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05.09.14

Corporate Press Glorifies Microsoft Patent Trolls

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Patents at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corporate press worships its wealthy sponsors

Fred C. Koch
Fred C. Koch

Summary: New examples of revisionism and propaganda from Bill Gates-funded press and other corporate media, which portrays rich (and highly abusive) villains as heroes

Robber barons are using bodies like the USPTO and fake charities like the Gates Foundation in order to take everything from everyone. Not only copyright is used to abolish competition and create monopolies.

Microsoft’s billionaires are no exception to the rule; in many ways, they rule and they are exceptional in the degree to which they are abusive. These people are the NSA’a biggest partner and they are the world’s biggest patent trolls. One of them founded Intellectual Ventures with Gates’ help and Microsoft’s other co-founder (Allen) also became a patent troll some years ago.

What we truly have a problem with is obscene media distortion. No man bribes the press and even bribes blogs as much as Gates does. Gates even bribes The Guardian (millions of dollars paid to ensure he never gets criticised there, not to mention a lot of anti-Google bias these days). The Guardian says that Gates is leaving MSFT (the stock), but everyone who paid attention should have noticed that he only increased/elevated his role inside Microsoft a few months back. He has a lot to do with Microsoft’s abusive current strategy, which includes criminal racketeering, attack ads, etc. Looking at USA Today, which is funded by plutocrats as well, it is currently whitewashing the world’s biggest patent troll and Bill Gates’ friend Nathan Myhrvold (opening this page seems to choke any computer I point at it due to bad Web development). This is not even pretense of journalism, it’s propaganda and it is utterly disgusting.

iophk tells us that at Forbes, whose role is to glorify the plutocrats like Gates, there is “no mention of LibreOffice or Apache OpenOffice,” not even in this article about the demise of Microsoft Office. As iophk puts it: “It’s making its way into mainstream news. Fails to address monopoly rents and LibreOffice / Apache OpenOffice are conspicuously missing. And the article tries to whitewash Gates.” Here is the talking point again, right at the very beginning:

For Microsoft , it’s been a year of upheaval. First, the company got only its third CEO ever when Steve Ballmer was replaced by Satya Nadella. Then last week, Bill Gates lost his title as the company’s largest shareholder for the first time ever, slipping behind Ballmer. But while these are notable milestones, neither has threatened Microsoft’s business in a fundamental way. And that’s why Microsoft observers should be especially concerned about a report from SoftWatch which suggested most people with Office installed don’t use it much — if at all. Given that Office is the most important product Microsoft sells, any erosion in its profitability could threaten Nadella’s turnaround story and make the timing of Gates’ stock sales look most prescient.

This is a decoy and a very dangerous decoy too. Gates is evidently preoccupied with patenting everything and putting patent tax on every single thing, urging politicians to give taxpayers’ money to patent monopolies that he invests in. It’s a heist and it should be treated as criminal. But when you live in a world that’s dominated by corporate press, don’t expect to hear it all that often. Here is more on the demise of Microsoft Office:

…most users simply don’t use applications often enough to justify the cost. Exactly what model replaces it is where things become more complex.

Looking again at the article which The Gates-funded ‘Guardian’ relayed, watch the congratulatory revisionism:

Bill Gates, the former chief executive and chairman of Microsoft, will have no direct ownership in the company he co-founded by mid-2018 if he keeps up his recent share sales.

Gates, who started the company that revolutionized personal computing with school-friend Paul Allen in 1975, has sold 20m shares each quarter for most of the last dozen years under a pre-set trading plan.

Gates “revolutionized personal computing” in the same sense that Koch revolutionised the environment. This is not decent journalism as it fails to mention how Gates really made his money and how he illegally crushed competition. But never mind the corporate press, so long as we know who’s funding it. LinuxTag, after years of making an error, appears to have finally learned to reject Microsoft’s dirty money with which Microsoft used to infiltrate and subvert the event. No patent trolls and Mafia staff in this years’s LinuxTag?

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

The US Patent System is Only Getting Worse as 92% of Patent Applications Now ‘Successful’, Everything Under the Sun Patented

Posted in Patents at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Innovation myth hinged on grossly lenient system

Bezos gives lecture

Summary: Amazon shows that it continues to be a major part of the patent problem (trying to patent every silly idea) not just the US but potentially also in Europe

THE USPTO, like several other pseudo-’federal’ agencies (controlled by corporations and/or lobbyists, e.g. the FCC) is totally out of control and over time it is getting increasingly detached from its original goal/s. It’s time to abolish or restart the USPTO, as we pointed out even half a decade ago.

In today’s news we have Amazon, which tries to legitimise software patents in Europe, getting a patent on photography against a white background. Yes, seriously.

As Timothy B. Lee points out, almost every patent application (in the US) now becomes a patent and this includes not only Amazon’s infamous “one-click” shopping but also photographing merchandise. As TechDirt put it:

US Patent Office Grants ‘Photography Against A White Background’ Patent To Amazon

The US Patent and Trademark Office is frequently maligned for its baffling/terrible decisions… and rightfully so. Because this is exactly the sort of thing for which the USPTO should be maligned. Udi Tirosh at DIY Photography has uncovered a recently granted patent for the previously-unheard of process of photographing things/people against a white backdrop… to of all companies, Amazon.

The USTPO deserves no more than zero legitimacy at this stage and as Glyn Moody recently pointed out in his talk, we need to keep this corrupt mess out of Europe:

Software Patents in Denmark: To Be or Not To Be?

Every week brings us new reports about the destructive effect of software patents in the US, and of a patent office there that is only too willing to grant them and other undeserving patents: an excellent if depressing article by Timothy Lee points out that the “allowance rate” – the percentage of patents that are eventually granted by the USPTO – is now a staggering 92%.

There are very good grounds for fearing that the imminent new Unitary Patent system will bring exactly the same problems to Europe, and yet there has been almost no discussion about it, certainly not here in the UK. Similarly, British citizens have not been asked whether they want this new system foisted on to them. You might say that’s an unreasonable thing to expect, since patents by their very nature are complex, specialised subjects. That may be true, but the fact that Denmark will be holding a national referendum on the subject in a few weeks’ time, shows that it can be done.

[...]

Today, we live in a very different world. In 2012, 469,000 patent applications were filed with the USPTO; 258,000 in Europe; 11,000 in Denmark alone. That is a world of inventive abundance, not scarcity. Some might say that’s great, and that it shows that the patent system is doing its job well, encouraging lots of inventors to come up with lots of inventions. But we need to look more closely at both the benefits and costs of that patent system, and its overall impact on the economy.

That’s precisely what a new research paper from Bessen, Neuhäusler, Turner and Williams entitled simply “The Costs and Benefits of United States Patents” attempts to do. It’s fairly long and complex – it’s written by economists, for economists – but its results are entirely straightforward.

The research looked at the costs and benefits to US companies of patents from 1984 to 2009. That’s particularly useful, since it embraces quite distinct periods in patenting. Overall, it found that the total benefits accruing to US companies from patents was around $385 billion. Calculating the total costs, which include indirect losses as well as the more obvious ones, was harder, and the authors of the paper came up with two different estimates based on slightly different methodologies.

There is no doubt that the USPTO is totally out of control. Keeping the USPTO at bay by preventing imperialist expansion of patents is essential right now. It has not been entirely successful over the years, but popular pressure played an important role not just in Europe but also in India, to name just one country. This is class war between billionaires or their corporations and everybody else.

Links 9/5/2014: LXQt Introduced, New Debian Release

Posted in News Roundup at 4:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Making Linux Feel at Home

    Hiring Tux is a smart move for both small and large businesses. Linux once was considered a hobbyist’s operating system, but it has come a long way and now is considered enterprise class. It is considered very stable and secure. Linux can easily be customized, and there is a huge community eager to help out. Those are just some of the reasons to migrate to the Linux desktop.

  • Desktop

    • New Intel powered Chromebooks to feature Bay Trail chipset

      A plethora of new Intel-powered Chrome OS devices were announces at a press conference hosted Wednesday by tech giant Google and chip manufacturer Intel. The event, which featured Caesar Sengupta from Google, and Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of mobile computing at Intel, announced, among other things, Chromebooks powered by Intel’s low-energy Bay Trail chipset, which will enable the lightweight computers running the Linux-based, web-centric operating system from Google to reportedly have 11 hours of battery life. Other devices announced include Intel’s Haswell and Core i3 chips.

    • LG Chromebase will be available May 26th

      The LG Chromebase, the first all-in-one Chrome OS PC, has been announced to be made available to US customers on May 26. With 2 GB of memory, a 16GB SSD (solid state drive), and a dual-core Intel Haswell CPU, LG has followed the usual specifications found on most Chromebooks. For those unfamiliar with Chromebooks, these specifications would probably be seem insufficient. However, what makes Chromebooks and the Chromebase stand out, is that they run Google‘s Chrome OS. Chrome OS is based upon Linux, so is very light and does not need many resources. In addition, since it only runs internet applications, it does not need many resources.

    • LG Chromebase will be available May 26th

      The LG Chromebase, the first all-in-one Chrome OS PC, has been announced to be made available to US customers on May 26. With 2 GB of memory, a 16GB SSD (solid state drive), and a dual-core Intel Haswell CPU, LG has followed the usual specifications found on most Chromebooks. For those unfamiliar with Chromebooks, these specifications would probably be seem insufficient. However, what makes Chromebooks and the Chromebase stand out, is that they run Google‘s Chrome OS. Chrome OS is based upon Linux, so is very light and does not need many resources. In addition, since it only runs internet applications, it does not need many resources.

    • Chromebooks Gain Important Features, Appear to Be Here to Stay

      Part of what’s driving Chromebooks forward is that Google is on a rapid release cycle with Chrome OS. And, very importantly, Google has relaxed the fiercely cloud-centric vision it originally had for Chrome OS, so that applications for Chromebooks can be used offline.

    • Chromebooks looking to replace PCs by going offline

      Google is adding more features to Chromebook applications so that they can be used without accessing the Web, addressing a common complaint among users who want the laptops to function more like traditional PCs.

      Although Web use remains a central feature of Chromebooks, Google recently added the ability to edit videos and watch full movies offline, for instance. A shorter update cycle means that the company can be more responsive to user demand.

    • OEMs Flee Low-margin PCs
    • Weekend Apocalypse in Ethiopia

      While the share of page-views from Ethiopia that StatCounter sees for GNU/Linux has been impressive lately, take a look at the peaks:

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.15 SSD File-System Benchmarks

      Now that kernel development activity is settling down for the Linux 3.15 kernel, here are some benchmarks of the EXT4, XFS, F2FS, and Btrfs file-systems compared to the stable Linux 3.14 kernel performance.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The State Of The Intel Kernel DRM Driver

        Daniel Vetter of Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center is presenting this week at LinuxTag 2014 about the state of their Linux kernel graphics driver.

      • Wayland 1.5 Appears To Be In Great Shape

        While there’s many changes to Wayland 1.5, it doesn’t look like there should be much fallout from the many new features. When releasing the Wayland 1.5 RC, Kristian Høgsberg mentioned they’re at “a historic low in terms of open bug” with just 15 open bugs covering Wayland/Weston. The overall state of Wayland appears to be very good.

      • SteamOS Update 105 Lands New AMD Linux Driver

        The SteamOS Update 105 includes the AMD Catalyst 14.4 Linux driver, updates to the Iceweasel web browser, upstream Debian 7.5 package updates, new packages included in the SteamOS repository, and support for newer network adapters. The new network hardware supported is the Realtek R8168 and handling for more Intel WiFi chipsets.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • How To Install LXQT On Ubuntu 14.04 And Ubuntu 13.10
    • LXQt 0.7.0 released
    • LXQt 0.7.0 – Next Generation Qt Lightweight Desktop Environment Has Been Released

      The LXDE and Razor-qt teams are proud to announce LXQt 0.7.0, the first release of LXQt, the Qt Lightweight Desktop Environment. This beta release is considered a stable continuation of the Razor desktop. It has been almost a year since the Razor-qt project and the LXDE-Qt project decided to merge. Since then, the LXQt desktop has been under active development by 13 developers and dozens of contributors and translators.

    • New DE LXQt Released, Linux Drones, and Deploying Linux

      Today in Linux news a new desktop environment saw its first release. A joint effort from the LXDE and Razor-qt clans brings LXQt 0.7.0. In other news, several outlets are covering the US Navy’s plans to move drones from Solaris to Linux. And finally today, Jack Germain covers the ins and outs of deploying Linux.

    • Linux desktop environment LXQt achieves first release

      Besides being stable and versatile, Linux-based operating systems are very customizable too. You see, most distributions allow you to customize the UI by selecting different environments. While GNOME, KDE and Unity are a few of the popular environments, there are many others as well.

    • LXDE, Razor-Qt merge to create awesome LXQt project

      ‘May the fork be with you’ is a term we often hear in the free software community as it’s extremely easy to take the code and fork it to scratch your etch. What’s really difficult (and that’s something really counts) is to actually come together, collaborate and merge code-base to create something which helps more people, which is not just about scratching your own itch, but to do something which benefits more and more people.

    • Linux Has Too Few Distributions and Desktop Environments

      The Linux platform is actually the base for a multitude of operating systems, but a part of the community feels that there are too many distributions. The truth is that there are probably too few of them.

      One of the points of contention that usually arise in the Linux community is the fact that there seem to be too many Linux distributions and too many desktop environments. If we were to compare Linux with any other platform that would be true, but such a comparison would be incorrect.

      Linux is the only platform that allows this kind of freedom, so making a comparison with other operating systems is actually incorrect because they do not incorporate the same kind of philosophy and openness.

      My point is that even if Linux seems to be the home of many operating systems and desktop environments, the reality is that, in fact, there aren’t actually enough. The reason why I pick OSes and desktop environments is because they are the most visible, but the same is true for any other component.

    • Does Linux need more distributions and desktop environments?

      One of the best things about Linux is that there’s literally a distribution for everybody. Linux offers users the greatest range of choices of any desktop operating system. But do we need even more options? Softpedia thinks that we do and explains the advantages of having more desktop environments and distros.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • RESULTS OF CARD SORTING THE KDE SYSTEM SETTINGS

        KDE tries to be as much customizable as possible: All freedom to the user! This leads to an extended configuration that might be confusing to new users. Additionally, modules from different sources are aggregated in a way that not necessarily fits the mental representation of users. For instance, the distinction between ‘workspace appearance’ and ‘window appearance’ is not common in other desktop environments.

      • KDE kicks off wallpaper contest for the next Plasma

        Here’s your chance to see your favorite snap beautifying the next release of KDE Plasma! KDE’s Visual Design Group (VDG) announced a wallpaper competition for its next release of Plasma and submissions are live for the entire month of May 2014.

      • KDE Network Manager: Details sorted

        More than 800 people participated in our online sorting of the KDE Network Manager details. In this article we present the results.

        [...]

        To achieve this we doubled some information into a tool-tip. This will of course only be an advantage for non-touch-users. We replaced the ‘connected’-statement in the current interface by the IP address and information about the current connection speed. Also, seeing the large amount of different information available for a single wireless connection we propose to split this information up into the sections ‘My computer’, ‘Speedgraph’, ‘Connection’ and ‘Router’.

      • Last week in Krita — week 19
      • Moka Icon Theme Ported to Plasma!

        One of the first things people think of when talking visual design is icons. Now as “design” this is a very tight definition since a large chunk of it is so much bigger. But icons is a part of it all and it is something that is the most obvious change visually. Icons are also something very very difficult to do well as there is not only several very strict rules and concepts to consider while doing them, there is also a very large amount of work involved (thousands of icons for starters). Beyond that there are issues that make it even trickier.
        As icons are very direct visually – they are often victim of harsh criticism (or downright harassment) but further than that the BASE theme of a distro have to follow even stricter rules if it want to be accessible to as many as possible.

        Now we using Plasma do not have the huge wealth of icon themes as the boys and girls over at GTK, but we are getting there ever so slowly and today I would like to present one of the latest icon themes to get ported to KDE – Moka by Sam Hewitt.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Wayland Is Approved For Fedora 21

        The Wayland change for Fedora 21 is about better supporting GNOME Wayland sessions. Fedora 20 already brought experimental GNOME Shell Wayland support while Fedora 21 is building upon more polished support thanks to upstream improvements landing with GNOME 3.14 due out in September.

      • Among Other New Apps, The New GNOME Books Will Be Part Of The GNOME 3.14 Desktop Environment

        The GNOME developers are presenting at the Google Summer of Code their new ebook management application, called intuitively GNOME Books, which will be part of GNOME 3.14, the first desktop environment with official support for Wayland, Red Hat’s new system compositor.

  • Distributions

    • Robolinux VM Allows You To Run Windows In Linux
    • Robolinux turns your C Drive into a virtual Windows machine you can run in Linux

      Say you want to move from Windows to Linux… but there are a few Windows apps that you can’t give up, and they don’t work well under WINE. The developer of Robolinux offers a Debian-based GNU/Linux operating system designed to let you run Windows XP or Windows 7 in a virtual machine.

      But the latest version of Robolinux goes a step further: It includes a tool that lets you create a virtual machine by cloning your Windows C: Drive, which means it takes just minutes to create a version of Windows that you can run in virtualization in Linux, and it will already have all of your existing programs and data.

    • AV Linux Dazzles Both Eyes and Ears

      With audio and video applications, you often need more than one package, and the assembled collection of multimedia packages in AV Linux is huge. The range of software offerings is a bonus. You do not get lightweight ware that leaves you yearning for more powerful features. The audio-visual tools are mature. Many of the productive apps are custom builds that enhance what you can do with them.

    • GoboLinux 015

      Six years after its last release, GoboLinux is back, with the 015 release of the distribution that is best-known for a total rearrangement of the traditional Linux filesystem hierarchy. More information about the distribution is available, as are release notes for 015.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Want to Install OpenMandriva Lx 2014? Some Things You Need to Know

        I guess that the main question is: after seeing those problems, do I intend to keep OpenMandriva Lx 2014?

        The answer is yes. I find the distro responsive, beautiful, and functional for pretty much all I need (except printing or typing in Japanese so far :-P ).

        Those, however, are very specific problems that other users should not expect to find, I suppose, and I can live with them.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 8.0 Jessie To Likely Target The Linux 3.16 Kernel

        Ben Hutchings began extrapolating data of stable kernel releases and around the time of the Debian Jessie freeze will likely be the Linux 3.17 release, but that might be too close for comfort. However, at the same time, the earlier the Jessie kernel is frozen the more hardware enablement back-porting and other fixes that will need to queue up for this next major Debian GNU/Linux release.

      • APT Reaches Version 1.0.3
      • Debian 7.5 “Wheezy” Live CD Now Available for Download

        When a new point release of Debian is made available, the Live CD version of that distro is not accessible to users right away. It usually takes about a week for the Debian Live CD team to put together the new releases.

      • Debian 8.0 Jessie Will Be Using Either Kernel 3.16 Or Kernel 3.17, As Default

        As you may know, Debian 8.0 Jessie will be the first Debian system that will be using Red Hat’s systemd as the default init event manager. While it is in it’s early development stages, only the first Alpha version being available until now, new information about the future generation Debian system has been released.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Three Reasons Why You Should Upgrade from Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

            One of the best reasons to upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is by far the new Linux kernel stack that comes with the new version. Ubuntu 14.04 includes the 3.13.0-24.46 Ubuntu Linux kernel which is based on the v3.13.9 upstream stable Linux kernel, which is one of the newest ones made available.

          • Ubuntu AIO DVD Has All Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Flavors on One Disk

            Ubuntu AIO DVD (all-in-one), a collection of the most important Ubuntu 14.04 LTS flavors made available on April 17, 2014, is now ready for download.

            Canonical released its latest Ubuntu 14.04 LTS distribution back in April, and along with it all the other famous flavors were also offered. There is a single problem with this launch, namely that the distros come as separate operating systems and you will have to download five ISOs, including the original, if you want to have all of them.

          • Canonical Releases New Ubuntu Touch Images Based on Ubuntu 14.10

            Ubuntu for phones and tablets was announced more than a year and a half ago and the developers are working hard to make that October deadline when the first Ubuntu powered phones are supposed to arrive, although this is not a date set in stone.

          • Canonical Has Updated The Kernels Of All The Supported Ubuntu Systems, For Security Reasons. Update Your Ubuntu System’s Kernel Now!

            As you may know, Canonical has updated the kernels of all the supported Ubuntu systems: Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr, Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander, Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal, Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin and Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx, due to the fact that it had some security issues, allowing unprivileged users to cause denial of service to the system and get root access.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Kubuntu 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr : Video Review and Screenshot Tour

              Kubuntu 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr is an official derivative of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS that uses the popular KDE desktop environment. According to information from the development team, this version offers more stability and also brings the latest apps for KDE.

              As Xubuntu 14.04 and Lubuntu 14.04, Kubuntu 14.04 come with long term support. The long term support means it comes with the promise of at least 5 years of support, including patches and bug fixes.

            • Secure Ubuntu Privacy Remix 12.04r1 (Protected Pangolin) Officially Released

              With all the security and anonymity issues that are now affecting the online community, a Linux distribution that promises to keep users secure is not something out of the ordinary. In fact, there already is a number of OSes that seem to fit into this category, like Tails for example, and Ubuntu Privacy Remix is just one of them.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rate your favorite hacker SBCs, win prizes

      Together with Linux.com, the Linux Foundation’s community website, we have set up a survey on SurveyMonkey with 32 open spec single-board computers. Pick your favorite three boards and answer a few questions about what you’re looking for in an open, hacker SBC and enter the optional drawing for a chance to win cool Tux, embedded Linux, and Android gear. Five randomly selected winners will receive a T-shirt, sweatshirt, hat, mug, or USB drive.

    • Choose Your Favorite Open Source SBC, Enter to Win Prizes
    • 10 nerdiest Linux gadgets

      Of all the nerdy Linux gadgets out there, these take the cake.

    • Navy giving its helicopter drones a Linux upgrade

      The systems used to fly the MQ-8 Fire Scout, the robotic helicopter developed by Northrop Grumman for the US Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships, are about to get an upgrade—one that’s based on the Linux operating system. Raytheon has been awarded a $15.8 million contract to deploy a new version of the Vertical Takeoff and Landing Unmanned Air Vehicle Tactical Control System (VTUAV TCS) that takes the operator’s console off its legacy Sun Microsystems Solaris 8 platform and brings it in line with military standards for drone control platforms—allowing it to be used with other compatible unmanned aircraft.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Samsung replaces mobile design boss following Galaxy S5 backlash

          Amid criticism of the latest Galaxy S smartphone, South Korean firm Samsung Electronics has replaced Chang Dong-hoon, the head of its mobile design team, by vice president of mobile design Lee Min-Hyuk. According to Reuters, “Chang, a former professor who studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will continue to lead Samsung’s design center which overseas its overall design strategy.”

      • Android

        • Secret Back Doors in Android

          Following the latest Google update (which I was given no option to reject) I noticed that Google had added a remote kill switch as an opition. It was enabed by default. “Allow remote lock and erase” is what Google calls it and it is essentially working like a back door. Google and its partners in government are gaining a lot of power not over a smartphone but over a tablet.

        • How Google’s Android Silver could become ‘Wintel for phones’

          Analysis In the 1990s, Intel and Microsoft dominated the “open” PC standard – and it appears that Google now wants to do the same for its Android system, via its Silver programme.

        • Chromebooks to go offline as Intel moves inside

          Intel has finally joined the Chrome OS bandwagon ensuring it won’t become obsolete in the post PC (Windows) era. The two companies hosted a joint press event on May 6 where they announced quite a lot of Chromebooks powered by Intel chips. Intel enjoyed a monopolistic position during the Windows era and the partnership between Intel & Windows was known as Wintel, which unfortunately was bad for the industry as it lead to some anti-competitive business practices which heavily damaged (and almost destroyed AMD).

        • Huawei launches ultra-slim Ascend P7 Android phone

          Huawei’s new 4G LTE smartphone, the Ascend P7, is finally here. A significant upgrade from last year’s Ascend P6, the new smartphone offers an updated Emotion UI interface on top of Android 4.4.2 Kitkat mobile operating system. It also provides users with updated cameras, and a 5-inch 1920×1080 resolution 441ppi IPS display. At 6.5mm slim, Ascend P7 is being touted as one of the slimmest 4G LTE smartphones in the market. The phone packs dual 13MP and 8MP cameras.

        • Is CryptoLocker Ransomware arriving on Android?

          ThreatPost reports that the Reveton cyber-crime gang is advertising an Android version of CryptoLocker. This program seems to have no way to actively infect an Android smartphone or tablet. To get it you have to actually download the APK file.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Hashover: A free-software alternative to Disqus and other hosted-commenting services

    I’ve been waiting for this: Hashover is a free-software project that aims to replace hosted-comments services like Disqus and those offered by Facebook and others that keep your comments in their database.

  • Atom, GitHub’s next-gen text editor, is now open source

    Nathan Sobo announced that GitHub is contributing its text editor for programmers, Atom, to the open source community under the MIT license. While GitHub will continue to have its dedicated team working on Atom, they are also looking for a thriving and long-lasting community around Atom, just like Emacs and Vim.

    Atom has been powered by open source packages from its Beta phase. The current announcement takes it to the next level by open sourcing the rest of Atom including the core application, Atom’s package manager and Atom’s Chromium-based desktop application framework, Atom Shell.

  • Google Open-Sources Their AutoFDO Profile Toolchain

    Google has open-sourced their toolchain for providing automatic feedback-directed optimizations from perf data profiles to what can be used by GCC and LLVM.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 30 Beta 2 Brings Better Integration with Social Networks, Australis Stays Put

        According to the changelog, support has finally been added to GStreamer 1.0. We say finally because most applications that use GStreamer switched to the new 1.0 branch a long time ago. The latest GStreamer available right now is 1.3.1, so you can imagine how far behind Firefox is.

        Also, the Mac OS X command-E will now set the “find” term to the selected text, a new sidebar button will provide easier access to social, bookmark, and history sidebars, it’s no longer possible to call WebIDL constructors as functions on the web, box-shadow and other visual overflow issues have been fixed, mute and volume will now be available per window when using WebAudio, background-blend-mode is now enabled by default, and ES6 array and generator comprehensions have been implemented…

      • Death of net neutrality: Is Mozilla barking up the wrong tree?

        Net Neutrality has been quite the conversation during the last several months. Without the free flow of information, the topology of the entire Internet would be defeated in its entirety. So when Mozilla recently proposed that the FCC categorize remote delivery services as telecommunications services, I personally sympathized with the members of the well known non-profit.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • phpMyAdmin 4.2.0 Now Available for Download

      The final iteration of phpMyAdmin 4.2.0 has been released and comes with a large number of changes and improvements. It’s been a while since the previous major update and, after a few RC versions, it was time for more important fixes.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The Document Foundation Officially Releases LibreOffice 4.2.4

      The Document Foundation has announced that the final version for LibreOffice 4.2.4 is now available for all platforms, including Linux.

      This is just a maintenance release for the 4.2.x branch and features a moderate number of fixes and changes, but users who have this office suite installed should upgrade as soon as possible…

    • LibreOffice Calc – Reintroducing Spreadsheets

      Today I would like to discuss a boring subject: Spreadsheets. Actually it’s not that boring when you come to think of it. At least I’m going to try not to make it boring. Let me set something straight first: Spreadsheets are not just about numbers; they are about data. You may have already read Michael Meeks’ article on LibreOffice’s major rewrite of its spreadsheet engine (the much famed Ixion engine that was alluded to first in 2010) and indeed this is a major development for LibreOffice and ultimately for office suites in general – I’ll come back to that later- but this post is not an appreciation article for Michael and Kohei, it’s about how we think of spreadsheets, why we tend to think of them in a very limited way, and how we could redefine the uses of LibreOffice Calc. 256px-LibreOffice_4.0_Calc_Icon.svg

  • Education

    • Tackling the challenges of open source adoption in education

      In our recent survey on free and open source software in the UK education sectors, we asked colleges and universities for their main reasons for not selecting an open source solution according to 12 criteria. Below you can see how important each of the criteria were rated for software running on servers:

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Wind River accelerated virtual switch software delivers breakthrough performance

    Wind River has announced that it has achieved industry-leading performance with its accelerated virtual switch (vSwitch) integrated within Wind River Carrier Grade Communications Server, which is designed for network functions virtualization (NFV). The accelerated vSwitch can deliver 12 million packets per second to guest virtual machines (VMs) using only two processor cores on an industry-standard server platform, in a real-world use case involving bidirectional traffic.

  • Washington State files lawsuit against fraudulent Kickstarter campaign

    According to the lawsuit, Edward J. Polchlepek III (aka Ed Nash) of the company, Altius Management, has failed to make good on a successful Kickstarter campaign for Asylum Playing Cards. The said campaign had a Kickstarter goal of $15,000, which they exceeded with a closing funding of $25,146 back in October 2012. The Attorney General’s office alleges Polchlepek’s company had collected the money but never made good on their promise of delivering the cards or the other backer rewards that were promised by them during the campaign. Since some of the backers were residents of the state of Washington, legal team of the state were able to get involved. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson stated in a press release, “Consumers need to be aware that crowd funding is not without risk. “This lawsuit sends a clear message to people seeking the public’s money: Washington State will not tolerate crowd funding theft. The Attorney General’s Office will hold those accountable who don’t play by the rules.”

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • ARM exec: Forget eight-core smartphone chips, just enjoy a SIX-PACK

      The last person that you’d expect to tell you that eight-core smartphone SoCs are overkill would be a man whose company licenses and gets royalties from those cores – but that’s exactly what ARM’s director of mobile solutions James Bruce told attendees at last week’s ARM Tech Day.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • 5 Ways US Medical Billing Is Way More F#@ked Than You Think

      If you’re not from America, or you’re young and healthy enough to have avoided doctors up to now, you may not have been exposed to the delights of this country’s high medical costs. So here’s a demonstration, in the form of a $243K bill for a three-night hospital stay…

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Why Aren’t North American Workers More Militant? (1/2)

      May 1 is the day of international working class solidarity. It was born or created at a time of great working class militancy, a fight for the eight-hour working day and more. Over the years, there have been many peaks of working class struggle, just some of them, for example, the 1877 railroad strike, which went national and started right here in Baltimore; 1919, a general strike in Winnipeg, Canada; in 1930s, industrial unions were organized in both countries, both the United States and Canada; after World War II, in 1946, there were more strikes organized in the United States than there’d ever been before or have been organized since; and in the 1960s, another peak in working-class struggle.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Judicial Hijinks in Effort to Kill Walker Criminal Probe and Destroy Evidence

      On May 6, federal Judge Rudolph Randa ordered a halt to Wisconsin’s long-running “John Doe” criminal probe into allegedly illegal coordination between political campaigns (including Governor Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign) and the non-profit groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth and its allies that spent millions during the state’s recall elections. Randa, who was appointed to the bench by George H.W. Bush and is a board member of the Milwaukee Federalist Society, compared limits on money-in-politics to “the guillotine and the gulag.”

  • Censorship

    • Lawyers threaten redditor over negative router review on Amazon

      Lawyers for Mediabridge Products, a wireless network device manufacturer, sent a scathing letter to a redditor on Monday, threatening to sue him unless he deletes his negative review of one of the company’s products on Amazon.com.

    • Google Blocks Demonoid for Spreading Malicious Software

      In one of the harshest moves a search engine can take against a site, during the past few hours Google flagged torrent site Demonoid as likely to harm users’ computers. After arriving at the conclusion that malicious third-party ads had caused the problem, Demonoid responded by disabling every single advert on its site until further notice.

  • Privacy

    • Freedom Online Coalition Basically Ignores Surveillance: Makes A Mockery Of Its Name

      We already wrote about how US Secretary of State John Kerry made some tone deaf remarks about “online freedom” and transparency during his appearance at the Freedom Online Coalition meeting in Estonia last week. However, it appears that his remarks fit in well with the theme of the event, which appeared to be “big governments ignoring that whole state surveillance online thing.” The Freedom Online Coalition is a group of 23 governments, including the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France and many others — and you’d think they’d pay some attention to the very vocal concerns about how those governments are engaged in lots of online spying. In fact, a bunch of public interest groups sent a letter asking the FOC to live up to their state commitments, and respond to claims of human rights violations against journalists and others via state surveillance online.

    • House Committee axes NSA bulk phone metadata collection

      A House committee on Wednesday unanimously voted to end the National Security Agency’s bulk telephone metadata collection program.

      The vote by the House Judiciary Committee was 32-0. The measure moves to the full House, where its passage is uncertain.

      “Today’s strong, bipartisan vote by the House Judiciary Committee takes us one step closer to ending bulk collection once and for all and safeguards Americans’ civil liberties as our intelligence community keeps us safe from foreign enemies who wish us harm,” committee lawmakers said in a joint statement.

    • USA Freedom Act unanimously clears House Judiciary Committee

      Six months after it was written to restrain the National Security Agency’s sweeping domestic surveillance, a privacy bill cleared a major legislative obstacle on Wednesday, even as its advocates worried that the compromises made to advance the bill have weakened its constraints on mass data collection.

    • Legal Guidelines Say Apple Can Extract Data From Locked iOS Devices
  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How Comcast Is Trying To Turn The Internet Into The Old, Broken Phone System

      Each day, the open internet/net neutrality battle gets a bit more interesting. We just covered Tim Lee’s excellent look at how Comcast and other big telcos were effectively using interconnection disputes to get the same result as violating net neutrality, without technically violating the basic concept of what most people believe is net neutrality. And he’s back with an even more important explanation of how Comcast’s ultimate goal is to effectively make the internet more like the old phone system, post AT&T breakup, in which everyone had to pay to access the end points of the network. Ironically, they’re trying to recreate the internet in the form of the old telephone network, while at the same time doing everything to resist being classified as a telephone network by the FCC.

    • The end of the open Internet is un-American: Take action now!

      As you know from my last post, I was recently in Thailand. On my way back, I learned that after much strife, Thailand had decided to oust its prime minister. And when I arrived back in the U.S., I learned that the FCC seemed to have decided to oust the notion of an open Internet.

    • Tech giants urge rethink of net neutrality changes

      More than 100 technology companies have written to the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC), opposing potential changes to net neutrality rules.

      The FCC is considering allowing internet service providers (ISPs) to charge content providers to prioritise their traffic.

      Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon warn that such a move represents a “grave threat to the internet”.

    • FCC’s new net neutrality rules opposed by 100+ internet companies (update: vote still on schedule)

      Despite FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s insistence that he is on the side of an open internet, the controversy over proposed net neutrality rules continues to expand. Resistance to the new rules is now coming from voices within the FCC and major internet companies including Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Yahoo and more. The plan was for the five commissioners to vote on their approval next Thursday, but today one of them, Jessica Rosenworcel, called to push back that vote by a month (update: an FCC spokesman says the vote will go forward as scheduled). Citing “real concerns” with Wheeler’s proposal and a need for time to consider the “torrent of public response” received, she wants the delay so public conversation can continue. That would mean putting the agency’s legal staff out front to explain the measures and answer questions in ways that are accessible to the public, instead of starting a Sunshine Period that would end the ability to accept public comment.

  • DRM

    • Publisher ‘DRMs’ Physical Legal Textbook About ‘Property,’ Undermines Property And First Sale Concepts

      We’ve talked in the past about just how badly certain industries would love to expand the restrictions created by DRM onto physical goods. And that’s because, unlike what copyright system defenders like to claim, DRM allows companies to put restrictions on content that go way beyond what kind of restrictions can be placed on physical goods. For example: the right to resell something. In the copyright space, we’ve long had the first sale doctrine, which makes it possible for you to resell a physical book you own, without having to first get permission from the copyright holder. Of course, first sale has long been under attack, especially by academic publishers who absolutely hate the idea of a resale market. That’s because they are monopoly providers — professors assign the textbooks, and students need to buy them, leading to ridiculously inflated prices. Of course, what publishers still don’t seem to grasp is that a healthy used market actually increases the value of the primary market, since buyers are more comfortable knowing they can at least make back some of the money at the other end.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Why Mr Wales is dreadfully wrong about the Internet Party

        Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has said that the Pirate Party simply must change its name to the Internet Party, to be more conformant with MegaUpload owner Kim Dotcoms vision for the future of the digital space in New Zealand. Far be it from me to arrogantly dismiss the ideas and opinions of my internet policy elders, but in this case Mr Wales misses a big point and additionally generates harm to a healthy future debate about internet policy.

      • Lobby tries to kill private copying with demand for iPod tax

        For well over ten years we have been arguing about a private copying exception, to legalise everyday consumer behaviour of copying music to computer disks. Despite the fact that copyright industry groups have always said they’d never sue anyone, they claim that an exception would cause substantial damage that requires compensation.

      • Is iPod tax on cards as government delays right to copy your music?

        Open Rights Group is concerned that groups representing rightsholders are seeking compensation for consumers potentially copying music they have bought onto different devices, for example from a CD to their iPod. Last year, UK Music, which represents the live music sector, said that “the exception cannot lawfully be made without fair compensation”.

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