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05.14.12

Links – TPP Meeting Infiltrated, More Protest Needed.

Posted in Site News at 5:50 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • Will “8″ Fly or is it Cripple-ware?

    Non free software is always cripple/mal/spyware.

  • Science

    • Emotion Can Shut Down High-Level Mental Processes Without Our Knowledge, in Our Native Language

      The psychologists made this discovery by asking English-speaking Chinese people whether word pairs were related in meaning. Some of the word pairs were related in their Chinese translations. Although not consciously acknowledging a relation, measurements of electrical activity in the brain revealed that the bilingual participants were unconsciously translating the words. However, uncannily, this activity was not observed when the English words had a negative meaning.

  • Hardware

    • Chuckle. No One Wants Small Expensive Computers.

      2012 will blow away records for tablets shipped in 2011 and M$ will be a no-show.

      Don’t expect Windows on ARM tablets till 2013. A few companies are going to launch expensive WinTel tablets

    • The Setup, Eric S Raymond

      The interesting details about my desktop setup are the peripherals. I like Model-M-style clicky keyboards (I’m typing on a Unicomp Model M). I prefer trackballs over mice and use a Logitech TrackMan. I like lots of vertical pixels for my Emacs window, so I’m rocking a Samsung SyncMaster 1100DF at 1800×1440 with 120dpi. My road machine is a Lenovo Thinkpad X60 … I like intricate music playing while I hack (Liquid Tension Experiment playing now).

  • Security

    • IAmA a malware coder and botnet operator, AMA

      The author says a lot of interesting things in comments. Of course, it’s all Windows.

    • Lauren Lauren Weinstein: More details on the .secure TLD proposal

      You may recall my posting yesterday (http://j.mp/Ku8pEd) where I suggested that the .secure TLD proposal is fundamentally flawed for many reasons. The CTO of the company involved contacted me this morning, pointing at their blog with more details: http://unhandled.com/ — After reviewing this information, which includes their proposals for a broader “domain policy framework,” I’m forced to stand by my earlier characterization. … The concept of .secure is essentially 180 degrees away from the model I believe we should be working towards. Rather than centralizing security, we need to be distributing it…

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • U.S. Military Taught Officers: Use ‘Hiroshima’ Tactics for ‘Total War’ on Islam

      The U.S. military taught its future leaders that a “total war” against the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims would be necessary to protect America from Islamic terrorists, according to documents obtained by Danger Room. Among the options considered for that conflict: using the lessons of “Hiroshima” to wipe out whole cities at once, targeting the “civilian population wherever necessary.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • Anti-Trust

    • Firefox on Windows on ARM – Microsoft Says No

      you don’t get those privileges (certain API access) unless you’re the default browser and I think that’s deeply unfair (a post for later,) but at least we’re able to build a competitive browser and ship it to Windows users on x86 chips. But on ARM chips, Microsoft gives IE access special APIs absolutely necessary for building a modern browser that it won’t give to other browsers

      Microsoft has played API games forever, what’s new is that they are pretending it’s OK and are trying to extend their death grip to ARM [2].

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Goldman Looks to Hire Social Media Strategist

      The rich and powerful already have a tremendous astroturf presence, most graphically revealed in the HB Garry/Aaron Barr email spill. Techrights has covered Microsoft’s disgusting astroturf effort for years.

  • Censorship

    • Few Companies Fight Patriot Act Gag Orders, FBI Admits

      “Thus far, there have been only four challenges to the non-disclosure requirement,” Holder wrote, “and in two of the challenges, the FBI permitted the recipient to disclose the fact that an NSL was received.” … The FBI has sent out nearly 300,000 NSLs since 2000, about 50,000 of which have been sent out since the new policy for challenging NSL gag orders went into effect. Last year alone, the FBI sent out 16,511 NSLs requesting information pertaining to 7,201 U.S. persons.

    • If You Meet a Censor, Ask Them This One Question
    • Dutch Judge Who Ordered Pirate Bay Links Censored Fount to be Corrupt

      … the plaintiff’s representative in the case – a professor Visser – offered commercial courses in anti-piracy, together with the judge, Chris Hensen. The plaintiff and judge were running a commercial enterprise together, one that had a direct bearing on the subject matter of the case. … It’s not just any course they do together, it’s part of the Dutch bar association’s official training program for lawyers.

    • In the US, you can still say almost anything, but someone just may be listening in

      a new kind of corporate oligopoly is emerging. Coupled with increasingly controlling activities by government, often in concert with corporate interests, the new choke points threaten to re-centralize media, or at least return control to a few dominant parties. … wired-line carriers believe that they should be able to decide what bits of information get delivered in what order and at what speed, if they get delivered at all. … The serious potential for problems with wired-line broadband is nothing next to the actual situation with mobile carriers. … The copyright industries have every intention of being another [chokepoint]. … Private companies are creating their own ecosystems, with minimal regulatory interference … If you create a journalism app to be sold in the iPhone or iPad marketplace, you explicitly give Apple the right to decide whether your journalism content is acceptable under the company’s vague guidelines. … Facebook is another potential threat to independent journalism. … journalists need to upgrade their own techniques and technology when it comes to protecting sources.

      It is not surprising that one monopoly helps the other, as big publishers and telco helped Apple, because the monopolies are ultimately owned be the same few wealthy families that want to guard their relative position. What’s shameful is the willingness of our government to serve them at everyone else’s expense.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Gay rights in the US, state by state
    • Caught on Tape: Walker Plans for a Single Party State

      Walker: “Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer. . .”

      So there you have it, the attack on civil servants in Wisconsin was not motivated by budget it was politics and class warfare.

    • Dell response regarding insensitive comments from Mads Christensen

      “The IT business is one of the last frontiers that manages to keep women out. The quota of women to men in your business is sound and healthy” he says. “What are you actually doing here?” he adds to the few women who are actually present in the room. … [more tastless stuff] … the moderator of the day finishes of by asking all (men) in the room to promise him that they will go home and say, “shut up bitch!”.

      Dell is sorry they got caught laughing about discrimination against women in the workplace. It’s amazing how little attention this got a month ago compared to the “Virgin of Emacs.” That’s more evidence of an organized campaign around to smear RMS.

    • Why Are People Resigning Before The Copyright Industries’ Will?

      When did people forget that legislators, and not corporations, have the final say over our laws?

  • Education Watch

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Digital Handcuffs

    • Technology should help us share, not constrain us

      Printed books let us do that. I couldn’t do it with most commercial ebooks; it’s not “allowed”. And if I felt like telling the publishers to take their evil rule and stuff it, the software in e-readers has digital restrictions management – malicious features that restrict reading, so it simply won’t allow it. And the books are encrypted in such a way to force you to use that malicious software. Many other habits that readers are accustomed to are “not allowed” for ebooks.

  • TPP

    • Live from the Trenches: TPP Negotiations in Dallas

      The public is excluded from meaningful monitoring or input.

    • Party ends badly for U.S. trade reps, federal agents

      The crowd of negotiators and corporate representatives applauded, and “Haversall” continued: “I’d like to personally thank the negotiators for their relentless efforts. The TPP agreement is shaping up to be a fantastic way for us to maximize profits, regardless of what the public of this nation—or any other nation—thinks is right.” … Mr. Haversall confidently re-took the microphone and warmly invited Kirk to accept the award.

      Kirk moved towards the stage, but federal agents blocked his path to protect him from further embarrassment. At that point, a dozen well-dressed “delegates” (local activists, some from Occupy Dallas) broke into ecstatic dance and chanted “TPP! TPP! TPP!” for several minutes until Dallas police arrived.

      The look of panic on the corporate spokes drone in this video is almost as funny as US Trade representative Kirk’s “We came, we saw, we shopped”.

    • EFF petition: No Backroom Deals to Regulate the Internet: Speak Out Against the Trans-Pacific Partnership!
    • Before and After SOPA

      The defeat, even if only temporary, of SOPA and PIPA was surely one key factor in the sudden upswelling of protests against ACTA, which until that point had seemed almost certain to be ratified in the EU. The actions against SOPA and ACTA have led to renewed analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), currently being negotiated behind closed doors in Dallas.

      Let’s make these defeats permanent.

Europe Rules Against Monopolies on APIs

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Oracle, Patents at 11:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Android 2.0

Summary: The case against Android notwithstanding, the highest European court rules that APIs cannot be covered by copyrights

WHILE developing for Android, one must get accustomed to API changes and harness the subtle differences between Android versions, not just different device types with a wide variety of hardware specifications. But the API is what unifies everything and enables many programs to run on many devices, bringing value (and users) to the platform. Oracle, headed by a close friend of Apple’s spiritual leader, decided not only to attack Android with software patents but it also took a blow at the API level. In Europe, a new ruling from the highest court disqualifies Oracle’s strategy. To quote: “The European Court of Justice ruled this morning that the functionality of a computer program and the programming language it is written in cannot be protected by copyright.”

Here is another take on it:

The European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that application programming interfaces (APIs) and other functional characteristics of computer software are not eligible for copyright protection. Users have the right to examine computer software in order to clone its functionality—and vendors cannot override these user rights with a license agreement, the court said.

Over in the US, however, the ruling is more complicated:

The jury deliberating over Oracle Corp.’s claims that Google Inc. infringed copyrights protecting Oracle’s Java technology reached a mixed decision Monday, which could leave Google on the hook for only a relatively minimal amount of damages.

No royalties should be paid based on European principles, but in the US it’s another story. Oracle is just trying to cause damage to Android and developers should speak out against it. In my personal blog I’ve begun writing about Android development.

Microsoft Versus Education

Posted in Microsoft at 11:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

US Department of Education seal

Summary: A bit of news/commentary on Microsoft in education (indoctrination)

SEVERAL YEARS ago we wrote a great deal about BECTA, which was responsible for making the next generation of British adults just a bunch of Microsoft robots. Outside the UK we confront a similar type of situation. Particular government officials decide to teach children Microsoft, not computing. Bill Gates contributes towards this catastrophe, but he hides his tracks better.

In this new post, Shane asks, “[h]as Microsoft ruined computer education?”

I have noticed that as the years have gone by there are less and less computer savy people around. Sure they know how to “use” computers and electronic equipment but they do not know how to make the computers do what they want. They are more of a “monkey see, monkey do” mentality. This is not from people who wore long shorts when televisions were black and white. This is from people who have never known a life without computers.

These people who have all the opportunity in the world to take control of their technological life are not doing so. From what I have read around the tubes and heard as well as seen with my own four peepers the interest, indeed ability in manipulating the guts and goo of computers is rapidly declining. So much so that a Florida university is shutting down it’s computer research lab and some bloggers are calling for more to be shut down.

I have heard a complaint or two that these types of courses are turning out to be not much more than how to use microsoft products, rather than how to control a computer. I am wondering if this unfortunate state of affairs should be put squarely on microsofts shoulders.

It is a great injustice when children are given no choice but to become ‘consumers’ of Microsoft tools, at their patents’ expense. Later this year we’ll catch up with what the Gates Foundation is doing to assure this continued dependence on Microsoft.

Patents Are Never ‘Open Source’

Posted in Site News at 11:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Florian

Summary: The disinformation tactic which ascribes patents to FOSS as seen in the news

When Facebook got sued by Yahoo some called it an “open source” patent war, which makes no sense. After all, both companies are in Microsoft’s pocket and other than lip service they give almost nothing to Open Source these days. Nevertheless, as one writer puts it:

Yahoo! said it believes 16 patents held by the Internet giant have been used in Facebook’s data centers and servers, according to a regulatory filing made by Facebook.

The social media company alerted the market of its share price for its upcoming IPO, which valued the company between US$85bn and $85bn yesterday. In its document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, however, it sought to alert shareholders of possible risks that could affect the company.

There is nothing there about Open Source. And actually, in an article about “open source innovation” we find the same odd insinuation that Facebook and patents somehow relate to Open Source (although the headline has been modified since it was first published). To quote:

You may have heard this week that Abraham Lincoln filed a patent for Facebook in 1845. Rest assured, it’s as untrue as it sounds. While the hoax ran wild around the Internet, the stories about it tended to get one piece right: Lincoln held a patent for an invention, making him the only president with that distinction. In 1849, he received a patent for a flotation system to help dislodge boats from sandbars. As Smithsonian magazine described in 2006, Lincoln traveled on the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes in his younger years and experienced the hazard of unpredictable sandbars.

The whole notion of “open source” patents (or FOSS patents) is absurd and it’s part of the FUD we strive to counter.

Originally, patents were designed to incentivise publication, but this is no longer the case. It’s all about protectionism now. Just watch what the patent office is doing now:

We’re told, repeatedly, by some patent system supporters that the whole point of the patent system is really about “disclosure.” Of course, this is a myth for a variety of reasons. The biggest, of course, is that in many industries patents are both completely useless to learn anything from and are never used to learn how things are done. This is especially true in software, where you will never hear about anyone learning how to do anything from a patent. A few years back, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) started publishing nearly all patent applications 18 months after the application came in. This is a pretty common practice around the globe. If a patent system is about disclosure, this makes sense — and in theory, allows for people to point out prior art or protest certain patents before they’re issued. There is a current exception for patents deemed in the interest of national security to keep secret (such as patents on nuclear energy).

There is nothing “open” or “transparent” about patents these days. As nobody wishes to read them, they serve no purpose other than to deter and intimidate. They are the opposite of sharing, as they impose a limitation on mere sharing of thoughts.

Signs of Progress: Work for Microsoft, Get Ostracised From Panels/Public Consultations

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 10:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ACT Microsoft

Summary: Convicted monopolist Microsoft has its moles’ voice invalidated, based on the conflict of interest (Microsoft versus the public)

WITH Microsoft moles like Hopkirk or Müller out there, it seems ever more reasonable to watch out for “controlled opposition” strategies. Microsoft is trying to speak ‘on behalf’ of its opposition (e.g. “FOSS patents”), as it has done for quite a while now. The H writes about this latest example where Microsoft influence poisons the well:

The Cabinet Office has confirmed that the consultation on Open Standards which was due to close next week has now been extended by a month after the facilitator of a round table discussion was discovered to have been directly advising Microsoft on the Open Standards consultation. The roundtable events have been held to bring opinions together and as a complementary source of input to the consultation, alongside the email, post and online methods for offering opinions on the government’s proposals.

According to the Cabinet Office, Dr Andrew Hopkirk facilitated a 4 April 2012 roundtable around “Competition and European Interaction”. Hopkirk, described as “a respected advocate for ‘openness and interoperability of systems, of people, processes and information technologies’”, was engaged by the Cabinet Office as a facilitator on a pro bono basis.

A few years ago Microsoft did the same type of thing in Europe, but government officials turned a blind eye, even in the face of complaints. So this latest development represents progress. See the links below.

  1. European Open Source Software Workgroup a Total Scam: Hijacked and Subverted by Microsoft et al
  2. Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
  3. Does the European Commission Harbour a Destruction of Free/Open Source Software Workgroup?
  4. The Illusion of Transparency at the European Parliament/Commission (on Microsoft)
  5. 2 Months and No Disclosure from the European Parliament
  6. After 3 Months, Europe Lets Microsoft-Influenced EU Panel be Seen
  7. Formal Complaint Against European Commission for Harbouring Microsoft Lobbyists
  8. ‘European’ Software Strategy Published, Written by Lobbyists and Multinationals
  9. Microsoft Uses Inside Influence to Grab Control, Redefine “Open Source”
  10. With Friends Like These, Who Needs Microsoft?
  11. Microsoft-Funded Fake ‘SMB’ Group Still Lobbies for Software Patents in Europe

Links 14/5/2012: Linux Kernel 3.3.5, Wine 1.5.4

Posted in News Roundup at 6:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • AT4AM will become open source

    Some of my colleagues were keen on broader access to AT4AM, the amendment template software of the European Parliament. It is used by Members of the European parliament to draft amendments to legal text.

  • the age of pragmatists

    In the process of achieving world domination, the philosophizing was largely factored out of the community. I mentioned a few individuals in the “founding philosophers” entry, and I think it is interesting to examine what happened with them.

  • Free and Open-Source Software bring an Open-Community

    It’s often associated that open-source is referred to Linux and FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software). But as equally as important is the community. And what I want to touch base on is not only the open-source community, but how “open” the development community is as opposed to the development community of Microsoft Windows. And particularly at a corporate and managerial level.

  • Nepal and the impact of open source

    Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with many gender, educational, and digital divides. Yet it is gradually being transformed by open source and digital technology. There’s little question that as Nepal seeks to help its citizens become a part of the global digital economy, it faces a series of challenges: political instability, remote physical access, poor infrastructure, and rural poverty. In April 2012, the World Economic Forum released a report that identified Nepal as one of the least networked countries in the world, at the bottom of world rankings.

  • Open source makes you bolder

    I put on my open source hat and asked myself these question:

    1. Do I have the skills and know how to put on a good explanatory talk about Twitter?
    2. Do I know how to record such a talk to video?
    3. Do I know how to edit that video and upload it to the web?

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Is Google Burying Firefox With User Agent Strings?

        I’ve been using Google Chrome for Linux since it was first made available. I use Gmail, Google Docs (now Drive), Google Plus, Google Adsense, Google Analytics, Google Music, and many more. I am the original owner of an original CR-48 Chromebook, having received mine way back in Dec. 2010. I promote Google services at work and have worked hard to point my business’ compass towards their entire suite of offerings. I use a Samsung Nexus S with an official build of Android 4.04 and I’m only interested in official devices moving forward.

    • Mozilla

      • Getting snappy – performance optimizations in Firefox 13

        Back in the fall of 2011, we took a targeted look at Firefox responsiveness issues. We identified a number of short term projects that together could achieve significant responsiveness improvements in day-to-day Firefox usage. Project Snappy kicked off at the end of the year with the goal of improving Firefox responsiveness.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Busy weekend with Mageia, LibreOffice, and Liberté

      After an intense week, I decided to forget about work this weekend and have some time for my hobby, software testing. So, I downloaded Mageia 2 RC, LibreOffice 3.4.5, and a Linux distro that I had never heard of: Liberté 2012.1.

  • CMS

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Achieved A Lot In Q1’2012

      For the first three months of the 2012 calendar year, the FreeBSD project achieved a lot when it came to advancing their open operating system. Here’s some of the interesting highlights from their quarterly status report.

      The FreeBSD Q1’2012 quarterly status report can be read in full here, while below are some of the most interesting tid-bits.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Picture-editing made easy

      Gimpshop is based on Gimp, but looks like Photoshop, and those who are used to working in Photoshop can use Gimpshop.

      I knew that though Gimp and Gimpshop were excellent free programs, there were some features he offered his customers that were not available in Gimpshop. He said he would change normal pictures to sepia or black and white or add vintage effects.

    • Richard M. Stallman, free software leader falls ill at conference
  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • History of open source in government

      It is difficult to imagine the Federal government moving in one well-coordinated direction on any matter, and so it has been with the adoption of open source software. Some agencies were early adopters, especially the academic and research communities. As it did in universities, open source adoption in the US government originated in research settings, where sharing and collaboration were already part of the culture of pedagogy. In this way, the government had been using and creating open source software even before it was called “open source.” Other agencies and departments have been more conservative, for a variety of reasons, and are only just now bringing open source software into their operations. With this in mind, the history of open source in the US government is best understood as a series of individual stories that have collectively led to the pervasive adoption of open source we see today.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Kansas City explores open government, civic life, and innovation

      The exploration of open government and civic participation in Kansas City has already begun. This weekend, a new chapter begins. A chapter that will include open source, open data, citizen engagement, a Bike Walk hackathon, and more. In fact, it might materialize into several chapters that could start with rapid-fire lighting talks and end with dueling mayors who are innovating beyond borders. And what would a CityCamp be without an unconference? That’s a whole chapter by itself.

    • Sharing the open source journey with Kansas City
  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 for Audio Applications

      Recently, “cloud”-based music services, from big names like Amazon, Google and Apple, have been getting attention in the press. These services allow you to store your music on a corporate server and access it through your own Internet-connected device anytime you like. It’s easy to see the appeal of these services. This is the kind of thing the Internet is for, right?

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • How Wall Street Killed Financial Reform

      Two years ago, when he signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, President Barack Obama bragged that he’d dealt a crushing blow to the extravagant financial corruption that had caused the global economic crash in 2008. “These reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history,” the president told an adoring crowd in downtown D.C. on July 21st, 2010. “In history.”

    • Why Bank Equity Is Not Expensive

      Since the 2008 market crash, banking interests and economists have clashed over how much of their operations banks should fund with equity as opposed to debt. Bankers and others often say that, “equity is expensive.” By contrast, a recent paper, coauthored by three faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, argues that this conventional wisdom is incorrect, and that, “Quite simply, bank equity is not expensive from a social perspective, and high leverage is not required in order for banks to perform all their socially valuable functions.”

  • Privacy

    • FBI: We need wiretap-ready Web sites – now

      CNET learns the FBI is quietly pushing its plan to force surveillance backdoors on social networks, VoIP, and Web e-mail providers, and that the bureau is asking Internet companies not to oppose a law making those backdoors mandatory.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Velasco: ACTA only for WTO members

          During the recent Civil Liberties Committee meeting (8 may) Pedro Velasco-Martins (Commission DG Trade) claimed that ACTA only targets WTO members as participating nations. I do not read that from the text of the agreement where it says prospecting nations. I do not see any provision which says that only WTO members are eligible to join.

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