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07.06.13

Links 6/7/2013: Schools on GNU/Linux, Edward Snowden Granted Asylum

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux is here to stay

    Linux provided not just a cheap POSIX Unix clone, but a whole new platform… the opportunity to take the ideas of Unix and take it beyond the limitations of both System V and BSD. Linux gave a kernel to the GNU tools, which really helped launch the success of Linux and made the whole idea of Linux distributions easily achievable.

  • Curious About Linux? 5 Easy & No Risk Ways To Try Linux On Your Windows PC

    Want to check out Linux, but fear you might wreck your existing Windows installation? Don’t. There are plenty of risk-free ways to try Linux, from live CDs to USB keys to virtual machines – and I’m going to outline all of them. Whether you’re thinking of ditching Windows or simply want to tinker with some tech, Linux is worth looking into. There are hundreds of great Linux distros out there to try, all giving you easy access to tens of thousands of open source programs. Better yet: it all runs on a secure system that’s free in every conceivable way. Even beyond the practical points, Linux is just plain cool. If you consider yourself a geek, you should at least try it out. I recommend starting with Ubuntu if you want to see how user friendly Linux can be, though others will tell you Linux Mint is a better first experience. The good thing about what I’m outlining below is you can try both, easily, so let’s get started.

  • Start your Linux career by becoming a free software or open source developer

    If you are fresh out of uni with a degree in IT or even currently studying, it is the best time to become a free software or open source developer (F/OS) and gain Linux experience. In this article we will talk about what is a free software and open source software and what are the benefits of becoming a F/OS developer. Note however, that we are not taking sides and not saying what is better free software or open source software. We would like to simply underline the benefits coming from participation in such projects. We will also advice how to engage yourself in a F/OS project, what kind of projects are out there for you and what steps you need to take in order to become a F/OS developer. Besides the experience with Linux, you can gain experience in variety of programming languages. Check out our Linux skills on demand as a guide to what kind of IT skills are currently required by employers and, therefore, what you should study to have a best chance to succeed in your career.

  • Desktop

    • Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

      Dell has long been one of the most Linux-friendly PC manufacturers. But with its project Sputnik, Dell has really embraced open source software in a way unique to all PC makers. Sputnik is the nickname for Dell’s newest Linux laptop — the XPS 13 Developer Edition, a sleek ultrabook that runs Ubuntu out of the box.

      If the idea of running Linux full-time is foreign or novel to you, this is not the laptop for you. Likewise, if you’re of the opinion that Linux on the desktop just isn’t ready for everyday use, then this is not the laptop for you. It’s also not the laptop for the Linux geek who scoffs at everything but Arch and loves to search out obscure hardware drivers.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXDE previews Qt port of its desktop

      The LXDE developers are working on a Qt-based version of their desktop and have already ported significant parts of the components of LXDE to the user interface framework. While still in an experimental state, the developers could already show a functional desktop with the panel, PCManFM file manager and an image viewer in a working state. Most of the desktop’s applets work with the ported panel as well.

    • LXDE-Qt Preview

      The GTK+ version of LXDE is still under development, but we did some experiments with Qt, too. Now I have some things to show you. :-)

    • LXDE Demonstrates It’s Desktop’s Qt-port

      Folks over at LXDE are developing a Qt-based version of their desktop environment. They have already made lots of progress and have ported sizeable parts of the LXDE to the new user interface design. A working prototype is already on display, which shows a functional desktop having the panel, PCManFM file manager and image viewer. Even most applets from the desktop work on the ported panel without a glitch.

    • LXLE gets DuckDuckGo, Distrowatch and an update.

      Late last week Distrowatch decided to create some room for LXLE on their infamous distro discovery site. I was really happy to see an official page for LXLE with an official url http://www.distrowatch.com/LXLE.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • A Year of the Linux Desktop

        Around a year ago, a school in the southeast of England, Westcliff High School for Girls Academy (WHSG), began switching its student-facing computers to Linux, with KDE providing the desktop software. The school’s Network Manager, Malcolm Moore, contacted us at the time. Now, a year on, he got in touch again to let us know how he and the students find life in a world without Windows.

      • Yet Another School Goes To GNU/Linux
      • Swedish studio makes Krita part of its visual effects workflow
      • Mad Crew Animation Studio Makes ‘Krita’ Part Of Its Workflow

        A Swedish Animation and Visual Effects Studio named, Mad Crew has decided to use Calligra’s digital painting application ‘Krita’, as part of its visual effects workflow. Member of Mad Crew developers, Fredik Brannbacka is said to have told the developers “We are damn happy with Krita!”, as claimed by a post on Krita Blog.

      • AudioCd. Week 1.

        Here a small report about what was done during first week of GSoC:

      • AudioCD. Week 2.

        Plan for second week was: “New implementation of AudioCdCollection. After this step is completed, Amarok should support AudioCd in a same way as before.” New implementation of AudioCdCollection was done during first week, so second week began with a testing of new AudioCD collection implementation. At the beginning of a week I did not found any problem and decided to continue my work with what was planned on a third week: “Decision about track enumeration routine should be done.”

      • News in kdepim 4.11: Archive Mail Agent

        This agent allow to define when we want to archive it (specific date), with recurrence or not (each x days, each x months etc.), and we can define maximum number of archive (We don’t want to full hard disk).

      • Touch the future of Mail

        I did not expect to get so much positive feedback when I released my Kontact Touch Mail mockup last week. No one argued against the plans to “remove” features so it looks like we are on the right track. It is important to get feedback early so we decided to open our “dirty” development repositories for public testing. They contain a (currently deactivated) package with the latest kdepim master and a prototype. The prototype is for experimenting with UI features before they get implemented. We are currently working on the overall application navigation. Feedback about other areas does not make much sense at this point.

      • Qt 5.1 – more than just a minor update
      • Window list QML :D evelopment Phase
      • Keyboard layout indicator: widget or tray icon?

        When keyboard layout module was redesigned for KDE 4 it felt like indicators of sorts were to be done in widgets/applets instead of tray icons, so keyboard layout indicator applet was created. It does allow greater flexibility that systray icon on where to put it and how to size it. I learned though that the keyboard daemon can’t control that applet much (e.g. hide/show automatically) so when multiple keyboard layouts are configured there was no way that indicator applet can automatically appear (like system tray icon does).

      • Participate in KScreen Survey: How do you setup your screen(s)?
      • New in kdepim 4.11: Send Later Agent
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • The best of GNOME 3.8

        Now if someone has an explanation for this visual glitch that occurs specifically only with gnome-control-center and the (rather new and immature) radeonsi driver… I’m not even sure what (and where) to file this bug on….

      • Gedit 3.9.3 Brings Various Bugfixes and Improvements

        Yet another development release towards Gedit 3.10 has been released yesterday, July 1, bringing several improvements to various functions and fixing various bugs found in previous testing releases.

      • Gnome Video Arcade

        The Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator first released in 1997 is a cross-platform emulator designed to recreate the old hardware that arcade game systems used, in the modern computers of today. MAME can currently successfully run thousands of ROM images originally found in many different arcade machines from 1970 till now.

      • GTK+ 2.24.20 Brings Backport Changes from GTK+ 3

        Looks like the GNOME developers are actively maintaining the old stable branch of the GTK+ toolkit, as version 2.24.20 just appeared yesterday, July 4, on the official GNOME FTP servers.

      • PyGObject 3.8.3 Is Now Available for Download

        The third maintenance release of the stable PyGObject 3.8 library for the GNOME desktop environment was announced earlier today, July 5, fixing various bugs found in the previous release.

  • Distributions

    • StartOS 6 GNOME 3 and KDE preview

      The very first edition of what is now called StartOS were based on Ubuntu, but the distribution has since dumped Ubuntu to become one that is not based on any other distribution. In other words, it is now an original or independent distribution, with its own package management system.

    • BASIS “Slate” Alpha v2_ 0.03 _ 29/06/2013
    • Which Linux Distro Is Most Popular? Don’t Even Ask

      Which Linux operating systems are the most popular among home and small business users? Which Linux desktop is the best choice for enterprise users? Questions like these are meaningless and unanswerable, even for Linux developers. “Measuring Linux adoption … has always been — and will likely always be — a difficult task, due to the lack of empirical data,” said Jeremy Garcia, founder of LinuxQuestions.org.

    • New Releases

      • DoudouLinux Review: Expose your children to Linux

        doudoulinux It is important for children living in the age of computers and the Internet to have some exposure to the technology of today’s world. At the same time we may want to keep them away from the corporate side of our society, all kinds of advertising that targets children or we do not wish to purchase any expensive software. In such case the Linux operating system is the solution for you. In particular, DoudouLinux seems to be a right choice for a child that exhibits an interests in computers. It provides a great learning experience for children of all ages. Whether they would like to play a game or, for instance, start learning a programming language DoudouLinux has them covered. Moreover, what is also important, it is for FREE, can be downloaded and copied as many times as you require and passed to other users, which makes it accessible to children in all parts of the world.

      • Slax 7.0.9 Beta Distro Features KDE 4.10.4

        Slax, a modern, portable, small and fast Linux operating system with a modular approach and outstanding design, is now at version 7.0.9 Beta.

      • Pear OS 8 Will Be Released in October 2013

        David Tavares, the developer of the Pear OS Linux operating system, has recently announced the features and roadmap for the upcoming Pear OS 8 distribution.

      • Netrunner 13.06 Enigma is here
    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Win back your digital independence with Mandriva

        Recent news regarding United States governmental agencies collecting and monitoring data across the Internet were pretty well known for years among the tech community. The details and the specific activities, such as the PRISM project might not have been matters of common knowledge though. It remains nonetheless true that any organisation or individual who is connected to the Internet -which means a lot of of them on the Earth- needs to be able to keep both its privacy and the ownership of its data. It is not just a matter of national interest and sovereignty for countries. It is not just a political matter that might be solved between the United States and Europe for instance. The right to privacy and data ownership is a fundamental right, on the Internet and elsewhere.

      • My new installs: Pisi, Mageia 3, and OpenMandriva

        Taking full advantage of some bouts of insomnia, I made some progress on my handling of GRUB2 (thank you Megatotoro!). I also installed Pisi 1.0 Beta v3 to my laptop, upgraded my netbook from Mageia 2 to Mageia 3 (i586), and finally achived to install OpenMandriva LX (alpha?beta?) to my desktop. Here’s a summary of what I have seen so far:

      • The July 2013 issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine.
      • PCLinuxOS 2013.06 LXDE Screenshot Tour
    • Gentoo Family

      • Sandboxed Gentoo

        This article is a guide on installing Gentoo in another Linux distribution (Arch, in this case). Look at it like a BSD Jail. It’s not a true install, merely a chroot–a virtual machine.

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Hungama Deploys Red Hat Enterprise Linux And Red Hat JBoss Middleware

        Red Hat, Inc., the provider of open source solutions, has announced that Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, the aggregator, developer, publisher and distributor of Hindi language (Bollywood) films and South-Asian entertainment content, has selected Red Hat for its new platform solution to deliver value-added services with a much lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

      • How far will Red Hat, Google go?
      • Hungama selects Red Hat for its new platform solution to achieve savings on TCO
      • Fedora

        • Hands on with Korora 19 ‘Bruce’

          Hot on the heels of Fedora 19 comes this everything-including-the-kitchen-sink derivative.

        • ah-ha! That’s why Korora

          When Kororaa changed their name to Korora I wondered why? But today I think I’ve spotted the real reason.

        • Fedora 19 Linux Brings 3D Printing, Virtualization, Storage Updates

          Fedora 19 (codenamed “Schrödinger’s Cat”) is officially out this week, and it’s looking to be more than just another latest-and-greatest iteration of a popular open source, Linux-based operating system. From 3D printing tools to better support for virtualization and storage, this latest version of Fedora, the Linux distribution sponsored by Red Hat (RHT), offers a lot that other leading Linux distributions currently don’t. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.

        • Fedora 19 Schrödinger’s Cat is out of the bag

          The Red Hat sponsored Fedora Project has announced the Fedora 19 fully functional free of charge Linux operating system code-named “Schrödinger’s Cat”.

          “In this release, the Fedora Project community has absolutely demonstrated that agility matters,” said Robyn Bergeron, Fedora Project Leader.

        • Fedora 19 – “Schrödinger’s Cat” – is most certainly alive – Update

          Fedora 19 Despite having a code name that evokes quantum uncertainty, Fedora 19 “Schrödinger’s Cat”, has arrived on time. The new release of Fedora arrives with the features as previewed in May’s beta. For developers, the OpenShift Origin platform-as-a-service, the Node.js asynchronous JavaScript platform and Ruby 2.0 as standard are highlights of the release. Database users will find Fedora 19 has switched to MariaDB as its new standard database, while makers will find a range of 3D design and print tools are now available. There’s also a switch to GCC 4.8 for building packages and updated desktop software in the form of GNOME 3.8, KDE Plasma Workspace 4.10 and Mate 1.6.

    • Debian Family

      • all Debian source are belong to us

        Debsources is a new toy I’ve been working on at IRILL together with Matthieu Caneill. In essence, debsources is a simple web application that allows to publish an unpacked Debian source mirror on the Web.

      • New Debian leader seeks more innovation within project

        The new leader of the Debian GNU/Linux project, Lucas Nussbaum, plans to boost the amount of innovation that happens in the project itself, rather than just in its derivatives.

      • Light Debian Linux for Family and Friends

        A friend of yours tells you one day he’s heard so much about Linux and he’s decided to install it on his Windows machine. His computer is already a few years old, a Windows 7 or maybe a Windows XP, and he’s come to you for advice. Could you please help him to install it? No problem, happy to oblige!

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny board aims TI SoC at embedded imaging apps

      FossilShale Embedded Technologies announced an SODIMM-style CPU module based on a Texas Instruments DM385 digital media processor with a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 core. The DM385-SOM primarily targets embedded imaging tasks, such as surveillance and medical imaging devices, and is supported with a carrier board, several I/O adapters, and customized Linux and Android software stacks.

    • Startup unleashes low-cost, secure, IoT cloud service

      Ayla Networks announced a partnership with USI to develop wireless modules enabled with Ayla’s “Internet of Things” connectivity platform. The Ayla Platform, unveiled last month, offers a cost-effective way to implement secure device-to-device communications via an embedded software or hardware component, and provides end-user access to Ayla-enabled devices via Android and iOS mobile apps.

    • Linux-friendly i.MX6 dev board gains 1080p camera

      E-con Systems has launched a 5-megapixel 1080p autofocus camera board, designed to integrate with a Linux- and Android-friendly $199 Boundary Devices development board for Freescale’s quad-core i.MX6 system-on-chip. E-con’s camera board connects to Boundary’s i.MX6 single-board computer via a CSI-2 MIPI interface, and is supplied with a V4L2-compliant Linux driver and source.

    • Raspberry Pi creator won Silver Medal by the Royal Academy of Engineering
    • Intel looking for Linux experts at ST-Ericsson
    • This Raspberry Pi robot will make you coffee
    • The Raspberry Pi beat skeptics to become a hacker’s staple

      The Raspberry Pi has grown well beyond the founder’s original plans for an inexpensive student computer, and is now a staple in almost every hardware hacker’s toolkit. Wired tells the story of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the British computer company that has become the face of a new wave of highly affordable computing. But the success of the Raspberry Pi Foundation wasn’t always a sure bet, and the initial loan request was denied due to an apparent lack of perceived market. Demand for the product turned out to be even bigger than original estimates, growing beyond the classroom and becoming a product adored by adult hardware hobbyists. Despite its broad success, the company is still focused on getting the Raspberry Pi into the hands of students, teaching that technology can be tangible rather than just a passively downloaded app.

    • BeagleBone Black Part 2: Linux Performance Tests

      Last time around we took a look at the new $45 Beagle Bone Black (BBB) board which has a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 CPU with 512Mb of RAM and 2Gb of eMMC flash memory. This time we’ll see how fast that little machine is.

    • Time on Your Side

      The gap between embedded systems and desktop systems is lessening.

    • Update on Our Laptop (aka Novena)

      Back in December, I posted that we’re building an open laptop. The post generated hundreds of comments, and I was surprised there was so much interest.

      To be honest, that was overwhelming. Also, there were many who didn’t get what we’re trying to do — as indicated by suggestions along the vein of “use a Core i7 and a fast nVidia graphics chip and sell it for under a hundred bucks and then I’d buy it”.

    • Phones

      • Smartphone war all about BRICs, emerging markets
      • In Smartphones and Tablets, Multicore is Not Necessarily the Way to Go

        Several years ago, desktop PCs hit a performance wall. Intel thought that it could keep raising the clock speeds and keep up with the cooling issues, but something happened on the way to 4GHz. That “something” was a heat wall that required a heat sink and fan almost as big as a power supply to keep the CPU cool. Other crazy experiments included liquid cooling, including antifreeze coolant, and even liquid nitrogen.

      • Ballnux

        • Samsung ships 20 million Galaxy S4s since launch, almost keeps pace with iPhone

          Samsung has now shipped over 20 million units of its flagship Android smartphone, the Galaxy S4, in just 68 days, outpacing its previous flagship to the milestone by over a month.

        • Samsung’s record $8.3 billion profit isn’t enough for worried investors
        • HTC’s Financial Woes Continue

          HTC, a major player in the smartphone market, is struggling to churn out good profits. This despite their well-received latest flagship phone—the HTC One. Like last year’s One X, HTC One was launched a few days before Samsung’s parallel Galaxy S4 offering, and garnered rave reviews from critics and users alike. According to a report, “HTC’s unaudited net profit for the three months up to 30 June was NT$1.25bn, which equates to roughly $41.6m.” This figure is still way better than the measly $2.8 million earned in profits in the Q1 of this year. It seems like HTC’s noble plan to offer a Google edition phone experience in HTC One didn’t work out well. They are still hoping to alleviate the situation a bit through their HTC One Mini handsets.

        • LG Optimus G2 Specs and Pics leaked

          LG Optimus G2, the successor to the LG Optimus G phone is set to release sometime in the near future. It is supposed to be the flagship product from LG that is to compete directly against Samsung S4. Also, this is the only phone from LG that Is supposed to have Full HD display integrated in to a device. The only other device to sport the Full HD is the LG Optimus G Pro, but with its 5.5 inch screen it is more of a rival to Samsung’s Galaxy Note in the Phablet segment.

        • Samsung Buys Out Boxee For $30 million

          According to a recent report from the Israeli business site The Marker, Samsung has apparently sealed a deal worth $30 million with Boxee, thus buying the company.

        • Boxee bought by Samsung
      • Android

        • Sleep as Android

          I sleep poorly. In fact, insomnia has plagued me for years. As it turns out, even when I think I’m sleeping well, I’m usually not. There’s nothing worse than a shoddy night’s sleep followed by an abrupt alarm going off when you’ve finally settled into a deep slumber.

        • How CyanogenMod’s founder is giving Android users their privacy back
        • Summer fun: Android 4.3 leaks, Google gadget rumors

          Android 4.3 firmware for the Samsung Galaxy S4 was leaked, revealing new features like battery-friendly WiFi hotspot searching and a more power-stingy version of Bluetooth. Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal report suggests Google is working on its own Android-based game console, as well as a smartwatch and a new version of the Nexus Q media player, and is prepping new low-end smartphones for emerging markets.

        • ‘Mega’ Secure Cloud Storage Service Launches Official Android App

          MEGA is a security and encryption focused product, created by millionaire internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom. Mega, formerly Megaupload has always been at the centre of controversy, but now they are moving towards legitimacy as they launch an official Android Application.

        • Moto X Customisations And Launch Details

          Customization and tech have always gone hand in hand, and customized ordering of computer was pioneered by Dell and Alienware, whose systems could be customized very deeply, even down to the type of RAM one would like on his/her rig. Given that our phones are slowly but gradually becoming our personal & portable computing device, it was a matter of time before a customization option was introduced in the mobile segment.Spearheading that very notion, Motorola, along with Google on the bandwagon, is offering the same notion to mobile phone customers through the upcoming Moto X phones.

        • Sony Rolling Out ‘My Xperia’ Remote Phone Tracking And Locking Service Globally
        • Sony Rolling Out ‘my Xperia’ Remote Lock, Wipe, And Phone Tracking Service Globally In The Coming Weeks

          After a few months of testing, Sony has announced its my Xperia service will be hitting all regions in the next few weeks. This system will provide remote management of 2012 and 2013 Xperia devices. Smartphones are expensive – it’s nice of Sony to help you keep track of it.

        • Android’s code signing can be bypassed

          Android applications carry a signature that is designed to ensure APK package integrity. During installation, the operating system will use the signature to validate the package contents, and an alert will be issued if a manipulation is detected. US firm Bluebox, which was only founded in mid-2012, claims to have discovered a bug in this approach that allows arbitrary code to be injected into APK files without invalidating the signature.

        • Google’s Motorola-based Moto X Strategy Clearer in New Ads

          Following its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, it’s been clear that Google has ambitious smartphone plans that extend well beyond the success that it has already had with the Android mobile OS. But it hasn’t been clear exactly what new Moto X smartphones will be like, or how Motorola’s phones produced under Google’s wing might impact Google’s focus on open source and open standards in the mobile space.

        • Karbonn Launches Dual-Sim Quad-Core Phone At Rs. 19,900 In India
        • Best Android smartphones (July 2013 edition)

          Time to take a tour of a handful of the best Android smartphones currently available on the market (July 2013). This time around, I’ve added a dual-SIM handset into the mix for those of you looking to switch networks quickly.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • The Engadget Show featuring OLPC

        The Engadget Show 44 has featured OLPC among its other targets on education. Others include Google, LeapFrog, Adafruit, Sparkfun and more. First, I applaud Engadget for including OLPC in the mix. More importantly, the show includes OLPC’s work in the US, especially in North Carolina through a series of projects run by the Knight Foundation. Bringing technologies into schools in the US are a specific challenge. The North Carolina schools are a particularly interesting deployment.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Setting TV Free

    My 2006-vintage Sony Bravia flat-screen “Full HD” TV has Linux inside. I can tell because it comes with a two-page printout of the GPL, included almost as a warning. “Watch out”, it seems to say. “This TV comes infected with freedom.” Not that it’s worth hacking: you can make breakfast in the time that passes between a click on the remote and a change on the screen. (I’m barely exaggerating here. Switching between the TV’s eight HDMI inputs is amazingly slow.) But being a Linux device says volumes about what has happened to TV already, because the freedom it contains at the device level also ranges outward from the operating system to the network on which that operating system was born and grew up. That network was, and remains, the Internet.

  • Review: Open-source freebie jPDF Tweak gives you power over your PDFs

    Open-source developer Michael Schierl describes jPDF Tweak as the “Swiss Army Knife for PDF Files,” and it certainly lives up to that promise. Like a real Swiss Army Knife, jPDF provides a variety of functions for your PDF files. This includes making printable booklets, combining PDF files, adding watermarks, rotating pages, encrypting files, changing the metadata, and more. I love this program so much that it has a permanent place on my PC.

  • A New Open-Source Web Crawler

    Norconex has always been a big consumer of open-source libraries and products. The time has come for us to give back. That’s why we are open-sourcing a handful of libraries and products we hope will benefit others as well.

  • The HTML5 mobile CMS comes of age

    Magnolia International has announced the release of the 5.0 version of its Content Management System (CMS).

  • Odds

    He’s right, of course. The flexibility, low cost, and performance of Free/Libre Open Source Software is too great an asset to leave to your competitors whether you are an individual or a huge business. Even if you don’t like to compete, you can get the best value from your investment in IT using FLOSS. Big businesses and techies figured that out long ago. It has taken nearly a decade for the rest of us to catch on but it’s happening. All the OEMs are shipping tons of GNU/Linux servers and desktops/notebooks and many are shipping many more tablets, smartphones and all kinds of intelligent gadgets.

  • Design‐led Open Source With Codename Prometheus

    In Greek mythology, Prometheus was the name of the Titan who defied Zeus and brought the gift of fire to humanity, which he created out of clay. Generally a heroic figure, Prometheus seems like an apt name for a project that aims to bring the “fire” of user-centered design to the open source community. Codename Prometheus is the new project being launched by designer Aral Balkan to create a new product that is design-led, as opposed to feature-led.

  • Open Source Dictation: Language Model

    A language model defines probable word succession probabilities: For example “now a daze” and “nowadays” are pronounced exactly the same, but because of context we know that “Now a daze I have a smartphone” is far less likely than “Nowadays I have a smartphone”. To model such contextual information, speech recognition systems usually use an n-gram that contains information of how likely a specific word is, given the context of the sentence.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rust 0.7 never sleeps

        As Mozilla’s language Rust develops, so it becomes more nuanced and less volatile. The latest release of Rust, version 0.7, doesn’t have many breaking language changes but does continue refining that language, with over 2000 changes made. Rust, which began life as a side project for developers Graydon Hoare, is being developed at Mozilla to provide the safe, concurrent systems language the Mozilla developers want for building their next generation browser, Servo.

      • Why Firefox OS will be a Big Win for Apple

        The Firefox Marketplace – the app store of the open web world – is the gateway for Firefox OS – and its maturity or lack thereof at launch will be the item that makes or breaks Firefox OS.

        There is little doubt in my mind that Firefox OS will gain traction. It’s a royalty free open source system that is open, what’s not to like?

      • Android too chunky for cheap phones, says Firefox OS creator
      • Mozilla Webmaker: We Want You to Break Things

        When you think about it, the idea behind “view source” is incredible. Not only can you, with the click of a button, instantly reveal a site’s code; you can copy, paste, tweak and make that code into something all your own. In many ways, it’s this concept that helped make the Internet such a revolutionary tool in the first place. And it’s this idea that lives at the heart of an open source web culture.

      • Mozilla’s Firefox OS smartphones do matter — to developers and buyers

        Given Android and iOS together control 90% of the worldwide smartphone market, what chance does Mozilla have to find success with its new Firefox OS for smartphones?

      • Mozilla launches its own open-source, web-based mobile operating system

        The Mozilla Foundation — the creator of the Firefox web browser — has just entered the mobile operating system fray, launching its Firefox OS on a line of smartphones in Spain. The ZTE Open will launch Tuesday and will be sold by Telefónica’s Movistar for 69 euros (US$90) — including 30 euros of prepaid credit. Should users purchase a phone with a two-year plan, the cost drops to 2.38 euros (US$3) per month.

      • Firefox OS phones arrive in Spain

        Telefónica has announced the commercial launch of the first Firefox OS phone, the ZTE Open, in Spain. The device will be available from tomorrow, 2 July, for 69 euros through the company’s Movistar stores. The ZTE Open device has a 3.5″ HVGA display, 256MB of RAM, 512MB of ROM and a 3.2 megapixel camera. For the price, Movistar are also including a 4GB microSD card. The device includes an FM radio, camera app with filters, Nokia HERE maps and Firefox web browser.

      • New home for Firefox OS Building Blocks

        Mozilla has rolled out a new web site for its Firefox OS Building Blocks, designed to help developers with the UI design of Firefox OS applications. The web site provides reusable HTML and CSS components and documentation for the user interface elements of the mobile operating system. Developers can also download design stencils and Firefox OS’s icons and fonts to help with sketching concepts of their applications.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Accelerates Open Source Spreadsheets, Thanks to AMD
    • AMD Joins The Document Foundation to Accelerate LibreOffice

      Today, July 3, The Document Foundation (TDF) announced in a press release that the famous AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) company joined its Advisory Board, in order to accelerate the development of the LibreOffice open source office suite.

    • AMD helps LibreOffice speed up Spreadsheets

      AMD, the giant CPU and GPU manufacturer, is now a member of the Open Office Foundation’s advisory board, the organization behind LibreOffice. This was announced by the Open Office Foundation in a press release on Wednesday. AMD is planning to make an impact immediately by using its expertise to help optimize the LibreOffice spreadsheet app for GPUs.

    • LibreOffice and AMD to GPU boost spreadsheet performance

      LibreOffice and AMD are working together to create a faster version of the office suite’s spreadsheet that will make use of AMD’s GPUs within its Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) based Accelerated Processing Units (APUs). The work is only just beginning though and there is no timescale for a production release of the software. AMD is joining the LibreOffice Advisory Board as part of the collaboration, sitting alongside Google, Intel, Red Hat, SUSE and the FSF, among others.

  • Healthcare

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Open-source hoverboard project seeks $1 million just to get started

      Ever since moviegoers watched in awe as Marty McFly sped along on a hoverboard in Back To The Future Part II, many of us have dreamed of having a real-life hoverboard of our own. Sadly no such product exists, but that hasn’t stopped someone from dreaming of making it happen. To do so, they’re asking for US$1 million on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.

  • BSD

    • PCBSD is the future of computing – Interview with Kris Moore the Founder of PCBSD

      Kris Moore: BSD is not Linux first of all, that means no Linux Kernel, its a FreeBSD Kernel from a FreeBSD World. Some of biggest advantages are something like ZFS on your file-system, even for a workstation it makes complete sense because your able to do backups, [and] snapshots. We even have a feature called Boot environments were you can create a snapshot of the entire OS. [So you can] install a new Kernel, or new packages, and if it all goes horribly wrong you can roll right back and not end up losing everything. So… its got some unique features. Another one would be, like in PCBSD something we use called AppCafe which is something like an Apple app store, that uses [a] different type of package called PBIs which don’t have dependencies, so their fat packages which are extracted into their own directory and don’t touch the rest of the OS. So its possible to run conflicting versions of Firefox, for example, in PBI form. So you can give it to Mom and Dad, and they click install and you don’t have to worry about them saying “Why is it telling me to upgrade my GTK?” or brake something.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Release of GSRC 2013.07.06

      I’m happy to announce the 2013.07.06 release of GSRC, the GNU Source Release Collection. GSRC is a convenient means to fetch, build and install the latest GNU software from source via a BSD Ports-like system. Installing a package is as simple as

    • Ruby 1.8.7 retires as planned

      If Ruby developers aren’t using Ruby 1.9.x or 2.0.0, they should be looking to upgrade as Ruby 1.8.7 has now reached its official end of life. The end of life is far from unexpected; the announcement of the planned retirement came in October 2011 and in June 2012, Ruby 1.8.7 moved into security fix only mode.

    • Data gathering platform ScraperWiki exits beta

      The ScraperWiki team has announced that the open source data gathering platform has exited beta. The AGPLed software is available as a commercial self-service platform, as a managed service, and as an application that users can download and run themselves. ScraperWiki allows developers to extract data from a large variety of sources and then manage and process it. The results are then presented in a wiki-like interface, giving the software its name.

    • Cloud automation and management – Puppet Labs Enterprise 3.0

      Managing complex workloads in a dynamic environment made up of physical, virtual and remote/cloud-based resources can be difficult. Puppet Labs believes its Enterprise 3.0 software will make life better for operations, administration and development staff members.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

    • Oracle switches Berkeley DB license

      Oracle had the right to change the BerkeleyDB license to AGPL, but many will view Oracle’s switch as a betrayal of trust

    • A Change in License for Berkeley DB

      Perhaps you didn’t spot it, but last month in their new Berkeley DB release Oracle changed the license associated with the software. Many will see this as a betrayal of trust, despite the fact that the new license (the AGPL) is also strongly copyleft, published by the FSF and approved by the Open Source Initiative. Of course, Oracle are completely within their rights to change the license as they see fit, but for Web developers using Berkeley DB for local storage, the seemingly small change from one strong copyleft license to another may well be seen as cynical and manipulative.

    • UK National Archives updates Open Government Licence

      The British National Archives has published a revised version (v.2.0) of its Open Government Licence. This licence covers the use and re-use of the majority of government and other public sector information.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Boost 1.54.0 adds logging and introspection libraries

      The latest version of Boost, the open source collection of C++ libraries, adds libraries for logging application events and errors, type traits introspection (TTI) and type erasure. in Boost 1.54.0, TTI allows developers to check elements within C++ types with macros and metafunctions at compile time. The type erasure library adds runtime polymorphism to C++ which is designed to be more flexible than the corresponding feature of the core language. This allows developers to combine the abstraction capabilities of templates with the flexibility of virtual functions.

    • New algorithm for graph editor yEd

      The developers of graph editor yEd have released a new version of the Java-based tool, yEd 3.11, which includes a new algorithm for radial layouts that places nodes in concentric circles. Support has also been improved for importing group nodes from Excel spreadsheets.

    • Harlan: A new GPU programming language

      The young, declarative and domain-specific Harlan programming language promises to simplify the development of applications that run on the GPU. Behind its development is Erik Holk, a researcher at Indiana University. The language syntax itself is based on Scheme, a dialect of the Lisp functional programming language; various language creators regard Lisp as the ancestor of most good programming languages.

    • GitHub adds Releases to make delivering projects easier

      GitHub has presented Releases, a new feature in the code hosting and project collaboration service, which should make delivering projects to end users easier and more consistent. In the past, GitHub had offered a downloads option for projects which allowed versioned archives of the project to be uploaded to a tab on the repository home page for easy downloading. But at the end of last year, GitHub removed that option.

Leftovers

  • How Google is Killing Organic Search

    Google won search by providing the best organic results users had ever seen. Ever since then, organic has been fading from the SERPS, losing ground to revenue generating Google products.

  • Nelson Mandela’s three children reburied in home town Qunu

    The remains of Nelson Mandela’s three deceased children have been reburied at their original resting site, a day after a court ordered their return two years after Mr Mandela’s grandson exhumed the bodies.

  • Mandela family infighting gets nastier by the day (VIDEO)

    The bizarre dispute has focused on family graves, but at its core is the question of who will succeed the iconic Mandela as head of the family.

  • Mandela family feud deepens as doctors suggest relatives ‘turn off life support machine’

    Doctors advised Nelson Mandela’s family to turn off his life support machine as he is in a ‘permanent vegetative state’, court documents revealed today claim.

    According to court documents dated 26th June the former South African president was in a “permanent vegetative state” and “is assisted in breathing by a life support machine.”

  • Unix luminary among seven missing at sea

    One of the shining lights of the world of Unix, retired CU professor Evi Nemeth, is among a group of sailors missing at sea near New Zealand.

  • Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order Blocking Enforcement of Dangerous New Jersey Law

    Good news out of New Jersey—a judge has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking a dangerous a provision of a recently-passed New Jersey statute (A3352) that would have left online service providers legally on the hook for user-generated content. The TRO issued Monday blocks enforcement of the new law until the court hears additional arguments in support of a permanent injunction in early August.

  • Science

    • We’re Collaborating With CERN openlab For Hybrid Cloud-Powered Research

      The researchers at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) are on an amazing mission. They operate the world’s largest particle physics laboratory and their research uncovers the mysteries of universe. Coincidentally, CERN is also the birthplace of the world wide web as we know it.

  • Hardware

    • “We Need a Fixer Movement”

      A few years ago a friend handed me his dead laptop. It wouldn’t boot, so it was no use to him, he said. I got lucky: I opened the bottom to see what RAM was installed, and saw that it wasn’t properly seated. Two minutes later, to my friend’s delight, I handed back a working laptop.

  • Security

    • Serious vulnerabilities in OpenX ad platform expose millions to risk
    • Yes, It’s Possible to Be Confident About Mobile Security

      When it comes to mobile computing, many organizations either cringe at the fear of security risks or rejoice in the business potential. On one hand, mobile is revolutionizing business operations — improving operational efficiency, enhancing productivity, empowering employees and delivering an engaging user experience. On the other hand, sensitive data that used to be housed in a controlled environment of a company desktop or even laptop is now sitting in an employee’s back pocket or purse.

    • Attacks on SCADA systems are increasing
    • EU Parliament adopts stricter penalties for cyber-attacks

      On Thursday, with 541 to 91 votes and 9 abstentions, the EU Parliament adopted the EU Commission’s draft directive on attacks against information systems. For activities like the illegal accessing of network devices such as servers, the unlawful interfering with systems, and the unauthorised interception of non-public data communications, the directive stipulates prison sentences of at least two years, and in serious cases at least five years. It is also considered a criminal offence to intentionally produce and sell tools that can be used to commit such crimes. The draft directive has yet to be ratified by the Council of Europe. After that, member states will have two years to incorporate it into their national legislation.

    • Microsoft Patch Tuesday to close kernel hole

      Seven security updates, six of them classified as critical by Microsoft, will be closed on the upcoming patch Tuesday. The advance notice for the updates notes critical remote code execution holes in Microsoft’s .NET framework, Silverlight, Office, Visual Studio, Lync and Internet Explorer. All versions of Windows are affected by at least three of the critical holes and all versions of Internet Explorer are affected by the critical flaw addressed by one of the fixes.

    • Security experts highlights remote server management issues
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • For Islamists, Dire Lessons on Politics and Power

      Sheik Mohamed Abu Sidra had watched in exasperation for months as President Mohamed Morsi and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood bounced from one debilitating political battle to another.

    • Nevada Cops Commandeer Private Homes, Arrest Residents for Objecting

      Henderson police arrested a family for refusing to let officers use their homes as lookouts for a domestic violence investigation of their neighbors, the family claims in court.

      Anthony Mitchell and his parents Michael and Linda Mitchell sued the City of Henderson, its Police Chief Jutta Chambers, Officers Garret Poiner, Ronald Feola, Ramona Walls, Angela Walker, and Christopher Worley, and City of North Las Vegas and its Police Chief Joseph Chronister, in Federal Court.

    • Clashes erupt in Egypt’s Zagazig between pro-, anti-Morsi protesters
    • Trooper Grabs 74-Year-Old Woman And Then Arrests Her After She Hits Him With Her Purse For Being Rough

      Texas has been the scene of intense protests and debates over a senator’s filibuster to block an abortion bill. As reporters were threatened with arrest and other controversies mounted, this scene unfolded in the gallery. According to reports, a 74-year-old woman was arrested for assaulting an officer after the Lt. Governor ordered the gallery to be closed. Troopers then encountered Martha Northington who did not move fast enough out of her chair.

    • Egypt army permits ‘peaceful protest’ amid Morsi anger

      Egypt’s army has said it will guarantee the right to peaceful protest, ahead of the traditional day for major rallies.

    • When is a military coup not a military coup? When it happens in Egypt, apparently

      For the first time in the history of the world, a coup is not a coup. The army take over, depose and imprison the democratically elected president, suspend the constitution, arrest the usual suspects, close down television stations and mass their armour in the streets of the capital. But the word ‘coup’ does not – and cannot – cross the lips of the Blessed Barack Obama. Nor does the hopeless UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon dare to utter such an offensive word. It’s not as if Obama doesn’t know what’s going on. Snipers in Cairo killed 15 Egyptians this week from a rooftop of the very university in which Obama made his ‘reach-out’ speech to the Muslim world in 2009.

    • 28 injured at Calif. fireworks show

      More than two dozen people were injured Thursday when fireworks malfunctioned at an annual 4th of July show northwest of Los Angeles.

    • David Brooks Applies His Mental Equipment to the Egypt Coup

      “Islamists…lack the mental equipment to govern,” New York Times columnist David Brooks writes today (7/5/13). “Incompetence is built into the intellectual DNA of radical Islam.”

      Now, Brooks has been known to cite eugenicist Steve Sailer on “white fertility rates” (12/7/04; Extra!, 4/05). But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that rather than making a racist argument, he’s simply appearing to be racist as a metaphor (as when he wrote recently that interracial marriage was producing a “nation of mutts”–6/27/13).

    • Can the NYT Call a Coup a Coup?

      Coup? Or Something Else?” is the question a New York Times headline is posing today (7/5/13) about the U.S. government’s response to the military’s removal of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. It’s not just a question of semantics; U.S. law seems to require suspending aid to Egypt in case of a coup. That’s why the government might not want to call it one.

    • CIA Operatives and the Targeted Assassination of Foreign Leaders

      No one’s safe from America’s long arm. From inception, CIA operatives developed skills to kill.

      Fidel Castro survived hundreds of assassination attempts. He knows best how Washington operates.

      Other leaders weren’t as lucky.

      In April 1994, CIA surface-to-air missiles killed Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana and Burundi President Cyprien Ntaryamira.

    • CIA ‘wanted to kill Lockerbie bomber before trial’

      THE CIA wanted to assassinate Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and his co-accused, Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah, before their trial, a former Washington lobbyist has claimed.

      William C Chasey, 73, made the sensational allegation in his autobiography, Truth Never Dies, which is to be turned into a film.

      He claims agents tried to convince him to plant homing devices on Megrahi and Fhimah as part of the plot.

    • The C.I.A. and the N.Y.P.D.

      The inspector general worries that the “perception” that the agency exceeded its authority might diminish trust in the C.I.A. itself. The greater risk is that poor oversight could lead the agency to overstep its bounds in more serious ways.

    • Venezuela Leader Claims CIA Behind Morales Plane Incident

      “A very important minister told us that it was the CIA that contacted the authorities of Portugal, Italy and France to have their airspace closed to President Morales,” President Nicolas Maduro was quoted as saying by Venezuelan national news agency AVN.

    • Bolivia offers asylum to former CIA agent Edward Snowden

      Bolivia joined the group of Latin American countries offering asylum to the former CIA agent stranded in a Moscow airport

    • Latin American Governments blast Hijacking in Snowden Manhunt

      Five South American heads of state joined with Evo Morales in Cochabamba Thursday to denounce the US-instigated grounding of the Bolivian president’s plane. The action was ostensibly taken in response to faulty intelligence that the former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who has exposed massive illegal spying by the NSA, was on board the aircraft.

    • Former CIA officer John Kiriakou writes open letter to Snowden

      According to the Huffington Post, Kiriakou worked with the CIA from 1990 to 2004. In 2007, he revealed to the world how the CIA used torture to extract information from prisoners as a matter of official policy under the administration of President George W. Bush. He revealed that the CIA used waterboarding as an interrogation technique.

    • CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou’s Open Letter to Edward Snowden

      Former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who is serving a thirty-month sentence in prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, has written another letter. It expresses support for former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has exposed secret US government surveillance programs and policies, and provided a glimpse of the ever-expanding massive surveillance apparatus the government has built.

      Kiriakou was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the administration of President George W. Bush. He was convicted in October of last year of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he provided the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter and sentenced in January of this year. He reported to prison on February 28 (which was also the day that Pfc. Bradley Manning pled guilty to some offenses and read a statement in military court at Fort Meade).

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Pacific Ocean Floor Is a Huge Underwater Garbage Dump

      It’s old news that plastic bags, aluminum cans and fishing debris not only clutter our beaches, but accumulate in open-ocean areas such as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” (basically a giant vortex of plastic soup, roughly twice the size of Texas.)

    • Turkish court annuls Erdogan’s plan to raze Gezi Park

      A Turkish court has blocked a government decision to redevelop Istanbul’s Gezi Park, which had sparked protests that drew 2.5 million people to the streets nationwide. The ruling marks a victory for the opposition.

  • Finance

    • Flourishing in a not-for-profit world

      Imagine waking up in a world where you feel good about going to work, no matter the nature of your job. You feel positive and motivated, knowing that your work provides you with a livelihood that also contributes to the wellbeing of others in a way that respects the ecological limits of the planet.

      Welcome to Not-for-Profit World, where businesses can still make profits, but any profits are always reinvested for social or organizational benefit, rather than being accumulated privately by individuals. This world emerged because, around 2013, a large number of people came to the realization that any economic system that centralizes wealth and power is, ultimately, socially and ecologically unsustainable. People were fed up with excessive executive salaries, a financial sector divorced from the real world, corporations with more say than people, endless spin from politicians and entrepreneurs about the latest technological ‘solution,’ and the trappings of mindless consumption.

    • You’re not unemployed – you lack self-reliance

      Back in the 1930s, millions of people were out of work because they all forgot to be self-reliant

    • Bit Apple: Savvy pros push Bitcoin currency
    • French competition watchdog probes Apple resale practices
    • Time to Celebrate! Pete Peterson’s “Fix the Debt” Flunkies Blow Their July 4 Deadline for Austerity

      Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson’s “astroturf supergroup,” the Campaign to Fix the Debt, won’t have much to celebrate this Independence Day weekend after missing its goal of achieving a “Grand Bargain” on austerity by July 4, 2013.

    • Mammoth 2-Year College to Lose Accreditation

      City College of San Francisco will lose its accreditation in one year and be shut down, its regional accreditor announced on Wednesday, unless the college can prevail in a review or appeal process with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

      The two-year college, which enrolls 85,000 students, would be the largest institution ever to lose its accreditation. Without regional accreditation it would no longer receive state funding and would certainly close its doors.

    • Another nail in the IRS scandal’s coffin

      …non-political groups like open source technology advocates…

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • San Diego jury finds protester not guilty in chalk-vandalism case

      A jury Monday acquitted a 40-year-old man of all charges connected with writing protest messages in chalk on the sidewalk outside branches of the Bank of America.

      The case has exacerbated the already tense relationship between Mayor Bob Filner, who called the case “stupid” and a “waste of money,” and City Atty. Jan Goldsmith, who defended it as a legitimate prosecution for graffiti vandalism.

    • Appellant’s Brief Filed in United States v. Auernheimer

      Back in March, I blogged about my agreeing to work pro bono on a Third Circuit appeal, United States v. Auernheimer, that raises several critical questions about the scope of the computer crime laws. I spent part of May and most of the last month working on the brief, and I’m happy to say it was filed just a few moments ago.

    • The Dude Who Went to Pizza Court

      This in particular. It’s a video (three short videos, actually) of Tim Carr telling the story of his nine-and-a-half-month legal fight against criminal charges brought against him for allegedly stealing a $1 piece of pizza (actually, eating it without paying for it). Carr, who is a member of the band Universe Contest, insisted that he not only didn’t steal the pizza, he paid for it twice before the bouncer put him in a headlock and threw him out. But a cop wrote him a ticket for “theft of less than $300,” somehow the case did not get dismissed immediately, and Carr refused to plead guilty. So nine-and-a-half months later, the case actually went to trial.

    • Nevada Family Sues After Police Reportedly Demand To Use Home As Stake Out, Bash In Door, Shoot Homeowner with Pepperballs, and Arrest Him And His Father

      Remember that whole business in the Third Amendment about not having quarter soldiers in private homes without the owner’s consent or that stuff in the Fifth Amendment about takings of property or that other stuff in the Fourth Amendment on unreasonable searches and seizures. It does not appear to apply to police in Henderson Nevada. The City of Henderson is being sued with its police chief Police Chief Jutta Chambers (left) as well as the City of North Las Vegas and its Police Chief Joseph Chronister (right) for a bizarre takeover of a home for a stakeout. Anthony Mitchell says that he was told that police needed to occupy his home to get a “tactical advantage” on the occupant of a neighboring house. When Mitchell refused, the police ultimately, according to his complaint, busted through his door, hit him with pepper balls, and put him into custody. The lawsuit also names Officers Garret Poiner, Ronald Feola, Ramona Walls, Angela Walker, and Christopher Worley.

    • Tom Watson Resignation and the Failure of Labour on Civil Liberties

      Tom Watson has been something of a political touchstone for the digital rights movement in the UK ever since he warned about the dangers of the Digital Economy Act in the dying days of the Gordon Brown government. Since then he has found his way on to the Labour front bench and been their general election coordinator. For many of us his rise was rather frustrating as his ability to comment on digital issues seemed to have been hampered. Well no more, Tom is to return to the back benches.

    • The NDAA and martial law in America, part 1
    • California Senate Committee Unanimously Passes Anti-NDAA Bill; Flaws Remain

      The bill’s primary sponsor is current gubernatorial candidate Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-33rd District). Donnelly’s bill specifically guarantees the right of citizens of California to be free from any federal law, including the NDAA, that would authorize their indefinite detention in violation of habeas corpus.

  • DRM

    • For the First Time, You Can Actually Own the Digital Comics You Buy

      It’s a digital sales model that has been adopted by every major U.S. comics publisher — and most e-book publishers as well — and was inspired by fears that piracy of digital copies could hurt not just digital but also print sales. It has also essentially prevented the comic book readership (or at least, the legal comic book readership) from truly owning any of the books they buy. At least until this morning, when comic book publisher Image Comics announced at its Image Expo convention that it will now sell all of its digital comics as downloadable via its website for both desktop and mobile users, making it the first major U.S. publisher to offer DRM-free digital versions of comics. Readers can even choose the file format they prefer: PDFs, EPUBs, CBRs or CBZs.

    • Why DRM-free comic books are a big deal, even if you don’t read comics

      Yesterday, publisher Image Comics threw a media event in San Francisco. It brought in some authors (notably Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead, even though they spelled his name “Roberk” on the official site), dropped a couple of announcements, and mixed it up with the press and fans. Standard stuff.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Maybe generic drug makers will be sueable

      In a highly speculative piece the New York Times suggests that a possible change in labeling requirements risks generic drug makers being sued link here. This comes just two years after the Supremes decided the reverse i.e., that they couldn’t be sued as the law required they use the same warning label as the brand-name makers (see our piece posted on 06/26/2013 at 08:40 AM.

    • Trademarks

      • Judge nixes Microsoft SkyDrive name in BSkyB court ruling

        British judge Sarah Asplin, sitting in the chancery division of Blighty’s High Court, ruled that the evidence in the case “revealed confusion amongst real people” about the SkyDrive service, including members of the public calling Sky’s helpline about difficulties they were having with Microsoft’s product.

    • Copyrights

      • American Bankers Association Claims Copyright in 9-Digit numbers

        However, given that the numbers are available from the Federal Reserve, it was therefore to Thatcher’s great surprise when he received this DMCA notice. (presumably as someone who runs his own website, Thatcher is his own DMCA agent. See 17 USC 512 (c)(2).

        Sent by a law firm representing the American Bankers Association, (“ABA”) the letter requested that Thatcher remove the numbers from his website because they were violating the copyright in those numbers held by the ABA.
        Thatcher received a similar notice in 2008, and at that time contacted a lawyer to see what he should do.

Microsoft Has Built a Patent Front Against Linux/Android

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent stacking against free (libre and gratis) operating systems such as Android

Patent stooges

Summary: How Microsoft, Apple, and of course the Microsoft-led Nokia are now working together against the market leader, which is also a Linux success story, built upon Free/libre software

According to this month’s update from the FRAND boosters, “the second phase of the Microsoft v. Motorola RAND breach of contract trial will take place in Judge James L. Robart’s courtroom in Seattle, WA. A jury will decide whether Motorola breached its SSO-related RAND licensing obligations by offering what Microsoft deems “blatantly unreasonable” licensing terms for its 802.11- and H.264-essential patents, and then following up with patent infringement suits.”

This is not the whole story. What this whole Motorola case is about should be recalled. Microsoft sued Motorola after it had failed to get payments for Android. Motorola then sued back and Microsoft took litigation to its back yard, adding litigation aimed at Google. Motorola was partly bought by Google in the interim. Now, according to this update from Pamela Jones, there are yet more filings.

There are a couple of filings in the Seattle Microsoft v. Motorola case to tell you about.

What we generally find in this case is Apple and Microsoft liaising in patent litigation against Google. They try to tax Android and they openly collaborate on it. If anyone should be sued for copying, it is Apple and Microsoft, not Google. As Groklaw recalls, equipped with this link from last month:

We should expect no less from Apple; after all, Steve Jobs said that good artists copy, great artists steal. Apple’s genius isn’t in inventing entirely new technologies. It’s in taking existing technologies and polishing, commercializing, and mainstreaming them.

[...]

Animated wallpapers? Android. Universal multitasking? Android again. The multitasking interface? I’m not the only one who thinks that looks like WebOS. Android has auto-updated apps for years. Car integration is one of BlackBerry’s last great strongholds. iTunes Radio is like Pandora with sales links. I could go on and on.

Apple is sidling with Microsoft, even on search now (the duopoly is aligned against Google). It should be clear that the evidence of collaboration between those two companies is very compelling and strong now. They even appear in their court cases in conjunction.

Apple finds it to be a convenient relationship. Microsoft also recruited Nokia with its massive patent portfolio for this. Having just passed some patents to MOSAID and (one of several such trolls), then expanded this armament of patents, Nokia — like Yahoois waiting to receive orders from Microsoft. Here is a long rant about what happened inside Nokia:

Sherlock Holmes and the Hounds of the Basket Case: Clues on the trail of Elop, Ballmer and Nokia’s Board

[...]

Elop is the worst CEO of all time, he has personally caused the biggest corporate downfall in the Global Fortune 500 history, after we eliminate management fraud and crimes. For management incompetence Elop is the benchmark. The worst CEO ever. We need not review all his damage, growing smartphone sales turned into history’s fastest collapse. Growing profitable handset business turned into fastest losses ever in this industry. Market share collapse – Nokia was twice as large in market share as the iPhone, four times as big as Samsung’s smartphones when Elop started – and grew more in 2010 than either rival – but now Nokia smartphones (on all of its platforms, combined) is one sixth the size of the iPhone and one tenth the size of Samsung’s smartphones. Nokia share price, Nokia brand value, Nokia loyalty, all destroyed in the past 2 years and four months.

[...]

So with that perspective, that this ship was sinking so badly, no way would any sane Microsoft CEO want to buy it. Not from what it had been to what had been done to it. But now, lets turn to Elop. Elop clearly had pitched the idea to the Nokia Board, that Microsoft would like to buy Nokia. Elop knew Microsoft, Elop knew Ballmer, and Elop could privately talk with Ballmer back home in Seattle, where nobody would even know. As we have since heard, for example, in the summer of 2011, Ballmer and Elop conspired to consider buying RIM ie Blackberry, but decided against it. So they’ve been cooking up these plans for a while.

We do not know exactly when it is that the idea was first brought to the Nokia Board (or it might be out there, if someone has seen news reporting on it, please share in the comments and I’ll update the story). We do know that Elop made a long series of decisions and announcements that were seen as ‘stupid’ and often caused severe drops to Nokia share prices (or stopped the growth of Nokia share price, like with the unveiling of the N9 running MeeGo). Why would an idiot CEO want to stop growth of the share price and actually wish for a decline in the share price? If he had some personal play in the share – illegal obviously, insider trading and manipulating the stock price. Or if he wanted to make Nokia more appealing to a buyer – to Microsoft.

So. Lets examine some of Elop’s decisions now with the prism of ‘would this be in the interests of making Nokia more appealing to Microsoft in an acquisition’.

And the picture becomes very clear. Why call Nokia’s own products bad, when in fact they were not. When in fact they were award-winning, market-dominating and where even Apple would only weeks later agree to pay Nokia in royalties for Nokia patents, not the other way around. Why the Burning Platforms memo? To cause a severe drop in Nokia sales, retail sales support, carrier support, Nokia brand and – Nokia share price? That cannot be in the best interests of Nokia owners (shareholders) or Nokia employees or Nokia partners or suppliers, or Nokia retail channel and carriers, and end-users. Any CEO to release that memo would be a madman – but what if its his intention to make Nokia more appealing to be bought by Microsoft? It did help cause a severe drop in Nokia share price. Together with the stupid announcement of the Windows shift and end of Symbian with no phones to sell – helped push Nokia share price to under half what it had been in less than half a year. A big achievement, if the objective is to get
Nokia ready to be sold to Microsoft?

“Here is more about Nokia’s rating,” wrote a person from Finland, pointing to these articles [1, 2] about Nokia reaffirming its “junk” status. Nokia is selling patents to trolls Microsoft asks Nokia to sell them to. The target is Android, Microsoft is just forming a patent front against Google and Linux. People oughtn’t lose sight of which company originally commissioned this cartel.

Novell/SUSE is Microsoft in Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Novell at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft brings the whole family

On the beach

Summary: Microsoft-funded proxies still instrumental in pushing Microsoft’s restricted booting and Microsoft’s patent traps into the kernel of unparalleled ubiquity

Linux needs to remain free of patent extortion and also free to boot on any system. Denial of these properties would render it less free (or not free at all).

SUSE, which is now Microsoft-funded reasons, helps advance the agenda of restricted boot in UEFI. To quote a new report:

Developers at SUSE, the Linux company based in Germany, are working on cryptographic technology to allow the use of both hibernation and kexec by Linux on secure boot-enabled machines, according to Vojtech Pavlik, director of SUSE Labs and head of kernel development at the company.

This is kernel work which mostly helps Microsoft. SUSE spent years doing Microsoft’s work on Linux, by proxy. SUSE gets paid for that. There are many examples that we covered. There is also a “kernel driver that supports both reading and writing for the exFAT filesystem developed by the Microsoft Corporation,” but we struggle to see who is behind it. For quite some time and even last week Microsoft’s partner Tuxera did this and to quote this new report:

If you’ve watched the news lately, you know that last week a Linux developer has released the first ever native Linux kernel module for Microsoft’s exFAT filesystem.

Looking at the project’s page, the developer just has a cryptic username. Who is it that’s promoting this patent trap? Two of us have looked hard to who’s behind this development and struggled to find an answer. Why would someone do this pro-Microsoft job almost anonymously? This is suspicious. Can anyone help us get the name or company behind this exFAT effort?

Postscript: Upon closer examination of the source code (which has a name) and some subsequent Internet searches we found this:

No, that person said it was a fork of the Samsung exFat module, which, after a quick look on google, seems fully proprietary. I.e, not implicitly GPLv2.
I looked at the vFat code, and it’s not the same, so not likely a fork of it.
The code mentions joosun hahn, who seems to work for Samsung.

So all in all, nope, not forever GPL, and most likely illegally distributed.

Samsung has been paying Microsoft for FAT for about 6 years now, so its interest here would be selfish and dangerous. That is, if Samsung is the power behind it at all… maybe it is just its staff coding outside of work. There needs to be more clarity here.

Vista 8.1 is Already Slammed by Critics, Microsoft Tries to Force People to Use Windows

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keeping monopoly against one’s will

Anchor

Summary: An early look at a rebranding and marketing effort from Microsoft; how people are still being forced to use Windows

THE failure which is Vista 8 is worse than the Vista failure and not even AstroTurfing can save it. The man behind it retired early and reportedly got paid a lot of money (like the CFOs [1, 2]) in order not to say negative things. Yes, it’s a payment made specifically to assure this. Microsoft is trying to rebrand this failure “Blue” (think “Mojave”), but critics hate the resultant system. “Final grade: FAIL,” says a super-long review. “We’re done.”

So who would use Windows then? Well, probably those who are forced to. It’s the same old strategy. UEFI restricted boot helps this strategy and so do “evangelists” who discriminate against non-Microsoft users. To quote this good new example:

GSSN will not (rightly, of course!) discriminate on the basis of race, religion and all the other things mentioned above. So, why on Earth should they (and, of course, any other equal opportunity employer) discriminate on the basis of one’s software preferences? Could they?

The software mentioned there is not some highly complex product for niche professionals. It is software for the generic, basic daily activities of pretty much every office worldwide. Expert users of LibreOffice and OpenOffice could quickly downgrade themselves to the Microsoft equivalent and still be much more productive than people with only basic skills of just that one suite. What should such users do with that form? Declare that they are only experts of “Other” (=less relevant) software, or “lie”, that is give themselves a rate correctly meaning that they won’t need babysitting just to open a spreadsheet, even if they’ve never used Excel?

Inertia is the only thing, except crime and dirty tricks, which keeps Windows going. The fastest-growing operating system, which is expected to have a billion users (not just activations), is based on Linux.

Patents Still Kill, Governments Urged to Intervene

Posted in Asia, Patents at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ransom is not an acceptable business model

Float

Summary: Patents are being used for price-fixing, rendering drugs inaccessible to those who need them the most, sometimes for their very survival

TECHRIGHTS has covered the issue of patents in medicine going back to the site’s very early days, even though there are sites that are dedicated entirely to this issue. A lot of people die because of patents as a business model — a model which the Gates Foundation is promoting for personal gain (profit) in medicine and agriculture.

In India, Congress is now taking further steps to tackle this problem. To quote some new commentary about it:

We recently discussed the US Chamber of Commerce’s incredibly strange statement on the state of India’s IP protection (or lack thereof). The CofC first applauded the success of India’s Bollywood industry, achieved without strong IP protection, before insisting the only way it would survive was by implementing strong IP protection. This, of course, was the CofC advancing its own agenda, despite being faced with evidence to the contrary.

A lot of pressure is being put on India to comply with the interests of megacorporations from the West. They are constantly attacking or buying out generics providers. People actually die in bulk as a result of actions like these.

Over in the corporate press in the US, HIV drugs are framed in the context of MsF, as follows:

Doctors: Patents keep HIV drugs too pricey to use

Doctors Without Borders warned Tuesday that rising intellectual property rights are blocking the generic production of newer drugs to treat HIV and are keeping them out of reach for developing countries.

This is indeed what’s happening. Drugs which cost just a few cents to make are being kept out of the hands of those who need them. This is a cartel, a price-fixing strategy which governments should call illegal as they begin to investigate the perpetrators. This is not just about HIV; many other drugs for other illnesses are being used as tool of ransom. This needs to stop.

Too Many Microsoft Proxies Inside the FOSS World

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GPL, Microsoft at 5:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The slandering of copyleft just two degrees away

Xamarin ad
A new paid ad in YouTube for Xamarin, an "open core" company serving Microsoft interests

Summary: The anti-copyleft camp grows with new additions and gradually-accumulating evidence from Black Duck, OpenLogic, and Outercurve (Microsoft proxy)

The head of a proprietary software company, not a FOSS proponent by any stretch of imagination, wrote the following article a few days ago. It got published in a high-profile news site:

  • In a World Without Open Source

    Open source software is now a massive force in technology today. Yet many of us aren’t aware of the reach and influence open source has on our personal and professional lives.

This was written by the head of Black Duck, a company created by a guy from Microsoft. This is a proprietary software company which collects software patents and defends this practice, too. Another company whose head is from Microsoft says that “Monty Widenius, a primary author of MySQL, argues that typical open source licensing is a problem for entrepreneurs, and that a change is needed.”

This is subverting copyleft. The CTO and Founder of OpenLogic asks himself, “Change OSS Licenses to Make More Money?”

Using terms like “commercial license” to mean proprietary he concludes: “Even though OpenLogic provides support to enterprises in tracking and managing open source requests, approvals, policies, and governance, and we could certainly assist in automating processes around “business source” clock expirations, I hope – and expect – the impractical idea of “business source” will die on the vine.”

Remember that Monty worked for Microsoft, even if briefly. The disdain of the GPL there should not be all that shocking.

So basically the above firms don’t promote FOSS, they just provide advice on use of FOSS code. Steven L. Grandchamp, the President and CEO of the latter firm, comes from Microsoft, unlike the CTO. What we generally found is, both of these firms usually advise against copyleft. We gave plenty of examples. These firms are becoming parasites whose main goal is to discourage developers who choose a GPL-like licence. Joining those firms are other Microsoft proxies like Outercurve, which has just gotten itself another person qualified to antagonise copyleft. “Jagielski takes over the role of President from Sam Ramji of Apigee, who held the position for the past three years,” Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols says. His article’s summary is: “The open-source software foundation announced that Jim Jagielski, co-founder of the Apache Foundation and a Red Hat consulting software engineer, would be taking over as its President.”

The predecessor was a malicious mole inside the FOSS community [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] and we can expect Jagielski to serve the Microsoft agenda of ending copyleft and weakening the likes of the FSF.

Those who believe that Microsoft cares about FOSS ought to know that Microsoft cannot stand the “f word” in FOSS. Microsoft is just trying to change FOSS, not embrace it. And at the core Microsoft wants proprietary software like Windows and Excel. It is not hard to see that. The evidence is too strong.

“I would love to see all open source innovation happen on top of Windows.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Time to Halt Universities’ Right to Apply for Patents as Boston University Turns Aggressive

Posted in Patents at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tax money oughtn’t be used to help tax the public with patent monopolies

Government Center in Boston
Government Center in Boston

Summary: Boston University joins the crowd of academic trolls; some news about software patents in general

A few days ago we wrote about one university which turns to patents for money, using litigation as a business model whilst its whole business is based on taxpayers for subsidies. This is truly an injustice — one that nobody should defend on behalf of taxpayers (that’s everyone). As for corporate funding of universities, it usually drives corruption and lies, hence it should be banned, as I stated even half a decade ago. Companies never give money to universities as an act of charity; they would get sued by shareholders if they did, so they clearly want something in return.

“This is truly an injustice — one that nobody should defend on behalf of taxpayers (that’s everyone).”It is now being reported that Boston University exploits patents for the sake of embargo. They are basically trying to impede a producing market, assuming that people whom taxpayers funded are entitled to do this. People should speak out loudly against this because although Apple is the victim here, Android/Linux might be next.

So UC is now joined by the university known for criticising patent trolls [1, 2, 3]. As another article put it, this university itself is now becoming similar to a troll itself. To quote: “Boston University is seeking a ban on all iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Air sales based on a patent dating back 22 years ago that runs out in two years.

“Welcome to the ranks of blood-sucking scumbag patent trolls, Boston University. You’re in good company — Nathan Myrvold is the president of the club.

“Ironically, it was Boston University professors James Bessen and Michael J. Meurer who completed a study last year that concluded that patent trolls — organizations that develop or acquire patentable technologies but don’t produce any products — cost the United States a cool $29 billion a year.

“The troll in this case may have as well acquired some patents that innocently got accumulated by academics, hence they should not be permitted to pursue patents in the first place.”“Oh, that’s before various indirect costs such as “diversion of resources, delays in new products, and loss of market share,” the Boston University profs said at the time, adding that “we find little evidence that NPEs [nonproducing entities, aka patent trolls] promote invention overall.”

“I wonder what they think of their university now.”

Indeed.

It is worth highlighting that an area I worked in personally, the task of identity verification (research funded by the ERC, i.e. European taxpayers), is now the target of other patent litigation, this time with a patent troll behind it (where did the patents originally come from?). To quote: “A patent-holding company hit Toshiba America Inc. with an electronics security patent infringement suit in Delaware federal court Tuesday over facial-recognition software used in its Qosmio line of laptops.”

“Sometimes we find that Intellectual Ventures sweeps up universities’ patents and then passes them for a shell company to sue producing companies.”What this usually involves is filters and matrices i.e. pure mathematics. The application in this case is usually access control, not surveillance. This is useful in an airport for example, where machines are increasingly being used to compare passport photos with the person travelling (to assure no deception). The troll in this case may have as well acquired some patents that innocently got accumulated by academics, hence they should not be permitted to pursue patents in the first place. Those who are assembling demand letters from trolls will hopefully expand to documenting which shell company is owned or run by who, e.g. Intellectual Ventures. Moreover, the original source of the patents being used by trolls would be worth investigating, Sometimes we find that Intellectual Ventures sweeps up universities’ patents and then passes them for a shell company to sue producing companies. Watch patent lawyers like Fox Rothschild LLP celebrating a recent CAFC ruling that legitimises software patents [1, 2, 3].

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