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02.01.12

IRC Proceedings: February 1st, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: January 31st, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: January 30th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Bill Gates is Hijacking Open Source While Attacking It Using Lobbyists, Patents, and Patent Trolls

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft's Mueller

Summary: Response to reputation laundering from Wired Magazine, the latest nonsense from Microsoft’s lobbyist Florian Müller, an update on Microsoft’s trolling against Android, and a little more of Apple’s

WE are quite cynical about the corporate press. It has become abundantly clear that journalism is dying and instead it gets accommodated/replaced by the PR industry, working at the behest of rich people with an agenda and a nickel for any press still willing to bend over (independent press is likely to perish in the process). Like a husband who tells the policeman or the judge that he deeply loves the woman whom he beats up daily, Bill Gates/Gates Foundation would love for us to believe that he is a master of Open Source. Yes, and Cade Metz trying to portray these racketeers as friends of Open Source (whitewashing Gates at the same time). Why would anyone with integrity do reputation laundering for a criminal and his company that commits acts of extortion? Even Gutierrez gets characterised positively:

But that afternoon was different. At the invitation of the company’s chief legal minds — Smith and Gutierrez — Ramji sat down with Gates, chief software architect Ray Ozzie, and a few others to discuss whether Microsoft could actually start using open source software. Ramji and Ozzie were on one side of the argument, insisting that Microsoft embrace open source, and Gutierrez offered a legal framework that could make that possible. But other top executives strongly challenged the idea.

Then Bill Gates stood up.

No, Bill Gates has been attacking Open Source for a very long time. Remember that Letter to Hobbyists? And all those court exhibits we showed? We oughn’t allow history to be rewritten like this. Over at Free Software Daily, the modified headline of this article states “Meet Mobster Bill Gates, the Man Who Charges Open Source Software even if is free Android Linux” (the original is troll article that attracted many comments, for being more inflammatory than sane).

Microsoft is currently feeding patent trolls in order to attack Linux. Microsoft does not have enough ammunition to attack Linux, so it uses help from the outside.

Pamela Jones, over at Groklaw, writes more about the case that seeks to expose MOSAID, a patent troll that Microsoft is feeding. To quote part of the analysis:

B&N and Microsoft have come to an agreement about Steve Ballmer’s participation in the Microsoft v. Barnes & Noble action at the ITC. They were arguing about it, and they’ve now agreed that Ballmer will not have to testify live at the ITC hearing, currently scheduled for February. Instead, B&N will present designated portions of his deposition, and Microsoft’s lawyers have sent a letter [PDF] to the ITC stating officially that it withdraws its motion for a protective order, attaching to the letter a proposed schedule on the parties’ next steps in figuring out exactly what each side wants in the way of details. This means there will be no further motion practice on the live testimony issue.

[...]

Microsoft is also opposing Barnes & Noble’s request that the record be held open to include Nokia and MOSAID’s evidence, if Barnes & Noble is finally able to get it. And they parties continue to try to whittle into shape what each may use as evidence.

Lots of sealed filings, once again. But don’t worry. By hook or by crook, we usually find out in due time what the filings were about.

I had a chance to talk to Andy Updegrove, of Standards Blog, who as you probably know is a lawyer who does patent work in the standards area. I wanted to pick his brain, because the 2000 patents Nokia sold to MOSAID relate to standards, according to their statements. Just how many patents could possibly be required for a phone to be built? Surely not 1,200 out of the 2,000, I was thinking. Yet, that is the claim.

[...]

He suggested that we read some Department of Justice ‘business review letters’ on patent pools, because a patent pool is an example of multiple patent owners getting together to agree on a price for technology required to implement a standard. That’s not exactly what Microsoft, Nokia and MOSAID say they are doing, but we’re getting warm. You get to read in the letters the way the pool participants set the pool up, what safeguards they took (in the request letter), and the way the DoJ analyzed the request and either approved, qualified, or rejected the request. The controls traditionally include hiring a third party expert to review each supposedly essential claim and determine whether it’s valid, whether it’s essential, and what it’s worth relative to the other essential claims. So he thought we might find it interesting to look at what a legal pool looks like, and then we can contrast that to the actual conduct that is being alleged here.

This case has not been decided yet, but it does help shed a lot of light on Microsoft’s racketeering.

The known Microsoft boosters and even lobbyists (whom they cite) try to make us believe that it’s all over and Microsoft is innocent. Some people fall for it. They also push this tripe into Slashdot with all the bias and misdirection. As Homer put it in USENET, we should just ignore the Microsoft lobbyist. To quote: “Note this is only the conclusion drawn by Microsoft’s pet shill, Florian Müller (who’s now openly on Microsoft’s payroll), and he drew this stunning conclusion from just the /title/ of a docket he doesn’t even have access to, because it’s still under seal.

“It’s also, as the title suggests, just an “Initial Determination”, and may yet be disputed by the DOJ – a fact Müller chose to ignore. He also chose to ignore several of B&N’s valid complaints that might yet cause
the DOJ to overturn this conclusion, even if it turns out to be true and “final”, such as Microsoft deliberately withholding prior art in its various patent applications, and using NDAs to cover up extortion, under
the pretext of “secrets” that are in fact a matter of public record (as all patents are required to be by law). But instead he portrayed B&N’s complaint as futile, because:

“For example, Barnes & Noble claimed that Microsoft asked for excessively high patent license fees, but the OUII quoted passages from U.S. law (statutory as well as case law) that clearly said that patent law doesn’t require a patent holder to grant a license on any terms.”

“Then he completely ignores all the other key points (above). This seems to be the entire basis for his pessimism (or I should say “optimism”, since it’s clear whose side he’s on).”

Microsoft is feeding lobbyists and trolls and it’s easy to see this. Apple is said to have been sued by trolls again, but since Apple itself acts like a patent troll we have no sympathy for it. To quote:

A patent troll is going after Apple for patent infringement of an “electronic alignment system”.

Apple’s spiritual leader’s friend, Larry Ellison, is still attacking Android with patents that he got from Sun. Google gets another opportunity.

Mr. Pogson summarises: “Google argues that Oracle’s experts are not expert as they had no intimate knowledge during deposition.”

Basically, it seems like Oracle’s patent case against Android will be coming to an end. Maybe a copyright allegation alone will be left, so think along the lines of SCO.

OIN is meanwhile growing strong:

OIN today announced a remarkable increase in the size of its community of licensees during 2011 as licensees seized the opportunity to benefit from the value of the growing OIN community and the freedom of action enabled by OIN’s royalty free licensing program. During 2011, OIN’s community grew to over 400 corporate licensees, a more than 60% year over year increase. OIN licensees, which include founding members and associate members, benefit from the leverage provided by a patent portfolio dedicated to the protection of Linux and access to enabling technologies through OIN and shared intellectual property resources.

What’s baffling is that Oracle is in the OIN. It never ought to have attacked in the first place, but maybe it was a favour to the thermonuclear CEO, Larry Ellison’s “best friend” (by his own words). It is not a far fetched hypothesis.

The Gates Foundation is Still Hijacking the Voice of the Poor and Effectively Runs Paid Advertisements Inside ‘News’

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 6:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Normalising the absurd notion that the world’s richest are spokespeople for the world’s poorest

Stone sculpture

Summary: Money still the vehicle by which opinions get heard, so Bill Gates exploits this for fame, power, and profit

SEVERAL months ago we explained and showed how the Gates Foundation was hijacking the voice of the poor, rendering itself a voice of the very opposite of what it is. This is extremely dangerous for reasons we went through before and it makes up a powerful lobbying tactic which we alluded to earlier today. Over at the Indian press we see more of that same old PR which associates Gates with poor people:

A delegation of Bill Gates Foundation on Friday visited Dharavi here, among the biggest slums in Asia, to study the conditions there.

As we demonstrated in the past, Gates is artificially generating coverage to earn sympathy (he bribes publications for it), sometimes with press that is already funded by Gates for this type of agenda setting. In reality, as his wealth gains show, he does this to make himself richer and more powerful, pretending to lead the poor. Here is what one of them says:

“I am confident that we will continue to innovate on behalf of the poor,” says Bill Gates in his video on development innovation for Gates Notes. He is often criticized for his top-down approach to development and that statement does little to dissuade critics. Also note the parachuted safe landing in on the ground. All seems to indicate that innovation is coming from the outside.

Unfortunately, the video ends when it shows how innovations are being shared between countries like Japan and Brazil. The recipient, in the end, is an African country. It misses the final step that shows how future innovations will involve countries like Mozambique. The recipients will not be limited to the developing world. Accomplishing this, in part, will necessitate a re-configuration of the view that innovation goes in only one direction.

We continue to do a disservice to the poor if we insist on innovating on their behalf.

And the Bill Gates-fudned Guardian writes that owing/due to the likes of Monsanto in Africa, this is no justice:

It’s strange that at this week’s World Economic Forum the designated voice of the world’s poor has been Bill Gates, who has pledged £478m to the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, telling Davos that the world economic crisis was no excuse for cutting aid.

[...]

The biotech agriculture that Lord Sainsbury was unable to push through democratically he can now implement unilaterally, through his Gatsby Foundation. We are told that Gatsby’s biotech project aims to provide food security for the global south. But if you listen to southern groups such as the Karnataka State Farmers of India, food security is precisely the reason they campaign against GM, because biotech crops are monocrops which are more vulnerable to disease and so need lashings of petrochemical pesticides, insecticides and fungicides – none of them cheap – and whose ruinous costs will rise with the price of oil, bankrupting small family farms first. Crop diseases mutate, meanwhile, and all the chemical inputs in the world can’t stop disease wiping out whole harvests of genetically engineered single strands.

Both the Gatsby and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundations are keen to get deeper into agriculture, especially in Africa. But top-down nostrums for the rural poor don’t end well. The list of autocratic hubris in pseudo-scientific farming is long and spectacularly calamitous. It runs from Tsar Alexander I’s model village colonies in 1820s Novgorod to 1920s Hollywood film producer Hickman Price, who, as Simon Schama brilliantly describes in The American Future, “bought 54 square miles of land to show the little people how it was really done, [and] used 25 combines all painted glittery silver”. His fleet of tractors were kept working day and night, and the upshot of such sod-busting was the great plains dustbowl. But there’s no stopping a plutocratic philanthropist in a hurry.

And then there is the vexed question of whether these billions are really the billionaires’ to give away in the first place. When Microsoft was on its board, the American Electronics Association, the AeA, challenged European Union proposals for a ban on toxic components and for the use of a minimum 5% recycled plastic in the manufacture of electronic goods.

[...]

Free marketeers will spring to the defence of billionaire philanthropists with a remark like: “Oh, so you’d rather they spent all their money selfishly on golf courses and mansions, would you?” To which I reply: “Oh, you mean that trickle-down doesn’t work, after all?” But the point is that the poor are not begging us for charity, they are demanding justice. And when, on the occasion of his birthday, a sultan or emperor reprieved one thousand prisoners sentenced to death, no one ever called those pardons justice. Nor is it justice when a plutocrat decides to reprieve untold thousands from malaria. Human beings should not have to depend upon a rich man’s whim for the right to life.

They are basically deciding for the poor that they should accept something harmful (but profitable to the rich). Needless to say, the astorturfers are storming such voices that oppose the profitable agenda. It is “interesting how polarised the comments are,” notes Glyn Moody. What he might not know is the extent to which PR agents are employed to spin the Gates articles (messengers tend to be bullied, ridiculed and discouraged too). These are agencies that we’ve shown to be engaging in dubious and possibly illegal tactics. The Gates Foundation hires agents that also work for Microsoft and we know that among their arsenal there are bribes for bloggers, semi-automated blog comment mechanisms, etc.

As for the article above, maybe Gates will bribe the Guardian some more to gag such critics through the publishers/editors. As we are reminded by Felix Salmon from Reuters, the Guardian already carries paid ads for Bill Gates, pretending to be “content”:

Now what happens if your aims are a not selling baby stuff, or fizzy drinks, or financial products? In fact, what happens if your aims aren’t selling anything at all?In that case, you might not mind if someone else were doing the publishing, just as you managed to achieve your goals at the same time. Which brings me to a very interesting $2.5 million grant from the Gates Foundation, which is sponsoring the Guardian’s global development microsite for three years.

The Gates Foundation actually launched the site in 2010, spending an undisclosed sum to do so; the new grant keeps the site going for another three years. As part of the deal, every page in the site — be it blog post or news story — gets prominently branded with the Gates Foundation logo, right at the top of the column where all the editorial content goes. (In fact, the logo is significantly larger than the Guardian’s own logo at the top of the page, although the site looks and feels like the rest of the Guardian site, and lives at guardian.co.uk.)

[...]

What the Guardian doesn’t say, here, is that $2.5 million is what’s technically known as a shit-ton of money. It’s vastly more than it could ever get from ad revenues on a niche site like this — even at a $20 CPM, you’d need to serve up 125 million pageviews over three years to get that much money. Global development issues have a substantial audience, but not that substantial.

More importantly, $2.5 million is significantly more than it costs the Guardian to put together a micro-site like this — this deal is profitable, for a media organization which, like most, is in desperate need of profits. In fact, it’s a twofer for the Guardian, which manages to improve its revenues and also beef up its editorial offerings in one go.

Looked at from the point of view of the Gates Foundation, there’s real value here. For one thing, all of the content automatically gets a lot more credibility than it would if it were published by the Gates Foundation directly, especially given the suspicion with which it’s already regarded. And frankly, publishing well-written, agenda-setting material for a mass audience is not one of the Gates Foundation’s core competencies: if they tried to do it, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t do it very well. (Non-profits in general seem constitutionally incapable of getting out of their wonky high-serious comfort zone.)

And the way these deals are structured, they do a pretty good job of minimizing the sulfurous smell of advertorials and “sponsored content” which has a habit of lingering in even the glossiest sponsor-driven site. Which isn’t to say that they’re not criticized. The Seattle Times did a 2000-word investigation into the Gates Foundation’s media sponsorships earlier this year, and found it quite easy to find critics…

Yes, the Gates Foundation has effectively been running paid ads (charity-washing) in a lot of publications. More journalists need to speak out against it. The BBC is another British press body that got bribed by Bill Gates at least twice last year (tens of millions of pounds). It helps deceive the public and marginalise voices of reason.

Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch Liaise to Take Over Minds of Children

Posted in Bill Gates at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pencils

Summary: The latest dangerous hijack of education systems and the role played by creepy plutocrats with control over the press

THE world’s richest people, including two crooks who sometimes meet privately in Seattle, are engaging in a fight to capture the minds of future generations.

According to this from a few days ago, Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch are tracking children:

theodp writes “Discussing U.S. education in his 2012 Annual Letter, Bill Gates notes the importance of ‘tools and services [that] have the added benefit of providing amazing visibility into how each individual student is progressing, and generating lots of useful data that teachers can use to improve their own effectiveness.’ Well, Bill is certainly putting his millions where his mouth is. The Gates Foundation has ponied up $76.5 million for a controversial student data tracking initiative that’s engaged Rupert Murdoch’s Wireless Generation to ‘build the open software that will allow states to access a shared, performance-driven marketplace of free and premium tools and content.’ If you live in CO, IL, NC, NY, MA, LA, GA, or DE, it’s coming soon to a public school near you.”

As Toby (IRC regular in Techrights) put it, “Gates [is]] palling around with Murdoch in schemes to destroy public” and the original articles say:

This week, the Wall St Journal reported that the NY Board of Regents approved the state’s sharing of student and teacher information with a new national data base, to be funded by the Gates Foundation, and designed by News Corp’s Wireless Generation.

All this confidential student and teacher data will be held by a private limited corporation, called the Shared Learning Collaborative LLC, with even less accountability, which in July was awarded $76.5 million by the Gates Foundation, to be spent over 7 months. According to an earlier NYT story, $44 million of this funding will go straight into the pockets of Wireless Generation, owned by Murdoch’s News Corp and run by Joel Klein.

Mother Jones framed this a little differently by focusing only on Murdoch. Remember that Microsoft used Murdoch to attack Google. Recall what we wrote and also see earlier posts in this subject, e.g.:

It is one set of criminals attracting another and it would be terribly misguided to think that Murdoch is more evil than Gates; he just does less reputation laundering for himself. Gates is meanwhile dismissing teachers who stand in his way and according to this relatively new report:

Sitting at the Burger King across the street from Newsome High School, Joseph Thomas knew his job was on the line.

It was Wednesday, the day Bill and Melinda Gates were in town. Thomas, 43, was ready to discuss why he was rejecting his peer evaluator under a new system funded by the Gates’ foundation.

A social studies teacher through-and-through, Thomas considered what his students might learn if he went down for taking a stand. “It’s civil disobedience, that’s what it is,” he said.

The district called it insubordination and suspended him with pay.

Thomas, upset that his evaluator comes from an elementary school background, is unusual in that he is speaking out against a process that is radically changing the way the district treats its teachers.

In another departure from the norm, a school board member last week delivered a harsh assessment of Empowering Effective Teachers, saying it demoralizes school employees.

For Thomas, a father of two married to an elementary school teacher, this is new territory. Usually his biggest concern is how to get 14-year-olds excited about Congress, politics and the Supreme Court.

His last Gates rating was about average. He has no disciplinary record. “They don’t know me from Adam downtown,” he said.

They do now.

Gates the bully (hiding behind others who do the bullying for him, as usual) and fellow plutocrats are taking over schools and in an academic paper titled “The Gates’ Foundation and the Future of U.S. Public Education: A Call for Scholars to Counter Misinformation Campaigns” (we make a local copy of the PDF) there are many lies being debunked after they got spread at great expense. Some teachers in Seattle tell us about “Anti Teachers’ Union Activity in the State of Washington” and Gates is mentioned to. “At this point,” says one teacher, “it’s hard to tell where Chris is getting the funding for his new cause but…the League of Education Voters recently received $150,000 from the Gates Foundation “to launch a regional teacher advocacy group supportive of the Excellent Schools Now Coalition”, yet another faux roots group.”

Do not let people who gained wealth and power by breaking the law just try to educate kids. Sociopathic behaviour is infectious. Teachers, students, and parents all oppose this agenda, but Gates, Murdoch the rogue “journalist” and their lobbyists lie to all of us for a living. Gates spends over a millions dollars a day just buying the press worldwide, so he needn’t even depend on Murdoch.

When Lawyers Run the System It Becomes Dependent on Them

Posted in Law, Patents at 5:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Will today’s students become producers or paper pushers?

Students

Summary: How the patent system, controlled for the most part by lawyers, raises a generation of leeches rather than a generation of engineers

WE VERY often emphasise the fact that the patent systems’ main cheerleaders are patent lawyers. Well, Tim has just published a thought-provoking article that starts with a very suitably rhetorical question: “Does Innovation Revolve Around Patent Lawyers?” Here are some bits from his analysis:

A patent attorney named Daren Gibby was kind enough to send me a copy of his new book Why Has America Stopped Inventing? As you’d expect from a book written by a patent attorney, it’s a pretty strongly pro-patent book. I didn’t expect to agree with the book’s arguments, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to engage with the “other side” of the patent debate.

The bulk of the book is a meandering narrative about America’s great inventors—Eli Whitney, Samuel Morse, Charles Goodyear, and many others—and their struggles to enforce their patents against infringers. Whitney, for example, almost completely failed to prevent infringement of his cotton gin patent, and as a consequence made very little money from his invention.

After a few chapters, I began to wonder what the point of all these anecdotes was. After all, the book bills itself as an explanation for America’s alleged decline in innovation. But it wasn’t clear what these blow-by-blow descriptions of the patent enforcement efforts of great 19th century inventors had to do with the modern patent system. Indeed, aside from some hand-waving about the lack of cancer cures and flying cars in chapter 1, the book never makes a serious effort to substantiate the claim that the pace of American innovation has slowed down.

Watch how products are being taxed behind closed doors. The externality is all of us who are not part of this private deal.

“Here’s a post explaining that proprietary codecs drive up the costs,” wrote to us a reader today. It’s a tax on ideas and here is one way to tackle it along with Phoronix‘s analysis.

The first three adhere to the standard Linux library API’s, so should be a straight forward swap in for applications that use them. OpenMAX IL does not have a standard API at this stage, so is a custom implementation. All these libraries are as supplied by Broadcom, the SoC (System On Chip) provider.

In another new post from Mike Masnick he explains how 3D printing is being held back by patents. Innovation anyone?

We’ve seen this before, but here it’s a modern example: work simply wasn’t done on many of these efforts in part because there was no competition. And, in fact, there are still a few patents that really do hinder things, and this is a problem. Considering just how much good these 3D printers can do — especially as they provide more power, do multi-color, and a variety of other features, it kind of makes you wonder just how much we’ve lost by having tons of researchers just sitting on their printer projects out of a fear of getting sued.

Separately, according to some “legal” blog, US judges (“legal” folks) permit software patents. To quote:

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court spoke on patentable subject matter in Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S. Ct. 3218 (2010), Federal Circuit panels have taken a variety of approaches to the subject. The latest approach is seen in Dealertrack, Inc. v. Huber, No. 09-1566 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 20, 2012). It brings back the notion of preemption as a test for patentable subject matter (also known as patent eligibility). The notion of preemption was briefly touched on in the original In re Bilski opinion, 545 F.3d 943 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (en banc).

This is a European blog. The lawyers in Europe wants software patents simply because it means more business to them, at the expense of buyers of products and engineers themselves. The Bilski case , like all cases, was decided on by lawyers, not scientists, so it is not surprising that they expand their own territory at the expense of producing industries.

In this week’s news we discover that Wipro seeks US monopolies on software, possibly because in India it is hard.

Facebook too is mentioned in this context:

As it prepares for one of the biggest IPOs ever, Facebook is coming under the same fierce attacks being waged against other big technology companies: patent lawsuits.

Facebook itself is also launching patent attacks. Going back to Wipro (a close Microsoft partner like Facebook, but from india), its new patents are leaving room for doubt. Another Microsoft partner, Quest the villain,
gets a patent and brags about it. To quote: “Quest vWorkspace 7.5 delivers low cost desktop virtualisation via patent-pending scalability enhancements, direct Hyper-V integration, fast provisioning, and advanced desktop virtualisation load balancing and provides direct support for Microsoft Hyper-V, including FREE Microsoft Hyper-V Server.”

Here is another update from the patents arena:

Fiserv this month filed a lawsuit in federal court against rival IBM i banking software provider Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) and its Metavante subsidiary over alleged violation of its patents relating to online payments. The alleged violations involve patents held by Fiserv’s subsidiaries, CheckFree and CashEdge, that describe online financial activities, such as conducting account-to-account transfers, creating electronic transaction “pick lists,” and making payments on behalf of others.

And another new one:

Not that it was simple to create. The research began more than a year and a half before USF applied for the patent in 2006. It arose from a project on people’s transportation behavior.

Even search algorithms are being patented:

Melbourne-based researchers are looking to commercialise a search algorithm that analyses networks to identify the most easily exploitable vulnerability chains.

One last example shows us that software patents are out of control in the US and as long as lawyers run the system (politicians and judges) we are unlikely to see much change, only change for the worse. Here is what seems like business methods. Bilski didn’t help much, did it? It’s business as usual.

Links 1/2/2012: Red Hat’s Realtime Linux, ACTA Lies

Posted in News Roundup at 3:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • TLWIR Special: GNU/Linux Petition Featured on WhiteHouse.gov!

    On January 30th, 2012, I started a petition requesting that the U.S. government broaden their use of Free Software and Open Source software to save money. I deeply believe that this one step is PART of the solution to the problem of the crushing national debt that the United States is currently facing. Will shifting to Free Software completely solve the crisis? No, it will not. Software expenditures are a very small part of our national budget. However, at some point, if we do not want our nation to go bankrupt, we will have to have the discipline and the fiscal restraint to say “no more”. The United States is not an infinite repository of cash, as many vendors seem to think. Decades of overspending have left us in quite a mess, and I believe that Free Software can help.

  • Heads Up for Linux
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • SMPlayer: A Flexible, Feature-Filled Media Player With a Frustrating Flaw

        SMPlayer is a media player that suffers from no lack of features — drilling down into its menus will quickly convince you. And despite the extent of these features, using them is nothing but simple. But SMPlayer unfortunately does lack one feature that some users may sorely miss: It can’t seem to read directories from CD/DVD music collections inserted in the optical drive.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Improves Realtime Linux

        Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) is out with its first major enterprise supported Linux release will full support for the Linux 3.0 kernel. The Red Hat MRG 2.1 platform provides Messaging, Realtime and Grid capabilities and was last updated in June of 2011 with the 2.0 release.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 12.04 Update Improves Multi-Monitor Experience

            An update to Ubuntu 12.04 (daily builds) has tweaked the Unity UI to make the systems more useful on multi-monitor set-up. I noticed it when I rebooted the system after an update. Now, launcher is available on all monitors, in addition to the top banner and menu items.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Boxee kills computer clients to focus on Boxee Box

      If you are a fan of the Boxee app on your Mac or PC, you had better hold onto your copy the software and be sure to back it up. Boxee has officially killed support for its computer clients and the last version of the software for Windows, Mac, and Linux has been removed from company servers. As of yesterday, the software is no longer available for download on the Boxee website.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • LibreTab… not?

        In a perfectly orchestrated marketing campaign for a 100% free-libre tablet called Spark that will run KDE Plasma Active, Aaron Seigo writes today about the problems they are facing with GPL-violations.

        Apparently, every Chinese manufacturer is breaking the GPLv2 by not releasing the sources for their modified Linux kernel. Conversations and conversations with Zenithink (designers of the Spark), Synrgic (designers of the Dreambook W7), etc have arrived nowhere. To the point that CordiaTab, another similar effort using Gnome instead of KDE, has been cancelled.

Free Software/Open Source

  • BusyBox replacement project fuels animated verbal spat

    BusyBox gained a measure of fame a few years ago when it became the subject of a lawsuit in the US, some say the first case in courts in that country to test the GPL. A number of similar suits followed, the contention always being the same: BusyBox was being used by some company or the other in violation of the terms of its licence, the GPL.

  • Local development company offers affordable open source solutions
  • EnterMedia Open Source Digital Asset Management Releases Version 8.0
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 10 Released, Running On Ubuntu 12.04

        Mozilla team has announced the release of Firefox 10. The latest version is available for Linux and Android, in addition to other platforms. The latest version is already available in the Android market. It may arrive on different Linux distros gradually. If you are running openSUSE you may want to enable the Mozilla repository to keep your Firefox/Thunderbird updated.

      • Mozilla releases Firefox 10, adds developer tools

        Mozilla has released version 10 of its Firefox browser as part of its accelerated six-week build cycle, and has also included a pack of developer tools aimed at simplifying life for website operators.

  • SaaS

  • Business

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open collaboration: living or dying by a community

      People like me tend to get the credit when things go right, and the axe when things don’t, but in the open source world it’s you who ultimately decides the fate of a project. Engineers and managers and designers work hard, this is true. None of that matters unless we have an involved community simultaneously pointing at the shiny object up in the clouds while holding our feet firmly to the ground.

    • Open Data

      • The imperative of openness for data society
      • Another Reason We Need Open Government Data: To Avoid Information Asymmetries

        Inspired by this work, Nicklas Lundblad has written an interesting speculative piece about what the rise of predictability through the analysis of huge data sets might mean for society and openness. He notes that one of the “theorems” of psychohistory is that for it to be effective the data sets and the predictions derived from them must be kept secret from the populations involved – the idea being that if they were able to analyze that same data themselves, they might change their actions and thus nullify the predictions.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Industry-Funded Software Research Goes Open Source

        Universities like open source licenses because they allow a community of developers to grow up around efforts such as Sakai or Kuali. But what about large technology companies that fund software research on university campuses? In some cases, it turns out that they prefer open source, too. When Intel launched Science and Technology Centers (ISTC) at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon University in 2011, for example, its policy was open source all the way…

  • Programming

    • Teaching software libraries by example

      Many libraries use Doxygen or a similar tool to convert comments in their code into HTML documentation. This goal here is to explain what each function and class is and does. In some cases, this is all the user gets. This is equivalent to saying “This is a hammer. It is used to hit nails. This is a nail, it is used to hold wood together.” and then expecting the user to be able to build a house. This is simply not the right kind of information for the user to be able to learn to use the tool for their needs.

Leftovers

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Price of Growth

      Growth. It’s what every economist and politician wants. If we get ‘back to growth’, servicing debts both private and sovereign become much easier. And life will return to normal (for a few more years).

      There is growing evidence that a major US policy shift is underway to boost growth. Growth that will create millions of new jobs and raise real GDP.

  • Censorship

    • Dutch ISPs Refuse To Block The Pirate Bay Without A Direct Order

      While some Dutch ISPs have been ordered by a court to block access to The Pirate Bay (after fighting it in court for years), the order only applied directly to two ISPs: xs4all and Ziggo. BREIN, the local anti-piracy group, had then demanded that other ISPs also start blocking access.

  • Privacy

    • Microsoft’s Bogus Attack On Google’s Privacy Policy

      Microsoft, the abusive monopoly in the Desktop segment, is slamming Google for its recent policy changes through an ad campaign claiming that Microsoft puts user ahead. Which, too me and many other is further from the reality. [A very good analysis by Danny Sullivan]

      While Google is trying to simplify things for users so they know about the privacy policies, Microsoft has its privacy policies spread out so its very hard to understand what your rights are and how much control you really have.

    • More Bad Ideas from the E.U.

      Now that the European Union’s member states are flailing around attempting to implement their miserable cookie directive, the European Commission has decided it’s a good time to further retard the Internet.

  • Civil Rights

    • Tourists deported from U.S. for Twitter jokes (Updated)

      Two U.K. tourists landing in L.A. were detained and deported because of tweets joking about “diggin’ up” Marilyn Monroe and “destroying” America.

      According to DHS paperwork, Leigh Van Bryan was matched to a “One Day Lookout” list, placed under oath, and ultimately denied entry and put on a plane back to Europe.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Four sources for Free-Licensed 3D Modeling Textures

        This week I discovered some new resources for texture graphics to use in 3D modeling. Textures are essential for most 3D modeling projects of any complexity, and good textures can sometimes make very simple “low-poly” models look much better.

        I just came across a post about different source materials for Blender modeling. The original included a lot of non-free materials, but along with it, I found some very nice sources for free-licensed textures:

      • ACTA

        • ACTA: Commissioner De Gucht Lies to the EU Parliament

          The EU Commission “Trade” Directorate-General is lobbying the EU Parliament, presenting a one-sided and plainly distorted view of ACTA to face the growing citizen opposition. The EU’s executive branch, which negotiated ACTA behind citizens’ backs, is now shamelessly relaying the copyright industries’ lobbying pitch, in yet another sign of its collusion with business interests.

        • The Avaaz Petition on ACTA and the Commission campaign
        • ACTA’s Back

          Now that the US bills SOPA and PIPA have been put on ice, attention has returned to their parent, an international treaty called ACTA. I’ve written extensively about ACTA before, but in summary it is an international treaty that has been secretly negotiated to ensure as little input as possible from the citizens of any country.

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