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04.12.12

Facing Public Backlash, Bill Gates Stops Funding Predatory Lobby ALEC

Posted in Bill Gates at 4:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Koch

Summary: As companies flee the widely-disgraced ALEC, Gates flees as well, but not before contributing money to this monstrous operation

SEVERAL months ago we wrote about the Gates Foundation‘s
support for ALEC, which has now been exposed so thoroughly that many of its backers run and hide.

Gates is among those who run away, but not before doing a lot of damage to the public (through ALEC).

Journalism and SUSE, Samba

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Samba, Security, SLES/SLED at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Laptop

Summary: Remarks on particular reports that deceive the public this week

POOR journalism helps show why alternative news sites are truly needed. Right now, for example, a Microsoft MVP is spreading pro-Microsoft messages in IDG, without any disclosures of course. We saw this sort of stuff before, in other news networks.

Over at ZDNet, rather scary headlines are appearing which are hinged upon a Samba flaw alone (like the many flaws that appear in Windows all the time). When one configures Microsoft Linux to serve Microsoft protocols, then it’s debatable if that too should count as Microsoft’s fault. The bottom line is, reporting on those subjects is flawed, sometimes by design (as in the case where Microsoft folks are assigned to report on Microsoft).

Since we’ve mentioned SUSE, watch how the post-acquisition VAR Guy is advertising SUSE:

Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) recently became the world’s first $1 billion open source company. Now, the folks at SUSE, promoter of the rival Linux distribution, are seeking bragging rights of their own. Indeed, SUSE says it now has more than 9,200 certified third-party applications and supports over 13,500 hardware, storage and networking devices. Impressive. But is SUSE in growth mode?

The VAR Guy’s educated hunch: Absolutely yes. Attachmate acquired Novell and its SUSE business roughly a year ago. Over the past year, SUSE has been freed from Novell branding, and SUSE is once again run from its own European headquarters.
Customer Base

And then he proceeds to parroting Novell PR talking points which we debunked years ago. They make up some numbers by aggregating useless metrics and then make themselves look big. If one wants just a rewritten press release, then the above meets the standards. But will someone please verify those bogus numbers before reporting? PR is the art of making things look different from what they actually are.

Apple, Microsoft, Oracle (CPTN) and the Latest Patent Hoard Against Android/Linux

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 3:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

3-way attack on Android domination

Business world

Summary: Updates on litigation and deterrence tactics against the fastest-spreading Linux distribution

THE NEW YORK press published a widely-cited article titled “German Courts at Epicenter of Global Patent Battles Among Tech Rivals” (paywall-crippled, workaround here). We wrote about this recently. Microsoft was trying to get away from Germany while using German lobbying to deceive on the patent debate.

As an increasingly obsolete company, Microsoft relies more than ever before on patents. Apple also relies on being able to block competitors (running Linux) from the market. As one article puts it, however, “Apple May Lose Legal Battle Against Samsung In US” and this is merely part of the general trend. Apple gets sued in response and this whole embargo scheme is proving to be distracting, a waste of time even to Apple.

Let’s go back to Microsoft’s own war on Android. Recently, Microsoft acquired yet more Google-hostile patents (from AOL) and as my co-host Tim puts it:

What do you do when you have products which people are not buying? What do you do when you produce a product that fails to grasp the interest of the consumer in the same way as your competitor?

Do you make your products desirable? – No need. In todays modern world you don’t have to develop anything, you can merely stock up on patents, stuff your portfolio full and then go out on an expedition of legal challenges, NDA’s and take a little of the cream from your competition! What a wonderful fair world we live in.

This is what Microsoft is exploiting at the moment and Glyn Moody’s analysis says that with Netscape patents at stake “[t]his latest turn of events emphasises once more why it is absolutely critical for open standards to require RF licensing of any patents, as the W3C patent policy now rightly requires. If not, then major parts of the computing world can be held to ransom by owners of crucial patents that can’t be coded around.”

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reckons it is indeed a move against Google. He writes: “Microsoft didn’t just buy AOL’s patents, they bought what was left of its one time fierce Web browser rival Netscape’s intellectual property to use in attacking Google’s Android and Chrome.”

Vaughan-Nichols had more to say about it later.

Muktware says “Microsoft Buys Netscape Patents, May Start Abusing Soon” (i.e. destroy the market with otherwise-harmless patents).

Another CPTN member, Oracle, has its case against Android tracked over at Groklaw [1, 2, 3] and the latest update says:

A judge has finally told Oracle’s lawyers that the relief they were asking for in a motion signed by a Boies Schiller lawyer would be unfair, excessive, and prejudicial to Google.

Separately, Moody talked about “[w]hat one line of code can teach us”, noting quite accurately that the nuisance to eliminate is software patents, rather than go one-by-one after companies that abuse them. He writes:

Glyn Moody looks at an example of how a patent on one line of code can inhibit innovation for a generation and how that lesson should not be forgotten when the government is asking what an open standard is.

With proper regulations and laws, Linux will thrive, Right now the law is being manipulated so as to put the best operating system at a position of disadvantage. The quickest fix to all this is to end software patents.

USPTO Imperialists Want Their Ponzi Scheme imposed by IPONZ

Posted in Law, Patents at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IPONZ

Summary: New Zealand is still under US pressure to change its laws for US corporations (protectionism at the IPONZ)

THE sizeable stack of Cablegate cables helps teach us about the role government plays in promoting the agenda of domestic corporations overseas. We saw that in action when NZ (New Zealand) patent law came under siege by US corporations (which control their government through campaign contributions). There was a persistent attempt to pollute NZ law with software patents, serving in no way the interests of NZ residents (except patent lawyers). The press in NZ speaks of a “US attack” but the headline is deceiving. The article says:

The US Government has taken aim at a planned overhaul of New Zealand patent law that would prevent the patenting of computer software.

It has also taken a swipe at the fees that movie studios and recording companies must pay to haul internet pirates in front of the NZ Copyright Tribunal under the controversial three-strikes ”SkyNet” copyright regime that came into effect last year.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) said in an annual report on ”foreign trade barriers” that New Zealand generally provided for strong intellectual property rights. It said the NZ Patents Bill, which has been awaiting its second reading in Parliament for more than a year, would improve the system.

However, it said the US had concerns about the clause excluding software, which ”departs from patent eligibility standards in other developed economies”.

We cover a lot of USTR owing to Cablegate (e.g. [1, 2, 3]). It’s imperialism by corporations, ushered by so-called government representatives (corporate servers in practice).

The collective of patent lawyers speaks of “[t]he importance of including algorithms in software patents” and to quote:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued its second decision in the past month in which it found a software patent to be invalid for failure to disclose an algorithm that the software uses to perform its function. In each case, the patents’ claims involved “means plus function” language such as the phrases “control means” and “access means”.

Another pro-patents site says:

A software patent means-plus-function claim is indefinite where the specification fails to disclose an algorithm that performs the recited function. The Federal Circuit has now held that where a means limitation is associated with multiple functions, a claim is indefinite where the patent specification discloses only one of the functions. Noah Systems, Inc v. Intuit, Inc., No. 2011-1390 (Fed. Cir. April 9, 2012).

It seems realistic an expectation that software patents will be eliminated in the US before they manage to spread to other countries, such as NZ. We just need to work on it, always watching what government officials are doing and putting the limelight on it.

Links 12/4/2012: PCLinuxOS 2012.02 Reviews, GNU/Linux in the Punjab Government

Posted in News Roundup at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux. Do it your way!

    I like to think that Linux is about a flexible an operating system as you can find. But it can be easy to forget just how flexible it is. We can get ourselves stuck in our computing habits and stick with the old and familiar. And sometimes, just trying something new can sometimes seem daunting and just not worth the effort.

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • What Inspired Google+ New Design: Gnome 3 Shell Or Ubuntu Unity?

      Humor: Google yesterday rolled out a new layout for Google+, it’s social network. The new UI has impressed a majority of users. If Facebook’s infamous TimeLine was inspired by the horror movies “I Know What You Did Last Summer” to help stalkers and governments,”, Google has gone geek. The new design of Google+ is inspired by Gnome 3 Shell.

      “A critical piece of this social layer is a design that grows alongside our aspirations. So today we’re introducing a more functional and flexible version of Google+. We think you’ll find it easier to use and nicer to look at, but most importantly, it accelerates our efforts to create a simpler, more beautiful Google.” wrote Vic Gundotra on a Google blog.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Calligra 2.4 To Be Released Today
      • Akademy Keynote: Dr. Will Schroeder, KitWare CEO

        Dr. Will Schroeder is one of the keynote speakers for Akademy 2012 in Tallinn, Estonia. Will is the CEO of Kitware Inc., a proven leader in the creation and support of open-source software.

      • Simon Listens speech recognition project migrates to KDE

        The KDE Community has announced that the Simon Listens speech recognition project has successfully completed its migration from the SourceForge source code repository to KDE’s Git infrastructure. Often referred to simply as Simon, the program, which is included with some Linux distributions such as Knoppix 7.0, allows users with physical difficulties to control their systems using only their voice.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Wayland Running Various GTK Applications

        There’s some more progress to report on with Wayland and Weston beyond the Wayland talks at last week’s LF collab summit, including a video showing various GTK applications running within Wayland on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

        One of the independent developers that has been involved with the ongoing Wayland/Weston work for some time has posted a video and information about running various GTK applications under Wayland with an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS host. Additionally, he’s written an unofficial “State of Wayland” report as of early April.

  • Distributions

    • Slitaz 4.0 Arrives with New TazPanel Goodness

      Slitaz seems to be growing up and playing with the big boys. In the latest release, new original tools highlight the maturing nature of this tiny distro. It’s been two years in the making, but it’s been worth the wait.

    • DoudouLinux: A Starter Distro Where Baby Linux Gurus are Born

      Where do Linux gurus come from? From baby newbies. How do baby newbies become gurus? One good way is with the help of the best child- and beginner-oriented distribution, DoudouLinux.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2012.02 review – Hope?

        Once upon a time, PCLinuxOS used to be one of my favorite candidates for permanent desktop use, but it was back in 2009, with a truly magnificent Gnome release. Such is the trouble with great success, sequels cannot match the original. In the three years since, my experience with the distro has steadily declined. But now, there’s a fresh new release, and this means fresh new hope.

      • PCLinuxOS 2012.2 review

        One of the distributions I used in the years before starting this blog was PCLinuxOS. After I discovered that PCLinuxOS was a spinoff of Mandrake (the first Linux distro I ever used), I gave it a try, and used it for at least a year. It served me quite well but that was many years ago. What is it like these days? Here’s my review of their latest release.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Legal Delays F18 Codenaming

        Hopefully you’re not too anxious to know the codename for the future Fedora 18 Linux release, which will serve as the successor to Fedora 17′s Beefy Miracle. Red Hat’s legal department has caused a delay in coming up with the codename for this Fedora release due out in H2’2012.

        Coming up with the Fedora codenames via contributor suggestions has generally been an interesting but odd event with a colorful selection of possible codenames each cycle. With Fedora 17 it’s been arguably the oddest codename with the “Beefy Miracle” title; heck, even Ubuntu developers like it. While many see the Fedora codenames as just good fun, some Fedora users have grown concerned about the names.

      • Red Hat’s Billion Dollars And the Power of Free

        Recently, there was some justified excitement that Red Hat had finally done it, and turned in annual sales of over $1 billion. A couple of years ago, I wrote a post here on Computerworld UK wondering why there were no companies based around open source that had managed to achieve such billion-dollar turnovers, and suggested that the key reason was one put forward by Red Hat’s CEO, Jim Whitehurst:

      • Red Hat clustered storage goes beta

        The first iteration of the Gluster clustered file system that is going through the Red Hat annealing process is coming closer to market with the launch of a the first beta of the tool since Shadowman acquired Gluster last October.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian kFreeBSD vs. Debian Linux vs. FreeBSD 9

        Here are some benchmarks comparing Debian GNU/kFreeBSD with the new 9.0 kernel, Debian GNU/Linux with the Linux 3.2 kernel, and FreeBSD/PC-BSD 9.0.

      • Debian’s diversity statement
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Further Ubuntu Accomplishments Progress
          • How Canonical’s next moves could repaint the Linux landscape
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 260
          • Limpag: New Ubuntu release on its way
          • Interview with lovinglinux
          • Ubuntu Linux Comes Preloaded on Two New Laptops

            As a fan of Ubuntu in particular and Linux in general, I’m always interested when new devices come out with my favorite operating system already installed.

          • Radeon, Nouveau Power Usage On Ubuntu 12.04
          • Gallium3D LLVMpipe Driver On LLVM 3.1
          • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS KVM Virtualization Battles 8.04.4, 10.04.4 LTS
          • Ubuntu 12.04 Desktops Impact Performance, Power Consumption

            How does the choice of desktop environments you make for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS impact your system’s performance and power consumption? Here’s the latest round of benchmarking from the various Ubuntu 12.04 desktop environment choices — Unity, Unity 2D, GNOME Shell, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and Openbox — when running them on three different laptops.

          • Flippant salvos at a worthy initiative

            It also speaks about the good battery life and the “good value” delivered by Intel Pentium Dual Core B950 based products. In so far as the operating system is concerned, the laptops are being distributed come equipped with the Linux based operating system. Ubuntu 10.10 is distributed as free and open source software. The decision of the government to avail the open source option is important for several important reasons. Firstly, it reduces dependence on proprietary software vendors and secondly it drastically cuts down on the overall cost of the machines. Since they are not bundled with expensive licensed software such as Microsoft Office they are cost-effective and provide value for money, an important factor for the government to consider which has an inherent responsibility and fiduciary duty to the taxpayers.

            Open source is also a catalyst for development as it allows users to adapt the software to their own needs. This can improve IT and programming skills that in turn promote innovation. The Ubuntu OS comes installed with Libre Office and the internet browser Firefox. Additional software that is not installed by default can be downloaded and installed using the Ubuntu Software Center without paying any additional charges – an added bonus, since this would be illegal with proprietary software. Also, Ubuntu does not need an antivirus as its kernel is designed in such a way that no spam or virus can affect it.

            UBUNTU is getting popular globally due to its open source and freeware feature. It is not only being used by students but the LINUX enterprise OS offerings are being used by world renowned education institutes for their enterprise deployments and universities in Pakistan are also using it. The primary purpose to bundle the UBUNTU OS in the machines was to save cost and promote students to take advantage of this free OS which has some great features, is easy to use and comes with a UBUNTU Liber Office (just like MS office) and also has the world renowned Fire Fox Internet Browser (similar to MS Internet explorer).

            The Punjab Government has also saved cost on bundling MS Office which is even more expensive that Windows OS. Ubuntu also has another advantage; it does not need an Antivirus as its Kernel is designed is such a way that no Spam or Virus can affect it which in turn saves cost. The selection of bundling the UBUNTU was done in order to take advantage of all the features free of cost to the government. In this regard, it is further advised to instruct all educational institutions to discourage any ads that are placed on their notice boards with regard to installation of the Windows OS as the people who are offering the students to install a Windows OS for Rupees 500/- are also using pirated versions and thus misguiding the students. Furthermore, a DVD has been provided with every laptop which contains drivers for not only UBUNTU but Windows OS as well.

          • Say Goodbye to Ubuntu Linux 10.10 ‘Maverick Meerkat’
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Kubuntu Linux Gets New Sugar Daddy

              Kubuntu — the version of Ubuntu Linux that uses the KDE desktop interface rather than the standard Unity desktop — has a new sponsor.

            • Farewell, Apple. Hello Linux Mint!

              That’s right, I packed it in. My MacBook Pro is now on the shelf. In a while, it goes on Craigslist — not because it’s been obsoleted by the latest version of Mac OS — Mountain Lion as mine will work okay (some MacBook Pros will not). Instead, there’s a cushy comfort zone that’s dangerous for a product reviewer to fall into.

            • Deepin: An Elegant Ubuntu-based Distro For The Chinese

              The beauty of Linux lies in the fact that there is a distro for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you are a geek, beginner, Apple fan, Windows fan, gamer or developer, there’s surely one distro for you. And yes, if you are a Chinese, there is this distro just for you, and it is elegant and well-polished.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • North American Natural Gas Breaks Below Two Dollars, for a Million BTU

      Natural gas in North America broke below the $2.00 barrier today, for the first time in ten years. It’s important to remember that, unlike oil, natural gas does not trade at a converged, global price. Accordingly, a million BTU in LNG form currently trades for over $9.00 in the UK, and over $15.00 in Japan. Such low prices for natural gas unquestionably give the US a competitive advantage. But, it will take a resurgence in manufacturing and related industrialism to fully capture the price disparity. After all, the US is still very much an oil-based economy.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • A Silver Bullet That Would End Secret Tax-Exempt Money In Elections

      No doubt about it, large unlimited donations are flowing into SuperPACs from rich individuals and corporations aimed at influencing who is elected at all levels of government in 2012. With the SuperPACs and other forms of political committees regulated by the federal and state election agencies, or by the IRS under section 527, at least we know who the donors are.

      But when political campaign expenditures are made by various forms of nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations, such as 501(c)(4) social welfare groups (like Crossroads GPS) or 501(c)(6) business associations (like the US Chamber of Commerce), there is no general law requiring their donors to be identified. So secret money in the millions, once again, flows in.

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