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11.14.12

Speculations That HTC Pays Apple Not Verified, Said to be Bogus, and May Only be Anti-Android FUD

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 8:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Trolled!

Steve BallmerSummary: HTC says there is no financial impact to the settlement, but Microsoft boosters say that HTC pays Apple for Android; Techrights investigates what people are saying and where the claims come from

As noted in the previous post, lawyers say that HTC pays Apple per phone sold following the secret settlement and they claim to know the cost. This speculation about Apple getting a patent tax (echoed by John Koetsier in this case) has Groklaw say: “Does that sound fair to you? Sound like the US patent system is working as it should?

“Folks who argue that the US patent system works beautifully for the US economy need to think about the future, then. How beautifully will the system work when other countries make it impossible for US companies to bring new products to market in the US? Think that could never happen? Look at the Apple-Microsoft-Nokia attack on Android. Now put non-US companies in attack mode and against a US product.”

Other sources seem to suggest Apple has retreated. TechDirt writes “HTC And Apple Settle Patent Dispute; Perhaps Tim Cook Realizes Patent Fights Are A Waste” and formal reports say nothing about a tax. Why? Because they do fact-checking. One Android site says:

While the specific details of the agreement are under wraps, press is being told by Jeff Grdon, representative for HTC, that HTC “does not expect this license agreement to have any adverse material impact on the financials of the company” – read as: HTC won’t break the bank in the settlement.

Right.

So no losses, correct?

Here is more speculation:

What is Google’s real incentive in seeding the Android mobile OS in the global market? Is it to make money from the sale of Android-based handsets and tablets? Certainly, that’s part of Google’s strategy. After all, through its Motorola Mobility acquisition, Google is a player in the smartphone and tablet markets.

Recently, there have been several reports about how Apple’s recent settlement with Taiwan’s HTC could mean that Apple and Microsoft make more from Android going forward than Google does. Apple and HTC have a cross-licensing deal that some are saying could mean Apple collects $6 to $8 per Android phone sold. The truth is, though, that Google’s real benefit from the spread of Android comes from bringing new users into its lucrative search/ad ecosystem.

Where do these numbers come from? These have not been verified. Given that Apple feels blowback (calls to boycott Apple and generally a great disdain or forced apologies that embarrass the company’s culture), we might as well suspect a non-victory for Apple. One expert says:

“This settlement and their statement on Friday don’t quite jive,” says David Martin, Founder and Chief Executive of M·CAM. “Apple is starting to look at the market consequence of their litigation strategy and realizing there may be some blow back from it.”

The Microsoft booster says that Apple gets paid (among other outrageous things), but maybe this is just propaganda. Groklaw writes in response: “Inventor of the touch screen, my foot. And by the way, isn’t Apple the company claiming that if it has to pay a more or less equivalent sum for FRAND patents owned by Android vendors, it will put them out of business? And next comes Nokia, the rumors continue, trying to get HTC to pay them too, and they already pay to Microsoft. They call this royalty stacking [Mark Lemley's paper explaining it, PDF], and it’s a fast way to kill off the competition, if you gang up on them this way. Meanwhile, both Apple and Microsoft are whining to regulators about royalty burdens they are threatened with if they can’t devalue FRAND patents. If there are 250,000 patents that read on just one smartphone, where in the world is the profit going to come from? You can’t make a phone in that environment. Instead of getting rid of software patents and/or devaluing all patents or even coming up with a reduced rate for victims of royalty stacking demands, Apple and Microsoft would like the devalue the ones they don’t own, but Android vendors own, while leaving their patents at full value. That way Android can’t compete in the marketplace and people will stop selling it. If by any chance you are thinking that *Apple* would never pull such a dirty trick, I direct you to their response to the UK court’s order to post a notice that Samsung didn’t copy Apple’s design patent, which the court characterized as showing a “lack of integrity”. Where are the antitrust regulators now?”

“It’s all secretive, but Microsoft and Apple try to deceive the press and the regulators.”But wait, does this booster (Eric Savitz) just spread his usual FUD? These are not verified claims, it could be just a scare tactic. Here is a more accurate report.

“Microsoft and Google’s Motorola Mobility unit are set to square off on Tuesday at a trial with strategic implications for the smartphone patent wars and which could reveal financial information the two companies usually keep under wraps,” says the Indian press. It’s all secretive, but Microsoft and Apple try to deceive the press and the regulators.

We do not even know how much HTC pays Microsoft, if anything, The claims of five dollars are unverified. Here is a new example of spin in patent settlements:

In Planning Software Patent Settlement, Both Sides Claim Victory

In the wake of a settlement of a patent infringement lawsuit involving two major financial planning software products, both sides are proclaiming victory.

“We are extraordinarily happy,” said David Loeper, CEO of Wealthcare Capital Management, the plaintiff in the case. “We’re not just happy; we had a great celebration when the agreement was settled. I can understand why the other side would be too, given the liability if we had proceeded with litigation.”

This is what the Apple-HTC settlement might have been like. It is possible that HTC pays nobody for Android. It’s speculation. When Microsoft signed a patent deal with Novell, for example, Novell was actually bribed, not charged. It was all for FUD. They create fear, uncertainty, and doubt.

Update: hours after I had drafted this post I found this post titled: “Here is why HTC doesn’t pay a cent to Apple”

Remember those statements from yesterday that HTC has to pay Apple around $6-$8 for each and every Android smartphone they sell? Well it turns out that this was complete bogus.

As I suspected when I first researched this topic, this is all just FUD and the claim is most likely bunk. Sites like Groklaw got suckered by the FUD, which had simply spread all around the Web, sometimes by all the usual suspects.

IBM Propaganda for Software Patents Rebutted by Masnick

Posted in Apple, IBM, Patents at 8:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mike Masnick
TechDirt’s Mike Masnick

Summary: Famous monopoly abuser (IBM) chooses to publicly promote FOSS-hostile legal frameworks, only to find its arguments shredded to pieces by TechDirt

IBM has been somewhat of a traitor whenever it advanced software patents around the world, e.g. Europe and New Zealand. IBM’s arguments are full of holes. For instance, IBM tried to insinuate that patents help Open Source. Backlash to this lobbying effort was great at the time.

Here is Mosnick with an excellent, success rebuttal that covers many of the key points. It’s nonsense-burying rebuttal that goes along the lines of, you have more patents, which means… well, that you have more patent monopolies, not innovation. Or, something is claimed to be successful because of patents, not despite of patents — how often do we see that strategic fallacy in the copyright lobby too?

Wired kindly reprinted the rebuttal which says:

Rebuttal: ‘The Patent System Works Fine Because… Hey Look Over There!’

IBM’s Chief Patent Counsel, Manny Schecter, has one of the most ridiculous defenses of the patent system you’ll ever see over at Wired, entitled With All Due Respect: The Patent System’s Not Broken. Having debated the patent system for years, I’ve noticed a pattern among patent system defenders who are big time patent lawyers. Their argument tends to amount to: see this wonderful thing? It exists because we have patents. Period. The fact that whatever it is they’re pointing to probably has nothing to do with patents will never be acknowledged.

[...]

The reason for this is not difficult to assess if you’re not a patent lawyer. It’s that companies don’t sell “patents,” they sell products. And you can sell products whether or not they’re patented. If you build something people want, you can figure out a way to sell it — even if someone copies you. In fact, what plenty of other research has shown is that (again, contrary to what many lawyers believe) copying market leaders is often a hell of a lot more difficult than people believe. And, of course, even if you have a direct copy, it doesn’t mean you can really compete. The first mover advantage is important, but so is knowing how to market and sell products, and copiers often don’t do a good job on that front. So, yes, there are plenty of reasons companies would spend a lot of money without patents.

[...]

Where to start? First off, which economists? Second, having your value attributed to your “intellectual property” (loosely defined) is not the same thing as saying that it’s because of intellectual property laws. This is a common and ridiculous mistake that many make — assuming that because the things currently covered by IP laws are important, the laws themselves must be important. Ideas, content, innovation etc. all exist absent IP laws. This is something that patent lawyers seem to conveniently forget or ignore. Next, the $5 trillion number and the 40 million jobs claim — well, that’s equally bogus, as we’ve discussed before. It’s based on the ridiculous and obviously faulty belief that these jobs and “contribution” to the economy are due to “IP laws” and not other economic activity such as people actually selling stuff. And those jobs? Yeah, anyone who claims that has lost all credibility, because, remember, it’s actually mostly about trademark, and that means that 2.5 million of those jobs are actually people working at grocery stores. Sorry, dude, you don’t get to claim the checkout bagger as a reason why we need stronger patent laws.

[...]

In the end, none of the arguments he makes even come close to making sense. At best, he argues some sort of bizarre correlation to make his point, but most of the time he’s just pointing elsewhere and pretending it has something to do with patents. We could just as easily argue that patents have caused population growth in the US. I mean, look, the population has grown… and we have patents! And it would be just as meaningless as every single argument he makes.

Over at Groklaw, a pro-IBM site, Jones wrote: “The software industry was built when there were no software patents, as Bill Gates himself has pointed out. The patent system is broken, if you are not already one of the three or so “winners” already in place. That’s who it works for. But innovation doesn’t come from them.”

Manny Schechter speaks for a monopoly abuser from the old days, he does not speak for scientists. Ansel Halliburton, a patent lawyer, showed similar pro-patents leanings when he said Apple is getting money from HTC (FUD!). “Plus,” writes Jones, “FOSSPatents is drooling loathesomely that Nokia will win royalties from HTC as well next. How’s that for a free market? “Let’s all get together and kill of Android,” eh?”

We’ll discuss this in the next post. It’s all just FUD from patent lawyers, Microsoft lobbyists, and some inane boosters. And this FUD has travelled way too far.

Microsoft Failed With Vista 8, Set to Attack Linux With Patents Instead

Posted in Microsoft, Patents, Vista 8, Windows at 7:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer on patents

Summary: While gagging critics with some money and covering up exodus Microsoft puts forth a patent agenda with its patent lawsuits against Google (Android)

THE Linux Foundation recently accepted money from Microsoft, inducing self-censorship (inability to criticise Microsoft), so
Katherine Noyes gathered comments critical of the move, including:

“It’s a trap!” began Robin Lim, a lawyer and blogger on Mobile Raptor.

“Seriously, Microsoft knows that Linux is not going away in servers and embedded devices,” Lim offered. “It’s an odd co-existence of competition and co-existence that almost everyone actually lives happily enough with.”

In fact, “it makes sense for Microsoft to ensure that its clients, Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone maintain a good degree of compatibility with companies with a Linux backend,” he suggested.

“For Microsoft, software is not about ideology, but about the bottom line,” he concluded. “It’s just good business to support Linux. Ultimately, the real enemy of Microsoft and Linux is Apple, since the ultimate goal of the latter is a completely closed hardware and software ecosystem.”

There is some merit to this claim, but we’ll come to that later. There’s a couple of new articles that help show just how desperate Microsoft is getting:

  • An alternate universe

    They had set up a table and an Xbox demo in the hallway and were giving away “Microsoft Surface”-branded disposable rain ponchos (this entire mall is indoors, including the parking, and it didn’t rain today) and muffin fragments (much like when you order a soda on a plane, they pour a third of it into a little plastic cup full of hollow ice cylinders, and they don’t let you keep the rest of the can). An employee with a microphone in front of the Xbox kiosk was talking to the audience of nobody as if it were a dance party.

    The store is creepy: so many elements are embarrassingly similar to the Apple Store on the next floor. Microsoft even ripped off trivial elements that easily could have been different, such as the employee uniform. There’s a huge elephant in the room, and we can all see it, but Microsoft still implicitly denies it.

    [...]

    But I don’t think many Surface buyers are going to comparison-shop with the iPad, or vice versa. It’s very clear who the Surface is for, and it’s not us.

    The Surface is partially for Microsoft’s world of denial: the world in which this store contains no elephants and Microsoft invented the silver store with the glass front and the glowing logo and blue shirts and white lanyards and these table layouts and the modern tablet and its magnetic power cable. In that world, this is a groundbreaking new tablet that you can finally use at work and leave your big creaky plastic Dell laptop behind when you go to the conference room to have a conference call on the starfish phone with all of the wires and dysfunctional communication…

  • Microsoft’s Big Hidden Windows 8 Feature: Built-In Advertising

    Despite the fact that I’ve been using Windows 8 for the past three weeks, I somehow managed to overlook a rather stark feature in the OS: ads. No, we’re not talking about ads cluttering up the desktop or login screen (thankfully), but rather ads that can be found inside of some Modern UI apps that Windows ships with. That includes Finance, Weather, Travel, News and so forth. Is it a problem? Let’s tackle this from a couple of different angles.

A hardware store would not work for Microsoft because hardware these days mostly ships with Android. Microsoft’s hardware products are failing and Sinofsky leaves the door with them. Savitz is the latest example of a shocked pro-Microsoft writer. We mentioned the many boosters who covered it and this one conforms to the PR and diversion from Mary Jo Foley et al. They try to brush it all off and focus on other people, no matter if Sinofsky is quitting so shortly after Vista 8 was launched, leaving a PR person in his place (damage control indeed). Windows sales have been poor recently and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols thinks he was fired:

When Microsoft fired… excuse me, announced that Windows and Windows Live President Steven Sinofsky is leaving the company, many Microsoft experts opined that he left because of internal politics. Sorry. I don’t buy that argument for a New York minute. If Windows 8 took off at the same rate Windows 7 did–with developers anxiously looking forward to publishing software for it–and had Sinofsky’s strategic moves worked, such as Microsoft deciding to make its own Windows 8 hardware, we’d be talking about Sinofsky as Steve Ballmer’s successor, not left wondering what the heck just happened.

Steven’s colleague concurs in a sense. Sinofsky is out, but he could be dangerous if he ends up occupying a company like Elop and others. They currently try to kill Android using patents. The Microsoft booster points at the wrong direction, trying to make Android look like the aggressor, but remember that it was Microsoft which started the patent attack around five years ago or more, depending on the landmark event one chooses. Let the boosters distract while those who know better stay on target (Groklaw responds with its own analysis today). But it’s not just Microsoft anymore, as it colluded with Apple, conspiring to destroy Android using patents. We will cover this in a separate post. Microsoft uses other companies to fight its battles.

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

Apple Censors Criticism of Its Abused Labour Force

Posted in Apple at 4:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Foxconn

Summary: Using its authority over a digital store, Apple is blocking human rights messages

Rep. Kucinich recently complained about Apple’s decision to assassinate applications that deal with drone strikes. The Hill covered the news. Steve Jobs and his intolerance of Android, pornography, workers’ rights [[cref =53137 1], 2], etc. probably tell us he would have condoned the censorship. Watch what else Apple is censoring, unlike Android: a Foxconn game.

It was too much for the guiltily-sensitive Apple App Store, they removed it an hour after it went live, but Android is made of sterner stuff and ‘In A Permanent Save State,’ an interactive, artistic work by Benjamin Poynter is now available at Google Play Store for $0.99.

Poynter’s artistic piece (all hand-drawn, surrealist cartoon-style and bloody good with it) was influenced by the real-life suicides that have been occurring at Foxconn’s manufacturing plants – dotted around the developing nations. A report by twenty Chinese universities described Foxconn factories as labor camps and detailed widespread worker abuse and illegal overtime.

Shame on Apple for burying the issue. Earlier this year it used an affiliate TV network to whitewash, too. This is just gross. Foxconn is head-quartered in New Taipei, Taiwan, which I spent about an hour viewing in Google Streetview last night. The area seems quite impoverished and some of the factories are based in mainland China. For those who wish to understand those issues better, do not rely on what Apple tells US press to broadcast; see what’s on the ground. My wife, who is a computer scientist, worked in Taiwan for almost a year, so she knows what she saw.

Kodak is a Patent Time Bomb

Posted in Patents at 4:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patents blast from the past

Camera

Summary: An excellent lesson on what happens to patents when companies implode

It has been a while since we last heard about Kodak. Here is an update:

Kodak has signed a deal to get a lifeline of $793 million in credit from its bondholders, which would allow the company to emerge from bankruptcy. There’s one catch, though: the company has to sell its portfolio of 1,100 patents for at least $500 million to get the rest of the cash, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Those interested in bidding on the patents include the same coalition of “strange bedfellows” that have been talked about for months as possible buyers. The group includes major smartphone companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung, as well as patent aggregators like RPX Corp. and Intellectual Ventures.

See our wiki for some context. Kodak will probably be a major nuisance pretty soon. The intelligence gathered becomes handy under those circumstances.

Skype Cracked, All User Accounts Are Vulnerable (Updated)

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 3:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Crack

Summary: A Russian site explains how to take over any account

According to this, Microsoft Skype gets the very basics wrong:

Here’s the original link where I’ve read about this (in Russian) – http://habrahabr.ru/post/158545/
with multiple people in the comments confirming it works and also reporting their accounts were stolen.
Here’s how it works:
Sign up for a new Skype account. Use the victim’s email. A warning will come up that an account with that email already exists, but you can still proceed with filling out the form and account creation.
Log in to the Skype client with your new account.
https://login.skype.com/account/password-reset-request – request a password reset using the victim’s email.
You will get a password reset notification and token in your skype client. Follow the link to pick the victim’s account and reset the password.
It appears the only way to safeguard yourself for now is to change your main Skype account email to one that’s not publicly known.

There are many good reasons to avoid Skype and many good alternatives. The other day a Pidgin developer complained about the secret messaging protocols of Skype. These are deliberately non-interoperable. Since Microsoft moves its IM services to Skype, this will only become a greater issue.

Update: Flaw confirmed by Microsoft

Peter S. Menell Singles Out Software Patents in His New Paper

Posted in Patents at 3:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dr. Stallman said such patents should not be enforceable in courts

Peter S. Menell

Summary: Academic from Berkeley names patents “relating to computer software and business methods” as those in need of special treatment

The following new paper from law professor Menell has the following abstract:

Fuzzy patent claim boundaries undermine the functioning of the patent system by making it difficult for inventors and competitors to assess freedom to operate in many technology marketplaces, especially those relating to computer software and business methods. This commentary advocates the use of a detailed, electronic, claim application form to address this problem. By placing greater responsibility on patent applicants to delineate the precise boundaries of their claims — by, for example, specifically indicating whether they intend to invoke the means-plus-function claim format by checking a box — patent examiners could more easily evaluate what is being claimed, competitors could more easily know contested intellectual territory, and courts could more easily construe patent claims.

This new research work was highlighted by Groklaw, which also took note of this:

As I described a few weeks ago, over the coming months I will build on Mike Madison’s lists of “lost classics” of IP scholarship by asking IP professors to list some works that influenced their own scholarship and that they think young IP scholars should be familiar with. As the first addition to this project, Tun-Jen Chiang (George Mason) has suggested four additions to Madison’s list of patent classics, which are listed below along with my own brief summaries.

“IP scholars” is a vague term. It is the “IP” nonsense — a notion promoted by law professors, patent lawyers, and lobbyists. Speaking of which, the man behind SOPA, the ACTA terror (act of IP terror), might replace Mrs. Clinton quite soon. Biden will do it OBAMASELF again, for IP maximalists. That’s what happens when politicians are mostly lawyers.

Links 14/11/2012: Android 4.2 Source Code, Mozilla’s Shumway Project

Posted in News Roundup at 11:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Who Would Buy A $199 Chromebook With 3.5 Hour Battery Life And HDD?

      Google is all set to shake the stagnated desktop PC market held hostage by Microsoft. There has not been any revolutionary innovation in the desktop PC space which is monopolized by Microsoft. It took Apple to shake it with the incredible Retina display (Microsoft wouldn’t have minded keeping 1024×800 for another 10 years). Google is all set to change this and Windows 8 is going to offer all the help it can to the wider adoption of Chromebooks.

      The recently announced ARM-powered Samsung Chromebook is selling at mere $249 which is going to make quite a lot of laptop users rethink, especially those who spend all of their PC time inside a browser. Before people could place their orders, just a day before Neuxs 4 was going on sale, Google dropped another bomb on Microsoft with the announcement (and immediate availability) of a $199 Acer Chromebook.

  • Kernel Space

    • Interview: Linus Torvalds – I don’t read code any more

      I was lucky enough to interview Linus quite early in the history of Linux – back in 1996, when he was still living in Helsinki (you can read the fruits of that meeting in this old Wired feature.) It was at an important moment for him, both personally – his first child was born at this time – and in terms of his career. He was about to join the chip design company Transmeta, a move that didn’t really work out, but led to him relocating to America, where he remains today.

    • ‘Personality Cults’ and the Open Source Channel
    • A Template For Writing Linux Kernel Drivers

      LDT has been published, a Linux Driver Template for helping new Linux kernel developers begin writing hardware device drivers.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA 310.19 Linux Driver Carries Enhancements

        There’s a new release available in the NVIDIA 310.xx Linux graphics driver series. The NVIDIA 310 Linux driver is already great for its big performance improvements thanks to Steam/Source coming to Linux and threaded OpenGL optimizations, but now the driver has been made even better.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Dropping GNOME Fallback Mode: The Right Decision, Wrongly Handled

        You have to pity the GNOME project these days. Even when it does the right thing, it does so in a way that maximizes controversy.

        I’m talking about the project’s recent announcement about dropping support for fallback mode. Since it was first introduced with the GNOME 3.0 release the fallback mode has provided an approximation of the GNOME 2 desktop for users who lacked the hardware acceleration needed for the latest desktop environment. Now, GNOME developers have announced that the upcoming 3.8 release will not include the fallback mode.

      • GNOME Shell 3.6.2 Has Been Officially Released

        The GNOME developers announced last evening, November 12, the immediate availability for download of the stable GNOME Shell 3.6.2 user interface for the GNOME 3 desktop environment.

        GNOME Shell 3.6.2 is the second maintenance release for the GNOME Shell 3.6 UI, which is part of the GNOME 3.6.2 desktop environment update, due for release tomorrow, November 14, 2012.

      • GNOME Dev Responds to Criticism of Open Source Interface

        One might reasonably assume that the controversy surrounding the design of GNOME 3, which was released well over a year ago, would have abated by now. But in one of the clearest signs that it hasn’t, a leading GNOME developer recently posted a strongly worded tirade against critics of the open source desktop environment — namely, the “crazies” and “yellow journalists.”

        The developer, Federico Mena-Quintero, published his thoughts on his personal blog, not any official GNOME outlet. Still, as one of the cofounders of the GNOME project, he carries a lot of weight within the open source community.

  • Debian Family

    • Derivatives

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Core Desktop on the Nexus 7: Getting Involved

          A little while ago I talked about our goals to get the core Ubuntu Desktop running on the Nexus 7. Again, just to be clear: the goal here is to get the lower level foundations of the Ubuntu Desktop running efficiently on the Nexus. This work is focused on optimizing the kernel, X, networking, memory consumption etc of the core of Ubuntu and not focused on making Unity into a tablet user interface. You can’t build a great house without a solid foundation.

        • New video offers a peek at Ubuntu for Android
        • Devs port Ubuntu to Rockchip (RK3066) devices

          Rockchip’s stalwart RK3066 can best be described as a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 chip with clock speeds up to 1.6 GHz.

          The processor powers a number of tablets as well as PCs-on-a-stick, including the Z2C, Minix NEOG G 4, Kimdecent, Droid Stick T10, MK802 III, UG802 and the UG007.

        • Could Ubuntu Power Your Phone?

          Ubuntu on smartphones remains a totally theoretical proposition. But that hasn’t stopped Canonical from releasing a video showcasing all the cool things that Ubuntu could do if it did run on phones. Is the company getting ahead of itself, or is this a sign that Ubuntu might finally be poised to make the jump to the mobile world?

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Parsix 4.0 Arrives with GNOME 3

            Parsix is a wonderful distribution that offers a complete starter system with its own repositories while remaining compatible with Debian. Version 4 was just released and “brings tons of updated packages, faster live boot, improved installer system and quality new features.”

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Giant pandas threatened by climate change

      Giant pandas could be left hungry and struggling to survive by global warming, scientists have warned.

      A new study predicts that climate change is set to wipe out much of the bamboo on which the bears rely for food.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • Free speech? Man arrested for burning poppy photo

      Lawyers and campaigners have taken to Twitter to criticise the arrest. “Dear idiots at @kent_police, burning a poppy may be obnoxious, but it is not a criminal offence,” tweeted legal commentator David Allen Green, who rose to prominence when working on the case of “Twitter bomber” Paul Chambers.

      “What was the point of winning either World War if, in 2012, someone can be casually arrested by @kent_police for burning a poppy?”

    • Google hit with $200,000 damages bill over Mokbel shots

      A Melbourne man who won a defamation case against search engine giant Google has been awarded $200,000 in damages.

      Milorad Trkulja, also known as Michael, sued the multinational over images of him alongside a well-known underworld figure that appeared in its search results.

      A six-person Supreme Court jury found last month that Mr Trkulja had been defamed by the images, which he first contacted Google about removing in 2009.

    • Update On “Is Anybody Down?” Investigation And Bumptious Legal Threats From Craig Brittain And Chance Trahan
    • ‘Revenge Porn’ Site Owners Escalate Their Failure, Going From Bogus DMCA Notices To Bogus Legal Threats

      Needless to say, the criticism hasn’t ceased and nothing has been taken down. In fact, the boys have moved past the DMCA process and have moved on to completely bogus legal threats to us here at Techdirt, and a number of other sites as well. As described by Popehat, who has received an identical threat, it appears that Trahan and Brittain have decided to dive right into the always-entertaining “bumptious legal threat” arena.

  • Privacy

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Twitter limit: University of Washington caps live game coverage for media, threatens credential revocation

      It looks like college coaches aren’t the only ones restricting Twitter use. Todd Dybas, a reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune, Tweeted yesterday that he was “reprimanded” by the University of Washington Athletic Department for apparently Tweeting too much during Sunday’s 85-63 win over Loyola.

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Founder Arrested Again On Suspicion Of New Hacking & Fraud Offenses

        Every other Friday there is a court hearing in Sweden to discuss the continued detainment of Gottfrid Svartholm. A request to detain the Pirate Bay co-founder for an additional two weeks was granted yesterday but not without more drama being added to the proceedings. Gottfrid was arrested under suspicion of being involved in a second hacking case along with accusations of four instances of serious fraud and four attempted frauds. Further details of the alleged crimes are being kept secret.

      • The Cake Copyright Is A Lie; Safeway Just Doesn’t Want To Be Mocked

        A few folks have sent in this story on the blog of the wonderful (and super popular) site Cake Wrecks, which (as the name suggests) highlights hilariously bad cake designs, supposedly done by “professionals.” Not surprisingly, the site is well known among those who wield cake decorating bags. However, some do not appreciate the wonders of such a site… especially when it features their own cakes. Cake Wrecks recently put up a blog post in which it reveals that at least one Safeway (a part of the giant supermarket chain) has apparently told its bakery that there is a “no photography” rule, officially set up to avoid having its cakes show up on the site — though, they’re using copyright as their excuse:…

      • The Raw Power Of Louis CK: Even HBO Is Opening The Garden Gates

        Yesterday, Louis CK announced the seemingly impossible: his next comedy special will air on HBO, and also be available as a DRM-free download like his revolutionary Beacon Theatre show. Yes, even the network so infamous for its tight grip on content that fans have literally begged it to take their money can’t ignore the overwhelming success of CK’s open, inexpensive, highly accessible approach to content distribution.

      • Will The Next Secretary Of State Support Internet Freedom Or SOPA?

        Last week, we noted that one of Hollywood’s favorite Congressional Reps., Howard Berman had lost his re-election bid (in part due to re-districting, putting him up against another incumbent). For years, Berman has been a go to guy for the entertainment industry looking to pass dubious copyright expansion bills. Berman used to run the “IP Subcommittee” of the Judiciary Committee — which you would think is a major conflict of interest, since he (literally) represented part of Hollywood. Amusingly, when he moved on to head the Foreign Affairs Committee, the next line for the IP Subcommittee was Rep. Rick Boucher — a noted copyright reform advocate. Magically, the Judiciary Committee made the IP Subcommittee disappear. When Boucher lost in the next election, and a maximalist was available again, magically the subcommittee reappeared.

        Either way, as a bunch of sources have been reporting, now that Berman lost, he’s on the short list of possible candidates to become the new Secretary of State after Hillary Clinton steps down early next year.

      • Musicians Weave Elaborate CNET Conspiracy Theory In Attempt To Get BitTorrent Banned

        Last year, we wrote about a silly and uninformed lawsuit filed by eccentric rich guy Alki David against CBS. David has an online TV company, FilmOn, which has some similarities to Aereo and other online rebroadcasters. The networks sued the company, of course, and David has since gone on an odd and vindictive campaign against them. As someone who tends to think services like his should be both legal and embraced, I’d like to support him, but his legal campaign is just ridiculous and now has the possibility of causing real and serious harm. His reason for suing CBS was that a few years ago CBS bought CNET, and CNET has (for many, many years) run a site called Download.com. Download.com is a service that many software providers use to distribute their software. David claimed that because Download.com (a site owned by CNET which was — only relatively recently — purchased by CBS) distributed Limewire — which was eventually found to be infringing — that CBS was also guilty of copyright infringement. That original lawsuit was dumped pretty quickly, after the judge noted that David had failed to show what copyrights were being infringed (a key piece in any copyright claim).

      • RIAA: Pirates Are Bigger Music Fans Than Average Consumers

        After a study pointed out that file-sharers spend more money on music than their non-sharing counterparts, the RIAA felt the need to respond. The music industry group is now characterizing news reports on the findings as “misleading” and is ready to burst the bubble. According to the RIAA there is a straightforward reason why P2P users buy more – they are simply better engaged music fans than average music consumers. … Eh?

      • Copyright Industry Madness Takes Six Years To Catch Up With The Worst Satire Of It

        Six years ago, a satire site wrote a story about how the copyright industry wanted more money if you invited friends to watch a movie in your living room. This notion has now been patented in new technology: automated headcounts coming to a living room near you, to enable new forms of restrictions. Apparently, the copyright industry takes six years to catch up with the very worst satire of it.

      • Confused Irish Newspaper Editorial Argues That Search Engines Need To Pay Newspapers

        First of all, they seem to be claiming that search engines that index content, show a snippet and link people to the original content are “piracy.” That’s crazy talk. Furthermore, while they don’t name the “search engine” they claim that it “offered” these articles. Of course, if it really posted all the articles itself, then there is no need to change copyright laws — the company could already sue them for infringement. However, assuming that they’re really talking about Google or just about any other search engine, what they really mean is that the search engines aggregated the content and linked people back to the original. The “cost” to produce those articles is irrelevant to the overall discussion. Yes, it costs money, but it’s the job of a business model to bring in even more money. If the business geniuses who run your paper are too clueless to figure out how to monetize the traffic from Google, then perhaps you deserve to go out of business.

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