Links 19/6/2013: Chromebooks Spread, Linux Community Distro Poll, Nokia Sale Talks Over, Subversion 1.8

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Potpourri: KDE 4.11 Beta, Debian 7.1, & Pisi Linux Beta

    There’s rarely a dull moment in Open Source World and if you look away for just a second you’ll miss something. Here are several interesting tidbits I found in my feeds I wished to share. KDE released 4.11 beta at the end of last week and it did indeed ship with Wayland support. Debian released an update to 7.0 Saturday and Pisi Linux (1.0) has made its first public appearance.

  • Tata Elxsi wins ‘Best User Experience’ design at Automotive Grade Linux Contest

    Tata Elxsi, a global design company and a part of the $ 100 billion Tata group, was declared winner of the first Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) User Experience Contest in the “Best User Experience” category.

  • Cumulus Networks Unveils a Linux Platform for Data Centers and Cloud Deployments
  • Start-up readies network-optimized Linux for data centers

    Start-up Cumulus Networks this week has emerged with a Linux network operating system designed for programmable data centers like the ones Google and Facebook are building.

    The company’s Cumulus Linux OS operating system includes IPv4 and IPv6 routing, plus data center and network orchestration hooks. Much like OpenFlow for independent, software-defined control of network forwarding, Cumulus Linux is intended to run on commodity network hardware and bring open source extensibility to high capacity data centers.

  • Cumulus Networks Comes Out of Stealth With Linux for Data-Center Networks
  • Planet Linux Caffe to Begin Accepting Bitcoin at HackMiami ‘Day of Bitcoin Secrets,’ Hackers and Cryptocurrency Enthusiasts Rejoice

    South Florida’s first Linux themed coffee shop will host a day of Bitcoin awareness and discussion.

  • Raspberry Pi gets its own media center kit: £46 for easy XBMC and controller (hands-on)
  • Desktop

    • Linux Desktop: Change vs. Conservatism

      The last five years of user revolts have left Linux desktop users wary of innovation. Too often recently, “innovation” has meant unwanted changes imposed without any consultation by developers upon users. As a result, Linux desktop development has become cautious, avoiding major changes that are visible to users.

      One sign of these times is that many users are voicing the opinion that this attitude is a good thing. They talk dismissively of change for change’s sake, and regard GNOME 2 with an awe that it never received during its heyday.

      However, if unrestrained change is undesirable, such conservatism seems simply its extreme opposite. Even granted that most experiments to improve the desktop will fail, some efforts at innovation seem desirable.

      If nothing else, such efforts help to attract and retain developers for a project — and, at best, they may occasionally come up with features that transform computing for their users, such as KDE’s Activities and Folder Views.

      Besides, some change is inevitable. Even post-revolt, some innovation persists on all the Linux desktops. Mostly, its long-term goals are poorly defined and sometimes tentative, but as computing changes, a few small innovations continue to find their way on to the screen despite the general lack of encouragement.

    • What Happened to the Mid-Range Chromebook?

      Chromebooks are about to get a boost in exposure, with Walmart and Staples adding the cheap laptops to their stores. But the expanded availability has left me wondering what happened to the best Chromebook of all, Samsung’s $450 Series 5 550.

    • Google Pumps The Retail Channel For Chromebooks
    • Google adds more retailers for Chromebook

      Google’s Chromebook laptop will be carried by over 6,600 stores around the world, as the company signs on more retailers.

      Starting Monday, Walmart is offering an Acer Chromebook, which has a 16GB Solid State Drive, in about 2,800 stores across the U.S. for US$199, while from this weekend, Staples will offer Chromebooks from Acer, Hewlett-Packard and Samsung Electronics in its over 1,500 stores in the country.

    • Reality Check: Success of GNU/Linux
    • Shipments of GNU/Linux PCs in India

      So, GNU/Linux is growing share in a market that’s growing installed base by 10% per annum currently. In 2012, 11 million PCs were sold in India. In 2006, the number was 5.4 million, a doubling in just 7 years. That’s hundreds of thousands of legacy PCs per annum installed with GNU/Linux and installations are growing 10% per annum or more. Meanwhile tens of millions of small cheap computers running Android/Linux are being bought by an emerging market in India. To the extent that the middle-class continues to grow, India is set for explosive growth of FLOSS for years to come.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Sponsors IT Training Scholarship

      The French revolutionary Georges Danton famously said, “After bread, education is the people’s first need.” And while the French Revolution and the channel may not have much in common, there are few places in which this populist message resonates better than the open source ecosystem, where providing development and other skills to volunteer contributors is vital to long-term success—which is exactly what the Linux Foundation is doing starting this week with its 2013 Linux Training Scholarship Program.

    • Linux creates scholarship for developer do-gooders and women

      The Linux Foundation this morning announced a change to its annual Linux Training Scholarship Program with new categories that reflect the evolving world of computer programming.

    • Share Your Expertise: Calling First-Time Speakers to Contribute at LinuxCon/CloudOpen North America

      The Linux Foundation produces more than 15 events a year. They range from the Linux Kernel Summit to CloudOpen to Automotive and Embedded Linux Conferences. If you have attended our events over the last few years you would likely have run into many luminaries from the world of Linux, open source and open cloud. We are fortunate to work every day with experts from the developer communities and with many of the largest open source projects and companies in the world. It’s a great talent pool to choose from.

    • Win a Linux training course in 300 words or less

      Attention Linux developers: If you’ve ever wanted to take a class with the Linux Foundation but have been held back by enrollment costs, then here’s your chance to win a scholarship.

    • Linux Foundation’s 2013 Training Scholarship Program Opens
    • Canonical names carrier group for Ubuntu Touch devices

      It’s graduation season and every day there are articles about the shortage of computer scientists. This includes a shortage of entry-level engineers, but also experienced SysAdmins, IT Architects and DevOps professionals in the enterprise IT market, especially as the market is undergoing a shift to cloud and highly automated IT environments.

    • New Linux Training Courses Address OpenStack, Enterprise Automation Needs

      It’s graduation season and every day there are articles about the shortage of computer scientists. This includes a shortage of entry-level engineers, but also experienced SysAdmins, IT Architects and DevOps professionals in the enterprise IT market, especially as the market is undergoing a shift to cloud and highly automated IT environments.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • What we did in KWin 4.11

        With the release of the 4.11 Beta 1 behind us it’s a good moment to look back on this last half year on development. KWin 4.11 is a very important release for us. As you might have heard at the last Plasma sprint we decided to make 4.11 the last release of the KDE workspaces based on Qt 4. Fear not: the KDE Software Compilation with all it’s great application will see a 4.12 release – at least I have not heard anything else, just the workspaces need some time to do the Qt 5 transition. In addition we want to provide extended bug fix releases for the 4.11 release of the workspaces. So 4.11 is a very important release – being the bridge towards Qt 5.

      • Summer with Amarok

        In this blog I will share information about my Google Summer of Code project “Audio СD collection refactoring”, which is a part of Amarok (if you still not aware of it Amarok is great music player).

      • Google Summer of Code 2013: Cantor + Python

        This year I have a project accepted to Google Summer of Code. This is my second time in the program and I am very happy and grateful for it

        This year I come back to Cantor, the KDE mathematical environment for several mathematical softwares like Maxima, Sage, Scilab, etc. In 2011 I developed the Scilab backend during Google Summer of Code. My mentor was Sylvestre Ledru, from Scilab team.

      • Akademy 2013, I’m coming!

        It is less than a week now. I’m very excited to attend Akademy 2013, the annual KDE Conference, this year for the second time. I just got my Spain visa few mins back.

      • Rekonq 2 – 2.2 Major Features Highlighted
      • Thank You Akademy Sponsors
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Accessibility bid selected

        The GNOME Foundation Board is happy to announce that following the Call for Bids for GNOME Accessibility Work, Igalia, a Spanish company, was selected to perform the work.

      • GNOME Files 3.9.3 Release

        The most significant change Nautilus 3.9.3 brings, is the port of Nautilus Sidebar in GtkPlacesSidebar Widget (Removal of nautilus-places-sidebar.c).

  • Distributions

    • Do-over for Linux Community Distro Poll

      Last week’s FOSS Force poll was only up for a few hours before we had to take it down.

      It dealt with the issue of community distros. If you’re interested, you’re welcome to take a gander at the article that accompanied the poll. Mainly, it sought to determine what you considered to be a community GNU/Linux distro. There had been quite a bit of discussion on the subject here on our site, so we decided to put it to you in a down and dirty poll, just to see if we could come to any kind of consensus.

      The comments to our poll article became quite heated. It seems that hardly anybody wanted to be left off the community distro bandwagon. Everybody wanted their favorite Linux distro to be considered a community distro.

      A lot of people took a notion that if their distro was said not to be a community distro, then that was the same as saying that it was full of bugs or didn’t work properly or something like that. It was like if we said your red car is not a black car, that somehow that meant we were saying there was something defective about your red car because it wasn’t black. It was odd. Made no sense to us. Still doesn’t.

    • Linux Community Distro Poll
    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Anne Nicolas: Mageia project is a viable and mature

        Let’s cut this story short. My today’s guest is Anne Nicolas, the chairperson of Mageia.org association.

      • OpenMandriva Releases Public Alpha

        Back in May the OpenMandriva project treated interested parties to a tech preview, but today we discover an official public alpha release ready for testing. Not much else is ready, but there is an ISO. Downloading is slow going, but that’s not a completely bad thing.

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 7: A So-So Distro Not Worth Switching For

        Debian may be a granddaddy in the Linux world, but the latest version of the software isn’t much to look at. Debian 7, dubbed ‘Wheezy,’ is about as exciting as its name is unattractive, and it’s certainly not a showcase for the latest distro developments. To be kind, this latest Debian Linux release has little or no flash-bang impact under its hood.

      • SODIMM-style ARM COM is packed with I/O, runs Debian

        Glomation released an SODIMM-style computer-on-module built around an Atmel SAMA5D3 Cortex-A5 ARM processor, and supported with a Debian Linux stack. The GECM-5100 is equipped with gigabit Ethernet and TFT LCD controllers, and it also offers USB, CAN, SDIO/MMC/SD, image sensor, serial, analog, and digital I/O interfaces.

      • Slandering Debian GNU/Linux

        One thing the growing prominence of GNU/Linux has triggered is more slander from the powers that be.

      • Derivatives

        • Debian Edu interview: Victor Nițu

          The Debian Edu and Skolelinux distribution have users and contributors all around the globe. And a while back, an enterprising young man showed up on our IRC channel #debian-edu and started asking questions about how Debian Edu worked. We answered as good as we could, and even convinced him to help us with translations. And today I managed to get an interview with him, to learn more about him.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu phone OS forms international Carrier Advisory Group

            [Eight carriers have joined the Ubuntu phone Carrier Advisory Group (CAG). CAG members will influence the Ubuntu Phone roadmap and participate as launch partners. The carrier group includes: Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Korea Telecom, Telecom Italia, LG UPlus, Portugal Telecom, SK Telecom and the leading Spanish international carrier.]

          • Canonical Announces Formation of Carrier Advisory Group for Ubuntu Mobile Development
          • The future of Ubuntu on mobile: Canonical forms carrier group to shape OS
          • Google should acquire Canonical and merge Ubuntu with Android

            Ubuntu could easily emerge as a force to reckon with in the mobile industry. Perhaps a stand-alone Ubuntu platform won’t succeed (cause it lacks major backers), but Ubuntu for Android definitely has a chance. Just imagine using your regular Android smartphone as a full-blown Linux computer when you connect it to a bigger screen. Powerful stuff…

          • Testing: On To Saucy Salamader!

            With the upgrade of my main laptop to 13.04 (Raring Ringtail) I have now migrated my testing laptop to Saucy Salamander. I want to stress to everyone — this is my testing laptop and not one that I rely to store important content. I do use it daily for things like browsing the web, listening to music and playing Minetest with my children.

          • 10 Things We Want in Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander)

            Ubuntu 13.04 wasn’t a big release. Apart from stability improvements, application updates, and performance tweaks, Raring Ringtail didn’t get the same amount of attention as Ubuntu’s previous releases did. That said, the distribution did lay the foundation for a bigger release, which is expected to come out this year and that is Ubuntu 13.10.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 321
          • Mac OS X vs Windows 8 vs Ubuntu Linux
          • Tweak Ubuntu Unity: Get a dock-style launcher and Unity Dash

            One of the biggest criticisms of Ubuntu Unity is the inability to move the Launcher. After having an epiphany, Jack Wallen illustrates one way you can have the best of both worlds.

          • Ubuntu Support: How to Get Help

            For those of us Linux users who are more adventurous, switching to a new operating system can be pretty exciting. Unfortunately, problems tend to crop up when a new user seeking help isn’t familiar with the best practices for finding support.

          • In-Fighting Continues Over Mir On Non-Unity Ubuntu

            For those looking for the latest drama in the Ubuntu Linux land, the fighting over whether KDE and GNOME should support the Mir Display Server to complement the in-development Wayland support continues to be hotly discussed.

          • Ubuntu for phones gets a telco carrier club

            Canonical has gathered together seven carriers including Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere and Korea Telecom to create the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group (CAG) for Ubuntu for phones. The group will be confidentially briefed on Canonical’s plans for the upcoming phone operating system and will, in return, give the company feedback on those plans and get the chance to be a launch partner with the right to ship Ubuntu devices in their markets. Canonical expects further carriers, including “leaders in all major markets”, to join the group before its doors close in July. The current timetable will see Ubuntu for phones launched early in 2014.

          • EE gets behind new Ubuntu OS

            4G operator joins coalition of firms discussing development of new software.

            EE has pledged its support for a new operating system branded Ubuntu by joining a coalition of international operators, which will look to develop the new software, Mobile Today has reported.

          • Ubuntu Touch smartphone one step closer to shipping

            Having a great, Linux-based, mobile platform is one thing. Bringing it to the masses, in the form of actual smartphones (and tablets, phablets and whatever other words we’re using to describe “devices we can hold in our hand” nowadays), is quite another.

          • First Ubuntu smartphones get one step closer with backing of Carrier Advisory Group

            The arrival of the first Ubuntu OS-based smartphone took one step closer today with the formation of the Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group – a collection of operators around the world that want a say in the ongoing development of the Ubuntu smartphone OS.

          • Canonical announces Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group, first 8 telecom partners
          • Canonical names carrier group for Ubuntu Touch devices
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Peppermint OS Four Review: Linux Mint of Lubuntu with added Ice and Web apps!

              Peppermint OS Four is one distro, possibly, I haven’t paid sufficient attention till date. This week first time I made an honest effort to understand and use it for a few days continuously. I must say I am very impressed with the new Peppermint OS release – Peppermint OS Four. Earlier my impression was it is just repackaged Lubuntu. But, with continuous usage for a few days, my impression changed – it brings a lot more to the user than the parent distro Lubuntu. I guess you’ll understand more what I am saying in the remaining part of the review.

            • Review: Zorin OS 7 Core

              It has been almost exactly a year since I reviewed Zorin OS 6 Core, which was based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS “Precise Pangolin”. The new version is based on Ubuntu 13.04 “Raring Ringtail”, so I’m reviewing that now.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Kitware to Develop an Open-Source HPC Design-Analysis Environment for Nuclear Energy Research

    This research will provide advanced modeling and simulation of nuclear power reactors for the design of future systems and operation of existing plants.

  • OSI Seeks a General Manager

    On behalf of the board of directors, I am pleased to share the news that we have opened our first management position at the Open Source Initiative. Our search begins now and we expect to bring on board a new General Manager this summer.

  • Open Source Initiative seeks first manager

    The Open Source Initiative, the US non-profit organisation that defines open source and advocates its use, has announced that it is seeking its first full-time manager. The OSI has traditionally been run by the members of the board of directors, which has limited the organisation’s outreach and fundraising capabilities. Over the past few years though, it has been transitioning to a more active role in fostering the use and understanding of open source, reaching out and opening its doors to become a wider membership-driven organisation.

  • The Pistoia Alliance Releases HELM Biomolecular Representation Standard Open Source Tools

    The Pistoia Alliance is pleased to announce the release of the HELM biomolecular representation standard software toolkit and editor under the permissive open source MIT licence.

  • PrismTech Announces the Release of Open Source OpenSplice Community Edition v6.3

    PrismTech(TM), a global leader in standards-based, performance-critical middleware, today announced a major update to the Open Source OpenSplice(TM) Community Edition. This v6.3 update will provide access to the latest version of OpenSplice DDS along with several innovations that improve usability, productivity and performance.

  • NREL offers an open-source solution for large-scale energy data collection and analysis

    (Nanowerk News) The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is launching an open-source system for storing, integrating, and aligning energy-related time-series data. NREL’s Energy DataBus is used for tracking and analyzing energy use on its own campus. The system is applicable to other facilities—including anything from a single building to a large military base or college campus—or for other energy data management needs.

  • Free and Commercial Game Engines

    The appearance of new game engines with Linux support gives rise to hope that more games will start to appear in Linux versions. The free game engines are also getting better.

    Commercially successful games usually score high with their perfect blend of breathtaking graphics, well-animated characters, realistic lighting, spectacular sound, and convincing effects. These features all can be developed from the bottom up; nowadays, game engines come into play in this process. Game engines can cater to 2D or 3D graphics, and some come complete with the necessary development modules.

  • GlobalSign Offers Free SSL Certificates for Open-Source Projects, Helping Make the Internet More Secure
  • GlobalSign Offers SSL Certificates for Open-Source Projects, Helping Make the Internet More Secure
  • Virtualization: No Traction from Open Source Alternatives

    VMWare continues to lead the virtualization market. Open Source alternatives just aren’t getting any traction.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google’s VP9 Open Video Format Rolls Out in Chromium Build

        For years now, Google has been looking to take a leadership stance in web-based video formats. We’ve reported on its efforts to facilitate 3D online video, and we covered Google’s acquisition of On2, giving Google control of the VP8 video codec. Meanwhile, Google, of course, has YouTube under its belt, attracting countless eyeballs per day to the videos housed there.

      • Google’s VP9 web video codec enters home straight

        As planned in May, Google has now finalised the bit stream for VP9, its open video compression format. Chromium has included a beta VP9 decoder for some time and this has now been activated by default according to an entry in the issue tracker reading “Remove VP9 flag, and enable VP9 by default”. VP9 can also be enabled in the developer version of Chromium and Chrome (“Enable VP9 playback in video elements”). Google is planning to incorporate the final version of VP9 into Chrome 29 and enable it by default by 20 August. It is nonetheless likely to be some time before VP9 achieves a critical mass on YouTube – to date VP9 is limited to a few demo videos.

      • Spycam vulnerability reappears in Google Chrome’s Flash

        An issue, previously fixed by Adobe in October 2011, has reappeared in Google Chrome and allows attackers to take control of webcams and microphones from Flash content. At its heart the problem is an old one: click-jacking.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Science Lab aims to revitalise the scientific process

        Mozilla has created a new initiative aimed at increasing internet adoption, digital research and the use of open source technologies among scientists and researchers. Kaitlin Thaney announced on her blog that she will be heading the newly created Mozilla Science Lab as Director. The initiative is funded by Mozilla and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and is connected to Software Carpentry, a volunteer organisation that already helps researchers “be more productive” by educating them in general computing skills and programming.

      • Mozilla’s Open Badges Program Picks Up Some Big Backers

        Mozilla is moving rapidly ahead with its Open Badges online credential verification initiative. Back in March, the company announced Open Badges 1.0, which it billed as “an exciting new online standard to recognize and verify learning.” Since then, the program has picked up some enthusiastic backing from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and now, the folks behind Blackboard’s free,hosted CourseSites platform for massive open online courses (MOOCs) are backing Open Badges.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Open Source in the Cloud – How Much Should You Care?

      In his opening keynote for Red Hat Summit, Jim Whitehurst, the CEO of Red Hat asked the audience: “Name an innovation that isn’t happening in Open Source – other than Azure!” I can certainly add iPhone and AWS to the mix but let me stick to the cloud topic with the following question: “How much Open Source matters in the cloud?”

    • Embracing OpenStack: How Red Hat commoditized open source cloud computing
    • Spark: Open Source Superstar Rewrites Future of Big Data

      Even after naming ex-Google star Marissa Mayer chief exec, Yahoo often is derided as a thing of the past, a fallen giant struggling to keep pace with the likes of Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Behind the scenes, though, thanks to people like Sriharsha, Yahoo is in many respects a step ahead of its much flashier competition — and has been for years.

    • Apache CloudStack Weekly News – 17 June 2013
    • Why US Defense Agencies are Moving to the Cloud

      When it comes to embracing cloud and virtualization technologies, the panel agreed that a few years ago there were some concerns. Barrette noted that within the USAF there was some doubt whether they could use open source in an operational command and control environment. It is work that is ongoing and might potentially leverage work that the U.S. Navy has already made with its ACS stack (Afloat Cores Services). ACS includes JBoss Middleware and Linux components used by the Navy.

  • Databases

    • Did Oracle put another nail in MySQL’s coffin? Changes man page licence

      While naive users believed that Oracle will emerge as a champion of free software and polish OOo and MySQL to compete with arch rival Microsoft – the company disappointed everyone, especially the manner in which it handled the Java-Android case. Once the most promising office suite OpenOffice has disappeared from the surface, MySQL is also heading in the same direction.

    • Is MariaDB replacing MySQL?

      From next month, MariaDB will replace MySQL as the default database in Fedora. And now RedHat has announced its doing the same. Even Wikimedia started using it.

      So what is MariaDB, why is the switch happening, and what are the implications?

    • MySQL Cluster 7.3 is finalised

      Oracle has released version 7.3 of its MySQL Cluster software as GA (Generally Available). Highlights of the release, which have been previewed over the last 12 months, include a NoSQL JavaScript Connector for Node.js and Foreign Key support. The new edition works with the latest MySQL 5.6 release and improves throughput of connections between nodes with more scalable thread provisioning. A new auto installer also simplifies the set-up process, allowing for graphical configuration of what Oracle says are production-grade, automatically tuned clusters.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.0.4 available

      The Document Foundation, the organization behind the development of LibreOffice, has announced LibreOffice 4.0.4. This is the last release before 4.1 branch and brings minor updates. One of the most interesting feature of the upcoming release is that users will be able to open PFD files and edit them.

      According to the press statement, “LibreOffice 4.0.4 features many improvements in the area of interoperability with proprietary document formats. This ongoing activity has been instrumental for the choice of LibreOffice by all major migration projects to free software since early 2012, including several central and local governments in Europe and South America.”

  • Education

    • Getting started with HFOSS in the classroom

      If we look at the big picture view, most frequently people think of student contribution as code. But student learning can span HFOSS (Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software) as an item to be studied. You can draw artifacts from HFOSS and not contribute back, although that’s not the preferred model. Contributing back starts the cycle of students being involved in a community. You can start as small as one assignment.

  • Business

  • Funding


    • MediaGoblin 0.4.0 adds document support

      MediaGoblin, the free software decentralised alternative to Flickr, YouTube, SoundCloud and other media sharing platforms, has been updated to version 0.4.0 and is now able to share documents. The new document support leverages Andreas Gal’s pdf.js to display documents within the browser, surrounded by MediaGoblin’s document metadata and controls and comment area. Servers with LibreOffice installed can also convert a wide variety of formats into displayable PDF content and offer readers both the original document and the PDF conversion for download.

    • Meet the GNUnet Devs @ Ruby Hackathon Munich

      On this July’s Ruby Hackathon organized by the Munich Ruby Usergroup is a special GNUnet related topic.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • France and Germany launch open source collaboration

      OSBA and CNLL are also looking to make it easier for their members to access markets in neighbouring countries and to develop a shared list of IT policy demands, based on the CNLL’s 10 proposals for an open software policyPDFFrench language link and the OSBA’s guidelines and demandsPDF. Both documents call for greater consideration to be given to open source software in public sector IT procurement, greater emphasis to be placed on interoperability based on open, royalty-free standards, and freedom from patents.

    • Code for new Polish consultation web site to be open sourced

      Some further information is available on the EC’s open source portal, Joinup: the consultation web site is based on Drupal with the Zend Framework used to create code that links the web site to the ministry’s document management system; it is this code that will be open sourced. The site and code are still undergoing testing but it is expected that this will be completed in about one month. After that time the code will be released as open source, but it is as yet undecided from which code repository it will be made available.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Dimple: PMSI Launches Open Source D3 API

      Practical Management Solutions and Insights (PMSI) has launched an open-source API project for business analytics: dimple. Dimple aims to open up the flexibility and power of d3 to analysts. With little d3 knowledge needed, the dimple API gives analysts access to the tools capable of creating dynamic graphical representations of datasets.

    • Open Data

      • G8 Open Data Charter and Technical Annex

        1) The world is witnessing the growth of a global movement facilitated by technology and social media and fuelled by information – one that contains enormous potential to create more accountable, efficient, responsive, and effective governments and businesses, and to spur economic growth.

    • Open Hardware

      • The Open Source RepRap Simpson 3D Printer Design Reduces Friction, Uses Less “Vitamins”

        This is the Grounded Experimental Delta 3D printer, aka the Simpson, a project built by computer science teacher Nicholas Seward that does away with the excess frames, pulleys, and hardware associated with earlier models. Seward wanted a machine that could print itself and used “less vitamins,” namely metal parts that the machine couldn’t create from scratch. There are still motors and controllers, but there are fewer in this model than in any other I’ve seen.

  • Programming

    • LLVM 3.3 introduces full C++11 support

      The developers of the LLVM compiler infrastructure have announced the release of LLVM 3.3, bringing full support for the features of the C++11 language standard to its C/C++ compiler frontend Clang, and adding new target infrastructures with AArch64 and the AMD R600 GPU. As part of IBM System Z support, S390 systems can now also be targeted. The developers point out that this release makes Clang “the only compiler to support the full C++’11 standard, including important C++’11 library features like std::regex”, something the developers completed earlier this year.


  • Reverse Graffiti: Washing Walls to Create Art
  • BT Chief Ian Livingston Leaving For Ministerial Job

    CEO of BT Ian Livingston is leaving the company after five years leading the telecoms giant, taking up an unpaid role as minister for trade and investment.

    Livingston will join the House of Lords prior to his ministerial appointment, before handing over the reins to Gavin Patterson, who moves up from CEO of BT Retail. Livingston made the same jump up in 2008, when he took over from the then BT Group CEO Ben Verwaayen.

  • Science

    • Lies, Damned Lies and Benchmarks

      Benchmarks can reveal the truth – well, some of the truth – about technologies. A well-constructed benchmark can provide a way to compare performance, reliability and other metrics that can make a difference in comparing product quality and effectiveness. But you have to look closely at what a benchmark is measuring and how it was run – and, even then, take its results with a large grain of salt. Here’s how to approach benchmarks and their touted results.

      Let’s start with the fundamentals. We’d all like to have some magic number that reveals “The Truth” about how good any given device or program is. There are no such numbers. Anyone who tells you that there is such a single performance benchmark is either lying or is trying to sell you something.

    • Quark quartet opens fresh vista on matter

      First particle containing four quarks is confirmed.

    • Do hens have friends? It seems not

      A Royal Veterinary College study has found that hens reared in commercial conditions do not form friendships and are not particular about who they spend time with.

    • Chickens ‘cleverer than toddlers’
  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The scam of growth

      Our study showed that the limestone left in the mountains contributed more to the economy than its extraction through mining, because limestone is an aquifer and holds water in its cavities and caves. Friends of the Doon Valley mobilised the citizens and in 1983, the Supreme Court ordered the closure of the limestone mines and all the polluting industries dependent on it. The Doon Valley was declared an ecologically sensitive zone and a green valley.

      Thirty years later, in violation of all laws, the chief minister of Uttarakhand, Vijay Bahuguna, signed an MoU with Coca Cola to set up a plant in village Charba. Wherever Coca Cola goes, it brings famine and pollution. This was the case in Plachimada in Kerala, where women started a movement and shut down the Coca Cola plant. Similar is the case in Mehdiganj near Varanasi. Each plant uses 1.5-2 million litres of water per day. This can create scarcity in the most water abundant region. On May 29, 2013, citizens from across India and the Doon Valley joined a solidarity rally of the Charba community to stop the Coca Cola plant.

      Today, our forests and rivers are dying. And as a society, we don’t seem to care even though every community whose land, forests and water are being grabbed are rising in revolt. It is probably the biggest ecological movement in our history.

    • Buzz off, Monsanto

      Last week, the term “bee-washing” emerged in public conversation. It doesn’t refer to some new bee cleaning service, but to the insidious efforts of Monsanto and other pesticide corporations to discredit science about the impacts of pesticides on bees — especially neonicotinoids — by creating public relations tours, new research centers and new marketing strategies.

      This week, pesticide makers are showcasing these tactics during National Pollinator Week with offers of free seed packets to people who take their poorly named “pollinator pledge.” The “bee-washing” term has gained traction as scientists and groups like PAN continue to cut through the misinformation and point to the emerging body of science that points to pesticides as a critical factor in bee declines.

  • Security

    • EMET 4.0 catches SSL spies
    • Oracle releases fixes for 40 Java holes

      Oracle has published its June Critical Patch Update for Java SE and, as expected, the update fixes 40 security holes, none of which require authentication and 37 of which are exploitable over the network. The company recommends users install the update as soon as possible.

    • Security issue in iOS Personal Hotspot

      Security experts at the University of Erlangen-Nuremburg have identified a security issue in iOS’s Personal Hotspot feature. The feature, also known as tethering, allows a phone to be used as a hotspot for other devices. A paper from Andreas Kurtz, Felix Freiling and Daniel Metz describes vulnerabilities they discovered in the feature.

    • Trove of medical devices found to have password problems

      Up to 300 various medical devices from 40 vendors have been identified as vulnerable to a hard-coded password issue, and two government agencies are working to get the word out and protect against exploits.

    • 7 essentials for defending against DDoS attacks

      With hackers who pull off take downs getting stealthier and more vicious, security leaders across all industries need to be prepared

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Chomsky: Obama is ‘dedicated to increasing terrorism’

      In a wide-ranging interview with GRITtv host Laura Flanders, MIT professor and author Noam Chomsky plainly stated that President Barack Obama’s administration is “dedicated to increasing terrorism” all around the world.

      In his view, the NSA spying scandal clearly illustrates how subservient to corporate and state power the American media has become. “There would be headlines saying this is a bad joke” if the press wanted to be truly independent, Chomsky told Flanders.

      “The Obama administration is dedicated to increasing terrorism,” he went on. “In fact, it’s doing it all over the world. Obama, first of all, is running the biggest terrorist operation that exists, maybe in history. The drone assassination campaigns, which are just part of it… All of these operations, they are terror operations.”

    • US-Taliban breakthrough: Talks to begin in Doha tomorrow

      The Taliban and the US announced on Tuesday that they would hold talks on finding a political solution for ending nearly 12 years of war in Afghanistan as the militant movement opened an office in Qatar.

    • US to join direct peace talks in Qatar with Taliban over Afghanistan’s future

      ‘Peace and reconciliation’ milestone comes after US drops request for formal rejection of al-Qaida as precondition to talks

    • Taliban peace talks: ‘Peace and reconciliation’ negotiations to take place in Qatar

      ‘Peace and reconciliation’ milestone comes after US drops request for formal rejection of al-Qaida as precondition to talks

    • Obama downplays rift as Karzai pulls out of Taliban peace talks
    • Ron Paul Suggests Edward Snowden Might Be Killed in a Drone Strike

      It’s hard to tell how serious he is because in the recording he’s kind of chuckling, but Ron Paul told a Fox Business interviewer Tuesday, “I’m worried about somebody in our government might kill him with a cruise missile or a drone missile,” referring to Edward Snowden. We know Paul has some strong feelings about U.S. drone strikes — he floated impeachment for Obama after Anwar al-Awlaki was killed, and of course his son Rand Paul did that thirteen-hour filibuster over drone strikes on Americans. But seriously suggesting that Snowden, a high-profile figure who people still can’t agree whether to call a hero or a traitor, would get blown up by an extrajudicial drone strike, shows a certain detachment from reality shared by luminaries such as Rush Limbaugh.

    • Ron Paul: Edward Snowden May Be Target Of U.S. Drone Strike
    • Sicily’s mafia plotted to kill with drones 20 years ago

      A mafia turncoat has revealed that Sicily’s Cosa Nostra was a pioneer in the use of killer drones, testing bomb-loaded remote-controlled aircraft in the early 1990s.

      Two decades before the United States began using Reaper drones to strike terrorist targets in the Middle East, mobsters in Palermo were testing ways to kill rivals from the sky, Gaspare Spatuzza told a court yesterday.

    • China Denies Allegations about Recruiting Former CIA Agent

      The spokeswoman of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the claims that China has recruited a former U.S intelligence agent who resorted to Hong Kong.

      Chun Hua Ling described these allegations as “pure nonsense.”

    • Ex-CIA Whistleblower Snowden Denies Congressmen’s Charge: ‘Not a Chinese Spy’

      Edward Snowden, the ex-CIA whistleblower responsible for “the biggest intelligence leak in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) history,” denied allegations that he was a Chinese spy.

    • Man Who Ranted About Poison, CIA On Plane Had Worked For State Department

      The man was detained after passengers on board United Airlines Flight 116 said he caused a disturbance. He is an American believed to be in his 30s, and claimed his name is Daniel Morgan Perry, during an anti-government rant recorded on a cellphone about nine hours into the 16-hour flight.

      “Your life is in jeopardy!” he shouted. “Your life is in jeopardy if you work for the NSA, you work for the CIA, you work for the National Reconnaissance Office, your life is in jeopardy!”

      The man had been pacing the aisles repeating his name, age and hometown of Binghamton, N.Y., passengers told WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond. He then began his rant about the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported Monday.

      “He complained about being shot with darts during the entire flight,” passenger Jacques Roizen told CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco.

      “He never threatened any individual on the plane. He didn’t threaten to blow up the plane. He didn’t threaten to divert the plane. He was just saying he had information relating to Ed Snowden,” passenger Peter Jones added.

    • Pakistan hopes CIA to stop drone strikes in FATA soon

      Pakistan’s newly elected government is hopping that the CIA, the US premier spy agency, to halt its drone attacks in the country’s north western…

    • Michael Hastings Probed the CIA Before Fatal Hollywood Crash

      Michael Hastings, the Buzzfeed writer who appeared to have died in a fiery Hollywood crash early today, had reported extensively on the CIA and was rumored to be continuing work on that beat at the time of his demise.

    • Michael Hastings – journalists pay tribute to ‘fearless’ war correspondent

      Hastings was a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, a magazine that afforded him free rein to pursue truth and expose hypocrisy in war-ravaged Afghanistan and Iraq. The conflicts impacted Hastings personally: in 2007, his then-fiancee, the aide worker Andi Parhamovich, was killed in an ambush in Baghdad.

      The 26-year-old Hastings commemorated his tragically-curtailed relationship in the book, I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story.

      On a sabbatical from war reporting, Hastings last year sought out the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for a judiciously-arranged interview when he was based at a friend’s house in the Norfolk countryside. With two digital recorders on the coffee table, Hastings asked the world’s most wanted whistleblower: “Are you fucked?”

      Assange was not the only subject of Hastings’ occasional intemperance. In an exchange with Hillary Clinton’s aide, Philippe Reines, in September 2012, Hastings was asked: “Why do you bother to ask questions you’ve already decided you know the answers to?”

      He replied: “Why don’t you give answers that aren’t bullshit for a change?”

      The response prompted Reines to call Hastings an “unmitigated asshole” and add: “Now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, have a good day. And by good day, I mean fuck off.”

    • Google’s deep CIA and NSA connections

      As Robert Steele, a former CIA case officer has put it: Google is “in bed with” the CIA.

    • Too Much Involvement of the RAW, EU & CIA in Nepal

      In name of world peace and human rights America has been trying to impose its influence over the world by forwarding UN and NATO. America through its intelligence agency ‘CIA’ has been trying to incite an ethnic and religious conflict in the world so as to disintegrate sovereign nations. UN could have straightened such controversial policy of America. But with its restraint UN has also become controversial by allowing itself to be trapped in the imperialist network. Then, it is requested to all imperialistic nations and their intelligence Agencies should be backed from Nepal for the sake of Nepal’s stability.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Concedes Existence of Too Big to Fail

      Global megabanks and their friends are pushing back hard against the idea that additional reforms are needed – beyond what is supposed to be implemented as part of the Dodd-Frank 2010 financial legislation. The latest salvo comes from Goldman Sachs which, in a recent report, “Measuring the TBTF effect on bond pricing,” denied there is any such thing as downside protection provided by the official sector to creditors of “too big to fail” financial conglomerates.

    • On Bilderberg

      I was invited to the Bilderberg conference this year — embarrassed I hadn’t known anything about it before, and more embarrassed I hadn’t known anything about the controversy around it.

    • More Obama Administration Secrecy: Rep. Grayson Can’t Discuss Classified Trans-Pacific Partnership Draft

      OK, you remaining Obama fans: tell me why we should trust the biggest baiter and switcher in the history of the Presidency, particularly when he insists on unprecedented levels of secrecy? Because he has nice teeth and cute kids?

  • Censorship

    • Google erases G8 venue from Earth: Microsoft doesn’t

      As all the world that cares knows, the leaders of the eight most powerful nations in the world have just been holding a summit meeting at the Lough Erne Resort in Northern Ireland. Most accounts suggest that this is a 5-star golfing hotel complex, but according to Google Maps and Google Earth it is just a muddy field:

    • Porn Summit Threatens Britain

      Until our politicians wise up to the fact that filtering solves nothing, endless knee-jerk proposals from politicians attempting populism will harm us all.

    • Internet Censorship and Control

      The Internet is and has always been a space where participants battle for control. The two core protocols that define the Internet – TCP and IP – are both designed to allow separate networks to connect to each other easily, so that networks that differ not only in hardware implementation (wired vs. satellite vs. radio networks) but also in their politics of control (consumer vs. research vs. military networks) can interoperate easily. It is a feature of the Internet, not a bug, that China – with its extensive, explicit censorship infrastructure – can interact with the rest of the Internet.

    • Culture Secretary: internet companies will proactively police child abuse images

      Maria Miller says internet companies have agreed a “fundamental change in the approach of the industry to removing child abuse images that are too readily available online”.

    • UK internet providers commit £1m to eradicate child porn

      The UK’s four largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have pledged £1m in funding at a No 10 summit today to tackle the abuse of children online.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Turkey’s ‘standing people’ protest spreads amid Erdoğan’s crackdown

      Protesters turn to passive resistance after four people die in Erdoğan’s brutal response to Taksim Square demonstration

    • What do Bosnia, Bulgaria and Brazil have in common?

      Once again, it’s kicking off everywhere: from Turkey to Bosnia, Bulgaria and Brazil, the endless struggle for real democracy resonates around the globe.

    • Brazil – Police refuse to follow orders and removed from the post
    • Judge slams police force’s approach to CRB as “fundementally flawed”

      A Judge has called South Yorkshire Police’s approach to CRB disclosure “fundamentally flawed” after the force decided to disclose the fact that a teacher had been involved in legal proceedings, despite the fact that the individual was not convicted of an offence.

      The ‘old’ CRB system has seen lives ruined and this case is a very clear example of over reliance on a flawed system. After being found not guilty, it is abhorrent that South Yorkshire Police took the legal system into their own hands and used CRB disclosure as a means of issuing their own punishment. There must clearly be a system that ensures children and vulnerable adults are protected, however this must be balanced against unjust intrusion into people’s lives. If something cannot be proven in court then it is not right for the police to disclose details that imply guilt.

    • In Brazil, the mask of democracy is falling

      If Brazil’s oppressors are forced to recognize that an era of real democracy has arrived, I will be very happy to pay 20 cents more for my bus rides.

    • Brazil’s Half-Miracle

      On all the social media networks, there’s a hashtag that I have kept seeing the last few days: #ChangeBrazil, associated with unrest across Brazil. Since I may be going there soon for the huge FISL open source conference, I wondered exactly what was going on. I asked one of my friends in Brazil and she sent me a link to a video to explain it.

    • 7,822 Injured with 59 in Serious Condition

      Turkish Doctors Union (TTB) released a statement, saying that at least 4 people lost their lives and 7,822 protestors were injured in Gezi Park demonstration in 13 cities across Turkey.

      The union said the statement included all police violence-related injuries until June 17 at 6 pm local time.

      TTB said public hospitals, private hospitals and volunteer infirmaries that station in approximate with hot clash zones admitted 7,882 patients.

      “The majority of injuries were due to pepper gas-related burnt and respiratory complications; injuries related to canister hits, plastic bullets and muscle-skeleton system traumas (soft tissues injuries, cuts, burns, broken bones); head traumas; eyesight problems extending to vision loses due to use of plastic bullets; and internal organ injuries.

      According to the statement 4 people lost their lives: Mehmet Ayvalıtaş (Istanbul), Abdullah Cömert (Antakya), Mustafa Sarı (polis officer, Adana), Ethem Sarısülük (Ankara).

    • NDAA Passes House, Indefinite Detention Still in Statute

      While the nation was fully focused on the NSA scandals and Edward Snowden, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014. Republicans who voted no on H. R. 1960, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014, included Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03),and Rep. Thomas Massie (KY-04).

      Out of the nearly 200 NDAA amendments introduced to the House for voting, only one could have prevented the mandatory military custody of an American citizen without charge or trial: the Smith-Gibson Amendment would eliminate the indefinite military detention of any person taken into custody under the authority of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). This amendment failed by receiving 200 ayes and 226 nays. Out of the 226 votes in opposition to this article, 213 came from Republican congressmen.

    • Radel introduces amendments to Defense act

      Radel said the amendments are designed to preserve the rights of citizens on American soil and allow them due process rather than face detention without formal charges or justification.

    • China was right all along: some thoughts on the PRISM case

      Recently the world has learned, thanks to the act of courage of a whistleblower named Edward Snowden, the exact proportions of the U.S. surveillance state.

      As a European citizen I find this, to say the least, very disturbing and hope that my country and all other European countries will do something to stand up against this blatant violation of users privacy.


      This aspect is interesting for 2 reasons. The first is that I see this as a competitive advantage for companies that deal with personal information that are not based in the U.S. Why would I even want to have my personal data handled by a company that I know will collude with a rogue organization such the NSA?

      The second aspect is perhaps even more interesting and controversial. China has a long history of censorship and surveillance, however I think that this story demonstrates us how they were actually the most farsighted. Chinese citizens have a social contract with their state. They give up some of their personal freedoms in exchange for security. The freedoms that they give up are quite a bit, but their state, in this circumstance, has demonstrated to have managed to successfully protect them from some threats.

    • What’s happening in Bulgaria?

      protesters on the streets of Sofia need your support


      At first glance, beautiful Bulgaria has a lot of democracy going on — laws, elections, a parliament, a president, markets, EU membership, free will, the works, we have it. Look from the outside, and it’s clearly there. The inside of this strange hologram, though, feels very different, especially if you’re a Bulgarian.


      ДАНС (say “dance”) is kind of like the NSA, only smaller. Yet, much like the NSA, they too can listen in on communications. Imagine what happens when the (top-level access clearance) head of agency is a politician?

    • Wearing a mask at a riot becomes a crime today

      Maximum 10-year prison term for conviction of new offence

    • FBI director admits domestic use of drones for surveillance

      The FBI uses drones for domestic surveillance purposes, the head of the agency told Congress early Wednesday.

    • FBI admits to using surveillance drones over US soil
    • Naked Rambler Stephen Gough jailed for breaching asbo
  • DRM

    • German court forbids open-source download manager JDownloader

      A German court has ruled that the open-source download manager JDownloader2 is forbidden. The tool can be used to record DRM protected video streams. The developer of the software argues that the record feature has been removed and was only available in nightly builds.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Exempt the NHS from the US/EU Free Trade Agreement

      The NHS changes have been both promoted and fought as a national issue. However, they are actually part of the preparation for a corporate-interest US/EU Free Trade Agreement.

    • WIPO: Informal Economy Innovates In The Absence Of Intellectual Monopolies

      One of the problems with the debates around copyright and patents is that they too often assume that intellectual monopolies are necessary in order to promote innovation or even basic economic activity. But that overlooks all kinds of domains where that’s not true. In the field of technology, free software and the other open movements based on sharing are familiar examples of this kind of thing. Less well known so are the so-called “informal economies” found in many parts of the world.

    • Copyrights

      • Public Outcry In Taiwan Kills Their Version Of SOPA

        At the end of May, we wrote about the Taiwanese government’s bizarre proposal to create a copyright bill that was like SOPA, but even worse. Apparently, the folks at the Taiwan Intellectual Property Office (IPO) had slept through the whole SOPA thing. Thankfully, the Taiwanese quickly did their own version of the SOPA blackout, with Wikipedia Taiwan and Mozilla Taiwan set to participate. However, seeing the writing on the wall (and, perhaps, someone showed the IPO folks what happened in the US), and the proposal was abandoned before the protest was even needed.

      • New Anti-Piracy Group Will Monitor File-Sharers and Block All Major Torrent Sites

        A spokesman for Telenor said that as far as they are concerned there is already a final judgment on how to deal with blocking requests for The Pirate Bay (i.e the law doesn’t allow for it) but if a new application is made to the courts in light of the new law, the ISP will deal with it accordingly.

      • Warning Letters Under UK’s Three Strikes Plan Unlikely To Be Sent Out Before 2016 — If Ever
      • Sweden Makes It Illegal To Take Photos In ‘Private Environments’ Without Permission

        But until the exact limits of that provision are defined, along with what “justifiable” means, it seems inevitable that the new law will have a chilling effect on investigative journalism in Sweden. That’s rather ironic, since you might expect that the abundance of digital cameras today would lead to the rich and powerful being caught out and called to account more often, not less.

      • Kim Dotcom: All Megaupload servers ‘wiped out without warning in data massacre’

        Kim Dotcom has accused the US government and Leaseweb, one of the hosting providers of former file-sharing site Megaupload, of deleting millions of personal files “without warning.”

      • Kim Dotcom: Petabytes of MegaUpload users’ data has been destroyed

        In late 2011, Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload file-sharing site was one of the top 100 Websites in the world. Then, the FBI, working in concert with New Zealand police, seized the site and all the user files within its servers.

      • Hollywood’s New Talking Point: Gatekeepers Are Awesome

        We’ve argued for years, that there are different kinds of middlemen involved in making markets. Some are efficient, leading to better reach, easier access, and more convenient transactions, while some are inefficient, blocking access, keeping prices inflated, and generally limiting a market. We tend to separate these into two camps: gatekeepers, who limit efficiency, and enablers, who increase efficiency. In truth, there’s a pretty big spectrum between those two endpoints, and a single company can shift back and forth along the spectrum between being a gatekeeper some of the time and an enabler at other times. Historically, it’s generally (though not always) been true that disruptive innovators are enablers, breaking down the walls set up by the gatekeepers, making markets more efficient, and generally distributing power away from a central gatekeeper out to the end points (the actual participants in the market, rather than the middleman). However, I had thought that it was at least generally recognized and accepted that gatekeepers tend to be bad for markets, and enablers tend to be good.

White House Should Identify USPTO as the Problem, Not Patent Trolls

Posted in Patents at 1:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Kappos
USPTO’s most recent head and software patents apologist, IBM’s David Kappos

Summary: Continued analysis, accompanied by new stories, of the patent situation and what is needed to address the increasingly recognised harms of patents

Patent trolls are a major source of harm, but they are not the principal source, never mind what the White House is trying to tell us [1, 2, 3]. The corporations-leaning USPTO, with its ludicrous monopolies on algorithms constantly and endlessly (without boundaries) being granted to companies large and small, is the real problem. According to this post, even dining businesses are seriously affected by USPTO stupidity, To quote: “Innovative Wireless Solutions LLC, a non-practicing entity [....] filed 40+ lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas against a variety of hotels, hotel chains, and restaurants/coffee shops/delis” (over patents).

Even the ITC is playing a role in this problem. It gives ‘teeth’ to the USPTO.

Watch the moronic arguments of this man who defend patent trolls getting dismantled one by one:

Former Sen. John E. Sununu has an op-ed in the Boston Globe today that perfectly encapsulates the talking points of those who oppose efforts to clamp down on patent trolls.


Of course, former Sen. Sununu said that, although to be fair he was talking about banks, not inventors.

But this isn’t about pointing out hypocrisy. It’s about examining incentives. What kind of incentive is it if a person can make a fortune simply by getting a patent, instead of having to develop the patent into a business? We won’t get more innovation; we’ll just get more patents and more lawsuits, which is exactly what’s happened.

As the Obama Administration’s recent study showed, for every dollar a patent troll makes, the defendants who paid them lose ten dollars. That’s a net loss to the economy. Clearly, the incentives are wrong. We should be incentivizing entrepreneurship, not patent lottery tickets.

The Troll Tracker has its own take. Trolls are not the sole issue though.

An international team produced this paper (from Hall el al.) in which it recently explained why patents won’t help Europe. It’s a continent where small by businesses are abundant and trolls hardly exist. To quote the abstract:

A surprisingly small number of innovative firms use the patent system. In the UK, the share of firms patenting among those reporting that they have innovated is about 4%. Survey data from the same firms support the idea that they do not consider patents or other forms of registered IP as important as informal IP for protecting inventions. We show that there are a number of explanations for these findings: most firms are SMEs, many innovations are new to the firm, but not to the market, and many sectors are not patent active. We find evidence pointing to a positive association between patenting and innovative performance measured as turnover due to innovation, but not between patenting and subsequent employment growth. The analysis relies on a new integrated dataset for the UK that combines a range of data sources into a panel at the enterprise level.

The patents boosters, in the mean time, are confirming that UPC (unitary patent) would aid trolls in Europe and turn British lawyers into trolls. Jack Ellis writes:

Experts suggested that patent litigators based in England could be the counsel of choice for many Unified Patent Court (UPC) plaintiffs at a debate on litigation finance held in London last week.

Panellists at the discussion, held at the offices of litigation finance and insurance broker The Judge, suggested that recent civil litigation costs reforms in the United Kingdom and the increasing sophistication of the country’s litigation funding market could make the services of British practitioners especially attractive to patent owners seeking to assert their rights in the UPC.

Once established, the UPC will cover at least 13 countries, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom; at most it could hold jurisdiction over all 25 signatory states, with the prospect that Poland and Spain – which have opted out of the UPC for the time being – and any future European Union members could come on board at a later stage. “Either way you look at [the UPC jurisdiction], it will at least be comparable to the United States in terms of GDP and population,” said panellist Alan Johnson, partner at Bristows. “Around about 600,000 patents will suddenly be able to be litigated on a pan-European basis. In addition to a wider injunction being available, higher damages will also be possible. Almost as certainly as night follows day, you can see a group of patentees thinking right now about where they can enforce [in the UPC].”

Nazer [1, 2], who recently focused on trolls more than on software patents, finally returns to talking about patent scope in relation to this ruling on a SAP case. He says:

The long-running patent battle between Versata and SAP saw a lot of action this week. Back in 2007, Versata filed a lawsuit claiming SAP infringed a patent on a method “for pricing products in multi-level product and organizational groups.” This dispute – which raises important issues about patents and software – is proceeding both in the courts and at the Patent Office. Yesterday, EFF joined an amicus brief supporting SAP at the Federal Circuit, where SAP is arguing that it does not infringe. Meanwhile, at the Patent Office, SAP won a landmark ruling finding that the invention was not patentable because it merely covers an abstract idea.

This case showed failure at the USPTO more than anything else and a European company, SAP, was affected the most. It is time to shun the USPTO, the source of many of today’s problems, including impeded innovation. We don’t need then USPTO to document and publish ideas anymore, we already have the Internet. The USPTO got warped into a protectionism apparatus, not a source of knowledge.

British and German Governments Under Siege by Lobbyists of Microsoft and Its Local Partners, Free Software Policy Dumped in Favour of Backdoors-Enabled Binaries

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Merkel and Cameron
Photo from AFP

Summary: Following lobbying and perhaps intimidation or bribery, Microsoft binaries with privileged access to them (ripe for cracking by the malpractising NSA/CIA) are being put ahead of Free/libre software, despite the latter being recently mandated

Brits are unknowingly passing taxpayers’ money to Microsoft as part of lucrative deals where ~$10,000 get spent per Windows desktop per year. This has got to stop. It is part of the systemic corruption which might also involve bribery, just as we predicted in light of revelations in China. Microsoft hits the jackpot when it manages to grab taxpayers’ money, signing agreements to which the signer has no personal responsibilities or incentives to save (it is public money, not private). It is likely that Microsoft bribes the UK like it does in China, but soft bribery is harder to identify and prove. Microsoft is being taken to court over it, more recently in Portgual but not in the UK (the OOXML corruptions, including bribery, did lead to British court action, though it didn’t get very far due to lack of funds).

I may as well add a disclosure and say that my employer has some clients in the British government, so I know a little more than I can publicly say. A lot of it is down to politics rather than technical arguments,

In any event, the news from the UK says that, as we expected, Microsoft lobbying managed to kill logical policy:

The government has quietly backtracked from its publicly declared preference for using open source over proprietary software.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) published its Service Design Manual in March, laying down mandatory standards for developing all new digital public services. The document stated: “Use open source software in preference to proprietary or closed source alternatives, in particular for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages.”


Open source supporters blame the lobbying influence of the big proprietary software companies for the changes.

Mark Taylor, CEO of open source supplier Sirius, said: “It’s gone beyond lobbying and has moved into threatening.”


“What you are seeing here is proprietary vendors playing with this issue to attempt to retain dominance and control over an extremely financially lucrative market,” said Taylor.

They now use a meaningless term instead of “open source” (which itself is not good as it does not emphasise autonomy and freedom). To quote again:

The UK Government has muted a preference for open source in the UK’s “Government Service Design Manual”, published in March 2013. The changes were quietly made to the manual and removed a statement that open source was a preferential choice for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages, replacing it with a new section: “Level playing field”.

Assuming that self-hosted FOSS (server-client) is better than proprietary, here is another route they fail to follow:

The Government Digital Service (GDS), the new home of G-Cloud, claims it contributed £500m worth of government savings in the past year.

The Efficiency and Reform Group – the part of the Cabinet Office which includes the GDS – claims to have saved £10bn between 2012 and 2013 thanks to a range of measures including the sale of empty buildings and Civil Service reform.

Of that figure, which the government claims is equal to three million primary school places and 260,000 nurses, half a billion pounds (five per cent) came from the GDS.

This is similar to what happens in Berlin, Germany. As one writer put it, FOSS proposals get “binned” for no good reason.

A proposal by the Greens in the parliament of the German State of Berlin, to switch to using open source for the senate’s IT systems, was rejected this Monday. The state government coalition parties, the Social Democratic Party and Christian Democratic Union, instead accepted guidelines to base the senate desktop systems on open standards.

Mr. Pogson says “FUD Delays Migration To FLOSS in German State of Berlin” and this coincides with this important news which should serve as an alarm;

In an op-ed in Spiegel Online German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger characterised PRISM as “dangerous”.

NSA is made aware of Windows back doors that can be exploited in Germany for industrial or political espionage and Dr. Glyn Moody stresses that nobody should ever trust Microsoft again because “the first things that Microsoft does is to send information about those vulnerabilities to “multiple agencies” – presumably that includes the NSA and CIA. Moreover, we also know that “this type of early alert allowed the U.S. to exploit vulnerabilities in software sold to foreign governments”.” The FSFE’s coordinator in Germany called this analysis “Must Read” some minutes ago. He is right. Last week Dr. Moody wrote an article in TechDirt about how PRISM/ECHELON got used for espionage, alluding specifically to Germany.

All citizens outside the US should urge their government to abandon Microsoft in the name off national security. As a German citizen residing in the UK, I found the above news rather disturbing, especially because it comes in the midst of so much worldwide controversy over foreign surveillance, back doors, and so on. There is a lot more at stake than convenience or those infamous vendors-officials relationships. Since the words “treason” and “traitor” get thrown around far too much these days, perhaps it’s time to label “treason” or “traitor” those who are ushering in Microsoft into governments’ IT systems.

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