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11.21.13

Learning Who Steve Jobs Really Was

Posted in Apple, FSF, Patents at 2:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

i i i me me me ! ! !

Steve Jobs
Image by mylerdude

Summary: The man who helped glorify arrogance and selfishness is not to be put up on a pedestal anymore

SOFTWARE innovator and activist (with international reputation) Richard Stallman got a lot of flack for saying negative things about software ‘thief’, patent aggressor (over ideas that he had ‘stolen’, to use his own terminology), and selfishness advocate Steve Jobs — the man who loved to hoard and restrict, not to share.

As Linux spreads to hundreds of millions of users through Samsung (with no signs of stopping) Apple is suing, as usual, as part of Jobs’ nuclear legacy.

“Jobs colluded with Microsoft at least twice in the past, liaising against arguably common threats like Netscape and Android/Linux.”A few weeks ago the British press published the article “Steve Jobs: Apple founder a sexist bully, a skinflint and a liar says Chrisann Brennan, former partner” (Apple enthusiasts in deep denial would not even click the link).

Read the article to learn about the real Steve Jobs, not the legend which the corporate media (which is indirectly funded by the likes of Jobs) is trying to tell us about for its own agenda and self-serving reasons. Heck, those submissive publicists would even try to tell the world that Donald Trump is a generous and polite gentleman. All they look for is sponsorship through complicity (if there is no sponsorship already).

All we have left from Jobs (other than a bunch of people inspired by selfishness and arrogance) is a ‘Linux debt’ of hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars (legal fees aside). To quote this one new report: “An eight-person jury was picked yesterday, and today the Apple v. Samsung damages re-trial swung into full steam, moving through opening statements and speeding through four witnesses.”

Steve Jobs was a smear on this planet and the fact that people were inspired by him was always truly worrisome. Jobs colluded with Microsoft at least twice in the past, liaising against arguably common threats like Netscape and Android/Linux. I wholeheartedly agreed with Stallman’s remarks about Steve Jobs when he made them. What he told me personally is a better explanation of why. I am planning to meet Stallman next Friday at Lincoln and hopefully this will give an opportunity to ask some more questions, then share the answers.

Richard Stallman Explains ‘Hacking’ to Judge

Posted in FSF at 2:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman
By NicoBZH from Saint Etienne

Summary: Richard Stallman writes a letter to Judge Preska, whose prosecution against (and demonisation of) Jeremy Hammond shows a common misunderstanding/misconception

ON A COUPLE of occasions last week (and on other occasions quite recently) we wrote about the Hammond trial [1, 2], which oddly enough had appointed as its judge the spouse of a Stratfor client. Here’s Richard Stallman’s letter, which was quoted by a news site [1] the other day:

Dear Judge Preska
I’ve been proud to call myself a hacker since 1971. That’s when I was
hired by the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab to join the team that
developed the lab’s operating systems — for which the unofficial job
title was “system hacker”. My subsequent hacking career has included
developing the GNU operating system, which is often erroneously called
“Linux”, and the legal hack of “copyleft” which uses copyright law to
ensure that all users of a program are free to redistribute it and
change it. I’ve received numerous awards and doctorates for my
hacking, and have been invited twice to publish articles in law
reviews.

Being a hacker means practicing and enjoying playful cleverness. (See
stallman.org/articles/on-hacking.html.) It does not particularly have
to do with breaking security. Indeed, no one ever broke security on
the AI lab’s system, because we decided not to implement any.

That decision, made by the original team members who became my
mentors, was not taken lightly: it was the result of careful political
and philosophical thought. Instead of keeping most users (those
without “privileges” — which already sounds like a prison) shackled
so that they could not hurt each other, we thought the lab members and
guest users could learn to get along as a community, choosing not to
hurt each other. And they did!

This example is not unusual for hackers. From the beginning, hackers’
taste for playful cleverness has often gone along with a sense of
social responsibility, concern for others’ well-being. Jeremy Hammond
is a fine example of a socially responsible hacker. He found a clever
way to expose the many nefarious deeds that Stratfor was planning and
proposing.

People should not be allowed to enter others’ computers without
permission; but when punishing someone for virtual trespassing, we
ought to consider his motive. Those who trespass as part of a
nonviolent protest, either physically or virtually, should not receive
severe punishments. Those who act neither for gain nor for malice
should not receive severe punishments. Imagine where our country
would be if the civil rights and antiwar sit-ins had been punished by
years in prison! If we do not want the US to be like Putin’s Russia,
imposing long sentences on protesters, we must steer clear of doing
so. That applies to virtual protests as well as physical ones.

I therefore respectfully suggest that Hammond be sentenced to
community service. To make use of his skills and abilities, this
service could consist of helping nonprofit organizations protect their
personal data.
Sincerely,
Richard Stallman
Lead developer of the GNU system (gnu.org)
President, Free Software Foundation (fsf.org)
MacArthur Fellow
Internet hall-of-famer (internethalloffame.org)

Stallman helped create what many of us call “Linux” now. He also fought for civil rights in the digital age, including privacy (see this article from October [2]). Thanks to GNU, which he founded 30 years ago, we now have Octave [3] (which I used a lot for work) and GCC (which a lot of companies use all the time). The latter project is still a leading example of GNU’s huge impact (see news in [4,5]) and despite Java’s advantages [6] GCC is walking away from it [7], probably due to Oracle’s behaviour.

Without GCC, where would C and C++ be today? It is rather sad that the biggest innovators are being characterised as criminals in the corporate media, whereas the biggest criminals are being portrayed as saints, heroes, and sometimes innovators too.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Here’s Richard Stallman’s letter to Stratfor hacker’s judge demanding lesser sentence

    Foundation president Richard Stallman tried to get Stratfor hacker Jeremy Hammond’s judge to only hand down a community service sentence. Hammond, instead, received 10 years in jail today.

    Stallman provided VentureBeat with his letter in full, which you can find below.

  2. GNU’s novel proposal: A cloud that puts privacy first

    As Richard Stallman’s GNU Project turns 30, the Free Software Foundation aims for a cloud that foils state-sponsored snooping

  3. GNU Octave – a Great Time Saver

    Finding the best way to process your data can be complicated. I recently became involved in a project where I needed to filter out data from an RF signal. Because I am not an RF designer with years of experience, I actually had to do a bit of reinventing the wheel. With a recording of data in hand, one option was to try and feed that data into a microcontroller, write up some test code, and then analyze the results. Another option was to use GNU Octave.

    GNU Octave is a MATLAB-type environment that allows for numerical simulation. Information about the history of GNU Octave can be found here. MATLAB is an interpreted language that is coupled with the program by the same name. The main difference between MATLAB and GNU Octave is that MATLAB costs many thousands of dollars, whereas GNU Octave is an open-source program.

  4. Intel Cilk Plus Support Continues For GCC
  5. GCC 4.9 Continues Piling On New Features
  6. Surprise! Java is fastest for server-side Web apps

    In benchmarks, Java-based frameworks enjoy a big performance lead

  7. GCC Looks To Turn Off Java, Replace With Go Or ADA

    GCC developers from multiple companies are beginning to reach agreement that it’s time for Java to be turned off by default in GCC. The Java compiler support in GCC is in the form of GCJ, but it doesn’t see much active development these days with more of the Java work happening in OpenJDK. Developers are looking to disable Java from the default GCC build process but to potentially replace it with the Go or ADA languages.

Acacia, Which Has Former Microsoft Managers and Agenda, Apparently No Longer Good for Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 1:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ghost of Microsoft, they know where it came from…

Stranger

Summary: Microsoft, which is the source of many patent trolls in the world of software, is trying to present itself as “against trolls”

TECHRIGHTS has written a lot about Acacia since 2007 (the Wikipedia page looks like a PR masterpiece). 2007 was the year Acacia, a patent troll, launched an attack on Linux. 6 years later Microsoft sues Acacia and just as a reminder of news we covered before: “In 2010, Microsoft agreed to pay an Acacia subsidiary to license a portfolio of patents related to smartphones and tablets ultimately owned by Tokyo-based web browser firm Access Co.”

According to this Microsoft booster (altering the above report from Reuters), “Microsoft sued Acacia Research Corp. today, accusing the company of breaking a contract “to license various smartphone and mobile computing technologies to Microsoft,” Reuters reported.

“The suit was filed in US District Court in New York, but it’s currently under seal, which means that details are thin. The Microsoft accusations come in response to recent suits Acacia subsidiaries filed against Microsoft that allege infringement of more than a dozen patents. Acacia filed these lawsuits despite the fact that “in 2010, Microsoft agreed to pay an Acacia subsidiary to license a portfolio of patents related to smartphones and tablets ultimately owned by Tokyo-based Web browser firm Access Co.,” Reuters wrote.”

‘”Acacia’s lawsuits are the worst kind of abusive litigation behavior, attempting to extract payment based on litigation tactics and not the value of its patents,” Microsoft Deputy General Counsel David Howard told Reuters.”

This claim does not hold water. Acacia has been rather helpful to Microsoft for years and it also absorbed senior staff from Microsoft.

In other news from the same source, Newegg is still going after patent trolls. To quote the writer (who is definitely not a Microsoft booster): “After a five years of legal battles over Jones’ patent, involving hundreds of lawsuits and tens of millions of dollars in payments, that question still has no clear answer.

“Whatever the invention, hundreds of companies have paid tribute to it. Jones’ patent, now wielded through a holding company called TQP Development, has become one of the most widely asserted patents in history. In complaints, TQP lawyers have accused website after website of patent infringement for using one of the most common Web-encryption strategies: combining the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol with the RC4 encryption algorithm.”

Newegg has been very serious when it comes to fighting patent trolls, whereas Microsoft has been openly feeding patent trolls and using them as a weapon against competitors like Android. We must not let Microsoft portray itself as “against trolls”; Microsoft itself it the troll and it’s the source of the world’s biggest patent troll. Heck, its co-founder is a patent troll, too. The other Microsoft co-founder uses patents for huge profits at taxpayers’ expense.

IBM and Microsoft: The AstroTurfing for Software Patents Continues

Posted in IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lou Gerstner

Summary: Microsoft is AstroTurfing and IBM has learned no lessons from mistakes like going along with Microsoft

THE OTHER day we showed that a longtime Microsoft AstroTurfing group, ACT, had morphed again and lobbied for software patents under the pretence that it represented small businesses and developers (to whom software patents are really horrific).

Well, two of the biggest software patentors, IBM and Microsoft, are still at it. As TechDirt put it, “Microsoft’s Intense Lobbying Works: Goodlatte To Drop Plan To Allow For Faster Review Of Bad Software Patents” (software patents).

To quote: “Last week, we wrote about Microsoft’s intense, and somewhat dishonest, lobbying to try to remove one aspect of proposed patent reform: the covered business methods program, which would have allowed approved technology patents to get reviewed by the Patent Office much more quickly. It was based on Senator Chuck Schumer’s plan, which enabled the same feature for patents related to financial services. Many have seen that Schumer’s effort was somewhat successful in stopping bad financial services patents, and so it makes sense to do the same thing for software as well. In fact, it makes more sense, since so many patent lawsuits and patent troll shakedowns involve software-related patents.”

AstroTurfing gets called PR now: “Oh, and to the PR guy from Microsoft who sent me a laughable email trying to argue that Microsoft is supportive of patent reform and that my post was unfair because I didn’t mention that: next time stay on topic. Yes, Microsoft supports some forms of patent reform. Just the kind that stops trolls from hitting it directly. What it doesn’t support is the kind of patent reform that would stop Microsoft’s all too common practice of shaking down all sorts of innovators and entrepreneurs with crazy patent licensing demands from its bundle of patents. No, Microsoft isn’t a patent troll, but it is a patent bully with a lot of bad patents, which apparently it’s scared that real innovators might invalidate a lot of those patents under a covered business method review.”

Here is more on what happened [via] and a reminder that they are “pretending that the problem is “bad” patents rather than software patents in and of themselves,” as iophk put it.

“On Wednesday,” says the article, “the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider legislation aimed at reining in abusive patent litigation. But one of the bill’s most important provisions, designed to make it easier to nix low-quality software patents, will be left on the cutting room floor. That provision was the victim of an aggressive lobbying campaign by patent-rich software companies such as IBM and Microsoft.”

It’s just like what happened in NZ. Those two proprietary software giants and software patents hoarders just can’t help harming society. They do this quietly or by proxy to reduce public backlash.

Links 21/11/2013: Applications and Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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