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Links – Red Hat Deal Highlights the Threat of Microsoft’s “Secure Boot”

Posted in Site News at 11:08 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • Open source celebrates the freedom to leave

    What really stood out to me, though, was the reason open source is being deployed. While the top reason historically was lower costs, the market has been steadily maturing; last year’s survey put a freedom from vendor lock-in as the top reason for deployment. … Paradoxically, when a supplier tries to lock in its customers, they will try to leave; give them the freedom to do so, and they will most likely stay (all other things being equal).

    Open source business users are starting to value software freedom.

  • RMS: Call on governments to require companies to offer a choice of operating systems for PCs.
  • Open source initiatives in Spain

    The regional government of Spain’s Basque Country has decreed that all software produced for Basque government agencies and public bodies should be open sourced.

    The four software freedoms are mentioned in the linked Spanish language article.

  • Hardware

  • Security

    • A Tale of Two Pwnies (Part 1)

      The Windows allocator places the buffers at relatively predictable locations; and the Native Client process can directly control their size as well as certain object allocation ordering. So, this afforded quite a bit of control over exactly where an overwrite would occur in the GPU process.

      I thought this would be intersting, but it was just another Windows story.

    • Meth Labs and Dead Dogs: How the Founder of McAfee Antivirus Went on the Run in Belize

      his home in Belize had just been raided by local law enforcement, he’d been rousted from the bed he shared with a 17 year old woman, naked and confused, to discover Belize’s Gang Suppression Unit at his gates.

      Your AV money went south.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Activist prevents Israeli officer from arresting Palestinian child
    • Analysis: Why we must name all drone attack victims

      At stake may be the very definition of a ‘civilian’ in the modern battlefield. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos recently pressed US chief counter terrorism adviser John Brennan on his remarkable claim in June 2011 that the CIA had not killed ‘a single non-combatant in almost a year.’ … when we definitively showed, with the Sunday Times, that the CIA had been bombing rescuers and funeral-goers, it was suggested that we were ‘helping al Qaeda.’

      Vilifying technicians is Unibomber logic.

    • Unmanned spy planes are being launched from 63 locations in 20 states – Is there one near you?

      Police drones will also be able to shoot and gas people.

    • Propaganda firm owner admits attacks on journalists

      The co-owner of a major Pentagon propaganda contractor publicly admitted Thursday that he was behind a series of websites used to discredit two USA TODAY journalists who had reported on the contractor. … Pentagon reporter Tom Vanden Brook noticed that someone registered the site tomvandenbrook.com. Twitter and Facebook accounts were also registered in his name, and a Wikipedia entry and discussion group postings misrepresented his reporting on the West Virginia Sago Mine disaster.

      Looks like the usual smear job, including sock puppets, forum postings often of the most offensive character, much like we see here at Techrights. The contractor is sorry he got caught and embarrassed himself and his friends.

    • Feds seek new ways to bypass encryption

      One way to circumvent encryption: Use court orders to force Web-based providers to cough up passwords the suspect uses and see if they match.

      Thanks to the US PAT RIOT act, they don’t need a court order. The fact of the matter is that non free software vendors and media company owned ISPs have been violating your privacy for decades.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Anti-Trust

    • LibreOffice and Windows RT (ARM)

      We have a similar problem with Windows RC that Mozilla and Google have. The only “classic” applications that will run on Windows RC are Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office. That’s quite unfair for LibreOffice, as if we would like to run on Windows 8, we would need to rewrite LibreOffice for Metro.

      Windows RT is the same old thing from Microsoft, an intentionally crippled version designed to reduce the competitive threat to Intel. They are also pretending that business can’t function without Microsoft Office. Both of these strategies are badly outdated, but Microsoft is receiving deserved anti-trust review for their intentions.

    • Google files EU complaint against Nokia, Microsoft over alleged patent collusion with MOSAID

      “Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that side-step promises both companies have made. They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices.”

      Perhaps someone will complain about Microsoft’s “secure boot” too. Apologists have tried to say What Microsoft is doing is no worse than what Apple is doing but that is neither true nor an excuse. Apple’s scams only harm Apple’s users. Microsoft’s scam is general, harming all computer users. Both are crimes.

    • Lockdown: free/open OS maker pays Microsoft ransom for the right to boot on users’ computers

      This is a major reversal. For many years now, free/open OSes have been by far the easiest to install on most hardware. For example, I have installed Ubuntu on a variety of machines by just sticking in a USB stick and turning them on. Because the OS and its apps are free, and because there are no finicky vendor relationships to manage, it Just Works. On some of those machines, installing a Windows OS fresh from a shrinkwrapped box was literally impossible — you had to order a special manufacturer’s version with all the right drivers … This is a tremor before an earthquake: the hardware vendors and the flagging proprietary software vendors of yesteryear are teaming up to limit competition from robust, elegant and free alternatives.

    • Facebook chooses Opera over Chrome for recommended browser

      “You’re using a web browser we don’t support.”

      Facebook does Microsoft’s bidding, again.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Brussels wants e-identities for EU citizens

      The use that the Nazi regime made of identity documents to single out Jewish people and send them into concentration camps has been a powerful argument against introducing ID documents across the Channel.

      We should demand banks do a better job before we surrender privacy. “Identity theft” is the result of poor software choices and a lack of due dilligence on their part.

    • S-COMM to be implemented in Massachusetts over state objections

      The program is leading community members – including witnesses and victims of crime – to withhold information from the police for fear of deportation … The five largest detention contractors spent over $20 million lobbying Congress between 1999 and 2009, according to the National Immigration Forum. Their payback: over $5.5 million per day spent on immigration detention in 2011, an increase directly connected to the nationwide expansion of the detention-crazed S-COMM.

      It’s distressing that states which understand these issues end up with laws that are almost as bad as Alabama or Arizona. Our democracy is sick and needs help.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Digital Restrictions

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Day 23, From the Courtroom: Oracle v. Google Trial – Jury: No Patent Infringement ~pj Updated 3Xs

    • Copyrights

      • An Open Letter to Jay Leno About Stealing My Video and Then Getting It Removed From YouTube

        Your company NBC just up and blocked our video and claimed that we are copyright infringers! But we are not! We made it! And this is the video that you said you loved! Now, if you try to watch our video (and again this is the video that had nothing to do with you until you used it in your show without asking) on YouTube it’s just a big black sign that basically says, “the makers of this video stole this video from NBC, so you can’t watch it!” Jay, what in the hell is going on here?

      • Google dealt blow in book scanning lawsuit

        Judge Chin gave the green light for three individual plaintiffs—Betty Miles, Joseph Goulden, and Jim Bouton—to represent the vastly larger class of “persons residing in the United States who hold a United States copyright interest in one or more Books reproduced by Google as part of its Library Project.”

        The Copyright Guild is pretending to represent the interests of all authors when most authors disagree. Authors who disagree should write the judge and say so.


Moonlight is Dead

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 12:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lights out

Summary: Another pillar of Mono falls down, but Miguel de Icaza keeps promoting .NET and Microsoft APIs in general

FOR SEVERAL long years we have fought against Moonlie, which was Novell’s way of promoting Silverlie for its masters at Microsoft (activity has died down). Now we are officially marking an achievement because the word is out that the project bit the dust. If only folks from the Linux Foundation just let Novell and SUSE rot too… The problem is, Novell/SUSE pays the Linux Foundation to be kept obedient and complicit.

Now that the Java patent conundrum is over people everywhere celebrate. For example:

“This is great news for Android, and probably means that there is no longer any threat to their use of Java,” Google+ blogger Kevin O’Brien said, but “I would not pop the champagne corks just yet, since there is still the issue of whether APIs can be copyrighted. If Oracle can successfully assert copyright on them, that could disrupt the entire tech industry. So I am still holding my breath just a little.”

Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza spins the case in favour of .NET (link committed on purpose), but let’s remember that a worse situation applies to Mono, with an even more aggressive company wielding copyrights and patents (Mono has Microsoft copyrights on it and deviation is not allowed).

Microsoft Phones Cannot Run Microsoft Software

Posted in Windows at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cell phones

Summary: Phones with Windows on them are unable to cope with contemporary software and games

THE mobile ambitions of Microsoft have been long dead and this new blog post titled “Windows Phones Fragmentation: Nightmare For Developers” reveals anothwe report which says even Microsoft Skype won’t run on Microsoft’s mobile platform in some cases:

Putting the squeeze on those hardware specifications has lead to several more app casualties on Microsoft’s ever-growing mobile platform. Unfortunately, it includes one of mobile gaming’s biggest hitters: Angry Birds. We gave installation a go on our own Lumia 610 and were met with the unfortunate message seen above. According to WindowsPhoneApps Spanish, it’s not the only one affected by the reduction in RAM on these lower-priced smartphones. PES 2012 won’t run on the lower-specced smartphone, while videocall app Tango also joins its rival Skype on the no-go list.

Priceless! So Microsoft’s products (by association) are so weak that they are unable to run the company’s own software. Sounds like a Vista.

Association for Computing Machinery Helps Smear Open Source

Posted in BSD, RAND, UNIX at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ACM logo

Summary: BSD developers called “zealots” in a magazine from the Association for Computing Machinery

THIS bizarrely-titled item from a respectable source got the attention of some BSD developers.

“I was just reading the April’s issue of the Communications of the ACM (the flagship magazine of the Association for Computing Machinery), and noticed that OpenBSD and its developers were mentioned in one article, in a rather negative way,” writes one person in the OpenBSD lists.

“Some FRAND-pushing lobbyists are using the CACM to criticize proponents of open standards,” wrote to us an informant, who noticed this redundant attack on developers who merely did the right thing.

Links 30/5/2012: Red Hat Releases Fedora 17; GPL Compliance Advanced

Posted in News Roundup at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Microsoft Delivers a Blow to Open Source with Visual Studio 11

    Microsoft has already ruffled more than a few feathers with the exclusionary potential of its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system, and this past week the open source community has been up in arms again.

  • Databases

  • CMS

    • Open Source WordPress Turns Nine as 3.4 Release Nears

      The open source WordPress blogging platform turned Nine years old on Sunday (first WordPress release was May 27, 2003). It’s hard to believe that it has been that long isn’t it? (I’ve been a user for the last 8).

      WordPress started out as a ‘simple’ blogging platform that valued the user interface and ease-of-use over fancy knobs and deep features.

      The focus on usability and adherence to standards has been the hallmark of WordPress in every release since. It’s a focus that has propelled WordPress to become one of the most widely used open source projects on the web today, powered over 10 percent of all websites.

  • Education

    • Coders and CompScis

      I don’t think it’s enough just to teach children how an e-mail client works without also explaining what’s happening behind the screen. I don’t think it’s enough just to show children how to assign variables or manipulate lists without providing some way for them to think about these rather than just using them. It’s just this sort of understanding which we’ve come to label as computational thinking: there’s a strong case for this providing a unique way of looking at the world, with wide applications across (and beyond) the curriculum:

      With scientific method, we took things apart to see how they work. Now with computers we can put things back together to see how they work, by modelling complex, interrelated processes, even life itself. This is a new age of discovery, and ICT is the gateway.
      –Douglas Adams, 1999


  • Project Releases

    • What’s New in Nmap 6
    • Apache JMeter 2.7 measured up

      Version 2.7 of Apache JMeter has arrived, adding new system sampling for operating system processes, improved JMS, WebService and Test samplers, and improved graphs and reports. JMeter is a desktop application designed to load test applications and measure performance; it can test web, SOAP, JDBC, LDAP, JMS, Mail or native commands using its multi-threaded framework to concurrently sample many different operations.

  • Licensing

    • Linux kernel devs, Samba join GPL compliance effort

      GPL enforcement within the free software community has just stepped up its game.

      Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) has announced a coordinated effort among several of its member projects to ensure compliance with their Free Software licenses.

    • GPL policing efforts expand to include Linux and Samba

      The Software Freedom Conservancy has announced that it is heading up a “unified effort” among a number of its member projects to ensure compliance with the free software licences they are distributed under. The conservancy is also launching the GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers, which will see Linux kernel contributors request that the Conservancy pursue GPL violators over the Linux kernel.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Being Exceptional

      Apparently, in Python, it is easier to ask for forgiveness rather than seek permission. That is to say, the normal approach when writing Python code is to assume that what you are trying to do will work properly. If something exceptional happens and the code doesn’t work the way you were hoping, then the Python interpreter will tell you of the error so that you can handle that exceptional circumstance. This general approach, of trying to do something, then cleaning up if something goes wrong is acronymically called EAFP (“easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

    • Ozone Widget Framework to be on GitHub by Sept. 30
    • A look inside Code for America


  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Syrian Citizen Journalists Risk All to Bring Stories from the Frontlines

      Since the uprising in Syria began last year, Syrian citizen journalists have risked their lives to fill a media void and bring the news of the oppressive government crackdown to a global audience. This has been done often with little recognition for the activists who have laid their lives on the line to report on the government’s assault on an unarmed civilian population.

      In March 2011, the arrest of 15 students who had written anti-government slogans on walls enraged the population of Deraa and sparked the first mass protests against the Assad regime. President Bashar al-Assad, who inherited Syria’s harsh dictatorship from his father, launched a series of crackdowns on protestors across the country, sending tanks into cities and opening fire on demonstrators. The violence has only escalated. This week, the country saw the deadlist attack since the protests began — at least 90 people were killed in the town of Houla. Video of rows of dead children lying in a mosque in their bloody shorts and T-shirts shocked the world. A local activist reached by Skype told the Associated Press that pro-regime fighters known as shabiha stormed the village, raiding homes and shooting civilians. The United Nations estimates that the conflict has left more than 9,000 dead and thousands more displaced.

  • Finance

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Next steps on Net Neutrality – making sure you get champagne service if that’s what you’re paying for

      When it comes to the issue of “net neutrality” I want to ensure that Internet users can always choose full Internet access – that is, access to a robust, best-efforts Internet with all the applications you wish.

      But I don’t like to intervene in competitive markets unless I am sure this is the only way to help either consumers or companies. Preferably both. In particular because a badly designed remedy may be worse than the disease – producing unforeseen harmful effects long into the future. So I wanted better data before acting on net neutrality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies


Vatican to Rely on Microsoft Software That Even Microsoft Does Not Trust

Posted in Microsoft at 1:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Indoctrination of the young to be delivered by Microsoft, which will also indoctrinate youngsters to use Microsoft software which is exceptionally unreliable

THE sham which is Office 360 has been somewhat of an embarrassment for those who rely on it, but Microsoft found a religion willing enough to experiment with the young while the convicted monopolist smiles with great glee:

The Vatican has blessed Microsoft’s cloud apps strategy in the shape of deal that could see Office 365 being rolled out to 43 million Catholic students worldwide.

The secretive and highly conservative organisation, condemned by some as the Anti-Christ, will initially provide the software suite to 4.5 million students via the Catholic International Education Office (OIEC) under the three-year agreement.

With regular downtime and serious defects in the software (as covered here before), let us pray that they’ll change their mind about Microsoft. In order to prevent lawsuits over downtime and other such problems (including leakage of sensitive information) Microsoft continues to modify its licensing:

According to Microsoft, it is going forth with this change in light of the ruling that was given in AT&T Mobility vs Concepcion case in the Supreme Court. In the case, it was ruled that a company can prevent a plaintiff from filing a class-action lawsuit, though leaving the plaintiff options of either settling the complaint privately or through a small claims court.

This amendment will effectively shield Microsoft from any major claims from users in the coming days. According to the company, it has already updated its Xbox Live service with the new user agreement and will soon be applying the same changes to its other products and services.

This means that Microsoft lacks confidence in its products.

Time to Refocus on Microsoft’s Attacks — Including by Proxy — on Free Android

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 12:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Why software patents and the freedom of Android are becoming most relevant to this Web site

THE coverage of the Oracle vs. Google case is still out there, but it’s becoming old news and more of a subject of debate. Here in this site we’ve focused on Novell’s seminal taxation of GNU/Linux, then moved on to more on OOXML (patent trap and lock-in), had a deep look at Comes vs. Microsoft, and then broadened our scope of coverage regarding patents. Microsoft is still a very major factor. We try not to cover the same type of stories for too long as it becomes repetitive, so in recent years we looked more and more at Android. It’s probably one of the fastest-growing OSes ever, if not the fastest-growing indeed. It spreads Linux like fire.

The Motorola case is a reactionary case to defend against Microsoft Aggression (Microsoft essentially bribed B&N to stop fighting). The case is very important right now and one reporter correctly says:

With Microsoft there is no such justice or fairness.

Microsoft has solicited every major Android vendor and claimed that there is alleged patent infringement in Android that violates Microsoft IP. Microsoft has never brought its claims to trial, there has never been a fair fight. Microsoft’s route is far more insidious, taking money from Android without ever actually proving a claim.

Now that Oracle has been defeated once, Microsoft should be plenty worried. Then again, Microsoft doesn’t settle in courtrooms.

Still, wouldn’t it be great if Google could get Microsoft into a court of law to force them to prove their allegations? That would serve the Android (and open source) ecosystem well as the FUD that Microsoft continues to allege could finally be put to rest.

The inventor of Java is unhappy with the outcome of the Java trial and as noted by Wired the other day, Microsoft and Apple already prepare more patent attacks on Android, via proxies. As TechDirt puts it:

You may recall last summer that Apple, Microsoft, EMC, RIM, Ericsson and Sony all teamed up to buy Nortel’s patents for $4.5 billion. They beat out a team of Google and Intel who bid a bit less. While there was some antitrust scrutiny over the deal, it was dropped and the purchase went through. Apparently, the new owners picked off a bunch of patents to transfer to themselves… and then all (minus EMC, who, one hopes, was horrified by the plans) decided to support a massive new patent troll armed with the remaining 4,000 patents. The company is called Rockstar Consortium, and it’s run by the folks who used to run Nortel’s patent licensing program anyway — but now employs people whose job it is to just find other companies to threaten…

A new article by a TechDirt contributor, Glyn Moody, says that this monopoly madness is good for nobody. To quote:

Monopolies, whether created by the state or created by the market, can be problematic for open source, and as technology moves forward, new spaces to monopolise are always appearing.

Moody then adds this link to those observe the situation of software patents in the EU:

The next Competitiveness Council will be held on May 30th and 31st 2012. François Hollande’s government will be attending it for the first time1. April calls upon the French president to take this opportunity to act against software patents and to bring up the flaws and the issues of the current unitary patent project.

There is opposition in the Danish parliament to EU unitary patent and ‪software patents, so there is hope that people — not corporations — will vote on the subject. For the time being:

The government does not have the necessary 5/6 majority for the single EU patent court.

As long as Microsoft’s patent assaults lack legitimacy in the majority of the Western world, Android may have an easier way out of this extortion. We are going to spend more and more time looking at the Motorola (Google) case because it may as well end the threat to the cost (patent penalty) and freedom of Android. Google is not going to settle; it has to much to lose.

Old Novell: Fighting Microsoft; New Novell: Advancing Microsoft

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Novell at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: An update on the antitrust case against Microsoft and a glimpse at where Mono has spread

THE CASE against Dalvik is over (at least for now). so Groklaw proceeds to covering something else.

Pamela Jones looks at Novell vv. Microsoft antitrust, which is an old case. She writes:

I have a treat for you, or part one of a treat. I have the first 32 transcripts from the Novell v. Microsoft antitrust trial over WordPerfect.

As you know, the judge has before him a renewed motion by Microsoft asking him to rule on Microsoft’s behalf as a matter of law, so as to bypass a second trial. Of course, Novell opposes, with multiple exhibits, and here’s Microsoft’s reply to Novell’s filing. There will be a hearing on this motion on June 22nd in US District Court in Baltimore, MD. I know.

Novell used to advance competition to Microsoft, but nowadays it helps Microsoft develop products. In fact, its Mono project continues to spread C# into UNIX/Linux. To quote:

The Wine development team announced a few days ago, May 25th, that a new development version of the famous framework used to run Windows applications on Linux, has been announced by Alexandre Julliard, the leader of the Wine project.

This one has support for Mono, but what for? Mono is about developing new applications the Microsoft way, whereas Wine is about running applications that were already developed for a Microsoft platform under UNIX/Linux. Java (or Dalvik) on Android does exceptionally well, so why help .NET? In fact, how is developing new applications for a Microsoft framework in any way advancing FOSS and GNU/Linux?

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

LinuxToday Managing Editor

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