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Links 30/6/2012: Mandriva Foundation Structure Outlined, Ubuntu 12.10 Alpha 2 is Out

Posted in Office Suites at 7:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Competition Bureau Praised In Spite of Doing Nothing About Wintel

    The Competition Bureau is supposed to defend the Canadian economy from anti-competitive acts like exclusive dealing, bundling, price-fixing and the like. Despite some good work, the departing chief did nothing about M$ and its “partners” excluding GNU/Linux from retail shelves all across Canada. She did nothing about bundling that other OS with nearly every PC sold in Canada for decades. Clearly that prevents competition for operating systems and prevents competition on price/performance. Shame…

  • Health/Nutrition

    • WTO Not So COOL: Rules Against Popular U.S. Meat Labeling Law

      The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a final ruling today against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. This popular pro-consumer policy, which informs shoppers where meat and other foods were raised or grown, enjoys the support of 93% of Americans, according to a 2010 Consumers Union poll. Now Congress must gut or change the law to avoid the application of punitive trade sanctions.

  • Finance

    • Class Action to Teach Goldman Sachs Integrity

      Goldman Sachs cannot wiggle out of class action securities fraud claims by arguing that public statements that it valued “honesty,” “integrity” and “fair dealing” were “puffery,” not promises, a federal judge ruled.

    • Taxpayers’ money given to people who don’t pay taxes – oh, the beauty of PFIs

      You’d imagine, as the economy continues to tank, as banks continue to reveal themselves as incompetent (RBS and NatWest) or crooked (Barclays et al), as Europe drifts deeper into turmoil, that the two political parties who delivered these conditions might be interested in working out between them what brought matters to this grievous state. But the Westminster setup means they don’t have to do anything so sensible. One of the things that both the Conservatives and Labour love about the first-past-the-post electoral system – maybe even the thing they love about it most – is that they have always got each other to blame.

      Take Private Finance Initiatives, under which – across the public sector – taxpayers owe around £229bn for assets worth a capital value of £56bn. Hospitals, particularly, are struggling under a debt burden that obliges them to spend up to a fifth of their income on PFI commitments each year. PFI was imported from Australia as a wheeze under Thatcher, first implemented under Major, enthusiastically embraced under Blair, then under Brown, then utilised yet further under Cameron.

    • Goldman Sachs Said to Cut Administrative Jobs in the U.S

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) (GS), the fifth- biggest U.S. bank by assets, eliminated several dozen jobs to pare expenses in the U.S., according to a person familiar with the matter.

      The cuts affected positions in New York, New Jersey and Salt Lake City, Utah, according to the person, who wasn’t authorized to comment and asked for anonymity. Another person with knowledge of the matter said the reductions affected administration and other jobs that don’t produce revenue.

      Wall Street firms are targeting expenses as trading slows and new regulations pinch profit. Goldman Sachs employed 32,400 people at the end of March, down 8 percent in 12 months. Reuters reported the cuts earlier.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CNN’s “Dewey Defeats Truman” Moment

      CNN jumped the gun this morning when it erroneously announced that the Supreme Court had struck down the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — appearing to side with the court’s most vocal critics of the healthcare overhaul.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Over 130 Representatives Spell Out Their Concerns With TPP In Letter To Ron Kirk

      As the TPP negotiations progress, concern about the almost total lack of transparency (and the USTR’s laughable statements to the contrary) is starting to gain significant attention. Most recently, we wrote about Rep. Darrell Issa’s request to observe the next round of negotiations, and before that, Senator Ron Wyden’s quizzing of Ron Kirk about transparency during a senate hearing. So far, the USTR has managed to brush this off by claiming everybody else in Congress was happy—but, like almost everything the USTR says about TPP, that too is blatantly untrue. Over 130 members of the House of Representatives have now chimed in by signing on to a much longer open letter addressed to USTR Ron Kirk, expressing specific concerns about the TPP process.

    • Countries That Don’t Put In Place Copyright Regimes The US Likes May Be Deemed ‘Cybersecurity Concerns’

      So called “cybersecurity” and “intellectual property” are two very different issues, but it seems that politicians are realizing that they get further by screaming about “cybersecurity threats” than about “intellectual property infringement.” The latest proposed appropriations bill for the State Department includes a role for a “coordinator for cyber issues” — which is an awful title.

    • How Extending Patent Protection For Antibiotics Creates Perverse Incentives To Render Them Useless

      The problem arises from natural selection. The more we use an antibiotic — especially if we use it carelessly, failing to complete the full course — the more we select for bacteria that are partially resistant to it. Over time, those bacteria thrive, displacing bacteria that are unable to withstand the antibiotic. Eventually, bacteria that are completely resistant to that particular drug are likely to evolve — a situation that can have dire consequences. For example, even five years ago, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) was killing more people in the US annually than AIDS.

    • Copyrights

      • UK’s 3-Strikes Plan Continues To Grind Through The System; Still Not In Force, Still Awful

        As Techdirt reported in 2010, the passage of the Digital Economy Act was one of the most disgraceful travesties of the UK parliamentary process in recent times; it was badly drafted, hardly revised and then pushed through with almost no debate in the dying moments of the previous government. Since then, two UK ISPs — BT and TalkTalk — have challenged the Act in the courts, but lost earlier this year.

      • Megaupload Search Warrants Ruled Illegal by High Court

        The battle between Megaupload (David) and the US Government and the MPAA (Goliath) started out with a flurry of blows against the New Zealand based site staff, but in recent weeks the blows have all been falling stateside.

        Today, the New Zealand High Court ruled that the search warrants used to raid Dotcom’s mansion were illegal, casting uncertainty over the entire ‘Mega Conspiracy’ case.

        An earlier ruling by High Court Justice Judith Potter concluded that a previous search and seizure order was invalid because of improper paperwork. The documents were later corrected.

      • ACTA

        • Kill ACTA

          On June 25th, the European Union Parliamentary committee voted to reject the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). This signifies a major blow to ACTA, but its standing in the EU still comes down to the European Parliament vote scheduled for July 4th.


Europe Fines Microsoft for Abuses, But Continues Funnelling Public Money to Microsoft; the Greek Set Fire to Microsoft

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft at 9:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Signs of unrest, affirmation that Microsoft is breaking the rules, more infuriating stories from the UK, and arson at Microsoft Greece

WE recently wroto about the antitrust case resulting in another ruling that labels Microsoft a violator. Groklaw tracked this case for a long time and it provides this summary of the latest ruling:

Microsoft has lost its appeal before the EU’s General Court, Europe’s second-highest, although gaining a slight reduction in the penalties it has to pay, now fixed at EUR 860 million. So it remains true for all time that Microsoft was found to have abused its dominant position, in a case about its refusal to allow access to interoperability information. It could still appeal to the EU Court of Justice, the highest court. This is the case that FSFE and the Samba Team won. Microsoft had asked that the ruling be annulled and that the court “order the Commission and the interveners supporting it to pay the costs.

The FSFE deserves credit and it issues a statement too. The Samba lawyer, Mr. Piana, wrote the “last take-away points”:

This is it, it’s over. The last remaining pending issue spawning from the 2004 Decision (the so called “Monti decision”), by which the European Union slapped Microsoft with an unprecedented antitrust remedy, has ended, barring an unpredictable appeal. A decision imposing 899 million euro fine, for non compliance with the obligation to provide complete and accurate interoperability information under Reasonable And Non Discriminatory conditions, was by and large upheld by the General Court in case T-167/08, where I represented the FSFE and the Samba Team, intervening in support of the Commission.

I have now read the decision in its all 26 printed pages. Among many details concerning procedural fine points that would bore to death most of the readers, I have found some points that are worth pointing out, since they confirmed my/our positions that we put forward since 2005. That’s when the whole “implementation” phase started, after the President of the Court of First Instance (that was the General Court called back then) refused to suspend the 2004 Decision pending judgement on the merits.

Microsoft cannot claim to be a scapegoat and every well calculated politician should pressure to stop doing business with Microsoft. In reality, however, politics and crimes sometimes attract each other; favours and bribes are part of the game. The press too is corrupt. Watch how a former Microsoft employee acts as a journalist on the subject (conflict of interest). He spuriously quotes Microsoft, even at the end (several paragraphs). CNET and ZDNet prove to have no journalistic integrity because this load of tabloid garbage, masquerading as professionalism, clearly has serious issues with it. One just needs to know the writer’s professional background. So the antitrust ruling in EU covered by former Microsoft UK staff (without disclosure), even in the press. How bad is that?

Over here in the UK, the government keeps dealing with this criminal company, passing public money (without tender) to private hands in another country, despite the appalling record of this company (multiple times of convictions over competition abuses and more). As Pogson puts it, they dare describe this as a bargain, too:

The snake charmers from M$ have done it again. M$’s salesmen have convinced the UK Cabinet that money can be saved by spending more. Of course they are comparing projected prices (vapour-prices) versus 1% more than the previous agreement. What is totally missing is that UK gets no value at all from the money spent. They are paying M$ for permission to use equipment the UK owns. That’s insane.

It’s that infamous discount lie. Locking oneself up to some company is worse than wasteful, it is dangerous. Here is the original report. They are aiding criminals rather than ostracise the criminals. Over in Greece, Microsoft’s headquarters came under fire, literally:

A coordinated arson assault by armed gunmen against Microsoft’s HQ in Athens earlier this morning is another headache for big multi-nationals in Athens. Reportedly, multi-national corporations have already been considered leaving the debt-ridden country because of unpaid bills, falling revenues and the prospect that Greece might be forced to leave the euro.

There were gunmen too:

Three attackers drove a van through the front of Microsoft’s offices just north of Athens on Wednesday, marched out security guards at gunpoint, and tried to burn the building to the ground.

It’s unclear who is behind the attack, but it’s a worrying sign for foreign multinational corporations, coming as Greece struggles under the weight of a collapsing economy.

Let’s not forget Microsoft's abusive behaviour in Greece, even Gates'. This does not justify violence, but when justice gets neglected (Microsoft not prosecuted for its crimes) the population tends to take the law into its own hands.

Android Distribution and Freedom Challenged by Apple and Microsoft’s Co-founder

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple disallows Android imports


Summary: The litigation war of Steve Jobs leads to embargo of Linux-powered tablets and Paul Allen continues patent-trolling

WHEN Apple had its patent assault on Motorola (Android) thrown to the bin a Microsoft booster called it “patent sanity” and Christine Hall called it “Good News On the Patent Front”. The latest news, however, suggests that a US judge let Apple proceed with its outrageous embargo attempts. To quote:

The US patent and legal system is screwed, no doubts about it. There is good news and bad news. The bad news first, Judge Lucy Koh has granted Cupertino’s request to stop the sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the US. According to the order details, Judge ordered the injunction on the grounds of design patents.

What on Earth is a “design patent”?

Remember that Apple faked 'evidence' in an attempt to stop sale of those devices; not surprising for a company with sheer disregard for the truth and no integrity at all (better to boycott it).

Incidentally, Microsoft’s co-founder, who sued over Android, is still going. As Groklaw summarises it:

The Court has lifted the stay in the case of Interval Licensing against AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo, and YouTube. (269 [PDF; Text]) Acknowledging that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has already affirmed all of the asserted claims of the ’652 patent and is all but certain to do so also with respect to the ’314 patent, the Court says it is time to move this case along.

For all of those who have enjoyed the outcome in the Oracle v. Google case, expect this one to be far different. In the Oracle case the Court narrowed the number of claims that Oracle was allowed to assert and Google was able to persuade the USPTO that a number of the remaining asserted claims were invalid. That is not going to be the case here. Interval Licensing has been far more selective in deciding what to assert and has reason to be confident that, at a minimum, an invalidity defense will not work. Interval has also been far more specific in the Interval complaint than Oracle ever was in the Oracle complaint as to the basis for the infringement assertions.

It is also a bit hard to take a shot at Interval as being a troll. While many (most?) of us don’t care for so-called software patents, Interval did not acquire these patents. The patents all come from individuals who were employed by Interval at the time of invention.

Since an invalidity defense is unlikely to be successful, the parties here are going to have to establish that they did not infringe these patents. That is not an impossible task, but given the care that Interval has taken in deciding which patents to assert, the task will be formidable.

The patent mess is far from gone and the loser is everyone but very few. Developers are not the only ones affected by it; the public at large suffers without realising it. Over the weekend I will upload a lot of my code which is most likely infringing on some software patents, but it’s impossible to know how many and which ones. The patent system is a clearly farce when even one-man projects can infringe on many patents, using a keyboard and a mind, or even pen and paper (business methods). Products are actually being blocked, not just taxed, simply because different people have similar ideas.

MOSAID Apparently Extorts Linux, Red Hat Embraces Secrecy Again

Posted in Patents, Red Hat at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red Hat’s Pandora’s box is filling up


Summary: Red Hat signs a settlement deal with MOSAID, but nobody knows what it’s about

THERE is no denying that patent troll MOSAID should go under serious investigation for being part of a collusion. Microsoft passed it a thousand Nokia patents. But putting that aside for a moment, several months ago we wrote about MOSAID suing GNU/Linux leader Red Hat. According to this new article from Groklaw, there was a settlement, but we know almost nothing about it. To quote:

While we were busy watching the Oracle – Google case play out, we missed the fact that Red Hat, IBM, Adobe, and Juniper Networks all settled with MOSAID, and the infringement claims against those parties have been dismissed (93 [PDF; Text]). The claims against Alcatel-Lucent and VmWare remain pending. (95 [PDF; Text]) Given that the MOSAID patents do not constitute an open issue with respect to open source software, we will not be following the remainder of this case.

Of course, it remains to be seen (or more likely, we will not see) exactly the terms on which Red Hat settled this case, although where Red Hat has settled patent infringement claims in the past it has done so on terms that do not violate the GPL.

Well, not too long ago Red Hat failed to ask Fedora users about UEFI [1, 2, 3, 4] and prior to that Red Hat signed some other secret deals. Red Hat needs to be transparent, not just preach about openness like it does all the time, especially in its site OpenSource.com. Red Hat betrays trust here.

Over in the US there is this new development which can potentially weaken software patents:

Federal Circuit Upholds Obviousness Rejection

What are the chances of overcoming the obviousness rejection of a patent claim having all of its elements disclosed in the prior art, albeit by multiple references? In the wake of KSR v. Teleflex, the odds of succeeding with such an argument have unquestionably suffered. Certainly one cannot be surprised at the result in In re Mouttet, No. 2011-1451 (June 26, 2012), where the Federal Circuit affirmed the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, which in turn had affirmed a patent examiner’s rejections under 35 U.S.C. § 103.

The case was mentioned here before, both recently and years ago. Unless or until we eliminate software patents, some of the aforementioned deals will continue to be signed. The game is rigged. Red Hat should speak up about it, not participate in it.

SUSE Still Alive, But Far From the Top

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenSUSE, Red Hat at 8:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUSE mascot now irrelevant to GNU/Linux

View of Paris

Summary: A couple of updates about the ‘open’ version of Microsoft Linux

DESPITE delays and other pressing issues, SUSE will manage to squeeze out another release of the “open” alter-ego of SUSE — that which is being used to openwash Microsoft Linux. Here are some of the expected inclusions:

openSuse 12.2 will be released soon,or atleast we can hope so. Here is a list of upcoming features supposed to be shipped by default with the next version of this operating system.

In the desktop environment front, openSuse will ship KDE 4.8 Plasma Desktop and Plasma Netbook, the latest stable versions of K Desktop Environment. It may also ship Plasma Active, the Plasma UI for tablets and mobile phones. KDE apps and frameworks have also been upgraded to version 4.8 and one can expect better performance and stability in KDE. Talks of shipping a new KDM theme and ksplash theme is on, and kspalsh will use the qml engine, the latest technology in KDE 4.8.

KDE 4,9 is already approaching its final release and those who are comparing Fedora to OpenSUSE can appreciate that Fedora 18 will be ahead (Fedora is also released more often). As for Fedora 17:

I ran fedora 17 for a while on my test machine. I have since replaced that with opensuse 12.2 Beta2. Before my memory fades, here’s a comparison of fedora 17 and opensuse 12.2. When installing fedora from the DVD image, I chose to install KDE, Gnome, LXDE and XFCE. Those are the same choices that I make with opensuse. Of course, I don’t really use all of those. Mostly, I use KDE and experiment with the others. On my test machine, I use XFCE because it is a little lighter in weight for the older slower hardware.


Fedora defaulted to using gdm as the desktop login manager. When I logged into XFCE, I found that there was no gpg-agent available. If I checked to option launch Gnome services on startup, I would then have a gpg-agent available. However, that also caused orca to run, which soaked up a lot of resources. As a result, KDE used less resources than XFCE.

I disabled the “launch Gnome services” so that orca would not start. In looking at running processes, it seemed that gpg-agent was actually running but there was no environment setting to make that available. I was able to put something into shell startup files to locate that agent and set the environment correctly. And, since the shell startup files are run at the beginning of the desktop session, that made gpg-agent available to the desktop.

With opensuse 12.1, I recall that I also had to have XFCE launch Gnome services to have gpg-agent and/or ssh-agent available. But at least that did not start orca in opensuse. I have not tested that with opensuse 12.2, where launching gnome services appears to be the default.

I have not used SUSE in 5 years. Back in the days it was a leading distribution. These days, there is nothing “leading” about it and it relies on funding from Microsoft. Debian GNU/Linux is one people can trust much more. Our trust in Red Hat is eroding not just because of UEFI [1, 2, 3, 4] but for other reasons we’ll mention in the next post.

With UEFI, Microsoft Assaults the General Public License (GPL) and Computing Freedom in General

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 8:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Legal aspects of UEFI


Summary: Some GPL- and UEFI-related news

THE company which emanated from a Microsoft marketing exec to FUD the GPL (amongst other things) claims to have released a new thing, this time less on the propaganda side and more on the products side:

Black Duck Software announced new code analytics services to produce the new Black Duck Code Quality Audit (CQA) report.

Black Duck Software has announced the availability of expanded audit services with the addition of new code analytics that can help organizations acquiring new technology better track the code in their environments.

By tracking code they are able to issue reports with bias against GPL-type licences (they signed a deal with Microsoft before they started doing this). Meanwhile, Microsoft is putting the knife to the GPLv3-licensed GRUB 2, using its predatory UEFI plot [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. Just as it arrives Canonical is left with little choice but to drop it (responses to UEFI varied from protest to abandonment of GRUB at Canonical and cowardly acts from Red Hat [1, 2, 3, 4]), due to Microsoft’s anti-competitive behaviour. The UEFI mess spreads further now:

Early support for UEFI SecureBoot is now available via qemu-kvm for messing with this troublesome technology in a virtualized world.

Before running for the hills thinking this is another attempt to thwart Linux by pushing UEFI SecureBoot into virtualized environments, this isn’t the case. This early SecureBoot support in qemu-kvm comes from the Linux kernel community. In fact it’s from James Bottomley, a well known kernel developer working in conjunction with the Linux Foundation.

The Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board has been trying to get UEFI SecureBoot in qemu-kvm since real hardware relying upon this “secure” technology is still difficult to find until Windows 8 begins shipping. Bottomley built an Intel Tianocore boot system with the openSUSE Build System, discovered a gnu-efi bug, and made some other SecureBoot-related accomplishments for the benefit of Linux.

And that, with the demise of particular software, leads to the weakening of GPL along with freedom in computing. Microsoft knows what it’s doing here. Anything that harms copyleft licences is good for Microsoft.

As a side note, the above is part of a trend. Many journalists like to pick on Richard Stallman. Commonly enough they point to the fact that he does not browse the Web directly with a browser; Stallman sets an example and strives to be role model in some sense by drawing attention to the fact that the NSA et al. spy on Web surfers and he responds to this threat to human rights (he is, after all, an activist in this area) by one of the more reasonable actions, as not many options are left when sites do not support encrypted or anonymous routes in. Those who ignore this are either apathetic or pretend to not know this; the former is a case of ignorance and the latter is malicious — a strategy intended to daemonise Stallman and those who seek to highlight a real problem, maybe even address it or at least take it into account. Likewise, we have been seeing a daemonisation of the FSF, GNU. and the GPL, courtesy at times of Microsoft proxies. A lot of the time writers pretend not to understand “freedom” and use all sorts of straw man arguments. That could very well be seen when Stallman agreed to go on the Linux Action Show (we tried to ignore it so as not to give them attention because they are longtime FSF bashers).


Links 28/6/2012: Over a Million Android Activations Per Day, KDE 4.9 RC1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 9:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Olympics Website Leans on Open Source, Akamai for Winning Results

    CIO – You may be aware that a little event is about to be unleashed on the world from London-the 2012 Olympics. My chance encounter was with Russ Ede, who is responsible for the London 2012 Olympics website. He shared some amazing information about what it takes to create a website that can stand up to the most widely watched sports event in the world.

  • Netflix open sources Asgard cloud deployment smarts

    Very few companies know how to scale and deploy cloud applications like Netflix, the ginormous movie streaming site. And now it’s making some of that cloud management expertise available to the masses via Github.

  • The Truth About Open Source In The Enterprise

    When I first got into IT back in the late 90′s as a teen, I was always baffled by the landscape in regards to infrastructure and software. And coming from a Linux background, who could blame me? When I went off to get my secondary education, I chose the vocational route and I chose to certify in Novell and Microsoft because they were the two major players at the time. And in my opinion, Novell was actually doing it right with the NDS operating system which seemed way ahead of windows NT at the time.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Doug Cutting: Hadoop dodged a Microsoft-Oracle stomping

      We’ve all heard plenty about open source changing the dynamics of the tech industry and upsetting the old order. Open source, we’re told, is manifest destiny. Companies that ignore it will be consigned to history and CIOs who assert there’s no freebie code behind their firewalls are out of touch with devs happily humming to Tomcat, Apache, Linux and PHP. At least that’s how the story goes.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • An open source city takes shape: Open, online tools and data

        Open government scored another victory when the City of Raleigh announced the Open Raleigh initiative—an online repository with open data, web and mobile applications, and links to participatory tools and organizations. It’s all part of Raleigh’s open source strategy focusing on transparency, collaboration, and improved access to information. It’s proof of the ongoing work of the public-facing, open source resolution Raleigh unanimously passed earlier this year.

        As part of the Open Raleigh announcement, the city included an online feedback system: My Raleigh Ideas! It’s a new service the city will use to collaborate with the public to solicit ideas on future projects and topics. Currently, the city is using it to prioritize the data citizens might want in the open data portal and to solicit input for the open data policy.

      • New Media Commons white paper examines future of transparency in peer review
    • Open Access/Content

  • Programming

    • Eclipse Juno Release Train Has Arrived

      As is the tradition for the end of June, the Eclipse community celebrates the release of the annual Eclipse release train, this year code-named Juno. This is the ninth year the community has shipped a release train, and each year the release gets bigger. Juno represents the work of 72 project teams by 445 open source committers on 55 million lines of code, and the participation of 40+ Eclipse member companies.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Adobe’s Open Source Code Editor For Web Developers

      There’s more surprise for Linux users from closed source software vendors. After Microsoft unexpectedly updated Skype recently, Adobe has announced details of its source code editor for web developers. Unlike other Adobe products, this will be open-source distributed under MIT license.



Links 27/6/2012: Google Tablet, CyanogenMod 7.2 & 9 RC1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Mule update is data friendly
  • Occupy Diaspora

    The first and last time I visited Diaspora was back in 2010, when the social destination was still in it’s Alpha release. Although it had a reputation, as alpha releases do, of being buggy, I was surprised at how well it worked. It was impressive, a lot like Facebook but also quite different in its design. The problem was, there was nobody there. It was like entering an eighteen story highrise apartment building in which all the tenents had been evicted, hollow and filled with virtual echoes. So I ran back to the noise of the crowd on the virtual party that is Facebook.

  • Scilab: An Interview with Sylvestre Ledru
  • Wikimedia presents new visual editor prototype

    The Wikimedia Foundation has announced the launch of a new prototype of its open source Visual editor. The non-profit organisation behind the Wikipedia online encyclopedia says that the new editing environment should make it easier for users to contribute to its projects.

  • Top Open Source Medical Billing and EMR Software

    As the open source community continues to grow and thrive through the popularity of such enterprise ready platforms as Red Hat, the number of open source medical applications also grows with it. The truth is, medical software is expensive. Most health care providers – doctors, hospitals, dentists, independent clinics – have been under a lot of pressure to maintain or reduce run costs while at the same time continuing to provide the quality patient care and customer service expected of the medical care industry. In an effort to control these costs, many health care organizations are looking toward open source software to help them manage their complex billing and electronic medical records. This is an especially hot topic with the United States government mandating that health care providers move from a paper based system to a primary electronic medical record system over the next two years, complete with short term financial incentives in the form of government refunds for early compliance and hefty fines for late adopters.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Joomla Is Looking For Your Help

      Joomla! is one of the world’s most widely used content management software (CMS) that powers millions of websites. A new version of Joomla! 3 is scheduled to get released next September and they are looking for your help in the launch.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Four Big Battles for EU Openness Happening Now

      Something seems to be going on in the European Union. Over the next few weeks a range of really important debates and votes are taking place, all connected with openness in some way. Quite why everything is happening at once is not entirely clear – unless politicians are trying to get everything out of the way before their summer hols, perhaps….

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Beats rock Brazil

      Last week, #RioPlusSocial was one of the top trending global topics on Twitter. Part of the United Nations conference on sustainable development (called Rio+20), Rio+Social welcomed throngs of activists, politicians, moguls, and artists to Brazil, to discuss solutions for a growing list of global problems. Sponsored by the United Nations Foundation and several partners, the conference featured lectures and roundtable discussions with icons such as Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, the first woman President of Ireland Mary Robinson, billionaires Ted Turner and Richard Branson, and innovators such as Alnoor Ladha, a founding partner of Purpose, and Mashable founder Pete Cashmore.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Adobe launches an open source and web standards portal

      Adobe has decided that it should do more to promote the range of web standards and open source projects that it is involved in and to that end it has now opened “Adobe & HTML” at html.adobe.com. The web site covers web standards, open source projects and the tools and services that Adobe offers in relation to those standards and projects.

    • Adobe details its open source code editor for web developers
    • Game developer: HTML5 not yet ready for mainstream use

      Social games provider Wooga has released its HTML5 game Magic Land Island as an open source project called Pocket Island. The company started developing the game in 2011, when the emerging standard was gaining more and more momentum; the project was intended to highlight the capabilities of HTML5 as an alternative to Flash-based applications. The game was released in October 2011, and now Wooga has drawn its first conclusions about the viability of HTML5 for game development.


  • The Top-10 tech demo flops

    It was indeed a special moment. Surface, Microsoft’s attempt to transform itself into a major hardware tablet vendor, in front of a hand-picked group of journalists and, eventually, millions of people around the world thanks to YouTube, and then… “Whoops!”

  • Microsoft: We tried to use Azure ourselves last year, and couldn’t
  • Hardware

  • Security

    • Update for Windows Update has teething troubles

      Microsoft has released an unscheduled, non-patch day update for Windows to update the Windows Update function itself. However, according to reports from readers, the Windows Update Agent update does not always run smoothly; The H’s associates at heise Security also ran into problems on their test systems.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Former Federal Judge Calls US Prosecution Of Megaupload ‘Really Outrageous’

        To hear folks in Hollywood talk about it, the US’s indictment and prosecution of Megaupload are a done deal. Without any actual trial, people have decided that the company is clearly 100% evil and guilty. Yet, as we keep noting, the details of the indictment and prosecution keep turning up significant errors on the part of the US, as well as questions about the legality of what the US did. And plenty of people who really understand this stuff deeply are speaking out in agreement. The latest is a former federal judge, Abraham David Sofaer, who found the whole situation so troubling that he’s helping the EFF — for free — with its efforts to get Megaupload users’ data back.

      • ACTA

        • Winning BIG on ACTA and Beyond!

          This Wednesday July 4th, the European Parliament will have an opportunity to reject ACTA as a whole, in plenary, and destroy it forever. After four years of citizens’ hard work, such a rejection would create a tremendous political symbol of global scale. La Quadrature du Net calls on all citizens to contact Members of the EU Parliament to urge them to reject ACTA, and beyond, to start a process to positively reform copyright law. A strong victory would set the ground for future reforms.

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