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Links 26/12/2011: Another GNOME Fork, Linux at Gas Pump

Posted in News Roundup at 12:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Server

    • 2012 Server Roadmap
    • Xen or KVM

      Since little more than half a year, I am in the process of installing a new virtualization Platform. One of the hardest decisions to make was if we should use Xen or go with KVM. We already have Xen in production and I know that it works well. From KVM we expect, that it will be growing faster then Xen and be the right thing on the long run.

  • Kernel Space

    • Android drivers to be included in Linux 3.3 kernel

      Android drivers are returning to the Linux kernel. Kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman has retrieved the Android drivers removed from the staging area of Linux 2.6.33 in the spring of 2010 and put them back into his development branch for version 3.3 of the Linux kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Some Mobile GPU Documentation To End The Year

        There was a new documentation drop this week that consisted of data-sheets and other programming documentation for the 2D, 3D, and MPEG engines of a mobile GPU.

      • Why The Radeon Gallium3D Performance Is Down

        After yesterday’s article about the Grinch that stole the Radeon Gallium3D performance, here’s three offending commits since Mesa 7.10 that are causing the open-source Radeon Gallium3D driver to run slower than it should.

      • What’s Up With The S3 Graphics Linux Driver?

        Yesterday when writing about VIA Technologies preparing a new graphics open-source push, it made me curious where the S3 Graphics Linux driver is at today.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Makes First 4.8 Release Candidate Available, Adds Secret Service

        Today KDE released the first release candidate for its Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the KDE team’s focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing. Compared to Beta2, RC1 contains hundreds of fixes. Please give this release another good round of testing to help us release a rock-solid 4.8 in January.

      • My Heroes of KDE, 2011

        I was looking back on this year and thinking about what the real successes have been. There have been many great things, new technology and work behind the scenes to make it all happen.

        But perhaps the greatest thing has been the return of the Commit Digest, so I’ll name the Commit Digest team my personal heroes of KDE for 2011. Every week, they let us know what’s going on in this great community of ours. It’s a hell of a lot of work and they deserve a lot of credit.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Another GNOME Fork? Can Cinnamon Survive?

        Linux Mint has not adopted the new interface instead going their own route with the MATE fork and the MGSE (Mint GNOME Shell Extensions). Apparently that’s not enough and now Mint Founder Clement Lefebvre has launched a new effort to create a new desktop called Cinnamon.

      • Goodbye GNOME 2, Hello GNOME 2?

        Many Linux users who have been GNOME fans for years find themselves in a sudden quandary. GNOME 3.0 has completely abandoned the desktop experience we’ve come to love during the years. That’s not to say change is bad, it’s just that many folks (even Linus Torvalds) don’t really want to change.

  • Distributions

    • I give up; my search for the perfect Linux rescue distro is over

      When I discovered Linux two years ago, I started looking for what I called “The Perfect Rescue Distro”, a somewhat mythical distribution that fitted into a CD, could mount Windows partitions, play all sorts of video/audio formats, include a productivity suite, decent image-manipulating tools, and burn backups…all in Live mode. Hence, over these two years, I have tested lots of distributions and some of them came really close to the ideal. I felt as if the Holy Grail was between an arm’s reach.

    • Semplice Linux, An Exercise in Simplicity

      Semplice Linux is a very young project that has only recently made its debut on Distrowatch with Release Candidate 1 for their upcoming 2.0 code-named ‘Emily’ getting listed. This means there must be a support structure in place, a website, bug tracker, documentation and user forum.

      The distribution originates from Italy and is based on Debian unstable, using only the Openbox window manager, a handful of applications and a blank background. It will not surprise you then that semplice means simple.

    • Suicide Linux, Not for the Faint Heart
    • Gentoo Family

      • Oh Gentoo

        Well it’s been a couple of months now since the start of Experiment 2.0 and I’ve had plenty of time to learn about Gentoo, see its strengths and… sit waiting through its weaknesses. I don’t think Gentoo is as bad as everyone makes it out to be, in fact, compared to some other distributions out there, Gentoo doesn’t look bad at all.

    • Red Hat Family

      • IPO Outlook For New Year Uncertain After Rough 2011

        “What happened doesn’t necessarily give confidence in companies that are wanting to go public,” said Manoj George, CEO of outsourcing firm Nair & Co. and CFO of Red Hat (RHT) during its IPO. “I’ve talked to a couple of companies who have the fundamentals to go public, (but) they are looking at 2013 as opposed to 2012.”

      • Analysts’ Weekly Ratings Changes for Red Hat (RHT)
      • Fedora

        • Fedora 16 Live/Install CD

          I used Unetbootin to install the Live/Install CD onto a USB stick. No problems booting into live mode and then installing from the live mode. The installed edition booted just fine. With the exception of some Gnome3 applications not correctly sizing to my netbook screen, the installed applications worked. Yet, I have major issues with this edition.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical shares U1DB technical preview

            When Canonical announced it was stopping its use of CouchDB, it also announced it would also be dropping DesktopCouch, the desktop API for CouchDB, and creating its own solution, U1DB, to fill the gap. The Canonical developers have now announced that a technical preview of U1DB is available and have given more details of its functionality. According to the announcement, U1DB is an API and data model designed to be backed by any database for storage. The API has been created to enable the storage of JSON documents in synchronised databases and to make that process simple.

          • CTL Announces the MB40U Ubuntu Powered Notebook
          • Canonical Focuses on Multi-Monitor Support In Ubuntu

            Just a day after questioning whether multiple monitors are really necessary, I learned the design team at Canonical had purchased not two but six monitors to attach to a single computer. Fortunately, this seeming excess should benefit Ubuntu users — if not me personally — by improving the multi-monitor experience in Ubuntu. Here’s a look at these efforts so far, and how they fit into the larger open source picture.

          • Ubuntu Tweak 0.6.0 arrives for Oneiric Ocelot

            The Ubuntu Tweak development team has announced the release of version 0.6.0 of its popular open source application for customising the Ubuntu Linux distribution. With Ubuntu Tweak, users can configure their installations by changing a number of desktop and system options that are not provided with the default Unity environment.

          • What is the best Christmas gift for Ubuntu Linux fans?

            If you are an Ubuntu fan and are wondering what is the perfect gift to suprise your friends this Christmas. Then think no more!! Gift them a CD with the latest version of Ubuntu Linux as a gift. Gifting a distro inevitably requires you to get you hands dirty and if that is what is stopping you from celebrating Christmas, then check out the rest of the post.

          • Ubuntu Powered Display Spotted at a Gas Pump in Colorado

            We have written a number of times Linux being spotted in public. Besides powering displays in Best Buy and HMV Stores in UK, Ubuntu has just been spotted at one of the gas stations in Colorado.

          • Ubuntu 12.04 Development update

            This will be the last development update of 2011, so let’s see where we stand in terms of 12.04. We are 10 weeks into the release cycle and have still 18 weeks to go. There is definitely still a lot left to be done, but the foundations for a great release have been laid already.

          • Linux Deepin Software Centre to be made Available for Ubuntu

            Ubuntu users envious of Chinese Linux distro’s slickly-styled ‘Software Centre’ won’t nee to be green-eyed for too long: it’s coming to Ubuntu.

          • Surprise! Full Circle Magazine #56 – I Come Bearing Gifts

            Surprise! Since everything is in place there’s no point in holding back the issue until next week. You lucky devils get FCM#56 almost a week early!

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Bodhi Linux 1.3.0 Released

              Jeff Hoogland has announced the release of Bodhi Linux 1.3.0. He writes that there are no earth shattering new features in this release there are many minor improvements.

            • Bodhi Linux Gets Christmas Update
            • Linux Mint 12 On ASUS Eee PC

              In a previous article, I talked about setting up my Asus Eee computer with eee-control on Ubuntu. Today, this is no longer valid if you’re using Ubuntu 11.10 or Linux Mint 12. Now you must run different software. Not only that, now more than ever disenchanted Ubuntu users are switching to Linux Mint due to the ongoing frustrations presented with the Unity desktop. The great news for folks wanting to switch to Linux Mint is that Ubuntu packages and PPAs work great in Mint. Even better, you have additional Gnome desktop choices made available.

            • Enjoy The Best In Linux With Linux Mint 12

              Linux Mint has been quite a revolutionary distribution, gaining plenty of popularity. In fact, DistroWatch statistics suggest the Linux Mint is now the second most popular distribution in the world, behind Ubuntu (upon which it’s based) and in front of Fedora.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi £16 computer project nears lift-off

      The Raspberry Pi project, which aims to sell tiny £16 Linux-based computers to help kids learn about real computing in schools, has said it is now testing beta versions of the device.

      The project published photos of its first populated beta circuit boards on Thursday, having shown off the naked boards earlier in the month. If electrical and hardware and software testing goes well, Raspberry Pi devices will go on general sale in January.

    • Bare bones Raspberry Pi PC gets ready to launch

      The $25 (£16) machine is being created in the hope that it will inspire a new generation of technology whizz kids.

      The Pi uses an Arm chip similar to that found in mobile phones and is intended to run a version of the Linux open source operating system.

    • $25, Credit Card Size PC Runs Debian, Fedora & Arch; No Ubuntu

      UK-based Raspberry Pi Foundation is working on a credit card size, $25 PC which will redefine computing. The tiny computer runs on Linux. It supports Debian, Fedora and Arch Linux. Initially Ubuntu, as its based on Debian, was supported but it doesn’t at the moment.

    • US: Magneti Marelli system will connect cars to the Cloud

      Magneti Marelli has demonstrated a Linux-based prototype of what it claims is the first open-source infotainment system. The platform was unveiled at the fifth Member Meeting of the GENIVI Alliance in San Jose, California. Other partners of the group, the medium-term aim of which is to connect cars to the Cloud, include BMW, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Intel.

    • 27 top Linux-powered Christmas gifts

      It’s no longer hard to find a Christmas gift that runs Linux, thanks to the popularity of Google’s Android. The Tuxy possibilities go far beyond tablets and smartphones, however, as we highlight in a list of 27 top gift picks for 2011.

    • Populated boards: an update on where we are

      Here’s a little something to warm your festive cockles. These are populated boards from our first run of beta devices. They’re undergoing electrical testing alongside hardware and software testing at the moment, and if all goes well, the Raspberry Pi you’ll be buying in January (or by auction later this month if they all work as they should) will be exactly like one of these.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • Ada Initiative highlights challenge to get more women in open source

    The lack of women involved in open source has unfortunately long been a weakness for open source software and its many, varied communities around the globe. In fact, we found out recently just how significant the problem is, with troubling figures as reported by Valerie Aurora with the Ada Initiative that indicate significantly lower representation of women in open source (2%) compared to the overall IT industry (20%).

  • GitHub open sources Janky CI server
  • The problem with open source in 2012

    Rather like cloud computing and green eco-aware initiatives, open source has sometimes suffered from being added as a “label” to projects that (for the most part) remain predominantly focused on licensed sales with only an “element” of open source.

    So is open source ever used a marketing badge to try and evidence some kind of community contribution effort that is actually downplayed internally?

  • Open source: Pretty much right on track

    With the close of the old year, and the advent of the new, it’s very easy to sit back and start reflecting on where open source has been and where it’s going.

  • Why the Operating System is becoming irrelevant

    The operating system used is becoming more irrelevant. Why? Software is slowly becoming more and more homogeneous in nature, and more cross compatible to some extent. People are also using many different devices running many different operating systems already, from phones to tablets to desktops to laptops. The age old argument that “that other operating system is too difficult” is no longer holding up as much as it used to. As we know, Microsoft still has a very high market share (anywhere from the high 80 percent to low 90 percent) in the desktop market. GNU/Linux has a high share in the server market. And on other smaller devices, it’s a large mix of Apple iOS, GNU/Linux/Android, and Windows (Windows being mainly on phones as there isn’t much of a tablet presence yet). On desktops there has been a natural shift to Wintel over the past couple of decades that has allowed Microsoft to lead the user experience with the PC as well as document formats most commonly used today, etc. But, as open source software becomes more and more prevalent, it has accustomed itself to be cross compatible with the proprietary software that already exists, and as such is a viable replacement for the proprietary software. Now that we are becoming more used to using a multitude of different devices and operating systems, moving the desktop from one operating system to another is becoming less of an issue. Users are already becoming familiar with different operating systems and are able to find their way through them easier than ever before.

  • Events

    • XDC 2012: Nuremberg!

      For 2012 we (Egbert Eich, Professor Hopf, and I) will be hosting the annual X conference in Nuremberg!

    • Dreaming of Summer — and WordCamp Milwaukee!

      You have no idea how excited I am that WordCamp is coming to Milwaukee next June 2-3, 2012. A small group of us, led by Scott Offord, have been laying the groundwork for this two-day conference on all things WordPress at Bucketworks. We’re ready to accept visitors.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Apache confirms new OpenOffice build by 2012

      The Apache Software Foundation has confirmed that a new build of the OpenOffice suite will be out next year, and has warned rogue developers that it – and only it – can use the trademark for the software.

      According to the group, version 3.4 of the software will be out in the first quarter of next year, and will be a developer-focused release that is designed to ensure the entire code base fits with Apache’s licensing terms. There is some third-party code to remove from the OpenOffice base that is incompatible with the Apache licence, although in some cases the original coders have been happy to relicense their source under different terms in order to help the project.

    • Oracle v. Google – Pretrial Conference Held

      A pretrial conference was held in the Oracle v. Google case on Wednesday, December 21, during which Judge Alsup heard oral arguments on some of the motions in limine. (654 [PDF; Text]) The hearing lasted about four and a half hours, but any outcome from the hearing has yet to be reported. It is known that the court heard oral arguments on three of the four motions in limine on which the parties had agreed to have oral arguments. Judge Alsup has yet to determine how much time will be required for the trial.

    • Apache Software Foundation Hits Their Sore Thumb Again

      Claiming ASF is good for everyone including the end user is wrong. Clearly, the end user is a part of the ODF ecosystem, the largest and most important part. While ASF permits modifications to source code to be distributed it does not require source code to be distributed. That has serious implications for end users:

    • Performance improvement in opening ODS documents
    • Redesigned autofilter popup
    • LibreOffice mega Christmas inteview

      Below you find the result of my search. Some parts are technical, some parts really talk about features for users.

  • CMS

    • Somewhat Shameless Self-Promotion: WordPress in Depth
    • New version of Composite C1 CMS released

      Danish software company Composite has released version 3.0 of its .NET-based open source content management system, Composite C1. This is the first major new version since the software was released as open source just over a year ago – version 2.1 was released in March 2011. Previously only available as a commercial product, both open source and commercial products are now available. The functionality is the same, but the commercial version comes with a product warranty, automated upgrades and end-user mail/web-based support. Composite also offers a range of support, training and other commercial services.

    • Google Knol Comes to WordPress
  • Business

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 2.5: A GNOME-ified FreeBSD 9.0

      If you want to try out FreeBSD 9.0 this holiday but are not turned on by the actual FreeBSD 9.0 install and setup process, nor find the KDE desktop of PC-BSD 9.0 enjoyable, you may want to try out GhostBSD 2.5.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • “Yes We Scan”

        Take a look at the campaign being run by Carl Malamud and John Podesta called “Yes We Scan”. It’s an effort to encourage the US government to make plans to digitize the contents of all national libraries including the Library of Congress. In a letter addressed to President Barack Obama, John Podesta and Carl Malamud point to the economic, scientific and social benefits that would arise from a large scale digitization of America’s cultural riches currently held in the vaults of various national institutions.

  • Programming

    • ISO updates C standard

      The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has published the new specifications for the C programming language. The standard is known unofficially as C1X and was published officially as ISO/IEC 9899:2011. It provides greater compatibility with the C++ language and adds new features to C (as indicated in the draft).


  • How vendor specific should uni be?

    In our current higher education world, many are unable to find work after university because their degree just wasn’t applied enough.

    But the Nelson-Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, might be going too far by adding a VMware module to its Bachelor of IT degree.

    Last week, Computerworld reported that in collaboration with VMware, IBM, NetApp and BlueBerryIT, NMIT has embedded a VMware IT Academy curriculum module in its third-year networking.

  • How to annoy fanboys

    Well, hopefully this blissful piece of article has taught you some useful tips that should bring you much rejoicing. Remember, you must exercise flexibility with your ideas and never falter, even when faced with ultimate zeal. It is important to innovate, have a backup plan ready, as well as be persistent and consistent in your trolling. Do not laugh, break down or show compassion. And you must never give up. It’s all for the greater good. With your help, one day, we might live in the world where fanboyism is restricted to Star Wars versus Star Trek. Now, there’s a tricky topic.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Why Oil Prices Are Killing the Economy

      Oil prices emerged from their spider hole over two and half years ago. Having fallen from the towering heights of $148 a barrel in the summer of 2008, the early months of 2009 saw a return to prices in the $30s. Interestingly, during that great oil crash, the price of West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil (WTIC) spent only 20 trading sessions below $40. That is the exact price that most analysts only three years prior believed oil could never sustain as the world would pump “like crazy” should prices ever reach such “impossibly high levels.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • DOJ Rejects ALEC-Inspired Voter ID Bill in South Carolina

      The U.S. Department of Justice has rejected South Carolina’s voter ID law, which was inspired by an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model, as discriminatory against people of color.

      Fourteen states passed restrictive voting measures over the past year, many of them (including South Carolina) using the ALEC model Voter ID Act as a template. According to a report issued this month by the NAACP, 25% of African Americans (over 6.2 million African-American voters) and 16% of Latinos (over 2.96 million Latino voters) do not possess state-issued photo IDs, and as many as 5 million Americans, many of them people of color, would be ineligible to vote under the new restrictions.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Namecheap CEO: SOPA Is Like Detonating Nuclear Bomb On The Internet

      Namecheap, one of the top domain registrars, has come out opposing SOPA, the dangerous bill aimed to destroy the Internet by Hollywood. Namecheap CEO, Richard Kirkendall, has released an encouraging statement “While we at Namecheap firmly believe in intellectual rights, SOPA is like detonating a nuclear bomb on the internet when only a surgical strike is necessary. This legislation has the potential to harm the way everyone uses the Internet and to undermine the system itself. At Namecheap, we believe having a free and open Internet is the only option that will continue the legacy of innovation and openess that stands for everything we all value in our modern society.”

  • DRM

    • My fight with AA

      But .AA is a proprietary file format, which contains Digital Rights Management, and is only supported on Mac and Windows. Googling “converting AA to MP3″ yielded a flood of Windows results; “Linux converting AA to MP3″ was more on point, but hardly more productive. It seems there are only three ways to convert AA to MP3, and all of them require Windows

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The Great Piracy Circle Jerk

        Today I needed to get a mp3 file for a certain band fast, no it wasn’t Norma Jean. The file I needed was actually released royalty free via Creative Commons license so I am allowed to download and distribute for free. I found a torrent tracker that hosted the album the mp3 was in so I downloaded the .torrent file and proceeded to open. Upon doing so, I learned that my distro of linux doesn’t have a pre-installed torrent software so I headed over to download.com. I was sad to learn they didn’t have a linux version of uTorrent, but I saw something else. It was right in front of my face. The #1 site to get the tools to download torrents, rip DVD’s, and all sorts of other illegal activities is owned by C|Net. C|Net is a large geek based media company and their parent company is none other than CBS Interactive / Viacom. Viacom, along with CBS, is the top sponsor of SOPA and has had thousands of lawsuits filed on their behalf over movies and music piracy.

Microsoft and Nokia Caught AstroTurfing, Abusing/Attacking Genuine Posters

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft at 5:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Smearing competition, smearing opposition too


Summary: Aggressive AstroTurfing from Microsoft and its new department for mobile PR

JUST before Christmas, Homer posted a good summary that helps show another new example of Microsoft’s shameful behaviour.

Microsoft’s proxy PR tentacles, which even reached the FOSS world, typically not only promote Microsoft but also attack dissent. Watch out for PR piece like this one which says that “[a]ccording to [Microsoft's] organization’s publicity arm” FOSS thinks one way or another. The voice of the public or the of FOSS community gets robbed by Microsoft intruders and this is a standard routine. We gave examples of this before.

Microsoft AstroTurfing is the process where Microsoft pretends to be members of the public that post innocent comments in favour of Microsoft and against Microsoft’s competition. It is illegal, but if this sort of practice is done overseas, then regulations can be dodged. It is a legal loophole.

“Microsoft and Nokia shills caught astroturfing again,” wrote Homer, who supports his allegation with a new article that says: “Last Friday, I wrote an article about the newly launched Nokia Lumia 800. The article was aimed to educate and inform readers and buyers about this latest smartphone from Nokia so that they could make a smart decision. However, this review ruffled some feathers and we saw an orchestrated pile of comments. The common factor in all these comments was use of abusive language that explains the motive.

“However, the surprise came when I decided to check the origin of these comments. The first comments that appeared were posted by none other than the employees and associates of Nokia and Microsoft. Especially one commentator, Harish, who later realised his mistake of posting comment from his official IP address (from India) and changed it later, is the one who had written the maximum (nine so far) abusive posts. I wonder, if this is called good PR practice at Nokia and whether they believe that everything can be bought like the ad-extravaganza they created in newspapers and TV channels?”

Here is the source. Bear in mind that Microsoft used similar dirty tricks for Vista 7 promotion, as we showed around the time of its release.

Homer goes further by noting that “trolls in COLA [USENET] scoff at the suggestion they’re also hired shills, but clearly this is fairly common. In fact I’d bet most pro-Microsoft nastygrams on the Web come directly from Microsoft. Average Joe knows too little about GNU/Linux to really care, certainly not to the point of launching a vicious tirade against it. Most Android users probably don’t even know its Linux underneath, and Windows users merely endure the daily rigours of Windows, they’re disinclined to “evangelise” it.

“So who are these vicious attack dogs, that spring-up in such a timely fashion, every time someone writes anything negative about Microsoft, it’s products or “partners”, or anything positive about GNU/Linux?”

Homer quotes: “Waggener Edstrom Worldwide Rapid Response Team [...] Burson-Marsteller… Washington, DC”

“In fact I’d bet most pro-Microsoft nastygrams on the Web come directly from Microsoft.”
The source of this? Microsoft’s official page of PR contacts. We wrote about both firms before (see wiki page on Waggener Edstrom and this example of Burson-Marsteller AstroTurf), but “Waggener Edstrom explains its “Perception Management” services,” notes Homer, who quotes: “Uncontrolled buzz can dramatically change perceptions of your brand. [...] The Narrative Network mines online dialogue and traditional media, even foreign language media, for mentions of your brand, your company, your key executives and your competitors. Then using a social networking algorithm, it associates what they say about your brand. [...] While we monitor your narrative network over time, or before and after a product launch or PR announcement, we will find new branches of a story [graphic flashes the phrase "Negative PR"]. This allows us to measure effectiveness of the PR messaging, and insert new messages or themes into your brand storyline, and deploy the right resources to keep the story on message, or adjust tactics to manage perceptions.”

That is the transcript. Disgusting. This is the type of thing Microsoft does behind the scenes. It’s like spying. When you see a blogger personally attacked for voicing opinions that upset Microsoft, watch out for comments that may in fact be arriving from Microsoft’s PR firms and their minions. Here is the source of the transcript. Right from the horse’s mouth.

“And as for Microsoft’s other shill agency,” writes Homer, “Burson-Marsteller [...] Hired A Former CNBC Reporter To Spread Lies About Google”

To quote: “The social network secretly hired a PR firm to plant negative stories about the search giant, The Daily Beast’s Dan Lyons reveals—a caper that is blowing up in their face, and escalating their war.

“For the past few days, a mystery has been unfolding in Silicon Valley. Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy. Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.

“The plot backfired when the blogger turned down Burson’s offer and posted the emails that Burson had sent him. It got worse when USA Today broke a story accusing Burson of spreading a “whisper campaign” about Google “on behalf of an unnamed client.”

Here is the article. As Homer points out, “who is Facebook‘s closest ally?”

“Clearly we’re well beyond the point of having to debate whether or not Microsoft astroturfing is a “conspiracy theory”. It’s a palpable fact.”
An article says: “As Google grows ever more powerful in techdom, and Microsoft’s influence slips, the Redmond software giant is building closer and closer ties to Facebook. The Facebook-Skype deal today is more evidence that Microsoft and Facebook are in lockstep as they fight their mutual foe, Google. And it comes even while Microsoft awaits regulatory approval to conclude its Skype acquisition.”

Here is the respective article.

“Clearly,” notes Homer, “we’re well beyond the point of having to debate whether or not Microsoft astroturfing is a “conspiracy theory”. It’s a palpable fact.

“But none of the above surprises me in the least, it’s just nice to see it spelled out in black and white now and then, to vindicate the stand against gangsters like Microsoft.”

Given that Microsoft employees (“TEs” as Microsoft calls them) were trying to defame me over the years (even comparing me to serial killer Unabomber), I probably have legal basis, but I would rather expose what this criminal organisation is doing, not sue.

Bench PR Contracted to Work on Perception of SUSE

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 5:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More mass hypnosis

Businessman holding a crystal globe

Summary: The industry of spin and lies is assigned the task of working on SUSE’s image

The “perception management” industry if contracted by Attachmate to take care of SUSE, which has had some problems recently.

OpenSUSE has been making some changes to the boot process, which led to problems that we covered recently, aside from security ones [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. The boosting of Novell’s SUSE in the news (e.g. in IDG [1, 2]) may be part of the PR campaign and the sole attempt of Attachmate to get involved is apparently this extended PR contract. To quote: “Public relations company Bench PR has extended its contract for The Attachmate Group now to include Attachmate, Novell, NetIQ and SUSE.” It is valuable to know that part of what we hear about SUSE is not organic; it is the fruits of people assigned to changing perceptions around SUSE. The next post will show how it’s sometimes done.

“[A]fter analysing a five-day working week in the media, across 10 hard-copy papers, ACIJ and Crikey found that nearly 55% of stories analysed were driven by some form of public relations. The Daily Telegraph came out on top of the league ladder with 70% of stories analysed triggered by public relations. The Sydney Morning Herald gets the wooden spoon with (only) 42% PR-driven stories for that week.”

“Over half your news is spin”

USPTO: Not a Joke, But Sure Looks Like One

Posted in America, Google, Patents at 5:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTO building

Summary: Criticism of the USPTO in light of new examples of patents

PATENT systems that lose sight of their original purpose are doomed to fail.

Earlier this month we discovered that even saving lives can constitute a violation:

The ACLU rarely involves itself with patent cases, so it was surprising when the civil liberties group filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to invalidate a patent in the case of Mayo v. Prometheus. Mainstream press coverage portrayed the dispute between two medical testing labs as a mundane argument over “individualized medicine,” but to the ACLU, what’s at stake is nothing less than the freedom of thought. “What Prometheus seeks to monopolize through its patents,” the group wrote, is the “right to think” about a particular correlation between blood chemistry and the optimal dosage of a drug for treating autoimmune disorders.

The above news has helped discredit the USPTO, which can in due course help end software patents (along with another lot). Mind the latest examples of ‘cloud’ patents (impending, but increasingly a recognised problem), several software patents (impending) like this or this, maybe even this new one or that one, A quick look at those new patents or patent applications is a depressing experience. It’s not even a joke.

There are also patents on data transport and patents on cryptology, such as this new one. Companies emit patents instead of real products and these are being boasted in the news or in press releases as though they are new products. Watch what VirnetX is doing when issuing a whole statement just to brag about declination to reexamine a patent. This is what the news has sunk to. This company is based around trolling, so its statements won’t refer to actual products yet more fuss is going to be made [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14] . Here is another new example of software patents from another company and another malicious one from Amazon.

So the news that Amazon has patented a new location-tracking software system isn’t a big deal. Until you notice that it’s also a location-predicting system.

Here is Google’s controversial new US patent:

Google has just been awarded a US patent to switch cars from human-controlled mode into driverless mode, so cars can self-drive. Sergey Brin, otherwise known as the ‘Enlightenment man’, is achieving his driverless car vision.

Here is another report about it. Patents on driving, provided it’s done by a program.

New Zealand Computer Society Still Battles Against Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 4:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The New Zealand Computer Society, along with other groups, defends against invasion through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

TThe patent situation in New Zealand seemed like a done deal at one time, but according to articles we keep seeing, the multinational monopolists never rest and they are trying to construct new instruments to impose on New Zealand a law that the population clearly does not want. Keep an eye on reports like this:

Paul Matthews, the Chief Executive of the New Zealand Computer Society, has expressed concern in the National Business Review over the possible reconsideration of the exclusion of computer programs from patent protection. As we reported in previous articles, it was always possible that this proposed legislation, whether intentionally or not, could be used as a bargaining chip in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. Those in support of the software exclusion appear concerned this may now be a real possibility.

The situation in New Zealand in many way mirrors what goes on in Europe. Without reactionary activism, the monopolists will get their way. They almost always get their way at the end, unless the population rises up because it was shown the scandals. Later this year (maybe tomorrow) we will cover the situation in Europe, which is rather depressing.

Microsoft’s Legal War on Android (and the Role of Novell Patents)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Suit in space

Summary: A few items of interest covering the legal situation Android is in and what led to it

THE news is aflood with patent news because the IT sector is becoming less about products and more about extortion or litigation.

Bloomberg is phasing into the mainstream the “Intellectual Property” nonsense whenever it writes on the subject of patents, even when it covers the SCOracle case that affects Linux and seemingly lasts forever (like the SCO case).

The Microsoft booster Jon Brodkin is trolling Android again, but he points out (by quoting) that “The point of these lawsuits is to raise the price of Android so that it is no longer able to compete…”

This is what Microsoft has been trying to do. We said this back in 2006 (in relation to GNU/Linux).

Another article says:

Drummond adds that Google’s rivals have banded together to acquire patents held by firms like Nortel and Novell “to make sure Google didn’t get them… Our competitors want to impose a ‘tax’ for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.”

Here is another quote:

The whole “land grab” may have been set off in last year’s fourth quarter when networking pioneer Novell, at one point headed by Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, auctioned itself to Attachmate for $2.2 billion, then sold a batch of 882 patents and other technology IP to Microsoft for $450 million. Attachmate is a vehicle controlled by private equity giants Thoma Bravo and Francisco Partners.

We all have Novell to ‘thank’ for that, don’t we? Microsoft’s legal war on Motorola (see this wiki page and latest post)

is still being covered in the news [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and we also have a wiki page about that. On another occasion we will cover the anti-competitive aspect and make further calls to prosecute Microsoft for racketeering, which is what it is. We will leave the “strong” news from another day, not Boxing Day.

Microsoft May Soon Drop to Fourth Position Among Tech Companies

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 4:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The relative value of Microsoft is diminished as new technology companies rise at its expense

TECHRIGHTS is beginning to focus on threats other than Novell and Microsoft because Novell is dead and Microsoft is going nowhere fast.

Consider the fact that IBM occasionally passes Microsoft in terms of market cap (IBM and Apple are both more stable than Microsoft in their key markets) and Google too is said to be approaching Microsoft’s market cap. To quote CNET:

Google, the leader of the Internet era of computing through the aughts, now has a US$200 billion market capitalization and is on the verge of passing Microsoft’s market cap of US$215 billion. Microsoft was the leader of the PC era of computing and continues to dominate the desktop, notebook, and server software market for Intel-based x86 computers.

If we lost track of Microsoft (we used to cover it more frequently in 2010), it is because looking in the long run, Microsoft might not be the #1 threat to GNU/Linux and FOSS. We try to look ahead and spot new barriers with sufficient foresight. Apple begins to trouble us more than Microsoft in some ways.

We often stressed that Microsoft was the #1 foe but also reassured readers that Microsoft was going down; these are not conflicting statements at all because Microsoft basically attacks its #1 rival while going down, hopelessly trying to delay the inevitable (like selling at a loss to stop GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks).

Inquirer Poll: Readers Oppose Patents

Posted in Patents at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Requirer Requires skepticism

Summary: A British news site, The Inquirer, asks its readers for their opinion on patents

Egan Orion writes about a new small survey whose results he labels “Patents are getting out of hand”. To quote the article, “our readers took a dim view of Apple, which they saw as being overly aggressive”. In context:

WE RECENTLY RAN A POLL asking readers of The INQUIRER their views about all the recent patent litigation over mobile technology, and most of those who registered their opinions reported negative views about patents.

A lot of our readers took a dim view of Apple, which they saw as being overly aggressive, with 26 per cent saying, “Yes, Apple needs to find something better to do with its time.”

Furthermore more than half, 58 per cent answered, “Yes, phones and tablets all look the same, get over it.”

I think this popular dissatisfaction with the recent raft of mobile technology patents litigation reflects larger problems with the patents system, especially in the United States.

The people have spoken, again.

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