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06.18.14

Links 18/6/2014: Red Hat to acquire eNovance

Posted in News Roundup at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • 7 Improvements The Linux Desktop Needs

      In the last fifteen years, the Linux desktop has gone from a collection of marginally adequate solutions to an unparalleled source of innovation and choice. Many of its standard features are either unavailable in Windows, or else available only as a proprietary extension. As a result, using Linux is increasingly not only a matter of principle, but of preference as well.

      Yet, despite this progress, gaps remain. Some are missing features, others missing features, and still others pie-in-the sky extras that could be easily implemented to extend the desktop metaphor without straining users’ tolerance of change.

    • Kerala and Leipzig Move to Free Software on the Desktop

      The government of the Indian state of Kerala has ordered all of its public sector agencies using Windows XP to migrate to free and open source (FOSS) operating systems by 30 June.

      Nor is Kerala alone in doing so in India:

      Since March this year, there have been moves across the Indian public sector to open source. The central government’s IT arm has encouraged agencies to switch to open source operating systems. Another state, Tamil Nadu, has told its departments to install open source operating systems.

  • Server

    • Opening A Window To Linux Virtual Server Hosting

      Manufacturers are getting on board with Linux virtual server hosting in part because oflower set-up and maintenance costs, and the ability to modify the OS according to their needs. Because of its flexibility, scalability, high availability and open-source nature, Linux virtual server hosting is becoming an increasingly attraction option for small and midsize manufacturing concerns.

  • Kernel Space

    • ALSA 1.0.28 Released

      ALSA 1.0.28 features various small updates to the alsa-oss and alsa-tools components, adds new sound firmware files for the Cirrus Logic CS46xx, boasts small changes to alsa-plugins, and as usual most of the work happened within the alsa-lib and alsa-utils components. Within the ALSA library for 1.0.28 are many API updates while within the ALSA utilities area are many updates to ALSA Control and Speaker Test.

    • Welcoming #MesosCon to CloudOpen

      A few years ago we put together the CloudOpen conference to unite the open source projects and products companies are using to create cloud or elastic computing infrastructures inside their companies: OpenStack and CloudStack, containers technology like Docker, data clustering platforms like Hadoop, storage platforms like Gluster and Ceph, and automation tools like Puppet, to name just a few. The defining characteristic of all of these projects (besides being open source) is that they are delivering on the promise of distributed and elastic computing to enable scalable and responsive infrastructures.

    • SCSI Multi-Queue Performance Appears Great For Linux 3.17

      Building upon the major blk-mq work for the multi-queue block layer, the SCSI multi-queue code is now in good shape according to its developers, is delivering very promising performance results, and should be merged into the Linux 3.17 kernel cycle.

    • Ext2Fsd: EXT3/EXT4 Support Now Works On Windows 8

      The Ext2Fsd project that provides an EXT3/EXT4 file-system driver for Microsoft Windows operating systems was recently updated with Windows 8 support and other changes.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Reportedly Plans To Bring Mantle To Linux, Calls Mantle An Open-Source API

        There’s been a bit of flip-flopping from various AMD sources and reports about whether their Mantle API will come to Linux in the near-term, which is AMD’s high-performance graphics API designed to complement OpenGL and Direct3D for the gaming space by offering faster frame-rates. Mantle for now remains Windows-only and bound to just the Catalyst driver with the more recent “GCN” graphics cards.

      • Radeon VCE, OpenMAX Improvements Land In Mesa

        A number of commits have landed within mainline Mesa today for improving the open-source Radeon driver’s video encoding support via the recently exposed VCE video encoding engines and the recently introduced OpenMAX state tracker to Gallium3D.

      • Gallium3D “Mega Drivers” Might Be Ready For Merging In The Next Month

        Work on a Gallium3D approach to Mesa “mega drivers” is still progressing. The final reported patch series is now out there and the developer hopes to have the support merged over the next month.

      • Broadcom VC4 Work Well Underway On DRM, Gallium3D Support Planned

        Beginning this week, Eric Anholt is now working for Broadcom after working for Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center the past several years on the Intel Linux graphics driver stack. While Eric just started there, he’s already made some headway on a Broadcom DRM driver and expects to begin developing a Gallium3D driver soon.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Randa Meetings Interview: Sanjiban Bairagya

        Here we are in conversation with Sanjiban Bairagya, a current Google Summer of Code 2014 intern who is working on Marble for KDE and is one of the younger, fresher, newer lots at KDE and has quite a bit to offer in terms of enthusiasm and brilliant ideas as well as zeal!

      • Sponsors required for KDE code sprint in Randa

        KDE is organizing a “coding sprint” in Randa, Switzerland. KDE Developer Sprints are focused gatherings of KDE developers to work on a specific part of KDE. Sprints are an opportunity to plan, design, and hack (think 20% socialization and 80% perspiration). Though sprints are supported by KDE e.V. financially and organizationally, we are having more enthusiastic people than funds allotted to us by KDE e.V. We need your support in helping us to fill this gap.

      • Starving Developers

        Phonon, a pillar of our multimedia solutions, was revived in Randa. Kdenlive, our video editor, became 302% more awesome in Randa. The KDE Frameworks 5 movement seeking to make our awesome libraries more useful to all the world started in Randa. Amarok 2 was planned in Randa. Approximately a godzillion bugs were fixed in Randa.

      • after convergence

        Two years later I gave a presentation summarizing these thoughts at Akademy in Dublin. A desktop layer that was stackable like a normal window (“dashboard” in today’s jargon), scripted components instead of compiled applets, dataengines, network services, dynamically loading different layouts for different user activities, using threads to keep the UI fluid, easy animation systems, configure/manipulate-in-place, a window manager that did more than just put title bars around things, etc. It was finally time to get to turning scribbles in notebooks into code. (I was still maintaining various parts of KDE’s 3.x desktop at the time, in particular kicker, as well as working on a variety of other bits of KDE software. This, along with a semi-crazy travel schedule kept me busy with productive things while these ideas were crystallizing.)

      • QML module versions and automatic imports
      • Five Musings on Frameworks Quality

        KDE Frameworks 5 will be released in 2 weeks from now. This fifth revision of what is currently known as the “KDE Development Platform” (or, technically “kdelibs”) is the result of 3 years of effort to modularize the individual libraries (and “bits and pieces”) we shipped as kdelibs and kde-runtime modules as part of KDE SC 4.x. KDE Frameworks contains about 60 individual modules, libraries, plugins, toolchain, and scripting (QtQuick, for example) extensions.

      • Geogebra file support in Kig ( GSoC Report )

        KIG currently has filters for various formats ( Cabri, Dr-Geo, KGeo, KSeg ). I have been working on implementing the Geogebra-filter for KIG. Here’s some introduction about the Geogebra-filter that we are trying to implement :

      • First Report

        As the title (Lyrics Support improvements) of my Google Summer of code project suggests, I am improving the way lyrics are fetched and displayed in Amarok. Personally, I like to follow the lyrics of the song that is playing; so I added this is idea to the Idea Page for GSoC 2014. And now here I am, working on it. I goal of my project is to highlight the particular line from the entire lyrics text that is being played.

      • Last week in Krita — week 23 & 24

        In the last two weeks, besides the coding work on the git repositories, Boudewijn has made available a hefty number of testing builds for the windows community. This builds brings up the latest novelties and features developed in the master branch. Note, however, not all feature sets are finished and it is not recommended for production use. Get the bleeding edge build

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME: A notifications update

        Previously, I described a work-in-progress design that we have been pursuing in GNOME design. Since that post, the process has diversified, and we are exploring several variations on the original design. These different options are in a state of evolution, and we are developing and evaluating them in parallel. To help with this, Jasper has created a couple of rough prototypes that we’ve been testing.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • BeagleBone SBC goes OEM, COM version coming

      CircuitCo debuted an HDMI- and flash-free OEM version of the BeagleBone Black called the “BlueSteel-Basic,” to be followed by industrial and COM versions.

    • In-Rack Linux Development Module fosters custom code writing.
    • The IFC6410 Pico-ITX Is A Developer ARM Single-Board Computer Capable Of Running Ubuntu 14.04 And Fedora 20

      As you may know, the IFC6410 Pico-ITX is a single-board computer powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 CPU, having 2 GB of RAM memory, 4 GB internal storage, 2 USB ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, Wifi, Bluetooth, a SATA connector and other pins and conectors, capable of running Ubuntu 14.04 and Fedora 20 systems, with open source graphics drivers from the Freedeno project.

    • MIPS Takes on ARM in the Internet of Things

      Already, MIPS is widely used in smartwatches, such as the new Android-ready SpeedUp Smartwatch-S, and it supports Google’s upcoming Android Wear platform, claims Imagination.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Oppo R1 Android Smartphone

          Oppo is a relative newcomer out of China offering high-end phones that are gaining popularity in developed and emerging markets. Its new offering the R1 combines processing power, design and feel. Powered by the MediaTek MT6582 with 4 cores humming along at 1.3GHz with Mali-400 graphics unit the phone has a 1GB RAM and 16GB of storage. The R1 runs Android 4.2.2. The 5-inch (1280×720) high-definition screen is crisp and clear. Both front and back are a mirror-like glass. The buttons on the front have very faint markings but do light up a little when the screen is on. This device certainly has a quality feel and look.The cameras are 8MP rear and 5MP rear. Travel a lot? Duel sims give you carrier flexibility. Oppo is clearly a new kind of Chinese manufacturer and this is a solid phone for the business traveler.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is Open Source the New De Facto Standard?

    Marc Cohn, senior director of market development at Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) and chair of the ONF market education committee, kicked off the discussion and highlighted the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) Network Functions Virtualization ISG’s decision to start its own open source project, called Open Platform for NFV, or OPN, with the Linux Foundation , which already runs OpenDaylight .

    The idea, Cohn said after the panel, is to develop a framework for an open NFV platform in a similar way that OpenDaylight has created an open source approach to an SDN controller. Participation in the OPN requires a financial buy-in for both network operators and industry hardware and software vendors, and if it follows the Open Daylight model, would also require the contribution of code.

  • GCHQ Plans to Open Source Bits of Its Spy Technology

    By open sourcing that technology, the global security community can probe it for weaknesses and make it even stronger, said Professor Alan Woodward, security expert from the computing department at the University of Surrey. It should also inspire confidence that there are no backdoors or purposeful weaknesses, as the security community would be keen to probe the code, he added.

  • NICTA to release drone OS as open source
  • Auto-Summarization Tool TextTeaser Relaunches As Open Source Code

    TextTeaser, the text-summarization API that TechCrunch first profiled back in October 2013, is now open source and available on GitHub. Creator Jolo Balbin says that he decided to make the code available after “stumbling upon some scalability issues, especially in the API.”

    So he took down the API and recoded TextTeaser to make its auto-summarization process faster. Developers can chose from two plans, including one that costs $12 for every 1,000 articles summarized. The second is an enterprise plan that costs $250 per month and comes with a dedicated server that can store the article source. That means each time someone uses the tool to summarize an article, TextTeaser will learn the keywords in the text and use it to improve its results.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome/Google

      • Google Open Sources PDF Software Library

        The PDF code in Google Chrome has been made open source and available for use in apps for viewing, printing and form filling PDF files.

      • Opinion: Why CIOs should cheer Google’s latest open source move

        Virtualization is changing the IT landscape, and two news items last week drove home its impact. The first was Google’s release of Kubernetes under an open-source license. Kubernetes is basically a public version of Borg, the software that the company has used internally to harness computing power from across its data centers into a massive virtual machine.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • MemSQL, GoGrid Partner on High-Performance Big Data Cloud Analytics

      MemSQL, which provides Big Data analytics based on an in-memory database, and GoGrid have partnered to simplify deployment of the analytics solution within the cloud.

    • What is the best Linux filesystem for MariaDB?

      How do you choose the best Linux filesystem for your MariaDB server? The primary factors to look at are data integrity, performance, and ease of administration. Data integrity tops the list because fixing a corrupted database is even less fun than it sounds, and filesystems play a key role in data integrity. Performance is important because faster is better and time is money, and ease of administration matters for the same reasons as performance.

      [...]

      Trying to figure out which filesystem gives the best performance may be fun, but the filesystem won’t make a large difference in the performance of your MariaDB server. Your hardware is the most crucial factor in eking out the most speed. Fast hard drives, discrete drive controllers, lots of fast RAM, a multi-core processor, and a fast network have a larger impact on performance than the filesystem. You can also tailor your MariaDB configuration options for best performance for your workloads.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • A free photo editor worth trying: Getting started with GIMP

      When most of us are looking for a photo-editing tool, we immediately think of Photoshop. Adobe’s program is powerful and popular, but it’s pricey at $100—and that’s for the “light” version called Photoshop Elements.

      Meanwhile, $20 per month is the standard charge for individual one-app subscriptions to Photoshop Creative Cloud. Adobe offers a free in-browser version called Photoshop Express Editor, but it’s very limited and only allows you to edit JPEG files.

      A better free alternative is to turn to the open-source world and a popular program called GIMP. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is the standard photo-editing tool included or available to most Linux distributions. GIMP is also available for Windows (XP and up) and Mac.

    • Register now for the GNU Hackers’ Meeting 2014
  • Public Services/Government

    • European Parliament to weigh open source pilots

      Next Monday, the European Parliament’s budget committee will consider a proposal from the Green/EFA group to pilot the use of open source encryption software, to be used by parliament members and their staff. The Green/EFA group is also asking to trial the use of open standards and open source to make available the EP’s data available in machine-readable format.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • EZTV Users Help to Fund Horror Movie, and Open Source Another

      EZTV users may download many TV-shows for free, but they are by no means cheapskates. A team of filmmakers from Laos recently noticed that nearly all traffic to their Indiegogo campaign came from the torrent site. As a token of their appreciation they have now offered to open source their first horror film, if their funding goal is reached.

    • A web platform for streamlining scientific workflows

      If you haven’t heard, science has been experiencing some issues. Though most scientists believe in the ideals of openness, transparency, and reproducibility, the reality is that the incentive structure of academic research encourages exactly the opposite. So, scientists have a stronger professional incentive to get results published than to get them right. To make things worse, many scientists are stuck with outdated and closed source tools that aren’t up to the task of managing their increasingly complicated workflows.

    • Can we make research more like the web?

      Kaitlin Thaney is the Director of Mozilla’s Science Lab and an open science advocate. Her work in this space began with John Wilbanks building the science wing of Creative Commons (formerly known as “Science Commons”). Their focus was on crafting the infrastructure, policy and advocacy for Open Access and sharing data on the web. She moved to Digital Science, where the focus was on tools and science software, but there was still a gap.

  • Programming

    • The New asyncio Module in Python 3.4: Event Loops

      Python 3.4 added a new asynchronous I/O module named asyncio (formerly known as Tulip). The asyncio module provides a new infrastructure with a plugabble event loop, transport and protocol abstractions, a Future class (adapted for use within the event loop), coroutines, tasks, threadpool management, and synchronization primitives to simplify coding concurrent code. In this overview of asyncio, I provide a brief introduction to the main components of the module and a few simple sample applications that work with some of the event loop functions.

    • Enroll now in free, online open source programming classes

      When Kushal Das helped found the Durgapur, India, Linux users group in 2004, he was struggling to find a teacher who could show him the open source ropes.

      “During that time,” Das said in a recent presentation at PyCon 2014, “there was almost no one to tell us what exactly to do with this thing called Linux, other than clicking randomly.”

    • Real life experiences thanks to Google Summer of Code projects

      While the open source community is filled with some of the most talented minds in the world, fresh perspectives from the next generation of developers is essential to the continued pioneering spirit of open source projects. Such an injection of youthful enthusiasm lends new creative blood to the open source community, allowing projects to stay cutting edge and in keeping with current trends.

    • Inspired by Lego, fuelled by creativity: Linux-based Kano kit wants to get kids hacking again

      Both OS X and Windows 8 are fairly closed operating systems, merely allowing coders to run commands and pulling a veil over the internals of the software powering the machine. The same goes for hardware: all-in-ones, laptops, and tablets alike aren’t easy for curious types to take apart and see what’s inside.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • I stopped a ten million dollar robbery

    “For various reasons, including my wife Claudia is slightly worried I could get killed, I am changing all of the names. All of the other details are intact.” A true story by James Altucher

  • What’s Up With That: Building Bigger Roads Actually Makes Traffic Worse

    I grew up in Los Angeles, the city by the freeway by the sea. And if there’s one thing I’ve known ever since I could sit up in my car seat, it’s that you should expect to run into traffic at any point of the day. Yes, commute hours are the worst, but I’ve run into dead-stop bumper-to-bumper cars on the 405 at 2 a.m.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Feeding Hawai’i

      The early Hawaiian settlers, who arrived in the uninhabited islands around A.D. 300 from Polynesia, developed a unique system of resource management to support their growing population. Recognizing the connection between the mountains and the oceans and the key role of freshwater in linking the two, they divided the islands into self-sustaining units called ahupua’a. The ahupua’a were usually wedge-shaped sections of land that ran from the mountains to the sea (extending into coastal fishing grounds) and contained a freshwater source such as a stream, spring, or river. Each ahupua’a contained within it all the resources needed for a community to sustain itself independently.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Finance

    • Dear Marc Andreessen

      I appreciate that smart, ambitious people like you are thinking about a future of universal prosperity. You borrow terminology from finance in saying that you’re “way long human creativity”. While I’m creeped out by the commodification of our species’s ingenuity, I appreciate the sentiment. If our industry stops painting anyone who questions our business models as Luddites and finds creative ways to build products and services that sustainably address real needs, maybe we can hold on to the receding myth of triumphal disruption. Hopefully we can agree that there are many more meaningful quality of life improvements technology has yet to deliver on before we can start brainstorming the “luxury goods markets” of the future.

      Meanwhile, we don’t need to wait until a hypercapitalist techno-utopia emerges to do right by our struggling neighbors. We could make the choice to pay for universal health care, higher education, and a basic income tomorrow. Instead, you’re kicking the can down the road and hoping the can will turn into a robot with a market solution.

      [...]

      The factory owner gets rich. The line worker, not so much.

    • Private Wealth, Public Squalor: America’s Dilemma

      In the first six months of this year, Senate Republicans used the filibuster to block the Senate majority from increasing the minimum wage, providing paycheck fairness to women, and enabling those with student debt to refinance at lower rates, paid for by insuring millionaires pay a minimum tax.

      Senate Republicans joined Democrats to pass extension of unemployment insurance and comprehensive immigration reform. But Republican House Speaker John Boehner has refused to allow either measure a vote in the House, despite likely majority support for both.

      Profits are at record heights and wages near record lows as a portion of the economy. CEO pay soars to new heights. The wealthiest 1 percent pockets nearly all of the nation’s income growth, while typical household income continues to decline. We are five years into the official “recovery” that has yet to reach most Americans.

  • Censorship

    • Flying the coup: Circumventing censorship in Thailand

      On 22 May 2014, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Commander of the Royal Thai Army, launched a coup d’état, replacing the Kingdom’s beleaguered civilian political institutions with a military-led National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). The move came after months of street protests, the most recent in Thailand’s ongoing political unrest. While Thailand is no stranger to military coups, this time the military junta is focusing unprecedented efforts towards restricting online speech and the digital rights of users in Thailand.

      [...]

      The most popular way to secure email communications is using Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), popularly available through its open source implementation, Gnu Privacy Guard (GPG). While PGP leaves metadata traces unencrypted (such as the email subject line and the sender’s and recipient’s email addresses), it encrypts the content and attachments of your email to ensure that only the intended recipients can read the message (all recipients must have GPG for this to work). For help installing GPG, follow Security in a Box’s walkthrough, which covers Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux operating systems. GPG is also available for Android devices with K-9 Mail and APG.

  • Privacy

    • Pentagon working on anonymity tools to dodge NSA?

      So you already know about the NSA’s massive information-collection system to spy on U.S. citizens (courtesy Edward Snowden) which, perhaps, sends shivers down your spine? But did you also know that there is a network called Tor which you can use while surfing the Internet to dodge the NSA?

    • Mikko Hypponen says John Kerry should ‘shut the f*** up’ about Snowden

      Mikko Hypponen has slammed US Secretary of State John Kerry for branding Edward Snowden a “coward” and a “traitor,” and saying that the US National Security Agency (NSA) document leaker should “man up” and return to the United States from Russia to “make his case”.

      In not so many words, Hypponen said that Kerry should pipe down and have respect for Snowden after he blew the whistle on the world’s largest intelligence agency, the NSA.

    • Ex-NSA Guys’ Startup To Protect You From NSA

      It’s like hiring Darth Vader to build planetary defense systems to thwart the Death Star.

      Except the analogy doesn’t quite work. Vader switched to the light side because of his love for his son. These guys are just doing it for the money.

  • Civil Rights

    • 70 Years Later, Still Playing Politics With Freedom of the Press

      Today we’re in year four of the third spy investigation of a publisher in U.S. history. Since 2010 the Justice Department has investigated WikiLeaks, confirmed by court filings this April. Obama called the organization “deplorable” and continues to sponsor confining the organization’s editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, to the Embassy of Ecuador in London. June 19th marks the two-year anniversary of Assange’s entry into the Embassy. Public officials accused WikiLeaks of treason, called for Assange’s assassination, and asked private companies to cut ties to the organization. Ecuador granted Assange political asylum owing to the credible risk of torture, inhumane treatment, and unfair trial he would face here.

    • When Aaron Swartz Spoofed His MAC Address, It Proved He Was A Criminal; When Apple Does It, It’s Good For Everyone

      Whenever we write about Aaron Swartz and the criminal prosecution against him, some of our (and Aaron’s) critics scream that it was “obvious” that he knew he was up to no good, because he chose to spoof his MAC address on the machine he used to download JSTOR articles. Of course, as many people explained, spoofing a MAC address isn’t some crazy nefarious thing to do, and often makes a lot of sense. In fact, Apple recently announced that iOS 8 will have randomized MAC addresses to better protect people’s privacy. Simply speaking: Apple is making “MAC spoofing” standard. And, as the folks over at EFF are noting, this is a very good thing for your privacy.

    • GM Recalls: How General Motors Silenced a Whistle-Blower

      It was close to 3 a.m. on June 6 when Courtland Kelley burst into his bedroom, startling his wife awake. General Motors (GM), Kelley’s employer for more than 30 years, had just released the results of an investigation into how a flawed ignition switch in the Chevrolet Cobalt could easily slip into the “off” position—cutting power, stalling the engine, and disabling airbags just when they’re needed most. The part has been linked to at least 13 deaths and 54 crashes. GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, summoned before Congress in April to answer for the crisis, repeatedly declined to answer lawmakers’ questions before she had the company’s inquest in hand. Now it was out, and Kelley had stayed up to read all 325 pages on a laptop on the back porch of his rural home about 90 miles northwest of Detroit.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Court Hands Google a Worldwide Site Blocking Injunction

        In what is being viewed as an over-broad action with serious implications, a Canadian court has ordered Google to completely block a group of websites from its worldwide search results. The ruling was handed down despite Google’s protestations that the court has no jurisdiction over Google locally or in the United States.

      • Advocate General Says EU Libraries May Digitize Books In Their Collection Without Permission

        As that indicates, this is a fairly specific result, rather than a broad general right as in the US digitization case. However, what is encouraging is that it is the latest in a string of good decisions handed down by the European Union’s Court of Justice that are starting to introduce a modicum of common sense to Europe’s outdated copyright laws.

      • Torrent Domain Suspensions Damage Credibility, Registrar Says

        When the police coerce registrars to suspend domain names there are a series of damaging knock-on effects, Iceland’s top domain registry says. ISNIC says that it’s difficult to repair the kind of damage suspensions cause to the credibility of top-level domains, something that could be avoided through better understanding of Internet functionality.

More Microsoft Openwashing From The Register and Continued Deception on ‘Open Source’ in the British Press

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 12:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rinsing (and repeating) Microsoft lies in the corporate media

Money laundering

Summary: Further distortion of what FOSS means and stands for, including Microsoft’s rather unique involvement in this distortion

There has been lots of Microsoft openwashing lately, as well as Apache FUD [1, 2, 3] (The Register recently joined this FUD campaign). Some of the openwashing revolved around .NET and an article about Roslyn (which is not “open” [1, 2, 3, 4]) by Microsoft booster Tim Anderson. He did this effective Microsoft AstroTurfing (like any clever PR front) some days ago in The Register, acting like a smear against Open Source and openwashing of Microsoft at the same time. Check out this disgrace of an article:

“Pushing that button was one of the more impactful clicks of my career,” says Microsoft’s C# lead architect Anders Hejlsberg. The click in question was made on stage at Microsoft’s Build conference in April, and its effect was to publish the .NET Compiler platform, codenamed Roslyn, as open source under the Apache 2.0 licence.

Roslyn is both the next generation compiler for C# and Visual Basic, and a set of APIs which enable deep integration with developer tools (like Visual Studio) for more powerful code recognition and refactoring.

This is total nonsense, involving proprietary software which tries to masquerade as ‘open’. The Register has low standards now.

IDG, citing Microsoft buddies like Black Duck and Gartner, continues to further dilute the meaning of Open Source. These are FOSS-hostile Trojan horses, Gartner and Black Duck, are cited in IDG as ‘authorities’ on FOSS and mind the headline which is rather offensive. It’s FUD disguised as fanfare. Gartner cares about FOSS like Bush cares about peace and Black Duck cares about FOSS like a fox cares about sheep. The media sure likes too taunt FOSS, still. Watch how the media continues to proper up Gartner’s TCO FUD by ignoring all but one CIO in the UK — one who fails to admit that proprietary software requires support, just like FOSS. Here is Jos Creese used again to generate negative publicity for FOSS. To quote the article:

Yet most IT departments and data centres in the public and private sectors already deploy more open sourced software than most of us do at home or on personal devices (think Microsoft and Apple for a start). The challenge for open source providers is to be open about total cost of ownership – the idea that open source is ‘free’ in a corporate environment is usually neither helpful nor true. Honesty about the cost economics will also help to promote the real potential of open source in a corporate environment. And whilst open source solutions will become more prevalent, there will remain a role for proprietary solutions to co-exist.

This is the same old TCO FUD.

These people like to pretend that Microsoft is opening up, even in Newham (UK, central). It shows why the openwashing is so dangerous and the deception is effective for those who are gullible by choice.

Why is the British media so FOSS-hostile these days? Is there a trail of money that goes beyond just advertising?

Indian FOSS Policy Still Focused on Free/Libre Software, But in Vietnam the Population Sprayed by ‘Agent Microsoft’

Posted in Site News at 12:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Herbicide spray missions

Summary: The government of Vietnam fails to follow its own policies after heavy lobbying/bullying from Microsoft, its insidious front groups, and lobbyists/politicians that covertly work for Microsoft’s agenda (domination over foreigners using back doors and accusations of ‘piracy’) to be fulfilled

CHINA is officially moving away from Microsoft, along with other proprietary software vendors (especially those from the United States, where the NSA reigns over datacentres and engages in espionage against China). The Indian software policy is commendable [1] and it continues to impress (affecting the world’s second largest population, largest bar China and together accounting to about a third of the world’s total population), but in Vietnam the software policy continues to be tweaked by Microsoft in the same way that Monsanto tweaked government policy to avoid liabilities for potentially millions of deaths (over the decades after Agent Orange contaminations).

Thanks to a pile of leaks from Chelsea Manning, we now know and have hard evidence of we what the Vietnamese people suffered from due to Microsoft’s intervention in Vietnam along with US officials (the US government seems to be moving away from Microsoft, little by little [2] and owing to geeks). Vietnam is not in a good state right now. The country is now infamous for surveillance and an Internet crackdown which is very much facilitated by Windows. A new article sheds some light on the legacy of Microsoft lobbying [3], but it hardly provides any reference to Microsoft interference, as everything we have found in Wikileaks material. More context and background is needed for the article to be complete and paint an accurate picture.

There are many news stories these days about Asian governments moving to Free software (see our daily links), including today’s report about South Korea [4]. Vietnam has been rather unique in the way Microsoft was combating FOSS there. That’s why we covered it a lot. Wikileaks provided more leaked material to support these claims of ours.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Indian state’s agencies ordered to use open source by month’s end due to Microsoft’s XP changes

    The government of the Indian state of Kerala has ordered all of its public sector agencies using Windows XP to migrate to free and open source (FOSS) operating systems by 30 June.

  2. Will New York City Embrace Open Source Code?

    A new proposal by Council Member Benjamin Kallos would require city agencies consider open source software for projects, and establish a code-sharing portal for the city.

  3. Open source software ignored by state agencies

    Closed-source software products, mostly Microsoft’s, have been dominating Vietnam’s software market, despite the government’s encouragement to develop and use open-source software.

  4. Seoul Government developing open source, open standards cloud platform

    The cloud platform will be based on open source technologies and open standards. This will free the agencies from being dependent on just a single vendor and their technologies, the Ministry of Security and Public Administration said. External parties can improve or use the platform since it will be built on open source, the Ministry added.

Dan Goodin/Condé Nasty Cannot Recognise Real Security Threats, Preferring to Focus Only on Bugs in FOSS

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Security at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Condé Nast
Condé Nasty’s building, located near Wall Street

Summary: Articles about security issues at Condé Nasty (owner of Ars Technica) fail to focus on inherent flaws in software that is secret (and has back doors baked in), instead amplifying alarms over FOSS bugs

We recently saw some reports about Android vulnerabilities which actually count for something, e.g. privilege escalation put in proper context (user needs to actually install the software). But some people, and especially Goodin , would rather hype up non-issues and post them under “Risk Assessment / Security & Hacktivism” (an anti-Linux and now anti-Android section at Condé Nasty). They ignore the real security issues such as back doors, instead focusing on this kind of nonsense, saying that a designed change could heighten security risks for users. This is a continuation of very incomplete, one-side coverage, where only FOSS is ever characterised as insecure. It is propaganda by omission and Goodin is exaggerating the severity of flaws while adding provocative images to further increase the magnitude of fear. There is an agenda there; Irresponsible to say the least, as we recently showed. Maybe Goodin should highlight automatic updates of whole operating systems such as Windows. Why is he only picking on Android/Linux? Based on some reports, the FBI is listening to Android devices remotely. Maybe this is the kind of thing Goodin should cover, but he never does. Spooks may be hijacking automatic updates (such as Windows automatic updates) using back doors and collusion like PRISM, but Goodin is not interested in these matters. He would rather overlook the big issues like proprietary software which declines to obey settings that block automatic updates (Windows does this). Windows is the Swiss army knife of spooks, some of whom went on from agencies like the FBI to top positions inside Microsoft (and later to the firm which created hype/FUD about ‘Heartbleed’ [1, 2, 3]). People who only cover issues in FOSS instead of back doors in Windows cannot be taken seriously. It’s just so Condé Nasty (owner of Ars Technica since a few years ago). When Microsoft employees who reveal secrets of Windows get jailed and deported we should clearly divert scrutiny in that direction, but it is not happening. This site should be capable of better journalism on software issues, such as this very detailed new article about Android. Only balanced journalism will make this site look like real journalism.

Microsoft Scares Away Customers With Misguided, Short-term Strategy of Extortion

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 11:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Harvesting by force

Ice

Summary: Microsoft is trying to bribe the defectors and squeeze the existing clients in order to stay relevant in today’s Linux-dominated world

Microsoft is trying to impose its will on companies. Sometimes Microsoft extorts, blackmails, or bribes companies. Having taken control of some of Dell, the company’s gaming division (in a sense), despite its promises to GNU/Linux [1], leans towards Windows again. This is the type of attack we saw in the case of Nokia. This is not sustainable because it requires either buying the partners (sometimes potential competitors) or bribing them. It is a desperate attempt to remain relevant using big spendings; as we saw in the case of Nokia, this is bound to fail. One cannot just buy one’s way out of trouble when the products are fundamentally flawed.

According to Carlo Piana, the man who fought Microsoft in Europe while Microsoft bribed Novell to drop out of his antitrust case, there is another short-term and shortsighted strategy from Microsoft. “Microsoft is becoming annoying with its audits to clients,” he writes, “insisting on charging six-figures clients for menial inconsistencies. From what I hear, they are carpet-bombing with audits, which is not a brilliant marketing move, methinks.”

Citing Microsoft’s relationship with the NSA Will Hill asks himself:

Why might they be doing that? Thanks to Snowden, people are dumping NSA spyware like Windows, so revenue must be down. Microsoft is acting like their OS is going out of style because it is.

Well, this sure is a way to alienate customers, maybe even partners like Alienware. Windows PCs are no longer selling. Android and other Linux-based platform are the present and future. Some newer reports (cited in our daily links) already insinuate that Alienware is turning back again to GNU/Linux. We may revisit this at a later stage when Alienware makes it official.

Later this week we are going to publish an extensive post about China’s action against Microsoft’s patent extortion.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Why is Alienware launching a Steam Machine with Windows instead of SteamOS?

    While I can understand the financial difficulties inherent in waiting for a final release of SteamOS, I’m not sure that this is such a great idea on Alienware’s part. Is there really a market for this kind of device based on Windows? It seems to me that SteamOS was the big attraction for users who might buy a Steam Machine. I can’t really see the appeal of a Windows-based Steam Machine.

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