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08.09.13

Links 9/8/2013: Linux/Android Share in Tablets Soars

Posted in News Roundup at 4:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Konnect: control your KDE devices from your phone

        Today we are surrounded by ‘smart’ devices all around us – smartphones, tablets, TVs, PCs and many more. These devices naturally don’t interact with each other. There are some device specific apps developed by some companies but those work within the device spectrum of that company, for example Samsung All Share comes only for Samsung Android devices and work only with Samsung smart TVs.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Maintenance Release: PCLinuxOS-KDE-FullMonty 2013.08

        PCLinuxOS KDE FullMonty 2013.08 (32/64 bit) is now available for download.

      • Porteus 2.1 final and Porteus Kiosk Edition 2.1 are out!

        The Porteus Community is pleased to announce the distribution release of Porteus 2.1 (Standard Desktop Edition), as well as Porteus Kiosk Edition 2.1! Major additions since our 2.0 release include restructuring our layout to have standalone iso’s for five desktop environments (KDE4, RazorQT, Mate, Xfce and LXDE) and adding optional prepackaged modules for Google-Chrome, Opera, Libreoffice, Abiword, print/scan support and development software, all available through a new download interface that allows users to build and download customized ISO’s at http://build.porteus.org.

    • Debian Family

      • 20 Years of Debian GNU/Linux

        Debian GNU/Linux celebrates its 20th birthday anniversary this month. I have been using Debian GNU/Linux only a few years and I regret not having known Debian earlier. The growth, vitality, and quality of the project has been amazing. With Debian GNU/Linux I have been able to do a lot with a tiny investment in IT. It is a force-multiplier for good Free Software.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Edge Passes $9 Million, Smashes Crowd-Funding Record

            Over $9 million has now been pledged to the Ubuntu Edge campaign on IndieGoGo, helping it smash yet another crowd-funding record.

            This figure, whilst $23 million short of the required $32 million goal, makes Ubuntu Edge the second largest crowd-funding campaign in history. It shunts the Ouya games console, which raised $8.5 million over a 30 day period, into 3rd place.

          • Canonical Pushes Linux to the Edge With Bloomberg Backing

            The goal is to raise $32 million in 30 days to build 40,000 Ubuntu Edge next-generation smartphones.

          • Canonical lowers Edge pricing, launches app contest

            Canonical dropped the Indiegogo price for its Ubuntu Edge phone from $775 to $695. Meanwhile, the Ubuntu project launched an Ubuntu App Showdown contest for the best Ubuntu for Phones app that can be developed between now and Sept. 15.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Mysterious countdown appears on elementary OS website

              It would appear that either yesterday, or the day before yesterday, a mysterious countdown was added to the elementary OS website. Or rather, the whole website was replaced by a countdown. So far, I haven’t found any definite indications of what exactly we’re counting down to.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Some Xerox Scanners Can Alter Documents by Accident

    On the scale of things too horrible to contemplate, “document-altering scanner” is right up there with “flesh-eating bacteria.” This week Xerox (XRX) acknowledged that some of its scanners can, with certain settings, change the numbers in scanned documents. On Wednesday it announced a fix for the problem, which a spokesman called “really an anomaly.”

    The problem came to light when David Kriesel, a German computer scientist, scanned a construction plan on a Xerox machine and noticed that the document that came out wasn’t identical to the one that went in: Numbers for some room measurements had changed. Kriesel alerted Xerox, wrote about the problem on his blog and began to investigate how widespread the problem is.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Drone Warfare Makes Killing a Spectator Sport

      Oh, the serious news! I read it with ever-fresh incredulity. It’s written for gamers. It reduces us to gamers as it updates us on the latest bends and twists in the geopolitical scene. We’re still playing War on Terror, the aim of which is to kill as many insurgents as possible; when they’re all dead, we win (apparently). The trick is to avoid inflaming the locals, who then transition out of passive irrelevance and join the insurgency. They get inflamed when we kill civilians, such as their children.

    • Redefining Security and Intelligence in an independent Scotland

      Military and intelligence stories have been all over the news recently. Be it indiscriminate eavesdropping programs, WMD infrastructure, or our impending doom at the hands of terrorists if we vote “yes”, there is a common denominator in the statements of the high heid yins: these are issue for the big boys, the role set out for the rest of us is to cower in fear and not to hurt our wee brains trying to understand. In the independence debate, we are warned that an independent Scotland is going to be overrun by terrorists, disastrously cyber-attacked, or run out of money trying to prevent these disasters from happening. The catalyst of the recent wave of scare stories is a report by a bunch of military and intelligence insiders, the crowd treated in the mainstream media as holding an exclusive grasp of the serious issue of our national security. But this deference is exactly the type of elitist approach that led us into the intelligence SNAFU we are in at the moment – with the agencies at odds with the democratic process and public control. The independence debate is a chance for us to crack open the debate on intelligence and the military, and imagine what a security apparatus actually subservient to democracy might look like.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Finance

    • ‘We Won’t Pay’: Greek activists reconnect power to poverty-stricken homes

      With a Eurozone record of 27 percent of Greeks unemployed, people are taking a pro-active approach to the crisis. Activists from the ‘We Won’t Pay’ movement, which boasts 10,000 members, are illegally reconnecting power to hundreds of homes.

      Tough austerity measures have left many people in Greece unable to pay their electricity bills. The ‘We Don’t Pay’ movement which has over 10,000 members helps many of those by illegally reconnecting power to their homes, despite legal action against them.

    • Greece becoming new Kosovo as youth jobless hits 65pc

      Greek youth unemployment has soared to a record 64.9pc as the country’s downward spiral continues almost unchecked.

    • Watch as plutocrats mold us into a New America, a nation more pleasing to their sight

      Increasing wealth creates positive feedback, much like a hurricane moving over warm water. A more powerful 1% allows them to command the political and economic high ground of America, so that they can gain further wealth — and shape a New America more to their liking. This process has run for several generations; now the results are plain to see — for all that wish to look. Today we have first of three tales of New America.

    • Greg Palast: Why Are the Greek People Agreeing to Their Own Destruction?

      In his career as an investigative journalist, economist, and bestselling author – Vultures’ Picnic, Billionaires and Ballot Bandits, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy – Greg Palast has not been afraid to tackle some of the most powerful names in politics and finance. From uncovering Katherine Harris’ purge of African-American voters from Florida’s voter rolls in the year 2000 to revealing the truth behind the “assistance” provided by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to ailing economies, Palast has not held back in revealing the corruption and criminal actions of the wealthy and powerful. In a recent interview on Dialogos Radio, Palast turned his attention to Greece and to the austerity policies that have been imposed on the country by the IMF, the European Union, and the European Central Bank.

  • Censorship

    • Microsoft’s Bing Removes Several Hundred Thousand “Pirate” Search Results

      Over the past month copyright holders and Google have clashed over infringing search results and how they should be dealt with. Due to its smaller market share Microsoft’s Bing has rarely been mentioned, but the company informs TorrentFreak that they also remove hundreds of thousands of infringing URLs each month. Interestingly enough, Microsoft itself is one of the most active senders of DMCA notices to Bing.

    • Pirate Party Reports IT Minister to the Police for Copyright Infringement

      As the crackdown on copyright infringement in Sweden continues, the local Pirate Party has today held up a mirror to the politicians who support the tough enforcement regime. Marking the ten-year anniversary of The Pirate Bay, the Pirate Party have reported Sweden’s IT Minister to the police after she was spotted infringing copyright online on a number of occasions.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Feds Instruct Law Enforcement to Cover Up Investigations of Americans

      Agencies of the federal government are sharing the massive database of personal information being obtained by surveillance, and police are being taught how to hide the details from judges and lawyers, a Reuters report reveals.

    • Sen. Feinstein During ‘Shield’ Law Debate: ‘Real’ Journalists Draw Salaries

      I can see this stipulation working against whoever the government feels is worthy of the title “journalist.” News develops. It seldom has a distinct starting point. Of course, if someone is a journalist, it stands to reason that they’re always “planning” to publish their findings. But that might be a lot harder to prove when the government starts slinging subpoenas.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Cable and TV Networks Fee Fight Fallout— Who Pays? The Public

        Public Knowledge has a couple of pieces up on the fight between CBS and Time Warner Cable over TWC’s payment for the right to rebroadcast broadcasts and then charge the public link here and link here. CBS has already been amply rewarded through advertising on its over the air broadcasts free use of the public airwaves. But in the current fight, it wants still more money. Congress set this up in 1992 legislation which allowed the networks to charge for retransmission permission of its broadcasts.

Tor Compromised by Microsoft Windows, Not Mozilla Firefox

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 1:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tor logo

Summary: Correcting irresponsible press coverage which rather than discourage use of Windows discourages use of Tor and Free software such as Firefox

A lot of Mozilla flaws routinely affect only Windows users, but corporate media is too negligent to point out the real weak links. Windows is just assumed to be a given; it is almost like journalists at corporate media try to reinforce the Microsoft monopoly with all the security holes.

“The Internet as a whole is being compromised by Microsoft yet again (not just botnets and spam).”Firefox is being blamed for what’s essentially a Windows issue that let Tor be compromised. Some try to say that the NSA was not behind it, but an FBI Tor exploit and analysis of IP blocks does suggest that the US government was behind the cracking of Tor, exploiting Windows (which has NSA back doors).

Addressing this Microsoft/NSA issue, one blogger writes: “I like the expression, “Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water.” I almost used it to open this article, but I didn’t. It would be inaccurate. Nobody in his right mind would consider the Internet waters safe at this junction in time.”

The Internet as a whole is being compromised by Microsoft yet again (not just botnets and spam). Tor with Microsoft sure makes a scary spectacle and a dangerous one for human rights.

Sean Michael Kerner says he foresaw this:

Approximately two and a half years ago, Tor (The Onion Router) Web anonymity project announced that was was going to build its own Web browser, to be known as the Tor Browser.

The Tor network provides a way for users to anonymize their online activities by running data packets through a number of “onion routers” that are servers that relay the user traffic but not the original header information (which indicates the user IP address). Prior to the Tor Browser, what many users did (myself included) was to simply use the Tor Button, which was a Firefox add-on that enabled Tor access on top of Firefox.

The Tor people back in 2011 thought that the Tor Button was a less-than-ideal solution and that building their own browser was a better idea. I wrote a blog post in May of 2011 warning of the risks of that approach and that it could lead to ruin.

I was right.

This is a problem only on Windows though. It is a shame that the press does not properly cover this crucial point. it leaves people more vulnerable to illegal intrusion.

US Government Should Kill Bill’s and Nathan’s Criminal Patent Racket and Pyramid Scheme, Intellectual Ventures

Posted in Bill Gates at 12:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bill and Nathan

Summary: As patent trolls devour the economy, working secretly to enrich profiteers who run classic pyramid schemes, federal action becomes imperative and it must target the ringleaders, not just the ‘assassins’ down the chain (plaintiffs in the pyramid schemes)

Now that Google ‘donates’ 79 more patents to shield Fog Computing from lawsuits (a bizarre form of marketing that we criticised before) we can assume that Google is worried about patent trolls, not just important leaks that reveal how suicidal it is to store or process data on remote servers.

There is a bipartisan [1, 2] movement against patent trolls and it is being noticed by prominent publications, one of which says: “Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic identifies patent reform as one of several policy interventions libertarian-minded voters might embrace to redress certain entrenched inequalities. Assuming GOP elected officials really do embrace patent reform, as seems reasonably likely, one wonders if this reflects a larger willingness to embrace new anti-incumbent policy initiatives or if it merely reflects the fact that Republican lawmakers aren’t as beholden to advocates of software patents as they are to, say, the doctors’ cartel. My guess is that both factors play a role.”

The main problem we have is, it remains unclear whether racketeering operations like Intellectual Ventures will be shut down in the process.

Detkin, one of Nathan’s minions (Nathan, in turn, is a minion of Bill Gates) is trying to lie but fails miserably. As IP Troll Tracker put it, “I read this blog post by Peter Detkin and almost tripped over the dog, I was running so fast towards my Patent Troll Translater™. This type of stuff just begs to be run through, no?

“According to IV, there’s a list of five things you should or should not do when considering patent reform. Which I’m not sure IV is actually considering because if the patent system were ever to be reformed? Hello? You’d be out of a business model. Duh.”

Yes, well, just as terrorists never call themselves terrorists, trolls never admit being trolls. We have accumulated this collection of trolls in our wiki for convenience (far from a complete list and it does not include hybrid trolls like Apple and Microsoft). For those who can’t recall how criminal the enterprise of Bill and Nathan is, here is a fresh reminder from the news:

Shell Company Related To Cowardly Patent Troll, Nathan Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures, Forced To Settle Frivolous Lawsuit Against One-Man Business After Law Firm Donates Nearly $200,000 Worth Of Defense

This story will circulate a lot today. I’d like to suggest a more informative and accurate headline than the likely “Lodsys dismisses a lawsuit and donates to charity”.

Let’s cut through four big bullshit points immediately:

“Lodsys” is allegedly one of many fake, meaningless entities created to absorb negativity from Intellectual Ventures’ real business: large-scale patent trolling and extortion of the majority of the tech industry.

Maybe Nathan Myhrvold doesn’t want to admit (to himself?) what his company really does. Or maybe he doesn’t want to tarnish his new reputation as a high-end culinary icon with the people and small businesses his company shakes down and the huge tax he extorts out of one of the world’s biggest industries.

Assigning negative press to “Lodsys” instead of Intellectual Ventures and Myhrvold is exactly what they want the public to do, but it’s dishonest by omission to ignore Intellectual Ventures’ involvement in the Lodsys patents. Bring the fight to their door, not their shell company’s fake office.

[...]

There are no winners in this case. Nothing has changed for the better. If anything, the system has been strengthened and validated.

We’re all losers — except patent trolls like Intellectual Ventures and Nathan Myhrvold, who continue to steal time, money, and willpower from thousands of hard-working people and make the world a worse place, with no repercussions for themselves. Hell, the culinary world thinks Myhrvold’s some sort of genius hero.

I don’t know how anyone in this racket sleeps at night.

Here is what the victim wrote this week:

Lodsys has dismissed the patent infringement lawsuit it filed against my company TMSOFT. The dismissal is with prejudice which means they can never sue my company again for infringing its patents. I did not have to pay any money to Lodsys or sign a license agreement. I also did not sign a confidentially agreement so I’m free to talk about this matter.

Any patent reform or any crackdown on trolls which overlooks Nathan and Bill’s criminal enterprise of patents will be utterly pointless. The whole economy is messed up because of pyramid schemes like these. It is about taxing everyone, looting the nation. The Gates Foundation, an Intellectual Ventures partner, does something similar with patents, trying to dress it up as ‘charity’ (another clever deception campaign). Parasitical elements often establish a method of systematic, non-ending wealth transfer which in no way benefits anyone but a set of plutocrats. There are some analogous scams, but Intellectual Ventures is unique in the area of patents.

Apple Sees Ever-Developing Exodus of Key Apple People as Its Litigation Strategy Fails and Becomes Political Strategy

Posted in Apple, BSD, Patents, UNIX at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Special relationships last even after death

Obama and Jobs

Summary: Nepotism incarnated; Apple now appeals to politicians rather than judges, having lost the technical race to Linux; Apple’s top UNIX guru quits

Apple’s patent chief recently left the company, joining some prominent technical people who left this declining marketing and litigation company. The latest departure is that of Apple’s operating systems asset, who quit. As one article put it, “Hubbard left Apple last month to return to the world of open source UNIX, taking the chief technology officer post at a iXsystems, a company that offers servers and other data center hardware that runs FreeBSD.”

Concurrently, Apple continues pursuing embargo against Android devices. Apple uses the ITC and also litigates against Google through Motorola.

Mr. Pogson said, “When Is Prior Art Not Prior Art? When The US Federal Circuit Ignores It.

Yes, Apple enjoys special treatment again. As Pamela Jones put it, “Apple started the show in this particular tent of the overall smartphone patent wars circus, suing Motorola at the ITC for infringement of various claims of Apple’s ’607 and ’828 patents, which are about touchscreens and multi-touch.”

“Apple keeps trying to cheat and game the system; when its claims are found to be empty it cries to its government and gets its way.”And let’s not forget the recent pardon to Apple from the president of drone assassinations, illegal surveillance and torture. The US government is superseding the law especially for Apple as the Obama administration pushed back against an embargo. Jones had this to say about it: “So, it was a bit like the papal special dispensations of history, where the law said X, but you are let off the hook from having to keep it. That makes Apple’s reported public response particularly offensive, when it said, “Samsung was wrong to abuse the patent system in this way.” Samsung didn’t abuse the patent system. It was, as you will see, exactly the opposite, according to the ITC Opinion. And while the President can do whatever he wishes regarding public policy, the ITC followed the statute, since it has no policy powers. In short, one unavoidably must conclude that if Samsung had been the US company and Apple the Korean one, there would have been no pardon. That’s the bottom line, I’m afraid. As Jamie Love tweeted, “What Froman and USTR will now have to explain is why India and other countries can’t also consider public interest in patent cases.” As I’ll show you, one of the things the ITC considered was public comments warning that changing the terms for FRAND patent owners would make sweeping changes to trade laws, and Korea has already registered its concerns. I’m all for reforming the patent system, as you know, but if you want to reform it, how about making it *more* fair, not less? Playing favorites based on country of origin doesn’t aim for that noble goal. It’s indisputable that this has harmed Samsung, and since the ITC, which examined the facts in detail, found it was the innocent party in this picture, what can be the justification for Apple’s comment?”

The US press and the US government have given Apple special treatment for far too long. The corporate press covers this like it’s a sporting match, not science. Apple keeps trying to cheat and game the system; when its claims are found to be empty it cries to its government and gets its way. One writer for CNN (corporate press) wrote:

Apple and Samsung’s fiercest battle isn’t playing out in the smartphone market.

This is simply not true. Be sure to watch the image they use. Samsung was the one attacked by Apple, it’s not mutual.

More OEMs Turn to Linux-based Platforms Because Dependence on Windows is Killing Them

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 12:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Worn out and defeated

Killing ground

Summary: Acer is the latest large company to officially move away from Microsoft Windows because no OEM — not even Microsoft with its “Surface” disaster — can sell hardware with shoddy software preinstalled

Some new numbers suggest stagnation in the target market of Microsoft, which led Acer, one of the largest OEMs Microsoft works with (see this old Microsoft OEM agreement with Acer), to losses and subsequent exploration of Linux-based alternatives. As Microsoft booster Nancy Gohring put it, citing he employer’s numbers (IDG citing IDC without disclosure again), “Acer the latest to turn to Google after poor Windows sales”:

Acer, the electronics maker that once seemed to be a big Windows 8 booster, is turning its back on Microsoft.

After posting a second quarter loss this week, it said it’s going to aggressively work on selling more Chromebooks and Android devices. According to the Wall Street Journal, Acer’s chairman said he hopes to grow revenue from Google smartphones, tablets and Chromebooks to 10 percent to 12 percent of revenue by the end of this year and to as much as 30 percent next year. He apparently didn’t say exactly how much revenue comes from Google software today, but said Chromebooks made up nearly 3 percent of shipments in the second quarter, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Acer is the latest vendor to shift its weight toward Google products and away from Microsoft. HP and Lenovo, long-time hardware partners of Microsoft, have also started making Chromebooks.

Mr. Pogson says that Acer had been squeezed by Microsoft and it is not the first. As he notes in this earlier post:

When a monopolist pushes an OS at a price above the market on OEMs, they suffer. While the monopolist gets a huge cash-flow, the OEM works for nothing, just a tiny margin. While OEMs take a commission on the price of that other OS, they sell their hardware for next to nothing. OEMs are manufacturers, not salesmen for M$. Do framers work for $0 per hour plus a penny per nail? No.

Christine Hall, another GNU/Linux proponent, says that “The consensus on [Windows] RT is that it’s something of a toy operating system. Some say it’s done nothing but weaken the Windows on tablet brand–as if that’s possible. The smart money crowd is expecting Microsoft to give-up on RT sooner rather than later. Almost everybody says RT isn’t long for this world.”

Microsoft has got nothing that can truly challenge Linux-based operating systems and one GNU/Linux proponent proclaims that “Microsoft Surface is Doomed, Steve Ballmer Should Be Fired” (others say the same after the Surface oversupply fiasco [1, 2, 3]).

Firing Ballmer would not save Microsoft. But it would be a face-saving move, that’s for sure.

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