04.29.14

Links 29/4/2014: New Debian, New Award for Torvalds

Posted in News Roundup at 4:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • BirdCam, Round Two

    If you like fun projects like these involving Linux, please read on and join in my birdy obsession!

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Exclusive: Kerry Warns Israel Could Become ‘An Apartheid State’

      The secretary of state said that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become ‘an apartheid state,’ like the old South Africa. Jewish leaders are fuming over the comparison.

    • Israel risks becoming apartheid state if peace talks fail, says John Kerry

      The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has warned in a closed-door meeting in Washington that Israel risks becoming an “apartheid state” if US-sponsored efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement fail.

      In an apparent sign of Kerry’s deep frustration over the almost certain collapse of the current nine-month round of peace talks – due to conclude on Tuesday – he blamed both sides for the lack of progress and said failure could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens.

    • Ukraine mayor Gennady Kernes fighting for life after being shot

      Kharkiv mayor, who was key figure in ex-president Yanukovych’s party, shot in the back while on his way for morning swim

    • Pulitzer Prize – winner Chris Hedges: Using fake evidence is usual Washington tactic

      The crisis in Ukraine and the steadily dropping temperature in relations between Moscow and Washington made many talk about a new Cold War; and many others are worried it may turn ‘hot’. But there’s another war going on right now: the information war. US Secretary of State Kerry has already attacked RT, calling it “Putin’s propaganda machine.” But Washington itself uses dubious evidence and fake facts. What is the information war? What methods is America using? Sophie talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and veteran correspondent Chris Hedges.

    • Obama Plays With Fire in Ukraine

      Since Ukraine is not (yet) a member of NATO, the U.S. government would not have the same formal obligation to intervene should a shooting war break out between Ukraine and Russia. But what if something happens between Russia and Poland or one of the Baltic states? Under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, an attack on one member is regarded as an attack on all. But it also says,

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • This cash for grouse scandal shows how Britain has become a plutocrats’ paradise

      So now you might have to buy your own crutches, but you’ll get your shotgun subsidised by the state. A few days after it was revealed that an NHS group is considering charging patients for the crutches, walking sticks and neck braces it issues, we discovered that David Cameron has intervened to keep the cost of gun licences frozen at £50: a price that hasn’t changed since 2001.

      The police are furious: it costs them £196 to conduct the background checks required to ensure shotguns are issued only to the kind of dangerous lunatics who use them for mowing down pheasants, rather than to the common or garden variety. As a result they – sorry, we – lose £17m a year, by subsidising the pursuits of the exceedingly rich.

  • Censorship

    • Parents call cops on teen for giving away banned book; it backfires predictably

      Parents in Idaho called the cops last week on junior-high student Brady Kissel when she had the nerve to help distribute a book they’d succeeded in banning from the school curriculum.

    • YouTube deletes Stefan Molyneux´s liberty minded channel

      It appears as though Google run YouTube is targeting popular channels that promote freedom and liberty by deleting them and all their content off it´s servers.

      [...]

      In the past we have seen this happen to Russia Today a very popular english speaking news channel having their youtube channel cancelled twice and a Ron Paul promoting channel also deleted.

  • Privacy

    • New surveillance techniques raise privacy concerns

      A report from the Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED delves into a wide-scale surveillance system being developed for police forces. How can the trade off between safety and privacy be negotiated as technology gets more and more sophisticated?

  • Civil Rights

    • How to Disappear a Mentally Ill Grandmother: Throw Her in Solitary

      Her cell was so dirty that a sock rotted into an open wound on her foot. For two and a half years, she didn’t have a bed. She slept on a mat on the floor. She bled on herself, because the jail denied her sanitary napkins.

      Jan Green, a 51-year-old grandmother, never even stood trial. Because of the dramatic mood swings and psychosis associated with her bipolar disorder, Green was found unfit to stand trial – which meant that she should’ve been hospitalized to get the intensive mental health care she needed.

    • Egyptian judge sentences 720 men to death

      In a similar but separate case, the same judge then upheld the death sentences of 37 of 529 men he notoriously ordered to hang last month, bringing the total number of death sentences to 720. The remaining 492 had their sentences commuted to 25-year jail terms. All cases are subject to further appeals.

    • NYT to SCOTUS: Cops should get warrant before searching your cellphone after arrest
    • Smartphones and the 4th Amendment

      More than 90 percent of American adults own a mobile phone, and more than half of the devices are smartphones. But “smartphone” is a misnomer. They are personal computers that happen to include a phone function, and like any computer they can store or wirelessly retrieve enormous amounts of personal information: emails, photos and videos; document files; financial and medical records; and virtually everywhere a person has been.

Microsoft Killed Nokia, Turned It Into a Pile of Android-hostile Patents

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Surely a ‘new’ Microsoft

Satya Ballmer
Satya Ballmer

Summary: Stacking patents with patent trolls and Apple (including Nokia patents) the strategy Microsoft currently has against Linux/Android

MICROSOFT keeps on killing companies, having left a long line of carcasses at the entrance of its cave. People who haven’t been paying attention might carry on observing, not participating, keeping apathetic towards the destructive force which is Microsoft. “I was expecting them to go under more than 10 years ago,” writes iophk, “but they seem to keep getting government contracts and finding ways to block competitors.”

“Nokia is currently being buried with yet “more revisionism”, as iophk calls it.”Microsoft’s latest big victim is Nokia, which was killed after a Microsoft mole had been put in charge of it. According to this, Microsoft now uses Nokia to spread its spyware and surveillance platforms. As Jim Lynch put it the other day: “I can’t help but wonder about the wisdom of blending elements from Windows Phone into Android. The two mobile operating systems are so different that it might come across as a franken-os that just doesn’t fit together properly. If somebody really wants the Windows Phone user interface then doesn’t it make more sense for them to just buy a Windows Phone and skip Microsoft’s Android phones altogether?”

Nokia is currently being buried with yet “more revisionism”, as iophk calls it. Writers at CNET (part of CBS) are not blaming Microsoft and Windows, only blaming or accusing in hindsight what was actually working out much better (Linux). Since Android (Linux) is now victorious we know that Nokia had much better options, but CNET reports give Elop (the Microsoft Trojan horse) a platform and one article is titled “Microsoft’s Elop: Nokia brand soon to vanish from smartphones” (so much for loyalty to Nokia).

Nokia is soon going to be just a pile of patents for trolls to tax phones with, especially Android phones (Nokia and Apple have patent peace and Nokia is becoming part of Microsoft). Microsoft has already fed some of these patents to trolls.

It is easy to see what Apple and Microsoft are trying to achieve here. Microsoft has hidden its financial problems for a number of years and Apple too is going down the same route. Android is eating Apple’s lunch and Microsoft is not even a contender, so Microsoft is passing prohibitive costs to Linux-powered phones, through trolls and partners such as Apple. It’s a strategy known as patent-stacking and it should be treated as a antitrust violation.

Patent litigation has cost as much as a trillion dollars in a quarter century based on some new research from James Bessen. As Glyn Moody put it:

Techdirt recently wrote about the ever-growing flood of patents being granted by the USPTO. As we’ve emphasized, more patents do not mean more innovation; nor do they necessarily lead to greater overall benefits for business. That’s clear in an important new paper from a team including James Bessen, whose work has been mentioned here several times before. It builds on the approach described in the 2008 book “Patent Failure” by James Bessen and Michael Meurer, and seeks to estimate both the private costs and private benefits accruing from patents in the US during the years 1984 to 2009.

In the coming years watch how Microsoft uses Nokia not just to interfere with Android markets but also with the price of Android, using patents that it is passing to patent trolls. Nokia is the newer Novell.

Novell Receives One Last Punch From Microsoft After Microsoft Took Novell’s Patents

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Legacy of Novell’s worst CEO, Ron Hovsepian

Ron Hovsepian confused

Summary: The WordPerfect case gets trashed decades after Microsoft’s abuses and 8 years after Microsoft paid Novell to become its puppy

SEVERAL years ago we wrote a lot about CPTN. As we explained CPTN at the time, it was the passage of Novell patents to Microsoft after Microsoft had bribed Novell to stop competing against Microsoft and instead damage everything GNU/Linux by casting the shadow of Microsoft patents. There are many other things that Microsoft’s bribery had achieved, such as OOXML promotion, Silverlight promotion, .NET promotion, Hyper-V promotion, etc. Novell basically became an extension of Microsoft, whereupon we called for a boycott of Novell.

According to this new report, the corporations-leaning “U.S. Supreme Court ended a lawsuit that accused Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) of illegally protecting its Windows computer operating system from competition 20 years ago by undercutting a rival word-processing program.”

WordPerfect was acquired by Novell and this case does the software a great disservice and injustice. It shows, once again, that Microsoft is able to get away with crimes as long as it can drag its accusers through the mud, driving them to bankruptcy or simply bribing them (Microsoft bribed numerous companies in recent years to not challenge Microsoft’s criminal racketeering strategy).

There is a timely article in the open source column this week. It says that “Microsoft may still have an ability to slap its name on a box and sell things better than most, but to say ‘we are the only ones’ flies in the face of collaboration, more logical ways of working, and – without wishing to get too po-faced – the greater good.”

Let’s face it. Microsoft has not changed. It only changed its marketing a slight bit. Microsoft deserves to be eradicated from this world. The sooner, the better. Microsoft is a destructive force.

Boosters of Development for Microsoft

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 2:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Controlling information by controlling tools of dissemination

Rupert Murdoch with Bill Gates

Summary: Indoctrination and control, as well as the habitual revisionism, help ensure that Microsoft just won’t go away very soon

Development for Microsoft is silly at best and irresponsible by most assessments that take into account Microsoft’s criminal track record and role in espionage. Harry McCracken, a Microsoft-bribed booster who has worked with Microsoft development tools, is currently propping up the idea that BASIC is what “Made Computers Personal” (published in widely-distributed corporate press). This is revisionism — the kind of revisionism that helps Microsoft portray itself as the ‘inventor’ of PCs. We should reject such Gates-led revisionism. The truth is, Microsoft and Gates stole, sabotaged, and subverted personal computing. In the public sector, Gates and Microsoft still turn computers into surveillance devices (used against their so-called ‘users’) and based on these new announcements from Microsoft, lobbying by Bill Gates (pressuring politicians and pulling strings) leads to yet more government subsidies for Microsoft, including the use of teachers as agents of indoctrination for Microsoft (or salespeople of Microsoft). This isn’t only outrageous; it should be treated as corrupt and even criminal. As many politicians are badly informed about the true role of Bill Gates in computing, the lobbying works.

“…lobbying by Bill Gates (pressuring politicians and pulling strings) leads to yet more government subsidies for Microsoft, including the use of teachers as agents of indoctrination for Microsoft (or salespeople of Microsoft).”It is truly sad that Microsoft training and development indoctrination is making its way into the obligatory public sector (schools), and owing to Microsoft-tied subsidies to Xamarin and turncoats like Miguel de Icaza, it is also making its way into Microsoft competitors, notably UNIX and GNU/Linux. Microsoft must be very proud of de Icaza for saying yesterday that:

As promised, we are now tracking the Unix-friendly Roslyn port on Mono’s GitHub Organization.

What the world needs to do it move away from Microsoft APIs, not spread them to more platforms. Boosters of .NET, BASIC etc. are ensuring that we stay locked in and enslaved to Microsoft. To them, this is evidently a goal.

Federal Government Warns About Microsoft Windows Back Doors

Posted in Security, Vista 8, Windows at 1:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Back door

Summary: Back door in all versions of Windows (for Internet Explorer has been embedded deep inside Windows to suppress browser competition) worries governments around the world, including those behind NSA and GCHQ

IT HAS long been known that Microsoft and the NSA work together and share information about back doors, voluntary or involuntary. Any government that still uses Windows is leaving itself vulnerable to espionage and sabotage like Stuxnet. It’s a strange mystery that many governments still have Windows in their networks. Technically it makes no sense and strategically it’s suicidal.

A few days ago we learned about a permanent back door in Windows XP. To quote one site: “Microsoft reported an alarming security flaw exposed by security farm FireEye, Inc. that affects all versions of Internet Explorer from 6 to 11. Though the newer versions of Windows operating systems will be patched in a couple of weeks, Windows XP users should be worried. Windows XP support was discontinued by Microsoft from April 8, 2014 and it is not going to get any more security patches.”

“Even when a flaw in OpenSSL was found and reported it had already been patched by all the major GNU/Linux distributions. It hadn’t yet been patched by Microsoft and Apple.”Feds are genuinely concerned about this based on the Canadian and the US corporate press, not just because Microsoft will leave Windows XP vulnerable but because at present every version of Windows is vulnerable and there is no fix. Since it’s proprietary software, nobody other than Microsoft can create a fix, either.

This latest back door shows that moving to GNU/Linux makes the most sense. Even when a flaw in OpenSSL was found and reported it had already been patched by all the major GNU/Linux distributions. It hadn’t yet been patched by Microsoft and Apple.

For those who think that Vista 8 (or 8.1) is going to offer some kind protection, mind this unfavourable new analysis. To quote just one bit: “Before shutting down, I manually told it to check for updates. It found one. The description says “Windows 8.1 Update”, and the accompanying text says the stuff about you must install this update to ensure that your computer can continue to receive future updates. So, was my HP updated or not? According to the test described by Microsoft, it was; but according to the Windows Update that is waiting to install, it was not.

“Which is correct? Beats me. How do you tell for sure? Beats me.”

Windows is a mess and this mess is filled with back doors. No government anywhere (not even the US government) should rely on it. The world is moving on and it’s time to move with it. GNU/Linux is the secure option.

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