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12.06.13

Drifting Away From Copyleft in Databases

Posted in Database, Free/Libre Software at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Databases which are Free/Open Source software (FOSS) are becoming less liberal/freedom-respecting while deceiving labels hide it

PostgreSQL, which is the principal challenger to Oracle in the enterprise, was never copyleft. Copyleft would need to be something like the GPL, which MySQL became famous and hugely popular for (the de facto database for almost every FOSS CMS). Right now, under Oracle's FOSS-hostile management, MySQL’s FOSS identity is at risk and it can ultimately destroy the project [1,2]. Some large companies already move to MariaDB. Apart from those two databases there are some Microsoft partners [3] pretending to embrace ‘open’ databases and some ‘mixed’ or ‘semi’ FOSS database providers [4]. Facebook, the Microsoft-backed surveillance company, claims to be using ‘open’ databases [5-9] and InfiniSQL, yet another contender, does not even call itself Open Source, just “open-source” [10-12]. There has been a real problem in recent years because in the area of databases many companies pretend to be FOSS but are definitely not. This dilutes the “Open Source” brand and confuses many people. It’s a very limiting and restricting trend. The “Big Data” hype has a lot to do with it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’ MySQL users open up on Open Source

    Four out of five developers plan to migrate if MySQL becomes closed source

  2. MySQL needs to retain open source roots to keep developer base, survey shows
  3. Netflix unlocks the potential of AWS through open source

    Netflix has made available as open source many of its internally developed infrastructure management products. These include facilities for automatically scaling a service’s hardware footprint and resources, as well as software for monitoring and maintaining the resiliency of all the supporting infrastructure.

  4. Is NoSQL ready for enterprise primetime?

    There is lots of interest in NoSQL these days — at the very least from venture capital firms that are throwing money at the potential leaders in the market like MongoDB, Couchbase and DataStax.

  5. RocksDB – Facebook’s Database Now Open Source
  6. Facebook goes open source with its embedded data store
  7. Facebook releases open source code for RocksDB flash database
  8. Facebook goes open source with its workhorse embedded data store

    Continuing its practice of sharing internally developed software, Facebook has released as open source RocksDB, the embedded data store the company developed to serve content to its 1.2 billion users.

  9. Facebook’s latest open source effort: a flash-powered database called RocksDB
  10. New open-source database InfiniSQL aims for high performance at scale

    Some investors love backing ideas that could be the next big thing. Consider, for example, the rise of NoSQL databases such as MongoDB, which some market as something that scales easier than traditional relational (SQL) databases.

  11. The “infinitely” scalable InfiniSQL database
  12. An open source, infinitely scalable Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)

    InfiniSQL is a massively scalable relational database system (RDBMS), composed entirely from scratch (not built upon some other technology). There is reproducible benchmark data described on InfiniSQL’s blog proving that it can perform over 500,000 complex, multi-node transactions per second with over 100,000 simultaneous transactions—all on only 12 small server nodes.

Roman Catholic Church Joins Opposition to ‘Trade’ Agreements

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly at 12:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Karel de Gucht

Summary: The Church which claims to have 1.2 billion members is expressing dissatisfaction and opposition to TPP and TAFTA/TTIP

GLYN Moody has been keeping an eye on TPP for quite some time (we too covered it). Yesterday he noted that even the Holy See (the Pope) is now weighing in, antagonising TPP and the likes of it. It is common to find opposition to TPP from Australian [2] and European [3] people’s groups (ACTA booster Karel de Gucht is at it again), unlike from big business groups, so the involvement by the Roman Catholic Church is unusual. Since the Catholic Church cab mobilise many people, perhaps this — unlike activism from us geeks — can assure that people will be up in arms in the streets (like in the days of ACTA, just before it got defeated).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Holy See (The Pope) Criticizes TPP And TAFTA/TTIP In WTO Speech

    The statement then goes on to criticize the move away from multilateral trade agreements of the kind traditionally drawn up at the WTO, to new-style “mega-regional trade agreements”, routinely negotiated in secret:

    Currently there is a clear tendency to further enlarge these RTAs [Regional Trade Agreements] to form mega-regional trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Certainly, the enlargement of regional trade agreements is a step towards further trade liberalization but we have to bear in mind that these agreements inevitably threaten the desirability to reach an agreement on a truly multilateral basis. In fact, by entering a regional trade agreement a country reduces the incentives to extend its efforts on trade liberalization at a multilateral level.

  2. CHOICE slams TPP, the nasty secret trade treaty

    Australian consumer advocate, CHOICE, will be running a newspaper ad campaign slamming the secret TPP trade treaty that some say threatens to trade Australians’ rights away in favour of US corporate interests.

  3. EU Commissioner Defends Investor-State Provisions; NGOs Propose “Alternative Trade Mandate”

    European Union Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht today (27 November) defended the inclusion of an investor-state dispute settlement provision in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). De Gucht argued the out-of-court settlements allowing private sector to sue governments were necessary because the TTIP would not per se give EU companies a standing in US courts.

    [...]

    De Gucht assured the INTA Committee in today’s session that the Parliament would enjoy the same transparency as the Council of Ministers of the EU, yet the US was concerned about potential leaks of papers. Asked if there had been pressure to not share US negotiating positions with member states, de Gucht answered evasively.

‘Unauthorised’ Programming and What It Means to Software Freedom

Posted in DRM at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: DRM and DMCA versus society, or how operation-restricting legal mechanisms are affecting coders, for whom not only software patents are now a creativity wall

PEOPLE WHO buy a mobile phone may think that they own it, but they don’t. Putting aside phones’ role as surveillance devices (tracking the so-called ‘owner’), phones are to be treated more like rented devices, especially after this new ban [1] which calls modification “unlocking” and then criminalises it. This unjust move is sheltered by some unjust laws previously passed against the people and for corporations. The same sorts of laws also ban circumvention of DRM, which based on reports [2] may actually be doing more harm than good to business.

The most interesting article, however, speaks of a Free software project [3] which is now held liable for third-party DRM-busting. This puts under unprecedented siege software developers all around the world. The legal system is yet again being used to impose restrictions on software developers.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Unauthorized unlocking of smartphones becomes illegal Saturday

    The feds mandate fidelity between carriers and users: New rule under DMCA outlaws unlocking new handsets without carrier permission.

  2. What Piracy? Removing DRM Boosts Music Sales by 10 Percent

    DRM was once praised as the ultimate tool to prevent music piracy, but new research shows that the opposite is true. Comparing album sales of four major labels before and after the removal of DRM reveals that digital music revenue increases by 10% when restrictions are removed. The effect goes up to 30% for long tail content, while top-selling albums show no significant jump. The findings suggest that dropping technical restrictions can benefit both artists and the major labels.

  3. Court: Open Source Project Liable For 3rd Party DRM-Busting Coding

    A judgment handed down by a German court against an open source software project is being described as “worrisome” by the company at the heart of the case. Appwork, the outfit behind the hugely popular JDownloader software, can be held liable for coding carried out by third-party contributors, even when they have no knowledge of its functionality. Appwork informs TorrentFreak that the judgment will be a burden on the open source creative process.

Assassinations by Drone Make the West Hypocritical on Syria

Posted in Action, Law at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Putting in context the cycle of violence which the West uses to justify indefinitely detaining the domestic population, assassinating parts of it, and spying on everyone (even domestically, using loopholes)

TERRORISM is a real problem, although it’s exaggerated and a lot of it is the fault of the alleging victim. In Syria, for example, terrorists have been funded and assisted by the West for quite some time [1] in order to change the region [2] and, in that regard, some Western leaders can be accused of crimes similar to Assad’s [3].

Currently, the West helps recruitment of what it labels “terrorists” by illegally and unethically killing people without trial [4], expanding the scope of the kill lists [5], and then facing backlash even from CIA-bribed allies like Hamid Karzai [6] (reigning over a post-invasion country [7]). Now that Taliban leaders are being assassinated by CIA drones even when they try to establish peace [8] we should remember that a lot of it started when the CIA sent huge piles of weapons for the same people — including Obama Bin Laden — to fight the Soviets. Contrary to what officials claimed at the time, this was provocation against the Soviets, who had not invaded Afghanistan. People who were responsible for this now admit this as well.

The bottom line is that terrorism is often blowback and in order to stop blowback you cannot just assassinate more and more people, or else you end up looking no better than Assad and people turn against you. Illegal invasions by Western armies kill per year more than Assad killed overall.

“Terrorism” is a very big deal because those in power exploit it in order to crush dissent, journalism, activism, etc. Just watch today’s article, “British news staff may face terrorism charges over Snowden leaks” [9]. Also remember that Nelson Mandela was labelled “terrorist” by the US until 2008 and UK politicians such as those run the country right now called for his execution [10]. “Terrorism” no longer means what it used to mean. It’s an excuse, it’s a pretext, it’s a label to be used for political agenda.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Congress Backs Terrorists In Syria … Then Says We Need NSA Spying Because There are Terrorists In Syria

    The civil war in Syria started in March 2011. And see this.

    However, the U.S. has been funding the Syrian opposition since 2006 … and arming the opposition since 2007. (In reality, the U.S. and Britain considered attacking Syrians and then blaming it on the Syrian government as an excuse for regime change … 50 years ago (the U.S. just admitted that they did this to Iran) . And the U.S. has been planning regime change in Syria for 20 years straight. And see this.)

    The New York Times, (and here and here) , Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNN, McClatchy (and here), AP, Time, Reuters, BBC, the Independent, the Telegraph, Agence France-Presse, Asia Times, and the Star (and here) confirm that supporting the rebels means supporting Al Qaeda and two other terrorist groups.

    Indeed, the the New York Times has reported that virtually all of the rebel fighters are Al Qaeda terrorists.

  2. Primary U.S. Goal in Syria is to Protect Israel

    Despite media pundits and political elites’ focus on “democracy versus dictatorship” and the international community’s “responsibility” to avert the “humanitarian crisis” in Syria, Nicola Nasser reports for Global Research that the real aim of US intervention in Syria was to protect the security of its ally, Israel.

  3. Obama ‘Just As Guilty As Assad’
  4. Eugene Robinson Gets it Wrong on Drones

    The problems begin right at the top, where Robinson begins by conceding that “U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries may be militarily effective.” But, he asserts, “they are killing innocent civilians in a way that is obscene and immoral. I’m afraid that ignoring this ugly fact makes Americans complicit in murder.” Robinson does not compare the civilian deaths from drone strikes with those likely from other military options available to US forces to see whether they would be more or less “obscene and immoral”—or whether, indeed, drones might be the least bad option in terms of civilian casualties. He simply asserts that the use of a weapon that kills civilians as drones do makes us complicit in murder.

  5. Obama war chiefs widen drone kill box

    The Pentagon has loosened its guidelines on avoiding civilian casualties during drone strikes, modifying instructions from requiring military personnel to “ensure” civilians are not targeted to encouraging service members to “avoid targeting” civilians.

  6. Karzai accuses U.S. of civilian deaths in November drone strike

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai has again accused the United States of killing civilians in a drone airstrike, this time in a Nov. 20 attack on a border area between two eastern provinces where Taliban insurgents maintain strongholds.
    In a statement released on his presidential website late Wednesday night, Karzai condemned the United States for an alleged drone strike that he said killed seven civilians, including women and children, in Nuristan province on the border with Kunar province near the Pakistan frontier.

  7. Awfulness of Handling the Dead and Wounded GIs from the Afghan War

    Jones touches on the process involved with the military and how they cover up the deaths of soldiers…

  8. US drones learn to kill on Talibs

    The murder by a drone of a Taliban leader conducting peace negotiations with Islamabad has caused widespread protests in Pakistan. Fearing for the lives of its truckers, the U.S. has stopped the export of U.S. military cargo from Afghanistan through Pakistan. The U.S. denies that the use of drones is a violation of the international law.

  9. British news staff may face terrorism charges over Snowden leaks
  10. Just remember what many Tories thought of Nelson Mandela in the apartheid years

    Soon we will be inundated with heartfelt speeches – but we mustn’t let those who opposed Mandela’s struggle pretend they didn’t

Links 6/12/2013: KDE and GNOME News

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 6/12/2013: NSA News

Posted in Action at 10:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Sued Over Collusion With the NSA, Microsoft Issues Orwellian Statements

Posted in Microsoft at 9:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is lying about privacy of its customers and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) responds

Here in the UK, Microsoft has just been sued for selling its customers out to the NSA, very knowingly and actively (Microsoft seems to have started PRISM).

Here are the latest bits of news, the first two being from the British press:

That last item seems to be some kind of proactive legal defence from Microsoft, coming from its top lawyer. Fortunately, the FSF has responded with facts, sparing the need for our rebuttal. This essay was licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 license (or later version), so let’s repeat it in full:

Yesterday, Microsoft announced a new effort to “[protect] customer data from government snooping.” FSF executive director John Sullivan issued the following statement on Thursday, December 5th:
“Microsoft has made renewed security promises before. In the end, these promises are meaningless. Proprietary software like Windows is fundamentally insecure not because of Microsoft’s privacy policies but because its code is hidden from the very users whose interests it is supposed to secure. A lock on your own house to which you do not have the master key is not a security system, it is a jail.

Even on proprietary operating systems like Windows, it is advisable to use free software encryption programs such as GNU Privacy Guard. But when no one except Microsoft can see the operating system code underneath, or fix it when problems are discovered, it is impossible to have a true chain of trust.

If the NSA revelations have taught us anything, it is that journalists, governments, schools, advocacy organizations, companies, and individuals, must be using operating systems whose code can be reviewed and modified without Microsoft or any other third party’s blessing. When we don’t have that, back doors and privacy violations are inevitable.

While the Microsoft announcement does promise “transparency” to reassure people that there are no back doors in Windows, this is no solution. Transparency in the Windows world normally means self-reports commissioned by Microsoft, or access granted to outsiders covering very limited portions of source code under strict agreements that limit sharing that information.

Freedom and security necessitate not just being allowed a peek at the code. Microsoft has demonstrated time and time again that its definition of a “back door” will not be the same as yours. Noticing that the back door is wide open will do you no good if you are forbidden from shutting it.

The solution after Microsoft’s announcement is the same as it was before its announcement. Just like Microsoft’s former chief privacy adviser, switch to a free software operating system like GNU/Linux, and don’t look back.”

Microsoft is a bunch of liars and they not only violate the rights of customers, they also lie to them. Fortunately there are some other responses to Microsoft’s Orwellian stance.

To Oracle, ‘Community’ Means Paying Oracle Customers

Posted in Database, GNU/Linux, Oracle, Red Hat, Servers at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Oracle continues to extend only its own distribution of GNU/Linux (which is a ripoff of another), leaving everyone else out in the cold

Oracle, the selfish company run by a selfish man (who has risen to power in part thanks to CIA help), just announced a new clone of Red Hat Linux 6.5 [1,2]. This clone is not free and it’s not about Free/libre software, it is about control (by Oracle). It’s merely a copy of Red Hat Linux 6.5 [3,4] and it has some Oracle-only ‘features’ [5]. Oracle didn’t make these, it bought these from Sun.

This attitude from Oracle is not surprising. Given the way Oracle just slapped OpenOffice.org at Apache (with little or nothing done to help) [6], leaving it for people to take from there [7] and to enhance [8] amid the decline of offline word processors [9], the treatment of GNU/Linux by Oracle is not shocking. Other than btrfs, what has Oracle really done for GNU/Linux? Almost nothing. Even btrfs is hardly promoted by Oracle anymore. Let’s face it. Oracle just does its own thing the proprietary way (trying to keep up with what’s shareable [10] and then adding its own private extensions at the top). To Oracle, Free/libre software is a rival [11] which it is only ever willing to co-opt in order to help sell its expensive proprietary software. When it comes to Free software, Oracle is a user, not a developer. btrfs needed to be licensed like the kernel it targets.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Send in the clones: Oracle, CentOS catch up to Red Hat Linux 6.5
  2. Linux Top 3: RHEL Clones Update as Linux Mint Gets a new Dash of Cinnamon

    This past week marked the final release of Linux Mint 16 codenamed ‘Petra’. So far, Linux Mint has been made available in two officials builds, one with the new Cinammon 2.0 desktop and the other with MATE.

  3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 ships, but still no RHEL 7 in sight

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.5 has reached general availability following a six-week beta period, making it the first minor release of RHEL 6 to ship since version 6.4 in February.

  4. Fact sheet: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5

    The latest iteration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (6.5) is now available, and it’s a serious contender to usurp all other platforms as king of the enterprise space. This particular release was designed specifically to simplify the operation of mission-critical SAP applications. The new release focuses on key enterprise-specific areas….

  5. Oracle integrates DTrace debugger into its Linux distribution
  6. Apache OpenOffice 4.1 to Bring Enhanced Accessibility Support

    The Apache OpenOffice project is pleased to announce that it has successfully integrated support for the Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) and IAccessible2 interfaces. Support for these interfaces enables screen readers and other assistive technologies to work with Apache OpenOffice, which in turn enables greater productivity by OpenOffice users who are blind or who have low-vision.

  7. Stakeholders and Remixes: the other names of true communities

    This year we had a workshop dedicated to LibreOffice migrations inside the 3ctor and I spoke about what was going on in France. I was however reminded of a very important notion during my various conversations with the audience. Free Software licences pass on several rights to the users. But these rights or freedoms, while essential, do not mandate how a Free Software project community should work. If anything, that would be quite out of topic and perhaps going against the very spirit of Software Freedom. Among these freedoms, two are implied that are of particular importance but often overlooked in regard of Free Software development projects: the right to fork and the right -as a user- to leave the software or the vendor/supplier who is providing you support and services on the FOSS stack in question.

  8. LibreOffice now has a built in XML-parser
  9. Word processors are no longer central to the computing experience

    Word processors are no longer central to the computing experience, but there are still good reasons to use them. The question is, how well do the work in today’s computing environment?

  10. Oracle Linux 6.5 and Docker
  11. Devil is in the details of Oracle-to-PostgreSQL migration

    EnterpriseDB execs have moved customers off Oracle, but contracts and app packages can tangle switch to PostgreSQL

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