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03.13.12

IRC Proceedings: March 13th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:26 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

IRC Proceedings: March 12th, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:14 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

Update on Patents Versus Android/Linux, New Rants Against Software Patents

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 4:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Telecoms fail

Pipes

Summary: A news roundup about patents and legal battles affecting software which respects some freedoms

THE PATENT BUBBLE is hurting Linux and Groklaw‘s Pamela Jones asks: “Remember I told you that Oracle wasn’t giving up? Here’s the proof. They have filed a motion saying that if, by any chance, there is no spring trial, or if the USPTO appeal goes its way in time, it asks the court to allow it to amend its infringement contentions regarding patent ’205.”

So it is too early to expect Oracle to just back off. Google is meanwhile shown to be making progress with those Motorola patents that can be used as a deterrent against further litigation. The reactionary armament not as problematic as Apple and Microsoft would have people believe; it’s problematic to the duopolists, not to Google or Motorola.

“The reactionary armament not as problematic as Apple and Microsoft would have people believe; it’s problematic to the duopolists, not to Google or Motorola.”The truth is, this patent armament locks smaller players outside. NASA, which is funded by the US public, feeds trolls and British newspapers take note [1, 2]. Microsoft pays trolls yet again, whereas Nintendo defends against trolls who attack. There are new patents from allies of Microsoft: “As noticed by Data Center Knowledge, the technology is laid out in a Facebook patent application recently released to the world at large.”

Facebook, which is partly owned by Microsoft, is a patent aggressor, too. Google does apply for patents, but unlike Facebook it does not sue companies using patents. Not yet anyway. It is a matter of policy.

Not so long ago we wrote about how MOSAID got fed by Microsoft and then got Apple sued. These stories too help show the insanity of the patent system, wherein shell companies (or proxies) can be used to wage battles at the behest of monopolists.

Here is a new perspective on the “broken system for software patents”:

In Slate’s Farhad Manjoo: Use Crowdsourcing to Improve Patents and Kill Patent Trolls, I explained why the focus on patent trolls is misguided; and why using crowdsourcing and incentives to increase the quality of prior art brought to the patent office’s attention, to improve patent “quality” by weeding out “bad patents”–is also misguided. And that improving patent quality will address the patent troll problem. And that improving patent “quality” is not a desired solution since the low quality of patents and the patent examination process has little to do with the threat patents pose to innovation and the economy.

Derrick Harris’s Gigaom post, Can big data fix a broken system for software patents?, is also on the wrong track. The post explores various proposals to use “data analytics” to improve prior art searches for fields like software patents.

The problem is not prior art search; the problem is government-granted monopolies on algorithms.

This whole idea that stuff encoded or delivered over the Web basically becomes patentable must stop. As TechDirt put it the other day:

Why Does An Unpatentable ‘Abstract Idea’ Become Patentable If You Add ‘On The Internet’?

Back in 2009, we wrote about a case involving a company called Ultramercial, which held a broad and ridiculous patent (7,346,545) that effectively covered the process of watching an ad before you could download content (seriously). Ultramercial sued Hulu, YouTube and WildTangent over this. The case went back and forth with an initial ruling that rejected the patent, by noting that it was just an ‘abstract idea’ and abstract ideas are not patentable.

[...]

Along with the petition, there were also two interesting filings in support, urging the Supreme Court to hear the case. One from Redhat, CCIA and EFF, which goes into great detail about how such broad patentability would seriously harm the open source world, and a strongly worded brief from Google and Verizon (yes, together) about how such a ruling would do serious harm to innovation by allowing all sorts of abstract ideas to be locked up via patent. Hopefully the Supreme Court is willing to listen — and will push back (yet again) on a bad CAFC ruling.

In the news we continue to find software patents like this new one on an “algorithm”, another one here, and a patent-pending nonsense for Apple-targeted junk. Here is another new rant about software patents:

Why Hayek Would Have Hated Software Patents

In his famous essay “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” Friedrich Hayek argued that the socialists of his day falsely assumed that knowledge about economy could be taken as “given” to central planners. In reality, information about the economy—about what products are needed and where the necessary resources can be found—is dispersed among a society’s population. Economic policies that implicitly depend on omniscient decision-makers are doomed to failure, because the decision-makers won’t have the information they need to make good decisions.

By now, it is generally agreed among journalists (and the public) that software patents need to go. But lobbyists and policy-makers do not represent public interests. That ought to change. The crisis of democracy cannot be separated from technology. What we see here is an element of class warfare — one where those in power leverage protectionism as matter of law.

Microsoft EDGI in India Draws Complaints

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FSFISummary: The Free Software Foundation of India fights back against anti-competitive tactics from Microsoft

IN our recent posts about Microsoft’s EDGI in Tamil Nadu we called for regulatory action. Reports tell us that the “Free Software Foundation of India, an organisation involved in the promotion of the free use of software, sent an open letter to chief minister J Jayalalithaa seeking cancellation of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Microsoft Inc.

“The MoU was signed on Tuesday to implement an IT programme for government school teachers with the help of software giant Microsoft. The open letter raised objection to the software developed by Microsoft. “Students and teachers involved in the project will not be able to see how the software works. If it develops a problem, they will not have the right to make corrections or modifications. They will have to depend on the company entirely. They will be denied the right to share the software with others,” the letter said.”

Here is a PDF version of the letter [PDF]. Folks involved with this complaint got in touch with Techrights and attached the Open letter by the Free Software Foundation of India to Selvi Jayalaita — a letter about proposal to adopt Microsoft’s proprietary software in schools.

Some external background links were also included, namely:

1. ttp://www.tehelka.com/story_main50.asp?filename=Ws101011MICROSOFT.asp
2. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/article2419753.ece
3. http://news.efytimes.com/e1/79976/Tamil-Nadu-Govt-Goes-AntiOpen-Source
4. http://www.thehindu.com/education/issues/article2423376.ece”
5. http://www.tn.gov.in/seithi_veliyeedu/pr06Mar12/pr060312_184.pdf

Older posts of ours about Tamil Nadu include [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This is not over. People in India should fight back, there’s not much that can be done from here (the UK).

Apple Likes to ‘Steal’ Stuff

Posted in Apple at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We’ve always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

Steve Jobs

Summary: The real cost of Apple and great hypocrisy detailed with the aid of new examples from the news

THE CULT OF APPLE has shown no signs of denouncing patent aggression. The pro-Apple sites almost unanimously support Apple’s behaviour (often in very extravagantly shameful ways which we prefer not to link to) and the Microsoft booster says in his article about Apple/patents that “Android isn’t the only Linux-based open source project to face frequent patent threats. We’ve written about how Red Hat handles patent trolls. Red Hat is also part of an industry consortium called the Open Invention Network, which, along with IBM, Sony, Phillips, Facebook, HP, and dozens of others are building up a defensive patent portfolio to protect Linux-using members from potential lawsuits.”

What’s rather unique about Apple is its shamelessness. The company whines about “stealing” while its leader openly states that Apple has always been “shameless about stealing”. And speaking of “stealing”, watch why Apple likes Open Source:

Upon further investigation, it became eminently clear that Apple had lifted the maps directly out of OpenStreetMap.

Well done, Apple, eh? How innovative.

There is also market distortion in the Ebook market right now and the “US Government Finally Realizes That Publishers & Apple Conspiring To Raise eBook Prices Is Price Fixing”. So yet more “stealing” from the public, eh Apple? Here is the report which says:

The Justice Department is about to sue Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and five publishers for conspiring to raise the price of e-books. The warning is a game-changer in the government’s long-running anti-trust investigation—here’s an explanation of the case and what could happen next.

Apple should just quit whining about being a victim and stop Steve Jobs' war on Android/Linux. Hypocrisy makes Apple look sleazy and dishonest.

Microsoft Buys More Time While Novell Disintegrates

Posted in Antitrust, Courtroom, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 3:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fire

Summary: As Novell’s assets are sold and nervous system rots, Microsoft is filing aplenty and giving Novell lots of work in the long-standing antitrust case

THE CASE of Novell against Microsoft may be very old, but it carries on regardless:

Novell has filed its opposition [PDF] to Microsoft’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law in the WordPerfect antitrust case. It’s 160 pages long, just the memorandum, plus 4 exhibits and appendix after appendix — 54 in all. This document [PDF] is a list of what is in all of the appendices. Microsoft’s motion was 137-pages long, if you recall. And this is bigger. It’s, frankly, amazing.

Microsoft could probably just use money to buy more time until Novell is entirely defunct.

For SUSE, the future is already Microsoft-dependent, but for some who escape Unity it seems like OpenSUSE is an oddball safety net:

While it is totally insignificant why I switched from my previous distribution to openSUSE, I would share the reason. I had been using Ubuntu since 2006 and when Ubuntu made a switch to Unity I found Global menus and extremely limited customization getting in my way. I was keeping a close eye on Unity development and when 11.10 was released it was clear that most of the customization that I wanted was not going to land in Ubuntu.

Using Unity became even more problematic when I bought my second monitor. I wanted to be able to use the second monitor more efficiently. Which was not possible with Unity.

I did try to disable Global Menu but Thunderbird, Firefox and Kate continued to give me problems. Honestly speaking I don’t want to do that unless that functionality (disabling Global Menu) is part of the distribution itself.

If the reason to use OpenSUSE is the failure of another distribution, then it does not speak much for success. The OpenSUSE newsletter was recently un-handled. As the community steps aside Microsoft will step in and use the corpse (and former reputation) of SUSE to tax GNU/Linux. Novell's headquarters are being sold.

Microsoft Sends Out Lawyers to Shut Down Competition

Posted in Microsoft at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft poison pill in the form of EULA

Pills

Summary: News about the struggle of a small company against Microsoft’s monopoly

THE EULA is to Microsoft a key part of the business model, which is basically renting binaries over and over again. We wrote about Microsoft’s various EULA matters before [1, 2, 3] and now that a company makes Microsoft’s platform accessible over the Web the lawyers step in:

The OnLive Desktop app enables users to run a Windows desktop on an Apple iPad or Android tablet, freeing users from their PCs even if they want to use Microsoft Office. It’s a great innovation from cloud-streaming firm OnLive, but Microsoft said this week that the app is apparently in violation of licensing terms for Microsoft’s operating system.

Once again we are seeing how lawyers — not developers — take a leading role at Microsoft. The target of Microsoft’s lawyers is not FOSS this time around. As Pogson points out, “OnLive has patents, apparently… Sigh. Interestingly, OnLive runs GNU/Linux on their website.”

Links 13/3/2012: Linux 3.3 RC7, Arch Linux Turns 10

Posted in News Roundup at 4:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Brazil and GNU/Linux

      Not to worry, though. This month, Net Applications shows that other OS had 93.84% but a year ago the share was 94.38%, a decline of 0.5% in spite of the bias. In California, the bias in business is probably 10:1 so a change of -0.5% could be -5% in reality, a serious shift for M$. The monopoly is on a short leash with government and education using GNU/Linux. In Argentina there is an active anti-trust investigation of M$’s practices. It would not take much for business usage to change dramatically if GNU/Linux is allowed to compete fairly. According to the US embassy in Argentina, “42 percent of Argentine firms use Linux on at
      least some of their computers”. Brazil should not be much different.

    • A Linux desktop and tablet user and Windows 8

      I’m a Linux user, but I kind of like Windows XP, and I can get along fine with Windows 7, but Windows 8? Argh!

    • Meet the new Windows 8

      Usually, if you say “linux” people think about a very hard to use OS. But is it true? Is Kubuntu really an OS for developers and nerds? I’m going to present “common people” Kubuntu, saying it’s the new version of Windows 8: let’s see what they think about it without any prejudice. And, since I’m a serious person, I’m filming it.
      By the way: I got the idea because KDE has been awarded as best desktop environment of the year.

    • Q4 2011 Was a Nightmare for M$

      # Philippines saw shipments down 33%.

  • Server

    • What’s the best Linux server for you?

      When it comes to clothes, I’m a normal guy. I just want to walk into a store, grab something that fits, buy it (What, try it on? Are you kidding!?), and head home. Well, that’s what I want to do. I’ve learned over the years that just because something should fit doesn’t mean that it will fit. It’s the same with Linux servers. Sure, they’re all built on the same code base and can run the same applications, but one may fit you perfectly while another may make you look like a clown.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Enesim: A Flexible, Extensible Graphics Framework

      Enesim is said to be similar to the Fog Framework and started out as a research project to optimize the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries, but then ended up becoming a project in its own right. The Enesim graphics framework supports vector and raster-based graphics, is considered highly-extensible, supports OpenCL and OpenGL renderers along with a software-based fall-back, and multi-threading support. The SVG renderer for Enesim is also said to be significantly faster than other common SVG libraries.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Tethered Shooting with digiKam
      • REVIEW: KDE SC 4.8.1

        Just a few days ago I upgraded KDE SC to its latest release, 4.8.1. This first dot release is very interesting in that it incorporates a significant number of fixes to elements as critical as Dolphin and KDE PIM. Now that the first round of polishing is there for KDE SC 4.8, and since I have been using it extensively for weeks, I think it is a good time to put together a review and see where KDE stands as of today. THE GOOD NEWS There are three main areas where KDE SC 4.8 shines: Stability, Performance and New Features.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome 3: conditional love

        I’ve recently spent a couple of months using Gnome 3 in Fedora and a few weeks using Gnome 2 in Debian Squeeze, Now I’m using Gnome 3 again in Debian Wheezy. Switching from the new to the old and back has given me a good idea of what I like or don’t like in Gnome 3, and what makes life easier or more difficult using it.

        Overall, I much prefer using Gnome 3, which puts me at odds with a lot of people who have written about it. What I love most is the minimalist elegance of layout. Gnome 2 just looks 20th century while Gnome 3 looks 21st.

  • Distributions

    • Arch Linux turns 10 years
    • Arch Linux turns ten years old
    • Arch Turns Ten

      It was a full decade ago that Arch Linux made its public debut. Over the weekend developers and users posted of their early experiences and brought the milestone to the forefront. However, users have been discussing just how to mark this upcoming anniversary for several months on the forum.

    • Vector Linux: Lightning fast throwback to old-school Linux

      The title can be somewhat deceiving. When you think of “Old School” you think of out of date, whimsical technology that most people only look at on occasion. Well, scrap that train of thought when applied to Vector Linux, because Vector is just as useful as nearly any modern platform. That doesn’t mean it’s for everyone — but if you long for the days when your Linux distribution didn’t eat up your resources and an installed OS contained everything you needed to get through the day, then look no further than Vector Linux 7.0 Standard Edition. You’ll wind up with an easy to use, lightweight desktop (Figure A) that is ready to perform like few other distributions.

    • Introducing the Window Maker Live CD

      Paul Seelig announced last evening, March 11th, the immediate availability for download of the Window Maker Live CD 2012-03-11 Linux operating system.

      Window Maker Live CD is a Linux distribution based on Debian Linux and the lightweight Window Maker window manager.

    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

      • A look at Sabayon Linux 8

        The Sabayon Linux distribution is a Gentoo-based project which attempts to provide a cutting-edge user experience which “just works”. The project provides several editions, the main ones being the GNOME, KDE, Xfce and Core flavours. Each edition is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds so the hardest hurdle to cross is figuring out which ISO we want to download. I opted for the Xfce edition which, if you’ve been following my reviews of late, you’ll notice is becoming a bit of a trend. Recently I’ve been finding GNOME 3 too unpleasant and cumbersome to use and, while I enjoy the features of KDE, I’ll be the first to admit it’s a bit on the heavy side. More and more I’m finding Xfce provides my ideal balance of features and performance.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Raspberry Pi USB Microcomputer tries Fedora Remix Distro

          The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced that owners who managed to grab its USB microcomputer before supplies depleted can now download and install a recommended Linux distribution.

          The Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix is a distribution from software packages of the Fedora ARM project, with a “small number” of extra packs modified from Fedora versions that Fedora could not include due to licensing problems.

        • Fedora 17 New Security Feature part VII – thumbnail protection.

          John Leyden wrote an interesting article Linux vulnerable to Windows-style autorun exploits, about how security researches had discovered that Linux is potentially vulnerable to a user sticking a USB device or CDRom into a locked machine. The basic idea was that “Nautilus” would execute thumbnail drive code, to display thumbnails icons in the file browsers based on the content on the removable media, even if the machine was locked. If the thumbnail executables were vulnerabile, a cracker could use the code used to process the thumbnail images to kill the screensaver/lock.

    • Debian Family

      • My Debian Squeeze box DOESN’T spring forward

        I’m always wondering about people who forget to spring forward or fall back when daylight saving time begins or ends.

        Now I’m one of them.

        I have a 10 a.m. conference call today, and looking at the clock on my GNOME desktop in Debian Squeeze, my operating system on this laptop since late 2010, I dial into the call.

        There’s nobody there.

        Later I’m working on my test laptop, running DragonFlyBSD, on which I have the ntpd daemon running. It’s an hour ahead.

        Except that it’s not. My Debian laptop is an hour behind.

      • Derivatives

        • SkoleLinux 6.0.4 has been released
        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Has Canonical Found the Keys to the Computing Kingdom?

            “My concern is that the evolution acceleration curve for technology, specifically how users interact with the interfaces, is too steep, and Ubuntu starts running the risk of being too clever, too quick,” said Slashdot blogger yagu. “It’s hard to evangelize linux/ubuntu/favorite distro and find out users are too confused to understand and use it because every time they look, it’s different.”

          • Peeking at the Pangolin

            Among the most eagerly anticipated features, the heads-up display, makes its debut in Precise. The HUD is supposed to eventually replace the traditional menu system by guessing the command you want to issue based on the first few letters you type into a search box. In the beta version, you can call up the HUD by hitting the Alt key. In his blog, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth describes HUD as a revolutionary change in the way people will interact with their computers, but the version that comes with the 12.04 beta is a long way from that vision.

            For example, HUD is supposed to be able to search through the available application and system (indicator) menu commands and offer these as you type, but the HUD isn’t as smart as it should be. To adjust the volume settings on your computer, for instance, you ought to be able to type “volume” into the search box, but doing so produces no result whatsoever. To get to that command, you need to type the less intuitive “sound” instead and choose from four options. How this is more efficient than merely clicking on the speaker icon and adjusting the volume on a slider is beyond me. Performance was even quirkier when I tried to use the HUD to find commands in an application. It worked to a limited degree with the image-editing program Gimp, but the search itself seemed slow. To save a file, I typed “save” and the HUD went through 15 options before offering me “File > Save As” whereas I could easily have saved time by using the keyboard shortcut, CTRL-S.

          • HUD Won’t Replace Traditional Menus: Mark Shuttleworth

            When Mark Shuttleworth announced HUD, I had my worries. Unity itself needed a lot of work to be further polished. In a recent interview with Mark at MWC I asked about the worried around HUD and he explained his vision of HUD. So, let me get one thing out of our way ‘HUD is not going to replace the traditional menus’.

          • Unity fixes in newly released Midori 0.4.4

            Christian Dywan, the main developer of the open source WebKit-based browser Midori, has announced the release of the latest version of his project. Midori 0.4.4 has improvements in several areas, including better GTK+ 3 support, improved interaction with Ubuntu’s Unity menubar and other fixes.

          • Ubuntu User Survey: Who’s Behind the Curtain?

            Who runs Ubuntu? Where, why and how? That’s a question lots of people — including probably even Canonical employees — would like to be able to answer better. Toward this end, a survey of general Ubuntu users is underway. Here’s the scoop.

            Last month, Canonical completed a survey of Ubuntu server users that revealed quite a bit of interesting information — from the apparently hobbyist nature of many Ubuntu server deployments to the ways people are and aren’t currently deploying Ubuntu servers in the cloud.

          • New, shiny, Unity 5.6 released!

            Phew! it’s been a long road to release the next unity, but I’m more than happy to finally announce the release of 5.6. Unity components (dee, libunity, bamf, lenses, nux) and unity itself, plus some compiz snapshots (post 0.9.7.0) are part of this release. The packages are currently building on the official builders and should be soon available to you.

            No particular new feature apart from better ibus support are part of it, plus a tons of bug fixes and some miscelleanous improvements: – Daniel van Vungt landed a patch in compiz that enhances its performance for more than 51%! When you test it, I can ensure you feel a real noticeable difference (in particular on older machines, like mine). – The alt tap false positive revealing the HUD is now part of the past. We know this one was annoying people, I can only tell you it’s been technically challenging ;) . This has been a rocking combined effort in compiz/unity sides. – the file lens can now find files that were never opened before.

          • Unsettings- A graphical configuration tool for Unity
          • Mark Shuttleworth Weighs In On Ubuntu 12.04
          • Ubuntu For Android Can Disrupt The Enterprise Market

            Ubuntu for Android has become extremely popular among enthusiasts. There was a lot of excitement around Ubuntu for Android during the Mobile World Congress. I was at the booth for coverage and I saw how people were excited about it. Ubuntu for Android, as I understand after talking to Mark Shuttleworth, is much more than yet another prototype. It’s much more than just another Canonical project. It is undoubtedly a Linux geek’s toy, but it is a real business device which, if executed well by Canonical, can disrupt the enterprise market.

          • Interview: Jo-Erlend Schinstad

            Jo-Erlend Schinstad is one of the most active and dedicated members of the Ubuntu community who tries to clear confusion around Ubuntu related issues. He also takes pain in explaining technologies, how it works and how it can be improved. Jo was recently appointed as a member of EMEA and it was a great opportunity to talk to Jo-Erlend about his engagement with the free software community, especially Ubuntu.

          • Ubuntu 12.04 Just Got Faster

            Ubuntu 12.04 is currently in its beta and updates are rolling everyday to remove existing bugs and polish the system for the final release on April 26th. However, today I received almost 100 updates which is huge considering I update my system every few hours (call me paranoid). Notables updates have been made to Compiz and Unity. Most of the updates however are performance improvements rather than visual tweaks. Still, I will try to list them all to the best of my knowledge.

          • Ubuntu disables app logging for privacy
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

    • W.H. tries cyber scare demo

      The White House orchestrated a simulated cyberattack on New York City’s power supply during a summer heat wave late Wednesday to illustrate not only potential human and economic casualties, but to tee up support for Senate passage of a sweeping cybersecurity bill.

      During a classified briefing in the Office of Senate Security, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan showed lawmakers how a hacker could breach control systems of the city’s electric system and trigger a ripple effect throughout the population and private sector, according to a source familiar with the scenario.

      “The fact that we could be subject to a catastrophic attack under the right circumstances and we now know some of the things that would help us to protect against such an attack, that’s why it’s important now for the Congress to take this up,” Napolitano said in an interview with POLITICO.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • US Soldiers Should Avoid Geotagging On Facebook

      It won’t be a surprise to see that even the smartest users behave in the most stupid manner when on Facebook. They give out their location without even realizing what they are doing. It becomes increasingly dangerous when members of US army start giving out their location in different ways.

      A deployed service member’s situational awareness includes the world of social media. If a Soldier uploads a photo taken on his or her smartphone to Facebook, they could broadcast the exact location of their unit, said Steve Warren, deputy G2 for the Maneuver Center of Excellence, or MCoE.

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • MF Global: Mark Melin Interviews Haar And Koutoulas On What Really Happened

      This soft censorship of the financial news by the visual and print media in the States is nothing new. I have spoken to a number of people who find themselves and their viewpoints shut out of the discussions on financial and economic issues in the US. I have seen this happen repeatedly in the area of stock and metals market abuses and their reforms.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why Did PhRMA Spend $356K on ALEC in Wisconsin?

      The pharmaceutical drug lobby PhRMA gave $356,075 to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “scholarship fund” in 2010, but listed the recipient’s address at a lobbying firm steps away from the Wisconsin State Capitol, rather than ALEC’s Washington, D.C. offices, according to filings with the Internal Revenue Service. The PhRMA contribution is leading to calls for greater transparency about how the ALEC scholarship fund operates.

      In its 2010 IRS filings, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, better known as PhRMA, listed a $356,075 contribution to the “ALEC Scholarship Fund.” That fund pays for flights and hotels for state legislators to attend ALEC conferences in places like New Orleans or Florida.

  • Censorship

    • Uncle Sam: If It Ends in .Com, It’s .Seizable

      When U.S. authorities shuttered sports-wagering site Bodog.com last week, it raised eyebrows across the net because the domain name was registered with a Canadian company, ostensibly putting it beyond the reach of the U.S. government. Working around that, the feds went directly to VeriSign, a U.S.-based internet backbone company that has the contract to manage the coveted .com and other “generic” top-level domains.

    • Tell PayPal: Don’t Censor Books

      PayPal, which plays a dominant role in processing online sales, has taken full advantage of the vast and open nature of the Internet for commercial purposes, but is now holding free speech hostage by clamping down on sales of certain types of erotica. As organizations and individuals concerned with intellectual and artistic freedom and a free Internet, we strongly object to PayPal functioning as an enforcer of public morality and inhibiting the right to buy and sell constitutionally protected material.

      Recently, PayPal gave online publishers and booksellers, including BookStrand.com, Smashwords, and eXcessica, an ultimatum: it would close their accounts and refuse to process all payments unless they removed erotic books containing descriptions of rape, incest, and bestiality. The result would severely restrict the public’s access to a wide range of legal material, could drive some companies out of business, and deprive some authors of their livelihood.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • EU Regulator Shows Operators Restrict Net Access, Deploy Intrusive Technologies

      In January, La Quadrature du Net responded to the BEREC consultation, based on the findings of the RespectMyNet platform. Although these only give a partial account of the situation, the submission presented 144 confirmed reports of breaches to Net neutrality, concerning 44 operators in more than 14 Member States.

    • Dear Parliament: Say no to the Internet Lockdown

      Canada’s politicians are set to make a decision any day, setting the course for copyright and the Internet that will last for years. Please send a message to your MP and the government by filling out the form on the right.

  • DRM

    • Penguin Pointlessly Annoys Readers With USB-Only eBooks

      Reader Jason Alcock alerts us to another example of a company taking a backwards approach to value-added services by putting artificial restrictions on their content. Apparently, while ebooks from the popular publisher Penguin are available to borrow from Kindle libraries, Penguin requires that they only be transferrable by USB, not wireless. This, in turn, means that they cannot be read with the free Kindle apps on platforms like iOS and Android, since USB transfer is only supported on the Kindle device itself.

    • Latest Calibre Update Brings KF8 Support to Linux, OSX
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. Using Trademark Law To Prevent The Use Of Public Domain Stories

        The public domain is meant to be a source of free culture for all the world to enjoy, mix and derive other works from. Unfortunately, there are many people and organizations in the world that wish to block the use of public domain material. Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. (ERB) is one such organization. Founded in 1923, this corporation has been handling all the copyrights and other rights for the works created by the author Edgar Rice Burroughs. Amongst the rights held by the corporation are the rights to the Tarzan and John Carter of Mars characters. What makes this situation somewhat unique is the fact that only a portion of the Tarzan and John Carter books are still covered by copyright in the US. A number of the early works were published prior to 1923 when modern copyright terms of life plus 70 years went into effect. Even though the copyrights of the early works are long expired, ERB has shown that it will block the use of both characters in modern derivative works.

    • Copyrights

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