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12.12.13

Links 12/12/2013: Screenshots

Posted in News Roundup at 1:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 12/12/2013: Applications and Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 1:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Avoid Activision, Support Valve

Posted in GNU/Linux at 12:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Activision

Summary: GNU/Linux distribution SteamOS is officially out tomorrow and Activision turns out to be actively against GNU/Linux

Valve and Activision (Subsidiary of Activision Blizzard) are both companies with some connections or roots in Microsoft. Valve’s CEO used to work for Microsoft and Activision is a Microsoft partner that nearly got bought by Microsoft. But there is a fundamental difference between those two companies.

Over the past year or so Valve has shown that it is serious about GNU/Linux, as we noted several times. SteamOS is coming out tomorrow [1,2], boasting a growing number of games [3]. The same goes for Desura [4], but not for Activision.

According to reports [5,6], Activision is actively blocking development for GNU/Linux. Activision deserves a lot of flak for this. Hit Activision in the pocket where it hurts a company the most.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Let the Linux gaming begin! Beta Steam Machines are shipping and SteamOS is ready

    Valve’s Linux-based Steam Machines gaming console starts shipping today to a few beta testers. SteamOS, it’s Linux for gamers, is scheduled to be released to everyone at the same time.

  2. Valve SteamOS set for launch on Friday

    Valve’s Linux-based gaming-centric operating system SteamOS will be with us by the weekend, as the company plans to get the first prototype Steam Machine boxes in front of beta testers tomorrow.

  3. Teslagrad hits Steam, GOG for Linux, Mac and PC next week so here’s a new trailer
  4. Shiden An Explosion Packed Arcade Style SHMUP To Arrive Soon On Desura

    Shiden is a arcade style SHMUP (Shoot em up). Shiden takes influence from games like DoDonPachi, Cho Ren Sha 68k and Mars Matrix. In these styles of game the player is a single ship that must face thousands of enemies and dodge all of their bullets whilst causing as much carnage as possible. While this may make you seem overpowered, your ship is actually noticeably weaker than most enemies, taking only a single shot to be destroyed. With a low entry barrier stemming from a simplistic control scheme, to a high skill ceiling for those interested in second loops, TFB and 1cc runs, SHMUP’s are a genre of game that offer something for everyone.

  5. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers Linux release blocked

    Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition will not be releasing on Linux due to a decision by rights-holder Activision.

  6. Activision Is Preventing A Game From Coming To Linux

    A game studio has shared publicly that Activison is preventing a new game from actively being made for “that platform”, a.k.a. Linux.

Beyond Trademarks, Intellectual Monopolies at Canonical Raise Questions

Posted in Debian, Intellectual Monopoly, Ubuntu at 12:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On the shoulders of giants but without shoulders of one’s own

Summary: How Canonical impedes dissemination of work that Ubuntu inherits from other projects, such as Debian and GNU

Linux Mint KDE [1] and Linux Mint Xfce [2] are two examples of Linux Mint releases that widely deviate from Ubuntu, unlike the GNOME (and derivatives like Mate and Cinnamon [3]) version of Linux Mint 16. When there were gentle arguments about security of Linux Mint Clement Lefebvre made it known that Canonical wanted Mint to license Ubuntu binary packages. This angle is being explored again [4] because products like MintBox [5] rely on Canonical giving access to those binaries (otherwise they become less secure). Jim Lynch’s studying of this relies on a bit from DistroWatch that says: “Clem claims he has been asked by Canonical’s legal department to license the binary packages used by Ubuntu. To me this is a scary thought. Ubuntu is a base distribution for many projects, some of them (such as Mint and Kubuntu) are quite successful.

Clement Lefebvre“Clem’s statement makes me wonder if Canonical has approached other open source projects about licensing the right to access Ubuntu’s package repositories. If so, what might follow? Would derivative distributions need to pay to use Canonical’s packages? How would Canonical enforce such a policy, with lawyers, by blocking access to the repositories if a user isn’t using Genuine Ubuntu?”

Should Canonical start signing licences to use Debian packages too? It looks like trademarks are no longer the only type of Intellectual Monopolies we should debate.

Canonical is growing increasingly selfish and isolated, with hardware deals around something called “Ubuntu Touch OS” [6,7,8] (hardly GNU/Linux) and work around Canonical copyrights [9] (Unity). No wonder some people see the “ugly” side [10]. In his latest talks across the UK Richard Stallman was discouraging adoption of Ubuntu by members of the audience.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Linux Mint 16 KDE Edition Release Candidate Uses KDE 4.11

    Clement Lefebvre has announced earlier today, December 8, that the Release Candidate (RC) version of the upcoming Linux Mint 16 KDE Edition operating system is available for download and testing.

  2. Linux Mint Xfce 16 RC “Petra” Still Looks Beautiful and Minimalistic, Download Now
  3. Will Canonical force Linux Mint to license Ubuntu binary packages?
  4. MintBox 2 review – not as fresh, still as minty

    The MintBox 2 is here, and it’s more powerful than ever. Just how much power are you getting for nearly £400 though?

  5. Hey Linux newbie: If you’ve never had a taste, try perfect Petra … mmm, smells like Mint 16

    The recently released Mint 16, nicknamed Petra, might be the perfect Linux desktop for newcomers.

    At its core is Ubuntu 13.10, but on top of this are desktops Mate and Cinnamon, the latter being the Mint project’s homegrown user interface.

  6. Ubuntu Touch OS wins its first smartphone partner

    Canonical has inked its first deal with partner who’ll put the Linux-basd operating system on its phones, founder Mark Shuttleworth reveals.

  7. Report: Ubuntu Touch OS Finally Finds a Smartphone Partner
  8. Canonical Sign First Ubuntu Touch Hardware Partner, ‘High-End Phone’ To Debut in 2014
  9. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Integrate Default Torrent Scope for Unity
  10. Ubuntu 13.10: The good, the bad and the ugly

Microsoft’s Antitrust/Taxation Attempts Against Linux/Android in Europe Are Rapidly Falling Apart

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 11:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Regulator to Microsoft: I see what you did there…

Joaquin Almunia
Photo by Agência Brasil

Summary: Microsoft’s patent and antitrust strategy against Android/Linux (through Nokia) is not working out too well because of hypocrisy and obviousness

MICROSOFT, an abusive monopolist, had the audacity to accuse Android/Linux of the same [1, 2, 3]. Nokia, a former monopolist by some people’s standards, was the notable Microsoft proxy at the time.

Well, based on this new report from The Verge and interpretations of it, “[i]n April this year, a Microsoft-sponsored antitrust complaint about Android had this to say: “Google’s predatory distribution of Android at below-cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google’s dominant mobile platform.””

Now Microsoft drops to zero cost, as well, according to the report. As the author then points out: “And we have the whole Scroogled campaign (I felt dirty just for visiting that site).”

“And now they’re considering doing the exact same things they claim Google is doing unfairly? Does this company have any internal consistency whatsoever? ”

Never mind the inconsistency on privacy in “Scroogled” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9].

The only thing uglier than all this is the racketeering, which is illegal by internationally-acceptable (universal) law. We recently wrote about European regulators catching up with this abuse by proxy. “Handset business will sell to Microsoft, but keep its patents. Regulators noticed,” said one report while others noticed how Microsoft's own (direct) racketeering fell apart because Microsoft's patents are bogus and invalid (Microsoft is patenting bras now). This put at risk Microsoft’s attempts to make Android more expensive.

According to another new report from The Verge, Nokia now working on an Android phone as part of a push into the low-end smartphone market. “Several sources close to Nokia suggested the company is working on the project under the code name “Normandy,”” said ECT. So Nokia complains about Android while using it? Who controls the whole of Nokia’s policy now?

This isn’t the only case where Microsoft tries to use intellectual monopolies to undermine Linux/Android. As this new report puts it, Microsoft continues to use crooked licensing in virtualisation — a subject we have covered for over a half a decade (since the Novell days). “This is the main reason why Windows barely gets a look-in in today’s cloud world,” wrote the author. “When I ask FOSS devops-type colleagues about it, their responses range from incredulity to hilarity. Why on Earth would they want to deploy on Windows? What possible advantage would it give them? These guys wield Puppet and Chef to deploy vast swarms of headless virtual Linux systems. Microsoft and proprietary software doesn’t feature in their world; some weirdos run Mac laptops but that’s about it.”

The age of Microsoft’s abuses against Linux may be over, but only if regulators take a closer look (with our help) at what Microsoft is doing and then warn it/threaten with antitrust action. Don’t believe for a second that Microsoft will just ignore the words from Joaquin Almunia; it wasn’t empty rhetoric and it has become a business risk (loss of revenue if not embargo).

LinuxDevices is Coming Back as Subdomain of LinuxGizmos

Posted in Site News at 11:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

LinuxDevices

Summary: QuinStreet agrees to license a decade of news stories from LinuxDevices for republication and long-term preservation

BACK in the summer we campaigned to bring LinuxDevices back to the Web (after QuinStreet had bought it and took it offline).

Well, Techrights activism in conjunction from other pressure (from site authors) over this issue has finally paid off. The founder of that site told us yesterday that he would bring back the site after all these efforts to influence QuinStreet. He got his Christmas gift a little early. He was writing for a company (for profit) and he will soon be hosting his own work that he worked hard on to produce for many years, informing a lot of people in the GNU/Linux world (especially embedded/device developers).

In essence, we have managed to rescue ~10,000 high-quality articles from ‘Internet bitrot’. It’s massive!

In the near future LinuxDevices content will be republished under LinuxGizmos.com. “It will live on a subdomain of LinuxGizmos,” the founder of the site told us. This is still work in progress (a developer is currently working on data conversions). When all the articles get indexed (which they will) all the information and other useful data will be easily reachable again. This is a victory to those who advocate for preservation, as some of us are (other Techrights members silently played a role in this).

The lesson to learn from this whole saga is that authors should insist on ownership (or copy rights) of their work. Without it, valuable work can go down the digital dustbin when a corporation has no interest in it, or it may take years and lots of immense effort to retrieve anything from this dustbin.

The Linux Foundation’s Unusual Branding Failure

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Marketing at 10:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Eye of Sauron

Summary: A group called the “AllSeen Alliance” is the last thing which the Linux Foundation should want to be associated with

Branding is the main expertise of the Linux Foundation’s head (Linux Foundations CEO). That’s the field he comes from (his professional biography reveals this) and this is the purpose he serves, especially by ignoring if not altogether deleting GNU's role. It is all about the “Linux” brand, trying to label everything that uses the popular kernel “Linux” but never GNU or something similarly (or even more) important. Just remember who is the guardian is the “Linux” trademark and who seized control of the domain Linux.com. That in itself is not a major issue or a big deal, but the point is, the “Linux” brand is a relatively huge success story, perhaps bigger than Apple and the “i” things (or even the “Obama” brand, which exceeded in value any single corporation in the world, as empirically measured some years back).

“Perhaps the name of this so-called alliance can still be amended.”The Linux Foundation has been very good at advancing the Linux brand, so why was it so tactless in labeling its new initiative “AllSeen”, especially amid the NSA scandals? LXer commenters have rightly pointed out that this was a mistake. We can expect what they promote to be a potential cause for issues (see [1] from October 2013), but alas, the announcement [2] received a lot of press [3-13], not just from Linux Foundation staff [14].

The name “AllSeen” is not benign; it’s similar to All-Seeing and in practice it involves sensory signals being passed over a surveillance-dominated Internet. This can be used against people (espionage), as information about ‘smart’ meters shows. Perhaps the name of this so-called alliance can still be amended. Android, by the way, is no brilliant brand either, no matter if it refers to the devices, the users, or the creator (Andy Rubin).

Branding matters. The Linux Foundation can still dodge the “AllSeen” nonsense before it’s truly irreversible due to brand recognition.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Russia: Hidden chips ‘launch spam attacks from irons’
  2. Open Source Tears Down Walled Gardens to Connect Internet of Everything
  3. Linux starts foundation for ‘talking’ home appliances
  4. Tech Titans Form Alliance for Internet of Things
  5. Qualcomm Leads Linux-Backed Internet of Everything Consortium
  6. Linux Foundation Aims to Secure Internet of Things
  7. AllSeen Alliance to Standardize Internet of Things
  8. The Linux Foundation Rallies Tech Heavyweights Behind “Internet of Everything”
  9. Linux Foundation forms AllSeen Alliance to advance the Internet of Everything

    The Linux Foundation, together with industry heavyweights, has announced the formation of the AllSeen Alliance.

  10. Linux Foundation Builds Internet of Things Effort
  11. Open source IoT alliance taps Qualcomm AllJoyn

    The Linux Foundation announced an “AllSeen Alliance” for the Internet of Things built upon Qualcomm’s open source “AllJoyn” IoT interoperability framework.

  12. AllSeen Alliance adopts open-source framework for the Internet of Things
  13. Linux Foundation, Panasonic, Qualcomm Form AllSeen Alliance

    open source project, which was originally developed by and is contributed to the Alliance by Qualcomm.
    The Linux Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development, announced the formation of the AllSeen Alliance, a consortium dedicated to advancing adoption and innovation in the “Internet of Everything” in homes and industry.

  14. The Launch of AllSeen Alliance (and the Next Generation of Open Collaboration)

Avoid Oracle’s ‘Unbreakable’ Linux, Support Red Hat Enterprise Linux Instead

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Oracle, Red Hat, Servers at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oracle: the ‘fake’ red

OEL

Summary: Red Hat is increasingly worried about Oracle, which seems to be doing nothing but leech and close down FOSS development (with Oracle-only features)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is just around the corner [1], having reached “beta” [2-4] and made MariaDB its default database [5]. This new release [6] does some cloudwashing [7,8] as if surveillance-friendly computing (or Fog Computing) is somehow a selling point now.

What’s very curious about this announcement is the reinforcement of known policy that excludes Oracle’s MySQL. Oracle Linux 6.5 has also just been released [9,10] and Oracle’s treatment of it is dangerously selfish. It’s not just about MySQL, RHEL, and LibreOffice; there’s also the Java angle [11] now that Red Hat has Ceylon. Oracle is trying to ‘steal’ customers from RHEL and it has been trying to do this (without much success) for years, trying to appeal to GNU/Linux administrators [12] with increasingly-long (and expensive) support contracts [13].

Oracle has just joined the OpenStack Foundation [14], but the attempts to describe Oracle as “open” fail miserably because Oracle is actively suing FOSS projects, abandoning some (LibreOffice is thankfully evolving without Oracle [15,16]), and liaising with Microsoft to sell proprietary products.

Those who want to support GNU/Linux development would be better off supporting Red Hat or projects like Debian and CentOS. Oracle’s clone is not like any other clone; it’s more like a trap.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Just when you were considering Red Hat Linux 6.5, here comes 7
  2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta now available
  3. Red Hat Signals Arrival Of Enterprise Linux 7 Beta
  4. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Enters Beta

    At long last, Red Hat’s flagship Linux platform now has a next-generation milestone, including new performance, storage and virtualization capabilities.

  5. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta arrives with MariaDB as its default database

    Red Hat’s newest enterprise Linux takes one giant step forward to its release and shifts from MySQL to MariaDB for its database management system needs.

  6. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta Released
  7. Red Hat is OpenShifting into the cloud

    Best known for its Linux distribution, Red Hat’s introduction of OpenShift Enterprise 2 shows that the open-source giant has its eyes on the cloud.

  8. Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise 2 Goes Live

    The next version of Red Hat’s (RHT) OpenShift on-premise private PaaS offering is about to hit the proverbial shelves. Ashesh Badani, Red Hat’s general manager of Cloud and OpenShift, unveiled OpenShift Enterprise 2, which was designed to provide customers with the ability to increase the speed, efficiency and scalability of their IT service delivery.

  9. Oracle Linux 6.5 Now Available
  10. Oracle Linux 6.5 Arrives with Unbreakable Enterprise Linux Kernel 3.8
  11. Red Hat’s Ceylon will get up Oracle’s nose

    As the Linux market gets crowded with more and more players, the control of standards becomes important; that’s how one gains marketshare and outwits rivals.

  12. Make the Oracle Service Bus IDE feel at home on Linux
  13. SUSE, Red Hat, Canonical Lengthen Open Source OS Support Cycle
  14. Oracle Joins OpenStack Foundation, Announces Integration Plans
  15. New Goodies Coming in LibreOffice 4.2
  16. Stealth Mode

    Upcoming LibreOffice 4.2 will start to offer this feature in stealth mode, so to say. The Options dialog’s “Security – Options…” page contains a new “Block any links from documents not among the trusted locations” check box, using the list of trusted locations managed on the “Security – Macro Security… – Trusted Sources” page. When enabled, a matching document’s references to any external entities are not resolved. This includes resources like linked graphics, movies, and sounds, references to external settings like color and gradient tables, and ODF’s “auto-reload” feature.

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