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02.16.12

Links – Microsoft caught funding anti-science and manipulating education through a sleazy tobacco PR firm.

Posted in Site News at 10:44 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • How Much Would Debian Cost to Develop? How About $19 Billion?

    Bromberger also looks at the cost of individual projects like PHP, Apache and MySQL. Even at more than $19 billion, the figure is likely far short of what it would actually cost to produce. … The $19.1 billion doesn’t even count the additional work added by Debian developers to upstream software. … ANSI C accounts for 40% of the Debian codebase, while C++ comes in with 20%. Next is Java, with 8% of the codebase.

    The greatest benefit of Debian is freedom, but the gift of billions of dollars worth of software is also nice.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • WikiLeaks denounces UNESCO after WikiLeaks banned from UNESCO conference on WikiLeaks

      WPFC decided to exclude WikiLeaks and stack the UNESCO conference with a “who’s who” of WikiLeaks opponents and critics, no matter how insignificant or poorly informed. This includes speakers who are not merely critics, but four who have active legal conflicts with the organization.

    • US Citizens: How you can help the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) become law

      FRPAA is designed to make sure that the results of scientific research paid for by the public can be accessed by the public. Most people are surprised to learn that this isn’t automatically the case; they assume that if their tax dollars pay for a research study, they should be entitled to read the results. … Out of eleven federal agencies that fund science here in the United States, only one – the National Institutes of Health – actually has a policy that ensures that the public can freely access the results of their funded research online.

      Sanity in US copyright laws will help the rest of the world too.

    • Freedom of Information Act has not improved government, says MoJ

      The MoJ arguments are outrageous and transparently false. “Fishing for stories” is what reporters do and it’s how most of us remaine informed. Ending FOI requests or making them more expensive will not create public trust or increase transparency.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Open letter To Members of the European Parliament and European Commission

      We are writing to you to alert you to problems caused by European Patent law. We are especially concerned about patents on plants and animals, genetic material and processes for breeding of plants and animals and food derived thereof and their impact on farmers, breeders and consumers, innovation and biodiversity.

Links 16/2/2012: Netrunner 4.1, More Ubuntu 12.04 Previews

Posted in News Roundup at 6:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • My life with Coherent, part 1

    Coherent is a full fledged Unix that runs on a simple 386 with a few megabytes of memory – incredible, but true. The kernel is just a few hundred KB, so it boots in an instant. It lived happy together with MS-DOS in its own 40 MB partition. But the best thing was its price: only $100. Needless to say I spend a lot of hours with that little beast, porting my C programs and UUCPing with that “monster” machine back at work.

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Goldman Analyst Is Said to Face Insider Trading Inquiry

      A Goldman Sachs stock analyst has been drawn into the government’s sweeping investigation into insider trading at hedge funds.

      Federal investigators are examining whether Henry King, a senior technology industry analyst for Goldman based in Asia, provided confidential information to the bank’s hedge fund clients, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

  • Censorship

    • Online Copyright: EU Court of Justice Rules Out Private and Automatic Censorship

      Paris, February 16th, 2012 – The European Court of Justice rendered another decision in defence of freedoms online. In the SABAM vs. Netlog case, it declares that forcing a hosting service to monitor and filter online content violates EU law. This is a crucial and timely ruling, just when initiatives such as ACTA and the revision of the IPRED directive aim to generalise private and automatic online censorship to enforce an outdated copyright regime.

  • Privacy

    • Social Networks and Privacy in the Eyes of Richard Stallman

      From the earliest days of Usenet to the huge leaps of the last decade, online socialization has come a long way, bringing with it interesting redefinitions of words that are part of everyday speech. If you hate an organization, you still have to hit ‘Like’ to get updates in your Facebook newsfeed to know what they’re up to. Someone “befriending” you can mean different things, often pretty much removed from reality.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T throttling users at just over 2GB of data?
    • Democrats’ cyber bill still looms large

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, following a recent anti-piracy legislative debacle with SOPA and PIPA, will lead his second effort of 2012 to push Internet-regulating legislation, this time in the form of a new cybersecurity bill. The expected bill is the latest attempt by the Democrats to broadly expand the authority of executive branch agencies over the Internet.

      Details about the bill remain shrouded in secrecy. Clues available to the public suggest that the bill might be stronger than President Barack Obama’s cybersecurity proposal, which was released in May 2011. Reid said that he would bring the bill — expected to come out of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, chaired by Connecticut independent Sen. Joe Lieberman — to the floor during the first Senate work period of 2012.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • You Can’t Watch SNL’s Hilarious “Downton Abbey” Sketch Legally Online, So NBCUniversal Pirates Itself

        All I wanted to do was share a funny “Downton Abbey Meets Spike TV” skit that was on Saturday Night Live this week. Unfortunately, there’s no authorized version of the sketch online from NBCUniversal. That made me hesitate, but apparently it wasn’t a problem for iVillage, an NBCUniversal-owned site. Nor was it an issue for Time, owned by internet piracy hating Time Warner. Come along. This is a sad tour of failure all around.

      • Could SOPA Pervade Canadian Copyright Law?

        The battle over the Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States may have concluded with millions of Internet users successfully protesting against the bill, but many Canadians are buzzing about the possibility that some of its provisions could make their way into a copyright bill currently before the House of Commons.

Links 16/2/2012: Scientific Linux 5.7 and 6.2, Mozilla Firefox 10.0.1

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Sourcers Drop Software Religion for Common Sense

    Olson helped build the open source Berkeley DB database in the early 90s — before the Linux boom — and as the CEO of Sleepycat Software, he turned the database into a successful business using something very similar to the GPL, the free software license that was so essential to the rise of Linux. The GPL — or GNU General Public license — said that if someone modified free software and distributed the code with a larger product, they would have to contribute their work back to the community.

  • Simon Phipps: Freedom Doesn’t Have Any Lobbyists

    Simon Phipps is a renowned computer scientist and web and open source advocate. Phipps was instrumental in IBM’s involvement in the Java programming language, founding IBM’s Java Technology Center. In this exclusive interview with Simon Phipps during FOSDEM 2012, Swapnil Bhartiya discusses new risks to our freedom. We discussed about ACTA, ebooks, copyrights and much more.

  • Exclusive Interview With ownCloud Founder Frank Karlitschek

    ownCloud is one of the most promising and important projects as we are heading towards cloud-centric computing. Free Software users fought a long battle to keep control over their computing, and cloud poses a threat to both — the control over your computing and data. Projects like ownCloud ensure that users can still have control over their data and computer yet reap the benefits of cloud. We have been covering ownCloud for a while now. We met Frank Karlitschek, the founder of ownCloud, at FOSDEM 2012 and talked more about ownCloud. Here is an interview…

  • Java-alternative Kotlin now available as open source

    JetBrains’ alternative language for the Java platform, Kotlin – which the company has been developing since 2010 and revealed in July 2011 – has now been released as open source under an Apache 2 licence. The released tools include the Kotlin compiler, “Kompiler”, a set of enhancements to standard Java libraries such as convenience utilities for JDK collections, build tools (for Ant, Maven and Gradle), and an IntelliJ IDEA plugin so it works with JetBrains’ own IDE.

  • Community spotlight: 5 questions with John Scott, founder of MIL-OSS and Open Source for America

    Meet John Scott. He is a systems engineer in Alexandria, Virginia. Scott has worked extensively on open source software policy for the US government and military–and helped found MIL-OSS and Open Source for America.

    On opensource.com, community is very important. We want to continue to recognize our community members who contribute in ways other than writing articles–things like rating and commenting, voting in polls, and sharing our collective work on social media. We hope you enjoy getting to know John.

  • Events

    • FOSDEM 2012: From The Lens Of A Camera

      FOSDEM concluded in Brussels this month. The weather took a strange turn and just the day before it started to snow heavily here in Brussels. It was freezing cold. The colorful city of Brussels turned white. The venue was only 6km away from our house so we drove through the snow.

  • Web Browsers

    • New web browser for HP’s Open webOS

      Having released the first elements of its webOS mobile operating system as open source at the end of January, HP has taken further steps on the road to creating a completely open source platform. The company has now made the user interface widgets for Enyo 2 – the HTML5 framework that was released in January – available; it has also released the new Isis web browser that implements Nokia’s QtWebKit browser and the JavaScriptCore JavaScript parser. HP also announced details of the governance model for the webOS platform’s future development.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 10.0.1 Update About To Be Released

        Mozilla, developers of the popular Firefox web browser, have just released an update for the browser’s stable branch that moves the version to 10.0.1. The release may come as a surprise to users of Firefox 10, who were updated to that version only ten days ago.

      • Firefox to Get a New Interface in Second Half of 2012

        Those who have been following the Firefox release tracking tables will not find any surprises, but the list certainly serves as a guide of the baseline of new features and changes Firefox will see by the end of the year, when we will be using Firefox version 17.

      • Mozilla’s 2012 Firefox Roadmap Targets Many New Goals

        Mozilla has released its 2012 roadmap for the Firefox browser, and to say that it is ambitious would be an understatement. Of course, Firefox was moved to a rapid release cycle in February of last year, and the company has been delivering updates to the browser at such a fast pace that it has even faced some backlash from users and IT administrators. There is a huge laundry list of updates to come for the browser this year, with a strong emphasis on adding social features and privacy enhancements along with preservation of open web standards.

      • Firefox sparks Mozilla civil war

        Mozilla coders are arguing among themselves about the open-source outfit’s Metrics Data Ping project, which was designed to monitor Firefox usage metrics. Several coders in the Mozilla camp have expressed concern about how some developers are proposing the project should collect data from users of the browser.

      • Mozilla explains user-tracking proposal for Firefox
      • Firefox extension illustrates password reuse
  • Databases

    • Special Q&A with Monty Widenius

      As an intern with the Monty Program AB, Vangelis Katsikaros recently had an opportunity to ask the project founder and MariaDB creator, Michael Widenius (aka “Monty”), a variety of interesting questions. Vangelis generously offered to share that conversation exclusively with Linux.com readers. Here is the transcript from that interview.

    • HP shares database smarts with EnterpriseDB

      EnterpriseDB is trying to pump up the PostgreSQL database to do battle with Oracle 11g and, to a lesser extent, IBM’s DB2 and Microsoft’s SQL. So the database upstart is upgrading its Postgres Plus Advanced Server 9.1 – and kicking it onto Amazon’s EC2 compute cloud to peddle it alongside Amazon’s own Relational Database Service.

      As El Reg previously reported, the open source PostgreSQL relational database was updated to the 9.1 release level last September, with a lot of the work being done by a team at EnterpriseDB, which has become the “Red Hat for PostgreSQL,” led by Robert Haas, the senior architect at the company.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • What’s New in LibreOffice 3.5

      The LibreOffice 3.5 release is due out shortly, and this release comes with a number of improvements that free office suite users will find useful. From grammar checking to better importing for Microsoft Office documents, LibreOffice 3.5 contains a number of useful improvements. This release also contains preliminary work for porting LibreOffice to the Web and mobile devices.

    • LibreOffice 3.5 sharpens its grammar checking
  • Education

    • 5 questions with StudentsFirst’s Michelle Rhee on education reform

      The name Michelle Rhee most likely rings a bell because of all the hard work she put towards reforming the Washington, DC public schools as Chancellor from 2007 to 2010. During that time period, she hosted hundreds of community meetings, even creating a Youth Cabinet to bring students’ voices into DC Public Schools reform.

  • Business

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK Government starts new Open Standards Consultation

      The UK Government has started the process of consulting on Open Standards. The process was promised after the government was found to have withdrawn its previous recommendations which had defined open standards as royalty-free. That original recommendation was reportedly heavily lobbied against by Microsoft which led to its withdrawal and the apparent restarting of the process to define open standards.

    • More SMEs for government suppliers: Liam Maxwell’s three-step plan

      The idea of getting more SMEs into the government’s roster of suppliers ranks somewhere alongside kittens and rainbows in terms of popularity. But it’s easier said than done – central government IT continues to be dominated by the usual suspects.

      Liam Maxwell, the government’s director of ICT futures, is the man charged with getting the public sector to use more small suppliers.

      But with the spectre of ‘doing more with less’ haunting many government departments, can IT minnows really deliver the economies of scale that the stretched public sector needs?

      Maxwell thinks so. The idea that SMEs can’t deliver the required savings is “fundamentally not correct,” he told Guardian Government Computing at the recent Cloud Expo in London. “You do business with SMEs, you get a better deal.”

  • Licensing

  • Programming

    • A Sneak Peak at MPI 3.0
    • The Future of JavaScript – take a peek today!

      The ECMA committee is working hard on designing the next version of JavaScript, also known as “Harmony”. It is due by the end of next year and it is going to be the most comprehensive upgrade in the history of this language.

    • FSF wants labels on free JavaScript code
    • Google announces Code-in 2011 grand prize winners

      Stephanie Taylor from Google’s Open Source Programs Office has announced the grand prize winners for the 2011 Google Code-in contest. Five of the ten overall winners are from India, while two are from Romania; the remaining students are from the US, UK and Canada.

    • Oracle Staking Claim in Open-Source ‘R’ Language

      Oracle is hoping to carve out a prominent place in the world of “R,” the open-source statistical modeling language with roots in academia but an increasingly high profile in enterprise IT shops. It announced a new Advanced Analytics product on Wednesday that ties R to its database and family of software-hardware appliances.

      Oracle Advanced Analytics consists of Oracle R Enterprise, along with the vendor’s existing Data Mining module. It’s available as an Oracle 11g database option and costs US$23,000 per processor license. Data Mining will fall off the price list and be supplanted by Advanced Analytics.

Leftovers

  • Innovation? What innovation? Re-thinking progress and how we measure it

    CHFSS kicked off the Winter 2012 Big Thinking series on January 31 with Professor Jeremy de Beer from the University of Ottawa. Held in partnership with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), the event drew over 150 MPs, Senators and public servants, as well as many university presidents who were in town as part of AUCC’s Day on the Hill.

  • Security

  • Finance

  • Privacy

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Every EU country needs a Digital Champion!

      The economy of the future is digital. Already today it’s hard to think of many jobs where familiarity with computers and the Internet is not helpful: in the near future, 90% of jobs will require some level of digital literacy.

  • DRM

    • The Problem With Liberals

      Let me reiterate the central point about DRM. The fight is over controlling the content on our computers. Even with complete physical control and administrative authority we are unable to prevent unwanted material (spam, viruses) from appearing on our computers. What are the chances that a third party (the RIAA, the MPAA) can successfully keep material that we want but they don’t (pirated music and movies) off of our computers?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The New World of Publishing: The Big Hurry – A Different Look
      • Is Copyright Enforcement Hopeless?

        I had a Twitter conversation yesterday with Tim Lee regarding my post about copyright enforcement, and today he responds at greater length. My contention is that copyright enforcement in the digital realm, though it’s obviously had a pretty bumpy history, isn’t self-evidently impossible. In fact, it might well be technically feasible.

      • Vimeo adds support for browsing CC licensed videos

        As part of its recent “new Vimeo” platform revamp, Vimeo has added support for browsing and searching for videos made available under a Creative Commons (CC) licence. The site has supported the CC license suite since July 2010, but the latest change should make it easier for users to find CC-licensed videos to “rework, remix and reimagine”. Now, when searching for videos, users can select “Show Advanced Filters” and filter by CC license type, such as Attribution-ShareAlike or Attribution-NonCommercial.

Trusting Microsoft-friendly Companies When It Comes to GPL Trending (Updated)

Posted in FUD, GPL at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ducking Black Duck

Ducks

Summary: New scepticism about data from Black Duck and its implications

THE noise that’s coming from GPL-hostile parties will never stop.

The non-ending propaganda against the GPL is typically coming from Microsoft brainchildren and companies created by former Microsoft staff, including for example Black Duck. Someone famous from Red Hat responds with this bit of scepticism:

The impression gained from this is that the probability of you using one of the GPL licenses is influenced by the community that you’re part of. And it’s not a huge leap to believe that an increasing number of developers are targeting the web, and the web development community has never been especially attached to the GPL. It’s not hard to see why – the benefits of the GPL vanish pretty much entirely when you’re never actually obliged to distribute the code, and while Affero attempts to compensate from that it also constrains your UI and deployment model. No matter how strong a believer in Copyleft you are, the web makes it difficult for users to take any advantage of the freedoms you’d want to offer. It’s as easy not to bother.
So it’s pretty unsurprising that an increase in web development would be associated with a decrease in the proportion of projects licensed under the GPL.

This obviously isn’t a rigorous analysis. I have very little hard evidence to back up my assumptions. But nor does anyone who claims that the change is because the FSF alienated the community during GPLv3 development. I’d be fascinated to see someone spend some time comparing project type with license use and trying to come up with a more convincing argument.

For those who cannot recall it anymore, Black Duck made an agreement with Microsoft to funnel in Microsoft-associated projects, which helps Microsoft game the numbers a bit. That was in 2009 when a lot of death predictions for GPL started to rear their heads, almost always backed by Black Duck data.

The other day we saw Cade Metz from Wired flinging filth at open source. He does this again with an article titled “Open Sourcers Drop Software Religion for Common Sense” (perhaps Cade Metz thinks that Wired should adopt Register-style headlines, having come from there) and Захария Стургин remarks: “I wouldn’t attribute “fear of GPL” a prime reason for the rise in Apache/MIT licensing. Can you “infect” IP with freedom and call it bad?”

“Also,” he writes, “has Oracle actually built anything on open source software? All that they got from Sun and are working to close it up…”

As Will put it:

He also tries to give Olsen credit for doing GPL before GPL in his first, very misleading paragraph. Mostly the article is a long smear of the GPL.

Perhaps there’s a bigger story than meets the eye here. Is it that GPL projects are moving to business exploitation licenses like Apache or is it that non free software companies are moving that way? One thing is sure, we don’t see the emergence of non free software companies any more. All the growth has been in free software exploitation of one sort or another. Companies like Microsoft are stagnant or failing.

The war against the GPL is one that Microsoft fought for a long time. It’s testament to its effectiveness in weakening vicious monopolies.

Update: Here is another new article on this topic, one that says: “Since August of 2009, the GPL is down around 8%, according to data from Black Duck.”

Can one really just rely on data from a Microsoft partner, established by a former Microsoft manager whose expertise was marketing?

SUSE Serves Microsoft Decades After Microsoft Broke the Law Against Novell

Posted in Antitrust, Novell, SLES/SLED at 3:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”

LinuxToday Managing Editor

Lizards

Summary: A few updates about antitrust and Microsoft tax at Novell/SUSE

NOVELL’s case of antitrust against Microsoft carries on while SUSE gets sponsored by Microsoft to help tax GNU/Linux for Microsoft. While news about SUSE is mostly fluff, there is also this type of talking point about China, where Novell tried hard to push Microsoft patent tax, as we covered years ago. “The SUSE enterprise Linux distribution project is 20 years old,” says another article, and “the SUSE team are celebrating by holding the first SUSECon 2012 conference in Orlando later this year.

“SUSE president Nils Brauckmann has said that, “SUSE today is the recognised market leader in several important segments and is well positioned to take advantage of an ever expanding market for commercial Linux and open source technologies.””

Those who rarely ever tried it did not miss much since 2006. It was downhill from there and the 20-year anniversary is merely PR. Here is one more article about it:

While Linux itself celebrated its twentieth anniversary in high style last year, 2012 will be the year of the lizard, as SUSE Linux steps up to celebrate two decades as the world’s oldest commercial Linux entity.

The company has announced it “will showcase major historical milestones throughout the year and discuss plans for the future at a series of events throughout the world that will include SUSECon 2012, the premier event for SUSE customers, partners and enthusiasts,” according to a press release out today.

The earlier date does not quite represent what people may think (it is when the “advisory UNIX group” was formed). SUSE, the distribution, is not really this old. OpenSUSE suffers an exodus.

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