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07.31.12

New FUD Against Android Comes From BT

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 4:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

English coins

Summary: Microsoft’s partner BT spreads FUD reminiscent of the type Microsoft has spread

THERE is some new type of FUD coming from developers who want DRM and monopolists like the loathed BT, which I personally have a lot against, its litigation against Android aside (see background). This new article actually shows how BT tops that all up with another pattern of FUD:

If she is referring to apps installed from unauthorized sources then it’s a misleading statement. Everyone is aware that when you download and install apps from random websites or stores there are all the chances that these apps may have compromised code. But if she is referring to Google Play Store then its a serious allegation and concern for users.

I have contacted BT to clarify the situation. As an Android user, it is heavily recommended not to use apps from unknown sources. Despite the regular attempts of spreading fear uncertainty and doubt (FUD) around Android, the fact remains that Android is an extremely secure platform as long as a user knows what apps he/she is installing. Android is like an armored tank but no one can protect you if you keep the doors open.

BT and Google are not on friendly terms. BT, just like Apple (stole from Sony, and patented) and Microsoft (which are all bogus), claims Android infringes upon its patents and sued Google in US.

As an Android user myself, I can attest to that. People who stick to trusted sources should be safe. BT has in fact recognised that it’s becoming a PR disaster and now retracts. Sounds familiar? Microsoft, the #1 spammer, went as far as suggesting that Android was a SPAM machine, only to retract the claim shortly afterwards (after a lot of reputation damage was done). Microsoft has a lot to worry about having just publicly declared losses [1 2, 3] and admitted that its tableet strategy — not just phone strategy — is poor. From the The New York Times comes a post whose author writes:

Microsoft Admits Risk in Tablet Plans

[...]

In an annual report that it submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday afternoon, Microsoft finally conceded something that has been rather obvious to anyone with a rudimentary understanding of the personal computer industry and Microsoft’s historical role in it. On page 14 of the document, Microsoft acknowledges that its Surface family of tablet computers could weaken support for Windows among Microsoft’s partners in the PC industry, known as original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs for short.

Ron Miller names a mistake:

Microsoft’s First Mistake: Leading with Consumer Tablets

CNet and others were reporting today that we finally have a release date for the first Microsoft Surface tablets.

Their reuse of a brand, “Surface”, heralds the quiet death of the predecessor too (a clumsy table-size tablet). Microsoft never succeeded with multi-touch, so it sure uses patents instead, for both tax and FUD. On top of that there is security-centric FUD.

‘We recommend that we *informally* plant the bug of FUD in their ears. “Have you heard about problems with DR DOS?”‘

Internal Microsoft communication [PDF]

Apple Increasingly Relevant to the War on Software Patents and Linux Domination

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Patents at 2:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung Galaxy S2

Summary: The patent fights of Apple against Android become another centre stage for determining Linux growth

CONVICTED monopolist Microsoft has been hiding its extortion and has concealed pertinent details (unlike Apple), going as far as intruding legal cases that are not its own. To quote a new analysis of this:

There was always clouds of doubts around Microsoft’s claims that Android and Linux infringes upon their patents. While Microsoft continued to threaten companies into signing deals with them or face legal actions, it never disclosed what patents were at stake. The victims were forced to sign an NDA so that the world never gets to know which patents Microsoft is talking about — the chances are these are non-existent claims and Microsoft doesn’t want this bluff to be caught.

Barnes & Noble caught this FUD and counter sued Microsoft. Microsoft was sweating in its pants as the case headed towards the trial and Microsoft started to withdraw their bogus patents from the case. Just before the battle reach the trial Microsoft, typical to its character, paid B&N heavily, settled outside the court, and the world never got to see the bogus patents.

Microsoft is again at the verge of being exposed.

The court battle between Apple and Samsung has created the possibility of disclosing the cross patent agreement between Microsoft and Samsung, as reported by one of the most reputed source on legal matters, Groklaw.

Microsoft is suddenly scared and has filed a motion asking the court to seal the cross license agreement. I would like to remind that the Judge has asked both parties to makee all the filings in this dispute available to the public for free.

How is this legal? Where are the interests of the public? And given that Microsoft has probably breached the RiCO Act, where are regulators?

Over at Groklaw, it is shown that IBM is hiding such information as well. It’s rare to see Pamela Jones criticising IBM, but there it is: “This is amazing. From Friday to today, there were 72 items entered in the Apple v. Samsung litigation docket. A lot of the flurry of activity has to do with whether or not certain materials should be sealed or not. Nobody seems to want them unsealed but the judge and Reuters. Everyone else, third parties included, are going beserk trying to avoid it. IBM has filed a motion [PDF] for a temporary restraining order, trying to prevent Reuters’ reporter Dan Levine from publishing an unredacted licensing agreement between IBM and Samsung.”

According to the British press, including the Bill Gates-funded BBC, Apple is getting more aggressive in its case against Android/Linux (with ill-informed jury) and Murdoch’s press calls it litigation by proxy against Google (which would have had more incentive than Samsung to fight back). Here is a portion:

A loss for Apple, conversely, could sustain the spread of competition that has made Android the No. 1 smartphone operating system.

“It really feels like Apple versus Google instead of Apple and the company whose name is on the suit,” said Brian Love, a professor at Santa Clara University School of Law who specializes in patents.

The Apple-Google brawl extends far beyond the courts, with both companies racing to develop new features, digital-content offerings—including books and music—and services like maps.

The dispute’s legal chapter began more than two years ago, when Apple sued Android partner HTC Corp. of Taiwan in March 2010 and Samsung in April 2011. In a 2011 authorized biography, Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs called Android “a stolen product.”

Google executives have denied stealing designs from Apple.

Apple didn’t sue Google, however, opting instead to attack the companies that manufacture Android phones. It declines to say why.

Going back to Groklaw, there are updates there about this case and Mr. Pogson helps ridicule Apple’s pathetic position. Others chime in: “As expected Apple has tried to refute Samsung’s claims that it copied the design of the iPhone from an early Sony phone. In documents submitted to court Apple has disclosed proyotypes of iPhone dating back to 2005.”

Arrogant is what Apple really is. It should be considered an imitator with an exploitative system of under-age workforce, an expensive system of marketing (mass brainwash), and a litigation army that scares away competition (as far back as 2009 when it scared Palm). Here is a new article about Apple’s abuse of those who actually produce the products it sells for a high price:

HP’s Chinese Factory Puts Apple To Shame

Earlier this year when reports surfaced about the treacherous working conditions in Apple’s Chinese factories, it left a disgusting taste in everyone’s mouth.

Instead of criticizing Apple for such practices and sympathizing with the workers, a few Apple fans argued that’s the situation of every other assembly line. However, there were no evidence of such conditions in the manufacturing facilities of other companies.

Apple’s case is unique as Apple pushes the manufacturers to create iPads and iPhone within a short span at razor thin margins. Thus the workers are forced to work and live in slaughter house like conditions.

Aleaked video shows the working conditions in HP’s manufacturing facilities in China. This was an unstaged footage recorded by a webcam. One might expect that this webcam would have captured the horrendous working conditions inside HP factories, resembling what we saw inside Apple’s factories.

From the same site we learn about more of Apple’s imitation of the far East:

Apple has started to taste its own bitter pill. The lawsuit happy company has been sued by a Taiwanese alleging that Apple’s Siri infringes upon its patents. Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University filed the lawsuit in a US district court claiming that Siri infringes upon two voice recognition US patents.

We covered this before and we continue to find more articles about it:

Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University has filed a suit against U.S. tech giant Apple (IW 500/9), claiming the company’s Siri intelligent assistant has infringed on two of its patents.

Apple introduced the voice-activated assistant technology when launching the iPhone 4S in 2011.

But Cheng Kung University in south Taiwan’s Tainan city said the technology infringes two patents held by one of its research teams, both related to speech recognition.

The team is led by Wang Jhing-fa, a professor who specializes in chip designs and neural networks facilitating speech and pattern recognition.

Apple has relied on inexpensive and disposable labour in China where Apple products do not even sell well. [via]

When Apple officially launched its latest iPad in China last week, the big crowds and long lines seen at earlier such events were absent. A trademark dispute had delayed the iPad’s Chinese release but even in March, when the new tablet became available in the country through unauthorised resellers, retailers complained they had to slash prices 30 per cent in the first week because consumers were unenthusiastic.

Fears among some investors that Apple’s magic is wearing off in China, its second-largest market after the US, were compounded by last week’s third-quarter results. Announcing a rare miss of analysts’ overall revenues and earnings forecasts, Apple said revenue in Greater China slid 28 per cent to $5.7bn in the three months to June 30 compared with the preceding quarter. The June quarter in 2011 had seen revenues from Greater China – which consists of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan – jump sixfold.

These are the sorts of markets where Nokia used to enjoy high market share and right now Android is enjoying growth. In terms of usage — not profit — Android is clearly the leader. All that Apple can do it try to intimidate and sue. We must all fight back.

Microsoft Corporation — Not Just Microsoft Windows — a SPAM Leader; UEFI Not the Answer

Posted in BSD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 1:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chained door

Summary: Microsoft ‘security’ is a joke (with collateral damage) and this demonstrable insecurity is used as an excuse for blocking BSD and GNU/Linux

RECENTLY, Microsoft has been trying to distract from the main culprit behind SPAM. Microsoft is the #1 SPAM catalyst, but sometimes it gets the nerve to FUD Android over it and then retract the FUD, only under pressure. Our “call out Windows” Web page helps explain how Microsoft orchestrated a campaign to obfuscate articles to the point where people forget these simple facts.

Based on this new report, Microsoft is the leading US spammer. To quote the report: “Microsoft has topped a list of biggest U.S. spammers for five out of the past 15 months, and for some of those months it ranked No. 1 in the world, according to a University of Texas study to flag the worst offenders in an effort to get them to improve their security.

“Microsoft has been trying to distract from the main culprit behind SPAM.”“Based on results culled from spam block lists, researchers found that Microsoft IP addresses were responsible for a big enough volume of spam to top their SpamRankings.net list for the U.S. in April and May 2011, and in March, April and June of this year, which is the latest ranking, says John S. Quarterman, a senior researcher with the project at the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin. (See also When Viagra Comments on Your Blog and Other Spam Red Flags.”"

This is not too shocking given the unbelievably high number of Windows zombies, as noted just the other day. Windows, by its own design failings, is not secure, but Microsoft misuses the word “secure” to market Vista 8 while excluding all rivals, including the now-angry BSD. With UEFI, Microsoft gives the illusion that it takes action for security, but this will do nothing for real security. At IDG’s sites, the Microsoft booster uses an inflammatory headline to daemonise GNU/Linux:

Red Hat declined to comment on de Raadt’s assertions, but said the company’s policy was outlined in a June 5 blog post by Linux engineering vice president Tim Burke. Canonical has also been contacted for comment. (Update below.)

Red Hat declines to comment on other points and the publicity is not good for Red Hat. It is not easy to install GNU/Linux on machines that Microsoft imposed UEFI on, explains Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. He starts as follows: “Here’s Microsoft’s plan: Every new PC sold with Windows 8 will be locked up tight with Microsoft’s UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) secure boot on. Microsoft says that this is to help secure your PCs from rootkits and malware. It also happens to stop you from easily installing Linux or any other operating system, such as Windows 7 or XP, on a Windows 8 system. Thanks Microsoft. We really needed that kind of protection!”

“That would surely add ‘security’ for the company’s illegal monopoly that it used criminal activity to gain.”He adds: “The problem is that Microsoft requires vendors to implement secure boot in such a way that it makes it very hard to install Linux. It’s possible that hardware companies will simply give us the option of turning off secure boot during the UEFI setup similar to the way you can now use your BIOS to choose if you want to boot from your hard drive or a DVD or USB Flash drive. We don’t know yet though. Even though Windows 8 PCs will start shipping this fall it’s still not clear how many vendors will implement secure boot The easy way will be for them to not give users the option of turning it off.”

That would surely add ‘security’ for the company’s illegal monopoly that it used criminal activity to gain.

Links 31/7/2012: Richard Stallman Remarks on Valve for GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Black Hat Defcon: Can you hack a Linux Powered SOHO Router with DLNA?

    Security researcher Zachary Cutlip (my pic left) took the stage at both Black Hat and Defcon conferences this weekend.

    His talk was about doing SQL Injection on MIPS Powered SOHO routers – and in particular he aimed at the Linux powered Netgear WNDR3700.

    After sitting through an hour of this guy’s presentation at Black Hat (I didn’t bother to see it a second time at Defcon) the answer is:

  • Linux Desktops Dominate at Black Hat

    There are some people that don’t believe the Linux Desktop is relevant.

    I’m not one of them, and apparently neither are hordes of security professionals that were at the recent Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas (including me).

    The show itself doesn’t calculate who uses what..but Aruba Networks (they have a Linux powered set of wireless routers) does measure.

    For desktop OS users of the Wi-Fi network, the top desktop OS was…

  • Kernel Space

    • Ext4 vs. Btrfs: Why We’re Making The Switch [Linux]

      Quite honestly, one of the last things people look at is which file system is being used. Windows and Mac OS X users have even less reason to look, because they really have only one choice for their system – NTFS and HFS+, respectively. Linux, on the other hand, has plenty of different file system options, with the current default being ext4.

      However, there’s been another push to change the file system to something called btrfs. But what makes btrfs better, and when will we see distributions making the change?

    • Linux Foundation Adds Antelink, Calxeda and Reaktor as New Members

      The Linux Foundation announced that Antelink, Calxeda and Reaktor have joined the organization supporting the growth and adoption of Linux.

      The Linux Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on promoting Linux, has announced that three new companies are joining the organization: Antelink, Calxeda and Reaktor.

    • Talk Of A “Massive Power Regression” In Linux 3.5

      For at least some hardware, it looks like the Linux 3.5 kernel has regressed and is burning through noticeably more power than its predecessor.

      Over the weekend a new mailing list thread began that was entitled “Massive power regression going 3.4->3.5″ pertaining to a power problem in this most recent Linux kernel release. This just wasn’t a random user complaining of a “massive power regression” but James Bottomley, a Linux kernel developer veteran.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Ivy Bridge Performance Drops In Mesa 8.1

        In recent days there have been updated Mesa 8.1 development benchmarks put out looking at the R600 Gallium3D, R300 Gallium3D, and Nouveau Gallium3D open-source drivers. Those results for the different drivers show that Mesa 8.1 is generally faster than the current Mesa 8.0 stable series, but that does not appear to be the case for Intel at the moment. It looks like there are some active regressions that are lowering the Intel Ivy Bridge graphics performance with their Mesa 8.1-devel driver.

      • Freedreno Driver Gets Working Shader Assembler
  • Applications

    • TorqueBox 2.10 comes with new leadership and JDK workarounds

      The TorqueBox project’s leader, Bob McWhirter, has stepped down from leading the development of the platform designed to run Ruby on Rails applications on JBoss’s Application Server. McWhirter has led the project for the past four years, but has now become “Director of Polyglot for JBoss”, a role that gives him more responsibilities within Red Hat. His place will be taken by Ben Browning, an existing core contributor to the project; Browning is said to have been unofficially driving the project for the last few months and “now – it’s just official”.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Richard M Stallman: Steam Is Good For GNU/Linux
      • Valve, Linux and the Windows 8 ‘Catastrophe’
      • Microsoft Windows 8 Games: Software Developer War or Empty Words?
      • Richard Stallman pours cold water on Steam

        While many open sourcers have welcomed the news that the games company Steam might be making thousands of games available for Linux, Free Software Guru Richard Stallman is not impressed.

        Writing from his bog, Stallman said that while the availability of popular nonfree programs on GNU/Linux can boost adoption of the system, it may not bring enough freedom.

        He said that nonfree games were unethical because they deny freedom to their users. So if users want freedom the only way they can do that is to only have free software on their computer.

      • GNU founder Stallman calls DRM’d Steam for Linux games “unethical”

        Valve recently announced plans to bring its Steam game distribution service to the Linux platform. The company has also ported its Source game engine and the popular title Left 4 Dead 2. In a recent interview, Valve’s Gabe Newell said that the move was partly influenced by concerns about the increasingly closed nature of the Windows platform.

        The Linux desktop has historically been ignored by major commercial software developers due to the relatively small audience and technical issues like fragmentation. Steam’s arrival on Linux has largely been welcomed by Linux enthusiasts who recognize it as a big step towards legitimizing the Linux desktop as a consumer platform.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME’s Future: Open Source Desktop Interface In Doubt?

        GNOME, the project responsible for what has been one of the open-source world’s most popular desktop interfaces for well over a decade, is teetering on the edge of crisis mode. At least, that’s what one developer suggests in a recent personal blog post ominously titled “starting into the abyss.” Does GNOME, despite its rich and influential past, really face such a dismal future? Here are some thoughts.

        Personally, I’d be pretty sad to see the GNOME project die. I haven’t used the desktop environment on a daily basis since development on GNOME 2.x ended in favor of GNOME Shell, but I grew up as a Linux user with GNOME. The open-source ecosystem just wouldn’t feel the same if I knew I no longer had the option of running GNOME software.

      • Gnome-Schedule – GNOME scheduler for automatic tasks

        Gnome-schedule is a graphical user interface that leverages the power of vixie-cron, dcron and at to manage your crontab file and provide an easy way to schedule tasks on your computer. It supports recurrent (periodical) tasks and tasks that happen only once in the future. It is written in Python using pygtk, and has been developed, tested and packaged for various Linux distributions.

      • Is GNOME “Staring into the abyss?”

        A leading GNOME developer thinks the once popular Linux/Unix desktop interface has lost its way.

      • GNOME in Trouble Again (or Still)?

        We knew that a certain segment of the Linux population was still unhappy with GNOME, but I thought most of issues were behind us; that most have adapted or moved on. But apparently, a wave of articles today suggests otherwise. Of course, an insider’s blog post set off this campfire.

      • Staring Into The Abyss: Some Thoughts

        Last week Benjamin Otte shared some thoughts about GNOME that were pretty stark. It gathered some steam and hit Slashdot and this all happened the week GUADEC was taking place in A Coruña. I wasn’t at GUADEC :-( but I can imagine there was some fervent discussion about the blog entry.

        The gist of Benjamin’s blog was that people are leaving GNOME, that the project is understaffed, and arguably the reason for this is that GNOME has lost its direction and Red Hat have overtaken the project as the primary contributor-base. Of course I am summarizing, but check out the original post if you feel I am not representing Benjamin’s views fairly.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • HTC bites the bullet, closes South Korean office

          Fighting sluggish sales numbers and competing in a locally-dominated smartphone market, HTC has closed its South Korean office doors.

        • ZTE Flash headed to Sprint with 4.5-inch IPS 720p display and 12.6MP camera

          ZTE recently announced the Grand X for Europe and the Asia Pacific in the third quarter, but it looks like they have something else up their sleeve for the U.S. in the 4th quarter. The ZTE Flash will debut on Sprint this October and it sports some pretty decent specs such as a 4.5-inch IPS 720p (1280 x 720) display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 12.6MP rear camera, 1MP front facing camera, 8GB of internal storage, microSDXC slot, 1780mAh battery, Bluetooth 4.0, LTE, Gorilla Glass, and Android 4.0.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Do I Still Like My Nexus 7 After A Week? Nexus 7 Review

        Google’s Nexus 7 is all the rage. The tablet is so popular that Google ran out of stock and the orders are on halt for a while. The tablet is getting praise even from staunch Apple fans like MG Seigler. The most notable praise came from none other than the creator of Linux, Linus Torvalds, who is a great critic and seems to have a hold of what a user wants.

      • Nexus 7 (16GB) Now Available At Google Play
      • Samsung Working On Bigger Tablet With Retina Display

        Many Samsung fans always wondered that despite being the world’s #1 display manufacturer and lead supplier of Apple’s retina display why is Samsung now offering the same high resolution display for its phones or tablets. Well, Samsung Galaxy Nexus and S3 do have an extremely high resolution display but tablets are still a different animal. It seems Samsung is working on a high resolution tablet with a bit bigger screen size.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Six misconceptions about open source software

    In information technology (IT) and software development fields, there are a few fairly common misconceptions about the use of open source software. These misconceptions were debunked in a discussion at POSSE RIT 2012, and we’d like to share (and spread) that conversation.

  • Open source won

    I heard the comments a few times at the 14th OSCON: The conference has lost its edge. The comments resonated with my own experience — a shift in demeanor, a more purposeful, optimistic attitude, less itching for a fight. Yes, the conference has lost its edge, it doesn’t need one anymore.

    Open source won. It’s not that an enemy has been vanquished or that proprietary software is dead, there’s not much regarding adopting open source to argue about anymore. After more than a decade of the low-cost, lean startup culture successfully developing on open source tools, it’s clearly a legitimate, mainstream option for technology tools and innovation.

  • Free open-source software: My take on its inexorable rise

    As we all know, Android has Linux at the heart of it, with a litigious Java platform, which means that it is the powerhouse driving the adoption of free software — although many would argue that it’s not really free.

    From my own very small web design corner of the universe I can see the inexorable rise of free software. Of my last eight contract roles, four of them were working on either the WordPress or Drupal content management systems.

  • ZoneAlarm: Defining the Difference Between Freeware and Free Software

    The other day, when my friend’s laptop spit-up a warning from ZoneAlarm that she was no longer protected, I stood over her shoulder and instructed her to update the firewall. The warning was basically a scare tactic, of course. Without the update she would still be protected, just as protected as she had been the day before. She just wouldn’t have any new whiz-bang features included in the update, nor would she be able to take advantage of any new security enhancements.

    We ran the default install. This was Windows, so there had to be a reboot. After that, we opened the browser to find that the homepage had been reset to a ZoneAlarm themed Google search page. We had not opted-in to any such change; the ZoneAlarm folks had just taken it on themselves to hijack Firefox’s revenue, which I didn’t think cricket.

  • Events

    • Texas Linux Fest is This Week – Win a Free Pass

      Texas Linux Fest begins this Friday, August 3rd, and there’s still plenty of time to register. Or, you can enter to win one of five free passes. You have until 3pm tomorrow, July 31 to enter, so hurry! We’ll post the winners tomorrow afternoon, so you’ll still have time to register if you don’t win.

    • Google I/O Keynote and Session Videos Are Available Now

      Throughout its existence, Google has been very dedicated to enlisting developers all around the world to embrace its projects and become contributors. And, the company’s Google I/O conference remains its biggest annual event focused on outreach to developers. Google recently held the I/O 2012 conference, and ever since then has been steadily posting videos of keynote addresses and complete videos of the sessions. Some of these are very much worth watching–even if you’re not a developer.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • On Software obsolescence

        Recently the Mozilla Foundation announced a new orientation for their email client, Thunderbird. It caused quite a bit of discussion, and we, at the Document Foundation, received quite a lot of public and private feedback on this mostly in the form of: “Now that Mozilla is getting rid of Thunderbird, The Document Foundation should take on its maintenance and development”. Much of this crazy rumor has ended being disproved by Mozilla itself and what seems to be going on is that Mozilla will in fact enable a real community-led development style on Thunderbird (contrary to the development model of Firefox) but has to intention of dumping it anywhere. That didn’t stop the rumor to spread anyway and this article by Brian Profitt caught my eye: “Will Open Source Office Suites go the way of Thunderbird?”.

  • SaaS

    • OpenStack: Allegation of ‘abusive’ conversation under investigation

      Days after opening its nomination process for Individual Member elections, the OpenStack Foundation is investigating allegations that an executive within one of the Foundation’s corporate member companies may have pressured an Individual Member candidate to withdraw her nomination for a board position.

  • Databases

    • Oracle releases MySQL migration tools for SQL Server, Windows users

      As it prepares to release its Windows-enhanced MySQL 5.6 database, Oracle announced late last week a number of downloadable migration tools to ease the process of converting from Microsoft SQL Server to MySQL, including data conversion, Excel and Windows installer tools.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Open source model disrupts the commercial drone business

      The do-it-yourself (DIY), open-source drone movement is turning into a real business that could disrupt the commercial and military drone industry. It’s another case of how exploiting the curiosity of hackers can turn into a commercial opportunity.

      That’s the view of Chris Anderson (pictured), editor of Wired magazine and a drone hobbyist and businessman on the side. He spoke about this DIY trend and his own efforts to lead it in a talk at the Defcon hacker conference in Las Vegas today.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF Bulletins are on the way
    • FSFE working on better legal protection for free software

      The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has voiced concerns about what could happen to source code distributed under free software licences if the company providing the software goes bankrupt and enters insolvency proceedings. Especially in Germany, the current rules in this area of law are not well explored. Speaking to The H’s associates at heise open, Matthias Kirschner, who coordinates German matters for the foundation, explained that a bankruptcy court in Germany could currently rescind the free software licence and all rights granted by it after the fact.

Leftovers

  • NBC: We Have No Clue Who Tim Berners-Lee Is, But Without Our Commentary, You Wouldn’t Understand The Olympics

    First of all, seriously? Tape delay to the West Coast? You lock down coverage in order to take advantage of prime time and try to pass it off as some sort of “value added” service. Pay no mind to all the twittering and live blogging willing to fill in the gaps, while you do some sort of production magic behind the scenes. Live events don’t need windows and real life shouldn’t need **spoiler** warnings.

    Even worse is the fact that the opening ceremonies weren’t even streamed live on the internet, where time and distance aren’t factors. And you know it, too, because your official Twitter accounts were posting updates live, giving Americans the dusty old feeling that they’re listening to a local broadcaster read off the ticker feed from a title match. So close, but so far.

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs’s Devastating Interest Rate Swaps

      The banks brought us the financial crisis which resulted in zero interest rates. Now the banks are improperly benefiting from those rates through contracts they made with cities BEFORE they blew up the financial system.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Proposals for the reform of copyright and related culture and media policy

        Now that the ACTA treaty has been rejected by the European Parliament, a period opens during which it will be possible to push for a new regulatory and policy framework adapted to the digital era. Many citizens and MEPs support the idea of reforming copyright in order to make possible for all to draw the benefits of the digital environment, engage into creative and expressive activities and share in their results. In the coming months and years, the key questions will be: What are the real challenges that this reform should address? How can we address them?

      • Leaked RIAA Report: SOPA/PIPA “Ineffective Tool” Against Music Piracy

        Contrary to the endless lobbying and subsequent defending of the now-dead SOPA and PIPA frameworks, a leaked report shows that earlier this year the RIAA’s Deputy General Counsel admitted that the legislation was “not likely to have been effective tool” for dealing with music piracy. All efforts are now being put behind the “six strikes” plan – but could disconnections for repeat infringers still be on the agenda?

        “These illicit sites are among the culprits behind the music industry’s more than 50 percent decline in revenues during the last decade, resulting in 15,000 layoffs and fewer resources to invest in new bands,” wrote RIAA CEO Cary Sherman in a New York Times piece last year.

TechBytes Episode 72: Richard Stallman on News Sources Bias, GPL.next Misinformation, and Software Patents

Posted in TechBytes at 1:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techbytes 2012

Direct download as Ogg (12:12, 4.8 MB)

Summary: The fourth part of our interviews series with Richard Stallman covers software patents opposition for the most part

TODAY we turn our attention to software patents for the most part. Here is the transcript.


Dr. Roy Schestowitz: How do you judge the reliability of a news source and which one or ones do you favour?

Richard StallmanDr. Richard Stallman: Well, how do I judge the reliability? To a large extent I look at the story, and I try to judge based on the other things I know whether this looks like it’s bullshit or possible truth. Because there are news sources that I know often slant things, but that doesn’t mean that I think that their statements of facts would wrong, because I expect that they would be caught if were wrong. I don’t know of any news sources that I could say “that’s a good one”, because they all have their positions, they all want to say some things and not others. The question is, does it seem plausible that they would say falsehoods about facts? Because there is some embarrassment involved in getting caught in saying… in giving some news that wasn’t true.

Many places are not likely to say things that are just false, but they may draw conclusions that don’t really follow, or that reflect bias.

My next question is about the GPL. More recently there has been some exposure for what’s known as the GPL.next, which Richard Fontana…

“Richard Fontana was interested in exploring some ideas, so he started a project to get suggestions about what to put in a copyleft licence.”No, no, it isn’t [called that] anymore. Basically, Richard Fontana was interested in exploring some ideas, so he started a project to get suggestions about what to put in a copyleft licence.

That name was not very nice because it implied that it would be the replacement, and of course for anyone to say “my work is going to replace your work” is a somewhat unfriendly thing to say, but that’s not what he seems to really mean, so I hope that he finds some interesting ideas through this.

My next question is, what do you consider to be the most effective strategy for elimination of software patents in the United States and worldwide as well?

“If the US trade representative is visiting, or there are a thousand reasons to protest the visit of the US trade representative, what he wants is good for business and bad for people in every country including the US.”Well, it depends on the country, because this is a matter of political activity and how to do that effectively varies from country to country. So I can’t give authoritative advice to people in other countries; if I can even do so in the US, it wouldn’t apply to other places. I can suggest possible approaches to try, you know, meet with officials, organise and make a protest in the street, have protests at events if any officials from that part of international agencies that favour software patents are coming, protest them. If the US Trade Representative is visiting — there are a thousand reasons to protest the visit of the US Trade Representative; what he wants is good for business and bad for people in every country including the US. How you influence politics in your country, you’ll know probably a lot better than I do. That’s what it involves, very likely. But it may also involve legal action, if your country’s courts could rule that software patents are not valid; that’s very important. But what you need is to find a lawyer to argue that case.

Now, in the US, when an appeal is being heard, anyone can send a friend of the court brief, which is published presenting arguments to be considered. If you are in a country which has a practice like that, that can be helpful.

But there is one point about which direction is going to be useful.

If the country does not have software patents, then it will work simply to make it clear and firm that software patents are not allowed, and put this into legislation so that the patent office can’t betray it. And you have to work hard making it ironclad, so that the patent office can’t find an excuse to betray it. For instance, there are countries in which computer programs can’t be patented, But the patent offices say, “we’re not issuing patents on computer programs, we’re issuing patents on techniques that can be used in computer programs.” Now, we think that those treaties and laws were meant to prevent that, but the patent offices reinterpret them in a way that means that [law or treaty] becomes effectively void, and doesn’t prevent any kind of patent that anyone would actually want to apply for. So you’ve got to be careful, you’ve got to study from a point a view, how could the patent office try to twist this?

“Congress can’t legislate the existing patents into non-existence.”However, there are countries which already have software patents, and in those countries restricting the issuance of software patents would still leave you with maybe hundreds of thousands of existing software patents. Well, if the courts ruled that software patents were never valid, they would all disappear. So there is some hope that that may eventually happen. But what could Congress do?

Congress can’t legislate the existing patents into non-existence. What it could however do is legislate that patents are not infringed by developing, distributing or running software on general-purpose computer hardware if the hardware itself doesn’t infringe. That way these patents would remain valid, and they could be applicable to hardware devices but not to software.

You see, patent systems don’t generally divide patents into software patents and hardware patents; it’s rather the patent would cover a certain idea, and maybe that idea is typically implemented in software, but the patent would also cover implementing it in hardware. My definition of a software patent is a patent that can prohibit programs. Because patents are not intrinsically labelled as software patents or hardware patents, you can’t just say “we are going to prohibit software patents”, you’ve got to define clearly what it is that’s not going to be issued, or else legislate about where patents apply and where they don’t apply.


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07.30.12

Links 30/7/2012: Wine 1.5.9, Warsow 1.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • This Week in Linux

    Another week has come and gone and much more has happened than what I can cover in my regularly scheduled slots. So, let’s have a look at some of the other developments this week in Linux. The Ubuntu family got a new developmental release, Zorin OS continues to get rave reviews, and Bodhi Linux 2.0 was released.

  • Chrome OS Linux 2.1.1145 Is Powered by Cinnamon 1.4

    The Chrome OS developers announced today, July 27th, the immediate availability for download of the Chrome OS 2.1.1145 Live CD Linux operating system, which brings a lot of fresh software.

  • Five ways to skip Windows 8

    I’ve been working with Windows 8 for months. Even after Microsoft dished out the release candidate to application developers, I’m still finding Windows 8 to be the worst Windows version to date.

    Yes, worse than Vista, worse than Windows Millennium Edition (Me), and the only reason I’m not saying its worse than Windows Bob, is that Bob was just a user interface for Windows 95 and NT and not an operating system in and of itself.

    Now, though even some of Microsoft strongest fans are beginning to back off from praising Windows 8.

    [...]

    2: Go with desktop Linux

    I’ve been telling you for ages that desktop Linux works great. It’s far more secure than Windows will ever be, and is more stable to boot. I’m not going to repeat myself here. I will say, though, that Mint 13 is a really great Linux desktop that any XP user will quickly feel at home using. I’ll also point out that anyone — and I mean anyone — can use Ubuntu Unity. I can also point out that Valve is bringing its Steam gaming platform to desktop Linux.

    Finally, I’ll add that you can buy PCs with pre-installed Linux from many smaller vendors and that Dell is recommitting to the Linux desktop. Dell has just released new high-end laptops with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and will soon be releasing a developer’s Ubuntu laptop.

  • Fresh eyes on Linux

    On July 16, game publisher Valve created Steam’d Penguins and formally announced their entry into development and promotion of the gaming scene for Linux.

    For years there have been feverish rumours of such a move based on job postings which explicitly asked for Linux experience in the job description.

    Without trying to play down the importance of the announcement and the excitement generated in the Linux community, there are still many unanswered questions about whether the games will be native ports or bundling of emulators, how open source friendly the underlying distribution platform Steam will be and which flagship titles will make the Linux leap.

    As a long-time Linux user but not really much of a gamer, I applauded Valve for looking at my operating system of choice more seriously and building a Linux capability even if I am not in their intended audience.
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    Linux has lately had a flurry of indie games released for it which has made the community richer and widened the audience which in turn helps break some of our more insular perceptions.

  • How to pick a new Linux distribution

    You might not have noticed, but there’s more than one Linux distribution out there. In fact, there are hundreds, and the list is growing weekly.

    Okay, you probably did notice, but the fact remains that the free software world is, primarily, one of choice, and that means developers can – and often do – scratch their own itches.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 210
  • Desktop

    • Impending Windows 8 ‘catastrophe’ behind $3bn game maker’s shift to Linux

      Computer game platform maker Valve is to port its Steam gaming and distribution platform to Ubuntu Linux in a move intended to protect the company from the impending “catastrophe” of Windows 8.

    • From Windows to Linux In No Time

      There are countless users of Microsoft’s Windows operating system who become Linux users each year–an important part of the engine that drives the popularity of Linux. In some cases, these migrating users want to escape the malware storm that afflicts the Windows ecosystem; in some cases they want to run Linux alongside Windows (a dual-OS strategy that has its advantages); and in some cases they want to use specific applications that are available for Linux.

    • The Linux-based Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook Could Rival MacBook Air

      Linux-based operating system has proven to be more reliable and rugged for day-to-day activity especially security purposes, when placed at par with other operating system.

  • Kernel Space

    • Ask a Kernel Maintainer

      I’ve been writing an occasional “Ask a kernel maintainer” column on the lwn.net weekly kernel page. It’s been a while since I last wrote one, so I figured it’s time to start it up again.

    • VIA Releases ROM, Bootloader And Kernel For Android PC
    • Linux 3.6 Kernel Adds EFI Handover Protocol

      The in-development Linux 3.6 kernel introduces an EFI handover protocol, which will ultimately lead to faster boot-ups and simpler EFI boot-loaders.

      Right now EFI boot-loaders and the EFI boot stub in the Linux kernel carry the same initialization code to setup an EFI machine for booting the kernel. However, with this EFI handover protocol support, this redundant code could be eliminated. Intel and others want to have the initialization and booting of the kernel just within the kernel’s EFI boot stuff than also copied within the boot-loader.

    • VMware Has VMCI Ready For The Linux Kernel

      VMware is preparing to push VMCI support into the mainline Linux kernel.

      Back in May I mentioned VMware was working on the Virtual Machine Communication Interface for Linux and back then their kernel patches were in a “Request For Comments” state. The patches have been revised and now VMware is lining up the VMCI support to enter the mainline kernel, hopefully for the Linux 3.6 kernel.

    • Intel Rewrites TurboStat Plus IVB CPU Idle Support

      Another one of the pulls going into the Linux 3.6 kernel this week is the ACPI and power management updates courtesy of Intel. The two prominent changes for this next Linux kernel release is a rewrite of the “turbostat” tool and the “intel_idle” CPU idle driver now supports Ivy Bridge processors.

    • Testing Intel Sandy Bridge LLC Cache Controls
    • EXT4 Updates Go Into The Linux 3.6 Kernel
    • Oracle Rewrites Linux ZCache Compression Code

      Seth Jennings of IBM proposed that ZCache be moved out of the Linux kernel’s staging area and be accepted officially into the mainline tree. However, that proposal is being criticized by an Oracle engineers as they have evidently “completely rewritten zcache” and will share it soon but still doesn’t see a reason for the memory compression code to leave staging.

      On Friday was the kernel message by Jennings that proposes zcache to leave the kernel’s staging area, with the email being accompanied by four patches to make that happen. His justification for the code leaving staging is that “Based on the level of activity and contributions we’re seeing from a diverse set of people and interests, I think zcache has matured to the point where it makes sense to promote this out of staging.”

    • AHCI vs. IDE Linux Performance Benchmarks

      Hitting OpenBenchmarking.org this weekend are some interesting benchmarks comparing performance of AHCI vs. IDE modes under Linux from an AMD Fusion system.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa Support For OpenGL Core Contexts

        There was exciting OpenGL 3/4 news yesterday for Mesa when it came to early but yet-to-be-merged support for OpenGL geometry shaders, but that’s not all the new Mesa GL news this week. Patches were also published to provide support for OpenGL Core contexts for OpenGL 3.1 and newer.

      • Intel Mesa Driver Ups Counter-Strike Performance

        A patch to mainline Mesa yesterday from Intel has resulted in a ~7% performance boost for Sandy Bridge “GT2″ graphics when running the video stress test for Valve’s Counter-Strike: Source.

      • Another Intel Linux Graphics Driver Release

        Intel has released a new open-source X.Org driver for their Intel graphics since it was only just discovered that the Ivy Bridge GT1 “HD 2500″ graphics were busted.

        Just days after releasing xf86-video-intel 2.20.1, which came just a week after the big 2.20 release, Chris Wilson has released a third update. The xf86-video-intel 2.20.2 driver takes care of a critical Intel Ivy Bridge issue while also packing more SNA acceleration architecture improvements.

      • VMware Has VMCI Ready For The Linux Kernel
      • R300 Gallium3D Driver In Mixed State For Mesa 8.1
      • Mesa Support For OpenGL Geometry Shaders
      • Intel SNA Performance Continues To Be Compelling

        Due to the extreme pace at which Chris Wilson has been releasing SNA architecture updates for Intel’s open-source X.Org driver, here are another set of benchmarks of Intel Sandy Bridge HD 3000 graphics when comparing UXA and SNA using yesterday’s Git code following the xf86-video-intel 2.20.2 driver release.

      • AMD Releases ACPI Header For Open-Source GPU Driver

        For those that didn’t notice, this week AMD released a new header that defines the AMD ACPI interface used for laptops, PowerXpress, and chipset-specific functionality.

        This new header defines four ACPI control methods used by AMD graphics hardware and then related functionality to them. The four AMD ACPI methods are ATIF, ATPX, ATRM, and ATCS.

      • Haiku Looks To Leverage More Of Mesa

        Haiku OS, the open-source operating system that’s a re-implementation of BeOS, is continuing to look at leveraging more of Mesa for its 3D/OpenGL rendering.

      • One Week To SIGGRAPH OpenGL Announcements
      • GLAMOR 0.5 To Advance 2D Over OpenGL

        With the Radeon driver now supporting GLAMOR acceleration — it works for all hardware, but for Radeon HD 7000 series and newer its the only way of 2D HW acceleration — this 2D-over-OpenGL architecture became more interesting.

      • Freedreno Driver Gets Working Shader Assembler

        Freedreno, the reverse-engineered open-source Qualcomm Snapdragon graphics driver, continues to advance. The latest accomplishment of the Freedreno Linux driver is that it now has its own working shader assembler, which means Freedreno can now work without any binary blob dependence.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Chrome OS Linux 2.1.1145 Is Powered by Cinnamon 1.4

      The Chrome OS developers announced today, July 27th, the immediate availability for download of the Chrome OS 2.1.1145 Live CD Linux operating system, which brings a lot of fresh software.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Results from the Kolab Sprint in Berlin

        This week members of the Kolab Community met in Berlin for some very productive face to face work on the upcoming release of Kolab 3.0 alpha. Developers from ownCloud, Roundcube, KDE, Cyrus IMAP, Fedora, and of course Kolab sat together for one week, discussed, hacked and celebrated. Employees of Kolab Systems used the opportunity to meet with several business partners and a usability expert provided same valuable input that will be used to make Kolab clients more user friendly.

      • EPUB Support Coming Soon To Calligra Words

        Calligra Words, a KDE word-processing software, will soon support EPUB formats. This support will make it possible for the user to create high quality and portable ebooks compatible with PCs, netbooks, tablets and mobile devices.

      • QML Support for Window Decorations

        Implementing a new window decoration for KWin is not the easiest thing to do. While the API has hardly changed since early 3.x releases it is not very Qt like and requires a strong understanding of how the window decoration in KWin works. To design a window decoration you basically have three options which come with KWin…

      • Get Bleeding Edge KDE Software In Fedora

        If you use Fedora and are a great fan of KDE, you can enable the KDE unstable repository to have latest and bleeding edge KDE software.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • staring into the abyss

        I suppose I can’t just leave my last post standing there as-is. I’ll start by listing a bunch of things I consider facts about the GNOME project. I don’t want to talk about solutions here, I just want to list them, because I don’t think they are common knowledge. People certainly don’t seem to talk about them a lot.

      • GNOME 4.0, GNOME OS Coming In 2014 & Other Crazy Plans

        While some GNOME developers and users see the once fledging desktop environment fading into abyss, other GNOME developers see nothing but GNOME getting better with the best yet to come. It’s been called for this week from GUADEC that GNOME 4.0 to be released in March of 2014 along with GNOME OS. That’s not all of their ambitious plans but they think they can gain a 20% market-share by 2020 and they also have some other plans on their agenda.

      • GNOME implodes – again

        From time to time, the GNOME Desktop Project blows up, with one developer or another indulging in soul-searching and realising that the project lacks direction. Or people. Or something else.

      • An opinion on the future of GNOME

        According to some within the GNOME team, the team and the GNOME product are falling apart. By alienating the people that were loyal dedicated users they have begun a downward spiral into the abyss. What was once a respectable, reputable product now a garbage salad that no one wants and no-one uses.

        Many projects are reacting to GTK3 with proverbial “meh” including Inkscape, Mozilla, GIMP, and LibreOffice. GNOME is bleeding developers, and it is being dropped like an anchor from multiple distributions.

      • Marvel-ize your Gnome Shell Theme!

        This is a simple guide on how you can hack your Gnome Shell (just a bit!) and make one unique theme just for you.

        I used Adwaita as base because everyone has this (but you can do this in every theme), and I also used some Marvel images that you can replace with anything you like.

      • yorba, a modern Gnome company!

        Some days ago I had posted about the new upcoming Gnome mail application and a reader let a comment about Geary. What is Geary? A mail client app, written in Vala which seems to share many common design goals with Gnome Mail.

  • Distributions

    • AntiX 12: Most complete lightweight Linux distro I have seen!

      Linux never ceases to amaze me – particularly the light-weight distros aimed for low powered PCs! There are so many options and depending on your need and suitability you can pick and choose which one to use. Plus, it brings your old machine back to life without compromising on the security and with the state-of-the-art applications! You can’t ever think of that with any other operating system, for sure.

    • Puppy Arcade – Good idea but needs an update

      Before I start I’d like to say this is not supposed to be an in depth review of Puppy Arcade. It is a post which explains what Puppy Arcade is and how I think it can be improved.

    • A Full LuninuX Experience!

      Another Ubuntu-based distribution featuring a customised Gnome 3 desktop with Gnome Shell has been released today and it is time for another distro review here on worldofgnome.org.

    • LuninuX 12 Screenshots (07/27/2012)
    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Slideshow: Take a tour of new Red Hat office tower

        Our Red Hat tour guide turns on a light in a corner conference room – onto walls that are, not surprisingly, colored red.

        “You can’t appreciate it yet,” Craig Yost, senior director of global facilities and real estate says, “but when we’ve opened all the floors, you’ll see something.”

      • 3 Software Stocks To Buy, 1 To Ignore

        Within the software industry, Red Hat specializes in open source software solutions and applications. It is one of the less known mid-cap firms in the space, but has gained respect as a momentum play. As data demand takes off against rising consumer interest and emerging market growth, Red Hat will continue to be a prime beneficiary. Over the last 5 years going through the Great Recession, the stock more than doubled – appreciating by 133.7%. But, at this point, I don’t believe the fundamentals and earnings power is not enough to justify the valuation.

      • Red Hat’s Top 4 Priorities for 2013: Cloud, Virtualization, And…

        What are Red Hat‘s top four priorities for its fiscal year 2013? Sure, driving adoption of key technologies (virtualization, cloud and storage) is one top priority. But what are the other “big three” focus areas? And where do channel partners fit into the Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) conversation? Here are some clues, plus questions The VAR Guy will ask Channel Chief Roger Egan during CompTIA Breakaway (July 30-Aug. 2) in Las Vegas.

      • CowboyNeal Reviews Oracle Linux

        If you’re already perfectly happy with your RHEL or CentOS Linux install, Oracle Linux is a hard sell, even at the price of free. After toying about with the system, I’d say it’s at least worth a hard look. As it is, you get the benefits of CentOS or Scientific Linux, with Oracle’s own stuff bolted on, and their enhancements, even minus Ksplice, make a compelling argument to use Oracle Linux. If you are setting up a machine to use Oracle’s database software, Oracle Linux is the best choice, since it’s been designed to support Oracle DB, and is the same Linux that Oracle uses in-house. While Oracle’s premier support contract is cheaper than the RHEL alternative, the actual cost of switching from RHEL to Oracle in a given case may not be. While this release is a good first step for Oracle, more options, like free Ksplice Uptrack, or even a Ksplice Uptrack subscription, would make it an easier sell.

    • Debian Family

      • Bits from the nippy Release Team
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • What’s new with Ubuntu?

            One of Linux’s most popular distros, Ubuntu, will be getting some new UI and web integration with its latest LTS (Long Term Support) version, Ubuntu 12.20.

            In a recent presentation at Oscon 2012, founder Mark Shuttleworth said that Linux now comes pre-installed on five percent of PCs globally.

            With regards to the next version, 12.10, Shuttleworth mentioned that the next iteration would offer font, search and menu innovations.

          • A Game-Changing Proposal: Ubuntu for students.

            There’s this thing about students: they take technology for granted. It’s nothing too disheartening, except for the tech-savvy ones who seem that technology is more than a commodity. The 21st century endowed us a new way to access information, and to do so, it shouldn’t be just endlessly chatting with a friend through facebook or ceaselessly playing games on the iphone, hungry for more. Insatiable appetite is a byproduct of the consumer world. Why not change that?

            Today, during lunch, I had the honor of meeting David Montes, a senior and the school’s computer guru, to talk about something quite drastic. Two days ago, I had a facebook chat with him about the idea of Ubuntu running on all the systems within the school, from student cart laptops to the school administration servers. Although we saw some implications, we reached a stunning conclusion, that it actually should be done if we want to take learning about computers to a whole new and exciting level.

          • Ubuntu App Developer Showdown Likely To Be Repeated

            Ubuntu App Developer Showdown is an online event hosted by Canonical where new developers learn about creating apps with Ubuntu technologies and get a chance to host them in Ubuntu Software Center.

            This year, the event ran full three weeks, at the end of which developers submitted 140 applications. The event is accompanied by video tutorials and interactive Google+ hangouts where developers can ask and interact with lead Ubuntu devs and get their doubts cleared.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 Alpha 3 Has Firefox 15 and Unity 6

            Softpedia is the first to announce today, July 26th, that the third Alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) operating system is now available for download. As usual, we’ve grabbed a copy of it in order to keep you up-to-date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 12.10 development.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 Alpha 3 Screenshots (07/26/2012)
          • Ubuntu 12.10 Unity Concept Mockup Video

            Britt Yazel posted a couple of days ago on the unity-design team mailing list an interesting link to a YouTube video showing a mockup of Unity in Ubuntu 12.10. The video was originally posted on February, but it is a very good example of how Unity should be.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Bodhi Linux 2.0.0 stable release arrives

              Alongside the launch of a new web site, the developers at the Bodhi Linux project have published the second major release of their minimal Linux distribution with an Enlightenment-based desktop. As previously described by lead developer Jeff Hoogland, the goal of version 2.0 of Bodhi Linux was not to “introduce ground breaking new features” to the distribution, but rather to smoothly transition to a new version of its underlying operating system.

            • Xubuntu 12.10 Alpha 3 Screenshot Tour
            • Lubuntu 12.10 Alpha 3 Screenshot Tour

              Canonical published yesterday, July 26th, the third and last Alpha release of the upcoming Lubuntu 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) operating system.

              Lubuntu 12.10 Alpha 3 comes with a new version of the session manager, a new version of PCManFM, xfce4-notifyd replaced notification-daemon for default notification system, added Catfish searching utility, and updated the artwork (including the wallpaper and GTK themes).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Nexus 7? Wait: Google’s Motorola Xoom + Jelly Bean is coming soon

        Google launched Android 4.1 on the Asus-developed (but Google branded) Nexus 7 in part to reassure OEMs that they will be treated equally in the aftermath of its Motorola Mobility purchase. Maybe Google really did spend $12 plus billion for the Motorola patents, but users are still awaiting the more full featured iPad2 killer from Google. Will it be Jelly Bean on Motorola’s Xoom?.

      • Lenovo plans clip-on physical keyboard for tablets

        Tablet owners have so far had to opt for keyboard docks to take their typing physical. However, that may be about to change after recently published Lenovo patents revealed an interesting clip-on.

      • Casio announces V-T500-GE and V-T500E Tough Business Tablets

        Casio announced today the release of the V-T500-GE and V-T500E business tablets. Based on a product concept of Smart and Tough, these new tablets offer rugged, dependable performance and a full range of features to suit various work styles. The new Casio tablets run Android 4.0 and are equipped with an OMAP4460 1.5 GHz dual cores CPU. The V-T500-GE and V-T500-E are equipped with a large 10.1-inch screen with LED backlight for outstanding readability. The 10.1-inch screen offers excellent readability indoors and out, and offer multi-finger touch control as well as digitizer pen input (sold separately) for ease of use. The new tablets deliver tough, robust security, coming with an NFC Reader/Writer that can authenticate user login using a non-contact IC card, and they have a Secure Access Module (SAM) slot for applications where even higher security is required.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can open source save HP?

    You seldom hear about it, but Hewlett-Packard has long been a supporter of open source. The company contributes to the Debian GNU/Linux distribution and has hired several people who were formerly leaders of the Debian Project, including the redoubtable Bdale Garbee. HP also participates in many smaller projects and invests plenty of effort in governance and community activities. Despite its work engaging the community and ensuring HP printers are usable from Linux, open source seems to have made little impact on HP’s software portfolio (alas, poor WebOS).

  • Google opens code for building interactive experiences in physical spaces

    Google has released a new software framework that aims to give programmers the ability to create interactive experiences in physical spaces. It could potentially be used to build interactive art installations or games that involve physical interaction.

  • Obsidian joins Open Virtualisation Alliance

    Obsidian Systems has further entrenched its position as a leading provider of enterprise open source in southern Africa by joining the Open Virtualisation Alliance (OVA), a global collection of platform and system providers dedicated to promoting open virtualisation as an alternative to proprietary solutions.

  • VMware buys Nicira: Open-source threat or cloudy opportunity?
  • Open source middleware and SOA help FAA distribute weather data

    Though its work is somewhat behind the scenes, most travelers know they depend on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure safe air travel. In the past, the organization has often scrabbled with technology and change. In fact, many of its systems have a lot of mileage on them and are difficult to modernize.

  • Call For Participation

    Do you contribute to open source? A great way to get started is to attend a conference, and there are four fine choices available to you this August-October.

  • Look Beyond Commercial Software, Asahi Technologies Provides Open Source Integration Services for Small and Medium Size Businesses
  • Open Source: Incredible Apps For Every OS

    As the resident open source zealot, I thought it might be nice to have a quick rundown of some of the best apps that are free, open source, and cross-platform available to our readers. Experienced users may find fault with me for leaving out their favorite app, but hopefully they will agree that the ones I’ve picked here are deserving of recognition. I especially hope this is useful to those that are unaware of the existence of these applications due to the long shadows cast by the proprietary icons of their respective categories. If you feel I did miss an important app, please let us know in the comments and share your favorites with everyone.

  • Exercising a Little Open Source Prudence

    IT organizations today are more dependent on open source code than ever; they’re just not always sure where it came from, whether they can legally use it or how secure it is.

  • Google hands developers keys to enliven interactive rooms

    Google this week announced it is opening code for building interactive experiences in physical spaces. The Monday posting on its open-source blog site, which carries news about its open source projects, announced the release of Interactive Spaces. As such, Google has a special invitation for developers: “Make a room come alive,” using this framework for creating interactive spaces. The release is described as a new API and runtime that allows developers to build interactive applications for physical spaces.

  • RIP Sparrow: Components of the beloved mail client are open sourced for personal use only
  • Events

    • My Top Five Sessions at the CloudOpen Conference
    • Mydala opts for open source

      When the deal aggregator Mydala was planning its portal, CTO Ashish Bhatnagar was convinced that the business was likely to take off in a big way and that they would be reaching a scale where, in a day, they would be catering to nearly 8 mn subscribers and running over 1.5 lakh deals across 93 cities.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Addons Cross 3 Billion Downloads

        Mozilla Firefox is everyone’s favorite browser because of its large collection of add-ons. These add-ons allow you to customize your browser the way you like. You can change personas, themes and more to make your browser stand out from others. And there are some tools like Adblock and NoScript that make your browsing safer and ad free.

      • Firefox Add-ons Cross More Than 3 Billion Downloads!

        We are excited to announce that we just crossed more than 3 billion downloads* of Firefox Add-ons! That’s almost half of the world’s population and more than the number of people on the Internet today.

  • SaaS

    • CIOs Increasingly Bullish on the Cloud, Survey Finds

      It’s easy enough to find rosy predictions for the cloud from the vendors of related products and services, but when CIOs speak out in favor of the technology, it’s hard not to sit up and take notice.

      Such, in fact, is just what came out of a recent survey of IT executives from Host Analytics and Dimensional Research.

      Whereas a few years ago we were still hearing considerable concern from CIOs on a number of fronts — security and control perhaps foremost among them — this new research suggests that these executives are increasingly optimistic about cloud computing’s many benefits.

    • Cisco Touts Its Cloudy Open Future – Will VMware Do The Same?
  • Education

    • AdaCamp DC: A learning environment for women in open source
    • Monoculture in Education

      I was browsing this morning and came upon an advertisement for system administrator for a small northern Canadian school division. I was surprised to see that there was not a single mention of a GNU/Linux product involved, not even on servers. They were locked in securely to the Wintel world, even in their virtual machines.

      I have worked in places like that a decade ago, but thought them totally obsolete by now. Even the most staid organizations see that GNU/Linux has its place, particularly in servers. I was working in one such place and was encouraged to give a presentation to all the IT people about rolling out a GNU/Linux server in each school. That was 2004. Eight years later, to still find M$-only shops still exist is surprising.

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Lunatics is now Crowd-Funding for a Pilot Episode

      If you’ve been following my column for the last year or two, you already know that “Lunatics” is the free-culture animated science-fiction series that we are creating with free-software applications like Blender, Synfig, Audacity, Inkscape, Gimp, and Krita. We are finally crowd-funding for our pilot episode “No Children in Space” on Kickstarter. If we get funded, this will be a major step forward for free-culture and free-software in the media industry. Come check it out, tell everybody you know, and/or get a copy on DVD or other cool stuff from the project!

    • Open-Source Startup Meteor Gets $11.2M from Andreessen Horowitz

      Meteor Development Group (MDG) raises $11.2 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz and others to fund development around the open-source Meteor Web app development platform.

      Meteor Development Group (MDG), the company behind the Meteor open-source project, which produces a platform for building software applications, has announced $11.2 million in funding led by Andreessen Horowitz.

    • Money can’t buy open-source love… only code can

      Money can’t buy you happiness, but Meteor, a web-apps startup focused on enterprise app development, seems to think it can buy it an open-source community.

      Instead of the standard startup funding announcement, proclaiming that the company will use its funding for product development, marketing and so on, Meteor says it “will use the money to build the open source community around its offerings.”

      Is that so? Who knew all you needed for an open-source community was $11.2m in venture funding?

    • Open-Source Startup Meteor Gets $11.2M from Andreessen Horowitz
  • Public Services/Government

    • Hungarian city of Miskolc: “Saving €3,000 per user per year on licenses”

      In 2009, under the leadership of the vice-mayor, the administration of the city of Miskolc in Hungary started a transition to open source software and open standards. The primary goals were to reduce costs and find alternative solutions for IT services.

      At the start, under the control of service provider Open SKM (in Hungarian), there were no project-like qualities attached to this transition: it had no roadmap, no stages and no milestones.

      According to Dr. János Kovács, head of the Miskolc IT department, the plan also included some bad ideas, like converting document formats from .doc and .xls to .odt and .ods, respectively, as part of the move from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice. The original plan was to process as many as 600,000 existing documents to free the city from its data lock-in. However, important questions concerning the rationale and cost of this conversion were not considered.

    • DISA must make forge.mil live up to its potential

      When the Defense Information Systems Agency made forge.mil operational in 2009, it appeared a revolutionary step forward in Defense Department adoption of open source software.

      The site would be a repository for code and an online gathering point for a collaborative community of defense open source coders, DISA officials said at the time.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OAuth 2.0 standard editor quits, takes name off spec

      The lead author and editor of the OAuth 2.0 network authorization standard has stepped down from his role, withdrawn his name from the specification, and quit the working group, describing the current version of the spec as “the biggest professional disappointment of my career.”

Leftovers

  • Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

    Facts from these data that please me are

    * that other OS has a proper share and no more,
    * FireFox, a FLOSS web-browser rules, even though I am partial to Chrome,
    * there are a lot of comments per post, thanks to readers, and
    * Internet Exploder has a tiny share, probably still more than a tool of anti-competition deserves.

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Randy Wray: Why We’re Screwed

      As the Global Financial Crisis rumbles along in its fifth year, we read the latest revelations of bankster fraud, the LIBOR scandal. This follows the muni bond fixing scam detailed a couple of weeks ago, as well as the J.P. Morgan trading fiasco and the Corzine-MF Global collapse and any number of other scandals in recent months. In every case it was traders run amuck, fixing “markets” to make an easy buck at someone’s expense. In times like these, I always recall Robert Sherrill’s 1990 statement about the S&L crisis that “thievery is what unregulated capitalism is all about.”

      After 1990 we removed what was left of financial regulations following the flurry of deregulation of the early 1980s that had freed the thrifts so that they could self-destruct. And we are shocked, SHOCKED!, that thieves took over the financial system.

    • Fed Governor Speaks Out For Stronger Rules

      A powerful new voice for financial reform emerged this week – Sarah Bloom Raskin, a governor of the Federal Reserve System. In a speech on Tuesday, she laid out a clear and compelling vision for why the financial system should focus on providing old-fashioned but essential intermediation between savers and borrowers in the nonfinancial sector.

      Sadly, she also explained that she is a dissenting voice within the Board of Governors on an essential piece of financial reform, the Volcker Rule. Her colleagues, according to Ms. Raskin, supported a proposed rule that is weaker, i.e., more favorable to the banks; she voted against it in October.

      At least on this dimension, financial reform is not fully on track.

  • DRM

    • Guide to DRM-free Living gets a big update!

      We’ve just finished a major update of the Guide to DRM-free Living with dozens of new places to get ebooks, movies, and music without DRM and a page of worst-offenders. There have been some exciting developments in the realm of DRM opposition on ebooks, like Tor/Forge dropping DRM on ebooks, and we wanted to spruce up the guide to reflect all the progress that’s been made. The suggested additions came from the LibrePlanet Wiki where you can submit new items for the guide for us to review. With so many new additions, we’ve also had to reorganize the guide into more sections that should make it easy to find what you need.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Creative Commons CEO reflects on YouTube’s remixable library

        How many of you have utilized the four million Creative Commons videos on YouTube? Cathy Casserly, CEO of Creative Commons, recently shared a guest post on YouTube’s blog, reflecting on the first year of YouTube’s Creative Commons video library. According to Casserly, this library is larger than any other in the world.

      • Digital Economy Act Consultation Response

        Last week I wrote about the extremely short consultation period for aspects of implementing the Digital Economy Act. Time is running out – the consultation closes tomorrow at 5pm, so I urge you to submit something soon. It doesn’t have to be very long. Here, for example, is what I am sending – short, but maybe not so sweet….

Microsoft Shows Up in Apple’s Jihad for Bans and Castrations of Android Devices

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Where are we on this Jihad?”

Bill Gates

“Now it’s getting interesting. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates’ father’s law firm, known as the firm that represents Microsoft, has just filed a Notice of Entry of Appearance and Demand for Notices and Papers [PDF] in the SCO bankruptcy on behalf of MSLI, Inc., otherwise known as Microsoft Licensing, one of the creditors on SCO’s list. In fact, one of the 20 top creditors [PDF], owed $125,000 or so. That would give them a seat at the creditors committee table, presumably, should they so desire, if a committee is formed later.

“I guess filing as MSLI instead of Microsoft Licensing is like putting on sunglasses, hoping no one will notice you.”

Groklaw in “Microsoft Slinks In – MSLI Appears in SCO Bankruptcy”

Hiding

Summary: Apple is losing to Android, is forced to apologise, shown to have copied Sony, and Microsoft shows up in its trials

Samsung has helped Microsoft make money from Linux and for that we never forgot the Korean giant. LG, the other Korean giant, did the same thing. But right now we rely on Samsung to defend Android from Apple.

Over at Groklaw, Microsoft is shown as involved in Apple’s case against Samsung. Quoting Pamela Jones:

icrosoft Files Motion in Apple v. Samsung to Hide Patent License Agreement Terms

There’s been a fascinating development in the Apple v. Samsung litigation. It is possible we’ll get to see the cross-license agreement between Microsoft and Samsung that the parties announced in this press release [PDF], which mentioned that it also covered Android. If we get to see it, it would be the first time we get to see exactly what are the terms of such an agreement, because Microsoft always insists on an NDA.

Of course, Microsoft’s hair is on fire about it, and so it’s asking the court [PDF] to seal it:

As explained in the accompanying declaration of Tanya Moore, Microsoft’s General Manager of Outbound Licensing, Exhibits 3A and 3B to the Teece Report contain sensitive confidential and proprietary business information from the Confidential Agreement between Microsoft and Samsung. The Teece Report summarizes sensitive portions of the Confidential Agreement, including the licensed technology, term of the license, royalty rates, and payment information, among other things. (Moore Decl. at ¶¶ 3-4).

Here’s the attorney declaration in support [PDF] of the Microsoft motion. This particular judge, Hon. Lucy Koh, has been insisting on making things public when possible, even spanking Samsung publicly for asking to seal materials and for not applying in the right way, writing “This standard may be exacting, but it is necessary in light of the Ninth Circuit’s direction that public access must be respected unless truly unwarranted.”

There is at least one complaint about Microsoft's extortion.

Well, back in May Samsung tried to evade patent traps because this trial can determine winners and losers in the mobile era (Samsung is the leading Android seller). Apple is trying to cripple devices if not altogether block them; watch this report which says “Samsung has disabled an advanced search function in an update to the international version of its flagship Galaxy S3 smartphone, following a patent dispute with Apple.”

Artificial crippling is bad for customers. Here’s more on that [1, 2]] and also a reminder that Google steps in to aid Samsung and others in this case. Google itself is collecting patents and since Google never sued anyone using patents we are far less concerned about it for the time being.

Sadly, not just Apple fan sites are boosting Apple’s patent ammunition that it already uses aggressively:

The headlines sounded the first signs of alarm (or glee, depending on which camp you’re in): “Apple Granted the Mother of All Smartphone Software Patents.” For Apple () investors, the news about the patent it has been granted that covers nearly every key aspect of the smartphone user inteface is very good.

This is also covered in [1, 2, 3].

Apple has already been penalised for lying as a “[c]ourt makes ruling after agreeing with Samsung that Apple’s false statements could have caused harm” (we covered this in July).

One other company that tried using the ITC against Samsung devices has changed its mind and as this schematic helps show, it is Apple that should apologise to Sony for “stealing” phone designs:

Apple Stole iPhone Design From Sony, Patented It And Sued Everyone Else

Ahead of the mega Samsung vs Apple court trial some internal Apple document shows that Apple’s design team stole the design of Sony’s phone to design the iPhone.

According to The Verge, “A recent court filing by Samsung reveals that in 2006 Apple industrial designer Shin Nishibori was directed to design an iPhone prototype inspired by Sony’s aesthetics after Tony Fadell internally circulated an interview with a designer from the company. An assortment of renders reveal his design, complete with a Sony logo — save for one where the logo has been modified to read “Jony,” presumably in honor of Apple’s Jony Ive.”

Apple’s case is growing ever more weak and new disgraceful tactics seem to be attempted instead:

Amid fierce smartphone competition between Samsung and Apple that has spilled into a multinational patent battle, it looks like Apple may have opened yet another front on the M&A side: it is buying mobile security company AuthenTec — which had only just signed a deal with Samsung for Android devices — for $356 million.

AuthenTec, among other things, makes fingerprint sensor chips that are used for security and identification purposes; these are embedded in computing devices. The news was first reported by Reuters; the full announcement was filed with the SEC.

Apple really struggles to stop the explosive growth of Android. The Linux-based platform is achieving domination. We need to protect it from the declining proprietary duopoly.

“Really, I’m not out to destroy Microsoft. That will just be a completely unintentional side effect.”

Linus Torvalds

Software Patents Protest Spreads Everywhere

Posted in Patents at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Serving power, not justice

SCOTUS

Summary: The legal system in the United States and elsewhere loses the hearts of the people

THE cartel of patent lawyers is trying to sell us a war. It has been trying to market patent wars and also encourage practising entities to gather ammunition, not products. Here is one new example of the propaganda.

Simon Phipps, the president of the OSI, says that even the ITU is now concerned about patent litigation:

Even the ITU is beginning to think RAND terms are a problem in the modern technology market.

It’s about time. In an article we mentioned before, “slowing patent lawsuit rush”, IDG pushes nonsense which contradicts simple observation. The patent wars are worse than ever, certainly worse than in 2006 when this site began. The USPTO is now ” Issu[ing] Four Patents to IOCOM for Video Conferencing, showing that software patents are being given in bulk. Even US judges are fed up with the USPTO and with SCOTUS that defends USPTO interests (SCOTUS is pro-mgacorporations [1, 2]):

The nation’s top patent court has stopped a lower court from throwing out four patents on financial software, used to sue a bank dealing in foreign currency exchanges.

Recently, Judge Posner pretty much called for ending of software patents. He let Motorola go free, whereas in Germany of all places Motorola had its products banned due to software patents (which are illegitimate).

In light of a small company getting hit by software patent trolls, game sites too express anger at software patents and ask readers about the subject:

In this week’s episode of Super Podcast Action Committee, EZK and I discussed software patents and whether they’re beneficial to the games industry, detrimental or somewhere in between.

Now it’s your turn to chime in.

A lovingly hand-crafted poll sits on the right side of this very screen, nestled snuggly underneath the LOGIN box. As of this writing, over 200 readers have made their opinion on software patents known and so far opinion is split between “software patents can take a long walk off a short pier” and “Gentlemen, we can reform them. We have the technology. We have the capability to make software patents beneficial to all mankind!”

Guess the outcome. At least a dozen news sites covered the litigation against Minecraft’s maker. This helps raise awareness of the harms of software patents. The protest is clearly growing.

To end with the words of Judge Posner:

Hon. Posner, the Judge who recently questioned whether patents should cover software in a Reuters interview, recently authored an article for The Atlantic on the very same topic. Once again he voiced his concern about software patents and the patent system as a whole. Compared to the Reuters interview, the Judge’s opinion, assumingly written in his own hand, comes across less radical absolute [than] previously.

In Reuters, Posner compared Apple to animals. Our next post will talk about Apple. The misuse of patents is well exemplified by Steve Jobs’ mob.

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