08.21.12

Disney Propaganda Brings Backlash

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD at 10:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reinforcing stereotypes

Disney

Summary: Baseless and factually-flawed arguments against Free Open Source software (FOSS) shown by a media giant to the unsuspecting public

The circles of social media and blogosphere already point out, correctly, that Disney shows its less flattering side. From racism and propaganda Disney has turned to a strategy Steve Jobs would have fancied; It is FOSS FUD:

  • Disney Adds A Bit Of Nonsensical Anti-Open Source FUD To Kid’s Sitcom

    Walt Disney Corporation added a bit of nonsensical anti-open source fear, uncertainty and doubt to a kid’s sitcom that it aired this past weekend. But the dialogue is so ridiculous that you have to wonder if they have any clue about what they are doing.

    In an episode that aired Friday on the Disney Channel, the show Shake It Up features two teenagers begging the stereotypical geeky kid for help with a computer that has apparently gone down.

    The geeky kid, complete with sweater, parted hair and glasses, asks the two teenagers the oddest question: “Did you use open source code to save time and the virus was hidden in it?”

  • Disney sitcom says open source is insecure

    a Disney sitcom that screens on The Disney Channel around the world, has slipped in an insult to open source software.

    The show, which tracks the activities of a group of aspiring dancers on a TV show called “Shake it Up, Chicago”, appears to be aimed at tweens. We make that assertion based on the age of comments on its web site, the brightly-coloured costumes and crudely-stereotyped big-brush-strokes characters.

In case Disney does more of this in the future it might be worth pointing out. right now Attempts by the company to appear FOSS-friendly have been seriously damaged by the above. Some fairly major sites have fortunately covered this. Any coverage we offer would thus be repetitive.

Google Embraces USPTO and Patent Litigation Rather Than Fight the Broken System

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 10:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Broken policy

Broken glass

Summary: Hopes that Google will bring change to the system are diminished further as the USPTO and ITC become partners to Google

THE abundant desire Google has to control information has led it to helping the USPTO and EPO; we criticised Google for that. According to this article, among others, Google is still servicing the USPTO. Pamela Jones gave some details and Google bragged about it.

“We are conflicted about this because Google is now fighting fire with fire, which does little or nothing to get a real reform.”Through Motorola with all of its patent ammunition Google is now suing Apple. It is a Google subsidiary doing this and it is definitely reactionary because it was Apple which approached the ITC first. To quote: “Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Motorola Mobility unit said it filed a new patent-infringement case against Apple Inc. (AAPL) claiming that features on some Apple devices, including the Siri voice-recognition program, infringe its patents.

“The complaint at the U.S. International Trade Commission claims infringement of seven Motorola Mobility patents on features including location reminders, e-mail notification and phone/video players, Motorola Mobility said yesterday. The case seeks a ban on U.S. imports of devices including the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. Apple’s products are made in Asia.

““We would like to settle these patent matters, but Apple’s unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers’ innovations,” Motorola Mobility said in an e-mailed statement. ”

We are conflicted about this because Google is now fighting fire with fire, which does little or nothing to get a real reform. In a sense, any chances Google may have had to complain about the USPTO are being invalidated by these recent moves that demonstrate hypocrisy. Although Google uses deterrence against real attacks the reaction is harming many FOSS players. It makes Google appear as complicit.

“It makes Google appear as complicit.”Why not smash the USPTO rather than play along? The US patent system is being further discredited by patents on genetics, as they were recently validated further. As one critic of the USPTO put it: “One of the bizarre things about the patent system is the “presumption of validity,” in which a patent officially has to be presumed valid. Conceptually, this makes very little sense. Patents grant a pretty broad monopoly on “inventions” for an extended period of time… based entirely on approximately 18 hours that a patent examiner has to spend looking over the thing. Do we really think that a patent examiner gets things right most of the time? It seems that even the US Patent Office’s own data shows that’s simply not true. A friend pointed me to the USPTO’s recently released data concerning re-exams (pdf and embedded below), which demonstrates in great detail why patents shouldn’t be presumed valid. Basically, the data suggests that an awful lot of patents were handled poorly.

“The document notes that 92% of re-exam requests are granted — meaning that nearly all re-examination requests lead to a re-examination by the Patent Office. So, if most patents were well constructed in the first place, you would imagine that most of them would come through the re-examination process unscathed with no changes, right? Only if patent examiners were really bad at their jobs would a large percentage of patents need to be changed or rejected completely on re-exam. Given the “presumption of validity” that grants a monopoly, and the massive dollar amounts that patents sell for and are able to extract in settlements, you’d think that re-examined patents must normally confirm the original diagnosis. Hell, given that information, I’d hope that at least around 95% of patents, having passed the approval process, would be solid enough to survive the re-exam process untouched.”

“If only Google helped… its lobbyists are too busy making privacy laws more lenient.”The USPTO should become obsolete if its ability to identify new inventions in a fast-moving market is impaired to this degree.

Demonstrating a waste of already-limited resources is the KDE project, which previously needed to worry about Apple patents (we covered some examples) and now considers so-called ‘defensive publications’. To quote a prominent developer: “Software patents are an evil thing which should die a horrible and painful death. Until that moment, recording prior art in a way that is understood by the system is an effective way to fight patents. By recording prior art in the form of defensive publications, we can make it much harder for a patent to be granted — and it does not have to be hard at all to do so.”

How about writing code and just helping abolition of software patents? If only Google helped… its lobbyists are too busy making privacy laws more lenient. By law (shareholders), Google is required to do only what’s good for itself.

08.20.12

Android Litigation Update

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 9:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Android screenshot

Summary: A roundup of cases against Android, especially the one of Apple versus Samsung

THE British press teaches us that Microsoft’s failed mobile platform is facing another major embarrassment. To quote, “Microsoft has temporarily halted the publication of new apps for Windows Phones following a problem with its digital security certificates.”

“Apple has chosen to launch several lawsuits, some of which are high-profile ones.”Despite all those disasters, the Microsoft mole who runs Nokia (and who feeds anti-Android patent trolls excluding Apple and Microsoft from litigation, as they are part of the same patents team and are in bed with Nokia’s patents as more is piled on) is still staying with the two sinking ships, WP7 and Nokia. A former Microsoft worker covers the news and his colleague says that “Apple has gone out of its way to avoid attacking Google head on, instead firing off lawsuit after lawsuit against partners such as Samsung and HTC. That’s because it’s easier to pin blame on the handset makers, who actually generate revenue and profit off of those Android phones, than Google, which gives the operating system away for free and only indirectly generates revenue through mobile advertising. It’s also easier to stack up an iPhone next to a Galaxy S and point to the similarities.”

Here ia an article which is titled “The Number That Shows Why Apple Is Suing Every Android Manufacturer In Sight”. It says: “The eyes of the technology world are focused on the epic patent struggle between Apple and Samsung – the latest iteration of Apple’s frantic legal battle against everything Android. The iPhone maker has also brought suits against Android device manufacturers HTC and Motorola. Apple has faced criticism for its endless lawsuits designed to stunt competition from Google’s Android, but a quick look at Android device shipments in the second quarter of 2012 reveals a key number that suggest Apple is right to worry.

“That number is 68.”

“Apple has been deceiving Judge Koh, who now asks Apple’s attorneys if they’re “smoking crack”.”Apple has chosen to launch several lawsuits, some of which are high-profile ones. Here is a cartoon about how bad Apple’s case is and an explanation of Apple’s fear. To quote SJVN: “Most people like some products, but Apple fans love their products. And, who can blame them? I own an Apple TV, five Macs, an iPad, and two iPod Touches because they’re darn good devices—and I’m a Linux fan. So why is Apple so frightened of Samsung and the other Android smartphone and tablet vendors that it’s trying to sue them into the ground instead of competing with them?

“Apple isn’t just suing Samsung in the US. Apple has sued Samsung around the world. In Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom and more than two-dozen other countries, Apple has made the same lousy patent design claims: Samsung has stolen the look and feel of its iPhone and iPad.

“These claims are bogus. There’s nothing unique about Apple’s iPad or iPhone designs. That’s not just my opinion. A UK judge told Apple it must tell the world on both its UK . website and in British newspapers that Samsung had not in fact infringed on the iPad’s design.”

“This really ought to end like the case that Judge Posner decided on.”There are claims that “Samsung’s Wang was up 22 hours a day, had no time to copy Apple” and to quote further, contextually,”Samsung fired its opening salvo against Apple’s allegation that the South Korean giant ripped off the iPhone design, and claimed it worked its arse off to develop its own gadgets. At the two tech titans’ ongoing patent trial in the US yesterday, Sammy also argued that Apple’s iProducts are not unique.

“The South Korean firm wheeled out its designer Jeeyuen Wang, who created the icons for the Samsung Galaxy devices. She denied copying Apple’s user interface when she worked on the Galaxy range, and claimed that hundreds of designers worked on the original Galaxy S I.”

Apple has been deceiving Judge Koh [1, 2], who now asks Apple’s attorneys if they’re “smoking crack”. This remark received a lot of attention, but Samsung too was slammed by the judge who seems to show unprofessionalism. To quote one report, “Judge Lucy Koh has been going increasingly terse with both Apple and Samsung as the trial continues, and she just let Apple have it after receiving a 75-page briefing. The document covered 22 potential rebuttal witnesses the company might want to call after Samsung finishes presenting its case. With the jury out of the courtroom, Koh laid into Apple, asking why it would present such a lengthy document “when unless you’re smoking crack you know these witnesses aren’t going to be called!””

“A lot of prior art is presented in this case and Groklaw covered some.”This really ought to end like the case that Judge Posner decided on. Samsung is not making all that much in profits based on outside experts, but Apple just wants to leave people with no choice but iPhone/iPad. The judge challenges apparent exceptionalism: “We’ve seen the tone in the tech world’s biggest patent case take a turn for the worse over the last several days, and the hits just keep on coming. Whether it’s coming from lawyers frustrated by time constraints or verbal lashings from an irrate judge, the negative vibe is everywhere: this thing needs to end…now. Judge Lucy Koh’s frustrations with the parties and the overall progress of the case may have peaked today, but the court is really represented by the combined voice of Koh and her magistrate judge Paul Grewal, and it turns out he has an opinion on the matter as well. In response to an 11th-hour attempt by Samsung to get its own negative inference jury instruction against Apple (Apple has one against Samsung for failing to preserve important documents for trial), Judge Grewal sort of went off — albeit in a poetic kind of way.”

“Touchscreen patents (and bounce-back too) in general are being disputed. “A lot of prior art is presented in this case and Groklaw covered some. To quote Pamela Jones: “When Harry Harrison recently died, it reminded a Groklaw member of the movie Soylent Green, which came out in 1973. One scene has a tablet, in the euthenasia scene with Edward G. Robinson. Except for the detail that it used a sylus in the scene, it is certainly thin and it’s a rectangle with rounded corners and a minimalist simplicity. If you go to YouTube, you can see the tablet, and I have some screen shots of what the tablet looked like. Is this prior art, perchance, foreshadowing the iPad and/or Samsung’s tablets? If not, it surely speaks to obviousness, doesn’t it?

“Why are companies suing each other over an idea this old and this obvious? ”

According to the report “Judge Urges Apple and Samsung to Settle Patent Dispute” (behind a paywall), Apple’s case is not going as well as it expected from Koh and according to some sources, “Samsung started off its case today by going straight at the heart of Apple’s utility patents, showing off two software systems with similar functionality that pre-date iOS altogether.”

“Suddenly it’s Samsung that gets an upper hand and destroys Apple’s arguments.”Touchscreen patents (and bounce-back too) in general are being disputed. To quote:”Samsung continued its defense against Apple’s patent infringement suit in court this week by showing references not considered when Apple acquired its patents on touchscreen technology. Apple has sued Samsung for patent infringement for $2.75 billion in damages, part of which comes from Samsung’s alleged copying of touchscreen features in iOS software. In response Samsung has countersued Apple based on its own patents in wireless 3G technology.”

Apple boosters don’t favour reality and they say: “In a somewhat surprising turn of events in the Apple-Samsung trial, the Korean electronics company claimed today that Apple products infringe on its own software patents. Harvard EECS professor Woodward Yang testified that three different functions in Apple products appeared to be based on those found in earlier Samsung patents.”

Suddenly it’s Samsung that gets an upper hand and destroys Apple’s arguments. To quote: “In front of a jury barely following along with the expert testimony, Apple continued its trade dress and patent infringement case against Samsung in court Friday.

“Rather than focus on development Apple has wasted effort litigating.”“Once again, Judge Lucy Koh needed to interrupt witness testimony to remind the jury they could get caffeine if they needed it.”

The end of the case is near, but there is a standstill as testimonies come to an end, Apple winds up ,and the exchange of blows leaves the courts to decide that neither party — by all likelihood — deserves anything. This will hopefully result in a waste of Apple’s time, just like in the Motorola case that Judge Posner dismissed. Rather than focus on development Apple has wasted effort litigating. It alienated a lot of people too.

Links 20/8/2012: Wine 1.5.11, Frugalware 1.7

Posted in News Roundup at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • OS4 1.0 “OpenDesktop” has been released

    oberto Dohnert has announced the release of OS4 1.0 “OpenDesktop” edition, a Xubuntu-based distribution targeting legacy 32-bit hardware, ultrabooks and netbooks: “Today we are proud to announce the general availability of OS4 OpenDesktop 1.0. OS4 OpenDesktop is a 32-bit offering that runs on all legacy 32-bit hardware as well as the newer ultrabooks and netbooks.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 213

    · Announced Distro: AV Linux 6.0

    · Announced Distro: SolusOS 1.2

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • LanyardFS: A New Linux File-System

      A new Linux kernel file-system has been presented, LanyFS, a.k.a. the Lanyard File-System.

      From the patch announcement by Dan Luedtke, “This patch introduces the Lanyard Filesystem (LanyFS), a filesystem for highly mobile and removable storage devices.” The kernel patch then goes on to describe Lanyard FS as “The lanyard file system (LanyFS) is designed for removable storage devices, particularly those small gadgets one would carry around using a lanyard.”

    • KMSCON Is Getting Ready To Kick The Kernel Console

      KMSCON is turning out to be a successful and interesting project with high ambitions of being the leading terminal emulator for Linux while running from user-space.

      Back in March was when I first talked about KMSCON as a DRM-based terminal emulator when the developer, David Herrmann, was inspired by Jesse Barnes’ guide to hacking with EGL and KMS.

      KMSCON is built upon the Linux kernel APIs for kernel mode-setting provided by the Direct Rendering Manager drivers for frame-buffer access to all displays as well as hot-plugging support with the DRM drivers through udev.

    • Adaptive Tickless Kernel Still Being Adapted

      While in development for nearly two years without merging, the adaptive tickless Linux kernel support is still being developed.

      The adaptive tickless kernel support ended up being a big endeavour as well as getting other kernel developers to review the patches.

    • Link-Time Optimization To Speed Up The Linux Kernel

      An extensive set of patches have been published that allow the Linux kernel to be built with GCC’s LTO (Link-Time Optimization) support for generating a faster Linux kernel binary but at the cost of much greater compile times.

    • Retina display MacBook Pro does not play nicely with Linux
    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

    • Play the Guitar with Rhythmbox!

      Are you sick of wasting too much time on trying to find the “correct” tablature for your favorite song? Do you want to learn how to play your favorite songs on the guitar but you have no idea of what notes stand for? Rhythmbox is the answer for you!

      Recently I discovered a fantastic 3rd party plugin for Rhythmbox that will search, download and display under a second the guitar, bass and drums tablature of the song you are listening to right now! How cool is that?

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

    • Games

      • Humble Bundle 3 Now Available For Ubuntu Precise

        Humble Bundle is a donation based game project where users set their own price for a series of games and can decide the proportion of money to be given to charity and developers. The project is quite successful and the third series of games are now available in Ubuntu.

      • Evilot, New Puzzle/Defense Game for Linux

        Evilot is a new Puzzle/Defense game for Linux, where you play as Count Dolfus, a retired evil overlord, that just wants to spend his last days in peace.

        The problem is that the small retirement fund you’ve managed to amass, over decades of evildoing, is too tempting a prize for the heroes and adventurers running through the Kingdom of Evilot, so you’ll have prepare your defenses to withstand their fierce attack.

      • Steam to debut Big Picture beta soon, make couch potatoes of PC gamers

        Early last year, Valve mentioned it was working on something called Big Picture mode for Steam, an alternative user interface with controller support designed specifically for use on televisions. According to Gabe Newell, the distribution services’ couch-ready UI is almost upon us. “We should have both Linux and 10-foot betas out there fairly quickly,” he told Geoff Keighley in the latest episode of GTTV, noting that the interface would be available on both the current iteration of Steam and the upcoming Linux version. Newell said that Valve has been showing the interface to hardware manufacturers, but ultimately feels that the community will decide its fate. “I think customers will say ‘this is really great,’ or they’ll say it’s another interesting but not a valuable contribution, fairly quickly.” Check out the interview for yourself (and the full episode) after the break.

      • Let’s Play: Darwinia
      • Steam for Linux Beta is imminent
      • Planetary Annihilation To Have Linux Support

        Uber Entertainment have added the promise of Linux support to their Kickstarter for Planetary Annihilation, and not as a stretch goal. The funding is now at $453,000 of their $900,000 goal with 26 days to go. Platforms now confirmed are Windows, OSX and Linux. The rate of funding seems to have flattened out a bit over the past few days, so it will be interesting to see if this announcement affects it in the coming days.

      • Valve Releases New CS: Global Offensive Trailer

        The official release of Valve’s much-anticipated Counter-Strike: Global Offensive title is set to happen on the 21st of August. In anticipation of the launch, Valve has released a new CS:GO trailer.

        Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is the latest game in Valve’s wildly-successful Counter-Strike franchise built atop their impressive Source Engine. CS:GO has been in beta for a number of months already while next week will mark its official release. This first person shooter is initially being released for Windows, OS X, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, but a native Linux version will very likely come once Valve begins shipping their Steam client and Source-based games for Linux.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Some Enlightenment EFL Components Hit v1.7 Beta

      Last week there was the release of some 1.7 alpha packages for the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL), but today there’s some beta packages.

      Eina, Eet, Evas, Ecore, Embryo, Edje, Efreet, E_dbus, Eeze, Expedite, Evas Generic Loaders, Eio, Emotion, Ethumb, and Elementary experienced the new release cycle beta releases of 1.7.0 on Friday. The announcement was made at Enlightenment.org.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE News (dot.kde.org) undergoes major upgrade

        Today, we finished upgrading one of the most visited KDE websites: KDE.News. The Dot now not only runs on drupal’s latest release (7.15), but also has a fresh new look featuring the Neverland theme.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • BlankOn 8 preview

      BlankOn is a desktop distribution based on Debian, and comes to use courtesy of some enterprising folks from Indonesia. It uses a highly-modified GNOME 3 desktop environment built with an HTML 5 and CSS 3 custom desktop shell called Manokwari.

      Because I am not particularly fond of the GNOME 3 desktop in its default state, I am always on the lookout for a distribution that takes it and makes it a lot more user-friendly. Linux Deepin is one that I like very much, but choice is good, and so I decided to download BlankOn 8, the latest edition of BlankOn, to see what it has to offer.

    • Endangered Banyumas Dialect Gets Its Own Linux OS

      The @blankonbanyumas project in Indonesia has launched its open source, Linux-based OS that’s fully localized in the Banyumas local language. It launched on Friday, aptly arriving on Indonesia’s 67th Independence Day. Wikipedia describes the tongue as “considered to be a dialect of Javanese.”

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Get to know Mageia better!

        Hmm, it is hard to address the target group of Mageia. A quick answer would be that targets to a lot of people. Yes, Mageia is one of the most popular distros around and is relatively a new one.

        Mageia isn’t for enthusiasts, isn’t about the latest packages, isn’t a LTS and it doesn’t ship any commercial support, but is user friendly. The best words I can find to describe it, would be a Community Edition of Canonical’s Ubuntu.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Applications Are Always Crashing, Biggest Problem Right Now According To Ubuntu QA
            Survey

            The Ubuntu Quality Assurance team had earlier created a survey to gather feedback from users regarding differen issues in Ubuntu operating system. The results are out, published in Ubuntu Orange Notebook blog and here are some interesting findings.

          • Here Comes The Amazing Wikipedia Lens With Previews

            Canonical has recently announced a new feature called Unity Previews and this program has got tremendous potential as shown below.

            Unity has already got tight integration with different online services, such as Google, Flickr, Wikipedia, Ask Ubuntu etc. What users do is to type in their queries in the dash and the lenses display the results from which users have to click on an item and open it on their web browser. With Previews, one can get more information of an item such as description, ratings, or maybe, even a full web page.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Peppermint LINUX 3 – The mint with no holes

              There have been a number of reviews of Peppermint 3 already so I am somewhat behind the pace with this review.

              I wrote a review about Peppermint 2 back in February but it didn’t really contain all that much information except to say that Peppermint utilises the idea of cloud computing and wraps it up to make it look like you are running a local application.

              As we have moved on a version I thought I’d have another look especially as the reviews have been mainly positive.

            • Installing Lighttpd With PHP5 (PHP-FPM) And MySQL Support On CentOS 6.3
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • GGA Software launches new version 1.1 open-source chemistry toolkit, Indigo

    GGA Software Services LLC, a leading provider of outsourced scientific informatics services to the life sciences industry, has released new version 1.1 of its popular open-source organic chemistry toolkit known as Indigo. Scientists at companies and institutions around the world have used this Indigo toolkit widely to secure broad capabilities in cheminformatics.

  • Google’s Real Time Big Data Tool Cloned By Apache Drill

    Google, as you might expect, has massive amounts of data and it’s built many tools to handle it. Stuff like MapReduce and GoogleFS, which spawned the open source Apache Hadoop, and BigTable, which spawned Apache HBase.

  • SaaS

    • Cloud Computing: Moving To Open Source

      With more and more organizations moving towards the clouds for its customization, flexibility, and agility, sad to say, large cloud computing providers are not that keen to tap the open environment because doing so will be have negative effects to their financial interests. Since Linux started some 20 years ago, there is a growing demand for openness in the IT arena. Today, there is a growing demand for cloud computing to deliver open source cloud computing applications. OpenStack, a community for the development of open-sourced public and private clouds, is on the forefront with more than 180 organizations around the world as supporters.

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL patches XML flaws

      A flaw in the built-in XML functionality of PostgreSQL (CVE-2012-3488) and another in its optional XSLT handling (CVE-2012-3489) have been patched, and the developers have released updated versions of the open source database with relevant fixes. The holes being patched are related to insecure use of the widely used libxml2 and libxslt open source libraries and the PostgreSQL developers advise anyone using those libraries to check their systems for similar problems.

    • Oracle Makes More Moves To Kill Open Source MySQL

      Oracle is holding back test cases in the latest release of MySQL. It’s a move that has all the markings of the company’s continued efforts to further close up the open source software and alienate the MySQL developer community.

      The issue stems back to a recent discovery that the latest MySQL release has bug fixes but without a single one having any test cases associated with it. That creates all sorts of problems for developers who have no assurance that the problem is actually fixed.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • SolusOS 1.2 Features LibreOffice 3.6.0

      Ikey Doherty proudly announced yesterday, August 17th, the immediate availability for download of the SolusOS 1.2 Linux distribution.

      SolusOS 1.2 is the second maintenance release of the 1.x branch of the SolusOS distribution, bringing better GPU, bluetooth and printer support, as well as many system-wide optimisations and fixes.

  • Healthcare

    • The Eclipse Way vs. The Android Way

      The Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA), an independent, nonprofit, open source organization formed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has taken an active role in upgrading and standardizing the agency’s VistA electronic health record (EHR). Meanwhile, the role of open source developers in building the joint Department of Defense/VA EHR system is still in flux.

      Up to now, it has been difficult for the VA to introduce enterprise-wide changes in its VistA software, said Seong K. Mun, president and CEO of OSEHRA, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare. The main problem is that many of the 152 VA medical centers have tweaked VistA to meet their own needs over the years.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • The UK Public Sector Finally Gets Open Source

      The use of open source technology in the UK’s public sector has historically lagged behind other European countries, most notably France and Germany, both of which have successfully embraced open source to deliver enhanced value to the taxpayer through efficiency and collaboration.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Dart: Build HTML5 Apps Fast

      Dart is a language, library, toolset, and virtual machine from Google that greatly facilitates writing fast, interactive HTML5 apps without requiring you to be a JavaScript expert.

      Dart helps developers build fast HTML5 apps for the Web. Currently in Technology Preview (with a Beta release planned for this year), this open source project is building a “batteries included” developer platform that integrates a new language, libraries, an editor, a virtual machine, and a compiler (with JavaScript output).

    • How Microsoft was forced to open Office

      In Office 2013, Microsoft was compelled to support the true ODF format as well as the PDF format. Here’s how open source won

Leftovers

  • Patton Boggs to Lobby for Facebook

    Facebook Inc. has signed on with a former U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman and other Patton Boggs lobbyists.

    Patton Boggs disclosed to Congress on Tuesday that firm partner Kevin Martin, the FCC chairman from 2005 to 2009, as well as partner Jeffrey Turner and senior public policy adviser Emanuel Rossman, are lobbying for the social network. They are focusing on matters concerning “technology and internet policy, including personal privacy, protecting children, advancing online security, and tax policy issues,” according to a lobbying registration report the law firm filed with the U.S. House of Representatives.

  • Want to Get 70 Billion Copies of Your Book In Print? Print It In DNA

    I have been meaning to read a book coming out soon called Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves. It’s written by Harvard biologist George Church and science writer Ed Regis. Church is doing stunning work on a number of fronts, from creating synthetic microbes to sequencing human genomes, so I definitely am interested in what he has to say. I don’t know how many other people will be, so I have no idea how well the book will do. But in a tour de force of biochemical publishing, he has created 70 billion copies. Instead of paper and ink, or pdf’s and pixels, he’s used DNA.

  • Why the Man Who Invented the Web Isn’t Rich

    I hadn’t realized that the World Wide Web turned 21 this week until I saw the nice birthday card that Megan Garber sent it yesterday. And it’s a good thing I did–because otherwise I would have missed a fabulous recycling opportunity!

  • Finance

    • Attorney For Goldman Sachs CEO Is Eric Holder’s ‘Best Friend’

      Last week, the Justice Department announced that it will not prosecute Goldman Sachs or any of its employees in a financial probe.

      Could that be because the attorney for Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was none other than Attorney General Eric Holder’s “best friend” and former personal attorney, Reid Weingarten?

      Or because in 2008, Goldman Sachs employees donated $1,013,091 to Barack Obama?

    • Goldman, Still Playing in Bayou’s Mud

      Goldman had executed and cleared trades for Bayou, and there were questions about how well Goldman supervised the account. On July 30, Goldman paid $20.7 million to roughly 200 Bayou investors in the United States. Those investors, unsecured creditors in a separate Bayou bankruptcy case, were awarded that amount by a securities arbitration panel in June 2010.

      It was one of the few bright spots of the Bayou story, but it didn’t last. The same day Goldman paid the investors, the firm filed its own creditor’s claim for the same amount — $20.7 million — in the Bayou bankruptcy. Goldman contended that paying the award had made it, too, a Bayou creditor. If the court agrees, the investors who won their arbitration case — also unsecured creditors of Bayou — will be out of luck.

      Ross B. Intelisano, a partner at Rich, Intelisano & Katz in New York who represented the Bayou investors, said they would fight Goldman’s latest filing.

      I asked Goldman last week about the bankruptcy court filing. Michael DuVally, a spokesman, said Goldman never controlled the money at issue in the arbitration.

      “Our claim is consistent with bankruptcy law,” he said in a statement. “The arbitration panel, which was not ruling on wrongdoing, determined that money the Bayou funds deposited with us while insolvent needed to be returned to the estate to distribute to creditors. With the ruling, we became a creditor entitled to compensation along with the other victims of the fraud.”

    • Oracle settles SEC charges over secret India payments

      Oracle Corp agreed to pay a $2 million fine to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charges that an India subsidiary secretly set aside money used to make unauthorized payments to phony vendors in that country.

  • Privacy

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • UN body opens debate on Internet future to public after critics slam secrecy of talks

      The U.N. telecoms agency has invited the world’s more than 2 billion Internet users to join a debate about the future of the Internet.

      The Geneva-based International Telecommunications Union’s announcement Wednesday follows criticism from civil society groups who say preparations for an upcoming global conference have been shrouded in secrecy.

08.19.12

Links 19/8/2012: SolusOS Eveline 1.2 Released, Unity Favours 3-D

Posted in News Roundup at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Pandora: The Handheld Console for Linux Tweakers

    We here at S|A recently got a chance to interview Micheal Mrozek, one of the core members of a small company named OpenPandora, which produces the Pandora handheld gaming console. Long before Kickstarter and crowd sourced development funding became the flavor of the week, the OpenPandora team was designing and producing their own handheld gaming console based off of what their fellow forum members wanted. The idea behind the Pandora was to produce a handheld gaming console that met the needs of their highly active, but small, forum. It had to be a fully functional Linux PC, have an awesome D-pad, and be powerful enough to emulate the mass market console gaming systems that had proceeded it. It took a long time to get all of the pieces into place (read: four years of hardship and delays), but the Pandora has finally matured into the handheld console that its steadfast supporters have always hoped it would.

  • Advocating for a Linux advocate

    Ken Starks can drive me crazy sometimes.

    It’s been a while since I have spoken with him. After leaving Linux Today and working for the Linux Foundation, I found myself falling out of touch with various members of the Linux community, and unfortunately Ken was one of them.

  • Migrating to GNU/Linux

    While a perfectly planned set-piece migration appears to work for large organizations, smaller organizations may simply experience delay and greater costs doing the detailed work. The GNU/Linux desktop has evolved to the point where for a large proportion of users it can do the job with little fuss. Just backup data, install the OS and restore the data. If any problems arise they are likely to be small and manageable. With a good backup, one can always revert particular machines if a show-stopper arises. In ten years of migrating small organizations I never encountered a show-stopper that could not be simply worked around. Migrations of simple computer labs may take only an hour or two. A whole school may be about as complicated as that. Where I last worked, I walked around replacing PCs with GNU/Linux PCs. I could have installed over the network to avoid the walking but there was a matter of locked doors after hours… That’s not a show-stopper associated with the OS, just constraints on the institution.

  • MacPup LINUX – How do you like this Apple?

    During previous reviews of Puppy LINUX distributions such as Wary, Slacko and Lucid I have received comments asking “Have you tried MacPup?”. Well up until now no I haven’t.

    I downloaded the ISO for MacPup a few weeks ago but I’ve only just reached the point where I have had time to have an in depth look.

  • The Coming Civil War Over General Purpose Computers

    Last month, I gave a talk called “The Coming Civil War Over General Purpose Computing” at DEFCON, the Long Now, and Google. We’re going to have a transcript with the slides on Monday, but in the meantime, here’s a video of the Long Now version of the talk.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Download Linux Kernel 3.6 Release Candidate 2

      Linus Torvalds announced last evening, August 16th, that the second Release Candidate of the upcoming Linux 3.6 kernel is now available for download and testing.

      Linux kernel 3.6 Release Candidate 2 brings the usual bug fixes, updated drivers, and general improvements.

    • A Power Saving Schema For The Linux Kernel Scheduler

      An Intel engineer has proposed introducing a power saving schema for CFS, the Linux kernel’s default scheduler. Code hasn’t been presented yet, but there’s lots of discussion about this topic to improve the power efficiency of the Linux kernel scheduler.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • After 4.9 there will be 4.10

        After the release of the KDE Plasma Workspaces 4.9 I have read quite often in the Internet that users and also Media assume that the next release will be 5.0. This is not the case, the next release of the KDE Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Plattform will be 4.10 to be expected at the beginning of 2013 (release schedule has not yet been finalized by the release team).

        I do not know why people assume that there would be a 5.0 release but I guess it is related to the work on Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5. Also some people seem to assume that after 4.9 the 5.0 has to follow due to second number being single digit, but a simple look at e.g. GNOME would show that numbers can increase as long as one likes.

      • An alternate history of KDE

        In reality, the deal makes perfect sense, and Qt is now clear of its tenure with Nokia. So how did Qt and KDE do under Nokia’s influence?

        If Digia sounds familiar, it’s because the company was already heavily involved in the Qt community. In 2011, not long after Nokia announced its intention to place its fate in the hands of Windows-based smartphones, Nokia sold the commercial Qt support business to Digia. Selling over the trademarks, copyrights, and other assets to Digia just completes a transition that started back in March of 2011.

        At the time, Nokia’s Sebastian Nyström laid out the reason for that sale, indicating that the commercial licenses sales of Qt “are not core business activities for Nokia, so since the introduction of the LGPL license for Qt in 2009 we have been actively working to grow the number of companies providing Qt services.”

      • Muon Suite 1.4.0 Released

        This is a KDE application for simple and easy package management in Debian-KDE based distros, similar to Software Center available in Ubuntu.

      • Qt 5.0 Beta Not Here Due To Difficulties

        While the Qt 5.0 Beta was supposed to be out in July, it was changed to release the Qt 5 beta in early August. We’re now half-way through August and there’s no signs of an imminent beta. It’s now been said that “some things have been a bit more difficult lately” leading to a delay in Qt5.

      • Motomic enables Qt applications on Freescale Kinetis “K” Series MCUs
    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME: Seven Possible Recovery Strategies

        The conventional wisdom these days is that GNOME is faltering. GNOME 3 is unpopular, and users and distributions are abandoning it for alternatives such as Xfce or Mate.

        The project itself suffers from a lack of developers and a loss of morale, and faces new challenges as mobile devices become more common than traditional desktop environments.

        So what strategies are available for GNOME in the next few years?

        This ugly assessment of GNOME’s current condition is not just being made by outsiders. Recently, GNOME developer Benjamin Otte made the same critique in a widely discussed blog post entitled “Staring into the Abyss.”

        Many of the same subjects were even raised at GUADEC, GNOME’s annual conference. In particular, Xan Lopez and Juan Jose Sanchez gave a presentation called “A Bright Future for GNOME” that outlined the project’s challenges. Lopez and Sanchez’s presentation was supposed to be a call to arms, but, in the weeks since it was delivered, it has been used mainly as proof of just how the once mighty GNOME has fallen.

      • Jovovich reveals the new Gnome in its 15th birthday!

        It is true that Gnome scientists work secretly many meters under the ground in mysterious projects under the protection of evil and powerful Red Umbrella Corporation. They share no information about their future plans and communication is closed.

      • Gnome3 porting to FreeBSD
  • Distributions

    • ROSA Marathon Release Pack 1 brings tooltips to SimpleWelcome

      The first Release Pack of ROSA Marathon 2012 has been made available for public download. ROSA Marathon is the enterprise desktop edition of ROSA Linux, a Linux distribution derived from Mandriva Linux and developed by ROSA Laboratory, a Linux solutions provider based in Moscow, Russia.

      Desktop environments supported by ROSA Linux are the K Desktop Environment (KDE), GNOME 2, and LXDE. The main edition, which received this release pack, uses KDE. Aside from an updated Kernel (from kernel 3.0.28 to 3.0.38) the main highlight of this release pack is the addition of tooltips to SimpleWelcome, the distribution’s menu application.

    • Two Rolling Release Distributions

      I am using Arch Linux and PCLinuxOS for past many years with PCLinuxOS dating back to V.92 and Arch Linux since early 2010 . I also used Sabayon Linux , ALT Linux , Chakra , Fuduntu and Unity Linux for different periods of times in past but never settled down with any of these for a daily usage due to many different reasons ranging from instability to facing many problems at different levels.

    • Crunchbang 11 20120806 Review: Minimalistic but highly functional

      If you need a cutting edge Linux OS but you have a very very low resource computer, what would you do? You download Crunchbang and your computer will start performing blazing fast and amazingly stable. Now Crunchbang 11 Waldorf is in the testing stage, based on Debian Wheezy (it’s also testing till date). I guess once Wheezy is released as a stable distribution, we will have the Crunchbang stable as well.

    • BackTrack 5 R3 review

      BackTrack is a security-focused Linux distribution that is loaded with all the best Free Software penetration testing applications available. It is based on Ubuntu Desktop. The latest edition is code-named Revolution, and the newest update-release – BackTrack 5 R3, was released just a few days ago.

      It is distribution designed for penetration testers and other security professionals, or those who want to mess with all the best security and penetration testing applications the free software community has to offer.

    • Pardus ANKA?

      Apparently, the community of Pardus is working on Pardus ANKA, the fork of Pardus. They have a logo, too!

    • Macpup 529

      Macpup is a small,light OS. It runs in ram and is very fast. It is not a striped down,bare bones,basic core OS. Macpup is a full featured systemright out of the box with apps for office,graphics,multimedia,internetand much more.And it looks really cool.

    • New Releases

      • SolusOS Eveline 1.2 Released
      • SolusOS 1.2 Arrives, Updates Eveline

        SolusOS is a newish distribution that has been getting some real good reviews since its inception. A new update was released today to update the current 1.x “Eveline” stable release. I thought it was about time to take this

      • AV Linux 6.0 Has Been Officially Released
      • 6.0: The beginning of the end for AV Linux

        Following what he calls “a very turbulent development period”, AV Linux Project Leader Glen MacArthur has released version 6.0 of his custom Linux distribution geared towards audio and video production. AV Linux is a Debian-based distribution that uses the lightweight LXDE desktop environment and includes various multimedia creation programs out of the box. While the OS is specifically aimed at multimedia content creators, MacArthur says that the “state-of-the-art release” is still well-suited for most common daily computer tasks.

      • Calculate Linux 12.0.2 released
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Get to know Mageia better!

        Hmm, it is hard to address the target group of Mageia. A quick answer would be that targets to a lot of people. Yes, Mageia is one of the most popular distros around and is relatively a new one.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Gentoo-Fu: Building KDE branches

        5

        Being a happy Gentoo user myself for about half a year, I thought I would share some tips from my personal experiences on this great distro. It’s nothing you cannot already google for; these are just some ideas/motives to further dig into for yourselves. Mayhaps I will write another post or two about Gentoo. If I ever decide to overcome my laziness :) Take it easy with this post, it’s a bit lengthy, but to quote Blaise Pascal: “I haven’t had time to make it shorter yet“.

        Gentoo being a source-based distribution allows for some very cool stuff like building from an upstream git branch. You can find ebuilds for KDE branches 4.9 and master (as of 17.08.2012), which can vastly help you with bug triaging/fixing. Bug triaging is as easy as updating your system from this branch and trying to reproduce bugs (the procedure is fully automated thanks to Portage’s Moo Powers – “emerge –moo” – and the Gentoo Developers). Bug fixing is as easy as writing a patch and applying it using Portage’s excellent patching abilities. I actually *fixed* a bug like this recently (Bug #297209), being too lazy to manually pull and compile the source code. Sure, a manual setup is way more flexible, but doesn’t come without quite some hassles.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Open Source Is Becoming a Military Necessity

        In letting just anyone use your code, that has to include the bad guys. They’re bound to find a way to compromise it, the thinking goes.

      • Becoming Red Hat: Cloudera and Hortonworks’ Big-Data death match

        In the Big Data market, Hadoop is clearly the team to beat. What is less clear is which of the Hadoop vendors will claim the spoils of that victory.

        Because open source tends to be winner-take-all, we are almost certainly going to see a “Red Hat” of Hadoop, with the second place vendor left to clean up the crumbs.

        As ever with open source, this means the Hadoop market ultimately comes down to a race for community support because, as Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady argues, the biggest community wins.

      • Red Hat unveils new cloud framework

        Open-source platform developer Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) announced on Monday that its new OpenStack cloud framework is ready for enterprises looking to build private, public and hybrid Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds.

        Red Hat is a major supporter and supplier of solutions based on OpenStack, the open-source framework for enterprise cloud platforms. This most recent distribution is designed to complement Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Red Hat CloudForms, Red Hat Storage and Red Hat OpenShift Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), according to the company.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora + Cinnamon – What gives?

          Not that long ago, I gave Fedora Beefy Miracle another spin, this time, the KDE version, and it was a decent experience overall. Not as bland as the Xfce test, not as good as the last autumn KDE edition, somewhere in between. Decent, but still very much Fedora, blood and sweat and hi-tech all combined.

          Then, a reader pinged me and suggested a marvelous idea – what about testing Cinnamon? It’s a most beautiful product. And more importantly, it worked great on Linux Mint, where it’s the default desktop. It even worked splendidly in Ubuntu Pangolin. So why not see what happens when you mate Cinnamon to Fedora? Can this lovely desktop environment turn the tide against all the geekiness and boredom that happen to infuse Fedora?

    • Debian Family

      • Debian and I

        Debian is the most influential Linux distribution ever. Of the 305 active distributions listed on Distrowatch, 147 are derived from Debian, and 87 from Ubuntu, Debian’s most famous off-shoot. In other words, 77% of the distributions being used today wouldn’t exist without Debian. That makes Debian’s nineteenth anniversary on August 16 worth a moment’s reflection, not just technologically, but socially as well.

      • Happy Birthday Debian! And memories of an old-timer…

        For Debian’s birthday, Francesca Ciceri of the Debian Publicity team suggested that developers “blog about their first experiences with Debian”. I found this a good idea so I’m going to share my own early experience. It’s quite different from what happens nowadays…

      • Month of birthdays
      • Happy Birthday, Debian!
      • Happy Birthday Debian And Gnome

        Its birthday time for some of the major players in Linux world, Gnome and Debian. While Gnome was founded on 15th August 1997, and is fifteen years old, Debian has an older history, dating back to 16th August 1993. One of the oldest surviving distro, Debian turns 19 this year.

        Debian shares its history with some of the older distros like Slackware and Mandriva. One of the major changes Debian bought in the Linux world is binary .deb packages. Previously, Linux users had to compile each of the program they wished to install, but with Debian, it was gone. This gave rise to number of package repositories and number of user friendly derivatives, like Ubuntu which show how significant Debian’s development was.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu One offers 500 mb free storage for users
          • Unity 2D dropped from Ubuntu 12.10 “Quantal Quetzal”

            The 2D variant of Canonical’s Unity desktop user interface – introduced in Ubuntu 11.10 for systems without 3D/OpenGL hardware acceleration – will not be included in future versions of Ubuntu. The change was first discussed at the last Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS), but has only just been confirmed in a bug report that sees the removal of Unity 2D.

          • Say Hello To Unity’s Newest Feature: Previews
          • Previews, The Latest Awesome Feature Of Ubuntu 12.10
          • Unity: Dash Gets A Cool New Previews Feature [Video] – Ubuntu 12.10 Development

            A cool new feature has landed in the Unity Staging PPA, for Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal: previews in Dash.

            With the new “previews” feature, you’ll be able to right click applications or files in Dash to get a preview, along with some extra information which depends on the item you’ve right clicked.

          • Ubuntu’s Unity Has Room To Improve Performance

            Following yesterday’s news that Ubuntu 12.10 will drop the Unity 2D desktop, I carried out some quick tests comparing the latest state of the Unity desktop with Compiz against the lightweight Unity 2D desktop that’s now being removed. To not much surprise, the composited Unity desktop still has some performance shortcomings for OpenGL workloads compared to Unity 2D.

          • Canonical Comments On The Unity 2D Defenestration

            Jason Warner, the Ubuntu Desktop Manager at Canonical, acknowledges that dropping Unity 2D and going with Unity-Over-LLVMpipe may lead to some regressions and that some users will want to stick to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or switch to another desktop environment.

            Warner wrote a message on the Ubuntu development list on Friday entitled “Unity Going Forward” where he confirms yesterday’s information that Ubuntu 12.10 is dropping the Unity 2D desktop and focusing upon using Unity with LLVMpipe in cases where there is no sufficient GPU/driver for handling the composited desktop. “Unity 2D has been removed as a default option in favor of Unity 3D across the board. This is a work in progress, so bear with us as we sort out the details in the transition.”

          • After a while of using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS…

            You don’t often see post reviews / analysis of Linux distributions so I thought I would break the trend and share some of my thoughts after using Ubuntu 12.04 LTS for quite some time.

            So, the great thing which I have observed with all Ubuntu LTS releases starting with 8.04 LTS is how well they work (eg lack of bugs and good support). 12.04 LTS in no exception. It is what I expect from LTS releases and what Canonical Ltd aims to deliver, a stable and working product which you can rely on.

          • New Ubuntu One Incentive Gives Twice!

            Ubuntu one, Canonical’s long running cloud storage program just got a little better today. Users are now able to invite friends and family to the program and be rewarded. Unlike most referral based rewards, this one gives twice! It works quite simply.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • New Apache project will Drill big data in near real time

    Working with big data is a lot like dealing with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: either you’re going to have a massive amount of data on hand or you’re going to be able to query that data in real time–never both.

    But now a new open source project has just been accepted as an Apache Software Foundation Incubation project that will let you do both: have your data and search it fast, too.

    Apache Drill is an ad-hoc query system based on Dremel, another big data system that, like Hadoop, was invented by Google engineers to not only manage large datasets but also perform interactive analysis in near real-time.

  • Cloud PBXes: Can Digium Asterisk Answer the Call?
  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Ups Ante for Chrome Bug Hunters

        Google isn’t stopping with Chrome. The Chromium Vulnerability Rewards Program continues to cover vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash as well as other well-known software such as the Linux kernel, various open-source libraries and daemons, X windows, and so on.

    • Mozilla

      • Raspberry Pi now comes in Firefox OS flavour

        The little computer that can, the Raspberry Pi, has successfully run the imminent Firefox OS, thanks to the efforts of a Nokia employee named Oleg Romashin.

        Firefox OS, also and/or formerly known as Boot to Gecko (B2G), is the Mozilla foundation’s attempt at providing an HTML-5 powered OS that will free punters from the tyranny of apps tied to mobile operating systems. The foundation sees the project as not entirely dissimilar to Google’s Chrome OS efforts, but doesn’t feel it is in competition with the text ad giant as it intends Firefox OS as a phone-only play rather than a Microsoft-on-the-lap irritant.

      • Firefox Competitive Strategy Must Focus On Privacy

        We have previously spent some time here discussing Mozilla and what the problems that are plaguing Firefox today. For a long time during the past decade, Firefox was able to successfully challenge Internet Explorer by offering a much more nimble browsing experience that was more responsive to developing user needs such as a protection against security threats. That competitive advantage slowly unraveled once Google introduced Chrome and began to spend marketing dollars promoting it, something Mozilla has done very little of.

      • Mozilla Firefox Release Schedule

        With four different versions of the Firefox web browser available at any time, plus special builds that pop up every now and then and ESR versions, it is quite difficulty to keep up with the browser’s rapid release schedule. To make matters even more complicated, some versions like the aurora or nightly versions get updated fairly often. To bring order into chaos, release schedules usually only concentrate on version increases and not all the updates that get released.

  • SaaS

    • The Battle to Become “The Linux of the Cloud”

      In the business world, money has long been the dominant success benchmark. A hundred years ago being a millionaire was enough, today it’s about being a billionaire. In open source software however, things are a bit different. Success is often defined not only by how much money is made, but instead by a company or project’s level of community contribution, involvement and participation. The gold standard for this type of success has long been the Linux Operating system.

    • Openstack Matters To Almost Everyone

      Openstack, as the name suggests, is a stack of open application for building public and private cloud. The project started with joint effort of NASA and Rackspace in July 2010. The project gained support of 3386 people/developer/contributor and 186 enterprises within 2 years of its launch. Some of its corporate supporters include Canonical, RedHat, Intel, HP, Piston Cloud and Nebula. The project code is available under Apache Licence and is hosted on Github.

  • Databases

    • Fixing things the proper way

      Looking at the bug report (opened in 2010) one can see that the bug was marked in March 2012 as ‘solved’. What was not made clear was that the solution was to disable the query cache for all partitioned tables.

      Reading the bug report comments, I get the impression that the main reason for removing the feature was that the developers looking at the issue didn’t really understand how the query cache works in detail and it was just easier to remove the feature than fixing it. (The problem was well understood but not how to fix it).

    • Disappearing test cases or did another part of MySQL just become closed source?
    • PostgreSQL patches XML flaws

      A flaw in the built-in XML functionality of PostgreSQL (CVE-2012-3488) and another in its optional XSLT handling (CVE-2012-3489) have been patched, and the developers have released updated versions of the open source database with relevant fixes. The holes being patched are related to insecure use of the widely used libxml2 and libxslt open source libraries and the PostgreSQL developers advise anyone using those libraries to check their systems for similar problems.

    • Time to rely less on MySQL?

      KDE software tends to require mysql as the database engine (either a hard requirement like Amarok, or recommended backend like in Akonadi) so things like these genuinely worry me:

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Celebrating ODF… and a lot of other good things.

      Simon’s point is that because of ODF, Microsoft was forced to open up its MS Office platform to open standards. And he’s right, but as I’m reading his lines I again realize that, as an old Chinese wise man once wrote, “Do turn back from time to time while on your way, and contemplate the road you’ve already travelled”. I’ve given an interview recently where I was expressing my frustration at the limits in our work towards ODF’s massive adoption. Well, that’s the other way of looking at the glass, it seems, and it has been made possible by all the ODF ecosystem and their relentless efforts to encourage and advocate ODF and open standards. Because of them, because of us, Microsoft had to actually open up, and not in a trivial way. It takes an enormous effort to achieve just that, and I’m proud to have been part of this team all along.

  • CMS

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Lisping Spleen & Evil in Smalltalk, GNU Know?

      Formal computer languages are lots of fun conceptually, and often provide mind-bending visions of the various shapes, curves and dimensions of textual thought. But there aren’t many interesting words, sounds, colors. I don’t really have the discipline to study linguistics (ho, ho) formally, but I get off on etymology on one hand, and the Gertrude Steinian approach to words as both colors and sounds, and “objects,” sometimes willful and mindful, with texture, temperature and taste. Creatures. But also abstractions: object-oriented programming concepts devised when Turing was in baby booties; however, with the depth and variety of real words forged from real life.

    • FSF introduce “DRM Free” logo

      The Free Software Foundation’s “Defective By Design” campaign has introduced a new “DRM Free” label. The idea behind the label is to identify products that do not have DRM protection so that they are easier for consumers to find in stores, and give those products a competitive advantage.

    • New DRM-Free Label
  • Public Services/Government

  • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Dojo 1.8′s highlight – updated documentation
    • Intel Ivy Bridge: GCC 4.8 vs. LLVM/Clang 3.2 SVN

      Kicking off the Linux benchmarks this weekend are some early numbers from the GCC 4.8 and LLVM/Clang 3.2 development compilers when running on Intel’s latest-generation Core i7 “Ivy Bridge” processor. GCC 4.8 and LLVM/Clang 3.2 are still months away from being formally released, but this article provides a glimpse at how the open-source compiler battle is panning out.

    • Forget LinkedIn: Companies turn to GitHub to find tech talent
    • Ever Higher Levels of Abstraction – Building the Future With Chef

      If you have been in the industry for a decade or more, you probably have a pretty good idea of what being a Unix sysadmin is all about. Load the OS? Check. Configure local user accounts? Check. Install packages, compile some from scratch? Double check. Unix has not changed all that much, so it would be easy to assume that the job you were doing ten years ago would be the same job that you can do for the foreseeable future. But, that is the trap of dinosaurs my friend, the weather has already changed, and the days of dealing with bare metal are already moving fast behind us.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Finance

    • The Port of Goldman Sachs

      Goldman Sachs has multiple longstanding interests in the Port of Oakland’s finances and business operations. Goldman Sachs is a party to at least three major areas of Port business.

      First and foremost is Goldman’s role as an underwriter or dealer for the Port’s various debt offerings. No other financial company is as important as Goldman Sachs for the Port’s numerous and complex bond and commercial paper deals

    • Did the Bounds of Cyber War Just Expand to Banks and Neutral States?

      Last week the Russian security research group Kaspersky Labs announced they had found a new computer virus infecting thousands of computers in the Middle East. Called “Gauss,” after a filename found in its codebase, the malware can capture information about the infected computer, including Internet browsing histories, user login details, and system configuration details. The existence of Gauss suggests that countries may be using cyber warfare for more than just countering imminent threats, and that, with the rules of digital engagement so ambiguous, there’s little to restrain or guide cyberwar’s development.

      Kaspersky Labs was blunt: Gauss, it says, is likely a “nation-state sponsored banking Trojan” built by the same programmers behind Stuxnet and Flame, the recent, sophisticated digital pathogens often speculated as designed by the United States and Israel. However, unlike these viruses, which both targeted Iran, Gauss appears to have a very different target: the banking system of Lebanon.

      Gauss is the latest in a line of massive malware attacks, and much like its predecessors, it appears to be so complex and sophisticated that it’s assumed to have been built by a sovereign state. Gauss uses the same platform as Flame, a “cyber espionage” program that was found in a number of locations in Iran in early 2012 and was capable of comprehensive surveillance of infected computers. Flame itself bore a strong family resemblance to Stuxnet, a 2010 virus that targeted the Iranian nuclear research program.

      Like Flame, Gauss transmits detailed records of user activity back to its central command. Like Stuxnet, it carries a special encrypted “payload” that targets machines that carry specific system configurations. Stuxnet’s payload would identify and disable nuclear research systems, but the encryption for the Gauss payload has not yet been broken, and its purpose remains unknown.

      However, unlike Flame and Stuxnet, which targeted a rogue state’s government networks, Gauss goes after the commercial sector in a country that has normalized relations with the United States. Out of more than 2,500 identified instances of Gauss, nearly two-thirds of have been found in Lebanon. And, unlike the broad spying capacity of Flame, Gauss seems designed for the narrow purpose of capturing transaction data from financial institutions and digital payment providers; specifically, Lebanese banks Fransabank, Bank of Beirut, BLOM, Credit Libanais, Byblos Bank, and EBLF, as well as siphoning data from PayPal and Citibank.

      Why Lebanon? Why banks? Stealing financial transaction data is traditionally the province of, say, shadowy underground criminal gangs. Lebanon is a small country better known for its vibrant nightlife and perpetual domestic volatility. Neither its banking sector nor the state itself are obvious targets for the U.S. or Israeli ntelligence services, which, though they haven’t been connected to Gauss, are the only groups with both the know-how and, if they truly were behind Stuxnet and Flame, the track record.

    • Why Wall Street unfriended Facebook

      When General Motors Co. said three months ago that it was pulling its paid ads from Facebook because it didn’t believe advertising on the site was effective, the move cast a sharp shadow over the company’s initial public offering. Two days later, Facebook‘s stock began trading – and then it began sinking.

  • Civil Rights

  • Copyrights

    • Private justice: How Hollywood money put a Brit behind bars

      Anton Vickerman, 38-year old owner of the once popular link site surfthechannel.com (STC), was sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday by a British judge. But the prosecutors sitting across the courtroom from him didn’t work for the Crown—they were lawyers for the movie studio trade group Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

Microsoft Receives Printed Lies Placement From IEEE

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 11:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Revisionism caught by critics who spotted a Microsoft mole

THE IEEE is giving many reasons for people to distrust it [1, 2, 3, 4]. It is a shame that even fine IEEE publications get polluted by corporate propaganda. A typical troll (who reports for a change) says: “The IEEE’s Spectrum magazine has admitted that a recent contributor, who wrote an eyebrow-raising revisionist history of MS-DOS, is paid by Microsoft.”

The IEEE added some face-saving dsclaimer only later. It says: “Upon publication, this article failed to properly disclose the connection between its author, Bob Zeidman, and Microsoft Corp., a key subject of the story. Mr. Zeidman is currently retained by Microsoft as an expert witness in Motorola Mobility v. Microsoft. IEEE Spectrum regrets the omission.”

We have given examples of revisionism tactics, e.g.:

Enderle and the likes of him, who are paid by Microsoft, like to write inaccurately about the past, revising what actually happened. As Slated’s Homer put it by reference to the lie: “In his 2005 book They Made America, former Sunday Times editor Sir Harold Evans gave the first comprehensive account of the saga in a profile of the late Kildall. He concluded that QDOS was a “rip off” of CP/M. QDOS author Tim Paterson sued for defamation and lost. Paterson has always denied using Digital Research’s CP/M source code to create QDOS.”

“And the author didn’t just “forget” to mention he worked for Microsoft,” notes Homer, “he deliberately tried to cover it up.” To quote: “Getting an early copy of MS-DOS source code wasn’t so easy; it isn’t sitting around online, which is understandable because it’s a commercial product from an ongoing company rather than open source or developed by a now defunct company. Because I collect vintage computers, I just happened to have one” (here is the source).

“I hope Zeidman realises that astrotrufing is illegal”
      –Homer
Homer adds: “He also “forgot” to mention that the CP/M sources he used for comparison were largely incomplete.”

To quote: “This site will be a clearing house for CP/M software. That’s the good news. Now the bad news. What original source you will find on this site is all there is! The rest has been lost to the ages for one reason or another.” (source)

Homer notes that “the fact that any comparison of these “sources” would’ve been hampered by the fact that they were actually in assembler code built for different architectures, and therefore present no means of making a direct comparison.

“Then he went on to perpetuate the lie about Gary Kildall committing suicide, when it’s a fact recorded by the attending coroner that he actually died as the result of a “blunt force trauma to the head”, resulting from an incident in a bar.” (source: Wikipedia)

“I hope Zeidman realises that astrotrufing is illegal,” Homer concludes.

Vista 8 Expected to Fail Based on OEMs

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Bad publicity for Vista 8 on devices and beyond

ACER, which sells Android devices, continues to be a PR disaster for Vista 8, which OEMs such as Acer do not like.

“Acer CEO,” says one report, “doesn’t expect Windows 8 devices to bring “explosive growth” to the industry when the new OS launches in October. The world’s third largest PC maker, notably absent from the Windows RT device launch party, says consumers just aren’t very interested in the upcoming software and hardware innovations.

“During a conference call with investors earlier today Mr Wang said “We are still waiting for the signal of the consumers’ enthusiasm.” He added that “Although everyone is preparing for the Windows 8 launch …there is a lot of reservation, and so we do not see the momentum for very explosive growth has been accumulated.””

Acer can use GNU/Linux and Android instead. We are seeing the period after the beginning of the end for Windows monopoly.

Microsoft Blocks Opera

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft at 10:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Blue desktop

Summary: Outlook.com turns away Opera users like MSN used to

The business once known as Hotmail is being rebranded after it got a lot of bad publicity over the years. Opera users are not welcome.

“Microsoft has attacked Opera again,” writes Ryan, “and Opera has responded with an update that fixes the sabotage” based on this report. It’s not the first time that Microsoft mistreats Opera, which already complained to the European Commission against Microsoft’s behaviour [1, 2, 3].

“Microsoft is, I think, fundamentally an evil company.”

Former Netscape Chairman James H. Clark

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