EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

02.15.12

IRC Proceedings: February 15th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Why Microsoft’s Blackmail Campaign Against Linux/Android May be Headed Towards the Garbage Can

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 3:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trash cans

Summary: Barnes and Noble gets an upper hand and other news serves to show the weakening of Microsoft’s patent campaign/effort to disrupt fair competition

THIS site was born out of need to defend GNU/Linux from Microsoft extortion. Here we are just over half a decade later and Microsoft’s extortion affects many Android devices, not just SUSE.

According to this report, “Barnes & Noble Backed by U.S. Agency Staff in Microsoft Case” and as one commentator puts it:

CLOSED SOURCE SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft looks set to lose its attempt to get Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet banned.

Microsoft had gone to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in a bid to halt the import of Barnes and Noble’s Nook tablet and ebook reader, claiming the device infringes three of its patents. Unlike most firms, Barnes and Noble decided to fight Microsoft instead of paying up, a decision that now looks likely to pay off.

This is enough to squash some propaganda from Microsoft lobbyists, but not the appalling propaganda from Bloomberg (as can be seen here). Linux-hostile sources are seeking to portray Google as a patent aggressor and gangsters from Microsoft as “friendly”

The Microsoft lobbyists[ [cref 58126 spread (nonsense like it’s a full-time job and the target is always Android. Microsoft is very worried about Android, which enters tablets and thus affects Microsoft’s desktop share as well.

Red Hat’s unofficial response (from an employee) says:

Now let’s ignore for the moment the obvious wrongness wrt Android copying iOS etc and instead focus on the claim that 2.25% is not FRANDish enough according to the self-acclaimed expert in thsi field, Mr. Florian Mueller.

This same Mr. Mueller is working on a “research project” to find out how FRAND is the best way for the IT world etc. Hint: that research is payed by Microsoft ;-)

It is just a Microsoft lobbyist injecting the Microsoft line into publications (maybe with his usual spam-esque techniques for promoting this).

Pamela Jones and Professor Webbink tackle these sorts of issues from a legal standpoint. In this new post they help dispel some of the myths spread by the lobbyists:

With Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility there have been a number of competitors claiming Google (Motorola) is acting unfairly in its licensing of patents related to the H.264 and 3G/UMTS standards.

Among the complaining parties are Microsoft and Apple, both of which claim that the Motorola Mobility approach to FRAND (fair reasonable and non-discriminatory) licensing under the respective standards is anything but fair and reasonable. The fight is over the fact that Motorola Mobility (and now Google) is asking a 2.25% royalty for a single patent in each of these instances.

While it is the epitome of chutzpah for Apple and Microsoft to complain about the patent licensing behavior of any other company, that does little to clarify the issues involved in patent licensing related to standards. This article will walk through those issues so we can all have a better understanding of such licensing and why different companies perceive the terms “fair and reasonable” from very different perspectives, depending on whose ox is being gored.

Here is the type of articles Groklaw responds to. Alan Lord writes: “Makes you wonder what all those other vendors are paying #Microsoft for doesn’t it?”

On another occasion he writes: “OMG! Look what #Microsoft, the #swpat troll is claiming are being breached by B&N: is.gd/XTkkrg Trivial, not novel or innovative.”

He links to this Microsoft booster and Pamela Jones over at Groklaw. She shows Microsoft retreating:

The big news being reported by Bloomberg is that Jeff Hsu, a staff attorney at the ITC, said in an interview he will be recommending that ITC Judge Theodore Essex find Barnes & Noble has not infringed three Microsoft patents. Essex rules in April on that.

If I were a FUDster, I’d write that this means Barnes & Noble has prevailed, but I just tell you the truth, which is that this is one step in a longer process. It is, undeniably, however, fabulously good news for Barnes & Noble.

Alan Lord adds that:

Really, really bad stuff from #Microsoft’s “Android Licensing Progam”: is.gd/b1rIIy #swpats #barnesandnoble (2nd highlighted para)

Extortion is when “licensing” from Microsoft is required for a product Microsoft has nothing to do with. And as Groklaw puts it:

Barnes & Noble Files Petition for Review Re Patent Misuse Defense ~pj – Updated

[...]
But the most explosive section is where Barnes & Noble describes what Microsoft said to them when they approached Barnes & Noble with a demand that they pay for a patent license:

“And what they basically told us was, it doesn’t matter if you have defenses, whether you don’t infringe, whether our patents are invalid, you’re going to need to take a license, because there’s no way that you can get out of our grasp, that we have so many patents that we could overwhelm you.”

The document says that Microsoft demands that all OEMs take a license from them and pay for all Android phones whether or not they actually infringe.

Finally, here is an explanation of interest about damage limitations because “[a] number of comments to a recent article on the Microsoft v. Barnes & Noble reveal some confusion on the issues of damages in patent infringement actions and the role that patent marking and notice play in determining when damages begin to accrue.” The bottom line is, the case goes on and Microsoft is struggling to defend its case for extortion. Regulators too are getting involved now. Besieged by transparency.

Stockpiling Against Apple and Microsoft Aggression

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 2:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Defensive armament

Tower

Summary: Google gets a go-ahead for acquisition of Motorola patents, which will help deter against anti-Android lawsuits (except by proxy)

THE LATEST news from the Android patent warzone is that Apple loses a round, which puts Android/Linux in a good position. Moreover:

The US Department of Justice and European Commission have okayed Google’s planned $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility. Now the two have to work together — and fast — to bbring Android 4.0 to Motorola’s Xoom and XyBoard and whatever other Android tablet platform that can grab some share against Apple’s iPad.

And as expected, the “Nortel & Googorola deals are] approved by US DOJ and EC,” says Karsten Gerloff (FSFE head), based on these official pages. SJVN calls it Apple’s nightmare:

Apple’s Android nightmare: Google’s Motorola purchase gets EU OK

Apple has been doing its best to beat the snot out of Android in the courts with intellectual property lawsuits. Now, with Google purchase of Motorola Mobility, Android’s maker will have the patents it needs to retaliate.

The FSFE has meanwhile issued a statement to say: “Nortel/Rockstar, Google/Motorola deals create balance of terror on software patents”. To quote:

On Monday, the US Department of Justice approved the sale of Nortel’s patent portfolio to a consortium led by Apple and Microsoft. At the same time, the DOJ and the European Commission allowed Google to buy Motorola Mobility, thus giving the search company a sizable patent portfolio.

“We appreciate that competition authorities in the US and Europe continue to take software patents seriously as a risk to competition,” says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. “However, we believe that the commitments made by Google, Microsoft and Apple regarding their patent licensing policies are not sufficient to allow everyone to compete on equal terms.”

The terms of those commitments do nothing to ensure that the software patents in the portfolios in question can be implemented in Free Software.

While Microsoft has said that it will not seek injunctions against companies using its standard-essential patents, this policy merely restates the commitments Microsoft has already made to standards organisations. Microsoft will only license its patents on so-called “RAND” terms (short for “reasonable and non-discriminatory”). These typically require the company that implements the patents to pay a licensing fee per unit.

It is always sad when competition boils down to legal disputes and deterrence. It’s an unhealthy atmosphere. The ideal solution would hammer down the patent system.

Claims of Imitation Backfire

Posted in Apple, Oracle at 2:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fire

Summary: Slip of the tongue for Oracle and more aggression from Apple

THE ongoing research over at Groklaw[1, 2, 3] nets this finding that an “Oracle Engineer” says “Android Is Not Java ME!”

To quote: “Don’t bother searching for that comment on Wong’s blog – he has taken it down. But not before vigilant Groklaw volunteers were able to cache a copy of it.”

There is more at Mr. Pogson’s blog, which looks ahead at the consequences. Whether or not the Oracle lawsuit was started as a favour to Larry Ellison’s best friend is irrelevant from a legal standpoint. But perhaps we will see this lawsuit ending soon.

Apple itself keeps frantically pushing for the ban of more Android devices (because that is Apple’s long-term strategy):

Apple is seeking a US ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus, the flagship phone for the newest iteration of Google’s Android smartphone OS, in the latest battle of the ongoing patent wars.

The fruity firm filed in California, saying that “a preliminary injunction regarding Samsung’s new Galaxy Nexus, which infringes multiple key Apple patents, is essential to prevent immediate and irreparable harm to Apple”.

“Absent preliminary relief, by the time Apple prevails in this case – and Samsung’s infringement is so clear there can be no serious dispute that Apple will prevail – Samsung will have rushed the Galaxy Nexus, which misappropriates many patented features from the iPhone, to capture market share from Apple that Samsung will be able to retain long into the future,” Apple claimed somewhat shrilly.

“Apple look more stupid, paranoid & arrogant by the day,” writes Alan Lord about this news. We urge readers to not buy anything from Apple. This company is a major foe of sane patent policy, Linux, GNU, and other Free software. It’s antithetical to civil society.

Tim Berners-Lee Finally Takes Action Against Patents on the Web

Posted in Patents at 2:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tim Berners-Lee

Image from Wikimedia

Summary: The Web’s inventor, who always insisted on patent- and royalty-free Web, addresses a standing issue

THE HONOURABLE MAN who was inspired in part by Richard Stallman when he created the free Web is making headlines again. It is about the case which we wrote about in posts such as [1, 2, 3].

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, a journalist who is currently being smeared by Microsoft employees, writes about this piece of news that’s pretty big. Timothy B. Lee’s angle on Timothy Berners-Lee can be found here. “But no third cheer,” writes Simon Phipps (OSI), “because, all the same, it’s a hollow victory. Despite the fact every technically-competent engineer on the Internet (including my colleagues at Sun who worked on the HotJava browser and were also pursued) could see the patent claim was specious, Eolas has still been able to spend more than a decade making huge sums of money simply by threatening people with enormously expensive litigation.”

Here are some more articles about this theme:

  • WebKit dominance threatens the open web
  • Tim Berners-Lee Takes the Stand to Keep the Web Free

    The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, testified in a courtroom Tuesday for the first time in his life. The web pioneer flew down from Boston, near where he teaches at MIT, to an eastern Texas federal court to speak to a jury of two men and six women about the early days of the web.

    His trip is part of an effort by a group of internet companies and retailers trying to defeat two patents — patents that a patent-licensing company called Eolas and the University of California are saying entitle them to royalty payments from just about anyone running a website with “interactive” features, like rotating pictures or streaming video.

Last year Tim and I chatted briefly on Twitter about patents in the Web, so the above action is reassuring. Glyn Moody writes about this by retweeting Tim:

RT @timberners_lee Texas jury agreed Eolas 906 patent invalid. Good thing too! >>that’s a relief…#swpats

As an aside, there is this ongoing discussion about why the patent system fails. Jan summarises as follows:

What started as a post on Googleplus turned into quite a nice braindump of my struggle with the current patent system. Hence I decided to also turn it into a blog entry. Please do read the comments on googleplus as they contain a lot of additional insight and counterarguments.

[...]

So when both sides of the equation fail in society (not the market, patents are a deal between society and creators, not a deal in the market, a mistake many people make) the patent system is NOT doing what it is meant to do.

Now can we get back to the original deal? I doubt it. Reforms will not suffice for that.

A good first step would be to annul all software patents. Tim said that software patents are "terrible". He is a scientist and renowned innovator, not a lawyer.

“Let me make my position on the patentability of software clear. I believe that software per se should not be allowed patent protection. […] We take this position because it is the best policy for maintaining a healthy software industry, where innovation can prosper.” —Douglas Brotz, Adobe Systems, Inc.

Bill Gates Experiments on the Poor to Help Drug Monopolies He Invests in Become Richer

Posted in Bill Gates, Patents at 2:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Experimentation with poor kids is not a novel concept

Back to school

Summary: A new report about the reality of large-scale clinical trials being painted “charity” (patent charges)

THE Gates Foundation uses clever PR campaigns to provide companies it invests in (and which make up the foundation’s management) with free clinical trials. We covered this subject here several times before and also provided examples. This is not an hypothesis or a theory; it’s a fact. According to this pointer we got about a new article, Bill Gates continues to use African babies as guinea pigs:

So the Gates Foundation is giving Big Bucks ($400 million and counting) to Big Drugs/GSK to develop a vaccine against Africa’s number one killer, malaria.

The new not-for-profit malaria vaccine is “virtually entirely ineffective” without another medicine, whose patent is owned by GSK, resulting in $billions of African blood money filling the coffers of Big Drugs, once again.

Never mind Big Drugs/GSK had its reps at the Gate$ Foundation and Big Buck$ in the form of tax deductible grants are being shelled out by the Gate$ Foundation to Big Drugs/GSK.

And never mind that billions of desperately needed African foreign currency reserves will be spent on this new malaria vaccine. The really nasty thing about all this is the fact that, once again, Big Drugs tests new drugs on African babies before any such permission is granted to do so on American babies.

And all the while one African country, Eritrea, has reduced malaria mortality by 80% over the last decade, a fact unknown to the supposedly altruistic, or more aptly, incestuous, vaccine industry.

It is appalling stuff like this which compels us to continue tracking Gates and his new monopolies. The experiments above help the drug companies profit from rich people (the real target market) and the fake ‘donations’ from Gates are rarely real donations; it’s just patent licences intended to kickstart sales and pressure politicians to pass taxpayers’ money to the pharmaceutical cartel. We provided examples over the years. Regarding Monsanto, wrote to us a reader just minutes ago, “[t]here was just a short bit on TV about how a number of people have moved from Monsanto directly in to the Gates Foundation. I’ve looked around online but can’t find anything.”

We wrote about this at the time. Remember that GSK (which is mentioned above) had the highest position at the Gates Foundation's "health" efforts. The foundation helps companies paint their sinister agenda as “philanthropy” and Gates is their front man (who shares profits with them as an investor).

Links 15/2/2012: New Fedora Leader, Debian Lenny Support Ending

Posted in News Roundup at 1:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • Want a Third-Rate Server? Put That Other OS On It

      Netcraft has again published it’s hosting survey. It shows that other OS is still far less popular than GNU/Linux. Only 7 out of 43 reports uses that other OS while GNU/Linux counts 28. I dug deeper into the table to have an idea why.

  • Kernel Space

    • Why Linux Jobs Are Burning Up the Tech Market: Q&A with Dice.om’s Alice Hill

      The Linux Foundation, in partnership with Dice.com, today released the results of the first-ever Linux Jobs Report. Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin breaks down the significance of those findings in his blog. In this special interview, we talk to Dice Managing Director Alice Hill for her perspective on what is most interesting about the 2012 Linux Jobs Report and the outlook for Linux professionals.

  • Applications

    • Stop Breaking My Software!

      My wife is a writer, and after Windows had crashed too many times, I switched her PC over to Linux. She continued using Microsoft Word 97 under CrossOver Office, but that combo was a bit unstable and crashed from time to time. So I finally convinced her to switch to OpenOffice, configured to produce the .doc files that she needs to send. This worked reasonably well, until recently.

      The last round of updates broke things. In particular, the spell checker is now useless. Attempting to spell-check a document crashes, typically after the second word, and I have to manually kill the OpenOffice program. This in turn leaves a “lock” file hiding somewhere, so that OO won’t run until I reboot the system. Not good.

    • Instructionals/Technical

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Open Advice–Project Inspiration

        Thinking of starting a free and open source project? Looking for inspiration on an existing project? Lydia Pintscher has pulled together useful wisdom from free and open community leaders in a new book—Open Advice.

        Lydia is a KDE e.V. Board member. She’s part of the KDE Community Working Group, the Google Summer of Code Coordinator for KDE and contributes to projects and people outside KDE as well. Lydia is highly qualified to help people discover key concepts that make free and open software projects effective.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 5th February 2012
      • Meet KDE’s Own HUD – AppMenu Runner

        Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, recently announced plans for HUD which allows users to search or open menu items without having to follow the tree of a menu. The proposal got mixed responses.

        There is no doubt that HUD is a great idea. It’s excellent not because it is a new idea, Apple Mac has a similar feature. It’s excellent because Mark is trying to find a way to implement it in Ubuntu. If executed properly HUD can be an additional tool for those who need it.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Why Isn’t GNOME Listening?

        Ten months ago, GNOME 3 was released. Since then, there has been a steady murmur of complaints, mostly about a design that forces all users to work in the same way. And what have GNOME developers learned from the experience?

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • CrunchBang 10 “Statler” R20120207+
      • Webconverger 11.2
      • GParted 0.11.0-12
      • Current Release: AV Linux 5.0.3 “Tube”
      • Thinstation 5.0
      • Announcing NetBSD 5.1.2
      • SMS version 1.6.4 Released!

        This minor release brings security updates to 2.6.39 kernels for CVE-2012-0056 local root exploit, were a local user could gain root privileges by modifying
        process memory, and for various packages such as OpenSSL, Samba, httpd, php.
        This is the last release with GCC-4.5.3, as we will follow slackware-current with GCC-4.6.2 and 3.2.x kernels.
        3.2.5 kernels built with GCC-4.5.3 though, are available at SMS kernel repository

        http://sms.it-ccs.com/isos/index.php?dir=SMS.Native.CD%2Fextra%2Fkernels%2F

        if anyone wants an early upgrade.

      • Pear 4.0
      • Chakra 2012.02
      • Frugalware 1.6 (Fermus) released

        The Frugalware Developer Team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Frugalware 1.6, our sixteenth stable release.

      • IPCop 2.0.3
      • Finnix 104 released

        Finnix is a small, self-contained, bootable Linux CD distribution for system administrators, based on Debian testing. Today marks the release of Finnix 104, the twentieth release of Finnix. Since the first public release of Finnix 0.03 in March 2000, there have been twenty releases and 37 ISOs released to the public, totalling 4.5GB . (All releases have included x86 and PowerPC ISOs, with the exception of Finnix 0.03, 86.0, and 100.)

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • No further updates for Debian 5.0 Lenny

        The Debian developers have pointed out, in a announcement on the debian-announce mailing list, that – three years after it was released – Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 (Lenny) has reached its “End of Life”. Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 was originally released in February 2009 and on 6 February 2012, the developers stopped providing security updates for that version of the distribution.

      • Debian ends support for Lenny
      • Code in next Debian release valued at $A17 billion

        If all the code in the upcoming release of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution were to be written today, it would cost $17 billion, according to an analysis by free and open source software consultant James Bromberger.

      • Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Reaches End of Life
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical aims for enterprise desktop with Ubuntu business remix
          • Ubuntu Global Jam looking for event organisers

            Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon has published a blog post, calling for Ubuntu community members to organise events around the globe for the next Ubuntu Global Jam, which is taking place from 2 to 4 March. Volunteers will need to have a location with a “decent internet connection, some computers and great people to share the work”.

          • The first FOSDEM Legal Issues DevRoom

            For FOSDEM 2012, held last weekend in Brussels, I had the privilege of co-organizing (with Tom Marble, Karen Sandler, and Bradley Kuhn) the first-ever DevRoom track devoted to discussion of legal issues relating to free/libre/open source software. With several thousand attendees and hundreds of sessions, FOSDEM is one of the largest FLOSS conferences in the world, and surely the largest in Europe. This makes it all the more remarkable that FOSDEM is a free-admission, non-commercial community event, organized and administered entirely by volunteers.

          • See all of your installed applications in Ubuntu Unity

            Sometimes, you want to see all of your installed applications in Unity, without having to “search”. Doing so will probably make you discover a small world of great software installed in your computer.

          • Ubuntu Means Business: Announces Business Desktop Remix

            Ubuntu is making inroads into the enterprise segments in various markets. Recently The Supreme Court of India ordered all courts across India to switch to Ubuntu. Prior to this move the courts across India were using the Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which is mainly targeted at servers. More than 17,000 courts around India will now be switching over to Ubuntu from RHEL.

            However, Ubuntu did not have any business editon. The main Ubuntu desktop is targeted at enthusiasts with all the bells and whistles which may not be needed in an enterprise environment.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Canonical drops Kubuntu

              This doesn’t mean Kubuntu will vanish; merely that it will get no more development funding or marketing support from Canonical. That will probably turn Kubuntu into a “fringe” distribution like many other Ubuntu derivatives.

            • Canonical pulls funding for Kubuntu
            • Canonical Changes Treatment For Kubuntu! [Updated]

              Kubuntu users can now help the team in the new challenges that have emerged after this announcement. One such challenge as Jonathan points out is, …”we need people to step up and take the initiative in doing the tasks that are often poorly supported by the community process. ISO testing, for example, is a long, slow, thankless task, and it is hard to get volunteers for it. We can look at ways of reducing effort from what we do such as scrapping the alternate CD or automating KDE SC packaging.”

            • Linux Mint KDE 12 Review: Your Perfect Desktop

              Linux Mint team has done a commendable job with Cinnamon project where they are trying to help those users who are not comfortable with Unity. It’s great to see a project putting its users above everything else. Despite being a small team, Linux Mint successfully delivered Gnome+ Cinnamon and has now released a great KDE edition.

              With Linux Mint KDE you get the best of both worlds. What more can one ask for. Go ahead and give Linux Mint KDE a try, trust me you won’t go back.

            • Future of Kubuntu, Should You Be Worried?
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OSI announces new initiatives and seeks your input
  • UK.gov: We really are going to start buying open-source from SMEs

    Open source and open standards are the direction for UK government IT, the civil servant leading the government’s technology change agenda has said.

    Liam Maxwell, Cabinet Office director of ICT futures, said Tuesday in London that open source has grown up and it’s time to dispel lingering misconceptions about this technology and development process.

  • Isis unveiled: HP has opened the source code of the webOS Web browser

    HP has published the source code of Isis, the webOS Web browser. The company has also released the code of the browser’s underlying HTML rendering engine, which is based on QtWebKit. The code is available from GitHub and is distributed under the permissive Apache license.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Antarctica community site launched by coolest Firefox fans

        The popularity of the Firefox Web browser has grown tremendously in recent years, but there is one region where it is practically ubiquitous. Firefox has consistently held 80 percent market share in Antarctica.

        The Firefox enthusiasts at the bottom of the world are now launching their own community group in collaboration with Mozilla. A new Mozilla Antarctica website went live on Tuesday of this week, the 191st anniversary of the first documented landing on mainland Antarctica.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice should declare victory and rejoin OpenOffice

      While forks in the open source world can be a tremendous way of shaking things up, they can also be very damaging. In this case, I think it’s a waste of resources and energy to keep this going. Instead of competing with each other the LibreOffice and OpenOffice communities should get together to fight their common and real competitor.

      I know a certain level of competition can be healthy but I’m tired of seeing open source communities fight with each other to their own loss.

      I know the fork was painful and people still hold a lot of angst against one another but they need to get over that. They need to realize they would do themselves and everyone else a real service by putting all this behind them and uniting. LibreOffice should declare victory and join forces!

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 3.5: “the best free office suite ever”
  • Education

  • Healthcare

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • How to get your city to pass an open government policy

      Today, the Raleigh City Council passed an Open Source Government Resolution, unanimously, promoting the use of open source software and open data. The resolution includes language that puts open source software on the same playing field as proprietary software in the procurement process. It also establishes an open data catalog to house data available from the city.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open innovation is good for business

      Open innovation is an area only beginning to enter mainstream enterprises, despite years of success in open source communities. It allows people both inside and outside the company to get involved and collaborate on new products and processes that result in beneficial change.

    • Open Advice offers guidance for new open source contributors and the more experienced

      A new book sharing the perspectives of 42 open source contributors launched this month at FOSDEM. Open Advice, edited by Lydia Pintscher, shares what those successful people wish they’d known when they got started with open source software.

  • Programming

    • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: February 2012

      For years now, it has been self-evident to us at RedMonk that programming language usage and adoption has been fragmenting at an accelerating rate [coverage]. As traditional barriers to technology procurement have eroded [coverage], developers have been empowered to leverage the runtimes they chose rather than those that were chosen for them. This has led to a sea change in the programming language landscape, with traditional language choices increasingly competing for attention with newer, more dynamic competitors.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • SCO v. IBM Hearing Date Changed to April 23rd at 2:30 PM Before Judge Benson ~pj

    There’s been a slight change in the hearing date for the upcoming SCO v IBM hearing regarding SCO’s desire to partially reopen the case. The new date is April 23, 2012 at 2:30 Utah time in Room 246. It’s set to be heard by Judge Dee Benson, the new judge assigned, who, I gather, was unable to find a way to recuse himself.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Battle for Vermont’s Health — and Why It Matters for the Rest of the Country

      You can’t see them. They’re hidden from view and probably always will be. But the health insurance industry’s big guns are in place and pointed directly at the citizens of Vermont.

      Health insurers were not able to stop the state’s drive last year toward a single-payer health care system, which insurers have spent millions to scare Americans into believing would be the worst thing ever. Despite the ceaseless spin, Vermont lawmakers last May demonstrated they could not be bought nor intimidated when they became the first in the nation to pass a bill that will probably establish a single-payer beachhead in the U.S.

  • Security

    • With Love From M$

      M$ expresses its love for users by announcing critical (remote code execution…) vulnerabilities in every version of their OS from XP to “7″ and versions for servers. Happy Valentine’s Day. Hope you don’t get hacked before you manage to update…

    • Microsoft warns of dangerous IE browser vulnerabilities

      The most severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user simply views a specially crafted web page using Internet Explorer.

  • Finance

    • Why All the Robo-signing? Shedding Light on the Shadow Banking System

      The Wall Street Journal reported on January 19th that the Obama Administration was pushing heavily to get the 50 state attorneys general to agree to a settlement with five major banks in the “robo-signing” scandal. The scandal involves employees signing names not their own, under titles they did not really have, attesting to the veracity of documents they had not really reviewed. Investigation reveals that it did not just happen occasionally but was an industry-wide practice, dating back to the late 1990s; and that it may have clouded the titles of millions of homes. If the settlement is agreed to, it will let Wall Street bankers off the hook for crimes that would land the rest of us in jail – fraud, forgery, securities violations and tax evasion.

    • Goldman Sachs Seeks Exemption for Bank Stakes in ‘Credit Funds’

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which says it owns the world’s largest family of so-called mezzanine loan funds, is asking regulators to loosen proposed limits on bank investments in such pools.

      Four Goldman Sachs employees and three lawyers from Sullivan & Cromwell LLP met on Feb. 2 with Federal Reserve Board staff to discuss Volcker rule limits on banks’ fund investments, according to a summary published yesterday by the central bank. The Volcker rule limits depository institutions from supplying more than 3 percent of the capital in a hedge fund, private- equity fund or other “covered fund.”

    • Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

      Americans have been watching protests against oppressive regimes that concentrate massive wealth in the hands of an elite few. Yet in our own democracy, 1 percent of the people take nearly a quarter of the nation’s income—an inequality even the wealthy will come to regret.

    • Gold Gets a Growth Scare

      An emotional, jubilant hooray! could be heard earlier this month when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest jobs numbers for January 2012, showing the addition of 243,000 net new jobs. That’s the kind of news both the financial markets and the political complex were yearning for, because it implies that growth is finally greater than the rate at which new workers enter the labor force due to US population growth alone.

      But the report was not without controversy. Significant revisions to BLS sampling were introduced in this report as a result of the recent integration of the 2010 census data. Recalibrated, this altered the size of the workforce, and thus changed the number of Americans either working, looking for work, or dropped out of the workforce altogether. And so the cries of Foul! began.

    • On ‘Bleak’ Street, Bosses in Cross Hairs

      Wall Street’s bleak bonus season just got bleaker at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, where it is becoming clear that traders aren’t the only ones at risk of having their pay taken back. Their bosses are on the hook, too.

    • Why Wall Street Should Stop Whining

      Everybody on Wall Street is talking about the new piece by New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, entitled “The End of Wall Street as They Knew It.”

      The article argues that Barack Obama killed everything that was joyful about the banking industry through his suffocating Dodd-Frank reform bill, which forced banks to strip themselves of “the pistons that powered their profits: leverage and proprietary trading.”

    • Kinder Morgan’s El Paso Buyout Tainted by Conflicts, Lawyer Says

      Kinder Morgan Inc.’s proposed $21.1 billion buyout of rival pipeline operator El Paso Corp. was tainted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s conflicting interests in the deal and should be barred, a lawyer for El Paso investors said.

      Goldman Sachs, which holds a 19 percent stake in Houston- based Kinder Morgan, improperly served as an adviser to El Paso on the acquisition offer, said Mark Lebovitch, a lawyer for pension funds from Louisiana, Florida and New York that sued over the deal.

      “If there was ever a conflict that can’t be neutralized, this is it,” Lebovitch told Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine yesterday at an injunction hearing in Wilmington. “The word ‘conflict’ just doesn’t do it justice.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Syngenta PR’s Weed-Killer Spin Machine: Investigating the Press and Shaping the “News” about Atrazine
    • Atrazine: A “Molecular Bull in a China Shop”

      Atrazine is an herbicide primarily manufactured by the multinational conglomerate Syngenta and commonly used on commodity crops, forests, and golf courses. Its potential harmful effects on human health have been documented since the 1990s.

      As a consequence, atrazine has been “unauthorized” in the European Union since 2004 (and in some European countries since 1991). However, it is one of the most heavily used herbicides in the United States. Syngenta, atrazine’s primary manufacturer, has spent hundreds of millions combined on marketing, public relations (PR) campaigns, and lobbying to maintain its market and fight calls to phase the product out of use in the U.S.

    • Syngenta’s Paid Third Party Pundits Spin the “News” on Atrazine

      Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy, recently unsealed as part of a major lawsuit against Syngenta, reveal that the global chemical company’s PR team had a multi-million dollar budget to pay surrogates and others who helped advance its messages about the weed-killer “atrazine.” This story is part two of a series about Syngenta’s PR campaign to influence the media, potential jurors, potential plaintiffs, farmers, politicians, scientists, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the midst of reviews of the weed-killer’s potential to act as an endocrine disruptor.

  • Civil Rights

    • In Defense of Anonymous Speech ~pj

      Think of the Federalist Papers, written anonymously to encourage ratification of the US Constitution. If anonymous speech is so toxic, how do you explain the Federalist Papers? A logical answer would have to be that anonymity may not be the actual cause of the problem. One of the authors, James Madison, later ended up president of the country, and it’s believed that others included Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, so they were not trolls. At the time they wrote anonymously because they wanted folks to focus on the ideas, not where they came from, and because they were talking on a matter then quite controversial. You could speak anonymously back then in print, not just in person. That’s a closer comparison to the Internet than standing up in a public place.

      Even in person, if you went to a public square and started to speak, people could see you, but they didn’t necessarily know who you were if you were in a city — they didn’t know your name, your phone, your home address, your place of employment, your family’s makeup and names, where your kids went to school, and they couldn’t track where you went day by day via GPS — all of which can be done today on the Internet with just a name to start with. Nor were there widespread governmental cameras taking your picture, or even smartphones equipped with cameras. Nor were there databases retained for months, even years at a time. And the government wasn’t tracking all that speech in such databases. Any policy regarding commenting on the Internet has to factor in that the world has changed to make anonymity very hard, and that once it’s gone, there is a treasure trove of information about you available to whoever is interested in doing the research.

      And then what might happen? Zhou argues that forcing identity to be revealed encourages accountability. Let’s talk about accountability.

    • No Disconnect: European Commission to develop Human Rights guidance for the ICT sector

      Great news today as the Commission starts the process of providing human rights guidance to the ICT sector – kicking off a process to make it easier for makers and users of ICT products and services to know the impact their technology has on Human Rights across the world.

      When you look at events like the Arab Spring, you see that sometimes technology plays a positive role in the democratisation process – allowing activists to coordinate peaceful protests. But sometimes, it is less benign – as when despotic governments use ICT as a tool for surveillance or repression.

      The ICT tools that are used in such non-democratic countries (for both purposes) are sometimes provided by western companies. Many activists are out there promoting its pro-democratic use, and I encourage that. But on the other side, public and private actors cannot ignore their responsibilities. If western technology is being used by repressive governments to identify innocent citizens and put their life or freedom in danger, then I think we – manufacturers, suppliers, citizens, and democratic governments—ought to know.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • This is an argument?

      It is unlikely that making it illegal to steal a UPS track to start a delivery service “stifles entrepreneurship” but of course it is an empirical question. In the case of patents the evidence is in: patents stifle innovation. Only evidence can refute evidence – theoretical arguments, feelings, and analogies are irrelevant.

    • Copyrights

      • How to kill movie piracy: charge $1 for movies, and 50c for episodes

        Movie piracy is the next big thing. The RIAA is quickly realising that their reputation is nearly beyond unrecoverable, after taking to court single mums, dead people, and children. In the meantime, in Australia they are having secret meetings to try and work out a way to prevent movie privacy. The solution is simple: to kill movie privacy, allow people to download movies, make it cheap, and make it easy. Yes it’s hard. But yes, it’s rewarding.

      • The Real Reason for Bill C-11/ACTA/SOPA/PIPA

        One of the major complaints from the Motion Picture Association of America has been how can you budget a high-priced thriller, if you can’t charge huge amounts of money for tickets? They keep asking this question, even though they know the answer. Make less expensive movies.

      • RIAA Totally Out Of Touch: Lashes Out At Google, Wikipedia And Everyone Who Protested SOPA/PIPA
      • NYTimes critiqued for running self-serving RIAA propaganda

        Here are two paragraphs from his piece: “The real issue here is that copyright is an archaic property form that it is no longer practical to enforce in the Internet Age. Serious policy people should be looking to develop alternative mechanisms for financing creative and artistic work. Unfortunately, the organizations that ostensibly represent creative workers are not very creative. It is impressive that the NYT allows a piece from the industry to appear with apparently no fact checking. Two days earlier it had a similar column complaining about the failure of SOPA. Given its dominance of the NYT’s opinion pages, it is understandable that the RIAA would be upset about the growth of independent voices on the Internet.”

      • ACTA

        • Will the New ACTA Rapporteur Stand For Citizens Freedoms?

          Paris, February 7th, 2012 – Member of the EU Parliament David Martin, from the Socialist & Democrats group, has been appointed new rapporteur for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) in the “International Trade” committee (INTA). Unfortunately, his record on protecting freedoms online is worryingly poor and should prompt EU citizens to act against ACTA and ensure that the EU Parliament will defend their rights by rejecting this dangerous agreement.

        • Join the Giant Distributed ACTA Protest All Over Europe!

          The co-founders of La Quadrature du Net1 and many of its contributors will join the giant distributed ACTA protest that is taking place in hundreds of locations all over Europe2.

Links – Education Watch, BBC Apologizes for Selling Out, BP Oil Lingers

Posted in Site News at 2:37 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • What’s Happening With FLOSS in USA?

    This article uses NetApplications data, but even they can not hide an intersting correlation between technical competence and gnu/linux use. Towns where of Google, Yahoo and Lockheed Martin employees live have 88% gnu/linux use. California overall has 19%, which is probably closer to actual world use than the 1% nonsense that NetApplications usually publishes.

  • XP/IE6 in the Enterprise

    “IE6 is dug in like a First World War sniper with 80 per cent of that market, according to Browsium” Wow! If that’s true then XP may also be larger than the stats show, by a large margin. … This could explain the “missing” licences for “7″. The enterprise is not buying licences for “7″ but installing XP on their new machines bought naked. The world is shipping 90 million x86/amd64 PCs per quarter but M$ is only selling 50 million licences per quarter.

  • Please meet the Mozilla Conductors

    Mozilla Conductors help Mozillians with difficult online conversations. We offer advice, suggestions, a listening ear, moral support and, in the case where the discussion is public, occasionally direct intervention. But the goal is to help everyone communicate effectively, not to be enforcers.

  • More FUD Gone

    The naysayers trot out some pet application that they may never have used as an example of an application not available on FLOSS systems. The reality is that FLOSS on a general-purpose computer can do just about anything.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Traveling Light in a Time of Digital Thievery

      Copy is not theft. Most of the privacy problems people have are Windows exploits and the power non free software owners help themselves to in the first place. As usual, the NYT is lost in a maze of details and misses the big picture.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • Anti-Trust

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • BBC to issue global apology for documentaries that broke rules

      Independent revealed programmes were made by third-party in pay of governments and firms

      Techrights has written a lot about Microsoft BBC corruption. The apology is a good first step. The BBC should abandon broadcast to focus on publicly financed program production and public domain distritution to free itself from money problems. More money, not less should be provided for this.

  • Privacy

    • Austrian Law Student Faces Down Facebook

      In less than a year, Mr. Schrems’s one-person operation has morphed into a Web site, Europe Versus Facebook, and a grass-roots movement that has persuaded 40,000 people to contact Facebook in Ireland, where its European headquarters are located, to demand a summary of all the personal data the U.S. company is holding on them… Mr. Schrems filed the grievance after using a provision of Irish law to obtain from Facebook a copy of all of the information the company had been keeping on him. … Facebook was routinely collecting data [1,222 pages worth] that he had never consented to give, like his physical location, which he assumes was determined from his computer’s unique address identifiers, which can be traced geographically. Facebook was also retaining data he had deleted…

  • Education Watch

    • The F-word of Ed Reform — and its unholy alliance with right-wing union-busting

      There is a word for this kind of anti-democratic collaboration between business and government, but we haven’t used it much since the 1940s: fascism.

      This article is a good run down of what’s going on in the world of civil servant union busting and “education reform”

    • More Anti-Charter School Resolutions in Washington State

      It looks like a good backlash it on the way. That’s good for Washington state and a good example for the rest of us.

    • 60% Teach for America , Inc. recruits and 40% credentialed teachers in Lousiana

      Louisiana would have money for their schools and other things if government had the guts to tax the multinationals that run cancer alley.

    • New Orleans: Beachhead for Corporate Takeover of Public Schools

      New Orleans is important in the national education debate, but not for the reasons we commonly hear; it is important because it is the beachhead for a national movement to remove schools from local democratic control and accountability. The privatization trade-off is that the public sacrifices control of schools for a privatized system that delivers better education for the same tax dollar. While the citizens of New Orleans certainly lost control of their schools [after Hurricane Katrina], it cannot be said that they have received a better education, if that also means an equitable education, nor can it be said that it came at the same cost. … Hurricane Katrina was the perfect storm for the corporate education movement: No democracy, no unions, and a goal of 100% privatization of all public schools. It is no mystery why they chose New Orleans as their beachhead.

    • The Myth of “Choice” in New Orleans: How the Recovery School District, Through the Charter School Movement Has Cheated Nearly 5000 New Orleans Students Out of Access to Real “Choice”
    • An essay by a former Teach for America recruit: Why I did TFA, and why you shouldn’t

      I’m glad I ‘did’ TFA. Twenty years ago they filled a need. Putting a few hundred barely trained teachers into the toughest to serve schools was one of those concepts that was ‘so crazy, it might just work.’ We weren’t always doing ‘good,’ but we also weren’t doing much harm. Our five or six hundred teachers were pretty insignificant in the scheme of things.
      Over the next twenty years, TFA did a lot of growing, but not a lot of evolving. They replicated their institutes and increased their regions. The 2011 corps is nearly 6,000, twelve times as big as the cohorts from the early 90s. Unfortunately, the landscape in education has changed a lot in the past twenty years. Instead of facing teacher shortages, we have teacher surpluses. There are regions where experienced teachers are being laid off to make room for incoming TFA corps members because the district has signed a contract with TFA, promising to hire their new people. … TFA has participated in building a group of ‘leaders’ who, in my opinion, are assisting in the destruction of public education.

    • Occupy the DOE in DC from March 30th to April 2nd

      The key lever is the vaunted score on high-stakes state standardized tests, used to justify a slew of controversial decisions. As a result of ten years of this kind of reform, we are experiencing schools just as segregated by race and social class as they were in the 1950s. We in the United States are also experiencing a teaching profession that is constantly undermined and under attack. The culture of punishment and competition created under No Child Left Behind and now Race to the Top has proven to be a massive failure.

    • The NAACP Resolution on Charter Schools: Segregation is Not Innovation
  • ACTA

    • ACTA bombshell: Germany refuses to sign anti-piracy treaty amid protests [Update]

      With protests against the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) set to rage across Europe on Saturday … More recent reports suggest Germany is simply delaying its decision on signing ACTA until a later date, rather than refusing to sign the treaty outright. This is a lesser victory for ACTA opponents, but still a sign that the public outcry against the agreement is having an effect.

      Go protest till they kill it properly.

  • RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

    Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

    Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

    Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

    New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

    No

    Mono

    ODF

    Samba logo






    We support

    End software patents

    GPLv3

    GNU project

    BLAG

    EFF bloggers

    Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



    Recent Posts