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10.03.13

Oldest Actively-maintained Distribution of GNU/Linux, Slackware 14.1, is Coming Soon

Posted in GNU/Linux at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Slackware 14.0

Summary: A popular distribution, whose popularity keeps it going, is slowly approaching its twentieth anniversary

Patrick Volkerding, the founder of Slackware, says he has “worked for many years and continues to work on this popular and extremely stable distribution.” Some correctly remember it as “The Oldest Remaining Linux Distribution” [1] and a new release [2] is now on its way [3].

In explaining why it does not endorse Slackware, the GNU project says: “Slackware has the two usual problems: there’s no clear policy about what software can be included, and nonfree blobs are included in Linux, the kernel. It also ships with the nonfree image-viewing program xv. Of course, with no firm policy in place, there might be other nonfree software included that we missed.” Let’s hope that Slackware is here to stay for many years to come.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Is Slackware, The Oldest Remaining Linux Distribution, Right For You?
  2. Current (pre-release) ChangeLog for x86 (32-bit)
  3. Slackware 14.1 on Its Way

    Woohoo, it’s always a good day when there’s Slackware news to report. Just when we needed some exciting development news Patrick Volkerding declared Current Beta, 14.1 is officially on its way! Distrowatch.com’s top-secret webcrawler found the tidbit in this morning’s changelog.

‘Microsoft Linux’ (aka SUSE) No Longer a Threat to Red Hat

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, Red Hat at 11:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“We believe every Linux customer basically has an undisclosed balance-sheet liability.”

Steve Ballmer

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

Mark Shuttleworth

Summary: The threat of Novell/SUSE has been diminished somewhat based on Red Hat’s perspective

MICROSOFT subsidised Novell in an effort to tax GNU/Linux everywhere. Red Hat in particular was put under pressure and through despicable partners like Amazon Microsoft is now extorting RHEL users, passing a tax through Amazon hosting. For the most part, Microsoft now uses SUSE as its main attack vector on free GNU/Linux (Turbolinux, Linspire and Xandros are defunct). Microsoft is subsidising SUSE to do this.

According to [1], Red Hat no longer views SUSE as a threat. That’s a considerable change as several years ago Red Hat did express some concerns and Novell was a top-priority risk, more so than software patents.

Red Hat is now relying on some new programs [2,3] and old releases [4] for its momentum that is growing [5,6], perhaps ensuring that the biggest GNU/Linux backer remains strong enough to avoid surrendering to Microsoft the same way Novell did (and to a lesser degree Canonical).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Red Hat Doesn’t See SUSE Linux as a Major Competitive Threat

    Growth for Red Hat is coming at a time when the market remains competitive across multiple sectors. For enterprise workloads, Red Hat’s CEO sees it now as a battle between Linux and Microsoft Windows.

  2. Red Hat leads way to certify OpenStack pros

    Everyone needs cloud-savvy administrators, but there aren’t enough to go around. Worse still, if someone does come to you and they say they know OpenStack like the back of their hand, how do you know they do? Or, flipping it around, if you’re a smart system administrator who wants to pick up mad OpenStack cloud skills, how do you do that?

  3. Red Hat offers storage test drives for enterprise customers

    Don’t you want to test drive before you buy a service? Test drives always give customers better experience as they can see what they will get. Red Hat is offering free (as in beer) Storage Test Drives through Amazon Web Services (AWS) to give customers a hands-on experience.

  4. Red Hat releases upgrade to older Red Hat Enterprise Linux: RHEL 5.10

    The latest update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, RHEL 5, 5.10, is now available to subscribers.

  5. The New #182 Most Shorted S&P 500 Component: Red Hat
  6. Buyers bet on momentum in Red Hat

    Red Hat has been breaking out this week, and traders are hoping the upward momentum will continue through next month.

Fedora Turns 10, Release 20 Approaches

Posted in GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wallpaper candidate for Fedora 20

Wallpaper

Summary: Milestone for the most innovative distribution of GNU/Linux

FEDORA is turning a decade old [1,2] and like others [3] I can recall using the first release, having used Red Hat beforehand (it was not community-oriented back then). Some people recall the vote history [4] and others foresee the release of Fedora 20.

Whatever Fedora means to one personally, to GNU/Linux as a whole Fedora is very essential. A lot of development of desktop environments and key components of GNU/Linux are being developed and maintained by Fedora inside Red Hat, usually by Red Hat employees (but not always).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Fedora Linux Turns 10: What’s Next?

    Fedora Linux Project Manager talks about 10 years of the Red Hat sponsored community Linux project and what might lie on the road ahead.

  2. Ten years of Fedora
  3. The Fedorian Dare

    Ok, when I first installed Fedora Core 1, I got “all crazy” and installed KDE, XFCE and GNOME all at once!

  4. Fedora vote history

    There has been some discussion recently about elections in Fedora and that gave me the desire to have a look at the history of our elections with regards to the number of participants.

  5. Fedora Linux 20 Gears Up to Be a Big Data Server

    The open source Fedora Linux distribution is out this week with the first alpha development build of its Fedora 20 release, along with a long list of proposed changes.

  6. Fedora 20 Is Now Ready For Testing

    The Alpha release contains all the exciting features of Fedora 20 in a form that anyone can help test. This testing, guided by the Fedora QA team, helps us target and identify bugs. When these bugs are fixed, we make a Beta release available. A Beta release is code-complete and bears a very strong resemblance to the third and final release. The final release of Fedora 20 is expected in early December.

Don’t Buy GNU/Linux, Tizen, or Android From Samsung

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Samsung at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung warning

Summary: Why Samsung, despite its dominant position in the Linux world, is still a company to avoid

SAMSUNG has become the biggest seller of Android devices. That’s not necessarily good news because Samsung pays Microsoft for it, so it helps legitimise extortion. We have a “Ballnux” section in our daily links for this reason.

“Hardware suitable for Linux is available from companies that don’t pay Microsoft for it.”Rumours suggest that Google will shift Nexus 10 production away from Samsung [1], which is promoting gimmicks [2] with the “Galaxy” brand [3] (synonymous with its phones). Samsung tried to take over Cyanogen development through hiring of developers (who have left to create their own company [4]) and it is now trying to take over MeeGo (Nokia/Intel) [5].

What’s noteworthy is that Samsung goes everywhere but Windows. Being a Windows shop does not pay off anymore. But Samsung pays Microsoft for Linux and this is a serious issue. Hardware suitable for Linux is available from companies that don’t pay Microsoft for it. With Tegra, for example, Nvidia has become its own powerhouse [4] that destroys Microsoft’s monopoly [5]. Nvidia has its own tablet now. Torvalds has given Nvidia a finger pointing up, but it was not his thumb, so companies like ASUS, Motorola, and even little Archos are worth prioritising when it comes to Android.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Rumour: Upcoming Nexus 10 to be manufactured by ASUS

    We have already received second iteration of the Nexus 7 and now its turn for Nexus 10 to show up. Samsung manufactured the current Nexus 10, but it seems Asus has taken over as the maker of the next version of Nexus 10.

  2. Wearable computing: Why there’s no room for watches like Galaxy Gear

    Samsung is pulling out all the stops for its Samsung Galaxy Gear, aka Smart Watch. That’s nice, but the watch is yesterday’s format.

  3. Samsung launches Galaxy Trend smartphone for Rs.8700

    Samsung released their new mid-range phone for the Indian market, the Galaxy Trend, for a price of Rs. 8,700. The phone is listed on the official Samsung site for India, but no information about the delivery is currently available. Yet interestingly, online retailers like Flipkart and Snapdeal are also offering it, but with a delivery time of 3 days and at a discounted price of Rs. 8,490 to boot!

  4. Fork in the road: Cyanogen raises $7 million to build a better version of Android

    Cyanogen, makers of popular software based on Android that extends the abilities of smartphones, is making a bid for the mainstream. The four-year-old company, which began as a one-person side project, said today that it has raised $7 million from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures. The goal is to vault past Blackberry and Windows Phone to become the third-most popular mobile operating system, after traditional Android and iOS. And the company is already closer than you might think.

  5. Samsung to put open-source Tizen OS on… TVs?

    Samsung still has no Tizen phone, but there are big plans for bigger devices.

  6. Nvidia unveils $199, 7” Tegra Note tablet

    Unlike Nvidia’s Project Shield handheld, which came out earlier this summer, the Tegra Note won’t be sold directly by Nvidia. Instead, it will be offered by some of the firms who currently sell Nvidia graphics cards—EVGA and PNY in North America and EVGA, Oysters, and Zotac in Europe, to name a few. The device will be released worldwide “in the next few months,” Nvidia says.

  7. Valve, Nvidia, and AMD Drive the Final Nail into the Windows Coffin

    Developers have been trying for years to make Linux a global platform and to make it available to the masses and not just a select few, but Linux has now become the future of gaming in a surprising manner.

Even Microsoft Chief (Departed) Admits That Microsoft is a Very Serious Violator of Privacy

Posted in Google, Microsoft at 9:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Surveillance runs in their blood

Rupert Murdoch with Bill Gates

Summary: Tackling the claims that Microsoft cares about privacy and some more NSA news

THERE IS A LOT of evidence showing that Microsoft has climbed into the NSA’s bed, making it exceedingly easy for US spooks to spy on people all around the world, even without warrants. Edward Snowden has added plenty of evidence to show how wide-ranging Microsoft surveillance is. Bill Gates is still in the surveillance business, even outside Microsoft [1, 2]. He evidently likes to oppress people.

“Surveillance is about control and corporate interests, but it is being managed by the state which liases with corporations (the data collectors).”According to [1-3], even Microsoft’s own ‘privacy’ chief turns out to be vocal opponents of the company’s stance on privacy. Just remember this next time Microsoft accuses Google or some other company of privacy violations. The same goes for Mozilla [4], whose staff is known to be criticising Google (a partner) over privacy rather than Microsoft. Mozilla itself is trying hard to portray itself as pro-privacy. Privacy is the new “green” now. The “Do Not Track” working group shows some current trends as such [5]. Microsoft’s puppet, Yahoo, has a certain approach to it [6] and CBS, a friend of Microsoft, still focuses only on Google when it comes to privacy [7], whereas the EFF and other groups address the problem as a whole [8,9,10]. This is essentially an attack on journalism and justice [11], including accountability for those who violate privacy [12]. There is personal retribution against those who stand up and fight the NSA [13,14] and even chipsets are allegedly now spying on users, provided these users buy Intel (as many unavoidably do) [15].

Surveillance is about control and corporate interests [16], but it is being managed by the state which liases with corporations (the data collectors). Considering what Microsoft does in Russia, we know that Microsoft is on the side of the oppressors, not just in the US. For this, Microsoft deserves a boycott and perhaps even lawsuits. Microsoft profits from tyranny and oppression, so reparations are well overdue.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Ex-Microsoft privacy adviser: I don’t trust company after NSA revelations
  2. Ex-Microsoft privacy advisor: I don’t trust Microsoft, thanks to PRISM

    The former chief privacy adviser to Microsoft has said the NSA scandal has left him distrustful of the Redmond giant.

  3. Former Microsoft Privacy Chief Says He No Longer Trusts The Company

    Microsoft’s onetime Chief Privacy Advisor, Caspar Bowden, has come out with a vote of no-confidence in the company’s long-term privacy measures and ability or interest to secure user data in the wake of the NSA’s PRISM program. From 2002 – 2011, Bowden was in charge of privacy at Microsoft, and oversaw the company’s efforts in that area in more than 40 countries, but claims to have been unaware of the PRISM program’s existence while he worked at the company. In the two years since leaving Microsoft, Bowden has ceased carrying a cell phone and become a staunch open source user, claiming that he no longer trusts a program unless he can see the source.

  4. Google and the NSA

    So, it’s just the nature of our society that Google amasses troves of personal data on billions of people from all over the world and is then compelled to hand that over to the NSA.

  5. Digital Advertising Alliance Exits Do Not Track Group

    Ad community to the World Wide Web Consortium: The Do Not Track working group process is broken.

  6. A “Not My Email” Button, Because Yahoo Users Are Getting Other People’s Emails

    The button will let users reject emails not directed to them, but its effectiveness relies on the goodwill of the new address holders.

  7. How Google could have made the Web secure and failed — again

    Google confirms it made a change to better protect the privacy of how people search. However, it left loopholes and once again failed to seize an opportunity to encourage all sites to go secure.

  8. Time to Speak Up Against the NSA’s Mass Spying

    This summer, some of our worst fears and suspicions about the NSA have been confirmed. We now have evidence that the NSA is actively undermining the basic security of the Internet. It is collecting millions and millions of phone records of individuals not suspected of any crime. It is surveilling journalists.

  9. European Parliament LIBE Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens

    Without free media, where we can all read, write, listen and dis­cuss ideas freely and in pri­vacy, we are all liv­ing in an Orwellian dysto­pia, and we are all poten­tially at risk. These media must be based on tech­no­lo­gies that empower indi­vidual cit­izens, not cor­por­a­tions or for­eign gov­ern­ments. The Free Soft­ware Found­a­tion has been mak­ing these recom­mend­a­tions for over two decades.

  10. US websites should inform EU citizens about NSA surveillance, says report

    All existing data sharing agreements between Europe and the US should be revoked, and US web site providers should prominently inform European citizens that their data may be subject to government surveillance, according to the recommendations of a briefing report for the European Parliament.

  11. Email surveillance could reveal journalists’ sources, expert claims
  12. Edward Snowden’s E-Mail Provider Defied FBI Demands to Turn Over Crypto Keys, Documents Show

    The U.S. government in July obtained a search warrant demanding that Edward Snowden’s e-mail provider, Lavabit, turn over the private SSL keys that protected all web traffic to the site, according to to newly unsealed documents.

    The July 16 order came after Texas-based Lavabit refused to circumvent its own security systems to comply with earlier orders intended to monitor a particular Lavabit user’s metadata, defined as “information about each communication sent or received by the account, including the date and time of the communication, the method of communication, and the source and destination of the communication.”

  13. Ilija Trojanow, German Writer, Banned From US For Criticizing NSA

    According to Der Spiegel, German-Bulgarian writer and activist Ilija Trojanow was barred from entering the United States on Monday. Trojanow was to speak at a literary conference. HuffPost Live’s Ahmed Shihab-Eldin took a closer look at the story, which has yet to be covered by most major news sources in the U.S.

    While U.S. authorities did not provide Trojanow with a formal explanation, he believes he has been banned from the US because of his outspoken criticism of the NSA’s surveillance programs.

  14. ‘The NSA set me up,’ ex-con Qwest exec claims

    Former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio, having recently completed a prison sentence for insider trading, maintains that he never committed any crime and that the sole reason for his conviction can be summed up in three letters: NSA.

    In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Nacchio said former security contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations about far-reaching domestic spying programs conducted by the US National Security Agency backed up his claim of innocence, which has never wavered since his 2007 trial.

  15. Secret 3G Radio in Every Intel vPro CPU Could Steal Your Ideas at Any Time

    Hilariously enough, Intel has created one of the most sought after technologies without letting anyone know about it. Basically, all Intel vPro CPUs (which include new mobile Core i5 and Core i7 chips) have an undocumented 3G chip inside. That chip is visible to the 3G network, even when the PC is not powered on.

  16. Government signals end to CCTV use for parking fines

    If CCTV cameras are about public protection, why are they bringing in £300m in revenue from parking enforcement?

Microsoft’s Monopoly is Not Sustainable, Monopolist and Monopoly Abuser Bill Gates is Being Pushed Out

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“A lot of people make that analogy that competing with Bill Gates is like playing hardball. I’d say it’s more like a knife fight.”

Gary Clow

Summary: The most criminal elements of Microsoft are being pushes out by investors, and it’s no longer just Ballmer

BILL Gates (including his pseudo ‘charity’) is “successful” in the same sense that Genghis Khan was successful. He sure spread his mentality and imposed his will upon others, no matter how crudely. To glorify the “success” of Bill Gates is like adding glamour to the Mafia.

Gates, who is largely responsible for Microsoft’s competition crimes (as many documents reveal), is still too much of a control freak in the board, so investors want him out. As a British paper put it yesterday:

Unnamed investors said to be lobbying the board for the departure of the technology giant’s co-founder

If Gates is as shrewd as people claim he is, then how come Microsoft is losing its monopoly while he is still heavily involved? As one writer put it this week:

Three years after Windows Phone and a year after Windows 8, businesses are testing — and using — rivals instead

Windows is no longer holding a majority market share. Android/Linux is the market leader. Microsoft is trying to deny this while taxing Android with patents. Galen Gruman from IDG has a lot more to say on this subject.

Ballmer is stepping away, but just like Gates he plans to stay rather close (from the outside). Those two bullies are largely responsible for illegally obtaining and maintaining a monopoly, using crimes such as bribery. We are unlikely to ever see them in prison, but we might at the very least see them totally dissociated from Microsoft one day. Watch what Microsoft’s crimes have done to Finland alone.

Patent Reform Drafted, Addressing Wrong Matters, Unlikely to Resolve Litigation Epidemic

Posted in Patents at 7:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seal of the United States

Summary: The patent policy and the so-called ‘reform’ in the US is still corporations-leaning, showing quite clearly the power that large corporations have over the government

OVER the coming few weeks we will gradually catch up with September news regarding patents. Software patents are our primary point of focus. The urgent news, however, is that a reform or several reforms have been put forth, neglecting the fact that a lot of litigation, extortion and other patent-based abuse come from practising companies, not patent trolls.

Articles are doing “anything to distract from the cause of the problem — software patents,” as iophk rightly put it, pointing to this article from Ars Technica. The FTC is going after trolls, but not the core issues or the companies that help trolls (Microsoft for example).

It’s not just the US which thinks about patent reform. In Brazil, for example, there are “ten or so pages concerning software patents,” writes Rene Mages (FFII), “beginning at page 199″ of this document [PDF].

As Patent Progress helps show, evidence suggests that patent scope is the issue. According to this blog post, “PatentFreedom found that we’ve gone from about 168 companies defending themselves against business method patents in 2004 to 1423 in 2012. That’s almost a ten-fold increase in less than a decade! In fact, nearly 4 out of every 10 patent troll lawsuits now uses a pure business method patent.”

Patent scope is the issue, not the scale of plaintiffs. The “troll” angle is not worth entertaining much, but propaganda around it has grown synonymous with reform (at the expense of patent scope).

Against Monopoly does not think that the existing patent reform draft will be pass at all. To quote:

Given the balance of forces in the Congress, passage seems questionable but one can always hope.

This so-called “patent reform” — like ‘reforms’ before it — is probably just a waste of time, a distraction, and a way to pretend that real problems are being addressed when in fact hardly anything improves, except for large corporations (they tend to not like smaller patent aggressors; they want a monopoly — or oligopoly like CPTN — on patent aggression).

Wikipedia defines reform as “the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc.” Removing the influence of corporations over US Congress would be the first (and prereqisite) reform that is needed right now. It’s an inherently self-defensive barrier to progress which Professor Larry Lessig has been writing quite a lot about recently.

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