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12.05.12

Links 6/12/2012: White House on FOSS, Drones Backlash Grows

Posted in News Roundup at 11:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 4 Alternatives to Google Drive for Linux

    We’ve covered using Google Drive on Linux with third-party software, but why bother jumping through those hoops? You can use a cloud storage service that officially supports Linux instead – several of Google Drive’s competitors do.

    Google may be leaving Linux users out, but other services like Dropbox, Ubuntu One, SpiderOak, and Wuala don’t ignore Linux users. They even offer more storage and other useful features, such as local encryption of your files.

  • Linux Top 3: Sputnik, Spherical Cow and Secure Boot
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • [E17] Alpha Is Go
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Spaceship Earth viewed through Marble

        Recently I was listening to a Talk of the Nation interview with Jerry Brotton about his new book A History of the World in Twelve Maps. He mentions how the maps have a political reason for existing as well as having an effect on the viewer. He also mentioned how the map creator always puts him or herself in the center. Interestingly, I learned that for most of human history it has not been governments who have created maps, but corporations (such as the Dutch East India Company) who needed maps for commerce. The last map he mentions in his book, which he worked on for seven years, is Google Earth. I haven’t read the book yet, but during the interview he mentioned that it was one of the first times we have a union between a globe and a map. Also, that through the “magic” of computer technology it’s an infinite map as you can always keep scrolling in any direction.

        I remember when Google Earth got big. I was already into Linux so I went through the rigmarole of getting it to work on Linux. In actuality, it wasn’t much work although it wasn’t installed in the usual manner. I played with it for a few days, but I was already past the age of caring too much about geography. I would have loved Google Earth when I was in elementary school and I used to marvel at my globe and peruse atlases. It certainly would have been interesting to grab the update on the day the Soviet Union collapsed. Rather than have an out of date globe or map I’d have an up-to-date resource. Of course, that does go back into the whole political thing – when Google decides to show this or that disputed region as belonging to someone they are, in a sense, making a political statement. And they make another one – they tend to show country names as written in that country in addition to English.

      • New QML components: Know thy dialogs
      • KDE Ships December Updates to Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Platform
      • KDE 4.10 Beta 2 Is Now Available for Testing
      • KDE 4.9.4 Update Released Kor Kubuntu

        The two most recent releases of Kubuntu, Precise Pangolin and Quantal Quetzal, have both received a new update for KDE, pushing the version number up to 4.9.4.

        The announcement was made today on kubuntu.org and lists 71 bug-fixes, major improvements to Dolphin file manager and Kontact PIM as well as stability improvements. Improvements to the 55+ available translations have also made this release.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME’s Next Step

        The GNOME project took an important step when Matthias Clasen announced that it would support a set of extensions that would re-create the GNOME 2 desktop. Many observers, including me, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols and Katherine Noyes immediately interpreted the news as proof that GNOME was turning itself around and finally starting to listen to users.

      • Privacy Panel lands in GNOME Control Center 3.7.x

        Privacy Panel arrived today in GNOME Control Center, and is one of the three new Panel (Privacy, Search, Notifications) we will get on the next GNOME. But there is also a re-designed Power Panel, and there are many improvements for Wacom, Users (added History Logs), Wireless, Bluetooth..

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Slacko Puppy 5.4 introduces installable layers

        Puppy Linux lead developer Barry Kauler has announced the release of Slacko Puppy 5.4. The Puppy Linux family sets out to create small, lightweight, live-CD versions of various Linux distributions. Slacko Puppy, as the name suggests, is built from Slackware, specifically the packages of Slackware 14, and is binary compatible with the venerable distribution. This gives users access to Slackware repositories in Slacko. The Slacko Puppy distribution is one of the more popular offshoots of the minimal Puppy Linux distribution, or as Kauler puts it: “one of our flagship puppies”.

      • ZevenOS 5.0 – Early christmas present

        I am proud to announce the release of ZevenOS 5.0 and thank you all for funding this release.
        In this release we made the switch from our deskbar tool to the xfce4-panel ‘deskbar’ mode which introduces many new features just like extensible plugin support and the ability to more flexibly configure your desktop.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 1 EOL

        Mageia 1 has now reached EOL (end of life) and will not receive any further security or bugfix updates.

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Avnet and Red Hat Partner On Open-Source Embedded Software
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 Set to Improve Microsoft Interoperability

        RHEL 6.4 provides users with improved security enhancements as well as a number of new Microsoft-enabling features. The new RHEL beta update follows RHEL 6.3, which debuted in June and provided users with enhanced virtualization scalability.

      • Red Hat Delivers Beta of RHEL 6.4, Improves Virtualization
      • Red Hat Launches Open Source Solutions for Hybrid Clouds
      • Fedora

        • Fedora 18 Sneak Peek

          The beta of Fedora 18 has been released, and here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll find in it. This release has been dubbed “Spherical Cow.” Apparently, the Fedora developers have decided to follow in the footsteps of Apple and Ubuntu by using cute animal names for their operating system releases.

        • The heroes of Fedora 18 Alpha/Beta testing
        • Can a 7 year old install Fedora 18?

          There have been a number of threads about how the new Anaconda UI is unintuitive or hard to use. So many that I thought maybe there was something to the claims. Maybe working on Fedora for the past many years and being involved constantly for the past year and a half has skewed my opinion so much that I wouldn’t even recognize something being hard to use. So I decided to find a couple people that don’t work on Fedora and have never done a Fedora install at all. That is to say, I used my family as guinea pigs.

          Now, before you shout and rant about this, I am not claiming this is a scientific study. I’m not pretending this is somehow valid User Experience interaction data. This is is just me wanting to observe what happens when you sit someone down in front of a newUI screen and ask them to complete a default install. I found it interesting. If you don’t, then that’s cool with me. That’s why I gave the short answer at the top. OK, onto my experiment.

    • Debian Family

      • Amnesiac Incognito: Tails Secure Distro
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Is Ubuntu Software Management User Friendly?

            Many people believe Ubuntu revolutionized dpkg package management with its Ubuntu Software Center. And there is no question, Software Center is certainly user friendly by most people’s standards.

            But is it truly good enough for the masses?

            In this article, I will look at the current state of Ubuntu software management, how far software management has come since Ubuntu first came out, plus where I think Ubuntu software is headed.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 294
          • ZFS Administration, Part I- VDEVs

            So, I’ve blogged a few times randomly about getting ZFS on GNU/Linux, and it’s been a hit. I’ve had plenty of requests for blogging more. So, this will be the first in a long series of posts about how you can administer your ZFS filesystems and pools. You should start first by reading how to get ZFS installed into your GNU/Linux system here on this blog, then continue with this post.

          • Introducing Ubuntu Thesaurus Scope for Unity

            The Ubuntu Thesaurus Scope is an Unity Scope that allows users to easily search the Thesaurus for synonyms and antonyms or words. It uses the same API as the Dictionary app.

            The best part is that Ubuntu Thesaurus Scope allows you to search words right from Unity home, without accessing a Lens first.

          • The Shoreline Ubuntu Desktop

            If you’re running Ubuntu and want the same look and feel for your system, it won’t take much to make it happen

          • Introducing Ubuntu Medicines Lens for Unity
          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi hack event sees Spooks team crowned winners

      Husband and wife-led team developed a board game offering customisation abilities which encourages players to experiment with programming at 24-hour hackathon in Leeds

      [...]

      …Dhajan developed a Pi operating system to replace the Pi’s Linux.

    • Raspberry Pi: One of the Top Linux Innovations of 2012

      It’s a rare product indeed that surpasses expectations as utterly and thoroughly as the Raspberry Pi did this year.

      Conceived as an educational tool that would be used in teaching kids to program, the device has since gone on to inspire countless new uses that must surely boggle the minds even of its creators.

    • Phones

      • Nokia dispels Android rumors, says Linux hire is for Here

        There was certainly a loud buzzing on the internet regarding Nokia’s recent moves. Nokia is certainly on the spotlight since people are watching what they will do next. After all, the company practically vowed revenge and plans to take the number 1 spot in mobile phones once more.

      • Android

        • Android Review: Zookeeper Battle

          After accepting a phone upgrade from my service provider, I decided to embark on a mission of investigating some new Android software and for the first time found myself genuinely keen to download a game. The game in question – Zookeeper. Why? Because its probably the one game I wasted months of my life to on the Nintendo DS (before giving over ownership of aforementioned DS to my kids)

          So now I’m presented with the “adult” version of the same DS title. I say adult because by my reckoning anything that goes on my phone is just as acceptable for adults to play as anyone else and I can fully justify wasting hours of time on a tile matching game featuring cute animals as long as its on my phone.

        • Half of all app store revenue goes to just 25 developers
        • Google now lets businesses build private Android app stores

          Announced on Tuesday for Google Apps customers, the Google Play Private Channel lets IT shops build their own applications and distribute them to employees on the Google Play store without making the apps available to the general public. “Whether you’ve built a custom expense reporting app for employees or a conference room finder, the Google Play Private Channel is designed to make your organization’s internal apps quick and easy for employees to find,” Google Play Product Manager Ellie Powers wrote in a blog post. “Once your company has loaded these internal apps using the Google Play Developer Console, users just need to log in with their company email address to browse the Private Channel and download apps.”

        • Toshiba Releases Android App for FlashAir SDHC Card
        • Has Google Android’s Open Source Business Model Failed?

          Yesterday’s WSJ.com video “Tablet Wars: How Are People Using Tablets?” had a shocking statistic: 98% of the web traffic from tablets comes from Apple’s iPad. Further, most of mobile commerce is from Apple’s iPhone:

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Most Popular Android Tablet: Nexus 7

        There are plenty of great Android tablets on the market now that weren’t around even a year ago. If you’re looking for one to wrap up for someone special, get your game on, or get some work done, you have plenty of options. Earlier last week, we asked you which models you thought were the top of the class, and then we took a closer look at the five best Android tablets. Now we’re back to crown the overall winner.

      • Amazon’s Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, For The Kids

        Amazon has introduced Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, a special bundle available only on the new Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD that brings books, games, educational apps, movies and TV shows—into one easy-to-use service for kids ages 3-8.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The open source advantage: Executives learn how to stay competitive

    Let’s say you’re a big company in a competitive industry. One who innovates and succeeds by creating software. Not extending COTS, not adapting existing code. Generating fresh, new code, at your full expense. The value the company receives by investing in the creation of that software is competitive advantage, sometimes known as the profit-motive.

    You’re an executive at this company. Creating the software was your idea. You are responsible for the ROI calculations that got the whole thing off the ground.

  • Easy, Real-Time Big Data Analysis Using Storm

    Conceptually straightforward and easy to work with, Storm makes handling big data analysis a breeze.

  • Open source Java projects: Storm

    Storm is a big data framework that is similar to Hadoop but fine-tuned to handle unbounded data streams. In this installment of Open source Java projects, learn how Storm builds on the lessons and success of Hadoop to deliver massive amounts of data in realtime, then dive into Storm’s API with a small demonstration app.

  • Events

    • open2012 to introduce open innovation to Silicon Valley

      open2012, Maven’s upcoming conference at the Computer History Museum on December 11th, 2012, seeks to bridge that gap. open2012 will bring leaders of the Open Innovation movement to Silicon Valley to highlight their successes and discuss areas of pain. The event will feature keynote addresses by Venture2 and Procter & Gamble, Open Innovation case studies by Intel, Strategyn, Boston Consulting Group, and the US Department of Health and Human Services, panel discussions including Roche, SAP, Agilent, Wrigley, GSV Capital, and Citi Ventures, and company presentations by BrightIdea, NetBase, Spigit, Inno360, competIQ, and many more.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Run Firefox OS in Gnome ;)

        I guess you all know about the upcoming Firefox OS, but what you might don’t know is how easily you can run it in GNOME and play with it.

        Its Apps and Interface is made totally by WEB Technologies (CSS JavaScript, HTML) and I think it could easily catch up with Apple’s and Google App Stores. Besides we all have bored to listen and talk about Google ;)

  • SaaS

  • Databases

    • MariaDB Gets a Foundation
    • MariaDB steps out from MySQL’s shadow

      The MySQL community in exile made a significant announcement yesterday in London at the Percona Live conference. The three main companies investing in the MariaDB fork of MySQL joined with leaders of the MySQL development community to unveil the MariaDB Foundation, intended as a home for serious, commercially backed development of future versions of the popular open source SQL database. Already enjoying substantial commercial backing, the new foundation is seeking further participants and aims to elect a representative board in two months.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Revealed: The gift that keeps on giving to Oracle … is dying

      Even as traditional enterprise IT vendors come under pressure from modern cloud and open-source applications, these old-school businesses have one strategy that is the gift that keeps on giving: Enterprise licence agreements.

      Not only do ELAs help to shield vendors from pricing pressure from open-source alternatives, they also increase friction for those anxious to swap out ageing applications and infrastructure for better alternatives. But how long can ELAs block customers from embracing the future of IT?

      [...]

      Matt Asay is vice president of corporate strategy at 10gen, the MongoDB company.

  • Healthcare

    • VA sets Gold Disk VistA as EHR baseline

      The Veterans Affairs Department will establish a separate repository for its fully open source Gold Disk version of its VistA electronic health record system to assure a common software baseline compared with the 133 instances of VistA operating at its hospitals and clinics across the country.

      VA also will put in place a software testing platform, standards supporting open source development and documentation of open source community outreach planning, according to a Nov. 27 announcement in Federal Business Opportunities.

  • Business

    • Open vs. Closed Clouds: What’s Best For Business?

      As an end consumer looking at the cloud space, there are two major types of clouds to choose from: open source clouds, championed by the likes of Citrix and Rackspace, and closed clouds, characterized by Amazon, HP and Google. There are reasons that the two types of cloud technology are differentiated, whether from a functional or marketing perspective, but in the end which is better for an end consumer’s business?

    • Open Source Entrepreneurship

      One of the great things about being a retired entrepreneur is that I get to give back to the community that helped me. I assembled this collection of free and almost free tools, class syllabi, presentations, books, lectures, videos in the hope that it can make your path as an entrepreneur or educator easier.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • OpenACC Still Not Loved By Open Compilers

      The OpenACC 1.0 API has been public for more than one year as an open standard to simplify parallel programming on CPUs and GPUs, but to this point it’s basically only backed by commercial compilers. OpenACC is similar to OpenMP in terms of using PRAGMA compiler directives and special functions for tapping multiple CPU cores in an easy and straight-forward manner with C/C++ and Fortran code, but unlike OpenMP, OpenACC is also aware of GPUs.

  • Public Services/Government

    • What does open government mean to you?

      Open government means different things to different people. Is it about transparency, collaboration, or participation? Maybe it’s a combination of all three? If you listen to Tim O’Reilly speak about open government, he’ll tell you about his vision of government as a platform.

    • Open Source and the Power of Community

      You say sure. When she returns the screwdriver a couple days later, your friend mentions that she made an improvement: now it works with both Phillips and flat head screws. Another friend hears this and asks if he can take a look, too. When he returns the screwdriver, it’s been upgraded again: now it’s a power screwdriver. Then a third friend gets excited and adds some extra speeds and a better battery.

      This situation sounds improbable, but it’s how open source software development takes place.

    • Issa open source language comes under criticism

      Draft legislation proposed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) to overhaul federal information technology has drawn opposition for its section on open source software adoption.

      The draft (.pdf) would require the Federal Chief Information Officers Council to issue guidance that mostly reaffirms open source’s status as a commercial item under federal acquisition regulations, but it would also create a governmentwide open source software approval process to address “issues such as security and redistribution rights.”

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

Leftovers

Microsoft Squeezes Locked in Customers as the Windows Platform Dies

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Businesses to pay the price (fourfold!) of swallowing lock-in

Cause: Burning platform!

House on fire

Summary: Microsoft is unable to keep Windows monoculture and it raises prices aggressively to make up for it financially

Microsoft is desperately trying to evolve for mobility, but all Vista 8 has done is, it harmed Microsoft’s desktop monopoly which is also the common carrier (Office is by far the largest cash cow, but not the common carrier). When Windows collapses Microsoft does too.

Microsoft has begun squeezing the goose, even quadrupling the prices in some cases. We wrote about it only days ago (early UK reports) whilst arguing in favour of ODF. This Slashdot discussion points to this new article which says:

Microsoft is trying to make up for below expected earnings following Windows 8’s and Surface RT’s lack luster adoption rates by increasing the prices of its products by as much as 400 per cent it has been revealed.

Yes, exactly. The platform is just a carrier for expensive lock-in. Here are several points from an article predicting Microsoft’s death:

For the last decade, Microsoft’s fastest growing business segment has been Server & Tools, which did $7.4 billion in sales last year.

A lot of these sales come because Microsoft business apps — Exchange, SharePoint, and Dynamics — require these products. But as companies stop buying these apps, they will have less reason to buy the Microsoft platform products that run them, and the System Center ($1 billion+) products used to manage them.

Here is the original article. Some Microsoft-friendly sites strike back, which means that the original articles was damaging to Microsoft and thus effective.

For those who wish to know how bad things have become for Microsoft’s platform, read this, it’s hilarious:

There are eight – EIGHT – sales reps in a very small space. When I get there I am the only customer. Note it is 7pm on a Wednesday night and the place is bustling with holiday shoppers and tourists. I am the only person at their ”store.”

I approach the closest rep and ask for a 32GB Surface and a red keyboard. She asks me if I’d like a demo. ”No”, I tell her. I just want to buy it. She seems lost and does not know what to do. She calls over the “manager” and he unlocks a case and pulls out a Surface and the red keyboard.

He hands them to me and asks me if I want a demo. Seriously WTF is up with the pushing of the demo??? I tell him no and just want to buy it. My original sales rep takes the items over to the register, pulls out a tired old scanner gun and zaps my two items. The Microsoft laptop acting as the register immediately crashes. She looks up at me and says “Sorry my computer crashed. Just give me a second to reboot.”

She reboots, rings me up and asks me if I’d like my receipt. I ask her to email it to me. She says they can’t do that. So I tell her sure, I’ll take the receipt. She hits print, the computer crashes again and I walk out.

This is in part the achievement of many activists who helped make Microsoft widely ridiculed; Microsoft is viewed so negatively because people know about the company’s abuses, the company’s lack of competence, and even the expensive PR Bill Gates is planting in the media he bribes is not enough to make up for it all. People just feel too shy to step into Microsoft stores. It’s very “uncool”.

The numbers speak for themselves:

Why is Microsoft being so coy about producing numbers regarding how many Surface tablets have been sold since they hit the shelves? According to one analyst, it is because sales have been, “disappointing.”

FBR Capital Markets analyst Craig Berger made the comments, who, in a note to clients, went on to say that sales, have “underwhelmed expectations.”

On the OS-only side things are also bad: [via]

IHS iSuppli, a market watcher, has admitted that its expects world PC sales to fall this year even further than it previously thought they would. Whatever the degree of decline, it will mark the first time global personal computer shipments have fallen in 11 years.

In a discussion of world chip sales posted yesterday, iSuppli noted that it is currently anticipating 2012 world PC shipments will fall 7.8 per cent below 2011’s total. Back then, some 352.83 million personal computers shipped worldwide, so that means 325.31m units will do so this year, if iSuppli’s forecast proves correct.

Well done, Microsoft. Go away faster, please.

Supporting UEFI in 2012 is Like Supporting OOXML in 2007

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 3:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As a reminder, as part of its many OOXML abuses, Microsoft paid companies to ‘support’ OOXML

OOXML Suppets

Summary: The similarities between the effect of adding UEFI code and adding OOXML code to Free software

IN 40 comments or so I have been discussing UEFI with the developer of Shim, whose latest work one can read about in:

  1. Shimming your way to Linux on Windows 8 PCs

    So, while Garrett’s shim will soon be bring many more varieties of Linux to many more Windows 8 PCs, UEFI Secure Boot will remain a significant worry for anyone wanting to run Linux or other alternative operating systems on Windows 8 PCs.

  2. HP Pavilion dm1-4310: SSD installation, and fun with EFI Boot

    Next I went to the other extreme, disabled Legacy Boot and enabled Secure Boot. In this configuration, the Live USB media for Linux Mint and openSuSE wouldn’t even try to boot as they don’t have EFI bootloaders included. Fedora 18 Beta would try, but failed — the necessary security certification is not yet included on the 18 Beta distribution. But Ubuntu 12.10 booted with absolutely no problem. Hooray!

UEFI was designed with lock-down — not just “security” — in mind. It’s like TPM. Thus, Microsoft hoped to embrace the darn thing, making it harder to boot Linux. It doesn’t take a wild theory to deduce this. We saw the same things around 2007, as I explained in comments alluding to hundreds of posts I had written in 2006-2008. Antitrust is bound to be hurt when the anticompetitive is embraced by that who is being hurt.

Speaking of which, check out what Simon Phipps says about Freiburg:

We recently saw the news that the German city of Freiburg had decided to end its open source migration and instead switch to using Microsoft products again. The rationale provided seemed curious to me – after all, at the same time the German city of Munich announced total savings amounting to €10 million from its own successful and ongoing migration.

What seemed odd was there was no account of how they changed course to make the migration succeed. Munich learned lessons from early challenges and updated its strategy in order to succeed. But not Freiburg.

From what I could see, instead of ditching the old versions of MS Office and OpenOffice.org they’d started with and installing up-to-date LibreOffice using expert in-house help, they had just hung on to outdated software and expected staff to muddle through to success. When that didn’t happen, they blamed the software and not the strategy. Everything was in German, so rather than risk misinterpretation I turned to German-speaking friends in the technology industry to explain the report to me (if I got anything wrong, please tell me – the documents seemed very complicated).

My (guided) reading shows three points of concern in the situation over the last four years. First, the only ongoing expenditure in support of the migration is running costs of less than €15 per seat per annum, all associated with licensing supposedly superceded proprietary software. Second, substantial one-off costs of around €231/seat associated with interoperability – a topic that is always an indicator that proprietary software is controlling people’s thinking. Third, no obvious investment in ongoing community engagement or equivalent commercial subscriptions for open source.

“Very good article,” Matthias Kirschner calls it. He is right. Phipps did a fine job and he should know. He was overseeing a lot of aspects of OpenOffice.org for several years at Sun. He also led some efforts to spread ODF and opposed Go-OO, whose team moved on to LibreOffice.

As we showed before, Microsoft had also used OOXML to derail the kind of migrations we saw in Freiburg. Those who were paid by Microsoft to pretend to support OOXML were also to blame. They helped legitimise it. It was always disguised as “choice”, where one choice was lock-in, i.e. no choice. For proprietary software lobbyists, to be “neutral” is to choose proprietary lock-in, as shown in this new article:

Two members of Congress, reaching across the partisan divide, are pushing the government to think broadly — governmentwide — about open-source software, provoking warnings from industry groups that they are ignoring the core principle of technology neutrality.

No, this is not such a matter. To deny choice using lock-in is not to be neutral, it’s to be predatory.

Anyway, one can hopefully grasp the similarity between the two cases; when Microsoft introduces new FOSS-hostile traps it requires that some "useful idiot" — either paid or unpaid — ‘proves’ that the traps are digestable. An effective diplomatic approach is to reject what is worthy of rejection, not give up. This is not a compromise, it is giving up/surrendering to Microsoft,

Apple Stomps on Civil Liberties

Posted in Apple at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apple continues banning opposition to CIA’s assassination policy and Apple denies anonymous purchases

Drones, or electronic death bots, are of great relevance to us not just because they run Linux but because they are ethically wrong, as many warn with great passion (this includes politicians, human rights groups, and TV hosts). The question has become, who doesn’t oppose predator drones? The press is filled with articles against drone strikes these days. Many of them we include in our daily links now (my personal site too). Predator drones are why groups like the FSF remain relevant and important, as computer programs are now directly responsible for killing some innocent people who just happen to be in the ‘wrong’ place or favour the ‘wrong’ side. Drones will continue to be a focus here. They are an imminent threat not only to suspected terrorists. Apple has been defending drones in the sense that it censors opponents of drones. It still does. Here are two new reports about it:

Apple has been close to president Obama. Steve Jobs was hanging out with the president and now he supports his foreign policy, even from his grave. Apple does not care about civil liberties; it patented remote deactivation of cameras, for instance. Today I went to buy iPhone 5 for a friend who insisted on getting it and although I paid in cash (for which I had to visit the bank, as it exceeds ATM limits) the salesperson insisted on having my full name and E-mail address. I declined. He gave me a funny look (although I was exceedingly polite and well dressed) and still insisted, so I gave fake details. Most UK shops don’t require it. Only one does.

We will try to focus on Apple’s attack on Android, which takes a patent gown.

Lawsuits map

Apple to Reveal Secret Settlement (Patent Extortion) Details to Comply With Judge’s Demands

Posted in America, Apple, Asia at 2:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apple’s imperialistic behaviour to enjoy no backroom treatment anymore

A while back we wrote about Apple’s inability to keep extortion secret (the HTC case). Based on this analysis, only the extortion fee (if any) will stay secret:

The judge in the Apple v. Samsung case, the Hon. Lucy Koh, has just ruled that the HTC-Apple license agreement that was signed on November 11 will be made public, the only exception being the pricing and royalty terms, which will be sealed. Samsung’s lawyers have already gotten to see them, but we won’t. But we will get to see the list of patents covered by the agreement. If the patents on the list are the same patents as in this case, it will make it much easier for Samsung to avoid an injunction. As you just saw in the Microsoft v. Motorola case in Seattle, if money can make you whole, you normally can’t get an injunction. And if they aren’t, there is a Samsung argument that customers don’t care about those features enough to pay for them, which could impact the damages figure. This will be part of what is discussed at the hearing on the 6th.

A lot of this is the result of software patents, which Apple hopes to take global (India’s policies on patents, suggests this new article, still appears to be influenced by the software patents lobby). Why do companies from Taiwan and Korea need to bow to US courts and play by the rules of some bureaucracy known as USPTO, run by an American cartel of multinationals? Is Asia now a US colony? These phones are all made in Asia, even though Apple is trying to USA-wash the hypePad with labels like designed and assembled (boxed?) in USA, based on a report from last week.

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