager for user provisioning, password management, and access control. In April 2011 Novell was acquired by NetIQ, which now owns and operates the Compliance Management Platform as well as the Sentinel and Identity Manager product lines.

In another new article Novell gets mentioned for the following:

The first step was to replace its existing outdated e-mail system, Novell GroupWise, with Gmail. Handling the GroupWise licenses was a huge challenge; throughout much of the year, TIFF operates with a staff of about 250, but leading up to the festival it ramps up to 600 or 700 people. Also, many employees are mobile, so they required VPN access to check their e-mail.

It seems like proprietary lock-in keeps Groupwise alive for a while longer in some places. But how long will it last now that even this products leadership is in a shaky state?

The same goes for Novell’s old network framework, which is being shaken much to Microsoft’s delight:

8. Active Directory will continue to dominate, and the IAM framework market will see modest growth. Active Directory is the identity management platform of choice for enterprises, and Quest Software expects this dominance to increase slightly as some of the remaining users of Novell eDirectory shift to Active Directory. Given Active Directory’s market acceptance, Microsoft’s aggressive Enterprise Agreement sales and the TEC for Directory & Identity focus, it is not surprising that usage of Microsoft’s Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) easily exceeds the usage of competing IAM frameworks such as IBM Tivoli Identity Manager, Oracle Identity Manager, CA Identity Manager and Novell Identity Manager. Quest Software expects modest growth in both Microsoft and non-Microsoft framework categories over the next year.

Passiveness from Attachmate serves Microsoft well here and businesses develop around the urge to quit Novell (this one if a new press release). Here is the only exception that we found. It basically says that a Novell product gets increased support from a third party, but such news is rare. Many would be wise to assume that Novell is dead man walking.

SUSE: A Master of None, Microsoft as the Master

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 9:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bad decision

Summary: Why SUSE lags behind the competition (in GNU/Linux) as indicated by news

NOVELL has become some historical entity whose news this month is mostly about an old case against Microsoft (here is a very recent video about that). We do not intend to cover this case because it is about the ‘old Novell’ of Noorda et al. It is not the same company that we boycott and the old case is only indirectly relevant to us.

So, Attachmate has this new release of OpenSUSE, which comes with a KDE side or a GNOME focus, depending on one’s preferences. The Fog Computing hype gets used for marketing as well, not just real features that are not mere buzzwords meaning “server”.

According to this, SUSE continues to work according to the plan we wrote about before:

Attachmate’s Suse division is also working on OpenStack software designed for ease of deployment in private clouds.

SUSE is not the best option though. For example, there is no SUSE support from AMD’s new chip:

As for operating system support, it’s helpful to note that the Opteron 6200 16-core chip is actually more like eight dual-core “Bulldozer” chips balled onto a single die. AMD says the 6200 supports all operating systems except Novell SLES 10 and 11,

How sad for Novell/SUSE, which is sponsored by Microsoft to help tax Linux (and still cannot beat RHEL and CentOS). They can’t even get fonts right. How come? Some font rendering features were historically disabled due to Apple and Microsoft patents.

In any event, it seems clear that there are no compelling reasons to give OpenSUSE any crown. It is the master of nothing and not a jack of any trades, either. It has Microsoft as its master. Nobody wants that, except perhaps close Microsoft partners like SAP.

Links 28/11/2011: iodoom3, Android Scare

Posted in News Roundup at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

  • Applications

    • NewsBlur: The Open Source Feed Reader with Brains

      Google Reader is the undisputed champ among Web-based RSS and Atom feed-readers. But while the search giant gets plenty of karma points on the software freedom front, Google Reader’s status as a commercial product means that from time to time, features have to come and go. The latest change is the removal of social-networking “share this” functionality, as Google Reader gets merged into Google Plus. The open source feed reader NewsBlur is ready to make a play for your attention, adding not just link-sharing but multi-user rating and intelligence.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Copy of BEEP to give away from Gameolith!
      • Will it be Desura’s Linux client Vs USC?| Gaming

        The wait until now was for a Linux client to run games Desura streams. However, now that it is here, users face a new dilemma – Download from Desura or desuraUbuntu Software Centre?

      • iodoom3 Source Code Project Underway

        Remember that source code project to overhaul the Quake 3 Engine and make it more secure, viable and updated for game management projects? Well, the same team behind the ioquake3 source code project, which overhauled the engine for better and more platform support as well as all sorts of other goodies, is at it again this time using the Doom 3 source code.

        For now the project has only been just announced and that means that the team is consolidating resources and setting an outline for what the project will eventually blossom into.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Death of Copyright Is Greatly Exaggerated

        Red Hat makes money giving away software and selling support services.

        Adam worries about a future where “copyright exists on paper only,” but all of the above business models rely, in one way or another, on copyright protection. Hollywood uses copyright law to shut down pirate movie theaters. Apple uses copyright law to shut down unauthorized clones of its hardware products. Even Red Hat relies on copyright law to help it enforce the GPL license, which prohibits third parties from incorporating open source code into proprietary products. The fact that these businesses have chosen monetization strategies that don’t involve selling copies of content directly to the general public doesn’t mean they don’t benefit from copyright protection.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Top Free Android Scientific Apps

          Science is the effort of trying to understand how the physical world works. From observation and experimentation, science uses physical evidence of natural phenomena to compile data and analyze the collated information.

        • SwipePad: A Must Have App for Every Android Device

          SwipePad is a simple application that lets you launch any app with a single swipe action from within any other app. Upon being recommended by a friend of mine, SwipePad was one of those applications I installed immediately after receiving my first Android phone. Since then, SwipePad has become an integral part of my daily life that I almost started seeing it as one of those core apps for Android which comes as default.

        • Android scare: percentages do not tell the real tale

          In its eagerness to put a computer running its software on every desk, Microsoft has spawned a number of ancillary industries, the most pernicious of which is the anti-virus group. McAfee is a major force in this industry.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source: democratising the internets

    You probably use open source software every day, but it’s equally as likely you have no idea what it is or who is building it.

    Fortunately for us, Gavin Jackson is one chap who knows what it’s all about and he came into the studio to give Louise Maher the low down.

    “Open source software is any software that has been released under a licence that allows people to download the source code for viewing, for modification and also for redistribution,” Jackson explained.

    “A lot of big business relies on open source technology, they probably wouldn’t exist without it, so it’s an interesting phenomenon.”

  • appMobi Open Sources HTML5 Technologies

    HTML5 development shop appMobi will now open source key elements of its mobile technology in an attempt to accelerate industry migration to HTML5. This move will see the appMobi cross-platform device APIs released to the community contribution model of development and, as a consequence, also embrace support of HTML5 development for both Android and iOS platforms. appMobi will also release the source code for its mobiUs browser, which sets out to allow HTML5 web apps to perform identically to native apps.

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Has Taken Over

      On November 25, two days after a failed German government bond auction in which Germany was unable to sell 35% of its offerings of 10-year bonds, the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble said that Germany might retreat from its demands that the private banks that hold the troubled sovereign debt from Greece, Italy, and Spain must accept part of the cost of their bailout by writing off some of the debt. The private banks want to avoid any losses either by forcing the Greek, Italian, and Spanish governments to make good on the bonds by imposing extreme austerity on their citizens, or by having the European Central Bank print euros with which to buy the sovereign debt from the private banks. Printing money to make good on debt is contrary to the ECB’s charter and especially frightens Germans, because of the Weimar experience with hyperinflation.

Microsoft Inside

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft at 4:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“You 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.”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Stadium

Summary: How Microsoft infiltrates its rivals and a new example from Yahoo! and others

“INTEL INSIDE” was a famous slogan a few computer generations ago. “Windows inside” was just assumed because Microsoft signed dubious deals that later had Microsoft sued. But what happens when Microsoft — not Windows — embeds itself in other companies?

Ryan, citing and quoting this report, says that “Microsoft has to partner with vulture funds to stay under the antitrust radar, but it controls the vultures it “partners” with”

“DOJ,” he jokes, would say something along the lines of: “Oh, you’re back with sockpuppets? Alright then!”

This is about Microsoft’s malicious hijack of Yahoo, which saw former Microsoft executives being put in charge (e.g. the CTO) after the antagonists got chased away. According to this, Microsoft seeks the same type of secrecy is it needs for patent extortion in order to do its possibly illegal activities (or antitrust violations). To quote:

The two giants are rumoured to have signed a deal, allowing Microsoft to look into the state of Yahoo’s business.

Appalling. How is that allowed when both are public companies? Just look what happened to Nokia and its shareholders.

A few years ago we saw Microsoft sockpuppets spreading AGPL and GPLv3 FUD. It was all just a PR campaign as we demonstrated at the time. “The source code and instructions for installation are available for download on Github under a GNU AGPL license,” says this new example of AGPL adoption and there are many more. The GPL has been constant attack by Microsoft front groups and friends, even though it was embraced by many. The third version of the licence was another excuse or a back door for Microsoft FUD. Microsoft even had its former marketing manager create a company that now commands information on GPLv3 adoption. We are talking about Black Duck.

Other companies with Microsoft roots are Likewise, which does something similar to the stuff described in this new release from Centrify. They spread the Microsoft APIs. It is important to stay aware of the elusive presence of Microsoft inside its opposition’s territories. Failing to do so would lead to erosion of elements like the FSF and other Microsoft resistors.

Android/Linux Not a Security Concern, Windows Definitely and Demonstrably Remains #1 Target

Posted in GNU/Linux, Security, Windows at 4:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chris DiBona
Photo by Joi Ito

Summary: Why the weakest link is Microsoft Windows (which therefore should not be used for storing sensitive information), whereas Android is just the target of a lot of FUD this month

TECHRIGHTS targets and addresses FUD, but sometimes the FUD is already sufficiently debunked by others, so a citation would do. There is some new FUD about Android and we put many links about it in our daily summaries, notably those which cite Chris DiBona.

Matt Asay says: “In the case of Android, which is apparently a malware-maker’s dream, Google’s open-source programs manager Chris DiBona has already gone on the defensive, arguing: “Virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you BS protection software for Android, RIM, and, iOS.””

The short story is (for those who missed it), rogue applications that the users themselves have to foolishly install can do bad things. Surprise, surprise. These are not viruses, not even when the BBC uses this lie. If people want programs that spy on them and occasionally ask for more money, they can install Windows. Heck, many OEMs already install this malware whether the user wants it or not, due to secret bundling agreements.

In other headlines we find reports of Windows allowing intrusion into NASDAQ: [via "FBI Blames NASDAQ Hack on UnPatched Windows, Bad Firewalls"]

Forensic investigators found some PCs and servers with out-of-date software and uninstalled security patches, Reuters reported, including Microsoft Windows Server 2003. The stock exchange had also incorrectly configured some of its firewalls.

Microsoft ‘quality’ at work. Here is a warning about putting Microsoft in charge of people’s medical records (where leakage can have devastating effects on the public). Mr. Pogson has this to say:

In an attempt to persuade Australia to allow Australian government documents to be stored off-shore, M$, in a discussion paper wrote, “Any company with a presence in the United States of America (not just those with headquarters or subsidiaries in that country) may be legally required to respond to a valid demand from the United States Government for information the company retains custody over or controls, regardless of where the data is stored or the existence of any conflicting obligations under the laws of the country where the data is located”.

Only a few days ago we explained why governments should not do business with Microsoft (and other proprietary software vendors for that matter).

Lehne and the Polish Presidency Continue to March for Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 3:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Klaus-Heiner Lehne
Klaus-Heiner Lehne / Source: Europa.eu

Summary: Various updates about the patents situation across Europe

LAST year Apple decided that it could not compete fairly against HTC, which now sells more phones (running Android/Linux) than Apple in the United States. Apple dropped to third, trailing Samsung.

So Apple sued HTC and found favour in its home country, as expected. In Europe it has been a different story and Apple is failing to block Linux/Android-powered devices from Samsung. Even the regulators get involved right now, which ought to make Apple worry. But Europe has had some elements in it that are dangerous in the sense that they play ball for US-based multinationals. They also try to legalise software patents by harmonising US- and EU-based patent regulations. Anne-Cat Lorrain writes: “European Commission: “the creation of a EU patent court is on a good track”. Audience not so “optimistic”… #ictsp11″

Once again we also see Lehne getting involved. He is mentioned in the following new article for his role. It says that:

The EU patent “package” moved a step closer to final approval on Tuesday, when the Legal Affairs Committee approved a mandate to open formal negotiations with national governments to agree to create unitary patent, so as to cut costs for firms and boost the EU’s competitiveness. Parliament will strive to adapt the proposed regime to small firms’ needs.

The European Parliament’s rapporteurs, who will negotiate with national governments, will treat the three proposals (unitary patent, language regime and unified patent court) as a package, meaning none will be agreed without the others. According to the mandate, approved by the committee with 16 votes in favour and 3 against, the MEP negotiators will also ask that the three laws enter into force at the same time.

The aim of creating an EU patent is twofold. First to reduce current patenting costs by up to 80%, so as to improve the competitive position of EU firms vis-à-vis their counterparts in the US and Japan, where patents are substantially cheaper. Second, it should help to avoid the legal confusion created when dealing with differing national patent laws.

Lehne is named by Glyn Moody, who writes:

MT @zoobab @VisaePatentes OUTRAGEOUS: #JURI mandates #Lehne to negotiate #unitarypatent with Commission/Council behind closed doors>>shame

Zoobab also notes that the “Polish Presidency turn its coat for software patents through a central patent court,” according to this post which says:

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk sent a letter to the presidents of the EU institutions, on 18 November, pressing for an agreement on adoption of the harmonised European patent system. “This is one of the most important projects for the common market, to which the latest Council Presidencies have devoted considerable work and attention,” said Tusk. “In a context of increasing competition at global level, we cannot afford to keep the current system, which is one of the world’s costliest and which limits both innovation and the competitiveness of our enterprises.”

We wrote about this stance of the Polish Presidency in [1, 2, 3]. The president of the FFII (Zoobab) argues that the “European Parliament JURI committee [is] against ban of software patents, so pushing for them via central caselaw, was to be expected”

He also points out that the “EU patent draft introduces joint Member States liability for any failure of the patent court to apply EU law”

Patent lawyers from London wrote about this as follows:

Anyone who has encountered the AmeriKat in the past two weeks will have been subjected to a “what are you doing to help get the Unified Patent Court to London” style of questioning. During and outside of her workday she is still doing a fair amount of London cheerleading, so much so that she has failed to pick up the recent House of Commons Select Committee on European Scrutiny’s report on “Enforcement of Patent Rights”. In May of this year the IPKat reported on the Scrutiny Committee’s scrutiny of the unified patent system and Baroness Wilcox. More recently, on 9 November 2011, the European Scrutiny Committee considered a recent, but not the latest, Draft Agreement on a Unified Patent Court and draft Statute. The European Scrutiny Committee does what it says on the tin/can – they scrutinize draft EU legislation on behalf of the House of Commons and determine which proposals are of political or legal importance. Good news – the UPC ticks both boxes! The Committee flags up these proposals to the House through their weekly Committee Reports and by recommending that some draft legislation be debated – either by the European Committees or by the House of Commons. For a list of members of the Scrutiny Committee click here.

Surely the problems remain very real in Europe, especially due to patent lawyers and politicians who sometimes work for patent firms on the side. As Zoobab once put it, Lehne works for "Taylor Wessing, active in EU lobbying and pushing for software patents.”

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