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Links 27/12/2011: Linux 3.2 RC 7, GNOME 3.3.3

Posted in News Roundup at 4:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Razor-qt: A New Linux Desktop Alternative

      Among GNOME 3, Ubuntu Linux’s Unity, and Windows 8′s Metro, there’s no denying that desktop environments have become a hot topic in 2011. More specifically, mobile-inspired interfaces are becoming increasingly commonplace, challenging users to accept a whole new paradigm in the desktop world.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Qt 5 For Your Web Applications In The Browser

        A Nokia developer shared this week that his Qt 5.0 patch-set for Google Native Client is roughly on par with the Qt4 port, which he hopes to have integrated for upstream development in Qt5. This work allows for the Qt5 tool-kit to be used by web applications within supported web-browsers.

      • Demystifying Krita with Comics

        If you’re like most people, getting started with an app like Krita can be intimidating. Working with a graphics tablet takes as much getting used to as learning to draw with ink and paint. How all the settings and tools work together when “used correctly” is a whole other problem. Fortunately, Krita has just released a training DVD that shows novices how it’s done, and helps fund development at the same time.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3.3.3 Released Just in Time for Christmas

        The GNOME Project announced a few minutes ago, December 23rd, the immediate availability for download and testing of the third development release of the upcoming GNOME 3.4 desktop environment, which brings assorted improvements and bug fixes.

      • Linux Mint’s Cinnamon: A GNOME 3.x shell fork

        GNOME 3.2 keeps losing fans so leading Linux desktop distribution Mint turns its attention to forking the GNOME shell into a GNOME 2.x like desktop: Cinnamon.

  • Distributions

    • Linpus Lite Desktop 1.6 review

      Linpus Lite is a Linux distribution published by Linpus Technologies, Inc., a Linux software solutions provider based in Taiwan. Linpus Lite Desktop is, as the name suggests, the version designed for traditional desktop computing. Aside from that, the company also publishes other editions (for example, Linpus Lite Android Edition and Linpus Lite PCTV), but those are for OEMs and ODMs vendors only, and not available for download by the public. (OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer; ODM – Original Design Manufacturer.)

    • New Releases

      • Clonezilla 1.2.11-40
      • SMS 1.6.3
      • Semplice 2.0.0
      • LITRIX 11-12
      • Grml 2011.12
      • AgiliaLinux 8.0.0: Ooops, We Did It (Again)!

        Stop, you could ask, why is this version 8 then? Because AgiliaLinux is not a brand-new distribution. It is based on MOPSLinux, a project which stopped development. The previous version of AgiliaLinux was more or less a remake of MOPS. The current version is a fully independent development.
        This version was planned for release ages ago. A member of the development team wrote a comment on my post about AgiliaLinux 7 stating that version 8 was due in June. And finally… in October they did it!

      • Tiny Core Linux 4.2 Introduces Tiny Core Plus

        Robert Shingledecker proudly announced earlier today, December 27th, the immediate availability for download of the Tiny Core Linux 4.2 and Tiny Core Plus Linux 4.2 operating systems.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Weaker Euro to hurt Red Hat Q4 revenue

        Business software maker Red Hat Inc forecast fourth-quarter revenue largely below analysts’ expectations hurt mainly by a weaker euro, sending its shares down 7 per cent in after-market trade.

      • Arciero Testifies for Red Hat to Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council

        State Representative James Arciero recently testified before the Massachusetts Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (MEACC) in support of Red Hat, Inc., a Westford high tech company, in their bid proposal for a tax credit to create new jobs at their Westford office. The MEACC subsequently awarded a state tax credit of $3.4 million.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Tweak Your Ubuntu Unity Desktop With MyUnity

            One of the reasons that many hated the Unity desktop in Ubuntu is because there is a lack of customization option. People switched from Windows/Mac to Linux is mainly because Linux offers them an environment where they can customize everything to their liking. When Canonical reduced your ability to do what you want with your desktop, many people start to grunt about it and some even switched to Linux Mint.

          • Ubuntu Tweak 0.6 released
          • Ubuntu IVI Remix Beta 2 Officially Released

            Canonical, through Lars Anderson, announced last evening, December 21st, the immediate availability for download of the Ubuntu In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) Remix operating system.

          • Canonical Releases Beefed Up Database API for Ubuntu One
          • CTL launches MB40U Ubuntu notebook
          • Quality In Ubuntu

            Over the last year quality has become a strong area of focus inside Canonical. This has included re-factoring the roles and responsibilities of QA staff (focusing them on defect analysis as opposed to just bug triage), Pete Graner has been leading an effort to get an extensive automated testing infrastructure in place, Jason Warner has led an effort to put acceptance criteria in place for Canonical upstreams (this requires that a certain level of quality is assured before Unity updates are landed in the development branch of Ubuntu), and I have hired Nicholas Skaggs who starts in January to build out our QA community, with a particular focus on manual testing and triage.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • $25 Linux PC ‘Raspberry Pi’ to Go in Production Early Next Year

      Much awaited credit card size $25 computer Raspberry Pi is about to go in production early next year. First run beta devices are currently being tested. If all goes well, you will be able to purchase it in January.

    • Boxee 1.5 for desktops arrives, but the end is nigh

      Boxee released version 1.5 of its free multimedia streaming software for Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops today, but simultaneously announced that it will cease offering the Boxee desktop software after January 2012. Thereafter, the company will limit its focus to devices such as the D-Link Boxee Box.

    • Boxee Mac media player reaches end-of-life with new version

      The Boxee project has come a long way from its humble origins as a fork of the Xbox Media Center, bringing easy video playback and a couch-to-screen UI to the Mac, then later to Windows and Ubuntu, and now to the company’s own dedicated Boxee Box

    • Boxee 1.5 for desktops arrives, but the end is nigh

      Boxee released version 1.5 of its free multimedia streaming software for Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops today, but simultaneously announced that it will cease offering the Boxee desktop software after January 2012. Thereafter, the company will limit its focus to devices such as the D-Link Boxee Box.

    • Boxee updates apps to version 1.5, says no more upgrades for PC users

      Boxee rolled out version 1.5 of its Windows, Mac, and Ubuntu apps today, but the news is bittersweet: according to the company, this will be the last time it issues an upgrade for PC. The platform’s future will be on the Boxee Box and the other streaming devices that run Boxee OS, from partners like Iomega and Nuu Media. It’s not a totally surprising move — the upcoming Boxee Live TV won’t be usable with a computer, and Boxee has had some issues getting major partners on board with its PC software anyway — but we’re betting there are plenty of home theater PC fans feeling abandoned on the day after Christmas.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • 10 Android apps for holidays
        • 7 Best Free Android Home Computer Emulators
        • 5 beautiful Android Launchers worth trying out
        • Android Approved By Pentagon For DoD Usage, Major Setback For iPhone

          The Pentagon has approved a version of Android running on Dell hardware to be used by DoD officials, along with the BlackBerry. The approval of Android by the DoD is a major setback for Apple’s iPhone.

          This doesn’t mean that DoD employees can use any Android phone. The Pentagon has approved only Dell’s hardware running Android 2.2. Interestingly Dell recently discontinued its Streak phone which runs Android 2.2. Dell is now offering Dell Venue which runs on Android 2.2. So, this is the phone which DoD employees can use.

        • Android Is Finally Coming Back to Linux Kernel

          Tim Bird in collaboration with many Linaro and individual developers, including Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman, announced the beginning of the Android Mainlining Project, to include Android’s patches and features into the mainline Linux kernel.

        • Sharp unveils the AQUOS PHONE IS14SH – a 2.3 feature phone for the masses

          While Sharp has never had a strong foothold in Europe or the US, the Japanese manufacturer has been the leader in the mobile segment in its own country for many years. Sharp does have a few high-end Android phones like the AQUOS PHONE 102SH which features a 4.5-inch 720p display, 12 megapixel camera, a dual-core 1GHz TI OMAP4430 processor and a waterproof body, but the majority of their sales are comprised of clam-shell or slide-out feature phones.

        • “$100 ICS Tablet” Novo7 is available for pre-order… for $120

          More than a few people got excited at the prospect of a $100 Ice Cream Sandwich tablet when a no-name manufacturer sprang out of China marketing the Novo7… and immediately became less excited at a $60 shipping fee that seemed more than a little fishy. Now the same low-powered tablet is sitting pretty with a pre-order status on import sites PandaWill and Merimobiles, both of which seem legitimate enough as far as Internet storefronts go. The latter is claiming an $80 discount off of the “retail” price of $200.

        • Bringing Android/Linux Home in 2012
        • HTC Flyer’s price dropped to £199, sale season starts early

          Really wanted a tablet for Christmas but the high prices put you off? Well Dixons online in the UK could well have come to the rescue by dropping the price of the HTC Flyer to £199 for the wifi only version.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Amazon Kindle Fire Will Burn Your Fingers If You Try To Root

        Amazon is a great company when it comes to buying physical stuff — their delivery is great. But when it comes to the digital content Amazon is as freaky as Apple. The company DRMs its books locking users into Amazon ecosystem. It also ‘endorsed’ usage of DRM for Android apps. Now, the company is playing Apple/Sony by wasting its resources in pushing patches to remove roots and ROMs from jail-broken Kindle Fire. Amazon recently pushed an update (6.2.1) for its Kindle Fire which breaks the root on jail-broken devices.

      • Kindle Fire Rooted Again

        One lesson that Amazon seems to not learn despite being a heavy Linux user is — don’t waste your time on un-rooting your devices. Let the developed do what they want to do with the devices they ‘bought’. This is a cat and mouse game where in the end the developers will win.

      • Sony Tablet S To Get Android 4.0

        Sony has finally given some indications of upgrading their Sony Tablet S to the version 4.0 of Android. Sony has not made any official statement, but a forum moderator did reply to a thread stating that the company is looking into ICS. He also said that there is no commitment at this moment. This language is vague but typical and safer for the thread moderator.

Free Software/Open Source

  • FLOSS for Science Books November 2011
  • Two decades of Linux: the big open source stories of 2011

    In 1999, Linux founder Linus Torvalds joked about plans for world domination. But as the Linux kernel celebrated its 20th birthday this year, Linux, and open source in general, have achieved a limited version of world domination. As we reported in August, Linux in its many forms now powers a majority of the world’s supercomputers. Apache web servers running on Linux and other Unix operating systems serve up the majority of the web sites on the Internet, and Linux powers some of the biggest sites on Earth—including Facebook, Google and Wikipedia. And embedded versions of Linux are part of the explosion of network-connected consumer devices, most notably as the basis of Google’s Android mobile OS.

  • Encouraging the next generation of hackers part 2 – Software implementation
  • Open*Business: 2011 in review
  • Open*Business 2011 best images

    The visual components on opensource.com are an important element to the look and feel of our content. The images help set the tone for the site. The imagery embodies qualities such as motivational, editorial, authoritative (but not authoritarian), human, and optimism.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Download Firefox 10.0 Beta 1 and Firefox 9.0.1 for Linux

        A day after the release of Mozilla Firefox 9.0.1 security fix, Mozilla unleashed today, December 23rd, the first Beta version of the upcoming Mozilla Firefox 10.0 web browser for Linux operating systems, and other supported platforms.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice seeks bug hunters

      The Document Foundation has announced its first bug hunting session for version 3.5 of the open source LibreOffice office suite – to be held online on 28 and 29 December. On those days, the Quality Assurance (QA) team and some experienced developers will be available on the IRC channel #libreoffice (IRC link) from 8am to 10pm UTC and will accept bug reports not only via Bugzilla, usually the only option, but also by chat and email.

    • USPTO Rejects Another Oracle Patent, Google Looks Stronger

      USPTO has presented Google with a last minute Christmas gift by rejecting Oracle’s U.S. Patent No. 6,192,476. According to Groklaw, on December 20 the USPTO issued a final rejection in the ex parte reexamination. All of the claims of the patent were subject to reexamination, including Claim 14. Claim 14 of the patent was the only claim being asserted by Oracle in this litigation, writes Groklaw. This rejection means Oracle has already lost 17 out of 21 patents, including all seven of the patent’s independent claims.

  • Healthcare

    • When Medicare Isn’t Medicare

      Let’s say you have a Ford and decide to replace everything under the hood with Hyundai parts, including the engine and transmission. Could you still honestly market your car as a Ford?

      That question gets at the heart of the controversy over who is being more forthright about GOP Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to “save” Medicare, Republicans or Democrats.

  • Project Releases

  • Programming

    • LLVM 3.1 Will Enhance AVX & Bring AVX2 Support

      While LLVM 3.0 has been barely out for one month and a release schedule for LLVM 3.1 hasn’t even been plotted yet, there are already some new details about what this next release of the extremely popular open-source compiler infrastructure will offer.

      In particular, LLVM 3.1 is poised to offer bug-fixes and overall improved support for Advanced Vector Extensions. AVX is the x86 instruction set extension that first appeared with Intel Sandy Bridge processors in early 2011 and then made their way to the AMD side with the Bulldozer launch.


  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Under the Surface of Non-OPEC Supply

      In 2002 Non-OPEC oil production contributed 60.75% of the world’s total oil supply. But technology, competition, and access to capital through listings on stock exchanges have not been able to overcome limits of geology. Global giants such as Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil have essentially abandoned the effort to meaningfully expand their oil reserves. Instead, they are now shifting course in favor of a strong, natural gas emphasis. The result is that Russia in the past decade has accounted for nearly all of the supply growth in crude oil, among Non-OPEC producers. Indeed, without Russia, Non-OPEC supply would be in steep decline. Instead, it’s merely flat.

  • Finance

    • ’2012: What’s in Store…’

      The Private Global Power Elite embedded in major governments is dead set on imposing World Government on us sooner rather than later. Let’s look at 12 mega-processes – veritable “Triggers” – that we infer they are using to achieve their goals.

      ­All roads lead to World Government. This should come as no surprise. London’s Financial Times openly articulated this view in an article by their chief foreign affairs commentator, Gideon Rachman, published on 8 December 2009, whose title said it all: “And Now for a World Government.” These goals are echoed by the Trilateral Commission, CFR and Bilderberg insiders – even by the Vatican.

      Macro-managing planet Earth is no easy matter. It requires strategic and tactical planning by a vast think-tank network allied to major elite universities whereby armies of academics, operators, lobbyists, media players and government officers interface, all abundantly financed by the global corporate and banking superstructure.

    • Argentina tango lessons: Europe’s turn for financial danse macabre?

      Exactly ten years ago Argentina suffered a full-scale financial and governmental collapse. That was the end-result of over a decade of doing exactly what the IMF, international bankers, rating agencies and global “experts” told us to do.

      Then President Fernando de la Rúa kept applying all IMF recipes to the very last minute, making us swallow their poisonous “remedies”.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Jack Abramoff Explains The Return On Investment For Lobbying: 22,000% Is Surprisingly Low

      We’ve talked a lot about the political process and how things work in DC to get things like SOPA pretty far along, even as the public seems to be almost universally against it. As you hopefully know by now, Larry Lessig has been focusing his attention on the issue of the deep-seeded corruption in the way our government works today, and his recent book, Republic, Lost focuses deeply on the issue. A few weeks back, Lessig did a fantastic interview on the subject with the Boston Review. In it, he describes how Congress picks up on unpopular legislation for the sake of scaring people (on all sides) into donating to their campaigns…

  • Civil Rights

    • Analyzing Carrier IQ Profiles

      As we explained in our post on Carrier IQ’s architecture, one of the main factors in determining what the Carrier IQ stack does on a particular phone is the “Profile” that is running on that device. Profiles are files that are typically written by Carrier IQ Inc. to the specifications of a phone company or other client, and pushed to the phone by Carrier IQ Inc. using its own command and control infrastructure. Profiles contain instructions about what data to collect, how to aggregate it, and where to send it.

    • Obama Gave Manning “Verdict First, Trial Later.”
    • Why Stop Billions When You Can Stop Millions….?

      You will receive the same thing I received…a form letter mechanically stating the reasons to support SOPA. Jobs, yada, yada, yada. Protecting American IP, yada, yada, yada….it takes a staffer about 30 seconds to scan your email and hit send on thier boiler-plate response.

      You and your “opinion” are forgotten in less than a minute.

      Get that person on the phone and raise hell. Remind said staffer that the congressman from X state is going to lose his job over support of this bill. Don’t let them lapse into talking points. Sure you are going to spend some time on hold but outside of a personal appearance, your phone call is the most effective way of getting your message across.

      Regardless of what happens to Lamar Smith personally or professionally, he will forever be known as The Man That Broke The Internet.

Increasing Number of Complaints About Increasing Number of Gates-funded AstroTurf Groups for Education ‘Reform’

Posted in Bill Gates at 5:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates map

Summary: A somewhat belated roundup of reports about what Bill Gates is doing to privatise (and perhaps monopolise) US education

THE school/public education agenda has been mentioned briefly in our daily links, but we have not touched on this subject in relation to the Gates Foundation for quite some time.

Things have not changed for the better because Gates’ ego is still funding AstroTurf groups that do the opposite of that they claim to be doing. Many of these are funded by Bill Gates for his selfish agenda and teachers bemoan this over and over again. To quote a fairly recent observation (we catch up chronologically):

Since the last board meeting, it was announced by Norm Rice of the Seattle Foundation that he was funding TFA, Inc. This is the same foundation that in 2010 received almost $6M in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The same Bill Gates who last year gave TFA, Inc. $2.5M to open up an office in Seattle.

We are hoping that people who work for Gates on this agenda will realise how evil this agenda is. Many such people are already fleeing. To quote a recent article:

Hilary Pennington, director of education, postsecondary success, and special initiatives in the foundation’s United States program since 2007, told grantees in an e-mail last month that she would leave her position by spring 2012 to “get closer to work on the ground.” Pennington, who has led the foundation’s gradually intensifying involvement in issues of college completion, productivity and technological innovation, said in announcing her departure that she was optimistic that the foundation’s work would continue because “I am so confident about the strength of the strategy, the [postsecondary success] team, and our grantees and other partners.”

We wrote about more such departures before. Going back to examples of Gates’ privatisation of education systems:

Our state PTA is busy promoting charter schools along with the Gates backed League of Education Voters, Stand for Children and DFER.

Some of those front groups were covered here before and their Gates ties shown.

Gates’ folks are trying to bash and silence the truth, which does not have as much PR funds (if any) allocated to it. Teachers, parents and students/pupils are helpless in this battle. Here is a relevant article on this subject:

The New York Times recently ran a story portraying the Gates Foundation as the puppeteer of American education policy, bribing or bullying scholars and politicians into dancing as it desires. Rick Hess, of the American Enterprise Institute, feels that the story misrepresented his position on the potentially corrupting influence of foundations, making it sound as though he were referring to the Gates Foundation in particular when in fact he was referring to the impact of foundations generally.

Front groups are easy to expose, but they keep changing names and “one of their wealthiest financiers, Bill Gates” (to quote this article) funds the shell du jour as long as it promotes his agenda. To quote further:

But, this is how the PTA has worked over the past few years in our state. From my experience as a Legislative Chair during the last legislative session, which was an example of top down decision making using typical ed reform manipulative language to push the agenda of one of their wealthiest financiers, Bill Gates, who has funded the National PTA for $2M as well as the Washington State PTA this year for $191,000 and is a big proponent of charter schools, I have seen how far away the Washington State PTA has drifted from its’ roots as an advocate for parents, teachers and students. The PTA in our state no longer represents all or even many of the parents, teachers or students which explains one of the reasons for the quick growth of Parents Across America.

There is more here:

Besides the fact that they have received a few mil from Gates?

Part of Washington State PTA’s mission is to be a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for the well-being and education of every child. Charters could promote school choice, flexibility and local autonomy, and give communities new options.

As critics of Gates point out, the PR/spin that their PR agents keep plating and seeding (yes, they hired many and spend hundreds of millions on it) keep bubbling to the surface, arguably showing the futility of fighting against this sort of corruption. With Melinda Gates pushing her agenda in the Huff & Puff (quite frankly as usual) we constantly see that PR and money can trump truth. Most people out there still think that Gates reformed his behaviour.

This is class war. They don’t use guns or anything heavy in this war, but they loot massively and enslave people around them, including teachers. Mind this blog post “Privatize Everything! Say the 21st Century Pirates”. It says quite shrewdly that:

Gates, along with hedge funds, are pushing an agenda of privatizing public schools, and funding a PR push in support of that cause with films like “Waiting for Superman” and the NBC “Education Nation” that included a panel with the title “Does Education Need a Katrina?“.

Diane Ravitch’s book review with the heading “Class Warfare” addresses some of these issues and the title is not so strong on a relative basis.

“One of the chairs of the Gates Foundation is quoted: “There’s class warfare, all right,” Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”” (source)

Quoting further:

The wealthiest American is Bill Gates, who in recent months has attacked teacher tenure, teacher pay schedules, seniority layoffs and smaller class sizes. The Gates Foundation is now actively pursuing those regressive goals: it provided significant resources to promoting the anti-teacher, anti-union propaganda movie “Waiting for Superman.” (Gates himself appeared in “Waiting for Superman” as an ‘educational expert.’) Since the second wealthiest American, Warren Buffet, does his philanthropy through the Gates Foundation, he is effectively aligned with Gates’ educational agenda.


Teachers and teacher unions have not sought out this class warfare. To the contrary, the American Federation of Teachers made an effort to establish a dialogue with Bill Gates, inviting Gates to address our last national convention in Seattle. This overture had its critics, but it would be a serious mistake for unions to talk only to those who agreed with us. By the same token, we need to be honest about the results of our efforts at dialogue: Gates has become outspoken in his anti-teacher pronouncements. There’s not much left to discuss when he assumes such a posture.

It’s getting quite serious and OWS protesters should not lose sight of Gates. He uses the most PR to whitewash his past and he knows why he is doing it. The population increasingly recognises its real enemies. They are domestic ones.

One of Gates’ PR angles is that Khan Academy is a model to be mimicked, but as several bloggers and others writers point out [1, 2], that is just a load of nonsense. The PR offensive has not got the support of experts. As one critic of the foundation points out, however, Bill and Melinda are just preaching, they are not listening. To further illustrate this point: “Like tens of thousands of folks (soon to be millions), I now follow Melinda Gates on Twitter. I also follow her husband’s Tweets.” They never respond, they just instruct. It’s more like tyranny, even dictatorship, to use words from the previously covered op-ed. As another critic points out:

Melinda tweeting is not going to solve the ‘communication problem’ at the Gates Foundation. Twitter is talking. There is no way to ensure Melinda is listening to the small dairy farmer in Kenya who probably works too many hours to use Twitter anyway.

The Gates family can screw up the education system for their profit and not face the consequences, let alone the liability. As Alliance Magazine put it some months ago:

It’s a truism that foundations lack accountability – unlike (democratic) governments and companies, which are at least in theory accountable to voters and shareholders. The justification for this – in the eyes of the philanthropy world, and presumably the wider world – is the assumption that foundations probably do quite a lot of good, and almost certainly don’t do any harm.

Bill and his wife are meanwhile celebrating on the taxpayers’ ATM (half a trillion dollars per year for education) with permission from Duncan, their accomplice, whose role in this we covered here before. Here is more on that:

In anticipation of the new NCLB initiative rolled out yesterday (my response in the making), Arne Duncan announced recently a new corporate ed reform money maker called “Digital Promise,” which promises to fill the pockets of some of Duncan’s favorite techie sidekicks who are already lining up at Duncan’s “innovation-inspiring” federal ATM machine at the U. S. Department of Ed. Take Reed Hastings, for instance (please), whose rattle-trap outfit, NetFlix, is beginning to flicker toward extinction just as Hastings moves into the edu-biz in a big way.

What can be done to stop Gates, his AstroTurfers, the PR machine, and corrupt politicians who let him take over childrens’ minds? It is a truly serious issue even if it is not purely tech-related.

Bill Gates Labelled “Public Health Dictator”

Posted in Bill Gates, Patents at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Gates has created a huge blood-buying operation that only cares about money, not about people.”

AIDS organisation manager, December 2009 (New York Times)


Summary: Criticisms of monopolisation in the medical field and another appointment from a drug company, consisting and reinforcing yet another conflict of interest

THE NEW empire of Bill Gates seeks to monopolise more areas of life, not just software. Some of the tricks are familiar, including the attack on dissent and marginalisation of competition.

We have a wiki page for the uninitiated and today we present a recent article where Gates is called “public health dictator” because he ought to be called that. To quote a weak response to it:

Last week, Laura Freschi and Alanna Shaikh published a piece in Alliance magazine that raised some interesting and thought-provoking question about the role of the Gates Foundation in setting the global health agenda. They conclude that Gates is becoming a “public health dictator” because of his financial resources and the power and influence that come as a result. They are, of course, not the first to complain about Gates’s focus on technological solutions to global health challenges. Some of the most recent grumblings were in response to the Foundation’s “reinvent the toilet” campaign this year, but similar concerns have been voiced for years. The Foundation places too much emphasis on technological innovation and “quick fixes”; their undue influence diverts funding from other priorities; their goals are not realistic. These are all valid concerns which deserve to be voiced (heck, we have already written about it here), particularly in a field where nearly everyone has a different opinion on how problems should be solved.

This article is actually somewhat of a coverup, but we link it here anyway. It is worth noting that around the same time a bully called Tachi, the head of health, left the foundation, only to be replaced by another guy with a conflict of interest. To quote:

Mundel succeeds Tachi Yamada, who came from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to run the Gates Foundation global health program.

He comes from Novartis, which we previously wrote about in relation to Gates. One point that we emphasises is that such appointments help sell products (essentially patents) under the disguise of being ‘charity’ or goodwill. As a Reuters report helps show, Novartis gets embedded in Gates’ bed even further:

The Gates Foundation, belonging to Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda, could poach Novartis’s head of global development, a Swiss newspaper reported on Sunday, citing two sources.

This will be good news for Novartis, which will now have one of its people lobby politicians to buy drugs at taxpayers’ expense. He can lobby them not as a corporate head but as “charity” guy. Wonderful loophole and guess who is investing (for profit) in those drug companies? Bill Gates of course. This not only affects healthcare but also other areas where Bill Gates became a dictator. Another example will be given in the next post.

Novell Products Dumped Quickly

Posted in Mail, Novell at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell’s portfolio fails to survive


Summary: A roundup of December stories where companies or institutions dump Novell and also make it known

THE tracking of Novell’s demise is made hard by the fact that it went private. It is also made hard by the fact that companies which dump Novell need not make it publicly known. But we do our best to collect anecdotal evidence and this post will supply some.

Here is an article from December that says:

The new Active Directory, which took the place of Novell to store network accounts, became visible this year. Users now log on to campus computers using an Active Directory account and their Netpass username and password.

Here is another one:

The much-maligned Novell GroupWise e-mail program may soon become a thing of Smith’s past: ITS is considering switching to the Google Apps for Education platform. Smith has used GroupWise since September 2000, though over the years many students have expressed dissatisfaction with the program’s organizational system and size limitations.

Here is a massive loss for Novell:

The council is replacing Novell’s Groupwise collaboration tool and Microsoft’s word processing and spreadsheet software for its 3,500 staff, it said in a statement. The switch is expected to save the council £3 million over the next four years.

They are getting rid of GroupWise:

Research by the council’s IT department earlier this year found two viable options for the shift: Microsoft Office 365 and Google. A tender was put out in July to find a company to help migrate the council from its current Novell GroupWise system to one of those two solutions, including supplying licensing, and the winner was the London-based Google reseller Cloudreach.

In LA, after a fuss was made, it turns out that:

Google will pay up to $350,000 per year for those employees to use that system, which is run by Novell, a competitor.

It took a lot of smears against Google to achieve this. Proprietary Groupwise is not necessarily more privacy-respecting than Google. They ought to just deploy Free software, instead. Here is more background information [1, 2], which meets the chagrin of Microsoft boosters. It should not be about security because proprietary software that is native has security problems too. Anyway, it may be too late to reverse this decision. Groupwise might live another day in LA. As for Novell’s other proprietary software, one article says that in provisioning “Key vendors dominating this market space include Oracle Corp., IBM Corp., CA Technologies, and Novell Inc.” How long for? Attachmate is too passive.

Regarding proprietary identity management, Novell is mentioned here. Remember that Attachmate does not promote Novell products, so those pieces of software are in a terminal state right now.

Quoting one last new article:

Licensing revenues are also derived from arrangements in which we enable third party technology, such as solutions from Novell, to be used with our OEM partners’ products.

At Novell, proprietary software is what everything is about, except the incubation known as OpenSUSE.

Update on OpenSUSE: Novell/Microsoft Incubator for Free Labour

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 4:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Some bits and pieces about OpenSUSE, which paints as “community” and “open” a rather proprietary product (SLE*) with Microsoft patent tax

OpenSUSE has been fairly quiet in December, with the exception of a new release. Google’s funds for the projects have dried up by now (with exceptions) and some fixes/adaptations are late to arrive, so some people complained that OpenSUSE did not work on their hardware. There are derivatives/flavours like OpenSUSE Edu Li-f-e 12.1 or even this more obscure Live CD:

The third version of the Oyranos Colour Management LiveCD is based on openSUSE-12.1 and will run on x86_64 compatible PC´s. I placed the ISO image yesterday after some preparations on the better accessible SourceForge site for download. The CD project starts into a instantly colour managed desktop, which is unique under Linux.

SUSE is looking for free testers for SLE* and various for-profit products [1, 2] including fog and proprietary. Uwe writes about SUSE Manager and Studio for instance. The OpenSUSE project is just an incubator for Microsoft Linux. Volunteers will sooner or later realise this and for one of them, Sascha, the reports are going PDF-only, which is a step back. Other SUSE enthusiasts who install the distribution may also realise that they can get the same elsewhere, without the Microsoft association. There are site changes ongoing at the incubator. There are hardly any SUSE bloggers left there (not active ones anyway). “Let’s start to get an openSUSE running on the machine,” wrote Danny, who later posted some progress updates [1, 2] that appeared in Planet SUSE. It’s also where Masim’s posts on openSUSE [1, 2, 3] have been appearing. The number of active SUSE bloggers declined over the years and it shows. We just don’t have much to say and show about the project anymore.

The Exodus of Novell Executives and Life After Novell

Posted in Novell at 4:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: What Novell’s heads, including the CEO, are up to after the group disbanded

NEWS from December was interesting in the sense that it had many examples of departing Novell staff.

Several years ago we wrote about Masie, who left the company quite shortly (9 months) after it had signed the deal with Microsoft — a deal which he tried to defend. His role at Novell is still mentioned in the news.

Here is the appointment of one who used to work for Novell:

Prior to that, he spent 14 years at Novell after the company acquired Excelan where he was a lead developer for the LANWorkplace product, the first suite of TCP/IP utilities for DOS and Windows.

This goes a very long way back. How about David Bradford?

That’s something Fusion-io had, and even if you go back to 1985, when I joined the executive team at Novell, we had a very broad market we were going after. Every corporation on planet earth needed what Novell sold, and by the same token, I believe every corporation needs what HireVue sells. I’m very excited to be here.

Mark Cuban also used to work for Novell. To quote:

3:08 p.m.- MC says he first learned to program on Ramix (not sure I spelled that right) at Indiana University then started using Basic, C++ and a number of other programming languages and put them to use working for Novell out of college and eventually started MicroSolutions (which he later sold for millions of dollars).

Here is Danny Young from Google speaking about his time at Novell:

He also worked at Novell Inc. and Intel Corp. both in the early ’90s.

The most coverage came from Wolfe. “Wolfe lost his post as president of Novell Americas after the company was bought out.”

Timothy Wolfe got a new job [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19]. Probably a step up for him. To quote one article:

Wolfe is a 20-year executive with IBM IBM Latest from The Business Journals From Intel to Cuomo and the unions, a year of big dealsBob Dutkowsky: Enjoys helping others succeedAustin gets on tech bandwagon, steers it among leaders Follow this company and mostly recently was North American president of software company Novell Novell Latest from The Business Journals DBJ Tech Watch for Tuesday 12/20: News of Google, Oracle, Facebook, Dish and moreMicrosoft: Novell lacks evidence in antitrust caseAnother Microsoft antitrust trial after Utah jury deadlock? Follow this company .

Here is another former Noveller moving on:

Skok joined Matrix from SilverStream Software, which he founded in June 1996. Prior to its July 2002 acquisition by Novell, SilverStream was a public company that had reached a revenue run rate in excess of $100M, with approximately 800 employees and offices in more than 20 countries around the world. His work as a value added investor is best known for helping JBoss take its Open Source business to a successful exit with its sale to Red Hat, and for helping AppIQ, Tabblo and Diligent Technologies, which have all had successful exits, from their inceptions to their acquisitions by HP and IBM.

The CEO of Novell, who was pretty much unemployed for a while (as we noted quite recently) joins IntraLinks as CEO. This did not receive much coverage. “IntraLinks (NYSE: IL), a leading provider of critical information exchange solutions, today announced the appointment of Ronald W. Hovsepian as the company’s new president and chief executive officer effective as of the close of business on December 15, 2011. Mr. Hovsepian was also appointed as a director to the company’s board of directors.”

Here is another page about it. This hardly received any coverage. Another former CEO of Novell finds a new place to work (“Former Novell CEO Robert Frankenberg”). This received more coverage than the Hovsepian appointment. One of the former heads of SUSE becomes CEO as well. “The new company has been set up by the founder of the original ownCloud project, Frank Karlitschek, and Markus Rex, a former SUSE/Novell executive who left Novell at the time of the Attachmate acquisition.” They also received good capital to start with.

Beetar, another manager who worked at Novell, has moved on. She becomes MD at Experian:

Before joining Experian SA, Beetar was country manager for computer software firm Novell. She previously held senior positions at Oracle and MWeb.

More here

As an aside, there is a family dispute of a Novell salesman surfacing on the Web (Pamela vs. Walter Wilson). Incidentally, an obituary was posted this month for Daniel B. Wilson, who had also worked for Novell. Here is the personal story of one with Novell experience:

Dubey established a campus-wide high speed network using fiber optic cables and structured cabling to connect LANs installed in various departments. He designed and developed online computer applications in client server mode using the Oracle 7 database and PowerBuilder 4.0 as a front end tool. He procured installed and commissioned LANs in various departments using Novell Netware 3.11.

So he deployed Novell long before they died. Novell is basically not totally dead. There are events at the Provo Novell Campus, but Novell’s days are numbered. Horace Dediu writes about the legacy of Novell:

It wasn’t until PC servers and server software like that from Novell and networking from 3COM became commonplace that mainframes and minis began to fade.

Novell is now important for legal reasons. To quote this new report:

Cooperation with our international counterparts is at an all-time high on enforcement matters. Virtually every day the division is in close contact with its counterparts all around the world on a variety of matters, including both investigations and policy matters. For example, with waivers from the parties, the division worked closely with the German Federal Cartel Office on an investigation into the acquisition of certain patents and patent applications from Novell by CPTN, marking the first significant merger enforcement cooperation the division had with Germany in twenty years.

Novell, having fought SCO in court, ended up giving Microsoft and Apple anti-Linux ammunition.

Over at Reuters we find out more new information about the purchase of Novell, specifically:

Late last year, Novell was sold to Attachmate Corp, owned by an investment group led by Francisco Partners, Golden Gate Capital and Thoma Bravo. More recently, Lawson Software Inc was acquired by GGC Software Holdings Inc in a deal spearheaded by banker Michal Katz.

This is also covered in [1, 2, 3]. One last article of interest says:

While it is commonly understood that the existence of network effects should figure prominently in the analysis of entry barriers in many technology-driven markets, this same dynamic may also play a role in antitrust standing analysis. In Novell v. Microsoft Corp., 505 F.3d 302 (4th Cir. 2007), the 4th Circuit affirmed a district court opinion holding that the maker of WordPerfect had antitrust standing to assert claims based on allegations that Microsoft, believing that WordPerfect constituted a middleware threat to its operating system monopoly, damaged the product by withholding interoperability information, coercing original equipment manufacturers into not licensing it, and requiring Novell to use Windows-specific technologies that degraded the performance of the product on other operating systems.

Although Novell was not a ­competitor or consumer in the personal ­computer operating system market, the court found that Microsoft’s anti-competitive conduct had potentially injured Novell by encouraging a network effect that would disadvantage Novell: “Microsoft’s use of its monopoly power in the operating-system market to foreclose the distribution channels for Novell’s applications…would have naturally tended to decrease Novell’s market share and consequently decrease the value of its applications.…This loss of market share could make a competing operating system featuring Novell’s office-productivity applications less attractive to consumers, harming that competing operating system’s potential to surmount the barrier protecting the Windows monopoly.” Id. at 316.

We ought to remember Novell as the company which once competed with Microsoft, then became an ally of Microsoft, and ultimately gave its patents for Microsoft to attack FOSS with. This is a managerial failure at Novell. People who used to work at Novell are still out there in other companies, but they are likely to be harmless there. Still, it is interesting to see what they end up doing.

SCO’s Front Page Advertises Microsoft Product

Posted in Site News at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SCO Web site advertises Microsoft

Summary: SCO’s gift to Microsoft or simply an innocent coincidence

LAST night in IRC we discussed SCO and it turned out that their homepage now endorses and advertises Microsoft’s hype V, not System V. Several years ago Bruce Perens wrote that “Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

IRC Proceedings: December 26th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz



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