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03.07.12

IRC Proceedings: March 7th, 2012

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

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Links 7/3/2012: NVIDIA Joins Linux Foundation, Android Easily Beats iOS in the US

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Linux Setup, Noah Lorang, 37signals

    Noah’s on my radar because of this post he wrote about how operating systems are becoming irrelevant. The piece points out how Noah was able to effortlessly switch from OS X to Linux. I appreciated the post because it wasn’t about the politics of free and open source software. Instead, he was writing about getting to choose the best tools for the job, an idea that sometimes gets misplaced in our conversations about Linux.

  • The “Linux” Brand

    Part of “Technological Evangelism” according to M$ is to denigrate competitive brands. In the FLOSS world, unfortunately, there is too much of that. One item is the holding down of the “Linux” brand. Two popular examples are Android/Linux and Ubuntu GNU/Linux. S

  • Kernel Space

    • OMAP4 Kernel Vulnerabilities Fixed for Ubuntu 11.04

      Canonical announced on March 6th, in a security notice, that a new Linux OMAP4 kernel update for its Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system is now available, fixing six security vulnerabilities discovered in the Linux kernel packages by various developers.

    • LPI announces “Linux Essentials” Program
    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.12 Released With Multi-Touch

        X.Org Server 1.12 is now officially available with X Input 2.2, which is the X Input extension update that formally introduces multi-touch support.

        While the release of X.Org Server 1.12 wasn’t as drawn out as MythTV 0.25, this release is coming about a month late due to Keith Packard, the xorg-server release manager, taking a bicycling trip through New Zealand. However, it’s now available following the revised release plans (and the developers are now hitting targets much better than in the past).

      • AMD Launches Pitcairn GPUs, Open-Source Not There

        Yesterday AMD officially launched the Radeon HD 7800 “Pitcairn” series as the latest hardware in their Southern Islands family to reside between the Radeon HD 7700 series and their flagship Radeon HD 7900 cards. Unfortunately, the open-source support for these latest AMD GPUs remains unavailable.

      • Turning Mesa Into JavaScript For The Web?

        Besides the recent talk about using Gallium3D’s LLVMpipe for Mozilla Firefox, there’s another interesting technical discussion happening now about using Mesa on the web to emulate the full OpenGL API using the WebGL API.

      • Radeon Gallium3D Now Sort Of Works For OpenCL
      • Plugging X.Org GPU Hot-Plugging Into Mainline

        Earlier today was the first round of comments by David Airlie regarding the finishing and up-streaming of his X.Org GPU hot-plugging support. This allows for new GPUs to be dynamically added to a running X.Org Server environment.

        Airlie has been working on the GPU hot-plugging support for a number of months, but recently it’s finally come together. In particular, he’s been playing with the USB-based DisplayLink graphics adapters. David has written a DisplayLink KMS driver to top off DisplayLink’s other code and open-source support. This could also be adapted to work with dynamically hot-plugging/unplugging other graphics processors too.

      • NVIDIA Is Joining The Linux Foundation

        NVIDIA will be joining the Linux Foundation, per an announcement coming out in the morning. But for open-source Linux fans, will this be a reason to rejoice about NVIDIA potentially moving forward with open-source drivers? Don’t break out the champagne quite yet.

      • Nvidia Joins The Linux Foundation
      • A New OpenCL Back-End For LLVM Is Published

        Besides the open-source AMD Radeon support for OpenCL finally taking shape, there’s more good open-source OpenCL news: a newly open-sourced LLVM OpenCL back-end.

        Back in August I wrote about an OpenCL, GLSL back-end for LLVM that may soon open up. The work was the result of a German student writing the LLVM OpenCL back-end as part of his university thesis. OpenCL is generated from LLVM bit-code, similar to how the Emscripten project is generating JavaScript from LLVM bit-code. This work is what’s finally being opened up.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Nosonja XFCE 2012.02.29 Screenshots
    • New Releases

      • Clonezilla 1.2.12-29
      • IPFire 2.11 – Core Update 57 released
      • CeBIT 2012: Knoppix 7.0 presented

        Speaking at this year’s CeBIT Open Source ForumGerman language link, Knoppix creator Klaus Knopper presented version 7.0 of his popular Live Linux distribution. The new release is a special “CeBIT Edition” which is based on Debian “Wheezy” and uses the 3.2.4 Linux kernel. Available as a LiveDVD, it now uses UTF-8 encoding, and can run on both 32- and 64-bit systems.

      • Knoppix 7.0 release begins now

        The next major version of venerable Live Linux distro Knoppix is slowly making it’s way out the door over the next couple of days, includes some major updates to compatibility and performance

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian GNU/Linux Keeps Getting Stronger

        Look at the steepness of the bug-count for the next release (green curve) at Debian. Even as the count of packages in the repository rises, the rate at which bugs are getting killed in the release-cycle keeps rising. This shows the power of FLOSS. By using a modular layered approach, a thousand people can change the world faster than tens of thousands working in the darkness of M$. It’s beautiful that you can have the benefits of a package manager that keeps all your systems updated for applications as well as the OS at very low cost. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. It works for you.

      • LLVM’s Clang Is Almost Good Enough For Debian

        Clang, the C/C++ front-end compiler for LLVM, is progressing quite quickly and is capable of building the Debian archives quite well, at least for a majority of the packages and on popular architectures.

        A Debian developer’s side project has been to see how well it would work to re-build the Debian archive (the entire distribution) using LLVM’s Clang C/C++ compiler rather than GCC. Apple has rated LLVM/Clang as being production-ready and it continues to find new uses, especially with the recent LLVM 3.0 release. But how well does LLVM/Clang work for building the massive Debian package-set?

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing

    • Inside the ToyBox: An interview with Rob Landley

      A recent controversy about the legal aspects of software licensing put Rob Landley in the middle of an argument, but Landley says his real focus is on code, especially his ToyBox project – a reworking of the concepts of a project he once maintained, the Swiss-army knife of commands that is BusyBox. The H had a chance to talk with him about ToyBox, BusyBox and why he likes to work on these multifunctional monolithic utilities.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open source helicopters trivialize Europe’s ODF troubles

      While technocrats in Westminster and Brussels cringe over the question of open document formats, the US military is planning a generation of open source helicopters.

      This is not just a generation of helicopters. It is the next generation of US military helicopter. It’ll be built on open standards, and will actively court open source systems suppliers.

      The US Army issued an official request for information on the proposal last week, formally kick-starting a procurement that will make the pedestrian kerfuffle over document formats in civvy street seem, well, pedestrian.

      It has already shone an unforgiving light on the question of royalties – one that has undermined every civil administration that has attempted to implement an open standards policy in Europe.

      Weapons manufacturers and US forces made an unequivocal declaration for royalty-free standards in January through the FACE (Future Airborne Capabilities Environment) Consortium they formed in response to US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta’s call for a “common aircraft architecture and subsystems”.

      “The FACE Standard is an open, nonproprietary technical specification that is publicly available without restrictive contracts, licensing terms, or royalties,” the Consortium announced from its base at The Open Group, the industry association responsible for the POSIX open Unix specification.

      “In business terms, the open standards specified for FACE mean that programmers are freely able to use them without monetary remuneration or other obligation to the standards owner,” it said.

Leftovers

  • Windows 8 showdown: Face-off on whether Windows still matters
  • “8″ Down and One to Go
  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • More Free Sludge! Calabasas, California Offers Free Sewage Sludge “Compost”

      Good news! The sewage treatment plant in Calabasas, California has been giving away free sludge! Free sludge, you say? That potent stew of human and industrial sewage sludge laced with flame retardants, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceutical residues, phthalates, industrial solvents, resistant pathogens, and perfluorinated compounds? “Composted” sludge, which can bioaccumulate in plants grown in sludge-contaminated soil? Oh, goodie.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Secret Greece Loan Shows Two Sinners as Client Unravels

      Greece’s secret loan from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. was a costly mistake from the start.

      On the day the 2001 deal was struck, the government owed the bank about 600 million euros ($793 million) more than the 2.8 billion euros it borrowed, said Spyros Papanicolaou, who took over the country’s debt-management agency in 2005. By then, the price of the transaction, a derivative that disguised the loan and that Goldman Sachs persuaded Greece not to test with competitors, had almost doubled to 5.1 billion euros, he said.

    • Goldman Sachs: Social Security and Medicare Are ‘Weaker’ Promises Than Debt

      A report released today by Goldman Sachs says that if push comes to shove, the federal government will pay its lenders before it pays Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries. Debt service “should be seen as the top claim on government resources in most cases,” says the Goldman analysis.

  • Civil Rights

    • Mexico Adopts Alarming Surveillance Legislation

      The Mexican legislature today adopted a surveillance legislation that will grant the police warrantless access to real time user location data. The bill was adopted almost unanimously with 315 votes in favor, 6 against, and 7 abstentions. It has been sent to the President for his approval.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pinterest and copyright: Why you should keep sharing–and keep pinning

        Pinterest is a social site for image sharing around themes that launched in closed beta in March 2010. As the site proceeded through an invite system and finally registration requests, it gained a considerable following and was one of Time’s “50 Best Websites of 2011.” In January 2012, it drove more referral traffic to retailers than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined and became the fastest site to ever break 10 million unique visitors. As its popularity increases, so have concerns about whether its users aren’t just sharing their favorite things, but engaging one another in the web’s largest copyright infringement platform.

      • ACTA

Apple Wants ‘Linux Tax’, OIN Still Unable to Do Much

Posted in Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 2:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: An expansion of scope at the OIN does not help resolve the real problems GNU/Linux and Free software at large are having

THERE IS an update on patents coming soon. According to Wildeboer from Red Hat, “Apple also wants 5-15 US$ per Android device. Just as Microsoft.” As the OIN’s CEO put it to me over the phone, Apple and Microsoft (he calls them the “duopoly”) are trying to make Android “uneconomic”, to use his term that he repeated a lot for over an hour. I recently got an invitation to meet him in London, but I had to decline because it’s far from where I live (Manchester), so instead I suggested an E-mail interview. They agreed, but when I asked questions such as how the OIN would deal with patent trolls (I named MOSAID) they seemed to have changed their mind about the interview. The matter of fact is, the OIN is flawed. It works for IBM perhaps, but not for us independent developers who are not part of a company weighing at hundreds of thousands of full-time employees (and tens of thousands of patents, which is not so impressive given the headcount).

A month ago the OIN boasted “Strong 2011 Licensing Performance” (whatever that practically means, notice the term “licensing”) and we keep wondering, what will they do about patent trolls? Microsoft is already operating through MOSAID. We foresaw this and asked the OIN about MOSAID more than a month ago. What about the Twin Peaks lawsuit against Red Hat (about s fortnight ago)? What can the OIN do? Nothing. Or not much.

Nevertheless, the OIN is addressing one of the other criticisms of its strategy. It expands its scope of coverage even further to more Free software projects such as

KVM, Git, OpenJDK, and WebKit. Mobile Linux distributions like Android, MeeGo, and webOS will also soon be expressly protected.

We asked about those Linux distributions over a month ago, but the OIN returned no response. The secrecy at the OIN needs to stop. And the hard questions — in particular the one about patent trolls — need to be tackled. Until then, destroying all software patents — not subscribing to the OIN — is the right solution. We find it interesting that OIN will cover WebKit, which is in part being developed by Apple — the cult which is suing Android/Linux and demands a tax or products embargo. OpenJDK is also covered despite the fact that an OIN member, Oracle, is suing a over Dalvik. Samba’s lawyer once said that the only solution is abolition and he was right. The OIN neither pursues nor advocates abolition; its business model and very existence depends on patents. Sites like Groklaw, which is led by a law professor, present a similar point of view, which can be problematic at times (patents being essential to one’s living). My intention is not to disparage anyone but merely to explain the conflict of interests and the point of view of companies like Intel and IBM (and their de facto front groups).

Microsoft Bribing for Tamil Nadu (India) to Drop GNU/Linux in Education

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

Bill Gates

Summary: Bill Gates and his groupies are still pillaging and plundering India, using proprietary (secret) code and Trojan horses rather than old-age weapons

MICROSOFT is attacking GNU/Linux. One recent example comes from Tamil Nadu [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and one reader reported to us “EDGI in Tamilnadu schools, India”

“See this Press Release,” he told me last night, linking to this EDGI example which is shrewdly disguised with euphemisms we saw before [PDF]. This is perpetrated in part by Courtois, whom we wrote about in [1, 2, 3] (he lobbies a lot for Microsoft). Previously we also saw EDGI in India courtesy of Bill Gates, who used the Gates Foundation to abolish GNU/Linux adoption, via so-called ‘gifts’. To recommend this new book about the Gates Foundation, here is how they operate:

This book looks critically at how the Gates and Bloomberg Foundations awarded millions in grants to promote tobacco control in Africa. Evaluating projects financed by philanthrocapitalists is extremely rare because nobody wants to risk offending them and the organizations they have entrusted with their generous gifts.

There is more shameless PR in India and this one comes from the Gates Foundation too. The foundation which is causing polio (and promoting tobacco) does its dealings while paying to portray itself as the fighter against polio. Appalling yet again (we covered this type of polio spin several times before). As another Gates watcher puts it (rhetorically), “Will the Gates Foundation take the blame when polio returns to India?”

Polio will probably return to India. Who will take the blame then? The same people getting the congratulations now? The Gates Foundation?

If this milepost is so important, why doesn’t the New York Times feature it? Because McNeil knows polio can come back.

Let’s get something straight here. Microsoft and Gates don’t give a damn about India; they just care how to make money from India, either through cheap labour, addiction of the young to Microsoft products, or patents and PR. India should expel the colonists and charlatans from Microsoft and the Gates Foundation. While they are at it, they should reject the corporate press (like the above) that reposts Gates’ paid-for propaganda, verbatim even.

IRC Proceedings: March 6th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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IRC Proceedings: March 5th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Financing and Foundations

Posted in Bill Gates at 3:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at some recent reports on foundations that extract power from money

THE openwashing at the Grameen Foundation is an issue we covered before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and more of the same reminds of us predatory lending that’s backed by the Gates Foundation, pretending to help the poor but actually benefiting lenders. It’s all for the benefit of the rich. In this recent article which we almost missed criticism is being echoed about Gates’ funding of questionable goals. Robin Rogers writes:

Critics have also raised concerns about the Gates Foundation’s promotion of genetically modified crops to address food shortages in Africa and Asia. The complicating factor comes from a key element of this kind of giving: the blending of philanthropy and profit. The Gates Foundation has invested in Monsanto, an agriculture company that develops genetically modified seeds as well a.s specialized chemicals for those crops. The worthy goal of sustainable agriculture may be mixing with corporate interests.

[...]

Billionaire philanthropy is powerful. It goes beyond quaint notions of “doing good.” But it is clear that we need checks and balances on this power. That’s the only way to stop good intentions from turning the United States — and the world — into a plutocracy.

There is also interesting criticism from the The Lancet, which Gates meddled with to promote his agenda [1, 2, 3]. To quote a mirror of an inaccessible page:

Just before the holiday, a private equity firm, Aureos Capital, announced that the Gates Foundation had invested several million dollars into an African Health Fund. Another example of philanthropy directed towards equity and social justice? Not quite. Reporting a total sum of US$105·4 million, Aureos says this “unique fund will drive expansion of healthcare providers in Africa”. How so? The fund is financed by various banks and corporations with the intention that profits will come from investments into private sector health services. The goal is to provide investors with strong financial returns by building payment-based (“affordable”) health services. The CEO of Aureos, Sev Vettivetpillai, believes that “improving the health of Africa’s poorest” can be achieved by funding private health-care providers across the continent. To the contrary, many health systems experts will say that fuelling a largely unregulated private health sector, instead of investing in public sector services, only adds to poverty and inequality in countries with weak existing health-care infrastructures. So why is the Gates Foundation investing in a fund that is likely to harm health systems in the countries it claims to care about? This is surely philanthrocapitalism gone mad.

Patent business mode. Someone sells patented drugs here. The bottom line is, the foundation offers a synthesis and conversion from money to power and power to money. It also orchestrates a lot of false reporting, using a budget of billions of dollars.

Bill Gates Pays the BBC, Gets Coverage From the BBC

Posted in Bill Gates at 3:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft BBC

Summary: The BBC is no longer independent and it shows

BILL GATES WAS seen paying the BBC at least twice last year (tens of millions of pounds), turning the BBC to part of the controlled press — that which deceives the public for rich people. Gates has been buying consent through other press outlets for quite some time now. According to a Gates watcher, a new BBC report “indicates the mainstream media is poised to take a more critical tack examining the nature of philanthropy and global health. As a journalist, I admit that most of our stories tend to be focused on describing the plight of the poor — or the presumed noble intentions of rich philanthropists.” If one checks who those stories are published by, it is companies that are owned by extremely affluent people, so this is not so shocking. But the BBC was supposed to be independent; it’s not.

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