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01.29.13

Links 30/1/2013: Axis Communications, D-Link, O.S. Systems and Perforce Join Linux Foundation

Posted in News Roundup at 9:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Top 3: Alan Cox, CloudForms and KDE
  • 5 Dilemmas of Linux Evangelists

    Stereotyping on the Internet is almost unavoidable due to the opacity of the medium and there are now hundreds of types of “fanbois” online since the dawn of the Internet. For tech enthusiasts with plenty of time on their hands, it’s easy to troll for the occasional MacOSX, Microsoft, Android, iOS, and Apple fanboi (and yes, Apple has several categories on its own). I’m an unabashed Linux user and Linux evangelist despite being platform agnostic (the industry where I work in requires a certain level of MacOSX and Windows proficiency). Although Linux evangelists make up a small percentage (even smaller than the alleged percentage of Linux desktop users) of computer users out there, there are still hazards to attempting to promote Linux. The difficulties aren’t always associated with the freakishly crazy Mac worshipers who would skewer you at any negative comment about their beloved Apple devices:

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS gains on Windows 8′s pains

      After only a few months Acer’s Chromebook already accounts for 5 to 10 percent of Acer’s US shipments and HP will soon be launching its own Chromebook. In the meantime, Windows 8 PC sales remain anemic.

    • M$ Drives More To GNU/Linux and FLOSS

      News: You can get a great desktop or server operating system for $0 from Debian and a great office suite for $0 from The Document Foundation. Buy pizzas with your savings or whatever you want to boost the economy locally.

    • User Abuse

      At some point, I discovered Linux. I can recall the thrill of getting my mouse to work when I stumbled across a RedHat 5.0 book with the disks in the back. I always thought Another Level was a great desktop, if lacking the highly integrated functions of Windows. I surfed with Netscape Navigator 3.06 for several months before I discovered updates. Nor can I forget buying Applix 4, then the thrill of getting my hands on the retail box of WordPerfect 8 for Linux. Despite the occasional crash with it on RedHat 6.3, I thought it was wonderful, a real advancement over 6.1 on Windows. Applix 5 was cool, too. I still have the boxed sets for WP8, Applix 5, and RH 6.3. I’m currently running WP8 on Ubuntu Hardy in a virtual machine with VMware.

  • Server

    • R.I.P. Boxee Box: 2010-2013

      When Boxee announced its new Boxee TV product last October, it also stated that the original Boxee Box, which had already ceased being manufactured, would soon transition into “maintenance mode.” Additionally, the company promised one last firmware update, which would “update the Flash player and fix some key bugs.”

    • HP Extends Serviceguard to Linux
  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 5 Episode 1

      In this episode: Canonical is to launch a phone. Fedora 18 has been released. Friends of Gnome are looking for money and Valve is to make a Linux-powered games console. Hear our first discoveries of 2013 and how you’d like the podcast to improve in season 5.

    • Linux Outlaws 295 – Veneering the Planet
    • Tech Tuesday: Open Source Software

      Tech Geeks from around the world are meeting in the nation’s capital this week for the Linux Conference.

      It’s a five-day love-in for fans of open source software—non-commercial software where the source code can be modified and redistributed for free.

  • Kernel Space

    • Torvalds slams prosecutor for Swartz’s suicide
    • 32 bit Vs 64 bit OS architecture in Linux
    • Btrfs Still Working To Address Corruption Issue

      Another bug-fix pull request was sent in on Tuesday for the Btrfs file-system in the yet-to-be-released Linux 3.8 kernel. Chris Mason notes that he’s still working out an older CRC corruption issue.

    • Google Wants Fast Queue Spinlocks For The Linux Kernel

      A Google engineer has proposed “Fast Queue Spinlocks” for the Linux kernel as an alternative in select cases to the default ticket spinlock.

    • ACPI Support Continues To Be Improved In Linux

      There’s a number of ACPI updates that are being shown off and will likely make their debut in the Linux 3.9 kernel for improving the power management support.

    • Linux Foundation Announces New Members

      Axis Communications, D-Link, O.S. Systems and Perforce

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland’s Weston DRM Back-End Now Supports Pixman

        A set of seven patches published today allow Wayland’s Weston compositor with its DRM back-end to support rendering through Pixman.

        Earlier this month I wrote about the work being done on software rendering in Weston using Pixman. The pixel manipulation library was used to achieve “pure software rendering” and was combined with work on MIT-SHM shared memory support for the X11 back-end. This work allows for Wayland/Weston to run better in non-hardware-accelerated environments.

      • Mesa 9.0.2 Officially Released

        For most Phoronix readers out there that are Linux enthusiasts into hardware tweaking, performance optimizations, and getting the most out of your Linux box, Mesa 9.0.2 is rather boring. It’s just the usual bug-fixing and stable changes that were back-ported from Git master. Most of you reading Phoronix are likely already on Mesa 9.1-devel from Mesa Git master, which is where the exciting work happens.

      • R600 LLVM Back-End Gets Indirect Addressing Support

        The open-source Radeon R600 LLVM back-end has finally received support for indirect memory addressing.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 3.2 To 3.8 Kernels With Intel Ivy Bridge Graphics

        With the Intel Haswell product launch coming up soon, here’s a look at how the Intel “Ivy Bridge” HD 4000 graphics support has matured on the seven most recent Linux kernel releases. This benchmarking shows how the performance of the Intel DRM driver has changed between the Linux 3.2 kernel and the Linux 3.8 kernel that’s presently under development when using the integrated graphics found on the latest-generation Core i7 CPU.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Introducing LXDE

      Let us be non-mainstream. In the world of Linux desktop environments, Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE) is not your typical first or second choice. Most people will mention Gnome, KDE, perhaps Unity. You may have heard of Cinnamon and MATE lately, and Xfce is also a solid, longtime niche player. LXDE keeps slipping under the radar.

      The thing is, without decent financial backing by the big names, it is very hard creating and maintaining a robust and bug-free desktop environment that can address the needs of the common user, if a Linux user can ever be classified as common in any way. Still, deviating from the usual formula is very tricky, and few distributions manage to balance beauty and functionality well. And the more exotic the desktop environment gets, the more difficult the challenge. For example, in the world of Xfce, Dreamlinux was one of the few players to tackle it properly. Even the big shot struggle, Gnome 3 and KDE being no exceptions. So what happens when you take LXDE and skin your desktop with it?

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma Active 4

        At the end of March, we will be releasing Plasma Active 4. Since Plasma Active 3, We’ve made improvements to the Files, eBook reader (Okular), Settings and Alarms applications along with a large number of bug fixes and performance improvements. We’re also in the middle of moving to the KDE Platform 4.10 release as well as getting closer in line with other Mer based efforts, such as sharing the description files with Nemo that are used when building images for different device targets and adapting to a systemd driven user session. These two changes introduced a relatively large number of regressions that are being ironed out. In fact, we paused on the feature development and turned focus to fit and finish work before continuing on.

      • rekonq 2.1
      • Rekonq 2.1 Web-Browser Brings More Features

        Less than one month after the release of the Rekonq 2.0 web-browser for the KDE desktop as an alternative to Konqueror, Rekonq 2.1 has surfaced and it brings more features to this open-source WebKit-powered project.

      • KScreen Sees Its First Alpha Release

        KScreen, the new way of managing monitors/outputs on Linux when running the KDE Plasma desktop, saw its first alpha release this weekend.

      • KScreen Sees Its First Alpha Release
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Pear Linux 6.1 – Review

      One of the biggest draw backs of Linux adoptions for home users is that it looks so clunky and fearfully difficult to use. Pear Linux is one promising distro that is out to change that perception. And so far, it is doing an outstanding job.

    • New Releases

      • Elive 2.1.27 development released

        We appreciate your feedbacks about the overall speed/lightness of the system compared to last stable version of Elive. You can say something in our chat channel directly from the running system. If you detect any lagging in the system please consider different setups like disabling composite (which you can select on the startup of the graphical system) in order to report improvements. We would also appreciate feedbacks about composite enabled or disabled in old computers, suggestions for better performances, and memory usage compared to Topaz.

      • Groovy 2.1.0 arrives ready to invoke dynamically

        The developers of Groovy have announced the release of Groovy 2.1. The new release of the JVM-based language now has full support for Java 7′s “invoke dynamic” byte code and API, which allows dynamic languages on the JVM to make dynamic method calls as efficiently as Java programs make static method calls. Groovy 2.0 had support for most method calls using “invoke dynamic”, but now all method calls make use of it. The GPars concurrency framework is also now bundled with Groovy 2.1.

      • SolusOS 2 Alpha 7 Previews Its GNOME Fork

        Announced last week was a new fork of GNOME Classic as the Consort Desktop. Released today by the Linux distribution behind this project, SolusOS, is the first alpha version of their next Linux release that integrates this forked GNOME desktop.

    • Screenshots

      • Netrunner 12.12.1 Screenshots (01/24/2013)

        Netrunner is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu with a focus on options that won’t make it into mainline Ubuntu and alternatives to some mainline Ubuntu decisions. Some features are WINE included by default, some selected Qt/KDE applications in the GNOME desktop, and no Mono.

      • Descent OS 3.0.2 Screenshots
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 3 Beta 2 Released

        Mageia 3 Beta 2 was announced a wee bit late last Friday with some major version jumps. The team say they’re in the final run, but they still have time to clean up those bugs before Final. The live image returned a release or two ago, but today it finally worked on my hardware.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • The fashionably late Fedora

          During my week with Fedora there was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind and it took a while to figure out what it was that bothered me about this release. What I think was troubling me is that the components of this release don’t feel integrated nor coordinated. Perhaps Fedora is going through a more tumultuous stage than usual as will happen from time to time with an experimental distribution. Still, I couldn’t help but notice that some applications use the GNOME Shell integrated menu and some do not; the system admin tools have distinctly different styles of interface when compared side-by-side and even parts of the installation process feel like they were designed by different people. This approach is in contrast to other mainstream distributions such as Ubuntu, openSUSE and Mageia where system components tend to hold to a central, integrated design. This feeling of disunity added to the overall impression that Fedora 18 feels very experimental and not yet finished. There were a lot of little bugs and a few big ones in this release and it led me to believe that even with the two month delay Fedora 18 was released too early.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian guru’s plea for sane computing future

        CANBERRA: When Bdale Garbee talks about the future of the Linux desktop, it is not so much a visionary view as a view of how he would like computing to evolve.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu smartphone to launch without app store, won’t support Android apps

            One of the most exciting announcements of the beginning of the year is the Ubuntu phone – not to be confused with Ubuntu for Android. Canonical is ready to make a serious play for the mobile business – at least part of it – that’s dominated by Android and iOS, with Windows Phone and BlackBerry left to battle for third place.

            And the Ubuntu phone certainly looks like an interesting alternative. The new mobile platform will surely appeal to current PC users that choose Ubuntu as their desktop OS, but not only.

            As you already know, any Android device that runs Google’s OS will be able to run Ubuntu, as long as you’ll be willing to perform the installing part, and the Galaxy Nexus could soon get its first Ubuntu phone code.

          • Canonical Wants Help With Ubuntu Phone Apps
          • Ubuntu phones to come with a terminal—prepare your command line skills
          • Things You Should Know About Ubuntu Phone

            Canonical is all set to break new grounds with its Ubuntu Phone, which the company was developing in utter secrecy for couple of months. The announcement got a mixed response. It excited the hard-core Ubuntu users who look forward to the idea of running Ubuntu on their phones; it excited a typical user due to the refreshing and well polished inter face.

          • This Week’s Ubuntu Q&A
          • issue 69
          • Ubuntu 13.04 Will Improve Gaming On Open-Source GPU Drivers

            While still a ways from being comparable to the proprietary graphics drivers in terms of features and OpenGL performance, the open-source GPU drivers found by default in the forthcoming Ubuntu 13.04 release are a big improvement over the out-of-the-box graphics drivers found in earlier Ubuntu Linux releases. The Ubuntu desktop is also faster thanks to improvements to its Unity desktop environment and Compiz compositing window manager. In this article are Linux gaming benchmarks looking at the performance of Fedora 17, Fedora 18, Ubuntu 12.10, and a preliminary Ubuntu 13.04 development snapshot. In this first article, the OpenGL performance of Intel and Radeon graphics are being benchmarked.

          • Ubuntu Phone Will Come Complete With a Terminal App, If You’re Into That Sort of Thing

            The terminal isn’t the kind of thing casual users will get a lot of use out of, and that’s true of the terminal in the desktop version of Ubuntu as well. I’m not an experienced or particularly skilled Linux user, but the times I’ve needed to do anything in the terminal I’ve been glad it’s there, and I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of the few terminal commands I do know. Instead of digging through menus or utilities, with a few lines in the terminal you can do just about anything in Linux.

          • Canonical Commits to Regular Updates for Ubuntu Cloud
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 15 Codenamed “Olivia”, Will Be Available In May

              Linux Mint team has announced the codename of Linux Mint 15 and future plans on Github. Linux Mint 15 is named as “Olivia” – pronounced as “oh-LIV-ee-ah” – Latin origin. Meaning of Olivia is “olive tree”. The olive tree is a symbol of fruitfulness, beauty, and dignity. As name suggests this release will focus on beauty and user interface, as well as improvements in Cinnamon, Nemo, MDM, Live installer, Mint tools.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Closed minds of “Open Source” eject iTWire from Linux conference

      In the more than 30 years that I have been involved with the tech industry I have seen a lot of strange things but none stranger than the events of today at the Linux Conference Australia. iTWire senior Linux writer Sam Varghese has been ejected from the conference. Why? Well, you may ask and then wonder what the Linux community in Australia has come to.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Hortonworks Signs on to OpenStack Foundation

      As 2013 begins, there is continued momentum for OpenStack, the open source cloud computing framework. As we reported last September, OpenStack has its very own foundation, which is packed with heavy-hitting technology titans among its members. And now, the newest member of the OpenStack Foundation is Hortonworks, which provides an enterprise-class Hadoop distribution and resources for Hadoop. As a member of the foundation, Hortonworks has an opportunity to marry open source Big Data crunching with cutting-edge cloud computing.

    • OpenNebula open-sources service management layer with enterprise in mind

      OpenNebula, the European answer to the likes of Eucalyptus and OpenStack that counts CERN and China Mobile among its customers, is moving to differentiate itself from competitors by freely releasing OpenNebulaApps, a suite of cloud application management tools that sit on top of its traditional infrastructure management toolkit.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.5.1 tightens security and stops HTML from disappearing

      The WordPress developers have announced a maintenance update to the popular open source blogging software. WordPress 3.5.1 fixes 37 bugs and addresses three security issues, including two cross-site scripting vulnerabilities. Users running WordPress on IIS might run into a problem that prevents the upgrade; the developers have prepared documentation to help users work around this problem.

  • BSD

    • Arch BSD: Arch Linux Atop The FreeBSD Kernel

      The Arch BSD operating system is moving forward, an attempt at a BSD platform that’s inspired by the Arch Linux distribution and using its package-set.

      An email arrived at Phoronix this morning that the ArchBSD.net web-site is now online. This new site looks just like ArchLinux.org, but Linux references are replaced by BSD. Right now there isn’t too much information available on Arch BSD, but the news from this week states that a test ISO should be available shortly.

    • NetBSD is here!
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Using Technology To Transform Government

      What’s going on? They are accepting FLOSS to do the lion’s share of the IT in government and small businesses to work on smaller slices of IT instead of getting some large business to slap Wintel and “partners” into a pig barn. The plan is to replace the web presence with FLOSS and not just to add a server. They are cutting through paperwork wherever they can from top to bottom.

    • FLOSS In Action In Government

      The UK developed a “Fix My Street” web application as FLOSS. Source code is on GitHub (GNU Affero General Public License). It’s now being copied by Switzerland and Norway is using it to allow citizens to report potholes and such, giving government the ability to respond quickly and to keep on top of the overall situation with roads. Beautiful.

    • Open source policy no guarantee governments will actually use open source

      The distance between government policy favoring open source technology and solicitations that don’t actively discriminate against it can be great.

    • Sweden follows Norway with open source “Fix My Street”

      According to a report on the EC’s open source portal, Joinup, Sweden is following the example of Norway in using the “Fix My Street” open source software that was developed in the UK. The software enables citizens to easily report problems and helps authorities identify and prioritise them. A pilot version of the national service, “Fixa Min Gata”Swedish language link, is expected to become operational in March or April and will allow citizens to report such things as potholes, broken pavements, graffiti or non-functional street lighting.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source ecology explained

      Tristan sez, “Open Source Ecology founder Marcin Jakubowski and the OSE team explain the philosophy behind their work and the open source movement as a whole. We’re always looking for remote collaborators to pick up and run with our designs. If you’re interested in building or improving on our work, please visit the OSE wiki.”

    • Open Data

      • Open data economy: Eight business models for open data and insight from Deloitte UK

        When I asked whether the push to free up government data was resulting in economic activity and startup creation, I started to receive emails from people around the United States and Europe. I’ll be publishing more of what I learned in our ongoing series of open data interviews and profiles over the next month, but two responses are worth sharing now.

    • Open Hardware

      • Interview: Kyle Rankin

        We had a chance to sit down with Kyle Rankin, SCALE 11x keynote speaker, to discuss his upcoming keynote as well as a host of other topics including 3D printing, Linux desktops and whether Jorge Castro is the barometer for cool technology.

  • Programming

    • Automating translation of software using the Microsoft Translator and Python

      January 25, 2013 at 07:40 AM | categories: Sysadmin, Tips, Unix, Linux | View Comments

      The Microsoft translator provides an API that you can use for automated translation. It currently supports about 39 languages.

      True to the nature of open source i found that someone had already written a python wrapper to the API. I extended the wrapper to use the requests and pofile packages.

Leftovers

  • On Data Tagging
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Proof that God hates its Customers

      The chief executive of Goldman Sachs, which has attracted widespread media attention over the size of its staff bonuses, says he believes banks serve a social purpose and are “doing God’s work.”

    • JPMorgan bet against itself in “Whale” trade

      There is a new twist in the London Whale trading scandal that cost JPMorgan Chase $6.2 billion in trading losses last year. Some of the firm’s own traders bet against the very derivatives positions placed by its chief investment office, said three people familiar with the matter.

    • Iceland wins legal battle over failed bank

      Iceland has won a legal battle over its reponsibilities to British and Dutch savers who lost money when an online savings bank collapsed.

      The European Free Trade Association court said Iceland did not have to guarantee minimum levels of compensation when Icesave went bust.

      Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, the country’s prime minister said: “It is quite clear that this judgement will add force to the economic rebuilding in Iceland. Possibly the ratings agencies will revise their results. This will also have a positive influence on the lifting of capital controls.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • GOP Vote Rigging Stalls in Virginia and Florida but Pushes On in Wisconsin and Michigan — Why?

      Virginia’s governor has come out against a partisan effort to reallocate electoral college votes by Congressional district, but the plan is far from dead in other states, with governors in Wisconsin and Michigan voicing support for similar measures. The split between Virginia and other states on this issue may not be explained entirely by cooler heads prevailing — it might be part of a political calculation about how best to elect a Republican president in 2016.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Happy Data Privacy Day!

      Happy Data Privacy Day! To mark the day the Market Research Society (MRS) has launched ‘Fair Data, a new ethical mark they claim will help members of the public to easily identify between those organisations which collect, use and retain personal data properly and ethically, and those that do not.

      MRS hope that all organisations that collect and use personal data will be able to use the Fair Data mark which will become the instantly recognisable standard for an organisation that can be trusted to do the right think with all individuals’ data.

    • Facebook Graph Search: Privacy Control You Still Don’t Have

      Facebook’s Graph Search has certainly caused quite a stir since it was first announced two weeks ago. We wrote earlier about how Graph Search, still in beta, presents new privacy problems by making shared information discoverable when previously it was hard—if not impossible—to find at a large scale. We also put out a call to action—and even created a handy how-to guide—urging people to reassess their privacy settings.

    • How to Protect Your Privacy from Facebook’s Graph Search
  • Civil Rights

    • Unlocking new cell phones to become illegal on Saturday

      An edict from the Library of Congress is about to make phone unlocking illegal for the first time in 6 years. The decision, issued in October, is part of a triennial process whereby the Librarian of Congress hands out exemptions from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

    • How Unlocking Your Phone May Now Be A Crime: $500,000 Fines And 5 Years In Prison For First Offense

      Last week, we warned about the impending deadline if you wanted to unlock your phone “legally.” That’s because the Librarian of Congress took away the DMCA anti-circumvention exemption that allowed phone unlocking. If you’re wondering why we even have the Librarian of Congress deciding such things, that’s a much longer discussion. In the meantime, though, Derek Khanna has written an interesting piece of at The Atlantic, in which he points out that, not only is it illegal now to unlock your phone, it’s possibly criminal thanks to some broad and ridiculous readings of today’s copyright law. Until now, most people had been regarding this as purely a civil matter — and one where it seemed (mostly) unlikely that companies would take too many people to court.

    • Israel Stays Away from U.N. Human Rights Review
  • DRM

    • Macmillan will sell e-books to libraries in pilot program at $25 per title

      While the e-book market has certainly skyrocketed in recent years, it’s still not always easy to get digital books from your local library. Yet unlike physical books, which obviously degrade over time—digital books won’t. So publishers have figured out that they need to start selling a license to the book, rather than the book itself, to our venerable institutions of public learning.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Briefs Filed by Petitioner and His Amici in Bowman v. Monsanto

      Center for Food Safety argues that extending patent exhaustion to progeny seeds will benefit farmers by curtailing Monsanto’s patent enforcement actions targeting farmers. The Center also claims that extending the patent exhaustion doctrine in this way will benefit scientific research and innovation in agriculture, and lower the cost of farming. The Center further contends the Federal Circuit’s decision is contrary to Quanta, and reiterates petitioner’s argument that producing progeny seed constitutes use of the patented seed, not making it, and hence falls within the scope of patent exhaustion. The amici voice is concerned that farmers whose fields have been “contaminated” by Monsanto’s patented seeds could be subject to infringement lawsuits.

    • US Government Brief: Farmer who Purchases Commodity Soybeans Cannot Replant Those Beans Without Committing Patent Infringement
    • Trademarks

      • The International Olympic Committee Has Already Staked A Trademark Claim On The Number ’2014′

        Man, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) sure loves its trademarks. Many, many, many, many, many, many, many cases of the IOC’s fierce brand protection have been detailed here, including taping over non-sponsor logos and seeking the power to enter homes to remove “unapproved signage.” This has also rubbed off on a few Olympians, triggering trademark office filings to protect made-up words stolen from middling hip hop artists and self-given nicknames.

        [...]

        So, with the kind of efficiency you only find in the most brutal of trademark bullies, the IOC has trademarked a number many people were planning to use starting next January, nine years in advance. And the IOC isn’t leaving anything to chance. It has staked a claim on all 45 of the possible registration classes, including (but good god, certainly not limited to) chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metals/alloys, machines, tools, scientific equipment, surgical instruments, lighting, heating, vehicles, firearms, musical instruments, furniture, ropes, tarps, string, textiles, toys, coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables, beer, other alcoholic beverages, tobacco, insurance, conferences and seminars, design and development of computer programs, restaurant services, asbestos and security.

    • Copyrights

      • Antigua’s Legal “Pirate Site” Authorized by the World Trade Organization

        During a meeting in Geneva today the World Trade organization (WTO) authorized Antigua’s request to suspend U.S. copyrights. The decision confirmed the preliminary authorization the Caribbean island received in 2007, and means that the local authorities can move forward with their plan to start a download portal which offers movies, music and software without compensating the American companies that make them.

      • Ortiz to motel owner: We’re not done yet

        U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said her office is weighing an appeal against a Tewksbury motel owner who criticized her for prosecutorial bullying last week after he won his battle in the feds’ three-year bid to seize his business, citing drug busts on the property.

      • House panel demands answers regarding Swartz prosecution

        Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder says committee has “many questions” about the Justice Department’s handling of prosecution of the Internet activist, who committed suicide earlier this month.

      • Linus Blames Prosecutor For Aaron Swartz’ Suicide

        Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux kernel, says that prosecutor Carmen Ortiz “zealously prosecuted” the 26 years old hacker-activist Aaron Swartz, pushing him to the suicidal path that ended mid-January.

      • BitTorrent Launches Private and Secure Dropbox Alternative
      • Bad Week For Carmen Ortiz: Admits To Botched Gang Arrest As Congress Kicks Off Swartz Investigation

        Carmen Ortiz is not having a good month. The US Attorney who was in charge of the ridiculous Aaron Swartz prosecution — and now has over 50,000 people asking the White House to fire her — now will have to deal with an official investigation by Congress into that particular case. A bipartisan pair of Congressional representatives, Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings — who are basically the top dogs from each party on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee — have officially kicked off their investigation.

      • Ortiz says suicide will not change handling of cases
      • Carmen Ortiz’s Sordid Rap Sheet

        The suicide last Friday of information activist, computer hacker and technical wunderkind Aaron Swartz has focused attention on Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts, whose overzealous prosecution may have led to his death. Swartz, co-founder of a website later acquired by Reddit as well as a prime developer of the online publishing infrastructure known as Rich Site Summary (RSS), was under federal indictment for logging into JSTOR—a database of scholarly articles accessible from universities across the country—and downloading its content with the intent to distribute the articles online free of charge.

      • Glenn Reynolds: “Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything is a Crime”
      • How Aaron Swartz helped to defeat Hollywood on SOPA

        Aaron Swartz’s former roommate, Peter Eckersley, says the late activist started Demand Progress because from D.C.’s perspective, it “doesn’t matter” if their laws break the Internet.

      • Senator disputes Aaron Swartz’s SOPA, Protect IP role
      • Honouring Aaron Swartz, Internet Activist

        Digital rights advocate’s death places spotlight on more open access to info.

      • Memory to myth: tracing Aaron Swartz through the 21st century

        “However, it was extremely funny that in such a formal setting, with imposing red drapes surrounding the room and the Justices sitting high above the supplicants in big chairs that the Justices were so informal. They interrupted each other, spun around and tipped back and forth in their chairs, and some even pretended to go to sleep with their head on their desks. The whole thing looked like a bunch of kids and school, all of which would almost certainly be diagnosed with ADD for their curiosity and inability to resist asking questions. Macki mentioned that Justice Clarence Thomas looked like he was chewing gum, trying hard to hide it from the teacher.

Microsoft Stores Shut Down, Sales Figures Turn Out to be Lies, and Linux Outsells Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Windows at 5:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clock

Summary: Reality check and a wakeup call for those who accept Microsoft’s claims blindly

After the failed attempts to derail Munich’s migration to FOSS [1, 2, 3] we find more data points that tell us why the ever-shrinking Microsoft acts so aggressively. At Microsoft, first they came for the staff, then they came for sellers.

Next: they’ll blame the users, too. Microsoft Gavin helps Microsoft blame OEMs and based on this pointer, OEMs act defensively. A Microsoft booster, who worked for some Microsoft magazines, writes about Acer’s problems with Vista 8. To quote the summary alone: “The PC maker’s president says Acer has done better with Google’s Chrome-based notebooks than with Windows 8 devices.”

Rising costs of Microsoft stacks drive people away to GNU and Linux. At ZDNet, the Microsoft booster admits defeat:

The Microsoft Times Square pop-up store has closed up shop, ahead of the February 9 launch of the company’s Surface Pro PC/tablet hybrid.

GNU and Linux sell at Microsoft’s expense:

This morning came reports that HP is the latest OEM that will start making a Chromebook. If true, HP would join Lenovo, which recently began offering a Chromebook ThinkPad to the education market.

This author, unlike SJVN who says Chrome OS gains on Windows 8′s pains, does not seem to know or acknowledge that Chromebooks run Linux.

Microsoft does not say how many units of Vista 8 and Surface it actually sold, instead using financials tricks like counting prospective sales (akin to borrowing from the future) and people like Pogson noticed this:

I think that happened by the middle of 2012 and it’s all downhill from here on. I think there are tons of unsold “8″ PCs in the channel so next quarter should be grim for M$ and great for the rest of us. OEMs know they can make money shipping other than M$’s stuff. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux to cut ~$100 from their prices. The sooner they do that the more money they will make.

Microsoft reported losses and it keeps hiding its debt and agony. The truth is, Microsoft is the next Novell.

Soverain Software is a Patent Troll

Posted in Patents at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rainbow troll

Summary: Patent troll pretends to have products

A few days ago we wrote about a patent bully which looked not like a patent troll. A patent trolls expert corrects those who exempt the troll from its deserved status by writing:

Anyone who visited Soverain Software’s website could be forgiven for believing it’s a real company. There are separate pages for “products,” “services,” and “solutions.” There’s the “About Us” page. There are phone numbers and e-mail addresses for sales and tech support. There’s even a login page for customers.

[...]

Soverain isn’t in the e-commerce business; it’s in the higher-margin business of filing patent lawsuits against e-commerce companies. And it has been quite successful until now. The company’s plan to extract a patent tax of about one percent of revenue from a huge swath of online retailers was snuffed out last week by Newegg and its lawyers, who won an appeal ruling [PDF] that invalidates the three patents Soverain used to spark a vast patent war.

The bottom line is, “we’ve been hit by companies that claim to own the drop-down menu, or a search box, or Web navigation. In fact, I think there’s at least four that claim to ‘own’ some part of a search box.”

Attack of the Proxies

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Muenchen Kleines Stadtwappen

Summary: Microsoft proxies interfere with government migrations to FOSS and we gather some new examples

Matt Asay, who almost worked for Microsoft, has a relative play ball for Microsoft.

“Clark Asay (yes relation),” writes Richard Fontana (Red Hat), “calls FSF “the most active of FOSS copyright holders on the litigation front”" (smells like propaganda because it is).

Guess the source…

Microsoft proxy Outercurve [1, 2], which gave him a platform in which to say:

Free and open source software (FOSS) has always presented a bit of a conundrum for companies wishing to use it. On the one hand, significant numbers of useful FOSS projects are freely available under license terms that grant users broad rights in the FOSS. On the other, FOSS is still subject to intellectual property (IP) rights, and FOSS generally doesn’t come with any sort of backing from a third party. In fact, FOSS licenses almost universally disclaim any sort of IP warranty or indemnity.

IP is a meaningless term. Stallman explains why it's meaningless and he does it well. Picking on the FSF is easy and convenient as it does not have PR staff with which to defend itself. Meanwhile, more pseudo-Open Source lobbies emerge (a lot of PR put in news and blogs), with this latest example being OSSI, a SUSE-led (i.e. Microsoft-funded) group and some proprietary software companies, Microsoft proxies, and Red Hat/LPI as the only exception to the rule. It seems like a Trojan horse, openwashing proprietary options. Even Black Duck is in there.

Remember how Microsoft repeatedly tried to infiltrate government and sabotage migrations to FOSS. It did this by proxy with HP recently. The latest example is Munich, which ECT says Microsoft wants to believe was a failure. To quote, “Munich’s multiyear migration to Linux has been nothing if not an ongoing saga over the past decade or so, beset as it has been by stops, starts, and various twists and turns.”

Microsoft repeatedly tried to derail this migration, as we covered here many times before. Microsoft used hired guns and proxies, too. The latest so-called ‘study’ in Munich [1, 2] comes from HP for some secret lobbying. Here is what it says after spilling out:

Questioning the City of Munich’s figures by quoting a non-public study that could not be verified has sparked considerable criticism. Most likely it is in response to this that Microsoft has now released a summary of the study. Two tables in the document are designed to clarify why HP arrives at significantly higher costs for Munich’s Linux/OpenOffice environment than for a solution involving Windows and Microsoft Office. HP estimates that migrating from Windows NT 4 and Microsoft Office to Linux and OpenOffice cost €60.6 million (£51 million):

A rebuttal was written by Pogson, who concludes: “Don’t hire either HP or M$ to do your analysis for your next project. You will be wasting your money and get the wrong answer. They might even include fiction.”

The same goes for Gartner, which played a similar role.

New Zealand to Possibly Have Software Patents Explicitly Blocked

Posted in Patents at 3:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

New Zealand flag

Summary: Ongoing efforts to overturn unjust pushes for software patents in a rather progressive country, New Zealand (NZ)

The largest corporations in Europe and the United States have always wanted more patents, whereas people remained apathetic or hostile, depending on how well informed they were. Protectionism helps nobody but the powerful and their enablers, as wars over sewing machines showed (they became suing machines). Lawyers occupy too much space in this debate, so it is easy to lose sight of public opinion or shape that opinion according to lawyers’ interests. With growing unrest against the USPTO, Eric Goldman, a lawyer, wrote a paper about software patents, which are a hot topic alongside patent trolls. On the face of it, the topic returns to the island of NZ.”The movement against software patents will be ramping up its campaign,” says IDG, “trying to encourage a more active political stance in support of the Patents Bill as it currently stands, with its clause stating simply “a computer program is not a patentable invention”.

“Action is urgent, says Dave Lane, organiser of the ‘No Software Patents in NZ’ petition. Parliament is due to start sitting on January 29 and the Bill is currently eighth on the order paper. This means that after its debate by the committee of the whole House, it could reach the third reading stage in the first week of Parliament this year.”

We wrote about the patent situation in this country many times before because it’s a strategically important outpost for the multinationals’ cartel, which seeks to legitimise “private maths”. An activist site from NZ writes:

Disclaimer: this is the view of the coordinators of this site following the 2nd reading of the Patents Bill in NZ Parliament, and this view is not necessarily shared by all the petition co-signers.

The situation prior to the 3rd Reading (“Committee Stage”) of the Patents Bill is that Commerce Minister Craig Foss continues to stand by the recommendations of his officials in MBIE (formerly of MED). He has not withdrawn the controversial clause 10A(2) – introduced just prior to the 2nd reading as Supplementary Order Paper 120 – which has caused us to mount this petition. Clause 10A(2) modifies the meaning of the uncontroversial 10A(1) – which simply states that “a computer program is not an invention for the purposes of this Act”. We are all very happy with 10A(1) – it effectively excludes software (computer programs) from being patentable in a way which – according to our legal advice – does not threaten NZ’s compliance with TRIPS (trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation or WTO).

Here is a take from so-called ‘patent buff’:

It has been a few months since my colleagues and I watched the Second Reading of the New Zealand Patents Bill on the tellie. I cover this event in my post Patent Party in the House. It is now time for the New Zealand Parliament (known as the Committee of the whole House) to consider the Bill part by part.

The Bill has jumped to Number 2 on the Order Paper. The Committee stage may happen within the next few weeks. Is this really the final hurdle? Could it be that we will see patent law reform at last?

Whose reform? Craig Foss seeks to serve multinationals that want software patents.

Microsoft Patents and Secrets in APIs

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Novell at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Man with cigarette

Summary: Groklaw’s latest articles about Microsoft’s abuses

APIs are ripe for patent extortion, so Microsoft fights hard to maintain API domination, e.g. with Mono and Moonlight — projects that Microsoft helped fund indirectly. Novell and Microsoft are still arguing over WordPerfect. The latest update comes from Pamela Jones, who writes:

Microsoft has filed its brief [PDF] in the appeal of Novell v. Microsoft, the antitrust litigation Novell brought against Microsoft over WordPerfect. I’ve done it as text for you. The judge in the case handed Microsoft a win on summary judgment after a jury couldn’t reach a verdict. So now it’s before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Microsoft’s airy arguments go something like this: Yes, we were a monopoly with 95% of the desktop market at the time, and yes, we reversed course after encouraging Novell to use APIs that we then decided not to support, but hey, we don’t owe competitors anything. “A monopolist generally has no duty to cooperate with or assist a competitor whether the decision is ‘intentional’ or otherwise.” We can change our business model any time we want to, as long as we are even-handed and the effect is on everyone, not just Novell. (Novell, however, was the one that Microsoft encouraged to use the APIs, and it was the one Microsoft feared, according to Novell, writing that the decision to drop support for the APIs “involved the intentional inducement of reliance.”)

Microsoft now uses API domination for patent extortion, with leading examples such as FAT. It is like the FRAND trick, which Microsoft likes to use to tax competitors including FOSS. Jones has two new updates regarding the use of FRAND against Android, courtesy of Microsoft in its own biased turf, Seattle. Jones writes:

Tomorrow, Monday, Microsoft and Motorola meet in a courtroom in Seattle at 1:30 PM to argue at a hearing before the Hon. James L. Robart about the meaning of a 2005 Google-MPEG LA patent license agreement and regarding a motion for summary judgment by Microsoft. I have all the documents for you so you can see what it is all about.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything when you read them. The parties’ lawyers don’t understand the licenses fully either, not for sure, in that they don’t agree at all on what they mean, and that’s why they are in a court of law.

Here is a report from the courtroom, which is being stuffed with Microsoft boosters acting and entering as 'reporters'.

We had a volunteer in the courtroom for the hearing in Seattle between Microsoft and Motorola, and we have his first report.

The hearing was in two parts. The first part had to do with the validity of Motorola’s patents, which Microsoft is challenging. The second part was on whether Google’s 2005 license agreement with MPEG LA sweeps Motorola’s FRAND patents at issue in this litigation into MPEG LA’s clutches and control. It’s all about how much Microsoft has to pay Motorola, if anything. For background, go here and here for lots more details and context on the license agreement issue.

MPEG-LA is a cartel and FRAND should be banned as a whole, but the above confrontation began with Microsoft suing. Google has tried to create deterrence against more Android extortion.

Eben Moglen – How To Retrofit The First Law Of Robotics (HOPE 9, 2012)

Posted in Videos at 6:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Eben Moglen’s recent talk which is important in light of news about phones becoming illegal to jailbreak


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