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02.06.12

IRC Proceedings: February 5th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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#techrights log

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Enter the IRC channels now

Links 6/2/2012: PCLinuxOS 2012.02 and Mint KDE Reviews

Posted in News Roundup at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • BT Vision plans to leave Mediaroom

    BT Vision is apparently preparing to drop the Microsoft Mediaroom platform and put in place a browser-based replacement running on Linux. The migration away from Mediaroom would be an embarrassment for Microsoft, which developed a special variant to cater for the BT Vision hybrid broadcast and broadband service. BT is a partner in the planned YouView platform, which also specifies a Linux operating system.

    Microsoft created Mediaroom as a platform for IPTV or internet protocol television services, aimed at top tier telcos. BT was an early customer. Others include Deutsche Telekom and AT&T. With more than eight million households through over 40 operators, it is one of the most widely deployed commercial IPTV middleware platforms.

  • Hail the penguin

    Last year Linux celebrated its 20th birthday. The operating system began life as a cut-down version of the commercial Unix system, which turned 40 last year, and has become the largest distributed software development project in history.

    The kernel – the bit between the hardware and software – consists of more than 11 million lines of code contributed by more than 500 companies and tens of thousands of developers around the world. It has been estimated that commercial redevelopment of Linux would cost more than US$3 billion, yet it’s yours for free.

  • Desktop

    • Writing and GNU/Linux

      He really expects e-books to dominate in book publishing and is at the tipping point. He likes the way FLOSS works for him.

      FLOSS has so many tools for writing. I like LyX for larger projects because it scales nicely. The applications does less during writing and saves the heavy lifting for the rendering process so I can maximize my productivity. The less my PC does to get in my way, the better I write. I use LibreOffice for routine stuff and it also provides a good spreadsheet for handling tabular data. I should also use a FLOSS database to keep track of stuff but WordPress does that already and Google is great so I have not done that yet. I could probably scrape MrPogson.com for hyperlinks and generate a good database for my writing automatically. Whatever we imagine we can do with FLOSS.

    • Don’t Get Excited Over Coreboot Laptops Yet

      There was the Coreboot main track session today at FOSDEM 2012 about Coreboot support on laptops and other areas, but unfortunately, there isn’t much to get excited about at this point.

      While Coreboot has made much progress in providing a “free” BIOS / UEFI for modern systems (particularly those based upon new AMD hardware), there is still much work left to be accomplished. There was an expectation that at this FOSDEM event there would be a new laptop shown off running Coreboot with the expectation that a new vendor might be shipping this device with Coreboot this year.

    • Scholarly work using Linux

      In Linux, I do not have to install anything for my computer to do all that: the OS includes all the functionalities I need. From KOrganizer, I get the computer to wake me up with a song and to launch Firefox and LibreOffice with my article without exposing my computer to any malware. I simply used the process for a song but selected “application/script” instead of “sound”. Then I wrote libreoffice3.4 for “application” and added the path where the file was in “arguments”.

      But that’s not all: Linux has a great tool for copying citations from PDFs: Okular. Its fabulous feature to select text from virtually any PDF, copy it, and paste it truly facilitates the process of adding citations to one’s article. Even in the rare cases when it is not possible to get the selection as text, you can paste it as an image with Okular…simple and quick.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Gallium3D For Mesa 8.0

        With the Mesa 8.0 release right around the corner, in recent weeks there have been a number of benchmarks on Phoronix looking at this latest open-source OpenGL library and its drivers, including Gallium3D. In this article though are new benchmarks from one of the areas not explored yet: the Intel Gallium3D driver performance.

      • Intel Haswell Graphics Driver To Be Opened Up Soon

        While the Ivy Bridge launch is still a number of weeks out, Intel will soon be publishing their initial hardware enablement code for next year’s Haswell micro-architecture.

        There’s already been Haswell compiler support patches, but for the open-source graphics drivers there will soon be the first bits of public code. The Ivy Bridge Linux support code is mostly all molded into shape, so some attention has already turned to the Ivy Bridge-successor Haswell.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Integrating Shutter With KDE 4.7

        Did you know that you can integrate Shutter with KDE 4.7? Yes, you sure can. Shutter is an excellent tool for screen captures regardless of your desktop environment.

      • KDE Development – A Beginner’s Guide

        During a recent 5 day sprint, four KDE contributors planned and produced a handbook for beginning KDE developers. We had assistance from several generous organizations, worked hard, and learned a lot.

  • Distributions

    • RebeccaBlackOS – First Live CD Running Wayland Display Server
    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2012.2 has been released

        Bill Reynolds announced the availabilty of PCLinuxOS 2012.2 with Linux Kernel 2.6.38.8 and desktop environment KDE 4.6.5. It is available in 32-bit and 64-bit architecture. PCLinuxOS is mainly forked from Mandriva and very easy to use operating system.

      • PCLinuxOS 2012.02 Review

        There are quite a few distributions out there that are geared towards the novice user, and PCLOS does a great job at it. The website does have a community where one could ask for help and there is even a monthly magazine that they publish monthly with tips and tricks for Linux users. That right there is worth a few bonus points as they are trying to keep a community and help a new user. They have also published a

        What I found strange in PCLOS is what the developers chose to have on the desktop by default. The applications they chose doesn’t make much sense in my opinion as there could have been better ones selected, say Firefox and Thunderbird, compared to LibreOffice Manager, Network Center, Firewall Setup and Localization manager.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Flavours and Variants

            • inux Mint 12 KDE review

              Linux Mint 12 KDE is the latest update to the line of Linux Mint editions that are based on Ubuntu Desktop and use the K Desktop Environment. It is actually the first release of the KDE edition in a very long time. The last release before this one was Linux Mint 10 KDE, which was released in February 2011. (See Linux Mint 10 KDE review.)

              So we moved from Linux Mint 10 KDE to Linux Mint 12 KDE because Linux Mint 11 KDE did not make it out of the developer’s box.

            • LinuxMint12 KDE has been released! | Screenshots Tour

              LinuxMint 12 KDE has been released, this edition comes with the latest and recently released KDE 4.7.4. This is the first release of Linux Mint using Hybrid ISO images. Traditionally, tools such as ‘Startup Disk Creator’ or ‘UNetbootin’ were needed to install Linux Mint via USB. With hybrid images, you can simply use the ‘dd’ command or a graphical front-end to make a bootable USB stick with no efforts which acts exactly like a live DVD.

            • Xubuntu 12.04 LTS Alpha 2 Screenshot Tour

              On February 2nd, Canonical unleashed for testing the second and last Alpha version of the upcoming Xubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) operating system.

              Xubuntu 12.04 LTS Alpha 2 is powered by Linux kernel 3.2.2 and is built on top of the Xfce 4.8 desktop environment. It features a new greeter and desktop theme, as well as minor changes to various packages and default settings (including the size of the Terminal font).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • U.S. government, military to get secure Android phones

          Some U.S. officials this year are expected to get smartphones capable of handling classified government documents over cellular networks, according to people involved in the project.
          The phones will run a modified version of Google’s Android software, which is being developed as part of an initiative that spans multiple federal agencies and government contractors, these people said.

        • 10 beautiful Android Live Wallpapers
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Details Emerge About the Spark Linux-Based Tablet

        There’s a new tablet in town (well, on its way to town, at least) called the Spark. The Linux-based tablet, based on the Zenithink C71, was announced several days ago, but the fellow behind the project, KDE developer Aaron Seigo, released more details on his blog in a convenient Q&A format.

      • Linux unveils open source tablet

        The Spark, an open source tablet that will be available for purchase by May this year, is part of the Linux-based MeeGo project, which is hosted by the Linux Foundation, iTWire reports.

        The device will run open source software, as well as a mix of free content, such as digital books from Project Gutenberg, as well as content and apps for purchase, PC World states.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Help OSI – Complete Our Survey!
  • HP Opens Up Its Switches to OpenFlow

    HP has been a supporter of the OpenFlow effort for several years, but previously had not offered full commercial support on its switching platforms.

    “We have been working with OpenFlow and had a special licensed version available for over four years,” Saar Gillai, Vice President, Advanced Technology Group, and CTO at HP Networking told InternetNews.com. “Now, based on strong demand from our customers, we’re putting out a fully supported commercial release that any of our customers can download and use on their switches.”

  • Big Switch releases open source controller for OpenFlow
  • OMB Shared First should include open source, says group

    Open source advocates urge the Office of Management and Budget to expand its Shared First strategy to include open source software development in a Feb. 2 comment posted online.

  • Open Source Initiative affiliates announced at FOSDEM

    Open Source Initiative (OSI) board member Simon Phipps has announced a group of affiliate organisations who will be providing advice to the OSI as it reforms itself from a self appointed board-based organisation eventually to a member-based organisation. The affiliates, announced during Phipps’ presentation at FOSDEM in Brussels, are the Apache Software Foundation, Creative Commons, Drupal, the Eclipse Foundation, FreeBSD, Joomla (via Open Source Matters), KDE, the Linux Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, Plone, Sahana and Wikiotics. The OSI is also undertaking an anonymous survey to gauge what a future personal membership of the OSI should mean in practice.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 3.5 Will Be Released on February 8

      The Document Foundation proudly announced on February 4th that the third and last Release Candidate version of the upcoming LibreOffice 3.5 open source office suite is available for download and testing.

    • LibreOffice making steady progress

      A little more than a year after The Document Foundation was set up to look after LibreOffice, the fork of the former OpenOffice.org project, it seems that Oracle did the users of the latter office suite a great favour by neglecting it.

  • Education

  • Healthcare

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Alfresco Embraces SaaS and the Cloud with Its New CMS Platform

        In a big endorsement of the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) model, enteprise content management system (CMS) maker Alfresco is embracing cloud- and mobile-based usage of its platform with its new Alfresco 4 release. The open source CMS platform is used by 2,500 enterprises in 55 countries according to the company, and users need to access the content from their mobile devices, share and sync on the go, and more. The new platform is accessible from tablets as well as smartphones, and also allows users to publish straight to social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook.

  • Public Services/Government

    • New Hampshire Passes ‘Open Source Bill’
    • How Did This Get Past Microsoft? New Hampshire Passed An Open Source Software Bill

      New Hampshire (motto: “Live Free or Die”) has passed HB418, a House bill which legislates the requirement that state agencies “consider open source software when acquiring software and promotes the use of open data formats by state agencies. This bill also directs the commissioner of information technology to develop a statewide information policy based on principles of open government data.”

      Whew! According to bill author and Linux kernel contributor Seth Cohn (commenting on Slashdot), this is the first open source and open data bill to pass in any state, ever. Now, it does not require state government officials to pick the open source alternative over the proprietary one at any point in time, but simply to officially document their justification for their software policy.

    • Live Free or Die in New Hampshire
  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Finance

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • White House Petition Demands TPP Process Be Open & Transparent

      It seems that, with every issue that comes up around here, people are quickly putting together White House petitions on the White House’s “We The People” site. The latest, in response to all of these stories about secrecy concerning the negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), is a petition demanding that the process be more open and transparent.

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Attack

          ACTA is perhaps one of the most sinister developments in the history of the Internet, and beyond, not only because of the Draconian legislations it proposes, but also because of the manner in which they were proposed.

          You see ACTA has never been democratically scrutinised or debated. It was created and negotiated entirely in secret by private corporations, not transparently by democratically elected representatives, and then ratified without any democratic mandate (by “executive order”). Indeed, the US government actually went so far as to describe these boiler-room “negotiations” as “a matter of national security”.

        • The EU Commission’s Repressive Plans Beyond ACTA

          The EU Commission is relentlessly defending ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which faces widespread opposition in Europe and beyond. Falsely portraying ACTA as an acceptable agreement, the Commission is paving the way for its ultra-repressive copyright enforcement agenda, as revealed in documents just released. Citizens and their elected representatives across Europe must denounce this dangerous drift of the policy-making process, which is bound to undermine freedoms online and the very architecture of the Internet, and instead require a thorough reform of copyright.

        • European spring is over

          The European Parliament has sent me the legal service’s opinion on ACTA. It is almost completely blacked out.

          On 4 October the Legal Affairs committee requested the opinion of the Parliament’s legal service on ACTA. The service concluded the opinion on 8 December. I requested the document on 10 December.

          On 19 December the Legal Affairs committee decided to make the opinion public.

          There was a first indication things were going wrong on 11 January. The Parliament’s register wrote me: “Due to ongoing consultations in view of disclosure of the requested documents, we would like to inform you that in accordance with Article 7(3) of Regulation 1049/2001, we need to extend the reply’s time limit by adding 15 working days.”

          On 4 February (letter dated 31.1) I received the blacked out document. Apparently, the Legal Affairs committee’s decision was overridden. By whom? Probably by the Parliament’s Bureau.

Bill Gates Indoctrinates Youth in the United States and India, Critics Speak Out

Posted in America, Asia, Bill Gates at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Gates Foundation is waging war on public interests

War memorial

Summary: Backlash against the Gates Crusade to brainwash the young minds all around the world

MONOPOLIST extraordinaire Bill Gates wants a monopoly on children’s minds, so in his crusade for control he is trying to buy the agenda (curriculum) and organisation of US schools. It’s a form of privatisation of a $500,000,000,000 per annum system. Lots of money can be made there at the expense of taxpayers, taking away the very little that the middle class has got left.

This problem is well understood by an increasing number of teachers, despite the fact that Gates is bribing some of the education press to spread good wishes on him (we gave some examples in the past). The man who made a living by breaking the law is currently exploiting US poverty and an imbalanced system where Gates and his pals get richer and everyone else goes broke. Here is what happens in Philadelphia schools:

Last week, Philadelphia became the latest in a long list of cities to be courted by Bill Gates, when his “Great Schools Compact” was presented for consideration to the School Reform Commission. Bill Gates has taken on a reputation as a school reformer as well as philanthropist, dispensing money throughout the country for struggling schools in economically distressed cities while imposing changes in policies and procedures in those locales. Sounds like just what the doctor ordered.

[...]

Diane Ravitch, in her recent book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education,” describes how Manuel High, one of Denver’s oldest and most prestigious schools, was forced to divide itself into three separate schools because of the “small school” agenda Gates was pushing at the time; the ensuing disruption caused the school board to close it temporarily. Mountlake Terrace High, just outside Seattle, suffered the loss of many teachers and administrators in 2004 after being forced to split into five separate schools in order to receive the Gates funding.

Into the Philadelphia School District’s state of fiscal desperation rides Bill Gates. Who can say “no” to free money when you are so deep in the hole? But the money is not free, and the price is the democratic procedure in the city and the state under which the community and its elected leaders make informed decisions about its schools.

From the same blog we gather more information about more of Gates’ lobbying groups that push this agenda:

We know that LEV is heavily funded by Gates who is all about charter schools. LEV has showcased over the last year all of the “Stars” of the charter school industry as well as Wendy Kopp of Teach for America Inc. who staffs charter schools with teaching temps. LEV is now, by the way, championing the online learning industry, another cash cow for businesses and corporations including Microsoft.

This is helping Mr. Gates sell Microsoft lock-in and train children this way. For shame.

He is hijacking the voices of American parents, simply because money can buy anything. A Parents Across America member speaks out about it in a letter:

I am a parent with two children in Portland Public Schools. I have been a PTA member for five years and recently came onto our PTA board as a legislative co-chair. I am writing to see if there is any possibility of the PTA dropping its affiliation and funding from the Gates Foundation. I know that must sound shocking that a parent wants less funding, but the reason is that the Gates Foundation is supporting and pushing education policies that are NOT good for our schools and children. If you are not already familiar with well-regarded experts like Diane Ravitch, Stephen Krashen, Deborah Meier, and other groups like Parents Across America and the national Save Our Schools movement, please become familiar with them to realize that there is a growing body of people completely alarmed and speaking up against the policies Gates and his front groups like Stand for Children and others are pushing. For lack of a better term, it is the corporate education reform movement and it is NOT good for our kids.

As far as I can tell, our Oregon PTA hasn’t really gotten on-board with advocating for some of the things Gates supports, such as expansion of charters, on-line learning, data-driven models, merit pay, etc. I hear in Washington state, it is quite different. Apparently the PTA there is pushing for charters schools.

I think we have some really wonderful people who are a part of their PTA, and I would love to see PTA grow. A group that is truly genuine and has parents and teachers working together is a worthwhile thing to support. However, the policies of Gates do not do this. I am thinking that PTA accepted or went after this money due to desperately needed funding. When you look at the grant Gates gave to PTA, it says it is to support education reform, and then you see the focus on the Common Core Standards on the National PTA page and it is just so disappointing. Common Core, as it is now, will line the pockets of Microsoft and testing companies, while narrowing the curriculum and lowering engagement levels of our kids.

Sue Peters, writing for the same blog, notes that:

We still have many challenges ahead of us in Seattle, and Washington as a whole, the biggest being the gathering, moneyed forces that are pushing for charters. We still have the Gates Foundation right here in Seattle, so as long as that foundation pushes for and bankrolls discredited, failed reforms, those of us in the parent activist community will have our work cut out for us.

This form of class warfare ought to worry anyone who was in school or sends his/her children to school. While the press is bribed to take the side of the occupiers, children’s minds are being occupied with this ludicrous idea that those who exploit them are in fact looking after them. Meanwhile, profitable monopolies are established on the back of a taxpayers-funded education system. Socialising the cost, privatising the profit. Bill must be a genius.

We previously showed how state-funded laptops [1, 2, 3, 4] which were supposed to run free software turned into taxpayers-funded Microsoft indoctrination instruments. Richard Stallman is being quoted in the Indian press today as saying wise words:

The Tamil Nadu government may be trumpeting its scheme to distribute computers for free to students but it is setting a poor example for what a state should do, says American software freedom activist Richard Stallman.

“It distributes laptops loaded with non-free software to children, teaching them to be dependent on paid products. It creates a system of digital colonisation,” Stallman, who has waged a storied battle against software giants like Bill Gates, said in an e-mail interview to The Times of India. He criticised the state’s ambitious free laptop scheme that hands out computers with the Windows operating system.

Stallman, who will be in Chennai on Monday to deliver a lecture on free software at IIT-Madras, said he is appreciative of the efforts of Kerala and Karnataka, states that have extended support to the free software movement by moving schools to GNU/Linux operating systems and including lessons on them in the syllabus. “Karnataka put the system in place in high schools a couple of years ago,” he said.

“Please keep up the good work,” Stallman said to me last night in an E-mail (regarding this site). As some people may have noticed, the FSF refocused on education last week. Can we save the next generation from greedy sociopaths who buy consent from the press?

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Bill Gates Uses Symbolic ‘Donation’ to Force Taxpayers to Pay Microsoft (of Which He Holds Shares)

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 9:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

White-collar robbery in Vietnam

Robbery

Summary: The Gates Foundation goes lobbying for Microsoft again, this time in Vietnam

TECHRIGHTS has covered hundreds of examples where the Gates Foundation can be seen hacking the system and making profit while making it look like charity — a travesty to be described positively by the bribed press (that Gates is paying to do this). When the world’s biggest thief is speaking on behalf of poor people we just know something is totally wrong and journalists occasionally speak out about it (those whose publisher has not yet been bribed by Gates). The foundation is again exploiting and piggybacking farmers to spread lock-in, this time in Vietnam. Gates had already stepped into Vietnam under the "Foundation" gown in order to derail Free software adoption over there. But it’s merely a drop in the bucket. See our past posts about this country, notably:

As we explained before, software costs no money to copy, so portrayal of software as “donation” is just a trick to make Vietnamese taxpayers pay Microsoft. The Communist Party paper says this:

Bill Gates fund helps Vietnam farmers go online

[...]

The fund includes nearly $30 million of free support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and $3.64 million worth of Microsoft software. The remaining investment will be raised by the Vietnamese government.

This Windows-powered Web site fails to mention the problems with this, as mentioned at the time by Gates Keepers among several others. It’s all just a story of sentimental blackmail (an old favourite of Microsoft) and yet more Microsoft promotion. We have seen this before. Gates uses this so-called ‘charity’ quite a lot to sell or impose the sale of Microsoft lock-in, especially in places where Free software gains traction. In this case, the government (i.e. taxpayers) bear some of the costs. And then they wonder why there are problems and critics, blaming "communication" problems for the criticism. As one critic of the foundation put it, there is a brute-force charm offence going on:

Basically, I was noting that the Gates Foundation is widely viewed by many outsiders, including grant recipients, as somewhat inscrutable. It has been saying for years it wants to improve on its ability to communicate with perhaps little evidence of improvement (and even as its annual report has dramatically shrunk in size, a good thing but symbolically irresistable to me):

Remember that Bill Gates is still getting richer. The press which he bribes keep telling us that he gives his fortune away, giving people at the bottom the wrong impression and sympathy for a robber baron. By all means be sceptical of any report which sells the story of Gates taking care of the poor; he often just uses the poor for PR and for profit. One just needs to grasp the common spin techniques being crafted. Then the reality becomes very shallow.

Monopoly as Innovation?

Posted in Patents at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Indianapolis

Summary: Challenging the old misconception that patents are beneficial to anything but few multinationals and their patent lawyers

PATENT monopolies form the basis of business of some ruthless multinationals — companies with so many patents that nobody is able to enter their field without fear of litigation. Patents are a form of territory-marking and they are an obstacle or a barrier to the number of people working in a particular field. Surely this cannot result in more innovation. I understand this as a researcher and programmer in the field of computer vision, where people habitually get US patents on matrix operations. That’s mathematics.

According to this news article, an award goes to a company that helps groom the portfolio of patent monopolisers:

On Friday afternoon, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard announced the winner of a Super Bowl XLVI contest for Indianapolis-area startups presented jointly by Develop Indy and Startup America Partnership. The competition sought to recognize a high-potential startup in the Indianapolis area while raising awareness of Indianapolis as a great place to launch a business.

The winner was Indianapolis-based legal technology startup PatentStatus, a cloud-based software-as-a-service that enables organizations with large patent portfolios to implement a virtual patent marking strategy on their corporate web sites.

Now, let’s think about it for a second. Here we have proprietary and remote software which targets what is essentially a company with many monopolies. By helping such entities mark their territory, so to speak, this Indianapolis-based company essentially does more to scare potential competition. In essence, this depresses innovation and provides yet more examples of how patents stifle progress. In some places, in order to stride forward, employees are actively encouraged not to look at patents — as means of avoiding wilful infringement.

According to a reader of ours, there is the White House response which says “overly broad patents on software-based inventions may stifle the very innovative and creative open source software development community..”

“Like so many others,” notes the reader, “it intentionally or accidentally mistakes the problem as being one for developers, when the issue of patents is really about users. It’s 2012 and it’s tiring to see that canard still being used.”

Here is the Glyn Moody piece that he cites. Moody concludes with the following words:

What’s interesting here is that open source was nowhere mentioned in the original petition. So it shows a commendable savviness on the part of the person who actually wrote the reply – Quentin Palfrey, Senior Advisor to CTO for Jobs and Competitiveness at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy – that much of the concern about software patents is the deletorious effect they have on free software.

So even if the e-petition failed to get President Obama to agree to abolish software patents (admittedly a bit of a long shot), it did have the beneficial effect of eliciting this strong vote in favour of open source from a very high-profile site.

When will US policy-makers realise that patents — and software patents in particular — are a sham that benefit nobody but a tiny proportion (maybe under 0.001%) of the population? There are high costs associated with externalities.

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