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08.25.12

Slashdot and CBS/CNET Help Promote Patent Trolling

Posted in Bill Gates, Patents at 10:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: The world’s biggest patent troll, backed by Bill Gates and run by his close friend, gets a PR placement in the corporate press and Slashdot amplifies it

TWO of our readers have brought to our attention (in two of our IRC channels) this Intellectual Ventures whitewash that hit Slashdot on Friday. The original came from the Microsoft booster in CNET and it is merely corporate propaganda for Bill and Nathan, some of the world’s biggest enemies (and personal frieneds of each other, thriving and getting richer with common investments and lobbying). Groklaw found more news from the same area, namely Bellevue, promoting patents.

For those who are new to the above whitewash, our wiki pages ought to provide a good start (e.g. Gates Foundation). Due to the collapse of the Gates Watchers blogs, our future coverage of Gates’ abusive activities remains uncertain. We’ve been in touch with the Gates Watchers author.

IBM, Microsoft, and the BSA Promote Software Patents in New Zealand Behind the Scenes

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IBM still a closeted enemy of public interests

Lou Gerstner

Summary: US corporations are trying to distort NZ policy so that it reflects the very opposite of what people of New Zealand (NZ) want and need

THE multinationals from the US, namely Intel, IBM (as covered before), and of course Microsoft, have been lobbying for software patents in New Zealand. According to news from the site which is dedicated purely to fighting software patents, “[o]n May 7th and June 8th, 2010, Microsoft and IBM met privately with members of New Zealand’s Ministry of Economic Development (MED). They claim to have convinced the Ministry to abandon plans to exclude software from patentability in the proposed Patents Bill.

“IBM should be chastised for doing what it’s doing right now.”“There was also a private exchange of emails between the MED and Microsft, IBM, and the Business Software Alliance in the month before and after the meeting, where those three organisations submitted policy documents.”

IBM should be chastised for doing what it’s doing right now. Only if public pressure mounts will IBM recede from these positions that also the BSA is pushing. We thought that IBM had dumped the BSA last year (or the year before that).

08.24.12

Longtime Lobbyist Reported to the FTC for AstroTurfing Practices

Posted in Apple, Marketing, Microsoft at 9:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FTC

Summary: Microsoft Florian and his AstroTurf activities highlighted after virtually forced admissions that he was paid by those whom he had lobbied for

THERE are rules and regulation in place — constraints whose purpose is to mitigate corrupting influence in the court system, the government, the press, etc.

Microsoft Florian was pressured to reveal some payments after a lot of pressure from his critics and after orders from a judge [1, 2]. He mass-mailed many journalists over and over again for years, using false pretences, all whilst offering no disclosure. We documented this for years.

Most pro-Linux bloggers knew what was going on, but the lobbyist was never punished for what he did; the damage he has done is quite real and the lies were profound.

Here is the complaint I sent this afternoon.

Subject: AstroTurf Marketing by Microsoft Corporation, Lacking Disclosure

To:

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
E-mail: antitrust@ftc.gov

It has come to my attention[1] that you are working to end the practice of unethical marketing on the Web, or paid bloggers whose purpose is to influence the media or public while pretending to be “independent”. As one who followed a longtime lobbyist called Florian Müller[2] for the past two years I hereby wish to file a complaint about Microsoft Corporation, whom he provided AstroTurf services to, concealed under the guise of “consulting”. Microsoft Corporation is lodged at the following address:

Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-7329
USA
Tel: (425) 882-8080
Fax: (425) 706-7329

With payments from Microsoft Corporation, Mr. Müller, who was previously a soccer lobbyist for Real Madrid, has been littering the Web by mass-mailing journalists and pushing the agenda of Microsoft promotion, using their talking points. He offered no disclosure until the pressure grew too cumbersome and even a judge demanded disclosure.

This phenomenon is widespread and I shall produce substantial proof when you require it. I suggest contacting those who have used the services of Mr. Müller. In order to crack down on the practice of paid (AstroTurf) blogging, those who hire them need to face the consequences. Deterrence does not emanate from mere declaration of intent to address this endemic issue.

With kind regards,

Dr. Roy Schestowitz
[Home address omitted]

_____
[1] http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10269962-38.html
[2] http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Florian_Müller

Despite being exposed to the core, the lobbying carries on. Some of the latest lobbying revolves around painting Motorola as the ‘bad guy’. To quote some new articles:

  • Mutually Assured Destruction: Google/Motorola vs. Apple

    Cupertino has been doing its best to sue Samsung’s Android tablets and smartphones out of the market rather than compete with them. Now, Motorola — under Google’s control — is returning the favor. Motorola Mobility is asking the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) to ban the import of iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

  • Motorola Sues Apple; Cupertino Needs A Lesson

    Many bloggers are pointing at Google as ArsTechnica publishes this story criticizing Google: “Three days after suing Apple, Google says patent wars hurt consumers.” I don’t know how big corporations work, but Google is the only company which has been one of the staunch supporters of users’s freedom, open source and free culture. This is also a company which never sued anyone and always improved its products to compete in the market.

    Sadly, Apple has left Google owned Motorola with no other option. However, we should applaud Google for still maintaining its stand on patents and sending out a sensible message to Apple. Pablo Chavez, Google’s director of public policy, said, “One thing that we are very seriously taking a look at is the question of software patents, and whether in fact the patent system as it currently exists is the right system to incent innovation and really promote consumer-friendly policies.”

Notice how the Microsoft booster spins it so shamelessly, turning defence into offence. It’s all spin and it is spreading quite “ironically”.

The truth is, Google wants patent reform and Australia takes note because Google has a lot of impact. There are many articles about it mostly in the US [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] and unlike the spin from the Microsoft/Apple lobby, the coverage is fair. Just days ago we found out that Apple and Microsoft were secretly collaborating on patents. To quote: “The latest update in the Apple vs Samsung saga reveals that the Cupertino firm has an ‘anti-cloning’ deal in place with Microsoft”

This is why it’s natural for the lobbying to be of the same flavour, too. Microsoft Florian also received payments from Apple, not so surprisingly.

Apple and Microsoft sure share a pain. Apple sees Android growing far faster than before and Microsoft cannot even get started. As one Finnish blogger put it,”[t]his is the blog of what happens when Two Plus Two is Less Than Two. Not less than four, that was not a typo, I really meant less than two! Or in other words: why do we know now, that Microsoft’s Nokia gambit has failed beyond recovery.

“This blog is not about Nokia’s record-setting failure in smartphones. I have written enough about why I evaluate Nokia CEO Stephen Elop as the worst CEO of all time. If you want the first 19 reasons, they are here. The 20th reason is here, and the 21st reason is here. I am not alone in calling Elop incompetent and one of the worst managers alive, or even possibly the worst CEO of all time. This blog is not about the Nokia point-of-view. This is now the calculation from Microsoft’s angle. How did it turn out for them. The Nokia partnership was the most certain slam-dunk gambit that could not fail, no matter how badly it might be botched, this was so pure gravy for Microsoft, they would always end up roses in the end. The scheme that could not fail. Like Baldrich would say on The Black Adder, I have a cunning plan…”

Nokia has had Microsoft pass its patents to trolls that cannot hurt Microsoft and Apple, leaving just Android as the expected target. Those companies realise that patents are the only weapon that can hinder Android growth. As the blog puts it in another post: “I just learned a few hours ago, via Kauppalehti in Finland, that there is now a buzz around the Finnish shareholders association, to consider getting signatures to get Elop fired (special shareholders meeting and all that). I had not in any way thought about writing any Nokiastuff today, but just reading some of the discussion at Kauppalehti’s forum had me instantly motivated, that I should say something. Not to my regular readers who on this blog know my views very well – I was one of the first to demand Elop be fired, that is no surprise. But the honest discussion and debate that the Kauppalehti forum had in Finnish, among shareholders, with legitimate concerns. Is this Elop’s fault, would removing him resolve anything, etc. So I instantly dived into writing from my heart to Finnish Nokia shareholders, in Finnish, why I think yes, Elop should be fired and why it actually could result in reasonably rapid improvement in Nokia’s predicament.”

Some “get a kick out of grandiose schemes for world domination failing miserably” and this is what we see in the case of Microsoft. No wonder it resorts to dirty tactics such as AstroTurfing practices. For Apple and Microsoft, this is an alliance of convenience against a common enemy. The dirty tactics must be reported. The FTC did sent us back letters in the past, saying it was looking into the complaints we had filed.

Links 24/8/2012: Linux 3.6 RC3, Gnome Shell 3.6 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Forums Etiquette
  • Linux and Apple: Which Is the Lemon, Which Is the Lemonade?

    Think you’re going to run Linux as a second operating system on that new Retina MacBook of yours? Think again. Phoronix’s Michael Larabel has described it as a “less than ideal experience,” even after jumping through the various technological hoops necessary to make it work at all. But who’s at fault for this — Apple or Linux?

  • Desktop

    • Time to Shine: Why Desktop Linux is Taking Over

      Microsoft Windows has long been the operating system of choice for corporate level desktop PCs, but times change. There are a number of drivers that are pushing Linux into the domain of the end user device from the enterprise server space; such as tablets, smartphones and the 20 million desktop PCs and countless server installations using the free Ubuntu Linux operating system.

    • The Stark Unreality of Retail GNU/Linux in USA

      Check out Walmart.com. Look for

      * “linux” in Books – 104 results (YAY!)
      * “ubuntu” in Books – 25 results (YAY!)
      * “linux” in Computers – 2 results , online only pickup in stores a few days after ordering (BOOO!)
      * “ubuntu” in Computers – 0 results (BOOO!)

      What’s wrong with this picture? There’s obviously a great interest in GNU/Linux in Walmart’s customers. Several books about GNU/Linux are on the first page of the “best-sellers” list under Books/Computers/Operating Systems. Why don’t they sell more than a couple of models of GNU/Linux PCs (ones with a popular distro at least)?

    • 6th Grade Teacher Builds Students a Free Linux-Based Computer Lab From Scratch

      Robert Litt teaches sixth grade in Alameda County, California. Until recently, he taught at a school that lacked a functioning computer lab. For reasons that are probably clear to anyone who reads technology and nerd culture blogs, a school in 2012 not having a computer lab is a totally unacceptable thing. It occurred to Litt that if students aren’t coming out of primary education with some basic computer literacy, they’re being drastically underserved by their school system, and he wasn’t ready to let that fly. So, with no budget to speak of and in dire need of a computer lab, Litt turned to the warm embrace of free software and put together 70 computers running Ubuntu, meaning that ASCEND, the school where he teaches, now has not only a computer lab, but computers in classrooms as well.

  • Kernel Space

    • A New Collaboration Aimed at Automatically Backporting the Linux Kernel

      The Linux Foundation’s Driver Backport Workgroup is working on automatically backporting the Linux kernel, which was discussed in some detail at The Linux Foundation’s Collaboration Summit in April. As a result, a new collaboration is forming between this Workgroup and the compat-drivers project.

      Ann Davis of SUSE and the Driver Backport Workgroup guest blogs today about these developments:

    • Kernel Log – Coming in 3.6 (Part 1): Filesystems and storage

      Linux 3.6 introduces quota and backup functions for Btrfs as well as security enhancements for temp directories. New interfaces enable the kernel to be made aware of changes to the sizes of used partitions.

    • Systemd To Secure Logs With “Forward Secure Sealing”

      Systemd has picked up a new feature — Forward Secure Sealing (FSS) — in an attempt to better secure system logs on the local file-system in the event a hacker penetrates the system the logs cannot be modified.

    • Linux 3.6-rc3
    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 9.0 Branching Delayed So More Features Can Land

        The code branching of the next Mesa release — what was going to be known as Mesa 8.1 but is now being called Mesa 9.0 — is being delayed by a few days to allow time for some last-minute features to land.

      • New X.Org Server 1.13 RC Bumps The ABI
      • OpenGL ES 2.0 Support Merged Into Compiz

        The OpenGL ES 2.0 support branch has been merged into mainline Compiz. This allows the once-thriving compositing window manager to run on the PandaBoard ES and various other mobile/embedded devices that only support GLES for rendering.

        Sam Spilsbury has announced via his blog that the OpenGL ES support was merged into mainline Compiz. “That means as of now, you can build lp:compiz on a platform like the pandaboard below and expect it to run as it does on the desktop…It also means that we’ll be able to deploy compiz on any other platform that implements OpenGL|ES 2.0.” This comes after KWin and GNOME Shell / Mutter have already supported OpenGL ES as a subset of OpenGL.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Gaurav Joined the Game

        There are many reasons to support KDE with a regular financial contribution. It is important to KDE e.V. by helping to create a predictable income. This money is used to support events that accelerate development of KDE software, enhance promotion efforts and help grow the Community. KDE contributors and users are scattered throughout the world and have many different backgrounds, so their reasons for contributing are diverse. Claudia Rauch and Jayson Rowe from the Join the Game Team asked supporting member Gaurav Chaturvedi why he joined the game.

      • Merging LightDM Log-In Manager For KDE Workspaces

        The developer behind LightDM-KDE has called for merging the log-in manager into KDE Workspaces. KDM, however, will remain the default but it will become optional with LightDM-KDE being a build-time alternative.

        David Edmundson has long been working on LightDM-KDE: a version of the LightDM catered towards KDE. With Kubuntu 12.10 planning to use LightDM-KDE (the Unity/GNOME version of Ubuntu already uses LightDM), Edmundson is looking to make LightDM-KDE more official. Currently LightDM-KDE is living within KDE’s Playground.

      • openmamba Milestone2 KDE: are you ready to use it?

        Some of my reviews are inspired by new arrivals in the families of popular Linux distributions. Others – because I am interested in one or another aspect of the distribution. There are also cases, when authors of the distribution ask me to review it.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Is GNOME Still Needed?

        When GNOME began in 1997, the project had a clear purpose. At the time, there was no other free desktop, since KDE relied on the then-proprietary Qt toolkit. But today, looking at the mounting evidence of problems within the project and the denial of many project members, I have to ask: Does free software still need GNOME? Or has it outlived its usefulness?

        The fact that such questions seem reasonable today is a bizarre reversal. Years ago, KDE became unquestionably free software. Yet the rivalry between GNOME and KDE, sometimes friendly, sometimes fiery, has long driven the development of the desktop to the benefit of all. The need for cross-compatibility, to say nothing of the hopes of equaling or surpassing each other, improved both desktop environments.

      • Gnome Shell 3.6 Beta Released

        The Gnome team has announced a beta release of Gnome Shell 3.6, the next major release of Gnome Desktop Environment Shell. Version 3.5.90 is a beta release, which means it contains all the features of the upcoming Gnome Shell Release but may contain some bugs which may effect stability of the desktop and applications.

      • GNOME Shell 3.6 Beta Has Been Released

        The GNOME Project announced earlier today, August 22nd, the immediate availability for download and testing of GNOME Shell 3.6 Beta.

      • 5 Top Features Of Gnome 3.6

        HarfBuzz is a text shaping engine that is use for implementing OpenType fonts. This has been finally merged with pango and will be avialable in Gnome 3.6.

      • A ton of Updates for Gnome components!

        It is one of those “new versions” days again were new bug fixing versions for applications, libraries and components for the Gnome desktop environment are released.

        This time it is about the stable or unstable branches of Vala, Empathy, Epiphany, gThumb, WebkitGTK+, Nautilus, Seahorse, Gdm, Eye of Gnome, File Roller, Evince, GTK3, Clutter and Mutter that will be analysed on another article and GLib.

      • Gnome 3.6 first impressions | Simply Beautiful!

        Johansson or Gnome, Gnome or Johansson? I am very sorry but I have to say it. Both are ***** beautiful! I tried Gnome 3.5.90 for about 7 hours, and I don’t really know what to write about it.

        Gnome 3.6 it’s impressive better than its predecessor. Fast, clean, simple, pretty ..slick.

        This time Gnome isn’t about the Shell. While Shell received significant changes, the rest modules of Gnome pull the attraction. Amazing things from the Gnome Team in this release. Congratulations boys ‘n’ girls of Gnome Team!

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Why Fedora 18 Will Be The Practical Choice For Vanilla Enthusiasts

          We all know about the rocky road that Gnome 3 has been travelling on since March of last year. Not since KDE 4.0 has a desktop environment been met with such community backlash and perceived exodus. I say “perceived” because that’s what it is. In the world of Linux, these things are almost impossible to measure and are almost always gauged by media reaction. These powerful media reactions almost always build the bandwagon that everyone hops onto.

        • Fedora 18 Delayed, Blame It On Bugs

          A number of outstanding bugs still present in Fedora 18 apps have delayed the release by a week. This was decided in a go/no go meeting organized by Fedora QA team this week.

          Currently numerous bugs are still unresolved in Fedora 18. These bugs have been marked as important and their resolution is necessary before Fedora 18 is released. The developers also need to solve the problem of incomplete test matrices, which are still not ready.

        • Fedora 18 “Spherical Cow” Has Been Delayed
    • Debian Family

      • File under ‘disturbing’: Debian Wheezy doesn’t ship with the Synaptic Package Manager
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 12.10: New features, new levels of user-friendliness

            Ubuntu 12.04 brought to the table one of the most user-friendly desktop operating systems to date. With the improvements to Unity, Ubuntu took leaps forward in usability and did so in an incredibly unique way — making something radically different work more efficiently than the standard metaphor. Well, release 12.10 (Quantal Quetzal) will arrive October 18, 2012 and it promises to improve upon what 12.10 had to offer. Seeing as how that is now less than two months away, I thought it time to discuss some of the feature additions that will appear in the upcoming release.

          • Ubuntu – All other versions of LINUX aspire to be this successful

            Ubuntu is innovative, forward thinking and the most likely LINUX distribution to have any hope of taking on Windows, MacOS and ChromeOS on the desktop. Ubuntu also has aspirations of taking on the mobile and tablet market dominated by Apple and Google.

            So many other distributions are derived from UBUNTU including the distribution that is competing for the honour of top dog in the LINUX world, MINT.

            Ask most people in the LINUX world which distribution they would recommend to people who are thinking of trying LINUX and UBUNTU would be the first word out of their mouths.

          • Ubuntu 12.10 Pushes Sandy Bridge Further

            Recently I have shown that Intel graphics hit a high point with the Linux 3.6 kernel and that Ubuntu 12.10 is faster with Intel hardware compared to the current Ubuntu 12.04 LTS release. In this article are more Ubuntu 12.04 LTS vs. Ubuntu 12.10 benchmarks to highlight the performance improvements for Intel Sandy Bridge graphics that will be found in Ubuntu 12.10.

          • Ubuntu Developer Week 2012: 28th – 30th August

            Daniel Holbach from Canonical proudly announced a few minutes ago, August 22nd, the schedule of this year’s second Ubuntu Developer Week event.

            The second Ubuntu Developer Week event for 2012 will take place between August 28th and 30th, and will cover several aspects of Ubuntu development, from crash-courses in getting started with working on Ubuntu to more advanced topics.

          • Unity 4.0 Public Beta to Launch Today, Canonical Presenting at Unite 2012

            Game engine maker Unity Technologies announced at the Unite 2012 conference in Amsterdam that Unity 4.0 public beta will be available today.

          • Minor improvements coming in Ubuntu Linux update release

            Ubuntu 12.04 Linux isn’t just a very popular end-user Linux, it’s also Canonical’s Long Term Support (LTS) version. That means, besides Linux distributions’ usual constant stream of improvements, it gets updates for business users and the first one is just about here.

            Officially, August 23rd will see the first update, Ubuntu 12.04.1, to the operating system. Actually, the Ubuntu update is running a bit late. In any case, here’s what you can expect from it.

          • Gnome Online Accounts To Ship By Default In Ubuntu 12.10

            Ubuntu 12.10 is going through a massive development phase with new and exciting features being added to it everyday.

            Ubuntu developers are working hard to integrate onlines services within Unity. Webapps are great example of what kind of integration Canonical is planning for Ubuntu. Gnome Online Accounts is one such powerful and useful tool which needs a better integration within Unity. Although Ubuntu teams are doing just that. Ubuntu 12.10 will ship Gnome Online accounts by default.

          • Canonical Promoting Ubuntu Software Center To Game Devs

            With the Unity 4.0 game engine gaining native Linux support, Canonical is sponsoring a session at this week’s Unite game development conference to promote their Ubuntu Software Center to game developers of this Mono-powered proprietary game engine.

            “This week Canonical is sponsoring a developer session at Unite 2012 to share how easy hundreds of thousands of Unity developers can now bring their games to the Ubuntu Software Center. Unite is the yearly conference for the Unity community with hands-on demonstrations, educational seminars and keynotes about developing games with Unity and we are happy to be a part of it,” was said by Canonical’s David Pitkin on the Ubuntu developer blog.

          • Ubuntu Server Plans to Move Away From 32-Bit Computing

            It took a while, but the era of 32-bit computing may finally be coming to a close. At least, that’s what the Ubuntu Server Team’s decision has implied with its decision to cease providing 32-bit installation CD images for the upcoming 12.10 release of the operating system. Here’s a look at this plan, and what it reveals about hardware trends more generally.

            Like most major operating systems, Ubuntu is currently available in both 32-bit (i386) and 64-bit (x86_64) versions. Unless you’re a geek, you probably don’t have much reason to care about the differences between these two builds, but there are certain technical advantages to installing the 64-bit variant of Ubuntu. The catch, however, is that not all computers support 64-bit operating systems — although virtually all machines manufactured in the last few years should.

          • Canonical to release Ubuntu 12.04.1 with Calxeda ARM support

            LINUX VENDOR Canonical will release Ubuntu 12.04.1, introducing support for Calxeda’s ARM based system-on-chip (SoC).

            Canonical’s release of Ubuntu 12.04 Long Term Support (LTS) earlier this year marked the Linux outfit’s latest push into the enterprise with an increased emphasis on servers. Now the firm has released a rare point release dubbed 12.04.1 LTS that brings support for Calxeda’s ARM SoC and the upcoming Folsom release of Openstack software.

          • Great Wall U310 packs an Ubuntu desktop PC into a keyboard

            Ever wonder why you need a keyboard, mouse, monitor, and a PC case for a desktop computer? It turns out if the brains of the PC fit into a small enough space, you don’t.

            All-in-one PCs generally combine most of the components into the display case. If you want to bring your own monitor, you can always try a PC that fits inside a keyboard case, like the Great Wall U310.

          • Turn a Keyboard Into a Computer with Raspberry Pi

            Turn a Keyboard Into a Computer with Raspberry PiThe Raspberry Pi is still picking up momentum with different types of DIY projects. If you’re looking for a means to build an old-school computer-in-a-keyboard with a Raspberry Pi, the German blog Preamp shows you exactly how to do it.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon Review

              Regrettably, this is the first time I have reviewed the Cinnamon desktop which is the new shining star of the Linux Mint Project. This release is one that should not be missed for Linux Mint lovers.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google’s Mind-Blowing Big-Data Tool Grows Open Source Twin

    Mike Olson and John Schroeder shared a stage at a recent meeting of Silicon Valley’s celebrated Churchill Club, and they didn’t exactly see eye to eye.

    Olson is the CEO of a Valley startup called Cloudera, and Schroeder is the boss at MapR, a conspicuous Cloudera rival. Both outfits deal in Hadoop — a sweeping open source software platform based on data center technologies that underpinned the rise of Google’s web-dominating search engine — but in building their particular businesses, the two startups approached Hadoop from two very different directions.

  • Google Delivers Octane, An Update to Its V8 JavaScript Benchmark Suite
  • Open Source Router Platforms – Part 1: The Hardware

    A few months ago we asked a simple question – what do you use for your router, and what would you look for in a router review. Unless you’re entirely mobile, getting online these days pretty much requires the use of some kind of NAT router. Picking that hardware is often a function of what software can be tossed on top, and having a consistent and familiar set of configuration pages makes setup and maintenance much less of a nightmare than dealing with the third party alternatives. There are so many arguments for using some open source package instead of the first party software which is usually derived from the board software package the SoC vendor hands out.

  • Twisted pleasures of open source ‘sprint’ worth my weekend

    I walked into the business heart of San Francisco, tapped on the closed offices of a profitable IT business, scooted into what looked like their main conference room, sat down, and started fixing bugs. I felt a little like an accountant breaking into someone’s ledgers at night, and double-checking their book-keeping.

    I was there for the “Twisted Sprint”, which is perhaps both slightly less fun and/or painful than it sounds.

  • The Greatest Contribution To Technology In 2012: Open Source Technologies

    Open-source technology has become a common phenomenon nowadays. Despite the big number of open source technologies sprouting up around the world, there are those which are superior to the rest. Below is a list of 5 such technologies and how they have changed the world.

  • Open-Source virtualization management coming for KVM, Xen and VMware
  • ColdFusion’s open source-fueled renaissance

    Earlier mou this year, over 100 of the ColdFusion community’s most passionate and innovative members met in Dallas, to convene the second year of OpenCF Summit, a conference focused exclusively on advancing free and open source software in the ColdFusion Markup Language (CFML) community.

    Energized by a special video greeting from the father of ColdFusion, Jeremy Allaire, attendees spent the next 72 hours learning about the enterprise-class open source CFML engines Railo and Open BlueDragon, powerful development frameworks like ColdSpring and Mach-II, and the sophisticated Mura Content Management System. All culminating in a better understanding of how to promote this elegant and powerful language as an accessible and uniquely well-suited platform for open government and civic hacktivism.

  • Twisted pleasures of open source ‘sprint’ worth my weekend

    I walked into the business heart of San Francisco, tapped on the closed offices of a profitable IT business, scooted into what looked like their main conference room, sat down, and started fixing bugs. I felt a little like an accountant breaking into someone’s ledgers at night, and double-checking their book-keeping.

    I was there for the “Twisted Sprint”, which is perhaps both slightly less fun and/or painful than it sounds.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • VirtualBox 4.1 update improves stability

      While users are awaiting the imminent publication of version 4.2 of the desktop virtualisation system, the VirtualBox developers have released version 4.1.20 with fixes that improve its overall stability and rectify various regressions. In total, the tenth update to the 4.1.x branch of Oracle’s desktop virtualisation application addresses more than twenty bugs; some of these could cause it to crash when, for example, running virtual machines (VMs) without hardware virtualisation or restoring an old snapshot.

    • New Program to Squash Key Bugs in LibreOffice
    • VirtualBox 4.1.20 Has Support for Linux Kernel 3.6

      Oracle announced a few minutes ago, August 21st, the immediate availability for download of the VirtualBox 4.1.20 virtualization software for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows platforms.

      VirtualBox 4.1.20 comes with compile fixes for the Linux kernel 3.5 RC1 and Linux kernel 3.6 RC1, as well as for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS 6.3 distributions.

    • The Future of LibreOffice – Android, iOS, fixes, and more
    • OpenOffice 3.4.1 released, includes more languages

      OpenOffice has got a point update to the now Apache managed office suite, including bug fixes, performance enhancements, and extra language support

  • CMS

    • Basic Web Design with Drupal 7

      Drupal is one of the most popular and versatile platforms for Web design. It’s free, open source and will run on Linux. Early last year, a new version was released (Drupal 7), making it even better with improvements in usability, performance and security. If you’ve looked at Drupal before, but didn’t end up using it, you may want to take another look.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Alive 2.0.0 available

      GNU Alive 2.0.0 is available. GNU Alive is a keep-alive program for internet connections. It repeatedly pings a series of user-specified hosts, thereby encouraging (one hopes) the involved networks to not disappear.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • QR Code Open Source Beer
    • Version 1.0 of openHAB home automation bus arrives

      The openHAB (open Home Automation Bus) has now reached version 1.0 after two and a half years in development. The 1.0 release takes a very different approach to the commercial home automation offerings, and not just by being GPLv3 licensed open source. Being open source though does allow it to be easily extended beyond the mainstream automation tasks of switching lights, activating plug sockets or moving blinds. Of course users will need to purchase and install the light switches, smart sockets and automated blinds themselves.

    • Crowdfunding open source 3D printing of plastic guns
    • The code for open source milk is cracked

      My son was recently put on a temporary alternative milk diet, no cow, rice, or soy milk. I panicked. My entire life my family has been a cow’s milk household—I don’t know a life without dairy products. We had been making our own yogurt, so I hoped that would help. Thank goodness, my son and my family don’t have a nut allergy. Otherwise I would panic more.

      First, I shop. Then, panic, again. Finally, I do the math. And, yes, panic. Cow’s milk is usually $2.99 (USD) or more for a gallon where I live, and almond or coconut milk is around $2.99 (US) for half that amount.

  • Programming

    • Top 5 open-source IDEs for developers

      Ever wanted to hack out some code on a IDE (Integrated development environment) without having to splash the cash? Fortunately, there are some great IDEs out there that are completely free. We look into 5 open-source IDEs and look at what they can offer to developers.

    • NAG Fortran Compiler Can Now Do OpenMP 3.0

      The Numerical Algorithms Group has released a major update to their multi-platform Fortran compiler. Beyond improving support for new versions of the Fortran language, NAG Fortran can now do OpenMP 3.0.

    • Node.js set to land on Engine Yard’s PaaS

      The addition of Node.js to Engine Yard lets customers host highly scalable web services on the platform, and helps it close its language gap with rival platform

Leftovers

  • CowboyNeal Looks Back at the SCO-Linux

    This past week, SCO filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which finally begins the end of a long saga that started over nine years ago. While their anti-IBM litigation has risen from the grave and still shambles onward, the company itself is nearly put to rest after nine years of choosing the wrong legal battle to get into. Even if it may be too early to dance on SCO’s grave, join me as I look back over the long and bumpy road to nowhere of The SCO Group.

  • Everything You’ve Heard About Failing Schools Is Wrong

    “SPEEK EENGLISH, TACO,” THE GIRL with the giant backpack yelled when Maria asked where to find a bathroom. The backpack giggled as it bounced down the hall. It had been hours since Maria began looking for a bathroom. Anger boiled inside her, but she didn’t know any English words to yell back. That was the hardest part. Back in El Salvador she’d always had something to say.

    The bell rang. A flood of shoulders and sneakers swirled around Maria, and she couldn’t see much until the sea of strangers streamed back into classrooms. Then she stood alone in the hallway.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Dems Decide Kochs Are an Election Issue: “Patriot Majority” Launches $500K Ad Buy

      A left-leaning group, Patriot Majority, has launched a $500,000 ad campaign trying to make an election issue out of conservative mega-donors David and Charles Koch, suggesting the brothers are spending big “to buy this year’s elections and advance their agenda,” with the goal of electing “politicians who will pass laws that benefit special interests but hurt the middle class.”

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • The Program

      It took me a few days to work up the nerve to phone William Binney. As someone already a “target” of the United States government, I found it difficult not to worry about the chain of unintended consequences I might unleash by calling Mr. Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistle-blower. He picked up. I nervously explained I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to speak to him. To my surprise he replied: “I’m tired of my government harassing me and violating the Constitution. Yes, I’ll talk to you.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Looking for Kids’ Books? Avoid This Propaganda

      Did you know that genetic engineering (GE) “is helping to improve the health of the Earth and the people who call it home”? A trade group funded by Monsanto wants your kids to believe it.

      The Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) has published a kids’ book on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that purports to give kids “a closer look at biotechnology. You will see that biotechnology is being used to figure out how to: 1) grow more food; 2) help the environment; and 3) grow more nutritious food that improves our health.”

    • Copyrights

      • US Government Seizes Android Piracy Websites

        The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued orderes to seize websites that host pirated Android apps.

        In a press statement DoJ said, “The seizures are the result of a comprehensive enforcement action taken to prevent the infringement of copyrighted mobile device apps. The operation was coordinated with international law enforcement, including Dutch and French law enforcement officials.”

08.23.12

Speak Out: Did Microsoft Florian — Funded Also by Apple — ‘Spam’ You Too? More Funding Appears to Come From Anti-Android/Linux Camp.

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blog secretly funded by enemies of Android and Linux

Florian Mueller

Summary: The deception machine of Microsoft Florian is exposed further as the case of Apple against Samsung approaches its end (bar appeals)

THE high-profile Android case has led to pressure from the judge to disclose paid bloggers. Google named nobody, whereas Oracle named two [1, 2, 3].

Now it turns out that “Apple has retained Florian Mueller as a consultant,” which is a known way of passing a bribe (it’s the business model, as Microsoft privately calls it). “So GROKLAW keeps catching FM showing bias while publicly holding himself up to be an expert on FLOSS patent violations and the like, and a blogger/journalist,” writes Pogson, who adds: “The guy really is in “Technology Evangelism Mode”. He even sent me an e-mail about Oracle v Google, unsolicited. I reported it to PJ at GROKLAW as did others so she has been on FM’s case for a while.”

“They use the same tactics of misinforming journalists en masse. That’s their service.”Groklaw continues investigating this case and remarks from bloggers are telling: “So, the guy is clearly not an expert on FLOSS patents and is an advocate for those who pay him, not just a “consultant”. Apple clearly did not want the judge digging too deeply into that relationship and for sure telling the jury about it. I find it particularly interesting that FM used e-mail to contact me and to comment on the blog rather than commenting using WordPress. What’s with that? Clearly, he went to some trouble to dig up the e-mail address (It’s not as if I stick it on the front page.) rather than just clicking. Was he trying to influence me, going for a larger goal than just providing feedback? I “bit him on the hand” and I hope he does not return.”

Microsoft Florian does not allow comments in his blog because people used to comment to expose him. He thrives in secrecy and he 'spams' journalists behind the scenes. It’s his modus operadi.

Did you too get contacted by this lobbyist? Please speak out if so. Some bloggers come out saying they too were his victims.

Speaking for myself, I fell into his trap in the early days (Techrights quoted his talking points after he had mailed us repeatedly), but I soon woke up; now I find him to be an extremely scummy guy who takes money from companies to conduct AstroTurf campaigns that involves mass-mailing writers and even threatening those who criticise him (yes, he threatened me too).

Mr. Microsoft will be reported to the FTC for AstroTurfing (I am working on my submission), just like Waggener Edstrom
or Burson-Marsteller. They use the same tactics of misinforming journalists en masse. That’s their service.

Putting the lobbying aside for a moment, Apple’s case is shown to be weak in the following recent video about Apple’s lack of innovation.

Samsung won’t settle because it has a strong case, or maybe because Apple remains too delusional to drop the case as decision comes. The following video was sent to us by a reader yesterday:

Apple decided to sue different rather than think different. So many of its own supporters have defected.

This is a pointless legal battle that Apple should never have started at all (put aside the bias from IDG’s columnists).

The jury, a bunch of ordinary people, will soon decide on the case, but to what extent does deception from lobbyists and Apple’s misleading claims going to affect the outcome? As one article put it, “[t]he summer blockbuster that is Apple v. Samsung is coming to a close as both companies have delivered their closing arguments. Neither side held back in their last opportunity to argue their case, with Apple telling Samsung to make its own phones and Samsung warning the jury that Apple is trying to mislead them.

“It’s been an exciting four weeks. Along the way we’ve seen Samsung leak evidence that was refused by the court, never-before-seen prototypes of iPhones and iPads, and previously unreleased sales figures for both companies. We even got a hilarious parody from Conan O’Brien.”

“Apple decided to sue different rather than think different.”Here is the take from Pamela Jones [1, 2, 3, 4] and something about the Motorola complaint that is indirectly relevant to the case (similar allegations).

Google recently countered Apple’s attack with a lawsuit that can rattle Apple with sanctions. We will write about this subject separately, probably tomorrow.

Microsoft Has Influence in Linux and FOSS

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, SLES/SLED at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is FOSS is Microsoft

Miguel and Steve

Summary: How Microsoft staff and money help change the message of its opposition

THE LINUX FOUNDATION continues to promote ‘Microsoft Linux’ in a variety of ways. This is one of two examples from this week — an example where an offering from SUSE gets lip service from a SUSE-funded (which is in turn Microsoft-funded) organisation. Another company with Microsoft ties gets its say on FOSS after issuing a press release that can be found here. Over the years we have shown examples (here is a recent example [1, 2]) where Microsoft connections and funding helped change the policy and message of FOSS, so this subject is important. It aids the propaganda machine whenever the opposing side gets infiltrated.

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Vista 8 Will Fail for Businesses, Says Dell

Posted in Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: After very poor adoption of Vista and Vista 7 (especially in businesses) it is expected that Vista 8 will bring more of the same

THE failure of Vista 8 is foreseen by many. It is profound enough for OEMs to complain about it already [1, 2] and Dell joins the antagonists by making its stance known.”In the earnings call to discuss its latest financial results,” says The Register, “Dell’s CFO Brian Gladden said the introduction of Windows 8 in October would have a limited effect on Dell’s results at first, since the company is really focusing on enterprise systems, and he expects the new OS to have limited appeal early on in that sector.”

“Our guess is that Linux, the kernel, which is common to all these platforms, will thrive on desktops just as it does on phones, servers, and increasingly tablets too.”The interface of Vista 8 makes it unsuitable for serious use. To quote another new article: “Though Windows 8 is winning rave reviews for its touch-friendly tablet experience, many feel that the operating system’s “Modern-style” UI makes life more difficult for PC users. Count usability expert Raluca Budiu of the Nielsen Norman Group among these critics. Though she has not conducted any formal studies on Windows 8, the former Xerox PARC researcher and user experience specialist has used the new OS enough to conclude that, for productivity tasks on the PC at least, Windows 8 is less user friendly than its predecessors.”

GNU/Linux is alive and well, but Android too is looking for growth at the expense of Windows while Chrome OS gains a more favourable position among OEMs. Our guess is that Linux, the kernel, which is common to all these platforms, will thrive on desktops just as it does on phones, servers, and increasingly tablets too.

Patent Lawyers Versus the Rest of Us

Posted in Patents at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steven Lundberg

Summary: A complete roundup of articles we found and classification of them

THE LEGAL sites are willing to tell that “Congress Takes Aim at ‘Patent Trolls’ With SHIELD Act” (we covered it in [1, 2]), but the scare quotes around “patent trolls” help show that there is still some bias there. This is the sort of bias we find everywhere in the legal news — a bias that is so endemic and consistent. Other legal sites put in the form of a question the patent debate on which public consensus is well understood. To quote: “The idea of not having patents for the software industry is just coming into its own and making the rounds in various university classes on intellectual property rights. “The idea is a mainstream one,” said John Allison, professor of Intellectual Property Law at the University of Texas. Although mainstream and with merit, classifying various industries according to whether they could or should have patent protection would be highly impractical, leaving the door wide open for manipulating the system.”

Another article, not from legal sites for a change, says that
“[p]atent trolls claim to help inventors profit from their creations, but there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. The truth is non-practicing entities have established a practice of collecting broad computer hardware and software patents with no intention of developing any products and then filing suit against companies for alleged patent infringement.

“Unethical at best, this practice often places financial hardship on small- to medium-size companies who are often forced to settle due to the prohibitive costs of litigation despite the arbitrary nature of the claim.

“In June, a Boston University study revealed patent troll litigation is on the rise, affecting 5,842 defendants in 2011 alone and costing an estimated $29 billion in direct costs. While large firms accrued more than half of the direct costs, 37 percent of the defendants were small to medium-sized companies.”

Another decent new article comes from Brad Feld, who writes: “My startup, all five employees and $0 revenue, is being sued by a patent troll. It is madness.

“One must prepare for the reading accordingly and remember the vested interests at play.”“Software patents are weapons of mass extortion. The trolls know that the cost of patent litigation is huge- millions of dollars for a thorough defense. The vast majority of companies do a simple cost benefit analysis and settle. It costs a pittance to file a lawsuit, a fortune to fight. A troll can sue many companies and live off the settlements. Trolling is a lucrative, legally sanctioned business model with virtually no risk. The longer this continues the worse it will get.”

More opposition to patent comes from the press in NZ. To quote: “As I write this, the herculean struggle mostly known as Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is in its final stages. In the US at least. News about this fight has dominated tech news for months, spawned even more partisan vitriol than usual, and is really just complete rubbish. In August last year, there were court battles between the two in nine different countries over four continents. The vast sums of money both companies are spending on lawyers could be going to about a million better places. I’m not taking sides here though – the problem is the patent system.”

So, to summarise, we continue to see pro-patents coverage from legal sites and the complete opposite from the rest. One must prepare for the reading accordingly and remember the vested interests at play. What’s good for patent lawyers is not good for us, the 99%.

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