03.31.13

Microsoft Sociopaths

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 3:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Microsoft and its employees now think it is indeed the Master of the Universe.”

Stewart Alsop, Fortune

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: An up-to-date look at some news about Microsoft seniors who make their sociopathic tendencies very clear to see

The monopolists are sinking their teeth into everything that smells or tastes like money, even poor people who can be used for cost-free clinical trials. Bill Gates and his ‘good’ buddy Nathan together promote patent tax on everything, under the guise of ‘innovation’ and ‘helping’ science or poor people. The extortion racket known as Intellectual Ventures, for instance, will do some PR in Slashdot next week, perhaps using the old lie that they are ‘helping’ scientists. Here is a reminder that more lawsuits are coming from this Gates-backed troll and some rebuttals from TechDirt:

For many years, even as people correctly noted that Intellectual Ventures was perhaps the world’s biggest patent trolling operation, the company insisted that it shouldn’t be called a troll, in part because it hadn’t actually sued anyone. That was misleading for a variety of reasons, with the biggest one being the war chest behind IV and the implicit threat of lawsuits certainly got plenty of companies to cough up huge sums to avoid them. While IV has ridiculously strict nondisclosure agreements, various leaks have suggested companies often pay hundreds of millions of dollars to Intellectual Ventures… for nothing. All they really get is a promise not to be sued and the potential to dip into IV’s big database of mostly useless patents, which the paying companies can then use to sue others. Overall, Intellectual Ventures admits that it has brought in over $2 billion dollars directly from licensing and another $5 billion in “investments” — some of which came from companies “buying in.” What a racket, huh?

Back in 2010, the company finally filed its first lawsuits. Since then it’s continued filing lawsuits on an irregular basis. 2011 was a big year, with sudden bursts of lawsuits in July, September and October. 2012 had fewer lawsuits, and just small blasts in February and May. However, it looks like IV may be ramping up with the lawsuits again. IV filed one in January (against Motorola), three in February (one against Windstream and a few small telcos, one against CenturyLink, Qwest, Embarq, Savvis & CenturyTel, and one against AT&T and various subsidiaries). However, in the last week or so, it’s filed three more lawsuits. First against Symantec, then against Toshiba, and the latest against Canon and Ricoh.

The Microsoft booster does reveal that “Intellectual Ventures sues Canon, Ricoh over printer tech,” linking the firm to Microsoft by writing: “Intellectual Ventures, the controversial patent and technology firm founded by former Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold, has sued Canon and Ricoh over printer technology.”

As put in the former article, “No printer company in the world has relied on some great breakthrough from Intellectual Ventures, nor have they relied on the insight gleaned from a crappy patent that IV bought at some point. No, printer companies have built and innovated based on their experience in the marketplace selling printers. Intellectual Ventures is simply trolling and taking away from actual innovators.”

On the lies of IV it’s said: “Almost nothing in that paragraph is accurate. IV started out by buying up patents, en masse, from various universities’ “tech transfer offices” after those universities spent big time setting up those offices, thinking it would bring in lots of cash. Then no one wanted those patents (at least not at the ridiculous prices offered) and for nearly every single university tech transfer office they suddenly became seen as a cost center, rather than a profit center as planned. Enter IV with a giant war chest, agreeing to buy up tons of crappy patents that no one else valued or wanted, on the cheap, and suddenly tech transfer offices can aggregate a bunch of patents and show some money coming in. IV has never, ever been about “identifying strong patents.” It has always been about finding enough patents they can use to pressure companies into giving them money. IV’s entire business model, from the beginning was built on exploiting a clearly broken patent system by a group of folks who had a history with the system.”

And in summary: “Shorter version of this paragraph: look we only shakedown big companies with big bank accounts. The fact that some of them are willing to pay does not mean the patents are recognized for their “validity.” It means that big companies can do the math on the cost of fighting IV in court, and recognize it’s cheaper to pay up than deal with the mess. IV may not enter into litigation lightly, but it’s abusing the system, taking billions of dollars out of actual innovation and is the perfect example of everything that’s wrong with the patent system.”

It is worth noting that Sony, which is suing Android using patents [1, 2], is also creating or feeding trolls. Ventures based on patents alone are extortion. Nokia does this too now. Bill Gates’ moles in Nokia act all crazy on live TV. As a Microsoft booster put it: “After dodging questions about a rumored Lumia 928, Nokia’s chief exec grabs the interviewer’s iPhone and tosses it to the studio floor.”

The mole, Elop, was showing a Microsoft Windows phone that has become an embarrassment to Nokia. He is a total socipath based on his behavior on TV (see the video). Speaking of sociopaths, watch the latest from Dr. Diane Ravitch about Bill Gates:

How the Gates Foundation Undermines Teachers’ Rights

I often re-read this amazing article in the New York Times to remind me of the agenda of the Gates Foundation.

It has a double agenda, like all the corporate reform groups it supports. It publicly speaks of support and collaboration with teachers, but it funds organizations that actively campaign against any job protections for teachers.

[...]

Gates’ anti-union, pro-testing groups are made up of young teachers–with names like TeachPlus and Educators for Excellence–who are paid handsomely to advocate against due process rights and in favor of tying teacher evaluations to test scores. Since few intend to make a career of teaching, why should they care?

Microsoft sociopaths are common. They attract one another and they make the world a worse place, their place. Their lust for patents helps them hurt those who play fairly and we must all recognise this issue sooner rather than later. Maybe a padded room would provide a better, safer place for them to be in.

UEFI Continues to be a Headache for GNU/Linux Users

Posted in Antitrust, BSD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flags

Summary: Further commentary about the UEFI Restricted Boot complaint and a new interview with the lawyer behind it

The Microsoft-friendly press has been trying to demonise the group which complained about UEFI Restricted Boot. Some links were given in IRC and it would be wiser not to feed them further. Many of the responses are ad hominem in nature.

In IRC, one reader pointed out that the FreeBSD project, despite its attempts to catch up, is having problems with UEFI (not Restricted Boot yet), so it works on implementation.

Whereas OpenBSD complained early on, FreeBSD says:

UEFI Support

The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce that Benno Rice has been awarded a grant to implement the ability to boot FreeBSD in the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) boot environment.

The work to be done includes a new version of the loader, kernel modifications to support starting from a UEFI environment and the ability to create install media for pure UEFI systems.

“UEFI support is critical for FreeBSD’s future on the amd64 platform and I’m really pleased to be able to ensure that FreeBSD gains support for it,” said Benno.

This project is expected to be completed in March 2013.

“Here’s an example of the headaches that restricted boot causes end users,” writes the aforementioned reader. “It’s probably what Microsoft had in mind when forcing it on the OEMs.”

This new thread starts as follows:

Every Nightly Build of 13.04 has recently been Failing the DELL UEFI Security Check A.K.A. Secere Boot, and I refuse to Disable Dell UEFI Secure Boot just to run the Latest Nightly Build of Ubuntu, as I would be putting myself at a huge Security Risk if I were to get some kind of Virus/Malware that Targets Linux, Just FYI. I will return to Ubuntu Nightly Build Testing just as soon as Canonical fixes their Secure Boot Problem.

This is the type is story which shows why it’s essential to file a complaint. Even those who tried to go along with Microsoft’s anti-competitive scheme (e.g. Canonical) are being burned quite harshly.

Many articles about the antitrust complaint have been mentioned in IRC, but only one — a piece by Sam Varghese who spoke to the lawyer behind this complaint against UEFI — is worth noting. The introduction says: “The lawyer who has filed a complaint with the European Commission against secure boot in Windows 8 on behalf of some 8000 Linux users in Spain says the complaint takes “an user and developer perspective, it is an unprecedented approach to the problem of monopoly in operating systems in Europe”.”

Microsoft-friendly press mostly dances around these issues and tries to portray Microsoft as a poor victim, quoting Microsoft officials and selected European officials. It is their professional role to help the monopolist, so be careful and check whose words are being selectively presented.

03.30.13

Microsoft Skype Heavily Used for Surveillance by British Government/Police/Secret Services

Posted in Microsoft at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Skype is a spy… in your webcam, your pocket, your files, and beyond

Dark secrets

Summary: Skype information/data accessed very heavily by unaccountable authorities of power in the UK

Microsoft Skype is spyware, not just to authorities but also to peers. It was designed this way, especially after some modifications by Microsoft and the extent of the spying is vast. According to this article, the UK stands out:

UK law enforcement bodies made more requests for Skype data than authorities from any other nation including the US in 2012, according to a new report published by Microsoft.

Use a SIP client like Ekiga or Linphone for Android. These are not subjected to the same treatment and they work well.

03.29.13

Links 29/3/2013: New ZFS Release, Cypriot Banks Don’t Let People Leave

Posted in News Roundup at 8:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • an Open Source Software Enhance Collaboration?

    A multistate criminal justice group is using open source software to develop plug-and-play solutions for functions like incident reporting, searching criminal histories and single sign-on.

    The newly formed Open Justice Broker Consortium (OJBC) — dedicated to collaborating on open source, justice-related information sharing — includes Hawaii, Maine and Vermont. The group is using a shared Apache platform and toolkit to develop open source solutions for common criminal justice functions that can be quickly deployed by public safety agencies.

  • BBC releases open source toolkit for creating smart TV apps

    The BBC has released a toolkit as open source software that will allow the television industry to build apps for smart TVs.

    Developers working at the BBC built the TV Application Layer (TAL). It stemmed from the organisations drive to build the BBC iPlayer, News and Sport applications for Connected TVs on as many different devices as possible.

  • BBC details iPlayer’s open source TV Application Layer
  • With Switch Light, Big Switch Looks to Boost Open Source SDN
  • Range Networks: Burning Man’s open source cellular network touted for commercial rural use
  • Inside Palaver: Linux Speech Recognition that Taps Google’s Voice Technology

    Despite efforts to advance Linux speech recognition, there is still no reliable, fully-baked open source competitor to Dragon Systems’ proprietary Naturally Speaking. Lately, however, instead of trying to mimic Dragon’s technology, which is only available to Linux users via Wine emulation, some developers are cueing off simpler, yet in many ways more widely useful mobile natural language engines. Last week, a De Anza College student named James McClain released a public beta of an open source GNU/Linux speech recognition program called Palaver that uses Google’s voice APIs on the back end.

  • BBC makes iPlayer TV App Layer open source

    The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), a public service broadcasting corporation based in London, announced yesterday that it’s TV Application Layer (TAL) is being shared on open source. The purpose: to simplify the building of connected TV applications, and “to benefit the rest of the industry.”

  • Top 10 open source projects

    Open source has grown to become a major force in the IT industry and already in 2013 we’ve seen moves from the likes of Ubuntu and Mozilla to take this further into the mobile world.

    Thanks to the movement’s philosophy of openness, emphasis on collaboration, and its encouragement for end users to adapt and improve on a product, unlike the “closed” development approach taken with most commercial software.

  • Adobe Launches Blank, An Open Source Fallback Font You Can’t See

    Adobe today launched Adobe Blank, a new open-source OpenType font that, at first glance, does absolutely nothing. Indeed, the whole point of the font, as its creator Ken Lunde writes today, is to render every Unicode character as a “non-spacing and non-marking glyph.”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • HP Cloud Team Invading OpenStack Summit
    • CloudStack Ups ‘Enterprise Credibility’ with Apache Top-Level Status

      It’s been less than a year since Citrix submitted CloudStack for incubation at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), but already the open source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform has been named a Top-Level Project.

      “Apache CloudStack has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP), signifying that the project’s community and products have been well-governed under the ASF’s meritocratic process and principles,” the foundation announced on Monday.

  • Databases

    • MariaDB is conquering the “desktop” distributions

      This required more time if compared to Libreoffice versus Open Office, but it seem that the critical mass of users of another piece of open source software is moving away from Oracle, I’m talking about Mysql versus MariaDB.

      Mysql is probably the most used open source database, it’s used in most of the more successful LAMP applications, such as WordPress, Drupal or Magento, after all the M of LAMP was an acronim for Mysql until today.

    • Arch Linux Replaces MySQL With MariaDB

      The latest Linux distribution outting of MySQL is Arch Linux, which has replaced the database solution with MariaDB.

      Fedora has decided to replace MySQL with MariaDB as have other Linux distributions while Arch Linux is now following suit. Many Linux distribution vendors are not satisfied with how Oracle is maintaining the open-source, community version of MySQL. With that in mind, many are turning to the MariaDB fork of the community project.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice on every desk: A 10-step plan

      Document Foundation has good advice for companies migrating to open, interoperable document formats and open source tools

    • TAZ receives German Document Freedom Award

      As part of the annual Document Freedom Day, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) have presented their Freedom Germany Award to the German newspaper die tageszeitungGerman language link (TAZ). Subscribers to the newspaper can receive its issues in a range of DRM-free, open formats. Explaining the motivation behind choosing the winner, Stephan Uhlmann of the FFII said: “we congratulate TAZ for their firm stance on the usage of Open Standards”.

    • Migrating to LibreOffice? Here’s Help

      Migrating to LibreOffice may seem like an easy task, but it can be a major undertaking for businesses and organizations. Several elements stand in the way of an easy migration and The Document Foundation has released a white paper to assist. It covers topics such as pilot programs, neutralizing resistance, identifying early adopters, and training.

    • Migration to Document Freedom Isn’t As Easy As It Seems

      In case you missed it, March 27 was Document Freedom Day, and The Document Foundation released a whitepaper in honor of the day. The whitepaper provides a 10-step migration plan on how to standardize on Open Document Format (ODF). In the report, there is detailed discussion of LibreOffice and the benefits of its support for ODF. There is just one problem with this otherwise noble effort: Document compatibility isn’t good enough between free and open office suites and proprietary office application suites.

      The 10-step plan for migrating to Libre Office includes very brusque and breezy discussion of the value of proprietary components that real offices use and share — components that make it nearly impossible in some cases to consider moving to a suite like LibreOffice. Consider this quote from the 10-step plan: “…before migrating any existing Visual Basic macros, it is better to determine if the macros are still needed, in order to discard those that are no longer useful and re-engineer the remaining ones.”

  • CMS

    • Alert: What’s Coming Up for Open Source CMS in April 2013

      Welcome to this month’s wrap up of what’s to come in open source CMS projects when we offer some highlights of what to look forward to in the open source world in April.

      It’s not comprehensive, so please feel free to let us know in the comments or drop a line to pr@cmswire.com if there’s a worthy project we’ve neglected here. Because everyone loves videos, we’ll lead off with an update on Umbraco’s relaunch of its Umbraco.tv tutorials site.

  • Education

  • Business

    • FLOSS Pays

      So, everyone with a decent business-plan gets cost-effective IT and sales from FLOSS. It’s obvious that no licensing fees and software shared cooperatively among millions of programmers reduces the cost of IT, the essential element of any business these days.

      Google uses Linux everywhere and adds it’s own code on top of that to provide wonderfully popular services and opportunities to earn revenue through advertising. There has never been software so popular so fast as Android/Linux, not even M$’s stuff. They took decades to do what Google has done in five years and Google’s stuff is growing while M$’s is stagnant. This is not a blip but a major shift in how IT and business is done.

  • Funding

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Does lyric-sharing contribute to a more open music industry?

      Recently, The Beatles made history again in January 2013, as “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” entered the public domain in Europe. As lyrics to songs and musical compositions become available to the public, do you think they contribute to a more open music industry?

    • TMI? Newest Entrepreneurs Advocate Open Source Culture
    • Open-source 3D-printable optics to slash lab costs

      An American researcher hopes to slash optics laboratory costs by releasing a library of open-source, 3D-printable components.

    • Drone Makers Get Help From the Open-Source, DIY Crowd

      The Federal Aviation Administration isn’t expected to approve unmanned aerial vehicles for commercial use until at least 2015. Even so, manufacturers are already preparing to jump into the market—relying on the open-source movement for free research and development. Amateur designers and manufacturers are building prototypes at home, then e-mailing or posting the results, often with how-tos that can be completed using part-making 3D printers.

    • Open Data

      • Opening product data for a more responsible world

        Data on the products we buy is rarely viewed as something to be opened. But in fact, the international standards that make it possible for products to be traded across borders can be used by consumers for their own ends—to help improve information—sharing and choice across the planet. There is currently no public database of this information, but we’re working to change that at Product Open Data.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Many Features Proposed For C++14

      C++14 is the next update for the C++ programming language. While slated as only a minor extension to C++11, there are several new features being proposed.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US ex-soldier ‘fought in Syria with terror group’

      A former US soldier has been charged with using a weapon outside the US as he fought against Syrian government forces, prosecutors say.

      Eric Harroun, 30, served in the US Army from 2000-2003, and allegedly fought in Syria with the al-Nusra Front.

    • Agency of Fear

      It’s nearing dusk on November 26, 2010. More than 25,000 people have gathered in a light rain at Pioneer Square in downtown Portland, Oregon to watch the annual lighting of the holiday tree, a 100-foot-tall Douglas-fir logged from the Willamette National Forest.

      Three men in a nearby hotel room have just finished eating a take-out pizza. The TV turned to a local news channel, which is covering holiday celebration. The men spread towels on the floor and say an Islamic prayer, asking that Allah bless their operation. The men pat each other on the back, leave the room and walk to their vehicle, a white van.

    • Defense Companies Cash in on Gov’t Hyped ‘Cyber-Security’ Threat

      Amidst the daily hype over the increased threat of cyber attacks and enhanced need for internet security, private defense companies are cashing in on the new stream of defense dollars and trove of “classified” personal cyber data.

    • Shockingly Unshocking: ‘Cybersecurity’ FUD Has Been Big Big Business For Contractors
    • ‘Phoenix jihadist’s’ dad claims son worked in Syria for CIA

      As US Army veteran Eric Harroun awaits trial in Virginia for allegedly fighting alongside al-Qaeda supporters, the man’s father claims he was working for the CIA and was reporting back to the agency from Syria.

    • Alfreda Frances Bikowsky Head of CIA Darkside?

      Several recent news reports (1, 2, 3) claim the new head of CIA clandestine service is a woman, first female to head the darkside division. None publicly name her, although her identity is said to be known to journalists. She is said to be a formerly top member of the CIA bin Laden hunt team, former COS in New York City and London, an advocate of destroying CIA torture tapes as assistant to Deuce Martinez and an esteemed briefer of Presidents of the United States.

    • Retired CIA employee attempts voodoo to kill estranged wife, gets jail time

      Raymond E. Bradshaw Jr., a former CIA employee, was sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday for soliciting his wife’s murder when voodoo didn’t do the job.

      Bradshaw first attempted to use voodoo to save his marriage, reports the Washington Post, before resorting to spells he hoped would just flat-out kill the woman. When that also failed to take her out, Bradshaw bought a gun and asked his nephew to shoot McLaughlin for a grand total of $2,500.

    • A public indictment could shed light on CIA’s secret program

      Human rights researchers years ago identified a man who may have been held secretly by the CIA, and whose whereabouts were unknown. It appears that man is now in custody in New York

    • Afghan villagers flee homes, blame U.S. drones
    • Are Drone Strikes Killing Terrorists or Creating Them?

      There’s been a lot of chatter recently about “Out of Sight, Out of Mind,” a new online infographic which shows a chilling visualization of all estimated deaths in Pakistan caused by U.S. drone strikes, including children and civilians, based on estimates from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and New America Foundation. Whether you agree with the numbers, or the politics, behind this particular project (put together by the data visualization firm Pitch Interactive), at least it’s sparking debate. And that’s got to be a good thing — there’s still so much we don’t know about this highly controversial issue.
      To say that the use of drone strikes is a polarizing topic would be a vast understatement. In U.S. policy circles, it’s projected as an effective counter-terrorism tactic, whereas globally, it is often seen as tacit abuse of state sovereignty. And that’s before you get to the debate over potential international law and human rights violations.

    • Pakistani officials: US drone kills 3 militants

      The secret nature of the program makes it difficult to determine how many civilians are being killed.

    • Pakistani officials say US drone kills 3 militants

      Two Pakistani intelligence officials say a U.S. drone targeting a vehicle has killed three suspected militants near the Afghan border.

    • ACLU, Congress Await Obama’s Next Action on Overseas Drone Strikes
    • Seeking Daylight on U.S. Drone Policy
    • Activists Organize Nationwide Series of Drone Surveillance Protests

      A variety of activist groups are organizing a series of nationwide protests in April in an attempt to stop the integration of domestic drones into American airspace.

      The protests will occur in at least 18 states at facilities that research drone technology, drone command centers, drone manufacturing plants, universities that have drone programs and the White House, according to Nick Mottern, founder of Known Drones, a website that tracks unmanned aircraft activity in the United States and abroad.

    • Drone industry could crash into public opposition

      Unmanned drone aircraft that would be built and operated by private business for domestic use are seen as a promising industry in Colorado and elsewhere — but that promise is threatened by a potential public backlash and moves by state officials to limit their use.

    • Drone Operators: Soldiers or Civilians?

      International law does not allow combatants to kill in the morning and enjoy dinner with their children later in the evening.

    • DEPRIEST: Don’t drone me, bro

      As science fiction turns to fact, many college students are noticing the striking resemblance that the modern era has begun to bear to George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.” The technological world continues to evolve, presenting new challenges to some of the oldest tenets of American government, and the youngest among the American people are rising up in force to confront them. Skepticism has moved from conspiracy theorists’ basements to the walls of Facebook, the halls of universities, and recently, thanks to Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, the floor of the Senate.

    • Why Mayor Bloomberg’s vision of a drone-filled city doesn’t fly

      Taking a break from his crusade against sugary soft drinks, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg took some time during his weekly radio broadcast last week to downplay an issue that’s been at the forefront of privacy concerns in a growing number of US states: the use of unmanned aerial drones for ubiquitous police surveillance. “What’s the difference whether the drone is up in the air or on the building?” asked an incredulous Bloomberg, now in the final months of his heavily-lobbied third term in office. “I mean, intellectually I have trouble making that distinction.”

  • Cablegate

    • Ecuadorean government holds talks with Labour over Julian Assange embassy impasse

      The Ecuadorean government believes there is so little prospect of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange leaving its London embassy in the near future that it has held talks with the Labour Party in a bid to strike a deal that would see him sent to Sweden, where he faces rape charges, after the 2015 election.

      Officials at the London embassy want to see an end to the legal and political impasse which has seen Mr Assange holed up inside the building ever since his asylum claim in June last year.

      Yet the South Americans believe they could still be housing him for years to come, having failed so far to negotiate a resolution with the Coalition. As a result, Ecuadorean officials are hoping to persuade a future Labour government to offer assurances that Mr Assange will not be onward-extradited from Sweden to the US and thus persuade the Australian to leave.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • For NPR, Fracking Fight Is Between Farmers & Movie Stars

      So many people believe fracking–a method of releasing oil or gas from rock–to be unsafe that hundreds of U.S. communities have voted to ban it. If you’re unsure how to feel about it, NPR would like to help with that.

      The network–which receives funding from America’s Natural Gas Alliance, a pro-fracking industry group–ran a report March 20 that began by explaining that despite “all the money coming out of the ground in some places,” New York doesn’t allow fracking, which “causes landowners to feel they’re being left behind.”

    • Summer Melt Season Getting Longer On Antarctic Peninsula

      The Antarctic Peninsula — a mountainous region extending northwards towards South America — is warming much faster than the rest of Antarctica. Temperatures have risen by up to 3 oC since the 1950s — three times more than the global average. This is a result of a strengthening of local westerly winds, causing warmer air from the sea to be pushed up and over the peninsula. In contrast to much of the rest of Antarctica, summer temperatures are high enough for snow to melt.

    • Israel faces geopolitical tangle with natural gas

      The Israel-Turkey rapprochement is on the minds of Cypriot authorities as future gas revenues are seen as the country’s best hope to pull it out of the economic morass that has decimated its banking sector.

      “I assure you that we are monitoring the situation and we will act accordingly to protect the country’s sovereign rights,” Cyprus’ Commerce Minister Giorgos Lakkotrypis recently said. He said the country’s president, Nicos Anastasiades, is planning a trip to Israel to discuss energy cooperation matters.

  • Finance

    • Lanny Breuer Cashes in After Not Prosecuting Wall Street Execs, Will Receive Approximate Salary of 4 Million Dollars

      It’s official, and former Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Division Chef Lanny Breuer is bragging about it. He’ll return for the third to time the white collar (now expanding its clients internationally) legal defense firm of Covington & Burling, but this time at a whopping salary.

      According to the New York Times: “Mr. Breuer is expected to earn about $4 million in his first year at Covington. In addition to representing clients, he will serve as an ambassador of sorts for the firm as it seeks to grow overseas.”

    • Whistleblowing at the NSA: Daily Whistleblower News

      The NSA Four worked on and advocated for another program – ThinThread – that was inexpensive and more respectful of privacy rights, which was ultimately tossed by NSA officials.

    • NSA begins building world’s largest data collecting system
    • NSA Backs CISPA-Like Information Sharing

      The NSA wants to help stop the next cyber attack on Wall Street, Facebook, or Twitter, and the agency’s director thinks information sharing between the feds and private companies is a good place to start.
      “Right now, the ability to share real-time information is complicated and there are legal barriers. We have to overcome that,” Gen Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, said during a Thursday appearance at Georgia Tech’s Cyber Security Symposium.

    • NSA Director: Information-Sharing Critical To U.S. Cybersecurity

      Information-sharing and visibility into the threat landscape are vital for the public and private sectors to defend cyberspace, National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith B. Alexander told an audience at The Georgia Tech Cyber Security Symposium yesterday.

      The key to this is crafting legislation that protects privacy while facilitating sharing between intelligence agencies, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and critical infrastructure, explained Alexander at the two-day event at Georgia Tech University.

    • Greece arrests three young neo-Nazis over bank vandalism

      …neo-Nazi militants accused of throwing Molotov cocktails at a Bank of Cyprus subsidiary.

    • New rules allow banks to reopen in Cyprus

      Banks in Cyprus are to open for the first time in more than a week today, operating for six hours from noon, but restrictions will be in place on financial transactions to prevent people from draining their accounts.

    • BitCoin subject to US money-laundering rules

      Amid growing worries that new forms of cash bought online is used to fund illicit activities, the US says it’s applying money laundering rules to virtual currencies.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • USA Today Covers ‘Lonely Battle’ of Equality Opponents

      Who is this rainbow coalition, described in the lead of USA Today’s March 22 front-pager? They are, it turns out, opponents of same sex marriage, and the piece is part of what looks like a wavelet of media efforts to “put a human face” on that opposition. Theirs, readers are told, is “a lonely battle”: “Outspent and lately out-hustled by highly organized gay rights organizations, opponents have struggled to get their story out.”

      That’s a curious premise, given that “their story” is the law of the land, and that’s why we’re talking about it in the first place. But the premise is never challenged, because the paper’s Richard Wolf doesn’t talk to anyone who would challenge it.

    • Maldives Rape Victim’s Flogging Sentence Touches Off Anti-Tourism Campaign

      Global outrage is growing against a Maldives court’s verdict announced on February 26, 2013 to flog a 15-year-old girl who was originally a victim of rape and sexual abuse. She now faces 100 lashes in public which will be administered when she turns 18.

      More than one million people have signed a petition created by the campaign website Avaaz.org, urging Maldivian authorities to protect the girl and end the practice of flogging of women and children for sex outside marriage. The petition also threatens to hit at the country’s tourism industry until President Mohamed Waheed acts.

    • NYPD on Trial: Police Say They Are Forced to Harass Kids in Order to Meet Quotas

      Last week, NYPD whistleblowers Adhyl Polanco and Pedro Serrano, who secretly recorded supervisors demanding that officers fill quotas, testified in federal court that they were forced to violate the law to meet numbers. “We were handcuffing kids for no reason,” Polanco testified. The two officers are testifying in a class-action suit targeting the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Canada Denies Patent For Drug, So US Pharma Company Demands $100 Million As Compensation For ‘Expropriation’

      An increasingly problematic aspect of free trade agreements (FTAs) is the inclusion of investor-state provisions that essentially allow companies — typically huge multinationals — to challenge the policies of signatory governments directly. The initial impulse behind these was to offer some protection against the arbitrary expropriation of foreign investments by less-than-democratic governments.

    • World Economic Forum Warns That Patents Are Making Us Lose The Race Against Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

      Back in June last year, Techdirt reported on the warning from the World Health Organization’s Director-General that we risked entering a “post-antibiotic era”. That was in part because the current patent system was not encouraging the right kind of research by pharma companies in order to develop the new antibiotics that we desperately need.

    • Copyrights

      • The Chilling Effects of the DMCA

        The outdated copyright law doesn’t just hurt consumers—it cripples researchers.

      • Georgia State Court Issues Censorship Order Blocking Free Speech On Anti-Copyright Troll Message Board

        The EFF has a blog post about a very troubling ruling in a Georgia state court that effectively orders the censoring of an anti-copyright trolling blog including user comments. The blog in question, ExtortionLetterInfo.com, is run by a guy named Matt Chan. He recently took up the cause of people who have been hit by copyright infringement demands from Linda Ellis, a poet who is somewhat infamous for going after lots of people, demanding payments after they posted her sappy poem “the Dash.” She apparently threatens people (ridiculously) with the statutory maximum awards of $150,000 per infringement, but will “settle” for a mere $7,500 — often going after non-profits, charities and churches who want to share the “positive message” of the poem. Yes, she demands $7,500 for posting her poem to a website.

      • EU Copyright: We Need Actions, Not Consultations!

        Two years after a first consultation, the European Commission is conducting yet-another public consultation on the “Civil enforcement of intellectual property rights”, essentially on the IPRED directive1. Many aspects of this new consultation are similar to the previous one, and call for similar answers. La Quadrature du Net therefore re-sent its previous submission and denounces a process aiming at buying time to delay any debate on the urgent need to reform copyright.

Why Advocacy of Linux Must Not Tolerate Censorship

Posted in GNU/Linux at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A response to the growing phenomenon of gagging passionate GNU/Linux advocates in GNU/Linux circles

WHEN   the GNU/Linux system was created 30 years ago it was motivated by the belief that — as much as we may wish to control others — in order to guarantee everyone’s individual freedom we must decentralise and mitigate/neutralise remote control. Isolation between users and developers was annulled. Every user was capable of doing what a developer could. This clever ‘hacking’ of unwanted relationships between users and developers, such as the exclusivity in access to code, was removed in the licence sense.

Linux thrived owing to the adoption of licensing requirements that assure each and every contributor will retain full control over the entire system, dependants included. It sure is a motivator for many who work for FOSS-centric companies. It’s a recruitment tool, too.

If code is law, as Professor Lessig put it, then using code we can control behaviour too. If we are to honour the same principles that motivated the GNU/Linux system, then we must reject the notion of censorship, no matter the platform. Not every commit — so to speak — needs to be accepted upstream, but its existence should be allowed and its integrity honoured. Free software is about a diversity of practices, not about imposition from above or the direct and at times explicit coercion of one over another.

Over the years I have come across thin-skinned people that excuse their practice of censorship by calling those whose opinions they do not agree with “trolls”, or some of those equally insulting terms like “shills”. This labelling is being used suppress comments or writers — an issue I am familiar with as a former writer for some online news sites. My experience there taught me the role played by editors to whom controversial but otherwise truthful statement are too ‘hot’ to publish. This is how ideas get silently killed, or spiked. It manufactures the habit of self censorship — an unnecessary restraint which limits one’s scope of thinking.

Speaking for myself, I never deleted comments or suppressed replies, even though many of them (thousands among tens of thousands) included insults and sometimes libel. We must learn to tolerate opposing views and even disruption. That is what freedom is about.

In order to stay true to the standards of Linux and GNU as successful, leading projects that respect and harbour all voices we must stay true to the same principles that made Free software thrive. Failing to do so would lead us down the path of many failed projects which — unlike Linux — no longer attract volunteer contributors (who at times, in due course, found way to get paid for it as well).

Advocacy which is hinged on amplifying oneself while silencing the rest is not advocacy, it is marketing. And marketing is almost antithetical to what science-driven programming strives to achieve. In science, bad ideas die based on their merit, or lack thereof. The messengers earn or lose credibility based on their words. Let bad commentary die based on readers’ assessments. Don’t suppress it at an editorial level as that would project weakness, not strength.

Originally posted in Linux Advocates

Software Patents: Incompatible With and Antithetical to GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Patents at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When patent monopoly extends beyond physical devices to the realms of costless copies of copies

Invention

Summary: Some thoughts about the role of patents in FOSS and why software patents need more vocal opposition

OVER the years I have composed several thousands of posts about software patents. A lot of GNU and Linux advocates lose sight of what clearly became the #1 impediment to adoption of platforms such as Android and webOS. Patents are harming these Linux-powered platforms in ways that are scarcely understood by the outside world because a lot of bickering over patents happens behind the scenes.

Notable among the secret deals was the 2006 Microsoft/Novell deal and prior to that a deal with Sun Microsystems. The goal is to impose barriers on the distribution as Free (as in freedom) software.

Merriam-Webster defines antithetical as “being in direct and unequivocal opposition,” which is exactly what software patents are to copyleft-based software — software on which the only restriction is that sharing should require modified distributed copies to be made available using the same licence, hence ensuring the preservation or endurance of a program’s freedom.

When copyright (or copyleft) are further encumbered by abstract notions of ownership/monopoly such as patents, the same principles no longer apply. One can, for instance, distribute copyrighted code without restriction on the number of copies made, but when a per-unit patent licence is introduced, distribution of a program is impeded.

No Open Source licence provides a one-size-fits-all solution to this cleverly-crafted riddle or discriminatory-by-design maze.

Without delving into the reason software patents — like several other classes of patents (e.g. genetics, business methods) — are outrageous, impractical to enforce, and economically unsound, let us recognise that trying to pretend Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is compatible with patents (as proprietary software lobbyists like to do) is worse than deceitful; it is malicious.

Software patents are basically what an insipid mind would conceive as an evil plot to kill FOSS at a litigious level. The strategy which more recently embedded software patents and FOSS-hostile stings in policies (law) is RAND or FRAND — basically the vain contention that it is “fair” and “reasonable” to tax FOSS (i.e. software) based on patents (i.e. software patents), even in places like China and in continents like Europe where software patents “as such” (open to interpretation due to ambiguity) are not legal.

More GNU/Linux advocates should pay attention to the debate about software patents. It’s not just a question of cost but a question of market viability. It determines if proprietary legacy becomes the financial leech on FOSS.

Professor Donald Knuth, a notable computer scientist and perhaps the leading algorithms guru, once wrote: “I find a considerable anxiety throughout the community of practising computer scientists that decisions by the patent courts and the Patent and Trademark Office are making life much more difficult for programmers.”

The issue of software patents is not just a problem to FOSS developers but to all developers. This is why proprietary backers of Linux too should join the debate and rid the world of software patents. This should include companies like IBM, which — contrary to common belief — is strongly in favour of software patenting, still.

Originally posted in Linux Advocates

03.28.13

Links 28/3/2013: Hands-on With “Firefox OS”

Posted in News Roundup at 9:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Early April Fools Joke By Infoworld: M$ and Lenovo in Love

    As Lenovo clearly ships a lot of GNU/Linux and Chrome OS PCs even in China and as far as I know Lenovo has never shipped unlicensed software, I think this is InfoWorld making its own news or playing an early April Fools joke. It’s probably the latter… Whether it’s just a renewal of the old agreement from 2006 to “recommend” that other OS, I don’t know, but it’s a very bad joke.

  • Linux Foundation Training Prepares the International Space Station for Linux Migration

    It’s hard to get tech support 400 kilometers away from the Earth, which is why Keith Chuvala of United Space Alliance, a NASA contractor deeply involved in Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) operations, decided to migrate to Linux. As leader of the Laptops and Network Integration Teams, Chuvala oversees the developers in charge of writing and integrating software for the Station’s “OpsLAN” – a network of laptops that provide the ISS crew with vital capabilities for day-to-day operations, from telling the astronauts where they are, to inventory control of the equipment used, to interfacing with the cameras that capture photos and videos.

  • You are not safe

    Linux is the perfect platform for this kind of experimentation. The reason why the operating system is so secure, for example, is because any developer can look at the source code and work out what’s happening. The arcane and hidden data transfers that make up the World Wide Web should be no different. In this issue, we investigate some of the tools that can reveal this hidden world, as well as showing you how easy it can be for these tools to be turned against us. And just like with Linux, the solution to these weaknesses are increased transparency, awareness and education. It’s like debugging the internet!

  • Linux Format 170 On Sale Today – Hack the Web!

    The internet is full of unpleasant people who would love nothing more than to steal your passwords, crack into your WordPress site and generally make a nuisance of themselves at your expense. So we learned their black arts so that you can protect yourself against them, and in the process we discovered that protection rackets have moved online through the power of DDOS attacks.

  • Big business buys into big Linux

    That shouldn’t come as any surprise. IDG, for example, found in the last quarter of 2012 that while overall server revenue is only growing at 3.1 percent year over year, Linux experienced 12.7 percent year-over-year growth for the quarter, while Windows only increased 3.2 percent and Unix was down 24.1 percent.

  • Linux Foundation Report Shows Enterprises Warming Up to Linux

    Just this week I did a post on how much in demand Linux skills are in the job market. They are in demand, of course, because Linux is increasingly being used in enterprises–and not just at the server level. New research from The Linux Foundation in its report “Linux Adoption: Third Annual Survey of World’s Largest Enterprise Linux Users” confirms this fact.

    “We see the growing success of Linux adoption in the enterprise, especially as it’s used for the most important areas of business, leading to the rise of Linux and collaborative development across many industries,” said Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer services, The Linux Foundation, in a statement. “Having a realistic understanding of where Linux is gaining traction in the enterprise helps to inform vendors and users about how they can work together to advance Linux and the technologies it supports.”

  • Linux Adoption Continues to Grow

    Linux adoption for mission-critical deployments and the cloud continues to grow in 2013. That’s the top-line finding from a new Enterprise End User Report from the Linux Foundation.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • DreamWorks Animation The Croods Tops 9,100 Linux Render-Years

      The Croods, which took #1 in the box office this weekend with an estimated $44.7 million, used a powerful Linux render farm to create the film

    • Shotwell developers aim to solve Linux’s e-mail problems

      The developers behind the Shotwell photo manager for Linux-based operating systems are setting their sights on a weak spot of the Linux desktop: e-mail.

      Yorba, the creator of Shotwell, has turned to crowdfunding site Indiegogo in an attempt to raise $100,000 toward the e-mail client, named “Geary.” After two days, Yorba has raised about $8,000.

    • Is a New Approach to Email Just What Linux Needs?

      This week, some surprisingly positive data arrived about Linux’s growing volume of welcome in enterprises. But if you ask many people why Linux isn’t more entrenched at enterprises, they might cite compatibility issues with widely used platforms such as Microsoft Office, support concerns, and more. One longstanding concern about Linux in the enterprise has surrounded the fact that email has never been really enterprise-grade on Linux platforms.

      As a matter of fact, some of the more promising efforts to pull off smart open source email have been left in the gutter. Mozilla, for example, has pulled way back on its efforts with Thunderbird. That’s why it’s interesting to note that some of the respected developers behind the Shotwell photo manager application are working on an email idea called Geary.

      We’ve covered Shotwell many times and it is very popular with Linux users. The developers behind it are talented.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 3.9 (part 1)

      The Linux kernel can now be set up to use SSDs as cache for hard drives; Btrfs has native RAID 5 and 6 support. The kernel development team has also resolved two performance problems caused by previous changes.

      On Sunday, Linus Torvalds released the fourth pre-release version of Linux kernel 3.9. In his release notes, he noted that development has not yet settled down and called for testing of the RC.

    • Linux Foundation Becomes Sponsor
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE developers working on a new network manager based on QML

        KDE developers are working on a brand new network manager for this most advanced ‘desktop environment’. One of the reasons behind this new network manager, as the developer Jan Grulich explains is “Because the source code of the old one is complicated and it’s not simple to fix or add something, so we decided to start writing the new one from scratch.”

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Top 10 New Features in GNOME 3.8

        The latest iteration of the popular GNOME desktop, version 3.8, sees release today – but what are notable changes and improvements should you be looking out for?

        Here’s a list of our 10 favourite changes – in no specific order – new to this release.

      • GNOME 3.8 Released – See What’s New [Video, Screenshots]

        GNOME 3.8 has been released today, the new version bringing many new features and enhancements, including a new application view and overhauled window layout for GNOME Shell, new setting panels for privacy, search and notifications and of course, many updates to the core GNOME apps like Web (Epiphany), Boxes, Documents and more.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • New features in Cairo-Dock 3.2

        The developers of the popular panel launcher application Cairo-Dock have updated it to version 3.2. Following around six months of work, the new version offers improved multi-display support and includes a new application for producing screenshots which should eventually be able to replace gnome-screenshot. The new Sound-Effects plugin adds sounds to some dock actions. Remote folders (such as through Samba or FTP) and encrypted drives can now be managed via the Shortcuts applet.

      • Cairo-Dock 3.2 release!
    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat reports record $1.3 billion in revenues

        The leading open source company Red Hat has once again reported the impressive revenues of US$ 1.3 billion for the fiscal year 2013. It was 17% up year-over-year. The company reported fourth quarter subscription revenue revenue of $348 million.

        Jim Whitehurst, President and Chief Executive Officer of Red Hat said, “We continued to see momentum with large deals in Q4, closing a record number of deals in excess of $5 million and $10 million. We now provide solutions to over 90o/o of Fortune 500 companies as well as tens of thousands of smaller companies. New customer additions coupled with renewing and up-selling our existing customer base enabled us to exceed the billion dollar milestone in both subscription revenue and deferred revenues for the first time.”

      • Red Hat, Inc. (RHT), Oracle Corporation (ORCL), and the Evolution of OpenStack
      • Red Hat’s Q4: Misses revenue but wins on earnings

        Shares drop in after hours trading as the open source software provider squeaked out solid earnings but missed the revenue target.

    • Debian Family

      • The Future of Debian

        Interesting insights into the future of Debian can be seen in interviews with candidates for Debian Project Leader in Debian’s new official blog.

        The candidates are distinguishing themselves with new ideas to expose the glory of Debian GNU/Linux to the world or to improve operations or to involve a wider community in the production, testing, distribution and promotion of Free Software. It seems to me that no matter who wins the most support, Debian is ready to take a bigger role at the centre of the FLOSS world.

      • SparkyLinux 2.1 “GameOver” is out

        Brand new, two egged SparkyLinux 2.1 ‘GameOver’ is out.
        It’s the second, special edition of SparkyLinux ‘GameOver” released for Easter 2013.

        It has been directly built on SparkyLinux 2.1 ‘Eris’ and Debian testing ‘Wheezy’.
        All packages have been synchronized with Debian testing repos of 24/03/2013.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • MapR, Canonical bring Hadoop to Ubuntu

            MapR, a “Big 3″ Hadoop provider, is partnering with Canonical to make Hadoop an even bigger phenomenon than it is already. Specifically, the companies are making an Ubuntu-integrated MapR M3 distribution available for download.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • First Yocto compatible Carrier Grade Linux

      Wind River announced today that it has registered the Wind River Linux Carrier Grade (CG) profile for compliance with the Linux Foundation’s Carrier Grade Linux (CGL) v5.0 requirements. Accordingly, the company claims Wind River Linux to be the first Yocto Compatible CGL-registered Linux distribution.

    • Power-stingy SODIMM-style module runs ARM Linux
    • Leap Motion Controller now Linux compatible
    • Yocto compatible carrier grade Linux from Wind River

      Wind River has introduced the Wind River Linux Carrier Grade (CG) Profile for the latest version of Wind River Linux. Formally registered for the CGL 5.0 specification with the Linux Foundation, the profile is the first delivery of Carrier Grade Linux functionalities on top of a Yocto Project Compatibleproduct, says Wind River.

    • Phones

      • Small Cheap Computers Never Looked So Good

        Oh my. 8 cores in an ARMed CPU/SoC, 4 at 1.2-1.8gHz and 4 at 1.2gHz with 2gB RAM… 28nm allows all that computing power to sip juice from the battery. It’s certainly competitive with legacy PCs of just a few years ago and it can fit in a pocket or tablet. Linux makes all this run. Android makes it fit on tiny screens with fingers and do amazing things with hundreds of thousands of “apps” and Samsung tweaks that a bit to make it even more useful. Quit drooling on your keyboard!

      • Automotive infotainment gains TIZEN rich-media support

        PathPartner Technology has joined the GENIVI Alliance with an eye toward marketing its embedded multimedia software and design services to developers of next-generation automotive in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) devices.

      • Ballnux

      • Android

        • Amazon smartphone reported to feature 4.7-inch display

          The rumored Amazon smartphone will feature a 4.7-inch display, according to a new DigitTimes report. Yeah – we know that the source is not always that accurate, but whatever…we’re passing along.

        • Amazon Kindle Fire tablets get X-Ray for TV

          Amazon today announced that its popular and rather cool X-Ray service has expanded into the realm of television. Ever find yourself watching a TV show and wondering, “Where have I seen that guy before”? This is the sort of app and feature that answers those questions.

          Tied to IMDb, the X-Ray service runs on Kindle and Wii U devices and enables Amazon Instant Video viewers to quickly ID actors and learn more about them. Sorry guys, it won’t work on your standard phone or tablet; you must purchase and watch through Amazon’s Instant Videos.

        • An introduction to using Android as an embedded OS

          An extensive slide presentation on using Android in embedded systems is available for free download on the website of Free Electronics. The presentation provides an efficient technical introduction and overview of the process of developing embedded Android software, on both the OS and application levels.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenKM Teams with Standing Cloud to Bring Open Source Web-based Document Management to the Cloud

    OpenKM, a leading developer of open source, web-based enterprise document management solutions, today announced the launch of OpenKM Cloud, a new cloud-based offering that makes deploying and managing OpenKM fast, simple and affordable in the cloud.

  • 75 Open Source Apps To Replace Popular Security Software

    Hackers seem to be successfully attacking almost everyone these days. Already this year, the news has included high-profile cyberattacks targeting Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Chase, Evernote, The Federal Reserve, Twitter, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters, The New York Times and other companies.

    While no security software can provide complete protection from every cyberattack, the open source community has developed a variety of tools that home users, small businesses and enterprises can use to improve their security profile. Many of these open source projects are of a very high quality—in fact, many have won awards and some have been incorporated into commercial applications.

  • Big Switch Shines a Switch Light on Open Source OpenFlow Switching

    At the core of the Software Defined Networking (SDN) revolution is the OpenFlow protocol. Enabling OpenFlow on physical switches is something that multiple vendors have been working toward. Enabling OpenFlow on virtual switches is now Switch Lightsomething that Big Switch, a startup led by the creators of OpenFlow, is now pushing forward.

  • Interview with Emil Ivov about Jitsi, a VoIP softphone supporting IPv6 and DNSSEC
  • Thinking about Code Review in Free Software

    Code review can be a bit of a recipe for drama. There was a large-ish amount of drama in a close project quite recently that stemmed from patch review, and it got me thinking about how we handle this in free software.

    In free software code review, along with other practices that we call “agile practices” (such as continuous integration, unit testing, behavior driven design, test driven development) is a relatively new thing in some projects, especially those on the desktop stack.

  • Events

    • Openmobility 2013 to spotlight growing DIY, Maker trends
    • Luminaries to Tackle the Tech Skills Crisis on International Flight

      Can a group of 100 certified tech innovators, including Silicon Valley CEOs, venture capitalists and analysts, sit down together for a few hours and solve the world’s crisis in tech skills? That’s the question that a British Airways program called UnGrounded is asking, and the way the program intends to get an answer is quite swashbuckling. Through Ungrounded, 100 tech luminaries will board a flight on June 12 in San Francisco, headed for London, where they will tackle the tech skills problem in a challenge sponsored by Ideo, a technology design firm.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Ad industry threatens Firefox users with more ads if Mozilla moves on tracking plans

        The online ad industry has attacked Mozilla over its decision to block third-party cookies in a future release of Firefox, calling the move “dangerous and highly disturbing,” and claiming that it will result in more ads shown to users.

      • Firefox getting smarter about third-party cookies

        https://blog.mozilla.org/privacy/2013/02/25/firefox-getting-smarter-about-third-party-cookies/

      • Hands-on with Mozilla’s Web-based “Firefox OS” for smartphones

        Launching a new mobile OS is a difficult project since the market leaders, Android and iOS, have such a big lead. Even Microsoft, with its near-infinite financial resources and vast ecosystem of complementary products, has struggled to gain traction. And new entrants face a chicken-and-egg problem: developers don’t want to write apps for a platform without many users, while users don’t want to buy a phone without many apps.

      • Firefox and Ubuntu go Mobile

        A major announcement this year at Mobile World Congress was the Firefox Operating System (OS), built by Mozilla, the same company that brought you the world’s leading browser until Google claimed the throne with its web browser, Chrome.

        Firefox OS runs on HTML 5 through the Firefox browser’s engine, which handles demands more efficiently in weaker phones. It features the typical grid of apps set on top of a four app bar at the bottom.

      • Hands-on with Mozilla’s Web-based “Firefox OS” for smartphones

        The default mapping app bundled with the Geeksphone is HERE Maps, which was developed by Nokia. The application has improved steadily since we started using it. It’s gone from unusable to functional but bare-bones.

      • Mozilla Open Source Effort Accelerates Browsers for Gaming and More

        Gaming is among the most resource-consuming and complex of all computing tasks. Historically gaming has been the realm of native code running on bare metal operating systems, but thanks to a new effort from Mozilla, real gaming via a web browser is now a reality.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Open Source Cloud Project Setup Set for a Shakeup?
    • What is Open Source Cloud?

      For all the talk about cloud, it might come as a surprise to many in the industry that “cloud” is not a well-understood term. It’s often perceived as “just a buzzword” or something without a lot of substance. While the term can be abused, it’s actually an important concept and it’s certainly not just a passing fad.

      In talking to people following the Apache CloudStack graduation, and meeting with the local Linux User Group (LUG), it dawned on me that cloud still bears some explanation. Let’s take a look the standard definition, some types of clouds, and why it matters.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Funding

    • The ‘Love Linux’ Campaign: The TuxDrive & The TuxPoster
    • First Ouya Consoles Shipping to Backers

      The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the new portable home gaming system. Ouya’s $99 Android-based console is now shipping to early backers, and is expected to hit shelves this summer for all consumers.
      Ouya games include action, sports, arcade, and indie, played directly on your TV. Big-name publishers like Square Enix and Namco Bandai have already signed on with the company, which also snagged independent developers like Tripwire Interactive and Adam Saltsman.
      The Ouya may seem like the underdog in the established console market, but the little machine is aiming to disrupt the entire home gaming platform.

    • Mini Android PC hitches a ride on a Kickstarter rocket
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Document Freedom Day 2013 celebrated in 30 countries

      The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is running its annual Document Freedom Day campaign today to raise awareness of the importance of open standards. This year’s Document Freedom Day involves over 50 groups from 30 countries and focuses on open standards in web-based streaming technologies, especially on increasing the awareness and usage of HTML5. This year’s campaign is sponsored by Google and openSUSE.

    • Document Freedom Day from Brussels to Taiwan: Open Standards celebrated in 30 countries

      In 30 countries around the world, activists are celebrating Open Standards on today’s Document Freedom Day, an annual campaign to promote Open Standards. More than 50 groups are hosting events around the world, from Brussels to Nicaragua to Nepal.

      Open Standards are crucial to ensure that different computer systems can work together, and that users can access documents regardless of the computing platform or device they use. They are the foundation of the Internet and the World Wide Web.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Antiword: Read MS Word Documents in Your Terminal [Linux]
    • Open source and Latvian Geospatial Information Agency intertwined

      At the Latvian Geospatial Information Agency in Riga, all parts of the organisations use open source. Linux, to begin with, provides a stable operating system for its databases, both proprietary and the open source alternative Postgresql. Naturally the agency uses all kinds of open source solutions for its Geographic Information Systems, including Postgis and Quantum Gis.

    • Winning a presidential election the open source way

      One of the ways Obama won the 2012 election was with technology. It wasn’t the only way, but technology offered one thing that feet on the street couldn’t: a force multiplier effect. The technology used during the campaign to accept donations and manage volunteers was based on open source and open standards. Open source helped the campaign accomplish several things. It enabled the team building the technology to create a culture of code, innovate faster, and solve problems the open source way.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Eclipse Community Awards winners announced

      On the opening day of EclipseCon 2013, the Eclipse Foundation handed out the annual awards to the top individuals, projects and technologies in the Eclipse ecosystem. The individual and project awards were selected in an online vote of peers, while a judging panel selected the winners of the technology awards.

    • Perl: Jewel in the Rough or Scourge of IT?

      Perhaps it’s the rapid pace of change here in the tech world, but it seems scarcely a day can go by without someone declaring some technology or another “dead.”

      Take the netbook, for example. People have been saying for years it’s dead; today, however, we have the Chromebook phenomenon.

      The command line is another popular target, of course, but few can compete with the Linux desktop itself, the death of which has been trumpeted so many times now that Linux Girl has lost count. Amazing how something that’s “dead” can keep on satisfying so many users!

      Well, recently in the Linux community there’s been occasion to discuss another purported “death” — or at least one that’s often wished for. The “victim” this time? None other than Perl.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • “For Lawyers, Joining the Supreme Court Bar is a Vanity Trip”

    The Associated Press has this story on what it means for lawyers to join the U.S. Supreme Court bar. As the article suggests, being a member of the Supreme Court bar doesn’t mean much. Pretty much any lawyer who pays the $200 is admitted, at least if they have been in good standing in a state bar for three years and get two other bar members to sign on.

  • Security

    • Rather Than Fix The CFAA, House Judiciary Committee Planning To Make It Worse… Way Worse

      So, you know all that talk about things like Aaron’s Law and how Congress needs to fix the CFAA? Apparently, the House Judiciary Committee has decided to raise a giant middle finger to folks who are concerned about abuses of the CFAA. Over the weekend, they began circulating a “draft” of a “cyber-security” bill that is so bad that it almost feels like the Judiciary Committee is doing it on purpose as a dig at online activists who have fought back against things like SOPA, CISPA and the CFAA. Rather than fix the CFAA, it expands it. Rather than rein in the worst parts of the bill, it makes them worse. And, from what we’ve heard, the goal is to try to push this through quickly, with a big effort underway for a “cyberweek” in the middle of April that will force through a bunch of related bills. You can see the draft of the bill here (or embedded below. Let’s go through some of the pieces.

    • Aaron Swartz case an issue in Mass. Senate race

      The federal prosecution and suicide of Aaron Swartz has galvanized Internet activists and prompted attacks by hackers. Now it’s dividing candidates in Massachusetts’ special U.S. Senate campaign.
      Among the toughest critics of the case against Swartz is Republican Senate candidate Daniel Winslow, a Norfolk state representative and former judge. Winslow said the case shows the dangers of allowing prosecutors unchecked authority.

    • Draft House Judiciary cybersecurity bill would stiffen anti-hacking law

      A draft cybersecurity bill circulating among House Judiciary Committee members would stiffen a computer hacking law used to bring charges against Internet activist Aaron Swartz.

      The bill draft would tighten penalties for cyber crimes and establish a standard for when companies would have to notify consumers that their personal data has been hacked, according to a copy obtained by The Hill.

    • Three Things You May Not Get About the Aaron Swartz Case
    • Anti-spam group at epicenter of one of worst cyberassaults in history
    • Massive cyberattack hits Internet users
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Could WikiLeaks, Not Spamhaus, Be the Target of Cyber Attacks?

      According to reports, there’s a beef between anti-spam operation Spamhaus and Cyberbunker, a Dutch Web host. Spamhaus claims Cyberbunker unleashed a barrage of spambots that is pounding the Internet at an alleged 300GB/s, apparently at enough choke points to slow everything down.

      [...]

      Assange’s various stinks with large government organizations, including the United States, changes the story drastically if you ask me.

      Three links sit at the bottom of the page: City Hall Fights Back, Spamhaus Blackmail War, and Swat Team Raids Bunker. All are worth reading—if you have the time to wait for the pages to load. It’s as if Cyberbunker was the one suffering from a denial of service attack.

    • Top Swedish prosecutor leaves Assange case

      The top Swedish prosecutor pursuing sexual assault charges against Julian Assange has abruptly left the case and one of Mr Assange’s accusers has sacked her lawyer.

      The turmoil in the Swedish Prosecution Authority’s effort to extradite Mr Assange comes as another leading Swedish judge prepares to deliver an unprecedented public lecture in Australia next week on the WikiLeaks publisher’s case.

    • Assange legal shakeup: Prosecutor walks, Supreme Court judge to speak out on case
    • Assange sex crimes accuser fires her lawyer

      Australian media reported on Thursday that the woman was not happy with how her lawyer Claes Borgström had handled the case when speaking with the media.

      While her application to a Swedish court to change lawyer is not available to the public, Borgström addressed the report in a statement.

      “It has been impossible to avoid contact with the media in this case. When I have been in contact with the media it has been with the approval of my client, sometimes she has asked me to do so,” he wrote.

      Borgström, Sweden’s former equality ombudsman (Jämställdhetsombudsmannen), is no stranger to taking on controversial cases.

      His former client has reportedly asked that lawyer Elisabeth Massi Fritz take over.

    • Top state prosecutor dropped from Assange case as accuser sacks lawyer

      Marianne Nye, a high-profile Swedish prosecutor, has left the case unexpectedly and been replaced by a less seasoned collaegue, Ingred Isgren. The reasons for the departure have not been disclosed.

    • The War Against Bradley Manning — A War Against All Who Speak Out Against Injustice

      Time and again, throughout America’s history, individuals with a passion for truth and a commitment to justice have opted to defy the unjust laws and practices of the American government in order to speak up against slavery, segregation, discrimination, and war. Even when their personal safety and freedom were on the line, these individuals spoke up, knowing they would be chastised, ridiculed, arrested, branded traitors and even killed.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How ‘Unlikely’ Is Mark Sanford’s Comeback Really?

      A South Carolina Republican primary for an open congressional seat leaves former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford the favorite to win an April 2 GOP runoff.

      Sanford’s return to politics, after an extramarital affair and elaborate lies to cover it up, has prompted discussion about how unlikely such a comeback is for a staunch Republican in a party steeped in so-called “family values.”

  • Censorship

    • Twitter sued £32m for refusing to reveal anti-semites

      The case revolves around a hashtag — #unbonjuif (“a good Jew”) — which became the third-most popular on the site in October 2012. The UEJF took Twitter to court, demanding that those who had tweeted anti-semitic remarks using the hashtag be named by Twitter so the police could prosecute them for hate speech.

    • Washington Post Agreed To Withhold Acting Clandestine Service Chief’s Name At CIA’s Request

      The Washington Post revealed Wednesday in a front-page story that a woman currently running the clandestine service had signed off on a controversial 2005 decision “to destroy videotapes of prisoners being subjected to treatment critics have called torture.”

      The woman, the first to hold the position in the agency’s history, replaced John Bennett last month on an acting basis. Bennett’s name wasn’t kept secret when he was promoted to chief in July 2010. But the Washington Post didn’t identify the woman, noting that the high-ranking official “remains undercover and cannot be named.”

    • German court stirs racial tensions in neo-Nazi murder trial
    • Turkish Media Exclusion in Neo-Nazi Trial a ‘Global Embarrassment’

      A scandal is brewing in Germany over the refusal of a Munich court to provide the Turkish media with reserved seats at an upcoming neo-Nazi murder trial. German editorialists claim bureaucracy is getting in the way of needed transparency and could damage the country’s image.

    • Neo-Nazi trial harms Germany’s image in Turkey

      Criticism is growing in Turkey that Turkish media have not been admitted to the forthcoming trial of the NSU terror group, eight of whose victims were Turks. Experts are warning of damage to Germany’s image.

  • Privacy

    • Debate Continues Over Whether FBI Should Monitor Cloud Conversations

      It could be that Stallman has a point. There are widespread reports this week, after a public address from FBI officials, that the FBI has made Gmail surveillance a top priority for this year. Surveillance efforts like these could start extending to Google Voice, Dropbox and other applications as well.

    • Google’s Google problem

      GOOGLE is killing Google Reader. That may not matter much to many of you; use of Google Reader [a tool, by the way, for reading online content via RSS] was concentrated among a small group of relatively intense users. As it happens, that small group includes quite a lot of people who write for or as part of their living (it’s the second tab I open most days, after Gmail). And so Google Reader has been mourned over, angrily at times, a bit more than the many other Google services that have come and gone with little ado.

    • Google never forgets: Seventh Circuit finds no right to force search engines to block access to embarrassing public records
    • The Story of the ‘NSA Four’; Whistleblower Tour Rolls Through Indiana: Daily Whistleblower News

      This article details the story of the ‘NSA Four’ – including GAP clients Tom Drake, J. Kirk Wiebe and William Binney – featuring insight from their attorney, GAP National Security & Human Rights Director Jesselyn Radack. The four tried to expose multi-billion dollar waste and fraud – involving a highly unethical, invasive and illegal information surveillance system called Trailblazer – while at the NSA. Over the course of the next decade, they endured intense legal harassment as the NSA attempted to cover its tracks and save itself from the embarrassing exposure for closing down a separate program – this one legal, ethical, and inexpensive – that could have potentially prevented the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

    • CISPA Author Rogers

      When it was originally introduced in November 2011, CISPA would have allowed companies to pass information to the National Security Agency. The bill was reintroduced this February. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which strongly opposes the bill, CISPA would have allowed companies to “hand ‘cyber threat information’ to any government agency with or without limitations on what agency can receive the information.”

    • Internal NSA magazine ‘Cryptolog’ gets limited declassification
    • Can You Crack The NSA’s Top-Secret Crossword Puzzles?
    • The social media shaped hole in surveillance law

      Over the last decade there has been an increasing change in the nature of surveillance – particularly the ability to search online, through social networks and through semi-public sources of information, reinforcing the need for the law to be reformed to protect the public from unwarranted surveillance.

      What needs to be made very clear is that just because information is on the internet, it does not necessarily follow that the police should collect and analyse it. It is essential that it the gathering of information is proportionate, necessary, balanced against the need of police to do their job, allows for a free and open internet and meets the public’s expectations of privacy.

    • FBI Pursuing Real-Time Gmail Spying Powers as “Top Priority” for 2013

      Despite the pervasiveness of law enforcement surveillance of digital communication, the FBI still has a difficult time monitoring Gmail, Google Voice, and Dropbox in real time. But that may change soon, because the bureau says it has made gaining more powers to wiretap all forms of Internet conversation and cloud storage a “top priority” this year.

      Last week, during a talk for the American Bar Association in Washington, D.C., FBI general counsel Andrew Weissmann discussed some of the pressing surveillance and national security issues facing the bureau. He gave a few updates on the FBI’s efforts to address what it calls the “going dark” problem—how the rise in popularity of email and social networks has stifled its ability to monitor communications as they are being transmitted. It’s no secret that under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the feds can easily obtain archive copies of emails. When it comes to spying on emails or Gchat in real time, however, it’s a different story.

  • Civil Rights

    • AUMF Hunger Strike Called to Demand Repeal of 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force PL 107-40

      …military force to detain and hold indefinitely without charge or trial American citizens on American soil

    • Larry Grathwohl: An Extraordinary Life from the Weather Underground to the FBI and beyond

      Regarding what portions of my book are as significant today as they were in the past I would suggest the readers of “:Bringing Down America” arrive at their own conclusions. As for myself, I see the objectives and goals of the weatherman to be the same today as they were 30 years ago and the only difference is the use of politics versus violence.

    • The Natural Selection of American Citizens

      These are the same people who are clueless to the existence of various legislation such as the NDAA, the military commissions act of 2006, and the Patriot Act, among others, that legalize the indefinite detention of terror suspects, that eliminate habeas corpus and give the prosecutor the power to incarcerate someone AFTER acquittal, as some examples. They think that applies only to terrorists (are you too, or will you be, a terror suspect?). They also don’t know or care about the executive orders Bush, Obama, and other presidents have signed, designed, in one way or another, to implement martial law in Amerika if Americans resist the tyranny.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Sneaks Through Senate

      When the Senate passed a budget resolution Wednesday that appears to prevent some of the potential damage from sequestration, the Continuing Resolution included several food- and agriculture-related earmarks.
      But one inclusion in particular is especially controversial. The “biotech rider” would require the USDA to approve the harvest and sale of crops from genetically modified seed even if a court has ruled the environmental studies on the crop were inadequate. This aspect of the bill infuriated many sustainable food and agriculture groups, who nicknamed the bill the “Monsanto Protection Act.”

    • Copyrights

      • Writing Open Source Software? Make Sure You Know Your Copyright Rights
      • Lawsuit claiming MMS services are like Napster finally fails

        Luvdarts LLC created a kind of MMS advertising that was designed to be forwarded to friends’ cell phones, a sort of digital “greeting card” that often included discounts. But the company only wanted its ads forwarded exactly one time—and Luvdarts really meant it. When the cards were forwarded more than once, that was copyright infringement in the company’s view. In 2010, it filed a lawsuit saying that cell phone companies should actually take responsibility for their users’ alleged infringement. Today, that lawsuit finally fell apart at an appeals court.

      • Prenda lawyer has a history of unusual class action clients

        Paul Hansmeier, widely regarded as a ringleader for the prolific copyright trolling firm Prenda Law, has been having a rough year. After a Minnesota man accused his firm of identity theft, Hansmeier gave remarkably evasive answers to questions posed by defense attorneys. Upon reading the transcript, a judge declared that “someone has a lot to hide.” The judge has since ordered Hansmeier and his Prenda colleagues to his courtroom on April 2. Prenda has begun to backpedal, dismissing pending copyright cases around the country.

      • Government Can Keep Key Emails With Hollywood Lobbyists About ‘Six Strikes’ Secret

        While we keep hearing folks in the entertainment industry and their supporters in DC talk about how great it is that the “six strikes” “Copyright Alert System” (CAS) was a “voluntary” agreement between industry players, one of the worst kept secrets in the world was that the White House was heavily involved. They basically helped Hollywood out and at least hinted strongly at the fact that if no “voluntary” agreement came through, legislation might have to be put in place (creating a novel definition of “voluntary”). Specifically, it came out that Victoria Espinel, the White House’s IP Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), had been emailing with people about the program.

      • Copyright Lobby: The Public Has ‘No Place In Policy Discussions’

        “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” That is the purpose of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution, which is sometimes referred to as the “copyright clause” (or “the patent clause”), which enables both areas of law to be created via Congress. It’s also the part that is most often ignored. As we’ve discussed, the whole purpose of this clause is to make it clear that the public are the sole stakeholders when it comes to proper policy making decisions regarding these laws. However, with this new push for comprehensive copyright reform, it appears that the copyright lobby is already working on ways to make sure that the public is marginalized in the discussion.

Microsoft Continues to Hammer on Linux and Android With Copyright and Patent Proxies

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 9:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens

Handyman

Summary: Far from a friend of FOSS, Microsoft continues to attack FOSS platforms by proxy, through SCO, Nokia, Intellectual Ventures, and more

Patent lawyers and patent boosters like Dennis Crouch continue to cover patents as though they deserve the same legitimacy as copyrights. Terms like IP (or Intellectual Property) are used to blur the distinction. A decade ago SCO sued Linux backers using copyright claims. And a decade later the SCO case is still not over. “The SCO Group would like the US District Court in Utah to finally give it a hearing regarding its wish to go forward in its lawsuit against IBM “and other matters”, whatever that last turns out to mean,” writes Pamela Jones at Groklaw this week. SCO still hasn’t shown what it claims to be copyright violations. Secrecy is being used to make the trial never end, billing many companies (legal fees) at the same time.

Apple too has been using secrecy and reporters challenge this secrecy, as we noted earlier this week:

On Tuesday, March 26, Gregg Leslie, the legal director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is scheduled to appear before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to argue in favor of unsealing court documents in the multi-billion-dollar Apple v. Samsung patent case.

The appeal is significant because the Federal Circuit, where much important patent law is made, has never had a seminal access case.

The Reporters Committee, joined by seven media organizations, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Court of Appeals in October 2012, arguing that records in the smartphone patent lawsuit – whose partial unsealing by a lower court was appealed by both Apple and Samsung – should be public.

Here is an update on this:

A federal appeals court aggressively questioned the scope of the public interest and trade secrets at a hearing on Tuesday over document secrecy in Apple Inc’s patent litigation against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd .

A coalition of media advocacy groups and news organizations is asking the Federal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court ruling that ordered the companies to unseal many financial documents filed in the high-stakes patent case

Apple secrecy goes many years back. The company has a lot to hide. It wants to control how its products are covered.

Apple is meanwhile being sued for patent infringement in China:

Apple is being taken to court in China for alleged copyright infringement on its Siri feature.

Shanghai’s Zhizhen Network Technology Co claims Apple infringed its patent for the voice recognition software.

Siri is a “virtual personal assistant” which responds to voice commands and lets users do things such as send messages and search the internet.

Zhizhen says it patented its Xiao i Robot software in 2004, while Apple’s Siri made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011.

Watch Murdoch’s propaganda press hypocritically slamming China for taking action against Apple:

The Chinese Communist Party’s main propaganda outlet assailed Apple Inc.’s customer-service practices, the latest indication that China might move to check foreign companies’ domination of the country’s smartphone market.

What an ugly opening sentence. The WSJ and other News Corp outlets are no less propaganda than the Chinese equivalent. But anyway, in the US it’s the corporations which control the press through direct ownership (e.g. Huffington Post is AOL which is Warner which is Comcast which is NBC which is GE). Recently we saw the 'Microsoft press' tilting stories in favour of Microsoft. Patent lawyers and CBS (also Microsoft-funded) do more of this [1, 2] regarding the XBox lawsuit which is the result of Microsoft aggression against Android (see our Motorola page for chronology). Recently, as discussed here, the Microsoft-controlled Nokia tried to block VP8 altogether. Pamela Jones too seems to be ready for a boyoctt of Nokia and she responded to the Microsoft lobbyist as follows:

I see folks are seeing right through Nokia and Microsoft’s strategies. As KFCConspiracy put it: “When you see a company failing it never fails… It becomes a patent troll.” And I’d like to highlight one other point, because FOSSPatents doesn’t understand it [http://www.fosspatents.com/2013/03/nokia-comments-on-vp8-patent.html]. He got the following statement from Nokia, who of course would give it to him: “Nokia believes that open and collaborative efforts for standardization are in the best interests of consumers, innovators and the industry as a whole. We are now witnessing one company attempting to force the adoption of its proprietary technology, which offers no advantages over existing, widely deployed standards such as H.264 and infringes Nokia’s intellectual property. As a result, we have taken the unusual step of declaring to the Internet Engineering Task Force that we are not prepared to license any Nokia patents which may be needed to implement its RFC6386 specification for VP8, or for derivative codecs.”
Remember when MPEG LA in 2011 sent out a call for anyone who could come up with a patent to block Vp8? And here comes Nokia. Remember MPEG LA’s head showing up on behalf of Microsoft in the litigation in Seattle? Getting the picture?
Fosspatents writes, “The way H.264 was defined definitely meets all the criteria for an open standard.” No. It does not. A standard is not open if it requires paying royalties for a patent, because the GPL doesn’t allow paying royalties for a patent. Linux uses the GPL. So Nokia is not offering open standards that everyone can use. This is targeting the GPL. And I believe it’s been planned for a long time, that it’s not just independent actors who happen to be helping each other fortuitously. The proprietary dudes want to destroy free and open, so they can make money. And they came up with a plan, one that we are watching play out. That’s how it looks to me, judging from the breadcrumbs along the roadway. Android is based on the Linux kernel.
There is a lot that Microsoft has done over the years to block or emasculate the GPL. SCO was part of this. Now it’s Nokia stepping up to the noxious proprietary plate, and they know about the GPL, because they used to sell Linux products. And to the board: you are doing evil here. You want Nokia to be the new SCO? Why would you? No one is surprised about Microsoft trying to kill off GPL freedom, but you should be ashamed to join them. Yes. You

Slashdot has, disappointingly enough, given a platform (obviously for whitewash) to Microsoft’s chief patent troll/proxy. “As a bonus on Wed. April 3, Nathan will be doing a live Q&A from 12-12:30pm PST,” it says. Now watch the first comment which says: “Is the money made in patent trolling worth being that kind of scumbag?”

Rude but true. Slashdot won’t actually ask that. It’s just PR for Intellectual Ventures, which is the world’s biggest patent troll. Sadly, large corporations like Apple (also funding Intellectual Ventures) have been joining Microsoft’s attempt at patent-stacking against Android. Where are the regulators? And where is the outrage within the FOSS community? There is not enough resistance out there.

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