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11.29.12

Sony, Part of a Microsoft and Apple Patent Cartel, Attacks Android With Patents

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents, Samsung at 6:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SCOny defined, following SCO and SCOracle tactics

End in washing machine

Summary: Despite using Android itself, Sony helps Apple against Samsung, using patents

Sony reserved the right to sue and we finally see why reservations as such are trouble. Let’s start with some background from this week’s news.

Samsung has begun retaliating for Apple’s aggression more strongly then before (stopping supply of components), with lawsuits that go both ways as well as deterrents:

Seeking to head off Samsung argument, Apple shortens a patent term

Apple agreed to limit the term of one of the patents it used to win a $1.05 billion jury verdict against Samsung. The company filed a so-called “terminal disclaimer” with the patent office today. It limits the term of patent D618,677, a patent that 12 different Samsung phones were found to infringe.

Samsung says something along the lines of “Without Us, There Is No iPhone”:

A Samsung executive laid it out: Without the Korean company’s patents there can be no iPhone, at least not one that works. Shin Jong-Kyun, President of Telecoms and IT at Samsung, told reporters in Seoul that the truth will out, and that Apple couldn’t make the iPhone without using Samsung’s patents.

This is getting ugly and it’s bad for Apple. Sony, part of the cartel formed around Nortel’s patents (inclusive of Apple), is striking and hacking away at Samsung now. Sony has a lot of patents, including a lot of hardware patents. Pamela Jones writes: “More stupid smartphone patent warfare. Ericsson is, of course, part of Rockstar Consortium’s Gang of Five (Apple, Microsoft, Ericsson, RIM and Sony) who bought Nortel’s patents.” Here is the article she cites and here is more:

Ericsson has filed a suit against Samsung for patent infringement.

The Swedish telecommunications equipment maker said today that it launched the lawsuit after the two companies were unable to reach an agreement about renewing patent licensing deals.

Samsung previously licensed Ericsson’s patents in 2001 and renewed terms in 2007, but licenses have now expired. According to Ericsson, Samsung refused to renew the licensing agreements for its patents on FRAND terms. FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms are used by industry groups to set standards for technology and products, and are aimed at encouraging competitiveness without allowing rights holders to abuse their position, and create a setting for patent holders to receive royalties.

No licensing deal was forthcoming “despite two years of negotiations”, Ericsson said in a statement, so the company decided it “must take action to support a crucial system for technology sharing that has helped create today’s mass market communications industry.” Consequently, Ericsson decided to take legal action, filing a complaint in the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Here is an expert reporter on patents:

Samsung is already embroiled in a worldwide patent fight with Apple, but the company will now face a patent attack from another direction. Swedish telecom giant Ericsson sued Samsung today, saying the Korean company wouldn’t renew a patent cross-licensing agreement after two years of negotiation.

Samsung refused a deal on terms that the rest of the industry has accepted, Ericsson representatives said today. The specific terms offered weren’t disclosed, but documents show they were “Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory,” or FRAND. Just what constitutes a FRAND rate is very much in dispute right now, however, with multiple US federal courts and the US International Trade Commission considering the issue. Samsung licensed Ericsson’s standards-essential patents in 2001 and again in 2007, but its license has now expired. “Samsung’s refusal to pay a FRAND rate gives it an unfair competitive advantage over its competitors who have licensed Ericsson’s patents,” write Ericsson lawyers in today’s filed lawsuit.

Walters Consulting and I exchanged some mails about this lawsuit. He thinks Sony may be liaising with Microsoft and Apple here, based on this latter post:

Let’s take a look at some not-so-recent history… as is well known, Sony is, and has long been, a media and entertainment giant. They helped to develop the standards for the MPEG, MP3, and MP4 file formats decades ago, and also developed the software processes that administer digital rights media (DRM) on all sorts of platforms, from Microsoft’s Windows Media Player to Apple’s iTunes. As such, they collect royalties and licensing fees from Apple and Microsoft for using their patented software solutions for digital rights media management, and they continue to be a gigantic player in the music and movie industries. Just ten years ago, Sony entered the mobile phone market by partnering with existing mobile-phone-maker Ericsson to create a mobile technology joint venture in Sony-Ericsson. They operate very heavily upon a traditional business model, just as Apple and Microsoft do, which demands that information always comes for a price.

Now, some more recent history… Early on in 2009, Sony-Ericsson made a decision to design all of their new smartphones based upon Google’s Android, rather than continuing to use their own UIQ versions of Symbian (as opposed to Nokia’s S60, S80, and S90 versions of Symbian) and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. Sony-Ericsson had been very successful through about 2006 or 2007, but had seen a severe decline in sales after that. In 2011, Sony agreed to buy out their partner Ericsson’s share of the joint venture, and Sony-Ercisson became just another part of Sony. Rebranded and remodeled, Sony’s mobile division began to immediately see improvement, and new pending phone designs were given an extreme fashion makeover. Despite Sony’s use of Android, Apple, for some reason, clearly gave Sony a pass. In fact, when Apple went to court to ask for a ban on sales and import of Samsung’s Android-based products, they were asked to show examples of competitors’ products that did NOT violate their patents-in-question… they produced a Nokia Lumia 800 with Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, and an Android-based Sony Xperia ion, to fulfill the judge’s requirement.

Whether you see this as hypocrisy or not, there is an excellent reason for this behavior. Apple and Microsoft need an inside ally, and Sony is a very good one. Not only that, but Sony has clear aspirations to join the technology giants in the mobile space. In a way, Apple and Microsoft are already somewhat beholden to Sony over cheap access to DRM patents, especially in a world where digital entertainment is drawing ever more unrealistically extravagant profit margins. The ultimate software industry threat to both Microsoft and Apple is a robust open-source Linux following, and the freedom and popularity of Google’s Linux-based Android is a huge threat if unchecked.

Sony is no friend of Linux. It is just opportunistic about it, more so than Samsung. The FSF’s founder called for a boycott of Sony (or at least demotion thereof) long ago. Now it’s more justified than before.

UEFI Apologists Versus Germany’s Government Judgment on UEFI Insecurity

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Security at 5:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flag of Germany

Summary: Proponents of UEFI support, who are sometimes Mono proponents as well, may struggle to reason in favour of crippleware given the way UEFI rejects Linux and the reasons the German authorities reject UEFI

T

HE Windows franchise is collapsing (ignore the Microsoft PR machine, which we’ll address in a separate post), so Microsoft created a breed of machines that won’t boot Linux. One blogger writes:

So do not buy that new shiny computer without knowing what pitfalls you may have to overcome in order to run a free operating system. As a footnote, the Secure Boot link is from an article on the Linux Foundation’s efforts written on ZDNet’s website all about how Microsoft is delaying the keys for Linux. Hmm, just one more reason to buy new equipment from alternate retailers that put Linux first or buy used.

Bottomley and the Linux Foundation cannot say much after they sold out (Novell plays a role for both) and Michael Larabel writes:

James Bottomley wrote a new blog post this morning about why the Linux Foundation really isn’t concerned about UEFI SecureBoot on ARM hardware (smart-phones, tablets, etc) compared to the work they are doing on x86 PCs with UEFI SecureBoot support for Linux.

Last month the Linux Foundation announced their UEFI SecureBoot plans for dealing with Microsoft Windows 8 PCs. Their plans basically equated to legally obtaining a Microsoft key and signing a small pre-bootloader that in turn could chain load a predesignated boot loader that would in turn boot Linux or any other operating system without having to deal with the SecureBoot mess. The signed pre-bootloader will be available from the Linux Foundation web-site for anyone to use along with the source-code, albeit not their private key. The foundation is still working to obtain a SecureBoot key and their SecureBoot focus has just been for x86 hardware.

With Linux users wondering why the Linux Foundation isn’t diving into some SecureBoot solution for ARM, James Bottomley wrote a lengthy explanation.

We also saw some feedback from vocal UEFI apologists, who are sometimes the same people who promote Mono. Yes, promoters of Microsoft’s (and Novell’s) Mono also promote or downplay the issues with Microsoft’s UEFI demands, but we won’t be linking to them. They provoke against this site. Anyway, here is the original post that seeded this debate. It says:

The answer to this comes in several parts: firstly in the PC space, Microsoft has an effective headlock on the OEM and ODMs: no desktop PC ships without a Windows compatibility sticker (the situation is different in the server market, but this is specifically about desktop PCs). Therefore in order to continue simply booting Linux on laptops and desktops, it is a huge priority to find a solution to this problem. Secondly: in the overall mobile marketplace, which encompasses tablets and smartphones, Microsoft has a very tiny presence: somewhere between 2-5%. Linux (Android) has the majority presence: by some counts, Android is >50% in this market space with Apple a close second. Therefore, a Microsoft mandate in an industry where they have no dominance is simply not really threatening (unlike the PC space where they have complete dominance).

The German authorities have already banned UEFI for their own use/machines on the face of it. So-called ‘secure’ boot is bad for national security. The “German government issues white paper on secure boot,” writes LWN:

A press release from FSF Europe (issued November 20) welcomes a white paper from the German federal government on trusted computing and secure boot. “Another demand by the FSFE is addressed by the government’s white paper. That before purchasing a device, buyers must be informed concisely about the technical measures implemented in this device, as well as the specific usage restrictions and their consequences for the owner: ‘Trusted computing security systems must be deactivated (opt-in principle)’ when devices are delivered… And ‘Deactivation must also be possible later (opt- out function) and must not have any negative impact on the functioning of hard- and software that does not use trusted computing functions.’” The white paper is in essence a non-binding call to manufacturers, but is significant as a statement from a major national government against restrictions imposed via secure boot that may foreshadow more significant government action. The white paper is available in both English and German.

The war on UEFI should carry on until this malpractice is eradicated. It is a defect, not a feature. It gives remote control over hardware.

David Kappos Leaves as He Loses the Debate and Software Patents Lose Legitimacy Among Public Figures

Posted in Patents at 4:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keep clean

Summary: A roundup of software patents news, especially published opposition

SO days ago we learned that Kappos had decided to quit, just shortly after he was slammed by some media sites and especially blogs (people, not corporate press). Here is a blog in Murdoch’s site speaking about the news, which is a PR disaster for the USPTO:

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos, who oversaw the agency during the biggest change to the patent system in decades, will leave his post in January, according to a PTO spokesman.

During his three-and-a-half year tenure, Mr. Kappos was widely credited for making the agency more efficient.

Or conversely, he was criticised for creating more monopolies by lowering bars of entry. Here he is spreading IBM mythology about software patents this month. Even an IBM proponent, Pamela Jones, was upset by this. She wrote: “I don’t believe a word of this is so. It’s mythology. Software is not benefited by patents at all and it impedes innovation. It is toxic to Free and Open Source software, which is developed in a shared environment which is the opposite of what patents are about. Nor does the public benefit from patents on software, because they get less functionality than they otherwise could have. Patents benefit the incumbents. It’s not the innovators who start throwing patents around, but rather it was Microsoft, Apple, Oracle and Nokia who started the war. Why? They don’t want to have to compete with Android, and if they have to they want to make Android pay them to survive at all, meaning prices for the public will go up. And the level of “innovation” represented by the patents in this smartphone war is so low it’s a joke. No one should be entitled to get money for such things as rounded corners or a bounceback function. It’s stupid from beginning to end and while large companies like IBM or Microsoft may benefit by muscle-ing the new players, the public in no way benefits from companies having to rework their phones to try to avoid those stupid, too-broad patents on problems, as opposed to ways to address a problem, or on functionality that everyone knows how to do without any patents showing them how. I could go on, but this speech is proof to me that the USPTO will not improve and getting rid of software patents or the harm they cause is goal number one.”

Eric Goldman, who now writes for Forbes blogs, also slammed software patents yesterday:

The U.S. patent system largely treats all innovations equally, but innovation often works quite differently in different industries. In particular, the software industry differs from other major innovative industries–such as computer hardware and biotech/pharmaceuticals–in several key ways, and those differences can create (and have created) significant friction for the patent system.

Software patents have also created big–and expensive–problems for companies throughout all sectors of our economy. Pretty much as soon as they get venture financing, start-up companies are getting approached by “patent trolls” with offers they can’t refuse: pay me now or pay your lawyer many times that amount to prove you don’t have to pay me. And large companies, especially in the smartphone industry, are paying literally billions of dollars to acquire patent portfolios to keep those portfolios from falling into the wrong hands and with the hope that large patent portfolios will fend off competitor threats (i.e., provide the company freedom to operate its business without interference from competitors’ patents).

The Atlantic shared this cartoon we promoted yesterday and it’s introduced as follows:

The Best Cartoon You’ll Ever Watch About Ending Software Patents

If there’s one thing Schoolhouse Rock taught us all, it’s that the easiest way to explain a dry topic to someone with a short attention span is to show them a cartoon. So kudos to George Mason University economist Alex Tabarrok and Idea Rocket Animation for putting together this delightful two-minute clip laying out the case against software patents, a by and large nerds-only conversation topic that deserves way more attention than it receives. The video’s got Jeff Bezos, a club-wielding giant, Isaac Newton, a crashing airplane, and a surprisingly funny joke about licensing fees. Best yet, it’s explained in language anyone — even a Congressman — could understand.

Just in case those two minutes are too long, though, here’s Tabarrok’s point in brief: Patents make sense for products, like pharmaceuticals, that are expensive to develop, but cheap to copy. That’s because nobody would spend the money to create them if a competitor could just swoop in and steal their work. But software doesn’t need that protection. It’s less expensive to create and less disastrous if someone else imitates your work. Moreover, huge patent portfolios let companies keep competitors out of their market, which slows down innovation.

We recently learned from people who attended the event on software patents (seemingly stacked by people who are not programmers, as usual) how it went and Masnick published his contribution to this debate:

First off, I know that some patent system defenders took great offense to the idea that the event wasn’t “balanced” with system supporters. Nearly every speaker presented an aspect of how the system was broken with suggestions to fix it. But I see this complaint as being misleading. There’s this random belief out there that conference panels need to be “balanced” with “pro & con” and then let the panelists argue things out. I’ve argued against this in the past when setting up panels for other events, and with the events that we run, we’ve tried to avoid that concept as well. While just setting up pro vs. con can make for an entertaining session, it rarely leads to productive discussions that move the conversation forward. They just lead to people arguing past each other. A productive event is one in which people agree on a basic premise or problem and are then working towards possible responses. That’s what this was. It was a conference for those who believe the system is broken. Given that assumption, the point of the event was to suggest possible solutions. There are plenty of events where patent system defenders and skeptics can argue against each other, but I can’t think of another where people were able to dig in deep on possible fixes.

[...]

And, just to address this one point before one of our regular patent lawyer commenters tries to make it in the comments: there is an argument among patent system supporters that there is no such thing as a “software patent” and thus any argument that uses that term is meaningless. This is both slightly true and (more importantly) a distortion of the larger issue. As was discussed at the conference, there is a difference between software and hardware that can’t be denied. One involves moving around bits. One doesn’t. So it’s not difficult to define software differently from hardware. The real problem is that if we did carve out software from patentability, it’s likely that crafty patent lawyers would quickly figure out how to rewrite patent claims to make them broadly cover the same concepts in a way that could be seen as not being “software.” Given all that, I think it’s quite legitimate to discuss “patents that cover software” as “software patents,” even while I agree that merely targeting “software patents” misses the larger problem.

All in all, a lot of opposition to software patents could be found lately.

Links 29/11/2012: Splashtop, 15 Years of KDE

Posted in News Roundup at 10:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Splashtop introduces remote Ubuntu to Android and iPhone

    Ever been 500 miles away from your Ubuntu Linux server and the only computing device you had to manage it was an Android smartphone or an Apple iPad? Splashtop is working on the program. for you: Splashtop Streamer for Linux.

    The beta Splashtop Streamer, when used with Splashtop 2 a remote desktop app. for Android devices, iPad, and iPhone and iPod Touch, will enable you to connect remotely to Ubuntu 12.04 systems. It does not support, at this time, other versions of Linux or Ubuntu. Splashtop 2 already supports Mac OS X and Windows.

  • Splashtop For Linux Claims 10x Performance Advantage

    Splashtop for Ubuntu Linux is being released today and it claims to be 10x faster than VNC plus offering a host of other features.

  • Linux Users Get Remote Desktop Boost from Splashtop
  • Splashtop for Ubuntu Delivers 10x Performance over VNC
  • Splashtop comes to Ubuntu Linux with a speedy remote desktop option
  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel Developers and the Mystery of Slower Mounts

      In Linux it is often said that every device is a file. To most of us a file is something just there. The kernel boys and girls actually tweak the bits right down to the hardware to make the magic of a file somewhere becoming accessible to the system, mounting the file.

      Last week, one developer found a recent version of Linux mounted files considerably slower than it usually did. He noticed because he mounted a lot of file-systems. When careful timing was done the difference was measured. Indeed mounts were an order of magnitude slower. By repeating the measurements for several versions and finally versions with and without certain patches/changes, the cause was found. Then discussion broke out about how to fix both issues, why the change had been made and how to do it differently.

    • Linux Kernel Development Is Slow On The Xbox 360
    • Graphics Stack

      • The Back Story On The Open NVIDIA Tegra Driver
      • Mesa State Tracker Now Handles GL 3.1 Core Profiles

        The Mesa state tracker as used by the Gallium3D hardware drivers has support for handling the creation of OpenGL 3.1 Core Profiles.

      • ARM Cortex-A15 vs. NVIDIA Tegra 3 vs. Intel x86

        Last week I shared some early benchmarks of the Samsung Chromebook while running Ubuntu Linux. The Samsung Chromebook is very interesting since it’s one of the few readily available computers on the market employing an ARM Cortex-A15 processor rather than Cortex-A9 or other models. The Cortex-A15 found in the Samsung Exynos 5 Dual SoC proved to be very powerful and this Chromebook was quite a good deal with it being trivial to load Ubuntu Linux (and other distributions) while costing only $250 USD for this ARM-based laptop. In the past week I have carried out additional ARM Cortex-A15 benchmarks, including a comparison of its performance the the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core ARM “Cardhu” tablet and several Intel Atom/Core x86 systems.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Innovative New Appmenu Support Coming To KDE 4.10

        Ubuntu and even Windows have been moving away from the traditional drop down menus which appear in application windows. Ubuntu borrowed the concept of Global Menus from OSX and integrates the menu items with the top panel. These menus appear, for the corresponding application or window, when a user takes the mouse to the top panel. Windows has split these menu items between what they call ribbon. Even applications like Google’s Chrome has switched from the traditional menus.

      • 15 years of KDE e.V. – Growing Up

        Yesterday (November 27, 2012) was the 15th birthday of KDE e.V. (eingetragener Verein; registered association), the legal entity which represents the KDE Community in legal and financial matters. We published interviews with two of the founding members (Matthias Ettrich and Kalle Dalheimer) on the why, what and when of KDE e.V. in the beginning. Today, emeritus board member Mirko Böhm shares his thoughts in the video interview (transcript included). Tomorrow there will be interviews with current e.V. Board members.

      • The K Desktop Environment is 15

        My favorite desktop environment just turned 15. The K Desktop Environment (KDE) has come a long way. There were good times and bad times, and I temporarily abandoned it during one of those bad times. But like many KDE users at that time, I was convinced that I had a good reason to.

      • Qt 5.0 Release Still Planned By Year’s End

        Lars Knoll has laid out his plans for branching the Qt 5.0 code-base and seeing the long-awaited update to the popular open-source toolkit see the light of day before year’s end.

        “Qt 5.0 is getting closer, and we’re still working to get the final release out before the end of the year. To make this easier and also allow new development towards 5.1 to happen again, we’ll branch the qt repositories during this weekend in preparation for the Release Candidate,” begins a new mailing list message by Knoll.

  • Distributions

    • Amazon EC2 Linux OS Comparison

      In preparation for the imminent release of Phoronix Test Suite 4.2-Randaberg, final validation testing was done on a variety of Linux operating systems in Amazon’s EC2 compute cloud. Many of the official Linux images were benchmarked from the c1.xlarge High-CPU Extra Large Instance, including Amazon Linux AMI 2012.09, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3, Ubuntu 11.10, Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS, and SUSE Linux Enterprise 11.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat brings new hybrid cloud solutions
      • Red Hat Builds on PaaS With Partner Program
      • Middle East companies can amoothly transition to the ‘Cloud’ by following Five Top Tips, says Expert
      • Fedora

        • Fedora 19 May Release In May 2013

          Fedora 18 release may have been stuck by a lot of delays, but developers are already planning to release Fedora 19 in May next year. Fedora 18 beta was released just a few days back and it’s currently in testing stage. After some major bugs have been fixed, the final Fedora 18 “Spherical Cow” will be is expected to be released in January 2013.

        • Fedora 18 Beta adds MATE and Cinnamon desktops

          After almost two months’ delay, the Fedora Project has released the first and final beta of Fedora 18. The distribution, which is code-named “Spherical Cow”, includes the MATE desktop – a continuation of the classic GNOME 2 interface – in its repositories for the first time. Fedora 18′s default edition uses GNOME 3.6.2 as its interface and a separate KDE Spin provides the KDE Software Collection 4.9.3; Xfce 4.10 and version 1.6.7 of Linux Mint’s Cinnamon are also available from the distribution’s repositories.

        • GNOME alternatives in Fedora 18

          There is a significant amount of people unhappy with the direction of GNOME 3 who do not enjoy KDE and find LXDE too weak in features or who just like the look and feel of the old GNOME 2 desktop. Here are their options in Fedora 18, as they can be seen in the recently released Beta.

        • Fedora 18 KDE and GNOME preview

          Fedora 18 was not released on schedule, but knowing how the Fedora project operates, this was no surprise, because unlike other distributions, a new Fedora edition is almost never released until all major issues have been fixed.

          What makes this delay unique is the stable release will not hit public download mirrors until next year. And I think this marks the first time that a Fedora edition has been pushed back this far. But now that a beta edition has been released, here are some screen shots from test installations of the KDE and GNOME 3 editions.

        • Fedora Linux 18 Is Here – With New Features
    • Debian Family

      • Run-up to Debian GNU/Linux Wheezy
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day

            Last week was Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day, but for the last few weeks I have been on paternity leave, so I didn’t get a chance to blog about it. I just wanted to take a few minutes to offer some thanks.

            Choosing people for Ubuntu Community Appreciation Day is always tough as we have so many wonderful people who actively participate in our community. From our developers to docs writers to translators to testers to advocates and more, everyone puts their brick in the wall to build a strong, competative, and proficiant Ubuntu. We would be nothing without your contributions.

          • Compiz Patch Improves Gaming Performance In Ubuntu

            Ubuntu may be lucky enough to become the first Linux distribution ready for gaming, thanks to Windows 8 and move from companies like Valve. Valve’s move inspired Nvidia to improve performance of Ubuntu with their driver updates. To improve the performace of Ubuntu itself (which is slow and sluggish due to Unity) , an Ubuntu developer Timo Jyrinki has written a patch for Compiz that will allow better full screen performance of games in Unity.

          • Compiz To Unredirect Fullscreen Windows By Default

            The Compiz 0.9.8.6 update soon coming to Ubuntu 12.10 will enable “Unredirect Fullscreen Windows” by default in an effort to boost the OpenGL gaming performance of the Linux distribution when using the Unity desktop.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • HTC turns to new marketing chief

          Coming off an abysmal quarter and generally lackluster performance of late, the phone maker could use a good marketing push.

        • WISE TIVI offers three Android-powered Smart TV options
        • Android seven-inchers swipe rug from under Apple

          The question is, does Apple’s tablet market share – or Android’s for that matter – actually matter? Apple is certainly selling more of the darn things, but after a brief year’s relief, sales of Android alternatives are rising even more quickly.

          According to ABI Research, a market watcher, Apple’s share of the world tablet market fell in Q3 2012 to 55 per cent, the lowest share Apple has ever had since launching the iPad in 2010.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Which 10-inch Android tablet is best?

        As you’ll see in a moment, the answer to the question of which tablet is best is highly dependent on your own personal priorities relative to price, performance, screen resolution, and other issues. To get the ball rolling, let’s compare the four tablets’ out-of-box homescreens.

      • iPad And Android Tablet Market Share Margin Narrows Much Faster Than Originally Predicted

        Shortly after the iPad’s introduction in 2010, there were predictions that Android would eventually overtake Apple’s market share in the tablet market the same way that Android smartphones had done with the iPhone. But early predictions tended to favor 2015 or 2016 as the crossover point at which Android tablets (from a variety of OEMs) would actually overtake iPad sales in terms of broad market share. Others still saw Apple dominating even longer – a 2011 Gartner study suggested Apple would keep 47 percent of the market in 2015, with Android coming up with just 38 percent.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EFSA’s final report on Seralini fans flames of controversy

      EFSA has now released its final assessment of the Seralini study. It has not changed any of its initial critical responses to the study, which Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) rightly characterizes in its new report (see the extracts below) as resembling “more a compilation of other’s criticisms than an attempt to clarify the issue in the public interest; more like a prosecution than an evaluation.”

      CEO also notes that the final report’s conclusions are in stark contrast with the conclusions of at least two of the national regulatory agencies that were also involved in the assessement of Seralini’s study which have called for additional research and a review of current risk assessment guidelines.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The New Future of Energy Policy

      Volatility in climate has drawn the attention of policy makers for a decade. But as so often is the case, a dramatic event like superstorm Sandy – the largest storm to hit New York since the colonial era – has punctured the psyche of the densely populated East Coast, including the New York-Washington, DC axis where U.S. policy is made.

  • Finance

    • Meet the Man Who Has Been Battling Romney and Bain’s Bankruptcy Fraud for 12 Years

      There is something appealing to human beings about a small individual taking on a powerful adversary, and most people are aware of the David and Goliath story where a small insignificant boy took on and defeated a powerful giant because his unwavering faith gave him courage and conviction that right would overcome might. For the past eleven-and-a-half years, one American with unwavering faith in the judicial system has taken on a modern day giant without respite based on a belief that justice is due diligence and that in America, right overcomes might. However, in this circumstance, the system that exists to ensure justice prevails has conflated power with right and gave an already powerful giant a wall of separation from the law, and yet one small individual continues battling for justice against a behemoth.

    • Censored: Poverty Report in Germany

      On September 17, the German Labor Ministry sent a draft report “on Poverty and Wealth” to the other ministries to be rubber-stamped. Only the final report, once sanctified by Chancellor Angela Merkel, would be made public. The draft was supposed to remain hidden. But it seeped to the surface almost immediately. And it was hot. Too hot.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wisconsin Legislators Jetting Off on Corporate-Funded Trip to Develop Special Interest Legislation

      Several Wisconsin legislators are attending this week’s conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) at the Grand Hyatt in Washington D.C., and likely doing so on corporate-funded “scholarships,” which the Center for Media and Democracy believes violate state ethics and lobbying laws. The three-day meeting, held November 28-30, will bring state legislators together with corporate lobbyists and special interests to craft “model” bills – many of which will likely be introduced in the ALEC-majority Wisconsin legislature in the session that begins in January.

    • Fox News Skewered by Guest for “Operating as a Wing of the Republican Party”

      Fox News was publicly skewered and filleted this week by one of their own guests, Thomas E. Ricks, an expert on military and defense policy and a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter. His interview was abruptly and unceremoniously ended after he calmly tagged Fox as “a wing of the Republican Party.”

    • Taxpayer-Enriched Companies Back Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, its Buddy ALEC, and Their “Reforms”

      This week in Washington, DC, Jeb Bush’s “Foundation for Excellence in Education” (FEE) is meeting just five blocks away from the post-election conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the controversial corporate bill mill working on profitizing public education among other legislative changes, but the ties between the two groups are even closer.

  • Censorship

    • Iran’s Latest Move To Stifle Dissent: Requiring ID Cards To Go Online

      For a while, Techdirt has been tracking Iran’s continuing efforts to throttle its citizens’ access to troublesome materials online. These have included blocking all audio and video files, and even shutting down Gmail, albeit temporarily. But stopping people accessing sites in this way is not the only approach

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Newzbin2, the MPAA’s Usenet Enemy #1, Calls it Quits

        After a long battle with the international arm of the MPAA, Usenet indexing site Newzbin2 has called it quits. The site had been operating under adverse conditions, not least almost total censorship by a court-ordered ISP blockade in the UK. Add to this a climate of fear driving individuals providing vital services away from the site, plus legal action against PayPal aimed at Newzbin2′s UK-based payment provider, and the site’s operators have decided to shut down.

      • Canada prepares for crackdown on BitTorrent movie pirates

        If you’re watching an illegally downloaded movie, someone could be watching you.

        A forensic software company has collected files on a million Canadians who it says have downloaded pirated content.

        And the company, which works for the motion picture and recording industries, says a recent court decision forcing Internet providers to release subscriber names and details is only the first step in a bid to crack down on illegal downloads.

      • Celebrating 10 years of Creative Commons

        Creative Commons is celebrating 10 years of helping artists, writers, technologist, and other creators share our knowledge and creativity with the world. We’ve been able to maximize our digital creativity, sharing, and innovation. For example, governments are using Creative Commons for their open data portals.

      • Is the pending German Copyright Bill good or bad for the Web?

        A new copyright bill pending approval by the German Parliament would require search engines and other commercial actors to pay a license for using headlines or short snippets from their articles. The publishers essentially want a piece of the revenue generated by the inclusion of their news items in search results. The publishers argue that German copyright laws are insufficient and don’t allow them to use the copyright laws in a systematic manner against the widespread re-use of that information.

      • TorrentFreak Trolls a Copyright Troll

        Prenda Law, one of the law firms involved in the ongoing mass-BitTorrent lawsuits in the US, is using a recent TorrentFreak article to threaten alleged BitTorrent downloaders. While we generally encourage people to promote our content, being used as a tool in extortion-type letters is not something we’re happy with. As a result we saw no other option than to troll the copyright troll.

      • Six Strikes Delayed Until ‘Early Part’ Of 2013

        We heard rumors of this a couple weeks ago from people involved in some of the six strikes program at various ISPs, but the six strikes effort, already delayed from its original planned starting date of July until around now, has been pushed back again until “the early part of 2013.”

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