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12.07.14

Links 7/12/2014: New Linux Release, Marines and Prisoners on GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 9:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • November 2014 OSI Newsletter

    The OSI Board met in San Francisco, CA USA on November 11th and 12th, 2014 with a focus on strengthening the organization’s current outreach efforts and building new bridges between open source communities. The Board was excited to review five new applications for Affiliate Membership as well as implement several new initiatives to help drive Individual Membership through the recognition of various roles and levels of access among our community. This included new Individual Membership discounts for students, volunteers working on OSI supported activities, those already members of OSI Affiliate organizations, members of Free Software Foundation and complimentary memberships based on need.

  • Pydio: open source alternative to Dropbox & Box

    Pydio 6.0 an open source file sharing solution that is said to offer “tight control of information” on the scale demanded by enterprises and service providers.

  • Open Source Continues its March into the Enterprise

    These include LibreOffice and OpenOffice for front-office productivity tools, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Ingres for databases, Pentaho for decision support, SugarCRM and Hipergate for customer relationship management, Apache Lucene, Opentext, Filenet, and Documentum for content management, and RedHat JBoss as an application server.

    While open source applications specifically for the core functions of the insurance industry are still few and far between, there are a few options, such as OpenUnderwriter.

    The main issue with open source is that while the software provides all the components needed for IT operations, expertise is needed to pull it all together for the business. But there’s always a good case to be made for open source, and often, this comes right from commercial IT vendors themselves. Prashant Parikh of CA Technologies, for instance, recently posted the reasons why open source makes sense.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Hotspots: My Firefox OS phone saved the day

        However, and as paradoxical as it may be, I own a ZTE Open Firefox OS phone, which I use basically to check my email and calendar on the go, quickly browse a web page, and receive messages from family members.

        I practically never use the function that gives the device its name (telephone), that, is, making calls. I see my phone as a tiny tablet thingie and use it as such.

        But today, I had to take care of my 4-year-old daughter. It was raining and she is recovering from a bad flu, so going out was out of the question. The cable was not working, so no TV for her… which she did not really mind. But she wanted to use her computer to see her favorite videos online and we had no connection.

        What to do? I used the phone as a hotspot to share its Internet connection with my laptop.

      • Mozilla All Hands: They can’t hold us!

        I also spent some time talking to folks about Firefox in Ubuntu and rebranding Iceweasel to Firefox in Debian (fingers crossed something will happen here in 2015). Also it was great to participate in discussions around making all of the Firefox channels offer more stability and quality to our users.

      • Mozilla will finally bring Firefox to iOS

        I used to be a big fan of Firefox, and I still use it for certain things. But it just doesn’t have the mindshare that it used to have back when it’s big claim to fame was being the alternative to Internet Explorer. Mobile has been where the growth is, and many mobile users have gravitated to Safari, Chrome and other browsers on their phones and tablets.

      • Mozilla wants to put Firefox on iOS

        Mozilla has been staunchly opposed to an iOS version of its Firefox browser for a while. It wants to use its own web engine, but Apple will only let companies use its in-house code in the name of security. However, the organization is clearly having a change of heart — VP Jonathan Nightingale has revealed that Mozilla wants to bring Firefox to iOS. He didn’t say how it would happen, but it’s most likely that the company will use Apple’s engine and layer a custom interface on top, like Google does with Chrome. We’ve reached out to Mozilla and will let you know if it can say more.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Long Time No See – DevAssistant 0.10 is Here

      DevAssistant 0.10.0 is sort of pre-1.0.0, so for next release, we’re planning to go from Beta to Stable. That’s a big promise, but I think at this point DevAssistant can afford that. There will be some backwards incompatible changes between 0.10.0 and 1.0.0, but after that we’ll keep things stable until 2.0.0. In addition to that, we’re planning a major GUI overhaul – basically we’ll rewrite it from scratch, since we want it to look completely different. We’re working with Mo Duffy on the design and while it’s not finished yet, some preliminary sketches can be found at Mo’s fedorapeople page.

    • Weblate 2.1

      Weblate 2.1 has been released today.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Pesticides May Contribute to Farmers’ Depression and Suicides

      According to Bienkowski’s report, an Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson, Cathy Milbourn, writes that of the seven pesticides examined, “only aluminum phosphide, diazinon, and malathion are still registered and in use.” The EPA cancelled the registrations of ethylene dibromide, 2,4,5-T, dieldrin, and parathion, Milbourn said. Aluminum phosphide, diazinon, and malathion are undergoing EPA review.

    • China looking to curb fertilizer, pesticide use

      China, the world’s top producer of rice and wheat, is seeking to cap the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that have helped to contaminate large swathes of its arable land and threaten its ability to keep up with domestic food demand.

      More than 19 percent of soil samples taken from Chinese farmland have been found to contain excessive levels of heavy metals or chemical waste. In central Hunan province, more than three quarters of the ricefields have been contaminated, government research has shown.

    • Delay in law on plain packs for cigarettes angers MPs

      Failure to push through law in time for general election would be seen as ‘victory’ for big tobacco and lobbyists

    • Please Write to Your MP about Plain Packaging for Cigarettes

      I was disturbed to read in the Guardian that the UK government may be wavering on introducing plain packs for cigarettes. Failing to do so before the General Election would be seen as a huge victory for the tobacco companies, and have knock-on effects around the world.

      [...]

      As you know, what is particularly interesting about these cases is that they use the highly controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process in order to claim an indirect expropriation of property. Since the company is doing this through subsidiaries – one in Switzerland, the other in Hong Kong – it is not even clear whether those cases can proceed. However, it is evident that one of the main reasons Philip Morris is taking this route is to intimidate other countries thinking about bringing in plain packs measures. Indeed, New Zealand has put its own plans on hold pending the result of the Australian case, which shows that strategy is having its effect.

  • Security

    • North Korea calls claims of its Sony Pictures hacking ‘false rumor’

      North Korea on Sunday denied claims that it had hacked into Sony Pictures, calling the allegations a “false rumor” spread by South Korea.

      The U.S. film company had come under cyber attack late last month after a series of threats from North Korea for its comedy movie “The Interview,” in which the CIA plots to assassinate the country’s young leader Kim Jong-un.

    • U.S. movie about killing N.K. leader will likely be ‘blockbuster’

      A soon-to-be-released comedy film about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will likely be a “blockbuster” thanks to the strong protests Pyongyang has raised about it, the U.S. human rights envoy said Friday.

    • OpEdNews Hacked, I Meet With an FBI Agent

      On Tuesday, it appears that OEN was hacked. An article that was not submitted by an editor, not submitted through the queue and not submitted by a trusted author, was published by someone who signed up the same day. The article reported that a hacker group, Cyberberkut, had hacked the phone of a member of Joe Biden’s diplomatic entourage to Ukraine.

      The anomaly– an article published outside the usual routes– led me to investigate and discover that one of the IP addresses the submitter used was associated with malware– SQL insertion, spam, even blackmail.

      I checked the name of the purported author and found someone in Ukraine with that name. But the photo used in the author ID did not match. I did a reverse image search using tineye.com and there were no other copies anywhere. I hid the article and checked google Webmaster tools, which is my first go-to place to check for malware on the site. Our webmaster also checked his tracking system. No malware was detected. I had already removed one image from Reuters because it violated copyrights. Vidya removed another image that had been included and a link, because they are higher risk for SQL insertion of malware.

    • FBI investigates threatening emails sent to Sony employees at Culver City studio

      The company has been scrambling to repair the damage to its computer system after a hack by a group calling itself Guardians of Peace.

    • Hacking at Sony has similarities with earlier attacks in Middle East and South Korea

      In 2012, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company and Qatar’s RasGas were hit by a virus known as Shamoon that damaged tens of thousands of computers. In 2013, more than 30,000 PCs at South Korean banks and broadcasting companies were hit by a similar attack by a virus dubbed DarkSeoul malware.

    • Friday’s security updates
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Suspension of Zoabi from Knesset Raises Questions about Israeli Democracy

      In July 2014 Haneen Zoabi, the first Arab Israeli woman to be elected to the Israeli legislative body, the Knesset, was banned by the Knesset Ethics Committee from all Knesset activities. As Lahav Harkov reported in October 2014, this was a direct response to her declaration that the June kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers (later found murdered) was not an act of terrorism.

      [...]

      They covered Zoabi’s initial suspension and followed her story of failed appeals to the Knesset and the High Court. Corporate news sources such as CNN and the New York Times, on the other hand, have not reported on any aspect of the matter, while Al-Jazeera America briefly mentions Zoabi’s suspension at the end of an article about Hamas’ terms for a ceasefire.

    • ​Watching the watchmen: US shield to protect drones from ‘spoofing’ cyber-attacks
    • Chile’s Neoliberal Flip Flop

      The infamous general overthrew Salvador Allende’s socialist Chilean government in a coup d’état in 1973 with help from classified CIA support as well as cloak-and-dagger cheerleading from distant corners of the world, Milton Friedman in Chicago and Henry Kissinger in Washington, D.C.

    • Prefer cautious presidents

      I prefer a cautious president to a reckless one. Invading Iraq was reckless, doubling down on that is foolish.

    • Ukraine: Lethal Aid And Weapons Authorized By U.S. House Resolution 758, Will Obama Take On Vladimir Putin?

      Lethal aid to Ukraine has been authorized by recently passed United States House Resolution 758, which calls for President Barack Obama to send both lethal and non-lethal aid to the Ukrainian military. If the U.S. Senate passes similar legislation, it’s possible Obama may choose to escalate the confrontation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

    • Better for the US to stop costly wars, nuke upgrade

      The American people ought to realize — and critically respond to — the dangers involved in two directions of national-security policy that their government is pursuing:

      1) It is escalating the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (while extending its war in Afghanistan), and 2) discarding a previously espoused disarmament agenda in order to push a “massive modernization of nuclear-armed missiles, bombers and submarines,” to cost beyond $1 trillion over 30 years.

      These are concerns not only of Americans. They also affect the rest of the world’s peoples.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The C.I.A.’s Power to Purge

      Not only that, Mr. Aftergood found out the National Archives and Records Administration had already offered tentative approval in August of the plan to — as a spy might put it — disappear the email of every worker but the C.I.A.’s top 22 managers, three years after they left the agency.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • U-S Petro Dollar Hegemony and Global Imperialism
    • Why Shell could buy BP for just £5 a share

      One of Britain’s oldest oil companies BP could be about to be sold to its biggest rival for a fiver per share.

      The rumoured deal, if realised, would complete one of the most ignominious falls for the once great Persian Oil company that powered Britain’s Navy to victory during the First World War.

    • Fracking Footprint Visible from Space

      Methane gas, a main component linked to damaging climate change, is being released in record amounts in the Four Corners region where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah meet. The Four Corners regions is one of the prime location for fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth. A joint study by researchers at the University of Michigan and NASA finds that the environmental impacts of fracking are more significant than previously documented. With the help of a new satellite instrument — the European Space Agency’s SCIAMACHY — a team at University of Michigan has been able to get regional methane measurements over the entire United States back in 2009. Using this tool, they were able to identify the hotspot at the Four Corners. The footprint is so large it is visible from space.

  • Finance

    • Supplemental Poverty Measure Provides More Accurate Measure of U.S. Poverty

      Currently the official government measure of poverty under-represents the number of poor in the United States. The seemingly simple formula, created in the 1960s, has set the national poverty threshold for decades. Last year the official poverty threshold was about $23,600 for a family of two adults and two children. Yet our official poverty yardstick fails to recognize the difference in standards of living across the United States. Whether a family lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming or San Francisco, California, where the average housing costs are 225% higher than Cheyenne, the government standard makes no adjustment for regional variations in cost of living.

    • California, the Golden State, Is Actually the Poorest of All

      It has the Silicon Valley, Hollywood and Napa Valley wineries. It has something else, according to the Census Bureau. It’s the poorest state in the world’s largest economy.

    • Does China Really Have The Most Powerful Economy In The World?

      Market Watch columnist Brett Arends wrote that China has surpassed America as the number one economy, a move he claims may lead to a collapse of U.S. political and military hegemony. But does China truly have the strongest economy in the world?

      [...]

      We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. since at least 1945 and, in many ways, since the late 19th century. And we have lived for 200 years — since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 — in a world dominated by two reasonably democratic, constitutional countries in Great Britain and the U.S.A.

    • Costs of Global Capitalism

      The ILO report’s key chart below summarizes the key wage results of global capitalism over the last decade. Economic growth, rising real wages, and rising standards of living are the economic reality of China. Economic crisis, stagnant wages, and deepening inequalities of income and wealth are the economic realities for western Europe, the US, and Japan.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 5 Most Insidious Conspiracy Theories of 2014

      I’ve found that the conspiracy theories spread most widely — and the ones that seem plausible to many, unfortunately — are those based on current headlines and often propagated by public figures such as politicians, celebrities and media figures. They travel by word-of-mouth at light speed and become “a known fact.” These theories are often believed by those who assume there must be a coherence behind world events and occurrences don’t just happen randomly. Using that as our criteria, here are the most insidious conspiracy theories of 2014.

  • Censorship

    • No female ejaculation, please, we’re British

      Though this compendium is strangely lacking in frogs or any other animals (perhaps they’re catalogued elsewhere), it is a list of the new pornography restrictions that the UK government—through the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, something I’d never heard of before today—introduced on 1 December to ‘safeguard children.’ Which is the same reason five major UK Internet service providers (ISPs) gave for blocking my own website, even though it’s more about literature, publishing, and current affairs than it is about pornography. (Most of these ISPs unblocked the site when I told them that there were no words on it that could be ‘deemed sensitive to a young audience.’)

    • New world for Britain’s online smut: censorship
    • British Censors Ban Spanking, Female Ejaculation And Other Sex Acts From Online Porn

      Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have deemed face-sitting to be a “life-endangering” act worthy of censorship, the Independent reports.

    • U.K. Censors Online Porn; Spanking, Rough Sex, Other Assorted Kink Banned

      Continuing on its recent censorship-happy path, the U.K. government amended regulations this week to prohibit online porn from depicting a variety of erotic activities. Now-illicit acts range from the very specific (female ejaculation; “spanking, caning, and whipping beyond a gentle level”) to the incredibly broad (“verbal abuse”). But basically, the U.K. has banned BDSM and certain forms of fetish porn—or at least, charging money for that sort of porn.

    • The UK’s sexist new pornography restrictions aren’t just an act of state censorship, but could be the first step towards something even worse

      As you might have already heard, an act of state censorship has been declared against British pornography in the guise of innocuous regulation. But what you might not know is that it has also marked the first stage in a campaign to impose global trade sanctions. Strangely, this proposition has received less coverage.

    • The Spectator at war: Censorship and mystification

      Let us say that we have not ourselves suffered from the Censorship at all. We have never submitted, and have never been asked to submit, any article to the Press Bureau. Such censorship as has been exercised in our columns has been the purely voluntary censorship which is exercised at all times, whether in war or in peace, by every editor who has any sense of public duty, and that remark, we believe, applies to the whole British Press, daily and weekly. We have, of course, constantly asked ourselves whether it would be wise on general grounds to make this or that comment, or whether we ought to refrain from comment which we thought sound in itself because we knew or believed it to run counter to the Government view, and to be likely to interfere with their action and policy. Our feeling was that, as the Government and not we were responsible for the conduct of the war, it was our business as good citizens to support their action, even when we did not think it wise. There can be only one driver of a coach, and as long as he is on the box he must be trusted, and no effort must be made to jog his elbow or snatch at the reins. For example, there are certain things which we believe it would be to the public interest to say about foreign States, and which it would be practically impossible for the Government to suppress even under the most exaggerated interpretation of the rights of the Censor ; but these comments we have not made on the ground just given—that it is the Government who are responsible for foreign affairs, and we must not do anything which in their opinion, whether right or wrong is no matter, would injure or weaken them in the difficult task before them.

    • Russia and Turkey Lead on Internet Censorship Growth, Survey Shows

      Internet users in Russia and Turkey have been subjected to the greatest increase in web censorship over the past year, according to the latest Freedom on the Net survey.

    • Pakistan, China among top 10 worst countries for Internet freedom

      Majority among the top ten worst countries are from Asia, including Iran, Syria, China, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

    • Copyright Law as a Tool for State Censorship of the Internet

      When state officials seek to censor online speech, they’re going to use the quickest and easiest method available. For many, copyright takedown notices do the trick. After years of lobbying and increasing pressure from content industries on policymakers and tech companies, sending copyright notices to take media offline is easier than ever.

    • Independent news portals now popular due to government’s censorship

      The government crackdown on the media during the anti-government protest and corruption scandals of last year and the two elections this year have led to the growth of a number of independent news portals as an alternative source of information for many in Turkey.

  • Civil Rights

    • Sean Hannity Finds A Way To Make Eric Garner’s Death About Benghazi

      Hannity Indignant Over Boehner’s Calls For Congressional Hearings On Garner’s Death Rather Than Benghazi

    • You Can’t Live With Us: 53 Britons Stripped of Citizenship

      The issue of UK citizens being stripped of their nationality has not been well covered, especially in major US news outlets. For example, since 2003 the New York Times has published only three stories on the topic, while the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today have published just one story each, for a total of just six stories over the course of eleven years in major US newspapers. Instead, significant coverage of this issue comes from the independent sources, such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which maintains an ongoing series of reports under the title, “Citizenship Revoked.”

    • An MRAP Is Not a Blanket

      Americans watched in horror as the police descended on peaceful protesters in Ferguson…

    • Long-awaited CIA torture report could pose risks to hostages: State Department

      Secretary of state John Kerry has asked Senator Dianne Feinstein to “consider” the timing of the expected release of a long-awaited report on the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques.

    • Kerry asks Feinstein to consider CIA report timing
    • CIA Won’t Defend Its One-Time Torturers
    • Kerry to Feinstein: Consider timing of CIA report
    • WHITE HOUSE GETTING COLD FEET OVER EXPOSING CIA’S TORTURE SECRETS
    • Inside the Battle Over the CIA Torture Report
    • John Kerry asks to delay CIA torture report
    • Lawmakers Insist On Release Of CIA Torture Report, Despite Administration’s Objections
    • As CIA, senators settle feuds, long-awaited ‘torture’ report imminent
    • New Obstacle Arises to Release of CIA Torture Report
    • MARK UDALL PROMISES AMERICA WILL “BE DISGUSTED” AT CIA TORTURE REPORT

      The Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Dianne Feinstein of California, is soon expected to release its summary of the so-called CIA Torture Report, the committee’s four-year-long investigation into the CIA’s Bush-era torture practices. Release of the summary is the result of months of wrangling and negotiating with the White House on what would be released to the public and when—and it will likely be heavily redacted. During an interview conducted on Friday, November 21, by Esquire writer at large Scott Raab, outgoing senator Mark Udall of Colorado, who lost his reelection race on November 4, once again said that if the report is not released in a way he deems transparent, he would consider all options to make it public. In this excerpt from the interview, Raab asks Udall if he will read the document into the record on the floor of the Senate before he leaves in January, an act for which he cannot be prosecuted.

    • ARE YOU THERE, CIA? IT’S ME, SIOBHAN.

      These are boom times for national security reporters, with government surveillance becoming a major topic after Edward Snowden leaked a trove of NSA documents, but one of the most well-known journalists on the intelligence beat, Siobhan Gorman of the Wall Street Journal, has decided to throw in the towel and join the Dark Side—in Gorman’s case, a global communications company called Brunswick, where she will reportedly focus on privacy and data security.

      Gorman has done very solid reporting for the Journal and her previous employer, The Baltimore Sun. She has been prolific–and not just on the printed page. It turns out that she has had a lot of correspondence with the Central Intelligency Agency’s public affairs office, 246 pages of which were provided to us under a Freedom of Information Act request. We published the emails without comment earlier this year, as part of a story about reporter Ken Dilanian’s eyebrow-raising interchanges with the CIA, but in the event Gorman or her employers need a copy of her correspondence with our spymasters (perhaps the Journal has already revoked her access to its computers), we are re-upping them.

      It’s colorful reading—Gorman shows a lot of interest in learning about the CIA’s gym facilities (“I was just told that the facilities at the black sites were better than the ones at CIA”), and a year to the day after the killing of Osama bin Laden she cheerily began an email to the agency by asking, “So do I wish you a ‘happy anniversary’ today’?” There’s also this mysterious missive she sent the CIA about an apparent meeting she had with an agency official: “What prompted my guest to leave so suddenly? Bat phone rang twice, and then he excused himself?” And a word of warning to her next boss at Brunswick—watch what you say, because Gorman, when asking the agency for guidance on a rumor that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad had been killed, explained to the CIA that the info came from the editor of her paper “but his tips aren’t always accurate.”

    • US: Release Torture Report

      The US Senate’s intelligence committee should release as planned its report summary on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s detention and interrogation program, Human Rights Watch said today. The White House’s expressed support for the release has been undermined by statements from the State Department raising concerns over the timing of the release and possible foreign policy implications.

    • Udall plays with a loaded deck

      Udall can wield a lot of power, forcing even classified portions of the report into the spotlight.

    • Rand Paul — from ophthalmologist to US Constitution guardian

      The 51-year-old doctor was sent to Washington by voters furious with a system that kept swelling the national debt, and anxious over what Paul sees as government zeal for war and encroachment on American civil liberties.

    • Feinstein fights to release torture report before GOP takeover

      The full report runs 6,700 pages, covering the committee’s review of 6.2 million pages of documents from the CIA and the Defense Department. Feinstein met fierce resistance from the CIA during the entire investigation, and now with less than a week before she hands the Intelligence Committee gavel to North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, she is battling the White House over its refusal to declassify the report.

    • Anger against police tops Sunday talk shows
    • Police violence in US UN documents torture

      The United Nations Committee Against Torture issued a lengthy report today assessing the performance of the 156 countries whose governments have ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which took effect two decades ago.

    • Top police officer: many viewing child abuse images should be treated on NHS

      Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey believes thousands on police database ‘pose no threat’ and don’t belong in prison

    • New York’s Next Killer-Cop Grand Jury

      Mass protests in New York were stretching into their third day when a new grand jury was announced on Friday. Not for the case of Eric Garner—a previous grand jury’s decision earlier this week not to indict the officer seen choking him on film before he died sparked the current protests. The latest grand jury will investigate the death of Akai Gurley, another unarmed black man who was killed by a police officer months after Garner’s death, in what the department says was an accidental shooting.

    • Abject failure of US to come clean on torture

      Now, more than ever, it is vital to show the world that real democracies are not like terrorist groups because they demand real accountability

    • Why Hosting Rudy Giuliani To Talk About Race Is A Bad Idea
    • Reporting the News Like Black Lives Don’t Matter

      “Black lives matter” is the rallying cry of the burgeoning nationwide movement against police killings. The Associated Press (12/5/14), covering that movement, has produced a perfect example of what journalism looks like when black lives don’t matter.

      [...]

      Or even to make the basic medical point that being able to talk is a sign that you don’t need the Heimlich maneuver–not that you don’t need a cop to stop administering a notoriously lethal chokehold.

      You don’t get any of those points in the article, because AP didn’t feel any need to quote (or, seemingly, talk to) anyone who thought that the life of Eric Garner was more important than the feelings of New York Police Department officers. Because, one has to assume, to AP black lives don’t matter.

  • DRM

    • Why Marvin has become my favorite ebook app

      Oh, and if you need to you can move your Kindle books over to Marvin via Calibre by removing the DRM. I, of course, do not advise you to do this one way or the other. It’s entirely your choice and may be affected by whatever the relevant laws are for that sort of thing. ;)

EPO Scandal: Benoît Battistelli’s Arrogance Recognised by European Delegations

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“That’s why I am president!” –Benoît Battistelli in self-centric mood

Nixon

Summary: Battistelli’s Nixon moment and the evasive nature of his approach towards external delegations that are troubled by his behaviour

THE EPO is a rotten institution where Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli and other cronies of theirs basically oust everyone who does not agree with them or is tasked with a process of regulation/oversight. It’s more than an attitude issue. Not to be overly dramatic here, there should be toppling, and the sooner the better. The leadership is the problem, not its many critics. See what we wrote about Battistelli over the past few months. We attached sensitive documents to prove or at least strongly support our allegations. Battistelli’s deputy is even worse than Battistelli and he faces many criminal charges which he is eager to hide from his colleagues. What we have currently at the EPO is "Balkan standards" (to borrow a phrase from a respected person who is familiar with the culprits). This phrase alludes to corruption and it mostly relates to Željko Topić’s actions, not just his boss and colleague, the full-of-himself “President” Battistelli (some law/patent blogs sarcastically comment on the capitalisation of the word “President”, which he seemingly deems his new first name).

Battistelli and Topić are out of control. There are numerous complaints and calls for investigation for they reign like tyrants and they are hardly even hiding it. They are wasteful (wasting European tax money) and subservient to interests other than Europe’s. No wonder their staff hates them with a passion, let aside those who have to interact with them.

Techrights is now in possession of recordings where Mr. Battistelli gets grilled by delegations (people representing part of the European Union). Techrights has studied the recordings and produced this Ogg-formatted file, which most Web browsers may automatically embed below (if not, download and playback should be possible).

The audio was recorded at a meeting with delegations of the Administrative Council (which we wrote about before).

“Those who surround him join in the response squad, suppressing the delegations or preventing them from receiving any real answers.”Apart from the megalomaniac “that’s why I am president” there is a lot of stuff worth listening to, especially the nature of the concerns raised by the delegations and the response (of lack thereof) from Battistelli, EPO President, to these. Those who surround him join in the response squad, suppressing the delegations or preventing them from receiving any real answers. The audio is full of examples of this. Just because there are ‘too many’ issues doesn’t mean that Battistelli is obliged to address none.

“At the beginning,” tells us one who listened to the recording, “one can hear an intervention of the Slovenian delegation. It says that the EPO is not a company on the stock exchange and should focus on quality and careful handling of human resources. Battistelli insults and threatens the delegation. Then, Battistelli says that the career system will make “hundreds of millions for the office” and that “the Office should not care about FR, UK and DE law” but rather think only in terms of “what is good for the office”.”

Yes, this is typical Battistelli. He is very aggressive against critics and where possible he sacks or at the very least threatens them. There is a pattern here. In future parts of this long series (guaranteed to go on well into 2015) we will show more of Battistelli’s abusive behaviour, Topić’s allegedly criminal scandals, and output from the internal uprise (there are very strong sentiments within the EPO against Topić and Battistelli and one of them is internally compared to Vladimir Putin).

CBS Brushing Aside and Away Microsoft’s History of Blackmail and Bribes Against Linux

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Putting in context some of the poor reporting (or whitewash) regarding Microsoft’s bribe (disguised as “partnership”) to Barnes & Noble

TECHRIGHTS sincerely regrets to report that the media is letting down the historical record, letting down facts, and ultimately letting down Free software, which has been under a massive patent attack from Microsoft since the Microsoft-Novell deal (November of 2006). While the corporate press would have us believe that Microsoft now “loves” GNU/Linux and is embracing FOSS (like a python embraces sheep maybe), the truth could not be further from that. Day after day this form of propaganda or conditioning would have us believe that white is black and black is white. It’s the same in technology as it is in politics.

Microsoft’s hatred of GNU/Linux and FOSS is best understood, objectively, by looking at Microsoft’s actions, especially backroom deals that it hides from journalists or prevents (through abuse and trolling) journalists from revealing to the public. One cannot judge an action by assessing only what the subject of scrutiny presents. Microsoft is great at media manipulation and today’s example is an excellent one. History is being rewritten before our eyes.

“Several years down the line the press suffers amnesia and something that resembles Nokia revisionism (blaming Nokia rather than Microsoft for Nokia’s demise).”Several years ago we explained why Microsoft’s ‘partnership’ with Barnes & Noble was essentially a bribe against Linux. Groklaw covered this repeatedly in about half a dozen long articles. Several years down the line the press suffers amnesia and something that resembles Nokia revisionism (blaming Nokia rather than Microsoft for Nokia’s demise).

Truthfully, we have already said almost everything that there is to be said about the latest news, but the CBS-owned CNET has just published a peculiar piece with Microsoft’s statement embedded. It’s revisionism from Don Reisinger, who relays the most omissions-filled story we have found so far (no need for an extensive articles roundup here). Absolutely nothing is said about the patent battle that Microsoft tried to end as it put in jeopardy the whole racket operation that Microsoft had been running against many companies. Nothing! It makes it sound like an innocent ‘deal’ where Barnes & Noble is the loser and Microsoft is the supposed ‘rescuer’.

In our assessment, which may seem blunt, Barnes & Noble should take Microsoft to court again, both for extortion and for bribery (intended to hide the extortion and keep it going). Here is Reisinger’s ‘article’ acting as a Microsoft platform with Microsoft taking points:

“As the respective business strategies of each company evolved, we mutually agreed that it made sense to terminate the agreement,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement, providing little insignt into the decision to nix the marriage with Barnes & Noble.

Translation: we no longer needed to suppress our victim, which we had been blackmailing, so we swiftly went away, having left in tatters yet another so-called ‘partner’. We successfully completed a “divide and rule” Mafia routine, accomplishing sustainable of our profitable, fear-inducing racket.

This it was not a “partnership” as Microsoft boosters try to label it; it’s a disguise for a bribe to be passed over and stay in tact while the company dies and is no longer willing to battle Microsoft in court over the blackmail from Microsoft’s Mafia thugs.

Will Hill wrote about that report (and ones like it) as well, noting that it’s a form of bribe. He pieced together older bits of coverage about that.

Microsoft Damage to Barnes and Noble

News about the end of Microsoft’s software patent extortion schemes is being used to broadcast old talking points. OEMs big and small are ending their “deals” with Microsoft in the wake of recent US court decisions and the complete failure of Apple’s “thermonuclear” patent assault on Android. Now that we start to hear about Barnes and Noble, the Microsoft press is cranking up and people might be tempted to wade through endless chains of Microsoft nonsense. Go straight to your favorite search engine and read through Groklaw or Techrights instead.

Microsoft booster, Peter Bright, reports the end of the Barnes and Noble software patent extortion. The article is relatively fact and history free but the news has stirred up all sorts of misinformation, as is always the case when Microsoft destroys things. That’s a shame because the B&N case taught us a great deal about Microsoft’s extortion tactics and how they ruin companies.

Barnes and Noble was unusual because the company initially refused Microsoft and refused to sign a non disclosure agreement. When they fought Microsoft’s advances, they were free to tell the world what was happening. Groklaw and Techrights followed the case closely. It only ended when Microsoft paid B&N a $300 million dollar bribe to settle.

Two damaging pieces of misinformation showing up are that Microsoft made a billion dollars a year from Samsung over software patents and that Nook was always a loser. This was an estimate irresponsibly presented as fact by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols,

What we didn’t know was just how much Microsoft profits from its patent deals from any single vendor. Now we do. In 2013 alone, Microsoft made a billion dollars from its Samsung Android patent licensing deal alone.

If you click through the author’s self cite, you see the same number presented as an estimate, along with quotes from the paid Microsoft shill, Florian Mueller. Behind that is six levels of Microsoft press obfuscation and self referencing nonsense. There’s a a Yahoo reprint of a BGR article which itself references a Digital Trends article from August 2013, rife with wild guesses and misinformation from Garner, $1 per device, and crazier estimates from Goldman Sachs (2011) and Trefis (2012). That’s the way the Microsoft pres works to establish complete bullshit as common knowledge and smear competitors with wild talking points like, “Google’s message to device makers has been Android is free and open, but you’re on your own if someone sues,” while Google was working with Motorola to fight the same lawsuits.

The bit about Nook being a loser is presented as a fact without citations but is easily disproved. Techrights documented the precipitous decline that followed the Microsoft deal. Microsoft boosters say the same things about Nokia before Elop and every other company Microsoft destroys.

What B&N really showed us is conveniently hidden behind a cloud of Microsoft press bullshit. They proved it was better to fight Microsoft’s flimsy patents and that licensing deal speculation is pure hogwash. How could anyone believe Microsoft is paid some money per device when it’s obvious that B&N was paid to shut up and no one else is talking? That’s the magic of Microsoft press perception management.

I have a feeling that the only thing keeping Microsoft out of bankruptcy is US government money. Besides the usual flow of government and big dumb company spending, we know that Microsoft got their share of “bail out” in the 2008 mortgage fraud meltdown and wealth transfer. We also know that Microsoft has been getting their share of NSA money which, of course, was carefully obfuscated in annual reports.

Thanks, Dr. Roy Schestowitz (罗伊) for following B&N so well over the years.

To summarise, Barnes & Noble is not just a victim of a Microsoft ‘partnership’. It was first the victim of Microsoft racketeering, whereupon it challenged Microsoft in court and then received a large bribe from Microsoft to allow Microsoft to carry on the racket (against companies other than Barnes & Noble).

And some say (and even insist) that Microsoft has changed…

Microsoft and the Mafia share a lot more than the first letter.

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