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09.01.14

Links 1/9/2014: Poettering on systemd, ITNews on DBMSs

Posted in News Roundup at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Ten Linux Desktops Showing Just How Far Behind Mac OS X and Windows Designs Are

    Linux doesn’t have any kind of PR, and in the collective mind of the people, there is still an impression that Linux users spend their time inside the terminal and in dreary desktops. In fact, most of the current Linux desktops are much better than anything made by Apple of Microsoft.

  • Lennart Poettering Talks Up His New Linux Vision That Involves Btrfs

    Lennart Poettering of systemd and PulseAudio fame has published a lengthy blog post that shares his vision for how he wishes to change how Linux software systems are put together to address a wide variety of issues. The Btrfs file-system and systemd play big roles with his new vision.

  • Revisiting How We Put Together Linux Systems

    Of course, we are developers of the systemd project. Implementing this scheme is not just a job for the systemd developers. This is a reinvention how distributions work, and hence needs great support from the distributions. We really hope we can trigger some interest by publishing this proposal now, to get the distributions on board. This after all is explicitly not supposed to be a solution for one specific project and one specific vendor product, we care about making this open, and solving it for the generic case, without cutting corners.

  • Desktop

    • Linux has run out of time – I looked into the trap, Jim

      Is Word better than LibreOffice Writer or is LibreOffice Writer better than Word? Is Android better than Apple? Were Nirvana better than Pearl Jam? Which were better “The Beatles” or “The Rolling Stones”?

      Microsoft Word has a lot of flaws that people seem to gloss over. Bullets and numbering for instance are just random. The fonts change, the numbering changes, the indentation changes and for no apparent reason.

      The Microsoft ribbon bars have surely just been added to sell training courses because there is no way they are better than menus, toolbars and keyboard shortcuts. Everything we have been used to for 20 years all switched around for no seemingly good reason. I don’t like it when my local supermarket rearranges all the shelves for no apparent reason either. If you want a ribbon bar then there is always Kingsoft Office.

  • Server

    • Matching databases to Linux distros

      Relational database management systems (RDBMSs) aren’t the sort of thing to get most folk out of bed in the morning – unless, of course, you happen to think they’re one of the most brilliant concepts ever dreamed up.

      These days you can’t sneeze without someone turning it into a table value in a database somewhere – and in combination with the freely available Linux operating system, there’s no end to them.

      Most Linux distros make it almost trivial to add popular DBMSs to your system, such as MySQL and MariaDB, by bundling them in for free in their online app stores. But how do you tell which combination – which Linux distro and which DBMS – will give you the best performance?

      This week we’ve revved up the Labs servers to ask the question: what level of performance do you get from OS repository-sourced DBMSs?

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.17-rc3

      I’m back to the usual Sunday release schedule, and -rc3 is out there
      now. As expected, it is larger than rc2, since people are clearly
      getting back from their Kernel Summit travels etc. But happily, it’s
      not *much* larger than rc2 was, and there’s nothing particularly odd
      going on, so I’m going to just ignore the whole “it’s summer”
      argument, and hope that things are just going that well.

      Please don’t prove me wrong,

      Linus

    • Linux 3.17-rc3 Kernel Released Back On Schedule

      Linus Torvalds is back to his rhythm of releasing new kernel release candidates on Sundays.

      After Linux 3.17-rc2 was released last Monday to celebrate 23 years of Linux, Torvalds is now back in Portland and doing his Sunday release rhythm.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa 10.3 release candidate 2

        Mesa 10.3 release candidate 2 is now available for testing. The current plan of record is to have an additional release candidate each Friday until the 10.3 release on Friday, September 12th.

        The tag in the GIT repository for Mesa 10.3-rc2 is ‘mesa-10.3-rc2′. I have verified that the tag is in the correct place in the tree.

      • Mesa 10.3 RC2 Arrives Via Its New Release Manager
      • Nouveau X.Org Driver Released With DRI3+Present, Maxwell, GLAMOR

        The Nouveau development community released the xf86-video-nouveau 1.0.11 driver update to kick off the start of September. While you wouldn’t guess it from the version number, this driver update is actually very significant and introduces a lot of new functionality and other improvements.

    • Benchmarks

      • Preview: AMD’s FX-9590 Eight-Core At Up To 5.0GHz On Linux

        Since last year AMD’s had the FX-9590 as the top-end Vishera CPU that can top out at 5.0GHz with its Turbo Frequency, but initially this processor was only available to OEM system builds. Over time the OEM version of the FX-9590 became available to consumers while earlier this summer AMD launched a retail version of the FX-9590 that included the eight-core CPU with a closed-loop water cooling solution. Today we’re reviewing this highest-end Vishera CPU to see how it compares to other AMD and Intel processors on Ubuntu Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • AMBIANCE & RADIANCE COLORS THEMES UPDATED WITH XFCE FIXES

      Quick update for Ambiance & Radiance Colors fans: the theme pack was updated (version 14.04.6) today with quite a few Xfce fixes such as: fixed window borders on non-Debian distros, fixed Xfce GTK3 indicator background and more.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Personal clones on KDE infrastructure

        I’m doing a little work on Tupi – the 2D animation application that joined the KDE community some months back — so that it builds on FreeBSD (the C++ code is wonderful, but the build system is qonf, which is not).

        This has led me to the maze of git documentation on KDE’s infrastructure, and I’m taking notes so I don’t forget what I did. It’s also part of one of the things-to-do-at-Akademy on my list: talk to the techbase people to find out what the status and intentions are.

      • THE AWESOMELY EPIC GUIDE TO KDE

        Desktops on Linux. They’re a concept completely alien to users of other operating systems because they never having to think about them. Desktops must feel like the abstract idea of time to the Amondawa tribe, a thought that doesn’t have any use until you’re in a different environment. But here it is – on Linux you don’t have to use the graphical environment lurking beneath your mouse cursor. You can change it for something completely different. If you don’t like windows, switch to xmonad. If you like full-screen apps, try Gnome. And if you’re after the most powerful and configurable point-and-click desktop, there’s KDE.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Try GNOME 3.14 Beta 1 with Wayland Without Installing Anything

        GNOME is working to implement official Wayland support for the upcoming 3.14 release and they seem to be more than half way there. It’s difficult to test the new GNOME 3.14 Beta updates that have been made until now, especially with the Wayland integration, but a Reddit user posted a short and easy-to-follow tutorial in this regard.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab Linux 5.1 Released

        Today we are pleased to release the next in the 5 series of Black Lab Linux. Black Lab Linux 5.1 contains many updates, new features and enhancements to the Black Lab Linux distribution.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debconf Wrapup

        Debconf14 started with a Meet and Greet before the Welcome Talk. I got to meet people and find out what they do for Debian. I also got to meet other GSoC students that I had only previously interacted with online. During the Meet and Greet I also met one of my mentors for GSoC, Zack. Later in the conference I met another of my mentors, Piotr. Previously I only interacted with Zack and Piotr online.

      • Derivatives

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The Curious Case of Raspberry Pi Consumerism

      I find the attitude of many within the Raspberry Pi community to be strange and offensive.

      I first discovered this odd phenomenon (odd because it contradicts the ethos of the project’s academic foundations) back when it first started, as many within the Raspberry Pi community took an extremely hostile attitude toward academic freedom, apparently in defence of various parties’ highly dubious intellectual monopolies (Broadcom and MPEG-LA, for example).

      I pointed out the irony and hypocrisy of their attitude at the time, explaining that they were more than happy to leech Free (as in freedom) Software for their own benefit, but then balked at the prospect of freely sharing the results, and in particular this contradicted their stated academic goal of facilitating better computer education in UK schools, an environment that rightly demands open access to knowledge.

    • A web browser for the Raspberry Pi

      Since the first beta release we have made huge improvements; now the browser is more responsive, it’s faster, and videos work much better (the first beta could play 640×360 videos at 0.5fps, now we can play 25fps 1280×720 videos smoothly). Some web sites are still a bit slow (if they are heavy on the JavaScript side), but there’s not much we can do for web sites that, even on my laptop with an Intel Core i7, use 100% of one of the cores for more than ten seconds.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • The Trouble With Android

          At my house we have a second generation Nexus 7. I don’t use it at all, but my roommate depends on it. Again, it’s a beautiful OS, stable and easy to use, but it’s all about selling things. In fact, you can’t even enter the app store without going through a screen that nags you to make a deposit in case you find an app you want to buy — and a way of saying “no thanks, I’m just looking for free apps” isn’t as obvious as it should be.

          Like the Internet, Android is primarily a marketing tool designed by Google, which is primarily a marketing company.

        • Android Build Support Improved For Libdrm

          Emil Velikov, the new Mesa release manager, just landed a large set of libdrm patches for improving the open-source graphics drivers for Android.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 tips on migrating to open-source software

    Open source is not just for Linux. Yes, you’ll certainly find a much larger selection of open-source software for the Linux platform, but both Windows and Apple also enjoy a good number of titles. Regardless of what Free Open Source Software (FOSS) you need to use, you might not always find it the most natural evolution — especially when you’ve spent the whole of your career using proprietary software. The thing is, a lot of open-source software has matured to the point where it rivals (and sometimes bests) its proprietary counterpart.

  • Tech kingpins: Your kit would be tastier with a spot of open source

    Of course, I’m not just aiming this blogpost at EMC, I’d also like to see IBM take this approach with GPFS. The open-source products are beginning to be good enough for many, certainly outside of some core performance requirements. Ceph, for example, is really beginning to pick up some momentum, especially now that RedHat has bought Inktank.

  • Events

    • A free culture event in Pakistan

      With regards to the open source community in Pakistan, the situation is analogous to that on Wikipedia. Outside of a core group of members of Mozilla Pakistan and Linux Pakistan, the majority of internet users are not familiar with the free culture and open movements. This, in all likelihood, is due to a lack of widespread awareness of the movements.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 38 Beta Brings New Guest Mode and Easier Incognito Mode Switching

        The developers have explained that the user switching feature has been redesigned and it will make changing profiles and into the incognito mode a lot simple. They have also added a new experimental Guest mode, a new experimental UI for Chrome supervised users has been implemented, and numerous under-the-hood changes have been made for stability and performance.

    • Mozilla

      • Indian Firefox OS phones start at $33

        Intex and Spice launched the first Firefox OS phones in India using a low-cost Spreadtrum design: the $33 Intex Cloud FX and the $38 Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1.

      • Mozilla Firefox 32 Officially Released

        It’s been a little over a month since the previous Firefox stable release and the developers have now pushed a new major update to users. This latest iteration of Firefox brings just a few major features for regular users, but it excels in other areas like better HTML 5 support.

      • Mozilla Improving Security Processes After Exposing Developer Data

        Users of the Mozilla Developer Network and Bugzilla testing system are advised to update their passwords after a pair of data disclosures were reported in August.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • On my way to the LiboCon 2014!

      There are many, many interesting talks this year, and I cannot resist to remind you of the two talks I’ll be giving, even though Italo and I will also be on the deck for a few talks about LibreOffice marketing especially on Wednesday.

  • BSD

    • PfSense 2.1.5 Is a Free and Powerful FreeBSD-Based Firewall Operating System

      PfSense is a free network firewall distribution based on the FreeBSD, it comes with a custom kernel, and a few quite powerful applications that should make its users’ life a lot easier. Most of the firewall distros are Linux-based, but PfSense is a little bit different and is using FreeBSD. Regular users won’t feel anything out of the ordinary, but it’s an interesting choice for the base.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Code for Germany project launches

      Each OK Lab is a source of a great variety of projects, tackling different social issues and topics. For example, the OK Lab in Hamburg has a strong focus on urban development, and has created a map which shows the distribution of playgrounds in the city. An app from the OK Lab Heilbronn depicts the quality of tap water by region, and another from the OK Lab Cologne helps users find the closest defibrillator in their area. One more of our favorite developments is called “Kleiner Spatz”, which translates to “Little Sparrow,” and helps parents to find free child care in their city.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Sports fan lobbyist fights NFL blackouts, taxpayer-funded stadiums, and Comcast

    Since 1973, the National Football League has prevented local TV stations from broadcasting games when tickets aren’t sold out—and Federal Communications Commission rules enable this decidedly fan-unfriendly policy. The rules are finally close to being overturned, and if they are you can thank David Goodfriend.

    Founder of the Sports Fans Coalition, Goodfriend is an attorney and lobbyist with years of experience in government and private industry. He was a Clinton Administration official, a Congressional staffer, legal advisor at the FCC, and executive at Dish Network. The Sports Fans Coalition teamed with four consumer advocacy organizations in 2011 to petition the FCC to stop supporting the NFL’s blackout regime.

  • Silence to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of last ever passenger pigeon

    Conservationists will fall silent at noon today to mark the hundredth anniversary of the death of Martha, the last ever passenger pigeon – just as a new project is set up to bring the species back from the dead.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Ecuador: WikiLeaks cables show US how used ‘democracy promotion’ to push corporate interests

      Ecuador’s pro-US neoliberal president Lucio Gutierrez was ousted in 2005. Since then, relations between Ecuador and the United States have deteriorated, with the Andean nation’s increasing rejection of US hegemony.

      The government of Rafael Correa, first elected in 2006, has broken from the neoliberal doctrines Washington has imposed on Latin America. It has embraced regional integration, moving closer to its neighbours and further away from the US.

      Diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks show how hard the US fought to control Ecuador’s future post-Gutierrez.

      They show a key element of US efforts to control Ecuador’s political and economic direction in the post-Gutierrez years was the US Embassy’s “democracy promotion” activity.

      So-called “democracy promotion” came to prominence as a method for maintaining US hegemony in the 1980s.

    • The New Terrorism

      We had the first proof of this strategy with the decryp­ted mil­it­ary film “Col­lat­eral Murder”, where heli­copter pilots shot up some Reu­ters journ­al­ists and civil­ians in Iraq in 2007. That was bad enough — but the cover-up stank. For years the Pentagon denied all know­ledge of this atro­cious war crime, and it was only after Wikileaks released the inform­a­tion, provided by the brave whis­tleblower Chelsea Man­ning, that the fam­il­ies and the inter­na­tional com­munity learned the truth. Yet it is Man­ning, not the war crim­in­als, who is serving a 35 year sen­tence in a US prison.

      Worse, by sheer scale at least, are the ongo­ing, wide-ranging unmanned drone attacks across the Middle East and Cent­ral Asia, as cata­logued by the Bur­eau of Invest­ig­at­ive Journ­al­ism in the UK. Many thou­sands of inno­cents have been murdered in these attacks, with the US jus­ti­fy­ing the strikes as killing “mil­it­ants” — ie any male over the age of 14. The US is mur­der­ing chil­dren, fam­il­ies, wed­ding parties and vil­lage coun­cils with impunity.

    • The game-changer in global conflicts

      IN THE last 10 years armed unmanned aerial vehicles — drones — have been operated to kill individuals in at least seven countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Palestine, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Their use is changing the way war is conventionally waged.

    • Fighting erupts between Syrian army, rebels on Golan Heights

      Heavy fighting between Syrian army forces and rebels erupted on the Golan Heights on Monday, a Reuters photographer said, but it was unclear if either of the two sides had gained an advantage to control a key frontier crossing.

      Rebels of al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front have been battling the Syrian army in the area and have wrested control of the crossing at Quneitra, which is operated by the United Nations.

      Persistent small arms fire and explosions from mortar shells and other munitions could be heard on the Israeli-controlled side of the frontier of the strategic plateau, the photographer reported.

      At least one tank belonging to the Syrian army loyal to President Bashar al-Assad was also involved and rebels could be seen a few meters (yards) away from the frontier fence.

      On Sunday, Israel’s military said it shot down a drone that flew from Syria into Israeli-controlled airspace over the Golan.

    • Israel downs drone from Syria over occupied Golan: army
    • UN withdrawal and Syria drone point to new order in Golan

      After four decades, UN supervision on the Syrian border is about to end and Assad’s military is being replaced by more hostile forces.

    • Taking Yemen from bad to worse

      Recent months have witnessed worrying developments in the realm of news media in Yemen. On June 11, the Yemen Today TV Channel was shut down by Presidential Guards on President Hadi’s order following the channel’s coverage of the demonstrations and riots in Sana’a that same day.

    • China reacts guardedly to Narendra Modi’s expansionist remark

      China today reacted guardedly to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks of “expansionist” tendency among some countries, saying it is not clear what was he referring to and recalled his earlier comments that India and China are strategic partners.

      “We have noted relevant information about Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Japan. You just mentioned comments made by him I don’t know what is he referring to,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a media briefing here when asked about Modi’s remarks made during his ongoing visit to Japan.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Danish Police Arrest Sea Shepherd Team Trying to Stop Faroe Islands Whale Slaughter

      The Royal Danish Navy arrested 14 volunteers from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on Saturday for trying to intervene in the slaughter of 33 pilot whales in the Faroe Islands, a protectorate of Denmark.

      A team of six Sea Shepherd volunteers spotted a pod of pilot whales from shore on Sandoy Island in the remote North Atlantic archipelago on Saturday and alerted Sea Shepherd’s small flotilla of boats, which has been patrolling the icy waters for nearly three months. Sea Shepherd has been trying to stop the annual Faroese whale hunt known as grindadráp, or grind.

    • Sea Shepherd crew members released

      A total of 14 volunteer crew members of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s pilot whale defence campaign Operation GrindStop 2014 arrested on Saturday in the Faroe Islands today have been released.

      As of Sunday morning, all 14 Sea Shepherd crew have been released. The six volunteers from the land team must return to court tomorrow, Monday, September 1. The eight members of the boat team have been told to return to court on September 25. Postponing the court date until that time allows the police to hold the three Sea Shepherd boats until the end of September, as they are being held for “evidence.” All video and still camera data cards were removed by police and are still being held. Sea Shepherd attorneys are working to have them returned as well.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • New Docs Undermine Walker’s Statements on Criminal Probe

      Despite claims that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is not a “target” in the state’s criminal campaign finance probe, newly-released documents demonstrate that prosecutors are indeed looking at potentially criminal activity by the first-term governor and 2016 presidential hopeful.

      The latest round of documents released in Wisconsin’s “John Doe” investigation shine new light on the stalled inquiry into alleged illegal coordination between Walker’s campaign and outside political groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) during the 2011-2012 recall elections.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Moving Away From Windows to GNU/Linux and the Abandonment of Windows as the Modest Proposal These Days

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good news for “Free software” team

Soccer players

Summary: Morale of GNU/Linux and an embrace of GNU/Linux is very high, despite recent propaganda from Microsoft MVPs and boosters (primarily security-themed and Munich-themed FUD)

Any nation that still uses the back doors which are Microsoft software ought to wake up and make immediate changes. Russia and China are already making rapid changes. Korea (South Korea to be precise) is following suit. But that’s old news.

Microsoft is abandoning operating systems in a way that compromises security in very mission-critical operations. Clients get abandoned and they are helpless. They cannot even access source code, so messy patches at binary level is all they have left.
“Microsoft replaces a broken update with one that’s even more broken than the first one,” says Ryan in our IRC channels, citing Woody Leonhard’s report [via] about increasing fragility of Windows:

Microsoft re-releases botched MS14-045/KB 2982791 ‘Blue Screen 0×50′ patch, buries tip to manually uninstall first patch, and introduces more problems

Windows is a total mess. A lot of those involved in developing it have left and it truly shows. Just look what a mess recent releases of Windows have been, both when released and when patched (bricked).

Some rumours suggest that Microsoft may be gradually abandoning Windows altogether. “According to unconfirmed media reports,” says The Mukt, “IT giants like Amazon, Samsung, Yahoo! and Microsoft are in talks to either acquire or partner with Cyanogen, a company which forked the Android Open Source Project and has become quite popular lately.”

Over at IDG, Microsoft’s booster Preston Gralla thinks that Windows for mobile should be completely abandoned. This is quoting a Microsoft advocate who makes money from Windows: “It’s been nearly four years since Microsoft first released Windows Phone, and what it has gotten after many millions of dollars in development and marketing costs, plus its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia, is this: a worldwide smartphone market share of less than 3 percent. And that number has been going down, not up.

“Ask any smart businessperson whether that investment is a good one, and you’ll get a straightforward answer: no. Over at Microsoft, though, they think differently. Rather than abandoning Windows Phone, they’re doubling down and making an even bigger bet on the struggling smartphone operating system. A company with Bill Gates’ DNA will never willingly admit defeat, but in this case it may be time to do just that and instead hitch its mobile wagon to Android.”

Sarcastically, my co-host Tim writes:

Microsoft has deleted 1500 apps which presumably are spam/fakes/malicious from its store. Surely this must only leave about 2 left?

Over in China people are now being moved to COS, especially for mobile devices on the face of it (although COS is said to be based on Ubuntu). There is an antitrust case there against Microsoft because China may have gotten its documents stuck in Office, which is not running natively on GNU and Linux. The Register is spinning lock-in complaints as “compatibility”, saying that “China’s antitrust regulator has given Microsoft 20 days to hand over a written explanation of how the Windows OS works together with the bundled Office software suite as part of its probe into the firm’s alleged monopoly activities.”

It sure looks like China is very serious about getting rid of Microsoft this time around. The Web version of Office has already been banned and the same goes for the latest versions of Windows.

Korean Press Slams Microsoft Over Patent Extortion Against Linux/Android as New Abuses Resurface

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

Is this BusinessKorea’s depiction of Elop and Ballmer?

Nokia trolls
Image from BusinessKorea

Summary: Harsh words from the national press of South Korea as Nokia’s role in Microsoft’s anti-Linux tactics becomes more apparent

MICROSOFT is a big loser, but a dangerous loser nonetheless. Microsoft is above the law in many countries and it knows it. So, inevitably, Microsoft acts like it always has and it resorts to criminal activities in an attempt to destroy the competition. It’s just the same old Microsoft, acting like a spoiled brat and a bully.

Last week the Korean press was portraying Microsoft and Nokia as trolls (pay attention to the photos in this article). To quote the opening paragraphs:

Korean Industry Demanding Measures against Patent Offensives by Nokia, Microsoft

The local electronics industry is demanding stricter conditions for the approval of Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia by the Korea Fair Trade Commission (FTC). The demand is attributable to the fact that those conditions will inevitably have a huge influence on the industry.

Remember that the criminals from Microsoft (crimes like racketeering and conspiracy to extort from multiple directions, patent-stacking, etc.) recently sued the increasingly-confused Samsung, which became a litigation/extortion target of Nokia (e.g. via MOSAID) and Microsoft trolling.

European regulators have already warned about this. They seem to know what Microsoft is up to. For those who still insist that Microsoft is not a crime syndicate masquerading as a company this report can serve as a reminder:

Business Korea has just published a very provocative piece that depicts a monstrous troll attacking its home country’s pride and joy, Samsung. That troll, you’ll be surprised to learn, is Nokia.

The reason for this is easy to understand: Samsung may be forced to pay one of the history’s biggest patent royalty sums to Nokia, and fellow Korean electronics titan LG is not scot free, either.

What unleashed the beast in the Finnish company was its decision to sell its handset division to Microsoft a while back. As long as Nokia was a phone company, it was bound by a web of cross-licensing deals limiting how much it can charge for its thousands of handset-related patents. Nokia needed to use both essential and non-essential patents held by Samsung, Apple, Motorola and other industry giants, which put a rather severe cap on how much it could charge other phone vendors.

Microsoft is not even interested in Nokia as a producing company, based on recent layoffs that affect Finland while Microsoft is avoiding many billions in tax. As one of the latest articles put it, “Microsoft’s Staggering Tax Dodge Alone Would Fund the Entire State of Washington for Two Years”. This was pointed out by a former Microsoft employee who protested against this, but suddenly it’s all news again:

Reading companies’ annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission is a reliable cure for insomnia. Every so often, though, there is a significant revelation in the paperwork. This year, one of the most important revelations came from Microsoft’s filings, which spotlighted how the tax code allows corporations to enjoy the benefits of American citizenship yet avoid paying U.S. taxes.

According to the SEC documents, the company is sitting on almost $29.6 billion it would owe in U.S. taxes if it repatriated the $92.9 billion of earnings it is keeping offshore. That amount of money represents a significant spike from prior years.

When people insist there there is a ‘new’ and reformed Microsoft be sure to recall and pointed the racketeering, the massive tax evasion, and many more of Microsoft systemic abuses. The company deserves to have no more than zero employees, or many who are in prison. But when corporations control politics this is unlikely to happen any time soon. The criminals not only get away with crime; they get wealthy and they hide their wealth from the state.

More Good News About Patents and Their Demise in the United States

Posted in Patents at 2:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of news about software patents and patent trolls in the land where these thrive

A recent article from Daniel Nazer of the EFF (cross-posted in TechDirt) reminded us that the focus at EFF these days is “bad patents” such as medical ones that are technically nonsense and usually serve to deny people treatment they may need. This is a type of patents which other than software patents we have covered here a lot of times in the past. It’s worse than anticompetitive patents.

In another bit of news we find yet another defeat for software patents and a defeat for patent trolls that attack Google and are now forced to compensate Google for the trouble. “In January,” says the report, “Google won a jury trial against a so-called “patent troll” called Beneficial Innovations, which sued dozens of media companies over online ad patents.

“But it wasn’t a defensive win in which Google lawyers were laying out arguments about why they didn’t infringe a patent. Instead, Google had gone on the offensive and said that Beneficial’s 2011 patent lawsuit against a dozen major media companies was a breach of contract.”

Another article about it, citing the above, says:

GOOGLE HAS WON $1.3m in legal fees from a notorious patent troll.

Arstechnica first reported the rather convoluted story, which began in 2011 when well-known software patent litigator Beneficial Innovations sued a dozen large media companies over online ad patents that it holds.

Many of the online publications owned by those media companies were simply using Google’s Doubleclick advertising technology, and Google had licensed the patents at issue.

“Beneficial went back on the terms of its own licence agreement, pursuing our customers for simply using our licensed services,” said Google at the time.

Google interceded on behalf of its customers and prevailed in a jury trial in January, arguing successfully that Beneficial was in breach of contract by suing over patents that Google had licensed. Google won a nominal $1 judgment plus an injunction barring Beneficial Innovations from suing additional Google customers.

Now, the court has awarded Google the right to recover from Beneficial most of its legal costs for defending its customers, according to Arstechnica. US District Court judge Rodney Gilstrap ruled that Google was the prevailing party on the breach of contract issue and that the firm’s request to recover attorneys’ fees was reasonable.

Watch the patent lawyers panicking over the increasing difficulty in getting patents on software granted and see this news about new state-level actions/sanctions against patent trolls:

As of two days ago, Illinois became the 18th state with a law prohibiting bad faith assertions of patent infringement. (That is, fraudulent demand letters.) It seems that if Congress won’t act, the states will do whatever they can (which is limited) to deal with patent trolls.

Things are definitely improving on the patent front this year.

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