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12.10.12

Links 11/12/2012: Red Hat Upgraded, Bern for FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 10:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Pocket Desktop Protects Your Files, Privacy When Using PCs

    It’s a customized Linux OS on a bootable drive so that you can surf the internet without leaving a trace on the host PC.

  • Server

    • Proprietary Servers Take Their Lumps, Linux Servers Float On Cloud 9

      If you want to understand the server racket and you don’t have thousands of dollars to blow, you have to rely on the publicly available information available from Gartner and IDC to try to get a sense of what is going on out there. The market statistics do not map perfectly between the two companies, but you get a better picture than you can from either alone.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Contest To Revamp KDE Mascot

        Konqui, the cute and friendly dragon has been the KDE mascot for the last 10 years. The dragon is shy and you won’t see him often on KDE systems. KDE forum admin Neverendingo is planning to give the shy dragon an image makeover. He is organizing a design contest with the Krita community.

      • New KDE Theme Slim Glow With Awesome Fonts

        Slim Glow is one of the top five themes for the KDE Plasma desktop which has been in development since KDE 4.0. Developer Ivan Čukić has released a new version of this theme which is currently available on kde-look.org and will be part of the KDE 4.10.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 2nd December 2012
  • Distributions

    • ComFusion 4.1 Screenshots
    • RamDisk on Linux : what it is and how to use it.

      In the computer there is a precise hierarchy with regard to the memory, according to their speed and size.
      On a computer there are basically three types of memory: the hard drive, the RAM and the processor cache. These memories can be ordered according to the characteristics above, and then, in a hypothetical pyramid, we find at the bottom the hard drive (slow but with a lot of space, in the order of terabytes) in the center there is the RAM (fast, but with little space in the order of gigabytes) and the top there is the cpu-cache (fast but extremely small, ranging from kiloByte to megabytes).

    • Build a Killer Customized Arch Linux Installation (and Learn All About Linux in the Process)

      Don’t like Windows 8′s new interface? Sick of Ubuntu Unity and the new ads that come along with it? Maybe it’s time to create your own, ideal operating system with just the features you want. Arch Linux can make it happen: it lets you build your own personal, killer Linux distro from the ground up.

    • New Releases

      • Clonezilla 2.0.1-12
      • [Toorox] 11.2012 “GNOME”
      • Release Notes: Release Notes for siduction 2012.2 – Riders on the Storm
      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

        • OpenMandriva takes off

          The OpenMandriva community is moving on. The statutes of the “OpenMandriva Association” have been sent to the French authorities and the incorporation process has thus started. At the same time, preparations are ongoing to migrate both the actual development environment of the distribution and the entire community infrastructure. On top of this, the development environment is not just migrated to another server, it is being upgraded to ABF and Git.

          We have thus embarked into an ambitious migration plan and I would like to thank all the teams of developers, sysadmins, infrastructure and communication of the OpenMandriva project who are working hard towards making this a reality.

      • Red Hat Family

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Project News – December 10th, 2012

          * Record number of participants for Mini DebConf Paris
          * Debian on smartphones: a feasibility analysis
          * Official Debian images on Amazon Web Services
          * Reports from latest BSPs
          * Other news
          * New Debian Contributors
          * Release-Critical bugs statistics for the upcoming release
          * Important Debian Security Advisories
          * New and noteworthy packages
          * Work-needing packages
          * Want to continue reading DPN?

        • Derivatives

          • Canonical/Ubuntu

            • Introducing Ubuntu Filesystem Tree Lens for Unity

              The Ubuntu Filesystem Tree Lens is an Unity Lens that enables users to easily and quickly find files and folder in their filesystem, directly from Unity Dash.

            • Ubuntu Increases Reach with Language Translations

              English may be the uncontested lingua franca of most development communities in our (post-?) Pax Americana age. But for developers who prefer working in other languages, the Ubuntu world has taken a big step toward making it easier to contribute without understanding English. That’s a particularly smart move for an open source project such as Ubuntu. Here’s why.

            • 13.04 (Raring Ringtail) Alpha 1 Released!
            • Introducing Ubuntu Minecraft Lens for Unity

              The Ubuntu Minecraft Lens is an Unity Lens that allows Minecraft players to easily and quickly search most items and tools found in the game.

              Right clicking the results will display a recipe and some other handy information. At the moment, the Lens has various issues that you should check out here.

            • Flavours and Variants

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Phones

        • Sailfish: the first real competitor to iPhone and Android?

          Right now, it seems that iPhone and Android phones are the main kinds of mobile phones and will be forever.

          After all, Microsoft has spent billions to develop and promote the Windows phone, but it’s not exactly selling like hotcakes (four million in the third quarter this year, as opposed to Apple’s 23 million and Android’s 123 million).

        • Android

    Free Software/Open Source

    • Four reasons I like developing with open source code

      I have been a developer for a number of years (yes, it’s a large-ish number) and I’ve worked on teams that have developed software on commercial platforms, on teams that have used a mixture of open source and commercial components, and on teams that have used primarily open source. Overall, I’ve developed (no pun intended) a preference for using open source tools and components whenever it’s feasible. Here are some of the reasons why I prefer to develop with open source code:

    • Events

    • Web Browsers

      • Mozilla

        • Mozilla Urging Developers to Build Apps For Firefox OS

          Jay Sullivan, Mozilla’s vice president of products, has explained why developers should have an interest in Firefox OS.

          “If you’re looking to build and develop mobile software without the 30 percent toll [Apple charges], Firefox OS will appeal to you,” he told a room filled with about 75 developers.

    • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

      • Richard Stallman and Jono Bacon Differ on Ubuntu’s Amazon Search
      • On Being Childish; An Apology

        On Friday I wrote an article responding to a post by Richard Stallman. Over the weekend both posts caused quite a flurry of discussion; thank-you to everyone who contributed constructive feedback.

        In my post I referred to Richard’s position as seeming a bit ‘childish‘ to me.

        As with every post that I write, I reflect carefully over the words I write before and after I press the publish button. In all of our writing our words affect the thoughts and feelings of others, and I think this resonates even more-so in the Free Software and Open Source world where we all put so much passion and time into what we do as volunteers as well as for those lucky enough to do this as a career too.

      • Stallman’s Attack on Ubuntu Linux is Bad News for Canonical

        Richard Stallman (RMS),the Father of Free Software doesn’t like Ubuntu Linux. Stallman posted a scathing diatribe against Ubuntu on Friday.

        “If you ever recommend or redistribute GNU/Linux, please remove Ubuntu from the distros you recommend or redistribute,” Stallman wrote. “In your install fests, in your Software Freedom Day events, in your FLISOL events, don’t install or recommend Ubuntu. Instead, tell people that Ubuntu is shunned for spying.”

    • Project Releases

    • Public Services/Government

      • To migrate or not to migrate to open source

        Since Microsoft Office price per seat per year for businesses is around $75 two public administrations in the German cities of Freiburg and Munchen decided to switch to OpenOffice. One of them went well while other one did not do so well. The Unsuccessful transition occurred in Freiburg. Their calculations went like this – $75 per year per computer for public administration, which for as many as 2,000 users per year is $ 150,000. However, after five years, although they saved on the prices for licenses, they have spent $600,000, with a disgruntled employee who complained about the incompatibility of file formats. To make things worse, they returned to Microsoft Office, which was at the first year cost of at least half a million dollars.

      • Swiss City Of Bern To Switch To Free And Open Source IT Solutions

        A clear majority 36 to 20 councilors and city councilors in the council of the Swiss city of Bern has voted for a switch to free and open source IT solutions. It instructs the city’s IT department to make future IT purchases platform and vendor neutral and to prefer using open source solutions. This way, the council wants to rid the city of IT vendor lock-in.

      • A proud day for peace and freedom in Europe

        I am very proud today to call myself a European, and to be here in Oslo for the EU’s Nobel Peace prize ceremony. The European Commission is collecting information and updates here. What I want to say is that when I started school in 1946 – yes! – just after the end of the Second World War, I could never imagine that we as a continent would be in this position today. A family, united in democratic values, and more prosperous that seemed possible throughout most of our lives.

      • Is Something Rotten in the State of Freiburg?

        There are “many good examples of municipalities, states, and countries’ ministries changing expensive, heavy and closed proprietary software for free and open-source software,” said Google+ blogger Gonzalo Velasco C. This move by Freiburg, then, “is more than odd. 100 percent of the people that commented on the Internet have said: ‘Why didn’t they move to the newest LibreOffice or OpenOffice!? It’s insane!’”

    Leftovers

    • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Cablegate

      • Assange: Police Docs Published in Swedish MSM

        ‘Now I understand why the Swedish police and prosecutors don’t travel to the UK to interrogate Assange’, writes Paragraf editor-in-chief Dick Sundevall. ‘They’d have to close the case and declare that no crime has been committed.’

      • What the New York Times Missed in Its 1st Article on Manning’s Torture Hearing

        Barnes elaborated later on that she thought Manning stood for count naked on purpose, to be provocative, despite his record of consistent good conduct throughout his chilling stay at Quantico. If Shane had bothered to stay for the next 6 hours, he would have seen a haughty low-rank Chief Warrant Officer with a chip on her shoulder (she was the most junior person to ever run a brig; if anything bad happened to Manning, it would ruin her career; etc.), who flouted prison regulations in favor of her own “personal opinion.”

      • WikiLeaks Tapes shows up corporate media, celebrates citizen journalists

        One of the first things that will strike you about The Wikileaks Tapes is the unique style that citizen journalist Cathy Vogan brings to interviews.

        The two-disc DVD The WikiLeaks Tapes brings together a wide range of interviews by Vogan with dozens of people on the subject of WikiLeaks.

        From a sound base of knowledge on the subject matter, Vogan delves in to what matters most, the persecution of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks by Western governments, including Australia’s.

        There really are some quite amazing interviews here, especially when you consider the filmmak

      • Wikileaks protest in foreign affairs office
      • From Assange to Kejriwal: Understanding media hostility

        There was a time, not long ago, when Arvind Kejriwal was being billed as the ‘Julian Assange of India’. Perhaps this was born of the sense that Kejriwal’s record of launching high-decibel ‘exposes’ of alleged corruption, which were lapped up by the media, echoed Assange’s periodic WikiLeaks exposes of US cables that chronicled in merciless detail the diplomats’ observations on the ways of the world, and the shadowy side to American and foreign governments’ dealings.

      • Assange is still holed in…

        This is a small working embassy. It has managed to provide one room about 15 feet by twelve feet for Assange to live and work in. He eats and sleeps there. It has little natural light so he looks pale and thinner than he was a few months ago. He presents a confident, optimistic front to visitors but the strain of constant confinement must be telling on him. There have been reports that he has a chronic breathing problem. He keeps busy running WikiLeaks, fighting legal actions and planning for his and WikiLeaks’s future. In one-way it is worse than imprisonment, for there is no telling when it will end.

        All right then. Why doesn’t Assange end it himself? Why doesn’t he hand himself over to the Swedish authorities and return to Sweden and fight the allegations against him. Not so simple. Assange has every reason to fear that once they got their hands on him, Swedish authorities would turn him over to the US. The evidence that the US seeks to extradite and prosecute Assange is substantial.

    • Finance

      • A ‘puny’ fine for GS goof

        An outspoken regulator lashed out at a $1.5 million settlement between Goldman Sachs and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission — calling the deal a steal for the Wall Street bank.

        Bart Chilton, a CFTC commissioner, described the cash amount as “puny” and “a slap on the wrist” when compared to the whopping $8.3 billion trade at the center of the case.

        In 2007, a Goldman trader hid the outsize trade as the market unraveled.

    • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

      • Time Gives Up on Factchecking: Corporate Media Can’t Find a Way to Tell the Truth

        In October, the inevitable was announced: Struggling Newsweek magazine would be finished as a print publication as of the end of the year. But the last mass newsweekly left, Time, also made an announcement of sorts: It was out of the factchecking business.

        “Who Is Telling the Truth? The Fact Wars,” read Time’s October 15 cover. With a setup like that, one might have hoped for a bold break from the campaign pack, an acknowledgment that facts matter, and that politicians who run on a record of resisting reality should be exposed.

    • Privacy

    • Civil Rights

      • Petraeus Punished For Making Love, Not War

        Scahill cites several former intelligence officers to make this point. “A considerable part of the CIA budget is now no longer spying, it’s supporting paramilitaries who work closely with JSOC to kill terrorists, and to run the drone program,” he quotes retired career CIA case officer Philip Giraldi as saying. The CIA, adds Giraldi, “is a killing machine now.” (Q: When wasn’t it?) And retired Army Col. W. Patrick Lang opined Petraeus “wanted to drag them (CIA) in the covert action direction and to be a major player.”

    • Internet/Net Neutrality

      • Leaked: ITU’s secret Internet surveillance standard discussion draft

        Yesterday morning, I wrote about the closed-door International Telecommunications Union meeting where they were working on standardizing “deep packet inspection” — a technology crucial to mass Internet surveillance. Other standards bodies have refused to touch DPI because of the risk to Internet users that arises from making it easier to spy on them. But not the ITU.

      • Kim Dotcom: Mega Will Turn Encryption into a Mass Product

        Over the past several months a group of coders have been working hard on the new “Mega” which is scheduled to launch January 20 2013, exactly one year after Megaupload was shut down.

        Today, Dotcom revealed the look of the new Mega, showing off the new encryption feature, the registration screen and a new file manager.

        Speaking with TorrentFreak, Dotcom says the new site is the result of many years’ expertise in the file-storage business.

        “It’s special because seven years of experience have been turned into the perfect cloud storage solution. It scales infinitely. It provides up- and download acceleration and resume in the browser thanks to the latest HTML5 technology,” he says.

        The encryption part pictured below is perhaps the most exciting feature unveiled thus far. Before users upload their files to Mega they will be encrypted using the AES algorithm. Advanced security, but based on code that will be open source.

        “File transfers and storage are encrypted with military strength and you don’t have to take our word for it, that part of the code is open,” Dotcom told TorrentFreak.

      • EU digs trenches in ‘real battle’ over the future of the internet

        The European Union has set out its position in the looming fight over control of the internet, arguing that it should ‘stay open and global’.

    • DRM

      • Richard Stallman: ‘Apple has tightest digital handcuffs in history’

        Q It’s nearly 30 years since you started work on the GNU operating system, which went on to become GNU/ Linux, one of the leading examples of free and open source software collaboration. Yet Apple and Microsoft still loom large. How do you feel the free software movement is faring?

        The free software movement has advanced tremendously but proprietary user-subjugating software has also spread tremendously. I would say the free software movement has gone about half the distance it has to travel. We managed to make a mass community but we still have a long way to go to liberate computer users.

        Those companies are very powerful. They are cleverly finding new ways to take control over users. Nowadays people who use proprietary software [programs whose source code is hidden, and which are licensed under exclusive legal right of the copyright holder] are almost certainly using malware. The most widely used non-free programmes have malicious features – and I’m talking about specific, known malicious features.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • CA to app devs: get privacy policies or risk $2500-per-download fines

          They had a month—and now it’s over. Any California mobile-app developers who don’t have a privacy policy obviously available to consumers need to get one and fast. If they don’t, they could be facing potentially massive fines: up to $2,500 per app download.

        • Something really scary is going on in Germany

          Major German publishers with Axel Springer AG as the leader of the gang have for years demanded a law that would force all commercial web services such as search engines or aggregators like the German-Techmeme equivalent Rivva to pay a license fee for automatically processing and displaying headlines or snippets.

        • Pirate Bay Founder Released From Solitary Confinement

          After three months in solitary confinement Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm will be released from custody. The prosecutor suspects Gottfrid of being involved in several hacking and fraud cases but he has yet to be charged in any of these cases. The Pirate Bay founder will now be transferred to a new prison which he will leave as a free man in five months if no new charges are brought against him.

        • Doe’s motion to proceed anonymously granted in In re BitTorrent

          In In re BitTorrent Adult Film Copyright Infringement Cases, defendant Doe 1′s motion for leave to continue to proceed anonymously was granted.

Birgitta Jónsdóttir, Glyn Moody, April, FSFE and Many Others Oppose Unitary Patent (Vote is Today)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Law laundering

European flags

Summary: The Unitary Patent gets endorsed by the European Council, but many European developers and even European politicians are starting to actively oppose the Unitary Patent

TODAY the EU could make a disaster or a victory for software developers. A lot of European software enthusiasts talk about it, including Birgitta Jónsdóttir, an Iceland-based member of parliament that’s associated with Wikileaks fame. We wrote about the subject on Monday and many times before that, noting that Poland is trying to put up a fight.

The patent lawyers in London talk about Poland’s resistance (via Glyn Moody) and now is the time to phone politicians and let them know that they should bury the unitary disaster of Michel Barnier. Dr. Moody writes:

I’ve been writing about the attempt to craft a Unitary Patent in Europe for some years. The idea in itself is not bad: a patent that is valid across all of Europe. That would simplify filings and save costs, both of which are to be welcomed. But the devil is in the details, and it looks like those details are increasingly devilish.

There are two main issues for this column. The first is that the Unitary Patent could make it easier to obtain software patents in Europe. That’s because German courts are already much friendlier to the idea, and if they approve such patents, they would then be valid even in software patent sceptical countries.

The second is related to the first, and concerns which court would ultimately rule on the validity of Unitary Patents. The two options are the EU’s own European Court of Justice, or else an independent court populated by patent lawyers. The latter would not be an EU institution, and therefore would not need to take cognisance of things like the European Parliament’s rejection of software patents a few years back. It could and almost certainly would do whatever it liked in this sphere, which would lead to a massive expansion in Europe of patents that concern software.

There are lots of deep issues about the overall legality of the Unitary Patent, but here I’d like to concentrate on the more pragmatic issues, which are probably easier to discuss with MEPs who are not necessarily lawyers, and don’t really have time to get into the minutiae of this stuff.

The FSFE, with which Moody often collaborates in public panels, issued the following press release:

The European Parliament is about to vote on a “unitary patent” for Europe in its plenary session on December 11. The proposal currently on the table is widely known to have serious legal and practical problems. In the light of these problems, Free Software Foundation Europe urges the Parliament’s members to delay the vote until a better solution can be worked out.

Under the current proposal, the Parliament would agree to give up its power to shape Europe’s innovation policy. This is a dangerous proposition. Knowledge and innovation are crucial to our future, and we cannot simply delegate their management to a technocratic body such as the European Patent Organisation. Europe’s political institutions have to have the final say over innovation policy. This is a responsibility which MEPs cannot shirk.

“MEPs must not saddle Europe’s innovators with a rotten compromise. Innovation is a key part of our common future, and it is too important to be gambled away in a hasty decision,” says Karsten Gerloff, FSFE’s President.

The political process that has led up to the current proposal has suffered from a marked lack of transparency. The European Parliament still has not published the text of the inter-instutional agreement which it reached with the Council on November 19.

“We are deeply alarmed that such a crucial text may be ramrodded through Parliament before MEPs and the interested public have had a chance to properly consider the text,” says Gerloff.

The most important practical problems with the current package:

* Instead of providing uniformity and transparency for market participants, the current proposal will create divergence and confusion. It will be hard for anyone to obtain clarity on how a patent may be used, or where its powers end.
* Lack of limitations and exceptions puts Europeans’freedom to innovate at risk. There is no provision for compulsory licenses, posing a grave danger to public welfare. The lack of a research exception puts a millstone of risk around the neck of Europe’s scientists.
* – Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of Europe’s economy. If this wrong-headed compromise is accepted, they will bear the brunt of the resulting problems. This is not something that Europe can afford, much less in the midst of an economic crisis.

The most important legal problems with the current package:

* The compromise would lead to a fragmentation of the internal market, as patents would not be uniformly enforceable across all EU member states. Additionally, there would be four overlapping levels of patents existing side by side. This will inevitably create substantial confusion and business risks for innovators and companies.
* A proliferation of courts that may handle patent litigation will inevitably lead to a fragmentation of jurisprudence. This will even further confuse anyone who comes into contact with the patent system, increase the costs of litigation, and make patent risks even harder to calculate for businesses.
* The envisioned Unified Patent Court is incompatible with European law. Europe’s policy makers have failed to address the problems highlighted by the European Court of Justice in its Opinion 1/09 (March 2011). Even the Parliament’s own Legal Services department has doubts about the package’s legality.

A package which leaves such significant problems unaddressed is not fit to be adopted by responsible lawmakers. Policy makers are keen to put this hotly contested issue behind them. But this desire must not lead them to rush into an ill-considered compromise with numerous known problems, in the face of widespread opposition from the patent system’s stakeholders.

FSFE joins large parts of the innovation community, and in particular the Max-Planck-Institute in urging the Parliament to reconsider the unitary patent package. Until a better solution can be achieved, MEPs should heed the age-old principle: First, do no harm.

The Unitary Patent should be axed for good tomorrow. Contact politicians to have them say “no”. Saying no to the Unitary Patent is saying no to monopoly extravaganza.

Microsoft is Back to FUD Wars Against Linux, Forgetting to Hide Behind Proxies

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 9:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Muhammed Saeed al Sahaf

Summary: Microsoft jumps head first into the FUD feast, only to find itself becoming the subject of intense criticism — the very opposite of what it intended

The typical old Microsoft is at it again. That which we came to know as one notable company where executives got rich (rather than jail sentences they deserved) is clearly very worried about Android’s domination which accompanies Linux. Microsoft’s disgusting PR is digging for FUD openly and blatantly (not via proxies like Juniper) only to face blowback: “Microsoft might be looking for a new Windows Phone Twitter account manager today after an attempt to crowd-source attacks on Android-based phones backfired and instead prompted a barrage of attack tweets against Windows Phone, Windows security and Microsoft.

“The original tweet from the Windows Phone Twitter account asked users of Android devices to post horror stories about malware on the devices. In return, they would win an unspecified prize.”

Here is more:

Microsoft’s Windows Phone team reignited its #droidrage Twitter stunt this week, a campaign that offers free Windows Phones to Android malware victims. After originally creating it almost a year ago, Microsoft has remained relatively quiet in its anti-Android quest. Earlier this week, the official Windows Phone Twitter account kicked off #droidrage again in a series of Tweets including “wait for your Android phone to get infected with malware” and “buy a Windows Phone and connect with people you care about instead of some hacker plotting in a dank basement.”

The account has been sharing stories from other Twitter users who appear to have encountered Android malware. Google removed 27 malware-infected apps from its Play Store last year, a move that prompted Microsoft to start its campaign, but despite an upward trend in Android malware, there’s no evidence to suggest it’s as bad as Microsoft makes out. Google is also making changes to Android 4.2 to include a malware scanner that analyzes “sideloaded” apps for malware threats. With no recent high profile Android malware stories, Microsoft kicked off #droidrage again, seemingly out of the blue, and it has backfired.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes:

Microsoft’s DroidRage Twitter campaign goes painfully wrong

Someone in Microsoft public relations seem to think that encouraging Android FUD on Twitter would be a great way to win friends and influence others. Wrong!

There has been so much blowback that Microsoft must consider firing someone. As one Microsoft-friendly site put it:

What was Microsoft thinking? The software giant initiated a campaign on Twitter, dubbed #DroidRage, inviting Android users to share their “malware horror stories”, only to have it backfire spectacularly shortly afterwards. A huge number of anti-Microsoft posts with the #WindowsRage hashtag appeared on Twitter and Google+, almost immediately.

Here is the irony of it all:

Microsoft is looking exhausted and desperate with such move, they should better improve their products than attacking the competitors. And, advice about malware from the maker of the world’s most insecure software just doesn’t make any sense.

Microsoft is still a FUD company, much like Protecode, which seems to have found a new host in IBM. Companies which use fear as a business model clearly have nothing to sell.

Microsoft Front Groups Fail to Hurt Google Through Regulators

Posted in Antitrust, FUD, Google, Microsoft, Search at 9:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Companies caught in a mess

Summary: US regulatory agencies not moved by claims from Microsoft and its proxies

TECHRIGHT covered many examples where Microsoft paid persons or groups to daemonise Google. The latest example goes all the way up to Microsoft managers, show links that Groklaw posted last week. The front groups got some legal action rolling:

  • Justice Department meets with firms seeking Google antitrust probe

    Companies are pleading with the Justice Department to investigate Google as they lose faith that the Federal Trade Commission will act forcefully on their complaints that the company illegally skews its search results, said people familiar with the matter.

  • Google critic disappointed with FTC, meet with Justice

    At least one Google adversary met with Justice Department officials recently, pressing them to investigate, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

  • Did Mark Penn Swiftboat Google?

    This week, Microsoft unleashed a Web campaign for Bing, called “Scroogled,” knocking Google’s (GOOG) values with the same flair with which Penn’s teams once undermined rival candidates on the campaign trail. “In the beginning, Google preached, ‘Don’t be evil’—but that changed on May 31, 2012,” the site reads. “That’s when Google Shopping announced a new initiative. Simply put, all of their shopping results are now paid ads.” Google later responded with a statement defending Google Shopping, in part by noting that the recent changes have made “it easier for shoppers to quickly find what they’re looking for.”

Read on and see who is behind all of those claims. Microsoft has thugs in suits. People need to understand this by learning. They don’t care because they don’t understand and they don’t understand because they don’t care.

Stop Software Patents in Europe, Polish Government May Already Repeat Its Anti-ACTA Action

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Polish Parliament rebels

Flag polish

Summary: A pre-Xmas vote on so-called unitary patent in Europe, which already faces Polish opposition

There is some new software patents lobbying from the Business Software Alliance, a front group for Microsoft and its allies. The subject is very hot at the moment (in several nations and continents) and Europe is set to decide on the matter, albeit indirectly:

Now that all amendments and the voting list have been published, it is quite easy to anticipate what will happen on Tuesday December 11th, 2012, during the plenary vote of the European Parliament (EP) on the unitary patent regulation. Nevertheless few people would find a way to understand what will exactly be voted. And it is likely that the vast majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) won’t know themselves what is hiding behind the buttons they will push on. So here’s the story behind shiny amendments numbers.

April has this important update about a country which helped crush ACTA:

The Polish Parliament has just asked the Polish government to get out of the unitary-patent agreement, because it considers the latter dangerous for businesses.

This is a reversal of what we saw in the EU Polish presidency [1, 2, 3, 4].

Here are some more details. “EU could abolish software patents on 11 December if vote goes our way,” wrote this person, Erik Josefsson, with backing from influential Twitter users like FFII and its members.

Someone in the FFII mailing lists wrote: “The European Parliament is about to vote for a regulation on the unitary patent, during its plenary session, on December 11th, 2012.

“The purported goal to have a single patent covering the whole Union may be praiseworthy. But this regulation, up to its very title, is actually
very deceiving. Indeed, its content leaves the European Union (EU) aside in many aspects, leading to a fragmented patent system, which will be untamable by the democratic bodies of the EU. Instead the “patent microcosm” will gain amazing powers, while its governance has been highly criticised, specially with regard to its practice of granting software patents, against the letter and the spirit of European patent law.

“You can change this fate by calling Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), urging them to table, before December 5th at noon, two compromise amendments. By doing so, two basic messages can be carried: POWER TO THE PARLIAMENT and NO SOFTWARE PATENTS!

“All links and information on http://call.unitary-patent.eu/campaign/call2/unitary-patent-plenary-12-2012?setlang=en

In order to halt software patents in Europe we must pressure misguided politicians. They unite broken systems with more functional ones if they vote for “unitary” patent. Links to actions and contact numbers can be found in the aforementioned articles along with some guidance.

Microsoft Bribes Seemingly Remove Criticism

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Exasperation

Summary: Microsoft talks to disgruntled customers and developers, whereupon their rants vanish from the Web

The sheer failure of Vista 8 (more on that in a separate post) is hurting game makers who, unlike Valve, thought it would pay off to stay with Windows. Read this:

Paul Johnson, a high level executive of UK games developer Rubicon, has criticised Microsoft for not supporting a Windows RT port of the successful mobile title, the Great Big War Game. Rubicon saw a return of just £52 from an estimated R&D spend of £10,000.

Microsoft is trying to silence its critics and censor their rants again. Well, as Tim points out:

Shortly after Tweeting about their displeasure, the Tweet disappeared to be presented with a message of Microsoft now working with them to “iron out problems”. I wonder what sort of sweetener Microsoft offered in order to silence/change mind another critic of its platform?

We saw this before. Microsoft essentially bribing critics to erase the criticism is nothing new. Not many companies do this; in fact, I know of none which does, except Microsoft.

Speaking of game makers get a load of what the former Softie, Gabe Newell, is doing:

  • Newell talks Big Picture Mode, teases “turnkey” Valve PCs for living rooms

    Valve, as many of you already know, recently rolled Steam Big Picture Mode out of beta. For those who need a refresher, Big Picture Mode takes Steam and makes it play nice with larger screens, upping the resolution and allowing users to navigate the Steam interface using a controller. Despite the relatively simple idea, it would appear that Big Picture Mode has taken off, with Valve boss Gabe Newell telling Kotaku that the response from users has been “stronger than expected.”

Even game makers are turning to GNU/Linux, which was notorious for having few high-quality games.

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