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12.02.12

IRC Proceedings: November 25th-December 1st, 2012

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: November 25th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: November 26th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: November 27th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: November 28th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: November 29th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: November 30th, 2012

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IRC Proceedings: December 1st, 2012

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Enter the IRC channels now

Links 2/12/2012: IndieCity Coming to GNU/Linux, CIA Spy Network Grows

Posted in News Roundup at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • OS Of The Week

    We have long been familiar with NetApplications’ web stats. Sorting out all the bias is tough. Today I tried a new tack. For the users who know they have choice, how many use GNU/Linux?

  • Desktop Linux needs anti-virus like a fish needs a bicycle

    You don’t need an anti-virus program on Linux: I’ve said it before, but Don’t Surf in the Nude started because of an interest in internet security, so I can’t resist trying out anti-virus programs in Linux.

    I noticed today that Comodo has produced a Linux anti-virus program with real-time scanning. Files are checked as they are accessed or created- for example as they are downloaded from the Internet.

    I couldn’t resist trying it out. They’ve created the Windows AV experience on Linux, but like crime in multi-storey car parks, it’s wrong on so many levels.

  • Why Open Source Software is More Secure than Proprietary Software

    If you see the immense success that Linux, Firefox, Android and other software have achieved over the years, it’s all thanks to the power of open source. What makes open-source software so great is that it is a result of selfless work of thousands of developers from around the world, who, in their free time, volunteer to create or help build their favorite applications.

  • The Linux Setup – Jeremy Jongepier, Musician/Admin
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • An In-Kernel Virtio Block Device Accelerator For Linux

      For the past several months there has been work on vhost-blk, an in-kernel virito-blk device accelerator. This kernel-based accelerator can provide measurable speed-ups for disk/block device access by virtualized guest machines.

    • Linux.com holiday membership drive

      Unfortunately, the rules stipulate only legal United States residents over the age of 18 are eligible, and that current members who renew are excluded; this promotion is only available to new members.

      These caveats are disappointing but ultimately moot; the reason to join is to directly support and promote the work of the Foundation which includes direct backing of Linus Torvalds himself. Individual membership is $USD 99 and student membership is $USD 25.

      Whether you win the $75 gift card or not, the Linux.com store can hook you up with t-shirts, hats, mugs and accessories relating to your favourite free open source operating system.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA L4T R16 Ubuntu 12.04 Performance

        With Linux 4 Tegra R16 now having an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (hardfp) sample file-system and the R16 drivers supporting ARM hard floating-point as the preferred format over softfp, new Tegra 3 “Cardhu” tablet benchmarks were carried out to look at the performance between L4T R16 + Ubuntu 12.04 vs. L4T R15 + Ubuntu 11.04.

      • NVIDIA L4T R16 Ubuntu 12.04 Performance

        With Linux 4 Tegra R16 now having an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (hardfp) sample file-system and the R16 drivers supporting ARM hard floating-point as the preferred format over softfp, new Tegra 3 “Cardhu” tablet benchmarks were carried out to look at the performance between L4T R16 + Ubuntu 12.04 vs. L4T R15 + Ubuntu 11.04.

      • Mesa 9.1-devel LLVMpipe With LLVM 3.1/3.2

        With a number of commits made to the mainline Mesa repository recently that concern the LLVMpipe Gallium3D driver for pushing OpenGL onto the CPU, here are benchmarks of the very latest Mesa Gallium3D development code from and AMD FX-8350 Vishera Eight-Core CPU when using both LLVM 3.1 and LLVM 3.2 SVN.

      • Wayland & Weston 1.0.2 Released

        Wayland 1.0.1 was just released ten days ago but Kristian ended up deciding to release Wayland/Weston 1.0.2 ahead of schedule. The reason for the early releases are due to important bug-fixes and “stable releases are cheap.” The original plan was to release v1.0.2 after the Weston Test Suite landed.

      • Coverity Uncovers More Problems In Mesa

        A handful of memory-related issues were plugged up yesterday in Mesa thanks to the Coverity static code analysis tools.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Arctic Sea Ice Larger Than US Melted This Year
    • Going from A to B in KDE, GNOME, and Windows

      As a Linux user, I’ve learned to appreciate the differences of doing things using the different desktops available.

      I started thinking of how one can see going from point A to point B in KDE and GNOME and I could not help to find some amusement in this metaphor.

      Ready for the ride? “How do I go to B? Let me count the ways:”

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Avoiding Frame Jitter With GNOME’s Mutter, Weston

        Owen Taylor has written a new blog post about avoiding jitter in composited frame display. Owen — along with help from Kristian Høgsberg — made improvements to the algorithm for compositor frame timing as used by GNOME’s Mutter compositing window manager and also Wayland’s Weston.

        The basic algorithm up to this point was when receiving damage, a redraw should be scheduled immediately. If a redraw is scheduled and the system is still waiting for the previous swap to complete, a redraw should be done when the swap completes. This algorithm though doesn’t work out ideally when showing content that runs at a fixed frame-rate that is less than the display’s frame-rate, such as displaying video content at 24/30 FPS on a 60Hz display.

      • Avoiding Frame Jitter With GNOME’s Mutter, Weston

        Owen Taylor has written a new blog post about avoiding jitter in composited frame display. Owen — along with help from Kristian Høgsberg — made improvements to the algorithm for compositor frame timing as used by GNOME’s Mutter compositing window manager and also Wayland’s Weston.

        The basic algorithm up to this point was when receiving damage, a redraw should be scheduled immediately. If a redraw is scheduled and the system is still waiting for the previous swap to complete, a redraw should be done when the swap completes. This algorithm though doesn’t work out ideally when showing content that runs at a fixed frame-rate that is less than the display’s frame-rate, such as displaying video content at 24/30 FPS on a 60Hz display.

      • You Still Have A Chance To Share Your Thoughts On GNOME

        What do you think of the GNOME desktop and the recent changes? You have a chance to share your opinions on the GNOME free software project by participating in the 2012 GNOME User Survey.

      • GNOME “Classic” will be a separate session in 3.8
      • GNOME Fallback Mode Returns in GNOME 3.8

        Well, well, well… what do you know, after all the fuss about the GNOME Fallback mode being removed from the upcoming GNOME 3.8 desktop environment, it looks like the GNOME developers decided to implement a similar mode for all you GNOME 2 nostalgics out there.

      • A preview of GNOME Disks 3.8

        GNOME Disks (aka gnome-disk-utility) hasn’t bumped to version 3.7 but it has an impressive development and all credits go to David Zeuthen (on the left) who is also senior maintainer at udisks.

        Already there are many new features like multiple-selections, the re-designed RAID creation and others, though it is still far from completed.

  • Distributions

    • Slax 7.0 RC2 – Mini KDE 4

      The portable Linux distro that you can modify yourself is getting a long awaited update, with KDE 4 and more

    • New Releases

      • Arch 2012.12.01
      • December: time for a new install medium
      • Arch Linux Install Pulls In Systemd 196, Other Updates
      • Arch Linux 2012.12.01 Brings Linux Kernel 3.6.8

        On December 1, Pierre Schmitz proudly informed Arch Linux users that the usual monthly release install medium, Arch Linux 2012.12.01, is now available for download.

      • ALT 6.9.0-20121130
      • OS4 OpenDesktop 13 Update 1 released

        Today the OS4 team is pleased to announce the much anticipated update of OpenDesktop 13 with OS4 OpenDesktop 13.1 . With this release we bring new features and bug fixes to OpenDesktop. OS4 OpenDesktop 13.1 still continues to revolutionize the linux user experience with an excellent interface, easy to use applications and comes with new options to enhance your OS4 user experience. Superior Functionality with some great new options.

      • Parted Magic 2012_11_30

        After two months of upgrades and bugs fixes, a new version of Parted Magic is ready for release.

      • Parted Magic 2012_11_30 Features Firefox 17

        Patrick Verner announced a couple of hours ago, November 30, the immediate availability for download of the Parted Magic 2012_11_30 Linux operating system for partitioning tasks.

      • Release Notes: aptosid 2012-01

        We finally have the pleasure to announce the immediate availability of the aptosid 2012-01 “Θάνατος” release, shipping in the following flavours:

        * KDE-lite, amd64, en/ de, ≈635 MB.
        * KDE-lite, i686, en/ de, ≈630 MB.
        * KDE-full, amd64+i686, en/ de (cz, da, es, fr, it, ja, nl, pl, pt, pt_BR, ro, ru, uk through liveapt) ≈2.1 GB.
        * XFCE, amd64, en/ de, ≈515 MB.
        * XFCE, i686, en/ de, ≈510 MB.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 1 Support Terminated, Upgrade to Mageia 2

        We are sorry to announce today, December 1, that the Mageia 1 operating system has reach end-of-life (EOL) and it is no longer supported.

        Announced last year, on June 1, 2011, Mageia 1 was the first Mageia release and it was supported for 18 months.

        Starting with December 1, the Mageia foundation stoped “feeding” its first born operating system with security/critical fixes and software updates!

    • Debian Family

      • Steady improvements in Debian Wheezy — and a smooth transition from Squeeze
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The future of Ubuntu revealed

            Canonical is pushing Ubuntu in so many different directions. On the desktop, it has introduced Unity; on the server, it’s pursuing state-of-the-art ARM and cloud platforms; and it’s even trying to get Ubuntu on to mobile phones and televisions.

            Trying to keep track of how all this is going, how it all fits together and what’s coming next is a full-time job… which is why we spoke to Jane Silber, Canonical CEO, whose job it is to keep track of everything.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Mint Team Rushes out 14.1 Update
            • Linux Mint Is A Better Distro Than Ubuntu For New User. What Do You Think?

              I have been using Ubuntu since 2006 and I always felt that it is one of the easiest to use distro, especially for new Linux users. That was in the past. Nowadays, when people ask me for recommendation, I would certainly recommend Linux Mint over Ubuntu, and here are the reasons.

            • Xubuntu 12.10 review – Very nice

              I do realize Xfce is not for everyone, and I used to be one of those people. And I still think the environment is a little rough round the edges. But there are no cardinal issues, nothing that cannot be resolved in about 10 hours of quick coding. And that would truly make this release outstanding to the max. Xubuntu Quetzal is a damn fine version. It cannot get the highest mark, because it needs to work on those little quirks, but 9.8/10 is an extremely good achievement. Honestly, do try this one, you will not be disappointed.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Surface Pro: Too much money for too little tablet?

    The Surface Pro, Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet/laptop for the enterprise, may offer too little goodness for too much money.

  • Author Andrew Piper: Turning Pages Is Important, Therefore Reading Ebooks Isn’t Reading

    Every technological advance is greeted as some point during its life cycle (usually as it approaches ubiquity) by the disgruntled arguments of people who prefer older things or methods. Never has this been more prevalent than in the digital era. People diss mp3s for their sonic limitations, which is fine, but then they go a step further, claiming the “real” way to listen to music involves using other, older technology. There’s an emphasis on the physicality of the product, as if it were somehow more “real” simply because you can leave greasy fingerprints on it, thus lowering its resale value.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • DOJ Mysteriously Quits Monsanto Antitrust Investigation

      popular announcements when no one’s listening—like, you know, the days leading up to Thanksgiving. That’s when the Obama administration sneaked a tasty dish to the genetically modified seed/pesticide industry.

      This treat involves the unceremonious end of the Department of Justice’s antitrust investigation into possible anticompetitive practices in the US seed market, which it had begun in January 2010. It’s not hard to see why DOJ would take a look. For the the crops that cover the bulk of US farmland like corn, soy, and cotton, the seed trade is essentially dominated by five companies: Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer, and Dow. And a single company, Monsanto, supplies nearly all genetically modified traits now so commonly used in those crops, which it licenses to its rivals for sale in their own seeds.

    • Australia smokers given plain packs

      Australia has become the first country in the world to introduce plain packaging for cigarettes.

      From now, all tobacco company logos and colours will be banned from packets.

      They have been replaced by a dreary, uniform, green/brown, colour accompanied by a raft of anti-smoking messages and photographs.

  • Security

    • New Kernel Vulnerabilities Affect Four Ubuntu OSes
    • Here We Go Again: Latest Draft Of White House Cybersecurity ‘Executive Order’ Is Leaked

      Back in September, we posted a leaked version of a draft for a cybersecurity executive order that the White House had been passing around, mainly to try to force Congress into passing a cybersecurity law. With the last ditch attempt by Senator Harry Reid to move that process forward failing, it took exactly a week for the White House to revise its draft exec order, and start passing it around on November 21st. And, today, that new draft leaked as well. You can see the full draft here or embedded below.

      It’s basically more of the same. It insists that there’s a problem without providing any real evidence of that. Much of the order focuses on increasing information sharing among and between different government agencies. As expected, it’s designed to encourage private companies, who are “owners and operators of critical infrastructure” to “participate, on a voluntary basis, in the Enhanced Cybersecurity initiative.” This is part of what had people so concerned about the various bill proposals: whether or not companies would get broadly defined as “owners and operators of critical infrastructure” and then be forced or pressured into sharing private information, all in the name of “cybersecurity!”

    • Julian Assange: Cryptographic Call to Arms

      Excerpted from Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet, by Julian Assange with Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Müller-Maguhn and Jérémie Zimmermann.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Debating the ethics of drones

      But the one foremost on some people’s minds was: How will the U.S. react when other countries with drones start taking out American targets?

    • U.S. Drone Strikes Are Causing Child Casualties: Video and Report
    • CIA-operated drones protect drug lords in Pakistan: Duff
    • Drone Double Standard

      Question: Why is it OK for the U.S. to not only have a drone program, but also to use it, often times illegally, to bomb the crap out of folks (suspected terrorists as well as civilians) in Central Asia, but it’s not at all cool for China to develop the same technology?

    • ‘Al Qaeda-linked’ Yemeni among four Pakistan drone strike dead

      It is difficult for journalists to verify the casualties from drone strikes since the government forbids foreign journalists from travelling to the area without a military escort and the Taliban often seal off the sites of strikes.

    • A Second Drone War Won By Cyberattack
    • Why “Drone Attacks” is not a helpful term
    • Pfc. Manning’s trial delayed in WikiLeaks case
    • Bradley Manning: how keeping himself sane was taken as proof of madness
    • Review: Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet
    • Julian Assange on Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and the Emerging Surveillance State

      Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, may testify today at a pretrial proceeding for the first time since he was arrested in May 2010. Manning could face life in prison if convicted of the most serious of 22 counts against him. His trial is expected to begin in February.

    • Julian Assange Attorney Michael Ratner: Were “Rumsfeld Techniques” Used on Bradley Manning to Turn Him on Assange?

      Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights is an FDL contributor and also Julian Assange’s lawyer. He was in court for Bradley Manning’s testimony this week, and appears on The Real Network News with Paul Jay today to discuss it.

    • A Conversation With Julian Assange

      We’ve called him a “seed-spilling sex creep,” a “pale nerd king,” and “a real-life The Matrix extra,” so we figured it was about time to talk to Wikileaks founder and megalomaniacal Bond villain Julian Assange. In order to promote his new book, Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet, Assange agreed to a phone interview on the condition that we speak only about the book. I agreed, which was a lie.

    • Wikileaks Suspect Bradley Manning Chokes Up at Hearing

      PFC Bradley Manning choked back tears during a second day of testimony at a hearing before his military trial as he claimed he didn’t tell his family about the conditions of his confinement at the Marine brig at Quantico, Va., because he did not want them to worry.
      He also expressed concern that doing so could lead to an end to visiting privileges for his family.

    • Blanking Bradley Manning: NYT and AP Launch Operation Amnesia

      That story — itself considered of such little importance by AP that it didn’t even by-line the piece (perhaps the agency didn’t send a reporter either, but simply picked up snippets from other sources) — reduced the entire motion, and the long, intricate, systematic government attack on Manning’s psyche, to a matter of petty petulance on Manning’s part, a whiner’s attempt to weasel out of what’s coming to him.

    • Assange vows to continue exposing secret documents

      During a televised interview Thursday, CNN host Erin Burnett—one of the network’s star establishment bootlickers—tried to get Julian Assange to incriminate Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks source whose detention conditions were investigated in court this week.

    • WikiLeaks Founder Assange Dodges CNN Subterfuge

      During a televised interview Thursday, CNN host Erin Burnett—one of the network’s star establishment bootlickers—tried to get Julian Assange to incriminate Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks source whose detention conditions were investigated in court this week.

      Burnett moved quickly from an opening discussion of Assange’s new book, Cypherpunks, to the subject of his relationship to Manning. For allegedly passing cables to WikiLeaks, Manning “could end up spending the rest of his life in jail,” Burnett said. “Do you feel any guilt about that since the information the U.S. government says he stole was published by you?” she asked Assange.

      “The case [that was heard this week] is not about whether Bradley Manning allegedly stole cables or not,” Assange said. “The case is about the abuse of Bradley Manning” during his 2-year-long detainment, a portion of which United Nations investigator Juan Mendez described in March after a 14-month investigation as “cruel” and “inhuman.”

      “Why was he treated that way?” Assange asked. “Well, his lawyer argues, and many others who have followed the case argues [sic] it was ordered to coerce him into a confession that would bring down me or bring down WikiLeaks… That’s the case that’s ongoing now. And that case is a reflection of the decay in the rule of law.”

    • Assange defends WikiLeaks

      “Since 2010, Western governments have tried to portray WikiLeaks as a terrorist organisation, enabling a disproportionate response from both political figures and private institutions,” he wrote in the Huffington Post.

      “It is the case that WikiLeaks’ publications can and have changed the world, but that change has clearly been for the better,” he said, citing some of the once secret State Department cables that his site disclosed.

    • Bradley Manning speaks of ordeal in US jail

      Famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg praised the Wikileaks release…

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • New study on rising sea levels likely confirms existence of global warming

      A newly released study finds that ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are disappearing three times faster than they were two decades ago, the latest evidence supporting the existence of global warming.
      The study was published in the journal Science and is considered an extremely accurate portrayal of ice melts in these polar regions. According to the paper’s authors, the rapid polar ice melting has caused an increase in sea level that may become problematic to low coastal regions.

  • Finance

    • How Wall Street “Privatized” Money Creation

      Regulators are worried about the explosive growth of shadow banking, and they should be. Shadow banks were at the heart of the last financial crisis and they’ll be at the heart of the next financial crisis as well. There’s no doubt about it. It’s simply impossible to maintain a system where unregulated, non-bank financial institutions are able to create their own money (credit) without oversight or supervision. The money they create–via off-balance sheets operations, securitization, repo or other unmonitored mega-leveraging activities–feeds into the economy, creates artificial demand, lowers unemployment, and fuels growth. But when the cycle slams into reverse (and debts are no longer serviced on time), then thinly-capitalised shadow banks begin to default one-by-one, creating a daisy-chain of counterparty bankruptcies that push stocks into a nosedive while the economy slips into a long-term slump.

    • Goldman Wins Again As European Union Court Rules To Keep ECB Involvement In Greek Debt Fudging A Secret
  • Censorship

    • Tor operator charged for child porn transmitted over his servers

      An Austrian operator of Tor servers—that were used to anonymously route huge amounts of traffic over the Internet—has been charged with distributing child pornography. This comes after police detected illegal images traversing one of the nodes he maintains.

    • Tor Exit Node Operator Charged With Distributing Child Porn

      Obviously, there are reasons to investigate possible child porn distribution, but it still seems ridiculous that law enforcement still seems skeptical of tor exit nodes and assumes that they must be used for nefarious intent. This isn’t the first time of course. Last year, here in the US, ICE seized a tor exit node as well. While it eventually returned the equipment, it warned the guy that “this could happen again.” And, of course, just this week, we wrote about a German case where a court actually held someone responsible for the transmission of encrypted traffic on a tor-like system.

    • Comparison pictures of before and after the raid
    • United Airlines Sues Passenger Complaint Site Untied

      I had really thought that we’d reached the point where lawyers working for large, well-known companies recognize just how incredibly stupid it is to file lawsuits against websites that criticize them. Sure, a decade ago or so, it was common for big companies to go after so called “sucks sites” or “complaints sites,” often alleging trademark infringement. But, at some point, many of them realized that (a) trademark complaints were a dead end since there was no confusion and (b) that these lawsuits only drew a lot more attention to the sites in question. Apparently, however, there are still some throwback lawyers working for United Continental, and they’ve decided to go after a popular passenger complaints site that goes by the creative domain Untied.com.

    • In Wake Of NewsCorp Scandal, UK Says Press Must Be Regulated… But Free… But Not Exactly
    • Inquiry: ‘Reckless’ UK press needs new regulator

      The UK government must legislate to establish a new press “self-regulation” body — independent of both publishers and politicians but overseen by media regulator Ofcom — because newspapers have “wreaked havoc” in the lives of innocents, says the nine-month inquiry report in to the culture, practice and ethics of the business.

      Lord Justice Leveson, who has been hearing issues including the “hacking” of mobile phones for news stories, said the existing Press Complaints Commission (PCC), comprised of newspaper editors, is “not actually a regulator at all”. And he has rejected news publishers’ alternative suggestion of binding themselves to ethical standards by commercial contracts.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • FACEBOOK MAKES IT OFFICIAL: YOU HAVE NO SAY

      Late on Wednesday, just as Americans were taking off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Facebook announced its intention to change the feedback process for the policies which govern use of its service.
      For the last few years, as I’d mentioned in Wired a few months ago, Facebook held sham elections where people could ostensibly vote on its policy changes. Despite lots of responses (the most recent Site Governance vote got far more people participating than signed the secession petitions on the White House website), Facebook never promoted these policy change discussions to users, and the public has never made a substantive impact on site governance.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Main Airport and Internet Are Disrupted in Syria

      Syria lost two major links with the outside world on Thursday as the largest commercial airport in the capital canceled flights because of fighting nearby and Internet access disappeared across the country, perhaps signaling an impending escalation by the government against the uprising, opponents of the Syrian government said.

    • Bitter struggle over Internet regulation to dominate global summit

      An unprecedented debate over how the global Internet is governed is set to dominate a meeting of officials in Dubai next week, with many countries pushing to give a United Nations body broad regulatory powers even as the United States and others contend such a move could mean the end of the open Internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Universal Sues Over ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Porn Adaptation

        After snapping up film rights for $5 million, Universal is upset over a porn movie it says is a “rip-off, plain and simple.”

      • Universal Studios Sues Over Porn Parody Of ’50 Shades Of Grey’; Ignoring 50 Shade’s Own History As Fan Fiction

        Still, the thing that strikes me about this — and which isn’t mentioned in the filing at all — is that Fifty Shades, itself, actually came out of a “pornographic adaptation” of the Twilight series. In fact, while those behind Fifty Shades have sought to erase this history, it does seem like a relevant point. Fifty Shades was pornographic Twilight “fan fiction,” which was later rewritten to scrub it of references to Twilight. While Fifty Shades’ author, EL James, her agent and publisher all like to claim that the Twilight fan fic James wrote and the eventual Fifty Shades book are really different works, someone compared the two using a plagiarism checker and found them to be 89% similar.

      • Editor’s Letter: What matters in OfCom’s piracy stats

        Almost half of the UK’s internet users aged twelve and over cannot say with confidence whether or not the sources of online content they use are legal or not, according to new research by OfCom. The study is the latest in an ongoing series of reports by the government’s media regulator attempting to identify trends in online copyright infringement before the ‘graduated response’ system for tackling online piracy set out in the Digital Economy Act is enacted.

        Of the 5099 people surveyed between May and July this year, 47% weren’t able to distinguish with certainty between legal and illegal services, while only 16% actually admitted to accessing unlicensed content, and only 8% said they relied on illegal sources of music.

      • Recording Industry Could Catch More Flies With Honey, But Keeps Betting On Vinegar

        Malt points out that there are several legal services, most of which are inexpensive, including ad-funded streaming services which give listeners access to thousands of tracks for free. (“Inexpensive” is, of course, relative. Ofcom’s study shows that music retailers and streaming services would convert a majority of casual infringers by cutting prices 50-70%. resulting in 2-3x the number of purchases.)

      • 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.

      • Innocence Of Muslims Maker Produces Acting Waiver Signed By Cindy Garcia

        The saga of Cindy Garcia and her attempt to get The Innocence Of Muslims trailer off of YouTube continues. If you’ll recall, Garcia is one of the actresses who performed in the controversial almost-film “Innocence of Muslims”, which sparked protests throughout the Arab world. Since the protests and media blitz began (as opposed to since the flim’s trailer was released), Garcia has been trying to get the YouTube video taken down by throwing the proverbial legal kitchen sink at proverbial legal kitchen-everyone, including claims that she was duped by the flimmakers and that she owned a copyright on her portion of her performance. Buttressing her argument was her claim that she never signed any kind of release for the film.

Guest Post: UEFI’s Effects on the User

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Vista 8 at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Windows 8 book

Summary: A contributor’s take and set of thoughts about Microsoft’s latest anti-competitive tactic

Did you know, Microsoft Press (A Division of Microsoft Corporation) has published a Windows 8 book as PDF, titled “Inside Out Windows 8”. The ultimate, in-depth reference Hundreds of timesaving solutions Supremely organized, packed with expert advice Companion eBook (744 pages 34.2 MB)

However, the one and only section (page 25) on UEFI “Secure Boot” doesn’t mention how it functions, works or operates, how to access it or any interoperability. No mention on how to even disable Secure Boot at all.

Such as the undocumented steps below;

1. Boot machine while pressing F10

2. Find Secure Boot in the menu tree, ignore warnings

3. Disable Secure Boot feature

4. Enable legacy boot options

5. Enable specific legacy devices, such as USB devices

6. Save and reboot while holding down F9

Book shot

(No mention in Chapter 27!)

I want to point out there is NO such thing as “Windows Hardware” because Microsoft does NOT manufacture Lenovo, Sony, Toshiba, Acer, Asus, MSI, VIA, HP, Dell, Celvo, Sager, etc…

This is Microsoft extending its own brand (software) upon firmware, claiming it’s their platform. Why do the manufactures accept this theft of their hardware product?

Why doesn’t someone write to the European Court of Justice and file a complaint?

Regarding how UEFI Secure Boot has the side effect of preventing interoperability against competitors and open society by preventing unauthorized firmware, operating systems, or UEFI drivers from running at boot time unless they bear a cryptographic signature by Microsoft, the manufacturer or an UEFI signing key vendor ($99 for an UEFI signing key) for any software that modifies the bootloader that enforces the UEFI secure boot protocol.

Basically, the bootloader is the place where the PC hardware reads instructions to boot up an operating system or program. Windows installs those instructions in the bootloader, just as another operating system like Linux. By making the process proprietary without full documentation, competitors are at a huge disadvantage.

Microsoft has basically inserted themselves as the UEFI gatekeeper for installing not just their software, but any software that modifies the bootloader on a potentially huge number of devices globally around the world.

The main issue with the UEFI secure protocol is that it excludes out ALL other operating systems, for the right of sharing (educational), giving (philanthropy), renting, loaning, and borrowing on other W8 PC system/s hardware to run boxed copies of Windows or Linux on Windows logo hardware, and also impossible to install new versions of Windows or Linux unless your OEM provided a new UEFI digitally signed key. A system that ships with only OEM and Microsoft keys will not boot a generic copy of Linux.

Not to mention, Windows 8 PC owners won’t be able to replace their OS with another like Windows 7, unless they obtain a digitally signed Secure Boot version for their system.

One of the few shortcomings in the UEFI model (and it is a deliberate omission because of the complexity of running a certification system) is that there’s no designated root of trust in the current version 2.3.1. for a centralized vendor-neutral signing authority to provide UEFI keys.

The Windows 8 PC you buy in 2013 will be permanently locked into Windows 8 if Microsoft gets away with their plan. Windows 8 certification does not require that the user be able to disable UEFI secure boot, and hardware vendors have reported already that on some hardware will not have this option available.

Of course, Windows 8 certification does not require that the PC system come with any keys other than Microsoft’s. A system that ships with UEFI secure boot enabled and only includes Microsoft’s signing keys will only securely boot Microsoft operating systems.

Think how this gives great power to Microsoft, for every manufacturer that wants to sell hardware for the Windows 8 PC, needs a UEFI digital signed key, from Microsoft!

Disabling UEFI Secure Boot is NOT offered on ARM systems like Windows 8 RT (Tablets).

The PC user using x64 or x86 systems is not guaranteed the ability to install extra signing keys in order to securely boot the operating system of their choice. The PC user is not guaranteed that their system will include the signing keys that would be required for them to swap their graphics card from another vendor, or replace their network card and still be able to netboot, or install a newer SATA controller and have it recognize their hard drive in the firmware. Of course, UEFI doesn’t provide the means to generate your own UEFI keys either. Just where does that leave the PC user?

The truth is that UEFI using the Secure Boot Protocol v2.3.1 makes it more difficult to run anything other than Windows 8. UEFI secure boot is a valuable and worthwhile feature that Microsoft is misusing to gain tighter control over the market.

As it stands now Microsoft is saying OEMs don’t have to do it. They just have to do it if they want to sell PCs with Windows on them.

Links:

  • http://www.uefi.org/specs/download/UEFI_2_3_1_Errata_A.zip “UEFI Specification 2.3.1″ (2,139 pages)
  • http://download.microsoft.com/download/A/D/F/ADF5BEDE-C0FB-4CC0-A3E1-B38093F50BA1/windows8-hardware-cert-requirements-system.pdf (291 pages)

Note: you can obtain the source PDF as Microsoft PDF ebook “Windows 8 Inside Out by Tony Northrup (Nov 23, 2012)”

Library of Congress Control Number: 2012950441

ISBN: 978-0-7356-6381-7

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Inside-Out-Tony-Northrup/dp/0735663815/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1354458846&sr=1-1&keywords=9780735663817

December 11th an Opportunity for Politicians to Legitimise Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A call to arms against software parents in the EU (through the Unitary Patent)

The most vocal activist against the Unitary Patent writes: “Power to the Parliament – No Software Patent! Campaign to save EU from Unitary Patent and software patents” (linking to this page about the “Unitary Patent Plenary December 2012″).

André Rebentisch from FFII, among other FFII members, supports this motion. As a recap, “[t]he European Parliament is about to vote for a regulation on the unitary patent, during its plenary session, on December 11th, 2012.” We wrote about this at the end of November.

Microsoft Enjoys Seattle Bias in Patent Case Against Android

Posted in Apple, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Court gavel

Summary: Biased court gives Microsoft power over Android and Apple manages to ban some Android devices in Europe

The Microsoft vs. Motorola case (over Android and FRAND) is in many ways Google’s way of defending Android from Microsoft patent tax, but the trial is stacked by Microsoft boosters [1, 2, 3] and local participants are from Microsoft’s back yard. The verdict, thus, is pro-Microsoft to the extreme:

The Seattle federal judge who recently oversaw a two-week trial between Microsoft and Motorola over standards-based patents handed down a key order today, finding that Motorola won’t be able to use its patents to get an injunction against Microsoft.
That means that while Motorola might be able to use its patents to win some money from Microsoft, it won’t be able to get the ultimate reward of a successful patent suit: the ability to kick an opponent’s product off the market.

As Groklaw put it:

The judge in Microsoft’s home court in Seattle, the Hon. James Robart, has handed the company a huge win against Motorola regarding injunctions on RAND patents. What a surprise. Not. This is in Microsoft v. Motorola, and the judge is the one who blocked the injunction a German court ordered against Microsoft for infringing Motorola’s RAND patents. Now the Seattle judge has ruled [PDF] that Motorola can’t get an injunction for any RAND patents it owns either in the US or in Germany or in fact worldwide, even though this case was about only two patents.

How about choosing a neutral setting for this trial?

In other news, Nokia is going after RIM, which is already on the verge of death because of patents. Microsoft has also been feeding trolls with strategic patents of Nokia, increasing the cartel‘s Android toll*.

These cartels are called “aggregators” in the corporate press now that Google is complaining openly, not just playing along. Some of these cartels, such as RPX, are already playing a secret role. Then, consider what Sony did last week.

Speaking of real aggregators, ones that respect fair use, the corporate press has this to say:?

Google’s imprint on daily life is hard to ignore in Europe, where it reportedly has 93 percent of the Internet search market, more than in the United States. Yet when it comes to its lobbying of lawmakers, Google prefers a low profile.

That all changed this week when Google fired a rare public broadside against a proposal that would force it and other online aggregators of news content to pay German newspaper and magazine publishers to display snippets of news in Web searches.

Recall what Rupert Murdoch did with Microsoft.

Anyway, in other news about Android, Microsoft’s patent partner Apple is banning some Android products:

Apple Inc. won a Dutch sales ban on some of Samsung Electronics Co.’s older Galaxy tablets and smartphones after a Netherlands court ruled in a patent lawsuit.

Apple has become a patents company despite not innovating, merely integrating. The same goes for Microsoft.
____
* Android skills, as noted in daily links we posted, are sought within Nokia, but it is too early to speculate much.

Fighting Software Patents in the US While SCOTUS Already Moves to Validate Gene Patents

Posted in America, Patents at 6:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Supreme Court US, 2009

Summary: The absurdity of software patents, the patent wars, and the coming era of patenting or privatising life’s code

ACTIVIST against software patents — a real one, not a “moderate” one — is having a go again. PolR from Groklaw has released the second part or his “Software Is Mathematics” argument, citing Stallman from the recent conference which was stacked by so-called ‘moderates’ (controlled opposition which does not seek to abolish software patents). To quote the opening part:

I argued in part 1 of this series that computations are manipulations of symbols with meanings. In this article, I hope to further explain this notion using the social science of semiotics. Its object is the study of signs, the entities which are used to represent meaning.

This article elaborates on what Richard Stallman said in the recent Santa Clara Law conference Solutions to the Software Patent Problem.

According to this report Richard Stallman described patents on software as patents on thought, which amount to patents on the use of the human brain to reason and to solve problems by the application of reasoning. This article uses semiotics to show that Stallman’s point is more than rhetoric. It is a provably correct statement of fact.

One portal covers the “biggest fighters of the patent wars”, but it misses Microsoft’s war behind closed doors and focuses on Apple (visible patent wars) instead. To quote:

The fight between proprietary software and free software is not new. Wherever there is technology and more importantly wherever there is competition; issue like patent infringements are bound to come up. Generally, infringement wars happen when more than one organizations bring out similar kind of products.

The idea of software patent is significant as far as it promotes the originality as well as innovation. But, to some extent, software patents are road blockers for novelty. Somewhere they can harm the creativity and an aspiration to create something naive.

It is found; numerous biggies in the industry are waging wars against each other over patents. Let’s explore some significant legal battles fought (or being fought), which are grabbing lime light in the smartphone industry these days…

The problem there is, Apple is all over the place and patent blackmail gets little or no coverage. One is the equivalent of going to war and another is occupation after threat of going to war against weaker countries/groups. We will deal with Microsoft’s tactics in a separate post because it merits a longer discussion.

It is worth noting that monopolies on genetics and parts of the human body are soon to be legitimised by SCOTUS [1, 2, 3] after the USPTO already granted them. The corporate press says:

The Supreme Court announced Friday it will decide whether companies can patent human genes, a decision that could reshape medical research in the United States and the fight against diseases like breast and ovarian cancer.

There is a lot of nonsense in this article because it focuses on benefits to corporations. To people, there are no benefits, only harm. It also harms competition, which is inherently anti-capitalist in the sense that it doesn’t let classical ‘free market’ capitalism do its thing. Here is the SCOTUS Blog page and a good rebuttal to it all:

But, of course, it was just the first step in a long process. Myriad took the case to the appeals court for the federal circuit (CAFC), the notoriously patent friendly appeals court. The only surprise here was that the US Justice Department actually said it agreed that genes shouldn’t be patentable (showing a potential disagreement within the administration, as the US Patent Office was not happy). End result? CAFC decided genes are patentable because they’re “separate” from your DNA.

We wrote about it before. CAFC is also partly responsible for software patents in the US. The system has gone rogue because the most important stakeholders, the public, get ignored.

Microsoft Shows Hypocrisy in Slamming Google Over ‘Privacy’

Posted in FUD, Google, Microsoft, Search at 6:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Three surveillance cameras

Summary: Abusive monopolist and leaker of personal information Microsoft hopes that the public will move off Google and over to Microsoft for ‘privacy’

My favourite search engine, Scroogle, was shut down some months ago, leaving me to use StartPage. Microsoft now misuses the word “scroogle” in attempting to daemonise Google. Here is how IDG puts it and here is a decent response to Microsoft’s hypocritical smear:

Microsoft often attack its competitors through smear campaign whether it’s OpenOffice or Google. The Windows 8 maker is desperate to show how bad their competitors are through every channel possible. Right now Microsoft’s arch rival is Google.

The company ran the Gmail man campaign trying to tell users that Google looks at your mails (as if Microsoft doesn’t look inside Hotmail). There is no Gmail ‘man’ reading your emails, it’s all automated. The fact is Microsoft also scans your emails.

And now Microsoft tries to tell us about privacy concerns in Google search. Never mind if Microsoft spies on Windows and Skype users, eh? All that in addition to search and E-mail spying…

For private search, use StartPage, not DDG (DuckDuckGo), which uses Microsoft for results and uses Microsoft talking points against Google. It last did the latter days ago (direct link intentionally not included).

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