08.23.12

Microsoft Versus CSS

Posted in Microsoft at 10:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft tears the Web

Writing spider

Summary: Complaints about Microsoft’s intervention in decisions about CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)

THE POST recently filed under “WTF” says that Microsoft continues to break standards. To quote: “Right now the W3C is discussing CSS shader standardization on their mailing lists. Microsoft has voiced their opinion and things are about to get very strange indeed.

“A quick explanation of what CSS shaders are. They are intended to make it possible to define a shading effect in CSS in a shading language.”

Microsoft has been a major foe of CSS if one considers what IE6 did (or didn’t do) to the Web. It had a huge toll and it affected millions who designed for the Web.

The W3C should not have allowed Microsoft in [1, 2, 3, 4]. Microsoft treats CSS like Closed Source Software, not Cascading Style Sheets. Microsoft 'extends' CSS only when it tries to subvert or control (own) it.

“In one piece of mail people were suggesting that Office had to work equally well with all browsers and that we shouldn’t force Office users to use our browser. This Is wrong and I wanted to correct this.”

Bill Gates [PDF]

08.22.12

Links 22/8/2012: Linux 3.4 Longterm, PowerTOP 2.1 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 8:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Walt Disney’s Real Commitment To Open Source
  • Pixar software goes open source

    The mighty animation studio has decided to share its Subd evaluation code as used on its latest feature Brave. Download the software yourself for free!

  • The 2012 Google Summer of Code fruits!

    More than two months ago, we took a look on the 29 new things that this Google summer of code would bring to the Gnome desktop environment and its various components.

    Today it is the “pencils down” for everyone as we finally reached the end of this magnificent program. Interns and mentors have done a great job providing new exciting things to the Gnome users benefit.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla: IonMonkey Firefox Faster Than Chrome

        More than two years ago, Mozilla promised that it would catch up with Google’s Chrome performance in JavaScript. Today, JavaScript is not as much as a problem anymore as it was in 2010, but Mozilla has not forgotten its promise. IonMonkey is breathing down Chrome’s neck.

  • SaaS

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • New Program to Squash Key Bugs in LibreOffice

      If you’re like many of us here at OStatic, you’ve probably been using the LibreOffice suite of applications for some time now. And, without a doubt, this suite has become very impressive both in terms of its overall capabilities and in terms of the speed with which problems are addressed. New releases of the suite clean up lots of bugs, with community support behind the effort. But there is a new and aggressive program that has just been introduced to crack down further on bugs in LibreOffice. Dubbed HardHacks, it should make the suite much better–and do so quickly.

    • Oracle Closing MySQL?

      Seems Oracle is on its way to close sourcing the widely used relational database management system – MySQL. It was acquired by Oracle from Sun Microsystems in 2010 and is used in millions of websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia and even Google.

    • Vagrant distances itself from Virtualbox

      Vagrant, the open source developer environment generation tool, is being re-engineered to no longer be dependent on VirtualBox, Oracle’s open source desktop virtualisation platform. Vagrant allows the creation of “boxes” which contain all the assets needed to provision a fresh virtual machine. With a single command, Vagrant can create a machine from a box and bring it up. Vagrant was designed for developers who need to bring up multiple virtual machines, repeatably and easily in a testing environment. Vagrant 1.0 appeared in March this year.

    • Oracle secrecy threatens open MySQL development

      Oracle has been accused of hiding MySQL test cases and obfuscating revision history by MariaDB VP Sergei Golubchik. In a blog post entitled “Disappearing test cases or did another part of MySQL become closed source”, Golubchik says they noticed that, according to the release notes, a number of bugs had been fixed in the most recent MySQL 5.5.27 release, but there were no test cases associated with any of the bug fixes – indeed, there are no tests associated with bug 61579 or 60926. When he asked on the MySQL internals mailing list, he was unable to get a response from Oracle as to whether this was new policy or an oversight.

    • LibreOffice team to focus on hard bugs

      In a new initiative, “LibreOffice HardHacks”, the LibreOffice developers are being called on to take on the harder bugs in the LibreOffice code. Bjoern Michaelsen announced the programme, which is complementary to an earlier successful project “LibreOffice Easy Hacks”, which set out to get the “low hanging fruit” bugs, the ones that would be easy to resolve and would bring new developers on board.

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Yet Another Government Adopting Free Software

      Google’s translation:

      “The municipality of Vieira do Minho definitively adopted productivity software LibreOffice”.

    • Swiss open source awards for canton of Waadt and Supreme Court

      The Swiss canton of Waadt(Vaud) and the country’s Supreme Court are among this year’s winners of the CH Open Source Awards. The Swiss Open Systems User Group /ch/open announced the awards last week Tuesday.

      The advocacy organisation writes in a statement that the ‘Portail eGov du canton de Vaud’ was awarded for its involvement in the open source community and its vision on using open source. “The price is to support the Canton of Vaud”, ch/open says, hoping it will serve as an incentive for other cantons.

      A special award was given to the Swiss Supreme Court. Ch/open chairman Matthias Günter says the court earned the award for its “pioneering of the use of open source, even as many other public administrations are increasing their use of open source, consciously or not.”

    • Government petitioned to “free the code”
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Four insights to selling and marketing open source software

      Without genuinely valuable services for your customer, you have no revenue. I am aware that “value” is an overused word. Having spent many years of my career in marketing, I have been guilty of saying “what’s the value proposition?” more than a few times. But now, having been in the driver’s seat selling services for open source software applications, I can provide a more specific definition of value, particularly as it applies to application software (in contrast with infrastructure software).

    • Yeastie Boys win gold for open source beer

      New Zealand brewing company Yeastie Boys added a gold medal for design to the growing swag of international gongs they have recently won for their leftfield ales, when they were awarded gold for their open source Digital IPA in the Packaging Class at the Sutton Group Brewers Guild of New Zealand Beer Awards last week.

    • Timberlake: Iceland open-sources its constitution for modern adaptation
    • Open Data

      • Open data done well is a catalyst for change

        In March 2012 I reported in a post entitled “Open by design” a paper by Harlan Yu and David Robinson entitled “The New Ambiguity of Open Government“. A discussion of the paper has now appeared on the World Bank blog by Anupama Dokeniya entitled “Opening Government Data. But Why?” [A thank you to Jacques Raybaut at en.europa-eu-audience for the heads-up]. This is also even more relevant given the UK Public Accounts Committee report back so recently which was linked to and commented upon in Transparent e-gov.

    • Open Hardware

      • MakerPlane open source hardware airplanes

        John sez, “MakerPlane is an open source aviation organization which will enable people to build and fly their own safe, high quality, reasonable cost plane using advanced personal manufacturing equipment such as CNC mills and 3D printers. The project will also include open source avionics software to enable state-of-the-art digital flight instruments and display capabilities. Basically we are designing an aircraft that can be built on a CNC mill at home, or at a makerspace which is easy to assemble and quick to build. The plans and instructions will be available for free to anyone that wants them!”

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Wilt Chamberlain’s Family Tries To Block Film About His College Years, Claiming ‘Publicity Rights’

    A filmmaker is trying to make a film about basketball great Wilt Chamberlain’s college years at Kansas. However, his estate appears to be threatening the filmmaker if he goes ahead, claiming such things as publicity rights over Chamberlain’s image…

  • Security

    • Systemd to secure system log information against attacks

      Systemd can now secure log information on system processes stored in its journal, using a procedure known as Forward Secure Sealing (FSS). This prevents attackers who have obtained administrator privileges from clearing traces of their activity from the journal without deleting it in its entirety. A verification key is used to secure the data and, to prevent modification, it has to be stored externally. Instead of writing the key down, users can optionally save it to a smartphone via a QR code.

  • Finance

  • Privacy

    • Deep Web, Deep Privacy

      Tell someone that you know how to go off-radar on the Internet and, as a rule, they won’t believe you. They imagine shadowy intelligence agencies have state-of-the-art technology and can see everything you do. Bkut they would be wrong.

      No doubt they do have amazing technology, but it is perfectly possible to hide yourself on the Internet, to send and receive emails that nobody can intercept or read, to upload and download securely, to visit banned websites, blog anonymously, and do anything you want without being followed, profiled or analysed. Those that know how use the Deep Web.

08.21.12

Gates Foundation Criticism

Posted in Bill Gates, Patents at 12:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Arch

Summary: A quick roundup of some news about the Gates Foundation

THERE is an ongoing attempt to increase coverage of the Gates Foundation in this Web site. There are several sites protesting against the oligarchs’ attempt to profit from what’s typically a public service; taking over the schools is all about money, not goodwill.

Someone recently told us about a very vivid, pictures-filled blog that shows one way to protest. To quote: “I’m basing it on Susan Ohanian’s discovery of public documents on the Gates Foundation grants page on their own website. And of course on previous research which you can read through my prior blog posts, especially this one on Melinda Gates and where their children attend school compared to the policies they push forth in public schools via their propaganda. I’ll show you their documents directly screen printed from their website below as evidence.”

The evidence there is not so well organised or sourced, but further down it says: “Okay, so the common ethos here is that because Melinda and Bill Gates have been pouring their money into public education, they are experts, and because they have more money than you are I; they are infallible.

“If we act on this belief, we take everything they say, all their policies as truth, no?

“Here’s Melinda Gates’ ethos… She says:

* “American schools are broken.”
* “We really do need an effective teacher.”
* “We’re really going to go for getting an evaluation system to tell us whether they are effective or not.””

The blog is identifying some more tentacles of the propaganda machine for school privatisation [1, 2], e.g. Pearson Publishing, Murdoch, and few others. The presentation is unique.

Other older posts talk about media propaganda for Gates’ education agenda — an agenda that other blogs write about. As one example: “Bill’s high school, Lakeside, is Seattle’s most elite private school. The current tuition is $28K (not including food, books, bus, laptop, and field trips).”

This is the type of model the rich person suggests for a country experiencing economic disaster. Gates thinks he knows better than anyone about everything because he committed crimes to become wealthy. You can’t make this stuff up.

Here’s more: “I came across an article that I had saved on the NAEP (pronounced “nape”) test results over the last 12 years and Bill Gates pronouncement that our school system is a failure based on his perception that students have not shown any academic gains over the last 40 years.”

This is akin to more tyranny over those who raise the next generation — a generation that is being harmed and exploited for the benefits of plutocrats. For Gates, patents and profit are the hidden agenda and in an article promoted by Slashdot the other day we learn that despite all the risk associated with nuclear energy (as Japan can tell), Gates still looks to monetise it with his patents that he and his good friend Nathan hold (we covered this before [1, 2]). Notice that Gates invested US$35 million in this, it is definitely not a donation. “In the wake of Stuxnet,” writes someone called Chris, “I seriously hope they don’t plan on using Windows with this. Not that Linux is necessarily immune to it.” Yes, Stuxnet showed nuclear facilities becoming zombies.

Anyway, we really ought to return to coverage of Gates’ mischiefs. He spends a lot of money planting fake ‘articles’ in the press; this needs to be countered by information from volunteers on a low budget. Gates Watchers was recently put down and it is looking for a new home now.

Game Makers Form Collective Backlash Against Vista 8

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dissatisfied with Windows

Angry cat

Summary: Gaming advantages of Vista 8 are strongly doubted by more and more developers

VALVE was not the only game maker to complain about Vista 8. Minecraft's maker did so too and here comes another game developer who complains: “Chris Delay, Creative Director of Introversion Software and Designer of Uplink, Defcon, Darwinia and Multiwinia, said on a Reddit thread:

‘“If Microsoft manage to close Windows and get to the point where every app has to be approved and certified by them, it’s game over for a lot of indies including Introversion.”’

The list of annoyed game makers is growing. This has the potential to drive them to the platform which is everyone is free to download and install free of charge.

Microsoft’s Tax Cheats a Story of Government Corruption

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 11:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Accounting

Summary: A rehearsal of why Microsoft does not pay tax — the story as told by a former employee who turned into a campaigner

THE overwhelming evidence of misconduct when it comes to Microsoft tax tricks is surely beyond overwhelming, but even as communities are destroyed there is reluctance to report on and take action against systemic corruption. To quote: “In 1997, Microsoft et al. lobbied to reduce Washington State’s Royalty Tax from 1.5% to .5%, a threefold reduction. This wasn’t low enough. The company decided to open a small Reno, Nevada office to dodge the tax completely.

“Between 1997 – 2011, the company used its Nevada office to avoid $1.51 billion in Washington state taxes, interest and penalties. If you include impacts from the company’s lobbying and calculate its savings at the original 1.5% rate, it’s saved $4.37 billion.”

“The sad thing is that all this news gets normalised and therefore no longer reported on; the crimes carry on.”And here is where cronies come in: “In 2010, after we raised these issues to the legislature, Democratic State Representative Ross Hunter, Chair of the Finance Committee and a former Microsoft executive, led the Legislature to change the state’s Royalty Tax from a tax on sales to worldwide customers to just a tiny tax on sales to Washington State customers. This reduced Microsoft’s effective Nevada tax dodge by about 99%. He also included language that gave Microsoft amnesty on its back taxes.”

Any regulator should be able to identify the conflict of interest and initiate an investigation. But regulation is part of (complicit in) systemic corruption, so all we can do is report on the situation and be all cynical about illegal behaviour — such as insider trading by Microsoft — going on without punishment. The sad thing is that all this news gets normalised and therefore no longer reported on; the crimes carry on.

Android FUD Watch: Paul Goldstein From Stanford Paid by Oracle

Posted in Google, Oracle, Patents at 11:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Paul Goldstein

Summary: Identifying sources of FUD that are silently funded by enemies of Google

DISGRACED lobbyist Microsoft Florian is not the only one whom Oracle pays for some anti-Android lies. It turns out that Stanford University professor Paul Goldstein, author of “A Patent Lie”, was also paid by Oracle. His output, however, did not get far; perhaps he does not mass-mail journalists because he has higher standards than Microsoft Florian. There are other cases of Google-hostile stances being funded to appear as though they come from academia. Microsoft paid Edelman for Google FUD, for example.

Developers Do Not Want Software Patents, But Press Abandons Facts

Posted in Patents at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Non-practising entities (NPEs/trolls) versus development

Development

Summary: Disparity between public interest and reporting in a couple of publications in Africa and the United States

THE other day we found this poor article which says “Kenya is beginning to develop home grown capacity in software development and the government will support the efforts,” supposedly with software patents. The whole article smells like propaganda for software patents as some nonsense like patent monopolies would make no sense for a country like Kenya [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

The article says: “The challenge for the local software industry is access to skilled legal drafting of their patent application. Over 200 patent applications were submitted in 2011, and 17 were granted.””

“People or publishers who misrepresent the public interest needs to be named and they need to be corrected.”Another propaganda piece for patents says: “Headlines in today’s business, legal and policy papers abound with stories about patent wars over cellphones, tablet computers and other indispensable high-tech products. Some accounts focus on controversial court decisions like federal Judge Richard A. Posner’s curt dismissal of every patent claim that Apple and Motorola brought against each other. Others fret about the anti-competitive implications of Federal Trade Commission reports on the role of patents in setting technological standards. And still others applaud Congress for considering whether to limit the power of the International Trade Commission to exclude from the United States products that infringe on domestic patents.”

Yes, and patent lawyers do not like this, do they? The most annoying deception is one that tries to attribute pro-software patents stance to developers. People or publishers who misrepresent the public interest needs to be named and they need to be corrected. Otherwise we face a global warming-like disinformation campaign, where one side is climate scientists and another is energy giants-funded propaganda.

Bankruptcy Leads to Patent Mess, Shows Another Company

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

Bankruptcy

Summary: Lessons learned from OnLive and other takes on the patent system

THE collapse of Novell, Nortel and now Kodak have shown us what happens to orphaned patents and one of our readers spotted this article about OnLive. It says: “To complicate matters further, Dent believes that OnLive does not actually own any of its patented technology. Those patents are owned by a research and development company called Rearden Labs, which licenses the IP to OnLive. Rearden Labs is owned by OnLive’s CEO, Steve Perlman. By transferring Rearden Lab’s IP from OnLive to a new entity and filing for ABC bankruptcy in OnLive’s name, Perlman is essentially able to ‘restart’ OnLive with a new investor without having to pay OnLive’s staff their share of equity. If staff are re-hired to be a part of the new business, they are not necessarily entitled to the same stock and benefits as they were at OnLive. This raises questions about the ethical practices of the business.”

“The costs of litigation are passed to the public. These also reduce the number of technology jobs.”Expect sites with pro-patents/”IP” bias to keep on pretending that patents are a good thing (more on that in the next post), despite all that we currently see in Apple and Samsung litigation. As one writer put it: “We are about to reach the climax of a very big war among multi-national technology companies. The chess pieces of this war will be intellectual property (IP). In all war there is collateral damage and in the IP battles that damage is two-fold effecting consumers and smaller technology companies.”

The costs of litigation are passed to the public. These also reduce the number of technology jobs.

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