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Links 21/1/2012: Linux 3.3, GNOME Shell 3.2.2

Posted in News Roundup at 10:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Linux Setup – Goblin, TechBytes/OpenBytes

    Who are you, and what do you do?

    I run a blog and co-host an audiocast which highlights diversity in the computing world. I emphasise FOSS solutions [and] champion the plethora of choice in today’s market.

    I run these projects as hobby and it’s as far removed from my real job as is probably possible.

  • American Drone Controls Experiencing Virus Assault Migrate to Linux

    After the control systems of American military drones became contaminated with Windows USB viruses in 2011, there has been a shift of these control systems to adopting Linux operating system, published TheRegister on January 12, 2012.

  • Online banking has multiple elephants in its room
  • Server

    • NGINX: The Faster Web Server Alternative

      This formerly obscure Web server is gaining popularity with businesses. NGINX is now the new number two Web server, largely because it promises a fast, light, open-source alternative to Apache. Here’s why it’s attracting so much attention.

    • Cloud, Big Data, Virtualization Driving Enterprise Linux Growth

      Linux is poised for continued growth among new and existing users thanks to lower total cost of ownership, technical features and security, among other reasons, according a recent Linux Foundation survey.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Linux 3.3 goes into testing

      Linux 3.3 can change the size of ext4 filesystems faster and supports ACPI 5.0, LPAE for ARM processors, Ethernet teaming and hot replace for software RAID. Meanwhile, Linux 3.1 has reached the end of the line, and the Linux Ate My RAM web site explains why Linux often appears to use all of the RAM.

    • Graphics Stack

      • An Open-Source, Reverse-Engineered Mali GPU Driver

        There is some exciting news to break today on Phoronix… Coming up at FOSDEM (the Free Open-Source Developers’ European Meeting in Brussels) will be the formal announcement of an open-source, reverse-engineered graphics driver for the ARM Mali graphics processor. OpenGL ES triangles are in action on open-source code. Will this be the start of fully open-source ARM graphics drivers for Android and Linux?

      • Bumblebee 3.0 Released (Nvidia Optimus GPU Switching For Linux)

        Nvidia Optimus is a technology available for notebooks, used to increases battery life by switching the dedicated GPU off when it’s not needed and then switching it on again when it’s needed. When the dedicated GPU is off, the integrated graphics chip is used.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Xfce’s Early April Fool’s Joke

      I saw a post on the Xfce blog Tuesday or Wednesday about changing versioning scheme of the next Xfce release. I saved the URL knowing that I’d want to write about it. Just thank goodness that a storm blew in and caused my computer to shut off. Otherwise, I might have never seen the Update 2. Dirty rats.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE SC 4.8 Upcoming Features

        GWENVIEW Just like Dolphin 2.0 will meet icon animations, Gwenview will get some animations and transitions of its own. The following video demonstrates both Gwenview’s and Dolphin’s. This video also demonstrates the new QML based device notifier.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Shell 3.2.2 improves extensions support

        Developer Owen Taylor has released version 3.2.2 of the GNOME Shell, an update which fixes a number of bugs in the GNOME 3.2 control panel. These include several which have previously caused problems with the recently launched extensions web site at extensions.gnome.org. The new version allows extensions to be reliably uninstalled from a web browser – something which had previously been problematic – and allows extensions to be installed using WebKit-based browsers like Epiphany and Chrome.

      • All aboard the Bendy Bus

        Bendy Bus will listen for D-Bus method calls and property changes made by your client program, and execute transitions within the FSM as coded in your FSM description file. These transitions may, for example, change the FSM’s state, change data stored in the FSM (technically making it a nondeterministic DFSM, but that’s immaterial), emit D-Bus signals, throw D-Bus errors, etc. Why do I say it’s a nondeterministic FSM? Because you may specify several transitions between the same pair of states which are triggered by the same (for example) D-Bus method call. Bendy Bus will randomly choose one of the transitions to take. For example, if your client program calls a frobnicate : string → string D-Bus method, you could code one transition which successfully replies to the method call with a string return value, and another transition which simulates a failure in the D-Bus service by throwing a D-Bus error instead.

      • Multitouch is near

        So, after a few strives during the last year, the multitouch Xorg patches were posted and merged to master last month, making multitouch available in the upcoming Xorg release. This turns the multitouch GTK+ branch into a suitable candidate for GTK+ 3.4…

      • GNOME Shell 3.3.4 Released

        The Gnome team has announced the release of Gnome Shell 3.3.4. The new version comes with fixes and improvements. It has fixed the new-workspace drop indicator that sometimes getting stuck. It has added ‘browse’ for labels for dash items – once a tooltip is showing it can switch to other items without a delay.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Electronic Arts, Red Hat Particularly Vulnerable To European Slowdown

        Although the European debt crisis is raging on halfway across the world – out of sight of most Americans – the impact could hit home. And in a big way. As my colleague, Karim Rahemtulla, pointed out in September 2011, “The reality is that a European crash – even a slowdown – would have a devastating impact on U.S. growth.”

      • IBM and Red Hat Introduce Local Virtualisation Facility in Sydney
      • CentOS upgrade from 6.1 to 6.2

        Just as I thought the storm has passed, there comes another upgrade for CentOS, this time version 6.2. My CentOS 6.1 box is working fabulously after a rather painless procedure that took only about fifteen minutes to complete. The one problem was the Nvidia driver, which was not installed for the latest kernel, so I had to grab it and install it again.

      • IGEL Supports Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0
      • Fedora

        • Things to do after installing Fedora

          Fedora is a great OS. Its Linux as it should be free and usable, at the cutting edge but completely stable. But it still lets a lot to be wanted such as the non free software, libraries which are essential in day to day life. Few nitty gritties installed and the make a wonderful environment to work and play.

        • Thoughts on Progress

          I tend to measure the success of an tech event (such as FUDCon) not by how many people show up or what talks were given, but by the work that happens in the days and weeks after the event. By that measure (along with the traditional measurements), our recent FUDCon event was a huge success. I have also been inspired by the friends in our community who have publicly posted their post-FUDCon to-do lists, so that we can all have insight into the work that FUDCon helped bring to light.

          Rather that give a day-by-day account of my own FUDCon activities, I want to just highlight some of the the things that resonated with me at FUDCon.

          First, I was impressed with the Virginia Tech campus. It was a beautiful location for the event, and the amount of space we had was absolutely fantastic. Thanks again to Ben Williams and the Math Department at VT for their awesome support.

    • Debian Family

      • Meet Debian at FOSDEM 2012

        The Debian Project is happy to announce that as in previous years it will be represented at this year’s Free and Open Source Developer’s European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Brussels, Belgium on the 4th-5th February. Debian will be present with a booth in the K building, ground floor, members of the project will be available for questions and discussion, and various Debian-branded items will be on sale.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 10.04 Lives! Go Back To The Future With Lucid Lynx

            Does Oneiric have you down? Is your hardware not up to snuff? Well, what are you going to do about it? Ubuntu 10.04 is almost 2 years old now, but you can teach it the electric slide even if all it know how to do is the funky chicken. Here is a short and simple guide for bringing Ubuntu 10.04 into 2012.

          • Introducing Ubuntu Flickr/Shotwell Photos Lens for Unity

            Following our previous articles, Ubuntu Spotify Scope, Ubuntu DeviantArt Scope, Ubuntu SSH Lens, Ubuntu Binary Clock Lens, Ubuntu YouTube Lens and Scope, Ubuntu Calendar Lens, Ubuntu Web Sources Lens, Ubuntu Gwibber Lens, Ubuntu Books Lens, Ubuntu Cities Scope, Ubuntu Grooveshark Scope, Ubuntu Calculator Scope and Pirate Bay Torrents Lens for Unity, today we are introducing the Ubuntu Flickr/Shotwell Photos Lens for the Unity interface.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • $35 Raspberry Pi Model B computer shows off AirPlay capabilities

      Not long ago we published a story about Raspberry Pi, a $35 Linux-based single board computer that is still in development. Now, a Model B version of the device is being demoed and it shows off the small computer’s AirPlay streaming capabilities.

    • XBMC running on Raspberry Pi

      We wanted to keep the fact that XBMC is running beautifully on Raspberry Pi at least moderately quiet until Gimli and Davilla from XBMC had unveiled their demo at Scale 10x this weekend. Now they have done, so we can all talk about it: here’s some video showing how you can use your Raspberry Pi as a media centre. A $25/$35 media centre the size of a pack of playing cards.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android App to Find SOPA Supporters

          SOPA- I’m against it. Yeah, I’m talking about the Stop Online Piracy Act. It’s a U.S. bill, but if you think you’re fine because you live outside U.S., think again. This bill covers all foreign countries, so if you copy a song off the internet, you could land in jail for a couple of years. It is just another one of those reasons that will keep you up at night. And since both parties- Republicans and Democrats are in favor of it, you might want to start losing your sleep as of now.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Benefits: A Developer’s Perspective

    Open source benefits to businesses are pretty obvious, even if only recently recognized. It costs less, and often works better, than its commercial competitors. Developers have long preferred open source products to their commercial counterparts. In fact, this developer preference is why we are seeing the surge in enterprise open source usage. Why do developers prefer open source so strongly?

  • Darktable For Open-Source Photography

    For those less than impressed by Corel releasing some professional-grade Linux photography software earlier this month, Adobe still not providing native Linux clients for their popular applications, and haven’t been fond of the major open-source photography programs out there, you may want to try out Darktable.

    For those that haven’t heard of Darktable previously, it’s an in-development open-source photo workflow program. The software can also fully support RAW images and provides a virtual lighttable and darkroom for those interested in photography.

  • 10 open source shopping carts to run your e-commerce business

    More and more companies have turned to the Web to transact business. And, of course, if you are going to sell on the Web, the right shopping cart can mean the difference between red and black ink. When shopping for your own e-commerce shopping cart software the most important aspect to consider is how well the cart software meets your business objectives. An e-commerce shopping cart has to be customizable to fit your business needs and branding, be flexible enough to scale as your business grows, be secure and support industry standards and provide solid integrate with payment gateways.

  • State Hygienic Lab program lets clients collaborate

    The University Hygienic Laboratory is in the midst of a groundbreaking collaboration of open source software and public health laboratories at the lab’s three Iowa locations.

  • Events

    • SCALE 10x Kicks Off Today In Los Angeles

      Yesterday was the beginning of some SCALE presentations and the first of the parties while today the popular US open-surce event gets kicked off by Greg DeKoenigsberg (formerly of the Fedora Project) keynoting about cloud computing. For those interested the schedule can be found online. Among the talks I’ll be checking out today and potentially writing about or tweeting about include: Qt Project, Chris Mason’s Btrfs, Consolidating Linux and Open-Source Projects on ARM, PandaBoard, and FUSE with in-kernel meta-data caching.

    • Linux.conf.au 2012: planes and freedom

      For security researcher, software hacker and activist Jacob Appelbaum, the equation is clear. Anyone working on surveillance or censorship technology is part of a serious global problem.

      “When someone says that they are in favour of internet filtering, what they’re actually saying is that they’re in favour of you being ignorant and them having power to be your master. I reject that,” he told the Linux.conf.au 2012 (LCA) conference in Ballarat yesterday.

      Appelbaum is one of the key developers of The Tor Project, software that enables its users to communicate anonymously on the internet, and he’s represented controversial whistleblower site Wikileaks.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Anti-Censorship Campaign Reached 40 Million People

        From Facebook posts to redirected Wikipedia searches to water cooler conversations, you could hardly miss the many discussions and signposts about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP bill (PIPA) this week. Many sites on the web went dark in protest, and Mozilla reimained one of the most active organizations opposing the proposed legislation. As we posted here, the bills drew widepsread opposition in the tech community due to online censorship concerns, and Mozilla put up an online page months ago urging people to contact U.S. politicians in opposition to SOPA and PIPA. Now, Mozilla has clarified that its activism efforts reached a whopping 40 million people.

  • Semi-Open Source

  • Public Services/Government

    • NASA Clears Runway for Open Source Software

      The NASA Open Government Initiative has launched a new Web site to expand the agency’s open source software development. Open source development, which invites the public access to view and improve software source code, is transforming the way software is created, improved and used. NASA uses open source code to address project and mission needs, accelerate software development and maximize public awareness and impact of research.

      In 2009, the White House issued the Open Government Directive, which requires federal agencies to take specific steps to achieve milestones that are transparent. NASA’s Open Government Plan has been recognized as one of the best. NASA was among several federal agencies recognized with two leading practices awards from the White House for achievement above and beyond the requirements in the “Participation and Collaboration” and “Flagship Initiatives” categories of the Open Government Directive.

    • NASA Clears The Runway For Open Source Software

      Open source development, which invites the public access to view and improve software source code, is transforming the way software is created, improved and used. NASA uses open source code to address project and mission needs, accelerate software development and maximize public awareness and impact of research.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • FLOSS Body of Knowledge

      The FLOSSBOK concept is based on a similar project, known as SWEBOK, sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society, that was used to develop a body of knowledge for software engineering. The SWEBOK project is now more than a decade old and in its third revision. It’s easy to see that the FLOSSBOK effort has a long way to go to match the extensive content found in that document. While I have some significant disagreements with the SWEBOK content, it’s important to notice that there is a sizeable community around that project.

    • Open Hardware

      • FLORA wearable electronics platform appears

        “The FLORA comes with projects at launch, the FLORA addressable and chain-able 4,000 mcd RGB LED pixels and premium stainless steel thread.

        “The FLORA has built-in USB support. Built in USB means you plug it in to program it, it just shows up. No additional purchases are needed! Works with Mac, Windows, Linux, any USB cable works great. Currently the PCB comes with a mini B connector but future versions may change to microUSB. Either will work great.


  • Kangaroo Group kicked out of Parliament?

    The Kangeroo Group, a lobby group that emerged as an MEP round table in the early stages of the European Parliament and chaired by Karl von Wogau, finally moved its office out of the European Parliament buildings. It was quite odd to have a lobby platform with a letter box address inside Parliament which covered up as an MEP group.

  • Has the World outgrown Commercial UNIX?

    When you read articles about cloud computing or Enterprise computing, you rarely see the term ‘UNIX’ anymore. You see plenty of rhetoric about Linux and Windows but UNIX seems to have left the building, for good. And, by ‘building,’ I mean data center. However, that’s not the case. UNIX is alive and well in the world’s Enterprise data centers. It just doesn’t grab headlines like it used to. Does the fact that UNIX isn’t a newsworthy buzz term mean that it’s on its last legs as an Enterprise operating system. Certainly not. Commercial UNIX might have lost its “coolness” but it hasn’t lost its place running your business-critical applications and services.

  • Security

    • X.org server allows anyone to unlock computer

      The French blogger “Gu1″ has discovered that versions 1.11 and above of X.org’s X Server contain an interesting vulnerability that enables users to gain access to a locked computer. Simultaneously pressing the Ctrl key, the Alt key and the * key on the numeric keyboard disables a user’s screensaver and unlocks the computer; we were able to reproduce the problem on a Fedora 16 system that hadn’t been updated to include Fedora’s recent patch.

  • Finance

    • It’s Goldman Bonus Day

      Groans and grimaces inside a 200 West Street skyscraper can mean only one thing – yes, it’s Goldman Sachs bonus day.

      Thursday is “Compensation Communication Day,” the name Goldman gives to the day when its employees learn how big – or how small – their annual bonuses will be.

      Many Goldman employees are dreading this year’s big reveal, and for good reason. The firm announced on Wednesday that its revenue in 2011 was down significantly, probably bringing bonuses down with it.

    • Our Morally Bankrupt Government, Justice Edition Part 1: Enforcement Against Financial Meltdown Perpetrators

      Perhaps the clearest window into a nation’s soul is its criminal justice system. Criminal law is legislated morality: certain acts are so vile, we exile the perpetrators to prison. But not every criminal. America will never have enough resources to catch and prosecute all criminals. As a result many guilty go free without ever being pursued, simply because the government decided spend its limited resources elsewhere. Looking at whom the government prosecutes, therefore, is an easy way to see law enforcers’ priorities in action.

      Sadly, when it comes to the Financial Meltdown perpetrators, scrutiny reveals those priorities are deeply distorted. Our law enforcers chose to become the protection detail of our wealthy-beyond-dreaming-crooks-in-chief, while throwing the book at their guilty but less destructive subordinates.

  • Privacy

    • Why we need a sound Do-Not–Track standard for privacy online

      This really is privacy and data protection week! In Brussels there is the Computers, Privacy & Data Protection conference and the Commission is soon adopting its proposal for a reform of the European Data Protection legal framework (which I wrote about here).

      So today, a blog on how I want to ensure privacy and user control when you’re browsing online: in particular, a standard known as “do not track” (DNT) that I hope will have a big role to play for the future of online privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Importance Of Anonymity On The Web
    • Internet Blackout Day Fires Up Digital Rights Activism Around the World

      Yesterday was a defining moment for the global Internet community. The effects of the massive online blackout in protest of U.S. Internet blacklist legislation, SOPA and PIPA (H.R. 3261 and S. 968), were felt around the world as countless numbers of websites, including Google, Wikipedia, Mozilla, Reddit, BoingBoing, Flickr, Wired, and many others joined in the global action against over-broad and poorly drafted copyright laws that would break the fundamental architecture of the Internet. To quote [pdf] last year’s landmark Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion: “…Censorship measures should never be delegated to a private entity, and [..] no one should be held liable for content on the Internet of which they are not the author…” The massive opposition from both companies and individuals around the world demonstrates how much these and similar laws would hurt business and innovation, and most importantly, restrict online free expression.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Futurist Prediction Update – Copyright

        The five cases I mentioned above involved anti-competitive acts. The four cases I mentioned two years ago also involved anti-competitive acts.

        Two years ago I saw the industry making anti-competitive acts. Now we have SOPA. They can take down any website, and if they mess up and take down the wrong site, you can’t sue them, they are golden. But they can sue you. Does that sound fair?

      • White House declines MPAA’s call to hold piracy summit

        The White House appeared to brush back a suggestion from the Motion Picture Association of America on Friday that the president step in on negotiations over controversial online piracy legislation.

        MPAA Chairman and former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) suggested Thursday that the White House would be the perfect place to convene a summit between Hollywood and the tech industry, which are at odds over a pair of online piracy bills that were shelved by congressional leadership Friday morning following massive protests earlier in the week.

      • Why Congress couldn’t clean up the Internet with SOPA

        Seldom, even in the acronym-focused world of American politics, have truth and lyricism been so Cirque-du-Soleil-contorted as they have been in the naming the of PROTECT IP Act, or the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011.

      • Stupid High School Kids (and Teachers) Freak Out Over Wikipedia Blackout

        The best part of any internet news story is when the social media power user and sometime Gawker contributor Katie Notopoulos starts searching for it on Twitter. Like the SOPA-driven Wikipedia blackout, which sure freaked out high school kids—and their teachers.

      • MPAA Uses Anon Attacks To Make Nonsensical Comments About Free Speech

        Ok. So then you condemn SOPA and PIPA, right? Since those are attempts to silence people. But here’s the thing: “free speech” issues are about government censorship. Such as passing a bad law that allows the government to take down websites. Having some people protest you may be annoying, but it’s not a free speech issue (other than, perhaps, in arguing the protesters’ rights to free speech. Trying to regain the high ground on this issue is pretty transparently ridiculous by the MPAA — and simply calls much more attention to who’s actually trying to stifle free speech by passing bad laws that allow for censorship.

      • Staunch SOPA Supporter, Marsha Blackburn, Says It’s Time To Scrap SOPA
      • Did DOJ Provoke Anonymous On Purpose?

        Over at News.com, Molly Wood is suggesting that DOJ did this all on purpose — including the timing of the release — in order to provoke just such a response. This serves multiple purposes for the government. It gives them the chance to make the (obviously bogus and laughable) argument that the wider protests were done by this same group. But, it also gives DOJ and law enforcement the chance to go even further, and use this as an excuse to crack down online and put people in jail. It also gives a (again, bogus) reason to pass far-reaching cybersecurity legislation. The end result could be a lot worse.

      • GOP chairman shelves Stop Online Piracy Act
      • Why Chris Dodd Failed With His SOPA/PIPA Strategy
      • Battling Internet Censorship: The Long War

        There’s a lot of understandable enthusiasm about today’s array of anti-SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), anti-PIPA (Protect IP Act) demonstrations and protests.

        But there’s a real risk as well. When the big home page banners come down, and the site “blackouts” are lifted, the urge for the vast majority of Internet users to return to “business as usual” will be very strong.

        Perhaps you’ve signed an online petition or tried to call your Congressman or Senator today, and you’ve probably already heard that DNS blocking provisions (at least for the moment, pending “further study”) were announced as being pulled from SOPA and PIPA several days ago.

      • Patrick Leahy Still Doesn’t Get It; Says Stopping PIPA Is A Victory For Thieves
      • Megaupload Details Raise Significant Concerns About What DOJ Considers Evidence Of Criminal Behavior
      • Unintended Consequences of the Rogue Website Crackdown SOPA, PIPA and OPEN Legislation
      • ESA Drops SOPA Support, Video Game Lobby Laments Bill’s ‘Unintended Consequences’

        The Entertainment Software Association no longer supports the Stop Online Piracy Act, the controversial anti-piracy bill that was shelved earlier today in the House of Representatives after a week of fierce online protests.

      • Consumer group accuses Hollywood of ‘threatening politicians’

        Consumer group Public Knowledge on Friday accused the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its head, former Sen. Chris Dodd, of trying to intimidate lawmakers into supporting a pair of controversial anti-piracy bills.

        In recent days, Dodd and other top Hollywood figures have threatened to cut off campaign donations to politicians who do not support their effort to crackdown on online copyright infringement.

        “Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake,” Dodd said on Fox News on Thursday.

      • MPAA Directly & Publicly Threatens Politicians Who Aren’t Corrupt Enough To Stay Bought
      • Clay Shirky: Why SOPA’s Not Going Away
      • Fight SOPA/PIPA, change your license

        All over the free world, government laws and court decisions are limiting our access to free Internet. Not that these measures are very useful, most of us hackers are able to circumvent them within minutes. But in essence, these counter measures are simply work-arounds – they do not eliminate the root cause.

      • The Seizing of Domains

        Really I find what happened with the megauploads take down stunning. Bear in mind that there were at least some legitimate files stored on those servers: for example, a lot of xda-developer files were distributed through megauploads.

      • Elaborating on Domain Seizures

        I want to elaborate on the previous post. The point of the SOPA/PIPA as well as the meguploads take down is that there is no accusation that the site operators were pirates, merely that pirates used their site to distribute pirated material. For the sake of argument let’s just accept the law that piracy is illegal. People can easily use social networking sites such as facebook, and cloud storage sites such as dropbox to exchange links to pirated files and make them available. Nor can the site operators easily police their sites; the technical difficulties aside (and they are significant) there is also the issue of user privacy if the operators go poking around in files and postings.

      • Why Google Opposed and Should Oppose SOPA/PIPA

        The last post might leave you wondering: if closing down small start up domains prevents competition, why were the big guys against SOPA/PIPA? That is the difference between a growing innovative industry and a dying industry. Music, movies and books may be thriving, but studios and publishing houses are dying. So: what is the last refuge of the desperate? Government protection – read SOPA/PIPA.

IRC Proceedings: January 21st, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Why It’s Justified to be a Contrarian

Posted in Site News at 9:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cross-posted in my personal blog where I write a lot these days

Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Personal take on what interests and motivates yours truly

LAST NIGHT I wrote a response to a very dear person. It was long and somewhat personal, so I decided to reduce it somewhat and present it to a wider audience in this blog.

Maybe it would tactless of me to bring this up and show the contrarian side in me, but some of my stronger opinions are better off said than kept inside. I wanted to explain some of my childhood experiences and what led me to the way I am. I very much doubt professional side of my life matters here, so I will focus on inter-personal and generally social aspects.

Roy Schestowitz

As a young child I am said to have been very happy, but once I was no longer a baby I became a little more isolated, probably by choice (again, as confirmed by my parents). I was drawn to art and sought encouragement and reaffirmation through that. I am still quite skillful at arts and some might say “creative”, but I abandoned this later on. My mother wanted me to be an architect like her cousin in Florida, so that too penetrated my mind at an early stage. My mother was extremely kind to me in my younger days and I always credit her for that. When I grew a little older I would confront some of my classmates (1st grade at school even). My gym teacher explain to my mom that I was non-conformist — about which he was right. He said that in a positive way, as means of explaining to my mom that I did not blindly accept the norms and acted to their rhythm. I thought for myself and judged things based on reason. This characteristic of mine became both a merit and a point of uniqueness in my adult life, but it was further accentuated when I started working on my Ph.D. in extreme freedom (of expression and action). Much later, in the late 20s perhaps, my non-conformism would extend or evolve to the scepticism movement — if movement it can be called at all. Sceptics demand evidence for claims that are made and challenge dubious claims under the premise that progress will be made assuming we can discard disinformation and bad social practices (sexism, slavery, racism, et cetera). With that in mind, my place in this world since the younger days can hopefully seem clearer. My career path and spotty life of romance (hardly as many relationships as other people in my shoes) can be understood. It was not a priority.

Roy Schestowitz

At school I was known as the one who would defend mistreated teachers rather than mischievous students who tormented the teachers to impress peers. It sometimes seemed like my teachers loved me more than my non-friends classmates did (I still get along very well with people far older than myself). I did have a good number of friends, but those who were not my friends were often what I consider “anti-social”. I often wondered what the heck I was doing among those people, whom I did not agree with and wanted never to be associated with (based on their behaviour alone). It was not that I had adversity with modern/Western lifestyle; it was a particular behavioural pattern (partly brought from repressed nations, at least in terms of what’s accepted and endorsed) that I simply could not accept. When I was 16 I decided that I would redo my life and on my own I eventually sorted everything out to this effect. My dad’s view on this was similar to mine all along, but with 4 kids at this stage he did not have the freedom of choice that I did.

Roy Schestowitz

Let me explain from a somewhat cynical point of view what these anti-social (or sociopathic) aspects that I speak of are about. They are better explained by some examples of what’s socially acceptable and even commended at times.

  1. Speeding on the road as a matter of being cool and taking pride in it, knowing darn well that it is not just a risk to oneself but the surrounding environment too. I strongly confronted people over these issues in my mid-teens, only to be met by hostility (yes, for insisting that laws are obeyed). Yeah, how dare I stand up for legal obedience?
  2. Mistreating girls and objectifying them. To explain this, perhaps some contextual information is needed as these practices are in part inherited from less progressive countries, such as Saudi Arabia. In many people it is still generally “uncool” to be a gentleman, but then again, some other countries that consider themselves to be civilised have not yet dodged this medieval tendency.
  3. Vocalism as the norm. Raising one’s voice and descending into shouting matches is not the exception when one loses an argument, choosing animal instinct over logic. Being a calm and normally quiet person myself, to be encircled by a pack of loud hyenas can be unpleasant. It also compels one to act alike. This too seems to be part of ancient culture, not necessary Western (speaking of a geographical trend). This vocalism extends somewhat to interrupting of a peer’s speech (sometimes using the might of one’s vocal chords), but to be fair, I see some of the same behaviour here in Britain’s finest places, depending on the person/environment at hand. It’s all down to debating culture and manners. In academia, for instance, people do not act this way, but then again, a lot of their staff lived and worked in different environments too, so there is a correlation there between behaviour and eventuality/locality. In other ways, it’s a correlation of selection, not causality; calm people are finding themselves attached to like-minded people and work peers/colleagues; those whose nature is not compatible get repelled or turned away.

Roy Schestowitz

These are just 3 examples, but many more could be given. In the age when “bad” means “good” (especially exemplified with black dialect in the US) we lose hope in sincerely good behaviour. It’s worse than rebellion, as rebels often have just causes to support, not something to prove through mistreatment of fellow human beings.

My rejection of militarisation is a separate but important point. One has to remember that students are not taught proper history at school. The curriculum is built to brainwash children in a particular way. Except studying of ancient history, there is — in some states — bible studies and then a time leap to the 20th century. They are not properly taught the history and politicians now gain power by pretending to have am imminent threat of existence, thereby recruiting for free and highly dangerous labour a lot of young people who die for an imperialist, expansionist agenda driven by nationlism and self-righteous claims of permission from above. The people who are joining the army are too young and immature to think for themselves and they are well indoctrinated in school — to the point where resisting the unthinkable does not cross their mind. The army makes people more aggressive, brutal, merciless, and rough. This is not acceptable in my eyes and to participate in such a system is to endorse and strengthen it. This whole part of the rant could be written a lot more eloquently, but it would require more thinking to be coherent. The short story is, the Western industry is excessively reliant on production of objects that kill people (not farming that feeds people), at one stage or another in the pipeline (metal industry, software for “defence” purposes). I wish never to spoil my identity and unleash bursts guilt by associating myself with this self-justifying, over-hyped, and self-serving (to leaders in power) game of Risk. People who served any military around the world resent me for this stance, but as I keep insisting, had there been a just (defensive) war, where on purely humanist factors there was a cause in joining the diffusion of the situation, I would be the first to join and even carry a firearm (if it needs to come to this). In most cases, based on history, people in power brainwash the population into thinking there is constant threat (like the “war on terror”) as it gives those in power yet more power and distracts the population away from the real war — class war. It’s an old trick and it has been used for millennia. The last think a leadership wants or needs is an informed public, unionised, eager to address real social injustices domestically or internationally.

Roy Schestowitz

This leads me to the last point, which is about racism. It is not good inductive reasoning, it’s an appeal to animal instinct and perhaps a decline to barbarism. In most countries there is some notion of “underclass”, but in some places it seems further exacerbated by the open use of labels, which television and broadcast at large permit, ruining people’s brain and breaking social constructs (removing the glue us human beings naturally have, perhaps sympathy/ubuntu). It is divisive and it produces unneeded hostility. The unifying umbrella ceases to be welfare of our fellow humans to whom we are innately compassionate; instead, it becomes nationalism (“us” versus “them”, where “them” typically refers to other/neighbouring nations or another mindset).

Roy Schestowitz

What it all boils down to is this; one needs to think objectively of how to serve society in a humane, productive way. Life is a journey not of money-making but of harmonious living, ideally with the education of others to the point where they too can appreciate it and improve their behaviour despite the constant brainwash.

As a sort of disclaimer, it is possible that adolescents in more countries are more or less the same, but I only grew up in one country with one set environment and a good school, so I might be too hard on those whom I know when it fact it’s an age phenomenon, not a demographic one.

Links – MegaUpload SOPA Updates.

Posted in Site News at 1:25 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks


    • SOPA a controversy against the Open Source world
    • Busta Rhymes Backs Megaupload, Says Record Labels Are The Real Criminals

      Musicians say they were getting a better deal with MegaUpload and are angry the site was taken down.

    • Megaupload wasn’t just for pirates: angry users out of luck for now

      This story details some of the many non infringing uses and advantages of the service. The main reason people use file sharing services is that ISPs don’t provide reasonable bandwidth and non free software is intentionally limited and insecure. The software most people get with their computers lacks utilities like OpenSSH. US upload rates are still comparable to analog DSL and ISPs often block and rate limit anything that looks encrypted. Open Spectrum and free software are ways around this kind of censorship.

    • How SOPA and PIPA Affect US Websites and Companies ~pj

      So, when folks continue to allege that the bills target only illegal foreign sites, do they know better?

      Groklaw does a SOPA opinion round up, quoting engineers, artists and lawmakers.

    • This Internet Spring Could Lead to an Internet Awakening

      As an industry, we’ve been able to rationalize that bad laws and politics don’t matter, but now we’re waking up. More importantly, this has also gotten the attention of “the Internet,” meaning a lot of the people who use the Net. That includes some really smart Hill staffers who believe in the democratic potential of the Net.

    • Investment Firm Y Combinator Goes on Offensive Against Hollywood

      Referring to Hollywood, Y Combinator wrote: ”The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise.” The blog post, which was titled “Kill Hollywood,” also offered advice to start-ups and entrepreneurs who wanted to help to hasten its demise.

      This is a good idea and it’s time has come. Digital production and distribution are so cheap that there’s no longer a reason for resources to be concentrated in any one place or for a small number of firms to have a lock on our imaginations.

    • RFS 9: Kill Hollywood

      How do you kill the movie and TV industries? Or more precisely (since at this level, technological progress is probably predetermined) what is going to kill them? Mostly not what they like to believe is killing them, filesharing. What’s going to kill movies and TV is what’s already killing them: better ways to entertain people. So the best way to approach this problem is to ask yourself: what are people going to do for fun in 20 years instead of what they do now?

      The silly, pro-Microsoft and anti-Google statements in this article almost kept me from linking to it.

IRC Proceedings: January 20th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Regulators Paranoid About Android, Miss the Real Issue

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Robot head

Summary: Developments on the patents front and how they affect the Linux-powered Android platform

THERE is usually danger that proprietary software vendors will hijack the voice of FOSS ones. The infiltration which we previously mentioned is further promoted by Microsoft-friendly circles. It is a true danger when FOSS is being hijacked (and Microsoft lobbyists, for example, call themselves “FOSS patents”).

There has been a campaign designed to derail Google’s acquisition of patents that would defend Android. Microsoft lobbyists participated in this campaign. According to this update from Bloomberg:

Regulatory reviews mean the purchase by Google is likely to be completed in 2012, Libertyville, Illinois-based Motorola Mobility said in November. Google plans to use Motorola Mobility’s more than 17,000 patents to protect supporters of its Android software in licensing and legal disputes with rivals such as Apple Inc. (AAPL) — and also move into the hardware business.

More here:

European Union regulators restarted their antitrust review of plans by Google Inc., the biggest maker of smartphone software, to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.

The European Commission set a new deadline of Feb. 13 to rule on the deal. It stopped the review on Dec. 6 to seek more information from the companies.

Where were the regulators when Microsoft extorted a lot of companies using patents. With more patents on software being granted, the regulators are missing the point. The one new example says:

EliteForm’s PowerTracker uses patent-pending algorithms and the latest in 3D computer vision to track the movement of athletes during strength exercises without the use of wired attachments.

Patents on algorithms? That is not allowed in Europe.

To quote more from Bloomberg:

The number of patents in litigation between Apple Inc. (AAPL) and a Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI) unit was narrowed by a judge who invalidated two of them, said Apple didn’t infringe a third and found that issues with five others required a trial.

Apple is losing its case against Motorola and new patents from its patent worship sites suggest that monopolies on Siri are coming:

That application, published this morning by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and picked up by Patently Apple, details an “Intelligent Automated Assistant.” The filing, dated January 2011, comes some nine months after Apple’s acquisition of Siri the company, and includes numerous diagrams of the software in use.

Sadly for Apple, on the Android side there are also many patents that can be used defensively and Ericsson/Sony is among those with an arsenal (the Microsoft lobbyist tries to spin it against Android). Moreover, Larry Ellison’s attack on Android is failing again:

The parties in Oracle v. Google have been busy debating whether or not Oracle should be allowed to submit yet a third expert damages report, after the judge found the first two were ridiculous. He didn’t accept the way Oracle came up with such huge damages numbers, the very ones that made headlines when the case was new.

And more remarks from Mr. Pogson can be found here.

A few days ago we wrote about the patent allegations/charges from Oracle allegedly being conceded and here is more on that:

In a surprise detail, Oracle also claimed that Sun Microsystems was looking to get into the smartphone game. Oracle wrote, “Sun had plans and the means to use that intellectual property to develop a smartphone platform that would have generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues. These plans were undermined by Google’s release of an incompatible Android for free.”

Oracle’s claim that Sun was looking to develop a smartphone operating system is an interesting one given that the firm’s Java Mobile Edition was hardly setting the world alight when Apple’s IOS came out, let alone Google’s Android. It will be interesting to see what, if any, evidence Oracle has to back up this statement.

The Oracle versus Google Android battle has stalled twice over arguments about the amount of damages. Whether Oracle’s latest ploy will result in any of its patent claims being put in front of a jury is unclear at this point.

If true, then it marks a small victory for Android, but the Microsoft lobbyists try to spin as it bad news.

In other news, Microsoft might pay Alcatel soon:

A jury awarded Alcatel-Lucent $70 million after Microsoft was found to have stolen a Day patent in its Outlook software.

More here;

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), Microsoft Patent-Infringement Case Dismissed

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU)’s patent-infringement lawsuit against Microsoft Corp., (MSFT) the world’s largest maker of software, was dismissed by a federal judge after both companies asked to end the case.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff granted the joint motion to end all claims in the suit with each side agreeing to bear its own costs, according to a filing Jan. 17 in San Diego. No information was given on a possible settlement of the dispute.

In July, a jury awarded Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent $70 million in damages. Huff reduced the award to $26.3 million on Nov. 10.

Alcatel-Lucent sued over technology in Redmond, Washington- based Microsoft’s Outlook program and two other applications.

The case is Lucent Technologies Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 07-02000, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

And more here:

Alcatel-Lucent’s patent infringement lawsuit against Microsoft Corp., the world’s largest maker of software, was dismissed by a federal judge after both companies asked to end the case.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff granted the joint motion to ends all claims in the suit with each side agreeing to bear its own costs, according to a filing yesterday in San Diego. No information was given on a possible settlement of the dispute.

Microsoft was probably required to pay. Maybe it will also learn a lesson about the patent system, one lawsuit at the time (I have purchased an Alcatel phone for this reason), then withdraw from its anti-Linux blackmail. And speaking of Microsoft, its racist side (deleting black people) is arguably resurfacing again in a patent:

Microsoft faces accusations of potential racism related to its patent for a new pedestrian-friendly map application.

To be fair, geography/demography and race are not the same thing. Microsoft gets flak nonetheless, for a patent so stupid that its existence alone is offensive to human civilisation.

OpenSUSE and SUSE: Shutdown, Removals, and New Software for Macs

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Green flow

Summary: A roundup of SUSE news and OpenSUSE in particular

SUSE is a project/product that Microsoft uses to tax GNU/Linux. It recently got a boost from a VMware/Dell deal, as we covered some days ago.

The “community” side of it shut down due to problems and later in protest (just the other day). It’s about SOPA. There is also ongoing maintenance:

It’s now the beginning of a new year (happy 2012 everybody!) and I’m writing about some changes that happened at the end of the last year and the period right after the openSUSE 12.1 release. Especially Coolo has used this to do a big cleaning up of our factory distribution touching most of openSUSE’s 4000+ source packages this way.

There are some new graphics from Andres [1, 2, 3] and packaging of new stuff, but then again we also find removals (discontinuing support for 32-bit Xen host in openSUSE12.1). The project is not as prominent as it used to be, so there is generally little activity there. The community manager will be at FOSDEM based on this post:

Oh, and yes, I plan to be at FOSDEM. And so should you – all your friends will be there!

Also about FOSDEM from another member of the project:

Our stand is going to be on the Ground Floor of Building K from 9am on Saturday 4th February till 6pm on Sunday 5th February

SUSE folks hope for Google funding:

I really hope most of the students will stay around and continue the amazing work they do if not openSUSE in FLOSS generally.

Michal Hrušecký writes about OpenStack in a few posts and also mentions MySQL in OpenSUSE. There is a new derivative of version 12.1 out and current usage of OpenSUSE is assessed by a member. Back in the old days (around SuSE 8.1, the distribution came with some neat Web development tools. Wolfgang writes about one of them:

I’m not a web designer really but I happen to be kind of responsible for packaging two web authoring applications in openSUSE which are SeaMonkey’s Composer and KompoZer. While the SeaMonkey integrated editor is somewhat limited (AFAIK) KompoZer (which was forked from Nvu at some point) has more advanced features. But KompoZer development seems to be pretty slow and it misses quite some of the new web stuff which is around nowadays. In addition the current version is BETA for quite some time now and seems to have a major issue in openSUSE 11.4 and 12.1.

last but not least, Novell is targeting Macs now, not GNU/Linux. To quote its latest announcement:

Novell Kanaka for Mac helps IT organizations eliminate manual work-arounds to integrate their Mac users. The plug-in uses native Mac* AFP protocol support making it the most comprehensive and advanced cross-platform server for mixed Windows*, Linux* and Mac clients.

Novell is not focused on what it said it would focus on. It’s just more proprietary software. So to those who wonder what happened to Novell, we’re keeping abreast and reporting.

EPO Advisory Board Likes Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paper pushers want to tax computing


Summary: The appointment of more people whose stance on the subject of patents leaves little room for objectivity

THE EPO is losing its credibility as the unitary patent seems closer to being imposed on the public against people’s will and arguably against the rules [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

The EPO sets up a biased board:

Using studies and analyses supplied by the EPO and external partners, the board will also provide early warnings on sensitive issues, and make policy recommendations.

As the FFII’s president put it:

By nominating such people, the EPO fails to think outside of the patent microcosm

Watch the list of those people, it’s quite telling. The EPO is in the business of granting patents, and therefore it is naturally biased and inclined to grant more of them. The unitary patent would mean more business for the lawyers and a global patent system seems like a scary destination, which is further exacerbated by the realisation that patent lawyers start thinking global:

The firm’s advanced IP services include access to 11 million Japanese patents and 4.9 million Chinese patents, both searchable in full English texts.

What would the point of that be if not to pollute one country’s monopolies with another’s? Patents are a taxing mechanism, they in no way serve the public. Scholarly findings on this subject are clear.

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