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Links 1/11/2012: Android Rises in Jobs Market, Ethiopian Kids Use Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 9:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Interface tricks could be a Linux treat

    I miss the days when I would get excited about the latest desktop interface to come from the GNOME or KDE projects, or downloading and installing the umpteenth Linux distribution on the continuing quest to find Linux nirvana.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Seeking Enlightenment

      Enlightenment is one of the oldest open source desktop projects in existence. With E17, the developers are gearing up to their latest release, an occasion that has been a long time in the making. The word is that the team will make some announcements at the EFL Developer Day taking place as part of Linuxcon Europe on 5 November. With a release likely being close at hand, The H spoke to project leader Carsten “Rasterman” Haitzler about how the desktop environment has been progressing and what the goals are for the project.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • one code base, multiple form factors

        Yesterday we pushed a small but significant clean-up to a feature set we’ve been working on for a couple of years now which is perhaps one of the more interesting things we’re doing in Plasma: the idea of “one code base, multiple form factors.”

        The idea is that whether your application is running as a widget on the desktop, docked in a panel, running full screen as part of a mediacenter, running in a touch based environment or as a regular ol’ app-in-a-window, much of the code can be shared. We often put the non-graphical bits into shared libraries, and traditional we’ve built multiple front ends that are optimized for different form factors and input methods which use these libraries.

  • Distributions

    • XStreamOS: An Illumos Kernel based Operating System

      Being a Technical Writer involves a lot of reading and research of new and emerging technologies. And one project that recently came to my attention through my email inbox was an Illumos kernel based Unix operating system called XStreamOS.

    • Luninux – The Quest For Freedom

      When I booted Luninux for the first time I noticed that this operating system is using the Gnome 3.4.1 shell which basically makes it look like Gnome 2 as well. At a first glance you could be confused into thinking that there isn’t much difference between Luninux and Fuduntu except that Luninux is based on Ubuntu and Fuduntu is based on Fedora.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Will XP Users Shun Windows 8 in Favor of Ubuntu?

            Historically, Windows hasn’t been tremendously effective in the area of backwards compatibility. Anyone who has migrated to a new Windows release with older peripherals has likely felt the pain I’m talking about.

            On the flipside, the idea that Windows 8 will drive Windows users to Ubuntu in droves is unlikely. If a new PC buyer has been content with the Windows OS, switching suddenly to something else is highly improbably. Even if keeping their existing hardware and locating a good Linux distro might be a more economical solution, most people will stick with what they know. It’s simply a matter of familiarity for most Windows users looking to upgrade.

          • Mark Shuttleworth and the secrecy of Ubuntu

            Canonical and Ubuntu are both drifting away from the free software (or even from the open source) movement, and they are doing this by adopting some ugly tactics like the one mentioned above.

          • Ubuntu 14.04 Will Come to Phones, TVs and Tablets

            Another 6 months, another Ubuntu Developer Summit event for Canonical, where Mark Shuttleworth is always present and keeps his audience captivated.

          • Ubuntu moves to new release schedule

            Canonical QA coordinator Nicholas Skaggs announced that the company’s popular Linux-based operating system, Ubuntu, would be moving to a substantially different release schedule.

          • Ubuntu To Drop Alpha Releases, Promises More Stable Development

            At Ubuntu Development Summit held in Copenhagen this year, developers of Canonical have decided to drop alpha releases of Ubuntu, and publish just one beta release prior to final stable release. Thus, next Ubuntu releases beginning with Ubuntu 13.04 will have just one beta ISO.

            The decision was taken to ensure better quality of ISO and a more full proof development cycle. Also, Ubuntu derivatives like Kubuntu, Xubuntu etc have the freedom to follow their own release cycles. They can follow Ubuntu’s 6 month cycle or choose their own, something new.

          • Wubi To Be Redesigned For Ubuntu 13.04

            Ubuntu 13.04, the next major release of Ubuntu will include Windows installer, popularly known as Wubi. This software allows one to install Ubuntu inside Windows operating system as a program and allows easy setup of disk partitioning, user setup etc. The installer was included by default in previous versions of Ubuntu but was dropped in Ubuntu 12.04 and Quantal.

          • LoCo Teams, Communication, and Community
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint Makes Money with Minty Merchandise

              Linux Mint founder, Clement Lefebvre, has done an amazing job monitizing his Ubuntu offshoot. Not only does the project have sponsors in the business community who wish to assure Mint stays in production, but his monthly donations are impressive as well. Now Lefebvre has announced yet another partnership and the ribbon-cutting of his Minty fresh store.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android jobs rocket as iOS jobs stagnate

          Using data from 230,614 positions posted in Q3, Freelancer.co.uk saw 16 percent growth in the number of Android jobs, at 4,795. Meanwhile, the number of iOS jobs rose a comparatively small eight percent to 5,509.

        • Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction

          What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they’ll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware. Whoa.

          The One Laptop Per Child project started as a way of delivering technology and resources to schools in countries with little or no education infrastructure, using inexpensive computers to improve traditional curricula. What the OLPC Project has realized over the last five or six years, though, is that teaching kids stuff is really not that valuable. Yes, knowing all your state capitols how to spell “neighborhood” properly and whatnot isn’t a bad thing, but memorizing facts and procedures isn’t going to inspire kids to go out and learn by teaching themselves, which is the key to a good education. Instead, OLPC is trying to figure out a way to teach kids to learn, which is what this experiment is all about.

          Rather than give out laptops (they’re actually Motorola Zoom tablets plus solar chargers running custom software) to kids in schools with teachers, the OLPC Project decided to try something completely different: it delivered some boxes of tablets to two villages in Ethiopia, taped shut, with no instructions whatsoever. Just like, “hey kids, here’s this box, you can open it if you want, see ya!”

        • Public Alerts Now On Google Search and Maps for Android for Superstorm Sandy
        • Review: Ubuntu for Nexus 7

          We take a look at Ubuntu for Nexus 7, made possible with the new one-click installer promoted by Canonical. What we found certainly surprised us…

        • Ubuntu Gets Hacked On Google’s Nexus 7 By Canonical

Free Software/Open Source

  • When and Why Do I Update Open Source Policy Rules?
  • SaaS

    • Big data the NASA way

      Mattmann became involved in Nutch, an open source search engine program, when studying for his doctorate. Nutch was created by Doug Cutting, who went on to found the big data system Hadoop.

    • Hadoop Creator Outlines the Future of Big Data Platform
    • HP: Why an Open Cloud Matters

      Zorawar ‘Biri’ Singh, SVP Converged Cloud and HP Cloud Services, has some big responsibilities. Singh is responsible for HP’s cloud efforts, which increasingly involve the open source OpenStack platform.

      In an exclusive interview with InternetNews Singh detailed his views on the cloud and how HP can leverage the open approach and still provide competitive differentiation.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Document Foundation Looking For Infrastructure Sponsors

      The Document Foundation is looking for infrastructure sponsors: Internet service providers, webhosters, universities and corporations can contribute to LibreOffice by sponsoring the use of dedicated machines.

    • LibreOffice’s Dubious Claims: Part I, Download Counts

      If you do an apples-to-apples comparison, of Windows and Mac users, which together constitute 97% of the desktop market, Apache OpenOffice, although it took a while to make its first release, 3.4.0, has taken off like a rocket, and has eliminated any head-start advantage LibreOffice had, and is racing ahead with 4x the downloads that LibreOffice is reporting. And since the LibreOffice numbers are inflated by duplicate counting of upgrade downloads, OpenOffice is probably already ahead of LibreOffice in users on these platforms by a factor of 10 or more.

  • CMS

    • Plone CMS vulnerable to privilege escalation and code execution

      The Plone Foundation has warned users that there are multiple vulnerabilities in its open source Plone content management system (CMS) as well as the Zope toolkit. According to the security advisory, these security holes could be exploited by an attacker for privilege escalation, allowing them to bypass certain security restrictions, or to execute malicious arbitrary code on a system.

  • Education

    • Open source provides schools with low-cost, high quality software

      Open source can provide schools with high quality, well-functioning IT solutions at low cost, according to a case study done by VTT, a Finnish government research institute. The researchers looked at the use of Linux and other open source applications by the Kasavuoren Secondary School in Kauniainen, a municipality near Helsinki. The case study, available since May 2011, underpins a plea to schools to increase their use of free and open source software.

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Markdown may be defined as a standard

      An effort is emerging to take the Markdown plain text formatting conventions originally developed by John Gruber in 2004 and create a standardisable specification. Markdown’s syntax allows a minimal set of plain text ‘markup’ characters to offer useful basic formatting, for example, underlining text with “=” or “-” makes the text a heading as does preceding text with one to six “#” symbols. The apparent simplicity of the format has seen it used on many blogs, Reddit, GitHub and other sites as a way for users to present formatted text through the system. With this wide take up, developer Jeff Atwood, co-founder of Stack Overflow, has called for a standardisation of Markdown.


  • The Ripple Effect of Windows 8

    Windows 8 has caused Microsoft’s worst fears to come true – users will no longer choose Windows because it is familiar and comfortable. Windows will no longer compete on a “devil we know” basis, but will need to compete on a usability basis. In our case, users said Linux Mint actually felt far more familiar and comfortable than Windows 8.

  • How Being Very Transparent May Have Saved A ‘Failed’ Kickstarter Project
  • A Congress Too Polarized to Protect Itself

    The U.S. Congress is on an extended election hiatus, yet there has been no noticeable decline in its productivity. As polarization and legislative gridlock have worsened in recent years, the nation’s great legislative body has withered, losing not only popular support but the ability to exercise its constitutional powers.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Why Jill Stein went to the front line of the climate crisis today

      In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was handcuffed and arrested this morning after bringing food and supplies to a coalition of climate justice activists, known as the “Tar Sands Blockade,” who are attempting to stop the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. She is currently at Wood County Jail awaiting processing.

    • Did Romney Shift Climate Change Stance to Appeal to Kochs?

      One clue might come from a Romney campaign memo dated October 4, 2011 — just weeks before the candidate flip-flopped on climate change — indicating that Romney had been actively seeking the endorsement of Koch Industries heir David Koch. David and his brother Charles are top funders of climate change denial front groups and have long played an important role in choosing GOP political candidates, both via direct donations and through organizations like the David Koch-founded-and-led Americans for Prosperity.

      Romney at the time was struggling for Tea Party support, and the memo, obtained by the conservative Washington Examiner noted that the Kochs were the “financial engine of the Tea Party.” According to the Washington Examiner, just a few days after Romney announced his new agnosticism on climate change he bypassed an important Iowa event in advance of that state’s crucial primary to speak at an AFP event. Romney also had scheduled a meeting at Koch’s home in Southampton, NY, but it was cancelled because of the last natural disaster to pummel the East Coast, Hurricane Irene.

    • After Helping to Resupply Tar Sands Blockade, Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein is Arrested
    • US Media Covering Hurricane Sandy Mostly Ignore Whether Climate Change Fueled Storm’s Fury

      The reports of damage as the storm hit New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware were stunning.

      The flooding in Lower Manhattan was unlike what even meteorologists at The Weather Channel had predicted. It was worse than they feared, one meteorologist said during coverage.

      There was ample time to anticipate Hurricane Sandy after it killed at least 52 people in Haiti. New Jersey, New York and Washington, DC, all were very public about preparations that were being made. This gave media in the United States an opening to get in and cover before the storm did any damage.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Anatomy of a Lie: Right-Wing “Media Trackers” Strikes Again with Libelous Smear

      The Wisconsin-based, right-wing website Media Trackers reached a new low on Monday when it printed a libelous story against the partner of State Rep. Mark Pocan, accusing him of sending bizarre text threats to a volunteer for Chad Lee, Pocan’s opponent in his race for Congress. Although Media Trackers took down the story late in the day, the damage had been done. It was picked up by right-wing sources in Wisconsin and across the nation. The organization’s “mea culpa” fails to apologize or take responsibility for its role in the smear and the outlet still has a picture of Pocan and his partner Phil Frank on the front page of its website with a note that it would “continue to follow developments in this story” — as if there were a story to follow.

    • Anti-Pornography Guy Politicizes 10 Year Old Girl’s Murder

      The adult film industry gets mentioned on Techdirt frequently because, as everyone knows, “the internet is for porn.” Typically, we get to write fun little stories about silly journalists believing horse-poop statistics on home pornography. Or else an ice cream company is suing an adult film studio over a porno-parody of their silly flavors. Those stories are good for a laugh because, let’s be honest, there’s something inherently funny about movies of people bumping uglies coupled with the far less fleshy world of news and IP law. What isn’t laugh-worthy is when a tragedy occurs, such as the senseless slaying of a 10 year old girl, and the result is a bunch of grand-standing jackwagons lining up to use her death to promote their own false agenda.

      Yet that’s what is happening with the case of Jessica Ridgeway’s murder, now that the accused killer is a young man who reportedly is addicted to pornography. Let’s highlight one of the aforementioned grand-standing jackwagons, just so we can identify who is saying what before I get to the elephant-in-the-room-sized problem with his nonsense.

    • David Cohen may be Comcast’s secret weapon, but in D.C. he’s a wonk rock star

      In fall 2009, Comcast planned to launch an Internet service for the poor that was sure to impress federal regulators. But David Cohen, the company’s chief of lobbying, told the staff to wait.

      At the time, Comcast was planning a controversial $30 billion bid to take over NBC Universal, and Cohen needed a bargaining chip for government negotiations.

    • Big Sugar’s Sweet Little Lies

      On a brisk spring Tuesday in 1976, a pair of executives from the Sugar Association stepped up to the podium of a Chicago ballroom to accept the Oscar of the public relations world, the Silver Anvil award for excellence in “the forging of public opinion.” The trade group had recently pulled off one of the greatest turnarounds in PR history. For nearly a decade, the sugar industry had been buffeted by crisis after crisis as the media and the public soured on sugar and scientists began to view it as a likely cause of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Industry ads claiming that eating sugar helped you lose weight had been called out by the Federal Trade Commission, and the Food and Drug Administration had launched a review of whether sugar was even safe to eat. Consumption had declined 12 percent in just two years, and producers could see where that trend might lead. As John “JW” Tatem Jr. and Jack O’Connell Jr., the Sugar Association’s president and director of public relations, posed that day with their trophies, their smiles only hinted at the coup they’d just pulled off.

  • Censorship

    • HuffPost Moderates Comments To Please Advertisers

      We’ve been somewhat excited that we’re rapidly approaching one million total comments on Techdirt. We thought it was quite a nice milestone. But we feel a bit small to learn that the Huffington Post already has over 70 million comments just this year alone. Over at Poynter, Jeff Sonderman has a fascinating interview with the site’s director of community, Justin Isaf, about how they manage all those comments. Apparently they have a staff of 30 full time comment moderators, helped along by some artificial intelligence (named Julia) from a company they bought just for this technology.

    • How the Huffington Post handles 70+ million comments a year
    • Being A Jackass On Twitter Shouldn’t Be Illegal; Public Shame Should Be Enough

      We’ve been talking about the unfortunate set of cases in the UK lately, in which people acting like jackasses online are being held criminally liable for being a jerk online. There are, of course, significant problems with this. And if you thought it was just limited to Europe, where they tend to have a slightly less absolute view of the right to free expression than the US, well, don’t be so sure. There’s a lot of talk about whether or not legal action should be taken against one jackass who used Twitter (using the account @comfortablysmug — which, perhaps, should have been a tipoff) to spread fake news about emergencies and damages, while most people were sharing legitimate news. The guy in question was eventually outed by Buzzfeed as hedge-fund analyst and political consultant Shashank Tripathi.

    • Superstorm Sandy, Google, France, and Saving the Freedom to Link

      Even before the massive storm named Sandy battered the northeast U.S. last night, I was already planning a posting about the “link war” now brewing around the world.

      A few days ago, newspapers in Brazil pulled out of Google News, claiming they wanted compensation for the indexing of their freely available public Web sites.

      And in France, the government is directly threatening Google with laws that would require news indexing payments to public, freely available media sites in that country.

    • Republican Congressman Sues TV Stations Over ‘Defamatory’ Political Ad (Video)
  • Privacy

    • Toy helicopters restricted as China tightens security

      Restrictions on the sale of radio-controlled helicopters and planes have been imposed in Beijing as China heightens security before a once-in-a-decade leadership change, state media said Wednesday.

      For some models of helicopters and planes — which can only be guided within a few metres — purchasers must prove their identity to the shopkeepers, Beijing’s Youth Daily reported.

  • Civil Rights

    • Supreme Court Puzzles: How There Can Be Oversight Concerning Warrantless Wiretapping If No One Can Sue?

      One of the more ridiculous things about the government’s ongoing campaign of secret surveillance on Americans is how hard it’s fought back against anyone who has sought to have the policy tested in the courts. If the feds were confident that what they were doing was legal, they wouldn’t be so aggressive in blocking each and every attempt. When the ACLU and others filed suit over the warrantless wiretapping under the FISA Amendments Bill (the Clapper v. Amnesty International case) the lower court rulings were especially troubling, because it was ruled that there was no standing to sue, because there was no direct proof of such spying. So that leaves the public in quite a bind. They can’t complain about the program unless they can prove they’ve been spied upon, but they can’t do that unless they know more about the program, which is secret. Someone page Joseph Heller.

    • Police allowed to install cameras on private property without warrant

      A federal judge has ruled that police officers in Wisconsin did not violate the Fourth Amendment when they secretly installed cameras on private property without judicial approval.

      The officers installed the cameras in an open field where they suspected the defendants, Manuel Mendoza and Marco Magana, were growing marijuana. The police eventually obtained a search warrant, but not until after some potentially incriminating images were captured by the cameras. The defendants have asked the judge to suppress all images collected prior to the issuance of the search warrant.

    • Court OKs warrantless use of hidden surveillance cameras
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • We Don’t Know, Exactly, What the Trans-Pacific Partnership Is, But I’m Against It

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is probably the most important trade agreement you’ve never heard of. Sometimes described as our “21st Century trade agreement,” its terms are being negotiated in secret by 11 countries, big and small, arranged around the Pacific Ocean.

    • Copyrights

      • Supreme Court Justices Worry About ‘Parade Of Horribles’ If They Agree You Don’t Own What You Bought

        As we were discussing, on Monday, the Supreme Court heard the oral arguments in the Wiley v. Kirtsaeng case over whether or not you have the right to resell (or even display) a product you bought that was made outside of the country, which contains content covered by copyright. First off, a big caveat that needs to be mentioned every single time we write about oral arguments in a court case: it is not uncommon for what is discussed, and the questions asked, to really have almost nothing to do with the final decision. Everyone loves to read the tea leaves based on the questions the Justices ask, but, quite often, the questions (and answers) don’t necessarily have much bearing on the final decision. The written briefs usually have a much bigger impact. That said, it doesn’t mean the questions are meaningless, or that we can’t learn a little bit from them.

      • Movies Try to Escape Cultural Irrelevance

        But it’s starting to feel as if it might be “The Last Picture Show.”

        Next year’s Academy Awards ceremony — the 85th since 1929 — will be landing in a pool of angst about movies and what appears to be their fraying connection to the pop culture.

        After the shock of last year’s decline in the number of tickets sold for movies domestically, to 1.28 billion, the lowest since 1995 (and attendance is only a little better this year) film business insiders have been quietly scrambling to fix what few will publicly acknowledge to be broken.

        That is, Hollywood’s grip on the popular imagination, particularly when it comes to the more sophisticated films around which the awards season turns

      • UMG Reaches Settlement in Trendsetting Suit Over Digital Revenue from Eminem Songs

        A 2010 ruling in this case led dozens of big-name musicians to sue such corporations as Universal Music Group to collect more money from iTunes sales, ringtones and the like.

      • Marc Randazza Goes To War Against Revenge Porn Site Over Alleged ‘Takedown Lawyer’ Business Model

        Well, well. Last year, there was a lot of attention paid to a so-called “revenge porn” site called “Is Anyone Up”? The site reposted submitted nude photos, linked to the person in the photo’s social networking accounts. The “idea” (a horrific one) was that spurned people, who had naked photos of their ex’s, could publicize them. Not surprisingly, many people were completely horrified by the concept and the media coverage was not kind. The site eventually went down, but others popped up to take their place. Lawyer Marc Randazza has decided to go to war with one of them, which uses the very similar name “Is Anybody Down” (and, no, I’m not linking to it). Randazza points out that he has no problem with porn or porn sites, but when the participants are not consenting (and not necessarily adults) he has serious problems.

      • William Faulkner Estate Sues Washington Post Over Freedom Quote

        A day after Sony is sued over a quote in ‘Midnight in Paris,’ a second copyright infringement lawsuit is filed over a full-page Northrop Grumman ad in the Post.

      • India’s Recording Industry Wants The Power To Take Down Content Without Notification

        What the music industry is interested in is the powers granted by the IT Rules, which allow content to be taken down within 36 hours, without any notice to the content creator or uploader. There’s no doubt many in the content industry would like such a rule to be implemented worldwide, but considering how many bogus DMCA takedowns there are, it would definitely be a bad thing for anyone not protected by the legislation.

      • Megupload User to Court: Hold Government Accountable

        It’s been almost a year since Kyle Goodwin lost access to the lawful property that he stored on Megaupload. EFF, on his behalf, has asked the Court to order his data returned, and, more recently, has also asked the Court to unseal the confidential search warrants surrounding the third-party data at issue. And it appears Mr. Goodwin is making some headway: the Court is at least contemplating holding a hearing to get to the bottom of what really happened when the government shut down Megaupload, seized its assets, and deprived millions of customers of their property.

Linux Heavyweights Speak Out Against Patents

Posted in GNU/Linux, Patents at 1:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rob TillerSummary: Tiller and Zemlin join the movement against patent monopolies that impede development

QUITE a few Linux figures — Torvalds included — speak out against software patents this month. This becomes an urgent matter because of what happens in the market.

Firms whose main or only business is arms trade of patents make their appearance and patent battles go further by targeting increasingly abstract ideas. Consider this from the news:

Patent disputes are nothing new in the technology market, but they have typically centered around consumer product usability and design. Now, IBM partner BrightStar Partners (BSP) is under fire for its work on IBM Cognos analytics software–and the suit comes just as BSP is set to be snapped up by electronic component distributor Avnet. In a world where solving problems seems to always involve lawyers and courtrooms, what does this latest patent problem mean for midsize IT?

Rob Tiller, self-professed “Rock Star”, asks about abolishing software patents — an issue that he and Red Hat have been rather equivocal about (Red Hat follows IBM’s lead). Tiller writes:

The paper by two distinguished professors of economics, Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine, is titled The Case Against Patents. Boldrin and Levine review some of the lamentable realities of the U.S. patent system, including the dramatic increases in issuance of patents that block future innovation, and in the quantity and cost of patent litigation. They also point out that patents are often detrimental to consumer welfare, as once-but-no-longer innovative companies use patents to block competitors.

The corporate press is promoting patents again, only to meet reality check:

CNN Counts Patents, Mistakes Them For Inventiveness

For many years, we’ve pointed out that the research shows that patents are not a proxy for innovation. In fact, they’re not even clearly correlated. There is no link between the amount of innovation and the number of patents received. The only thing that patents seem to spur is… more patents. But… because patents are often falsely associated with innovation and because they’re easy to count, it’s a very easy way for the lazy press (and politicians) to assume that they’re showing how innovative a certain geographic region might be. We’ve actually called CNN out on this lazy trope before, but it hasn’t stopped them from coming right back and posting a silly article about the “most inventive states” based entirely on patent counts.

Patent maximalists infiltrate patent panels, only to be called on it:

We’ve been talking a fair bit about the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) — the legacy group that’s been around in one form or another for over a century and a half, trying to regulate how telco systems work across national borders. Much of the concern has been about its plans to expand its purview over the internet.

Wired is to start a whole series of articles about the patent problem:

We already know the patent system is broken. And it desperately needs to be fixed: Patents affect and will continue to affect nearly every technology business or product we use. So for the next few weeks, Wired is running a special series of expert opinions – representing perspectives from academia to corporations to other organizations — proposing specific solutions to the patent problem.

Patents are on their agenda as an alternative form of protectionism. Now that Free software is under attack from patents we must make it a priority to tackle this whole issue. Apple is trying to ban Android devices around the world while Google (Motorola) is battling Microsoft in court. Usefully enough, despite funding from IBM, Intel and other promoters of software patents, Mr. Zemlin speaks out against patents (he abstained from that several years ago):

The innovation and collaboration inherent in Linux and open source technologies can also fuel scientific breakthroughs and a burgeoning economy, but that innovation and collaboration is being threatened by a culture of paranoia and exploitation of the U.S. patent system. A recent New York Times story reported that Apple and Google are spending more on patent litigation than on research and development (R&D). The story also pointed to data from Stanford University: $20B has been wasted on patent litigation and patent purchases in just two years – in just the smartphone market.

This starts to illustrate why the U.S. has lost ground in the global science and technology space.

Most importantly and most disturbing, though, is how this culture of paranoia is discouraging our would-be entrepreneurs, the individuals who form the foundation of our economy, who are the most innovative among us, and who understand the power of collaboration. The same New York Times articles tells the story of Michael Phillips who, after spending three decades developing software that began to attract the attention of both Apple and Google, was targeted by a patent owner. At this point in any scenario like this, the options for the entrepreneur are limited: death by lawsuit (go bankrupt trying to pay fight the case) or succumb and turn over all your hard work. In Phillips’ case, he ended up selling his company to the patent holder.

How timely must this lawsuit be. Microsoft’s slaves at Nokia are said to be making Android devices more retarded. There are workarounds though, as “[t]he word “mobile telephone” is mentioned four times in the Nokia patent, but obviously it says nothing about tablets. The wording of the Nokia patent could very well be why Google left the feature off of smartphones. If Android-based phones would have supported multiple users it could have opened up the door to a lawsuit, or even required Google and its partners to pay licensing fees to Nokia. Keep in mind this is just speculation at this point.”

Microsoft’s co-founder is also suing Android with some software patents. Here is the latest on that:

Interval Licensing’s infringement suit against AOL, Apple, Google and Yahoo! moves forward, the stay pending the USPTO reexamination outcome having been lifted. Now it is on to claim construction, and not surprisingly the parties have highly divergent views of what the claims mean or if they mean anything whatsoever (i.e., they are ambiguous).

Watch what Apple has just patented:

Referred to as “Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for providing maps, directions, and location-based information,” the patent, which was awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, describes — as one might expect from the title — the way in which maps, directions, and location-based information are displayed on a touch-screen-equipped device.

Apple has already used such patents offensively. These can be assumed to be a weapon. Techrights will focus on the issue of patents until it’s properly addressed by governments; the goal now is to educate people (voters). Many were smart enough to understand what Novell’s deal with Microsoft was all about.

Microsoft Can’t Understand Security (Lesson for UEFI Apologists)

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 1:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Torvalds on security
Source: MemeGenerator

Summary: Another security blunder leaves Microsoft red-faced, but Red Hat carries on following Microsoft’s UEFI

To Microsoft, “security” does not mean what it means to most of us. It means control. According to this, Microsoft has again proven its inability to reuse simple FOSS packages to secure passwords. The result:

Software used by Microsoft’s New Zealand outpost to register attendees for next week’s TechEd conference has exposed delegates’ passwords to unwelcome scrutiny.

Cross Kiwis have contacted The Reg to point out that emails from a third-party events management company offered a URL which they can click to print a barcode that will offer swift entry to the event.

But the URLs being distributed include passwords that delegates used to create accounts to register for the event. The emails also include a value called “ID” that a sharp-eyed Reg reader messed with and discovered, as said reader told us, “The id=673 appears to be the event (TechED NZ) a quick change of the &key= part of the URL to ‘password’, ‘passw0rd’, etc gave access to other people’s registration details!”

Torvalds said that UEFI would not really aid security, so given that its main function is interfering with Linux, why should Red Hat staff give it a hand? This is not new.

“Security” as pretext for control (domination over a user, not the user’s over a machine) is a subject that fits much of what we cover here, including the portrayal of copying as “piracy” and patents as “defence”. Too much disinformation can make lies a truth (in people’s mind/perception), so we prioritise particular topics. Next up: patents.

Microsoft Financial and Accounting Tricks Investigated by US Senate

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 12:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Capitol place

Summary: Microsoft may be forced to stop cheating shareholders, taxpayers, and the public in general

US politicians recently capitaised on public will to end corporate welfare (tax cuts for the rich) and Microsoft came under fire, as it very much deserves for dodging tax. The matter of fact is, Microsoft had debt and recently it also found itself unable to hide losses.

According to this, the Senate starts taking action:

Microsoft and HP in the hot seat as Senate investigates offshore profit shifting

A hearing on offshore profit shifting last week exposed aggressive tax planning strategies employed by Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard (HP) and illus­trated the critical need for more disclosure.

On September 20, the Senate Permanent Subcom­mittee on Inves­ti­ga­tions held a hearing on “Offshore Profit Shifting and the U.S. Tax Code.” Witnesses from academia, the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. multi­na­tional corpo­ra­tions, inter­na­tional tax and accounting firms and the nonprofit Financial Accounting Stan­dards Board (FASB) answered ques­tions from the Senators about how tax and accounting rules allow U.S. multi­na­tionals to shift profits offshore using dubious trans­ac­tions and compli­cated corporate structures.

The committee looked at two case studies inves­ti­gated by the committee staff. In the Microsoft case, the committee inves­ti­gation found that 55 percent of the company’s profits were “booked” (claimed for accounting purposes) in three offshore tax haven subsidiaries whose employees account for only two percent of its global work­force. Microsoft did that by selling intel­lectual property rights in products developed in the U.S. (and subsi­dized by the research tax credit) to offshore tax haven subsidiaries, then creating trans­ac­tions to shift related profits there.

Where are lawmakers when you need them? Well, some are former Microsoft executives (we named them in the past), so the system was evidently corrupted. Can some form of justice be restored?


Links 31/10/2012: Valve Likes GNU/Linux. EFF Does Not Like Unity in Ubuntu 12.10

Posted in News Roundup at 9:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • “Jitsi”… la alternativa libre a “Skype”.

    Como “todos” sabéis, “Skype” fue adquirido por Microsoft, y en su momento les prometí una alternativa libre. Pues bien, esa alternativa se llama “Jitsi”, antes conocido como “SIP Communicator”.

  • Day of Reckoning For Open Source Software May Be Coming
  • Open Source Orion 1.0 Browser based Code Editor Goes Live

    Back in January of 2011, the Eclipse Foundation announced the development of Orion, a browser/cloud based IDE. At the time, Mike Milinkovich, exec director of the Eclipse Foundation told me that Orion is more than just Eclipse in a browser. It’s a view that he re-iterated today with the official launch of Orion 1.0

  • Gild Source helps startups mine for developer talent gold
  • Architecture 3.0 and Open Source
  • Five More Common Myths Around Open Source Adoption [Slideshare]
  • Open source: not always a successful course

    In my early-October discussion of tech simplification at my former primary home, I’d mentioned that I was able to dispense with my powerline networking setup. But when I re-visited the CA residence a couple of weekends ago, I realized I’d forgotten about one particular node; my Power Mac G4 Cube upstairs. Instead of resurrecting a powerline spur, which would have necessitated a re-expansion beyond my solitary eight-port switch at the router, I instead decided to connect the G4 Cube to the LAN via an Ethernet-to-Wi-Fi bridge.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Cloud Apache OpenOffice plans to be discussed next month

      OpenOffice’s graduation to a top-level project at Apache now clears he way for faster cloud innovation, especially as Microsoft Office 365′s debut nears. Plans for “Cloud Apache OpenOffice” will be discussed at ApacheCon Europe in weeks

    • LibreOffice Quantal features: Unity Integration, PackageKit and Templates

      The PackageKit/Session Installer integration is implemented in UNO, that allow extensions and macro creators to trigger the installation of software from trusted archives in general — quite a nifty feature in itself. As we have this now in place, in the future we can also use it to complete the LibreOffice install by adding missing packages for certain actions that are not available in the default Ubuntu installation (which leaves out some parts of LibreOffice).

  • Semi-Open Source

  • Funding


    • GCC 4.8 Nearing End Of Stage One Development

      Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek issued a new 4.8.0 status report where he mentions “I’d like to close the stage 1 phase of GCC 4.8 development on Monday, November 5th. If you have still patches for new features you’d like to see in GCC 4.8, please post them for review soon. Patches posted before the freeze, but reviewed shortly after the freeze, may still go in, further changes should be just bugfixes and documentation fixes.”

  • Project Releases

    • Open source NAC system PacketFence 3.6 released

      PacketFence is a fully supported, trusted, free and open source network access control (NAC) system.

    • Clementine music player adds podcast support

      The latest major update to Clementine, version 1.1, expands the open source media player’s streaming support and adds long-awaited podcast functionality. Clementine is a cross-platform program that, its developers say, is designed to be both fast and easy-to-use, and was inspired by version 1.4 of Amarok (the current release is Amarok 2.6). It supports playback of local music libraries and streaming of online radio stations, and can be used to transcode music into MP3, Ogg Vorbis, Ogg Speex, FLAC and AAC files.

    • Sourcefabric’s Airtime 2.2 gets smart blocks

      Sourcefabric has released a new version of its open source radio automation software that brings with it several new features. Airtime 2.2 includes improvements to the rebroadcasting features of the application as well as new “Smart Blocks” that allow users to automatically assemble randomised playlists according to a set of parameters.

    • Bootstrap 2.2 becomes more flexible with new templates

      The Bootstrap developers have announced the release of version 2.2.0 of their open source web front-end toolkit. This new major update is the project’s first release since leaving Twitter, which made the framework available as open source in August of last year, and brings with it dozens of fixes as well as new templates and a new media component.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • From Open Source to Crowdfunding

      One of the premises of this blog is that the success and methodology of open source are not one-offs, but part of a larger move towards open, collaborative activity. Thus, by observing what open source does well – and not so well – lessons can be learned that can be applied in quite different fields.

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Open Textbook Challenge [Infographic]

        With the cost of college textbooks as high as they are, students are struggling more than ever to make ends meet. The edtech world is finally starting to take notice: companies and edtech leaders are working to create resources for open-source textbooks. Online Colleges has created an infographic on the numbers behind the shift toward open-source textbooks, and some of the statistics will surprise you.

    • Open Hardware

      • Off to the Future with a new Soccer Robot

        Computer scientists from the University of Bonn have developed a new robot whose source code and design plan is publicly accessible. It is intended to facilitate the entry into research on humanoids, in particular, the TeenSize Class of the RoboCup. The scientists recently introduced the new robot at the IROS Conference (International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems) in Portugal.

  • Programming

    • GCC 4.8 Compiler On AMD’s Eight-Core Piledriver

      This month from CPUs based upon AMD’s new Piledriver micro-architecture I have delivered results of compiler tuning on AMD’s Open64 compiler as well as GCC bdver2 tuning. That initial testing from an AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core processor didn’t show any big boost out of the “bdver2″ target with the new BMI/TBM/F16C/FMA3 instruction set extensions. Testing in this article from the AMD FX-8350 are GCC compiler benchmarks of the 4.6.3, 4.7.2, and 4.8.0 development snapshots to look for performance improvements on this new high-end AMD processor when using the very latest GCC compiler code.


  • Nothing Is Foreign to the Liar Willard Romney Anymore

    It was early in the proceedings here on Monday night when I was struck with a horrible vision. It may have been right about that moment in the final presidential debate when Willard Romney — who, for most of the past two years, has been the most bellicose Mormon since they disbanded the Nauvoo Legion — looked deeply into the camera’s eye and, inches from actual sincerity, said, “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.” Or, perhaps, it was when, in a discussion of his newfound dedication to comprehensive solutions to complex problems, he announced his devotion to “a peaceful planet,” or when he cited a group of Arab scholars in support of loosening the grip of theocratic tyranny in the Middle East.

  • Tim Cook calls Surface tablet confusing

    Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took a dig at Microsoft’s soon-to-be released Surface tablet during Apple’s earnings call on Thursday, referring to it as a “fairly compromised, confusing product”.

    “I haven’t personally played with a Surface yet,” Tim Cook said in response to a question about the Surface and the competitive landscape in the tablet market overall.

    “What we’re reading about it is that it’s a fairly compromised, confusing product.”

  • Microsoft’s Pivot — A Plan to Dominate “Devices and Services”
  • Surface is ‘a quirky cat,’ teardown shows

    iFixit determines Microsoft’s tablet is pretty tough to repair, coming in only slightly easier than the iPad.

  • Poll shows tepid interest in Windows 8

    52 percent of respondents had not heard of Windows 8 and that 61 percent had “little or no interest”

  • Mobile Devices Beating PCs As Default Gateway To The Internet
  • Windows 8: Does Microsoft’s Split-Personality OS Make Sense?

    In studies conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group, a software consultancy, experienced Windows users had trouble finding applications on the Desktop interface.

  • Bizarre Trend: Journalism Professors Using Klout Scores As Part Of Students’ Grades

    We’ve raised questions in the past about the relevance of “Klout” scores. If you don’t know, Klout is one of a few companies that try to measure “influence” online by looking at your social media activity. The whole process seems kind of silly, but for whatever reason, once you put a number on things, people take it seriously, no matter how bogus the number might be. Lots of companies now use Klout scores to determine who they should give special perks to, leading to plenty of people just trying to game their scores. However, should Klout scores count towards your grade as a student? Adam Singer sent over examples of two separate journalism professors who think so.

  • Why We Have So Many Dumb Rules: A Case Study

    New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has gotten a lot of abuse for his campaign to ban the sale of sugary drinks in cups larger than 16 ounces. There are lots of reasons for this, but among the economically literate his proposal is widely viewed as gratuitously inefficient. Simply taxing sugary sodas would be a lot more sensible, so why not do that instead?

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Supreme Court and the death of progress

      In tonight’s ‘Conversations with Great Minds,’ Thom talks with Frederick Kaufman, author and Contributing Editor of Harper’s Magazine. Tonight’s ‘Big Picture Rumble’ panel discusses Romney campaign Co-Chair John Sununu’s racist comments on Colin Powell, how simply living near foreclosed homes has cost families trillions and whether Hurricane Sandy will prevent the oligarchs from stealing the election.

    • Amid Cutbacks, Greek Doctors Offer Message to Poor: You Are Not Alone

      As the head of Greece’s largest oncology department, Dr. Kostas Syrigos thought he had seen everything. But nothing prepared him for Elena, an unemployed woman whose breast cancer had been diagnosed a year before she came to him.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Ex-CIA Officer, Torture Whistleblower to Be Sentenced for Leak
    • Video: Police Brutalize Defenseless Man at Aliya

      Over the next couple of minutes the man is also pepper-sprayed and beaten with a truncheon by the female officer, all while posing no threat to the officers’ well-being whatsoever.

      After a good two minutes of sadistic thrashing, the officers are joined by a squadron of their peers, and successfully put him in handcuffs and under arrest.

      A source confirmed with CrownHeights.info that the man had full permission to be there, and had been living there for a month without any trouble. It is unknown who called the police or why.

    • Capitol Hill’s Rabid, Ravaging Republicans

      Has there ever been a more crazed, cruel, anti-people, corporate-indentured, militaristic and monetized Republican Party in its 154-year history? An about-to-be-released list of some of the actual brutish votes by the House Republicans, led by Speaker John Boehner and Rep. Eric Cantor, will soon be available to you from the House Democratic Caucus.

    • Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists

      Over the past two years, the Obama administration has been secretly developing a new blueprint for pursuing terrorists, a next-generation targeting list called the “disposition matrix.”

  • Leaks

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Meet the Network Hiding the Koch Money: “Donors Trust” and “Donors Capital Fund”

      Earlier this year internal documents from the Heartland Institute, a major hub of climate change denial and right-wing extremism, were publicly leaked. The documents exposed the Heartland Institute’s funders and strategies for attacking climate science, and led to a mass exodus of Heartland’s corporate funders.

    • Einhorn Family Foundation Behind Voter Suppression Billboards

      One Wisconsin Now and theGrio have uncovered that the Milwaukee-based Einhorn Family Foundation is the “private family foundation” that funded controversial billboards in Milwaukee which warned: “VOTER FRAUD IS A FELONY! 3 1/2 years and a $10,000 fine.” The billboards were denounced as voter suppression by Mike Wilder, director of the African-American Round Table, and other community groups. The billboards were put up in largely African-American and Latino communities in Milwaukee, Cleveland and Columbus by media behemoth Clear Channel, but the client remained anonymous.

    • Groups Use Fake Letters, Felony Threats to Suppress Vote

      When Phyllis Cleveland first saw the billboard on East 35th Street warning of prison time and a $10,000 fine for voter fraud, the city councilwoman concluded it had one purpose: to intimidate the constituents of her predominantly low-income ward in Cleveland, Ohio.

    • Telling Truths about Israel, Palestine
  • Censorship

    • Judge Rejects Request To Seal Filings In Case Over Miami Heat Owner’s Unflattering Photo

      Earlier this year, we wrote about how a minority owner of the Miami Heat, Ranaan Katz, was so upset about an “unflattering photo” that a blogger/critic had posted of him, that he apparently bought the copyright on the photo and sued the blogger, claiming copyright infringement.

    • The Year In SLAPPs: From The Oatmeal To Pink Slime

      2012 has been yet another year filled with meritless lawsuits filed solely to chill First Amendment free speech rights — so-called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP). As websites relying on user-generated content continue to increase in popularity, we also see a rise in SLAPPs targeting online speech, from the everyday blogger to the one-time online reviewer. Some of the most talked about SLAPPs this year include:

    • Greek journalists warn over press freedom

      Tension rises between Greek government and media after TV presenters are suspended over criticism of public order minister

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • America’s Schools: Breeding grounds for compliant citizens

      For those hoping to better understand how and why we arrived at this dismal point in our nation’s history, where individual freedoms, privacy and human dignity have been sacrificed to the gods of security, expediency and corpocracy, look no farther than America’s public schools.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ORG says IP Committee has missed the point

      Reacting to the All Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group’s report, Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group said:

      “We welcome the group’s desire for evidence based policy but think this sits ill with its’ call to move the Intellectual Property Office to the Department of Culture Media and Sport, which has had a dire record of inventing policy initiatives without a shred of evidence.

    • Three former Environment Ministers speak out on NK603 and Roundup
    • Of Course Monsanto Says It’s Safe

      If you’ve been paying attention to the news about food lately, you’ve probably read about the now infamous “Seralini study,” in which University of Caen (France) molecular biologist Gilles-Eric Seralini demonstrated major health issues associated with eating Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) corn and the herbicide used in conjunction with it, RoundUp.

    • The Proposed U.S. – EU FTA: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

      Over the past year or so, there has been a slow and steady effort to generate support for a U.S.-EU free trade agreement. The Obama administration is now behind this, and there is no reason to think a President Romney would change gears. Thus, regardless of the outcome of the Presidential election, this trade initiative is likely to go forward.

    • Trademarks

      • The Proposed U.S. – EU FTA: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

        A couple years ago, we wrote about Hebrew University suing GM for using an image of Albert Einstein in an ad without first getting permission (i.e., paying up). Einstein left his assets to Hebrew University (of which he was a founder and a big supporter), and Hebrew University has taken that to an extreme, more or less arguing near complete ownership over Einstein’s likeness, and has been ridiculously aggressive in trying to enforce those rights — to the point of tricking print shops into printing Einstein images, only to threaten them with lawsuits. All this despite the concept of publicity rights barely even existing in Einstein’s time, and no indication that he cared one way or the other about such things.

    • Copyrights

      • Have EU orphans found a caring home?

        As promptly reported yesterday by the IPKat, the Orphan Works Directive has just been published in Official Journal of the European Union, thus becoming Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works. This Kat agrees with Jeremy that there’s plenty of material for preliminary references to the Court of Justice of the European Union, as the various provisions in the Directive look, to say the least, open to various interpretations.

      • Memo To Congress: Stop Trying To Fix Silicon Valley

        But the more urgent motivator for lawmakers was the bruising battle early this year over SOPA—a bill aimed at reducing online copyright infringement that would have dramatically increased civil and criminal penalties associated with even minor violations of the law.

        What looked like a slam dunk for the entertainment industry, which authored the bill, instead sparked a revolt among Internet users that culminated in a day of website blackouts. Millions of average citizens called and wrote to Congress to complain, bitterly, about lawmakers’ casual and admittedly inexpert tinkering with the one growing sector we have left.

      • Exploring The Earnings Of A Humble Bundle Author
      • Yet Another Musician Discovers That Free, Implemented Well, Can Increase Fans & Make You More Money
      • Your Right to Own, Under Threat


Microsoft is AstroTurfing for Vista 8

Posted in GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista 7, Vista 8, Windows at 11:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Desperate and expensive measures include AstroTurfing tactics and blocking of Linux by subversive technical means

IN ORDER to avoid clutter and repetition we no longer post many articles about Vista 8 like we did Vista 7. Vista 8 is also self-destroying (there’s some short burst of links about it in Twitter, Identi.ca, etc. for those who follow me more closely).

As Cringely put it over the weekend, “Windows is doomed.”

To quote further: “Having not invented any of the products it is known for, why should we expect Microsoft to invent its way out of declining markets? We shouldn’t.”

Microsoft has begun doing what it does best with a budget of (reportedly) a billion and a half dollars. Through its PR proxies, which have astroturf patents, it is planting favourable coverage and there is aid from former Microsoft staff with a “journalist” hat (offering no disclosure of that conflict of interests). Microsoft also fakes excitement. It knows it won’t get sued for it.

Additionally, Microsoft has made it harder to install or run GNU/Linux and it shows:

This is how SecureBoot is managed in Ubuntu and Fedora. Debian is still unclear as how they will manage SecureBoot.

The second stage features a GURB2 bootloader which does usual tasks as before. Earlier Canonical had plans to use a non GPL bootloader here, but they were thrashed.

Langasek says that they will backport the secure boot mechanism to Ubuntu 12.04 release as well, so that the LTS version can be installed in Secure Boot devices. So the next major service pack of Ubuntu Precise (12.04.2) will include support for SecureBoot.

Steam, in the mean time, targets Ubuntu because Vista 8 sucks. Microsoft is alienating developers further and further on all fronts, not just the desktop:

Microsoft annoys developers with Windows Phone 8 secrecy

The company is accepting requests for the Windows Phone 8 software development kit (SDK), but only from a select few. The rest will have to wait, as Microsoft is trying to keep some of the OS’s features secret for now.

This closed-source nonsense in due course annoys developers, many of whom already move to Android. Open Source and Free software empower developers. giving them greater advantages. No wonder Android is taking over and becoming the dominant OS. Windows revenue is down sharply.

Appalling Apple Apology

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google at 11:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apple gets yet more flak for retracting none of the FUD it spreads against Linux-based and Open Source rivals

Apple refuses to issue a real apology for lying about Android devices [1, 2]. Humility is a weakness — not a merit — at Apple. Apology is only Apple mythology. The company continues to be criticised for this. See the following:

  • Does Apple’s website notice satisfy the court order?

    For a company (and whose website) known for simplicity and brevity, the notice is surprisingly cluttered.

  • What Apple Gets Wrong In Its Samsung Apology

    That Apple statement is something of a masterpiece actually. Absolutely true in each and every word and sentence and rather misleading as a whole.

  • Apple turns U.K. legal loss into new Samsung attack

    A week after Apple lost an appeal at the U.K. High Court, the iPhone and iPad maker has followed the court’s requirement to publish a notice its U.K. home page stating the court’s finding that Samsung didn’t infringe its patents.

    But not in a way that shows any contrition. Instead, Apple used the notice as a new opportunity to make its case against its tablet rival.

What will the British court have to say?

Here in the UK, Dr. Glyn Moody highlights an “excellent historical summary” of what has been happening with software patents in the EU. It comes from a pro-software patents blogs run by lawyers in London, but it is based on Engelfreit’s understanding and opens as follows:

Whatever happened to all those unending and vitriolic arguments over patent protection for software in Europe? The following is a special treat for those readers who yearn for those far-off days when anonymous and occasionally even named commentators could hurl abuse at one another, armed mainly with a battery of unsupported assertions, religiously-held beliefs and appeals to self-evident truth. It is a guest post by Arnoud Engelfriet — a man who, by qualification and technical skill — is at least as well qualified…

For Apple to stop hurling abuse at Linux outside the US it is essential that software patents are kept out of Europe (and beyond). It’s only the US where Apple is treated favourably.

We are satisfied to see many who cease buying Apple. Voting with one’s wallet can be effective. The OSI’s president recently dumped his Apple gear as well. Apple is not a friend of FOSS; not even close.

Links 29/10/2012: Steam For Linux Beta Needs Testers, GNOME 3.7.1

Posted in News Roundup at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Another Look at the $180M HP Contract

    Mostly, we use the operating system called Linux, and we use it on those HP machines. One reason we use it is because it’s free — literally, downloadable for free, no strings, no catch. All the software we use on it, ranging from close equivalents to Windows Office to browsers to desktop publishing and technical software, and a good deal more, is also free. It ranges the Internet even better than Windows, no surprise since the bulk of Web server computers worldwide are run on Linux or on closely allied software. And not only that, it’s “open source,” which means you can (if you choose) go into the guts of the program, and change anything you want. Can’t do that with proprietary programs.

    This software is coded so efficiently that everything I use on my Linux machines can nearly fit onto a single CD; you’d need shelves of CDs to contain Windows or Windows Office. It can run more efficiently on smaller and older computers than Windows can, and run longer on them as they age. A nonprofit in Portland (called Free Geek) for years has been reconditioning old and small-capacity computers, outfitting them with Linux, and sending them to local nonprofits and to underdeveloped countries around the globe; those machines are great for education, and they cost a pittance. Open source runs faster, with fewer errors, and is nearly impervious to viruses, worms and the like. (No need for expensive anti-virus software.) The main area where Windows and Mac’s OS X clearly surpass it is in the realm of computer games. One of the main world headquarters for open source development is the Pacific Northwest; the original developer of Linux, a Finn named Linus Torvalds, lives outside Portland.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Hurricane Sandy: Climate Change Activists Offer Stark Reminder Before Storm Hits
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • onwards to Four

        Not being the sort who rest much, we’re already at work on Plasma Active Four. We met up on irc to firm up our plans. You can read the minutes here, thanks to Thomas who took the time to summarize the multi-hour session.

        We are moving to a devel workflow in which we aim to have an “always-releasable” master branch. All development will happen in branches, something we essentially do already, but we will now also have an integration branch so we can bring the various branches together for testing before merging them when ready, branch by branch, into master. We have been working towards for some time, adjusting our habits one step at a time. This will only cover the plasma-mobile, share-like-connect and plasma-active-maliit repositories for now, but my hope is that as Frameworks 5 arrives we’ll be able to broaden this to the bigger shared repositories such as kde-workspace.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 2nd September 2012
      • KDE Commit-Digest for 9th September 2012
    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3.7.1 Is Now Ready for Testing

        Matthias Clasen has announced a few hours ago, October 26th, the first development release of the GNOME 3.8 desktop environment.

        After a two day delay, GNOME 3.7.1 is now available for testing, bringing lots of updated applications, new features, and numerous bug fixes.

        “GNOME 3.7 development is getting underway, with the 3.7.1 snapshot that is marking the beginning of this development cycle. Features are still being proposed and discussed. This release allows some early glimpses of whats to come.”

      • Gnome & Wayland

        Wayland is the next big thing in Linux Desktop since ..the beginning? It is meant to work aside with the problematic X (with the tremendous amount of functionality) and eventually (in many years!) is going to replace it.

  • Distributions

    • From Junk to a Security Station; How Mepis Gave New Life to a Discarded Computer

      Last week, a project that had been brewing for quite a while became a reality.

      We wanted to set up a basic security camera for the office where I work but, as the University is short of budget, all we were given was a webcam. With that contribution, the whole idea was pretty much a long-term goal (or a dream, to be more honest, given the circumstances).

    • DEFT 7.2 Screenshots
    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Looks To An SDK, Improved App Development

            Canonical and the Ubuntu development community hope to improve application development for developers targeting Ubuntu 13.04.

            Another one of the popular topics for the UDS Copenhagen summit next week for Ubuntu 13.04 is the “app development” track. There’s several different items to be discussed about Ubuntu app development from an Ubuntu SDK to improving the online documentation and support for those developers targeting Ubuntu support.

          • OpenERP and Ubuntu Unity Desktop Integration

            Ubuntu has been in the news quite a lot recently with the release of version 12.10 including the Amazon shopping lens and next week some game shop thing called Steam is going to be announced. It isn’t all toys and shopping though, some of the new features make a heap of sense for serious business applications too. One really interesting area for me is the webapp integration, this is an extension for Firefox and Chromium that allows stuff running in the web browser to integrate with the Unity desktop in a variety of ways, making the distinction between a web application and a desktop application a bit more blurry – which is a good thing. There is built in integration for an assortment of popular consumer websites like youtube, twitter, facebook etc. but it isn’t limited to these single domain software as a service sites. Any web site or web application can test for the presence of the extension then export it’s menu items, do notifications and other actions.

          • Time for an Upgrade
          • Ubuntu 11.04 Ends Support

            Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal released almost one and a half years ago will end support today. This comes according to the policy of drastic six months of OS upgrades and a support for one and half years for each. Long term support Ubuntu releases have a greater support period, extending upto five years for Ubuntu 12.04. These long term support releases are more suitable for business and enterprise environments can can be used in servers and workstations as the main OS.

          • Ubuntu 13.04 May Come Packed With An SDK
          • Join Us At the Ubuntu Developer Summit This Week!

            This week the Ubuntu Developer Summit is taking place in Copenhagen from Monday – Thursday. This is the event where we plan the features and goals for the next release of Ubuntu, Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu 12.10 Review

              Xubuntu is the lighter weight brother of the ever popular Ubuntu family of Linux distributions. At the forefront, XFCE is the desktop environment of choice and it removes all the bells and whistles that we currently see in the star of the show, Ubuntu. It’s not just focused on older systems but those who want a great looking desktop and don’t need the extras.

              XFCE 4.10 is the forefront of this distribution and it uses less CPU and memory compared to its bigger siblings Ubuntu and KUbuntu as XFCE is focused on using less resources. What also makes XFCE also popular is the fact we don’t see drastic changes from one version to another which we see from Gnome or KDE.

            • Linux Mint Katya Reaches End Of Life

              The Linux Mint Team has announced the end of life of Linux Mint 11 “Katya”. This means users using this OS will not be able to get any security updates and the system will be open to venerabilities. Users still using Linux Mint 11 are highly advised to upgrade their system to Linux Mint Maya.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can European IT teams seriously consider open source?

    European businesses have long used IT to automate processes and drive down the cost of doing business. This pressure has increased in the current economic climate, and new issues such as bring-your-own-device and the ever increasing amount of data continue to appear.

    One of the solutions to the cost of software is to use open source solutions, but many businesses are fearful of the implications and potential hidden costs in the skills needed to manage open source technology. So what are the real challenges and can businesses across Europe really take advantage of open source?

  • Tiki Wiki 9.2 can now check system requirements

    The current 6.x and 9.x long term support (LTS) branches of the open source Tiki wiki, CMS and groupware solution have been updated to versions 6.8 and 9.2 respectively. Whereas Tiki 9.2 has more than 500 code changes, focuses on fixing various bugs and also includes several improvements, the 6.8 release only includes a patch to close an undisclosed security hole.

  • DARPA’s Robotics Challenge Marches On

    Now DARPA is opening the door to anyone, accepting admissions through February 2013 of “virtual robots” created using a free open source software program, the DRC Simulator, that DARPA has made available for download on its DRC website.

  • SaaS

    • Big Data Right Now: Five Trendy Open Source Technologies

      Big Data is on every CIO’s mind this quarter, and for good reason. Companies will have spent $4.3 billion on Big Data technologies by the end of 2012.

      But here’s where it gets interesting. Those initial investments will in turn trigger a domino effect of upgrades and new initiatives that are valued at $34 billion for 2013, per Gartner. Over a 5 year period, spend is estimated at $232 billion.

      What you’re seeing right now is only the tip of a gigantic iceberg.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Does OpenOffice have a future?

      The Apache Software Foundation has made OpenOffice a top-level project but will that be enough to make OpenOffice matter? Should OpenOffice remain an independent open-source project?

  • Business

  • BSD


    • A GNU Protest Against Windows 8

      The Free Software Foundation, in the form of a GNU, crashed the Windows 8 launch event in an effort to persuade Windows users not to upgrade to Windows 8 but move to GNU/Linux instead.

      Activists, one of them in the shape of a GNU, the FSF movement’s buffalo-like mascot, greeted visitors to Microsoft’s launch event on October 25. We can’t say if Microsoft actually noticed their gate crasher but Gnus probably find it difficult to conceal themselves at software launches.

      The GNU’s pumpkin bucket contained DVDs loaded with Trisquel, a free software distribution of the GNU/Linux operating system. Volunteers also handed out FSF stickers and pamphlets about the dangers of Windows 8 urging you to sign a pledge to upgrade to free software instead.

    • MediaGoblin crowdfunding campaign launches!

      Today we’re excited to announce a crowdfunding campaign to support MediaGoblin run in coordination with the Free Software Foundation! You may have heard that I quit my job as senior software engineer / tech lead at Creative Commons to pursue MediaGoblin fulltime and fund development. Instead of using one of the more mainstream crowdfunding sites, we decided to team up with the Free Software Foundation, who is supporting our fundraising infrastructure.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Programming


  • Don’t Like Partisan Politics? Then Don’t Vote By Party – Just Vote Pro-Science!

    We see Independent 40%, Democrat 31%, and Republican 27%! That’s right, the Republicans are in the minority, at just over a quarter of those surveyed!

  • A Linux User’s Perspective Of Microsoft Windows 8

    Also, I was *livid* when Microsoft’s highly-touted software failed and didn’t provide any meaningful error messages and left my system unbootable. I mean, this is the kind of shit that Lennart Poettering pulls off in Fedora Rawhide when he breaks systemd or dracut. This isn’t something I expect out of a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate pushing out production software on millions of people.

    Next, on my ThinkPad T530, I tried upgrading Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro. The upgrade failed the first time, but the rollback to Windows 7 was perfect — I had upgraded from Windows 7 to… Windows 7. This Microsoft software is just unbelievably magical. You can’t make this up.

  • The Case for Irrational Voting

    Some smart friends of mine argue for a particular type of quasi-rational voting in such situations. Because of our antiquated electoral college that pretends an entire state voted for Tweedledee even if 49% of it voted for Tweedledum, moral voters should, this argument goes, vote for truly good candidates — even write-in candidates — in most states, in order to send a message. But they should only do so because there are too few such informed ethical strategic voters to actually swing the state. In the all-important handful of Swing States, however, where the contest between the two Tweedles is too close to call, we are advised to vote for the less hideous of the two.

  • Thoughts on Voting “Third Party”

    …we vote FOR things and not AGAINST things.

    This is the real, deeper problem behind a two-party system.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Binders Full of Generals

      Mr. Romney has promised to shoot the defense budget into the stratosphere at levels that have been unseen since the height of the Korean War. As in a past column, I have inserted here a chart that I think is one of the most significant of the presidential campaign, and it should be passed around to as many people possible before the election.

    • ‘They Brought an Army to Take Out a 16-Year-Old Boy,’ Says Father of Suicidal Teen Killed by Police Sniper
    • Researchers Expose Illegal Detention and Torture in Ivory Coast

      Amnesty International said today more than 200 people, including members of former President Laurent Gbagbo’s Ivorian Popular Front, are being illegally detained and tortured months after he was arrested and turned over to the International Criminal Court.

      Researchers spent one month in Ivory Coast interviewing dozens of people who described torture. In addition, Amnesty International met four detainees at the Génie militaire, a military barracks in Abidjan, who have been held incommunicado for more than a month.

    • WikiLeaks Releases US Military Policies for Detention & Avoiding Accountability for Torture

      The media organization WikiLeaks has released the first of more than one hundred classified or “otherwise restricted” policies from the US Department of Defense that lay out rules and procedures for detainees in US military custody. The “Detainee Policies” show how the US military has handled detention for the past decade and will be released over the course of the next month, according to a press release.

      On the first day of the release, five policies have been posted. The most significant of the postings is the 2002 manual for Camp Delta at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    • Protesters steal the show at Seattle police gathering to explain intended use of drones

      It was hard to hear Thursday night what Assistant Chief Paul McDonagh was trying to say about how the Seattle Police Department hopes to use drones to save lives and increase public safety — what with the chanting of “no drones” and the loud cries of “murderer” and “shame” drowning him out.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs and the sophisticated investor: Who’s duping whom?

      By all accounts, neither Michael Lewis nor Frank Serpico should be concerned about competition from Greg Smith, the erstwhile Goldman Sachs vice president whose supposed tell-all, “Why I Left Goldman Sachs,” was published Monday. I’ve only read the first chapter excerpt that’s been floating around the Internet since last week, but Smith clearly lacks Lewis’s humor and narrative verve, and reviewers who read advance copies of the entire book have said there’s not much substance to his assertions about Goldman’s culture. I suspect that Smith will have a short shelf life as a Wall Street chronicler and whistle-blower.

    • Greens chair shoots down Fennovoima nuclear project

      Green League Chairman Ville Niinistö has described the nuclear power project by the public power consortium Fennovoima as unprofitable nonsense. He said that the project should also be rejected by municipal decision makers.

    • Ten filthy rich, tax-dodging hypocrites

      The irony is that CEOs in the coalition’s leadership have been major contributors to the national debt they now claim to know how to fix. These are guys who’ve mastered every tax-dodging trick in the book. And now that they’ve boosted their corporate profits by draining the public treasury, how do they propose we put our fiscal house back in order? By squeezing programs for the poor and elderly, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    • The Self-Destruction of the 1 Percent

      There is some truth in both arguments. But the 1 percent cannot evade its share of responsibility for the growing gulf in American society. Economic forces may be behind the rising inequality, but as Peter R. Orszag, President Obama’s former budget chief, told me, public policy has exacerbated rather than mitigated these trends.

      Even as the winner-take-all economy has enriched those at the very top, their tax burden has lightened. Tolerance for high executive compensation has increased, even as the legal powers of unions have been weakened and an intellectual case against them has been relentlessly advanced by plutocrat-financed think tanks. In the 1950s, the marginal income tax rate for those at the top of the distribution soared above 90 percent, a figure that today makes even Democrats flinch. Meanwhile, of the 400 richest taxpayers in 2009, 6 paid no federal income tax at all, and 27 paid 10 percent or less. None paid more than 35 percent.

      Historically, the United States has enjoyed higher social mobility than Europe, and both left and right have identified this economic openness as an essential source of the nation’s economic vigor. But several recent studies have shown that in America today it is harder to escape the social class of your birth than it is in Europe. The Canadian economist Miles Corak has found that as income inequality increases, social mobility falls — a phenomenon Alan B. Krueger, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, has called the Great Gatsby Curve.

      Educational attainment, which created the American middle class, is no longer rising. The super-elite lavishes unlimited resources on its children, while public schools are starved of funding. This is the new Serrata. An elite education is increasingly available only to those already at the top. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama enrolled their daughters in an exclusive private school; I’ve done the same with mine.

    • Greece arrests editor for ‘Lagarde list’ leak

      Detained journalist defends publishing list of well-known Greeks who allegedly use Swiss banks to evade national taxes.

    • Steve Jobs’ Yacht, ‘Venus,’ Sets Sail
  • Privacy

    • CDB: Not Dead Yet

      My main point was that the Bill creates an unprecedented resource for the security services to “go fishing” in everyone’s private affairs. “Communications Data” means “everything that’s not the message” for every kind of internet use (e-mail, instant messaging, voice communication, streaming and so on), and collecting all of it from everyone in Britain on a rolling 12-month basis (with some information held indefinitely) offers a massive pool in which to use heuristics to pattern match answers to open questions.

    • Verizon’s ‘Precision Market Insights’ Data Mining Policy Raising Privacy Concerns

      A new initiative from Verizon is raising questions about the telecom giant’s commitment to protecting the privacy of its customers.

      The company’s new marketing program, Precision Market Insights, collects data information from iOS and Android users, based on geographic location gleaned from apps and sites being accessed. Verizon plans to continue to share that information with potential advertisers.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What’s behind the science academies’ attack on Seralini?

      It could hardly have been more damning – six French science academies jointly dismissing Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini’s recent paper in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology as a “scientific non-event.”

    • Agriculture Is The Number One Choice of Voters…

      “The appointment of Kofi Annan as AGRA’s chairman was a strategic decision that the Gates Foundation made to silence criticisms that its agricultural development agenda was a “White Man’s Dream for Africa.” In fact, this more reeks of Monsanto’s campaign: “Let the Harvest Begin.” Launched in 1998 to gain acceptance of GE crops around the world by projecting the benefits of the Green Revolution in Asia and its potential in Africa, Monsanto’s campaign managed to draw several respected African leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, to speak for a new Green Revolution in Africa. In response, all of the African delegates (except South Africa) to the UN Food and Agriculture Negotiations on the International Undertaking for Plant Genetic Resources in June 1998 issued a counter statement, “Let Nature’s Harvest Continue.” The delegates clearly stated their objection to multinational companies’ use of the image of the poor and hungry from African countries to push technology that is not safe, environmentally friendly, or economically beneficial.” Voices From Africa: African Farmers & Environmentalists Speak Out Against a New Green Revolution in Africa.

    • How a Supreme Court ruling may stop you from reselling just about anything
    • Copyrights

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