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Links 27/2/2013: Firefox Phone Partners, DistroRank

Posted in News Roundup at 11:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • DriveDroid lets you boot Linux on a PC by plugging in your (rooted) Android phone

    Makers of Linux-based operating systems have been letting you boot Fedora, Ubuntu, and other popular software from a removable CD, DVD, or flash drive for years. Now you can use your Android phone instead.

  • Create a hardware encrypting USB with your own Linux OS
  • German federal state switches Linux-based school server

    The governmental IT supplier for schools in the German federal state of Baden-Württemberg has committed to stop development of its in-house Linux-based school server software paedML in favour of a new solutionGerman language link based on Univention’s UCS@schoolGerman language link product. This move was originally announced by the government organisation at the end of 2012; the intention was to reduce the workload on the teachers developing and supporting the software by outsourcing this work to a commercial company. UCS@school is based on version 3.1 of the open source Univention Corporate Server.

  • Two fallacies of choice

    Free Software means nobody can stop you doing whatever you want with the software³, but this also protects the developers’ rights to do whatever they want. Nothing they change (even GNOME 3) can actually infringe that freedom, even if you don’t like it.

    So: there may be legitimate criticisms of new software like pulseaudio or juju (or GNOME 3 or the new anaconda), but any complaint along the lines of “the developers are taking our freedom/choices away!” is 100% rhetorical nonsense.

  • Little Things Make It All Happen

    Reglue is no different. From picking up and diagnosing donated computers to taking care of vehicles, coordinating volunteers and making sure computers get into the hands that need them, sometimes the little things can slip below the horizon.

  • Chromebook wars: Pixel vs. Samsung Series 5 550

    On my test machine table, I have Google’s brand new Chromebook Pixel. Beside it, I have what had been the fastest Chromebook before it, the Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook. Is the Pixel better? Yes. No question about it. But, here’s the real question: Is it $850 better?

  • Key statistics from the 2013 Linux Jobs Survey & Report

    For the first time, both hiring mangers (850) and Linux professionals (2,600) were surveyed in the 2013 Linux Jobs Survey & Report, which forecasts and provides a comprehensive view of the Linux career landscape, including business needs and personal incentives.

    The report also includes insights into why employers are seeking Linux talent now and what the top incentives are for Linux professionals.

  • Desktop

    • Chromebook Pixel can boot into Ubuntu and Linux Mint, just like a real laptop

      There are plenty of reasons to not want to spend $1450 on the Chromebook Pixel, but most of them are an extension of the fact that Chrome OS hasn’t grown up enough to replace a traditional OS. Fortunately, Google’s new BIOS makes it easier to work around the native operating system than any Chrome OS hardware before it.

      The main appeal of the Samsung Chromebook and its ilk has been price. For $250, you could afford to pick one up and see if you were going to like it. You could give one as a gift to that family member who considered it a biological imperative to click on every link they came across, leaving you to scrub the shame off of their hard drive the next time you were over for a visit.

    • The Linux Setup – Dan Gillmor, Journalist

      I’m a huge fan of Dan Gillmor. As a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, he was on top of a lot of great tech stories. His book, We the Media, was an incredibly accurate prediction of where American journalism was heading in the early part of this century. And he’s been very public about his move to Linux. So I’m pretty psyched to have his participation here.

    • Dances with Laps

      I’ve been searching for a new laptop for a very long time. My old Dell Inspiron 6400 has served me very well for over four years, but about a year ago I decided I needed a refresh. I finally decided upon the Dell XPS but it was a hard journey coming to that decision! Read on for a little bit more background about why I picked this laptop on how Mageia runs on it!

  • Server

    • Private clouds driving up Linux uptake in Australia: IDC

      As enterprises move to adopt private clouds in the backend, Linux will increasingly become the operating system of choice for server infrastructures in Australia, according to IDC research director Matthew Oostveen.

      In financial year 2012, AU$235.35 million was spent on Linux servers, and in the same year, one in four servers shipped in the Australian market was Linux-based. Approximately 29 percent of all the money spent on server infrastructure in Australia went towards Linux servers.

      Based on those figures, IDC believes Linux is now running more enterprise mission and business critical workloads than other OSes such as Windows Server.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • NILFS2: A Slow But Dependable Linux File-System

      Last week when benchmarking the new F2FS file-system from Samsung that was introduced in the Linux 3.8 kernel its performance was compared to Btrfs, EXT3, EXT4, XFS, JFS, and ReiserFS. For those hoping to see file-system performance results of NILFS2, those results are available today.

    • EXT4 File-System Updated For Linux 3.9

      The EXT4 file-system in the forthcoming Linux 3.9 kernel will support using the previously-introduced punch hole functionality for inodes not using extent maps.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • The GUI You Never Knew You Had: The X-Window System
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Roadmap for Kolab 3.1 – iRony included

        A few weeks ago we released a brand new major version of Kolab. The feedback we received was overwhelming and we are truly happy that we see more and more people who are taking control of the cloud and escape the monopoly with Kolab 3. It is great to have such an amazing community that encourages and supports our work while providing helpful and constructive feedback to make Kolab even more awesome.

      • process separation

        When Google Chrome first came out sporting its process separation feature where each tab is in its own process, it was broadly hailed as the best thing ever. The idea was to increase stability and security.

        This was during a time when Plasma Desktop was still facing a number of implementation hurdles that impacted stability. So a number of well-meaning people decided that I should be informed about this revolutionary new idea in Chrome and every component in Plasma Desktop should be put into its own process.

      • KDE from the future #2

        The second episode of KDE from the future, where we briefly talk about what happened this week in the development of Plasma and KWin is online here

      • Cool KDE Users

        Can I thank all the Kubuntu Ninjas for their superlative efforts with Raring (amazingly stable for Alpha 2), KDE SC 4.10 and KDE Telepathy.. it is amazingly smooth and stable, and uses a lot less memory than previous releases.. very impressed..

        I was watching a film about the Pirate Bay last night on BBC’s Storyville, turns out the people who run The Pirate Bay run KDE.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • DistroRank
    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Honing in on Logo

        Last month OpenMandriva announced a contest to solicit community contributed logo proposals. The entry deadline has come and gone and the next phase has begun. Once verification is complete, public voting commences. So, let’s take a look at some of the proposals.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Sabayon 11 XFCE Review: Extremely refined and a release not to be missed!

        The name “Sabayon” always rings me of a very refined and extremely polished Linux operating system. As has been my experience with Sabayon 9 and 10, even the Sabayon 11 release doesn’t disappoint. Sabayon 11 is refinement exemplified and is released in four flavors: Gnome 3, KDE, XFCE and LXDE. I start this series of review with my preferred desktop environment, XFCE.

      • Sabayon 11 KDE Review: Great aesthetics and stable performance

        To begin with, Sabayon 11 release is not be missed. At least that is the evidence I got post using the Sabayon 11 XFCE release. Hardware support is better than ever with complete EFI/UEFI and UEFI SecureBoot support, greatly improved NVIDIA Optimus support through Bumblebee, a selection of MySQL flavors, including Google MySQL and MariaDB, up to 14000 packages now available in the repositories per architecture, and much, much more. I already reviewed the XFCE release and found it to be really really good. Next in line is the KDE version.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Symphony In Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Minor

        Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4 arrives this month as a small but beautifully formed “minor” release with several new components including scale-out data access through parallel NFS (pNFS). To provide this, Red Hat has collaborated with its partners and the upstream community on the parallel Network File System (pNFS) industry standard.

      • Big Data Storage: Five Must-haves for Middle East Enterprises

        DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, 27th February 2013: Big data holds big opportunities for companies here in the Middle East. Correctly leveraged, it can enable the organization to attract and retain new customers, deliver more innovative and profitable products, improve business performance and tap unexpected revenue streams. Oil companies are using real-time data to better manage remote drilling operations. E-commerce websites are using data from their operations to personalize the shopping experience and radically improve customer support. And an ever-growing number of start-up companies are combining innovative cloud services with big data analysis to create highly targeted products and services sold directly to consumers.

        Yet harnessing the power of big data is not without challenges. The same massive volumes of structured and unstructured data that create these opportunities for innovation can confound attempts to cost-effectively contain it, let alone extract value from it. And while the strategic questions surrounding big data are indeed difficult- What data do we actually need? How should we analyze and interpret it? What value will we eventually get from it? Perhaps the most difficult question to answer is the most basic: How will we store it?

      • Red Hat spins, SUSE plays it straight

        Red Hat is the 800-kg gorilla of the commercial Linux space. SUSE is about quarter of that in terms of revenue, yet is the second biggest of the three companies that vie for business attention in the burgeoning Linux market.

        Last week, Red Hat announced its intention to get into the big data business; this week SUSE is trying to woo new businesses in Australia and keep its existing partners in the loop.

        There could not be a bigger contrast in the approach the two companies take.

        Red Hat’s presser was a webcast, with Ranga Rangachari, vice-president and general manager of the company’s storage business unit, making a presentation. I understood it to be a one-hour affair, but it ran for only 32 minutes.

    • Debian Family

      • Kademar 5 preview

        Kademar is Debian-based Linux distribution, with KDE as the default desktop. The first beta of what would be Kademar 5 was released a few days ago. And this beta release is my introduction to this distribution.

        As always, I’m always curious to find out what the installer looks like and if it supports the features that define a feature-complete graphical installation program for a modern Linux distribution.

      • Linux Mint Debian 201303 RC released!
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch prepped for 20+ smartphones and tablets

            The developer preview of the Linux-based OS was released for the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones and Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets last week.

          • Airing of grievances: in which upgrading Ubuntu wreaks havoc
          • Why the Ubuntu Tablet Is a Winner

            At the time of this article, Canonical’s efforts with Ubuntu have done wonders for gaining new adopters for Linux. Sadly however, Canonical’s efforts have yet to make the company profitable.

            Despite their financial shortcomings thus far, Canonical is bullish about their efforts with the Ubuntu phone and the Ubuntu tablet. Recently I was given the opportunity to try both firsthand.

            After spending some time getting to know the interface and understanding the core back-end, I was shocked to find that in many regards the Ubuntu developer preview had a ton going for it. In this article, I will share why I think this could be a winning alternative to Android on the tablet.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 305
          • Can Ubuntu ‘Converge’ Across Phones, TVs, PCs and Tablets?
          • Will SurfaceFlinger Replace Compiz In Ubuntu 14.04?

            Canonical has been hard at work on some very interesting projects lately. This new direction started last year when it announced Ubuntu for phones, a fully featured desktop loaded onto an Android device. More recently — and more mysteriously — they’ve been working on the Ubuntu operating system for phones and tablets as a replacement for Android.

          • 7 Impressive Features Expected in Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail)

            Ubuntu 13.04 (codenamed Raring Ringtail), apart from being a long-term release, will bring along some major changes to the Ubuntu operating system. With the proposed improvements in Dash, one of Shuttleworth’s major goals, that is bringing the web and the desktop together, will get a shot in the arm. Undoubtedly, Ubuntu 13.04 marks a crucial release for Canonical.

            Their new project on the other hand, which is bringing Ubuntu to smartphones, is in heavy development. But the busy developers at Canonical are making sure that their core product gets all the attention it deserves. Ubuntu 13.04, apart from bringing new features to the user, will also come with a more polished and refined look that will hopefully put it head-to-head with Microsoft’s convoluted Windows 8 desktop.

          • Ubuntu Developer Summit Reformatted; Is Canonical Starting To Cut Costs?
          • Ubuntu Touch OS heading to slew of smartphones, tablets
          • ‘Ubuntu Touch Port-a-Thon’: 25 devices and counting
          • How Ubuntu Turned Search in the Dash into a PR Crisis

            While Ubuntu’s upcoming phone and tablet dominate the headlines, an existing controversy is threatening to flare up again as the 13.04 release nears. The display of Amazon search results in the dash, which first became an issue in the 12.10 release, is erupting again as Ubuntu plans to extend the feature to dozens of other websites. The company also plans to add direct payments from the dash and more suggestions.

            Ubuntu has been displaying music search results in the dash for several releases. However, the music results were drawn from Ubuntu’s own music store, and those who use the dash to search for applications on their hard drive may have never noticed them.

          • On Moving To An Online Ubuntu Developer Summit

            Some of you may have seen the news about us transitioning to an online Ubuntu Developer Summit and running the event every three months. If you didn’t see the news, you can read it here. I just wanted to share my personal perspective on this change.

            For a long time now I have been attending Ubuntu Developer Summits as part of my work, but for the last event in Copenhagen my wife was about to give birth and so I attended the event remotely. As someone who has been heavily involved in the planning and execution of UDS for the last 10 or so events, I was intimately aware of the remote participation features of the event, but I had never actually utilized them myself. I was excited to dive into the sessions remotely and participate.

          • XDA Developers and Ubuntu Touch
          • No more physical Ubuntu Developer Summits – moving to the cloud

            The six-monthly Ubuntu Developer Summits (UDS) – held in locations such as Brussels, Orlando in Florida, Budapest, Oakland in California, and Copenhagen – will not be taking place in future, according to an announcement by Community Manager Jono Bacon. The meetings will be replaced by online events held every three months. The real world events which saw Ubuntu and Canonical developers from around the world gather at the start of an Ubuntu release cycle to plan the features of that release, are to be replaced by online gatherings using Google+ Hangouts supported by IRC, Etherpad, “Social Media sharing and links to blueprints and specs”.

          • Elegant Ubuntu Touch OS impresses for phones and tablets (hands-on)
          • Ubuntu Developer Summit Is Dead, Long Live Online UDS
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Take that, Chrome OS! Chromebook Pixel runs Ubuntu and Linux Mint

              It’s not easy to shell out $1,450 for a laptop that runs a Web-dependent operating system, especially when it has much, much cheaper counterparts. Why spend that much money on the Chromebook Pixel when you can get an Acer C7 for $200, a Samsung Series 3 for $250, or an HP Pavilion Chromebook for $330? The Chromebook Pixel does have great hardware replete with a display that can rival Apple’s Retina screen – and it does come with an amusing Konami easter egg – but the limitations brought about by Chrome OS might still deter most people from getting the device. Still, if it entices you enough that you actually want to get it, know that you can at least install Ubuntu or Linux Mint on it thanks to an extra BIOS slot.

            • Fuduntu: An Innovative Old Linux Revisited

              Ease of navigation, better battery performance, Fedora-style functionality; how can Linux users not find the fun in Fuduntu? This distro brings the open source goodness to the desktop, and provides workarounds for popular applications like Netflix, but does so in a way that’s almost an homage to classic Linux — right down to the old-school GNOME 2 desktop effects like woobly windows.

            • A Fat Stack of Bodhi Linux

              When I first started preparing Bodhi ISO images almost two and a half years ago I set out with the goal of providing a clutter free operating system powered by the latest Enlightenment desktop. We call what we do “minimalist” meaning it doesn’t come with a whole lot by default. This ideology isn’t for everyone, though. Thankfully, the power of choice is something that greatly empowers free software development.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenGamma’s Kirk Wylie: Open Source Is Busting Out All Over

    “The fact that we are open source is critical to most of our customers. The fact that it is absolutely transparent, that they can inspect the code if they want to, that they can pack up and move to self support is the ultimate alignment of our customers’ interest in our business model. And what they really care about more than anything else is that our business model must remain in radical alignment with theirs .”

  • Open source app can detect text’s authors

    Free whitepaper – Cern and FuseSource Case Study

    A group of Adelaide researchers has released an open-source tool that helps identify document authorship by comparing texts.

    While their own test cases – and therefore the headlines – concentrated on identifying the authors of historical documents, it seems to The Register that any number of modern uses of such a tool might arise.

  • The Open Source Column – You can’t have it until we tell you

    No matter what technology exists, the wrong people seem to be in charge of turning the taps, argues Simon

  • 75 Open Source Replacements for Popular Education Apps

    School budgets never seem to get any larger, but one way educational institutions may be able to cut costs is by deploying open source software. The open source community has developed applications that educators can use directly in the classroom, apps that are great for use at home and tools that administrators can use for school management.

  • DoubleTwist Teams Up With Qualcomm On Open Source AirPlay Alternative, “MagicPlay”

    DoubleTwist, an iTunes alternative for the Android ecosystem, has teamed up with chipmaker Qualcomm on the release of “MagicPlay,” which the two companies are describing as an open-source, media-streaming platform meant to challenge Apple’s AirPlay. The technology is built on Qualcomm’s AllJoyn protocol, a mesh networking platform that has been in development for several years, but which has yet to achieve serious OEM or consumer adoption.

  • Growing the next generation of open source hackers
  • Events

    • Southern California Linux Expo Features 3D Printing, Cloud Computing, Product Demos
    • Open Education Week: March 11-15
    • One for the record books

      The Southern California Linux Expo turned their annual event up to 11 this year in more ways than one.

      SCALE 11X, celebrating its 11th year as the first-of-the-year Linux/Open Source expo in North America, played host to more than 2,300 attendees visiting more than 100 exhibitors and hearing more than 90 speakers giving a wide variety of presentations during the course of the three-day event.

      Many of the sessions had full attendance, and some were in overflow status. A testament to the quality of the presentations during the course of SCALE 11X is that some of the final presentations on Sunday afternoon were also full.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


    • RMS

      I hear he was here last time in the mid-90ies, but that happened ages ago and very few people know it ever happened, so when Richard Stallman came to Bucharest it was quite an event for the local FOSS community, many traveled long distance to see him talking. For me it was obvious to go there, I never attended one of his talks and it was a perfect opportunity to take some photos.

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • Cloud Foundry, Forking and the Future of Permissively Licensed Open Source Platforms

      With the cost of forking reduced or eliminated entirely, software development is parellelized; much as bacteria evolve more quickly because they iterate in peer to peer fashion, so too can software projects innovate along multiple parallel tracks rather than a single serial development path. DVCS-enabled forking, then, is an enormous step forward for software development.

      What is less clear, however, is the impact of forking on platform compatibility in an age of permissively licensed software. In his counterpoint to Schuller’s original blog post, VMware’s Patrick Chanezon pointed to this timeline of the various Linux forks, saying in part that there would be “No Linux of the Cloud without forking.” This assertion is likely correct; certainly it’s difficult to imagine Linux evolving as quickly or successfully without its decentralized – and fork-friendly – development model. As many are aware, in fact, Git – the most popular DVCS tool in use today – was originally written to manage the Linux kernel.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • DOJ ‘admits’ to targeting Aaron Swartz over his activism
      • DOJ admits Aaron’s prosecution was political

        The DOJ has told Congressional investigators that Aaron’s prosecution was motivated by his political views on copyright.

        I was going to start that last paragraph with “In a stunning turn of events,” but I realized that would be inaccurate — because it’s really not that surprising. Many people speculated throughout the whole ordeal that this was a political prosecution, motivated by anything/everything from Aaron’s effective campaigning against SOPA to his run-ins with the FBI over the PACER database. But Aaron actually didn’t believe it was — he thought it was overreach by some local prosecutors who didn’t really understand the internet and just saw him as a high-profile scalp they could claim, facilitated by a criminal justice system and computer crime laws specifically designed to give prosecutors, however incompetent or malicious, all the wrong incentives and all the power they could ever want.

      • We Paid for the Research, So Let’s See It

        The Obama administration is right to direct federal agencies to make public, without charge, all scientific papers reporting on research financed by the government. In a memorandum issued on Friday, John Holdren, the president’s science adviser, directed federal agencies with more than $100 million in annual research and development expenditures to develop plans for making the published results of almost all the research freely available to everyone within one year of publication.

      • Aaron Swartz Prosecutors Weighed ‘Guerilla’ Manifesto, Justice Official Tells Congressional Committee

        A Justice Department representative told congressional staffers during a recent briefing on the computer fraud prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that Swartz’s “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” played a role in the prosecution, sources told The Huffington Post.

        Swartz’s 2008 manifesto said sharing information was a “moral imperative” and advocated for “civil disobedience” against copyright laws pushed by corporations “blinded by greed” that led to the “privatization of knowledge.”

      • Public access to scientific research endorsed by White House

        The White House responded last week to the petition: Increasing Public Access to the Results of Scientific Research. It was posted to the We the People petition site and got 65,704 signatures (the minimum required is 25,000).

  • Programming

    • NetBeans 7.3 helps with web-centric development

      Oracle has released version 7.3 of its NetBeans open source IDE; this is mainly used in Java development, but also works with PHP and C/C++. The new release’s features cater predominantly to the needs of programmers who increasingly need to include HTML5, JavaScript and CSS in their desktop and mobile applications. As a consequence, the majority of new features affect the web development and mobile capabilties of the IDE. The highlight of these enhancements is the new JavaScript editor and debugger that is based on the Nashorn project; Nashorn is the new JavaScript implementation for the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).


Microsoft Much Worse Than Proprietary With ‘Secure Boot’ Scam, Pretends to be ‘Open’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Emergency phone

Summary: Some of Microsoft’s latest technical attacks on Linux and some responses to EEE (embrace, extend, extinguish) tactics and FUD

Torvalds clearly refuses to give up by putting blobs and keys (similar to but worse than firmware) by adding Microsoft interfaces for Microsoft-signed keys inside the kernel, especially if these are Microsoft’s. This is major news that got the attention of journalists and a known Microsoft booster incites against Torvalds over this (just see headline and image here). Red Hat has been getting close to Microsoft again, so as one blogger put it:

  • Linus Bites RedHat

    It’s great that Linus does not support the idea of making M$ the keeper of the keys. We’ve had enough of that in IT for decades. Free Software needs to remain free of M$ and anyone else who wishes to lock out competition. Linus is not a great lover of FLOSS. His views are based on practicality. It’s stupid to lock Linux into M$. Does RedHat really believe it’s a great thing if millions of GNU/Linux boxes quit booting if M$ revokes a key via firmware upgrade etc.? Do they really think “secure boot” is about security of the world’s IT rather than perpetuation of M$’s monopoly on legacy x86 stuff? Using the damned keys to induce the world to take another step on the Wintel treadmill is just too tempting a fruit to trust M$ to leave it alone.

  • Closed !== Open

    I don’t think so. In the immortal words of Paul Maritz, “* to combat Nscp. we have to have position the browser as “going away” and do deeper integration on Windows. The stronger way to communicate this is to have a “new release“ of windows and make a big deal out of it. We will thus position Memphis as “Windows 98′. * IE integration will be most compelling feature of Memphis.“ Nathan Myhrvold wrote, “I think that it is CRUCIAL to make the statement we ask people about in the survey, or the statement we ask them to sign etc. is worded properly. Saying “put the browser in the OS” is already a statement that is prejudical to us. The name “Browser” suggests a separate thing. I would NOT phrase the survey. or other things only in terms of “put the browser in the 0S’‘. Instead you need to ask a more neutral question about how Internet technology needs to merge with local computing. I have been pretty successful in trying this on various joumalists and industry people.“ To sum up, is the company that brought waves of malware to the world of IT by integrating a totally insecure web browser with their OS in order to mess with competitors to be trusted as “open”? No. M$ is a closed corporation with closed products intending to close out competition by fair means or foul. Pretending to be open is just a means to delay the shift to real openness, FLOSS, or to slow that shift.

Even more Microsoft-apologetic circles accepted Torvalds’ skepticism. To quote one:

As it turned out, almost all of the Windows 8 machines that first appeared had Secure Boot implemented in such a way that Linux was locked out. Workarounds have appeared, but they are based on Microsoft-signed keys. As the maker of the dominant Windows operating system, Microsoft has a responsibility to protect fair play in a way that it didn’t here. In this day of virtualization and usage of multiple operating systems, it’s unfair to build an operating system around a methodology that allows for complete and utter lockout of other platforms. Torvalds’ reactions are only protests at the end of the chain reaction that all of this represented. The fact is that if Microsoft wants to be accepted as playing more fairly with open source these days than it ever has, it has carry that concept through to how it deals with everything it builds and how it deals with hardware makers.

Microsoft pretends to be open, but it’s not working. Here is another new embrace-and-extend attempt:

The expanded partnership between Microsoft and Hadoop distribution specialist Hortonworks has borne fruit with the release of a beta of Hortonworks’ Hadoop Data Platform for Windows.

With its hidden patches and a deal with Sourcefire Microsoft must have hoped to diss Linux some more. Watch this nonsense:

But simple vulnerability counts can give a distorted view. The Linux kernel is considered to be one monolithic project across the entire period, for example, while every version of Windows is a separate project. The total count of vulnerabilities for all Windows versions exceeds Linux. But then Windows is more than just a kernel. Add in all the software included in Linux distributions, and Linux goes back into the doghouse. Younan counted just the high-severity vulnerabilities, those with a Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) score of 7 or higher. Windows XP tops that list. “Windows Vista is at the number five position, even though Microsoft put a lot of effort into securing Windows Vista,” he said. “The Linux kernel isn’t even in the top ten.” Vista was the first version of Windows to benefit from Microsoft’s Security Development Lifecycle (SDL), the software development process created after Bill Gates’ Trustworthy Computing memo of January 2002. Yet from the vulnerability perspective, Vista looks like little more than a rough draft of Windows 7. Counting high-severity vulnerabilities alone, Flash Player is back in the top 10, at number five. The count of high-severity vulnerabilities doesn’t exhibit that 2012 uptick, only the steady post-2006 decline. However when looking at just critical vulnerabilities, those with a CVSS of 10, there’s no sign of a decline at all.

What silly way to count vulnerabilities. As one of the many comments points out: “I largely agree with Alex in Comment 3 (I also agree with Myth in Comment 1 that 22 != 25, but I digress). Without knowing which kernels had which CVEs reported against it, and which distros shipped with those kernels and how many people used the vulnerable kernel and the averages of people updating on install… ‘simply’ citing the Linux CVEs are practically meaningless.” The FUD against Linux recently seems like part of a trend this month, with Microsoft partners behind it.

Vista 8 Still Massively Rejected

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 1:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: News about Vista 8 and the flagship Vista 8 hardware

It is no secret that Microsoft is having many problems these days. Vista 8, the common carrier, is not being adopted in commerce. This is a big deal. People also ditch it after paying for it:

The world is “clearing” “8″. Is there any better proof that M$’s house is crumbling? Clearing is what retailers do when they want to make room for other stock or they are tired of stuff filling shelves without selling. They will throw away most if not all of their profit in doing so. One of M$’s cash-cows is drying up.

Even Microsoft allies like Gartner have no faith in Vista 8 and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols thinks that Microsoft loses its identity:

If, however, Microsoft makes Office available for those more popular tablets as well, Surface will never catch up. Microsoft must know that it’s looking at the possibility of Surface joining the ranks of Zune.

So that’s the billion-dollar question Microsoft is facing. Does it put all its eggs in the software basket, as it has done for the most part during all its existence, or does it continue to seek a foothold as a hardware vendor? If Office for iOS and Android does come along, it has decided to forgo its dreams of hardware riches.

As Hamlet might sum it all up: Thus sales do make cowards of us all; and enterprises of great pith and moment, with this regard their marketing turns awry, and lose the name of action.

This is a massive crisis. Windows has become irrelevant. At electronics stores, for instance, Android seems to be outselling Windows. I last saw that yesterday. Even Apple is growing at Microsoft’s expense.


Links 26/2/2013: Linux Jobs Talking Points, HP Tablet Run Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 10:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Jobs in 2013, a Q&A with Dice’s Alice Hill

    The job market for Linux professionals this year is even better than it was in 2012. Ninety-three percent of hiring managers surveyed said they plan to hire at least one Linux pro in the next six months — up from 89 percent last year, according to the 2013 Linux Jobs Report released last week by Dice and The Linux Foundation. And 75 percent of Linux pros surveyed say at least one recruiter has called them in the last six months in an effort to find talent for positions that are getting harder to fill.

  • SPYRUS® Announces Secure Pocket Drive™ Build Your Own Linux Program
  • Booting desktop Linux on the Chromebook Pixel

    Bill Richardson, a software engineer for Google, has detailed how to boot a conventional Linux distribution on the company’s new Chromebook Pixel. Google released the Chromebook Pixel last week – the device costs £1,049, has a 13″ touchscreen with a resolution of 2560×1700 pixels, a 1.8GHz Core i5 CPU, 4GB RAM and 32GB (64GB for the LTE version) of internal SSD storage. Where previous Chromebooks only supported booting Google’s ChromeOS directly, the Pixel has an added option to support a third-party bootloader which enables it to be relatively easily modified to boot stock Linux desktop distributions.

  • Linux Foundation report: Linux professionals wanted

    The Linux Foundation has surveyed 850 hiring managers at small and medium businesses, larger corporations, government organisations and recruiting agencies, as well as 2,600 Linux professionals worldwide, about the state of the Linux job market for its 2013 Linux Jobs Report. The report was created in conjunction with the Dice.com career web site and concludes that 93% of the surveyed companies are planning to hire at least one Linux professional in the next six months and 90% said it was difficult to find people with the appropriate skill sets for these jobs.

  • Big Data Puts Linux Talent in Hot Demand
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Sound To Be Improved In 3.9 Kernel

      Takashi Iwai has mailed in the sound updates for the Linux 3.9 kernel. This Git pull has the much anticipated HDA Intel audio re-work.

      The biggest highlight of the sound updates for Linux 3.9 is the unification of the HD Audio codec driver so that there’s now a generic parser that is used by each HDA codec driver. This big fundamental audio change is covered in more detail in the earlier Phoronix article.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Vivaldi tablet in harmony with new vendor

        KDE and Plasma developer Aaron Seigo has given an update on the state of the planned Vivaldi tablet in a video published on his YouTube channel. In the video, Seigo addresses new developments regarding the tablet, which was originally announced at the beginning of 2012. The team has apparently changed its plans and has designed its own, custom tablet hardware which should enter general production in about three months. According to Seigo, the manufacturer has now begun the tooling for the hardware. The last official statement on the project dates from September and cites a major setback.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Aims For Big Data
      • Red Hat Embraces Big Data, Contributes Hadoop Plug-In

        Red Hat Inc. on Wednesday announced the contribution of its Hadoop plug-in to the Apache open source community.

        Best known for its enterprise Linux distributions, Red Hat announced the open sourcing of its Red Hat Storage Hadoop plug-in as part of a broader announcement of a shift in direction toward embracing Big Data with an “open hybrid cloud” application platform and infrastructure.

        As explained by company executive Ranga Rangachari in a Webcast, the open hybrid cloud is designed to give companies the ability to create Big Data workloads on a public cloud and move them back and forth between their own private clouds, “without having to reprogram those applications.” Red Hat said in a news release that many companies use public clouds such as Amazon Web Services for developing software, proving concepts and pre-production phases of projects that use Big Data. “Workloads are then moved to their private clouds to scale up the analytics with the larger data set,” the company said.

      • Red Hat Fleshes Out Hadoop-focused Big Data Plans

        In addition to its focus on cloud computing, which will be led by an OpenStack-based distribution and robust support plans taking shape this year, Red Hat is also doublling down on its focus on Big Data. The company has announced that it “will contribute its Red Hat Storage Hadoop plug-in to the ApacheTM Hadoop open community to transform Red Hat Storage into a fully-supported, Hadoop-compatible file system for big data environments.” The goal is to be able to help companies put in place Big Data-crunching environments that work in conjunction with cutting-edge storage strategies.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 18 + MATE – Not bad for the first attempt

          For me, Fedora 18 Spherical Cow was a big disappointment, mostly because Fedora 17 was a big positive surprise. It’s like that woman who keeps smiling at you through the dinner and flirts with you, and then when you take her into your motel room, she suddenly starts crying. I mean what’s up with that.

        • The new Anaconda installer

          It’s no secret that the new Anaconda installer for Fedora 18 has caused a stir. As part of a major internal re-write, the user interface has been completely re-designed which has caused some confusion and there are bugs and missing features. This is why we included an install video in Korora 18, to help walk you through the process.

        • Fedora 18 – A Sysadmin’s view

          At our school we have around 100 desktops, a vast majority of which run Fedora, and somewhere around 900 users. We switched from Windows to Fedora shortly after Fedora 8 was released and we’ve hit 8, 10, 13, 16, and 17 (deploying a local koji instance has made it easier to upgrade).

    • Debian Family

      • Updated Debian 6.0: 6.0.7 released
      • Tails 0.17 is out
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Is Ubuntu Touch Just CyanogenMod With Unity On Top?

            Canonical took the entire IT world by storm with the back-to-back announcements of Ubuntu Phone and then Tablet OS. It’s looks really impressive in the video (since most of it is in developer preview stage and non working, we can’t comment how it will shape up). It was really impressive to see how Canonical managed to do develop Ubuntu Touch from ‘ground-up’.

          • Hey Canonical: I just tested Ubuntu for phones and I’m sold

            There’s a Key Lime Pie-size hole in the Android ecosystem, and Jelly Bean hasn’t filled the gap. Jelly Bean has suited me well for the past five months, but that doesn’t mean I’m not getting bored with it. I’m looking for more quick settings in the notification pull-down bar, an overhaul to the app drawer to add more icons per page, and a maximum CPU-clock speed to negate Project Butter’s battery drain effect.

          • Here’s A Look At Ubuntu For Tablets

            After Mark Shuttleworth kindly demonstrated Ubuntu Mobile for us at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, we’ve all been patiently wondering how different — or similar for that matter — it would look on a tablet. Wonder no longer with this here preview video!

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Ixonos Presents Fast Video Streaming and Modern Embedded LINUX BSP at Embedded World 2013
    • Wind River Joins OSADL to Advance Linux in Embedded and Industrial Designs

      Wind River®, a world leader in embedded and mobile software, has joined the Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL). With its membership, Wind River will collaborate with other OSADL members to further promote and support Linux solutions for the embedded and industrial markets.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

      • Android

        • China’s Konka Launching ‘Expose’ Android Smartphone In India

          China-based Konka is all set to enter India with a range of Android smartphones. The company, in association with Mak Mobility, is planning to launch Android-powered Expose phone in India. The company said with Expose, it aims to target both photography enthusiasts and discerning smartphone users.

          After launching Expose in the Indian market, the company has plans to come up with a few more handsets including ‘Tuxedo’ for business executives and Tango smartphones for music lovers.

        • Huawei Reveals the World’s Fastest 4G LTE Smartphone
        • CoolShip Android all-in-keyboard computer
        • Slate 7 Is HP’s First Android-Powered Tablet

          Long after giving up on TouchPads and other mobile devices, HP has made a tablet comeback with the announcement of its first Android device, the HP Slate 7. With a starting price of $169, it is likely to be launched in the United States in April this year.

          Talking about the specs, the Slate 7 is a 7-inch tablet that runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS. With a soft-touch rubber exterior, the device sports a dual-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A9 chip, 1024 x 600 resolution FFS+ LCD touchscreen display, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of solid state storage (expandable via microSD), 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1. It has a front-facing VGA webcam and a 3-megapixel rear camera. The speakers have Beats Audio processing with a stainless steel frame.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • HP lets loose Android-based Slate 7 tablet starting at $169

        Hewlett-Packard has reentered the consumer tablet market with the Slate 7, an Android-based device with a 7-inch screen that will start at US$169.

        The Slate 7 will run Android 4.1, also known as Jellybean, and have a dual-core processor based on ARM’s Cortex-A9 design. It will start shipping in the U.S. in April, HP said. It didn’t provide availability details for other countries.

      • And Now, Ubuntu for Tablets – Wait, What?

        “On the one hand, a real Linux tablet is very attractive,” said Google+ blogger Kevin O’Brien. “On the other hand, what will the ecosystem look like? Will there be all of the apps I want? … There is a tendency still for companies to not create Linux clients for popular apps. So will there be Kindle app for Ubuntu? An Evernote app? What about all of the Google apps?”

      • Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z Can Really Make a Splash

        Sony’s Xperia Tablet Z is getting some second looks, with its slim-line design and trove of advanced features — not to mention its ability to take a bathtub dunking in stride. It’s a full-size tablet at 10.1 inches, but it’s only a quarter inch thick and weighs just over a pound. It’s also PlayStation certified.

      • Sony Launches Waterproof Xperia Tablet Z At MWC
      • Should Google Be Worried About Samsung’s Dominance?

        Samsung has turned Android into the leading player in the smartphone segment pushing Apple to the second position. The company is far ahead of the other Android players who have failed to mark any significant presence in the market, whether it be LG, Sony or HTC. This huge gap between Samsung and the rest of the Android players has started to worry Google, the company which created Android.

      • Ubuntu Now Available on Tablets — If You Have a Nexus 7

Free Software/Open Source

  • News: OpenSUSE’s Jos Poortvliet: Collaborate or Die
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla reveals Firefox smartphone launch partners

        The not-for-profit organisation behind the Firefox web browser has announced handsets based on its operating system for mobile phones.

        In a press conference ahead of Mobile World Congress, Mozilla said that 18 operators including Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica, were signed up.

      • Firefox to begin blocking third-party cookies by default

        Firefox is giving people concerned about their online privacy another reason to like the popular browser.

        It will begin blocking cookies from third-party advertisers in an upcoming release. While Firefox users can already use the Do Not Track extension to stave them off, the patch will allow the browser to do it by default. That means sites you’ve visited can leave cookies on your computer but ad networks that don’t already have one on your machine can’t.

      • Firefox Will Soon Block Third-Party Cookies
      • Firefox maker Mozilla to launch smartphone operating system
      • Mozilla Introduces Firefox 19 – Seamless PDF Viewing

        In the World Wide Web, the latest in technology and knowledge base production begets the latest in browsers. And with innovations seemingly limitless, there is no reason why browser development—literally our window into the web—should lag behind.

        With this logic to stay up-to-date and even take the lead probably in mind, Mozilla introduces Firefox 19 for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. This latest and most up-to-date Firefox version features a cross-platform built-in PDF viewer within the latest Firefox browser. This improvement offers a safer and more seamless PDF viewing experience on any desktop and theme support on Google’s Android mobile platform.

      • WebRTC – Ringing A Mobile Phone Near You
      • Mobile operators look to Firefox to beat back Google, Apple

        Jumping into bed with Apple was a mistake for the mobile operators. Firefox is their second attempt at a solution.

        Apple was a mistake because operators gave away all their apps revenue to Cupertino, and that cash would have come in handy as voice and SMS cashflow declined. Instead, Apple was allowed to break all the rules – side loading, its own ecosystem, a share of revenues and many more.

      • MWC: Mozilla Showcases First Firefox OS Phones

        Unlocking the power of the Web on mobile, Mozilla on Sunday announced the first phones powered by its HTML5-focused Firefox mobile operating system (OS) at the Mobile World Congress. The Alcatel One Touch Fire and the ZTE Open are the first Firefox OS phones which, Mozilla said, are coming this summer. These two phones will come with Nokia’s Here Maps application preloaded, along with deep Facebook integration.

      • Firefox OS Has Surprising Support Coming Out of the Gate

        In conjunction with the Mobile World Congress conference, Mozila has officially taken the wraps off of its plans for Firefox OS, the mobile operating system that could represent the future of the company. Firefox OS is a free operating system that puts open web standards first, and the initial telcos that will deliver phones and services for it are known. LG Electronics, ZTE and Alcatel One Touch will all ship Firefox OS phones in the coming months. Chinese company Huawei is on board as well, and ZTE has a strong presence in China. Several analysts have already noted that Firefox OS has more support from hardware makers than Android had early on.

        Sometimes people forget how very young Android is. It was only back in 2009 that we were wondering why HTC was the only committed hardware backer of Android. Fast-forward to today, and Android leads the mobile phone market. Can the same happen to Firefox OS?

      • Mozilla Unlocks the Power of the Web on Mobile with Firefox OS
      • Firefox Launches ‘Nuclear First Strike Against Ad Industry’

        Firefox will now automatically block all third-party cookies, a crucial tool to help advertisers track users, and the ad industry is not happy about it.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • WebDAV Direct
    • The great 4.0 wrap-up

      We had an amazing success with the release of LibreOffice 4.0. New website pages, a flurry of articles (Time Magazine, ZDNet, TechCrunch Ars Technica, Computerworld, Slashdot, just to name a few), and a generally good feedback. We’re collecting as much data as we can to see how far we went in terms of downloads, but empirically we can already say that it was a success. The infra team worked hard to handle a huge load of visits and downloads; a major “Tweetstorm” that lasted for about 9 hours, and web trends that now show that this release was a major milestone in pushing the brand “LibreOffice” across the Internet. One thing is sure: we went out of this release in a different state we entered it.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Hungarian government confirms its plans for an open source resource centre

      The government of Hungary is creating a resource centre to help the country’s public administrations implement free and open source software and open standards. One of the main goals of the centre is to make public administrations aware of the free and open source alternatives to proprietary ICT solutions.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Awards offer €15,000 in prizes for open humanities projects

      We are excited to announce the first ever Open Humanities Awards. There are €15,000 worth of prizes on offer for 3-5 projects that use open content, open data, or open source tools to further humanities teaching and research. Whether you’re interested in patterns of allusion in Aristotle, networks of correspondence in the Jewish Enlightenment, or digitising public domain editions of Dante, we’d love to hear about the kinds of open projects that could support your interest!

    • Open Data

      • Public servants baulk at FOI changes

        The public service is revolting against reforms brought in by the federal government to make it easier and cheaper for people to use freedom-of-information laws.
        Nearly all public service departments have made a submission to a review of the laws saying the changes have created more work than they can handle and question whether the changes are delivering ”value for money” for the government.

        Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/public-servants-baulk-at-foi-changes-20130224-2ezmu.html#ixzz2LvIMrItB

    • Open Access/Content

      • DOJ Admits It Had To Put Aaron Swartz In Jail To Save Face Over The Arrest

        The odd thing is this little tidbit comes at the very, very end of a longer article, most of which focuses on the DOJ telling Congressional staffers that part of the reason they went after Swartz with such zeal was because of his infamous Guerilla Open Access Manifesto. That might explain why they were so eager to arrest him, but it seems like the much bigger deal, considering all the concern about prosecutor discretion, that after they arrested him, they then didn’t want to look bad, which is why they continued to demand jailtime and felony convictions.

        Many people have assumed all along that the Manifesto played a big role in the case — and the Manifesto has certainly been a lightening rod concerning Swartz’s activities. If you read the actual “manifesto” it’s not quite as extreme as some make it out to be — with much of it talking about taking stuff that is public domain, but still hidden behind walls, and making that available again. The controversial bit really is this paragraph, which starts out with legal activities, but gets much more ambiguous at the end:

  • Programming

    • LiveCode is next generation version of HyperCard

      LiveCode is like a next generation version of HyperCard. It is used to create simple one-off apps and utilities to solve day-to-day problems. As a production-quality, natural language hypermedia environment, LiveCode runs on all major operating systems (Linux, Mac, and Windows) and can generate code for all major desktop platforms, as well as all major mobile platforms (Android, iOS). They even got it up and running on the Raspberry Pi recently.

    • Ruby 2.0.0-p0 is released


  • Stunned by the friendliness of a stranger

    I am stunned. And speechless. And can hardly believe the fact that this person actually decided to help me. And that the reason behind it was a reason I try to live myself: helping others where you can so that they help others, to make this blue marble a better place. To actually help someone you never met and most likely will never meet who is living thousands of kilometers away, is a beautiful thing to do. And just gave me a bit more faith in humanity.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Is Your Local Police Department Using Pictures of Pregnant Women and Children for Target Practice?

      What if I told you police in your town could desensitize themselves to the idea of shooting a (armed) child, pregnant woman, or young mother, for just a couple of bucks? The “No More Hesitation” series from Law Enforcement Targets Inc. offers exactly that. For less than 99 cents per target, police can shoot at real-life images “designed to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training.”

    • Rennard Conundrum

      I have known of allegations of sexual pestering against Chris Rennard for at least five years, and I find it impossible to believe Nick Clegg has not known for longer.

      But I am baffled as to what the current fuss is about. The allegations of which I know are not of criminal offences, but the sort of inappropriate workplace conduct which should lose you your job. And it was always my understanding that was why Rennard resigned as Lib Dem Chief Executive four years ago. Unless there are new allegations which are actually criminal (and I have still not heard that alleged) what is actually supposed to happen now?

    • US senator says 4,700 killed in drone strikes

      Revelation by Lindsey Graham marks the first time any US official has given a number for drone fatalities.

    • Today’s Headlines and Commentary

      Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti of the Times report on the tussle between the Obama administration and Congress on whether to release the targeted killings memos or more information about the Benghazi attacks in order to get John Brennan confirmed.

    • Afghanistan government accuses US special forces of civilian death and torture

      Hamid Karzai orders US elite force to leave Maidan Wardak province after local reports of disappearance of nine people

    • Stripped of ‘Country of Origin’ Label, US Agrees to Sell Tear Gas to Egypt

      Egypt’s Interior Ministry ordered 140,000 teargas canisters from the United States in January, which the US State Department only allowed to be exported without the company’s name or any indication they were made in the U.S., the Egypt Independent reports Friday.

    • Bradley Manning Marks 1,000 Days in Pre-Trial Detention
    • Bradley Manning 1000 Days in Jail and more Government Crackdown on Transparency
    • How a Washington Global Torture Gulag Was Turned Into the Only Gulag-Free Zone on Earth

      The map tells the story. To illustrate a damning new report, “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detentions and Extraordinary Rendition,” recently published by the Open Society Institute, the Washington Post put together an equally damning graphic: it’s soaked in red, as if with blood, showing that in the years after 9/11, the CIA turned just about the whole world into a gulag archipelago.

      Back in the early twentieth century, a similar red-hued map was used to indicate the global reach of the British Empire, on which, it was said, the sun never set. It seems that, between 9/11 and the day George W. Bush left the White House, CIA-brokered torture never saw a sunset either.

    • The Starbucks View of Al-Qaida

      The United States has set up its first Sahelian drone base, in Niger, in order to carry on the war against “Al-Qaedah in the Islamic Maghreb”. The problem is that there is no such thing as “Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb”. The US seems to confuse Al-Qaeda with Starbucks. Al-Qaeda does not have branches everywhere, a highly organised supply chain, and transfer pricing.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Military icebreaker arrives to defend Japanese whalers

      Japan has sent a giant military icebreaker to bolster its whaling fleet in the conflict with Sea Shepherd off the Australian Antarctic Territory, anti-whaling activists say.
      The 12,500 tonne Shirase, operated by the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, has appeared near whalers and Sea Shepherd activists 50 nautical miles off the coast of the territory, the group said.

    • After Attacking Kwanzaa, WI Senator Moves on to Attacking Renewable Energy — with Help from ALEC

      Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman, who made headlines in December for an unprovoked attack on Kwanzaa, has set his sights on another imagined enemy: renewable energy standards. Although Sen. Grothman’s latest move is just as ridiculous as his past efforts, this one is part of a national effort backed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heartland Institute.

  • Finance

    • US judge freezes Goldman Sachs account over ‘suspicious’ Heinz trading

      A US judge froze a Goldman Sachs account that regulators say was used to make suspicious trades in H J Heinz, after unknown traders failed to appear in court to defend their claims to the assets.

      When the unidentified traders didn’t show up at a hearing on Friday in Manhattan, a US district judge, Jed Rakoff, said he would grant the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) request to freeze the Goldman Sachs account in Zurich until the case was resolved.

      “They can hide, but their assets can’t run,” Mr Rakoff announced, saying he had granted the SEC’s request and signed the freeze order.

      The agency said in its complaint that the trades came a day before Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital announced the US$23 billion (Dh84.4bn) takeover of Pittsburgh-based Heinz. The suspicious trading involved call-option contracts, the SEC said.

      Goldman Sachs told the regulator it doesn’t have “direct access” to information about the beneficial owner behind transactions in the account. The New York-based bank told the agency the account holder is a Zurich private-wealth client, the SEC said. Goldman has said it is co-operating with authorities.

    • Opinion: From Triple A to Triple Dip

      In February 2010, just before the general election, chancellor George Osborne set out his economic objectives “against which I expect to be judged”. High among them was retaining Britain’s AAA credit rating. Now the credit rating agency Moody’s has stripped Britain of its AAA rating. So judging Osborne by his own criterion, he has failed.

      Moody’s explained their decision as due to “continuing weakness in the UK’s medium-term growth outlook, with a period of sluggish growth which it now expects will extend into the second half of the decade”. Put simply, the economy isn’t growing, and isn’t expected to grow, and the implication of that for our debt to GDP ratio is dire.

      In the short term, Moody’s decision is unlikely in itself to change anything, since the markets were expecting it and have factored it into their decisions. But it does signal that the government has failed. In three years we’ve gone from a triple A credit rating to a triple dip recession.

    • George Will’s Stop & Frisk Factcheck

      Stop and frisk is definitely not sexy–and it might be not constitutional either. The practice of stopping people, mostly young men of color, and searching them without probable cause is a lot of things–racist on its face, for one.

      But does it actually have anything to do with a reduction in gun violence? To think so, one would want to show that the stops wind up in weapons arrests. But the evidence is that they overwhelmingly do nothing of the sort.

    • Power Grab at the Fed

      And these are the guys that Dudley wants to save, these self-serving miscreants who’re doing everything in their power to make the system more less safe, more unstable, and more crisis-prone?

      The reason the money markets are so vulnerable is NOT because there’s no fix, but because the big money is blocking even modest changes to the existing system. Wall Street would rather put the whole system at risk, then lose even one-thin dime in profits.

      More from Dudley: “The sheer size of banking functions undertaken outside commercial banking entities – even now, after the crisis – suggests that this issue must not be ignored. Pretending the problem doesn’t exist, or dealing with it only ex post through emergency facilities, cannot be consistent with our financial stability objectives.”

      In other words, the Fed has no idea of how leveraged this gigantic, unregulated shadow banking system really is. All they know is that it poses unseen risks that WILL lead to another disaster. So, rather than implement rules that could improve stability–as one might expect from the nation’s chief regulator–Dudley wants a blank check to spend whatever-it-takes to prop up this ghastly system.


    • Economic Update: Profit, Austerity and Criticizing the System
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Public back privacy law action on Google

      New research published today by Big Brother Watch/ComRes finds that the majority of the British public are concerned about their online privacy (68%) with nearly a quarter (22%) saying that they are very concerned.

      People are more likely to say that consumers are being harmed by big companies gathering large amounts of their personal data for internal use (46%) than they are to say that this enhances consumer experiences (18%).

      As European data protection regulators prepare to take action against Google one year on from its revised privacy policy coming into force, more than 7 in 10 (71%) of the British public say that privacy and data regulators were right to investigate Google’s privacy policy and how it allows Google to collect and combine data on consumers.

  • Civil Rights

    • Notorious hacker Sabu has to help the FBI for another six months

      Why wasn’t Anonymous hacker-turned-FBI-informant Hector “Sabu” Monsegur sentenced as scheduled last week in New York? When I called Judge Preska’s chambers last Thursday to check whether the sentencing would actually take place the following day, the man on the other end of the line told me that it would not—but he couldn’t tell me why, saying only that the reason would probably show up in the federal court’s online PACER system at some point soon.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Uniloc is a Nasty Patent Troll and It Attacks Android/Linux Developers (Updated)

Posted in Patents at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The troll which had gone after Microsoft (for cash) also went after Android developers based on a new report

THE Uniloc troll turns out to have attacked Linux already, even if indirectly. The article “Android developer fights evil patent troll” says the following:

Katie sez, “The video profiles software developer Austin Meyer, who is the target of a patent troll lawsuit involving a company called Uniloc, which owns a patent for the “System and Method for Preventing Unauthorized Access to Electronic Data.” Meyer’s flight simulator app X-Plane, like most paid applications on the Android market, uses the authorization system. Uniloc purchased the patent in question at a bankruptcy proceeding. Despite the enormous risk, and the enormous cost just to defend against a patent suit, Meyer is resolved to do so. The broader point of the video is that something needs to be done to stop patent trolls from simply buying patents in order to intimidate innovators into paying them a settlement. Patent trolls are a huge tax on innovation and add nothing to the marketplace.”

Reason.com, quite a popular Web site of alternative thinking, writes about “How Patent Trolls Kill Innovation”. It says:

“My statement to someone that is the victim of a patent troll lawsuit is that you are completely screwed,” says Austin Meyer, who is himself the target of a so-called “patent troll” lawsuit.

Meyer is a software developer and aviation enthusiast. His two passions intersected in the ’90s when he created a flight simulator called X-Plane, which quickly grew in popularity, outlasting even the once-popular Microsoft Flight Simulator. As many software developers do, Meyer made his application available on mobile devices like the iPhone and Android. And this is where he first ran into trouble.

What we must recognise, however, is that not only trolls are the problem; scope of patenting is a problem too. But since patent trolls usually use software patents (correlation was demonstrated before) a path in the right direction would be to eliminate software patents. In some sense, trolls are a symptom of software patents.

Update: I have just found an E-mail that Uniloc had sent me through a PR proxy to whitewash its shameless activities. It said:


Good afternoon. I saw your article on Techrights entitled “Apple’s and Microsoft’s Robbery of Knowledge Using Patents, i4i Case Might Reach SCOTUS” and found it extremely interesting. As you know, Sony Corporation, McAfee, Activision, Quark and two other companies have been sued by Uniloc USA for patent infringement. The suits stem from a massive case against Microsoft (in which Uniloc initially won $388 million in damages – the 5th largest award for Software infringement ever) and the suit is remarkable because of its potential reach: the technology in question became so popular as to be virtually ubiquitous today. The case against Microsoft is currently on appeal.

The lawsuit mentioned below follows closely on the heels of a wave of other suits by small businesses against goliaths (including two filed last month – Ebay was sued for $3.8 billion by XPRT and Apple, Google, Microsoft and others were sued by NTP, as you know, over patented smartphone technology), indicating small businesses are becoming more aggressive in fighting for their intellectual property rights.

By way of background, in 1992 software companies were losing billions to casual software copying. Uniloc was the first to combine the concept of product key and Hardware ID, and using both they created an airtight registration system (before this invention, most software relied on just a product key that Tom, Dick and Harry could take to college, give to their girlfriends and before you know it – millions of dollars in lost sales). For the first time, Uniloc’s invention locked software to a specific computer, making this casual copying next to impossible.

After patenting the invention in the early 90s, Uniloc commercialized the product through a licensing deal with IBM, and then began talks with Microsoft. Microsoft signed a non-disclosure agreement to not reverse engineer the product. But, as Microsoft’s own internal documents show – that’s exactly what they did, then used the software in Windows XP. Microsoft is a bellwether for significant trends in the software publishing industry, many other companies – including the ones named in the lawsuit – observed their success and took the information that Microsoft had made public to pursue or develop their own software activation systems.

Please let me know if you would like to speak with Brad Davis, CEO of Uniloc USA; I’d be happy to coordinate a conversation.

Thank you for your consideration.



Kelsey Nason

Account Executive

Hellerman Baretz Communications LLC

1325 Avenue of the Americas, 28th floor

New York, NY 10019

212.763.8582 Office

212.763.8304 Fax

646.673.0944 Mobile



My reply was:

Hi Kelsey,

Will it be possible to do a short interview with Mr. Davis via E-mail. I
would love to hear his side of the story.

Kelsey’s reply was:


Thank you for your interest in hearing Brad’s side of the story. I will check with Brad to see what his availability for today or tomorrow looks like for a short interview via email. When is best for you? Also, would you first email Brad directly?

Thanks again.


Suffice to say, seeing that he would have to face some hard questions, Brad was never giving an interview. To trolls, justifying what they do is hard.

Latest Articles About Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 5:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: A collection of new articles bemoaning software patents for the most part

THERE have been many articles recently addressing the subject of software patents. Here are some that we found last week:

Patent Lawyer: Software Patents “Restrict What Feels Like Our Treasured Personal Freedom (by Timothy B. Lee)

Software Patents: A Test Run for Bipartisan Cooperation?

amesh Ponnuru writes in the New York Times today that Republicans need to stop idolizing Ronald Reagan’s policies, which were great in the 80s but no longer address the problems we face now.

Clear Thinking on Software Patents

In the vigorous, ongoing debate about the state of America’s patent system — and the state of software patents, in particular — there are some legitimate issues that call for practical solutions, and there is a great deal of peripheral noise. To sort through and identify which is which, BSA and the National Association of Manufacturers co-hosted a packed briefing event this week on Capitol Hill.

Software firms lobby Congress to defend patent protection

Software firms are coaxing U.S. lawmakers to protect patent law because they encourage tech innovation and protect research, and not be put off by the current court battles over intellectual property.

The U.S. patent system isn’t perfect, but lawmakers and judges shouldn’t solve current controversies by eliminating software patents altogether, executives with Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Covia Labs, and Procter & Gamble said during a briefing last week before congressional staffers in Washington, D.C.

Monsanto seed suit and software patents

It might seem strange that a dispute between a farmer and a seed company could have effects across Silicon Valley. Yet the outcome of Bowman vs. Monsanto, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, could be crucial to the way software companies fight for their patents.

Justices last week heard arguments from farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman and seed-making giant Monsanto over whether Bowman had rightfully used the company’s genetically modified and pesticide-resistant seeds, which are patent-protected. Bowman bought second-generation seeds from a third party selling them as feed, but instead used them to grow soybeans. Essentially, Monsanto argues that Bowman infringed its patents by using copied versions of its seeds, and a U.S. circuit court has agreed.

The impact of the justices’ decision will surely extend beyond farming and into the wider biotech industry. And, depending on exactly how the court rules, it could reach into the tumultuous battleground of software patents.


Many computing giants took notice of the case and filed an amicus brief in support of Monsanto through the Software Alliance, an advocacy group.

“Although the patent law issues in this case arise in the context of agricultural seeds, this Court’s resolution of those issues could have a significant effect on other parts of the economy, particularly technology companies,” reads the brief, cautioning that since computer software could be considered “self-replicating” – like seeds – the court could “facilitate software piracy on a broad scale” with a ruling that eliminates patent protection for Monsanto’s seeds.

Adobe, Apple, AVG, Dell, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Rosetta Stone and Symantec were the major tech giants listed as supporters of the brief.

We wrote about the BSA lobbying yesterday.


WebOS Infected by Software Patents, Microsoft Tax

Posted in LG, Microsoft, Patents at 9:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Palm Pre with WebOS and Palm OS

Summary: WebOS turns out to have patents as ‘part of the platform’

WebOS, which Apple had threatened with patents about 4 years ago (before it became Open Source, shot itself in the foot. It has been sold to LG, which pays Microsoft for Linux, in order to produce smart TVs; but as one of our reader correctly notes, part of the transaction of source code includes patents (yes, for code). So here is yet another example of Linux-powered TVs that Microsoft will probably profit from. We gave other examples before. Extortion pays off.

Now, it’s not unusual for phone platforms to get patents on software (RIM got them as well this month), but for a platform which claims to be free/Open Source this is a bit of a heresy. Avoid WebOS/LG.

EFF Opposition to Software Patents Strong, But Not Strong Enough

Posted in EFF, Patents at 9:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This strategy won’t fly…


Summary: The EFF proposes limiting the number of software patents by making them more like copyrights, but that is not the right solution

THE EFF, whose work we respect and appreciate, recently promised to crack down on software patents, but its strategy seems a tad misguided again (like the patent-busting initiative). The EFF wants software patents to include working code, as one article puts it and here are several more articles:

1) EFF proposes adding working code to software patent applications

2) Want a software patent? Write some code

Reform may be on the horizon for software patents in the United States as lobby groups seek to tighten up the criteria for successful applications.

Software patents are aimed at promoting research and development, but the process of registering and protecting patents have become embroiled in controversy over the last decade.

At the heart of the matter are so-called “patent trolls” that do not create products or services, but claim to own the right to the intellectual property behind them in order to sue companies for millions of dollars or force them to take up licensing and royalty deals.

The idea seems to come only from Julie Samuels (not to be confused with Samuelson [1, 2, 3, 4]), whose idea we criticised last week. Her Twitter account describes her as “Staff Attorney and Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents” (not software patents).

This is what one gets when the front against software patents is made up of “legal” folks including notable law professors (i.e. glorified lawyers), whose plan is to tame software patents rather than just eliminate them all in one fell swoop. Richard Stallman suggested making existing patents as such un-weaponised, i.e. patents the holder simply cannot sue with, meaning that it’s about dissemination of ideas, credit, attribution, respect, etc.

Let’s not get distracted and obsessed with the ideas of those to whom "more patents" means "more business".

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