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08.22.14

Links 22/8/2014: Linux Foundation LFCS, LFCE

Posted in News Roundup at 5:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Changing times, busy times and why Google will save Usenet.

      Linux however has succeeded by way of form factors diversifying. Be it Android phones or tablets there is a big shift with the mainstream consumer in terms of what devices they want and here Linux has excelled.

      In 2008 my decision remove my Microsoft dependency was for reasons of the control they had on the desktop, the practices alleged against them and the dubious tactics some of their advocates used to promote the products. I also wholeheartedly agree with the ethos of FOSS which was another contributory factor. Today, my feelings about FOSS have not changed, there are caveats to my opinions of FOSS (especially in gaming) but I’ve covered that before in other articles.

      Today I avoid Microsoft not because I feel the need to make a stand against its behaviour, its because I don’t need them. I support Microsoft being a “choice” in the market as I support user freedom, but as for what Microsoft can offer me (regardless of its past) there is nothing.

    • 5 Linux distributions for very old computers

      This is part 4 in a series of articles designed to help you choose the right Linux distribution for your circumstances.

    • Citrix and Google partner to bring native enterprise features to Chromebooks

      Chromebooks are making inroads into the education sector, and a push is coming for the enterprise with new native Chrome capabilities from Citrix. Google and Citrix have announced Citrix Receiver for Chrome, a native app for the Chromebook which has direct access to the system resources, including printing, audio, and video.

      To provide the security needed for the enterprise, the new Citrix app assigns a unique Receiver ID to each device for monitoring, seamless Clipboard integration across remote and local applications, end user experience monitoring with HDX Insight, and direct SSL connections.

    • Can we please stop talking about the Linux desktop?

      Linus Torvalds may still want a Linux desktop, but no one else does. And even if they did, by the time the requisite ecosystem could be developed, the need for a desktop — Linux or otherwise — will largely be gone.

  • Server

    • What is Docker, Really? Founder Solomon Hykes Explains

      Docker has quickly become one of the most popular open source projects in cloud computing. With millions of Docker Engine downloads, hundreds of meetup groups in 40 countries and dozens upon dozens of companies announcing Docker integration, it’s no wonder the less-than-two-year-old project ranked No. 2 overall behind OpenStack in Linux.com and The New Stack’s top open cloud project survey.

      This meteoric rise is still puzzling, and somewhat problematic, however, for Docker, which is “just trying to keep up” with all of the attention and contributions it’s receiving, said founder Solomon Hykes in his keynote at LinuxCon and CloudOpen on Thursday. Most people today who are aware of Docker don’t necessarily understand how it works or even why it exists, he said, because they haven’t actually used it.

      “Docker is very popular, it became popular very fast, and we’re not really sure why,” Hykes said. “My personal theory … is that it was in the right place at the right time for a trend that’s much bigger than Docker, and that is very important for all of us, that has to do with how applications are built.”

    • Founder Explains What Docker Is All About

      Just over a year ago, Solomon Hykes created the open-source Docker project. Since then Docker has exploded in both popularity and hype. In a keynote session at the LinuxCon conference, Hykes explained why the hype is both a blessing and a curse.

    • What Docker does right and what it doesn’t do right… yet

      Docker founder Solomon Hykes, opened his keynote at LinuxCon by saying he knows two things about Docker: “It uses Linux containers and the Internet won’t shut up about it.” He knows more than that. He told the audience what Docker is, what it does right today, and what it still needs to do to be better than it is today.

    • IBM Taps Global Network of Innovation Centers to Fuel Linux on Power Systems for Big Data and Cloud Computing

      At the LinuxCon North America conference today, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced it is tapping into its global network of over 50 IBM Innovation Centers and IBM Client Centers to help IBM Business Partners, IT professionals, academics, and entrepreneurs develop and deliver new Big Data and cloud computing software applications for clients using Linux on IBM Power Systems servers.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • LXQt 0.8 Is Almost Ready For Release. How To Install LXQt On Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

      It uses PCManFM-Qt, a version of PCManFM, re-written in Qt, as the default file manager and Openbox as window manager and has support for both Qt5 and Wayland, Red Hat’s new display server.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Learning to git

        A few years ago, I learned from Myriam’s fine blog how to build Amarok from source, which is kept in git. It sounds mysterious, but once all the dependencies are installed, PATH is defined and the environment is properly set up, it is extremely easy to refresh the source (git pull) and rebuild. In fact, I usually use the up-arrow in the konsole, which finds the previous commands, so I rarely have to even type anything! Just hit return when the proper command is in place.

        Now we’re using git for the KDE Frameworks book, so I learned how to not only pull the new or changed source files, but also to commit my own few or edited files locally, then push those commits to git, so others can see and use them.

      • An update on Plasma Addons

        Since my last blog post on plasma addons there has been a lot of activity, existing contributors are active on their own plasmoids, and there are many new faces coming on to take up the challenge of maintaining their own small part of Plasma.

      • Baloo Natural Query Parser ported to KF5

        In 2013, My GSoC project was about implementing a natural (or “human”) query parser for what was then Nepomuk. The parser is able to recognize simple Google-like keyword searches in which sentences like “videos accessed last week” can also be used. Sample queries include “KDE Baloo, size > 2M” and “files modified two months ago, Holidays, tagged as Important”. An explanation of how the parser can extract the advanced information and of which queries are possible can be found here.

      • Intermediate results of the icon tests: Faenza

        The introduction of the new Breeze icon set in KDE let us again wonder, what aspects of an icon set actually takes what impact on the usability of it. We investigated Oxygen and Tango Icons for the LibreOffice project before, but our focus then was on checking all icons of the standard tool bar. This time we focus on different icon sets and will use 13 common actions to compare them.

      • Qt Creator 3.2 Officially Released

        Qt Creator 3.2, a cross-platform IDE (integrated development environment) tailored to the needs of Qt developers and part of the Qt Project, is now available for download.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME DOCUMENTATION VIDEO IS OUT

        The GNOME Documentation Video has now been released on youtube and as a download (Ogg Theora + Vorbis). This is something I have been waiting for since I finished working on it a few weeks ago. A big thanks to Karen for providing a great voice-over for the second time! Translated subtitles are not online just yet for the video, but should come within the next few days (thanks to pmkovar and claude for setting this up!).

      • Emulator brings x86 Linux apps to ARM devices

        Eltechs announced a virtual machine that runs 32-bit x86 Linux applications on ARMv7 SBCs and mini-PCs, and is claimed to be 4.5 times faster than QEMU.

        The open source QEMU emulator has long been the go-to app for providing virtual machines (VMs) that mimic target hardware during development or otherwise run software in alien territory. Every now and then, someone comes up with software that claims to perform all or part of QEMU’s feature-set more effectively. In this case, Eltechs has launched its Eltechs “ExaGear Desktop,” a VM that implements a virtual x86 Linux container on ARMv7 computers and is claimed to be 4.5 times faster than QEMU. Despite its “desktop” naming, we can imagine many non-desktop possibilities fpr ExaGear in embedded and IoT applications.

  • Distributions

    • Backup Your PC with Clonezilla Live 2.2.4-1

      Clonezilla Live, a Linux distribution based on DRBL, Partclone, and udpcast that allows users to do bare metal backup and recovery, is now at version 2.2.4-1 and is ready for testing.

    • Operating System U

      Are you tired of being forced to upgrade your Operating System regularly? What about the unnecessary changes that end up being made, changes that you don’t even want, much less need? How would you like to pick and choose what aspects of your operating system you want upgraded, and leave the ones you know, love, and are accustomed to how they are?

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Another great experience in Fedora bug reporting: Wine font fix solves my web-browsing problem

          Fedora‘s motto is “Freedom. Friends. Features. First.” I’m here to tell you Fedora lives up to that billing. Why do I say this now? I’ve just had another positive experience with Fedora, this time in finding a bug in my system, adding my information to an existing bug report and now seeing updated packages pushed to the Fedora 20 stable repositories and onto my system, where the problem has been fixed.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • VMware Certifies Ubuntu Linux LTS for vCloud Air Cloud Computing

            Canonical and VMware (VMW) forged a closer bond this week with the announcement of certified Ubuntu Linux images in vCloud Air, VMware’s new enterprise cloud-computing platform.

          • Ubuntu Touch Gets Major Update and the OS Is Now Crazy Fast – Screenshot Tour

            Ubuntu Touch has just received a new major update and the developers have made some serious changes to the operating system, which now feels a lot faster and the experience is a lot smoother.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • It’s Elementary, with Sparks, and Unity

              In today’s Linux news Jack Wallen review Elementary OS and says it’s not just the poor man’s Apple. Jack Germain reviewed SparkyLinux GameOver yesterday and said it’s a win-win. Linux Tycoon Bryan Lunduke testdrives Ubuntu’s Unity today in the latest entry in his desktop-a-week series. And finally tonight, just what the heck is this Docker thing everybody keeps talking about?

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Android-on-ARM mini-PC draws less than 7W

      The DSA2LS runs a pre-installed Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) with integrated online or offline update functionality on a dual-core, 1GHz Freescale i.MX6 DualLite system-on-chip. The SoC has a Vivante GC880 GPU that’s not as powerful as the Vivante GC2000 GPU found on the Dual and Quad i.MX6 models, but it still plays back 1080p video and offers 3D graphics acceleration. The power-sipping DualLite enables the fanless computer to run at a modest 6.26W active and 1.42W standby, according to Shuttle’s AnTuTu benchmarks.

    • IoT tinkerers get new Linux hub & open platforms

      Cloud Media, the maker of entertainment box Popcorn Hour, launched a project on Kickstarter, Inc. that will add to the growing number of smart hubs for people to connect and control smart devices. Called the STACK Box, it features a Cavium ARM11 core processor, 256MB DDR3 RAM, 512MB flash, SD slot, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth LE 4.0, Z-Wave, standard 10/100 Ethernet port, optional X10 wired communication, 5 USB 2.0 ports, RS-232 port, 2 optocoupler I/O, Xbee Bus, Raspberry Pi-compatible 26-pin bus and runs Linus Kernel 3.10. IT also features optional wireless communications for Dust Networks and Insteon with RF433/315, EnOcean, ZigBee, XBee, DCLink, RFID, IR coming soon.

    • mini Duino+ Open Source Ardunio Board Based On ATmega 1284p (video)
    • Phones

      • Android

        • The top 14 hidden features in Windows, iOS, and Android

          You may think you’re a high-tech power user who knows all the nooks and crannies of Windows, iOS, and Android, but let’s be realistic: There could be at least a few undocumented (or poorly documented) commands, control panels, and apps that have slipped by you—maybe more than a few.

          We’ve dived deep into each OS to uncover the best hidden tips and tricks that can make you more productive—or make common tasks easier. Got a favorite undocumented tip to share with readers? Add them in the comments section at the end of the article.

        • Motorola frenzy with up to 9 devices possibly launching at ‘Moto Launch Exprience’

          We have seen a number of sources revealing upcoming releases and device-launches set for September. However today, we are hearing seriously scary reports that Motorola are set to release EIGHT devices before Christmas. Yes folks, Motorola are about to get extremely serious in terms of the market releasing no less than eight devices over the next few months.

        • OnePlus phones will soon come to India

          Last month we reported on how OnePlus were making clear indications they do intend to sell the One in India. Today it is fair to say that the speculation is certainly over and OnePlus will certainly be selling in India soon.

          On the OnePlus website the company is now advertising for a General Manager for its ‘India Operations’. As the company does not currently sell or deliver to India there is no clearly message the company could have sent to indicate this will soon change in the near future.

        • [Mono warning] Unity adds native Android support for x86
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Notebook Reality

        Meanwhile Android/Linux increases an order of magnitude more than that. Smartphones are shipping more units than desktops ever did and tablets are becoming a mature market. The Wintel PC is becoming a niche market, only thriving with businesses who resist change and need keyboards, large screens and pointers.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source software: The question of security

    The logic is understandable – how can a software with source code that can easily be viewed, accessed and changed have even a modicum of security?

  • Is Open Source an Open Invitation to Hack Webmail Encryption?

    While the open source approach to software development has proven its value over and over again, the idea of opening up the code for security features to anyone with eyeballs still creates anxiety in some circles. Such worries are ill-founded, though.

    One concern about opening up security code to anyone is that anyone will include the NSA, which has a habit of discovering vulnerabilities and sitting on them so it can exploit them at a later time. Such discoveries shouldn’t be a cause of concern, argued Phil Zimmermann, creator of PGP, the encryption scheme Yahoo and Google will be using for their webmail.

  • Islamic State Migrates to Open-Source Social Network After Twitter and YouTube Bans

    After being banned from Twitter and YouTube due to its video of James Foley’s murder, the Islamic State (Isis) migrated to another social network called Diaspora

  • Open-Source Social Network Diaspora Grapples With Use by Terror Group

    Even before its current challenges, Diaspora has had a difficult history (highlighted in this Vice Motherboard feature). Started in 2010 with the promise of creating a decentralized open-source replacement for Twitter and Facebook, the network drew positive press at first and more than $200,000 in Kickstarter funding. But when it was released to the public, it failed to build the audience to match its lofty ambitions.

  • 35 Open Source Tools for the Internet of Things

    In a nutshell, IoT is about using smart devices to collect data that is transmitted via the Internet to other devices. It’s closely related to machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. While the concept had been around for some time, the term “Internet of Things” was first used in 1999 by Kevin Ashton, who was a Procter & Gamble employee at the time.

  • Walmart’s investment in open source isn’t cheap

    This is not done for the love of humanity. Walmart takes the effort to work in the open because there is a return to be had from that investment. When other companies adopt Hapi, Walmart expects their internal implementations will lead them to improve the code to better suit their needs. Since the majority of these improvements are likely to be integral to the code in the commons, any rational actor will make pull requests attempting to have their work integrated in the project trunk.

    Of course — otherwise, the team making the changes would be eternally burdened with the need to refactor and test their changes each time the trunk is updated. Successful pull requests lead to merges that bring the whole community together for the upkeep of the code, not just the developers who originally wrote it.

  • Most popular open-source cloud projects of 2014

    At CloudOpen, a Linux Foundation tradeshow held in conjunction with LinuxCon, the Foundation announced that an online survey of open-source cloud professionals found OpenStack to be the most popular overall project.

  • Tunapanda brings digital literacy to Africa

    The ultimate goal was to bring low-income communities to technological literacy in the most rapid and cost-efficient way possible. Initially, we loaded the hard drive with tons of educational content and FOSS software, intending to allow anyone anywhere to duplicate the contents and set up a learning center. Using these tools, we’ve launched computer learning centers (“hubs”) in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda—in both rural and urban settings.

  • Open source leaders take the ice bucket challenge
  • Apache Tomcat 8.0.0 RC11 Now Available for Download and Testing

    Apache Tomcat, an open source software implementation of the Java Servlet and JavaServer Pages technologies, developed under the Java Community Process, is now at version 8.0.0 RC11.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • With New Funding, Adatao Focuses on Bringing Hadoop to the Masses

      Recently, news broke that a small startup called Adatao has secured $13 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz with investment partners from Lightspeed Ventures and Bloomberg Beta. Marc Andreessen is a board advisor to the company, which is run by CEO Christopher Nguyen, a former director of engineering for Google Apps.

      Of course, Nguyen knows his way around Google Docs, and his company Adatao is working on ways to make Hadoop as easy to work with as Google Docs. It’s part of a trend to bring Hadoop’s Big Data-crunching prowess to average users through easier to use tools.

    • Survey Finds OpenStack, KVM Riding High Among Cloud Professionals

      In conjunction with CloudOpen, a sidebar tradeshow held along with LinuxCon, The Linux Foundation has announced that a survey of open source cloud pros established that OpenStack is easily the most popular project. The survey gathered information from more than 550 participants, and the findings came out at CloudOpen in Chicago this week.

    • Survey says: OpenStack and Docker top cloud projects

      When it comes to open source cloud projects, everybody has an opinion. A new survey attempts to take a broad look at those opinions and learn something about the state of the state of the open cloud and where it is headed.

      Conducted in partnership between Linux.com and the New Stack, the survey gathered information from more than 550 participants, and the results were released at the CloudOpen North America event taking place this week in Chicago.

  • Databases

    • Eltechs Debuts x86 Crossover Platform for ARM Tablets, Mini-PCs

      The product, called ExaGear Desktop, runs x86 operating systems on top of hardware devices using ARMv7 CPUs. That’s significant because x86 software, which is the kind that runs natively on most computing platforms today, does not generally work on ARM hardware unless software developers undertake the considerable effort of porting it. Since few are likely to do that, having a way to run x86 applications on ARM devices is likely to become increasingly important as more ARM-based tablets and portable computers come to market.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Video: TedX talk – Richard Stallman

      Well, vp9/opus in a webm container have been supported by both Firefox and Google Chrome for several releases now… so enjoy it in your web browser.

  • Public Services/Government

    • NASA sails to the cloud with AWS, open source, migration

      NASA has migrated 110 websites and applications to the cloud in a cost-cutting technology overhaul that also introduced the Drupal content management system and other open source components to the agency’s enterprise tool chest.NASA has migrated 110 websites and applications to the cloud in a cost-cutting technology overhaul that also introduced the Drupal content management system and other open source components to the agency’s enterprise tool chest.

    • US Military To Launch Open Source Academy

      Open source software, which has become increasingly common throughout the US military from unmanned drones to desktops, has now been enlisted as a career option for military personnel. In September, Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center will open a Linux certification academy, marking the first time such a training program has been hosted on a military base.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Building Cars With Crowdsourced Intelligence

      When Jay Rogers left the U.S. Marine Corps in 2004, he made a promise to his fallen soldier friends that he would go out into the world and make a difference. Speaking at the LinuxCon conference here, Rogers detailed how he has delivered on that promise with Local Motors, a startup that is set to enable a new era of automobiles.

      Local Motors is a platform for designing, building and selling automobiles and automotive products. Rogers said it’s a platform for co-creation and micro-manufacturing of vehicles that completely rethinks the way that cars can and should be built.

    • Linux Foundation offers new certification, Mesos comes to Google, and more

      In this week’s edition of our open source news roundup, we share news on virtual certifications from the Linux Foundation, Mesosphere partnering with Google, government and GitHub, and more!

    • Open Access/Content

      • Why the Future of Education Is Open

        Anant Agarwal, the CEO of online education platform edX, is on a mission to change the way that people learn. In a keynote address at the LinuxCon conference here, Agarwal explained how open source and big data techniques are being used at edX to help educate millions of people.

        The edX platform was founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the promise of redefining the future of education. The edX platform has 2.7 million students around the world. One of edX’s most popular classes is an introduction to Linux course from the Linux Foundation, which has more than 250,000 students.

Leftovers

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Two SuperPACs Focused On Ending SuperPACs Release New TV Commercials

      We’ve been writing up some of the new political efforts to try to put some limits on money in politics, including Larry Lessig’s Mayday SuperPAC, Represent.us’ satirical campaign for the “most honest politician,” Gil Fulbright, and also CounterPAC, a SuperPAC that tries to get politicians to take a pledge not to accept dark money.

  • Censorship

    • Attacks On Anonymity Conflate Anonymous Speech With Trollish Behavior

      Every so often this sort of thing pops up where people suddenly think it’s a good idea to “end anonymity” online. We’ve discussed this in the past, and it’s always the same basic argument — one that conflates anonymity with “bad things” that people say online. There are all sorts of problems with this, but it starts with this: anonymity also allows people to reveal all sorts of good things online as well and plenty of people say and do horrible things with their names attached. And yet… the arguments keep on coming.

    • Military Prefers To Keep Its Head In The Sand: Bans All Employees From Visiting The Intercept

      Not this again. A few years ago, the US military blocked access to a bunch of news sites, including the NY Times and The Guardian, in an attempt to block military members from reading the news because some of the news included the leaked State Department cables that Wikileaks had released in conjunction with those news sites. Last year, the Defense Department blocked all access to the Guardian after it started reporting on the Ed Snowden leaks. And now, The Intercept reports, the military has also banned access to The Intercept. Of course, no one in the military will know that the public knows about this, because they’re apparently not allowed to read about it.

  • Privacy

    • The Government Uses the Dragnets for Detainee Proceedings

      First, NSA can disseminate this information without declaring the information is related to counterterrorism (that’s the primary dissemination limitation discussed in this section), and of course, without masking US person information. That would at least permit the possibility this data gets used for non-counterterrorism purposes, but only when it should least be permitted to, for criminal prosecutions of Americans!

      Remember, too, the government has explicitly said it uses the phone dragnet to identify potential informants. Having non-counterterrorism data available to coerce cooperation would make that easier.

    • Researchers create privacy wrapper for Android Web apps
  • Civil Rights

    • “Negro Spring”: Ferguson Residents, Friends of Michael Brown Speak Out for Human Rights

      As peaceful protests continued Wednesday in Ferguson, Missouri, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in the city to meet with residents and FBI agents investigating the police shooting of Michael Brown. Democracy Now! traveled to Ferguson this week and visited the site where the 18-year-old Brown was killed. We spoke to young people who live nearby, including some who knew him personally. “He fell on his knees. Like, ’Don’t shoot.’ [The police officer] shot him anyway in the eye, the head, and four times down here,” said one local resident Rico Like. “Hands up, don’t shoot is all I got to say. RIP Mike Brown.”

    • A Fox News Tantrum And A Split-Screen: A Metaphor for The Decline Of White America
    • Cop in Ferguson Tweets Lies to Justify Tear-Gassing Protesters in Their Own Back Yard

      A Velda City police officer who has been part of the militarized police apparatus holding down operations on West Florissant Avenue is spreading lies about Ferguson protesters online.

      Sergeant Mike Weston, going by the handle “officeranon2″ on Twitter, engaged with users of the social-media network about a tear-gas attack by St. Louis County police on protesters in their own back yard on Monday, August 11. In the conversation, a Twitter user wanted to know why police would fire tear gas at people on their own property. Weston tells them it’s because protesters were firing guns from their back yard. But that’s not true…

    • NYT Responds on Torture

      Responding to messages inspired by the alert, Sullivan went to Times foreign editor Joseph Kahn, who said the paper’s Kabul bureau “decided it did not add much to what we have already, on many occasions, reported. Much of it appeared to be recycled from United Nations reports and other news coverage, including our own.”

    • In Ferguson, Cops Hand Out 3 Warrants Per Household Every Year

      We’ve all seen a number of stories like this recently, and it prompts a question: why are police departments allowed to fund themselves with ticket revenue in the first place? Or red light camera revenue. Or civil asset forfeiture revenue. Or any other kind of revenue that provides them with an incentive to be as hardass as possible. Am I missing something when I think that this makes no sense at all?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Why we sued Getty Images

        On August 20, 2014, our firm filed a lawsuit on our own behalf against Getty Images, Inc. Why did we do it? Here is why.

        On July 1, 2014, our firm received an unsigned letter from Getty Images Inc. that claimed unauthorized copying and display of a Getty photograph on this website and demanded immediate payment of a $380 licensing fee or legal action would follow.

        There was a problem, however. We never copied or displayed the Getty image referred to in Getty’s letter.

        We looked more closely at what Getty was doing and were shocked to discover what was really going on.

        You see, Getty is apparently using an image recognition system to generate its letters to accused infringers. Getty’s system identified a thumbnail image on our website here. Getty matched the thumbnail to an image more than six times the size on Getty’s site.

      • Getty Threatens The Wrong IP Law Firm In Its Copyright Trolling Efforts

        Image licensing giant Getty Images has quite a reputation for being something of a copyright maximalist and occasional copyright troll. The company has been known to blast out threat letters and lawsuits not unlike some more notorious copyright trolls. And that’s true even as the company just recently lost a copyright infringement suit in which Getty helped in the infringement. A few months ago, we had told you about Getty starting a new program in which it was making many of its images free to embed, saying that it was “better to compete” that way on the internet, rather than trying to license everything. We actually just tried embedding some Getty images ourselves recently.

      • New Zealand Court Freezes Kim Dotcom’s Assets, Again

        The Internet entrepreneur accused of running a massive global piracy ring suffered a rare setback in his adopted country today. The New Zealand Court of Appeal extended for another year the restraining orders over some of the assets and property belonging to Kim Dotcom. The ruling “means millions of dollars, several luxury cars, jewelry and other property remain frozen,” the New Zealand Herald reported. The original 2012 orders were scheduled to expire in April after a lower court ruled in favor of Dotcom. Now they will extend to April, 2015.

UPS Burned by Microsoft Windows, Gives Away Massive Number of Credit Card Details

Posted in FUD, Microsoft, Security at 4:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TJ Maxx all over again?

Boycott against UPS

Summary: UPS is the latest victim of Microsoft’s shoddy back door with software on top of it (Windows); attempts to blame FOSS for data compromise actually divert attention from the real culprit, which is proprietary software

A boycott against UPS, based on my bitter experiences, is nothing too prejudiced. Their system does not work well. That’s an understatement actually. It’s dysfunctional. In fact, it’s an utter mess. I wasn’t the only one who was utterly screwed, reputedly, and made deeply upset by them. I tried to accomplish something so simple and spent a huge amount of time achieving nearly nothing. They are badly coordinated and their system is crap. They’re using an utterly flawed system, especially when it comes to exchanges with clients, including financial exchanges. Last year I was upset enough to produce some memes like the following:

UPS

Now it turns out that UPS was foolish enough to be using Microsoft Windows. Consequently, in many countries (not just one) it got “infected with credit card stealing malware” and customers are going to pay dearly (customers, not UPS):

Grocery shoppers nationwide probably had credit card data stolen

Coast-to-coast: Albertsons, Acme Markets, Jewel-Osco and more were hit.
Dozens of UPS stores across 24 states, including California, Georgia, New York, and Nebraska, have been hit by malware designed to suck up credit card details. The UPS Store, Inc., is a subsidiary of UPS, but each store is independently owned and operated as a licensed franchisee.

“Windows, again,” says our reader. “See the annotations in the update…”

Notice how the Microsoft-friendly Condé Nast fails to even name Microsoft. Total cover-up, maybe misreporting. Disgusting. It’s like naming an issue in some car model, stating that it is chronic, dangerous and widespread, but still not naming the car maker or the model. Recall also the biggest credit card-stealing incidents in recent history; it is almost always due to Microsoft and Windows.

There is a bunch of reports circulating right now which blame an OpenSSL bug (that Microsoft likes to hype up) for patients’ data compromise.

A reader of ours who lectures on computer security explains: “The real problem was that, as seen in other articles, they used a VPN in place of real security. Oh, and the VPN was closed source, not OpenVPN.”

“This is no surprise as when given internal access to any computer network, it is virtually a 100% success rate at breaking into systems and furthering access,” says one report.

“They admit to having no security for their services and relying on a VPN to provide the illusion of security,” our reader explains. “They also misuse the marketing term ’0-day’.”

Anything to keep the term “Heartbleed” in headlines, creating a FOSS scare…

You can count on the likes of Condé Nast covering Microsoft-induced disaster without mentioning Mirosoft at all while at the same time shouting “Heartbleed” from the rooftops, as Condé Nast so regularly does.

Microsoft’s Funding of ALEC and Other Systemic Corruption

Posted in Fraud, Microsoft at 3:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Koch

Summary: Microsoft role in writing of laws by proxy, via groups such as ALEC

Several years we saw ALEC getting exposed, thanks in part to activists around the Web. We then saw the faces of people and corporations that were attacking the people of the world by corrupting politicians and writing laws by proxy.

Bill Gates was funding ALEC, one of the most notorious lobby groups in the US. It turns out now that Microsoft too has been funding ALEC, but no more. Microsoft “is no longer a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and has stopped funding the group.”

ALEC has been incredibly notorious for a number of years. What drove Microsoft to ALEC’s arms and why did it take Microsoft so much time to stop funneling money into this systemic corruption? The negative publicity was probably outweighed by benefits that Microsoft got (tomorrow we will provide an example of massive tax evasion by Microsoft). This is not an exception by the way; Microsoft has funded other ugly groups that even help deny climate change, so this whole thing is no reason for surprise or even a cause for shock. Two crooks get along.

In other news, Opera steps into bed with the crook. “Opera Mini will become the default web browser for Microsoft’s existing feature phones and Asha phones portfolio, as part of a new deal announced today,” says a report. While it means MSIE is dying, this also means that the company which once complained about Microsoft’s abuses to European authorities is now selling out. Why? Money.

Corruption is systemic and those with the money typically manage to get away with everything, including crimes. If the rich write our laws (sometimes by proxy), then it’s expected that they will almost never be sent to prison. Impunity is attained this way.

Microsoft is Still Preying on British Taxpayers, Playing Politics

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 3:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Some news from the UK showing how Microsoft uses politics to extract money out of taxpayers, irrespective of their preferences

AS one who works with the British public sector, I personally happen to know some of Microsoft’s very dirty (if not criminal) tricks. There are all sorts of ways by which one games these systems, especially by “lobbying” (to put it politely) those who make decisions. I have heard stories and also seen incidents, some of which I cannot share publicly. Microsoft simply refuses to play by the rules. To obey the law is some kind of a joke to Microsoft. Tomorrow we will give examples from Chile and Germany, but today we’ll focus on the UK.

Microsoft just loves to exploit British taxpayers. The UK is a relatively rich country that is most notorious for its excessive spendings on public IT. It is no wonder that Microsoft worked so hard to impede ODF adoption in the UK.

Microsoft is now trying to impose its surveillance ‘cloud’ (proprietary software with NSA access) on British transportation. How amazing is that? They label lock-in “modernisation”:

MICROSOFT HAS TEAMED with British internet systems installation company Telent and IT consulting company CGI in a bid to modernise London’s tube network using the Internet of Things (IoT).

Announced in a UK government blog post, the partnership will look to modernise the London Underground monitoring systems, which oversee critical rail assets with data from thousands of devices and sensors, by integrating Microsoft’s Azure Intelligent Systems Services software.

Why does the British government continue to throw away so much money, giving it to foreign companies with such a poor privacy record that they resemble moles with back doors and espionage tendencies? Local SMEs could do far better. This should be causing outrage, but there is apathy.

The NSA’ partner wants to conduct mass surveillance in London’s Tube and technical problems are sure to come. Just see LSE. Look what Microsoft had done to it before it moved to GNU/Linux.

A reader asks: “Is this just a bid or has a contract been signed?”

The article above merely links to a Microsoft marketing-esque blog.

In other news from the UK, some euphemistically-named “Microsoft Ventures” (for “the children” of course, just like the Microsoft- and Bill Gates-bankrolled Intellectual Ventures) is preying on children when not spying on them. Interestingly enough, this was posted under “Politics” by the Microsoft-friendly Condé Nast.

“Microsoft will provide funding, mentorship and workspace through its London startup accelerator, Microsoft Ventures. It will also develop a dedicated open skills badge for iDEA,” says this report. Got that? Open. Yes, lock-in is “open”.

When will Microsoft finally get out of the UK and stop pretending that it helps “the children” and “modernisation”? Lock-in in sheep’s clothing is all it is, and adding insult to injury, this is mass surveillance on British travelers (not a choice) and children who must attend schools.

Microsoft’s Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as 20% of Staff Laid Off

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 3:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More good news regarding the demise of patents as Microsoft’s leading patent proxy is collapsing more rapidly than anyone ever imagined and software patents too are collectively doubted

Not only Microsoft is laying off nearly 20% of its staff after years of gradual (but mostly concealed) layoffs. Intellectual Ventures, the world’s biggest patent troll that Bill Gates and Microsoft created, is not quite managing to survive, not even with extortions coordinated and perpetrated en masse. We heard about Intellectual Ventures’ financial issues before, but this is a pleasant surprise:

Intellectual Ventures, the company Silicon Valley loves to despise, is laying off about 20 percent of its employees, Bloomberg Businessweek has learned.

On Tuesday, IV sent a memo to its workers, notifying them of the cuts. The company has been employing 700 people, which means about 140 will be let go. “We are making operational changes that are consistent with this reduction and will enable us to maintain and expand our leadership in the market for invention,” the company said in a statement. “Our assets—both people and intellectual property—are among the best in the industry.” Now, let me try to translate that.

Not too long ago Microsoft threw it a lifeline. This uber-troll, the world’s biggest and most vicious troll, is finally announcing layoffs and it is a major deal because it might come to show what will happen to other trolls like it. This Microsoft- and Gates-funded nuisance cannot go far without Microsoft subsidies, apparently.

Times are tough for a patent troll, apparently. A year ago, we noted that Intellectual Ventures — the world’s largest patent troll, who brought in billions of dollars by getting companies to pay up a shakedown fee to avoid lawsuits over its giant portfolio of patents (mostly cast off from universities who couldn’t find any other buyers) — was running out of cash. While IV did convince Microsoft and Sony to dump in some more cash, IV’s litigation strategy is in shambles. Various lawsuits are dropping like flies without any of the big wins that IV promised.

Now that SCOTUS sheds doubt on a lot of software patents things definitely improve. As one lawyers’ site put it a few days ago:

The Supreme Court has not attempted to “delimit the precise contours of the ‘abstract ideas’ category.” In other words, the Court is essentially saying “we will know it when we see it.” This presents a significant problem to inventors and patent attorneys working in the software industry.

In effect, the Supreme Court is proposing a syllogism such as the following:
- Patents shall not be granted on abstract ideas.
- X is an abstract idea.
- Therefore, a patent shall not be granted on X.

The problem is that the Court has not defined “abstract idea.” Furthermore, “abstract idea” is not self-defining and is not a term that is agreed to by everyone. In fact, an endless chain of assumptions must be followed in arriving at a definition. For example, a court might say: “A general purpose computer executing this software is an abstract idea.” A patent applicant then challenges this statement by saying, e.g., “how is this computer with a claimed memory, processor, input/output unit, and a specific software program “general purpose?” The Court then points to the holding in Alice that the particular claimed computer (system claim) is merely carrying out a method that is an abstract idea and the patent attorney is just re-writing the same general purpose method as a system claim and that including hardware elements does not transform the system claim from an abstract idea. This is circular reasoning.

What patent lawyers wish not to accept or even to grasp is the simple fact that, as we have explained before on numerous occasions, all software patents are inherently abstract. Patents do not cover code but only algorithms, which are conceptual. Code is covered by copyright law. As this gets realised by more judges and they make rulings based on this realisation we are likely to see software patents ebbing away. But don’t expect patent lawyers to give up easily, especially not Microsoft and its extortion strategists. Extortion with patents is Microsoft’s last hope. Here is alawyers’ publication publishing propaganda by a “registered patent agent”:

The Supreme Court has declared abstract ideas unpatentable, but there are structural and other ways around the restrictions, writes Christopher Hall.

Christopher Hall is a registered patent agent in the Silicon Valley office of Womble Carlyle. He has 17 years of industry experience as a professional engineer and is named as sole inventor or co-inventor on 15 granted patents.

Pointless self promotion and not even any content in this article, just an advertisement of vapourware. A bit like Intellectual Ventures…

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