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12.15.12

Links 16/12/2012: Humble Indie Bundle 7 Rants, ownCloud KDE Client

Posted in News Roundup at 9:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Measuring Linux’s Success in 2012

    With barely two weeks left in 2012, the inundation of “year-in-review” blog posts, podcasts, videos and–if we’re really lucky–songs has begun. This week, the Linux Foundation did its part by releasing a video celebrating major accomplishments over the last year in the Linux channel. What did the Foundation think were the most important developments? Read on for a look.

  • Readers’ Choice Awards 2012
  • 2012 Linux Retrospectives Highlight a Remarkable Year

    Linux Rising. As The Linux Foundation’s Amanda McPherson notes, this was the year that Red Hat achieved $1 billion in revenues, and Android adoption outpaced the iPhone. You can watch The Linux Foundation’s “What a Year for Linux” video here.

    Top Linux Trends. Datamation has a good look back at some of the top trends in Linux for 2012. These included the rise of crowdsourcing, diversity in desktop environments, Ubuntu’s “Corporation vs. Community” schizophrenia, and interfaces that adjusted for multiple device form factors.

  • How Last Year’s Linux Events Played Out This Year

    With the year coming to an end, here’s a look again at the prominent Linux news from last year (2011) and whether the milestones reached then still have an impact today.

    Effectively this comes down to a redux of the most popular Linux news from last year and an update on each of the topics as it stands today. The most popular Linux stories on Phoronix from 2012 will be shared at the end of December.

    The two most popular Phoronix news stories last year came down to the same topic: ending of the Linux 2.6 kernel and moving to Linux 3.0 (Say Hello To Linux 3.0; Linus Just Tagged 3.0-rc1 and Linus Talks Of Linux 2.8 Or Linux 3.0; Ending Linux 2.6). Well, there isn’t too much to add to this particular topic for 2012. Linus Torvalds continues releasing new Linux 3.x major kernel releases and after enough of them in a few years time he’ll move to Linux 4.x. This is just much cleaner than sticking to Linux 2.6.x as was done for so many years.

  • Server

    • MICROSOFT RULES? Unless YOU know better…

      Microsoft haters, Apple haters, Linux Haters, time for you to put all this nonsense to end once and for all with regards the real world of business!!

      So, here’s the scenario, and it’s up to YOU to provide the solution… if you can of course…..

      A small office, with 5 computers all running the same desktop operating system.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • New E17 Release: LUCKY

      This beta release of E17, LUCKY RUBBER DUCKY, has a much better name than what was originally proposed.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Amarok 2.7 Beta Available For Testing

        Amarok team has released the beta version of Amarok 2.7 which is available for testing. The team has invited all users to test this beta so the final release should be available before 25th December. With this version Amarok is introducing two brand new features.

      • Kids’ size KDE

        More than a year ago I started an experiment: to bring KDE Education to the kids in Kindergarten.

        Now my son was starting exactly at the same time his own adventure in Kindergarten, so I jump at the opportunity and suggest to the educators to have a period of testing. They accepted and I installed a Kubuntu 11.10 on an old PC, the Kindergarten bought a 22″ Touchscreen, and I also installed the first alfa version of Pairs (selfcompiled) that I was working on.

      • ownCloud KDE Client Coming Soon

        ownCloud, the free and open source cloud solution, will be getting a client especially for the KDE Plasma Desktop soon. Sebastian Kügler, one of the KDE developers, announced the development of the KDE client on his blog recently.

      • An ownCloud Client for KDE Plasma
  • Distributions

    • Weekend Project: Linux Distros You Never Heard Of

      Ubuntu this, Fedora that, Mint the newest Linux darling– it’s as though all those other hundreds of Linux distributions don’t exist. Let’s throw caution to the winds and seek out new distros, and boldly go where we have not gone before. Here are three I’m thinking of installing on my test machine and torture-testing this weekend.

    • After three years, Slax Linux is reborn with version 7.0

      There’s no denying 2012 has been a fruitful year for Linux distributions in general, but something about it has also seemed to favor the rebirth of distros we hadn’t heard from in years.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS 2012.08 review – A thing of the past

        Deep down, I was hoping that PCLinuxOS 2012.08 might rise again…

      • Sneak Peek at Mandriva Business Server

        Ever since the month of September, Mandriva is renewing its entire products and solutions portfolio. The next product to be unveiled this month is the Mandriva Business Server. A few words were hinted in the press as well as to our strategic partners and customers.

        Today we would like to lift the curtain on some aspects of the upcoming Mandriva Business Server. In a few words, Mandriva Business Server is complete Linux-based server platform aimed primarily at the SMB and public sector market. Mandriva Business Server is however not just another Linux server distribution. From the first moment in the installation to the regular maintenance and management tasks Mandriva Business Server offers its users with easy and beautiful management interfaces allowing them to configure and deploy services from the Mandriva Business Server in a seamless and fast way.

      • Mageia 3 beta 1: release hell strikes again!
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical adds photo functions to Ubuntu One

            Canonical has added new photo functions to its Ubuntu One cloud storage service. After users log in, the Ubuntu One web site now automatically displays thumbnails of all photos found in their cloud storage in a new “Photos” section. Users can browse the photos or display them as a slideshow.

          • Creating An Awesome LoCo Support Community

            Our LoCo Teams are a wonderful part of the Ubuntu community. They provide a fantastic place for Ubuntu users to meet other users locally and enjoy Ubuntu together either online or in person.

          • Ubuntu’s Frequently Asked Questions
          • Friends To Replace Gwibber In Raring

            Ubuntu 13.04, scheduled to be released April next year is in high pace of development currently. While a alpha release has been published for most other Ubuntu based distros, Ubuntu will only release a single beta before the final release.

            This release is targeted to improve integration in various mobile devices and will also run on some tablets like Nexus 7. Also, for developers, this will be the first release that will be shipped with an Ubuntu SDK.

          • E-book: Crunch time on the Enterprise desktop

            The enterprise desktop is ripe for change. With support for Windows XP coming to an end, it’s time to find a better way.

            This ebook is about that better way. It’s a short, easy-to-read guide to why Ubuntu is a better choice than Windows for the majority of enterprise desktops today.

          • Canonical Hunting Users of XP
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Year 2012 in Review

    Munich finally migrated its 12000th PC. We are so relieved that the trolls no longer pronounce Limux a failure and there’s a little matter of profit, besides.

    Dell has expanded its relationship with Canonical selling GNU/Linux in more than 1000 stores in China and India and Walmart in Brazil sells more GNU/Linux desktop PCs than that other OS.

  • Wait, what’s that rumble in the storage jungle? Yes, it’s Ceph
  • Open source

    The pursuit of business sustainability and innovative change does not have to originate from any one, single source. It can generate from within your own company at the ground level, from the customers you service to your suppliers. Often the least recognized resources can be the greatest source of information, which can make a significant difference.

    [...]

    Evidence supports the need for executives to step outside the confines of traditional business methods and leverage the creativity of its key business stakeholders. Supporting an open innovation approach to business sustainability offers stakeholders the opportunity to become engaged in the future of a business. By recognizing that key stakeholders have a vested interest the success of the company, sustainable leadership can create openness to new ideas that promote business success and innovative ideas.

  • The Elgg API: Getting Social Using an Open Source Network
  • Obituary: Raj Mathur

    One of the pillars of the Indian FOSS Community passed away this week. Known for his humor, his uncompromising honesty and his generosity in sharing FOSS knowledge with like-minded individuals. His sudden passing after a massive heart attack has shocked and saddened his friends across the FOSS World.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • OpenStack Set to Tackle Open Source Federated Identity in the Cloud

      The OpenStack open source cloud platform started out with only two components: Nova Compute and Swift Storage. Nova originally came from NASA and Swift came from Rackspace.

      Over the course of the last two years, OpenStack has expanded beyond NASA and Rackspace and has been embraced by many large tech vendors, including IBM, HP, Dell, AT&T, Cisco and Intel among others. As OpenStack participation has grown, new capabilities have been added, including most recently the Cinder block storage project and the Quantum networking project. Cinder and Quantum both debuted in the recent Folsom release.

  • Databases

    • The MariaDB Foundation: A turning point for MySQL

      Back when Sun Microsystems was setting, some of the programmers who had been involved with the popular and well-known open source MySQL database started a fork of the project called MariaDB.

      The new project was led and named by Michael “Monty” Widenius, the original developer of MySQL and one of the founders of the eponymous company that Sun acquired. After leaving Sun, he formed a company in his native Finland — Monty Program AB — to host development of MariaDB and made an open offer of employment to any MySQL committer. As a result, a formidable corps of developers gathered at Monty Program.

    • MariaDB Foundation
    • Open Source Couchbase 2.0 NoSQL Database Released

      Couchbase has been working on a new type of NoSQL database the melds both key-value and document data models.

      It’s an effort that began with the merger of CouchOne and Membase back in 2011 as the two companies combined to build a new joint product. Couchbase has since moved beyond its core Apache CouchDB roots though it still benefits from them.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Support the FSF: Turn your dollars into decibels

      Make a one-time donation to help us make your voice for software freedom heard. Please support us at whatever amount feels right to you. Every dollar helps us raise your voices one more decibel.

  • Project Releases

  • Programming

Leftovers

Windows (All Versions) Allows Remote Spying on the Mouse, Down to 20% Market Share

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

1984 and room scene

Summary: The spyware which is Windows is going away as Android (Linux) grows, according to Goldman Sachs

Microsoft Windows has a spying back door called Internet Explorer (IE) already built in, based on reports like this (reports do call out IE, but not Windows, even though they’re almost synonymous as one cannot get IE without Windows or Windows without IE):

A new Internet Explorer vulnerability has been discovered that allows an attacker to track your mouse cursor anywhere on the screen, even if the browser isn’t being actively used. All supported versions of Microsoft’s browser are reportedly affected: IE6, IE7, IE8, IE9, and IE10.

Here are some remarks regarding the original post/disclosure and some criticism:

Microsoft products causes billions in loses every year due to security holes in its products. They have embarrassed the world most powerful nation, they assisted in spying on the prime minister of one of the worlds leading forces, they helped alleged hackers from China to gain access to Gmail accounts of human rights activists, and the list goes on and on.

I find it funny when Microsoft points fingers at competitors for so-called security holes, which compared to the giant black-hole in Microsoft products are like tip of a needle.

According to reports a major security hole was found in the Internet Explorer which tracks the mouse movements anywhere on the screen, even when windows are minimized. From what we know, the hole is being exploited by two advertising agencies but given the ‘potential’ this hole has, there is no doubt may others might be exploiting it too.

It’s a massive hole and it affects all versions of Windows. Fortunately, Windows is going extinct as the desktop declines:

Goldman Sachs: Windows’ true market share is just 20%

Windows might still be the dominant desktop computing OS by a large margin, but Microsoft is in danger of becoming a small player in today’s global computing market, according to a new report from financial bigwigs Goldman Sachs.

“Windows has fallen behind Apple iOS and Google Android,” says the headline from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols. He writes:

According to a Goldman Sachs’ private report , Microsoft’s share of the computing device operating system market has declined to a mere 29%. Above it? Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Windows could make a comeback but faces “an uphill battle.”

Goldman Sachs is not reliable, but at least it recognises that not only desktops matter anymore. Android is growing at the fastest rate, instigating Microsoft FUD and extortion tactics.

Vista 8 will deal the Windows franchise a final blow and IEEE Spectrum shows why:

Recently, software guru Jakob Nielsen gave Windows 8 a thorough vetting, with usability testing on both desktops and tablets. His verdict? Journalist Preston Gralla of Computerworld summed it up this way: “Windows 8 is bad on tablets and even worse on PCs. [Nielsen] blames dueling interfaces, reduced ‘discoverability,’ ‘low information density,’ and more.”

That sounds terrible. And if true, it will be terrible for the millions of people using millions of computers and mobile devices, 82 percent of which still run one version or another of the Windows operating system. It will also be terrible for Microsoft, if its bet-the-farm wager on Windows comes a cropper.

So I invited Jakob Nielsen to describe Windows 8, since most of us haven’t even spent any time with it yet, and to tell us just what’s wrong with it. He’s the cofounder, with another legendary software and interface expert, Don Norman, of the Nielsen Norman Group, in Fremont, Calif.; he’s the author of Useit.com, the website on which he published his Windows 8 usability report; and he’s my guest today by phone.

Microsoft is clearly losing the “war”, but a pro-war Microsoft veteran* uses a Microsoft booster (Bishop) to help promote revisionism called “Software Wars”. be careful not to promote his Microsoft whitewash.
____
* He keeps heckling my anti-war tweets. He seems to be a staunch Republican on the far right, where to the right of him there’s only abyss.

USPTO Continues to Fail Where India is Succeeding

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 12:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents protest in India

Summary: India enjoys abundance, whereas the US lets corporations create scarcity that kills people and also suppresses startups

A new post from a startup person, not a lawyer pretending to represent startups, explains why software patents are a “nightmare”. This is becoming a trend; in fact, whenever it’s a non-lawyer writing on the subject the outcome is the same.

In a video we posted very recently about Apple patents that can make one cringe it is easy to see where USPTO failed. Masnick shares such videos:

We’re hearing more and more talk about how broken the patent system is, and recently came across a pair of videos we figured some of you might enjoy. The first is a comedic riff on Apple’s recent page turn design patent, leading Ron Charles to post an amusing video of how Apple might explain its patenting of “letters”

These had an impact on other influential sites in the US. They are turning against their patent system.

Masnick’s American site watches with envy what India is doing:

Getting rid of the first modern drug patent in this way neatly symbolizes the country’s aggressive new attitude to Western-held monopolies on medicines. It’s interesting that in this case the opposition came not from the Indian government, but from Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust, a non-governmental organization, which hopes to source the drug from a manufacturer of generics cheaply enough to be able to give it away for free. This may well inspire post-grant opposition from other organizations seeking to provide cheaper drugs to the sick in India through the use of generic versions.

My mother revealed to me last week that those generics give India a huge advantage and distribution worldwide is only impeded by draconian patent laws (barring import), which are artificial barriers or protectionism.

Patent-hostile site IP Watch also covered it:

India last week saw a landmark public health decision on the evolving role of intellectual property rights in the context of the public interest.

The country’s Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) revoked a patent granted in India to F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG (Roche) for pegylated interferon alfa-2a (Pegasys), a medicine used to treat Hepatitis C.

Attempts to push software patents into India were made some years ago, but the population there seems to be sufficiently informed and eager to fight back against multinationals. No wonder India is booming. Even software development goes there. When did we last hear about patent trolls or even patent lawsuits involving software in India? In Europe, the situation has not been too bad, either, but Richard Stallman warned about 7 years ago that letting software be patented in Europe would give advantage to patent aggressors outside of Europe. So-called ‘free trade agreements’ (or similar treaties) try to globalise patent regime (i.e. extend scope of monopoly). Passage of those relies on keeping the population in the dark because that’s a disgrace which is only good for multinational corporations.

MPEG Cartel Stabs Apple in the Back

Posted in Apple, Patents at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Knife in hand

Summary: Apple, which promoted MPEG tax, is the latest to be trolled by the proxies

Mozilla recently surrendered to the MPEG cartel, which Apple was promoting to raise costs and slow down the evident demise of iDevices. Firefox is no longer worth endorsing (I use Konqueror and Rekonq myself). It is part of the FRAND (flat fee) assault on Free software — a strategy which Microsoft and Apple try to use against Android too:

Judge Lucy Koh has issued her first post-hearing order [PDF] — regarding Apple’s brief [PDF] on non-jury issues (waiver, equitable estoppel, unclean hands, and unfair competition) which it lodged against Samsung in connection with two Samsung FRAND patents. She decided not to decide. This is a blow to Apple’s anti-Android FRAND strategy.

Interestingly, Will Hill found out that Apple too is now being smacked down by the MPEG cartel. To quote him:

MPEG-LA owned patent troll MobileMedia is in the news for winning a silly patent lawsuit against Apple in Delaware. Techrights called them out a month ago, and Groklaw has been watching for years.

http://techrights.org/2012/11/13/mobilemedia-ideas/

Here we see that they are a Microsoft/Sony proxy and the harm done by passing Nokia’s patents around to trolls. Previously, it was revealed that MobileMedia is owned by MPEG-LA, which Steve Jobs foolishly supported when he threatened the good people responsible for Ogg Theora.

/***** Bloomberg ********** “We’re not in the litigation business” and just want to license the patents, Horn said. The patents in the suit were originally owned by Sony and Nokia, according to court filings. Horn said one patent is for the camera phone and others cover call handling and call rejection. He said MobileMedia has a portfolio of about 300 patents. MobileMedia Ideas told Judge Robinson in a court disclosure statement that 10 percent or more of its stock is owned by Nokia Corp., Sony Corp. of America and MPEG LA, a patent-licensing authority * http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-13/apple-infringes-three-patents-with-the-iphone-jury-says.html ***/

Here we see how little consideration was put into the trial. I’m all for speedy justice, but I doubt the jury had a clue.

/**** ComputerWorld *********

A federal jury in Delaware has found Apple’s iPhone infringes on three patents held by MobileMedia, a patent-holding company formed by Sony, Nokia and MPEG LA. The jury’s verdict in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware was announced on Thursday and came after a seven-day trial and just a day of deliberations

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9234686/Apple_39_s_iPhone_found_to_infringe_Sony_Nokia_patents ****/

Way back in 2010, PJ pointed out that MobileMedia was MPEG-LA and that, ” it’s good to remember that the possibility of MPEG-LA suing over patents isn’t a theoretical, so when you see discussions about which is technically better, H.264, which MPEG-LA licenses, or Google’s newly open sourced and patent-licensed-freely VP8, just consider what really matters with a standard and what kind of folks are behind H.264 and what the future could hold.”

/*** The Prior Art [2010] ***** There’s nothing new or unusual about a patent-holding company tossing a few lawsuits against the wall to try to wring some cash out of the smartphone industry, which has lately become crowded with lawsuits filed by holding companies and competing companies alike. What is unusual is who owns MobileMedia: MPEG-LA, the private company that oversees a total of eight patent pools covering important digital video standards-MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 being the most common-used in DVD players and pretty much every other device that supports digital video. Contributors to those pools, whose contents MPEG-LA has licensed to literally hundreds of companies, include Hewlett-Packard, Panasonic, Sony, and Cisco subsidiary Scientific Atlanta (see full list). MPEG-LA’s CEO Larry Horn also heads MobileMedia. **** http://thepriorart.typepad.com/the_prior_art/2010/04/mobilemedia-ideas-v-apple.html#more **/

I missed this excellent Techrights article from 2010 which detailed the threat to Theora and why it mattered.

http://techrights.org/2010/05/05/canonical-h-264-licence/

I think it’s funny that this has come back around to bite Apple.

If I find time to cover it before I leave for Xmas (11 days away, starting Monday), then I will do a thorough post about it. This requires further research and cross-referencing.

Denying Microsoft the Ability to Spin Compliance on Samba as Goodwill

Posted in Microsoft, Samba at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jeremy Allison

Summary: Despite Microsoft’s ongoing abuses, a media attempt to rewrite history emerges

THE anticompetitive nature of Microsoft persists with UEFI, a deterrence against Linux and GNU GRUB. Mr. Varghese shows that UEFI is effective at that. It secures Microsoft’s common carrier from competition. Or in his own words:

It’s early days for secure boot, the new method that Microsoft is using to protect its desktop turf, but it would not be unfair to say that the company has succeeded in showing up the sharply fragmented nature of GNU/Linux.

Secure boot is a feature in the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface, the replacement for the motherboard firmware or BIOS. It has been implemented by Microsoft in a manner that effectively prevents easy booting of other operating systems on machines which have secure boot enabled.

This ‘side effect’ is not an afterthought. Microsoft uses it to suppress Linux with the convenient excuse of ‘security’. Yes, offence is spun as necessity. Likewise, Microsoft spins its legal obligation as goodwill as it strives to rewrite Samba history.

Sean Michael Kerner recalls what Microsoft told him. It’s patent FUD:

Why is this so shocking? Well for one – it wasn’t that long ago (six years ago for me), when Microsoft execs weren’t all that thrilled with Samba. In April of 2006, I published an interview with Bill Hilf who at the time was the General Manager for Microsoft Platform strategy. This is what he told me in 2006:

“With Samba I’m really familiar with that technology and I’d say that a lot of what they do under the guise of interoperability is clone ability. I wouldn’t say it’s a great relationship but we have a working relationship. They ask things of us and we say, “That’s our IP.” And they say you should do it because all software should be free. ”

Now in 2012 after ten years of effort, Samba 4 is here thanks in part to Microsoft’s help. The Samba Team also thanks Microsoft for interoperability testing that Microsoft engineers helped with.

Times do change.

No, what changed since then is that multi-billion-dollar fines forced Microsoft to act differently in the practical sense. The pretence, or the act, is just a smart PR decision for them. By “IP” they meant patents and unsurprisingly Samba denounced Novell for a patent deal which the EU Commission found harmful to its case.

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