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11.30.12

Links 1/12/2012: Qt 4.8.4 Released, Nokia Recruiting Android Talent

Posted in News Roundup at 8:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • KEMP Adds Support for Open Source KVM

    Whether you prefer open source or proprietary technology, there’s no shortage of virtualization hypervisors to choose from these days. With so many options, which solutions are enterprises selecting, and where will momentum in this channel lead in the future? I recently spoke with virtualization expert Jon Braunhut, who offered a lot of interesting observations and predictions on this topic based on his experience as chief scientist at KEMP Technologies.

  • HTG Explains: What Is Open-Source Software and Why You Should Care

    Geeks often describe programs as being “open source” or “free software.” If you’re wondering exactly what these terms mean and why they matter, read on. (No, “free software” doesn’t just mean that you can download it for free.)

  • Wireless Generation To Spearhead Open Source System for Common Core Assessment Results
  • Post-Thanksgiving Roundup: Counting Open Source Blessings

    Beyond the most radically geeky segments of society, few Americans are likely to have thought of software when they counted their blessings this Thanksgiving. For most people, computers are hardly in the same category as food, shelter and loving friends and family. That said, a recent blog post got me thinking about the software projects and people to whom I do owe personal gratitude. My list comes a bit belatedly, since Thanksgiving 2012 has come and gone, but here are the five items that top it.

  • 40+ Open Source and Free Software

    Whether you want to monitor your network bandwidth, secure your network against malware, or setup a simple mail server, there’s an open source or free software available for the job. Presented here are more than 40+ of them

  • Open source software policy is better without open source

    Here’s a fun experiment (if, like me, you’re a huge nerd): take an open source policy from your agency, company, whatever, and strike out the words “open source.” Bam, you now have a much more sensible and reasonable “software” policy.

  • Web Browsers

    • Securing your Web server with SSL/TLS

      Using HTTPS doesn’t just mean that your traffic is encrypted—encryption is only half of the story and it’s useless without authentication. What good is it to encrypt something between two parties if you can’t be sure of the identity of the person to whom you’re talking? Consequently, being able to serve HTTPS traffic means you must posses a cryptographic certificate attesting to your identity. Acquiring such a certificate requires you prove your identity to one of many Certificate Authorities, or CAs.

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Seamonkey Internet suite review – Hmm

        Seamonkey is not the first name that comes to mind when you talk about browsers. Nor is it a fourth. In fact, it’s not even a browser. But then, in those terms, neither is Opera. Seamonkey is an all-in-one cross-platform Internet suite, a collection of Web-facing programs all bundled into a single product. Worth your time? Perhaps, we will discover today.

      • Mozilla investing in Everything.me
      • Mozilla Invests in Mobile Startup

        hroughout its history, Mozilla has supported innovation on the web by investing in people and its own development. Today Mozilla is moving to the next stage in its evolution, formally investing in a mobile startup that could help to enable its nascent FirefoxOS platform.

        Mozilla is participating in a $25 million series C funding round for Everything.me, which is an HTML5-focused mobile startup. Mozilla is joining the venture team of Telefonica Digital as well as SingTel Innov8 in the funding round.

      • How to integrate -better- Firefox in Gnome3
      • Ramblings about Firefox OS

        While the phone Firefox OS was running on couldn’t take advantage of a mobile data network, the developer was able to tether that phone to another one. Obviously, this being pre-alpha software, things didn’t work as well or as smoothly as in the final version. But even in that early form and running on underpowered hardware, Firefox OS showed promise.

      • Mozilla Brings H.264 Playback Support To Firefox for Android

        Mozilla is trying to fix a problem that’s bugging its Android users running Firefox. Since Adobe doesn’t support Flash for Android or any other mobile devices, Firefox users were not able to play H.264 encoded videos.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Developer Interview: KOHEI YOSHIDA

      Kohei Yoshida is a well-known individual on the LibreOffice project. To many, he is considered as one of the core group of developers who have contributed to the steady development and code improvement of the project, and one of the leaders of the calc component. Kohei takes a little time out from his busy schedule to let us know a little more about himself and why the LibreOffice project appeals to him.

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

    • How VA’s Open Source Community is Improving Veteran Health Care

      VA is continually evolving the health care we deliver to Veterans, from enhancing treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder to enabling clinicians and patients to use mobile devices to improve care. The VA Innovation Initiative (VAi2) supports this constructive evolution by tapping the talent and expertise of individuals inside and outside of government for creative solutions and providing a method for new ideas to be evaluated, tested, and deployed.

  • Business

    • Open Source CRM Zurmo Releases Version 0.8.0

      The Open Source CRM project Zurmo has released Zurmo Version 0.8.0, which allows users to send emails directly from within the application.

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Don’t fall for “Faux-pen Source”

        Ah, open source … so free, so transparent, so egalitarian, but not always. Increasingly, vendors are slapping the label “open source” on products that do not offer customers the freedom and control originally intended and instead lock them in, reports Simon Phipps at InfoWorld.

  • Funding

    • Open source software firm Acquia raises $30 mln

      Acquia, a U.S. startup that advises enterprises on open source content management system Drupal, said it has raised $30 million from Investor Growth Capital and other venture firms to finance its expansion.

    • Please Support Open Source Projects

      So, please consider supporting one or two of your favorites projects. On my side, I’m installing Ubuntu, just to buy Uberwriter, and I have contributed a little with Ubuntu at the time of downloading it. And I have already made my very small contribution to the Debian Handbook.

    • Drupal Sponsor Acquia Brings in $68.5 Million of Funding

      New round of funding will help build and expand the operations of open source enterprise content management system vendor Acquia.

    • Google creates open source contest for young people

      A focus on young people in the open source world is just starting to become a priority, and we’re also starting to see more larger corporations demonstrating their commitment to open source. Open source is indeed spreading as more and more people understand the value of the open source way.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • A Basic Look At How The LLVM Compiler Works

      The LLVM compiler infrastructure is frequently talked about on Phoronix whether it be about its Clang C/C++ compiler or one of the innovative use-cases for LLVM such as with the LLVMpipe Gallium3D driver or as a JIT engine within some free software projects like Mono. However, for those that don’t understand much of the internals of LLVM, here’s a brief overview.

    • GitHub needs to take open source seriously

      Some of the would-be cool kids of software say we are in the “post open source” world. Several weeks ago, James Governor, founder of analyst firm RedMonk, put it this way on Twitter: “younger devs today are about POSS – Post open source software. f*** the license and governance, just commit to github.”

      But as Outercurve Foundation’s CTO Stephen Walli replied, “promiscuous sharing w/out a license leads to software transmitted diseases.” Since then, I have heard more and more people mention this trend of regarding the copyright and collaboration terms of a project as irrelevant bureaucracy. Appealing as it may be to treat the wisdom of the years as pointless, doing so creates a problem for the future.

    • Unified Parallel C (UPC) Comes To LLVM/Clang
    • Using AddressSanitizer & ThreadSanitizer In GCC 4.8

Leftovers

  • Former Attorney General Bill Baxley’s ‘Kiss My A**’ Letter To Ku Klux Klan ‘Grand Dragon’ Goes Viral (PHOTO)
  • Genode OS 12.11 Is Now Self-Hosting

    Genode OS, the very interesting research operating system, is out with a new release that boasts some interesting features.

    Genode OS is one of the early non-Linux operating systems that ported Gallium3D and GEM for its graphics drivers, provided a Gallium3D LiveCD, and then grew ambitions to become a general purpose OS. In its latest release it was ported to ARM and picked up other features, but now it’s been even more improved.

  • New Products for November
  • German Chancellor Says Only Print Media Can Teach You ‘Real’ Reading
  • Data Nerds Revolt! PeopleBrowsr Takes Twitter to Court Over Alleged Anticompetitive Actions.

    If there’s one valuable thing Twitter holds, it is the company’s vast treasure trove of billions of tweets. It is an opus of thoughts and utterances, all made in real time, that make up the company’s most precious asset — the “interest graph.”

    Twitter knows this. And for years now the company has had agreements with a number of third-party companies, giving them access to the “firehose,” or the raw stream of Twitter data flowing through the company’s pipes. These companies comb through the scores of tweets to find meaningful insights, and resell that information to companies across multiple industries. It’s a “big data” economy, built entirely around Twitter’s never-ending flow of information.

  • Hardware

    • OEMs Confirm Intel’s Broadwell CPU Won’t Be Sold In Interchangeable Sockets

      In a piece called Intel kills off the desktop, PCs go with it SemiAccurate reports that Japan’s PC Watch has reliable, but unidentified reports that Intel has told OEM’s that Intel will decline to offer pluggable processors for the Broadwell architecture (which will appear after 2013′s Haswell architecture.) Instead OEMs will recieve ball grid array multi-chip modules (BGM MCM). These modules will be installed onto the motherboard by soldering, effectively making the CPU part of the motherboard.

      Readers please remember that this isn’t an Intel press release. This news is only off-the record reports from manufacturers who have been talking to Intel. Intel also has a history of changing their plans.

      It could all be speculation because it would be silly to solder a very expensive processor onto a cheap motherboard. What’s more likely is that in 2014 Intel will focus on delivering hi-frequency Haswell chips for the desktop, while it reserves the next-generation Broadwell chips for low-power applications. This would explain the rumors of why there will be no socketable Broadwell chips. So, Intel simply skips a single generation for the Desktop sockets. No more, no less.

    • Dell, Intel eye investment in Sharp, report says
  • Health/Nutrition

    • New Study Reveals Widespread and Copious Use of Toxic Flame Retardants

      A study published this week in the Environmental Science & Technology journal, “Novel and High Volume Use Flame Retardants in US Couches Reflective of the 2005 PentaBDE Phase Out,” reveals that 85% of couches purchased in the United States between 1985 and 2010 contain chemical flame retardants. The most prevalent include polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), tris (1-3-dichloroisopropyl) phosphate (TDCPP), and the newer Firemaster 550 (FM 550) mixture, as well as tris (4-butylphenyl) phosphate (TBPP), which according to the study has not been reported to be used as a flame retardant until now.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Greens leader accuses Tories of sabotaging climate talks

      When it comes to progress on climate change negotiations, the best thing for Canada to do is to stay home and stop sabotaging the process, says the leader of the Green Party.

      “Canada continues to be a country that pushes other countries to do less. Our role is not just an embarrassment, it’s reckless and brings our once good national reputation into disrepute,” argued Elizabeth May at a news conference in Ottawa today.

      World governments are in Doha, Qatar working out a new deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of this year. Canada announced it was pulling out of the Kyoto process last year but is still officially involved in the Kyoto process until Dec. 15.

    • Wikileaks suspect tells of despair in ‘cage’
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Web of Berman Front Groups Subject of IRS Complaint

      Five registered non-profits run by super-lobbyist Rick Berman’s for-profit PR firm, Berman & Co., are the target of an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) complaint filed this month by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

    • Why is State Farm Involved in Education Policy? Conservative Think Tank Exposes ALEC as Exchange of Dollars rather than Ideas

      A press release from a conservative think tank criticizing the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) provides crucial insight into how the organization works — and helps illustrate that while ALEC says its purpose is to facilitate an exchange of “practical, state-level public policy issues,” it sells access by the private sector to lawmakers and essentially sells policymaking to the highest bidders. The release documents how the “exchange” that happens at ALEC is more like a stock exchange rather than a free marketplace of ideas.

  • Censorship

    • Miami Heat Owner Wins Injunction Against Blogging Critic; Asks For Contempt After She Blogs More About The Case
    • Miami Blogger Continues Battle with Miami Heat Tycoon

      As a Russian immigrant whose grandparents were killed by Nazis, Irina Chevaldina appreciates the First Amendment better than many Americans.

      That is why she is refusing to back down against one of the richest men in Miami, Raanan Katz, a minority owner of the Miami Heat who also owns more than 6,000,000 square feet of retail space in Miami.

    • If Parliament votes on the press, the press is not free

      If Parliament votes on the press, the press isn’t free. To split hairs between statutory underpinning and statutory regulation is not an acceptable distinction in a free and democratic country.

    • Syrian Internet Is Off The Air

      Looking closely at the continuing Internet blackout in Syria, we can see that traceroutes into Syria are failing, exactly as one would expect for a major outage. The primary autonomous system for Syria is the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment; all of their customer networks are currently unreachable.

    • The ITU and You

      The Internet has always been guided forwards by collaborative, open approaches. We believe that these approaches are one of the reasons why the Web has become and remained the wonderful, powerful and empowering place we know today. In the coming weeks, this successful model of governing and shaping the future of the Web will be at risk.

      Today, we’re launching a kit of tools and resources to inform and mobilize the Internet community about what’s happening at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and support people in taking grassroots action. Mozilla stands behind transparency in Internet governance, but a free and open Internet depends on you.

      On December 3rd, nations from around the world will be meeting in Dubai for the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), a meeting of the ITU. These governments will be meeting behind closed doors to determine if an old treaty will be amended to allow countries the power to more fully regulate and control the structure of the Web.

    • Miami Heat Owner Wins Injunction Against Blogging Critic; Asks For Contempt After She Blogs More About The Case

      Remember Raanan Katz? The Florida real estate mogul and part-owner of the Miami Heat, made some news earlier this year for suing Google and a blogger for copyright infringement after the blogger posted an “unflattering” photo of Katz. Katz, who was clearly annoyed at the blogger — a former Katz tenant who is (to put it mildly) not a fan of Katz — for blogging critical stories about Katz (including highlighting some earlier lawsuits Katz had been involved with and posting the related legal documents). In addition to suing for defamation, Katz purchased the rights to the “unflattering” photo the blogger, Irina Chevaldina, had posted of him, and then sued for copyright infringement. Google was included on the case for refusing to take down the photo. While Google was later dropped from the case (one assumes that someone somewhere finally realized that, perhaps that end of the suit wasn’t going to end well), Katz has continued his case against Chevaldina.

      Earlier this month, the judge in the case signed off on a ridiculously broad injunction against Chevaldina, that not only says that she can’t “trespass” on Katz’s properties, but that she can’t blog anything that is intended to “otherwise cause harm” to Katz. That doesn’t seem even remotely constitutional. Criticizing someone is protected speech, even if it may (or is intended) to cause harm to someone’s business. And the “trespass” injunction may seem like no big deal, especially since trespassing is already illegal. But, in this case, the court has indicated that by “trespassing” they mean that Chevaldina cannot even go to any of the properties that Katz owns — which includes stores and shopping malls.

  • Privacy

    • Facebook ‘Likes’ Considered Key Evidence In ‘Terrorist’ Plot

      We’ve written a few times about how the FBI has been doing a bang up job foiling its own terrorist plots, so we’re a bit skeptical every time we see headlines of some giant “terrorist bust.” Almost every time, once you dig into the details, it involves some gullible, confused suckers who had no actual connection to terrorists, but were led along by FBI agents and informers until they were “convinced” to take part in a “plot” that was entirely concocted by the FBI. The latest headline-grabbing case of “arrested terrorists” actually appears like it may have slightly more substance, however, in that they may have actually had some sort of connection to al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    • Don’t be a Petraeus: A Tutorial on Anonymous Email Accounts
    • NSA embarrassment: spy agency censors their own talking points in FOIA response
    • Three Men Who Wouldn’t Let the NSA Get Away With It

      The trial of former CIA agent and whistle-blower John Kiriakou has prompted many Americans to strongly criticize the Obama administration and its lack of oversight of U.S. intelligence agencies. Kiriakou, who uncovered the torture program that was started under President Bush and continued under President Obama, will face 30 months in jail and lose his government pension. Since his trial began in April, whistle-blowers such as Kirk Wiebe and William Binney, both of whom worked at the National Security Agency and then left because of mismanagement and corruption, have warned that intelligence agencies are abusing the Constitution and lavishing private companies with expensive contracts in exchange for subpar data processing and analysis systems.

  • Civil Rights

    • NSA Releases Heavily Redacted Talking Points: Say It’s Hard To Watch Public Debate On Its Efforts

      The only reason to redact is embarrassment.

    • Senate Committee Approves Bill Requiring Warrants for E-Mail

      A Senate committee on Thursday unanimously backed sweeping digital privacy protections requiring the government, for the first time, to get a probable-cause warrant to obtain e-mail and other content stored in the cloud.

    • Shakil Afridi hunger strike: US demands safety, release of CIA spy

      nited States (US) State Department spokesperson on Thursday demanded Pakistan to release Dr. Shakil Afridi, a CIA spy who helped in locating al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden in Abbotababad, a garrison town of Pakistan.

    • Data protection debate at MoJ

      Yesterday I attended the first of the Department of Justice’s Advisory panel meetings on the new Data Protection regulation laws being proposed at the EU.

      The new laws are already the subject of intense lobbying and pressure. The key changes are designed to strengthen the privacy rights of citizens, in several ways:

    • Justice Department Uses Red Tape To Delay Release Of Required Information On Domestic Spying Until Well After It Matters

      A couple of months ago, Julian Sanchez wrote about the ridiculous situation in which he filed a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to reveal the latest semi-annual report from the Justice Department concerning how it was implementing the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. As we’ve been discussing, for a while, how the FISA Amendments Act broadly expanded the ability of federal law enforcement, in particular the NSA, to spy on everyone. While there is some language that suggests it’s only supposed to be used on foreigners, it’s been revealed that there is a secret interpretation of the bill, that likely allows them to use a loophole (plus the secret interpretation) to collect and review tons of data on Americans. The FAA is up for renewal, and it’s likely that Congress will rush through a five year extension — despite overwhelming evidence that many in Congress don’t know how the NSA is interpreting the bill (and even making statements that directly contradict the evidence of how the bill is being used).

      [...]

      Once again, this seems to raise questions about the process here — and how much of it really has to do with law enforcement officials being careful… and how much of it is purely political, seeking to hide damaging information that might impact the FAA renewal.

    • Adventures in FOIA-Land (or: Red Tape Is Not Transparent)
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Assange to RT: Entire nations intercepted online, key turned to totalitarian rule

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says all the necessary physical infrastructure for absolute totalitarianism through the internet is ready. He told RT that the question now is whether the turnkey process that already started will go all the way.

    • Syria Cut Off From The Internet Again

      Earlier this summer, we wrote about Syria briefly deleting itself from the internet. We wondered about the logic behind this, seeing as other countries who attempted this — namely, Egypt and Libya — had regime change follow quite closely after such a decision. Furthermore, not too long ago, reports were that the Syrian government was trying to use the internet to get its own story out. Of course, a lot has happened in Syria in the interim. So perhaps views have changed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Kevin Durant Sued Over ‘Durantula’ Trademark Despite Not Using It

        It turns out that this holy grail of nicknames is apparently worth suing over, at least in the eyes of a musician. Apparently Mark Durante, a man that the TMZ link describes as a “1980s musician” (meaning he made his bones before Kevin Durant could tie his own shoes), claims he had trademarked the term “Durantula” long ago and has been using it to sell mechandise for years. As such, he is taking Durant, along with Durant’s private company, Nike, and Panini America Inc. (ostensibly so that the trial will be catered with delicious sandwiches), to court over the mark.

    • Copyrights

      • The music cartel needs to back off its fight against ‘piracy’

        HONEY OBSESSED anthropomorphic bear Winnie the Pooh made headlines this month for all the wrong reasons.
        Pooh, of Pooh Corner, the Hundred Acre Wood, has apparently carved out something of a niche for himself as a model and no longer stresses about honey, attempts to cheer up a donkey, or takes an interest in the machinations of a piglet. Nay, instead he is lending his face to children’s laptops these days.

        One of those laptops was confiscated from a nine year old girl this month, simply because she might have downloaded one CD.

      • Leeds copyright event, RSA: What users say and do about intellectual property

        About ORG: a digital rights campaigning organisation. We care about the impact of technology and technology policy on our rights, on society and the public. We work across privacy, government surveillance, open data, and freedom of expression.

        We were founded in 2005 and are sustained by around 1,500 paying supporters and grants from institutions like Open Society Foundation, Sigrid Rausing and Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.

      • Newzbin dies
      • Members Of The Republican Study Committee Do Twitter Q&A, Ignore Every Single Question About Fixing Copyright
      • Kenyan Filmmaker Looking To Cuts Costs By Using ‘Pirates’ As His Distributors
      • Hardware vendors sue Dutch government over copyright levies

        Hewlett-Packard, Acer, Dell and Imation are suing the Dutch government over new levies on hard disks, smartphones, tablets and MP3 players that are meant to compensate the music and movie industries for losses caused by home copying.

        “The companies now hold the State liable for all damages caused by the levies,” the hardware vendors said in a joint news release on Wednesday. Trade association FIAR Consumer Electronics, which has as members companies such as Samsung, Sharp, Sony and LG, is also a party to the litigation. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in the District Court of The Hague.

      • Outdated European Copyright Levy System Descends Further Into Disarray
      • Open Letter To Human Synergistics International In Response To Your Accusation That Techdirt Is Infringing

        Thank you for your letter on November 23rd, 2012, (which we have reposted below in its entirety, minus your contact info) in which you mistakenly suggest that Techdirt has infringed the copyrights of your company, Human Synergistics, via its post from October 5th, 2012, entitled Copyright As Censorship: Author Removes Blog Post After Being Threatened For Quoting 4 Sentences. First of all, it is astounding that you do not appear to recognize the irony of threatening us over a blog post that goes into detail as to why someone else’s use of a tiny snippet of your company’s work was quite clearly fair use under US copyright law. In fact, it leads one to wonder if you even read the post in question before sending your letter.

        Even if we ignore the question of whether or not that original blog post by Patti O’Shea constituted fair use, I can assure you that Techdirt’s use is fair use. Furthermore, your claim that a lack of permission to quote your silly exercise (solely for the purpose of explaining your overaggressive use of copyright law to censor people against your own best interests) is somehow “a direct violation of our copyright” is absolutely false. It is not just false, but an exaggeration of the rights you hold under copyright law — a situation called “Copyfraud” by legal scholar Jason Mazzone.

      • Chris Dodd: Bogus Facebook ‘Copyright’ Declaration Proves Everyone Loves Copyright

        Over the past few days, a post concerning copyright claims began making the rounds on Facebook, presumably written in response to the news that Facebook would no longer be letting its users vote on site policies. This announcement arrived with the news that Facebook would also be combining profiles across various other services like Instagram.

        [...]

        The simple fact that this semi-viral post is completely wrong shows how colossally screwed up our current copyright system is. People are still under the impression that copyright needs to be “declared” (usually with the © symbol). Many also seem to think that if they “declare” copyright and trot out a million limitations, everyone approaching their copyrighted content is obliged to follow every stipulation. Facebook users are picking up the clues that maximalists are dropping and cobbling together legal-sounding threats with nothing behind them. What Facebook users really want isn’t the same thing maximalists want. Behind this flawed statement is the feeling that Facebook “gave” users a place to share their photos, etc. with friends and family, but now it wants to turn uploaded content into marketing tools.

      • UK Recording Industry Doesn’t Want Google To Reduce Piracy Until It Reduces Piracy

        We know that when music streaming services became available in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, illegal downloads were halved. The BPI’s obsession with punishing illegal download sites blinds it to the fact that Google plans to launch a far better way of dealing with them: not through extrajudicial censorship in the form of doctored search results, but simply by offering something that people are happy to pay for. The UK recording industry should be embracing new ventures like Google Play Music wholeheartedly, not using them as bargaining chips in its pointless fight over search results.

Microsoft Fails Miserably to Sell Vista 8, Hardware With Vista 8, and Vista Phone 8

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kent Hovind mug shot
Lying to the indoctrinated

Summary: Windows and Surface sales figures are false (Microsoft has lied) and even Microsoft boosters admit this publicly

Remember when Microsoft pretended it had sold out (artificial shortages) Surface in the UK? We called it PR nonsense and we were right. Surface is not selling, so production is being cut:

Upstream supply chain sees Surface RT orders cut by half

The upstream supply chain of Microsoft’s Surface RT has recently seen the tablet’s orders reduced by half, and with other Windows RT-based tablet orders also seeing weak performance, sources from the upstream supply chain believe the new operating system may not perform as well as expected in the market.

This is also covered in other news sites. So even hijacking Nokia did not help sell hardware. “The Truth About Microsoft’s Windows Phone Sales,” an article written by a Microsoft booster, says:

Microsoft’s smartphone market share inched up from 1.5% to 2.4% in a year, which is going in the right direction, but given the overall market, that’s still not saying much.

Hardly. Those ‘sales’ don’t tell the full story and Microsoft lost billions to get where it is. Watch Microsoft fixing old releases (no real upgrade) while acknowledging serious bugs in the new release. It is a mess.

One journalist, Mr. Cassia, said to me that “ZiffGatesNet begging people not to hate Windows8 pleeease. Almost funny.” Watch how it starts:

Windows Phone 8 is only doomed if we say it is. I’ve been losing patience with the growing meme among pundits that Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 is a brave try, but not worth recommending because it doesn’t have the most popular apps from other platforms.

It is indeed quite funny. Cassia also shared with me what he called “another example of fact-checking (not!)” (notice the disgusting photo showing a loser and a liar as though he has bragging rights).

Our member iophk asked about Microsoft’s numbers: “Actually sold or just merely shipped that number? They usually do that kind of apples to oranges comparison.”

We still see lots of that 40 million 'sales' lie, promoted mostly by Microsoft boosters who get nailed in the comments for passing on lies and not doing their job as reporters (for instance, watching Mary Jo Foley getting slammed for passing on PR lies was funny). People lose their credibility and professional integrity by saying what Microsoft is claiming. There are exceptions though, i.e. Microsoft boosters that nail Microsoft for deceiving. Even some Microsoft boosters could not carry on with this lie. Pundits too:

Microsoft would like the world to think Windows 8 is selling like gangbusters — on a par with Windows 7 out of the chute. Take a chill pill and look at the numbers

How about non-journalists? Analysts don’t buy it either:

Windows 8 off to an awkward start, Nomura says

Analyst cuts estimates for Microsoft’s earnings growth in 2013, saying PC makers have been slow to introduce devices and there’s confusion in the market about the new OS.

A Microsoft-friendly site doesn’t parrot Microsoft for a change, so it’s a good sign. The lies don’t work. Microsoft press releases and talking points are widely disregarded now. Meanwhile, other cash cows, even the biggest cow, are struggling. Their common carrier, Windows, is struggling. Expect Microsoft to become more aggressive with patent trolls (proxies), software patents (direct lawsuits or intimidation), UEFI (obstructing Linux at hardware level), and of course bribes (among other forms of corruption Microsoft is known for). A criminal does not go down without a violent fight.

Moving to ODF Before Microsoft Jacks Up the Prices

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 7:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft corrupted many members of ISO in order to win approval for its phony ‘open’ document format, OOXML. This was so governments that keep their documents in a Microsoft-only format can pretend that they are using ‘open standards.’ The government of South Africa has filed an appeal against the decision, citing the irregularities in the process.”

Richard Stallman, June 2008

Adult gull

Summary: Microsoft uses price hikes in the UK amid discussions about ultimately moving to standards like OpenDocument Format

MR. Updegrove, a standards guru, recently wrote about the new UK standards policy which is FRAND-hostile. FRAND is neither fair nor reasonable; it is about patents, usually software patents. There is more on that here at OSS Watch:

I have just got back from this event organised by the European Commission and the European Patent Office to discuss the implications of implementing open standards in open source. Now of course this is an issue that has been very active in the UK recently, and about which we have blogged, due to the present government’s desire to use open standards as a way of increasing efficiency in government IT procurement. The idea, briefly, is that specifying IT systems in smaller, interoperable chunks that implement open standards should make government IT easier to manage and maintain and more able to be supplied by a wider range of bidders, including authors and integrators of free and open source software. As discussed in the blog linked above, there is an issue with implementing royalty-bearing standards in GPL-licensed software, and as a lot of the free and open source software out there is GPL-licensed, government risks locking this software out if they don’t specify standards that are royalty free.

Well, after a long consultation process, the Cabinet Office has decided that it will indeed make it a principle that government IT should implement interoperability standards that are royalty free…

The founder of the FSFE said that Microsoft had stated FRAND is FOSS-compatible, which is of course a lie. Microsoft did this in an awkward European event on FRAND and OSS. It’s not “reasonable” to ban Free software. According to the British technology press, since lock-in enables raising of prices for little risk associated with customer retention, Microsoft does exactly that: [via]

Microsoft will make businesses pay 15% more for licenses…

It is for particular services. As we showed in the site’s previous posts and will also show in the next one, Office as a service is struggling, just like Windows. Price hikes are the only way for Microsoft to dodge further losses in the long term. Microsoft is struggling most than common people appreciate. They think that widespread usage necessitates financial stability.

Now, before it is too late, governments should follow Munich’s lead (12,000 desktops migrated to GNU/Linux with ODF). The sinking ship if the ageing Microsoft monopoly.

Updegrove explains how a controlled opposition strategy, namely the portrayal of non-open as “open” (OOXML is one example), is being used now:

The debate over what ‘openness’ should mean in the standards arena has been around for a long time – perhaps as long as a hundred years. But in order to understand the current debate, it’s important to realize that we are in phase two of that dialogue.

In the first phase, the definition of openness was pretty well established and nailed to the wall, following the evolution and formalization of the global standards infrastructure. The high level result was the principle of “RAND” terms (the RAND standing for reasonable and non-discriminatory terms), or FRAND terms (adding an F for “Fair,” if you hail from Europe). These terms are backed up by fairly universally accepted process rules for the conduct of standards development in the global standards bodies. In the United States, compliance with the rules is supervised by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which until recently accredited almost all U.S. standards setting organizations.

The definition of “open” — with all sorts of slants and variations of it (e.g. “open core”) — has been changing over time because of those who feared Free software and later on Open Source resort to deception. They try to conquer the opposition.

“More Open Than Open [...] I am constantly amazed at the flexibility of this single word.”

Microsoft’s Jason Matusow, integral part of the ‘Open’ XML corruptions (further background in [1, 2, 3])

Attempts to Make Unitary Patent Mess Before Xmas

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European Parliament

Summary: A loophole for software patents in Europe is making its way into law while many vigilant people are very busy or on vacation, just like last year when this was also attempted

“The Patent Courts will be voted on as early as the 10-11th of December in parliament and council. After that there will be a formal signing later in December or January,” says Jonas from the FFII. “If there are no changes to the proposal, it will just go through as a inter member-state agreement where the EU will have no further say directly,” he adds. “Just like EPO where national or EU-courts have no way of appealing over EPO rulings in what can be patented. See https://www.unitary-patent.eu/ for more updates.”

The latest update says:

On Monday, November 26th, 2012, the legal affairs (JURI) Committee of the European Parliament held an exchange of views with the legal services on the legality of the Cypriot compromise on the unitary patent regulation. Once again, the illegalities of the project have been made obvious, but nonetheless the European Parliament seems decided to go forward. April calls for a re-examination of the text and the possibility to amend it, to ensure legal certainty.

After lawyers, law professors, and various specialists, it is the Legal Services of the European Parliament’s turn to voice reservations about the legality of the organisation of the patent package. Indeed, the current proposal for a unitary patent package mixes elements of EU law and international law, and asks the European Parliament to give up all safeguards on defining patentatibility. All checks and balances, and our rights, including the rights to code, would then be questioned.

Software patentability, and the means of recourse against such threats to innovation, were briefly mentioned, but only to state that legal services do not know whether there will be any legal instance to oppose them.

Techright will keep its eyes open. Gérald Sédrati-Dinet, of the above site, shows that this disease of software patents spreads to Europe through other loopholes. “How software patents #swpats are routinely accepted in Europe by artificially circumventing law,” he writes, pointing to this article which states:

Although technical character is a fundamental requirement for the grant of a European patent, its significance is often overlooked. However, lack of technical character is perhaps the single most important reason why many applications for computer-implemented inventions are refused by the European Patent Office. So what exactly is technical character and why is it so important?

Interestingly, the European Patent Convention (EPC) does not explicitly state that an invention must have technical character. However, the requirement is inferred from Rules 42 EPC and 43 EPC of the Implementing Regulations, whose conditions are distilled into the requirement of technical character. To have technical character an invention must relate to a technical field, it must be concerned with a technical problem and it must have technical features.

When considering an invention which is implemented on a computer, it is arguable that the most important of these three aspects to consider is the technical problem. This is because if a technical problem is solved, then, because a computer provides the technical means by which the solution is provided, it follows that the invention must lie in a technical field and that technical features are inherently involved. So, if a technical problem is solved, a computer-implemented invention is likely to exhibit technical character.

We need to stop this because the longer it goes on for, the more it solidifies software patenting across the EU.

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